PopeWatch: They Probably Make the Trains Run on Time Too


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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Of course, all three may be true.

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




PopeWatch: Muslim Converts

This is interesting.  Muslim converts to Catholicism have penned an open letter to the Pope:


Here follows the text of an Open Letter to Pope Francis that you can sign if you so wish. ‬We will present it as soon as it reaches a significant number of signatories. ‬Thank you for helping to make it known. ‬We base our initiative on Canon Law: “‬According to the knowledge, ‬the competence and the prestige enjoyed by the faithful, ‬they have the right and sometimes even the duty to give the Sacred Shepherds their opinion on what concerns the good of the Church and to make it known to the other faithful, ‬keeping safe the integrity of faith and morals and the reverence due to pastors, ‬and taking into account the common utility and dignity of people.” (‬Canon ‬212 §‬ 3)‬:‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

From former Muslims who became Catholics, ‬and their friends,‬‬‬‬

to His Holiness Pope Francis,‬‬

‬ about his attitude towards Islam.‬‬

Most Holy Father,

‬Many of us ‬have tried to contact you, ‬on many occasions ‬and for several years, ‬and we have never received the slightest acknowledgement of our letters or requests for meetings. ‬You do not like to beat around the bush, ‬and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not understand your teaching about Islam, ‬as we read in paragraphs ‬252 ‬and ‬253 of‭ ‬Evangelii Gaudium,‭ ‬because it does not account for the fact‭ ‬that Islam came AFTER Christ,‭ and so ‬is, ‬and can only be, ‬‬an Antichrist‭ (‬see‭ ‬1‭ ‬Jn‭ ‬2.22‭)‬,‭ and one of the most dangerous because it presents itself as the fulfillment of Revelation (‬of which Jesus would have been only a prophet)‬. ‬If ‬Islam is a good religion in itself, ‬as you seem to teach, ‬why did we become Catholic? ‬Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made ‬at the risk of our lives? ‬Islam prescribes death for apostates (‬Quran ‬4.89, ‬8.7-11)‬, ‬do you know? ‬How is it possible to ‬compare Islamic violence with so-called Christian violence‭?‬  “What is the relationship between Christ and Satan? ‬What union is there between light and darkness? ‬What association between the faithful and the unfaithful?”‬ (2 ‬Cor ‬6: ‬14-17) ‬In ‬accordance with His teaching (‬Lk ‬14:26)‬, ‬we preferred Him, ‬the Christ, ‬to our own life. ‬Are we not in a good position to talk to you about Islam?‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In fact, ‬as long as Islam wants us to be its enemy, ‬we are, ‬and all our ‬protestations of friendship cannot change anything. ‬As a proper Antichrist, ‬Islam exists only as an enemy of all: “‬Between us and you there is enmity and hatred forever, until you believe in Allah alone!”‬ (Qur’an ‬60.4) ‬For the Qur’an, ‬Christians “‬are only impurity” (‬Quran ‬9.28)‬,” “‬the worst of Creation” (‬Qur’an ‬98.6)‬, ‬all condemned to Hell (‬Qur’an ‬4.48)‬, ‬so Allah must exterminate them (‬Quran ‬9.30)‬. ‬We must not be deceived by the Quranic verses deemed tolerant, ‬because they have all been repealed by the verse of the Sword (‬Quran ‬9.5)‬. ‬Where the Gospel proclaims the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the salvation of all, and ‬the fulfillment of the Covenant initiated with the Hebrews, ‬Allah has nothing to offer but war and murder of the “‬infidels” in exchange for his paradise: “‬They fight on the way of Allah, ‬they kill and are killed.” (‬Quran ‬9:11) We do not confuse Islam with Muslims, ‬but if for you “‬dialogue” ‬means the voice of peace, ‬for Islam it’s only another way to make war. ‬Also, ‬as it was in the face of Nazism and communism, ‬naiveté in the face of Islam is suicidal and very dangerous. ‬How can you speak of peace and endorse Islam, ‬as you seem to do:  “‬To wring from our hearts the disease that‭ ‬plagues our lives‭ (‬…‭) ‬Let those who are Christians do it with the Bible and those who are Muslims do it with the Quran.‭ “(‬Rome,‭ ‬January‭ ‬20,‭ ‬2014‭)‬? That the Pope seems to propose the Quran as a way of salvation,‭ is that not cause for worry? ‬Should we return to Islam‭?

We beg you not to seek in Islam an ally in your fight against the powers that want to dominate and enslave the world, ‬since they share the same totalitarian logic based on the rejection of the kingship of Christ (‬Lk ‬4.7). ‬We know that the Beast of ‬the Apocalypse, ‬seeking to devour the Woman and her Child, ‬has many heads. ‬Allah defends such alliances by the way (‬Quran ‬5.51)! ‬Moreover, the prophets have always reproached Israel for its willingness to ally with foreign powers, ‬to the detriment of the complete confidence they should’ve had in God. ‬Certainly, ‬the temptation is strong to think that speaking in an Islamophilic tone will prevent more suffering for Christians in those countries that have become Muslim, ‬but apart from the fact that Jesus has never indicated any other way than that of the Cross, ‬so that we must find our joy therein ‬and not flee with all the damned, ‬we do not doubt that only the proclamation of the Truth brings with it not only salvation, ‬but freedom as well (‬John ‬8.32)‬. ‬Our duty is to bear witness to the truth “‬in season and out of season” (‬2 ‬Timothy ‬4.‬2)‬, ‬and ‬our glory is to be able to say with St. ‬Paul: “‬I did not want to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, ‬and Him crucified.” (‬1 ‬Corinthians ‬2.2)

As to Your Holiness’s stance on Islam: even as President Erdogan, ‬among others, ‬asks his countrymen not to integrate into their host countries, ‬and while Saudi Arabia and all the petrol monarchies do not welcome any refugee, ‬expressions (among others) of the project‭ ‬of conquest and Islamization of Europe,‭ ‬officially proclaimed by the OIC and other Islamic organizations for decades;‬ ‬you, Most Holy Father, preach the welcoming of migrants regardless of the fact that they are Muslims, ‬something forbidden by Apostolic command: “‬If anyone comes to you but refuses this Gospel, ‬do not receive him among you nor greet him. ‬Whoever greets him participates in his evil works.” (‬2 ‬John ‬1.10-11); “‬If anyone preaches to you a different Gospel, ‬let him be accursed!” ‬(Galatians ‬1.8-9)

Just as “For I was hungry, and you gave me no food.” (Mt 25:42) cannot mean that Jesus would have liked to be a parasite, so “I was a stranger and you welcomed Me” cannot mean “I was an invader and you welcomed Me”, but rather “I needed your hospitality for a while, and you granted it to me”. The word ξένος (xenos) in the New Testament does not only have the meaning of stranger but of guest as well (Rm 16.23; 1 Co 16.5-6, Col 4.10; 3 Jn 1.5). And when YHWH in the Old Testament commands to treat foreigners well because the Hebrews have themselves been foreigners in Egypt, ‬it is on the condition that the foreigner assimilates so well to the chosen people that he accepts their religion and practices their cult‬… ‬Never is there mention of welcoming a foreigner who would keep his religion and its customs! ‬Also, ‬we do not understand that you are pleading for Muslims to practice their religion in Europe. ‬The meaning of Scripture should not be supplied by the proponents of globalism, ‬but ‬in fidelity to Tradition. ‬The Good Shepherd hunts the wolf, ‬He does not let it enter the sheepfold.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‬‬The pro-Islam speech of Your Holiness leads us to deplore the fact that Muslims are not invited to leave Islam, and ‬that many ex-Muslims, ‬such as Magdi Allam,‭ ‬are even leaving the Church, ‬disgusted by her cowardice, ‬wounded by equivocal gestures, ‬confused by the lack of evangelization, ‬scandalized by the praise given to Islam ‬… ‬Thus ignorant souls are misled, ‬and Christians are not preparing for a confrontation with Islam, ‬to ‬which St. ‬John Paul II has called them (‬Ecclesia in Europa,‭ ‬No.‭ ‬57‭)‬.‭ ‬We are under the impression that you do not take your brother Bishop Nona Amel, ‬ Chaldean-Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in exile, ‬seriously, ‬when he tells us: “‬Our present sufferings are the prelude to those that you, ‬Europeans and Western Christians, ‬will suffer in the near future. ‬I have lost my diocese. ‬The headquarters of my archdiocese and my apostolate have been occupied by radical Islamists who want us to convert or die. (‬…) ‬You are welcoming into your ‬country an ever increasing number of Muslims. ‬You are in danger as well. ‬You must make strong and courageous decisions (‬…)‬. ‬You think that all men are equal, ‬but Islam does not say that all men are equal. (‬…) ‬If you do not understand this very quickly, ‬you will become the victims of the enemy that you have invited into your home.” (‬August‭ ‬9,‭ ‬2014‭) “‬.‭ This is a matter of life and death,‭ ‬and any complacency towards Islam is treasonous. ‬We do not wish the West to continue with Islamization, ‬nor that your actions contribute to it. ‬Where then would we go to seek refuge?‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Allow us to ask Your Holiness to quickly convene a synod on the dangers of Islam. What remains of the Church where Islam has installed itself? If she still has civil rights, it is in dhimmitude, on the condition that she does not evangelize, thus denying her very essence. ‬In the interest of justice and truth, ‬the Church must bring to light why the arguments put forward by Islam to blaspheme the Christian ‬faith are false. ‬If the Church had the courage to do that, ‬we do not doubt that millions, ‬Muslims as well as other men and women seeking the true God, ‬would convert. ‬As you said: “He who does not pray to Christ, prays to the Devil.” (14.03.13) If people knew they were going to Hell, ‬they would give their lives to Christ. (‬cf. Quran ‬3.55)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‬‬‬With the deepest love for Christ who, ‬through you, ‬leads His Church, ‬we, ‬converts from Islam, ‬supported by many of our brothers in the Faith, ‬especially the Christians of the East, ‬and by our friends, ask Your Holiness to confirm our conversion to Jesus Christ, ‬true God and true man, ‬the only Savior, ‬with a frank and right discourse on Islam, ‬and, ‬assuring you of our prayers in the heart of the Immaculate, ‬we ask your apostolic blessing.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Go here to look at the letter and the signatures.  These Catholic converts raise an interesting question.  In this age of ecumenism, where the Pope is making nice with all religions, except traditional Catholicism, why would someone decide to follow Christ at the risk of his or her life?  The only reason that makes sense is because Christ is God, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  These converts understand that.  A pity that so many high ranking members of our Church give every sign of not believing that.


PopeWatch: Open Borders

The Pope is doubling down on his policy of putting the Catholic Church on those in the West advocating open borders:


Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God. Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]

All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.

3. With a contemplative gaze

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”[9] These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem. The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice”[10] – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth. Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.

4. Four mileposts for action

Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[12]

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence. It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[13]

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate: “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.”[14]

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people. This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation. The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”[15]

“Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community. Saint Paul expresses it in these words: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.”[16] 


Go here to read the rest.  In this debate the Pope enters the political field, as there is nothing in Church doctrine that mandates that governments allow illegal aliens to enter their country.  The traditional teaching of the Church is actually quite the reverse.  Like a partisan politician, he refuses to acknowledge the manifest problems that have been created by massive illegal immigration from the Islamic world, especially in Italy, and demonizes those who have spoken out about such problems.  Catholics have a right to expect better from their Pope.


PopeWatch: Apostasy

Father John Hunwicke reminds us of these prophetic words of Pope Paul VI three decades ago:


In 1977, Blessed Paul VI, on the sixtieth anniversary of the last Fatima Apparition, said this: “The tail of the Devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church, even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the Faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church”.

I know some of you chaps out there sometimes feel a bit dubious about Blessed Papa Montini, but, really, faced with words of such prophetic discernment, how can you maintain your reservations? Come on!

By the way: have you yet read Cardinal Burke‘s very fine Buckfast Address on …  Apostasy? If not, you jolly well ought to get on with it …

Apostasy is a word we ought to be more willing to do business with. The beginning of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England is commonly dated to 1833, when  blessed John Keble preached a sermon on “National Apostasy“! Very Patrimonial! Immensely Prophetic!


Go here to read the comments.  Always remember that after the night of Satan there is the dawn of Christ.


PopeWatch: Jonathan Pryce

Well this is interesting.  Actor Jonathan Pryce is going to portray Pope Francis:


Add Pope Francis to Netflix’s continually growing TV and movie roster names. The streaming service is moving forward with the feature film The Pope, with Jonathan Pryce tapped to play the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and Anthony Hopkins in talks to play his predecessor Pope Benedict. The film will be directed by City of God helmer Fernando Meirelles, has a script by Anthony McCarten, who wrote The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking and the upcoming Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.  McCarten adapted his stage play. Dan Lin is producing with Jonathan Eirich, and Tracey Seaward. Filming will begin November in Argentina.

Go here to read the rest.  Intriguingly Pryce also has portrayed the religious figure, and true believer, High Sparrow in Game of Thrones:




In 1996 he played Juan Peron in Evita:


A religious figure with a good deal of Juan Peron in him.  That sounds unpleasantly familiar.


PopeWatch: Burke to Guam





Just when you thought that things couldn’t get much weirder at the Vatican:


Cardinal Raymond Burke has traveled to Guam, to take testimony in the canonical trial of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agana.

Archbishop Apuron, who has been accused of molesting a number of young men, was relieved of his pastoral responsibilities in the Guam archdiocese last June. He has insisted on his innocence and refused to resign. However, in October the Vatican named an American prelate, Archbishop Michael Byrnes, as coadjutor with “special faculties” to take over leadership of the archdiocese.

At his installation, Archbishop Byrnes revealed that the Vatican had begun a canonical trial of Archbishop Apuron on the sex-abuse charges. The Vatican press office has now confirmed this, and disclosed that Cardinal Burke was named as the presiding judge in the case. Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Bear Growls: Leftist Cardinals



Our bruin friend at Saint Corbinian’s Bear takes a look at the three new US cardinals appointed by Pope Francis:

Cupich, Tobin, and Farrell new U.S. Francis Cardinals, signaling a switch away from culture wars. Actually, it signals a switch away from Catholicism. And the Bear shall continue to be right when he says again and again that things are far worse than you think in Jorge Bergoglio’s Church. Now he is consolidating his gains.

The Church in America shall be more the Democrat PAC. It shall continue to sacrifice ecclesiastic physiology for ecclesiastic pathology. It will perpetuate the anti-Catholic leftist party who will elect the next pope in Francis’ image. More Muslim refugees; more running cover for renegade nuns; and more excuses for Muslim terrorism. More support for women deacons; even women deacons delivering homilies.

Read the jubilation at America magazine. BTW the author wants us to take him seriously, when he touts a book, “The Tweetable Pope: a Spiritual Revolution in 140 Characters.” That pretty much says it all about everything, the Bear reckons. Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Noncomformist on the Throne of Peter



PopeWatch sometimes fears that the Pope Emeritus is in jeopardy of becoming the forgotten pope.  Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa brings to our attention of a perceptive new look at his papacy by a Japanese agnostic:


by Hajime Konno

Benedict XVI entered the stage of world politics as a Church leader endowed with clear principles and strong will. The name selected as pope, Benedict, indicated his pessimistic diagnosis of the times, or his comparison between the situation today and the late-Roman decadence at the time of Saint Benedict. Already in his homily on the eve of his election to the see, on April 18, 2005, he had clearly taken a position in this regard.

The pope’s objective was first of all the defense and reinforcement of the Christian foundations of Europe, even though during his pontificate the curia also dealt intensively with relations with non-European countries, as for example the socialist republics of China and Vietnam. Benedict did not intend to subject himself to fashion and limit himself to governing with diligence. He wanted to decide what should be changed and what not, always on the basis of the Church’s position and independently of the spirit of the times. He was by no means pledged to anti-modernism. He simply intended to preserve the elements that he saw as necessary for the Church, regardless of the fact of whether they were modern or premodern. He eliminated the papal tiara from the pontifical coat of arms, he renounced the title of “patriarch of the West,” he addressed environmental problems with passion.

Above all he was, de facto, the pope of the “logos”: with the power of his words, his most powerful weapon, he fought for Christian Europe. He opened the Church to the most recent means of communication, including YouTube and Twitter, he rehabilitated Latin and the Tridentine Mass, he reached out to the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, he consolidated the liturgy as the solemn actualization of the mysteries, he placed the Eucharist at the center of Christian life, he encouraged the administration of communion on the tongue and was not afraid, even after the much-criticized discourse in Regensburg, to discuss the violence of radical Islamists.

As interlocutors in the ecumenical movement, Pope Benedict XVI carefully chose Churches like the Orthodox and the Anglican, establishing good contacts with both while still inviting conservative Anglican dissidents to join the Catholic Church. The culmination of the friendship between Catholic and Orthodox was the encounter with the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. Benedict XVI also went to Great Britain, meeting with both Queen Elizabeth and the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and beatifying Cardinal John Henry Newman in Glasgow. It was not possible to organize a trip to Russia, yet Benedict also had good relations with the patriarch of Moscow, Cyril I, since he was metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. Although at the time of the council Ratzinger had worked for a positive evaluation of Protestantism, Pope Benedict XVI kept his distance from the “ecclesial communities” of the Reformation.

The progressives inside and outside of the Catholic Church did not recognize the pope’s ability to act autonomously apart from the spirit of the time. To these groups a pontiff who had as his motto “cooperatores veritatis” appeared as an arrogant, unbearable prince of the Church. They did all they could to promote a negative image of the pope and rejoiced over his unexpected resignation. Among the means used, an important role was given to anti-Germanism. The method of stigmatizing Ratzinger as German, even though he rarely emphasized his Germanic identity, resembles that used by anti-Semitism when even Jewish converts are still accused of remaining Jews.

In Germany, his birthplace, Pope Benedict XVI has always been a topic of debate. On the one hand his election was a sort of stroke of liberation. The fact that a German had been elected pope and therefore, so to speak, the supreme spiritual authority of the West, was in itself sensational. English tabloids like “The Sun” could not pass up the chance to compose mocking headlines (“From Hitler Youth to… Papa Ratzi”). Benedict reacted to all of this by emphasizing his Bavarian rather than German patriotism and on May 28, 2006 he went to visit the former concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. At the same time, however, he also highlighted the importance of Germany. The progressives left no stone unturned in accentuating the problems of sexual abuse and of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, in order to undermine the authority of the pope. Conservative German Catholics, for example those gathered in the initiative “Deutschland pro Papa” or in the “Forum Deutscher Katholiken” found themselves disarmed in the face of the markedly anticlerical climate that prevailed in German public opinion.

Although Benedict XVI did not expressly intend to do so, in fact he brought the dominion of modern values into question. In the context of his criticism of Marxism he supported Western parliamentary democracy, but his siding in favor of democracy was by no means unconditional. He decisively refused to introduce it into the Church, which is ordered in a hierarchical way. He also looked with skepticism at public opinion polling. His distance from the popular will is not explained only by his experience with the student movement in the 1960’s, but was already rooted in his distancing himself from National Socialism, which in its time was accompanied by thunderous applause from the majority of the population. He also did not share the optimistic evaluation of modern-day man and the progress of society.

His attitude followed in the footsteps of Christian social conservatism. The appreciation of the family and of heterosexual marriage was in contradiction with the present-day multiplication of family models. The emphasis placed on the role of Christianity as the pre-political basis of liberal democracy was aimed against secularism. Benedict XVI disapproved of the criticism of Eurocentrism and reiterated the Christian character of Europe. Not only in political questions, but also and above all in cultural ones he took positions and acted as an active champion of old European culture against the tides of globalization.

Pope Benedict XVI was a nonconformist on the throne of Peter. When from the seat of gold he imparted the blessing in Latin, excommunicated dissidents, held the universal Church together and affirmed the unicity of the Catholic faith, he was in fact showing his authoritative side. It comes as no surprise that his detractors, like Leonardo Boff or Johann Baptist Metz, should have criticized him. Nonetheless, the question can also be seen in a different way if it is placed within the situation in which the Church finds itself. If one looks at the dominant position of modern values, the Catholic Church is an oppressed minority while its critics belong to the majority. Thus Ratzinger’s authoritative attitude was a reaction to the prevailing situation.

In any case, the combative spirit was only one side of Joseph Ratrzinger. Although he armored himself, in a certain sense, against his opponents, he never lost the willingness for dialogue. Even his most ardent critic, Hans Küng, was given a friendly reception at Castel Gandolfo. In his encyclicals, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly dealt with themes like “love” and “hope.” Substantially he remained a Bavarian patriot, with enthusiasm always in his heart for the procession of Corpus Domini. In this sense he resembles the prince of ancient China Ling Wang (Gao Changgong). Even though he fought on the battlefield wearing a mask of the devil, the features of the face that this concealed were delicate. Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Cupich of the West



Christ told us by our fruits he shall know us.  In regard to Popes it is by their appointments that they tend to be known:


It’s being called the “Cupich appointment of the West,” and not without reason – resolving the highest-profile vacancy on the current US docket, at Roman Noon tomorrow the Pope is slated to name Bishop Robert McElroy, the 61 year-old auxiliary of San Francisco known as one of the Stateside bench’s most outspoken progressives, as the sixth bishop of San Diego and its 1 million Catholics in the nation’s seventh-largest city.

As reports of the appointment quietly circulated for much of last week, three Whispers ops appraised of the move confirmed the news over the weekend. Coming just shy of six months since the premature death of Bishop Cirilo Flores after a brief struggle with cancer, as reports here at the time indicated, the succession was indeed fast-tracked given both the relative freshness of the consultations leading up to Flores’ own selection in early 2012 and the diocese’s still-unsettled state from its 2007 bankruptcy amid a torrent of sex-abuse lawsuits, which was settled for $197 million.

Go here to read the rest.  Robert McElroy is no stranger to PopeWatch.  This from October 21, 2013: Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Think Hard About This


The Pope spoke quite strongly against abortion, euthanasia and in vitro fertilization on Saturday to the Association of Italian Catholic doctors

The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a “false compassion”, that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to “produce” a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others. Instead, the compassion of the Gospel is that which accompanies in times of need, that is, the compassion of the Good Samaritan, who “sees”, “has compassion”, approaches and provides concrete help (cf. Lk 10:33).

Your mission as doctors puts you in daily contact with many forms of suffering. I encourage you to take them on as “Good Samaritans”, caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled. Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection. And this fidelity entails many social consequences. We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said.

Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the Creator, who created things this way. When so many times in my life as a priest I have heard objections: “But tell me, why the Church is opposed to abortion, for example? Is it a religious problem?” No, no. It is not a religious problem. “Is it a philosophical problem?” No, it is not a philosophical problem.

It’s a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to take out a human life to solve a problem. “But no, modern thought…” But, listen, in ancient thought and modern thought, the word “kill” means the same thing. The same evaluation applies to euthanasia: we all know that with so many old people, in this culture of waste, there is this hidden euthanasia. But there is also the other. And this is to say to God, “No, I will accomplish the end of life, as I will.” A sin against God the Creator! Think hard about this. Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Condolence and Love




The habit of Pope Francis in calling people out of the blue has sometimes produced controversial results, but he made one call last week that all Catholics can support:

Moved by the grisly images of James Foley’s murder, Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the slain journalist’s parents in a heartfelt phone call.

John and Diane Foley received the call from the pontiff at about 3 p.m. Thursday, a family friend said.

“He was very compassionate, very loving,” said the friend, Father Marc Montminy, of St. Michael’s Church in Exeter, N.H.

Montminy added that Pope Francis spoke to the Foleys through a translator for about 20 minutes, offering comfort to the staunchly Catholic couple. Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Not Interested?




Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa puts his finger on what PopeWatch views as the single most dispiriting aspect of the papacy of Pope Francis:



Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).

Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.

Instead – according to what “ambassador” Stiller reported – the pope assured them: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” Continue Reading


PopeWatch: Communion Gate



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

VATICAN––It was revealed today that senior assistants to Pope Francis conspired to snarl lines for Holy Communion in the basilica of a “rival Cardinal.”  In an EOTT exclusive, an anonymous source said that some of Pope Francis’ top aides remained bitter toward supporters of an undisclosed papal candidate who came close to being elected at the March 2013 conclave. Information leaked from the papal election named Santos Abril y Castello, Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, as one of the cardinals who had cast his vote for a runner-up instead of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. In official emails and text messages shown to EOTT today, Papal aides discussed Castello’s non-support of Francis in bitter tones in the months following the election. In one email dated December 4, 2013, an aide to Pope Francis, Father Pietro Torelli mentions Castello’s vote and jokes with another aide, “Time for some communion traffic problems in Maria Maggiore!” Many Maria Maggiore parishioners had complained to EOTT that there was a total absence of Eucharistic ministers at the Basilica on Sunday, causing people to wait an “unbearable” twenty to twenty-five minutes to receive Holy Communion. “It was more than I could take,” said one frustrated parishioner. “Usually there are about ten Eucharistic Ministers, but there was only two. For the first time in my life, I walked out of Mass before receiving Communion. I usually run right out after receiving, but since I was at the end of the long and only Communion line, I knew that the parking lot would be a zoo if I did not get out of there soon.” Pope Francis held a news conference today denying knowledge of the incident and promising that any of his aides involved in ordering Eucharistic Ministers at the Basilica to stay home from Mass would be dismissed. Vatican observers wonder if this ugly incident jeopardizes Francis’ chances to repeat as TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2014. “I am not a bully,” the Pope sadly told reporters. “I don’t know how I got that reputation. Maybe because I was once a bouncer? I don’t know.”

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