PopeWatch: Dictator Pope

When The Dictator Pope was first published the Vatican purportedly was engaging in a frantic search to learn the identity of the author.  Yesterday the author has revealed his identity, courtesy of his publisher, Regnery Publishing:


About the author

Marcantonio Colonna is the pen name of Henry Sire (H. J. A. Sire), an author and historian. Sire was born in 1949 in Barcelona to a family of French ancestry. He was educated in England at the Jesuits’ centuries-old Stonyhurst College and at Exeter College, Oxford, where he gained an honors degree in Modern History. He is the author of six books on Catholic history and biography, including one on the famous English Jesuit, writer, and philosopher Father Martin D’Arcy, SJ. The Dictator Pope is the fruit of Henry Sire’s four-year residence in Rome from 2013 to 2017. During that time he became personally acquainted with many figures in the Vatican, including Cardinals and Curial officials, together with journalists specializing in Vatican affairs.
This is a reflection of the ignorance of PopeWatch, but his reaction on learning this is similar to the reaction of Lex Luthor who, while occupying the body of The Flash, decided to unmask him:



PopeWatch: Lettergate

Father Z brings us the word that Lettergate just got a lot worse for the fools running the Vatican:


There is an Italian saying that the Devil makes great saucepans, but doesn’t provide lids for them.  Eventually, people will see what’s cooking: the truth will come out.

Just when you may have thought we had gotten to the bottom of The Letter™, or Lettergate, as Ed Pentin called it, more floats by, like a body face down in a slow moving river.

I have several updates about Lettergate – HERE – but this deserves a separate post.  It seems to me that this whole mess needs to be understood and remembered.  Hence, posts.

First it was revealed that the head of the Vatican’s office for communications (not the Holy See Press Office  – a separate but now subordinated entity) doctored a photo of alleged letter of Benedict XVI about a series of booklets about the theology of Pope Francis in order to avoid the embarrassing revelation that Benedict neither read them nor intended to read them.

I said “alleged” letter.  Now we learn that there was even more in Benedict’s original letter that was redacted out of the version that was read to the press during the presentation of the booklet series.  And again Sandro Magister has the story.  HERE


Between the paragraph omitted in the press release and the valediction there were, in fact, other lines.

And this much could be guessed just by observing the photo of the letter (see above).

In fact, between the first two lines that were made illegible in the photo, at the bottom of the first page of the letter, and the valediction and signature of Benedict XVI on the second half of the second page, there is a space too big to be occupied only by the last part of the paragraph omitted in the press release.

And what else was written there, that Viganò was careful not to read in public and took such pains to cover up in the photo with the eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis?

[NB] There was the explanation of the reason why Benedict XVI had not read those eleven booklets nor intended to read them in the future, and therefore why he had declined to write “a brief and dense theological page” of presentation and appreciation for the same, as Viganò had requested of him.

The reason adopted by Benedict XVI in the final lines of his letter – we are told by an incontrovertible source – is the presence among the authors of those eleven booklets of the German theologian Peter Hünermann, who was an implacable critic both of John Paul II and of Joseph Ratzinger himself as theologian and as pope.

About Hünermann, a professor at the university of Tubingen, it may be recalled that he is the author of, among other things, a commentary on Vatican Council II that is the polar opposite of the Ratzingerian interpretation.

It is therefore clear that, given what Benedict XVI writes in the second half of his letter, the first half also takes on a new significance, entirely different from the one that Viganò wanted to attribute to it in his mangled and biased press release.


Here’s the English rendering of what Benedict wrote in the last part of The Letter™:


[…] all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed. [That’s where it seemed to end, before this new part came out.]

Just as a side note, I would like to mention my surprise at the fact that the authors also include Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate put himself in the spotlight by heading anti-papal initiatives. He participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the “Kölner Erklärung,” which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology. The Europäische Theologengesellschaft, which he founded, also was initially designed by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Afterward, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians blocked this tendency, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

I am certain that you will have understanding for my declination, and I cordially greet you.


Benedict XVI

Go here to read the rest.  Oh this is so rich.  The Vatican could simply have ignored the letter of the Pope Emeritus.  Instead they tried fraud, and now have to reveal that the Pope Emeritus points out that one of the pet theologians of Pope Francis is a virulent critic of the magisterial authority of popes on moral questions, at least popes prior to the present one.  Way to make a bad story into a complete disaster.  I doubt it was accidental that the Pope Emeritus signed as Benedict XVI, perhaps a reminder to the powers that be that he is reaching the breaking point of his silence?  Pass the popcorn!


PopeWatch: Mystery



Investigators are today pouring over the Vatican attempting to locate Pope Francis and approximately three quarters of the clerics who either work in the Vatican or who were visiting there.  Italian police were summoned to the Vatican in the early morning hours of March 17, 2017 by Cardinal Sarah who reported that he was reading his breviary when he suddenly heard Irish music, smelled the odor of corned beef and cabbage and heard what sounded like someone yelling in a deep voice Et serpentium!  When he left his apartment to check he quickly realized that something was amiss due to the immense quiet and what the Cardinal described as a sense of sacred tranquility that had suddenly descended upon the Vatican.

Police have found no items stolen and nothing out of place, except an abundance of shamrocks and the missing clergy.  People with information as to the vanished clergy are urged to contact Interpol.  It is rumored that members of the Irish Republican Army are being questioned.


PopeWatch: Deck Stacking

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us info about the deck stacking going on at the Vatican against celibacy in the pre-synodal council:


The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has appointed members of a pre-synodal council who will collaborate with the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in preparation for the Pan-Amazonian synod next year.

Also announced was the theme of the October 2019 synod: Amazonia: new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology.

Of particular, though not unexpected, interest are the appointments of Cardinal Claudio Hummes and retired Bishop Erwin Kräutler to the council. Both have advocated a change in discipline to allow married clergy in the Latin rite, and the Pan Amazonian synod is expected to provide a forum to at least discuss the matter.

Although some exceptions already exist to allow married priests in the Catholic Church (the Eastern rites and the Ordinariate for former Anglicans for example), the Amazonian case could be used to allow for married clergy wherever priest shortages might exist, and therefore permit a far wider provision.

Bishop Kräutler, an Austrian who headed the Xingu diocese in Brazil from 1981-2015, has long argued for viri probati (ordination or married men of proven virtue) to make up for a shortage of priests in remote Amazonian regions.

A supporter of the ordination of women despite Pope Francis and his predecessors definitively ruling it out, Bishop Kräutler said in an interview last year that he thinks the Pan-Amazonian synod might consider the issue of viri probati, and disclosed that after meeting Pope Francis in 2014, the Holy Father had encouraged him to “courageously” explore the matter.

Francis reportedly wanted the issue discussed at the next synod this October, but the theme was voted down by the majority of members on the ordinary council of the Synod of Bishops, the body charged with drawing up the theme. Instead, they opted for a synod on “Young People, the Faith and the Discernment of Vocation.”

Cardinal Hummes, meanwhile, has made comments in the past advocating for a change in the discipline.


Go here to read the rest.  One of the things that PopeWatch most hates about the current pontificate is the smarmy, backstairs manner in which Catholic teaching is betrayed.  At least Luther stuck his blade of heresy into the front of Mother Church.





PopeWatch: Liars

Anyone shocked by this?


The Vatican admitted Wednesday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis’ five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict’s doctrine-minded papacy.

In the part of the letter that is legible in the photo, Benedict praised a new volume of books on the theology of Francis as evidence of the “foolish prejudice” of his critics. The book project, Benedict wrote, “helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament.”

The Vatican admitted to The Associated Press on Wednesday that it blurred the two final lines of the first page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t actually read the books in question. He wrote that he cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested by Vigano because he has other projects to do.

A Vatican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, didn’t explain why the Holy See blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict’s tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.

The missing content significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media. Those quotes suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment. The doctoring of the photo is significant because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are otherwise closed to independent media.

Go here to read the rest.  Just when you think that the powers that be at the Vatican have hit rock bottom, they keep on digging to new low levels.  Way to pick a fight with the Pope Emeritus.


Five Years Ago

Well, Francis was elected Pope five years ago.  Here was my initial take:


I go to bankruptcy court and they elect a Pope. It appears to be a good, solid choice. He is doctrinally orthodox. Appears to have opposed Liberation Theology. The fact that he is the first Jesuit Pope should have the conspiracy theorists howling at the moon tonight!

Third non-Italian Pope in a row and the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere.

Go here to view the TAC Post that gave us the news.  The sad and sorry truth is that most Catholics, including more than a few of the Cardinals who elected him, knew little about the new Pope.  In many important ways, that is still the case five years on.


PopeWatch: Vatican

The Lepanto Institute gives us a lesson in Vatican priorities:

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana, a small Catholic news portal based in Madrid, Spain, was surprised to receive a letter from Baker & McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world, demanding that InfoVaticana transfer its domain (www.infovaticana.com) to the Vatican Secretariat of State.  The reason for the demand was that the Vatican alleges that it possesses exclusive property rights over the name of the physical center of the Catholic world.  The letter stated that InfoVaticana had seven days to comply with this order and that failing to do so would result in an exceedingly expensive lawsuit.

InfoVaticana, which was launched in May of 2013, says that it is “a free and independent media that has the vocation to serve the Catholic Church and society.”  It’s stated mission is to “deepen the denunciation of Christianophobia and the corruption that the Church uses, the rejection of the totalitarian impositions of the powerful LGBT lobby and the support of our brothers, the persecuted Christians.”

InfoVaticana has written articles critical of the homosexual influence in the Vatican, Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, the Vatican’s scandalous handling of the Order of Malta, the provision of a medal to a radical pro-abortion politician, and many other concerns held by Catholics around the world.

In early 2017, InfoVaticana filed a trademark request for its name beside the Emblem of the Vatican State.  It wasn’t long before InfoVaticana discovered that it could not trademark a national emblem, and so on March 27, 2017, it withdrew its trademark application and opted to trademark its name along with a more generic pair of crossed keys instead.

Vatican Lawsuit 02The trouble began two months later, when on May 15, InfoVaticana received a letter from Baker & McKenzie on behalf of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.  The letter argued that the crossed keys “represent the symbolic emblem of the Christ Delivering Keys to St. Peter [and] are an integral part of the Emblem,” and when combined with the name “InfoVaticana,” the public may draw the “wrongful and misleading impression that the Website is officially linked or directly managed by the Holy See.”  As such, the letter requests that InfoVaticana withdraw its trademark application and cease using the Emblem of the Vatican State and the combined image of InfoVaticana with the crossed keys.

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana received a second letter from Baker & McKenzie, this time demanding that in addition to no longer using the crossed keys with the name InfoVaticana, InfoVaticana actually cease using the name “InfoVaticana” at all and turn the website domain over to the Secretary of State.  The letter argues that the crossed keys used in InfoVaticana’s application for its trademarked logo is a violation of the Vatican’s intellectual property in the form of “State Symbols.”  Such argumentation would imply that any portion of the formal symbols representing Vatican City (the Cross, the keys, a tassel, a gold and white flag) are prohibited from use by any entity without express permission from the Vatican.

If this is actually the case, then the Vatican would need to pursue lawsuits against the following as well:

The Society of the Crossed Keys

Vatican Lawsuit 03

Prime Real Estate of Florida

Vatican Lawsuit 04

Metro Local Locksmith

Vatican Lawsuit 05

Cross Keys Animal Hospital

Vatican Lawsuit 06

The Cross Keys Inn

Vatican Lawsuit 07

York Minster

Vatican Lawsuit 08

Cross Keys Bank

Vatican Lawsuit 09

But then the letter from Baker & McKenzie gets even more ridiculous.  In addition to demanding that InfoVaticana refrain from using the crossed keys as a symbol of the website, the letter demands:

4) Immediately transfer in favor of the Secretary of State (or in favor of whom it designates), the domain name www.infovaticana.com.

Why?  Because:

“the domain name infovaticana.com (the “Name of Infringing Domain”) incorporates the vocabulary “INFOVATICANA” that, as seen, induces the public to error about the nature and origin of the service offered by you.

In short, the described uses not authorized by the Secretary of State on the Website in the Name of the Infringing Domain and the way in which your Website and the business carried out by you are presented to the public constitute clear infractions of the State Symbols and other signs that designate the Vatican institution that the Secretary of State is not willing to tolerate.”

In other words, the argument is that (forgetting that InfoVaticana’s “about us” page clearly states that it is “a free and independent media” site) InfoVaticana gives the appearance that it is an officially sanctioned Vatican website (it does not) and so therefore must not only cease using any portion or imitation of official symbols of the Vatican State, but hand over the domain name as well.

This would be like the Federal Government of the United States telling USA Today that it must hand over its name and web domain to the US government because the use of “USA” is exclusive to the government.  Perhaps, then, the state of New York should demand that the New York Times hand over its name and domain for the same reason.  Same thing with America Magazine.

In response to the letter, InfoVaticana enlisted the aid of a legal team who provided a compromise to Baker & McKenzie, proposing that InfoVaticana cease to use the crossed keys in its logo, as well as any other image that may correspond to official emblems of the Holy See.  The proposal was not a concession of any wrong-doing, but an act of good faith and good will in a desire to avoid causing confusion or the impression that InfoVaticana was in any way involved with the Vatican State.

Baker & McKenzie’s response was an emphatic refusal to negotiate, reiterating the demand that the domain name must be transferred to the Vatican Secretary of State.

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The law firm Cardinal Parolin hired to handle the case, Baker & McKenzie, is well known for the promotion of homosexuality, and even represented the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.


Go here to read the rest.  Anyone surprised by this?  Our Church dollars at work.



PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae War

Sandro Magister reminds us that the war over Humanae Vitae is well under way:


The siege on Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical “Humanae Vitae” has racked up two new assaults in recent days. But also an energetic counterattack.

The first and more authoritative assault bears the signature of Cardinal Walter Kasper. In a booklet released contemporaneously in German and in Italy he exalts the “paradigm shift” inaugurated by Pope Francis with the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.” A paradigm shift – Kasper writes – that does not limit itself to allowing communion for the divorced and remarried, but “concerns moral theology in general and thus has effects on many analogous situations,” including none other than recourse to artificial methods of birth control.

Kasper does not find in “Amoris Laetitia” the passage – in effect nonexistent – that would explicitly legitimize the use of contraceptives. But he points out that Francis, when he cites the encyclical of Paul VI, “encourages the use of the method of observing the cycles of natural fertility, but does not say anything about other methods of family planning and avoids all casuistic definitions.” From which Kasper deduces that “in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ even that which is not said may say something,” meaning that it may give the go-ahead to contraceptives, entrusting the use of them to the “deliberate decision of conscience” of the individual.


The second assault is less noble and not authoritative at all. And it is the acrobatic review, given a full page in the Sunday, December 4 edition of the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire,” with the byline of its specialist on questions of family morality, Luciano Moia, of the following important book, just off the presses:

Pawel Stanislaw Galuszka, “Karol Wojtyla e ‘Humanae vitae’. Il contributo dell’Arcivescovo di Cracovia e del gruppo di teologi polacchi all’enciclica di Paolo VI,” Cantagalli, Siena, 2018, pp. 550, 28 euro.

Among the documents published for the first time in this book, Moia isolates a letter written by Karol Wojtyla to Paul VI in 1969, after numerous episcopal conferences had spoken out critically against “Humanae Vitae.” In that letter the archbishop of Krakow asked the pope to publish urgently an instruction against the “harmful opinions” that were circulating, reiterating even more forcefully the teaching of the encyclical.

Paul VI did not do what Wojtyla had asked him. It was enough for him to hold firm what he had written in “Humanae Vitae,” without retreating one step. But by capitalizing on this silence of his, Moia contrasts Wojtyla’s “rigidity” with the presumed “openness” of Paul VI to the objections of various episcopates, all of them “characterized” – according to Moia’s prose – “by respect, acceptance, and comprehension.”

In reality, the erudite book by Galuszka documents not only Wojtyla’s important contribution to the drafting of “Humanae Vitae,” but also the extraordinary expansion that he offered afterward, as pope, to the comprehension of that encyclical, both with the cycle of catechesis on the theology of the body from 1979 to 1984, and with the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of 1993.

An expansion, that offered by John Paul II, which Benedict XVI has also recognized in this sincere autobiographical note of his, in the book-length interview published after his resignation from the papacy:

“In my situation, in the context of the theological thought back then, ‘Humanae Vitae’ was a difficult text. It was clear that what it was saying was valid in substance, but the way in which it was presented to us, at the time, even for me, was not satisfactory. I was seeking a broader anthropological approach. And in effect, John Paul II afterward integrated the encyclical’s natural law style with a personalistic vision.”


And here we are at the counterattack in defense of “Humanae Vitae,” which has been expressed both with the publication of the book mentioned above and with the presentation of it that was made on Wednesday, March 7 at the Pontifical Lateran University by Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, the Polish philosopher Stanislaw Grygiel, and the Italian theologian Livio Melina, in addition to the author of the book,  Pawel Stanislaw Galuszka of Poland.

Melina, formerly the dean of the pontifical John Paul II institute for studies on marriage and family, is also the author of the preface to the book. His contribution on March 7 is reproduced in its entirety on another page of Settimo Cielo.

And these are his parting shots, in which he immediately takes aim at both Kasper and Moia, after which he makes an interesting reference to the letter “Placuit Deo” published a few days ago by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, with the approval of Pope Francis.



by Livio Melina

Today one hears ambiguous talk of an epochal “paradigm shift,” which it is alleged must be applied  to Catholic sexual morality. In order to impose it there is also underway a questionable attempt at historical reinterpretation, which contrasts the figures of Paul VI and John Paul II, seeing in the second an intransigent and rigid traditionalist who is thought to have compromised the open and flexible attitude of the former.

In reality, this crude and arbitrary falsification is made only to serve an ideological manipulation of the magisterium of Pope Paul VI. Putting between parentheses the teaching of Saint John Paul II on the theology of the body and on the foundations of morality, his catecheses and “Veritatis Splendor,” in the name of the new pastoral paradigm of “case by case” discernment, does not bring us a step forward, but only a step backward toward casuistry, with the disadvantage that at least that was sustained by a solid ecclesial and cultural context of Christian life, while today it could not help but result in the total subjectivization of morality.

Go here to read the rest.  Leftists within the Church have adopted the usual Leftist strategy.  When they lose they regard it as merely a temporary setback to be overturned at a later date.  When they win the matter is decided for all time, no matter the contrary history of twenty centuries, and those who impose the latest Leftist innovation are heretics to be cast into the outer darkness.



PopeWatch: Canonization Factory

And the modern canonization factory for popes continues apace:


Adding specificity to what was already known about the impending canonization of Blessed Paul VI in 2018, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the pope’s top deputy as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said Tuesday that the sainthood rite will take place in late October at the close of a meeting of the Synod of Bishops, an institution Paul VI himself founded.Pope Francis in mid-February confirmed that Paul VI would be elevated to the ranks of the saints within the year during a Q&A session with priests and deacons from the Diocese of Rome, with the Vatican afterwards releasing an official transcript of the pontiff’s remarks.

When he made the announcement, Francis joked that he and former pontiff Benedict, who resigned in 2013 and is now 90 years old, “are on the waiting list.”

Go here to read the rest.  It appears that canonization is becoming the gold watch now given to former popes.  When Pius X was canonized in 1954 he was the first pope canonized in 250 years.  I doubt if the popes since that time were notably holier than the popes during the 250 year span when no popes were canonized.  Instead, we now have a canonization process that has gone berserk with saints being proclaimed with all the avidity, and predictability, of the latest line of cars each year.  Canonizing almost all of our recent popes demonstrates just how out of kilter the process has become.  John Paul II was a highly significant pope; Paul VI was a weak pope;  John XXIII, personally holy, unleashed the so far disastrous Vatican II era of the Church;  Pius XII was a heroic pope in perilous times for the Church.  None of them would seem to have any special claim to sainthood that would not be as applicable to tens of millions of pious Catholics.

Traditionally saint hood for non-martyrs has usually been accompanied by many real miracles, and not the law of average remission cures of illnesses that fill this role in the modern canonization machinery.  Compare and contrast with the beggar saint Benedict Labre who died on April 16, 1783:


 His death was followed by a multitude of unequivocal miracles attributed to his intercession. The life written by his confessor, Marconi, an English version of which bears the date of 1785, witnesses to 136 miraculous cures as having been certified to up to 6 July, 1783. So remarkable, indeed, was the character of the evidence for some of the miracles that they are said to have had no inconsiderable part in finally determining the conversion of the celebrated American convert, Father John Thayer, of Boston who was in Rome at the time of the saint’s death. Benedict was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX in 1859 and canonized by Leo XIII 8 December, 1881. His feast is kept on the 16th of April, the day of his death.

Note, however, that even with so many miracles it still took over a century for the canonization process.

We live in a time where cheap grace is all in vogue, and celebrity is worshiped, and we have a canonization machine that reflects our time.


PopeWatch: Scandal



The heterodoxy of the current Pontificate is the main problem, but, like tax evasion and Al Capone, it may be scandal that ultimately is the downfall of Pope Francis:

A high spending auxiliary bishop in Honduras accused of “abusing seminarians, having a string of male lovers, and terrorizing those who cross him,” has been left in charge of the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, while its cardinal archbishop, Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, undergoes prostate cancer treatment in Houston, Texas.

According to an investigation carried out by the National Catholic Register, the decision to leave auxiliary bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle in charge of the archdiocese since January was made despite a papal investigation that obtained “extremely grave testimonies” regarding Pineda’s alleged financial and sexual misconduct.

The decision is therefore raising questions about why Pope Francis and the Holy See have taken no action in response to the papal investigator’s report, which was reportedly hand-delivered to the Holy Father last May.

Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Maradiaga has acted as an alter ego for the Pope.  Once again we see that when it comes to friends of the Pope the policy of the Vatican is most definitely to see no evil.



PopeWatch: If Only the Tsar Knew

Cardinal Zen blames the surrender to the Chinese government on the Pope’s advisors and not on the Pope:


Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen voiced more criticism about the forthcoming Vatican deal with China’s Communist government on the appointment of bishops, terming it “suicide” and an act of “shameless surrender.”

According to the Cardinal, the problem is not so much with Pope Francis, but with his papal advisors.

Pope Francis is “optimistic and full of love, and is eager to visit China,” Zen said, but his advisors are “obsessed” with an “Ostpolitik” answer to the problem of bishop appointments in China.

They want “compromise without limits,” the Cardinal said, “they are already willing to completely surrender.”

The Pope, Zen said, “has never had direct knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party and, moreover, is poorly informed by the people around him.”


Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Zen is a true hero but he is wrong on this.  This policy has all the hallmarks of Pope Francis:  kowtowing to the Left, giving the back of the Papal hand to orthodox Catholics and an indifference to long term consequences.  That many of the Pope’s advisors are supportive of this policy PopeWatch does not doubt, but Pope Francis chose these men because they would back policies he supports.


PopeWatch: Shamefull



From US News and World Report:


Pope Francis has earned a reputation as a man of the people, making his mission to advocate for the poor, the downtrodden and the persecuted, particularly those of Christian faith. The Vatican’s reported deal with China, to effectively abdicate the power of the pope to select bishops to the communist state, has therefore been met with feelings of shock and even betrayal among the faithful, especially those in China itself.

The new deal, which has been in the works for more than a year, isn’t merely one of symbolic importance. Despite stringent restrictions on religious expression – and frequent crackdowns on those deemed to have stepped outside the lines drawn by the government – China is home to an estimated 70 million or so Christians, including about 12 million Catholics.

The agreement follows almost seven decades of estranged relations between the Vatican and Beijing, which severed diplomatic ties shortly after the Communists took over in 1949. China established the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in 1957 to permit some religious activity, albeit strictly controlled by the government, including the appointment of state-approved bishops.

Most of these bishops were excommunicated by the Catholic Church for collaborating with the regime. However, a sizeable “underground” church loyal to the pope has flourished despite constant threats of imprisonment or other punishments by the Communist government.

It is against this backdrop that the new agreement has emerged. Though some details have yet to be disclosed, it would call for two of the Church’s legitimately recognized bishops (and members of the underground church) to step aside, and for the pope to sanction seven currently excommunicated bishops appointed by the Chinese government. Going forward, the state would be authorized to nominate bishops, though the pope would reportedly have veto power over their ordination.

It is easy to see, then, why so many of the faithful in China who have risked so much to remain loyal to the Church now feel betrayed. Hong Kong’s outspoken Cardinal Joseph Zen claimed that the Vatican is “selling out” Catholics in China. “A church enslaved by the government is no real Catholic Church,” Zen asserted at a news conference.

A group of leading Catholic university professors, researchers, human rights activists and lawyers, mostly from Hong Kong, has published an open letter to Catholic bishops around the world imploring them to pressure the Holy See to reconsider the proposal.

Go here to read the rest.  There is only one word that fits this betrayal of our Catholic brothers and sisters in China:  shameful.


PopeWatch: Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church

Well, I think we can all agree on this:


The Monday after Pentecost will from now on be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church, Pope Francis has declared.

In a decree issued on Saturday by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote that the new celebration will “help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.”

The Memorial will appear in all calendars and liturgical books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Marian title “Mother of the Church” has grown in popularity in recent decades. Pope Paul VI solemnly bestowed the title on Mary at the end of the Second Vatican Council, although it had previously been used by Benedict XIV and Leo XIII.

Go here to read the rest.  Humanity’s sole boast can never have too much veneration, and one does not have to be Catholic to understand that:


Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need—
True comrade and true foeman—
Madonna, intercede!

Rudyard Kipling





PopeWatch: Liturgical Strippers

From the most intentionally funny Catholic site on the net, Acts of the Apostasy:


Earlier in the week, I read one of the stranger headlines I’d seen in awhile: China Vows to Crack Down on Funeral Strippers.

My first thought was, um…what? My second thought was, I had no idea Hugh Hefner was buried in China!

From the article:

The culture ministry set up hotlines to offer monetary rewards for those who report “funeral misdeeds” in 19 cities in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces.

Some rural communities in China believe hiring performers can increase attendance at funerals, with high attendance seen as a way of honouring the deceased.

In a bid to show off their disposable income and boost numbers, some households pay out more than their annual incomes for strippers, but also actors, singers and comedians, the Global Times reported. 

This takes “Dancing on one’s grave” to a whole new level. Or for a comedian to “die up on stage”. And nothing says “I love my recently deceased family member!” like a stripper tossing her clothes to the mourners and wrapping her body around a pole, amirite? 

Generally speaking, I don’t applaud the actions of the Chinese government, with them being communist and oppressive and all that. But in this case I’ll make an exception, and I’d like them to give the USCCB pointers on how to stamp out liturgical dancing. Please? As long as the Chinese are talking to the Vatican, have them chat up the USCCB, too. Granted, liturgical dance isn’t super prevalent, but it does happen. For instance, ever see footage from the LA Religious Education Congress liturgies? Eye bleach moments if ever there were some.

Sure, the USCCB can’t arrest people, or throw them in prison, or send them to secret workcamps. Heck, they don’t even excommunicate people. But there are things they can do: confiscate their taffeta and chiffon outfits; make them cry room monitors; force them to watch Kirk Cameron movies.

Liturgical dance dancing liturgy catholic humor

I know! Tell them there are job openings in China for “liturgical dancers”, IYKWIM.


Go here to comment.  PopeWatch was going to call the Vatican and ask if the banning of funeral strippers would have any impact on the Vatican’s negotiations with Red China, but decided that he was too afraid of the answer he might receive to make the call.


PopeWatch: Durbin

This pretty well sums up the current pontificate:


Tonight, Georgetown University will present pro-abortion Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, whose bishop recently barred him from Holy Communion, with an award for devoting “his life to the core Jesuit value of service to others.”

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia will present Durbin with the Jesuit university’s “Timothy S. Healy, S.J. Award for exemplary public service.”

This award is “conferred upon Georgetown alumni who have rendered outstanding and exemplary service to his/her profession or community in support of humanitarian causes,” according to the University.

Go here to read the rest.


Originally elected to Congress from the congressional district including Springfield, Illinois, Durbin ran as a pro-lifer, defeating pro-abort Republican Congressman Paul Findley.  Realizing that a pro-life Democrat was going nowhere in Congress, he switched to being a pro-abort and now has a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from National Right to Life.  That he is a Catholic is of course of no consequence to him in regard to his politically expedient choice of embracing abortion uber alles.

He was of course in favor of gay marriage and the contraception mandate of the Obama administration.  He has grilled Trump administration nominees of the unforgivable crime of being faithful Catholics.

Such is the type of “Catholic” that is honored in the Age of Francis.


PopeWatch: Key

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register has a fascinating article in which he contends that Evangelii Gaudium, published in the first year of the current pontificate, laid out a blue print for what was to come:


The association of the Holy Spirit with the changes laid out in Amoris Laetitia is foreshadowed in Evangelii Gaudium, when he says, quoting Pope St. John Paul II, that the Holy Spirit “can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable.”

He goes on to warn against being concerned “simply about falling into doctrinal error” and the need to remain “faithful to this light-filled path of life and wisdom.” For, he adds, “defenders of orthodoxy are sometimes accused of passivity, indulgence or culpable complicity regarding the intolerable situations of injustice and the political regimes which prolong them.”

Pope Francis’ famous wish for a Church “which is poor and for the poor” is mentioned in the document, as is his concern for migrants, for whom he, as the “pastor of a Church without frontiers,” is conscious of leading in a Church that “considers herself mother to all.” His concern for the environment in the face of a free market that has rejected God and ethics, a theme most clearly covered in his later encyclical Laudato Si (Care for Our Common Home), is touched upon when the Pope criticizes “the thirst for power and possessions” that “knows no limits,” so that “whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

He also articulates his four specific foundational principles to guide people and society: “Time is greater than space,” meaning to “work slowly but surely, without being obsessed with immediate results”; “unity prevails over conflict”; “realities are more important than ideas,” meaning a rejection of what he sees as false ideologies; and “the whole is greater than the part.” The provenance of these principles has been traced back to some controversial historical Argentine figures and to his preference for la teologia del pueblo (“theology of the people”) that was developed in 1967 and is similar to liberation theology.

The Pope also underlines the importance of dialogue, which he says is enriching, and writes that whenever we enter the “reality of other people’s lives” our lives “become wonderfully complicated.”

His frequent recourse to the Holy Spirit as underpinning his actions is clear in Paragraph 280, in which he says “there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills.

“The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!”

In summary, Evangelii Gaudium prefigures much of what has been witnessed over these past five years in terms of the themes Pope Francis has chosen to prioritize. In particular, it shows his skeptical view of the Church’s law and doctrine, which he sees as restricting its evangelizing mission and curtailing the work of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, the Holy Father proposes an idealistic, even revolutionary vision of the Church and human society, one that increasing numbers of faithful see as problematic.

Go here to read the rest.  One of the comments of PopeWatch in regard to Evangelii Gaudium at the time:

I would no more go to the Church for economic analysis than I would look to an economist for an explanation of the role of grace in salvation. When the Pope reminds us all to not forget the poor or to not make money an idol he has the force of his office behind him. The following goes well beyond it:

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and I the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

This of course is a fairly tendentious translation of what the Pope originally wrote:

From Joe’s translation at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:

“54. In this context, some defend “spillover” theories which suppose that all economic growth, for which a free market is [most] favorable, by itself brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve confidence in the generosity of those [people] who wield economic power and in the sacralized mechanisms of that ruling economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

54 is rendered more acceptable to me by this new translation but still the Pope goes too far beyond his office.

First, it is clear from this document that the Pope and basic economic knowledge are not on the friendliest of terms, to put it charitably. 204 is a doozy along those lines:

“204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.”

The Pope seems to have no understanding that the types of mandates he proposes are, to use his term, “poison” for any economic growth. The Pope confuses the functioning of markets with the use of the fruits of the market, not an uncommon mistake by socialists or those who embrace socialist superstitions and try to make economies function according to government fiat.

Second, the Pope seems to have a very optimistic view of the ability of the State to fairly redress inequities in the marketplace. Perhaps the Pope has a “sacralized” view of those who wield the power of the State? If so, that would not be an unusual view for an Argentinian to hold in spite of the overwhelming evidence that State involvement in the Argentinian economy has produced disaster after disaster.

However, debates about economic systems and the proper role of government intervention in the economy are areas where wise Popes have usually tread lightly because they recognized that they had no special charism to render judgments in those areas. Pope Francis, judging from Evangelii Gaudium, might not be aware that his personal opinions in these areas must be, and will be, subject to the normal give and take, even from faithful Catholics, of argument that results whenever any one proffers an opinion about the economy and the role of the State in it. When the Pope seeks to give prescriptions for the proper functioning of the economy and of the State in it he is departing from the realm of religion and entering the realm of policy and that is always a subject for debate and not mere obedience.



PopeWatch: Melchior Cano Open Thread

Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.

Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.


Time for a PopeWatch open thread.  The usual open thread rules apply:  be concise, be charitable and, above all, be amusing!


PopeWatch: Reformation II

Who needs Lutherans when we have the Catholic Church in Germany?  From Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register:


German bishops have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of producing a “guide” for Protestant spouses on reception of Holy Communion under certain conditions.

At their spring conference in Ingolstadt, the German bishops’ conference agreed that a Protestant partner of a Catholic can receive the Eucharist after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.” 

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said Thursday that such a guide was a “positive step.” He said there had been an “intense debate” during which “serious concerns” had been raised, according to Katholisch.de, the website of the German bishops’ conference.

He added the bishops were not giving general approval but that the guide pertained to individual decisions. He said the bishops wanted to continue with this issue “in a high profile way,” but that the guide would merely be a “pastoral handout” and that “we don’t want to change any doctrine.”

The bishops believe the guidelines should help pastors to clarify whether such cases are of an exceptional kind, in line with the meaning of canon 844 § 4 which regulates when a non-Catholic may receive Holy Communion. 

The canon states:

“If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

Cardinal Marx rejected the idea that such a step would amount to a path that would call Protestants to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return or conversion.” In other words, he stressed that the document does not mention that Protestants may receive Holy Communion only if they convert. He also said much would be left to the discretion of the local bishop, and consequences he might draw from the guide. He said only the bishop himself may establish new laws in this area.


Go here to read the rest.  Will the last Catholic in Germany please turn out the lights?


PopeWatch: Father Weinandy

Father Thomas Weinandy, who was canned by the USCCB for telling truth out of season about the current pontificate, go here to read about it, has given a speech at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, detailing how the current pontificate is harming the Church:



Challenge to the Church’s Oneness

Much of Pope Francis’s pontificate is admirable and praiseworthy.  One only needs to observe, to note a few, his defense of the sanctity of life, his concern for the poor and the marginalized, and his encouragement to the young.  At times, nonetheless, it would appear that Pope Francis identifies himself not as the promoter of unity but as the agent of division.  His practical philosophy, if it is an intentional philosophy, seems to consist in the belief that a greater unifying good will emerge from the present bedlam of divergent opinions and the turmoil of the resulting divisions.  My concern here is that such approach, even if unintentional, strikes at very essence of the Petrine ministry as intended by Jesus and as continuously understood by the Church.  The successor of St. Peter, by the very nature of the office, is to be, literally, the personal embodiment and thus the consummate sign of the Church’s ecclesial communion, and so the principle defender and promoter of the Church’s ecclesial communion.  Thus, a manner of proceeding that allows and even encourages doctrinal and moral divergences undermines the whole of Vatican II’s teaching on ecclesial communion, as well as that of the entire magisterial and theological tradition going back to Ignatius.  By seeming to encourage doctrinal division and moral discord within the Church the present pontificate has transgressed the foundational mark of the Church – her oneness.  How, nonetheless, does this offense against the Church’s unity manifest itself?  It does so by destabilizing the other three marks of the Church.

Challenge to the Church’s Apostolicity

Firstly, the apostolic nature of the Church is being undermined.  As has often been noted by theologians and bishops, and most frequently by the laity (those who possess the sensus fidelium), the teaching of the present pontiff is not noted for its clarity (12).  As the one most responsible for the unity of the Church, the pope is the one who is most responsible for ensuring the bond of faith.  To be in full ecclesial communion with the apostolic Church, whether it is the pope or the newest convert, it is necessary to believe what the Apostles handed on and what the apostolic Church has consistently taught.  For Pope Francis, then, as seen in Amoris Laetitia, to re-conceive and newly express the previously clear apostolic faith and magisterial tradition in a seemingly ambiguous manner, so as to leave confusion and puzzlement within the ecclesial community, is to contradict his own duties as the successor of Peter and to transgress the trust of his fellow bishops, as well as that of priests and the entire faithful.  Ignatius would be dismayed at such a situation.  If, for him, heretical teaching espoused by those who are only loosely associated with the Church is destructive to the Church’s unity, how much more devastating is ambiguous teaching when authored by a bishop who is divinely charged to ensure ecclesial unity.  At least heresy is a clear denial of the apostolic faith and so can be clearly identified and as such properly addressed.  Ambiguous teaching, precisely because of its murkiness, cannot be clearly identified, and so is even more troublesome for it fosters uncertainty as to how it is to be understood and thus how it is to be clarified.

Moreover, for Pope Francis to then take sides in the ensuing debate, a debate for which he himself is responsible, concerning the proper interpretation of the uncertain teaching is disingenuous.  He has now allowed others to be the arbiter of what is true, when it is precisely the apostolic mandate of the pope to be the one who confirms the brethren, both episcopal and laity, in the truth.  Furthermore, to appear to sanction an interpretation of doctrine or morals that contravenes what has been the received apostolic teaching and magisterial tradition of the Church – as dogmatically defined by Councils and doctrinally taught by previous popes and the bishops in communion with him, as well as accepted and believed by the faithful, cannot then be proposed as magisterial teaching.  The magisterium simply cannot fundamentally contradict itself concerning matters of faith and morals.  While such teaching and confirmation may be enacted by a member of the magisterium, such as the Pope, such teaching and confirmation is not magisterial precisely because it is not in accord with previous magisterial teaching.  To act in such a manner, the pontiff, or a bishop for that manner, is acting in a manner that places himself outside the magisterial communion of previous pontiffs and bishops, and so is not a magisterial act.  To act in a magisterial manner one has to be, including the pope, in communion with the entire ever-living magisterial tradition.  In the matter of faith and morals the teaching of no living pope takes apostolic and magisterial precedence over the magisterial teaching of previous pontiffs or the established magisterial doctrinal tradition.  The magisterial and apostolic import of a present pontiff’s teaching lies precisely in its being in conformity with and so in living-communion with the abiding historical magisterial and apostolic tradition.  That Pope Francis’ ambiguous teaching at times appears to fall outside the magisterial teaching of the historic apostolic ecclesial community thus gives cause for concern, for it, as stated above, fosters division and disharmony rather than unity and peace within the one apostolic Church.  There appears to be, as a consequence, no assurance of faith.

Challenge to the Church’s Catholicity

Secondly, as we saw in examining the ecclesiology of Ignatius and especially Vatican II, all of the bishops throughout the world, who are in communion with the pope, are together responsible for the apostolic oneness of the Church.  The universality of the Church is visibly manifested in that all of the particular churches are bound together, through the college of bishops in communion with the pope, by professing the same apostolic faith and by preaching the one universal Gospel to all of humankind.  We saw this clearly expressed in Ignatius’ letters.  Traditionally, this catholic oneness is most clearly exercised within universal councils and extraordinary synods.  Moreover, as Lumen Gentium acknowledges, national bishops’ conferences, while attending to pastoral issues that pertain to their own culture and locale, also exercise this catholicity by safeguarding and promoting the universal doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church as well as insuring that the universal sacramental and liturgical disciplines of the Church are properly observed.  Thus, as exemplified in Ignatius and Vatican II, the entire visible hierarchical governance of the universal Church is structured precisely to maintain and promote ecclesial communion – a communion that embodies the one apostolic faith.  This mark of catholic oneness is also presently challenged.

Pope Francis’ espousal of synodality has been much touted – the allowance of local geographical churches more self-determinative freedom.  On one level this decentralization is welcomed for it encourages national bishops’ conferences and local ordinaries to take more governing responsibility. As envisioned, however, by Pope Francis and advocated by others, this notion of synodality, instead of ensuring the universal oneness of the Catholic Church, an ecclesial communion composed of multiple particular churches, is now employed to undermine and so sanction divisions within the Church.  This rupture is not simply on matters of local and national significance, but on issues that bear upon the doctrinal and moral integrity of the one Church of Christ.  We are presently witnessing the disintegration of the Church’s catholicity, for local churches, both on the diocesan and national level, are often interpreting doctrinal norms and moral precepts in various conflicting and contradictory ways.  Thus, what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in one diocese or country is not in conformity with what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in another diocese or country.  The Church’s mark of oneness, a unity that the pope is divinely mandated to protect and engender, is losing its integrity because her marks of catholicity and apostolicity have fallen into doctrinal and moral disarray, a theological anarchy that the pope himself, maybe unwittingly, has initiated by advocating a flawed conception of synodality.  To put this erroneous notion into practice, then, is to violate the catholicity of the Church herself.

Challenge to the Church’s Holiness

Thirdly, this brings us to the fourth mark of the Church – her holiness.  This mark is equally under siege, most especially, but not surprisingly, in relationship to the Eucharist.

For John Paul, Eucharistic communion “confirms the Church in her unity as the body of Christ” (ibid. 23; cf. 24).  Because “the Eucharist builds the Church and the Church makes the Eucharist, it follows that there is a profound relationship between the two, so much so that we can apply to the Eucharistic mystery the very words with which, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, we profess the Church to be ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’” (ibid. 26).  Of all the sacraments, therefore, it is “the Most Holy Sacrament” (ibid.).  Likewise, it is apostolic for Jesus entrusted it to the Apostles and to their successors (cf. ibid. 27).  “The Eucharist thus appears as the culmination of all the sacraments in perfecting our communion with God the Father by identification with his only-begotten Son through the working of the Holy Spirit” (ibid. 34).  Since the Eucharist conveys and nurtures most fully the four marks of the Church, John Paul insists:

“The celebration of the Eucharist, however, cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection.  The sacrament is an expression of this bond of communion both in its invisible dimension, which, in Christ and through the working of the Holy Spirit, unites us to the Father and among ourselves, and in its visible dimension, which entails communion in the teaching of the Apostles, in the sacraments and in the Church’s hierarchical order.  The profound relationship between the invisible and visible elements of ecclesial communion is constitutive of the Church as a sacrament of salvation” (ibid. 35) (13).

In this proclamation, John Paul confirms, as seen above, the teaching of Vatican II, as well echoes, inadvertently, Ignatius’ Eucharistic ecclesiology.  To participate fully in the Church’s Eucharist, a liturgy that embodies and cultivates the four marks of the Church, one must also embody the four marks of the Church, for only in so doing is one in full communion with the Church so as to receive communion – the risen body and blood of Jesus, the source and culmination of one’s union with the Father in the Holy Spirit.  Quoting from a document promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, John Paul insists: “In fact, the community, in receiving the Eucharistic presence of the Lord, receives the entire gift of salvation and shows, even in its lasting visible form, that is the image and true presence of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” (ibid. 39) (14).   In the light of this, John Paul proceeds to address those issues that contravene this doctrinal understanding of the Eucharist and the reception of Holy Communion.

The first issue John Paul addresses, and the one that concerns us here, pertains specifically to holiness (15).  While one must profess the Church’s one apostolic faith, faith itself is insufficient for receiving Christ in the Eucharist.  Referencing Vatican II, John Paul states that “we must persevere in sanctifying grace and love, remaining within the Church ‘bodily’ as well as ‘in our heart’” (ibid. 36) (16).  At the beginning of the Second Century, Ignatius, as we saw, made this same point – that one can only receive communion “in a state of grace” (Ad. Eph. 20).  Thus, in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Council of Trent, John Paul confirms: “I therefore desire to reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul’s stern warning when it affirmed that in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthy manner, ‘one must first confess one’s sins, when one is aware of mortal sin’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 36) (17).  In accordance with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, John Paul, therefore, insists that the sacrament of Penance is “necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” when mortal sin is present (ibid. 37).  While he acknowledges that only the person can judge his or her state of grace, he asserts that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved” (ibid.).  John Paul intensifies his admonition by quoting Canon Law.  Where there is “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition,” that is, according to Canon Law, when persons “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin,” they are “not to be permitted to Eucharistic communion” (ibid.) (18).

Here we perceive the present challenge to the Church’s holiness and specifically the holiness of the Eucharist.  The question of whether divorced and remarried Catholic couples, who engage in marital acts, can receive communion revolves around the very issue of “outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm,” and, therefore, whether they possess “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition” for receiving communion.  Pope Francis rightly insists that such couples should be accompanied and so helped to form properly their consciences.  Granted that there are extraordinary marital cases where it can be rightfully discerned that a previous marriage was sacramentally invalid, even though evidence for an annulment is unobtainable, thus allowing a couple to receive communion.  Nonetheless, the ambiguous manner in which Pope Francis proposes this pastoral accompaniment permits a pastoral situation to evolve whereby the common practice will swiftly ensue that almost every divorced and remarried couple will judge themselves free to receive Holy Communion.  This pastoral situation will develop because moral negative commands, such as, “one shall not commit adultery,” are no longer recognized as absolute moral norms that can never be trespassed, but as moral ideals – goals that may be achieved over a period of time, or may never be realized in one’s lifetime (19).  In this indefinite interim people can continue, with the Church’s blessing, to strive, as best as they are able, to live “holy” lives, and so receive communion.  Such pastoral practice has multiple detrimental doctrinal and moral consequences.

First, to allow those who are objectively in manifest grave sin to receive communion is an overt public attack on the holiness of what John Paul terms “the Most Holy Sacrament.”  Grave sin, by its very nature, as Ignatius, Vatican II and John Paul attest, deprives one of holiness, for the Holy Spirit no longer abides within such a person, thus making the person unfit to receive holy communion.  For one to receive communion in such a, literally, disgraced state enacts a lie, for in receiving the sacrament one is asserting that one is in communion with Christ, when in actuality one is not.  Similarly, such a practice is also an offense against the holiness of the Church.  Yes, the Church is composed of saints and sinners, yet, those who do sin, which is everyone, must be repentant-sinners, specifically of grave sin, if they are to participate fully in the Eucharistic liturgy and so receive the most-holy risen body and blood of Jesus.  A person who is in grave sin may still be a member of the Church, but as a grave-sinner such a person no longer participates in the holiness of the Church as one of the holy faithful.  To receive communion in such an unholy state is, again, to enact a lie for in such a reception one is publicly attempting to testify that one is a graced and living member of the ecclesial community when one is not.

Second, and maybe more importantly, to allow those who persist in manifest grave sin to receive communion, seemingly as an act of mercy, is both to belittle the condemnatory evil of grave sin and to malign the magnitude and power of the Holy Spirit.  Such a pastoral practice is implicitly acknowledging that sin continues to govern humankind despite Jesus’ redeeming work and his anointing of the Holy Spirit upon all who believe and are baptized.  Jesus is actually not Savior and Lord, but rather Satan continues to reign.  Moreover, to sanction persons in grave sin is in no manner a benevolent or loving act, for one is endorsing a state wherein they could be eternally condemned, thus jeopardizing their salvation.  Likewise, in turn, one is also insulting such grave-sinners, for one is subtly telling them that they are so sinful that not even the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to help them change their sinful ways and make them holy.  They are inherently un-savable.  Actually, though, what is ultimately being tendered is the admission that the Church of Jesus Christ is not really holy and so is incapable of truly sanctifying her members.

Lastly, scandal is the public pastoral consequence of allowing persons in unrepentant manifest grave sin to receive Holy Communion.  It is not simply that the faithful members of the Eucharistic community will be dismayed and likely disgruntled, but, more importantly, they will be tempted to think that they too can sin gravely and continue in good standing with the Church.  Why attempt to live a holy life, even a heroic virtuous life, when the Church herself appears to demand neither such a life, or even to encourage such a life?  Here the Church becomes a mockery of herself and such a charade breeds nothing but scorn and disdain in the world, and derision and cynicism among the faithful, or at best, a hope against hope among the little ones.


My conclusion will be brief.  Much of what I have said, as you may have gathered, has been stated by others.  Some will dismiss it as excessive or even mean-spirited.  But that is not my intent or spirit at all.  As stated earlier there is much in the character of Pope Francis to admire, and we owe him our daily prayers for strength in facing the burdens of his ministry.  However, that cannot excuse us from speaking the truth in love.  Anyone experienced in religious life – or for that matter, in a marriage – will understand that sometimes the truth must be spoken bluntly – not out of bitterness, but out of fidelity to the persons involved and to safeguard the purpose they share.

What I have attempted to do, and I hope has been helpful, is place the contemporary crisis within the Church in its proper theological and doctrinal setting, that is, within the Church’s four defining marks.  Only when we grasp that the Church’s very oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity are at stake, what makes the Church truly herself, can we fully appreciate the degree and the consequence of the present crisis.  The Church’s very identity, our ecclesial communion, is being assailed, and because she is the Church of Christ, Jesus himself is being dishonored along with his saving work.  What is presently being offered in its place is an anemic Church, a Church where the Holy Spirit is enfeebled, and so a Church that is incapable of giving full glory to God the Father.

By attempting to manifest the perilous nature of the crisis, my goal was not simply to make this misfortune known, but to encourage all of us, bishops, priests and laity alike, to embark on an adequate response.  Such a response cannot be merely negative, a rebuttal of all the erroneous views and ambiguous arguments, though such is necessary, but rather it must also be a response that is robustly positive.  From the time of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the time of the Second Vatican Council and St. John Paul II the Church has continually proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ and so the good news of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, a Church he conceived through his death and resurrection and to which he gave birth to in his sending forth the Holy Spirit.  This constructive proclamation is what will renew the Church and so restore the fallen world to life in Christ.

Moreover, we must defend and promote a proper knowledge of and love for the Eucharist, for here, as we saw, the four marks of the Church are most fully expressed and abundantly nourished.  In the Eucharist above all the Church’s identity is most clearly enacted and made visible.  For in the Eucharist we are made one with Christ and one with one another as together we profess and joyfully acclaim our one apostolic and universal faith, a faith that is imbued with the holiness of the Spirit, and so as one ecclesial community we worship and glorify God the Father – the source and end of all.  Within the Eucharist, then, the Church’s four marks most beautifully shine.


(1) Within his seven letters, for example, Ignatius so argued against those who denied that the Son of God existed as an actual fleshly man but only appeared (docens) or seemed to do so, that is, the Docetists, so as to anticipate the doctrinal teaching of the Council of Chalcedon over three hundred years later (451 AD).  For Ignatius, Jesus is the one and the same person of Son of God who existed from all eternity as God and who came to exist truly as man in time.  Because of this incarnational reality all that pertains to the divine Son’s humanity – such as birth, suffering, and death, could rightly and properly be predicated of that one divine Son.

See T.G. Weinandy, “The Apostolic Christology of Ignatius of Antioch: The Road to Chacedon,” in Jesus: Essays in Christology (Sapientia Press: Ave Maria University, 2014), pp. 59-74.  This essay was first published in Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers, ed. A. Gregory and C. Tuckett (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 71-84.

(2) All quotations from Ignatius’s letters are taken from Early Christian Writers, trans. M. Staniforth, (Penguin Books: Baltimore, 1968).

(3) For Ignatius, bishops, priests and deacons form an “Apostolic circle” or “council” and so only those who possess “these three orders” can rightly be named a “church” (Ad Tral. 3).  The Trallians must always be in unity “with Jesus Christ and your bishop and the Apostolic institutions” (ibid. 7).  Bishops, priests and deacons are ultimately “appointed” by Jesus Christ and “confirmed and ratified, according to his will, by his Holy Spirit” (Ad Phil, greeting).

(4) Ignatius is the first to employ the term “catholic.”  Here it refers to the universality of the Church.  Only around 200 AD did it become a title – “the Catholic Church,” which designated it as the universal Church and so distinct from localized heretical sects.

(5) Not without significance Ignatius makes reference to the other churches within his letters to the individual churches, especially at the conclusion of each of his letters.  This referencing of the other churches testifies to their being in communion with one another and so to their individually and communally possessing the defining ecclesial characteristics – that of being one, holy, catholic and apostolic.  Cf. Ad Eph. 21; Ad Mag. 15; Ad Tral. 12-13; Ad Rom. 9-10; Ad Phi. 10-11; Ad Smyrn. 11-13; Ad Poly. 7-8.

(6) All quotations are taken from Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed. Austin Flannery, (Scholarly Resources Inc.: Wilmington, 1975).

(7) The Constitution footnotes St. Cyprian, De Orat. Dom. 23; St. Augustine, Serm. 71, 20, 33; and St. John Damascene, Adv. Iconocl. 12.  In the above paragraph I have placed in italics those words and phrases that speak of the four marks of the Church, though not designating them as such.

(8) The Council does articulate an important aspect of the four marks of the Church that, while hidden in Ignatius’s theology, is never openly expressed, that is, the eschatological nature of these four ecclesial marks (cf. Ibid. 5).  The Church fully becomes the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church only when Christ returns in glory.  Then, his Body, the universal and apostolic Church, will be fully one with him in the Holy Spirit, thus sharing fully in his holiness.  Again, as the Council later states: “While she slowly grows and matures, the Church longs for the completed kingdom and, with all her strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with her king” (ibid. 5).

(9) The Constitution footnotes St. Augustine, Bap. C. Donat. V. 28, 39: “Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecclesia intus et foris, non in corpore cogitandum.”

(10) For a more concise teaching on the four marks of the Church, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 811-835.

(11) John Paul quotes Lumen Gentium, 26.

(12) Pope Francis consistently uses the term “doctrine” in a negative manner – as being bookish and lifeless, far removed from the pastoral concerns of daily ecclesial life.   This pitting doctrine and pastoral practice against one another is a false and dangerous dichotomy.  The truths of doctrine are the guides and guardians of wise pastoral practice.  Without doctrine, pastoral practice has no objective authentic anchor, and so is subject to sentimentality, pop-psychology, and the prejudices of contemporary culture.

(13) At times one gets the impression that Pope Francis, as with the notion of doctrine, perceives the visible Church in a negative light.  For the pope, the visible Church appears to assume the character of an impersonal governmental bureaucratic institution – created to make rigid rules and harsh regulations that often, again, have little bearing on the daily pastoral life of the Church – where the real Church exists in all its human tangled complexity.  This view also comprises a false dichotomy.  Yes, as with any big organization, there can be ecclesial bureaucratic red tape that is far from being constructive and helpful, and even pastoral, but the visible Church is, nonetheless, the sacramental sign and effective means by which, in which, and through which Jesus, through Holy Spirit, works his salvific wonders as Lord and Savior to the glory of God the Father.  For this, love of the visible Church is not simply obligatory but a cause for rejoicing.

(14) Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion, Communionis Notio (May 28, 1992).

(15) He later addresses the issues of inter-communion with Protestant denominations, as well as the norms governing communion in relationship to the Eastern Orthodox Churches (cf. 43-46).

(16) John Paul is quoting Lumen Gentium, 14.

(17) John Paul is referencing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1385 and the Council of Trent, DS 1647 and 1661.

(18) John Paul is quoting Canon 915.

(19) This understanding that negative moral norms are no longer absolute but goals to be achieved can be applied not only to those who commit adultery, but also to those who commit any other grave sin – fornication, homosexual acts, contraception, the molestation of children, stealing, etc. – and even murder.  As long as they are attempting to do their very best, they can obtain the Church’s blessing and receive Holy Communion.  Obviously such a pastoral practice is morally absurd.

Go here to read the rest.  A Pope has one overriding duty:  to defend the teachings of the Catholic faith.  Pope Francis has not only failed in that duty, he is actively, in some areas, seeking to undermine the teaching of the Church.  There can be no more damning verdict on any Pope.


PopeWatch: Tide

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the internet, Acts of the Apostasy:


(AoftheANews) – CINCINNATI – In an effort to increase attendance at their monthly LifeTeen Mass, Sts Proctor & Gamble in suburban Cincinnati will feature Tide Pod colored hosts, featuring the dark blue and orange swirl.

Director of Youth Outreach Dee Terjent explained the decision to AoftheA News. “We know it’s going to be controversial, but we want to juxtapose how ingesting actual Tide Pods is dangerous, while ingesting the Body of Christ brings you life. And cleans you up at the same time.”

Late in 2017, the “Tide Pod challenge” became the latest fad among teenagers, where they’re dared to bite into and even swallow the miniature laundry soap packets. Tide has worked diligently to increase awareness on the inherent dangers, while YouTube has been systematically removing videos from its service.

“We are in no way encouraging kids to partake of the challenge,” Terjent said. “Our goal is to tell them to think about the consequences, and don’t go along with the crowd. Kids are always going to do dumb things, but if the dumbest thing they ever do is attend a LifeTeen Mass, then I feel we’ve done our job.”

Fr. Ken Moore, pastor of Sts P&G, approved the idea. “I know I’ll get some blowback for this, but at the end of the day, I will have gotten kids to come to Church and hear a positive message. And frankly, I’m of the opinion that if more parents washed out their kids’ mouths with soap, they wouldn’t be daring one another to eat it.”


Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican.  Since the Pope is no longer speaking to PopeWatch, he attempted to speak to anyone who would speak to him.  Thus he ended up talking to Sister Mundus Maria, who is in charge of the Vatican Laundry.  She indicated that she was familiar with Tide and that  in no circumstance  should it be ingested, no matter how delicious it smells.  As to Tide colored hosts, she thought that the Father proposing it obviously had too much starch in his collar.  PopeWatch thanked her for her time and Sister said that she was always happy to chat when she was waiting on loads of laundry to finish drying, but that she could under no circumstances reveal laundry secrets except that the Pope always wanted his clothes dried on the mercy cycle.  And with that, the conversation came to an end.


PopeWatch: Bishop Thomas Paprocki

Sometimes we forget that in the Age of Francis there are members of the clergy who are champions of  the Church.  I have only to look to Springfield in my own state to see a fine example:


Paprocki noted that Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law says those “who obstinately persist in mani­fest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life,” Paprocki recalled.

“My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision,” he said. “I have continued that position.”

Paprocki explained, “Because [Durbin’s] voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin.”

“This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart,” said Paprocki. “Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.”

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist confected by the priest at Mass is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. No Catholic who has committed a serious (mortal) sin is supposed to receive the Eucharist until he or she has repented of that sin and gone to Confession. Giving Holy Communion to a public figure whose sinful actions, votes, and statements prevent him from worthily receiving Holy Communion constitutes scandal in addition to sacrilege. Doing so can mislead and confuse the Catholic faithful. 

READ: Priest calls for excommunication of 14 Catholic senators who voted against late-term abortion ban

In addition to his ardent abortion advocacy, Durbin votes for and publicly advocates against other Catholic moral teachings. He is a strong supporter of same-sex “marriage”; the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign gives him 100% on their scorecard. He also earned a 100% from abortion lobby group NARAL.

Durbin has said anyone can be a Democrat as long as they support abortion – and that Democrats who “personally” oppose abortion need to keep that view to themselves.

He supports funding America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood. In addition to aborting over 321,000 babies a year, Planned Parenthood prescribes hormone therapy for the gender-confused, dispenses contraception, and encourages sexual behavior that violates natural law – all of which are incompatible with Catholic moral teaching.

Ironically, Durbin was one of the senators who came under fire for asking a Trump judicial nominee questions that some scholars said violate the Constitution’s prohibition on a religious test for public officials.


Go here to read the rest.  Anyone can be a follow of Christ when it is easy.  The test is to follow Christ when it is difficult.  Bishop Thomas Paprocki is passing that test.


PopeWatch: Mammon

It is good for the clergy to rail against Mammon, because that often seems to be their besetting sin:



Leaked documents obtained by LifeSiteNews connect the Pope himself to a new Vatican financial scandal and raise serious questions about his global reputation as the “pope for the poor.”

LifeSiteNews has obtained internal documents of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a charity with a stellar history of assisting the world’s poor, showing that last summer the Pope personally requested, and obtained in part, a $25 million grant to a corruption-plagued, Church-owned dermatological hospital in Rome accused of money laundering. Records from the financial police indicate the hospital has liabilities over one billion USD – an amount larger than the national debt of some 20 nations.

The grant has lay members of the Papal Foundation up in arms, and some tendering resignations. Responding to questions from LifeSiteNews, Papal Foundation staff sent a statement saying that it is not their practice to comment on individual requests.

Speaking of grants in general, the Papal Foundation said their mission has not changed. “The grants to help those in need around the world and of significance to the Holy Father are reviewed and approved through well-accepted philanthropic processes by the Board and its committees,” it said.

Lay membership or becoming a “steward” in the Papal Foundation involves the pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”  Those monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church.

However, the majority of the board is composed of U.S. bishops, including every U.S. Cardinal living in America. The foundation customarily gives grants of $200,000 or less to organizations in the developing world (see a grant list for 2017 here) via the Holy See.

According to the internal documents, the Pope made the request for the massive grant, which is 100 times larger than its normal grants, through Papal Foundation board chairman Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the summer of 2017.

Despite opposition from the lay “stewards,” the bishops on the board voted in December to send an $8 million payment to the Holy See. In January, the documents reveal, lay members raised alarm about what they consider a gross misuse of their funds, but despite their protests another $5 million was sent with Cardinal Wuerl brooking no dissent.


Go here to read the rest.

“Entering the presence of Innocent IV., before whom a large sum of money was spread out, the Pope observed, “You see, Peter is no longer in that age in which he said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’”—“True, holy father,” replied Saint Thomas Aquinas; “neither can Peter any longer say to the lame, ‘Rise up and walk!’”



PopeWatch: Morning’s Minion

Well this is amusing.  From Lifesite News:


 Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.


An interdict is essentially one step short of excommunication. It bans a person or people from accessing most Church Sacraments.

“A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict,” according to the Code of Canon Law (Canon 1370). “A person who does this against a bishop incurs a latae sententiae interdict and, if he is a cleric, also a latae sententiae suspension.”

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

A censure forbidding the faithful, while still remaining in communion with the Church, the use of certain sacred privileges, such as Christian burial, some of the sacraments, and attendance at liturgical services. It does not exclude from Church membership, nor does it necessarily imply a personal fault of any individual affected by the interdict. When imposed for a fixed period, it is a vindictive penalty because of some grave act done against the common good of the Church by one or more parishes. Usual religious services are curtailed, but sacraments may be given to the dying, marriages celebrated, and Holy Communion administered if the interdict is general or local (not personal). A general interdict may be inflicted only by the Holy See. Parishes or persons may be interdicted only by the local ordinary.

Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN because of a February 15 World Over segment.

“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”


Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).

Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.


Go here to read the rest.  Tony Annett used to blog under the name of Morning’s Minion.  In the early days of the blog he commented frequently, and PopeWatch often crossed swords with him here and at his home blog Vox Nova and on various other blogs.  His politics would be to the left of the late Senator Kennedy, although he was not totally without a sense of humor.  Less funny was his constant carrying water for the Democrat Party.  That he is taken seriously by someone close to the Pope at the Vatican tells you all you need to know about the current state of the Church.



PopeWatch: Back to the Seventies

Anyone else have the feeling that this pontificate is a greatest hits replay of the worst of the chaos following Vatican II in the sixties and the seventies?  Sandro Magister draws the connection:

“We can understand that in the enthusiasm of wanting an agreement between China and the Vatican, Chinese culture, Chinese people and Chinese mentality are exaggerated and exalted, as Pope Francis does. But presenting China as a model…”

It is a dumbfounded Fr. Bernardo Cervellera, director of the agency Asia News of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, who comments on the judgments of Argentine bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, just back from a trip to China.

Sánchez Sorondo is the chancellor of two pontifical academies, that of sciences and that of social sciences, as well as a diligent lackey of the court of Pope Francis. And in effect there has been astonishment over the he extravagant praises that he lavished on the regime of Beijing in an interview a few days ago for the Spanish-language section of Vatican Insider:

> “Chinos, quienes mejor realizan the social doctrine de la Iglesia”

Here are a few selections from them:

“At this time, those who are the best at putting the Church’s social doctrine into practice are the Chinese.”

“The economy does not dominate politics, as happens in the United States. Free-market thinking has obliterated the concept of the common good, it states that this is an empty idea, but the Chinese seek the common good, they subordinate things to the general good. I have been assured of this by Stefano Zamagni, a traditional economist respected for some time, by all the popes.”

“I encountered an extraordinary China. What people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is: work, work, work. This is nothing other, at bottom, than what St. Paul said: he who does not work should not eat.”

“There are no ‘villas miserias,’ no drugs, the young people do not take drugs. There is a positive national conscience. The Chinese have a moral quality that is not found anywhere else.”

“The pope loves the Chinese people, he loves their history. There are many points of contact right now. One cannot think that today’s China is that of the time of John Paul II or of Russia during the cold war.”


Needless to say, his trip to China has made Sánchez Sorondo an enthusiast. Such an enthusiast as to send the memory back a half century ago, to the travel diaries of the many famous intellectuals, writers, churchmen who went to China at the end of the Cultural Revolution, a terrifying, fanatical, bloody season which they nevertheless  admired and exalted as the birth of a virtuous new humanity.

What is presented below is a representative extract from that infatuated diarism of the early seventies. Its authors were two Italian Catholics of the highest caliber: Raniero La Valle (b. 1931), former director of the Catholic newspaper of Bologna, “L’Avvenire d’Italia,” as well as a celebrated chronicler of the Second Vatican Council, and Gianpaolo Meucci (1919-1986), a disciple of Fr. Lorenzo Milani and president of the juvenile justice court in Florence.

They made the journey that they recount in 1973, between the bloodiest phase of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969) and the death of Mao Zedong (1976).

In re-reading this exaltation of Chinese society that they present, it is striking how similar it is to what Bishop Sánchez Sorondo is saying today.

Also with regard to the Chinese Church of yesterday and today, the judgments of the one and the other are not so different. What they dream of is a Church that is not “foreign” but “sinicized,” which is precisely what is wanted – in their own way – by the current leaders of Beijing: a Church submissive in everything to their power.

But before giving the floor to this diary of half a century ago, it is appropriate to make a clarification on Professor Zamagni, whom Sánchez Sorondo cites in his own support.

Nothing could be more wrong. Zamagni, a world-renowned economist, former dean of the faculty of economics at the University of Bologna, interviewed by the online newspaper of his city, Rimini, did not want to comment on the words of the bishop, but a couple of his quotes are enough to show how far at the polar opposite he places himself.

In 2015 he said in an interview with “Famiglia cristiana”: “China believed it could go against nature. This this is the Chinese evil. Beijing adopted the model of the capitalist market economy within a dictatorial communist system with a single Marxist-Maoist party. Even the most naive knows that this is a marriage not to be made.”

A year ago, in “Avvenire,” he denounced “the ever deeper separation between market capitalism and democracy.” And last November, in a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he reiterated: “The capitalist market economy has always been seen as balanced by democracy, through the ‘welfare state.’ But the novelty of these times is that this connection has been broken: one can be capitalist without being democratic.” Both times he said: “The textbook example is that of China.”

It is urgent to get back to reality.



by Gianpaolo Meucci and Raniero La Valle

[From “Incontro con la Cina”, Libreria Editrice Fiorentina, Florence, 1973, pp. 70-73]

Chinese society is full of vivacity, joy, serenity. During a month long stay in China there has never been even the most fleeting impression of the existence of a domineering police power. Even the guards at the government building, who try in every way to give themselves a martial air, appear almost ridiculous when compared with their counterparts in the West, such that in comparison with them our rookie soldiers guarding the barracks or monuments look like Nazis.

China is a country governed not by a law, but by adherence to a faith, under the guidance of a priestly structure that has not yet become estranged from the masses, a joyful and liberating faith that even includes a carnival, the days of the lunar new year, in which above all the peasants dig into their savings and spend considerable sums relative to the income that is kindly provided by the municipalities themselves.

This is why the Chinese experience leaves an indelible mark on every visitor who suddenly finds himself living in a world he has dreamed of, in a society of men committed to joyfully freeing man, driven by faith in man.

But we would like to add a few notes about the meeting we had with the Catholic Church in Beijing, to find a key of interpretation for the Chinese reality.

It was Sunday, and we asked to be put in a position to attend Mass at the Catholic church of Nam-Dang, which had been reopened for worship after a brief period of closure during the years of the Cultural Revolution.

What could have been an experience full of meaning and hope was in reality the most painful and mortifying of all the experiences of our long journey.

We all shared the same conclusive judgment: it is good, it is fitting that a Church of this kind should disappear, if the desire is that the proclamation of the Gospel message should some day reach the Chinese people and open it to another dimension.

The church of Nam-Dang is the monument of the colonialist mentality that for centuries has polluted the missionary action of the Church, accepted by most and challenged by few enlightened spirits.

Think of a church from the late baroque period of old Rome, transplanted to Beijing with its Sacred Heart, the usual statue of Our Lady on the high altar, a few saints, including a Saint Rita of the present-day devotion in Italy.

The priest who says Mass is old, just as the seven Chinese present are old. He mumbles the mass in Latin, facing the altar.

After Mass we talk to a younger priest, while we are not allowed to interview the bishop who, we are told, lives within the complex of that church.

We carefully avoid any question with political nuances, but we insist on questions relating to the religiosity of the Chinese people.

The priest, who is holding the “Pars aestiva” of the breviary, with the style of a Roman seminarian style of the 1920’s, does not respond to what he is asked. He is a stranger to his people, and is content to adhere formally to schemes that have been taught to him with a colonialist mentality and intentions.

We repeatedly, also on other occasions, tried to turn the conversation to the religiosity of the Chinese people and to religious freedom. We are convinced that it was not done to mask a real anti-religious attitude, that the answers were evaded. Christianity was the religion of the master and the of colonialist powers, and they fought it in the people of its ministers, citizens of the occupying countries; but the Chinese constitution admits religious freedom.

What Rome’s attitude toward the Chinese bishops may be in the future seems of little interest to us.

Go here to read the original.  Sorondo and his think-a-likes from four decades ago are religious enthusiasts.  However, the secular religion that they are enthusiastic about has bupkis to do with Catholicism.


PopeWatch: The Resistance

The Pope knows we are out here:


Pope Francis has acknowledged accusations of heresy and what he calls “doctrinal resistance” within the Church,  but has said he chooses to ignore it to protect his mental health.

“There is doctrinal resistance,” the Pope told a group of his fellow Jesuits at a meeting on Jan. 16, but “for the sake of mental health I do not read the websites of this so-called ‘resistance.’”

“I know who they are, I am familiar with the groups, but I do not read them, simply for my mental health. If there is something very serious, they inform me so that I know about it,” he said.

Pope Francis’ comments came in a private meeting with 90 Jesuits in Santiago de Chile, during his recent apostolic visit to South America. Their conversation was transcribed by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolicà, and was published in Italian with the Pope’s approval on their online site on Thursday morning.

During the question and answer exchange in Chile, a Jesuit from the Argentine-Uruguayan province asked the Holy Father what “resistance” he has encountered during this pontificate, and how he is handling it.

In response, the Pope said it is important to consider if there is a “grain of truth” in the push-back he receives, and that sometimes what at first glance seems to be “resistance” is actually “a reaction arising from a misunderstanding, from the fact that there are some things one needs to repeat and explain better.”

“But when I realize that there is real resistance, of course it displeases me,” he said. “Some people tell me that resistance is normal when someone wants to make changes. The famous ‘we’ve always done it this way’ reigns everywhere, it is a great temptation that we have all faced,” he added.

“I cannot deny that there is resistance. I see it and I am aware of it,” he told his fellow Jesuits.

Go here to read the rest.


PopeWatch: Lenten Calculations




From Acts of the Apostasy, the most intentionally funny Catholic site on the net:


(AoftheANews) – DUNDEE – Police were called to Our Lady of Just Desserts on Sunday, February 11, in response to an altercation among a group of parishioners following the 10 AM Mass. What had begun as a disagreement between two mothers turned into a near riot, resulting in the entire Dundee police force descending en masse to restore peace.

“It happened in the Social Hall,” said Dundee Police Chief Ed Cruller. “Two moms were arguing over the proper way to calculate the 40 Days of Lent, and from there it escalated out of control. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the altercation, though a platter of donut holes suffered significant damage, and could not be salvaged. Believe me, we tried.”

The women involved, May de Fource and Bea Whitchu, spoke separately with AoftheA News via telephone.

“I still don’t know what happened,” May said. “I said to Bea, it’s going to be tough coming to coffee hour when you’ve given up sweets for Lent. Bea replied with ‘but Sundays don’t count in Lent’, and we went back and forth. Next thing I know, she’s calling me ‘holier than thou’ and ‘righteous zealot’, and I think I might have thrown a chair.”

“Sunday’s don’t count,” Bea said. “That’s how you get to 40 days. Otherwise Lent is 46 days, which makes no sense. She got in my face about being a slacker, so once I finished my glazed chocolate donut holes, I might have shoved her or something. Frankly, I think May’s suffering from sugar withdrawal, because normally she’s just passive aggressive, not regular aggressive, you know?”

“We’re still taking statements, getting details,” Chief Cruller said. “From most accounts, their husbands became involved, then their kids, and then half the hall. We arrived, restored peace, and escorted parishioners off the premises. Both women have agreed to not press charges. We also confiscated the donut holes as evidence.”

The pastor, Fr Tim Bitz, told AoftheA News he appreciated the police’s quick response and restoring order. “This could have been as bad – if not worse – than Lent 2012, when I filled the holy water fonts with sand. Talk about a riot!”

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican but was advised by the nun running the Vatican switchboard that the Pope had left a message for PopeWatch:  “Tell the gringo I have given up talking to him for Lent!”.


PopeWatch: Rist

It is impossible to overestimate how intellectually vacant most defenses of the current pontificate are.  Cardinal Cupich, under questioning, gave an example of this:


A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice.

Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge University in which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lecture why Pope Francis “mercilessly” insults and eliminates his doctrinal opponents.

Rist asked the Cardinal: 

Your Eminence, In view of your account of the sunny, caring and holistic features of Pope Francis’ revolution of mercy – described disturbingly by the leaflet for this meeting and by your Eminence as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the presentation of Catholicism – and of the Pope’s call for free and frank discussion of his challenging proposals and policies, I would like to ask why Pope Francis acts so mercilessly in insulting and eliminating doctrinal opponents:  

  • Cardinal Burke removed from the leadership of the Roman Rota;  
  • Three loyal priests from the CDF dismissed without explanation, followed by the abrupt termination of Cardinal Mueller himself;
  • The denial of a Cardinal’s hat to the much loved champion of the unborn, Archbishop Chaput;
  • The removal of most of the original members of the Academy for Life;
  • The apparent selling-down the river of Cardinal Pell, who may have been framed;
  • And more recently the banishment from Rome of the Professor of Patristics at the Lateran and editor of the challenging book Remaining in the Truth of Christ; 

The list goes on and on, but I stop there  to ask again whether harsh actions of this sort — combined with the well-documented rigging of the Synod on the Family — indicate that the Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ should be recognized as an attempt — under cover of offering solutions to genuine social problems in Western society — to impose on the Church radical changes of doctrine, developed not by laity but largely in Germany by a group of relativist Hegelian theologians? 

Cupich deviated from the question, replying that those who have such concerns should ask themselves: “Do we really believe that the Spirit is no longer guiding the Church?” reported the Catholic Herald. 

The professor said after the event that if he had been given the chance to reply, he would have told the Cardinal that “the Church is indeed guided by the Holy Spirit, via good Catholic souls such as Cardinal Burke and many others.”

Rist is a Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Toronto and now holds a Chair in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. A native of the United Kingdom, Rist is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He is also a convert to Catholicism from agnosticism, thanks to his study of Plato, the Gospels and other ancient texts. 

Rist, whose career as a philosopher and a classicist spans fifty years and three continents, has written 16 scholarly books and over a hundred journal articles on ancient and Christian philosophy or the Gospels. He also contributed to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, the defense of Catholic teaching that was “intercepted” at the Synod on the Family

Rist told LifeSiteNews that he regards the Francis papacy as a “disaster.” 

“I regard this papacy as a disaster and Bergoglio as possibly — because of his tampering with established doctrine — as possibly the worst pope we have ever had,” he said. 

Go here to read the rest.  Note that under Pope Francis cherished teachings of the Church are so much paper kindling that may be tossed into the flames any moment. However, when challenged the Francis fans attempt to raise an ultramontane shield to all criticism.  Thus the only Catholic teachings that are are sacrosanct in this pontificate are those that render the Pope above criticism.


PopeWatch: Father George Rutler

Cardinal Blase Cupich is the point man of Pope Francis in Chicago.  To be very blunt he is an idiot.  At Crisis Father Rutler points out this fact:


In an interview the day before he lectured on the exhortation of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia at the Von Hugel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry in Cambridge England, on February 9, Cardinal Cupich hoped that his words “might bring some clarity for people who have raised questions, and then also to raise a challenge for them to also take a second look at the document.” In the lecture itself the cardinal quoted Amoris Laetitia, n. 38: “Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals.” A year earlier, on February 14, 2017, Cardinal Cupich said that the pope’s exhortation “expresses with absolute clarity marriage doctrine in full fidelity to traditional Church teaching.” One supposes that Cardinal Cupich’s lecture in Cambridge was intended to explain why the Exhortation’s clarity was unclear to so many around the world, even though they have the benefit of recording machines and all the social media, which Jesus lacked, although his voice could be heard by thousands on hilltops and seashores.

In the Von Hugel lecture, which was recorded and thus cannot be nuanced, Cardinal Cupich said by way of apophasis that “It goes without saying….” and then went on to say that Amoris Laetitia will also mean rejecting “an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity.” There is clarity again, in all its frustrating opaqueness. And after rejecting authoritarianism and paternalism, the cardinal invoked Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 25 to declare that an innovative interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the bishops of Buenos Aires, which, by virtue of “the publication in Acta Apostolicae Sedes [sic]” of the papal letter commending it, qualifies as an official Church teaching “which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with.”

It should be, and I think it is, clear as night and day, that Jesus would not have been crucified had he been more nuanced. There are those who have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to make clear by subtlety, with their own frail command of classical letters, that the official Latinity of Amoris Laetitia proves that it is faithful to authentic doctrine, and is not as flawed as its critics claim. This is on a par with Edgar Nye’s opinion that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. Excuses like that are defeated by Pope Francis himself who told those Argentinian bishops that their eisegesis “explains precisely the meaning of Chapter VIII.”

Cardinal Cupich called Amoris Laetitia a “radical change” and Cardinal Parolin said “It’s a paradigm shift and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us—this new spirit, this new approach!” The exclamation point conveys His Eminence’s enthusiasm. Cardinal Cupich asks for a more “holistic” application of the Gospel, in fact using the term ten times without a clear definition of what it means. There have indeed been paradigm shifters in Christology, but there have been no Doctors of the Church among them, and none has been salubrious in the annals of grace. To skim the surface, they have included Arius, Nestorius, Priscillian, Montanus, Mohammed, Waldo, Luther, Calvin, Jansen, Joseph Smith and Phineas Quimby who coached Mrs. Eddy.

Go here to read the rest.  A good summary of the current pontificate might be:  dumb and dumber.  We are being misled by knavish fools and foolish knaves.




PopeWatch: Discernment

The perfect Catholic university for the Age of Francis is Notre Dame:

University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins justified the university’s decision last week to fund “simple contraceptives” through its insurance plan by appealing to Pope Francis and the Pope’s call for “discernment.”

“The situation is one that demands discernment—something to which Pope Francis has called the Church in his various writings and addresses,” wrote Jenkins in a February 7 letter to faculty and staff about the decision. 

“Discernment, which has a long history in the Catholic spiritual tradition, is, of course, a process of weighing thoughtfully considerations for and against various courses of action. Yet it also demands prayerful attention to God’s guidance through the prompting of the Holy Spirit,” he added. 

The university had announced in November that contraception would be available to those covered on its insurance plans through a third-party insurance administrator. The decision dismayed alumni, staff and others concerned for the university’s Catholic identity, and also came as a surprise because Notre Dame had been among a number of Catholic institutions to sue over the HHS Contraception Mandate in Obamacare.

Jenkins stated in his letter that third-party insurance also included the “provision of abortion-inducing drugs” which are “far more gravely objectionable in Catholic teaching.” Because of this, the university decided to “stop the government-funded provision of the range of drugs and services through our third party administrator.”

“Instead, the University will provide coverage in the University’s own insurance plans for simple contraceptives (i.e., drugs designed to prevent conception),” wrote Jenkins

The policy is scheduled to be enacted starting June 1, 2018.

The Catholic Church condemns contraception because it separates the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act. Chemical contraception also has countless associated health risks. Further, when regular oral contraception fails to prevent conception, some experts say it can actually cause an abortion.

Notre Dame law professor Gerard V. Bradley condemned the university’s decision in an article titled Notre Dame Swallows the Pill published February 8 at the Public Discourse. 

“Now the University is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway, with only the logistics of it delegated by Notre Dame to its plan administrators. What it solemnly declared for years to be morally impossible is, suddenly, the substance of Notre Dame’s free choice,” he wrote. 

Go here to read the rest.  Poor Judas.  He committed suicide due to his betrayal of Christ.  If he were living today he could defend it as an act of “discernment” and probably get an honorary degree from Notre Dame.



PopeWatch: Mercy for Cronies



Those familiar with Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina before he became Pope Francis say it is a “classic” move of his to provide “mercy” to clergy who are sexual predators while asking everybody else to simply “move on,” said attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore on an EWTN show last week.

“I think this is a misplaced mercy. It is mercy for the predator priests,” she told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on the February 8 episode of World Over.

“There are many people who know the Pope from Argentina who have said this is classic Bergoglio to provide mercy to the predators and ask everybody else to move on,” she added.

Yore, who has handled child abuse investigations and clergy abuse investigations throughout her legal career, was commenting on the latest sexual abuse case to touch the Francis papacy, in this case where the Pope appointed a bishop with a history of complicity in child sex abuse. The Pope’s claim that he had never received any victim testimony regarding the complicity of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros in child sex abuse has proven to be false

“The Barros case is putting the Pope, for the first time, in the middle as a principal in a cover-up,” Yore said during the interview.  

Yore said that not only is it now known that the Pope received a letter from one of the victims, but it is also now known that he was “told from the moment he appointed Bishop Barros in 2015 that this was a bad decision.”

“The Chilean Archbishop conference told him to revoke this appointment. He received petitions and letters and calls, yet, ignored them all,” she said. 

As details continue to surface, the pontiff’s professed empathy for abuse victims has come into question as well.

Yore called the child sex abuse case involving infamous Chilean priest abuser Father Fernando Karadima and Bishop Juan Barros “a scandal of epic proportions.” 

This scandal has some of the hall marks of the current Pontificate:

1.  Special treatment for cronies.

2. Blatant mendacity from the Pope and those surrounding him.

3. The Pope reacting with anger when challenged.

4. The Pope refusing to deal honestly with opponents.

The difference this time is that the main stream media is not running interference for him on this occasion by biased coverage or non-coverage.  We will see how this plays out.



PopeWatch: Making a Mess

In all the accurate criticisms of Pope Francis sometimes one of the obvious ones is overlooked:  He simply isn’t very good at the job:


The China policy, being overseen by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state — Cardinal Zen described him as a “man of little faith” — is just one example of the confusion and chaos battering the Catholic Church today. Parolin has called Pope Francis’s document Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love — no sniggers, please) a “paradigm change” in the life of the Catholic Church. Paradigm shifts imply a rupture. Critics of the The Joy of Love — they include several cardinals and bishops — say that Pope Francis has called into question the indissolubility of marriage. That would certainly be a paradigm shift for the Catholic Church, given the words of Jesus about divorce in the Bible.


The problem for the proponents of this “shift,” as George Weigel has explained, is that the Church “doesn’t do paradigm shifts”; if it did, it would cease to be the Catholic Church. It would become more like the Anglican Church, no stranger to rupture and new ways of thinking. The new resemblance to Anglicanism is not the old division of High and Low Church in regard to the liturgy, although that is certainly part of the contemporary Catholic experience; you never quite know these days whether the priest will just celebrate the Mass or attempt a late-night comedy routine. The really acute division, which is why it is so serious, is over the interpretation of basic doctrine. In Malta, for example, the rules allowing or limiting Holy Communion for a couple one of whose members was divorced and remarried while the previous spouse was still living would be quite different for the same couple if they were in Portland, Ore. “Something is broken in the Catholic Church today,” says Weigel.


To the Vatican’s abandonment of Chinese Catholics and of the Church’s ancient teaching on marriage, add Pope Francis’s recent outrageous comments relating to sexual abuse of minors by priests. It was Benedict XVI who first seriously began to tackle the awful problem. To the delight of the secular media, Francis appeared to be pushing an even stronger line. Unfortunately, some cracks began to appear in that narrative early on, with abusers being readmitted if they had friends (such as the pope) in high places; survivor Marie Collins and all other lay members of the Vatican’s commission on the sexual-abuse problem resigned. Now Francis is under fire for apparently shielding a Chilean bishop who had covered for abusive priests and for appearing to be “economical with the truth” about a letter detailing the facts of the scandal in Chile. He said he never received the letter.

Go here to read the rest.  All things considered, it probably is a good thing that Pope Francis is as inept as he is.  A competent Pope with his agenda would be a holy terror indeed.



PopeWatch: Shadow on the Land

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


The world’s most famous pope foresees no early end to his papacy.

The Pope’s handlers announced Friday that Pope Francis had seen his own shadow earlier that day.

Legend has it that if the furry Pope casts a shadow on the feast of St. Agatha, the people of the world are to expect no less that six more decades of the Francis papacy, or at least Francis-like papacy.


“It’s really a cool thing to see,” said Alice Moya, just one of the hundreds of spectators that gathered at the Vatican Friday. “It’s one of those things that you hope to one day scratch off your bucket list.

Bundled up and dancing to music in the freezing cold, another visitor, Tabatha O’Neill, told EOTT that the event was all that she had imagined.

“The event was really fun. One of the Pope’s handlers took him out of his cage, a humble looking cage, of course, and pulled him up by the scruff of his neck. Then he pretended to listen to something Francis was saying before finally announcing that the Pope had announced 60 more years of his papacy. That’s when I threw up. A lot of people booed while others cheered. Then, as is custom, everyone went on to their blogs or other website comboxes and started going apesh-t at each other. It was fun.”

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican but he is currently stuck in a timewarp where he wakes up each morning hearing this song, except the lyrics refer to Pope Saint Francis:


Pray that PopeWatch escapes soon from the timewarp, certainly sooner than 60 years.



PopeWatch: Cardinal Cordes

A German Cardinal has spoken out against Marxism:



A German cardinal is today responding to the recent interview of Cardinal Reinhard Marx in which he opens up to the idea of blessing homosexual couples (and implicitly thus the practice of sodomy). Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes – the former President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – has written a commentary on this idea for the Austrian Catholic website kath.net.

“The initiative of Cardinal Marx ignores the clear Revelation of God,” comments Cardinal Cordes, and explains that “the Church is in its pastoral care bound to Holy Scripture and to its interpretation through the Church’s Magisterium.” Here, the German cardinal refers to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1:18-32) as interpreted by the German theologian Heinrich Schlier in his book Der Römerbrief (Freiburg 1977); the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (29 December 1975) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2357), in order “to recognize the binding instruction of the Church.” Cordes adds, saying: “Marx does not even mention that homosexuality always contradicts the Will of God.”

Cardinal Cordes also calls the idea to bless homosexual couples “frighteningly naive.” He says:

Whoever reflects upon this for a moment, discovers the true intention of those concerned. […] In this case, people do not wish to receive God’s assistance for themselves; rather, they aim with their request at the recognition and acceptance of their homosexual way of life and its ecclesial valorization.

The German prelate adds to this analysis his comment: “An ecclesial blessing as a confirmation of a relationship which is contrary to the Will of God? That truly seems sacrilegious.”


Go here to OnePeterFive to read the rest.  One wonders how long it will take the de facto schism to become a de jure schism.


PopeWatch: Ten Minutes

PopeWatch gives the Pope two thumbs up on this:


“The homily is not a casual discourse, nor a conference or a lesson, but a way of ‘taking up anew that dialogue which has already been opened between the Lord and his people,’” the pope said, quoting his own document.

In an extemporaneous flourish, Francis then dished up some practical advice for homilists.

“The one who gives the homily has to remember he isn’t doing something of his own,” the pope said. “He’s preaching, he’s giving a voice to Jesus, he’s preaching the Word of Jesus. It has to be well-prepared and brief, brief.”

On the subject of brevity, Francis told a story.

“A priest said to me once that he had gone to another city, where his parents lived. His dad told him, ‘You know, I’m happy, because me and my friends found a church where they do the Mass without a homily.’ How many times have we seen people sleeping during a homily, or chatting among themselves, or outside smoking a cigarette?”

When people laughed at the image, Francis said, “It’s true, you all know it … it’s true!”

Concluding that line of reflection, Francis said, “Please be brief … no more than 10 minutes, please!”


Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch could not agree more.




PopeWatch: They Probably Make the Trains Run on Time Too


Our old friend Argentinian Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, go here to read about him, is back in the news, via a Google translation:



Beltramo explains that Mons. Sorondo visited Beijing (Beijing) for the first time a few months ago and returned to Rome excited.  These are some of the phrases of the Argentine archbishop when interviewed by the journalist for Vatican Insider:

 “They (the Chinese) seek the common good, subordinate things to the general good.  Stefano Zamagni assured me, a traditional economist, very considerate in all times, by all Popes.

 I found an extraordinary China;  what people do not know is that the central Chinese principle is work, work, work.  There is no other, in the background is as Paul said: he who does not work, who does not eat.  You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not have drugs.  There is a positive national conscience, they want to show that they have changed, they already accept private property .”

 Bishop Sorondo highlighted numerous points of agreement between the Holy See and Beijing, which “is defended the dignity of the person” following, more than other countries, the encyclical of Francisco “Laudato Si” on the care of the common home, placing himself between the most active advocates of the Cop21 agreement (the United Nations conference to limit the emission of gases that cause global warming).  In this, he is assuming a moral leadership that others have left:

 ” The economy does not dominate politics, as in the United States , said by the Americans themselves.  How is it possible that the oil multinationals manage (Donald) Trump?  When, we know, that is doing wrong to the earth.  According to the encyclical and according to what the scientists say.  Liberal thought has liquidated the concept of the common good, they do not even want to take it into account, it affirms that it is an empty idea, without any interest.  On the other hand, the Chinese do not propose work and the common good “.

 The prelate stressed that also in the field of organ donation, China “has grown enormously”, leaving behind forced extraction (which it recognized and abolished as a practice in 2005) and launching a “very interesting” system that digitally links donors with recipients throughout the country.  He assured that it is the “best method” he has seen because he considers donors as heroes and even have special cemeteries reserved for them.


Go here to read the sickening rest. Go here for Steven Mosher’s, he helped expose China’s forced abortion policy, take on it.  There are three possible conclusions that can be drawn from this:


  1. The Archbishop is an idiot.
  2. He is a loathsome toady to Pope Francis who will say anything to justify the Vatican betrayal of the underground Church.
  3. He truly is a fan of the appalling Chinese Communist dictatorship.

Of course, all three may be true.

China will not be enslaved forever and fools and worse like Sorondo will not be in charge of the Vatican forever.




PopeWatch: Surrender

Sandro Magister gives us the details on the capitulation of Pope Francis to the Chinese Communists:


To judge from what is happening in China, from the sortie of Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun, from the Vatican’s reply, from the interview with Cardinal Pietro Parolin and from the words of Pope Francis to Zen, an accord between the Holy See and the authorities of Beijing on the appointment of the bishops would seem to be in the home stretch:

> China and the Vatican are close to a groundbreaking agreement

The two dioceses, in fact, in which the controversy was ignited, those of Shantou and Xiapu-Mindong, have remained the only ones in which there are two competing bishops: one that is legitimate in the eyes of Rome and another who is illegitimate, if not downright excommunicated; or viceversa, one officially appointed and recognized by the Chinese government and another who was not and is treated as clandestine.

To clear the field of this anomaly on the brink of schism – a serious obstacle to an agreement – the Vatican authorities have decided, for both dioceses, to “ask a sacrifice” of the two legitimate bishops, to step aside and recognize as the only titular bishop of the diocese the one appointed by the government, legitimizing him and absolving him if he was excommunicated.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this decision of the Vatican authorities has wounded not only the two bishops who have been urged to abandon their office, but also a large part of the Catholic community in China, to which Cardinal Zen has given voice.

Nor does it come as a surprise that Pope Francis should have told Zen that he had instructed the Vatican diplomats involved in the negotiation to “not create another Mindszenty case,” alluding to the heroic cardinal primate of Hungary who in 1971 was obliged by the Holy See to leave his country, in 1973 was removed from his position, and in 1976 was replaced with a new primate agreeable to the communist regime.

Zen interpreted these words of Pope Francis as “a consolation and an encouragement,” in addition to an expression of dissent from the pope with respect to the stance of “concession” of the Vatican diplomats.

But it is much more likely that Francis wanted to say something else. Cardinal József Mindszenty never agreed to resign voluntarily from the position of primate, it was Paul VI himself who was constrained to remove him from authority. And it is to this point that Jorge Mario Bergoglio does not want to come. He has told his associates to do all they can to convince those two bishops to resign of their own spontaneous will. In exchange, the Chinese authorities would officially bestow upon the older of them the title of “bishop emeritus” and on the younger that of “auxiliary bishop.”

For his part, cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin has defended the justice of the course taken by Vatican diplomacy, the framework of which continues to be traced back to the letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics in 2007.

But a key element of that letter has certainly been dropped: where it defines as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” the membership of bishops and clergy in the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the main organism through which the authorities of Beijing exercise their full control over the Church. Today this membership is de facto allowed by the Holy See.

Moreover, it is astonishing that the Vatican diplomats are not demanding as a preliminary condition for an accord at least the restoration to freedom of the bishops still under arrest.


Historically Popes, not infrequently, have had to swallow hard and accept terms from odious regimes in order to protect the Church in areas governed by powers hostile to the Church.  PopeWatch understands this.  However, the underground Catholic Church in mainland China has written a very heroic page in the history of the Church and it is appalling to see all their courage and suffering rewarded with this betrayal by Rome.  Go here to get Cardinal Zen’s take on this.


PopeWatch: Marxism

The Vatican’s war against traditional Catholic morality continues apace:


Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Episcopal Conference and close advisor of Pope Francis, has told the German media that “one must encourage priests” to give encouragement to homosexual unions, which could include public blessings that would take a “liturgical” form.

Marx was asked in a radio interview yesterday why the Catholic Church “does not always move forward when it comes to demands from some Catholics regarding, for example, the ordination of female deacons, the blessing of homosexual couples, or the abolition of compulsory celibacy [for priests].”

Marx responded that “closer pastoral care” must be given to homosexuals, adding that “one must also encourage priests and pastoral workers to give people in concrete situations [of homosexual unions] encouragement. I do not really see any problems there.”

This “encouragement” might include some sort of “liturgical” recognition of their union, according to Marx, who said that “how this would be done publicly, in a liturgical form,” is “another question,” adding, “that is where one has to be reticent and also reflect upon that in a good way.”

Marx was asked by the interviewer if he meant that he could “imagine a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church,” and the cardinal responded “yes.”


Go here to read the rest.  We are learning in this generation of Catholics why Christ said this:

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18: 8

We are being led by malevolents who hate the Cross and all it stands for.



PopeWatch: Intrinsic Evil

Pope Paul VI once famously said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church.  One wonders what he would have thought of this report by Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register:

A reflection on Amoris Laetitia has been posted on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life in which its author, a new member of the academy, proposes that the term “intrinsically evil” is outdated.

Hypothesizing on the moral theology of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis’ principle that “time is greater than space” mentioned in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Professor Gerhard Höver argues that changes in perception, “namely, space and time,” have an “effect on specific theologies, such as the theological view of marriage and the family.”

The professor of moral theology at the University of Bonn, Germany, uses selected writings of St. Bonaventure and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to argue — quoting from Amoris Laetitia — against thinking that everything is “black and white” which results in closing off the “way of grace and of growth.”

He believes that the principle “time is greater than space” relates to an interplay between the eternal and temporal spheres, taking on a “moral-theological significance” that “affects the previous teaching about ‘intrinsically evil actions.’”

“It is not without reason that some have requested further clarification on this point,” he adds, referring to the second of the five dubia which asked the Pope whether, after Amoris Laetitia, one still needs to regard as valid “the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions.”

The Church currently teaches that intrinsically evil acts are always and everywhere wrong and immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. This is because, in part, they do not bring one closer to God, and prevent the common good.

But Höver argues that the term “intrinsically evil” is too restricting as it fails to account for some “regularity” within “irregular” situations, ones which could be allowed if one abides by the principle that ‘time is greater than space.’ “If even only one element is defective, the consequence is ‘badness’ and (in this sense) also ‘irregularity,’” he says.  

“It seems theological reasons lead Pope Francis to refuse to go on accepting this restriction,” Höver continues. “This does not in the least dispute the necessity of calling oppositions and irregularities by their names, above all in cases of injustice and unfairness vis-à-vis other persons. But the Pope regards the path that has been taken hitherto as inadequate to cope with the differentness and complexity of the situations in which people stand or live.”

Go here to read the rest.  The current Vatican alternates between making old sins into no sins, and crafting new sins like not being an environut.  Isaiah summed up this papacy 28 centuries ago:


“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:  20



PopeWatch: Bye, Bye Humanae Vitae

Giving the papal stamp of approval to artificial contraception seems to be waiting in the wings at the Vatican:



Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”

Chapter 8 of the Pope’s 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly “remarried” couples to Holy Communion.

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

The Italian professor’s comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception “intrinsically wrong,” approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

Chiodi’s lecture was the third in a series of talks being hosted this academic year by the Gregorian University’s faculty of social sciences and moral theology. The aim of the talks is to take a new and broad look at the encyclical “in the context of a time of change” and “more complex” situations.

Fr. Chiodi’s lecture also follows revelations that the Vatican quietly created a four-member commission with the Pope’s approval, in order to “promote a comprehensive and authoritative study” of Humanae Vitae to coincide with the anniversary. The move came after Pope Francis purged the Pontifical Academy for Life, filling it with new appointees (including Fr. Chiodi), some with dissenting views on Humanae Vitae. And they coincided with the Pope issuing on September 8 a papal decree replacing the John Paul II Institute with a new institute to carry forward the teaching of Amoris Laetitia.


Go here to read the rest.  The project to covert Catholicism into Catholicism Lite, indistinguishable from dying mainline Protestant sects, proceeds apace.


PopeWatch: Chaos

PopeWatch sometimes thinks that rampant chaos within the Church will be the main legacy of this Pope:



Pope Francis needs to clarify whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried can receive Communion as “people are confused and that is not good”, the most senior cleric in the Netherlands has said.

Cardinal Wim Eijk of Utrecht said that while the Pope has “never said anything that goes against the doctrine of the Church,” Amoris Laetitia has “caused doubt to be sown”.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper Trouw, the cardinal lamented that different bishops’ conferences had produced conflicting guidelines on the issue, adding: “What is true in place A cannot suddenly be false in B. At a certain point you would like clarity.”

When asked what exactly he would like Pope Francis to do, the cardinal said: “Just create clarity. Regarding this point, take away the doubt. In the form of a document, for example.”

Cardinal Eijk said the document should contain “the words of Christ himself: that marriage is one and unbreakable”. “We hold on to that in this archdiocese,” he added.


Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch wishes the Cardinal success, but PopeWatch believes that the Pope and clarity have not been on speaking terms for a very, very long time.


PopeWatch: China

Sandro Magister gives us the latest in regard to the ongoing sell out by the Vatican of the heroic Catholic Church in China:

The open letter reproduced in its entirety below was published today, Monday, January 29, by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, on his blog, and was immediately republished by the agency Asia News of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

In it, the cardinal reveals the essential contents of a conversation he had with Pope Francis, to whom he revealed his grave fears over the steps taken recently in China by Vatican representatives.

These steps consisted in asking two “underground” bishops who are recognized by the Holy See, those of Shantou and Mindong, to make way for two bishops appointed by the government, both illicit and, the first one, excommunicated.

For more details on these steps:

> The Vatican asks legitimate bishops to step aside in favour of illegitimate ones

Cardinale Zen now reveals that Pope Francis replied to him that he had given the order “not to create another Mindszenty case,” alluding to the heroic cardinal and primate of Hungary who was required by the Vatican authorities to leave his country in 1971, was removed from his position in 1973, and in 1975 was replaced with a new primate favored by the communist regime.

But now it’s the cardinal’s turn.

Dear Friends in the Media,

Since AsiaNews has revealed some recent facts in the Church in mainland China, of legitimate bishops being asked by the “Holy See” to resign and make place for illegitimate, even explicitly excommunicated, “bishops”, many different versions of the facts and interpretations are creating confusion among the people. Many, knowing of my recent trip to Rome, are asking me for some clarification.

Back in October, when Bishop Zhuang received the first communication from the Holy See and asked me for help, I send someone to bring his letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, with, enclosed, a copy for the Holy Father. I don’t know if that enclosed copy reached the desk of the Holy Father.

Fortunately, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai was still in Rome and could meet the Pope in a fare-well visit. In that occasion, he brought the two cases of Shantou and Mindong to the knowledge of the Holy Father. The Holy Father was surprised and promised to look into the matter.

Given the words of the Holy Father to Archbishop Savio Hon, the new facts in December were all the more a shocking surprise to me. When the old distressed Bishop Zhuang asked me to bring to the Holy Father his answer to the message conveyed to him by the “Vatican Delegation” in Beijing, I simply could not say “No”. But what could I do to make sure that his letter reach the Holy Father, while not even I can be sure that my own many letters did reach him.

To make sure that our voice reached the Holy Father, I took the sudden decision of going to Rome. I left Hong Kong the night of 9th January, arriving in Rome the early morning of 10th January, just in time (actually, a bit late) to join the Wednesday Public Audience. At the end of the audience, we Cardinals and Bishops are admitted to the “bacia mano” and I had the chance to put into the hands of the Holy Father the envelop, saying that I was coming to Rome for the only purpose of bringing to him a letter of Bishop Zhuang, hoping he can find time to read it (in the envelop there was the original letter of the Bishop in Chinese with my translation into Italian and a letter of mine).

For obvious reasons, I hoped my appearance at the audience would not be too much noticed, but my late arrival in the hall made it particularly noticeable. Anyway, now everybody can see the whole proceeding from the Vatican TV (by the way, the audience was held in Paul VI Hall, not in St. Peter’s Square and I was a little late to the audience, but did not have to “wait in a queue, in a cold weather”, as some media erroneously reported).

When in Rome, I met Fr. Bernard Cervellera of AsiaNews. We exchanged our information, but I told him not to write anything. He complied. Now that someone else broke the news, I can agree to confirm it. Yes, as far as I know, things happened just as they are related in AsiaNews (the AsiaNews report “believes” that the Bishop leading the Vatican Delegation was Msgr. Celli. I do not know in what official capacity he was there, but it is most likely that he was the one there in Beijing).

In this crucial moment and given the confusion in the media, I, knowing directly the situation of Shantou and indirectly that of Mindong, feel duty-bound to share my knowledge of the facts, so that the people sincerely concerned with the good of the Church may know the truth to which they are entitled. I am well aware that in doing so I may talk about things which, technically, are qualified as “confidential”. But my conscience tells me that in this case the “right to truth” should override any such “duty of confidentiality”.

With such conviction, I am going to share with you also the following:
In the afternoon of that day, 10th January, I received a phone-call from Santa Marta telling me that the Holy Father would receive me in private audience in the evening of Friday 12th January (though the report appeared only on 14th January in the Holy See bulletin). That was the last day of my 85 years of life, what a gift from Heaven! (Note that it was the vigil of the Holy Father’s departure for Chile and Peru, so the Holy Father must have been very busy).

On that evening the conversation lasted about half an hour. I was rather disorderly in my talking, but I think I succeeded to convey to the Holy Father the worries of his faithful children in China.

The most important question I put to the Holy Father (which was also in the letter) was whether he had had time “to look into the matter” (as he promised Archbishop Savio Hon). In spite of the danger of being accused of breach of confidentiality, I decide to tell you what His Holiness said: “Yes, I told them (his collaborators in the Holy See) not to create another Mindszenty case”! I was there in the presence of the Holy Father representing my suffering brothers in China. His words should be rightly understood as of consolation and encouragement more for them than for me.

I think it was most meaningful and appropriate for the Holy Father to make this historical reference to Card. Josef Mindszenty, one of the heroes of our faith. (Card. Josef Mindszenty was the Archbishop of Budapest, Cardinal Primate of Hungary under Communist persecution. He suffered much in several years in prison. During the short-lived revolution of 1956, he was freed from prison by the insurgents and, before the Red Army crashed the revolution, took refuge in the American Embassy. Under the pressure of the Government he was ordered by the Holy See to leave his country and immediately a successor was named to the likings of the Communist Government).

With this revelation, I hope I have satisfied the legitimate “right to know” of the media and of my brothers in China.

The important thing for us now is to pray for the Holy Father, very fittingly by singing the traditional song “Oremus”: “Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco, Dominus conservet eum et vivificet eum et beatum faciat eum in terra et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

Some explanations may still be in order.

1. Please, notice that the problem is not the resignation of the legitimate Bishops, but the request to make place for the illegitimate and even excommunicated ones. Many old underground Bishops, though the retirement age law has never been enforced in China, have insistently asked for a successor, but have never received any answer from the Holy See. Some others, who have a successor already named, may be even already in possession of the Bulla signed by the Holy Father, were ordered not to proceed with the ordination for fear of offending the Government.

2. I have talked mainly of the two cases of Shantou and Mindong. I do not have any other information except the copy of a letter written by an outstanding Catholic lady, a retired University professor well-acquainted with affairs of the Church in China, in which she warns Msgr. Celli against pushing for the legitimization of “bishop” Lei Shi Ying in Sichuan.

3. I acknowledge myself as a pessimist regarding the present situation of the Church in China, but my pessimism has a foundation in my long direct experience of the Church in China. From 1989 to 1996 I used to spend six months a year teaching in the various Seminaries of the official Catholic community. I had direct experience of the slavery and humiliation to which those our brother Bishops are subjected. And from the recent information, there is no reason to change that pessimistic view. The Communist Government is making new harsher regulations limiting religious freedom. They are now strictly enforcing regulations which up to now were practically only on paper (from the 1st of February 2018 attendance to Mass in the underground will no longer be tolerated).

4. Some say that all the efforts to reach an agreement is to avoid the ecclesial schism. How ridiculous! The schism is there, in the Independent Church! The Popes avoided using the word “schism” because they knew that many in the official Catholic community were there not by their own free will, but under heavy pressure. The proposed “unification” would force everybody into that community. The Vatican would be giving the blessing on the new strengthened schismatic Church, taking away the bad conscience from all those who are already willing renegades and those others who would readily join them.

Go here to read the rest.  When it comes to Communist States there exists an evil tradition of selling out local Catholics to attempt to buy better diplomatic relations.  It has always been an idiotic policy and remains so under Pope Francis.



PopeWatch: Vatican Shutdown

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


Hundreds of thousands of priests from around the world have either been sent back to the rectory or have been told to not show up to say Masses today as clerical furloughs took affect midnight due to the Vatican shutdown.

Cardinal Robert Sarah delivered an ominous warning to cardinals gathered at the Vatican this morning, saying that “The shutdown is going to get a lot worse tomorrow if the Pope doesn’t act immediately.”

Essential spiritual services such as Confessions, Anointing of the Sick, and Masses will continue, although no public Masses will be allowed.

Still, liberal Catholic cardinals are insisting the shutdown is “not nearly as bad” as the last time this happened under Pope Benedict XVI, but many still see this as a blemish on Francis’ legacy.

It was Francis, after all, who during the 2013 papal conclave famously criticized Pope Benedict, saying, “A clerical shutdown falls on the Pope’s lack of leadership. He can’t even control his Church and get people together in a room. A shutdown means the Pope is weak.”

“Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the Pope’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio said in a radio interview in 2013. “And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Rome. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.”

When asked what he would do if he were pope, Francis said “Well, very simply, you have to get everybody in a basilica. You have to be a leader. The pope has to lead. He’s got to get whoever’s head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and everybody else in a basilica, and they have to make a deal. You have to be nice, and be angry, and be wild, and cajole, and do all sorts of holy things. But you have to get a deal.”

Go here to read the comments.  Eye of the Tiber, get thee behind me Satan with this temptation!


PopeWatch: Economics

Pope Francis demonstrated once again that he is clueless as to economics:

At the center of the Pope’s speech was an overarching theme of placing human dignity at the center of global development, despite the barriers of suffering, poverty and injustice.

“Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the center,” he said.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause,” Pope Francis continued.

The Pope told the leaders gathered at the event that it is a “moral imperative” to create inclusive conditions that benefit the good of society, rather than furthering self-centered individualism.

By rejecting the “throwaway” culture, Pope Francis said, leaders can strive for a better future, by “increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labor laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.”

The Holy Father also encouraged “wise discernment” for world leaders, asking them to support authentic values that will foster the prosperity of all.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope acts as if the word profit is obscene and that the economy is a government program to be manipulated by the State like silly putty.  God save us from the economic delusions of most clerics.




PopeWatch: Airborne Pope

PopeWatch shudders whenever the Pope is in the air.  Sandro Magister explains why:


Like clockwork, Pope Francis’s words spoken at high altitude, this time during his flight back from Peru to Rome on the night between January 21 and 22, have produced the umpteenth great confusion:

> Video of the press conference with Pope Francis

There were two explosive subjects of the press conference, both localized in Chile: the fate of the bishop of Osorno, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, and the lightning wedding celebrated by the pope between a hostess and a steward, during the flight from Santiago to Iquique.

In this second case, Francis said that he had judged at once that “all the conditions were clear” for the validity of the sacrament, and therefore it could be celebrated right away. To come to this certainty he explained that the words of the two spouses were enough for him.

Concerning the bishop of Osorno, the opposite took place. The pope said that he “studied and restudied” the case for a long time, but there was no “evidence” for his guilt. And because of this he is keeping the bishop at the head of the diocese, in spite of the accusations that continue to be brought against him, accusations that for the pope are in reality “calumnies.”

In Chile, responding curtly to a question from a journalist, Francis had spoken not of missing “evidence,” but of “proofs.” And for the use of this latter word – in reality little or not at all different from the former – he apologized on the airplane. He held firm, however, to the correctness of the word “calumny” as he applied it to those who say they are victims of sexual abuse that the pope maintains never happened.

He also said, however, that he had never listened to the “victims” because they neither “came to” nor “were presented to” him. When in reality they asked over and over again, publicly, for the pope to listen to them so that he could verify on the basis of their testimony precisely that “evidence” which he continues to say is missing.

During the flight back from Rome, Francis also furnished a new exegesis of the letter he wrote to the Chilean bishops on January 31, 2015, made public by the “Associated Press” just before this journey to Chile.

From how the letter was written, in fact, it seemed to be clear that Pope Francis himself thought it was right, until the end of 2014, to remove this bishop, only to change his view and promote him, on January 10 of 2015, to the see of Osorno.

But now it seems that this was not the case. From what Francis said on the airplane it should be gathered that he always maintained that this bishop was “good and capable,” even when “a few people of the episcopal conference” of Chile wanted him to resign. And in fact, not once but twice the pope said that he had turned down his resignation, both before and after the appointment to Osorno, because to accept it would have meant “admitting his guilt,” when instead, he stated categorically: “I am convinces that he is innocent.”

In this tangle of contradictions, it remains unexplained why the victims of the spiritual guide of the bishop of Osorno, the priest Antonio Karadima, should have been given the greatest credence, arriving rapidly at the canonical sentence of condemnation, while some of these same victims are instead not given credence and not even listened to when they accuse the bishop.

During the inflight press conference, Francis also said that he had “thanked” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors, for the words he had spoken on the question.

In reality, the statement that the cardinal published on January 20 on the website of his archdiocese of Boston is anything but in harmony with the pope.


Go here to read the rest.  The Pope today blasted fake news.  He should know.  When it comes to producing fake news, the Holy Father is a grand master, especially when he is airborne.


PopeWatch: Sin and Corruption

The Pope distinguishes between sin and corruption:


— Corruption is worse than any sin because it hardens the heart against feeling shame or guilt and hearing God’s call for conversion, Pope Francis said.

“Situations of sin and the state of corruption are two distinct realities, even if they are intimately linked to one another,” he said when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The future pope’s comments come from a small booklet that was originally published in 2005.

Titled “Corruption and Sin: Reflections on the Theme of Corruption,” the booklet was based on an article he wrote in 1991 in the wake of a scandal in which local authorities in Argentina tried to whitewash the death of a teenage girl because the murderers’ fathers were linked to local politicians and the governor.

In the booklet’s introduction, the future pope said he wanted to republish the article because the problem of corruption had become so widespread a decade later that people began to almost expect it as a normal part of life.

While many sins can lead to corruption, sinners recognize their own weakness and are aware of the possibility of forgiveness, he said. “From there, the power of God can come in.”

People who are corrupt, on the other hand, have become blind to the transcendent, replacing God with their own powers and abilities, he said.

“A sinner expects forgiveness. The corrupt, on the contrary, don’t because they don’t feel they have sinned. They have prevailed,” he said.

One who is corrupt is “so holed up in the satisfaction of his own self-sufficiency” that his bloated self-esteem refuses to face the reality of his fraudulent and opportunistic behavior, he said.

“He has the face of someone trying to say, ‘It wasn’t me!’ or as my grandmother would say, ‘The face of a darling little angel,” he said.

The ability of the corrupt to disguise their true self should qualify them for an honorary degree in “social cosmetology,” he said.

They hide their thirst for power by making their ambitions seem frivolous and socially acceptable. With “shameless priggishness,” they adhere to “severe rules of a Victorian tint,” he wrote.

“It’s a cult of good manners that cover up bad habits,” he said.

Go here to read the rest.  People who sin of course often attempt to fool themselves that their sin is not a sin.  The odd thing is that the examples that come to PopeWatch’s mind are in areas where Pope Francis has said little:  birth control, homosexual conduct, envy of the wealth of others, etc.  In regard to Catholics in adulterous second marriages the Pope has offered endless excuses as to why these people may receive communion without repentance and amendment of life.  How much harder it is for people to recognize their sins, when the Church is silent about some sins or seems to say that a particular sin maybe is not so bad.  Such activities on the part of clerics truly is corruption.


PopeWatch: Papal Honor

The Vatican will do precisely nothing in regard to the Papal decoration given to a Dutch pro-abort.  Edward Pentin gives us the details:


The Vatican currently has no plans to change the procedure of exchanging honors during historic official visits of heads of state to the Vatican, and believes that the responsibility for any subsequent abuse of such decorations rests with the visiting delegation.

Despite the outcry over giving militant pro-abortion Dutch politician Lilianne Ploumen a medal of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great last summer, Vatican officials believe the statement issued about the honor last week by deputy spokeswoman Paloma Garcia-Ovejero was enough, and that Ploumen’s award was actually meant as a snub.

The Vatican and the Dutch government exchanged honors when Holland’s King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima made their first, historic official visit to the Pope and the Vatican last June.

Ploumen, a staunch promoter of abortion who started a fund called She Decides which has raised nearly $400 million for international pro-abortion organizations since July, took part in the delegation as a government minister.

Earlier this month, a video emerged of Ploumen showing off the honor and saying the Pope had awarded it to her in recognition of her work in lobbying for abortion for girls.

Go here to read the rest.  Anyone surprised?


PopeWatch: Sensus Fidelium

Edward Pentin advises that the Pope wants to hear from you.  Go here to read about it.

A Pope of course is free to take advice and counsel from anyone he chooses, but PopeWatch is disturbed by the Pope eliciting these types  of comments from the over a billion Catholics that live on this globe.  This type of vox populi approach to leadership does not inspire confidence and is always subject to manipulation.  Oh well, perhaps PopeWatch should simply print out the thousands of PopeWatch posts and mail them out for light reading for the Pontiff?  Let PopeWatch know in the comboxes what you would write to the Pope.


PopeWatch: Applause

From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


Longtime parishioner of St. Gertrude Catholic Church Stewart Donaldson is being accused of insensitivity and for “not being a team player” after he was seen not clapping after the church’s pastor concluded his homily last Sunday.

Donaldson’s refusal to applaud after the homily was seen by many in the parish, including Fr. James Thomas who delivered the homily, as a slap in the face. Donaldson was subsequently called to the front of the church to answer for himself.

Parish council members that were present at the Mass have denounced what they are calling Donaldson’s silent protest of the church and of Father Thomas in particular.

“Fr. Thomas gave a wonderful homily about community and coming together as one family,” said one member of the parish council, Maria Forte. “His refusal to clap was basically him saying ‘To hell with this community—to hell with coming together.’ So when he was called to the front, everyone was obviously really angry him. Remember—this is the same guy who doesn’t applaud for the church band when Mass is over, so he’s clearly insane. That’s the reason we ended up not even giving him the opportunity to answer for himself.”

“People were shouting and throwing hymnals at him,” said parishioner Tabitha Joans. “He was very lucky to only be banned from ever entering the church. Could’ve been a lot worse. And poor Fr. Thomas has been a mess ever since Sunday. He’s so self-conscious now that he says he won’t ever deliver a homily again.”


Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican for comment and after a lengthy wait talked to the Pope.  “Gringo I have told you to stop calling me!  Do I have to get a restraining order?  Applause after a homily?  You gringos always think up new forms of blasphemy.  I will have to consider a mass excommunication against those who break the Holy Silence of the Mass.  Now, never call me again, or else I will excommunicate you!”  And with that the conversation came to an end.


PopeWatch: Fly the Marrying Skies

The Pope decided to marry two members of the crew of the airplane on which he was flying.  The couple had been married civilly for eight years but not religiously.  Father Z gives us the details:

I fairly dread papal trips these days. You never know what is going on happen on the papal airplane. Will there be another presser in which the Holy Father will says something like, “Who am I to judge?” That was a gift – now perpetually taken out of context and abused – that keeps on giving.

I read at Crux that the Holy Father married (witnessed the marriage) of a steward and stewardess on the papal airplane – during the flight.

Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciufardi, 41, have been together for over ten years. They met in the air, where she was his boss as a flight attendant for LATAM, Chile’s flagship airline.
They have been civilly married since 2010. Days before they were scheduled to have their church wedding, an earthquake destroyed the church where they were supposed to marry.  [According to the Daily Mail, that was 8 years ago.  8 years… and they haven’t married in church?  I suppose they had marriage prep.  Also, in the case of an earthquake, the church building isn’t a sine qua non for getting married.  It is sad that they couldn’t get marriage in that church, but… marriage is the really important part of the equation, not the building or photos.]
On Thursday, as they were posing with Francis and the rest of the crew for the official picture, Francis asked them if they were married in the Church. They told him no, and the pontiff immediately took charge, asking them if they wanted him to marry them, and they agreed.

The newlyweds shared the conversation they had with the pontiff with the journalists, with Podest acknowledging that she was “still in shock,” so he did most of the talking, even though, from what they told journalists, “she’s still the boss in the house,” as she was at the airline when they met.
“It was historic,” the pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
“He asked us if we were married, I said no because of the earthquake, and he said, ‘well, I’ll marry you’,” according to Ciufardi.
The spouses asked the pontiff if he was certain about marrying them on the plane, asking him “are you sure?”

When the pope asked for a witness, they tapped the CEO of the airline, and to make sure there was no doubt over the validity of the sacrament, the pope “asked the cardinals who were with him” to draft the license, which they did. The document is handmade, signed by one of the cardinals, also a witness.
“He held our hands, blessed the rings, and he married us in the name of God,” Ciufardi said.
“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married’,” Ciufardi said.
Speaking about the rings, Francis said that they shouldn’t be either too tight, because “they would be a torture,” or too loose, or else they might risk misplacing them.

These days there are controversies over the meaning of marriage.  These days, fewer and fewer couples are marrying.

For example, if a couple who are in an adulterous relationship because at least on party divorced his true spouse and then civilly marries another woman – without the church giving a declaration of nullity concerning his first, true marriage, can that remarried, adulterous couple be admitted to Holy Communion, even though they haven’t made any commitment to live chaste lives? Some say, “Yes!”, and, by doing so, they call into question the very meaning of matrimony and also the Eucharist.

At the very least, they make a mockery of matrimony, trivialize it.

I trust that this well-intentioned gesture by Pope Francis isn’t taken merely to be some sort of stunt, which the badly-motivated will utilize to trivialize the sacrament of matrimony even more than is is being trivialized today.

Another thing: may this couple stay together!  It would be… not so great were they to split up after this rather dramatic aerial display.  Headline: Papal midair marriage crashes!

I can’t say that I like the whole airplane thing.   The Pope makes his calls.  Who am I to judge?

Can we put sentimentality aside for a moment?   Gestures like this have consequences.  This wasn’t some odd priest on an airplane, it was the Vicar of Christ.

Again, this is all very huggy and warm and fuzzy.  But let’s think about this.

I wasn’t there, of course, but I think it could have been a good idea to make sure they knew what matrimony is really all about.   That’s what marriage preparation is for.  They’ve been civilly but not sacramentally married for 8 years.   All this time they didn’t seek the sacrament?  What’s that about?   Maybe the Pope got their story.

When a priest marries a couple, he should be reasonably sure that they know what they are getting into.  He can be fairly sure if they had some kind of marriage prep, done by himself or by another priest, etc.  You have to know before you witness the marriage of couple – if they are going to enter into this sacramental bond – whether or not they have the right intentions.   Does the couple – I’m speaking generically now – any couple – intend to remain together for life?   Do they intend for their bond to be exclusive?   Do they intend to accept the gift of children?


Go here to read the rest.  As far as this Pope is concerned, the laws of the Church are meant to be broken.  The example he sets for both the clergy and the laity is disastrous.