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

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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

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PopeWatch: Conspiracy

 

 

Sandro Magister discusses the conspiracy that was launched to make Pope Francis Pope:

 

There is however one key factor that meets the expectations of a historic turning point of the Church capable of making up for its emblematic lag of “two hundred years” with respect to the modern world that was denounced by Carlo Maria Martini, the cardinal who loved to call himself the “ante-pope,” meaning the anticipator of the one who was to come. And it is the factor of “time.” Which for Bergoglio is a synonym for “initiating processes.” The destination matters little to him, because what counts is the journey.

And in effect it is so. With Francis the Church has become an open construction site. Everything is in movement. Everything is fluid. There is no longer dogma that holds up. One can reexamine everything and act accordingly.

Martini was precisely the sharpest mind of that club of St. Gallen which engineered Bergoglio’s rise to the papacy. It took its name from the Swiss town in which the club met, and included the cardinals Walter Kasper, Karl Lehmann, Achille Silvestrini, Basil Hume, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Godfried Danneels. Of these only two, Kasper and Danneels, are still at the forefront, rewarded and treated with the highest regard by Pope Francis, in spite of the fact that they represent two national Churches in disarray, the German and the Belgian, and the latter even fell into discredit in 2010 for how he tried to cover up the sexual misdeeds of one of his protege bishops, whose victim was a young nephew of his.

Bergoglio never set foot in St. Gallen. It was the cardinals of the club who adopted him as their ideal candidate, and he adapted himself perfectly to their plan.

Everyone in Argentina remembers him very differently from how he later revealed himself to the world as pope. Taciturn, withdrawn, somber in expression, reserved even with crowds. Not once did he let slip a word or a gesture of disagreement with the reigning pontiffs, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. On the contrary. He praised in writing the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” very severe against the permissive “situational” ethics historically attributed to the Jesuits. He had no qualms over condemning Luther and Calvin as the worst enemies of the Church and of man. He attributed to the devil the deception of a law in favor of homosexual marriage.

But then he sent back home, “to avoid mixed messages,” the Catholics who had gathered outside of parliament for a prayer vigil against the imminent approval of that law. He knelt and had himself blessed in public by a Protestant pastor. He forged friendships with some of them, and also with a Jewish rabbi.

Above all he encouraged his priests not to deny communion to anyone, whether they be married, or cohabiting, or divorced and remarried. With no fuss and without making this decision public, the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was already doing what the popes at the time prohibited, but he would later permit once he became pope.

In St. Gallen they knew and were taking note. And when Bergoglio was elected, the world learned to recognize him right from the first moment for what he really was. With no more veils. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Missed This One

Apparently a new papal exhortation was issued on April 1:

Pope Francis issued an unexpected apostolic exhortation today titled Merdae Cumulus. The exhortation may be the most momentous action coming from the Seat of Peter in recorded history.

Beginning with Church appointments and new canonizations; after the Holy See’s most recent debacle with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Pope Francis decided to remove Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager from his position as Grand Chancellor of the Order in favor of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who Francis referred to as “a true warrior, a worthy heir for a position occupied by great Christian knights of old.” In addition to this appointment, Francis revealed the future pronouncement that Joel Olsteen is to be declared a Doctor of the Church upon his death, and that the seat of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be relocated to Lakewood Church, known for it’s awe inspiring architectural style and it’s past function as the home of the Houston Rockets.

The bulk of the exhortation is composed of a string of admissions, concessions, apologies, and affirmations composed by the Holy Father. Perhaps the most exciting is an admission of the superiority of the Protestant movement started in the 16th century by the newly canonized Martin Luther. In the document, Francis states: “Saint Martin Luther was correct in stating that the holy fathers have erred, that the apostles have erred, that the magisterium has erred, and that the whole church has often erred. That error ends now. The saying that the Protestant churches are where heresy goes to thrive is false; it is actually the case that the opposite is true.” In the same vein was a statement regaling that Thomas More died for nothing, and that King Henry VIII was completely justified in his legal actions and formation of the Church of England. In the same spirit of humility and unity, Francis made full concessions of past Roman Catholic assertions regarding theological differences and papal authority to all Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs; this was quickly followed by Francis’ submission to all the demands of the Society of Saint Pius X, and the return of their status to full communion with the Roman See. Both the Orthodox churches and the Society of Saint Pius X have yet to respond to our requests for comment.
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PopeWatch: Diplomatic Jesus

 

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

Cincinnati, OH––Catholic book publisher and distributer St. Clare Press announced today that their new non-confrontational translation of the Bible will be released sometime this September. St. Clare executive Roger Hammond told the press this week that he hopes the new translation helps to appease the minds of critics that have long called the Bible violent and judgmental. “It took close to a decade to complete this ambitious translation, and we’re confident it’ll help people better understand the all-encompassing compassion contained within the scriptures. Hammond goes on to explain one of the most riveting scenes in the New Testament where Jesus, after having overturned the tables of the money changers, goes back to help clean up, apologizing profusely as he does so. Another scene in which the compassion and kindness of Jesus shines forth is Matthew 16:23 where, after having been asked by Peter to not enter Jerusalem and eventually into the hands of the Pharisees, Jesus asks Peter to “hold that thought for a moment,” before addressing Satan; “Satan, if you wouldn’t moving just a tad bit behind me? I’d really like to get this little point across to Peter. I feel so rude asking you this, but…I mean don’t go out of your way or anything…” Hammond went on to tell reporters that the project has become a kind of therapy for all those involved in the project. One employee of St. Clare Press, Beverly Tomas, said that seeing Christ in a new, more tender, and compassionate way helped her get over years of abuse she suffered by “strict and judgmental nuns.” “I remember sitting back just a year ago and reading a newly translated verse in which the old Christ would’ve said something like “Woe to you, Pharisees, you hypocrites,” but now he gently places a hand on the shoulder of a Pharisee, pleadingly, and says,”Come on guys…I was gonna call you a whited-washed sepulchers, but honestly, I don’t think you’re a bad person…I just think maybe you’re hurting,” and lightly tapping the Pharisee on the chest, Jesus said unto him, “Hey, guy…you wanna know what I think? I think you’re hurting inside…hurting right there in that big ol’ heart of yours. Is that’s why you’re acting like this? Wanna talk about it?”

 

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PopeWatch: Judas and the Beggar

 

An interesting difference between the Pope and a Bishop.

 

A month after Pope Francis endorsed giving money to panhandlers, the Roman Catholic bishop in Rhode Island has posted three reasons not to.

Pope Francis was asked last month by an Italian magazine for the homeless “if it is right to give alms to people who ask for help on the street,” according to a transcript of the interview posted on the Vatican website. He replied that there are many arguments to justify not giving money, such as being concerned the person will go buy himself wine. But, Francis said, “Help is always right.”

He added that when people give, they should do so not by throwing coins, but by looking the person in the eye and touching their hands.

Bishop Thomas Tobin, who has previously criticized Francis, posted a Facebook message Tuesday entitled “Three Reasons Not to Give to Panhandlers.” Tobin’s spokeswoman said the post was prompted by recent local debate on the panhandling issue, not in response to anything Pope Francis has said.

Tobin said it can be a safety hazard if someone standing on a curb or roadway is asking for help, and said the practice enables dishonest people to prey upon others’ compassion when they do not have legitimate needs. He also said throwing loose change at a panhandler is demeaning to that person’s dignity. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: They Have the Buildings, We Have the Faith

 

As this Pontificate winds on its merry way my fondness for Saint Athanasius grows.  In writing to Catholics dismayed because Arian heretics had been placed in control of the Church in the Eastern Empire, Saint Athanasius wrote:

May God comfort you. I know moreover that not only this thing saddens you, but also the fact that while others have obtained the churches by violence, you are meanwhile cast out from your places. For they hold the places, but you the Apostolic Faith. They are, it is true, in the places, but outside of the true Faith; while you are outside the places indeed, but the Faith, within you. Let us consider whether is the greater, the place or the Faith. Clearly the true Faith. Who then has lost more, or who possesses more? He who holds the place, or he who holds the Faith? Good indeed is the place, when the Apostolic Faith is preached there, holy is it if the Holy One dwell there. (After a little:) But ye are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from Apostolic tradition, and frequently has accursed envy wished to unsettle it, but has not been able. On the contrary, they have rather been cut off by their attempts to do so. For this is it that is written, ‘Thou art the Son of the Living God,’ Peter confessing it by revelation of the Father, and being told, ‘Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to thee,’ but ‘My Father Who is in heaven,’ and the rest. No one therefore will ever prevail against your Faith, most beloved brethren. For if ever God shall give back the churches (for we think He will) yet without such restoration of the churches the Faith is sufficient for us. And lest, speaking without the Scriptures, I should [seem to] speak too strongly, it is well to bring you to the testimony of Scriptures, for recollect that the Temple indeed was at Jerusalem; the Temple was not deserted, aliens had invaded it, whence also the Temple being at Jerusalem, those exiles went down to Babylon by the judgment of God, who was proving, or rather correcting them; while manifesting to them in their ignorance punishment [by means] of blood-thirsty enemies. And aliens indeed had held the Place, but knew not the Lord of the Place, while in that He neither gave answer nor spoke, they were deserted by the truth. What profit then is the Place to them?

For behold they that hold the Place are charged by them that love God with making it a den of thieves, and with madly making the Holy Place a house of merchandise, and a house of judicial business for themselves to whom it was unlawful to enter there. For this and worse than this is what we have heard, most beloved, from those who are come from thence. However really, then, they seem to hold the church, so much the more truly are they cast out. And they think themselves to be within the truth, but are exiled, and in captivity, and [gain] no advantage by the church alone. For the truth of things is judged… Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Ban the Bomb

 

 

Pope Francis has called for banning all nukes:

 

ROME – Pope Francis has called for a “collective and concerted” multilateral effort to eliminate nuclear weapons, telling a United Nations conference working on a treaty to prohibit such weapons that international peace and stability “cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power.”

The conference took place March 27 in New York, after the UN General Assembly voted in December to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, with the aim of working toward their total elimination.

Such a treaty would make explicit what is implied in the 1970 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which calls on declared nuclear powers to aim for complete nuclear disarmament.

The talks seemed doomed from the start, since every state with nuclear weapons – including the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council – boycotted the congress.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. representative to the UN, said she “would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons, but in this day and time we can’t honestly say we can protect our people by allowing bad actors to have them and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them,” specifically mentioning the threat of nuclear-armed North Korea.

The pontiff answered these objections directly in a letter to the congress, noting the current “unstable climate of conflict” might not seem the best time to approach the “demanding and forward looking goal” of nuclear non-proliferation, and even nuclear disarmament.

However, the pope said nuclear deterrence is ineffective against the principal threats in the twenty-first century, mentioning in particular terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, cybersecurity, environmental problems, and poverty.

“These concerns are even greater when we consider the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would follow from any use of nuclear weapons, with devastating, indiscriminate and uncontainable effects, over time and space,” Francis writes, adding “we need also to ask ourselves how sustainable is a stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines relationships of trust between peoples.”

The pope said the world needs to go beyond nuclear deterrence: “The international community is called upon to adopt forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability and to avoid short-sighted approaches to the problems surrounding national and international security.” Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Peron the Papal Role Model

 

 

John-Henry Westen at Lifesite News conveys some observations of the Pope by an Argentinian priest:

 

For those who knew Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio prior to his election to the pontificate, this is nothing new. I spoke to a few priests from Buenos Aires who worked with Cardinal Bergoglio in different capacities and from them learned that confusion is emblematic of his ministry. One anecdote in particular was very instructive. I was told that people from opposite camps would both come out of meetings with Cardinal Bergoglio believing he supported their position. “He’s with us but can’t say so publicly,” they would relate, as would those who met with him from the opposing camp.

While in an archdiocese this may work for a time, this learned priest told me, in the Vatican where just about everything the Pope says is trumpeted to the world, these kinds of discrepancies become evident more quickly. Francis, the priest told me, is very much a Peronist — named for former Argentina President Juan Domingo Perón. Like Perón, Pope Francis plays with both left wing and right wing factions.  

The priest tells a story about President Peron that helps to understand Francis. Once Peron was in his car and at a fork in the road his driver asked him which way he would like to go, to which Peron replied: “Put the flicker on for a right turn, but go left.” One last note about Bergoglio, related by the priest, is that when pushed, he will go left out of a great apprehension of being labeled a right-winger by the media. Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Hmmm

 

 

From Pewsitter:

 

 

Speaking at a March 16th conference in Limburg, Germany, the long-time Vatican correspondent Andreas Englisch has delivered an explosive allegation: In contradiction of public appearances, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “are in complete disagreement” and “never speak to one another.” The Pope Emeritus has apparently stated that he only appears in public “at the explicit request of Pope Francis.” What is shown on these occasions, Englisch continues, is “only the pretense of friendship.”

No official transcript of the press conference is yet available, but Giuseppe Nardi, another well-known Vaticanist who was in attendance, says that Englisch continued his statements by describing Pope Francis as a “strong personality” who “gets what he wants,” and that he has little in common with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI but “uses him when necessary for the optics.” Englisch concluded his dramatic remarks with a remarkable statement: that, in addition to the pressure put upon the Pope Emeritus to resign, “different ecclesiastical forces” are putting pressure on Ratzinger in a different direction: “to return.”   Continue Reading

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PopeWatch: Leaving on a Jet Plane

 

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

 

Roman Curia officials pulled out all the stops this year to celebrate the 4th anniversary of Pope Francis’ accession to the Throne of St. Peter after scrounging together a few hundred Euro to surprise him with an unforgettable one-way ticket to his native Buenos Aires.

“He’s been working so hard lately, we thought he could use an extended, indefinite getaway,” said Msgr. Giuseppe Bernardo, an attaché attached to the Papal Household. “Plus it’s a 14-hour flight…ample time for several meandering in-flight press scrums.”

“He’s going to love this!” honorary prelate Anotonio Vada said, trying to contain his excitement. “We even had his boarding pass printed on poster-board like those giant ceremonial checks diocesan bishops are so fond of.”

 

At press time, the Curia was preparing to clean the universal Church while the boss was away.

“He left behind a pretty big mess,” an unnamed Cardinal prefect whispered.  “This may take a century or more.  Some of the stains might never come out.”

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PopeWatch: Historian

 

 

Professor of History Bronwen Catherine McShea in First Things takes a look at some comments made by Pope Francis regarding history:

Such concerns may help explain the appeal that Martin Luther, with his stark emphasis on the preached Word and a radically spiritualized, ahistorical view of the Church, holds for Pope Francis. So let us turn to the historical claims of the Holy Father with which we began, about Martin Luther and the causes over time of deep divisions between Lutherans and Catholics. (They are remarks that, coming from a Pope of Rome, I cannot help but think would be eye-popping to the reformer himself.)

With respect to the simple assertion that Martin Luther intended only to renew the Church, not divide her, it is indeed the case that the historical consensus today is that the reformer had no intention of leaving the Catholic Church in 1517, when he first presented his Ninety-Five Theses to religious authorities and a wider public in and around Wittenberg. However, even scholars of the Reformation very mindful of contemporary ecumenical stakes do not deny that, very early during his reforming career, Luther became convinced that the international, visible Church as led by popes, cardinals, and bishops was irredeemably corrupt, “judaizing” in its emphasis on laws and rituals, and therefore inherently at odds with the “true,” invisible Church of all persons of sincere “faith” as he defined it.

In other words, from early on, Luther’s Reformation was centrally about separating, promptly—with the help of powerful territorial princes and city magistrates with local influence and armies at the ready—the hidden, faith-filled wheat from the papistic chaff, so to speak. Luther certainly believed in only one, true, Apostolic Church, but he redefined the Church in a direction that was inherently exclusionary of those who deferred to the papacy, affirmed seven sacraments and Christ’s institution of a consecrated priesthood, and acknowledged an active, participatory role for human free will in God’s economy of salvation. Any concern he might have had to preserve unity in the Church in a way any orthodox Catholic bishop or theologian of the sixteenth century would have recognized as such was, at best, a very secondary priority. Much more urgent for Luther was to rally other reform-minded men and women toward full acceptance of the creed his own conscience told him was the true creed—by 1530, that would have been the enumerated articles of the Augsburg Confession—and, in the process, reject communion with groups that departed in any way from that creed.

Scholars very sympathetic to Luther also acknowledge that he was incorrigibly pugnacious as well as deeply convinced his understanding of faith and of the Church was the only correct one. He sought out opportunities, often, to do battle not only with Catholics (or as he put it in 1545, “whatever riffraff belongs to His Idolatrous and Papal Holiness,” whose tongues “we should … tear out from the back, and nail them on the gallows”), but also with followers of the Swiss reformers Ulrich Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger, the more radical Anabaptists and Spiritualists, and Protestants closer to his own mind who nevertheless disagreed with him on this or that creedal article. Luther’s verve for creative name-calling and insults where all these groups were concerned was legendary in his own time, as it remains in ours. (Graduate students in Reformation history will confess to finding amusement in a website called the “Lutheran Insulter” in which real ad hominem attacks from the reformer’s writings are generated at random. While writing this paragraph, I clicked on its “Insult me again” button and was informed by Doktor Luther, as if I were Erasmus just daring to defend free will: “You foster in your heart a Lucian, or some other pig from Epicurus’ sty”—this from Luther’s Bondage of the Will of 1525.)

It is also the case that, during a time when some sixteenth-century reformers were actively engaged in the earliest ecumenical efforts to find common ground across the splintering confessions, and to strive toward the reunification of Western Christendom, Luther was relatively uninterested in such things.

Pope Francis, however, in order to push along the cause of Catholic-Lutheran reunification, casts Luther as someone who had no wish to sow discord among Christians. For the hardening sectarian divisions of the early modern era, Francis blames, instead, others who “closed in on [themselves] out of fear or bias with regard to the faith which others profess with a different accent and language.”

With all due respect to His Holiness, this explanation of what unfolded during and after Luther’s time is not only condescending to the full-blooded, spirited, and hardly faultless reformer himself. It is insulting to the intelligence of numerous theologians, apologists, and preachers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including Robert Bellarmine and other Jesuits who devoted years of life, and heart, to clarifying and defending serious, important Catholic doctrines against serious, important Protestant challenges. And it is cavalier toward the memory not only of countless martyrs and war dead on all sides of that era’s terrible struggles, but also of numerous families, villages, even religious communities in Reformation Europe’s confessional borderlands, which were torn apart, agonizingly—while very much speaking the same language, with the same accents!—over very serious, important, real disagreements about doctrine and praxis.

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PopeWatch: Sophistry

 

One of the defining feature of his pontificate is the endless sophistry deployed as a smokescreen.  Sandro Magister gives us an example:

 

For understanding how Francis acts with his opponents, the archbishop and theologian Bruno Forte is a reliable oracle, especially since he reported in public what the pope said to him during the last synod, at which he acted as special secretary:

“If we talk explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you have no idea what a mess these guys will make for us. So let’s not talk about it directly, you get the premises in place and then I will draw the conclusions.”

Francis has drawn the conclusions, as is known, in the postsynodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” but in such an ambiguous form that he has inevitably aggravated the opposition and confusion in the whole Church, and has induced four cardinals to ask him publicly to bring clarity on the “dubia” created by this fluid magisterium of his.

But for Bruno Forte, it is not the words of “Amoris Laetitia” that have generated the doubts, but it is these latter and those who are raising them that are “sowing uncertainty and division among Catholics and others.”

This and more was said by the archbishop and former special secretary of the two synods on the family, who is also one of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s trusted men, at the conference that he gave on March 9, in Rome, at the church of San Salvatore in Lauro, introduced by the auxiliary bishop of the pope’s diocese, Gianrico Ruzza, and as followup speaker, immediately after him, Church historian Alberto Melloni, head of the famous “school of Bologna.”

The main argument that Forte brought out in support of Pope Francis’s position is the concordance between what is written in “Amoris Laetitia” and the propositions voted on by the synod of bishops: a “consensus fidelium” – he added – which has been wrongfully abandoned by those who have raised the “dubia.”

Here are his exact words in this regard, transcribed from an audio recording of his conference:

“The final points of the synod were approved by the representatives of the episcopates of the whole world, with an extraordinary majority: almost all of them unanimously and the more delicate by at least two thirds. Francis had clear ideas, he knew where he wanted to go. When he called on me to be the secretary of the synod, he said to me: ‘For me it is important to arrive there together with all the bishops of the world, because the pope is the servant of the servants of God and I want us to grow together. It doesn’t matter to anyone if a document is written for the Church without the journey we have made.’ This is an aspect that must not be overlooked. Pope Francis has taken collegiality seriously. There are those who have calculated that the 85 percent of the contents of the postsynodal exhortation comes from texts of the final synodal relation. They are texts that ripened collegially, with the episcopate of the world working alongside the successor of Peter. We therefore find ourselves before what is truly a ‘sensus,’ an impressive ‘consensus fidelium.’ This is why the ‘dubia,’ underground, raise doubts over those who have raised them, because some of them were absent from the synod and have not seen what great power of communion there was.”

Of course, Forte didn’t make the slightest reference to how the twofold synod was manipulated from on high, resulting among other things in a sensational incident halfway through the first session – when Forte himself was accused in public by cardinal relator Peter Erdo of having written parts of the “relatio post disceptationem” entirely on his own initiative – and in an even more sensational letter of protest and of appeal to the pope from thirteen cardinals at the beginning of the second session.

Nor did he make any reference to a presumed “collegiality” that produced texts rejected in their most controversial points by almost a third of the synod fathers, and passed by a margin of a few votes only on account of an ambiguity and reticence of language even more pronounced than those afterward put into “Amoris Laetitia.”

Instead, entering into the content of the objections, Forte contested the accusation of “relativism” brought against the pope and his “Who am I to judge?”

And he did so by referring to the “great Jesuit” Karl Rahner and to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, in whose footsteps – he said – Francis is going against relativism, since “he combines the absoluteness of the truth with the absoluteness of charity, in a daily effort of discernment, from which no one should feel excluded.”

It can be presumed with a certain surety that what Forte has illustrated is also what Pope Francis thinks about the objections of the four cardinals, and not only about these.

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PopeWatch: Populism for Me and not for Thee

 

Samuel Gregg at The Federalist notes that Pope Francis has a double standard when it comes to populism:

 

Asked in a 2015 interview whether he considered the pope isolated and surrounded by opponents in the Vatican, Fernández answered: “By no means. The people are with him, not his few adversaries. This pope first filled St. Peter’s Square with crowds and then began changing the Church. Above all, for this reason he is not isolated. The people sense in him the fragrance of the Gospel, the joy of the Spirit, the closeness of Christ and thus they feel the Church is like their home.”

“The people.” “Crowds.” “The people.” Such language has very specific meaning in Latin America. When used by figures such as the long-deceased Argentine populist Juan Perón or the more recently departed “twenty-first-century socialist” Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the purpose of this phraseology is the same. It is to evoke an almost mystical connection between the leader and “the people” as they struggle together against oppression.

This rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with tendencies to caricature real or perceived opponents. The speeches of Perón and Chávez are full of ad hominem rants against “enemies of the people.” Francis himself isn’t shy about applying labels. There’s even a blog that has compiled his more memorable phrases: “rigorists,” “fundamentalists,” “Pharisees,” “intellectual aristocrats,” “little monsters,” “self-absorbed promethean neo–pelagians,” to name just a few. The targets range from younger Catholics with a distaste for 1970s liturgy to theologians who insist that coherently preaching the gospel requires a concern for intellectual rigor.

But Francis’s populist side manifests itself most clearly in addresses he’s given to one particular group that he has clearly supported: an organization called The World Meeting of Popular Movements. The populist edge to Francis’s thought is very evident in, for example, a 2015 speech he gave to this group in Bolivia. At various points, the rhetoric employed by the pope—“tyranny of mammon,” “this economy kills,” “bondage of individualism” etc.—is decidedly charged, even polemical. Some of it isn’t that different from the language used by populist politicians throughout Latin America.

This last point is underscored by the fact that Pope Francis delivered these remarks while seated next to President Evo Morales of Bolivia. A self-described communitarian-socialist, Morales is a quintessential Latin American left-populist. Like all such politicians, he’s steadily removed constitutional restraints on his power in the name of “the people.” Morales’ prominence at the pope’s speech, as one journalist present remarked to me, reinforced the sense that “the whole event had the feel of a deeply political, very left-wing, and somewhat secular rally.”

The pope’s apparent empathy for a type of populism was further underscored when the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences held a conference in April 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s encyclical “Centesimus Annus.” The two heads of states invited to speak were none other than Morales and another left-populist head of state, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. The event was tilted even further in a left-populist direction by the presence of the then-candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also gave a speech. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Exorcists

PopeWatch agrees with this:

Pope Francis on Friday said confessors “should not hesitate” to refer penitents to exorcists, if they are suffering from “genuine spiritual disturbances.”

The pope was speaking to hundreds of priests taking a course on confession organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court which deals with issues surrounding the sacrament.

Francis said having good confessors “was more useful than ever,” and “even necessary in our times,” and said churches should make confession more available to the faithful.

He said a good confessor must be a true friend of Jesus, a man of the Spirit, and should make the confessional a place of evangelization.

The pontiff said confessors are called to venture to the “peripheries of evil and sin,” and those who approach the confessional may come from the most desperate situations.

“They could also have spiritual disturbances, whose nature should be submitted to careful discernment,” Francis said, “taking into account all the existential, ecclesial, natural and supernatural circumstances.”

Francis was careful to point out priests should work with professionals to make sure a person is not suffering from psychological disorders, and again emphasized “discernment is necessary.”

Continue Reading

1

PopeWatch: Dirty Money

 

When it comes to Vatican shenanigans, always follow the money.  Details are coming out about the Knights of Malta and potentially dirty money, and it all stinks to high heaven.  Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register gives us the details:

Germany’s mass-selling Bild newspaper has reported that the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, accepted a 30 million Swiss franc donation ($31 million) on behalf of the Order from what Bild calls “a dubious trust” in Geneva. Boeselager denies any wrongdoing.

The Grand Chancellor told the newspaper that over a seven-year period, the Order would be drawing 30 million Swiss francs from the fund, which Bild calls by its acronym CPVG. So far, the Order has received 3 million francs from the trust, whose existence the Register first brought to public attention in January.

Bild correspondent Nikolaus Harbusch, a well known investigative reporter in Germany specializing in financial crimes, reports that the trustee, whom the newspaper names simply as Ariane S., signed a framework agreement with Boeselager to accept the money on March 1. The agreement came just weeks after Boeselager was reinstated as Grand Chancellor following his dismissal in December by the Order’s former Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing.

Ariane S., who also appears in the so-called “Panama Papers”, denied in a Jan. 6 email to the Register that she or her organization had any connection to the Order of Malta. In her correspondence with the Register, she referenced Swiss law and criminal penalties if the name of the trust or its members, or allegations about the trust, were published.

Boeselager and other members of the Order have had dealings with the trust since 2010, according to documentation obtained by the Register, but Fra’ Festing was unaware of its existence until only recently, after asking Boeselager directly about it.

The Grand Chancellor told Bild he had had lawyers check that the trust, which is now registered in New Zealand, was clean, and subsequently the Order’s government unanimously approved of the fund. He said he did not know details about the donor, Mr. Latour — only that the money came from a wealthy French family, and that the funds had been put into a foundation before the Second World War. “Since then there has been only investment, that’s all that I know,” he said.

“We really do not know the details because our donor is the CPVG trust and not ‘Mr. Latour’ personally,” Boeselager said — adding that the donor, so far only known as Mr. Latour, had “demanded anonymity from the trust and we had to accept that.”

Asked by Bild if it could be dirty money, Boeselager said: “To the best of our knowledge, no.”
According to the donor’s wishes, the Order of Malta was due to receive a quarter of the trust’s assets out of a total fund amounting to 120 million Swiss francs.

Bild revealed that, on the instruction of the Order, the public prosecutor in Geneva had put a freeze on the money in order to determine whether the trustee was guilty of embezzlement. The newspaper’s own investigations, using its own experts, leads them to believe that the assets in France had never been taxed properly.

Boeselager told Bild that the Order has withdrawn its “complaint against the trustee, since the accusation was baseless and no one suffered any harm.” He said the 30 million francs was by far the largest cash donation the Order has received over the past 10 years.

According to Boeselager, the Order has a policy for rejecting “dirty money,” and said it has turned down two donations from Switzerland, and one from the United States. “If money is dirty, we will not take it,” he said.

He said that, in the case of the CPVG trust, the Order carried out a “thorough risk analysis” and sees “no reason to place the order on a money laundering list. “

In the interview, Boeselager rejected the accusation that he wants to turn the Order into a normal non-governmental organization, saying anyone who makes such a charge doesn’t “know me at all” and that “the opposite is true.”

“We are continuing with our mission: evangelization through assistance and charity,” he said.

Boeselager also revealed he would be reducing the autonomy of the Grand Master, who will be “bound in the future to the decisions of the government of the Order.” His comment contrasts with the view of Fra’ Festing, who had privately complained that Boeselager had been pursuing his own policies and activities in the Order independently, without the Grand Master’s full knowledge.

Many questions, however, remain unanswered, including:

why the five-member Holy See commission set up to look into Boeselager’s dismissal was made up of three individuals closely associated with the trust, none of whom wished to speak publicly about it;
why the commission’s work was rushed and completed ahead of schedule, but in time for Boeselager to be reinstated and to withdraw the complaint against the trustee;
what the precise reasons were for Boeselager’s brother, Georg, being appointed to the board of the Vatican Bank in December;
and why the trustee was so threatening and reluctant to have any basic information related to the CPVG trust published, including its name.
Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Bugged

 

 

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

 

The Vatican has refused to say whether an apology was in the works after eavesdropping allegations were made by Francis last week against his predecessor.

Pope Francis’ claim that his confessional was wiretapped by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has yet to be supported by evidence, but the Pontiff isn’t ready to apologize for the accusation just yet.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Director of the Holy See Press Office Greg Burke told reporters on Friday when asked if Francis would apologize to Pope Benedict if his allegations were debunked. “I think it’s important to see where this goes, and I don’t want to prejudge the investigation at this time.”

Pope Francis has alleged in a number of tweets last Saturday that Benedict had let Vatican officials conduct surveillance on his Buenos Aires confessional before becoming pope.

“Terrible! Just found out that Benedict had my ‘wires tapped’ in San Roberto Bellarmino Church In Buenos Aires just before my papal victory. Nothing found!”

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican for comment, but when his phone began to make odd sounds like a Bulgarian singing a Gregorian chant backwards, PopeWatch hastily ended the call.

5

PopeWatch: Saint Patrick Weeps

 

Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture demonstrates that if you are a faithful Catholic cleric in this pontificate, you have a target on your back:

 

In Agatha Christie’s classic Murder on the Orient Express, the great detective Hercule Poirot faces an unusual challenge. There are too many suspects—too many people with obvious motives for committing the crime.

That’s how I feel about the news that Archbishop Charles Brown, the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, is being transferred to Albania.

This is not a subtle move. The Vatican is explaining that it’s just a routine rotation; every now and then papal diplomats are given new assignments. That would make sense, except that:

  • Archbishop Brown is not a career diplomat. Pope Benedict sent him to Ireland, at a time of crisis for the faith, precisely because he trusted his orthodoxy.
  • When nuncios are moved, they are usually sent to assignments of equal or greater importance. A switch from Ireland to Albania is an unmistakable demotion.

Who would have wanted Archbishop Brown removed from Dublin?

– The Irish government, which is working to end the constitutional ban on abortion? Check.

– The Irish bishops, who don’t want pressure to act like Catholic leaders? Check.

– Liberal Irish priests, for the same reason? Check.

– The lavender mafia, always? Check.

– The Secretariat of State, which resented having a non-diplomat appointed as nuncio? Check.

– Pope Francis himself, who’s busy removing all Ratzinger loyalists? Check.

Too many suspects. Continue Reading

8

PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

 

 

It would take a blind man not to notice that anti-Semitism is growing in strength on the left.  Unsurprisingly with the advent of Pope Francis, definitely a man of the left, anti-Semitic tropes are beginning to emerge within the Church.  Sandro Magister gives us the latest:

 

“Israel, people of a jealous God. Consistencies and ambiguities of an elitist religion.” Already from this conference title wafts an air that is by no means friendly for Jews and Judaism.

But if one goes to read the original text of presentation, there is even worse to be found: “thinking of oneself as a people belonging in an elitist way to a unique divinity has determined a sense of the superiority of one’s own religion.” Which leads to “intolerance,” “fundamentalism,” “absolutism” not only toward other peoples but also in self-destruction, because “one has to wonder to what extent the divine jealousy may or may not incinerate the chosen’s freedom of choice.”

And yet these were the initial title and presentation of a conference that the Italian Biblical Association has scheduled from September 11-16 in Venice.

The statutes of the ABI are approved by the Italian episcopal conference, and its members include about 800 professors and scholars of the Sacred Scriptures, Catholic and not. Among the speakers at the conference in September is the leading biblicist at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Belgian Jesuit Jean-Louis Ska, a specialist in the Pentateuch, which in Hebrew is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. No invitation to speak, however, has been extended to any Jewish scholar.

But the rabbis could not remain silent. And they have made themselves heard with a letter to the ABI signed by one of their most authoritative representatives, Giuseppe Laras, the news of which was first covered by Giulio Meotti in “Il Foglio” on March 10.

An extensive extract from the letter is reproduced further below. But first a couple of notifications are in order.

When Rabbi Laras writes of a “Marcionism” that is now emerging with ever greater insistence, he is referring to the school of thought that from the second-century Greek theologian Marcion until our day contrasts the jealous, legalistic, warlike God of the Old Testament with the good, merciful, peaceful God of the New Testament, and therefore, as a result, the Jewish followers of the former with the Christian followers of the latter.

Not only that. Laras – still remembered for his dialogues with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini – makes reference to Pope Francis as one who perpetuates this contrast.

And in effect it is not the first time that authoritative representatives of Italian Judaism – like the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni – have criticized Francis for the distorted use of the term “pharisee” or of the comparison with Moses to cast discredit on his adversaries.

This is what Francis did, for example, in the concluding address of the synod of bishops, when he lashed out against “the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases.” Not caring that he was contradicting himself, because one innovation that the pope wanted to introduce into the practice of the Church was the restoration of divorce, allowed by none other than Moses and instead prohibited by Jesus.

But now it’s Rabbi Laras’s turn.

*

Dear friends,

[. . .] I have read, together with my esteemed fellow rabbis and with Prof. David Meghnagi, cultural commissioner of the UCEI [Union of Italian Jewish Communities], the event guide for the ABI [Italian Biblical Association] conference scheduled for September 2017.

I am, and this is a euphemism, very indignant and embittered! [. . .]

Of course – independently of everything, including possible future apologies, rethinkings, and retractions – what emerges conspicuously are a few disquieting facts, which many of us have felt in the air for quite some time and about which there should be profound introspection on the Catholic side:

1. an undercurrent – with the text a bit more manifest now – of resentment, intolerance, and annoyance on the Christian side toward Judaism;

2. a substantial distrust of the Bible and a subsequent minimization of the Jewish biblical roots of Christianity;

3. a more or less latent “Marcionism” now presented in pseudo-scientific form, which today focuses insistently on ethics and politics;

4. the embracing of Islam, which is all the stronger as the Christian side is more critical toward Judaism, now including even the Bible and biblical theology;

 

Continue Reading

10

PopeWatch: First Sight

 

An interesting observation by Steve Skojec in regard to his first viewing Pope Francis:

 

 

On March 13, 2013, I sat in my office and watched my screen as a new pope — a man whom I had never seen before that moment — walked out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had never heard of him. I did not even know his name. Like most Catholics, I had approached the papal conclave with a sense of hopeful anticipation. But the feeling that came over me when I saw the man the cardinals had elected was shockingly forceful. It was a feeling of icy cold dread. As I looked at him, standing there, staring out at the crowd, I heard seven words distinctly in my mind, unbidden: “This man is no friend of Tradition.”

It was a strange sentence. Oddly phrased. I knew, just as surely as one knows that the voice of someone speaking to them in a quiet room is not their own, that this was not my thought, but some sort of external prompting. It would have been impossible for me to even attempt such an assessment, since I knew literally nothing about the man, this Argentinian cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio.

I am admittedly oblivious to the minutiae of ecclesiastical dress or custom. I cannot, therefore, claim that my feeling was rooted in the observance of some obvious deviation from the protocols of a papal election. I did not notice, for example, that he chose not to wear the papal mozetta. I was not jarred by his unusual greeting of the crowd with a “good evening,” instead of something more spiritually profound. I can’t say I recall hearing, in those first moments, that he was a Jesuit. To be honest, I may very well not have noticed these things even under normal circumstances, but these were not normal circumstances. My impression of the man was something that took place on a visceral level. And the feeling was so strong, it distracted me from everything else.

There was something in his face. In the way he stared down at the gathered crowd. There was something…wrong about his eyes. What I saw — what I thought I saw — was something other, looking out through that unreadable mask. Something triumphant, haughty, contemptuous, leering out at long last from atop the pinnacle of a long and hard-fought battle. It was incredibly strange.

 

Continue Reading

9

PopeWatch: Marie Collins

 

Sandro Magister brings up the resignation of Marie Collins from the pontifical commission of the protection of minors and an example of why she resigned:

 

But there is one point that has essentially met with silence. And it is the criticism that Marie Collins has leveled against Pope Francis himself.

The most pointed criticism dates back to two years ago.

When on January 10, 2015 Francis promoted to the diocese of Osorno, Chile the bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, Collins and other members of the commission protested strenuously.

The new bishop, in fact, was under substantiated accusations from three victims of sexual abuse, who charged him with having shielded the priest Fernando Karadima, for many years a celebrity of the Chilean Church but in the end condemned to “prayer and penance” by the Holy See for his countless verified misdeeds.

The new bishop’s installation in his diocese was heavily contested. But on March 31 the Vatican congregation for bishops stated that it had “attentively studied the prelate’s candidacy and had not found objective reasons that would block his appointment.”

So in April, Collins and other members of the commission for the protection of minors went to Rome to ask the president of the commission, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley (in the photo), to urge the pope to revoke the appointment.

But they got the opposite result. One month later, in May, Pope Francis responded to questions from a former spokesman of the Chilean episcopal conference he met in Saint Peter’s Square. And he went after the bishop’s accusers, in his most indignant words ever.

The video of the encounter was made public afterward. And these are the pope’s actual words:

“It is a Church [that of Osorno] that has lost its freedom because it has let its head be filled up by the politicians, judging a bishop without any proof after twenty years of service. So think with your heads, and don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by all those leftists who are the ones who drummed up the business.

“Furthermore, the only accusation that there has been against this bishop has been discredited by the judicial court. So please, eh? Don’t lose your serenity. Yes, [the diocese of] Osorno is suffering, because it is stupid, because it is not opening its heart to what God is saying and is letting itself get carried away by the stupidities that all those people are saying. I am the first to judge and punish those who have been accused of such things. . . But in this case there is a lack of proof, or rather, on the contrary. . . I say it from the heart. Don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by these people who are seeking only to make ‘lío,’ confusion, who seek to calumniate. . . .”

The “leftists” – “zurdos” in Argentine slang – who had particularly irritated the pope included the 51 Chilean deputies, for the most part of the socialist party of president Michelle Bachelet, who had signed a petition against the appointment of Barros as bishop of Osorno.

So then, when the video with Francis’s words were made public, Marie Collins said she was “discouraged and saddened when you see the claims of Karadima’s courageous victims categorized in this way” by the pope.

That of the bishop of Osorno is not the only case in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio has commandeered judgment for himself, nullifying or sidestepping canonical procedures.

In Italy there has been an uproar over the act of “mercy” with which he has graced Fr. Mauro Inzoli, a prominent priest of the movement Communion and Liberation, reduced to the lay state in 2012 by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith for having abused numerous young people, but restored to the active priesthood by Francis in 2014, with the admonishment that he lead a life of penance and prayer. In the civil arena, Inzoli has been sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison.

Marie Collins also protested against such indulgences: “While mercy is important, justice for all parties is equally important. If there is seen to be any weakness about proper penalties, then it might well send the wrong message to those who would abuse.”

 

Continue Reading

15

PopeWatch: Music

 

The Pope thinks some Church music is terrible:

 

Certainly the meeting with modernity and the introduction of vernacular languages into the Liturgy has raised many problems: of musical languages, forms and genres. At times, a certain mediocrity, superficiality and banality have prevailed to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of the liturgical celebrations. That is why the various actors in this field, musicians and composers, conductors and singers in scholae cantorum, and those involved in the liturgy, can make a valuable contribution to the renewal —especially in quality — of sacred music and liturgical chant. To facilitate this process, we need to promote proper musical formation, also for those who are preparing to become priests, in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with organizations representing the different cultural spheres, and with an ecumenical attitude.

Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Liturgical Dance

 

 

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

 

After a humiliating loss for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, desperate La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have signed a one-weekend deal to teach liturgical dance at next year’s Religious Education Conference.

“Our theme next year will be ‘Embrace The Body Motion,’” Conference executive Bill Thompson said this morning. “All our dance lessons and events will focus on how we express our love for Christ by way of bodily gyration.”

The liturgical dance seminars will include more than 300 workshops on a variety of topics ranging from hallelujah hip-thrusting to pelvic praise.

“One of the main issues we want to tackle next year is people simply standing like robots as they pray,” Thompson said. “A number of workshops will also focus on not only what types spandex to wear, but how to get more men involved. We believe Mr. Gosling will be the catalyst to bringing in a fresh crop of men to participate.”

“For the first time next year the conference will include an interactive, multimedia dance experience where people will be able to feel what it’s like to be inside the body of a liturgical dancer,” Thompson concluded. “No one knows the necessity for true praise and worship until they’ve delved deep into the dark abyss of someone who wakes up one day and realizes that they’re putting on tights so that they can go up in front of a bunch of people at church to dance like idiots on the sanctuary of God.” Continue Reading

4

PopeWatch: Smart

 

In his latest interview Pope Francis was asked about the posters in Rome criticizing him:

 

In an interview with Pope Francis released today by the German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis comments on the controversial posters that went up around Rome last month criticizing him for lacking in mercy. The posters, which one Vatican Cardinal called “the work of the devil,” Pope Francis called “great” and developed by “a clever person.”

The posters, found all over Rome, read: “Ah Francis, you have intervened in Congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals … but where is your mercy?” The posters featured a photo of a cranky looking Pope Francis on his throne wrapped in a thick coat.

Asked by Die Zeit if he felt attacked by the Curia, Pope Francis said he was at peace, adding: “I can understand how my way of dealing with things is not liked by some, that is totally in order. Everybody can have their opinion. That is legitimate and humanly enriching.”

When the interviewer followed up asking if the posters were enriching, Francis replied “the Roman dialect of the posters was great. That was not written by anyone on the street, but by a clever person.” The interviewer interjected, “Somebody from the Vatican?” to which Francis quipped, “No, I said a clever person (laughs).”

“Either way, that was great!” he concluded. Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Celebrating the Worst

 

 

Pope Francis is a big fan of the late Father Bernard Haring.  Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture explains what that tells us:

The era to which Pope Francis referred when he acclaimed the work of Bernard Häring, was the period which morphed quickly into and encompassed the 1960s and 1970s. Fr. Häring, as I learned very quickly (and quite on my own) as soon as I went off to college in 1966, was one of the ringleaders of the so-called “new morality” (which was adopted with far more enthusiasm than the new math, and at about the same time). He was hardly breathing new life into moral theology. Instead, he was stripping it of its relationship to Divine Revelation—the very thing which makes authentic Christian theology possible in the first place. Bernard Häring and thousands like him, from Hans Küng to Charles Curran, sought not God but professional relevance in a faithless world. Refusing to be constrained by what Our Lord had revealed and His Church had defined, they claimed instead that the Holy Spirit enabled the fairly cohesive fraternity of academic “experts” alone to discern the real truth.

It goes without saying that the Holy Spirit was widely applauded for teaching what the secular world had already discovered! Häring himself was among the most vocal dissenters from infallible Catholic teaching such as the deep truths authoritatively set forth during his own professional life in Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI and in Veritatis Splendor by Pope John Paul II. His utter ruin as a Catholic thinker is so obvious that, however one interprets his motives (and I grant that only God can know them perfectly), we are forced to conclude that anyone who would praise him as one of the first to give Catholic moral theology new life in the twentieth century must be ignorant, confused, or subversive. Continue Reading

36

PopeWatch: Yes, Next Question?

 

Father Z asks if a schism exists in the Church:

 

I pay scant attention to Patheos, but for a couple contributors.  This caught my eye after a frequent commentator here alerted me.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote, with my legendary emphases and comments:

Headlines last week were proclaiming that a group of cardinals believe Pope Francis should step down to avoid a catastrophic schism in the Catholic Church.

Schism? What schism?

In fact, the modern Catholic Church is already in schism, but it is an internal schism, hidden to most people.  [He is using the term “schism” equivocally, but read on…]

The divide is very clear and yet virtually unspoken. Nobody dares to really speak of it.  [I don’t know about that.  HERE] The divide runs between cardinals. It runs between bishops and archbishops. It runs between theologians. It runs between parish priests. It runs between liturgists and catechists, church workers, musicians, teachers, journalists and writers. [All true.]

It is not really a divide between conservative and liberal, between traditionalist and progressive. [Wellll…]

[NB] It is the divide between those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Virgin born Son of God and that as the second person of the Holy and undivided Trinity established his church on earth supernaturally filled with the Holy Spirit which  would stand firm until the end of time, and those who believe otherwise. [As I read, I am acutely aware of my post about yesterday’s “Anthema” ceremony for Orthodoxy Sunday of Eastern Christians.]

Those who believe otherwise are the modernists. [Let’s also use “heretics”.] They are the ones who think the church is a human construct. It is a historic accident that occurred two thousand years ago and succeeded by a few twists of fate and a few happy circumstances. Because the believe the church is a human construct from a particular time and place, the church can and MUST adapt and change for every age and culture in which she finds herself.

This is the great divide. This is the schism which already exists.

[…]

I direct the readership’s attention to just about anything offered by Card. Kasper lately and, in particular, the incredible comments made by Card. Coccopalmerio to Edward Pentin HERE:

PENTIN: One last topic: At a recent plenary meeting with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, you reportedly encouraged the members to push for a less rigid understanding of the priesthood, essentially telling them to give up on an objective and metaphysical notion of priesthood. Your notion was that as we have an understanding of different levels of communion with the Church among the baptized, we should have different degrees of the fullness of priesthood, so as to permit Protestants to minister without being fully ordained. What exactly did you say, and why did you say it?

CARD. C: I was saying we have to reflect on questions. We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection.

Call into question the very concept of validity?  What are the implications?

Effectively, that means the obliteration of the Catholic Church.

What do libs do? They launch things out as ideas, “hypothesis”, and then they walk them back or they add “nuances”.  In the meantime the needle has been bumped a half a point in the desired direct.  Card. Kasper put some ideas out there to kick around.  Chaos ensued.  But now we have some bishops who say that the divorced and remarried can be given absolution and Communion while others don’t.  This, based on an objectively unclear papal document.  It’s surreal.  Now, Card. Coccopalmerio (as LutherFest 2017 revs up) lofts the notion that, perhaps, there are shades or, a spectrum of validity.  Maybe there isn’t really any such thing as validity.

Are there 50 Shades of Gray Validity? Continue Reading

14

PopeWatch: More on Paglia

 

Sandro Magister brings us more info on Archbishop Palgia who Pope Francis has placed in charge of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family:

It made news in recent days and for some was a scandal when a glowing eulogy was given in memory of Marco Pannella (1930-2016) by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, a prominent member of the Community of Sant’Egidio, former president of the pontifical council for the family, and as of a few months ago the president of the pontifical academy for life, as well as being the chancellor for the pontifical John Paul II institute for studies on marriage and family.

It was precisely life and the family, in effect, that were the battlefield of political action for Pannella, a leader of the radical party and a relentless promoter of abortion, divorce, homosexual marriage, and euthanasia.

But this did not stop Pope Francis from praising as “among the greats of Italy today,” in an interview last year, Pannella’s most active comrade in arms, the honorable Emma Bonino, for her commitment to the issue of migration. Just as he did not prohibit Fr. Federico Lombardi from bearing witness to the “highest admiration for Francis” of Pannella himself, an admiration reciprocated by the pope, for efforts on behalf of the incarcerated.

Paglia, therefore, is deliberately following in Francis’s footsteps. Exactly as he is doing in the institutes he oversees, which the pope has not by coincidence entrusted to him.

Settimo Cielo has already covered the news, back when it came out, of the new statutes of the pontifical academy for life that went into effect on January 1, carefully crafted to facilitate the purging of members not in line with the new course, as for example cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Willem Jacobus Eijk, or the renowned scholars Josef Maria Seifert and Luke Gormally.

But now it can be said that the purge is complete. If one goes to the official website of the academy and looks at the three lists of ordinary, corresponding, and emeritus members, one will find that no one appears on them anymore. Absolutely nobody. To find the names of those purged one has to consult the two lists of “former,” with 172, and “late,” with 10.

In other words: everyone fired or buried. And without the slightest forewarning. Not a memo. not an e-mail, not a thank you, not a requiem.

And the new academics who will take the places of the purged? The casting call is already underway, with supervision at Casa Santa Marta, but it will take time. The academy’s own website candidly confesses this, in justifying the delay until October 5-7 of the general assembly that is usually held at the beginning of the year:

“Just for the complexity of the process of appointing new Members of the Academy, made necessary with the approval of the new Statute desired by Pope Francis, the Assembly, will be held next October.”

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21

PopeWatch: Archbishop Paglia

 

 

Further evidence that this whole Pontificate may be, in a best case analysis, a divine practical joke:

 

The archbishop now at the helm of the Pontifical Academy for Life paid a homosexual artist to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in 2007. The mural includes an image of the archbishop himself.

The archbishop, Vincenzo Paglia, was also recently appointed by Pope Francis as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

The massive mural still covers the opposite side of the facade of the cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia. It depicts Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, jumbled together in erotic interactions.

Included in one of the nets is Paglia, the then diocesan bishop. The image of the Savior is painted with the face of a local male hairdresser, and his private parts can be seen through his translucent garb.

According to the artist, a homosexual Argentinean named Ricardo Cinalli who is known for his paintings of male bodies, Bishop Paglia selected him out of a list of ten internationally-known artists specifically for the task of painting the inner wall of the facade. Bishop Paglia, along with one Fr. Fabio Leonardis, oversaw every detail of Cinalli’s work, according to Cinalli, who approvingly notes that Paglia never asked him if he believed in the Christian doctrine of salvation.

“Working with him was humanly and professionally fantastic,” Cinalli told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in March of last year. “Never, in four months, during which we saw each other almost three times each week, did Paglia ever ask me if I believed in salvation. He never placed me in an uncomfortable position.”

“There was no detail that was done freely, at random,” added Cinalli. “Everything was analyzed. Everything was discussed. They never allowed me to work on my own.”

 

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