Dictator Pope

National Catholic Register has published an interview with the author of Dictator Pope, Henry Sire:

 

 

Edward Pentin gives us the details:

 

Henry Sire says he wrote the book The Dictator Pope because he felt it necessary to uncover the “gap” between what he says is the media “facade” of Pope Francis and the “reality as it is known in the Vatican.”

In a March 26 interview with the Register (see video below), Sire says that Francis is essentially a “politician who relies on public relations,” a “maverick pope” who manipulates the media and falls short of acting in a collegial manner with bishops.  

Pope Francis doesn’t deal with bishops “in a collegial spirit at all,” Sire says, despite the Holy Father’s often stated wish to make the Church more collegial and decentralized.

“They were treated much more collegially under Benedict XVI. No, as I say, Pope France is a dictator,” explains the historian, who is half Spanish and traveled to Buenos Aires to research the book.

 

Go here to read the rest.

7

PopeWatch: Pro-lifers

John-Henry Western at Lifesite News gives a few reasons why pro-lifers have small reason to love this Pope:

 

 

1) From the outset of the papacy has come an overt shift in focus on pro-life to other concerns. (“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods… I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”)

2) The sentiment has remained consistent throughout the papacy and has gone from merely interviews into official Church teaching in the latest apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate. In that document, he equated issues such as immigration and poverty with abortion in contrast to statements from previous Popes.

3) The approach explains the seemingly incomprehensible praise that Pope Francis lavished on Italy’s most prominent promoter of abortion, whom he called one of the nation’s “forgotten greats” for her work on immigration. Even though unrepentant and an abortion pusher making Cecile Richards look tame, the Pope’s praise for her has led to her speaking at various Catholic churches despite protests from pro-lifers.

4) Since shortly after the election of Pope Francis there has been a steady stream of population control advocates speaking at the Vatican. These include: Paul Ehrlich, the father of the population control movement; John Bongaarts, vice president of the pro-abortion Population Council; pro-abortion U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon; pro-abortion UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs; and Prof. John Schellnhuber. The head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, who ran most of those conferences, is himself a population control advocate. Sorondo said on camera at one such Vatican conference that limiting births was an obligation of the Church – something he wouldn’t have dared under previous popes.

5) There have been numerous appointments and elevations of bishops and cardinals who are hostile to pro-life, alongside a demotion of strongly pro-life churchmen. Examples include Blase Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago and Cardinal despite his reputation for telling priests not to join 40 Days for Life; Belgium’s Cardinal Danneels; Germany’s Cardinal Kasper; and Belgium’s Josef de Kesel. Demotions and removals of strongly pro-life bishops and Cardinals include Cardinals Burke and Muller, Bishop Finn, and Bishop Nienstedt.

6) He removed the pro-life pledge from the Pontifical Academy for Life. And now appoints pro-abortion members, one of whom recently said the Bible calls for abortion in some cases.

7) Pope Francis pushed for the passage of the Sustainable Development Goals and praised its passage without reservation. Pro-life groups at the UN, including the Holy See Mission, have fought the SDGs for years because Target 3.7 explicitly calls for “universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services.” The UN defined these terms at the 1994 Cairo conference to mean providing women with “modern contraception” for “family planning” and with “safe abortion” where it is legal.

Go here to read the rest.  Oh, the Pope occasionally makes a verbal condemnation of abortion, and then goes back to giving every indication that the fight against abortion is of little to no consequence to him.  It is no mystery why some of the biggest fans of the Pope have been touting the fake “New Pro-life Movement” since it is quite clear that the Pope is no friend of the Real Pro-Life Movement.

3

I Place Before You St. Augustine and Jorge Bergoglio; Choose The Saint

 

 

St. Augustine had views on marriage, sin, adultery,  and conscience directly contrary to those of Jorge Bergolgio as stated in his proclamation Amoris Laetitia (“AL” below). Passages quoted below from the works of St. Augustine, (henceforth “St. Augustine”) and Jorge Bergoglio (henceforth “Jorge”) show how widely the views of Jorge depart from, and in many instances contradict, Church teaching.

 

  1. Can there be eternal condemnation ?

Jorge:  “The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever” (AL, 296).

St. Augustine:  “The Death of the Wicked Shall Be Eternal in the Same Sense as the Life of the Saints.This perpetual death of the wicked, then, that is, their alienation from the life of God, shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever men, prompted by their human affections, may conjecture as to a variety of punishments, or as to a mitigation or intermission of their woes; just as the eternal life of the saints shall abide for ever, and shall be common to them all, whatever grades of rank and honor there may be among those who shine with an harmonious effulgence.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 113).

 

  1. Can saying Hell is not eternal make it so, even if you are wearing papal white ?

Jorge:  “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel !” (AL. 297)

St. Augustine: “There is No Ground in Scripture for the Opinion of Those Who Deny the Eternity of Future Punishments. It is in vain, then, that some, indeed very many, make moan over the eternal punishment, and perpetual, unintermitted torments of the lost, and say they do not believe it shall be so; . . . at the suggestion of their own feelings, they soften down everything that seems hard, . . .there is no reason why they should therefore suppose that there will be an end to the punishment of those of whom it is said, These shall go away into everlasting punishment; for this shall end in the same manner and at the same time as the happiness of those of whom it is said, but the righteous unto life eternal. “(Enchiridion, Chapter 112).

 

  1.  Is there a  Mortal Sin-Loving Adultery-Full Holy Marriage  sacramental matrimony continuum ?

Jorge:  “Christian marriage, as a reflection of the union between Christ and his Church, is fully realized in the union between a man and a woman who give themselves to each other . . . Some forms of union radically contradict this ideal, while others realize it in at least a partial and analogous way. “ (AL, 292).

St. Augustine:  “Let us suppose another, a fornicator, unclean, lascivious, covetous, or even more openly given to idolatry, a student of witchcraft, a lover of strife and contention, envious, hot-tempered, seditious, jealous, drunken, and a reveller, but a Catholic; can it be that for this sole merit, that he is a Catholic, he will inherit the kingdom of God, though his deeds are of the kind of which the apostle thus concludes: “Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”  (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 18).

 

Jorge: “Whatever the case, “all these situations  [civil marriage without sacramental marriage; divorced and civil remarriage;  simple cohabitation;  de facto unions;  material poverty] require a constructive response seeking to transform them into opportunities that can lead to the full reality of marriage and family in conformity with the Gospel.” (AL, 294).

St. Augustine: “Let us therefore not flatter the Catholic who is hemmed in with all these vices, nor venture, merely because he is a Catholic Christian, to promise him the impunity which holy Scripture does not promise him . . .  For, in writing to the Corinthians, the apostle enumerates the several sins, under each of which it is implicitly understood that it shall not inherit the kingdom of God: “Be not deceived,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,  . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  He does not say, those who possess all these vices together shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but neither these nor those: so that, as each is named, you may understand that no one of them shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (On Baptism, Against The Donatists, Book IV, Chap 19).

 

  1. Is marriage a holy “Reality” for some &  loving adultery a holy “Reality” for others ?

Jorge: “ For the Church’s pastors are not only responsible for promoting Christian marriage, but also the “pastoral discernment of the situations of a great many who no longer live this reality.” (AL, 293)

St. Augustine: “We must, however, beware of incurring the prophetic condemnation: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. . . . Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil! For he condemns the work of God, which is the man, and praises the defect of man, which is the wickedness. .” (Enchiridion: Chapter 13).

 

  1. Can we enlist sympathy for innocent children to justify adultery ?

Jorge: “The Church acknowledges situations “where, for se- rious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate” (AL 298).

Jorge:  “I am in agreement with the many Synod Fathers who observed that “the baptized who are divorced and civilly remarried need to be more fully integrated into Christian communities in the variety of ways possible, while avoiding any occasion of scandal. . . .. This integration is also needed in the care and Christian upbring ing of their children, who ought to be considered most important”. (AL 299).

St. Augustine:  “ . . the good sons of adulterers are no defense of adulteries . . “ (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 18).

 

  1. Hirelings Say To The Sinner: You Do Not Sin

Jorge:  “ . . .since “the degree of responsibility is not equal  in  all  cases”, the  consequences  or  effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same.”  (AL, 300).

Jorge:  “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists” (AL, 300, footnote 336).

Jorge: “   Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace “ (AL, 301).

St. Augustine: “If the hireling observe anyone indulging in wicked talking, or in sentiments to the deadly hurt of his soul, or doing ought that is abominable and unclean, and notwithstanding that he seems to bear a character of some importance in the Church (from which if he hopes for advantage he is an hireling); says nothing, and when he sees the man perishing in his sin, sees the wolf following him, sees his throat dragged by his teeth to punishment; says not to him, You sin; does not chide him, lest he lose his own advantage. This I say is, When he sees the wolf, he flees; he does not say to him, You are doing wickedly. This is no flight of the body, but of the soul. He whom you see standing still in body flies in heart, when he sees a sinner, and does not say to him, You sin; yea when he even is in concert with him.” (Sermons ON New Testament Lessons, Sermon LXXXVII).

 

  1. Can an individual conscience make evil good ?

Jorge:  “Therefore, while upholding a general rule, it is necessary to recognize that responsibility with respect to certain actions or decisions is not the same in all cases. Pastoral discernment, while taking into account a person’s properly formed conscience, must take responsibility for these situations. Even the consequences of actions taken are not necessarily the same in all cases.” (AL, 302).

Jorge:  “ . . . individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis in certain situations which do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage.” (AL, 303).

Jorge:  “ Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. ”(AL, 303; emphasis added)

St. Augustine:   “But however strong may be the purposes either of angels or of men, whether of good or bad, whether these purposes fall in with the will of God or run counter to it, the will of the Omnipotent is never defeated; and His will never can be evil.” (Enchiridion, Chapter 102).

 

  1. Can there be God’s grace & good in the “faithfulnesss” of one adulterer to another ?

Jorge:  “ . . . it  is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace . . . By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. ” (AL, 305).

St. Augustine:  “ . . .they [married people] owe faith alike to one another.  . . But the violation of this faith is called adultery, when either by instigation of one’s own lust, or by consent of lust of another, there is sexual intercourse on either side with another against the marriage compact: and thus faith is broken . . . But when faith is employed to commit sin, it were strange that we should have to call it faith; however of whatever kind it be, if also the deed be done against it, it is the worse done;. . . . Thus a woman, if, having broken her marriage faith, she keep faith with her adulterer, is certainly evil . . ..” (On The Good Of Marriage, Section 4).

 

 

Conclusion

St. Augustine, over sixteen hundred years ago, warned about those within the Church itself who would proclaim heresy and lead the faithful into sin:

“. . . . Nevertheless, what ought above all things to be guarded against is, that no individual may allow himself to be tempted and deceived by men who are within the Catholic Church itself, and who are borne by it like the chaff that is sustained against the time of its winnowing. . . .. Accordingly, you will have to witness many drunkards, covetous men, deceivers gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, men who bind upon their persons sacrilegious charms and others given up to sorcerers and astrologers, and diviners practised in all kinds of impious arts..  . . . . .. Consequently, when you see many not only doing these things but also defending and recommending them, keep yourself firmly by the law of God, and follow not its willful transgressors. For it is not according to their mind, but according to His truth that you will be judged . . . .Believe these things, therefore, and be on your guard against temptations (for the devil seeks for others who may be brought to perish along with himself); so that not only may that adversary fail to seduce you by the help of those who are without the Church, whether they be pagans, or Jews, or heretics; but you yourself also may decline to follow the example of those within the Catholic Church itself whom you see leading an evil life,. . . But as regards the perverse, even if they find their way within the walls of the Church, think not that they will find their way into the kingdom of heaven; for in their own time they will be set apart, if they have not altered to the better.”  (On The Catechising Of The Uninstructed, Chapter 25, Section 48, emphasis added).

 

Link to Augustine’s Works: (and many other Fathers Of The Church: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/index.html)

 

3

Complex Situations

From Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise.  I doubt if this would have been a parody if Pope Francis had been Pope during World War II, when Argentinian Dictator Juan Peron was playing footsie with the Third Reich:

 

 

Today, Pope Francis was asked about the pending murders of millions of additional people in the many extermination camps operated by the Nazis across Central and Eastern Europe:

I entrust to your prayer the members of those peoples and nations, living, sometimes for a long period, in situations of restricted movement, involuntary captivity or other potentially fatal circumstances due to the requirements of the war. By these I chiefly mean the Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, Polish professionals and others, and of course Catholics. These are delicate and complex situations. We pray that every group and race is always respected in its dignity and treated in a way adapted to its condition, with the agreement of the relevant parties including local authorities and political and military professionals.

A week earlier, the Pope had “tweeted” his support for those being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau and destined for its gas chambers:

It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying the Jews and others on their difficult journey made necessary by the current situation, and that the deep suffering of those affected by these measures may be heard. I am praying for the Jews, as well as for Germany and all others that may be involved.


*If you think this parody is unfair, tell that to Alfie Evans.

 

Go here to comment.

6

PopeWatch: Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels

Marco Tossati at One Peter Five gives us yet another example of the fact that orthodox orders have a target on their backs in this Pontificate:

 

The Pope signs the decree of dissolution of the Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels, which had been providing a considerable number of priests and seminarians in the ecclesial desert of Belgium. A blow carried out without waiting for the ecclesiastical process to follow its natural course in responding to the recourse presented by parishioners.

Remember the case of the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles of Brussels? In the disastrous panorama of the Belgian Church, and of the European capital that is perhaps the most de-Christianized of all, the then-Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, André Léonard, had created a priestly fraternity in 2013 inspired by the charism of the French priest Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine. It had grown to include 23 seminarians and 6 priests, an extraordinary development in a national Church which last year did not have even one new seminarian in the French-speaking dioceses. The fraternity was given pastoral care of a parish in the center of Brussels, Saint Catherine, and their presence signaled a new flowering of faith and activity.

Then-Archbishop André Léonard was a man of faith, and for his defense of the values of the Church he underwent many attacks (including physical assault) and humiliations, among which were the fact that he did not receive, as would have been logical, the red hat of a Cardinal, but rather as soon as he turned 75 he was rapidly dismissed by the reigning Pontiff. His post was taken by Archbishop De Kesel, great protégé of the widely-discussed Cardinal Danneels, who was involved in a troubling inquest regarding abuses in his role in protecting an abusing bishop. De Kesel naturally was made a cardinal, and one of his first actions was his decision to no longer welcome the Fraternity, which had taken on care of another parish in addition to Saint Catherine. The officially-stated reason for the decision was that many of the seminarians were French, and thus it was said to be better that they would return to their respective dioceses in France, for reasons of “episcopal solidarity.”

Naturally, the parishioners in Brussels did not believe this vacuous excuse for a moment, and they requested a meeting with the Archbishop in order to express their objections: “Archbishop De Kesel does not want to welcome the Fraternity any longer on the pretext that it includes too many French members. Is he really the bishop of the capital of Europe in the 21st century? The principle of solidarity with the French bishops invoked in the communication of the Archbishop explaining the reason for not continuing the work started by Archbishop Léonard, despite all of the successes of the Fraternity recognized by the same communication, does not make any sense. In effect, out of 80 seminarians in formation in Namur (at the Belgian national seminary), only 25 are Belgian. Will they all be sent back to their home countries? Will all of the African and Polish priests who have come here to help us carry the message of Christ to Belgium also be sent home? Is the Catholic Church no longer universal? Does it no longer transcend national borders?”

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch does not believe that Pope Francis is an anti-Pope, but if he were an anti-Pope, what would he be doing differently?

10

PopeWatch: Francis in Hindsight

 

 

 

“This too shall pass.”  As Lincoln noted, that phrase is a comforting thought during periods of trial and tribulation.  How will the current pontificate be recalled in the history of the Church?

 

Ross Douthat, author of a book just released critical of the Francis Papacy, has an idea in an interview in The National Catholic Register:

Do you think it more likely that Pope Francis will be remembered as a “heroic revolutionary” or as an “ambitious pope who overreached”?

The latter, I’m afraid. But what I’m sure of is that he’s put himself in a position where those are increasingly the only two plausible legacies. The Church will either have to tacitly repudiate his innovations in order to restore consistency and continuity, or else follow them further to where they seem to lead, in which case his impact will be genuinely revolutionary. At this point, it’s hard to see a middle ground (unless he changes course dramatically); I may be wrong about the wisdom of his vision, but I’m sure I’m right that the Catholics of the future will remember this pontificate as an exceptionally significant one, for good or ill.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch thinks that the Francis papacy will be either viewed as a big disaster or a little disaster.  If a little disaster is the consensus it will be because his pontificate is followed by a swift reversal.  A big disaster will be if Francis is followed by think-a-like successors who take the Church down the pathway carved out by many mainline Protestant churches that substitute transient current Leftism for Christianity.  Such churches radically shrink in numbers and swiftly become irrelevant.  Ultimately the hard core of Orthodox Catholics would regain control a century or so hence and begin the mission of the Church anew, and Francis would be regarded as a second Judas.

7

PopeWatch: Hmmm

Well this is interesting.  From Oakes Spalding at Mahound’s Paradise:

 

In the Spring of 2014, the Catholic publisher Ignatius Press featured nine books by or about Pope Francis in their catalog, from The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) to Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli. Ignatius also advertised a “Pope Francis Portrait,” the “Pope Francis Rosary” and the DVD, Who is Pope Francis: The Life and Message of Pope Francis. Here is the full list:

The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin & On Self-Accusation by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 

Education for Choosing Life: Proposals for Difficult Times by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 

Pope Francis: A short bio of the Holy Father 

Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend: Personal Recollections about the Man Who Became Pope, edited by Alejandro Bermudez 

The Light of Faith (Lumen Fidei) by Pope Francis 

Francis: Pope of a New World by Andrea Tornielli 

Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio by Francesca Ambrogietti and Sergio Rubin 

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio & Abraham Skorka 

In Him Alone Is Our Hope: The Church According to the Heart of Pope Francis by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) 

Pope Francis Portrait 

Pope Francis Rosary 

DVD: Who Is Pope Francis? The Life and Message of Pope Francis

As Francis was, of course, then, the Pope, this was par for the course for one of the major Catholic publishers. The first catalog to be created after Francis’ election, Fall 2013, featured many items relating to the new pope. And similar large selections of works by or about Francis continued to be featured in successive catalogs up until recently.

Most of the 2014 items are still available on the Ignatius website, and, as might be expected, there are numerous additional books by or about Francis, published in the interim, also available on the site.
However, something else changed.
Pope Francis, and indeed all references to Pope Francis have almost entirely vanished from Ignatius’ current (Spring 2018) sixty-four page catalog.
Suddenly absent are all the titles listed above as are all other more recent items still available such as the Pope’s four (at the time) encyclicals and exhortations, the book, Pope Francis on the Family, the DVD, Francis the Pope of Renewal, the CD Habemus Papam and so on.
Indeed, as far as I can tell from flipping through the first five pages of a website search, every single item by or about Pope Francis is now on “clearance,” including the e-books and, yes, that rosary.
Go here to read the rest.
1

PopeWatch: Papal Phone Call

PopeWatch was working in his office when he received a phone call.  His secretary reported, “Heavy Hispanic accent, doesn’t sound Mexican.”  PopeWatch took the call.

“Are you the gringo who writes for The American Catholic?”

PopeWatch hesitantly  acknowledged that he was.

“This is the Pope.”

“I recognize your voice now Holiness.  I thought from our last conversation that you wanted me not to call you again.”

“Si, es verdad, but I said nothing about me calling you.”

“I understand, but why are you calling me?”

“I will explain that in my next call in a few days.  Stay healthy gringo.”

The line went dead.  The secretary of PopeWatch observed that the calls get nuttier by the day.

7

PopeWatch: The Francis Effect

Mass attendance in the US is on the decline:

 

An average of 39 percent of U.S. Catholics attended church weekly during the heart of the Francis papacy, from 2014 to 2017, Gallup found in a survey released April 9, which represents a significant drop from the 45 percent of Catholics who attended weekly Mass from 2005 to 2008, in the early years of the Benedict pontificate.

Go here to read the rest.  So much for the Francis Effect of luring people back to the pews.  However the thought occurs that for the Pope the decline in Mass attendance may well be a feature of his pontificate and not a bug.

4

Dictator Pope

One of the iron rules of life is that if Leftists are placed in charge of any institution, the idea of respectful disagreement is taken out and shot.  Case in point from Father Z:

 

Did you read the Catholic Herald story?   It seems that the Sovereign Military Merciless Order of Malta (SMOM) has commanded its members not to say or write anything “offensive” about Pope Francis.

Also, and this is a little creepy, members are instructed to grass on, rat out, any member who does say or write something “offensive” about the Pope.

It isn’t entirely clear what might constitute “offensive”.   But then again, during the Cultural Revolution in China it wasn’t entirely clear what was “offensive” about Mao.

I don’t remember them doing this about John Paul II or Benedict XVI.  Then again, they were under different ownership at the time, weren’t they.

Is saying something like, “The Pope made a mistake about how he handled the situation of the Chilean bishop” offensive?

Is saying something like, “I think the Pope should wear the traditional papal vestments for the Urbi et Orbi blessing” offensive?

Is saying something like, “What the Pope said about women being ‘strawberries on the cake’ was offensive to women!”, offensive?

Do you suppose this is retroactive?   Are Knights of SMOM suppose to tattle on anyone who wrote something “offensive” about Benedict XVI?

 

Go here to read the rest.  Always remember Iowahawk’s accurate description of the mode of operation of the Left:

1. Target a respected institution 2. Kill & clean it 3. Wear it as a skin suit, while demanding respect

 

 

 

 

7

PopeWatch: Grave Errors

Well, it is a start in regard to acknowledging grave errors:

Pope Francis has admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in a clerical sex abuse scandal in Chile and invited the abuse victims he had discredited to Rome to beg their forgiveness.

In an extraordinary letter published on Wednesday, Francis also summoned all of Chile’s bishops to the Vatican for an emergency summit in the coming weeks to discuss the scandal, which has badly tarnished his reputation and that of the Chilean church.

The Vatican orders up such emergency visits only on rare occasions, when Vatican intervention is urgently required, such as when the clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in the United States in 2002.

Francis said the meeting, which comes just a year after the Chilean bishops were last in Rome on a regular visit, would have as its objective “repairing scandal where possible and re-establishing justice”.

Francis blamed a lack of “truthful and balanced information” in his missteps in judging the case of Bishop Juan Barros, a protege of Chile’s most notorious predator priest, the Rev Fernando Karadima. Francis had strongly defended Barros during his January visit to Chile, despite accusations by victims that he witnessed and ignored their abuse.

In Chile and during an airborne press conference returning to Rome, Francis had accused the victims of “slander” for pressing their case against Barros, demanded they present “proof” of their claims, revealed he had twice rejected Barros’s resignation and insisted: “I am convinced he is innocent.”

After his remarks caused an outcry, Francis sent the Vatican’s most respected sex abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna to Chile.

 

Go here to read the rest.  I hope the Papal dentist can deal with the teeth grinding  that Pope Francis is no doubt engaging in.  A very proud man, Pope Francis has rarely admitted to error, unless it is an error decades in his past.  Does anyone believe that the Pope knows more about the sex abuse situation in Chile than he did when he made his initial comments.  No, it is not additional knowledge that causes this confession of error, but because Pope Francis received negative coverage from the media that usually lauds him to the stars.  Pope Francis cares not a whit what Orthodox Catholic media, or conservative media says about him, but if he is criticized by liberal or leftist media, he will come crawling on his knees to seek forgiveness.  PopeWatch is glad that the Pope admitted error in regard to Chile.  Would to heaven he was willing to do do for reasons better than fearing criticism from the Left.

 

13

PopeWatch: Abortion

And the fruits of the current Pontificate keep coming:

 

Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate “blurs lines and causes confusion” about the gravity of abortion, the leader of a pro-life group that majorly influences U.S. politics said today.

Pope Francis wrote that migration shouldn’t be seen as a “secondary” or “lesser” issue to “‘grave’ bioethical questions” and that helping “victims” of “every form of rejection” is just as important as defending the pre-born.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, said it’s “impossible” to give any other social justice issue the same moral weight as abortion. SBA List and its partner super PAC, Women Speak Out, spent more than $18 million in the 2016 election cycle. The group focuses on electing pro-life candidates, especially pro-life women.

“It is impossible to equate the moral weight of abortion – the direct killing of innocent unborn children occurring on a daily massive scale, here in America and abroad – with any other social justice issue,” said Dannenfelser. “The right to live predates or precludes every other right. It is simple logic. Without the fundamental right to life, no debate can even begin on the rights that follow.”

“The Catholic Church has long taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil that must always be opposed,” she continued. “Today’s statement by Pope Francis confirms this when he says ‘Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.’ We all affirm the absolute dignity of the migrants and those suffering from poverty. How we solve these issues are matters of prudential judgment on which Catholics can disagree. Today’s exhortation blurs lines and causes confusion.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  One of the keys to understanding this Pontificate is to pay zero attention to what the Pope says and to focus on what he does.  The Pope regularly verbally condemns abortion, but his actions are completely the reverse.  From kneecapping the Pontical Academy for Life, to celebrating pro-abort politicians and giving papal awards to them to having pro-aborts speak at papal conferences, the Pope has routinely given the impression that he could care less about the fight against abortion.  For the ordinary Catholic pro-lifer the best they can hope from this Vatican is malign indifference.

16

PopeWatch: Seamless Garment Take Two

Pope Francis resurrects the moth eaten seamless garment:

Pope Francis’ remarks on the issue appear in paragraphs 101-102 of the exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate reproduced in full below:

101. The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.

102. We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him (cf. Mt 25:35)? Saint Benedict did so readily, and though it might have “complicated” the life of his monks, he ordered that all guests who knocked at the monastery door be welcomed “like Christ”, with a gesture of veneration; the poor and pilgrims were to be met with “the greatest care and solicitude”.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope thus gives political coverage to his Leftist pro-abort buddies and neuters the fight of the Church against abortion.  May Christ forgive him.

 

9

PopeWatch: Schism

Pope Francis, the Pope of the Great Schism of the Twenty-First Century, may be how he is remembered:

 

 

The recent proposal by Germany’s bishops to allow some Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion under certain conditions is meeting serious resistance in Germany, as well as opposition from some Church leaders elsewhere.

On April 4, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper reported that seven German bishops — including Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne — have written an urgent appeal to the Vatican in protest against the proposal.

According to German media, the seven bishops said in their letter that they believe the proposal contradicts Catholic doctrine, undermines Church unity and exceeds the competence of the bishops’ conference. The letter, leaked to the media April 4, was sent last month to both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, the president of the German bishops’ conference, sent a letter to Germany’s bishops Wednesday, written and released immediately after the seven bishops’ letter was leaked. In it, the cardinal defended the bishops’ conference’s decision, saying it was consistent with theological and ecumenical texts and canon law.

Cardinal Marx, who according to a prelate invariably invokes the Pope to justify his positions, also said it was the result of “the encouragement of Pope Francis to take further steps in ecumenism.”

At their spring conference in February, Germany’s bishops voted in favor of producing a guide, or pastoral handout, to allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion under certain circumstances.

They voted overwhelmingly to offer guidelines allowing a Protestant partner of a Catholic to receive the Eucharist if, after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, the partner “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.”

At the time, Cardinal Marx said the guide would only be a “pastoral handout” and that the intention is not to “change any doctrine.” He said the proposal rejects any path for Protestant spouses to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return.” It also leaves much discretion of the local bishop who may establish new laws in this area, he said.

 

Go here to read the rest.  A Pope has two main duties:  to defend the teachings of the Church and to maintain the unity of the Church.  Pope Francis has been a grade one disaster as to both/

1

PopeWatch: April Fools

In a little noted meeting with media on April 1, 2018, Pope Francis proclaimed his papacy the April Fools Pontificate:

 

We are all, or should be, fools for Christ.  And in the Spirit of Our Savior who smiled and laughed while He walked among us here on Earth, I have striven to present to the Faithful a minuscule fraction of the mirth that God experiences from watching the pratfalls of mankind as we wend our way through History.  It pains me that many Catholics have failed to get the joke, and have taken many of my humorous asides seriously.  Now, really, who could possibly think, for example, that the Vicar of Christ would ever talk about Catholics breeding like rabbits, except as a joke? My laugh riot “encyclicals” have been mistakenly moved out of the papal joke category and have been taken, incredibly, as actual encyclicals by too many humor impaired of the Faithful.  It is rightly said that when a comic has to explain a joke, the joke is ruined.  To simplify matters, I do here proclaim that in future if I make a statement dressed as Bobo the Papal Clown, the Faithful may assume that I am speaking gravely and seriously.  On all other occasions I am only being my customary Pontiff Fun and jesting with you.  I hope this statement has been an adequate clarification and that the nasty American Catholic blogs will now cease to pursue me as if I were actually serious as to the buffoonish statements and writings that have made my pontificate, I trust, truly memorable, and a source of laughter for intelligent orthodox Catholics.

The Pope then had members of his Swiss Guard spray the members of the Fourth Estate present with seltzer water, and the audience was at an end.

14

PopeWatch: Cardinal Burke Nails It

While almost all our hapless Cardinals sit mute, Cardinal Burke calls a spade a spade.  Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us the news:

Cardinal Raymond Burke has said Pope Francis is not only “refusing to clarify”  the Church’s doctrine and discipline but also “increasing the confusion” on the “most fundamental and important issues.”

In an interview Thursday with the Italian Catholic daily La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, the patron of the Order of Malta said the “confusion and division” in the Church on such important issues as marriage and the family, the sacraments, intrinsically evil acts, eternal life and the Last Things “are becoming more and more widespread.”

In spite of this, he said the Pope “not only refuses to clarify things by proclaiming the constant doctrine and sound discipline of the Church, a responsibility inherent in his ministry as the Successor of St. Peter, but he is also increasing the confusion.”

Asked if he was referring to statements coming from some of those who have spoken or met with the Pope (recently an Argentine sister said the Pope told her contraception is permissible in some cases, and a French priest said Francis condoned the blessing of homosexual couples), Cardinal Burke referred in particular to alleged comments the Pope made to the Italian atheist Eugenio Scalfari over Easter. Scalfari replorted in the La Repubblica newspaper that the Pope told him he doesn’t believe in the existence of hell, but that unrepentant sinners simply disappear.

That episode “went beyond what is tolerable,” Cardinal Burke said, adding that to have a well-known atheist speaking on behalf of the Pope in “denying the immortality of the human soul and the existence of hell, has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many people in the secular world who have respect for the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them.”

He also decried the fact that the story came out on Holy Thursday, “one of the holiest days of the year,” and that the Holy See’s response was “highly inadequate.”  

“Instead of clearly reasserting the truth about the immortality of the human soul and hell, the denial only states that some of the words quoted are not the Pope’s,” he said. “It does not say that the erroneous and even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by the Pope, and that the Pope repudiates these ideas as contrary to the Catholic Faith.”

“This playing around with faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalized,” Cardinal Burke added.

He went on to say the current situation is “further aggravated” by the silence of bishops and cardinals, and that ”the faithful who understand the gravity of the situation” are left feeling “lost” while those who don’t understand the crisis are left “in confusion and possibly victims of errors that are harmful to their souls.”

He also said those who have chosen to come into the Church “suffer intensely” from the situation as they perceive the Church is going down the same road of Protestant ecclesial communities and “abandoning the faith.”

Cardinal Burke alluded to an “apostasy from the faith” taking place within the Church and that in such a situation, bishops and cardinals “have the duty to proclaim true doctrine” and the College of Cardinals in particular must act as a “check against papal error.”

Go here to read the rest.  Never forget that when the clergy refuse to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy, the laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to do so.  God forgive those Cardinals who by their silence deny Christ just as much as Peter did.

 

 

18

PopeWatch: Contraception

Well, this is unsurprising:

An Argentinian religious sister acclaimed for her work against the trafficking and exploitation of children has said Pope Francis told her responsible parenthood requires contraceptives in some cases.

This, despite the Church’s constant teaching that the use of artificial contraception is always intrinsically evil. 

In an interview on Tuesday with the Argentinian radio program Crónica Anunciada, Carmelite missionary sister Martha Pelloni said Pope Francis “told me three words” about the need for responsible parenthood among poor rural women: “condoms, transitory, and reversible.”

The radio interview covered poverty rates, drug trafficking and the decriminalization of abortion in Argentina.

Sr. Pelloni, who is opposed to abortion, said the Pope told her various forms of contraception could be permissible to prevent poor women from choosing abortion. She included condoms, “a diaphragm, and as a last resort, which is what we advise for rural women that we serve, because I have a foundation for the peasantry, tubal ligation.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch begins to suspect that either Pope Francis has a terrible problem with being misquoted, or he is simply a heretic.  Useless Cardinals, where art thou?

 

6

PopeWatch: The Other Side of the Hill

In any conflict it is all too easy to ignore how things might look to your opponents.  From The National Catholic Reporter:

 

Sr. Joan Chittister makes two very important points in her article on the first five years of the Francis papacy.

Sadly, her first point is that it seems only too clear that the momentum of the Francis papacy has stalled. So many of us had such great hopes for what Pope Francis would be able to do, but there is little to show for these past five years.

There is no doubt that Francis dramatically changed the style of church governance. His humble, pastoral approach demands greater compassion, understanding and care for the poor and the migrant. Yet there is resistance even to the most Gospel-oriented actions of this pope. Even in fulfilling Jesus’ command to wash the feet of one another, it was made clear by some that certain people’s feet were not to be washed. We wait for divorced and remarried Catholics to be allowed to share in the sacramental life of the church, but the church remains stingy with its largesse. Are female deacons on the horizon? I doubt many would believe this to be likely.

Francis, of course has flaws. He has been tepid and uncertain on addressing women’s issues in the church. He lacks a complete understanding of what needs to be done to ensure equality for women, and why that is so important for women and the church. His efforts at addressing sexual abuse issues also falter. He sometimes seems strong, and at other times his moves are confusing.

His visit to Chile is a case in point. His strong defense of his friend Bishop Juan Barros is difficult to defend. Francis had to back away, and we are forced to wonder whom he is talking to and just how isolated he may be.

Francis himself seems to have tired of the struggle. It’s almost as if he feels he has gone as far as he can and is discouraged from continuing to push for change. The resistance is winning. The conservative hierarchy is unwilling to relinquish power and seems to have the wherewithal to maintain it. Why is Francis’ council of eight cardinals who were to govern the church not doing more?

 

Go here to read the rest.  Time once again for the favorite poem of PopeWatch:

 

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
     The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
     And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking
     Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back through creeks and inlets making,
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
     But westward, look, the land is bright.
Arthur Hugh Clough

 

 

 

6

PopeWatch: The Pope and the Dismal Science

Further evidence that when the Pope talks about economics, he is without a clue:

 

On Palm Sunday and World Youth Day, Pope Francis told youth “not to keep quiet even if others keep quiet.” Young people should take his advice and speak out against Pope Francis’s economic agenda.

In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis said, “Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world.”

Those young people should note that Pope Francis clings to outdated structures and customs. He continues to push the high tax, government wealth-redistribution model that undermines market capitalism, which entrepreneurs, young and old, need to thrive.

 

Pope Francis argues that capitalism and globalization lead to poverty and inequality. In a 2015 interview, he said, “It is true that in absolute terms the world’s wealth has grown, but inequality and poverty have arisen.” His antimarket fervor stands at some distance from the facts.

From 1981 to 2013 the percentage of the world’s population living in absolute poverty (with incomes less than $2 per day) fell from 42 percent to 10.7 percent, according to the World Bank. This happened as market liberalization spread, lifting billions of people out of abject poverty over the past two decades alone.

More than 500 million people in China escaped crushing poverty after promarket reforms allowed unprecedented freedom for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, invest capital, innovate with new technology, trade globally, and hire the best employees. The same process has been at work in India.

At the same time, global income inequality has declined noticeably because of liberalizing economic reforms. Economist Branko Milanovic found that the global Gini value, a common measure of income inequality, decreased from 72.2 in 1988 to 67 in 2011. A lower Gini value means less inequality.

By ignoring these achievements of market liberalization and continuing to push for more government control, Pope Francis undermines entrepreneurship and wealth creation. He should heed the consequences of the policies he favors.

 

Go here to read the rest.  That a pope is bone ignorant about economics is unsurprising.  The problem of course is that the Pope is unaware of his ignorance and constantly supports policies that would make people poorer if implemented.  When a Pope tells us not to forget the poor, he is echoing Christ.  When a Pope tells us how to run an economy, his arguments must stand or fall like anyone else’s, since his office clearly gives him no special economic charism.

11

Five Years of Lent

The Pope has said that there is no Hell and that the souls of the damned are simply annihilated.  The Vatican denies that he said it:

 

.- On Thursday the Holy See stated that a reported interview between Pope Francis and an Italian journalist, which claims the Pope denied the existence of hell, should not be considered an accurate depiction of Francis’ words, but the author’s own “reconstruction.”

A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,” the March 29 communique stated.

“What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist, is the founder and former editor of Italian leftist newspaper La Repubblica. In an article published on the site March 29, Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him, “hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of the souls of sinners exists.”

Go here to read the rest.  Who to believe?  Well Patrick Henry once noted that “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.”

The same thing was reported by the same elderly Italian atheist journalist three years ago.  Go here to read about it.  The Vatican has often claimed this same journalist routinely misquotes the Pope in his reports of the interviews he has with the Pope.  Riddle me this:  If the Pope is misquoted, why does he keep coming back for additional interviews?  This entire Pontificate has been five years of Lent for faithful Catholics.

2

PopeWatch: Pope Resigns!

In a shocking development Pope Francis has announced his resignation effective Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.  The Vatican statement is as follows:

 

“His Holiness has announced his resignation which will be immediately after Easter Mass.  Noting that he has accomplished much of what he set out to accomplish, he has said that it was time for a younger man to take on the blessed burden of Mother Church.   He plans to retire to Argentina and to spend his time praying, in good works and blogging.  He assures the faithful that no doubt the Holy Spirit will be as efficacious in the choice of his successor as the Holy Spirit was when he was chosen.  He has enjoyed his time as Pope except for the cruel attacks by some American Catholic bloggers.”

The Pope Emeritus has announced his fond farewell to Pope Francis and has mentioned that in the unlikely event the Conclave were to choose him, he would reluctantly agree to serve.

PopeWatch has been unable to  confirm the rumor that a rainbow out of a clear sky suddenly appeared over Saint Peters at the time  of the announcement of the resignation.

 

Then PopeWatch woke up, and with that PopeWatch will be on Easter hiatus until April 2, 2018.

5

PopeWatch: Petty

One of the hallmarks of the current pontificate is its essential pettiness:

The Knights of Malta say they have suspended historian Henry Sire for allegedly breaching their constitution, following revelations that he is the mysterious author of The Dictator Pope. However, Sire himself maintains the suspension is null and illegal under the Order’s rules.

According to the Order, Sire was notified of the alleged suspension on Wednesday.

Sire’s identity as the author of The Dictator Pope was confirmed on Monday, when Regnery Press posted his name and background on an online description of the book. Sire originally self-published the book under the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna, a historical figure best remembered for his service as admiral of the papal fleet in the Battle of Lepanto.

On Monday, Sire tweeted from his official Marcantonio Colonna account: “As the French say, l’heure est arrivée. Sometimes a surprise coming-out party is best.”

“I tip my hat to the great Admiral Colonna, whose name I’ve tried to honor,” he added.

Sire released a statement today disputing the Order’s claim to have suspended him. “The proceeding against me (of which I was notified yesterday) is wholly illegal. It has been initiated by the Grand Chancellor, with the consent of the Lieutenant of the Order. The laws of the Order stipulate that such a proceeding has to be initiated by my superior, who is the Grand Commander, and he has not been involved. Moreover, the superior has to initiate the process without communicating with the Grand Chancellor. These requirements have been comprehensively ignored.”

“It is also ironical that these illegalities have been committed by the Grand Chancellor, who ousted the Grand Master a year ago by protesting at the supposed illegalities of his own suspension.”

Go here to read the rest.

 

4

PopeWatch: Scapegoat

 

 

A victim has been found to be sacrificed for Lettergate:

 

Msgr. Vigano read selected passages from the letter at a presentation on 12 March. Then journalists received a doctored image of the letter, which blurred out the lines where Pope Benedict explained he would not be reading the books.

In his letter of resignation (in Italian), Msgr. Vigano told Pope Francis that although it was not intentional, his actions had “destabilised the complex and great work of reform”.

“I think that for me stepping aside would be a fruitful occasion for renewal,” he said.

The Vatican press office has not explained why the picture of the letter was doctored. It told the Associated Press that it was never intended for full publication.

 

Go here to read the rest.  To complete the farce, the Pope in accepting the resignation then promptly appointed Vigano as second in command of the organization he just resigned as head of in ostensible disgace.  The safe course in regard to this Vatican is to assume that everything said or written by them is a lie until proven otherwise.

3

PopeWatch: Cartoon Pope

Left wing loon, cartoonist Ted Rall, finally has found a Pope he likes:

Written from a far-left political perspective, the book calls Pope Francis a refreshing new leader but argues that he isn’t liberal enough.

While entertainingly drawn and sharply written, ultimately the book is too tendentious in its political bias.

Rall, an atheist and Pulitzer Prize finalist, advocates for same-sex marriage, contraception, married priests, female priests and abortion. Acknowledging the unlikelihood of the Catholic Church ever changing its stance on these core issues — the pontiff himself has no power to revise dogma, though the celibacy of the clergy is a matter of practice, not technically doctrine — Rall instead celebrates Francis as the harbinger of a “new tone” in the church.

Go here to read the rest.  By your fan base shall we know ye.

 

1

PopeWatch: Dictator Pope

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

 

About the author

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

 

9

PopeWatch: Lettergate

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

Translated:

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

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

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

Yours,

Benedict XVI

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

6

PopeWatch: Mystery

 

 

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

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

3

PopeWatch: Deck Stacking

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

11

PopeWatch: Liars

Anyone shocked by this?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8

Five Years Ago

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

 

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

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

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

5

PopeWatch: Vatican

The Lepanto Institute gives us a lesson in Vatican priorities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Society of the Crossed Keys

Vatican Lawsuit 03

Prime Real Estate of Florida

Vatican Lawsuit 04

Metro Local Locksmith

Vatican Lawsuit 05

Cross Keys Animal Hospital

Vatican Lawsuit 06

The Cross Keys Inn

Vatican Lawsuit 07

York Minster

Vatican Lawsuit 08

Cross Keys Bank

Vatican Lawsuit 09

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

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

Why?  Because:

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s not even the worst of it.

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

 

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

 

11

PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae War

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

 

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

*

THOSE WHO MANIPULATE PAUL VI

by Livio Melina

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

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

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

 

12

PopeWatch: Canonization Factory

And the modern canonization factory for popes continues apace:

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

5

PopeWatch: Scandal

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

3

PopeWatch: If Only the Tsar Knew

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

7

PopeWatch: Shamefull

 

 

From US News and World Report:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2

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

Well, I think we can all agree on this:

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Rudyard Kipling

 

 

 

PopeWatch: Liturgical Strippers

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

 

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

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

From the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liturgical dance dancing liturgy catholic humor

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

 

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

5

PopeWatch: Durbin

This pretty well sums up the current pontificate:

 

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

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

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

Go here to read the rest.

 

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

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

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

2

PopeWatch: Key

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Joe’s translation at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

6

PopeWatch: Melchior Cano Open Thread

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

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

 

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

2

PopeWatch: Reformation II

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The canon states:

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

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

 

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

1

PopeWatch: Father Weinandy

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

 

 

Challenge to the Church’s Oneness

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

Challenge to the Church’s Apostolicity

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

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

Challenge to the Church’s Catholicity

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

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

Challenge to the Church’s Holiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(11) John Paul quotes Lumen Gentium, 26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(18) John Paul is quoting Canon 915.

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

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

2

PopeWatch: Tide

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

8

PopeWatch: Bishop Thomas Paprocki

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1

PopeWatch: Mammon

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Go here to read the rest.

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

 

20

PopeWatch: Morning’s Minion

Well this is amusing.  From Lifesite News:

 

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

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

Image

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

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

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

3

PopeWatch: Back to the Seventies

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few selections from them:

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is urgent to get back to reality.

*

TRAVEL NOTES

by Gianpaolo Meucci and Raniero La Valle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18

PopeWatch: The Resistance

The Pope knows we are out here:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go here to read the rest.