11

PopeWatch: Eyeballing

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

 

[ACMPress] – DUBUQUE – Several members of Our Lady of Safe Spaces complained to their pastor after the 10:45 AM Sunday Mass, that a man attempted eye contact during the Kiss of Peace, ACMPress has learned.

“It was extremely uncomfortable,” one woman said, wishing to remain anonymous. “I was averting my gaze while weakly grasping the man’s hand, and as I muttered ‘Peace be with you’, I could just tell he was trying to make eye contact.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican for comment, but was advised that “No Comment” is the comment of the Vatican for the foreseeable future on most issues.

24

PopeWatch: This Will Fix It

The bishops are coming up with yet another Rube Goldberg plan, according to Cardinal Dinardo, the President of the USCCB:

 

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting. In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document. We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.

Go here to read the rest.  Color PopeWatch very skeptical of this forthcoming dog and pony show, unless it ultimately has this provision:

 

All allegations alleging criminal conduct will immediately be turned over to local law enforcement. 

 

Isn’t it appalling that we have to look to Caesar to make certain our clergy will not engage in conduct that would horrify the most hardened sinners?

14

PopeWatch: No Comment

Business as usual at the Vatican:

 

The Vatican has declined to respond to an explosive grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups by priests and bishops in Pennsylvania, refusing even to say whether church officials in Rome have read the damaging documents.

“We have no comment at this time,” Paloma Ovejero, deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, said Wednesday.
But in the United States and elsewhere, pressure is mounting on Pope Francis to address a rapidly escalating crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.
In the United States, both liberal and conservative Catholics displayed a rare unity in pressing the Pope to respond to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
“The silence from the Vatican is disturbing,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “I don’t think the Pope necessarily has to say something today. He needs time to understand the situation. But someone from the Vatican should say something.”
Faggioli noted that Wednesday is a national holiday in Italy, and many church offices are closed. But he also noted that it was well-known that Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, which was in the works since 2016, would be released on Tuesday.
“I don’t think they understand in Rome that this is not just a continuation of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States,” Faggioli said. “This is a whole different chapter. There should be people in Rome telling the Pope this information, but they are not, and that is one of the biggest problems in this pontificate — and it’s getting worse.”
Go here to read the rest.  This is one problem that long predates Pope Francis.  However, he has given no evidence of understanding how destructive of Catholic faith this all is.  Instead, he has frequently appointed to high positions within the Church men who have almost certainly engaged in sexual abuse themselves or covered the sexual abuse of others.  When it comes to the abuse crisis, Pope Francis is part of the problem and not any part of the solution.
6

PopeWatch: Disordered Attachments

 

 

Father Tom Rosica, Vatican flunky and head of the Canadian Salt and Light television network, and who was last seen threatening to sue a Conservative Catholic blogger, go here to read about it, has some interesting statements about Pope Francis, as reported by Lifesite News:

 

A Vatican consultant who leads the Canadian Catholic media organization Salt and Light Television has issued a statement publicly recognizing and defending that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” and that he rules by his own personal authority, rather than the authority of the Scripture and tradition of the Catholic Church.

According to Salt and Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, “Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is ‘free from disordered attachments.’”

“Our Church has indeed entered a new phase,” writes Rosica. “With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

According to Rosica, Pope Francis has a “commitment to a ‘conversion’ of the papacy as well as the entire church.”

“It’s hard to predict what will come next,” writes Rosica, who calls Francis “shrewd” and imbued with the trait of “holy cunning.”

“The pope’s openness, however, also a signature of his Jesuit training and development, means that not even he is sure where the spirit will lead,” writes Rosica. “He has said: ‘I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have all the questions. I always think of new questions, and there are always new questions coming forward.’”

The surprising statements, which confirm the strongest accusations made against Pope Francis by orthodox Catholic critics, appear in a recent blog post by Fr. Rosica on the Salt and Light Television website (a PDF of the post can be found here). The article was republished by ZENIT, but ZENIT has now eliminated the two sentences on Francis breaking tradition from its version of the article. 

Rosica’s open proclamation of Francis’ rule as an “individual” apart from the authority of historic Catholic doctrine is reminiscent of H. J. A. Sire’s portrayal of Francis as “the dictator pope” in his recent book of the same name. According to Sire, a well-published Catholic author and a (now-suspended) member of the Knights of Malta, Francis rules as an aloof and “arrogant” autocrat, indifferent to Catholic doctrine. 

Rosica also indicates that he regards adherence to the Scripture and the Catholic Church’s traditional doctrines, which the Church declares as the standard by which the Catholic faith is itself known and understood, as a “disordered attachment.”

Go here to read the rest.  There is a reason why, after five centuries, Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.  May we never endure another Jesuit pope.

 

11

PopeWatch: Pope Canute

It is a sad day when a Jew, Dennis Prager, is more loyal to traditional Catholic teaching than the Pope:

 

Last week, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had changed the Catholic catechism. After 2,000 years of teaching that a moral use of capital punishment for murder is consistent with Catholic teaching, the pope announced that the catechism, the church fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, among the other great Catholic theologians, were all wrong.

And God and the Bible? They’re wrong, too.

Pope Francis, the product of Latin American liberation theology — along with many other Catholic religious and lay leaders — is remaking Catholicism in the image of leftism, just as mainstream Protestant leaders have been rendering much of mainstream Protestantism a branch of leftism, and non-Orthodox Jewish clergy and lay leaders have been rendering most non-Orthodox synagogues and lay institutions left-wing organizations.

The notion that it is immoral to execute any murderer — no matter how heinous the murder, no matter how many innocents he has murdered, no matter how incontrovertible the proof of guilt — is an expression of emotion, not of reason or natural law or Christian theology or biblical theology.

Regarding the latter, the biblical commandment to put premeditated murderers to death is unique.

First, it is fundamental to biblical morality. The injunction of putting murderers to death is the only law found in each one of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah).

Second, all other sins involving the death penalty were only applicable to Jews (and for thousands of years, Jews regarded those death penalties not as literal but as pedagogic — to teach the seriousness of various offenses in an attempt to create a moral and holy nation).

But the Bible makes it clear capital punishment for murder is applicable to all of humanity. It is the first law God gives Noah after the flood, after commanding him to be fruitful and multiply. Putting murderers to death is therefore the first moral law God gives the world. Why this draconian penalty for murder? Because the penalty is a statement about the seriousness of a crime, and the God of the Bible deems the wrongful, deliberate taking of a human life the pinnacle of injustice. Allowing all murderers to keep their own lives diminishes the evil of murder and thereby cheapens the worth of the human being. In God’s words, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

It is precisely to preserve the unique worth of the human being that the Bible mandates putting murderers to death.

Go here to read the rest.  Perhaps the most significant feature of the current Pontificate, is the attempt of Pope Francis to force Catholicism to embrace the transient current intellectual prejudices and fads of Western elites:  from global warning to capital punishment, to mass immigration from Islamic countries and serial monogamy, Pope Francis seeks to have Catholicism dash with Holy Water the ephemeral political wish list of the chattering classes of the West.  This entire pontificate is a Syllabus of Errors writ large, with a Pope placing the timeless message of the Church in thrall to a political agenda that 50 years from now will likely be completely out of date.  It is a mistake to view the Pope as a radical.  He is instead a reactionary of the deepest hue, seeking to give victory for all time to the current wisdom of the Western elites who rub shoulders each day with their clerical counterparts.  The Pope is transforming the message of Christ from the salvation of all mankind into a crutch for the political consensus of Western elites, and a manifestly failing political consensus at that.  Pope Francis is playing King Canute, with the difference that, unlike Canute, he truly believes he can stop the tide from coming in.

1

PopeWatch: Agentina

Last week the Argentine Senate rejected a bill which had passed in the Argentine House allowing abortion during the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy.  Credit where credit is due, on March 17, the Pope issued an open letter to the Argentine people in which he called upon them to defend life.  The vote in Argentina was  part of a continent wide pro-abortion effort to bring legal abortion to Latin American.  In response mass pro-life movements have been forming throughout South America.

4

PopeWatcher: Grim Reaper

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

Pope Francis decreed yesterday that death is “inadmissible” under all circumstances and that the Catholic Church should attempt to abolish it.

The change has been hailed by anti-death activists and rejected by Francis critics, who said he had no right to change the consequences of original sin.

A spokesman for the Vatican told EOTT early this morning that Francis had amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that death can never be sanctioned because it constitutes an “attack” on the dignity of human beings, and that the Church teaches, “in the light of the Gospel, that death is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

From the beginning of his pontificate, Francis began urging world leaders to abolish the permanent ending of the vital processes in cells and tissue, stressing that the innocent and guilty alike were both deserving of dignity, and therefore, not ever having to die.

“Think of Brad Pitt in Interview With A Vampire,” The Catechism of the Catholic Church now reads. “First, he’s living in like France or New Orleans (I forget which) as a normal person. But then Tom Cruise bites him and gives him the choice he never got and he takes it, remember that part? And so he becomes a vampire and a bunch of crap happens, and by the end of the movie, he’s in modern day America having seen so much stuff over the centuries, which is kinda like begin godlike, an imitation of Christ if you will, even though he did some bad things himself that could’ve easily landed him in jail and death row–I haven’t thought this all through yet, but this whole vampire angle will definitely be updated again and again in the Catechism until I’ve thought it through.”

At press time, Pope Francis is daydreaming during his weekly Vatican all-staff  meeting about how sad that one part is when Brad Pitt realizes that those French vampires are up to something and ends up finding Kristen Dunst and that random woman Dunst likes turned to ash because of the sun.

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called a Planned Parenthood affiliate to get a comment from the Grim Reaper, but was told that he was at the unemployment office and unavailable for an interview.

9

PopeWatch: Chaplain of the Zeitgeist

Sandro Magister enlists the late Cardinal Dulles to explain why the Pope’s attempt to change doctrine on the death penalty flies in the face of twenty centuries of Church teaching:

 

The decision of Pope Francis to rewrite the Catechism of the Catholic Church in regard to the death penalty has ignited lively discussions.

The change was in the air, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio had been foretelling it for some time. In the letter of the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith that accompanies the rescript, Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria says that “the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.”

But this is precisely the point that is raising the greatest controversy. For many, the contradiction with the previous teaching of the Church is there. And it amounts not to a “development” but to a real and proper rupture.

Also striking is the “historicist” nature of the motivations that Francis adopts: new awareness concerning the dignity of the person, new understanding of the meaning of penal sanctions, new and more effective prison systems, etc. From here would arise, “in the light of the Gospel,” the new current teaching of the Church on the absolute inadmissibility of the death penalty.

Given this precedent – as many hope, or on the contrary fear – what can prevent a pope from changing the doctrine of the Church on any other issue? Breaking not only with the previous magisterium, but with the Sacred Scriptures themselves?

To facilitate an understanding of the debate, the following are two useful elements of documentation.

*

The first is a comparison of the old article of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty and the new article rewritten at the behest of Pope Francis.

THE OLD ARTICLE

2267. The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today are very rare, if not practically non-existent’ [John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56].

THE NEW

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” [1], and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.

*

The second element of documentation offered here is an extract from an essay published in 2001 in “First Things” by Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008), a Jesuit and one of the greatest North American theologians of the twentieth century, highly esteemed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

The complete text of the essay:

> Catholicism & Capital Punishment

To begin with, Dulles focuses on what the Sacred Scriptures say regarding the death penalty:

“In the Old Testament the Mosaic Law specifies no less than thirty-six capital offenses calling for execution by stoning, burning, decapitation, or strangulation. Included in the list are idolatry, magic, blasphemy, violation of the sabbath, murder, adultery, bestiality, pederasty, and incest. The death penalty was considered especially fitting as a punishment for murder since in his covenant with Noah God had laid down the principle, ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image’ (Genesis 9:6). In many cases God is portrayed as deservedly punishing culprits with death, as happened to Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16). In other cases individuals such as Daniel and Mordecai are God’s agents in bringing a just death upon guilty persons.

“In the New Testament the right of the State to put criminals to death seems to be taken for granted. Jesus himself refrains from using violence. He rebukes his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality (Luke 9:55). Later he admonishes Peter to put his sword in the scabbard rather than resist arrest (Matthew 26:52). At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’ (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 2l:17; cf. Leviticus 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate’s power comes to him from above-that is to say, from God (John 19:11). Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Luke 23:41).

“The early Christians evidently had nothing against the death penalty. They approve of the divine punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira when they are rebuked by Peter for their fraudulent action (Acts 5:1-11). The Letter to the Hebrews makes an argument from the fact that ‘a man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses’ (10:28). Paul repeatedly refers to the connection between sin and death. He writes to the Romans, with an apparent reference to the death penalty, that the magistrate who holds authority ‘does not bear the sword in vain; for he is the servant of God to execute His wrath on the wrongdoer’ (Romans 13:4). No passage in the New Testament disapproves of the death penalty.”

Dulles then goes on to examine how the Fathers of the Church and Catholic theologians expressed themselves over the centuries, coming to this conclusion:

“Turning to Christian tradition, we may note that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church are virtually unanimous in their support for capital punishment. […] And throughout the first half of the twentieth century the consensus of Catholic theologians in favor of capital punishment in extreme cases remained solid”.

He points out, however, that already in 1977 a theologian of good repute had taken a position in “L’Osservatore Romano” in favor of the inadmissibility of the death penalty, giving voice to the “objections” of “a rising chorus of voices in the Catholic community”:

“Some take the absolutist position that because the right to life is sacred and inviolable, the death penalty is always wrong. The respected Italian Franciscan Gino Concetti, writing in ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ in 1977, made the following powerful statement: ‘In light of the word of God, and thus of faith, life-all human life-is sacred and untouchable. No matter how heinous the crimes… [the criminal] does not lose his fundamental right to life, for it is primordial, inviolable, and inalienable, and thus comes under the power of no one whatsoever’.”

And from here on Dulles discusses precisely this radical thesis, a forerunner of what Pope Francis has now decided.

Here are a few passages from his argumentation, written in 2001 but still perfectly relevant:

“To warrant this radical revision – one might almost say reversal – of the Catholic tradition, Father Concetti and others explain that the Church from biblical times until our own day has failed to perceive the true significance of the image of God in man, which implies that even the terrestrial life of each individual person is sacred and inviolable. In past centuries, it is alleged, Jews and Christians failed to think through the consequences of this revealed doctrine. They were caught up in a barbaric culture of violence and in an absolutist theory of political power, both handed down from the ancient world. But in our day, a new recognition of the dignity and inalienable rights of the human person has dawned. Those who recognize the signs of the times will move beyond the outmoded doctrines that the State has a divinely delegated power to kill and that criminals forfeit their fundamental human rights. The teaching on capital punishment must today undergo a dramatic development corresponding to these new insights.

“This abolitionist position has a tempting simplicity. But it is not really new. It has been held by sectarian Christians at least since the Middle Ages. Many pacifist groups, such as the Waldensians, the Quakers, the Hutterites, and the Mennonites, have shared this point of view. But, like pacifism itself, this absolutist interpretation of the right to life found no echo at the time among Catholic theologians, who accepted the death penalty as consonant with Scripture, tradition, and the natural law.

“The mounting opposition to the death penalty in Europe since the Enlightenment has gone hand in hand with a decline of faith in eternal life. In the nineteenth century the most consistent supporters of capital punishment were the Christian churches, and its most consistent opponents were groups hostile to the churches. When death came to be understood as the ultimate evil rather than as a stage on the way to eternal life, utilitarian philosophers such as Jeremy Bentham found it easy to dismiss capital punishment as ‘useless annihilation.’

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope’s attempted doctrinal change has bupkis to do with Catholicism and everything with this Pope’s constant attempt to splash with Holy Water the current beliefs and prejudices of the chattering classes of the West.  The Pope has made himself the chaplain of the current zeitgeist.

14

PopeWatch: Development of Doctrine

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, among his many other services to the Church, clarified the concept of development of doctrine as opposed to corruptions of doctrine that occasionally fasten on the Church and are shed off by the Church over time.

Newman posited seven notes, I would call them tests, for determining whether something is a development of doctrine or a corruption.

1.  Preservation of Type

2.  Continuity of Principles

3.  Power of Assimilation

4.  Logical Sequence

5.  Anticipation of Its Future

6.  Conservative Action upon Its Past

7.  Chronic Vigour

PopeWatch defies anyone to argue with a straight face that what Pope Francis has done in reversing the Church teaching on capital punishment is anything but a corruption of doctrine using the Newman test.

8

PopeWatch: Error

Ed Feser, PopeWatch’s go to man on the death penalty and the teachings of the Church has an article at First Things looking at the attempt of Pope Francis to do a 180 on the teaching of the Church in this area:

If capital punishment is wrong in principle, then the Church has for two millennia consistently taught grave moral error and badly misinterpreted scripture. And if the Church has been so wrong for so long about something so serious, then there is no teaching that might not be reversed, with the reversal justified by the stipulation that it be called a “development” rather than a contradiction. A reversal on capital punishment is the thin end of a wedge that, if pushed through, could sunder Catholic doctrine from its past—and thus give the lie to the claim that the Church has preserved the Deposit of Faith whole and undefiled.

Not only does this reversal undermine the credibility of every previous pope, it undermines the credibility of Pope Francis himself. For if Pope St. Innocent I, Pope Innocent III, Pope St. Pius V, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Pope St. John Paul II, and many other popes could all get things so badly wrong, why should we believe that Pope Francis has somehow finally gotten things right?

One does not need to support capital punishment to worry that Pope Francis may have gone too far. Cardinal Avery Dulles, who was personally opposed to the practical use of capital punishment, still insisted that “the reversal of a doctrine as well established as the legitimacy of capital punishment would raise serious problems regarding the credibility of the magisterium.” Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is likewise opposed to applying the death penalty in practice, has nevertheless acknowledged:

The death penalty is not intrinsically evil. Both Scripture and long Christian tradition acknowledge the legitimacy of capital punishment under certain circumstances. The Church cannot repudiate that without repudiating her own identity.

If Pope Francis really is claiming that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, then either scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes were wrong—or Pope Francis is. There is no third alternative. Nor is there any doubt about who would be wrong in that case. The Church has always acknowledged that popes can make doctrinal errors when not speaking ex cathedra—Pope Honorius I and Pope John XXII being the best-known examples of popes who actually did so. The Church also explicitly teaches that the faithful may, and sometimes should, openly and respectfully criticize popes when they do teach error. The 1990 CDF document Donum Veritatis sets out norms governing the legitimate criticism of magisterial documents that exhibit “deficiencies.” It would seem that Catholic theologians are now in a situation that calls for application of these norms.

Go here to read the rest.  Twenty centuries of Church history or the current Pope.  Choose, and perhaps choose more wisely than the Conclave obviously did in 2013.

 

5

PopeWatch: Ultra Vires

In the law the doctrine of ultra vires states that an action is null and void if it is beyond the powers of an entity.  For example, if Congress decided to turn itself into a court and try a citizen for murder this would be beyond its powers.  In regard to popes, they have very broad powers indeed, but these powers are not limitless.  Cardinal Newman noted this almost a century and a half ago when he wrote of papal infallibility:

 

I end with an extract from the Pastoral of the Swiss Bishops, a Pastoral which has received the Pope’s approbation.

“It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”

In his recent statement about capital punishment, the Pope seeks to reverse the teaching of the Church and to invade a sphere that the Church has always left to the prudence of secular governments:  the use of the death penalty.  This was stated succinctly by the Council of Trent in 1566:

 

The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thy shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives.

In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps. 101:8).

Innocent III in the thirteenth century noted that :


The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.

Scripture is replete with examples of the State carrying out the death penalty, often pursuant to laws decreed by God mandating the death penalty.

The Pope in his condemnation of the death penalty flies in the face of twenty centuries of the teaching of the Church, and attempts to wrench from the secular world the ability to impose the death penalty.  He has acted beyond his powers and betrayed the first duty of any Pope:  to preserve and defend the teaching of the Church.  I would assume the Pope Emeritus would agree with this since in 2004, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote:

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.  For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.  While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia

Further posts this week will examine other aspects of the attempt by the Pope to use the Magisterium to Godstamp his personal political agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

5

Well, This Sounds Reasonable

News that I missed while on vacation, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

 

VATICAN CITY—Following his recent announcement that the Catholic Church no longer supports the use of the death penalty, Pope Francis clarified that it may still be applied to slow left-lane drivers. “It almost goes without saying,” the leader of the Church commented.

Whereas prior Church teaching allowed the death penalty in certain cases, the Catechism now teaches that the punishment is always impermissible. “Except,” said a Vatican spokesman, “for those reprobate souls who just hang out in the left lane as if nobody else has anywhere to be.”

Go here to read the rest.  Yes, but what about tailgaters?  Can’t they at least be maimed?

5

Ten Years of TAC: PopeWatch: Worst Pope Since Alexander VI

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from September 24, 2015.)

 

shapiro-pope-1

Pope Yammers Full Paragraphs About Immigration, Dialogue with Cuba, and Global Warming; Mentions Protecting the Unborn in a Single Sentence

For some time, I’ve heard conservative Catholics defend the Pope by saying that the left amplifies and celebrates the Pope’s left-leaning cant, but ignores the things that appeal to traditionalists.

The problem with that is that while he does occasionally say things that appeal to traditionalists, he rarely says them, as if he’s obligated to say such things as the cost of getting to talk about what he really wants to talk about, which is Income Inequality and Global Warming.

Today’s performance is further evidence of that.

Yes, he made an allusion to abortion, not daring to speak it by name, and similarly made the vaguest allusion to gay marriage (not actually even taking a stance on it).

Then he yammered for long stretches about Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.

I’ve tried to not speak much about the Pope due to 1, respect for my Catholic readers, 2, my complete lack of knowledge of the sorts of things Popes typically say, and 3, generally not caring, but it seems impossible at this point to continue to indulge the optimistic wishcasting of right-leaning Catholics that Francis is merely “complex” and sometimes “misunderstood.”

I think we understand him just fine.

The left media is not just hallucinating this, or presenting a biased version of the Pope as they wish he were. He is in fact on the left on every single position he’s liturgically permitted to be on the left on.

Posted by: Ace at 02:18 PM
Go here to read the comments.  One of the more bleakly amusing aspects of the current Pontificate is seeing conservative Catholics bend themselves into pretzels in order to deny the obvious:  that except for a handful of issues Pope Francis is a man of the left, and that he is hell-bent in putting the prestige of the Church in service to left wing causes.  Conservative Catholics are used to viewing the popes as champions and it is painful for many of them to openly oppose the Pope.  I was never in their number, but I long hoped that Pope Francis was not as bad as I feared.   He is not as bad as I feared, he is worse.  He is an ignorant man who embraces ideologies and causes that would succeed only in spreading poverty, misery and the triumph of a nihilistic left, followed swiftly by the triumph of Islam.  He is prostituting the office of Peter to join in alliance with people who have nothing but contempt for the Catholic Church.  He is the worst pope the Church has seen since Alexander VI.  I pray that God will grant him either new wisdom or a short papacy.  As for me, I vow to oppose him and to join with other Catholics who share my belief that his election as Pope has been an unmitigated disaster for the Church.
5

PopeWatch: Chicken

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

 

Several bishops from across the globe announced today that they are considering allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Chick-fil-A.

The bishops considering the controversial move of allowing those in invalid marriages to receive a chicken sandwich, though in the state of adultery, told the press that it should be left to a bishop’s discretion as to whether an individual is in a state of grace, and therefore, be allowed to “indulge in a Spicy Chicken or Deluxe sandwich.”

“Though we have not yet come to a final decision, it is true that we are indeed leaning toward endorsing Pope Francis’ call to give Chick-fil-A to people who are divorced and invalidly remarried, even if they are sexually active,” representative of the bishops, Jon Dowry, told EOTT in a brief statement. “We believe that it may be more hurtful to deny them this most spectacular meal than to stick with archaic rules. It may be, in our humble opinion, better that they eat of Chick-fil-A and remain close to Christ than to leave for a more open and accepting branch of fast food chains.”

Dowry went on to call other bishops to consider whether it would be good, if only in exceptional circumstances, to allow their divorced and remarried couples from receiving this gift from God that He may strengthen them.

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Pope for contact, but was shuffled to the Pope’s Fifth Assistant Secretary, Sister Perdita.  She said that she did not know what the Pope’s opinion would be on this, but that she had heard him say, on more than one occasion, that chicken prepared by Gringos tasted like asbestos to him.  And with that PopeWatch will be on vacation hiatus until August 6.

5

PopeWatch: Duplicity

Henry Sire, author of The Dictator Pope, has an interesting article at One Peter Five, looking at the accusations of two left wing Jesuit priests in Argentina that Pope Francis back in the seventies sold them out to the military dictatorship then ruling Argentina.  Sire’s conclusions are interesting:

Information was also given to Verbitsky by the brother of Fr. Yorio, Rodolfo, who was able to tell the writer from his own knowledge that Fr. Bergoglio had personal contacts with the military regime. He recalled a meeting with the provincial, who told him he was about to receive a visit from the military, and after he left the house, he saw a car draw up outside the door and three officers get out of it. Rodolfo Yorio added that Fr. Bergoglio sometimes used these contacts to protect people: “I know people whom he helped. That shows his two faces and his closeness to the military authorities. His way of managing ambiguity is masterly. If they were killed he was rid of them, if they were saved he was the one who had saved them. That’s why there are people who consider him a saint and others who are terrified of him.”

As I began by saying, it is not my purpose to discuss whether Fr. Bergoglio did in fact betray Fathers Yorio and Jalics to the military regime. It is generally agreed that Verbitsky failed to prove his accusations, although neither were they conclusively disproved. What I am concerned with here is the picture of Bergoglio’s character that emerges from the above narrative. A politically motivated accusation that he collaborated with the military regime would be easy to invent, but it would be difficult to manufacture out of nothing the pervasive impression of duplicity and the charges and counter-charges of untruthfulness that mark the story told by Fathers Yorio and Jalics. Moreover, they correspond closely with the accounts of Bergoglio that come from other sources. The Church’s faithful are thus challenged to contemplate the possibility that they have as pope a figure who falls short of the standards of integrity that we have come to assume in that office, and who has conducted a careful and highly successful whitewashing campaign to present himself as a limpid spiritual figure, first to the Argentine public and then to the world as a whole.

Go here to read the rest.  One of the hallmarks of this pontificate has been rampant mendacity, and it apparently has a long pedigree.

7

PopeWatch: Peter’s Tax

Sandro Magister brings us this information on the financing of the Church in Italy:

 

Every year the Italian state allocates 8 per thousand of its tax revenue to the religious confessions that have entered an agreement to benefit from it.

Among these the Catholic Church gets the lion’s share. The state allocates around a billion euro to it each year. That is a lot, but it must be kept in mind that the Catholic Church in Germany, which is half the size of the Italian Church, receives five times as much from the state every year by virtue of the “Kirchensteuer,” the tax on religious affiliation in effect in that country.

In Italy, on the other hand, the allocation of the combined total of the 8 per thousand among the various religious denominations is decided every year by the taxpayers, who are free to indicate or not, with a signature, to whom they want the contribution to be given. And from 1985 until now, or in other words ever since this mechanism has been introduced, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church have been in an overwhelming majority, reaching in the record year of 2005 nearly 90 percent of the signatories, or 89.82 percent to be exact.

2005 was the last year in which John Paul II was pope. And various commentators associated with his popularity the peak that was reached by the 8 per thousand.

Just as in 2013, the final year of Benedict XVI, it was easy to associate with the unpopularity of this other pope the drop to 80.91 percent of the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church.

But today, after five years of the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, once again extremely popular, how do things stand?

After a timid upturn to 81.23 percent of signatures in 2014, the follow-up has been entirely on the decline:

– 81.09 percent in 2015;
– 79.94 percent in 2016;
– 79.36 percent in 2017, the last known figure and a negative record in the history of the 8 per thousand.

But take care. If instead of the percent of votes one looks at the absolute figures, meaning the number of signatures in favor of the Catholic Church, the tune changes.

One discovers, for example, that the all-time record in the number of signatures was reached during the pontificate not of John Paul II but of Benedict XVI: in 2011, with 15,604,034 signatures.

Not only that. In all the last six years of Benedict XVI, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church were above 15 million, which had never happened in the pontificate of John Paul II.

And the same happened in the first two years of Pope Francis. Followed, however, by a clear and continuous drop:

– 14,437,694 in 2015;
– 13,944,967 in 2016;
– 13,762,498 in 2017.

Go here to read the rest.  Francis Effect?  In any event Caesar paying the Church is always a very bad business for the Church.  In our country the Church has come to rely increasingly on contracts with governments for services provided through charitable activities of the Church.  He who pays the Piper always ultimately calls the tune.

9

PopeWatch: Prosperity Gospels

Two of the dimmest bulbs at the Vatican are at it again:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican-approved journal has dismissed “prosperity gospel” as a pseudo theology dangerously tied up with the American dream and President Trump’s politics, launching the publication’s second major critique of American evangelicals in as many years.

Two of Pope Francis’ top communications advisers — an Italian Jesuit and an Argentine Protestant pastor — penned “The Prosperity Gospel: Dangerous and Different” for the current issue of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, published Wednesday (July 18).

In the article, the authors note that the prosperity gospel and its belief that God wants his followers to be wealthy and healthy has spread throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and Asia, thanks to its charismatic proponents’ effective use of TV and media.

But they point to its origins in the U.S. and its underpinning of the American dream and say its vision of faith is in direct contrast to true Christian teaching and Pope Francis’ emphasis on the poor, social justice and salvation.

“In truth, one of the serious problems that the prosperity gospel brings is its perverse effects on the poor,” wrote the authors, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa.

“In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

********************************************************

It was the second time the two authors have joined forces to criticize religious movements in the United States, signaling once again the clash of cultures underway in the Francis papacy and Trump White House.

Last year, the authors condemned the way some American evangelicals and their conservative Roman Catholic supporters mix religion and politics in an “ecumenism of conflict,” saying their worldview promotes division and hatred.

Then again, Spadaro and Figueroa took aim at conservative religious support for Trump, accusing activists of promoting a “xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.” Trump has sought to bar travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Go here to read the rest.  Now the idea that followers of Christ will be showered with material blessings as a result of their faith is truly nuts.  However, the authors clearly have their own version of the prosperity gospel:

“In fact, it not only exasperates individualism and knocks down the sense of solidarity, but it pushes people to adopt a miracle-centered outlook because faith alone — not social or political commitment — can procure prosperity.”

Note that it is not hard work, education, gaining employable skills, shrewd investment, free enterprise, etc that lead to prosperity but rather social or political commitment.  Of course this is just as big a crock of rubbish as the belief that if I pray to get rich I will get rich.  It is also more pernicious, as Venezuela is currently demonstrating.  Faith based economics work about as well as faith based plumbing.

 

9

PopeWatch: Shipwreck Policy

The Pope is concerned about illegal aliens drowning:

 

Pope Francis is calling on the international community to act swiftly to protect the safety of migrants following a sharp increase in drownings across the Mediterranean.

Speaking during his Sunday Angelus address in St Peter’s Square yesterday, the Pope talked about the “dramatic reports of shipwrecks of boats laden with migrants” and talked about his “pain” after hearing the news while assuring the victims of his prayers.

“I address a heartfelt appeal for the international community to act decisively and promptly, in order to prevent such tragedies from repeating themselves, and to guaranteeing security, respect for the rights and dignity of all,” Francis told a crowd of 25,000 pilgrims.

Last Wednesday 30 migrants died when a boat carrying 150 sank close to the coast of northern Cyprus, while charities have reported that the numbers of deaths in the Mediterranean reaching 600 in the period from the middle of June to the middle of July.

The increase in drownings, according French aid organisation Médicins Sans Frontières, has been fuelled by the decision of the new Italian government to prevent migrant rescue boats from docking in the country’s ports.

For Francis, the care of migrants has been a core concern of his papacy and after hearing news of migrant drownings of the coast of southern Italy in 2013 he chose the island of Lampedusa, a major arrival point for refugees from North Africa, as the place of his first papal visit outside of Rome.

But his defence of refugees stands in contrast to Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, who has taken a tough anti-migrant line and who polls show is growing in popularity.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Does anyone think that the Pope has drawn any connection between his “Y’all Come!” policy for illegal aliens from Africa and the Middle East and the increase in the number of illegal aliens drowning at sea.  PopeWatch suspects that the Pope does not spend a second pondering the negative consequences arising from any policy he supports.

4

PopeWatch: Maradiaga

Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us this news of a protege of Cardinal Maradiaga:

 

Pope Francis today accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle, the auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The bishop was at the center of allegations of sexual abuse and financial misconduct in the archdiocese which led to an apostolic visit in May 2017 at the Pope’s request.

The Honduran prelate was a protégé of Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, and in recent months had been left in charge of the archdiocese in the cardinal’s absence.

Cardinal Maradiaga is the coordinator of the C9 Group of Cardinals advising the Holy Father on Church reform.

A source follows up with this comment to Pentin:

 

A source with knowledge of the case told the Register July 20 that “we’ve been waiting for this day in Honduras.”

Today’s announcement means “those who have suffered obtain partial justice,” the source added. “The Church has taken steps on the path of truth.”

But he lamented that Bishop Pineda remains a bishop and that the hierarchy “keeps covering for these abusers.”

Backing reports also obtained from other sources, he said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga was “aware of everything but always sided with Pineda and not the truth” and that the institutions meant to deal with these cases, such as the apostolic nunciature, “were overridden.”

Go here to read the rest.  Cardinal Maradiaga has always struck PopeWatch as a villain straight from Central Casting.

1

PopeWatch: Blogging the Bible

 

 

 

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

 

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU, 96

Another Vision Of An Angel

[Sorry about the delay between posts, everyone. It’s been storming the past few days, and I think a lightning strike fried my modem the other night. I was just able to get back on-line this morning. Anyway, here’s my latest vision…]

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring; when he called out, the seven thunders had sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”

And the angel whom I saw standing on sea and land lifted up his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there should be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God, as he announced to his servants the prophets, should be fulfilled.

Then the voice which I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me. “Take it and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”

POSTED BY JOHN THE EVANGELIST AT YOM SHLISI, SIMANU, 96
LABELS: ANGELS, VISION
…………………………………………………………………………………………

16 Comments:

Bardus Skepticus said…

You keep claiming these are “visions from God”, but where’s your proof? You could be just experiencing hallucinations that anybody who’s been exiled on an island would probably have.

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU 96 8:15 AM

Polycarp said…

“…a lightning strike fried my modem…”

John – get yourself a surge protector.

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU 96 8:49 AM

Magnus Bopperitus said…

OK, let me get this straight. This angel comes out of the sky, it’s legs made of fire, and it stands with one foot in the water, but his fire leg doesn’t go out? That makes no sense at all.

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU 96 9:23 AM

Flavius Flava Flave said…

“That makes no sense at all.”

Well, whaddya expect? These are the same people who claim that a Nazarene carpenter was raised from the dead. They claim he ‘multiplied’ some bread and fish, too, but everyone knows that the crowds brought their own food. Reason and logic will never get through their thick heads.

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU 96 9:58 AM

Papias of Hierapolis said…

Magnus, these are visions. A gift from God. They are similar to dreams in that they must be interpreted in order to be better understood. Before succumbing to doubt and derision, I counsel that we wait until John’s visions cease before we try to interpret them.

YOM SHLISI, SIMANU 96 10:19 AM

Go here to read the rest.

13

PopeWatch: Canon Law

Well isn’t this special:

 

The Vatican’s former top legal advisor is calling on Pope Francis to require Catholics under canon law to care for the environment, calling it “one of the most serious duties” for the faithful today.

According to Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, is proposing that a new canon be inserted into the Code of Canon Law. The new canon would be dedicated to the “grave duty” of all the Christian faithful to not only “not harm” but even “improve” the environment.

Coccopalmerio told Vatican Insider: “The Code of Canon Law, at the beginning of the second book, in canons 208-221 under the title ‘Obligations and rights of all [Christ’s] faithful’ presents a list of these obligations and rights, and for this reason draws an authoritative sketch of the believer and his life as a Christian. Unfortunately, nothing is said about one of his most serious duties: to protect and promote the natural environment in which the believer lives.”

“My proposal,” the cardinal said, “would be to ask the Pope, on behalf of the dicastery for legislative texts, to insert into the canons I have just cited a new canon that sounds more or less like this: ‘Every faithful Christian, mindful that creation is our common home, has the grave duty not only not to damage, but also to improve, both through normal behavior, as well as through specific initiatives, the natural environment in which each person is called to live.’”

The cardinal first announced his proposal during a July 12 event in Rome titled “Dialogue on Catholic investments for energy transition.” The closed-door meeting brought together representatives of the Vatican and Catholic organizations to discuss how to invest responsibly towards a transition to renewable energies.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, and by his recent address to CEOs of major oil and gas companies, participants in the July 12 event agreed on the importance of the Catholic Divest-Invest Program currently being sponsored by the World Catholic Climate Movement

According to the organization’s website, the Catholic Divest-Invest Program calls on Catholic institutions to commit publicly to completely divest from all fossil fuels within five years, and to invest in “socially and ethically responsible companies that protect creation and all who share it.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Considering how well the Church is succeeding in commanding Catholics not to shack up, slay their offspring by abortion or simply show up at Sunday Mass, PopeWatch views this proposal as a dagger aimed at the heart of the Environmental Movement!

4

PopeWatch: Nelson Mandela Day

Vatican News yesterday celebrated Nelson Mandela Day:

 

On 18 July we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day. The occasion was instituted by the United Nations to honour Mandela’s incredible witness and precious contribution to peace and freedom. 2018 also marks 100 years from Madiba’s birth.

Go here to read the rest.  No mention of course that Mandela was a fervent advocate of abortion on demand.  Go here to read about his record.  The people running the Church today are by and large ideological clones of the elites in the developed world.  Where they are in formal opposition to them, for example on abortion, they will occasionally pay lip service to the pro-life cause, but their actions speak otherwise.

4

PopeWatch: CathoCommunism

 

 

 

Journalist Hilary White, in the comboxes of One Peter Five, writes about CathoCommunism:

 

They become quite famous, these Italian commie priests, media personalities. The word for it is “Cattocommunismo”, Catho-communism. There’s a whole set of journalistic nomenclature you have to learn when you start reporting on it. You have to know what “bella ciao” means in its political context. You have to know what “the social movements” and “social centres” are and what “street priests” are.

Even outside this extreme fringe like Zanotelli, it is taken for granted that priests simply don’t have the Faith. Last Christmas it made the news when a parish priest in Turin stood up at Midnight Mass and announced they would be skipping the Creed because he didn’t believe it. The parish church of San Rocco di Torino, Fr. Fredo Olivero, replaced the Creed with a song called Dolce Sentire, a kind of hippified, sentimentalised and materialised version of St. Francis Canticle of the Creatures. This story made the news, but it is normal in Italy. In an ordinary country or suburban parish they might not drop significant parts of the Mass, (or they might, but no one cares) but you do not hear about the Catholic religion at all from the pulpit.

The biggest problem we always had with reporting on this to an American audience was the complete inability of the readers to believe this. “Why doesn’t the Church do something??” was a standard response. The only answer is, “This IS the Church in Italy.” Catholics in the Church in this country are a tiny minority and completely shut out of the structures of the institutions. “Corruption” is a word you really can’t understand fully until you’ve lived here a while.

Go here to read the rest.  Hilaire Belloc’s quote is more true than ever:

 

The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.

 

 

7

PopeWatch: Crystal Ball

Father Z brings us some good news:

 

 

 

  • The demographics of church participation are shifting.
  • In these USA…
  • The numbers of active priests will drop, impacting the number of parishes open.  The number of millennials going to church will drop, thus impacting parish income.  The number of conservative and traditional priests will rise, percentage wise, in presbyterates, thus impacting liturgy, preaching, and identity.  The number of children being born to practicing Catholics will outstrip those being born to liberals.   The number of conservative or traditional bishops being appointed will probably drop, thus creating a slowly growing identity rift between faithful and their local chief pastors.

Go here to read the rest.  I think the Pope Emeritus saw this coming back in 1969:

 

“The future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith. It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, declaring false and obsolete, tyrannous and legalistic, all that makes demands upon men, that hurts them and compels them to sacrifice themselves. To put this more positively: The future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered. If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we are! 

“How does all this affect the problem we are examining? It means that the big talk of those who prophesy a Church without God and without faith is all empty chatter. We have no need of a Church that celebrates the cult of action in political prayers. It is utterly superfluous. Therefore, it will destroy itself. What will remain is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that believes in the God who has become man and promises us life beyond death. The kind of priest who is no more than a social worker can be replaced by the psychotherapist and other specialists; but the priest who is no specialist, who does not stand on the [sidelines], watching the game, giving official advice, but in the name of God places himself at the disposal of man, who is beside them in their sorrows, in their joys, in their hope and in their fear, such a priest will certainly be needed in the future. 

“Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.

“The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain — to the renewal of the nineteenth century. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

“And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.

 

 

11

PopeWatch: Population Conspiracy?

PopeWatch is always skeptical of conspiracy theories but this is intriguing:

 

ROME, July 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The demographic collapse of the West in recent decades was planned in order to create the necessary conditions to usher in a New World Order, and the authors of this collapse are now influencing the Vatican at the highest levels, the former president of the Vatican bank has said.

Speaking at the first international conference of the John Paul II academy for human life and the family, Italian economist and banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi said efforts to decrease the world’s population by globalist elites have set in motion a series of predictable and intended economic, geo-political, and social catastrophes meant to “persuade” people around the world to accept a global “political vision” that would eliminate national sovereignty and institute “gnostic environmentalism” as its “universal religion.”

The recurrent themes of the present papacy are poverty, immigration and the environment, and we are led to believe that these are caused by “the greed of bankers,” war and man, the “cancer of nature,” he said. But this is “fake news” according to Gotti Tedeschi. For him, the cause behind all of these scourges is the “collapse in births.” 

The people pushing this fake news, he said, are “gnostic prophets” such as population control proponents Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-moon who, rejecting the natural law and the divine order of creation, seek to proselytize the world with their “anti-Catholic gnosis.” 

According to Gotti Tedeschi, the “greatest enemy” of the New World Order is the family because it provides “education, autonomy and independence” from the state. Its second enemy is the Catholic Church, he said, and yet these gnostic prophets are “rewriting genesis in the halls of the Vatican.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Well this would certainly help explain why Ehrlich was invited to speak at the Vatican, go here to read about it, not to mention the Pope’s “breeding like rabbits” slur.  The Pope and the men around him are almost indistinguishable from the secular elites they rub shoulders with each day, and it is not shocking to assume they regard population growth as anathema even while we are in a time of plunging birth rates around most of the globe.  Alternatively, if Tedeschi is a nut, what does it say about how the Vatican does business that he was head of the Vatican Bank from 2009-2012?

 

 

15

PopeWatch: Democratic Socialism

News missed by PopeWatch courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

You can’t go into a Whole Foods or indie record store without hearing somebody talk about it: democratic socialism. Is it a radical new idea that we should try out in our nation, or is it an old idea with the word “democratic” stapled to the front to make it sound more palatable? Find out in this handy explainer from your friends at The Babylon Bee:

What is Democratic Socialism?

Democratic Socialism is a growing movement in America promising every citizen the most basic human rights, including but not limited to free healthcare, a government-guaranteed job making at least $15 per hour, free college tuition, guaranteed housing, broadband internet access, and cage-free vegan lattes.

How would the government pay for all of that?

By rightfully appropriating money from terrible, evil, oppressive, hardworking, enterprising citizens who have earned wealth via the dreaded free market economy that has led to unprecedented human flourishing. Governments are known for being the most efficient spenders of money, and so surely would do an excellent job as stewards of your wealth—err, we mean, the public’s wealth.

Isn’t it immoral to take most of the money people earn?

No—actually, it’s the right thing to do. People with money only got that money because of inherent privilege, racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, and all kinds of other unfair power structures and phobias. You know what, we’re a little concerned with all the questions you’re asking here. It sounds like someone needs to spend a little more time in a democratic re-education loyalty center! KILL THE KULAKS!

How does Democratic Socialism differ from just “Socialism”?

It has the word “Democratic” in front of it, you see, which means it is achieved by promoting identity politics, stoking class warfare, and cranking that entitlement mentality up to 11, instead of literal violent overthrow of the government. Besides, voting for the government to seize people’s wealth is totally different from the government deciding to do so on their own, right? Err… uh… DID WE MENTION YOU GET FREE STUFF?? Say it with us: Socialism good, Democratic Socialism better!

It seems like if you try to run the numbers, there’s just no way Democratic Socialism is a fiscally feasible form of government.

“Run the numbers”? “Fiscally feasible”? Have you been paying attention, like, at all? Do you want free money, or are you part of the problem? YOU GET FREE MONEY, AND YOU GET FREE MONEY—ERRYBODY GETS FREE MONEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch is stunned to realize that the same people who write for The Bee must also write economic policy statements for the Vatican.  That explains a lot!

 

5

PopeWatch: Abandoned Churches

A perfect symbol of this papacy:

That’s why the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and the Gregorian University in Rome have called for an international congress next November 29-30 called, “Does God not live here anymore? Disposal of places of worship and integrated management of ecclesiastical cultural assets,” to be held at the Jesuit-run campus.

Given the massive scope of Church properties around the world, it comes as no surprise that there’s no exact number of struggling and abandoned churches. Secularization, a decrease in vocations and economic mismanagement have led to significant challenges for many parishes worldwide, and speakers at the press event said that the problem exists in many countries.

“We have registered an extraordinary interest by the bishops of various countries,” Ravasi said.

The congress aims at presenting guidelines on the disposal and reutilizations of the Church’s patrimony. In the next few weeks, delegates from bishops’ conferences in Europe, North America and Oceania will discuss and approve the document.

Go here to read the rest.  One would think that in such a time the Pope would be concentrating on growing the Church, our duty under the Great Commission give to the Church by Christ:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mathew 28: 19

However that seems to be the very last thing the Pope has on his mind.

 

6

PopeWatch: Bye Sacraments

Sandro Magister brings us an article which exposes how the Sacraments are being ejected from the center of the life of the Church:

 

But in this same latest issue of “Catholica” another voice is raised – not of a cardinal, but of a Benedictine monk and talented theologian – that thoroughly analyzes and criticizes what is perhaps the most radical subversion taking place in the Catholicism of today: that which assigns primacy no longer to the sacraments – “culmen et fons” of the Church’s life, according to Vatican Council II – but to ethics.

It is the subversion that underlies, in particular, both the new discipline of communion for the divorced and remarried and “intercommunion” between Catholics and Protestants.

Giulio Meiattini, the author of this critical analysis, has presented it in its most complete form in a book he published at the beginning of this year:

> G. Meiattini OSB, “Amoris laetitia? I sacramenti ridotti a morale”, La Fontana di Siloe, Torino, 2018

While in the interview in the latest issue of “Catholica” he presents its salient passages, the most significant of which are reproduced below.

Fr. Meiattini, a monk of the Benedictine abbey of La Madonna della Scala in Noci, is a professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia and at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome.

*

“AMORIS LAETITIA” AND THE OBLITERATION OF THE SACRAMENTS

by Giulio Meiattini, OSB
(passages selected from the interview in “Catholica” no. 140)

NOT DISCERNMENT, BUT CUNNING

The situation of confusion is evident. Naturally there are those who deny that this is a matter of confusion, maintaining that this is the positive result of a style of ecclesial governance aimed at “initiating processes rather than possessing spaces” (cf. “Evangelii Gaudium” 223). Therefore, the first discernment to be made would be precisely on the nature of this situation: can confusion, disagreement among bishops on sensitive doctrinal points, be fruits of the Spirit? To me it seems not. To discern also means understanding if it is appropriate or not to initiate processes in certain fields, and also with what timing, modalities, and objectives.

Let us observe, for example, the manner in which the new discipline for the “divorced and remarried” was reached.

After Cardinal Kasper’s talk at the consistory had prepared the terrain so to speak, the two synods, with an intermediate year of heated discussions, were unable to give rise to a common approach on the problem discussed. Those who read the accounts of the “circuli minores” of the 2015 synod realize very well that on the point in question there was not a shared perspective.

But one thing is clear: that a large majority of the fathers had not developed the conviction to change the traditional discipline. So much so that the authors of the “Relatio finalis,” on the controversial point, took care not to introduce innovations.

But – here is another small step – they drafted formulas of an indefinite tone that, while not providing for access to the sacraments, changed the atmosphere so to speak. Thus the “non-opposition” to those hesitant formulas (which had trouble getting two thirds of the votes) was enough to allow another subsequent small step: a couple of ambiguous little footnotes in “Amoris Laetitia,” which do not affirm or deny but hint at a certain direction.

This further passage smashed the interpretive boundaries, until in the autumn of 2017 – another step – there came the pope’s official approval of the “Criteria” of the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires on chapter VIII of “Amoris Laetitia.”

But these criteria, if one is honest, are not a simple interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia.” They add and say things that are not to be found in “Amoris Laetitia” and that, above all, had never been approved at the synods and never would have been. […]

Thus, through small successive steps, over the course of three years a very large one was made and the discipline was slowly changed, but certainly not in a synodal manner, in my view.

I may be wrong, but this “modus operandi” is not discernment, but rather cunning. In place of reasonable and open debate (the famous “dubia” have never received a response!), the strategy of persuasion and of the fait accompli took hold.

FAITH REDUCED TO ETHICS

Among the ethical demands and the sacramental foundation of Christian existence, the center is undoubtedly the sacrament, which is the communication to the believer of the grace that saves, and, in that it is welcomed by and transforms man, is also an act of glorification, doxology. […] Ethics is neither the first word not the last.

In “Amoris Laetitia,” however, the opposite logic is followed: the starting points are categories taken from the natural law and principles of general ethics (attenuating factors, the relationship between universal norm and subjective situation, non-imputability, etc.), and from these major premises are drawn the consequences for the pastoral practice of the sacraments.

In this way, the dimension of the symbolic and the sacramental, which should anchor, embrace, and transcend the moral sphere, loses its significance and becomes a mere appendix to ethics. […] The demonstration is given by the fact that in concrete terms the sin of adultery loses its public significance linked to the testimonial aspect of the sacrament, and can be remitted in the “internal forum” without any need to explain before the community why a spouse who publicly contradicts the sacramental sign of fidelity should publicly receive the Eucharist.

In short, the result of the decisions of “Amoris Laetitia” is the reduction of the sacramental to the moral, meaning of faith to ethics, which to me does not seem to be a mere question of pastoral practice. What is at stake here is something essential to the nature of Christianity.

A “TREMENDOUS BURDEN”?

I sincerely do not understand how a bishop, above all that of Rome, could write phrases of this kind: “There is no need to lay upon two limited persons the tremendous burden of having to reproduce perfectly the union existing between Christ and his Church” (“Amoris Laetitia” 122).

Here is the glaring exemplification of what I stated before in a general way: if the evangelical ethic is isolated from the sacrament and reduced to a general norm it becomes “a tremendous burden,” like the Mosaic law, instead of “an easy yoke and a light burden.” Whatever happened, in this perspective, to the transformative effect of the sacrament? […] So then we could ask ourselves whether the encouragement of bearing witness to faith in Christ to the point of bloodshed is not an even more tremendous burden, not to be placed on the shoulders of the people. […]

One arrives at this point only if one is accustomed to conceiving of Christianity – perhaps without fully realizing it – as ethics.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Take the Sacraments from Catholicism and what is left is not Catholicism.

1

PopeWatch: Not News

Father Z gives us the latest disturbing, if totally unsurprising, news about Pope Francis:

I saw the strangest story at La Stampa.

From Italian:

Pope Francis phones Gianni Vattimo, philosopher of “weak thought”

The Italian scholar sends a copy of his last book to Francis who calls to thank him.  A a short and pleasing conversation about the Church and philosophy: “With this Pope I am not ashamed to call myself Catholic”.

Perhaps someone will translate the whole thing.

This seems so very strange to me.  It leaves me a little confused, frankly.   I’ve written about this guy back in 2013.  HERE  Vattimo, if memory serves, is openly homosexual.  He had his … partner… euthanized in Holland.   Vattimo, who is pretty much against any truth claim and set against just about every moral teaching of the Church, has also spoken of Pope Francis.

I’ve gotten a couple notes asking me what this is all about.  I don’t know.  However, after a little digging around, I found once again a fascinating post that connected Vattimo with Pope Francis, as well as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  Have a look at THIS.

Sorondo applauded with obvious satisfaction, as the radical left, gay, Italian philosopher, Gianni Vattimo on 13 March 2015 Teatro Cervantes in Buenos Aires in front of all the prominent left radical figures, to form a new Communist International, which he dubbed the “Papal International” because was supposed to be led by Pope Francis. Vattimo said at the time:

“Pope Francis is the only one who is capable of a political, cultural and religious revolution to lead against the superior power of money in the Civil War, which is already raging in the world, and is disguised as ‘the fight against terrorism’ , but in reality is the class struggle of the 21st century against the large number of the critics of capitalism.”

You will recall that Sorondo was the one who said that Catholic social teaching is exemplified in Communist China. HERE

 

Go here to read the rest.  Of course this is not news, unfortunately, in this Pontificate.  If the Pope were to call a philosopher who defends orthodox Catholic teaching, now that would be news.  What a kidney stone of a papacy.

 

10

PopeWatch: No Experience

Perhaps PopeWatch is just noticing it more, but in the age of Francis there seems to be a great reek of stupidity from high ranking clergy.  An example:

 

 

Catholic priests lack “credibility” to prepare the faithful for the sacrament of marriage because they have never been married, according to the leader of the Vatican’s office for ministry to the family.

Priests are not the best people to train others for marriage, said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

“They have no credibility,” Farrell said, “they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day…. they don’t have the experience.”

The comments from Cardinal Farrell, who hails from the Dublin suburb of Drimnagh, came in a recent interview with Intercom magazine, a publication of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. His remarks were covered by The Irish Times and picked up by Crux.

The cardinal’s assertion that lack of marital experience is a handicap conflicts with Pope Saint John Paul II’s pivotal 1960 work Love and Responsibility. In it, then-Karol Wojtyla said that priests have a different and “wider” experience that allows them to minister to couples. He wrote: 

It is sometimes said that only those who live a conjugal life can pronounce on the subject of marriage, and only those who have experienced it can pronounce on love between man and woman. 

In this view, all pronouncements on such matters must be based on personal experience, so that priests and persons living a celibate life can have nothing to say on questions of love and marriage. Nevertheless they often do speak and write on these subjects. Their lack of direct personal experience is no handicap because they possess a great deal of experience at second-hand, derived from their pastoral work.

For in their pastoral work they encounter these particular problems so often, and in such a variety of circumstances and situations, that a different type of experience is created, which is certainly less immediate, and certainly ‘second-hand’, but at the same time very much wider. The very abundance of factual material on the subject stimulates both general reflection and the effort to synthesize what is known. 

Go here to read the rest.  For background on Cardinal Farrell go here.   Perhaps the best way for faithful Catholics to get through this pontificate is to view it either as God’s judgement or God’s practical joke.

1

PopeWatch: God Made Him That Way

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

 

VATICAN CITY – A Trump supporter, while touring Rome earlier this week, said Pope Francis told him his politics “doesn’t matter” to him and that “God made you like this.”

Mylan S. Yerrlan, from Akron OH, provided details of their conversation to ACMPress.

“Mylan, that you support Trump doesn’t matter,” Yerrlan said Francis told him. “God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

Yerrlan said his political beliefs came up after Pope Francis commented on his MAGA t-shirt, adding that the Pontiff’s words gave him great comfort.

 

Go here to read the rest.  It was just announced by the Vatican that Pope Francis thought that he was participating in a revival of The Apprentice and thus no attention should be paid to his remarks.  Sound advice!

4

PopeWatch: U-Turns

Sandro Magister describes some recent U-Turns of the Pope:

 

This year there are at least three U-turns that Francis has made on crucial questions, but always without making it clear if these are definitive and sincere, seeing what he has said and done before and after the apparent reversals.

*

The first U-turn has been activated against the ordination of women to the priesthood. Here, properly speaking, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has not contradicted himself, because every time he has been asked since becoming pope he has always said he is against it personally, for example after his voyage to Sweden, where he had however embraced a female Lutheran bishop (see photo).

But at the same time he has long allowed the favorable opinions to run free, also on the part of figures on friendly terms with him, like cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn.

Last May 29, nonetheless, there appeared on “L’Osservatore Romano” a note from the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the Spanish Jesuit Luis Ladaria, who reconfirmed that the no to women priests is “definitive” and “infallible.”

Ladaria enjoys the esteem of Francis, who a few days ago also made him a cardinal. It must be said, however, that the supporters of women priests have not given up, because meanwhile Francis has set up a commission to study the ordination of women not to the priesthood but to the diaconate, which is however still a sacrament and is the first of the three steps that culminate in ordination as bishop.

To judge by the preparatory document of the synod for the Amazon, scheduled for 2019, it is projected that this same region will see the ordination of the first women deacons. And then who knows.

*

The second U-turn has been activated against communion being given also to Protestant spouses who are married to Catholics. When asked about this very question three years ago, while he was visiting the Lutheran church in Rome, Pope Francis leaned heavily toward the favorable side. And in Germany, where mixed couples are numerous, this new practice has spread to such an extent that last February a majority of the German bishops approved a document that justifies it.

Seven bishops including one cardinal, however, have appealed to Rome. The pope called them in for consultation, took some time, but then handed the issue back to Cardinal Ladaria, who with a letter dated May 25 written “with the explicit approval of the pope,” blocked both the document and the practice that had entered widely into use, putting everything off until a future reflection “at the level of the universal Church” and of an overall ecumenical accord, meaning a remote and improbable future, since the Orthodox Churches are unshakably against so-called “intercommunion.”

Except that a few days ago, returning from his voyage to Protestant Geneva, Francis once again reopened the question, praising the document made null and void by Ladaria, and asserting that “there has been no braking.”

*

The third and most striking U-turn, that made by Pope Francis against the bishops of Chile – one in particular, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid – complicit in the sexual abuse committed by the priest who was their teacher when they were young, Fernando Karadima, tried and convicted by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in 2011.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The simple truth is that with this Pope anything is possible, and that is not supposed to be how popes behave.

PopeWatch: Peter’s Pence

Father Z ponders the questions of whether Catholics able to are obligated to contribute to Peter’s Pence:

 

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

To what extent are we as Catholics obligated to provide donations to Peter’s Pence? Can we abstain out of principle while still donating to our local parish/diocese and other charitable endeavors?

You are not obliged to provide donations to Peter’s Pence.

Peter’s Pence or Denarii Sancti Petri is a quite ancient custom going back to Saxon England before the Norman Conquest.  It spread the rest of the world.  In some periods it was imposed like a tax, but that is not the case now.  Bl. Pius IX brought the custom back in the 19th c. as an entirely voluntary donation for the Pope’s personal projects.

One of the Commandments or Precepts of the Church is that we must provide for the needs of the Church.  How we do that is not spelled out by a specific means.  In general, it means financial support.   Canon law has points about this:

First,

Can. 222 §1 Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.

§2 They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the Lord’s precept, to help the poor from their own resources.

And then,

Can. 1260 The Church has the inherent right to require from the faithful whatever is necessary for its proper objectives.

Can. 1261 §1 The faithful have the right to donate temporal goods for the benefit of the Church.

§2 The diocesan Bishop is bound to remind the faithful of the obligation mentioned in Can. 222 §1, and in an appropriate manner to urge it.

Can. 1262 The faithful are to give their support to the Church in response to appeals and in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference.

So, when the Pope or the Bishop or the Pastor of the parish makes an appeal, the faithful should pay attention and consider how they can help.  They shouldn’t mere dismiss or ignore the appeal.   They should weigh it and prudently respond.   It could be that, in some individual case, prudence requires a person not to give money.   It could be that, in some individual case, a person could offer time or skills in working on some project.  It could be that, in some case, a person determines that – for whatever reason – he won’t do anything.  That reason could be that the project is not a good project or the person running the project is not trustworthy.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Since 2014 PopeWatch has sent the money he would have contributed to Peter’s Pence to some worthwhile Catholic charity.

1

PopeWatch: Tweet

The Catholic wing of the Catholic Church is out of favor in the current pontificate:

 

An indication of the true state of the Catholic Church under the Francis pontificate was unwittingly revealed by the Pope’s biographer and one of his most ardent defenders in a tweet.

“One time, the fringe at big Catholic events was made up of LGBT groups, women’s ordination & ‘Church of the poor’ advocates, complete with their friendly bishops,” observed Catholic journalist and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh in a June 18, 2018 Tweet. “Now the fringe is occupied by traditionalists (incl bishops) pushing a 1930 encyclical as a way out of ‘confusion’.”  

Ivereigh was responding to a tweet by another Catholic journalist, Ed Pentin, who had called attention to a parallel conference to be held in Ireland at the same time as the Vatican sponsored World Meeting of Families (WMOF).  

The alternate conference which will run concurrently with the WMOF is being held to defend the Church’s teaching on sexuality.  

The 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, mentioned by Ivereigh in his tweet, will be highlighted at the parallel conference. The document was Pope Pius XI’s response to the Anglican church approving contraception — the first time a Christian denomination had done so — at the Lambeth Conference. In it Pope Pius XI defended marriage and family life, emphasizing the sanctity of marriage, prohibiting artificial birth control, and reaffirming the Church’s stance on abortion. He also took a firm stand on eugenics.

 

Go here to read the rest.  In these dire times all Catholics should recall what Saint Athanasius wrote when Arianism seemed to be the wave of the future:

 

“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …

“You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

“Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.

PopeWatch: China

The bad deal with China gets worse.  Sandro Magister gives us the details:

 

In his recent interview with Philip Pullella of Reuters, Pope Francis was also asked about China and about what cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin had said about it, according to whom “dialogue moves forward with successes and failures, two steps forward and one back.”

Francis expressed confidence in an agreement between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities, even if this does not come soon:

“I think the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture…They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China a lot. […] With respect to time, someone mentioned Chinese time. I think it is God’s time, forward, calm.”

And as for the criticisms of Cardinal Joseph Giuseppe Zen Zekiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, he downplayed them:

“I think he’s a little scared. Perhaps age might have some influence. He is a good man. He came to talk to me. I received him, but he’s a bit scared. Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk to the sure defeat of not talking.”

Lately, however, the news from China has not been encouraging at all. In May, Settimo Cielo reported on an upswing of anti-Christian repression, and the flimsy justifications set forth by the supporters of an agreement at any cost were worthless.

On June 19, the highly informative website “Bitter Winter,” which deals with religious freedom in China, founded and directed by Massimo Introvigne, reported on a textbook episode of the terrible climate surrounding the negotiations:

> Catholic Priest Detained for Plans to Discuss Proposed China-Vatican Agreement in Hong Kong

The protagonist of the episode is a priest named Yan Lixin, 55, of Guangping in the province of Hebei, the leader of several communities of what is referred to as the “underground” Church, meaning that it is run by bishops who are appointed by Rome but not recognized by the Chinese authorities.

In April, the bishop of Hong Kong, Michael Yeung Ming-cheung – recognized by both Rome and Beijing, who a few days ago, on June 23, was on  an “ad limina” visit with the pope – had invited Fr. Yan to his city for a public discussion precisely on the negotiations underway over the procedure for appointing future Chinese bishops.

Fr. Yan booked the flight to Hong Kong on his cellphone. And on April 9, with the same phone, he got in contact with a Japanese journalist who was also invited to the same discussion. But his phone was under surveillance, so that same evening a dozen police officers descended on his home.

The priest was arrested and held at a hotel in Handan, where he was subjected to incessant interrogation. After seven days they moved him to a different hotel, in Guangping, still under arrest. And the interrogation continued, with the main objective of forcing Fr. Yan to enroll in the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

This goal is not a trivial matter. Far from it. In the 2007 letter from Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics – which is still viewed even by Pope Francis as the “magna carta” of the Church in China –  the Patriotic Association is considered the foremost of those “entities that have been imposed as the principal determinants of the life of the Catholic community,” membership in which “is the criterion for declaring a community, a person or a religious place legal and therefore ‘official,’” but whose “declared purpose to implement ‘the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church’ is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.”

So then, in full fidelity to the Church, Fr. Yan refused to yield. And after twenty days in custody, on April 28, he was released, but under the requirement not to leave his region and to be traceable at all times.

Since then he has been living under strict surveillance and has had to reduce the frequency of his celebration of Mass with his communities, to avoid as much as possible putting this too in danger.

Go here to read the rest.  I bet Pope Francis as a kid kept having his lunch money taken from him by sharper kids.  His deal with China gives the Church precisely nothing while selling out loyal Chinese Catholics.  Stupidity on Stilts!

2

PopeWatch: Heretic Pope?

Father Z discusses whether a Pope can teach heresy:

 

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

What if the Pope were to dogmatically declare that [insert major heresy here] was true? I don’t have an answer for this, which means I am utterly dependent on faith that God won’t let such a thing happen.

Still, what if…

So, what if a putative Pope say… what’s a really trendy name… Pope Logan (the second Jesuit to be elected) … were to call everyone to St. Peter’s Square and formally announce:

“We solemnly declare by our Apostolic authority and our office to confirm the brethren and we teach ex cathedra and infallibly so that it must be firmly and immutably held by the faithful that Christ did not rise from the dead in a physical sense, but rather in a spiritual sense in the hearts of His followers at the time.”

That would be pretty bad.

I, too, believe that God would not allow that to happen.  I am with Ratzinger in holding that the role of the Holy Spirit in the election of a Pope is not to choose the Pope, but to ensure that the choice made by the Cardinals is not a total disaster.   A Pope who would attempt to promulgate something obviously contrary to the doctrine of the faith would be a disaster.  Hence, I don’t think that will happen.

As a matter of fact, I suspect that God would end the pontificate before that would occur.  Pope Logan would get to the words “…it must be firmly and immutably held by the faithful that…” and he would more than likely clutch his chest and fall over with a long, “eehhhehhehe” sound.  There is also another less obvious way God could do it, which I’ll touch hereunder.

Theologians have debated about this point.  Most notable among them is the mighty St. Robert Bellarmine.  Bellarmine thought it impossible for a Pope to be a heretic, but he speculated that by holding a heretical view even privately as a material but not a formal heretic, he would cease to be Pope because he placed himself outside the Church, and no one outside the Church can be Pope.  That, however, can’t be entirely right because we would constantly be in doubt about the status of the Pope, if all it takes is private, material heresy.

A Pope might wind up on some point or other being a material heretic, in that it could happen that he doesn’t realize that he has erred.   A whole other pot of caponata would result were the Pope be a formal heretic, openly teaching heresy, fully culpable for both the sin of heresy and the crime of heresy.

I trust that God will not permit the Pope to be a formal heretic who attempts to promulgate something contrary to the faith.

But say that he does, for the sake of the intellectual exercise.

One problem that rises in this hypothetical discussion is that the Pope cannot be judged formally, as if in a trial.  Not even an ecumenical council could do so.  Only God can do that.

However, it is possible that – while not judging the person of Pope Logan- a council or perhaps the College of Cardinals could make a declaration that a certain thing that a Pope attempted to teach was a formal heresy and, ergo, God Himself as the Pope’s judge, would have caused that Pope’s office to cease, end the pontificate such that the See of Peter was empty from the moment before the Pope taught heresy.

Think about this. A marriage tribunal cannot break a marriage.  A tribunal can only issue a declaration that there never was a marriage.  Tribunals can’t nullify, they can only identify nullity.  Councils can’t take the Pope’s office away, they can identify that God took it away.

A council could declare that Pope Logan had lost his office because of what he had intended and attempted to do.

 

Go here to read the rest.

8

PopeWatch: Adam and Eve

Pope Francis states the obvious and receives anger for doing so:

 

Pope Francis on Saturday denounced the use of the word “family” to refer to unions that do not consist of a man and a woman, sparking condemnation from homosexual activists, who noted the mixed signals that Francis has sent regarding LGBT issues during his pontificate.

In extemporaneous remarks to a delegation of Italy’s Forum of Family Associations, Francis said that it “hurts” to speak of the fact that the word “family” is being used apart from the definition of traditional marriage.

“Then today – it hurts to say this – we talk about ‘diversified’ families: different types of families,” said Francis.

“Yes, it is true that the word ‘family’ is an analogical word, because we speak of the ‘family’ of the stars, the ‘families’ of the trees, the ‘families’ of the animals … it is an analogical word. But the human family as an image of God, man and woman, is only one. It is only one,” the pontiff said.

 

Go here to read the rest.  What insane times in which we live when it is controversial for a Pope to say that the building blocks of a human family are a man and a woman.

7

PopeWatch: McCarrick

As Joan Desmond at National Catholic Register points out, one of the key issues in regard to the Cardinal McCarrick scandal is what did the Vatican know, and when did the Vatican know it:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., was suspended from public ministry on Wednesday, after an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor was found to be credible. 

According to a statement released by the Archdiocese of New York, McCarrick was accused of abusing a teenage altar boy almost 50 years ago, while serving as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. The Vatican had directed Cardinal Timothy Dolan to investigate the claim and it was found to be “credible and substantiated.”

But that was not the only disturbing news to be disclosed about McCarrick’s record. 

In a statement issued by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, the public learned that McCarrick had faced three accusations of sexual misconduct involving adults.

“In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults,” read Cardinal Tobin’s statement, which referenced McCarrick’s previous posts as archbishop of Newark (1986–2000) and bishop of Metuchen (1981–1986).

“This Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

The shocking statement raised additional questions about whether the Vatican learned of the three allegations of sexual misconduct before or after McCarrick was named archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001, serving until 2006.

The Register contacted the Archdiocese of Newark and was told that neither the settlement dates, nor details about identity of the victims—whether they might have been seminarians or young priests—would be provided.

“We don’t release that kind of information because of confidentiality issues,” Jim Goodness, the spokesman or the Archdiocese of Newark, told the Register.

Without the dates of the three allegations and two settlements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to know if the Vatican knew about the allegations in time to stop the appointment. 

 

1

PopeWatch: Separation Anxiety

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

FT LAUDERDALE, FL – An unidentified US bishop suggested that penalties be put in place for Catholics who help carry out any parish’s Worship Committee policy of separating families during Mass, when children are removed from the congregation for the Liturgy of the Word. He presented the recommendation while speaking Wednesday at the annual spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Canonical penalties are there in place to heal, not punish,” he said, according to ACMPress. “And therefore, for the good and well-being of these people’s souls, it’s time we take a look at canonical penalties.”

 

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch was about to call the Vatican when the Pope called him.

“Gringo, I told you I would be calling you again.”

Yes, your holiness.

“What do you think of Mark Shea?”

I’d rather not say your holiness.

“Would he be loyal to me?”

I am sure holiness if you told him to engage in self cannibalism he would immediately reach for a carving knife.

” Good gringo, good, I will be calling you again.”

Seizing my opportunity I asked the Pope about the above story.

“You gringos.  If Christ came tomorrow you would be calling me to ask about how to properly address Him!  I don’t care if you have your brats play in the streets during Mass!”  And with a loud slamming sound the phone audience came to a conclusion.

3

PopeWatch: Lying

Hmmm.  Is lying still a sin under the current pontificate?

 

 

ROME, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Reuters in an interview which appeared yesterday, Pope Francis criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals who joined him in begging the Pope for clarification on key issues of faith. The cardinals used the long-standing ecclesial practice of issuing dubia, or questions to the Pope. There were five such questions altogether. But, according to Reuters the Pope said that “he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him ‘from the newspapers.’” The Pope knocked the cardinals, saying that it was “a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes.”

Cardinal Burke, however, told LifeSiteNews that “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016, as he also delivered subsequent correspondence of the four Cardinals regarding the dubia.” 

Burke added that, “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”

Cardinal Burke suggested that perhaps the Pope misunderstood the reporter’s question. “If the question of the journalist is referring to the formal presentation of the dubia or questions regarding Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, and myself, then Pope Francis must not have understood him,” he said.

The only other living dubia cardinal also responded to the Pope’s accusation in comments to OnePeterFive. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller told Dr. Maike Hickson “The dubia were first published after – I think it was two months – after the Pope did not even confirm their reception. It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”

Cardinal Burke insisted that, “The presentation of the dubia to the Holy Father was done according to the long-standing practice of the Church, that is, they were presented to the Holy Father without any publication, in order that he could answer them for the good of the whole Church.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  To be fair, it is possible that the Pope is telling the truth.  He may only read newspapers, since he has given precious little evidence during his papacy of reading much of anything else.

10

PopeWatch: Open Borders

No left wing crusade these days is complete without a papal blessing:

In a new interview with Reuters, Pope Francis backed the U.S. bishops’ opposition to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border, calling the move “immoral” and “contrary to Catholic values.”

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to statements made by U.S. bishops earlier this month.

Francis’ comment was made in reference to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which was rolled out in May and, among other things, enforces the separation of children from parents who have been detained by border officials.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, issued a statement at during their bi-annual meeting in Houston last week criticizing the enforcement of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying “separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

He said later the bishops would consider the possibility of sending a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the detention centers for themselves and offer solidarity for incoming migrants and refugees.

“Let it be clear that in these things, I respect [the position of] the bishops conference,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Reuters.

Go here to read the rest.  Now that Trump has signed an executive order requiring that parents seeking asylum reside with their children, we will see the illegal aliens’ lobby combating the administration’s attempt to overturn the Flores Decree to allow holding the kids until the government has ruled on their parents’ petitions for asylum.  This has always been about the attempt by Leftists to cause a renewal of the policy of catch and release and has zip to do with kids.  That our Pope is on the side of the illegal aliens and their advocates, and repeat their mendacious talking points, should come as no surprise to any sentient Catholic.

 

5

PopeWatch: Bilderberger

This papacy is the gift that keeps on giving to conspiracy theorists,  Edward Pentin explains:

 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, accepted an invitation to address the controversial and secretive Bilderberg Meeting earlier this month in order to take the teaching of the Church to a group who would not otherwise hear it, a Vatican official has told the Register.

The Vatican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Italian organizers of the visit were persistent in extending an invitation to the most senior Vatican official after Pope Francis to this year’s event, which took place June 7-10 in Turin, Italy. 

“The cardinal decided to take part after the Italian organizers very insistently invited him to the meeting six months ago,” the official explained. “He thought about it for a long time and, after consulting the necessary people, he decided to go.” 

Key topics for discussion at the 66th Meeting included “populism in Europe,” “the inequality challenge,” and “the ‘post-truth’ world.” 

Founded in 1954 at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, the Bilderberg Meeting has drawn controversy for its secretive nature and alleged globalist agenda, one that critics say is pushing for open borders and a one world government. 

But the organizers convey a more benign organization in which politicians, businessmen, academics and the media can come together to “foster dialogue between Europe and North America” about major issues facing the world. 

The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of any participant may be revealed.

The organization, currently chaired by French businessman Henri de Castries, argues that the private nature of the meeting means the participants “are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions.” This allows them “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights,” it says, and so there is “no desired outcome.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Perhaps The Simpsons give us the best commentary on this pontificate:

 

10

PopeWatch: Irish Hospitals

Well this was predictable:

 

Publicly-funded hospitals in Ireland will be required to perform abortions, even if they are Catholic and morally opposed to the procedure, the nation’s prime minister announced this week.

A survey on GPBuddy.ie, an online medical directory for Irish healthcare professionals, found that nearly 70 percent of general practitioners say they are unwilling to perform abortions.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar clarified to the Dáil (Irish Parliament) on Monday that individual medical professionals will be able to opt out of performing abortions, but entire hospitals will not be able to do so, now that abortion is being legalized in the country.  

“It will not, however, be possible for publicly-funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is, to opt out of providing these necessary services, which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil and Seanad (senate),” said Varadkar.

He went on to say that “hospitals like for example Holles Street, which is a Catholic voluntary ethos hospital, the Mater, St Vincent’s and others will be required, and will be expected to, carry out any procedure that is legal in this state and that is the model we will follow.”

A “voluntary” hospital in Ireland is one supported by charitable contributions. Healthcare in Ireland is government-funded and free for citizens. Many publicly-funded hospitals have historic ties to the Catholic Church and operate under Catholic ethics.

Go here to read the rest.  Of course the proper response is for the Irish Church to announce that all Catholic Irish hospitals will be closed down rather than participate in any abortions.  The Pope is visiting Ireland in August.  Will he say anything about it, or will he remain ingloriously silent?

7

PopeWatch: Bravo

Now if he had only said something as devastatingly on target as this prior to the Irish abortion vote:

 

“I have heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” Pope Francis was reported as saying.
“I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”
Go here to read the rest.
1

PopeWatch: Mercy Me

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

 

The Vatican announced today that they will be opening a second Year of Mercy.

The initiative is intended to address the crisis in the sacrament of confession and is being called, “The Year of Mercy: A Second Helping.”

“Over half of the confessions in the Church today are invalid because the faithful actually do not believe any of their actions are sinful,” Cardinal Thomas Olvelli explained. “Without an actual sin confessed, the sacrament is invalid.”

“Many penitents find the confessional line burdensome and are not able to wait for confession. That is not mercy,” The Cardinal went on to say. “During this new round of mercy, an individual will simply have the ability to have a deep, inward conversation with the Lord. Then with prudent and mature reflection, that individual will determine, in the sanctity of his or her own conscience, that he or she has never actually committed any sins, and thus maintaining the sanctity of the sacrament.”

In addition, Olvelli announced that 10,000 newly appointed “Agents of the Second Helping” will begin circling the globe this January to close down all remaining confessionals.

One Agent of Mercy, Monsignor Alejandro Pipetti, explained the initiative, saying, “Let’s face it, the confessional is a medieval torture chamber, designed to instill fear of the Lord into the faithful. How can the faithful begin to grow closer to the Lord if they fear Him? I believe it is better to have fear of one’s own conscience, especially since it can so easily be manipulated and told what is right and what is wrong. After all, there is no fear in that which you control.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch would be afraid to confess to himself.  Saying perpetual Paternosters on his knees would make blogging problematic for PopeWatch.

22

PopeWatch: Canonical Penalties

The Pope can ignore a vote to bring abortion to Ireland, but his man in Tucson wants to go Innocent III on those trying to uphold the immigration laws of our nation:

 

Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger raised the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump administration’s asylum rules.Canonical penalties could range from withholding the sacrament of communion to excommunication.

Bishop Weisenburger and other leading U.S. Catholic bishops escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling the separation of mothers and children at the border “immoral.”

The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the organizing body of bishops, gathered at their biannual meeting on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Bishop Weisenburger stated the following: “In light of the canonical penalties that are there for life issues, I’m simply asking the question if perhaps, our canonical affairs committee could give recommendations, at least to those of us who are border bishops, on the possibility of canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved in this. I think the time is there for prophetic statement. I also think, even though what I’m saying could be a little risky or dangerous, I think it’s important to point out the canonical penalties are there in place to heal.  First and foremost, to heal.  and therefore, for the salvation of these people’s souls, maybe it’s time for us to look at canonical penalties.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Before the Bishop begins excommunicating members of ICE he might wish to read this provision of the Catechism:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

 

These clowns are doing their best to convince people that if you are not a Leftist you have no place in the Catholic Church.  That is a lie.  Our Church has endured over 20 turbulent centuries and it will endure and outlast the current idiots in charge of the Bride of Christ.  May God forgive them.

 

Ten Years of TAC: The First PopeWatch

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from October 6, 2013.)

 

 

Announcing a new series at The American Catholic:  PopeWatch.  I think it is obvious that Pope Francis will be making the headlines on a regular basis,  and I will be commenting on him fairly frequently as a result, hence the new series.  First up, a statement by papal press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.  I have a soft spot in my heart for press flacks.  They have tough jobs, especially in the wake of feathers hitting a fan.  Then they come out to meet the media, and often have to say the most absurd things with a straight face, and it would take a heart of purest granite not to feel some sympathy for them at such times.  In the wake of Pope Francis’ colorful interviews, Father Lombardi explained what the problem is:

Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense.

“This isn’t Denzinger,” he said, referring to the famous German collection of official church teaching, “and it’s not canon law.”

“What the pope is doing is giving pastoral reflections that haven’t been reviewed beforehand word-for-word by 20 theologians in order to be precise about everything,” Lombardi said. “It has to be distinguished from an encyclical, for instance, or a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which are magisterial documents.” Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Six Counties

The Pope will not be visiting Northern Ireland during his visit to the Republic:

 

Arguably, the most significant item in the papal programme, at least from the secular viewpoint, will be the Missing Item, namely that oft-discussed papal visit to Northern Ireland.

This comes as no surprise. When Pope Francis officially confirmed the trip in a general audience in March, senior Vatican spokesman Greg Burke categorically told the Sunday Independent that there would be no “diversion” to the Six Counties.

The two main movers behind the visit – Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin – have always been very cautious and circumspect about the possibility that he would include the North on his travels.

He will make a pastoral visit to the World Meeting of Families on August 25-26.

The visit – the first by a Pontiff since Pope John Paul’s Mass at Phoenix Park in 1979 – will include a series of events.

It includes a national opening, simultaneously in the 26 dioceses on August 21, followed by a three-day pastoral congress at the RDS, Dublin, on August 22-24.

However, most attention will focus on the weekend – the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday, August 25, and the centrepiece of the visit – the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families on the following day.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world are expected to flock to the Phoenix Park.

The feeling remains, however, that this is an opportunity missed.

Go here to read the rest.  Well why shouldn’t he visit Northern Ireland?  As the abortion vote indicates, Northern Ireland no longer has a monopoly on virulent anti-Catholicism.  Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland and the contrast could have been made by the Pope.  Better to face the honest hatred of Protestant fanatics in the North than the hatred of the Faith expressed by the “Catholics” in the Republic who celebrated, and that is not too strong a term, the abortion vote.  From a Catholic point of view there is little to choose now between the Six Counties and the rest of that island.

3

PopeWatch: Sell Out

One of the few points of certainty in the current Pontificate is that we can always rely upon our Pope to sell out the interests of Catholics around the globe.  Sandro Magister gives us the details on the latest sell out:

 

The words addressed by Pope Francis to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, received in audience on Wednesday, May 30 (see photo), evidently were supposed to have remained confidential.

But on June 2, the press office of the Holy See released the transcription of the discourse. Which at that point could no longer remain secret, because right away the website Rome Reports posted a video with the key passages from it, and above all the official website of the patriarchate of Moscow featured it prominently, with complete satisfaction over what the pope had stated.

An understandable satisfaction, seeing how Francis espoused the ideas of the patriarchate of Moscow and instead condemned, in very harsh terms, the positions of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Here in fact is what Francis said to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, headed by its powerful “foreign minister,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

“Before you I would like to reiterate – in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you – that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow – in Russia – there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path of unity is not valid today.”

And further on:

“The Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches must not get involved in internal matters of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political issues. This is my attitude, and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See.”

To a non-specialist, these words of Francis may appear cryptic. But they become perfectly clear as soon as their backstory is known.

First of all, there is an ambiguity that must be cleared from the field. When the pope seems to say that he does not intend to create any Catholic “patriarchate” as an alternative to the Orthodox one of Moscow, he is not thinking about Russia – where Eastern-rite Catholics barely number 2,000 and are served by a Latin-rite bishop – but about Ukraine, where the Greek Catholic Church has 4 million faithful and has strongly aspired for some time to be established as a patriarchate, and in fact already often considers itself and acts as such.

In 2003, the elevation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to a patriarchate seemed almost like a done deal. And curiously, it had its promoter in Rome in Cardinal – now an ultra-Bergoglian – Walter Kasper, who at the time was the president of the pontifical council for Christian unity and sent the patriarch of Moscow a letter to announce the imminent turning point to him.

Look out below. When the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, also saw that letter, he wrote a fiery response to Rome, threatening a complete rupture in the ecumenical dialogue. Bartholomew’s letter to the pope, dated November 29, 2003, was made public in the international Catholic magazine “30 Giorni,” and the Vatican made a U-turn.

But the Orthodox camp also has its internal conflicts, with their epicenter in Ukraine.

Ukraine is the birthplace of Orthodox Russia and it is there that the patriarchate of Moscow has a large portion of its faithful and finds many of its vocations and much of its economic support.

Today, however, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is part of the patriarchate of Moscow is only one of the three Orthodox groups present in that country and is the only one that is canonically recognized by all of Orthodoxy, with Metropolitan Onufry.

There have in fact arisen in Ukraine, in recent decades, first a patriarchate rival to and declared schismatic by Moscow, with its patriarch a former top-level hierarch of the Russian Church, Filaret, and then another autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with Metropolitan Methodius.

So then, for some time there has been a growing push – also political, with the government of Kiev very active – to unify these three Churches in an autonomous new reality, under the aegis of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.

Who has been working hard in this direction. And has personally kept Pope Francis informed, meeting with him in Rome last May 26.

The solution designed by Bartholomew is similar to the one that put an end to the Western schism at the end of the Middle Ages, when the three popes in office resigned in order to bring about the election of a new pope recognized by all.

In Bartholomew’s plan, the three Orthodox Churches now present in Ukraine would have to give up the jurisdiction they now exercise in order to allow the creation of a new Orthodox ecclesial subject in which the respective bishops, priests, and faithful would converge.

This new unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church would not necessarily be a patriarchate, but it would still enjoy its own autonomy and autocephaly.

And for the patriarchate of Moscow this would be a high price to pay, because it would lose any jurisdiction in Ukraine that it is now guaranteed by the Orthodox Church under its rule.

In Moscow, Patriarch Kirill and his deputy Hilarion are therefore understandably very distrustful in the face of this operation. And Russian President Putin is even more hostile, being at war with Ukraine and not wanting to see any decrease in his dominion over the region by autonomist religious as well as political movements.

But it is not out of the question that Constantinople patriarch Bartholomew may want to bring the operation into port anyway, even with the opposition of Moscow. There would be a repeat, in this case, of what happened in 2016 with the pan-Orthodox council, strongly backed by Barhtolomew and ultimately celebrated in spite of the defection of the patriarchate of Moscow.

And the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, what role is it playing in this affair?

It is certainly very active in supporting the reunification of the three Orthodox Churches, in agreement above all with the most anti-Russian one, which has in Filaret its self-proclaimed patriarch. But the officials of the patriarchate of Moscow are accusing it of something much more serious: of wanting to surreptitiously lead this reunified Ukrainian Orthodox world back into unity with the Greek Catholics as well, and therefore into obedience to the Church of Rome.

This is the “uniatism” that Pope Francis as well has condemned in no uncertain terms, in his discourse on May 30 to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow. “Uniatism” is the most intolerable thing there is for the Orthodox. It stands for the mimicry of those who display a resemblance to them in everything, in the Byzantine Greek liturgies, in customs, in the calendar, in the married clergy, but in addition to this obey – and want to make others obey – the pope of Rome.

At the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with the title of major archbishop, is Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 48, a dynamic figure of great intelligence, whom Jorge Mario Bergoglio knows personally on account of a period of time that he spent in Buenos Aires caring for Ukrainian emigrants in Argentina.

This does not change the fact that Pope Francis addressed against none other than him, without mentioning him by name, the harshest words of his discourse on May 30, ordering him “not to meddle in internal matters” of Orthodoxy.

Among Shevchuk, Kirill, and Bartholomew, therefore, in this matter the pope is clearly distancing himself from the first of these, as he has also done with regard to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

While between Kirill and Bartholomew he is trying to be friends with both. With a greater preference for the Russian patriarch, in the event of a tie between the two.

*

It can be pointed out, in confirmation of this last preference of the pope, that Francis has declined to grant a place of worship in Rome to the Orthodox faithful of Russian tradition who fall under Bartholomew’s jurisdiction.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Bang up job on choosing Pope Francis in 2013 Cardinals.  No Pope would have been preferable.