28

PopeWatch: Que?

 

Another papal mess to clean up:

 

Pope Francis again sparked calls for clarification today as he stated before the crowds in St. Peter’s Square: “God cannot be God without man.”

The pope was speaking from a written text at his Wednesday general audience.

According to theologians who spoke with LifeSite, there is a danger the phrase by itself could be taken in an erroneous way.

In context, the Pope said:

Dear brothers and sisters, we are never alone. We can be far, hostile; we can even say we are ‘without God.’ But Jesus Christ’s Gospel reveals to us that God cannot be without us: He will never be a God ‘without man’; it is He who cannot be without us, and this is a great mystery! God cannot be God without man: this is a great mystery!

John Paul Meenan, professor of theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, a Catholic college in Eastern Ontario, told LifeSiteNews that while the second phrase (God cannot be God without man) is open to misinterpretation, the Pope’s first wording (He will never be a God ‘without man’) is less problematic since it is in the future tense, “since God is now in an eternal covenant with man.” Professor Meenan said it is not true that ‘God cannot be God without man’ in a universal sense. Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: One Minute

 

Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there is no peace; and when one builds up a wall, behold, they plaster it with whitewash:

Ezekiel 13: 10

 

Pope Francis is requesting a minute of prayer for peace:

 

Pope Francis has appealed for prayers and international participation in the “One Minute for Peace” initiative to be held Thursday, 8 June, at 1:00 PM Rome time.

He said the initiative represents “a short moment of prayer on the recurrence of the meeting in the Vatican between me, the late Israeli President Peres, and the Palestinian President Abbas”.

Their encounter took place in the Vatican Gardens on 8 June 2014, during which the three men prayed together for peace. Continue Reading

11

PopeWatch: Venezuela

 

This may be interesting:

 

Venezuelan bishops will visit Pope Francis on Thursday as anti-government unrest continues unabated in the South American country, the Vatican said in a statement on Monday.

“The meeting was requested by the (Venezuelan) bishops conference, who would like to speak with the pope about the situation in Venezuela,” the statement said.

The appointment with the Argentine-born pontiff came months after Vatican-brokered peace talks between Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders broke down. Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Knights of Columbus

 

 

Sandro Magister takes a look at the financial support given by the Knights of Columbus to Vatican communications:

 

At the end of this month of June it will be seen whether the Knights of Columbus in the United States will for another year dispense 100,000 dollars for “Vatican Insider,” the religious information site that is most closely connected to Pope Francis through its coordinator Andrea Tornielli, a friend of Jorge Mario Bergoglio since long before he was elected to the papacy and still his frequent visitor.

“Vatican Insider” is a creature of the Turin-based newspaper “La Stampa,” where Tornielli is the vaticanista, and is still published on the web platform of this daily. But since July 1 of 2014 it has been kept alive precisely through the annual support of 100,000 dollars supplied by the Knights of Columbus and until now renewed at each expiration.

The man who holds the keys of this donation is Thomas Smith Jr., executive director of the Knights of Columbus and second in command of the organization, right after supreme knight Carl Anderson (in the photo). They are both convinced that keeping “Vatican Insider” alive is a desire of Pope Francis himself, and feel the need to show their obedience and devotion to him in this way as well.

The reputation of the Knights of Columbus is in fact by no means in line with the novelties of the current pontificate. It should suffice to look at the recent portrait of the Knights in somber, ultraconservative tones drawn by the “National Catholic Reporter,” a leader of the progressive American Catholic media, in a series of highly documented articles that is summarized in this, the last:

> Editorial: Knights’ monetary influence skews our church Continue Reading

17

PopeWatch: Merchants of Death

One of the more distressing aspects of this Pontificate is how firmly Pope Francis believes things that simply are not true.  A prime example of this is his oft repeated contention that most wars are caused by arms merchants, the old “merchants of death” theory of international conflict.

This was a fairly common meme in the thirties of the last century when it was argued with a straight face, in the wake of World War I disenchantment and the growth of pacifism in the democracies, that World War I had been caused by arms dealers and by governments eager to profiteer from war.  Alas it was complete and utter rubbish and it is rubbish still.  Of course it is important to the Pope that wars be caused by sinister cabals of greedy men who initiate conflicts to make money.  This helps the Pope ignore the fact that most wars occur due to intractable differences between nations and people that are not amenable to negotiation.  Such reality does not fit into the Pope’s ideological world view, and when reality comes into conflict with what the Pope believes, so much the worse for reality.  Such a refusal to face facts can be harmful for an individual, it is disastrous for the Vicar of Christ.

7

PopeWatch: Ten Commandments, Revised Version

 

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

 

Pope Francis on Monday warned against the excessive rigidity of the Ten Commandments and said “God gives us the freedom to search our own conscience for commandments.”

“I always try to understand what’s behind people who are too young to have seen Moses walk down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, and yet still they want to obey them,” Francis said. “Sometimes I find myself confronted with a very legalistic person who follows the Commandments and I ask myself, ‘Why so much rigidity?’ This rigidity in following the Commandments always hides something, insecurity or even something else.”

Pope Francis went on to say that, “Behind an attitude of always feeling like you must follow the rigidity of the Commandments there is something else in the life of a person. The Commandments are not a gift of God. The Beatitudes are because they are not a list of rules that stiffen us and make us rigid; they make us feel good.” Continue Reading

2

PopeWatch: Carlo Cardinal Caffarra

 

It is easy to be gloomy about the Faith when viewing the antics of the current powers that be in the Vatican.  However they are a mere aberration in the history of the Church.  The power and glory of Catholicism has survived worse than them over the past 20 centuries.  In a speech given last month Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna, gave us a reminder of the battle we are currently engaged in:

 

There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat. The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].

  1. In this second section, I would like to respond to the following question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? My response is affirmative, and there are two developments in particular.
  • The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. Note well. I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation”.

What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of abortion? Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man. As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6]. The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation”. By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein.

St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being” [Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417]. At the moment at which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation – the human person – is desecrated

  • The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.

The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape his original solitude.

One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.

In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness”. The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar.

At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation”. Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: Humanae Vitae Bye, Bye?

 

 

Rumors are swirling about this:

 

Rumors are circulating that Pope Francis has set up a secret commission to “re-examine” the Church’s teaching against the evil of contraception. Let’s hope they prove false.

Such a commission under Francis’ leadership would likely undermine and even corrupt the Church’s beautiful teaching on the meaning and purpose of conjugal relations. 

We saw exactly this sort of undermining happen during the Synods on the Family. The pope’s final document, the ambiguous Amoris Laetitia, has been used to undermine the indissolubility of marriage, to approve of adulterous relationships, to give Holy Communion to adulterers and fornicators, and to elevate conscience above the laws of God as reflected in the perennial teachings of the Church. 

Earlier this month veteran Italian Vaticanist Marco Tosatti blogged about “unconfirmed reports from good sources” that Francis “is on the verge of appointing – or even might have already formed – a secret commission to examine and potentially study changes to the Church’s position on the issue of contraception.”

“We have so far no official confirmation of the existence and composition of this entity; but a request for confirmation, or for denial, which was put forward to the competent authorities, has so far not been answered – which could be a signal in itself – in the sense that, if the report was completely unfounded, it wouldn’t take much to say so,” Tosatti wrote on May 11. 

Tosatti’s claim of a secret commission has, of this writing, still not been confirmed or denied by Vatican officials. 

Six days later, in a May 17 article, OnePeterFive’s Maike Hickson reported that she was able to confirm Tosatti’s claim of a secret commission by a “well-informed source in Rome” who was, however,  unable to “give specific names of the members of that commission.”

My huge fear is that such a commission with Francis at the helm can only arrive at the conclusion, contrary to Catholic faith, that “pastoral accompaniment” of people in “concrete situations” means allowing them to “discern” the use of contraceptives in “serious” cases according to a “well-informed conscience.”

I hope I’m dead wrong. But my fear that the commission would reach such a conclusion is based on what Pope Francis has already said on various occasions about the matter of contraception. Here are a few samples of what he has said that make me so worried: Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Hmmm

 

This homily by Pope Francis yesterday is attracting attention:

 

“A shepherd must be ready to step down completely from his church, rather than leave in a partial manner” said the Pope.

His words were drawn from the first reading at Mass, where St Paul addressed the church leaders in Ephesus.  The Pope said that this reading could easily be called “A bishop’s leave taking” because Paul has left the Church of Ephesus in order to go to Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit called him to go.

“All shepherds have to step down. There comes a moment where the Lord says ‘go to another place, come here, go there, come to me.’ And it’s one of the steps that a shepherd must take; be prepared to step down in the correct way, not still hanging on to his position. The shepherd who doesn’t learn how to do this because he still has some links with his sheep that are not good, links that are not purified by the Cross of Jesus” said Pope Francis.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Is this a signal?  Is Pope Francis signaling his own retirement?  Is he signaling dissatisfaction with the Pope Emeritus?  Is it not a signal but merely an exegesis from the reading?  How say you?

10

PopeWatch: Bishops

 

Sandro Magister believes that Pope Francis is not popular among the Bishops:

 

With the appointment as president of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, after that of the secretary general three years ago, Pope Francis now has full control of the Italian episcopal conference, one third of whose bishops have been installed by him, even in dioceses of the first rank like Bologna, Palermo, the vicariate of Rome, and soon also Milan.

Appointments are a key element in the strategy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. It should suffice to look at how he is reshaping in his image the college of cardinals, which in the future will elect his successor. After the latest batch of cardinals, announced one week ago for the end of June, chances are slimmer that the next pope could mark a return to the past.

Italy aside, however, winning the agreement of the bishops is anything but easy for Francis.

The only national episcopates that he can count on today are those of Germany, Austria, and Belgium, nations in which the Catholic Church is in the most dramatic decline.

While on the contrary the more vital Churches of Africa are those that stood together, in the two combative synods on the family, against the innovations desired by the pope.

If one then looks at the Americas, both North and South, the picture appears even more unfavorable for the pope.

In Canada, the six bishops of the region of Alberta have publicly taken a position against the go-ahead given by Francis to communion for the divorced and remarried, while in the United States the episcopal conference last November elected as its president Cardinal Daniel N. Di Nardo, precisely one of the thirteen cardinals of the memorable protest letter that infuriated Bergoglio at the beginning of the last synod.

In the American media, this election was covered as a referendum on Pope Francis, and there was reason for this. One year before, on a visit to the United States, Francis had ordered the bishops to change course and to get into step with him; and he had accompanied these commands with a series of appointments close to his mentality, in the first place that of Blase J. Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and as cardinal.

But if there was a referendum, Bergoglio lost it altogether. In the preselection for the appointment of the president, out of ten candidates elected only one to his liking made it in. And the elections of the vice-president – archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gómez, a member of Opus Dei – and of the heads of the commissions were also contrary to the pope’s expectations.

Even in Latin America, Bergoglio has few admirers.

In Colombia the bishops did not like – and they let him know this – the prejudicial support that Francis gave for the “yes” in the referendum on an agreement with the guerrillas of the FARC, an agreement that many bishops judged as a surrender and that in effect was rejected by the popular vote.

In Bolivia the bishops simply cannot stand the blatantly friendly relationship between Bergoglio and “cocalero” president Evo Morales, their bitter enemy especially since they publicly accused the “high structures” of the state of connections with drug trafficking.

In a Venezuela plunged into catastrophe, there is sadness and anger every time President Nicolás Maduro lashes out against them while appealing to Pope Francis, whose support he boasts having. And unfortunately for the bishops, the words spoken by the pope in commenting on the Venezuelan crisis during his latest in-flight press conference, on the way back from Cairo, sounded too benevolent toward the president and malevolent toward the opposition. Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Bodyslam

 

 

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

Just days after rumors emerged that Montana priest Fr. Gregory Forte could be made a bishop, reports that he apparently attacked a Catholic News Agency reporter the night before the pope made his final decision has thrown the diocese into turmoil.

Political reporter for Catholic News Agency Mary Rezac claimed late Wednesday night that while asking Forte a question regarding how silly altar girls look when they wear high heels, the candidate for bishop suddenly body slammed her to the floor, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

“He took me to the ground,” Rezac told colleague Ryan Thomas. “This is the strangest thing a priest has ever done to me.”

A spokesman for the diocese released a statement accusing Rezac of crashing the Mass, claiming that Rezac “walked up to the altar, aggressively shoved a recorder in Forte’s face, and began asking badgering question.”

 

But witnesses say that after Forte asked Rezac to remove the recorder, he then removed parts of his vestments, saying, “I’m sick and tired of this,” and body slammed her, before moving into position to place her leg in what is known as a DDT. It was at that point that Rezac was able to free herself and grab a conveniently placed folded chair.

“That’s when she hit him with the chair,” one witness told EOTT. “Calling to those gathered to get on their feet, Rezac went on to execute a suplex on Forte, which laid him out long enough for authorities to arrive.”

Church officials said Rezac was examined at a hospital and released. Officials have stated though the nature of the injuries did not meet the elements of a mortal sin, that Forte would be booked for misdemeanor wrath.

 

Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Black Swan

 

Carl Olson at The Catholic World Report has a keen summing up of this Pap

 

Ironically, while Francis talks about clarifying doctrine, there’s simply no doubt that Amoris Laetitia, despite all protests and posturings, has instead confused, disturbed, and confounded with its ambiguities and problematic assertions. Insistence that this is all about “pastoral” issues is misleading, at best, since doctrine and practice go hand in hand; you need not be a theologian to see the essential relationship between what you believe and how you live (it might even be that not being a theologian is helpful in this regard). This pontificate has been divisive in ways few could have imagined prior to 2013. In addition, while Francis likes to talk about the “people”, it’s fairly evident that he has little patience for those people who dare question his questionable statements and actions, no matter how carefully, formally, or respectually they do so. His impatience with theological precision and doctrinal clarity is unsettling. As I noted back in December 2015:

I can only conclude that, for whatever reason, this pope has a deep aversion to theological precision (and, thus, clarity) and is quite impatient with how “doctrine” and “dogma” impede his vision of how things should be in the Church. This is troubling on several counts … First, following the logic of Francis’ various remarks, the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (for starters) were pharisaical and unnecessarily complex, and thus stand opposed to his vision of mercy. Whether or not Francis cares about such a logical progression and conclusion is, of course, an entirely different matter. 

And it’s not just about burying Benedict; it’s also about ignoring St. John Paul II. In the meantime, there is the name-calling, the scolding, and the vague appeals to the Holy Spirit.  Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: The Meeting

 

 

 

 

Well the meeting occurred.  I would note that Ivanka and Melania were properly attired wearing black with veils, a fitting display of respect for the Vicar of Christ:

 

The meeting turned out not to be about Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, taking the American president to the woodshed about building a wall or closing borders to refugees.

Diplomatically speaking, they met as equals – as Heads of State.

There is a huge clash of styles between the two men: the pope, a model of humility; and Trump, more of a showman-businessman combo.

But Francis is all about finding common ground. And while Trump is known for his “Art of the Deal,” Francis has the divine calling for the Art of Persuasion. In that vein, a key exchange of the meeting was his gift to the president: copies of his three major writings.

The first is his encyclical, “Evangelii Gaudium” — The Joy of the Gospel.  This is about finding the core of Christianity. It’s about real faith. It will speak to Francis’ reason behind his statement, “No true Christian would build a wall.”

Next is “Amoris Laetitia” — The Joy of Love. This is about family, about sexual mores, divorce, communion and all those thorny issues the church is dealing with as the meaning of “family” in a secularized world has changed. The key here is that it is neither conservative nor liberal. It was Francis’ unique way of speaking the truth in love.

And finally, “Laudato Si” — On Care of Our Common Home. This is the major encyclical on the environment and climate change. It had a big release in 2015, with many seeing this as a central focus of Francis’ papacy. It is an issue they may disagree on, but again, Francis is about persuasion. He’s letting his writing do the talking.

President Trump said, “Well, I’ll be reading them.”

Most of the real diplomacy work took place during the president’s brief meeting afterwards with the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for Relations with States Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher.

Reports called them “cordial discussions” that included talks about a joint commitment in favor of life,  freedom of worship, and  freedom of conscience – all issues the Catholic Church is concerned about. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Separated at Birth

In anticipation of the grand meeting in Rome of Pope and President:

The leader can be described thusly:

  1. He is impulsive.
  2. He insults enemies.
  3. He uses twitter daily.
  4. He loves media attention.
  5. His most ardent supporters resemble a cult.
  6. He is autocratic.
  7. He is sometimes inarticulate when he goes off script.
  8. He is a source of division.
  9. His statements are frequently factually challenged.
  10. He believes in conspiracy theories.

Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Justice

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Mathew 7: 14

 

 

Pope Francis continues with his mercy uber alles theme:

 

 

Pope Francis says Catholic leaders do a “great injustice” when they say God judges sinners when in fact he forgives sinners with his mercy.

At an evening prayer service Friday in Fatima, Portugal, Francis said: “Mercy has to be put before judgment and, in any case, God’s judgment will always be rendered in light of his mercy.”

Francis has riled the more doctrinaire wing of the church with his mercy-over-morals priorities, particularly after the last two doctrine-minded papacies. He recently concluded an entire Holy Year on trying to show the more merciful side of the church.

 

Francis delivered the mercy-trumps-judgment message on the first day of a two-day visit to the shrine at Fatima, where three shepherd children reported having visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago. Francis will declare two of the children saints on Saturday, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Council of Jerusalem

 

 

The Pope takes a look at the Council of Jerusalem to accuse those who oppose him of trying to impose ideology rather than doctrine:

 

 

The Holy Father was commenting on the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles. He noted that even in the first Christian community “there were jealousies, power struggles, a certain deviousness that wanted to profit from and to buy power.” There are always problems, he said: “We are human, we are sinners” and there are difficulties, even in the Church. But being sinners leads to humility and to drawing close to the Lord, as Saviour who saves us from our sins. With regard to the gentiles who the Spirit called to become Christians, the Holy Father recalled that, in the reading, the apostles and the elders chose several people to go to Antioch together with Paul and Barnabas. The reading describes two different kinds of people: those who had “forceful discussions” but with “a good spirit,” on the one hand; and those who “sowed confusion”:

“The group of the apostles who want to discuss the problem, and the others who go and create problems. They divide, they divide the Church, they say that what the Apostles preached is not what Jesus said, that it is not the truth.”

The apostles discussed the situation among themselves, and in the end came to an agreement:

“But it is not a political agreement; it is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that leads them to say: no things, no necessities. Only those who say: don’t eat meat at the time, meat sacrificed to idols, because that was communion with the idols; abstain from blood, from animals that were strangled, and from illegitimate unions.”

The Pope pointed to the “liberty of the Spirit” that leads to agreement: so, he said, the gentiles were allowed to enter the Church without having to undergo circumcision. It was at the heart of the “first Council” of the Church: the Holy Spirit and they, the Pope with the Bishops, all together,” gathered together in order “to clarify the doctrine;” and later, through the centuries – as at Ephesus or at Vatican II – because “it is a duty of the Church to clarify the doctrine,” so that “what Jesus said in the Gospels, what is the Spirit of the Gospels, would be understood well”:

“But there were always people who without any commission go out to disturb the Christian community with speeches that upset souls: ‘Eh, no, someone who says that is a heretic, you can’t say this, or that; this is the doctrine of the Church.’ And they are fanatics of things that are not clear, like those fanatics who go there sowing weeds in order to divide the Christian community. And this is the problem: when the doctrine of the Church, that which comes from the Gospel, that which the Holy Spirit inspires – because Jesus said, “He will teach us and remind you of all that I have taught’ – [when] that doctrine becomes an ideology. And this is the great error of those people.”

These individuals, the Pope explained, “were not believers, they were ideologized,” they had an ideology that closed the heart to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles, on the other hand, certainly discussed things forcefully, but they were not ideologized: “They had hearts open to what the Holy Spirit said. And after the discussion ‘it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.’” Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Catholic Education

 

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

 

 

Facing financial ruin due to the high cost of trying to provide their son with a good Catholic education, sources confirmed Thursday that parents of high school freshman Johnny Irving, Tom and Lisa, are quite impressed with their son’s growing knowledge of every tenet of every religion, but Catholicism.

According to the freshman’s parents, Irving has gained an immense amount of knowledge about the Koran, The Analects of Confucius, and the Book of Mormon in his class Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine 101.

“It’s breathtaking the amount of non-Catholic knowledge he’s learning in his Catholic Doctrine class,” Lisa Irving told EOTT. “We’re about a paycheck or two away from filing for bankruptcy just so Johnny can learn about everything but Catholicism at a Catholic school, but it’s so worth it. He always comes home telling us interesting things about Catholic teaching like how according to the Church the most important doctrine is coexistence. And how the Church teaches that it’s pointless to evangelize since a person’s own consciousness, being infused by a higher spirit, stirs within him or her at birth and sanctifies every belief, whim, or desire that person has. I didn’t know that. Probably because I went to Catholic school when classrooms had crucifixes and whatnot in them.”

 

Lisa went on to say that, though her son still has never heard of the Nicene Creed, that he had memorized several verses from the Koran that incidentally mention Jesus, and that through Buddhist teachings, he has come to learn about Christ the bodhisattva.

“Listen, some people might think $40,000 for a four-year high school education seems absurd, ” Lisa Irving went on to say. “But tell that to me when my son graduates summa cum laude, which of course he will graduate with since every student in that fine scholastic institution graduates with that honor.”

At press time, Johnny is studying for his midterms in one of the school’s mandatory classes, Advanced Being Nice. Continue Reading

16

PopeWatch: Maduro’s Buddy

 

 

Father Raymond de Souza calls out Pope Francis in regard to Venezuela:

 

On the return flight from Cairo, the Holy Father was asked about Venezuela and appeared to depart from his neutrality – against the opposition:

Part of the opposition does not want this [dialogue]. Interesting, the opposition itself is divided and, on the other hand, it seems that the conflicts are increasingly escalating.  But there is something happening.  There is something moving forward, and I’ve been informed of this, but it’s still very much in the air as yet. Everything that can be done for Venezuela must be done.  And with the necessary guarantees.  Otherwise we are just playing childish games that lead nowhere.

What that answer meant was unclear, except that the pope appeared to be blaming the opposition. It did not take long for that response to be heard in Venezuela and the dismay to be heard in Rome.

The next day the Regina Coeli address lurched toward restoring some kind of balance, with Pope Francis appealing “to the government and all the members of Venezuelan society to avoid any further forms of violence, to respect human rights and to negotiate solutions to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population.”

The Maduro regime, having lost the delaying tactic of mediation, proposed instead a constitutional convention to draft a new constitution for Venezuela.

This would have the benefit of dissolving the National Assembly, which has been controlled by the opposition since 2013.

Earlier this year, Maduro had his allies on the supreme court strip the National Assembly of its powers, until an international protest forced a reversal.

The opposition has rejected the constitutional reform tactic, as have the Catholic bishops. On Saturday, Maduro denounced the bishops for taking a harder line against him than Pope Francis. He publicly called for the Venezuelan bishops to agree to his proposals in obedience to Pope Francis.

Vatican diplomacy has now stumbled into a place where Maduro considers Pope Francis an ally against the bishops of Venezuela.

It is a repeat of Vatican fumbling in Ukraine, where local Catholics felt that Pope Francis was siding with the Russian invaders. The Russia-Ukraine situation was fast-moving and great power politics – not to mention the delicate ecumenical situation with the Russian Orthodox – were at play.

Nothing of the sort is at play in Venezuela. It is the pope’s backyard. If the Holy See is positioned on the side of tyranny in opposition to her own bishops, it would be an inexplicable catastrophe. So much of the Holy Father’s defense of the suffering and exploited would ring hollow. Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Que?

 

Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture notes that Pope Francis uses Jesuit doublespeak when he wishes to avoid endorsing Catholic teaching:

As the question-and-answer session was coming to a close, a Portuguese journalist was given the opportunity for a final question. He asked the Holy Father to comment on the fact that in Portugal, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, the political trend is favorable to recognition of same-sex marriage, acceptance of abortion, and now perhaps even euthanasia. Here is the Pope’s reply:

I think it’s a political problem. And that also the Catholic conscience isn’t a catholic one of total belonging to the Church and that behind that there isn’t a nuanced catechesis, a human catechesis. That is, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is an example of what is a serious and nuanced thing. I think that there is a lack of formation and also of culture. Because it’s curious, in some other regions, I think of the south of Italy, some in Latin America, they are very Catholic but they are anti-clerical and ‘priest-eaters’, that … there is a phenomenon that exists. It concerns me. That’s why I tell priests, you will have read it, to flee from clericalism because clericalism distances people. May they flee from clericalism and I add: it’s a plague in the Church. But here there is a work also of catechesis, of raising awareness, of dialogue, also of human values.

So, given an opportunity to comment on the collapse of Catholic moral principles in a Catholic society—it could easily be described as a softball question—the Pope said… What?

Read that answer again, and tell me what the Pope thinks of Catholics who, in public life, betray Catholic principles. Good luck. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Pontius Pilate

 

 

Sandro Magister wonders why the Vatican is silent on the persecution by the Venezuelan government against the Church:

 

The number of dead is now around forty, the wounded number a thousand. It is the price of a month of popular demonstrations, even of only women dressed in white, against the presidency of Nicolás Maduro, in a Venezuela on the brink.

A Venezuela in which a new factor has recently taken the field, and this is the growing, systematic aggression against properties and personnel of the Catholic Church.

Vatican sources – starting with “L’Osservatore Romano” – as detailed as they are in covering the developments of the crisis, are sparing with news about aggression against the Church.

There is not a single reference to this even in the letter that Pope Francis wrote on May 5 to the Venezuelan bishops, who on the same day published a vibrant declaration against the announcement made by Maduro of a “constitutional convention” to reform the state for his use and consumption, meaning in practice – the bishops charge – to impose “a totalitarian, militaristic, violent, oppressive police state system” even worse than the “21st-century socialism” set up by Maduro’s predecesssor, Hugo Chávez, a leader still praised by many leftist populist groups in Latin America and elsewhere.

For Sunday, May 21, the bishop have called a “Day of prayer for peace in Venezuela.” But meanwhile, here is an initial survey of the aggression against the Catholic Church, published by the Venezuelan journalist Marinellys Tremamunno in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana of April 2:

> Venezuela, inizia la persecuzione della Chiesa

Nothing is off-limits. Death threats and blasphemous graffiti on the walls of churches. Masses interrupted by incursions of Chavist “colectivos.” Caracas cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino silenced during the homily and forced to leave the church. The venerated image of the Nazarene in the cathedral of Valencia smeared with human excrement. The chanceries of the dioceses of Guarenas and Maracay plundered. Thefts of consecrated hosts in Maracaibo. The headquarters of the episcopal conference devastated. One priest killed in Guayana and another abducted.

But it doesn’t end there. On May 4, the doors of the cathedral of Caracas were damaged and its walls were covered with graffiti in praise of the government. That same day, a crowd of students from the Catholic university marched on the episcopal residence, as a sign of solidarity.

Because by now the bishops too are an “enemy” against whom the Maduro presidency is lashing out with vehemence. Especially after the failure at the outset of the attempt at mediation between the government and opposition groups supported at the end of last year by pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio through his envoys:

> Venezuela, a Nation on the Brink of the Abyss (7.11.2017)

The stance adopted by the Vatican authorities to foster a reconciliation among the parties was that expressed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, formerly the nuncio in Caracas before his appointment as secretary of state, in the letter he sent to the parties in mid-December, “in the name and at the behest of the Holy Father.”

In it, he identified four conditions for the opening of dialogue:

– humanitarian channels to guarantee the population food and medicine;
– restitution to the parliament (in which the opposition groups are in the majority) of the prerogatives stipulated by the constitution;
– the liberation of political prisoners;
– new free elections.

But the Maduro presidency has not wanted to meet any of these conditions. On the contrary, it has made additional decisions that have ramped up the repression.

And Pope Francis has been punctually informed about everything. Also through direct conversations with Venezuelan bishops, including the president of the episcopal conference, Cardinal Baltazar Porras Cardozo, archbishop of Mérida, who met with the pope in Rome on April 27, on the eve of his journey to Egypt.

So one can understand the disappointment and anger of many Venezuelans, including bishops, when two days later, on April 29, during the customary press conference on the flight back to Rome from Cairo, Francis said this about the crisis in Venezuela:

“There was an effort by the Holy See, but this did not produce results, because the proposals were not accepted, or were diluted with a ‘yes, yes, but no, no.’ We all know the difficult situation in Venezuela, which is a country that I love very much. I know that now there is insistence – I believe on the part of the four former presidents [of Colombia, Spain, Panama, and Santo Domingo – editor’s note] – to restore this facilitation. I believe that conditions have already been presented. Very clear conditions. But part of the opposition does not want this. Because it is curious, the opposition is divided. And, on the other hand, it appears that the conflicts are intensifying all the time. There is something astir, I am informed about it, but it is very much up in the air. But everything that can be done for Venezuela must be done. With the necessary guarantees. If not, we are playing ‘tintìn pirulero’ [where everyone wants to get out of paying the pledge – editor’s note], and this is no good.”

The next day, Sunday, April 30, speaking at the “Regina Caeli,” Francis moderated somewhat the dismissive words he spoke on the plane against the Venezuelan opposition groups, practically blamed for being the ones who ruined the agreement. He addressed “a heartfelt appeal to the government and to all the components of society that every further form of violence be avoided, human rights be respected, and negotiated solutions be sought for the grave humanitarian, social, political, and economic crisis that is devastating the population.” But this correction has by no means calmed the waters. Twelve hours later, in fact, the opposition groups wrote a letter to the pope in which “not divided but unanimous” they said that they agree to the conditions set by Cardinal Parolin – unlike the government, which has always rejected them – and indicated free elections as the only way out of the crisis.

The fact is that between Pope Francis and the Venezuelan bishops, concerning the crisis that is ravaging the country, there is an abyss. The bishops stand with the population that is protesting against the dictatorship, and are respected and listened to as authoritative guides. While Bergoglio is judged on a par with Pontius Pilate, unforgivably reckless with Maduro and Chavism, in addition to being incomprehensibly reticent on the victims of the repression and on the aggression that is striking the Church itself. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Offensive Catholics

 

 

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

 

A Catholic university is under fire this week after school administrators accidentally hired 37-year-old Todd Alguire, a practicing Catholic, to head their Department of Theology.

Diocesan bishop Kevin Sterling  has now demanded an investigation into the ‘offensive’ hiring after rumors spread that students would need to “brush up on the fundamentals of the Catholic  faith” before beginning this upcoming semester.

Ryan Gurley, a sophomore who described himself as ‘devoutly spiritual,’ told EOTT that his refusal to participate in any further religion classes might lead to his suspension.

“I understand that I’ll eventually either be suspended, or I won’t ever be able to graduate, but I have to stand my ground. I’ll never cave when it comes to my faith. I’m a spiritual zealot, which means I faithfully believe in every religion – so long as it isn’t Christianity, of course.  And that’s why I now stand on my rights as an American citizen and Catholic to not be forced to have to learn the tenets of Catholicism in a Catholic school. What next, having to learn the fundamentals of analytic geometry in Calculus class?”

School officials say that the accidental hiring of Mr. Alguire came after someone in the administration’s office neglected to perform a competent background check.

“This is a major oversight and, as you can probably imagine, a very embarrassing moment for the university,” said one school official. “The background process is pretty simple and straight forward. As a proud Catholic university, we do not ask for resumes or any other official documents proving competency. The only thing we do is to make sure that the applicant is either an anti-Catholic Protestant, an atheist, or an agnostic, and that if the applicant does happen to be a Catholic, that he attends no more than two masses a year, preferably none. When it comes to nearly all other departments outside of History and a couple of others, the door is wide open to practicing Catholics. That’s what makes us a Catholic university. Also, we just put up some bland, random crosses around the university so that parents of potential students may feel proud and comfortable not only sending their children here, but for paying the outrageous tuition we charge to do so.” Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Fatima

 

The Pope is going to Fatima:

 

Pope Francis heads to Fatima on Friday, May 12, on a pilgrimage that will see him canonize two child shepherds who reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago.

Some 400,000 pilgrims from around the world will welcome the Argentine pontiff on the giant esplanade that faces the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima as he arrives in his “Popemobile”, while countless others will follow proceedings on television.

The Virgin is said to have appeared 6 times in Fatima, north of Lisbon, between May and October 1917 to 3 impoverished, barely-literate children – Jacinta, 7, Francisco, 9, and their cousin Lucia, 10.

She apparently shared 3 major prophesies with the trio at a time marked by the ravages of the First World War and Church persecution in a relatively new Portuguese republic.

According to interpretations of what Lucia revealed much later on, the first secret gave a vision of hell, while the second warned of a second devastating war and the rise of communist Russia.

The third secret, which Lucia kept to herself for years, is believed to have been a prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.

His successor Benedict XVI, however, later said she had foreseen the “suffering” of the Church, which at the time was racked by pedophilia scandals. Continue Reading

21

PopeWatch: Dialogue

 

 

Dialogue:  our contemporary equivalent of a shaman waving his enchanted sticks:

 

Pope Francis sent a message to Venezuelan bishops, amid a wave of protests across the country, against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, which has left more than 30 dead.

“I assure you that I am following with great concern the situation of the beloved Venezuelan people in the face of the grave problems that afflict it,” said the Pontiff in his letter Friday. “I feel a deep sorrow for the confrontations and violence of these days, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries, and which do not help to solve the problems, but only cause more suffering and pain.”

The Catholic leader called on Venezuelan church leaders to warn against”any form of violence,” adding that “the serious problems of Venezuela can be solved If there is a will to establish bridges, to dialogue seriously and to comply with the agreements reached.”

The Pope, who has repeatedly urged dialogue between sectors in Venezuela, recently criticized a section of the opposition for not being disposed to talks.

Despite Pope Francis’ calls, Venezuelan opposition leaders said they would not participate in the National Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolas Maduro to rewrite the constitution.

“(The process) is not a Constituent, we could hardly go to an absolutely fraudulent process, we Venezuelans will not be part of a fraud,” leader of the opposition MUD coalition, Henrique Capriles, said Sunday. Continue Reading

26

Sacred Cow

 

 

In the current pontificate, Mary Jo Anderson at The Catholic World Report reminds us, speaking the truth about Islam is verboten:

 

 

A Catholic teacher in Florida remains under fire in his diocese, three weeks after the Huffington Post reported that he assigned “anti-Muslim” material to sixth- grade students. Mark Smythe, who teaches social studies and religion at Blessed Trinity Catholic School in Ocala, Florida, faces termination unless he signs a letter of reprimand. Theresa Simon, Human Resources Director for the Diocese of Orlando, in consultation with Henry Fortier, Superintendent of Schools, informed the school’s principal that Mr. Smythe “must” be reprimanded because he caused an incident that distressed Muslim community members and furthermore it was an “embarrassment for BT(Blessed Trinity)School, the Office of Schools, and the Bishop’s Office.”

 
Despite school principal Jason Halstead’s defense of his teacher—“It’s obvious from your comments that you are quite supportive of Mr. Smythe….”—Ms. Simon confirmed that “there is no way around” the reprimand. Should Mr. Smythe decline to sign the reprimand “he will still be held accountable for its contents.”

 
Mr. Smythe’s class read St. John Bosco’s evaluation of Islam. A mother of a student was surprised to see Islam described as a “monstrous mixture” of several faiths containing “ridiculous, immoral and corrupting” doctrines. She shared the material with a Muslim friend whose children had also attended Blessed Trinity. The latter contacted the Huffington Post’s “documenting hate” project.
When the Post contacted the Diocese of Orlando, Jacquelyn Flanigan, associate Superintendent apologized for the teacher’s “unfortunate exhibit of disrespect” and assured the Post that a reprimand had been ordered. Flanigan, who is not a theologian, pushed further in her statement to the Post, saying “the information provided in the sixth grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Ms. Flanigan had not met with the teacher, the principal, or the pastor, Fr. Patrick Sheedy, to determine the nature of the full presentation of the lesson or the context. Additionally, she gave no authority for her statement that St. John Bosco’s work isn’t “consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

 
Blessed Trinity School uses the acclaimed series, All Ye Lands, by Catholic Text Book Project. Formed in 2000, the Catholic Textbook Project recognized a critical need for textbooks that avoid a secularized, sometimes anti-Catholic worldview. “But most importantly,” states the Project’s website, “our textbooks are Catholic; they proceed from the insight that mankind and history have been transformed irrevocably by Christ and his Church. Put simply, without the Church, history simply would not be the same. We tell that story fully and accurately.”

 
The introduction to the volume of All Ye Lands that Mark Smythe has in his class states, “Thank you for undertaking the education of the next generation of American Catholics in a century filled with perils and promise. Christ offers our youth a challenge and a hope that no other religion or philosophy permits. We, their teachers and parents, cannot allow our children to be ignorant of the origins of the Faith or of the beliefs of other cultures in an increasingly hostile world.”

 
The tempest
In his “final warning” memorandum dated April 28th, Superintendent of Schools, Henry Fortier, again reminded the teacher that the “incident has cast an embarrassing spotlight on Blessed Trinity Catholic School as well as the Diocese of Orlando.” The Superintendent concedes in his memo that Mr. Smythe did balance his presentation in class by citing the areas of faith that Islam and Christianity share: faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. However, the material from Saint John Bosco was rejected by Fortier as not currently approved thinking.
Mr. Fortier instructed Mr. Smythe to familiarize himself with “the Catholic Church’s position on the Islam faith” by reviewing “current scholarly Catholic faith-based analysis of the Islam faith… We especially note the writings and living witness of Pope Francis with all Muslims.”

 
Mr. Smythe was given a deadline of May 7th, to report back to the principal with a list of the documents he had read per the memorandum. Further, Fortier warned Smythe that he is “not to venture away from the approved teachings of the Catholic Church.” And, whether inside or outside of school, “a negative comment about or disparagement of the Islam faith” will result in immediate termination.

 
Finally, Smythe is directed by the memo to sign the reprimand. According to his attorney, Henry Ferro of Ocala, Mr. Smythe has not signed the reprimand because he does not think that his actions warrant the reprimand. Legally, a reprimand in an employment dossier can be grounds for termination and/or make future employment difficult. Smythe is married and has three children. Absent any prior guidelines or statement of policy by the Church, how is a Catholic school teacher, teaching in a Catholic school, to know that material from a canonized Saint, and one who is a patron saint of school children, is disallowed, much less grounds for reprimand that jeopardize his future?

 
The incident raises other serious questions. Was Mr. Smythe’s pamphlet by St. John Bosco a matter of correct and accurate teaching used imprudently? Did the diocese overreact in order to appease a powerful national media outlet? Are diocesan personnel under the misunderstanding that there is one official “approved” Catholic teaching on Islam? (Requests from CWR for comments from representatives of the Diocese of Orlando have not been returned.)

 
These questions and others merit a broad discussion within the Catholic education establishment. Is it not the mission of Catholic schools to prepare students to live out and defend their faith in a world increasingly hostile to the Gospel of Christ? If so, how so?

 
Fr. Peter Stavinskas is the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation and holds a doctorate in school administration and another doctorate in theology. From his decades of experience as a teacher and administrator in Catholic schools Fr. Stavinskas observed that, as starting point, “There is no ‘Catholic teaching’ on Islam, as such. Don Bosco’s reflection is not ‘Catholic teaching’ but an historical perspective and a straightforward description of what that religion teaches.

 
Similarly, Vatican II has no ‘Catholic teaching’ on Islam, merely a one-paragraph summary of points of convergence between Christianity and Islam (as Nostra Aetate does for Judaism and even pagan religions).”

 
As for the diocese’s requirement for more “scholarly” presentations on Islam, and for an analysis more current than even Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (which Ms. Flanigan cited for the Huffington Post), there is the scholarly address given by Pope Benedict XVI at Regensburg in 2006. If teacher Mark Smythe is remiss for quoting 19th-century Don Bosco on Islam, what then of Pope Benedict’s quote from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor’s statement, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Mother

 

 

Never let it be said that Pope Francis ignores the really important issues:

Pope Francis has criticized the naming of the U.S. military’s biggest non-nuclear explosive as “the Mother of All Bombs”, saying the word “mother” should not be used in reference to a deadly weapon.

The U.S. Air Force dropped such a bomb, officially designated as the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) on suspected ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan last month. The nickname was widely used in briefings and reporting on the attack.

“I was ashamed when I heard the name,” Pope Francis told an audience of students on Saturday. “A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?”

Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Rigidity

 

 

The Pope things too many young people in the Church are too rigid:

 

 

Pope Francis said Saul’s early life reminds him of “many young people in the church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are honest, they are good and we must pray that the Lord help them grow along the path of meekness.”

Others, the Pope said, use rigidity to cover up their weaknesses, sins and personality disorders and to assert themselves over others.

They are the rigid with the double life. They show themselves as beautiful, honest, but when no one is looking, they do bad things,” he said.

Saul, on the other hand, was rigid, but honest, the Pope said, and he let himself be led by the Lord, who spoke to him on the road to Damascus with “a language of meekness: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’”

Saul was called with “the force of the meekness of the Lord” to become Paul, preach the Gospel and suffer and die for the Lord, the Pope said.

Saul’s conversion shows dialogue between condescending rigidity and meekness, a dialogue between “an honest man and Jesus who speaks with kindness.”

“This is the path of a Christian: going forward following Jesus’ footsteps,” which is “a trail of preaching, a trail of suffering, the trail of the cross” and resurrection, the Pope said.

The Pope asked people to pray to Saul for those Christians who are rigid — “for the honest-rigid like him, who have zeal, but get it wrong, and for the hypocrite-rigid, those with a double life.” Continue Reading

7

Bear Growls: Continuum

 

 

Our Bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear has listed what he sees as the range of opinions about Pope Francis by Catholics on the net:

 

  1. Pope Francis is the respected successor to St. Peter, and, as such, is due slightly more veneration than was Emperor Hirohito in his day.
  2. Pope Francis may have a wobble in his orbit, but his ordinary magisterium remains just as worthy of respect and assent as any pope’s. That’s the LAW.  (Query: if the answer is that we need pay attention only as far as he is right, i.e. in line with other popes, then do we have to memorize Denziger, and how do we know those popes were right? Seems a bit over-engineered for a bunch of Galilean fishermen, if you ask the Bear.)
  3. Pope Francis can do no damage to the Church short of infallibly declaring some abomination before the Lord an Article of Faith, which is not going to happen.
  4. Look, you don’t have to pay attention to everything the old fellow says. Only the big stuff. (Like homosexuality and divorce?) The Church will be protected by God.
  5. Whatever you think about Pope Francis – and let’s admit he’s a few steps short of a tango – he remains THE POPE. Whom one must NEVER criticize. (Paging Michael Voris.)
  6. Entertain your private doubts, if you must, but you’re in danger of heresy, and in any case must never, ever criticize him for fear of starting up the Know Nothings again.
  7. Rome, we have a problem. Prudence and good taste dictate, however, that we do not speak of il Papa’s delicate condition.
  8. We have never quite seen anything like Jorge Bergoglio’s disconnect with the deposit of the Faith nor his willingness to perform end runs around around the Church itself via incessant media exposure. The man is a menace.
  9. No REAL pope would spout half the nonsense he does. Pope Benedict is still at the wheel and Bergoglio is flat out an antipope.
  10. No REAL CHURCH would ever elect someone as evil as Jorge Bergoglio, so he is Exhibit A in the case for sedevacantism.
  11. Jorge Bergoglio is nothing less than Damien in his old age. He is evil. In fact, he is at the very least the FALSE PROPHET. In other words, a cosmic player in the end times.
  12. We had a good run, but the warranty has expired on the Church. Time to become one of those Protestants that get salmon and honey while the praise band is warming up. (Do not tempt Bear.)

Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Circle the Date

PopeWatch is looking forward to this:

Pope Francis will receive US President Donald Trump at the Vatican on May 24, the Holy See said Thursday, ahead of a G7 summit meeting in Sicily.

Trump’s audience with Francis in the morning will be followed by meetings with his Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus

 

 

An interesting letter from the Pope Emeritus:

 

Benedict XVI
Pope emeritus
Vatican City
15 April 2017
Distinguished Mr. President of the Republic of Poland!
Eminences and Excellencies!
Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen!
With great and profound emotion, gratitude and joy, I learned the news that, on the occasion of my 90th birthday, with the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, high representatives of the state and ecclesial authorities of Poland will meet for a scientific conference on the theme: “The concept of the State in the perspective of the teaching of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI”.
The chosen theme brings together state and ecclesial authorities to dialogue about an essential question for the future of our Continent. The clash between radically atheistic conceptions of the State and the emergence of a radically religious state in the Islamist movements, leads our time into an explosive situation, the consequences of which we experience every day. These radicalisms urgently demand that we develop a convincing conception of the State that sustains the clash with these challenges and can overcome them.
In the travail of the last half century, with Bishop-Witness Cardinal Wyszyński and with Pope Saint John Paul II, Poland has given humanity two great figures, who not only reflected on this question, but have brought to it their own suffering and lived experience, and thus they continue to point the way to the future.
With my cordial gratitude for the work that their Excellencies propose in this circumstance, I impart to them all my paternal blessing,
Benedict XVI​
11

PopeWatch: Low-Intensity

 

Sandro Magister explains our “low-intensity” Pope:

 

The most updated diagnoses of the religious phenomenon in the West converge in defining it as “low-intensity.” Fluid, with no more dogmas, without binding authorities. Highly visible, but irrelevant in the public arena.

Even Catholicism is reshaping itself this way. And the pontificate of Francis is adapting in a spectacular way to this new phenomenology, in its successes and in its limitations.

As a good Jesuit, Jorge Mario Bergoglio instinctively goes along with the signs of the times. He is not even trying to stem the growing diversification within the Church. On the contrary, he is encouraging it.

He is not responding to the cardinals who submit “doubts” to him and ask him to bring clarity.

He is giving free rein to even the most reckless opinions, like those of the new general of the Jesuits, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, according to whom it is not possible to know what Jesus really said “because there were no recorders.”

And he himself has been telling some whoppers, without any fear of toppling the fundamental articles of the Creed.

Last March 17, during an audience at the Apostolic Palace, to explain what he means by “unity in difference” he even said that “inside the Holy Trinity they’re all arguing behind closed doors, but on the outside they give the picture of unity.”

On April 19, in a general audience Saint Peter’s Square, he said that the death of Jesus is a historical fact but his resurrection is not, it is only an act of faith.

On April 4, in a homily at Santa Marta, he said that on the Cross “Jesus made himself devil, serpent.”

And these are only the latest of a not-small collection of reckless statements, which however glide away like water on marble, without effect on public opinion both Catholic and not, for which this pope continues to be popular in part because he will say anything, with tranquility. Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: Esther Ballestrino de Careaga

 

PopeWatch has long been convinced that the key to understanding Pope Francis is looking at his life in Argentina.  George Neumayr looks at one part of his life in Argentina;

 

 

The “boss” to whom Pope Francis referred is Esther Ballestrino de Careaga. He has described her as a “Paraguayan woman” and a “fervent communist.” He considers her one of his most important mentors. “I owe a huge amount to that great woman,” he has said, saying that she “taught me so much about politics.” (He worked for her as an assistant at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory in Buenos Aires.)

“She often read Communist Party texts to me and gave them to me to read. So I also got to know that very materialistic conception. I remember that she also gave me the statement from the American Communists in defense of the Rosenbergs, who had been sentenced to death,” he has said. Learning about communism, he said, “through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized a few things, an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church.” As the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he took pride in helping her hide the family’s Marxist literature from the authorities who were investigating her. According to the author James Carroll, Bergoglio smuggled her communist books, including Marx’s Das Kapital, into a “Jesuit library.”

“Tragically, Ballestrino herself ‘disappeared’ at the hands of security forces in 1977,” reported Vatican correspondent John Allen. “Almost three decades later, when her remains were discovered and identified, Bergoglio gave permission for her to be buried in the garden of a Buenos Aires church called Santa Cruz, the spot where she had been abducted. Her daughter requested that her mother and several other women be buried there because ‘it was the last place they had been as free people.’ Despite knowing full well that Ballestrino was not a believing Catholic, the future pope readily consented.”

These biographical details throw light on the pope’s ideological instincts. Yet many commentators have ignored them, breezily casting his leftism as a bit confused but basically harmless.

“I must say that communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian,” he said in 2014. Such a comment would have startled his predecessors. They didn’t see communism as a benign exaggeration. Continue Reading

13

PopeWatch: More Catholic Than The Pope

 

 

The Pope is busily dispensing some of his patented mercy again to faithful Catholics:

 

 

 Pope Francis spoke critically again of the faithful who have a strong embrace of Catholic doctrine, resorting to pejorative terms he has often used such as hypocritical and phariseeism.

“You cannot be more restrictive than the Church herself,” he told a lay association gathered Thursday morning at the Vatican, “nor more Papist than the Pope.” 

Addressing the Congress of the International Forum of Catholic Action in the Synod Hall, the pope told participants he wanted them to be out among the people and that there is a need for “active mercy.”

The theme for the association’s three-day gathering was “Catholic Action is mission, with all and for all.”

“Do not be border police,” he told the conference. 

“Please, open the doors,” Pope Francis stated, “don’t administer Christian perfection tests because you will only promote a hypocritical phariseeism.”

The pope has spoken several times as though the idea of a Christian ideal is something unattainable.

He also warned Thursday against trying to clericalize the laity.

Compelling laypeople into a vocation because they perform valued service to the Church instead leaving this to the Holy Spirit “worries me,” Pope Francis said, according to the Catholic Herald. “Do not clericalize!”

The pope spoke negatively as well about “proselytism or coercion,” the Herald report said, “which goes against the Gospel.”

“It makes me really sad to see people who are in ministry – lay, consecrated, priests, bishops – who are still playing the proselytism card,” he stated. “No! It is done through attraction. That is the genius phrase of Pope Benedict XVI.”

The notion of working to convert others to the faith is something he has repeatedly criticized previously.

In interview last month with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis condemned proselytizing in a discussion about Germany’s vocations crisis.

“That has nothing to do with proselytism,” he said of low priest numbers in Germany. “By proselytism, you will not gain vocations … ”

He defined proselytism as “the poaching of those with a different faith, like with a charity organization who poaches members. Then many young people come, who do not feel called, and ruin the Church.”

The pope stated in October that “there is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism. We should never proselytize the Orthodox!” Continue Reading

28

Pope Francis Hates Libertarianism

 

 

In a message to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Francis makes clear that what really makes his blood boil is libertarianism:

 

Finally, I cannot but speak of the serious risks associated with the invasion, at high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools, of positions of libertarian individualism. A common feature of this fallacious paradigm is that it minimizes the common good, that is, “living well”, a “good life” in the community framework, and exalts the selfish ideal that deceptively proposes a “beautiful life”. If individualism affirms that it is only the individual who gives value to things and interpersonal relationships, and so it is only the individual who decides what is good and what is bad, then libertarianism, today in fashion, preaches that to establish freedom and individual responsibility, it is necessary to resort to the idea of “self-causation”. Thus libertarian individualism denies the validity of the common good because on the one hand it supposes that the very idea of “common” implies the constriction of at least some individuals, and the other that the notion of “good” deprives freedom of its essence.

The radicalization of individualism in libertarian and therefore anti-social terms leads to the conclusion that everyone has the “right” to expand as far as his power allows, even at the expense of the exclusion and marginalization of the most vulnerable majority. Bonds would have to be cut inasmuch as they would limit freedom. By mistakenly matching the concept of “bond” to that of “constraint”, one ends up confusing what may condition freedom – the constraints – with the essence of created freedom, that is, bonds or relations, family and interpersonal, with the excluded and marginalized, with the common good, and finally with God. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Ad Orientem

 

 

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

 

After conducting his first symphony since being named Maestro of the New Mexico Philharmonic, Chinese-born Li Wei Chen has been under heavy scrutiny from longtime patrons for conducting Beethoven’s famous 9th Symphony while facing the orchestra.

Season subscriber Lance Humphrey told EOTT that he was offended that Chen did not conduct facing the audience like their old maestro.

“Look, I understand that the symphony is still the symphony no matter what, but I just think that turning his back toward us while conducting just takes us back to an archaic time.”

Many have reportedly labelled Chen a “Symphonic Rad Trad,” saying that he was out of touch with mainstream music.

New Mexico Symphony donor Cecilia Cotes told EOTT that it reminded her of times when she would be in music class and would be “whacked on the knuckles with a violin bow.”

“It’s completely outdated. What we want is Maestro Chen to turn and face us so that we can feel like we’re participating in the orchestral movements. Does that make sense?”

At press time, Chen has said that he would not turn to face the people, but would consider allowing a number patrons on stage to turn the pages of the sheet music during concerts. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Egypt

 

The Pope faces a situation on the ground far different from the view of Islam as a religion of peace that he has repeated ad nauseum:

 

Pope Francis is facing a religious and diplomatic balancing act as he heads to Egypt this weekend, hoping to comfort its Christian community after a spate of Islamic attacks while seeking to improve relations with Egypt’s Muslim leaders.

Security has been tightened, with shops ordered closed and police conducting door-to-door checks in the upscale Cairo neighborhood where Francis will stay Friday night. His only public Mass is being held at a military-run stadium.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis wasn’t overly concerned and wouldn’t use an armored car, as his predecessors did on foreign trips. Francis insisted on going ahead with the trip even after twin Palm Sunday church bombings killed at least 45 people and a subsequent attack at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai.

“We’re in the world of ‘new normal,'” Burke said. “But we go forward with serenity.”

The highlight of the two-day trip will be Francis’ visit Friday to Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of learning in Sunni Islam. There, he will meet privately with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, and participate in an international peace conference.

Francis has insisted that Christian-Muslim dialogue is the only way to overcome Islamic extremism of the kind that has targeted Christians and driven them from their 2,000-year-old communities in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. While condemning extremist attacks against Christians, he has said he is traveling to Egypt as a messenger of peace at a time when the world is “torn by blind violence.”

But his message of dialogue and tolerance has been rejected as naive by even some of his fellow Jesuits, for whom Islam remains “a religion of the sword” that has failed to modernize. Even ordinary Egyptian Christians see his visit as a nice gesture but one that ultimately won’t change their reality.

“He has been saying the same words for years, which is all about love and tolerance, but political Islam ruined the world and the most important change should come from Al-Azhar,” said John, a 24-year-old Coptic Christian student from Cairo who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals. Continue Reading

7

Bear Growls: No Love From This Teddy

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear does not think much of the Pope’s TED talk:

 

Everybody loves to hate TED talks. It is an official entry on the “Stuff White People Like” website. Comedian Sam Hyde was spot on when he gave a ridiculously self-congratulatory TED talk on “the 2070 Paradigm Shift” a few years ago, while dressed like a Greek hoplite.

With his “Neo-Earth Good Government League” he should have been the warm-up act for Francis’ TED talk.

 Among the gems (this is Sam Hyde):

What inspires me, is teaching African refugees how to program Javascript. What inspires me is finding out how to use MagLev trains to get resources to the moon. These are the challenges that tomorrow’s going to face.

It should be no surprise that Pope Francis popped up on a TED to talk about the “Future You.”
The Bear finds that phrase ominous, since, actuarially, the future Bear will shortly be fertilizing the daisy patch. But, of course, the future is full of hope for Pope Francis. But what kind of hope?
As the Bear read the bland comments, he recalled the brilliant po-mo generator that assembles jargon into academic essays that have fooled at least one journal. It would not be hard to create a “Francis Generator” that did a quick paste job using solidarity, refugees, migrants, youth, arms dealers, dialogue, and those evil northern bastards who stole everything from the south, etc.

This talk could have been generated by the Bear’s hypothetical program. And it is just as hard to write a sensible story about. You can skim it for yourself. It isn’t that long. It is devoid of any genuine Catholic insights. The theological virtue of Hope is reduced to an expectation for a better tomorrow – here on earth. Pope Francis actually calls for a revolution. A worldly revolution, of course, that would put in power progressives like himself.

It makes an uncomfortable read, because you realize that this is not someone who is all that interested in souls, or Heaven, or any of that stuff. Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope to advance the agenda of the Prince of This World. His gospel is the anti-gospel of the Prince of This World.

Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Ted Talk

 

PopeWatch guesses this was inevitalbe:  The Pope gives a TED Talk.  TED Talks are videos by individuals with ideas that the TED media organization  (Technology, Entertainment, Design) deem worthy of being spread.  Started in 1984 in Silicon Valley, the first videos were technical in nature.  Now, most of the videos seem to convey ideas viewed as non-threatening by the global chattering classes.  Apparently the Pope is clearly in that category.  Here is the transcript of the Pope’s address: Continue Reading

7

PopeWatch: Venezuela

 

The Pope has gone silent on Venezuela where a low level civil war is underway as desperate people take to the streets against their Castro wannabe government.  Father Raymond de Souza wonders why:

 

 

For a brief period, the Vatican was involved as a mediator in talks between the Maduro regime and the opposition. The government was happy for the Vatican role, for it believed that it gave them added legitimacy. The opposition trusted the Church because of the longstanding criticism of Chavismo by the Venezuelan bishops, led by Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas.

The mediation role required the Vatican to maintain general neutrality its public diplomacy. However, the mediation talks were short-lived due to the Maduro regime failing to meet the conditions for the talks to continue, which included release of political prisoners and respect for democratic norms.

As the locus of activity has moved to the streets, the Venezuelan bishops have become pointedly critical of the Maduro regime and more clearly allied with the opposition, which has the people on its side against Maduro, who controls the courts and the military.

Maduro has thus unleashed government goons against the Church, entering parish churches to disrupt Masses. On Wednesday of Holy Week, Maduro’s men burst into the Chrism Mass of Cardinal Urosa, shouting threats and physically assaulting the cardinal.

It would therefore seem time for a thunderous denunciation from Francis against the Maduro regime. Certainly, the government has brought to Venezuela an “economy that kills,” with people dying for lack of food and medicine, to say nothing of protesters dying in the streets. The path of dialogue has long been abandoned by a regime that sends armed men into churches to intimidate the Church by threatening people at prayer.

So why has the Vatican gone quiet? Why no strong statement of solidarity with Cardinal Urosa, attacked in his own cathedral in Holy Week? Why no mention of the suffering people of Venezuela in this Easter’s Urbi et Orbi?

It may be a genuine uncertainty about the best path forward, though it is quite clear that Venezuela’s bishops have lost confidence in the Maduro regime. It may be thought that strong words from the Holy See might further inflame Maduro’s violence against the Church.

Or it may be that such a step would require Francis to direct criticism at a Latin American leftist, which he heretofore has not done. To the contrary, Latin American leftists have enjoyed favour under this pope, with both Raul Castro of Cuba and Evo Morales of Bolivia getting unusually warm receptions on visits to the Vatican.

The Holy Father has yet to visit his native Argentina, but chose Cuba and Bolivia for significant moments in his papal travels. To come out against the Maduro regime would require a break with Castro and Morales specifically, and the militant Latin American left more generally. Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: Maradiaga

 

Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report  demonstrates why Cardinal Maradiaga, who is very close to the Pope, is an insult to all sentient Catholics:

 

The three key remarks are as follows:
I think in the first place they [the four cardinals] have not read the Amoris Laetitia, because unfortunately this is the case! I know the four and I say they are already retired. How come they did not say anything in regard to those who manufacture weapons? Some are in countries that manufacture and sell weapons throughout the genocide that is happening in Syria, for example. Why? I would not want to put it – shall we say – too strongly; only God knows people’s consciences and inner motivations; but, from the outside it seems to me to be a new pharisaism. They are wrong; they should do something else. …

I think the car of the Church has no gear to go in reverse. It pulls itself forward because the Holy Spirit is not accustomed to go backwards. He always brings us forward. I am not afraid because I know it is not Francis, it is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, and that, if He has allowed this Pontiff to come, it is for some reason, and we certainly ought to look to the future with hope because, more and more, the Church is God’s, it is not our own. We are only servants. …
Let us look above all at reality, because to see also if there aren’t many cases of those who are in a second union–we will not enter there because there are many reasons– but that they in a healthy conscience [feel] that their first marriage was not valid and that they have found a new family, they are living in conformity to the law of God, why throw stones? why? Instead of saying, “How are we doing with the new generation because they could prepare themselves better to have a good family. And this is Amoris Laetitia… It happens that so many times the methods that these four brothers [the four cardinals] only look at, who think that they are the bosses [or masters] of the doctrine of faith [pensano che sono i capi della dottrina della fede], they don’t look at the the very great majority of the faithful who are happy with Amoris Laetitia.” [translations courtesy of Andrew Guernsey]

 
Although relatively short, these remarks speak volumes. Some thoughts:
1) It is revealing, to put it mildly, how often those who criticize the four cardinals—Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner—do so in such a personal, rude manner. This is to be expected of course in the woolly thickets of blogs and personal sites, but this is often the case coming from high-ranking prelates and others who are close to Pope Francis. That said, they may simply be emulating the Holy Father himself, who has a, well, colorful way of addressing those he disagrees with or thinks need to be put in their place. To say, as Cardinal Maradiaga does, that Cardinals Burke, Caffarra, Brandmüller and Meisner, have not actually read the controversial Apostolic Exhortation is the sort of low, embarrassing pot shot best suited for teenagers. That he says with such obvious disdain is bothersome, even scandalous.

 
2) It is a further example of how some of those close to Francis, and even the Holy Father himself, refuse to seriously address pressing, thoughtful, cogent, and important questions regarding marriage, morality, the sacraments, and a number of related matters. Put bluntly, it reveals either a sad superficiality or a dismissive disdain. Neither possibility engenders much trust or peace of mind.

 
3) The sorry attempt to change the subject by referring to the manufacturing of weapons (a popular theme with Francis, who in June 2015 denounced those who manufacture weapons and then criticized the Allies for not bombing trains during World War II) and the use of the tired—and rather ludicrous—descriptive “pharisaism” not only reveals disdain, but a consistent strategy: to isolate, label, and destroy. The focus (shrewdly, from that perspective) is on the alleged, if vague, faults of critics, who are routinely dismissed as pharisaical, rigid, dogmatic, and so forth.

 
4) If the four Cardinals are wrong, as Cardinal Maradiaga states, then simply show it. It’s starting to remind me of the kid in junior high who claims to have a football signed by Terry Bradshaw but never shows it to anyone because it’s in storage, it got lost, and so forth. But he keeps bragging about it. At some point you realize the football doesn’t exist.

 
5) The appeal to the Holy Spirit—also used in equally vague and sloppy ways by Cardinal Farrell back in October 2016—is a red herring; it is meant to suggest that nearly everything the Holy Father says and does is directly inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, Cardinal Farrell stated: “Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?” In fact, speaking with some needed precision, papal and conciliar texts are not “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; rather, the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from formally teaching error in matters of faith and morals. The language of “inspiration”, strictly speaking, is almost always (if not always) confined to the deposit of faith; that is, divine revelation as transmitted through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Which is why the fathers at Vatican II noted, in Dei Verbum, that “we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (DV, 4). Insinuating that the Church can change teachings simply because Pope A or Pope B decides he wishes to is problematic, to say the least; this is especially the case when the matter at hand has to do with the very nature of the sacraments, the proper role of conscience, and the life of grace (as I’ve discussed elsewhere). Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: National Suicide

The Pope recently made two observations about the mass Islamic migration to Italy that he has cheered on.  One observation is getting all the attention but the second is much more significant:

Speaking in Italian he said: ‘I don’t know if he was able to get out of that concentration camp because the refugee camps – many – are concentration (camps) because they are crowded with so many people.

The American Jewish Committee soon after urged the pontiff to ‘reconsider his regrettable choice of words,’ Reuters reported.

AJC CEO David Harris said: ‘The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult and deserve still greater international attention, but concentration camps they certainly are not.

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

Pope Francis also urged northern Italy to take more migrants and hoped that the generosity of the south of the country could ‘infect the north a bit.’

He added that Italy had one of the world’s lowest birth rates and said: ‘If we close the doors to migrants, this is called suicide.’  Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Hopeful Shack Up

 

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

 

 

Local Catholic Becky Donaldson confirmed this week that she is absolutely confident that her live-in boyfriend of eight years, Kevin Reynolds,  will soon be proposing.

“I’m just so excited,” a teary-eyed Donaldson told some of her girlfriends gathered at a local restaurant last night. “We’ve been waiting until we’re in a financially comfortable situation. I mean, we were financially comfortable a few years ago, and then he bought the jet skis, so we’ve been working on getting financially comfortable again since then.”

Donaldson went on to say that after eight years of living with Kevin, not counting the other four years they were dating while living separately, she couldn’t wait for the wedding so that their life could finally begin.

“I imagine our lives are going to be totally different after we’re married. I mean, we’ve been living together for eight years and dating for four, and we bought this house together five years ago. We’re pretty much done having fun and I think we’re ready to settle down and start having children. I guess that’s why it’s been taking him so long to propose, you know? We just needed to live our lives before we had kids.”

Donaldson was heard later in the evening advising her younger, single friends to not get married and have children until they had done all their travelling and fun activities since “once you have children all fun stops and you die inside.”

“Not saying that living with him has all been fun and games, of course. He has annoying little quirks, but those will obviously be transformed by the magical powers of the sacrament. We don’t go to church, but I’ve heard about all the magic that the sacrament of matrimony does for a relationship, so I expect his snoring and his leaving the toilet seat up to stop soon after the wedding. Not to mention him leaving dirty dishes and empty beer bottles on the coffee table, putting his dirty clothes on the floor next to the hamper instead of inside the hamper, putting the toilet paper roll on the holder backwards, so that the tail end is against the wall and so on.”

At press time Kevin has been spotted sneaking out of the house to go shopping for jet ski trailers. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: The Meeting

 

 

 

It’s on:

 

 

Contrary to earlier reports, President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis when he travels to Italy next month for meetings with the G7 leaders, U.S. and Vatican officials said Wednesday.

When asked about a possible meeting, White House press spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that officials would be contacting the Vatican to arrange a meeting between Trump and the Pope during the latter’s visit to Italy at the end of May

“Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness,” he said.

 For his part, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican equivalent of a deputy prime minister, confirmed to the Italian news agency ANSA that “Pope Francis is always ready to receive heads of state who request an audience.”

Continue Reading

3

Bear Growls: Predictions

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear gazes into his ursine crystal ball:

 

The Vatican may be a rhumba of rattlesnakes, but too few of them are motivated by aberrant ideology to risk a repeat of Sampson’s after-dinner show for the Philistines.

Bear predicts there will be the usual polite language when Bergoglio go-goes, but inside, most prelates are going to be saying, “Boy, did we elect the wrong guy. How could we have been so stupid? Let’s get back to normal ASAP before the Bear hops a tramp salmon freighter and cleans house, but good.”

The Bear does not think the institutional Church enjoys turmoil. Nor does it wish to court schism, however small the risk. And, who knows? Perhaps there are 10 righteous men in Sodom-on-the-Tiber.

The next pope will be a reliable Italian. This whole darts-at-a-map thing has not worked out very well. His job will be to settle the hens down after that fox Bergoglio is gone. The era of the magisterium of the sound byte will be over. Everybody has seen what a disaster it has been.

Nobody likes to be made fun of incessantly.

There will be the usual suspects agitating, but the Bear repeats, institutions do not enjoy chaos. The mainstream plus the faithful will out-vote the cardinals of questionable orthodoxy.

The Bear does not think Bergoglio was voted in over a desire to extend Holy Communion to divorced and remarried persons. The Bear thinks he was elected to be the outsider that would fix things. Perhaps he even ran for pope on that platform. “I’m from Argentina. And if there’s one thing that Argentina is known for it is fixing problems with institutions.”
Continue Reading

12

PopeWatch: O’Reilly

 

 

 

 

An interesting tidbit:

 

Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly briefly met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, according to a New York Times report.

The report says O’Reilly, who was in a VIP section in St. Peter’s Square during the pontiff’s weekly general audience, shook hands with the religious leader as a Vatican newspaper photographer snapped a photo. 

The Times noted the “special section beside the stage holding the papal throne, where Mr. O’Reilly sat, is exclusive and entered only with special tickets distributed by the prefecture of the papal household, according to the Vatican press office.”

Tens of thousands of worshipers fill the square for the weekly event.

The Vatican had stated last week that no official audience with O’Reilly was scheduled.

Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: Global Tolerance Initiative

 

 

 

One aspect of this Pontificate is how many odd events have occurred during it.  A recent example:

 

 Just two months after Pope Francis faced intense backlash for his reforms when critical posters were plastered around Rome, a new set went up around the city over Easter, this time praising the pope for his commitment to mercy and inclusion.

“Thank you Pope Francis! For your true Christian engagement with love and mercy, as demanded by Jesus so often in our Holy Bible.”

This was the phrase written on some 300 posters that were hung April 14 around Rome’s city center and near the Vatican, which will remain until April 22.

RELATED: Rome wakes up to find city full of anti-Pope Francis posters

Sponsored by The Global Tolerance Initiative, the posters referred to a website called “Love is Tolerance,” which explained that Francis had been named by the organization as their “Global Champion of Tolerance Easter 2017.”

Written in both Italian and English, the posters call on all cardinals, priests and bishops to follow with love the “wise advice” of the pope, and to “read our Holy Bible with open eyes, hearts and minds.”

The posters conclude with an appeal for everyone to “pray for you and the Church with a ‘thinking heart and loving mind.’” Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Frogs

 

 

I hope that the Pope is paying attention to what the Orthodox Metropolitan of Mosul is saying:

 

Security and the rule of law are what Christians most need in Iraq, but it seems no one wishes to offer them, says Metropolitan Nicodemus Dauod Matti Sharaf, the Orthodox Syriac Archbishop of Mosul.

Speaking to the Register last month in Erbil, Metropolitan Nicodemus, who was the last bishop to leave Mosul when ISIS invaded the city in 2014, had strong words for the West: he said, citing an example, that the developed world places the welfare of frogs ahead of Christians, that the West needs to wake up to the threat of Islamism, and blamed past U.S. leaders and their allies for ruining his country. He likes President Trump, saying: “Let’s try the crazy one because we tried the normal one, and he destroyed our lives.”  

The 40 year-old Orthodox prelate, who Britain banned in December despite being formally invited to meet Prince Charles, also shares his views on Islam and why he greatly values the example set by Hungary for the respect its leaders have shown for Christians. Continue Reading

5

PopeWatch: Jesuits

 

One feature of this pontificate that is striking is how the intellectual and spiritual decay that has infested the Jesuits for more than half a century has suddenly become the guiding force within the Church.  Sandro Magister gives us a recent example:

 

Among the priests born in the diocese of Carpi, that Pope Francis will visit on Sunday, April 2, there is one who is giving him a tough nut to crack.

His name is Roberto A. Maria Bertacchini. He was formed in the school of three Jesuits of the first rank: Frs. Heinrich Pfeiffer, an art historian and professor at the Gregorian, Francesco Tata, former provincial of the Society of Jesus in Italy, and Piersandro Vanzan, a prominent writer for “La Civiltà Cattolica.” A scholar of Augustine, he is the author of books and of essays in theology journals.

Last week Fr. Bertacchini sent to Francis and to Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, a six-page “memorandum” highly critical of the ideas presented in a recent interview with the new superior general of the Society of Jesus, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal, who is very close to the pope.

They are ideas, writes Fr. Bertacchini, “of such gravity that they cannot be passed over in silence without becoming complicit in them,” because they threaten to “result in a Christianity without Christ.”

The complete text of the “memorandum” is on this other page of Settimo Cielo:

> Promemoria…

While an abridgment of it is presented below.

The interview with the general of the Jesuits criticized by Fr. Bertacchini is the one given to the Swiss vaticanista Giuseppe Rusconi and published on the blog Rossoporpora last February 18, after the interview subject himself reviewed it word by word.

Settimo Cielo gave an extensive account of it in several languages.

*

MEMORANDUM
On the interview with the general of the Jesuits on the reliability of the Gospels

by Roberto A. Maria Bertacchini

In February the general of the Jesuits gave an interview in which he insinuates that the words of Jesus on the indissolubility of marriage are not a point of theological stability, but rather a point of departure for doctrine, which must then be appropriately developed. This – taken to the extreme – could even lead to supporting the exact opposite, or the compatibility of divorce with Christian life. The initiative has in my view primed an explosive situation.

Of course, Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ is very careful not to fall into outright heresy. And this, in a certain sense, is even more grave. It is therefore necessary to retrace the thread of his reasoning.

The question that he poses is whether the evangelists are reliable, and he says: it is necessary to discern. So it is not a given that they are [reliable]. Such a grave statement should be reasoned out at length and in depth, because it is indeed possible to admit error in a narrative detail; but to call into question the veracity of doctrinal teachings of Jesus is another matter.

However it may be, our Jesuit does not get involved, but – very deftly – appeals to the pope. And since Francis, in dealing with couples that are separated etcetera, up to the time of the interview had never cited passages in which Jesus referred to the indissolubility of marriage, the implicit message of our Jesuit was glaring: if the pope does not cite those passages, it means that he has done discernment and maintains that they are not of Jesus. So they would not be binding. But all the popes have taught the opposite! What does it matter? They must be wrong. Or they must have said and taught things that were correct for their time, but not for ours.

Let it be clear: the eminent Jesuit does not say this “apertis verbis,” but he insinuates it, he lets it be understood. And so he gives a key of interpretation for the pope’s pastoral approach to the family that departs from the traditional teaching. In fact, today “we know” that very probably, or rather almost certainly, Jesus never taught that marriage is indissoluble. It is the evangelists who misunderstood.

A Christianity without Christ?

The question is of such gravity that it cannot be passed over in silence without becoming complicit in it. The danger is that this could result in a Christianity reductive of the message of Jesus, or a Christianity without Christ.

In the Gospel for the Mass of last February 24 there was the passage from Mk 10:2-12 on repudiation. So is it acceptable to think that it is not known if Jesus uttered those words, and that they are not binding?

The “sensus fidei” tells us that the evangelists are reliable. However, our general of the Jesuits rejects this reliability, and in addition takes no interest in the fact that Saint Paul had also received this doctrine from the Church as being of Jesus, and handed it on as such to his communities: “To the husbands I order, not I but the Lord: the wife may not be separated from the husband, and if she separates, let her remain without remarrying or let her be reconciled with the husband, and the husband may not repudiate the wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11).

The consistency of this passage with the texts of the synoptic Gospels on repudiation and adultery is perfectly clear. And it would be absurd to imagine that these depend on Paul, and not on pre-Paschal traditions. Not only that. In Eph 5:22-33, Paul revisits the same teaching from Jesus and even reinforces it. He revisits it, because he cites the same passage of Genesis that is cited by Jesus; he reinforces it, because Christ loves the Church in an indissoluble way, to the point of giving his life, and beyond earthly life. And Paul makes this fidelity the model of conjugal fidelity.

Thus it is entirely clear that there is an evident continuity of teaching between pre-Paschal and post-Paschal preaching; and also clear is the discontinuity with Judaism, which instead kept the institution of repudiation. But if Saint Paul himself founds this discontinuity on Christ, does it make sense to bring the Gospels into question? From where comes that leap which inspired the practice of the ancient Church, if not from Christ?

It should be noted that divorce was also admitted in the Greco-Roman world, and in addition there existed the institution of concubinage, which could easily result in a subsequent conjugal union, as attested to for example by the experience of Saint Augustine. And in historiography the principle applies that cultural inertia does not change without cause. Therefore, the change being attested historically, what could be the cause if not Jesus? If this then was Christ, why doubt the reliability of the Gospels?

Finally, if Jesus did not speak those words, what is the source of the drastic comment from the disciples (“But then it is better not to marry!”) in Mt 19:10? Matthew was one of those disciples, and they do not come across well: they show themselves slow to understand and attached to the traditions that Jesus challenges. So from a historiographical point of view, the pericope of Mt 19:3-12 is entirely reliable: and as much for reasons of internal criticism as of external.

The dogmatic context

Moreover, to state that it is not known if Jesus actually uttered those words and that, in essence, they are not binding is “de facto” a heresy, because it is a denial of the inspiration of Scripture. 2 Tim 3 is very clear: “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, convincing, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

“All” evidently also includes Mt 19:3-12. Otherwise it is attested that there is an “other” word that prevails over Scripture itself and over its inspiration. In fact, affirming the unreliability of some words of Jesus is like opening a fissure in the dam of “fides quae,” a fissure that would lead to the collapse of the entire dam. I illustrate:

a) If Jesus did not say those words, the evangelists are not reliable. And if they are not reliable, they are not truthful; but if they are not truthful, neither can they be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

b) If Jesus did not say those words, must he really have said all the others that we take as good? Someone who is unreliable on one innovative question can be likewise on others, like the resurrection. And if, to give the priesthood to women, “La Civiltà Cattolica” does not hesitate to bring into question a solemn magisterium invoked as infallible, will there not be chaos? To what biblical authority can one appeal, if the exegetes themselves are perennially and ever more divided? This is the sense in which the dam collapses.

And that is not the end, because in following the doubts of the Jesuit general it is not only Saint Paul who is trodden underfoot, but also Vatican II. In fact, this is what it states in “Sacrosasnctum Concilium” 7:

“Christ is always present in His Church [. . .] He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church.”

Since the passages on the indissolubility of marriage are read at Mass, and to be precise: Mk 10:2-12 on the Friday of the 7th week of ordinary time and on the 27th Sunday of year B, Mt 19:3-12 on the Friday of the 19th week of ordinary time, and Mt 5:27-32 on the Friday of the 10th week, it follows that Vatican II in a certain way attributes those words to the authority of Jesus.

Thus those who follow the doubts of the Jesuit general not only disavow Vatican II, and moreover in a dogmatic constitution, they also doubt Tradition to the point of making abstract and unattainable the very authority of Jesus as teacher. So we are facing a genuine carpet bombing, before which the firmest of reactions is absolutely necessary. Continue Reading

9

Bear Growls: More of the Same

 

 

Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear points out that the Pope never misses an opportunity to disappoint:

 

The whole idea of blogging is that somebody does something and the blogger offers insightful commentary. But Pope Francis is so mind-numbingly stupid there’s just nothing to add.

Muslims mass-murder Christians in Egypt and the Pope says this:

We pray for the victims of the attack carried out unfortunately today, this morning, in Cairo, in a Coptic church. I am close to my dear Brother, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and to the Coptic Church and to all the dear Egyptian nation I express my profound condolence; I pray for the deceased and the wounded, I am close to the families and to the whole community. May the Lord convert the heart of all those persons that sow terror, violence and death, and also the heart of those that produce and traffic arms.

Sorry, Bear got nothing. Continue Reading

PopeWatch: Checkmate

 

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

 

Society of St. Pius X chess grandmaster Larcel Mafebvre has turned four of his pieces into bishops without approval from the World Chess Federation, officials have confirmed.

“Mr. Mafebvre has, without approval from the Federation, created bishops out of pawn pieces,” said World Chess Federation head Antonio Salamanca. “After speaking with Mr. Mafebvre regarding abiding by the new chess rules, wherein players are given the freedom to concelebrate the match, and to say the words of ‘checkmate’ in the vernacular, he has sadly decided to ignore our requests.”

Salamanca went on to tell reporters that Mafebvre had automatically incurred excheckommunication because of his disobedience.

“I must do what is in my conscience to preserve the dignity of the game,”  Mafebvre told EOTT in an exclusive interview. “Therefore, I have decided to consecrate four of my pieces into bishops to help my depleted side, for, from some Fischer, the smoke of Satan has entered the chessboard of God.”

At press time, one time follower of Larcel Mafebvre’s, Bavid Dawden, told EOTT that he has decided to become head of the World Chess Federation, though he only has three pawns to play with. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Separated at Birth

 

Carl Olsen at The Catholic World Report something that has frequently struck PopeWatch:  how similar Pope Francis and President Trump are:

 

As I’ve stated before, Francis often seems more comfortable being a politician than a pope. And, I would argue, he does indeed seek popularity; that is, I think, blatantly obvious. He follows a very simple and consistent course: he seeks to win over certain people or groups of people while lashing out at those he perceives as enemies, almost always resorting to a rather astounding list names and, yes, labels rather than any sort of arguments—that would be the “firm stance regarding critics.”

Giangravè concludes by asserting: “Populism is not so much a phenomenon as a utility belt, one that Pope Francis is well equipped to use. But when it comes to what to use it for, the pope chooses to focus on the root causes of the problem, such as poverty and inequality, rather than its symptoms.”

And how is this different, say, than what Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders did in the recent presidential election? Both of them continually, in their own ways, reached out to those on the margins, claimed to the champion of the poor and those barely making it, and campaigning for the votes and support of the blue collar workers ignored or scorned by the elites. Pope Francis presents himself as a champion of the poor and ignored; Trump and Sanders presented themselves as the champions of the poor, the blue collar, and the disenfranchised. There are some differences, of course, as Francis is not campaigning for votes. Yet he reaches out to the nameless, downtrodden masses—and often does in political, “us vs. them” terms. And, besides, does anyone doubt that Trump and Sanders (among others) don’t use such their populism in calculated, utilitarian ways? And didn’t both men, whatever their respective policy positions, address poverty and inequality in many different ways (answer: yes).

The spate of recent pieces about Francis as the “anti-Trump” fixated, naturally, on differences over immigration and economics, but ignored the striking similarities in both methodologies and personalities. Both men are scolding or even verbally abusive, emotive, crafty but not interested in nuance or careful distinctions, impatient with details, pragmatic in an often superficial fashion, confusing or ambiguous in language and action, temperamental, autocratic, and—I would suggest—rather incompetent. Such characteristics aren’t uncommon in populists, who use their appeals to certain groups to cover up serious deficiencies or contradictions. Continue Reading