7

PopeWatch: Bishop Thomas Paprocki

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

1

PopeWatch: Mammon

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Go here to read the rest.

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

 

20

PopeWatch: Morning’s Minion

Well this is amusing.  From Lifesite News:

 

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

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

Image

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

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

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

3

PopeWatch: Back to the Seventies

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few selections from them:

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is urgent to get back to reality.

*

TRAVEL NOTES

by Gianpaolo Meucci and Raniero La Valle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18

PopeWatch: The Resistance

The Pope knows we are out here:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go here to read the rest.

3

PopeWatch: Lenten Calculations

 

 

 

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

 

(AoftheANews) – DUNDEE – Police were called to Our Lady of Just Desserts on Sunday, February 11, in response to an altercation among a group of parishioners following the 10 AM Mass. What had begun as a disagreement between two mothers turned into a near riot, resulting in the entire Dundee police force descending en masse to restore peace.

“It happened in the Social Hall,” said Dundee Police Chief Ed Cruller. “Two moms were arguing over the proper way to calculate the 40 Days of Lent, and from there it escalated out of control. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the altercation, though a platter of donut holes suffered significant damage, and could not be salvaged. Believe me, we tried.”

The women involved, May de Fource and Bea Whitchu, spoke separately with AoftheA News via telephone.

“I still don’t know what happened,” May said. “I said to Bea, it’s going to be tough coming to coffee hour when you’ve given up sweets for Lent. Bea replied with ‘but Sundays don’t count in Lent’, and we went back and forth. Next thing I know, she’s calling me ‘holier than thou’ and ‘righteous zealot’, and I think I might have thrown a chair.”

“Sunday’s don’t count,” Bea said. “That’s how you get to 40 days. Otherwise Lent is 46 days, which makes no sense. She got in my face about being a slacker, so once I finished my glazed chocolate donut holes, I might have shoved her or something. Frankly, I think May’s suffering from sugar withdrawal, because normally she’s just passive aggressive, not regular aggressive, you know?”

“We’re still taking statements, getting details,” Chief Cruller said. “From most accounts, their husbands became involved, then their kids, and then half the hall. We arrived, restored peace, and escorted parishioners off the premises. Both women have agreed to not press charges. We also confiscated the donut holes as evidence.”

The pastor, Fr Tim Bitz, told AoftheA News he appreciated the police’s quick response and restoring order. “This could have been as bad – if not worse – than Lent 2012, when I filled the holy water fonts with sand. Talk about a riot!”

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican but was advised by the nun running the Vatican switchboard that the Pope had left a message for PopeWatch:  “Tell the gringo I have given up talking to him for Lent!”.

10

PopeWatch: Rist

It is impossible to overestimate how intellectually vacant most defenses of the current pontificate are.  Cardinal Cupich, under questioning, gave an example of this:

 

A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice.

Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge University in which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lecture why Pope Francis “mercilessly” insults and eliminates his doctrinal opponents.

Rist asked the Cardinal: 

Your Eminence, In view of your account of the sunny, caring and holistic features of Pope Francis’ revolution of mercy – described disturbingly by the leaflet for this meeting and by your Eminence as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the presentation of Catholicism – and of the Pope’s call for free and frank discussion of his challenging proposals and policies, I would like to ask why Pope Francis acts so mercilessly in insulting and eliminating doctrinal opponents:  

  • Cardinal Burke removed from the leadership of the Roman Rota;  
  • Three loyal priests from the CDF dismissed without explanation, followed by the abrupt termination of Cardinal Mueller himself;
  • The denial of a Cardinal’s hat to the much loved champion of the unborn, Archbishop Chaput;
  • The removal of most of the original members of the Academy for Life;
  • The apparent selling-down the river of Cardinal Pell, who may have been framed;
  • And more recently the banishment from Rome of the Professor of Patristics at the Lateran and editor of the challenging book Remaining in the Truth of Christ; 

The list goes on and on, but I stop there  to ask again whether harsh actions of this sort — combined with the well-documented rigging of the Synod on the Family — indicate that the Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ should be recognized as an attempt — under cover of offering solutions to genuine social problems in Western society — to impose on the Church radical changes of doctrine, developed not by laity but largely in Germany by a group of relativist Hegelian theologians? 

Cupich deviated from the question, replying that those who have such concerns should ask themselves: “Do we really believe that the Spirit is no longer guiding the Church?” reported the Catholic Herald. 

The professor said after the event that if he had been given the chance to reply, he would have told the Cardinal that “the Church is indeed guided by the Holy Spirit, via good Catholic souls such as Cardinal Burke and many others.”

Rist is a Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Toronto and now holds a Chair in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. A native of the United Kingdom, Rist is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He is also a convert to Catholicism from agnosticism, thanks to his study of Plato, the Gospels and other ancient texts. 

Rist, whose career as a philosopher and a classicist spans fifty years and three continents, has written 16 scholarly books and over a hundred journal articles on ancient and Christian philosophy or the Gospels. He also contributed to Remaining in the Truth of Christ, the defense of Catholic teaching that was “intercepted” at the Synod on the Family

Rist told LifeSiteNews that he regards the Francis papacy as a “disaster.” 

“I regard this papacy as a disaster and Bergoglio as possibly — because of his tampering with established doctrine — as possibly the worst pope we have ever had,” he said. 

Go here to read the rest.  Note that under Pope Francis cherished teachings of the Church are so much paper kindling that may be tossed into the flames any moment. However, when challenged the Francis fans attempt to raise an ultramontane shield to all criticism.  Thus the only Catholic teachings that are are sacrosanct in this pontificate are those that render the Pope above criticism.

7

PopeWatch: Father George Rutler

Cardinal Blase Cupich is the point man of Pope Francis in Chicago.  To be very blunt he is an idiot.  At Crisis Father Rutler points out this fact:

 

In an interview the day before he lectured on the exhortation of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia at the Von Hugel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry in Cambridge England, on February 9, Cardinal Cupich hoped that his words “might bring some clarity for people who have raised questions, and then also to raise a challenge for them to also take a second look at the document.” In the lecture itself the cardinal quoted Amoris Laetitia, n. 38: “Many people feel that the Church’s message on marriage and family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals.” A year earlier, on February 14, 2017, Cardinal Cupich said that the pope’s exhortation “expresses with absolute clarity marriage doctrine in full fidelity to traditional Church teaching.” One supposes that Cardinal Cupich’s lecture in Cambridge was intended to explain why the Exhortation’s clarity was unclear to so many around the world, even though they have the benefit of recording machines and all the social media, which Jesus lacked, although his voice could be heard by thousands on hilltops and seashores.

In the Von Hugel lecture, which was recorded and thus cannot be nuanced, Cardinal Cupich said by way of apophasis that “It goes without saying….” and then went on to say that Amoris Laetitia will also mean rejecting “an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity.” There is clarity again, in all its frustrating opaqueness. And after rejecting authoritarianism and paternalism, the cardinal invoked Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 25 to declare that an innovative interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by the bishops of Buenos Aires, which, by virtue of “the publication in Acta Apostolicae Sedes [sic]” of the papal letter commending it, qualifies as an official Church teaching “which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with.”

It should be, and I think it is, clear as night and day, that Jesus would not have been crucified had he been more nuanced. There are those who have twisted themselves into pretzels trying to make clear by subtlety, with their own frail command of classical letters, that the official Latinity of Amoris Laetitia proves that it is faithful to authentic doctrine, and is not as flawed as its critics claim. This is on a par with Edgar Nye’s opinion that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. Excuses like that are defeated by Pope Francis himself who told those Argentinian bishops that their eisegesis “explains precisely the meaning of Chapter VIII.”

Cardinal Cupich called Amoris Laetitia a “radical change” and Cardinal Parolin said “It’s a paradigm shift and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us—this new spirit, this new approach!” The exclamation point conveys His Eminence’s enthusiasm. Cardinal Cupich asks for a more “holistic” application of the Gospel, in fact using the term ten times without a clear definition of what it means. There have indeed been paradigm shifters in Christology, but there have been no Doctors of the Church among them, and none has been salubrious in the annals of grace. To skim the surface, they have included Arius, Nestorius, Priscillian, Montanus, Mohammed, Waldo, Luther, Calvin, Jansen, Joseph Smith and Phineas Quimby who coached Mrs. Eddy.

Go here to read the rest.  A good summary of the current pontificate might be:  dumb and dumber.  We are being misled by knavish fools and foolish knaves.

 

 

2

PopeWatch: Discernment

The perfect Catholic university for the Age of Francis is Notre Dame:

University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins justified the university’s decision last week to fund “simple contraceptives” through its insurance plan by appealing to Pope Francis and the Pope’s call for “discernment.”

“The situation is one that demands discernment—something to which Pope Francis has called the Church in his various writings and addresses,” wrote Jenkins in a February 7 letter to faculty and staff about the decision. 

“Discernment, which has a long history in the Catholic spiritual tradition, is, of course, a process of weighing thoughtfully considerations for and against various courses of action. Yet it also demands prayerful attention to God’s guidance through the prompting of the Holy Spirit,” he added. 

The university had announced in November that contraception would be available to those covered on its insurance plans through a third-party insurance administrator. The decision dismayed alumni, staff and others concerned for the university’s Catholic identity, and also came as a surprise because Notre Dame had been among a number of Catholic institutions to sue over the HHS Contraception Mandate in Obamacare.

Jenkins stated in his letter that third-party insurance also included the “provision of abortion-inducing drugs” which are “far more gravely objectionable in Catholic teaching.” Because of this, the university decided to “stop the government-funded provision of the range of drugs and services through our third party administrator.”

“Instead, the University will provide coverage in the University’s own insurance plans for simple contraceptives (i.e., drugs designed to prevent conception),” wrote Jenkins

The policy is scheduled to be enacted starting June 1, 2018.

The Catholic Church condemns contraception because it separates the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act. Chemical contraception also has countless associated health risks. Further, when regular oral contraception fails to prevent conception, some experts say it can actually cause an abortion.

Notre Dame law professor Gerard V. Bradley condemned the university’s decision in an article titled Notre Dame Swallows the Pill published February 8 at the Public Discourse. 

“Now the University is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway, with only the logistics of it delegated by Notre Dame to its plan administrators. What it solemnly declared for years to be morally impossible is, suddenly, the substance of Notre Dame’s free choice,” he wrote. 

Go here to read the rest.  Poor Judas.  He committed suicide due to his betrayal of Christ.  If he were living today he could defend it as an act of “discernment” and probably get an honorary degree from Notre Dame.

 

6

PopeWatch: Mercy for Cronies

Hmmm:

 

Those familiar with Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina before he became Pope Francis say it is a “classic” move of his to provide “mercy” to clergy who are sexual predators while asking everybody else to simply “move on,” said attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore on an EWTN show last week.

“I think this is a misplaced mercy. It is mercy for the predator priests,” she told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on the February 8 episode of World Over.

“There are many people who know the Pope from Argentina who have said this is classic Bergoglio to provide mercy to the predators and ask everybody else to move on,” she added.

Yore, who has handled child abuse investigations and clergy abuse investigations throughout her legal career, was commenting on the latest sexual abuse case to touch the Francis papacy, in this case where the Pope appointed a bishop with a history of complicity in child sex abuse. The Pope’s claim that he had never received any victim testimony regarding the complicity of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros in child sex abuse has proven to be false

“The Barros case is putting the Pope, for the first time, in the middle as a principal in a cover-up,” Yore said during the interview.  

Yore said that not only is it now known that the Pope received a letter from one of the victims, but it is also now known that he was “told from the moment he appointed Bishop Barros in 2015 that this was a bad decision.”

“The Chilean Archbishop conference told him to revoke this appointment. He received petitions and letters and calls, yet, ignored them all,” she said. 

As details continue to surface, the pontiff’s professed empathy for abuse victims has come into question as well.

Yore called the child sex abuse case involving infamous Chilean priest abuser Father Fernando Karadima and Bishop Juan Barros “a scandal of epic proportions.” 

This scandal has some of the hall marks of the current Pontificate:

1.  Special treatment for cronies.

2. Blatant mendacity from the Pope and those surrounding him.

3. The Pope reacting with anger when challenged.

4. The Pope refusing to deal honestly with opponents.

The difference this time is that the main stream media is not running interference for him on this occasion by biased coverage or non-coverage.  We will see how this plays out.

 

1

PopeWatch: Making a Mess

In all the accurate criticisms of Pope Francis sometimes one of the obvious ones is overlooked:  He simply isn’t very good at the job:

 

The China policy, being overseen by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state — Cardinal Zen described him as a “man of little faith” — is just one example of the confusion and chaos battering the Catholic Church today. Parolin has called Pope Francis’s document Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love — no sniggers, please) a “paradigm change” in the life of the Catholic Church. Paradigm shifts imply a rupture. Critics of the The Joy of Love — they include several cardinals and bishops — say that Pope Francis has called into question the indissolubility of marriage. That would certainly be a paradigm shift for the Catholic Church, given the words of Jesus about divorce in the Bible.

 

The problem for the proponents of this “shift,” as George Weigel has explained, is that the Church “doesn’t do paradigm shifts”; if it did, it would cease to be the Catholic Church. It would become more like the Anglican Church, no stranger to rupture and new ways of thinking. The new resemblance to Anglicanism is not the old division of High and Low Church in regard to the liturgy, although that is certainly part of the contemporary Catholic experience; you never quite know these days whether the priest will just celebrate the Mass or attempt a late-night comedy routine. The really acute division, which is why it is so serious, is over the interpretation of basic doctrine. In Malta, for example, the rules allowing or limiting Holy Communion for a couple one of whose members was divorced and remarried while the previous spouse was still living would be quite different for the same couple if they were in Portland, Ore. “Something is broken in the Catholic Church today,” says Weigel.

 

To the Vatican’s abandonment of Chinese Catholics and of the Church’s ancient teaching on marriage, add Pope Francis’s recent outrageous comments relating to sexual abuse of minors by priests. It was Benedict XVI who first seriously began to tackle the awful problem. To the delight of the secular media, Francis appeared to be pushing an even stronger line. Unfortunately, some cracks began to appear in that narrative early on, with abusers being readmitted if they had friends (such as the pope) in high places; survivor Marie Collins and all other lay members of the Vatican’s commission on the sexual-abuse problem resigned. Now Francis is under fire for apparently shielding a Chilean bishop who had covered for abusive priests and for appearing to be “economical with the truth” about a letter detailing the facts of the scandal in Chile. He said he never received the letter.

Go here to read the rest.  All things considered, it probably is a good thing that Pope Francis is as inept as he is.  A competent Pope with his agenda would be a holy terror indeed.

 

1

PopeWatch: Shadow on the Land

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

 

The world’s most famous pope foresees no early end to his papacy.

The Pope’s handlers announced Friday that Pope Francis had seen his own shadow earlier that day.

Legend has it that if the furry Pope casts a shadow on the feast of St. Agatha, the people of the world are to expect no less that six more decades of the Francis papacy, or at least Francis-like papacy.

 

“It’s really a cool thing to see,” said Alice Moya, just one of the hundreds of spectators that gathered at the Vatican Friday. “It’s one of those things that you hope to one day scratch off your bucket list.

Bundled up and dancing to music in the freezing cold, another visitor, Tabatha O’Neill, told EOTT that the event was all that she had imagined.

“The event was really fun. One of the Pope’s handlers took him out of his cage, a humble looking cage, of course, and pulled him up by the scruff of his neck. Then he pretended to listen to something Francis was saying before finally announcing that the Pope had announced 60 more years of his papacy. That’s when I threw up. A lot of people booed while others cheered. Then, as is custom, everyone went on to their blogs or other website comboxes and started going apesh-t at each other. It was fun.”

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican but he is currently stuck in a timewarp where he wakes up each morning hearing this song, except the lyrics refer to Pope Saint Francis:

 

Pray that PopeWatch escapes soon from the timewarp, certainly sooner than 60 years.

 

4

PopeWatch: Cardinal Cordes

A German Cardinal has spoken out against Marxism:

 

 

A German cardinal is today responding to the recent interview of Cardinal Reinhard Marx in which he opens up to the idea of blessing homosexual couples (and implicitly thus the practice of sodomy). Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes – the former President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – has written a commentary on this idea for the Austrian Catholic website kath.net.

“The initiative of Cardinal Marx ignores the clear Revelation of God,” comments Cardinal Cordes, and explains that “the Church is in its pastoral care bound to Holy Scripture and to its interpretation through the Church’s Magisterium.” Here, the German cardinal refers to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1:18-32) as interpreted by the German theologian Heinrich Schlier in his book Der Römerbrief (Freiburg 1977); the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (29 December 1975) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2357), in order “to recognize the binding instruction of the Church.” Cordes adds, saying: “Marx does not even mention that homosexuality always contradicts the Will of God.”

Cardinal Cordes also calls the idea to bless homosexual couples “frighteningly naive.” He says:

Whoever reflects upon this for a moment, discovers the true intention of those concerned. […] In this case, people do not wish to receive God’s assistance for themselves; rather, they aim with their request at the recognition and acceptance of their homosexual way of life and its ecclesial valorization.

The German prelate adds to this analysis his comment: “An ecclesial blessing as a confirmation of a relationship which is contrary to the Will of God? That truly seems sacrilegious.”

 

Go here to OnePeterFive to read the rest.  One wonders how long it will take the de facto schism to become a de jure schism.

7

PopeWatch: Ten Minutes

PopeWatch gives the Pope two thumbs up on this:

 

“The homily is not a casual discourse, nor a conference or a lesson, but a way of ‘taking up anew that dialogue which has already been opened between the Lord and his people,’” the pope said, quoting his own document.

In an extemporaneous flourish, Francis then dished up some practical advice for homilists.

“The one who gives the homily has to remember he isn’t doing something of his own,” the pope said. “He’s preaching, he’s giving a voice to Jesus, he’s preaching the Word of Jesus. It has to be well-prepared and brief, brief.”

On the subject of brevity, Francis told a story.

“A priest said to me once that he had gone to another city, where his parents lived. His dad told him, ‘You know, I’m happy, because me and my friends found a church where they do the Mass without a homily.’ How many times have we seen people sleeping during a homily, or chatting among themselves, or outside smoking a cigarette?”

When people laughed at the image, Francis said, “It’s true, you all know it … it’s true!”

Concluding that line of reflection, Francis said, “Please be brief … no more than 10 minutes, please!”

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch could not agree more.

 

 

10

PopeWatch: Surrender

Sandro Magister gives us the details on the capitulation of Pope Francis to the Chinese Communists:

 

To judge from what is happening in China, from the sortie of Cardinal Joseph Zen Zekiun, from the Vatican’s reply, from the interview with Cardinal Pietro Parolin and from the words of Pope Francis to Zen, an accord between the Holy See and the authorities of Beijing on the appointment of the bishops would seem to be in the home stretch:

> China and the Vatican are close to a groundbreaking agreement

The two dioceses, in fact, in which the controversy was ignited, those of Shantou and Xiapu-Mindong, have remained the only ones in which there are two competing bishops: one that is legitimate in the eyes of Rome and another who is illegitimate, if not downright excommunicated; or viceversa, one officially appointed and recognized by the Chinese government and another who was not and is treated as clandestine.

To clear the field of this anomaly on the brink of schism – a serious obstacle to an agreement – the Vatican authorities have decided, for both dioceses, to “ask a sacrifice” of the two legitimate bishops, to step aside and recognize as the only titular bishop of the diocese the one appointed by the government, legitimizing him and absolving him if he was excommunicated.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that this decision of the Vatican authorities has wounded not only the two bishops who have been urged to abandon their office, but also a large part of the Catholic community in China, to which Cardinal Zen has given voice.

Nor does it come as a surprise that Pope Francis should have told Zen that he had instructed the Vatican diplomats involved in the negotiation to “not create another Mindszenty case,” alluding to the heroic cardinal primate of Hungary who in 1971 was obliged by the Holy See to leave his country, in 1973 was removed from his position, and in 1976 was replaced with a new primate agreeable to the communist regime.

Zen interpreted these words of Pope Francis as “a consolation and an encouragement,” in addition to an expression of dissent from the pope with respect to the stance of “concession” of the Vatican diplomats.

But it is much more likely that Francis wanted to say something else. Cardinal József Mindszenty never agreed to resign voluntarily from the position of primate, it was Paul VI himself who was constrained to remove him from authority. And it is to this point that Jorge Mario Bergoglio does not want to come. He has told his associates to do all they can to convince those two bishops to resign of their own spontaneous will. In exchange, the Chinese authorities would officially bestow upon the older of them the title of “bishop emeritus” and on the younger that of “auxiliary bishop.”

For his part, cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin has defended the justice of the course taken by Vatican diplomacy, the framework of which continues to be traced back to the letter of Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics in 2007.

But a key element of that letter has certainly been dropped: where it defines as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine” the membership of bishops and clergy in the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the main organism through which the authorities of Beijing exercise their full control over the Church. Today this membership is de facto allowed by the Holy See.

Moreover, it is astonishing that the Vatican diplomats are not demanding as a preliminary condition for an accord at least the restoration to freedom of the bishops still under arrest.

 

Historically Popes, not infrequently, have had to swallow hard and accept terms from odious regimes in order to protect the Church in areas governed by powers hostile to the Church.  PopeWatch understands this.  However, the underground Catholic Church in mainland China has written a very heroic page in the history of the Church and it is appalling to see all their courage and suffering rewarded with this betrayal by Rome.  Go here to get Cardinal Zen’s take on this.

11

PopeWatch: Marxism

The Vatican’s war against traditional Catholic morality continues apace:

 

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Episcopal Conference and close advisor of Pope Francis, has told the German media that “one must encourage priests” to give encouragement to homosexual unions, which could include public blessings that would take a “liturgical” form.

Marx was asked in a radio interview yesterday why the Catholic Church “does not always move forward when it comes to demands from some Catholics regarding, for example, the ordination of female deacons, the blessing of homosexual couples, or the abolition of compulsory celibacy [for priests].”

Marx responded that “closer pastoral care” must be given to homosexuals, adding that “one must also encourage priests and pastoral workers to give people in concrete situations [of homosexual unions] encouragement. I do not really see any problems there.”

This “encouragement” might include some sort of “liturgical” recognition of their union, according to Marx, who said that “how this would be done publicly, in a liturgical form,” is “another question,” adding, “that is where one has to be reticent and also reflect upon that in a good way.”

Marx was asked by the interviewer if he meant that he could “imagine a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church,” and the cardinal responded “yes.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  We are learning in this generation of Catholics why Christ said this:

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18: 8

We are being led by malevolents who hate the Cross and all it stands for.

 

5

PopeWatch: Intrinsic Evil

Pope Paul VI once famously said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church.  One wonders what he would have thought of this report by Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register:

A reflection on Amoris Laetitia has been posted on the website of the Pontifical Academy for Life in which its author, a new member of the academy, proposes that the term “intrinsically evil” is outdated.

Hypothesizing on the moral theology of Amoris Laetitia and Pope Francis’ principle that “time is greater than space” mentioned in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Professor Gerhard Höver argues that changes in perception, “namely, space and time,” have an “effect on specific theologies, such as the theological view of marriage and the family.”

The professor of moral theology at the University of Bonn, Germany, uses selected writings of St. Bonaventure and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to argue — quoting from Amoris Laetitia — against thinking that everything is “black and white” which results in closing off the “way of grace and of growth.”

He believes that the principle “time is greater than space” relates to an interplay between the eternal and temporal spheres, taking on a “moral-theological significance” that “affects the previous teaching about ‘intrinsically evil actions.’”

“It is not without reason that some have requested further clarification on this point,” he adds, referring to the second of the five dubia which asked the Pope whether, after Amoris Laetitia, one still needs to regard as valid “the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions.”

The Church currently teaches that intrinsically evil acts are always and everywhere wrong and immoral, regardless of intention or circumstances. This is because, in part, they do not bring one closer to God, and prevent the common good.

But Höver argues that the term “intrinsically evil” is too restricting as it fails to account for some “regularity” within “irregular” situations, ones which could be allowed if one abides by the principle that ‘time is greater than space.’ “If even only one element is defective, the consequence is ‘badness’ and (in this sense) also ‘irregularity,’” he says.  

“It seems theological reasons lead Pope Francis to refuse to go on accepting this restriction,” Höver continues. “This does not in the least dispute the necessity of calling oppositions and irregularities by their names, above all in cases of injustice and unfairness vis-à-vis other persons. But the Pope regards the path that has been taken hitherto as inadequate to cope with the differentness and complexity of the situations in which people stand or live.”

Go here to read the rest.  The current Vatican alternates between making old sins into no sins, and crafting new sins like not being an environut.  Isaiah summed up this papacy 28 centuries ago:

 

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:  20

 

9

PopeWatch: Bye, Bye Humanae Vitae

Giving the papal stamp of approval to artificial contraception seems to be waiting in the wings at the Vatican:

 

 

Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”

Chapter 8 of the Pope’s 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly “remarried” couples to Holy Communion.

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

The Italian professor’s comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception “intrinsically wrong,” approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

Chiodi’s lecture was the third in a series of talks being hosted this academic year by the Gregorian University’s faculty of social sciences and moral theology. The aim of the talks is to take a new and broad look at the encyclical “in the context of a time of change” and “more complex” situations.

Fr. Chiodi’s lecture also follows revelations that the Vatican quietly created a four-member commission with the Pope’s approval, in order to “promote a comprehensive and authoritative study” of Humanae Vitae to coincide with the anniversary. The move came after Pope Francis purged the Pontifical Academy for Life, filling it with new appointees (including Fr. Chiodi), some with dissenting views on Humanae Vitae. And they coincided with the Pope issuing on September 8 a papal decree replacing the John Paul II Institute with a new institute to carry forward the teaching of Amoris Laetitia.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The project to covert Catholicism into Catholicism Lite, indistinguishable from dying mainline Protestant sects, proceeds apace.

2

PopeWatch: Chaos

PopeWatch sometimes thinks that rampant chaos within the Church will be the main legacy of this Pope:

 

 

Pope Francis needs to clarify whether Catholics who are divorced and remarried can receive Communion as “people are confused and that is not good”, the most senior cleric in the Netherlands has said.

Cardinal Wim Eijk of Utrecht said that while the Pope has “never said anything that goes against the doctrine of the Church,” Amoris Laetitia has “caused doubt to be sown”.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper Trouw, the cardinal lamented that different bishops’ conferences had produced conflicting guidelines on the issue, adding: “What is true in place A cannot suddenly be false in B. At a certain point you would like clarity.”

When asked what exactly he would like Pope Francis to do, the cardinal said: “Just create clarity. Regarding this point, take away the doubt. In the form of a document, for example.”

Cardinal Eijk said the document should contain “the words of Christ himself: that marriage is one and unbreakable”. “We hold on to that in this archdiocese,” he added.

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch wishes the Cardinal success, but PopeWatch believes that the Pope and clarity have not been on speaking terms for a very, very long time.

7

PopeWatch: China

Sandro Magister gives us the latest in regard to the ongoing sell out by the Vatican of the heroic Catholic Church in China:

The open letter reproduced in its entirety below was published today, Monday, January 29, by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, on his blog, and was immediately republished by the agency Asia News of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

In it, the cardinal reveals the essential contents of a conversation he had with Pope Francis, to whom he revealed his grave fears over the steps taken recently in China by Vatican representatives.

These steps consisted in asking two “underground” bishops who are recognized by the Holy See, those of Shantou and Mindong, to make way for two bishops appointed by the government, both illicit and, the first one, excommunicated.

For more details on these steps:

> The Vatican asks legitimate bishops to step aside in favour of illegitimate ones

Cardinale Zen now reveals that Pope Francis replied to him that he had given the order “not to create another Mindszenty case,” alluding to the heroic cardinal and primate of Hungary who was required by the Vatican authorities to leave his country in 1971, was removed from his position in 1973, and in 1975 was replaced with a new primate favored by the communist regime.

But now it’s the cardinal’s turn.

*
Dear Friends in the Media,

Since AsiaNews has revealed some recent facts in the Church in mainland China, of legitimate bishops being asked by the “Holy See” to resign and make place for illegitimate, even explicitly excommunicated, “bishops”, many different versions of the facts and interpretations are creating confusion among the people. Many, knowing of my recent trip to Rome, are asking me for some clarification.

Back in October, when Bishop Zhuang received the first communication from the Holy See and asked me for help, I send someone to bring his letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, with, enclosed, a copy for the Holy Father. I don’t know if that enclosed copy reached the desk of the Holy Father.

Fortunately, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai was still in Rome and could meet the Pope in a fare-well visit. In that occasion, he brought the two cases of Shantou and Mindong to the knowledge of the Holy Father. The Holy Father was surprised and promised to look into the matter.

Given the words of the Holy Father to Archbishop Savio Hon, the new facts in December were all the more a shocking surprise to me. When the old distressed Bishop Zhuang asked me to bring to the Holy Father his answer to the message conveyed to him by the “Vatican Delegation” in Beijing, I simply could not say “No”. But what could I do to make sure that his letter reach the Holy Father, while not even I can be sure that my own many letters did reach him.

To make sure that our voice reached the Holy Father, I took the sudden decision of going to Rome. I left Hong Kong the night of 9th January, arriving in Rome the early morning of 10th January, just in time (actually, a bit late) to join the Wednesday Public Audience. At the end of the audience, we Cardinals and Bishops are admitted to the “bacia mano” and I had the chance to put into the hands of the Holy Father the envelop, saying that I was coming to Rome for the only purpose of bringing to him a letter of Bishop Zhuang, hoping he can find time to read it (in the envelop there was the original letter of the Bishop in Chinese with my translation into Italian and a letter of mine).

For obvious reasons, I hoped my appearance at the audience would not be too much noticed, but my late arrival in the hall made it particularly noticeable. Anyway, now everybody can see the whole proceeding from the Vatican TV (by the way, the audience was held in Paul VI Hall, not in St. Peter’s Square and I was a little late to the audience, but did not have to “wait in a queue, in a cold weather”, as some media erroneously reported).

When in Rome, I met Fr. Bernard Cervellera of AsiaNews. We exchanged our information, but I told him not to write anything. He complied. Now that someone else broke the news, I can agree to confirm it. Yes, as far as I know, things happened just as they are related in AsiaNews (the AsiaNews report “believes” that the Bishop leading the Vatican Delegation was Msgr. Celli. I do not know in what official capacity he was there, but it is most likely that he was the one there in Beijing).

In this crucial moment and given the confusion in the media, I, knowing directly the situation of Shantou and indirectly that of Mindong, feel duty-bound to share my knowledge of the facts, so that the people sincerely concerned with the good of the Church may know the truth to which they are entitled. I am well aware that in doing so I may talk about things which, technically, are qualified as “confidential”. But my conscience tells me that in this case the “right to truth” should override any such “duty of confidentiality”.

With such conviction, I am going to share with you also the following:
In the afternoon of that day, 10th January, I received a phone-call from Santa Marta telling me that the Holy Father would receive me in private audience in the evening of Friday 12th January (though the report appeared only on 14th January in the Holy See bulletin). That was the last day of my 85 years of life, what a gift from Heaven! (Note that it was the vigil of the Holy Father’s departure for Chile and Peru, so the Holy Father must have been very busy).

On that evening the conversation lasted about half an hour. I was rather disorderly in my talking, but I think I succeeded to convey to the Holy Father the worries of his faithful children in China.

The most important question I put to the Holy Father (which was also in the letter) was whether he had had time “to look into the matter” (as he promised Archbishop Savio Hon). In spite of the danger of being accused of breach of confidentiality, I decide to tell you what His Holiness said: “Yes, I told them (his collaborators in the Holy See) not to create another Mindszenty case”! I was there in the presence of the Holy Father representing my suffering brothers in China. His words should be rightly understood as of consolation and encouragement more for them than for me.

I think it was most meaningful and appropriate for the Holy Father to make this historical reference to Card. Josef Mindszenty, one of the heroes of our faith. (Card. Josef Mindszenty was the Archbishop of Budapest, Cardinal Primate of Hungary under Communist persecution. He suffered much in several years in prison. During the short-lived revolution of 1956, he was freed from prison by the insurgents and, before the Red Army crashed the revolution, took refuge in the American Embassy. Under the pressure of the Government he was ordered by the Holy See to leave his country and immediately a successor was named to the likings of the Communist Government).

With this revelation, I hope I have satisfied the legitimate “right to know” of the media and of my brothers in China.

The important thing for us now is to pray for the Holy Father, very fittingly by singing the traditional song “Oremus”: “Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco, Dominus conservet eum et vivificet eum et beatum faciat eum in terra et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

Some explanations may still be in order.

1. Please, notice that the problem is not the resignation of the legitimate Bishops, but the request to make place for the illegitimate and even excommunicated ones. Many old underground Bishops, though the retirement age law has never been enforced in China, have insistently asked for a successor, but have never received any answer from the Holy See. Some others, who have a successor already named, may be even already in possession of the Bulla signed by the Holy Father, were ordered not to proceed with the ordination for fear of offending the Government.

2. I have talked mainly of the two cases of Shantou and Mindong. I do not have any other information except the copy of a letter written by an outstanding Catholic lady, a retired University professor well-acquainted with affairs of the Church in China, in which she warns Msgr. Celli against pushing for the legitimization of “bishop” Lei Shi Ying in Sichuan.

3. I acknowledge myself as a pessimist regarding the present situation of the Church in China, but my pessimism has a foundation in my long direct experience of the Church in China. From 1989 to 1996 I used to spend six months a year teaching in the various Seminaries of the official Catholic community. I had direct experience of the slavery and humiliation to which those our brother Bishops are subjected. And from the recent information, there is no reason to change that pessimistic view. The Communist Government is making new harsher regulations limiting religious freedom. They are now strictly enforcing regulations which up to now were practically only on paper (from the 1st of February 2018 attendance to Mass in the underground will no longer be tolerated).

4. Some say that all the efforts to reach an agreement is to avoid the ecclesial schism. How ridiculous! The schism is there, in the Independent Church! The Popes avoided using the word “schism” because they knew that many in the official Catholic community were there not by their own free will, but under heavy pressure. The proposed “unification” would force everybody into that community. The Vatican would be giving the blessing on the new strengthened schismatic Church, taking away the bad conscience from all those who are already willing renegades and those others who would readily join them.

Go here to read the rest.  When it comes to Communist States there exists an evil tradition of selling out local Catholics to attempt to buy better diplomatic relations.  It has always been an idiotic policy and remains so under Pope Francis.

 

4

PopeWatch: Vatican Shutdown

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

 

Hundreds of thousands of priests from around the world have either been sent back to the rectory or have been told to not show up to say Masses today as clerical furloughs took affect midnight due to the Vatican shutdown.

Cardinal Robert Sarah delivered an ominous warning to cardinals gathered at the Vatican this morning, saying that “The shutdown is going to get a lot worse tomorrow if the Pope doesn’t act immediately.”

Essential spiritual services such as Confessions, Anointing of the Sick, and Masses will continue, although no public Masses will be allowed.

Still, liberal Catholic cardinals are insisting the shutdown is “not nearly as bad” as the last time this happened under Pope Benedict XVI, but many still see this as a blemish on Francis’ legacy.

It was Francis, after all, who during the 2013 papal conclave famously criticized Pope Benedict, saying, “A clerical shutdown falls on the Pope’s lack of leadership. He can’t even control his Church and get people together in a room. A shutdown means the Pope is weak.”

“Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the Pope’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead,” then-Cardinal Bergoglio said in a radio interview in 2013. “And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Rome. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.”

When asked what he would do if he were pope, Francis said “Well, very simply, you have to get everybody in a basilica. You have to be a leader. The pope has to lead. He’s got to get whoever’s head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and everybody else in a basilica, and they have to make a deal. You have to be nice, and be angry, and be wild, and cajole, and do all sorts of holy things. But you have to get a deal.”

Go here to read the comments.  Eye of the Tiber, get thee behind me Satan with this temptation!

9

PopeWatch: Economics

Pope Francis demonstrated once again that he is clueless as to economics:

At the center of the Pope’s speech was an overarching theme of placing human dignity at the center of global development, despite the barriers of suffering, poverty and injustice.

“Economic models, therefore, are also required to observe an ethic of sustainable and integral development, based on values that place the human person and his or her rights at the center,” he said.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause,” Pope Francis continued.

The Pope told the leaders gathered at the event that it is a “moral imperative” to create inclusive conditions that benefit the good of society, rather than furthering self-centered individualism.

By rejecting the “throwaway” culture, Pope Francis said, leaders can strive for a better future, by “increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labor laws, fighting against public and private corruption and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.”

The Holy Father also encouraged “wise discernment” for world leaders, asking them to support authentic values that will foster the prosperity of all.

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope acts as if the word profit is obscene and that the economy is a government program to be manipulated by the State like silly putty.  God save us from the economic delusions of most clerics.

 

 

9

PopeWatch: Airborne Pope

PopeWatch shudders whenever the Pope is in the air.  Sandro Magister explains why:

 

Like clockwork, Pope Francis’s words spoken at high altitude, this time during his flight back from Peru to Rome on the night between January 21 and 22, have produced the umpteenth great confusion:

> Video of the press conference with Pope Francis

There were two explosive subjects of the press conference, both localized in Chile: the fate of the bishop of Osorno, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, and the lightning wedding celebrated by the pope between a hostess and a steward, during the flight from Santiago to Iquique.

In this second case, Francis said that he had judged at once that “all the conditions were clear” for the validity of the sacrament, and therefore it could be celebrated right away. To come to this certainty he explained that the words of the two spouses were enough for him.

Concerning the bishop of Osorno, the opposite took place. The pope said that he “studied and restudied” the case for a long time, but there was no “evidence” for his guilt. And because of this he is keeping the bishop at the head of the diocese, in spite of the accusations that continue to be brought against him, accusations that for the pope are in reality “calumnies.”

In Chile, responding curtly to a question from a journalist, Francis had spoken not of missing “evidence,” but of “proofs.” And for the use of this latter word – in reality little or not at all different from the former – he apologized on the airplane. He held firm, however, to the correctness of the word “calumny” as he applied it to those who say they are victims of sexual abuse that the pope maintains never happened.

He also said, however, that he had never listened to the “victims” because they neither “came to” nor “were presented to” him. When in reality they asked over and over again, publicly, for the pope to listen to them so that he could verify on the basis of their testimony precisely that “evidence” which he continues to say is missing.

During the flight back from Rome, Francis also furnished a new exegesis of the letter he wrote to the Chilean bishops on January 31, 2015, made public by the “Associated Press” just before this journey to Chile.

From how the letter was written, in fact, it seemed to be clear that Pope Francis himself thought it was right, until the end of 2014, to remove this bishop, only to change his view and promote him, on January 10 of 2015, to the see of Osorno.

But now it seems that this was not the case. From what Francis said on the airplane it should be gathered that he always maintained that this bishop was “good and capable,” even when “a few people of the episcopal conference” of Chile wanted him to resign. And in fact, not once but twice the pope said that he had turned down his resignation, both before and after the appointment to Osorno, because to accept it would have meant “admitting his guilt,” when instead, he stated categorically: “I am convinces that he is innocent.”

In this tangle of contradictions, it remains unexplained why the victims of the spiritual guide of the bishop of Osorno, the priest Antonio Karadima, should have been given the greatest credence, arriving rapidly at the canonical sentence of condemnation, while some of these same victims are instead not given credence and not even listened to when they accuse the bishop.

During the inflight press conference, Francis also said that he had “thanked” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the pontifical commission for the protection of minors, for the words he had spoken on the question.

In reality, the statement that the cardinal published on January 20 on the website of his archdiocese of Boston is anything but in harmony with the pope.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The Pope today blasted fake news.  He should know.  When it comes to producing fake news, the Holy Father is a grand master, especially when he is airborne.

3

PopeWatch: Sin and Corruption

The Pope distinguishes between sin and corruption:

 

— Corruption is worse than any sin because it hardens the heart against feeling shame or guilt and hearing God’s call for conversion, Pope Francis said.

“Situations of sin and the state of corruption are two distinct realities, even if they are intimately linked to one another,” he said when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The future pope’s comments come from a small booklet that was originally published in 2005.

Titled “Corruption and Sin: Reflections on the Theme of Corruption,” the booklet was based on an article he wrote in 1991 in the wake of a scandal in which local authorities in Argentina tried to whitewash the death of a teenage girl because the murderers’ fathers were linked to local politicians and the governor.

In the booklet’s introduction, the future pope said he wanted to republish the article because the problem of corruption had become so widespread a decade later that people began to almost expect it as a normal part of life.

While many sins can lead to corruption, sinners recognize their own weakness and are aware of the possibility of forgiveness, he said. “From there, the power of God can come in.”

People who are corrupt, on the other hand, have become blind to the transcendent, replacing God with their own powers and abilities, he said.

“A sinner expects forgiveness. The corrupt, on the contrary, don’t because they don’t feel they have sinned. They have prevailed,” he said.

One who is corrupt is “so holed up in the satisfaction of his own self-sufficiency” that his bloated self-esteem refuses to face the reality of his fraudulent and opportunistic behavior, he said.

“He has the face of someone trying to say, ‘It wasn’t me!’ or as my grandmother would say, ‘The face of a darling little angel,” he said.

The ability of the corrupt to disguise their true self should qualify them for an honorary degree in “social cosmetology,” he said.

They hide their thirst for power by making their ambitions seem frivolous and socially acceptable. With “shameless priggishness,” they adhere to “severe rules of a Victorian tint,” he wrote.

“It’s a cult of good manners that cover up bad habits,” he said.

Go here to read the rest.  People who sin of course often attempt to fool themselves that their sin is not a sin.  The odd thing is that the examples that come to PopeWatch’s mind are in areas where Pope Francis has said little:  birth control, homosexual conduct, envy of the wealth of others, etc.  In regard to Catholics in adulterous second marriages the Pope has offered endless excuses as to why these people may receive communion without repentance and amendment of life.  How much harder it is for people to recognize their sins, when the Church is silent about some sins or seems to say that a particular sin maybe is not so bad.  Such activities on the part of clerics truly is corruption.

10

PopeWatch: Papal Honor

The Vatican will do precisely nothing in regard to the Papal decoration given to a Dutch pro-abort.  Edward Pentin gives us the details:

 

The Vatican currently has no plans to change the procedure of exchanging honors during historic official visits of heads of state to the Vatican, and believes that the responsibility for any subsequent abuse of such decorations rests with the visiting delegation.

Despite the outcry over giving militant pro-abortion Dutch politician Lilianne Ploumen a medal of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great last summer, Vatican officials believe the statement issued about the honor last week by deputy spokeswoman Paloma Garcia-Ovejero was enough, and that Ploumen’s award was actually meant as a snub.

The Vatican and the Dutch government exchanged honors when Holland’s King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima made their first, historic official visit to the Pope and the Vatican last June.

Ploumen, a staunch promoter of abortion who started a fund called She Decides which has raised nearly $400 million for international pro-abortion organizations since July, took part in the delegation as a government minister.

Earlier this month, a video emerged of Ploumen showing off the honor and saying the Pope had awarded it to her in recognition of her work in lobbying for abortion for girls.

Go here to read the rest.  Anyone surprised?

9

PopeWatch: Sensus Fidelium

Edward Pentin advises that the Pope wants to hear from you.  Go here to read about it.

A Pope of course is free to take advice and counsel from anyone he chooses, but PopeWatch is disturbed by the Pope eliciting these types  of comments from the over a billion Catholics that live on this globe.  This type of vox populi approach to leadership does not inspire confidence and is always subject to manipulation.  Oh well, perhaps PopeWatch should simply print out the thousands of PopeWatch posts and mail them out for light reading for the Pontiff?  Let PopeWatch know in the comboxes what you would write to the Pope.

15

PopeWatch: Applause

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

 

Longtime parishioner of St. Gertrude Catholic Church Stewart Donaldson is being accused of insensitivity and for “not being a team player” after he was seen not clapping after the church’s pastor concluded his homily last Sunday.

Donaldson’s refusal to applaud after the homily was seen by many in the parish, including Fr. James Thomas who delivered the homily, as a slap in the face. Donaldson was subsequently called to the front of the church to answer for himself.

Parish council members that were present at the Mass have denounced what they are calling Donaldson’s silent protest of the church and of Father Thomas in particular.

“Fr. Thomas gave a wonderful homily about community and coming together as one family,” said one member of the parish council, Maria Forte. “His refusal to clap was basically him saying ‘To hell with this community—to hell with coming together.’ So when he was called to the front, everyone was obviously really angry him. Remember—this is the same guy who doesn’t applaud for the church band when Mass is over, so he’s clearly insane. That’s the reason we ended up not even giving him the opportunity to answer for himself.”

“People were shouting and throwing hymnals at him,” said parishioner Tabitha Joans. “He was very lucky to only be banned from ever entering the church. Could’ve been a lot worse. And poor Fr. Thomas has been a mess ever since Sunday. He’s so self-conscious now that he says he won’t ever deliver a homily again.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch called the Vatican for comment and after a lengthy wait talked to the Pope.  “Gringo I have told you to stop calling me!  Do I have to get a restraining order?  Applause after a homily?  You gringos always think up new forms of blasphemy.  I will have to consider a mass excommunication against those who break the Holy Silence of the Mass.  Now, never call me again, or else I will excommunicate you!”  And with that the conversation came to an end.

14

PopeWatch: Fly the Marrying Skies

The Pope decided to marry two members of the crew of the airplane on which he was flying.  The couple had been married civilly for eight years but not religiously.  Father Z gives us the details:

I fairly dread papal trips these days. You never know what is going on happen on the papal airplane. Will there be another presser in which the Holy Father will says something like, “Who am I to judge?” That was a gift – now perpetually taken out of context and abused – that keeps on giving.

I read at Crux that the Holy Father married (witnessed the marriage) of a steward and stewardess on the papal airplane – during the flight.

Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciufardi, 41, have been together for over ten years. They met in the air, where she was his boss as a flight attendant for LATAM, Chile’s flagship airline.
They have been civilly married since 2010. Days before they were scheduled to have their church wedding, an earthquake destroyed the church where they were supposed to marry.  [According to the Daily Mail, that was 8 years ago.  8 years… and they haven’t married in church?  I suppose they had marriage prep.  Also, in the case of an earthquake, the church building isn’t a sine qua non for getting married.  It is sad that they couldn’t get marriage in that church, but… marriage is the really important part of the equation, not the building or photos.]
On Thursday, as they were posing with Francis and the rest of the crew for the official picture, Francis asked them if they were married in the Church. They told him no, and the pontiff immediately took charge, asking them if they wanted him to marry them, and they agreed.

The newlyweds shared the conversation they had with the pontiff with the journalists, with Podest acknowledging that she was “still in shock,” so he did most of the talking, even though, from what they told journalists, “she’s still the boss in the house,” as she was at the airline when they met.
“It was historic,” the pope told them. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
“He asked us if we were married, I said no because of the earthquake, and he said, ‘well, I’ll marry you’,” according to Ciufardi.
The spouses asked the pontiff if he was certain about marrying them on the plane, asking him “are you sure?”

When the pope asked for a witness, they tapped the CEO of the airline, and to make sure there was no doubt over the validity of the sacrament, the pope “asked the cardinals who were with him” to draft the license, which they did. The document is handmade, signed by one of the cardinals, also a witness.
“He held our hands, blessed the rings, and he married us in the name of God,” Ciufardi said.
“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married’,” Ciufardi said.
Speaking about the rings, Francis said that they shouldn’t be either too tight, because “they would be a torture,” or too loose, or else they might risk misplacing them.

These days there are controversies over the meaning of marriage.  These days, fewer and fewer couples are marrying.

For example, if a couple who are in an adulterous relationship because at least on party divorced his true spouse and then civilly marries another woman – without the church giving a declaration of nullity concerning his first, true marriage, can that remarried, adulterous couple be admitted to Holy Communion, even though they haven’t made any commitment to live chaste lives? Some say, “Yes!”, and, by doing so, they call into question the very meaning of matrimony and also the Eucharist.

At the very least, they make a mockery of matrimony, trivialize it.

I trust that this well-intentioned gesture by Pope Francis isn’t taken merely to be some sort of stunt, which the badly-motivated will utilize to trivialize the sacrament of matrimony even more than is is being trivialized today.

Another thing: may this couple stay together!  It would be… not so great were they to split up after this rather dramatic aerial display.  Headline: Papal midair marriage crashes!

I can’t say that I like the whole airplane thing.   The Pope makes his calls.  Who am I to judge?

Can we put sentimentality aside for a moment?   Gestures like this have consequences.  This wasn’t some odd priest on an airplane, it was the Vicar of Christ.

Again, this is all very huggy and warm and fuzzy.  But let’s think about this.

I wasn’t there, of course, but I think it could have been a good idea to make sure they knew what matrimony is really all about.   That’s what marriage preparation is for.  They’ve been civilly but not sacramentally married for 8 years.   All this time they didn’t seek the sacrament?  What’s that about?   Maybe the Pope got their story.

When a priest marries a couple, he should be reasonably sure that they know what they are getting into.  He can be fairly sure if they had some kind of marriage prep, done by himself or by another priest, etc.  You have to know before you witness the marriage of couple – if they are going to enter into this sacramental bond – whether or not they have the right intentions.   Does the couple – I’m speaking generically now – any couple – intend to remain together for life?   Do they intend for their bond to be exclusive?   Do they intend to accept the gift of children?

 

Go here to read the rest.  As far as this Pope is concerned, the laws of the Church are meant to be broken.  The example he sets for both the clergy and the laity is disastrous.

 

19

PopeWatch: Explanation

Edward Pentin gives the Vatican’s explanation as to why a pro-abort fanatic Dutch politician was made a Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great:

 

The Vatican has said a papal honor given to a militant pro-abortion Dutch politician was standard “diplomatic practice” when someone is part of an official delegation with their head of state, and in no way was meant as a sign of support for her politics of abortion or birth control.

In comments given Monday evening, Paloma García Ovejero, deputy spokesperson of the Holy See Press Office, said the honor awarded to Lilianne Ploumen — as Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great — was part of an exchange of honors between delegations after she took part in an official state visit to the Vatican last year of Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.

In response to a question on whether the Vatican could confirm the honor and, if so, why Ploumen received it, Garcia said:

“The honor of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great received by Mrs. Lilianne Ploumen, former Minister of Development, in June 2017 during the visit of the Dutch Royals to the Holy Father, responds to the diplomatic practice of the exchange of honors between delegations on the occasion of official visits by Heads of State or Government in the Vatican.

Therefore, it is not in the slightest a placet [an expression of assent] to the politics in favor of abortion and of birth control that Mrs Ploumen promotes.”

News of the honor emerged earlier this month when Ploumen was seen in a video by Dutch national broadcaster BNR showing off her medal, saying it was a “high distinction from the Vatican, from the Pope.” The story was first broken by the U.S.-based Lepanto Institute.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Convinced?  PopeWatch isn’t.  There isn’t a chance in the world that the current Vatican would grant such an honor to a politician who was given to making racist statements.  That they overlooked her radical pro-abort record wasn’t a matter of diplomatic cynicism but rather the fact that the powers that be at the Vatican are not going to make an issue of abortion.  Pope Francis has political irons in the fire that are much more important to him than the fact that a politician has spent her career championing the slaying of children in the womb.  When it comes to pro-lifers, the Pope tosses us a soundbite every now and then, and then he does something like this to reassure his political allies on the left that he really does not mean it.

6

PopeWatch: Argentina on the Tiber

It is remarkable that Pope Francis has been Pope for almost half a decade and has not had a visit to Argentina.  Sandro Magister helps explain why this is the case:

 

For almost five years now Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been pope. But he has yet to set foot again in his homeland, Argentina, although he has already visited seven Latin American countries and in the upcoming days will also visit Chile and Peru.

On Monday, January 15, while flying to Santiago, Chile, he will limit himself to looking at Argentina from above. And from the sky he will send the telegram with which he almost always greets the presidents of the countries over which he flies, in this case Mauricio Macri.

The fact that the Peronist Bergoglio does not love the center-right Macri is no mystery. And to a large extent it is precisely this disagreement, multiplied in incessant and heated disputes among the Argentines, disputes that are much more political than religious, that has dissuaded Francis from returning to his native country and igniting further discord.

But if he wants to keep himself out of the mix, the same is not true of some of his Argentine friends who are labeled, and not always unjustly, as the pope’s mouthpieces. Very outspoken, and combative.

It is against these loose cannons that two days ago, a few days before Francis’s journey to Chile and Peru, the Argentine episcopal conference issued a tough reprimand:

> Francisco, el Papa de todos

The “fatwa” of the bishops is written in coded language. It is hard for non-Argentines to understand who the target is. And this is even less clear from the Italian translation that the paravatican website “Il Sismografo,” directed by the ultra-Bergoglian Luis Badilla of Chile, quickly posted online from Rome, but after scrubbing it of a couple of its most explicit lines, the last of this paragraph, which are underlined here:

“Accompanying the popular movements in their struggle for land, housing, and jobs is a task that the Church has always performed and that the Pope himself openly promotes, inviting us to lend our voices to the causes of the weakest and the most excluded. That does not imply in any way that he should be saddled with their positions and actions, whether these be correct or erroneous.”

What led the Argentine bishops to take a position was, most recently, the statements made to the newspaper “Página 12” by Juan Grabois (in the photo), a figure so close to Bergoglio as to make one think that his every word in effect reflects the pope’s real political thought.

Grabois, 34, son of an historic Peronist leader, founded the Movimiento de Trabajadores Excluidos, now directs the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economía Popular, and has been very close to Bergoglio since 2005, when the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was at the head of the Argentine episcopal conference. After he became pope, Francis appointed him as a consultant to the pontifical council for justice and peace, which is now incorporated in the new dicastery for promoting integral human development. And Grabois is also the one who pulls the strings at the spectacular assemblies around the pope of the “popular movements,” a network of a hundred-plus combative anti-capitalist and anti-globalization social groups, from all over the world but most of them from Latin America.

It therefore comes as no surprise that in the popular opposition to the free-market measures of President Macri, as also at the roadblocks, the picket lines at the factories, the squatters’ protests, Grabois should be one of the “lideres piqueteros” most in view. In the interview with “Página 12” he slammed Macri with the charge that “his vice is violence” and, alluding to his role as a businessman, disqualified him with words of disdain: “He is not one who did it himself, but an heir of the fortune of his father, who was a beneficiary of the corruption of the state.”

Go here to read the rest. Argentina is a beautiful country with messed up politics.  Since the time of Juan and Eva Peron the best description for Argentine politics is self-destructive.  The biggest legacy of Pope Francis may be his bringing dysfunctional Argentinian politics into the Vatican and his attempt to make them into Church teaching.  The years that the Argentinian locusts ate may be the fondest recollection possible of the Francis years.

 

4

PopeWatch: Protests

The Pope will be facing protests during his visit to Chile:

 

Parishioners in Osorno, a small city 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the Chilean capital, say Vatican representatives denied their requests to meet with Francis. They plan to protest every day of the Pope’s Jan. 15 – 18 stay in Chile.

Pope Francis, who hails from neighboring Argentina and once briefly lived in Chile, has defended Osorno Bishop Juan Barros and says allegations that he covered up abuses by one of Chile’s most notorious sexual predators were unfounded.

Planned demonstrations in Chile, a staunchly Catholic country, have rekindled accusations Francis has not done enough to root out sexual abuse in the Church, especially holding bishops accountable for covering up or mishandling sexual abuse.

“We believe the victims of sexual abuse have been marginalized (by the Church),” said Juan Carlos Claret, a spokesman for Osorno parishioners. “It’s a reality that we in Osorno have been living with for almost four years and we plan to keep the issue alive.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Go here for background.  This appointment was controversial in 2015 and the passage of three years has not dimmed the controversy.

8

PopeWatch: Reverence, Where Art Thou?

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

 

Sierra Nevada–More than five dozen searchers scoured the Sierra Nevada foothills for the missing reverence at a Mass at the Church of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque yesterday.

Reverence was due to appear promptly for the 9am Mass, but two hours after the Mass had concluded, a search began with helicopters, including a National Guard Blackhawk, looking for any signs of reverence.

Using thermal infrared technology, searchers have still not been able to locate any clues to the whereabouts of the reverence expected at Mass, but a spokeswoman for the Church of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Dana Whitmore, told EOTT today that several parishioners were being investigated after being seen walking out of Mass wearing shorts and flip flops.

“We cannot release the names of those being questioned at this moment,” Whitmore told the press. “But we can say that officials from the diocese have spoken to St. Margaret Mary’s pastor Fr. Neville Mayfield about why his altar boys and altar girls were allowed to chew gum while staring out into space during the Consecration.”

Nine ground search teams made up of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter were later dispatched to find reverence. They focused on the areas in and around the pews as well as on the Sanctuary.

Reverence was not the only thing being sought. In another part of the Sierra Nevada, a search was underway near St. Matthew Catholic Church to find solemnity and piety.

 

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch has been unable to confirm that the missing Reverence has been sighted at the Vatican shaking its head.

12

PopeWatch: Heresy Has Come to Eden

 

 

 

PopeWatch thinks the Pontifical Academy needs a new name:

 

Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”

Chapter 8 of the Pope’s 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly “remarried” couples to Holy Communion.

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

The Italian professor’s comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception “intrinsically wrong,” approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

 

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch, when viewing this papacy, has the same reaction that Vasco Rodrigues had to Pilot Major Blackthorne after he attempted to kill him:

 

Yes, it’s true…
and I don’t ask for forgiveness… not anymore.
With thee, heresy has come to Eden.

3

PopeWatch: Diplomacy

The Pope delivered his annual address to the ambassadors to the Vatican on January 8, 2018.  Here is the text of the speech:

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our meeting today is a welcome tradition that allows me, in the enduring joy of the Christmas season, to offer you my personal best wishes for the New Year just begun, and to express my closeness and affection to the peoples you represent. I thank the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Armindo Fernandes do Espírito Santo Vieira, Ambassador of Angola, for his respectful greeting on behalf of the entire Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. I offer a particular welcome to the non-resident Ambassadors, whose numbers have increased following the establishment last May of diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. I likewise greet the growing number of Ambassadors resident in Rome, which now includes the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa. I would like in a special way to remember the late Ambassador of Colombia, Guillermo León Escobar-Herrán, who passed away just a few days before Christmas. I thank all of you for your continuing helpful contacts with the Secretariat of State and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, which testify to the interest of the international community in the Holy See’s mission and the work of the Catholic Church in your respective countries. This is also the context for the Holy See’s pactional activities, which last year saw the signing, in February, of the Framework Agreement with the Republic of the Congo, and, in August, of the Agreement between the Secretariat of State and the Government of the Russian Federation enabling the holders of diplomatic passports to travel without a visa.

In its relations with civil authorities, the Holy See seeks only to promote the spiritual and material well-being of the human person and to pursue the common good. The Apostolic Journeys that I made during the course of the past year to Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, Myanmar and Bangladesh were expressions of this concern. I travelled as a pilgrim to Portugal on the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, to celebrate the canonization of the shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco Marto. There I witnessed the enthusiastic and joyful faith that the Virgin Mary roused in the many pilgrims assembled for the occasion. In Egypt, Myanmar and Bangladesh too, I was able to meet the local Christian communities that, though small in number, are appreciated for their contribution to development and fraternal coexistence in those countries. Naturally, I also had meetings with representatives of other religions, as a sign that our differences are not an obstacle to dialogue, but rather a vital source of encouragement in our common desire to know the truth and to practise justice. Finally, in Colombia I wished to bless the efforts and the courage of that beloved people, marked by a lively desire for peace after more than half a century of internal conflict.

Dear Ambassadors,

This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, a conflict that reconfigured the face of Europe and the entire world with the emergence of new states in place of ancient empires. From the ashes of the Great War, we can learn two lessons that, sad to say, humanity did not immediately grasp, leading within the space of twenty years to a new and even more devastating conflict. The first lesson is that victory never means humiliating a defeated foe. Peace is not built by vaunting the power of the victor over the vanquished. Future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as a means of resolving differences.[1] This leads to a second lesson: peace is consolidated when nations can discuss matters on equal terms. This was grasped a hundred years ago – on this very date – by the then President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who proposed the establishment of a general league of nations with the aim of promoting for all states, great and small alike, mutual guarantees of independence and territorial integrity. This laid the theoretical basis for that multilateral diplomacy, which has gradually acquired over time an increased role and influence in the international community as a whole.

Relations between nations, like all human relationships, “must likewise be harmonized in accordance with the dictates of truth, justice, willing cooperation, and freedom”.[2] This entails “the principle that all states are by nature equal in dignity”,[3] as well as the acknowledgment of one another’s rights and the fulfilment of their respective duties.[4] The basic premise of this approach is the recognition of the dignity of the human person, since disregard and contempt for that dignity resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind.[5] Indeed, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.[6]

I would like to devote our meeting today to this important document, seventy years after its adoption on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. For the Holy See, to speak of human rights means above all to restate the centrality of the human person, willed and created by God in his image and likeness. The Lord Jesus himself, by healing the leper, restoring sight to the blind man, speaking with the publican, saving the life of the woman caught in adultery and demanding that the injured wayfarer be cared for, makes us understand that every human being, independent of his or her physical, spiritual or social condition, is worthy of respect and consideration. From a Christian perspective, there is a significant relation between the Gospel message and the recognition of human rights in the spirit of those who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Those rights are premised on the nature objectively shared by the human race. They were proclaimed in order to remove the barriers that divide the human family and to favour what the Church’s social doctrine calls integral human development, since it entails fostering “the development of each man and of the whole man… and humanity as a whole”.[7] A reductive vision of the human person, on the other hand, opens the way to the growth of injustice, social inequality and corruption.

It should be noted, however, that over the years, particularly in the wake of the social upheaval of the 1960’s, the interpretation of some rights has progressively changed, with the inclusion of a number of “new rights” that not infrequently conflict with one another. This has not always helped the promotion of friendly relations between nations,[8] since debatable notions of human rights have been advanced that are at odds with the culture of many countries; the latter feel that they are not respected in their social and cultural traditions, and instead neglected with regard to the real needs they have to face. Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable. At the same time, it should be recalled that the traditions of individual peoples cannot be invoked as a pretext for disregarding the due respect for the fundamental rights proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At a distance of seventy years, it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today. First among all of these is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security.[9] It is not only war or violence that infringes these rights. In our day, there are more subtle means: I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults. I think of the elderly, who are often cast aside, especially when infirm and viewed as a burden. I think of women who repeatedly suffer from violence and oppression, even within their own families. I think too of the victims of human trafficking, which violates the prohibition of every form of slavery. How many persons, especially those fleeing from poverty and war, have fallen prey to such commerce perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals?

Defending the right to life and physical integrity also means safeguarding the right to health on the part of individuals and their families. Today this right has assumed implications beyond the original intentions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sought to affirm the right of every individual to receive medical care and necessary social services.[10] In this regard, it is my hope that efforts will be made within the appropriate international forums to facilitate, in the first place, ready access to medical care and treatment on the part of all. It is important to join forces in order to implement policies that ensure, at affordable costs, the provision of medicines essential for the survival of those in need, without neglecting the area of research and the development of treatments that, albeit not financially profitable, are essential for saving human lives.

Defending the right to life also entails actively striving for peace, universally recognized as one of the supreme values to be sought and defended. Yet serious local conflicts continue to flare up in various parts of the world. The collective efforts of the international community, the humanitarian activities of international organizations and the constant pleas for peace rising from lands rent by violence seem to be less and less effective in the face of war’s perverse logic. This scenario cannot be allowed to diminish our desire and our efforts for peace. For without peace, integral human development becomes unattainable.

Integral disarmament and integral development are intertwined. Indeed, the quest for peace as a precondition for development requires battling injustice and eliminating, in a non-violent way, the causes of discord that lead to wars. The proliferation of weapons clearly aggravates situations of conflict and entails enormous human and material costs that undermine development and the search for lasting peace. The historic result achieved last year with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference for negotiating a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear arms, shows how lively the desire for peace continues to be. The promotion of a culture of peace for integral development calls for unremitting efforts in favour of disarmament and the reduction of recourse to the use of armed force in the handling of international affairs. I would therefore like to encourage a serene and wide-ranging debate on the subject, one that avoids polarizing the international community on such a sensitive issue. Every effort in this direction, however modest, represents an important step for mankind.

For its part, the Holy See signed and ratified, also in the name of and on behalf of Vatican City State, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It did so in the belief, expressed by Saint John XXIII in Pacem in Terris, that “justice, right reason, and the recognition of man’s dignity cry out insistently for a cessation to the arms race. The stockpiles of armaments which have been built up in various countries must be reduced all round and simultaneously by the parties concerned. Nuclear weapons must be banned”.[11] Indeed, even if “it is difficult to believe that anyone would dare to assume responsibility for initiating the appalling slaughter and destruction that war would bring in its wake, there is no denying that the conflagration could be started by some chance and unforeseen circumstance”.[12]

The Holy See therefore reiterates the firm conviction “that any disputes which may arise between nations must be resolved by negotiation and agreement, not by recourse to arms”.[13] The constant production of ever more advanced and “refined” weaponry, and dragging on of numerous conflicts – what I have referred to as “a third world war fought piecemeal” – lead us to reaffirm Pope John’s statement that “in this age which boasts of its atomic power, it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice… Nevertheless, we are hopeful that, by establishing contact with one another and by a policy of negotiation, nations will come to a better recognition of the natural ties that bind them together as men. We are hopeful, too, that they will come to a fairer realization of one of the cardinal duties deriving from our common nature: namely, that love, not fear, must dominate the relationships between individuals and between nations. It is principally characteristic of love that it draws men together in all sorts of ways, sincerely united in the bonds of mind and matter; and this is a union from which countless blessings can flow”.[14]

In this regard, it is of paramount importance to support every effort at dialogue on the Korean peninsula, in order to find new ways of overcoming the current disputes, increasing mutual trust and ensuring a peaceful future for the Korean people and the entire world.

It is also important for the various peace initiatives aimed at helping Syria to continue, in a constructive climate of growing trust between the parties, so that the lengthy conflict that has caused such immense suffering can finally come to an end. Our shared hope is that, after so much destruction, the time for rebuilding has now come. Yet even more than rebuilding material structures, it is necessary to rebuild hearts, to re-establish the fabric of mutual trust, which is the essential prerequisite for the flourishing of any society. There is a need, then, to promote the legal, political and security conditions that restore a social life where every citizen, regardless of ethnic and religious affiliation, can take part in the development of the country. In this regard, it is vital that religious minorities be protected, including Christians, who for centuries have made an active contribution to Syria’s history.

It is likewise important that the many refugees who have found shelter and refuge in neighbouring countries, especially in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, be able to return home. The commitment and efforts made by these countries in this difficult situation deserve the appreciation and support of the entire international community, which is also called upon to create the conditions for the repatriation of Syrian refugees. This effort must concretely start with Lebanon, so that that beloved country can continue to be a “message” of respect and coexistence, and a model to imitate, for the whole region and for the entire world.

The desire for dialogue is also necessary in beloved Iraq, to enable its various ethnic and religious groups to rediscover the path of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence and cooperation. Such is the case too in Yemen and other parts of the region, and in Afghanistan.

I think in particular of Israelis and Palestinians, in the wake of the tensions of recent weeks. The Holy See, while expressing sorrow for the loss of life in recent clashes, renews its pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities, and calls for a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognized borders. Despite the difficulties, a willingness to engage in dialogue and to resume negotiations remains the clearest way to achieving at last a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

In national contexts, too, openness and availability to encounter are essential. I think especially of Venezuela, which is experiencing an increasingly dramatic and unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis. The Holy See, while urging an immediate response to the primary needs of the population, expresses the hope that conditions will be created so that the elections scheduled for this year can resolve the existing conflicts, and enable people to look to the future with newfound serenity.

Nor can the international community overlook the suffering of many parts of the African continent, especially in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, where the right to life is threatened by the indiscriminate exploitation of resources, terrorism, the proliferation of armed groups and protracted conflicts. It is not enough to be appalled at such violence. Rather, everyone, in his or her own situation, should work actively to eliminate the causes of misery and build bridges of fraternity, the fundamental premise for authentic human development.

A shared commitment to rebuilding bridges is also urgent in Ukraine. The year just ended reaped new victims in the conflict that afflicts the country, continuing to bring great suffering to the population, particularly to families who live in areas affected by the war and have lost their loved ones, not infrequently the elderly and children.

I would like to devote a special thought to families. The right to form a family, as a “natural and fundamental group unit of society… is entitled to protection by society and the state”,[15] and is recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, it is a fact that, especially in the West, the family is considered an obsolete institution. Today fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of a definitive life project. But a house built on the sand of frail and fickle relationships cannot stand. What is needed instead is a rock on which to build solid foundations. And this rock is precisely that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins man and woman, a communion that has an austere and simple beauty, a sacred and inviolable character and a natural role in the social order.[16] I consider it urgent, then, that genuine policies be adopted to support the family, on which the future and the development of states depend. Without this, it is not possible to create societies capable of meeting the challenges of the future. Disregard for families has another dramatic effect – particularly present in some parts of the world – namely, a decline in the birth rate. We are experiencing a true demographic winter! This is a sign of societies that struggle to face the challenges of the present, and thus become ever more fearful of the future, with the result that they close in on themselves.

At the same time, we cannot forget the situation of families torn apart by poverty, war and migration. All too often, we see with our own eyes the tragedy of children who, unaccompanied, cross the borders between the south and the north of our world, and often fall victim to human trafficking.

Today there is much talk about migrants and migration, at times only for the sake of stirring up primal fears. It must not be forgotten that migration has always existed. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the history of salvation is essentially a history of migration. Nor should we forget that freedom of movement, for example, the ability to leave one’s own country and to return there, is a fundamental human right.[17] There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons.

This is what I sought to reiterate in my Message for the World Day of Peace celebrated on 1 January last, whose theme this year is: “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace”. While acknowledging that not everyone is always guided by the best of intentions, we must not forget that the majority of migrants would prefer to remain in their homeland. Instead, they find themselves “forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation” to leave it behind… “Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and good will, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, ‘within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society’ (Pacem in Terris, 57). Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct” (cf. Lk 14:28-30).[18]

I would like once more to thank the authorities of those states who have spared no effort in recent years to assist the many migrants arriving at their borders. I think above all of the efforts made by more than a few countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas that welcome and assist numerous persons. I cherish vivid memories of my meeting in Dhaka with some members of the Rohingya people, and I renew my sentiments of gratitude to the Bangladeshi authorities for the assistance provided to them on their own territory.

I would also like to express particular gratitude to Italy, which in these years has shown an open and generous heart and offered positive examples of integration. It is my hope that the difficulties that the country has experienced in these years, and whose effects are still felt, will not lead to forms of refusal and obstruction, but instead to a rediscovery of those roots and traditions that have nourished the rich history of the nation and constitute a priceless treasure offered to the whole world. I likewise express my appreciation for the efforts made by other European states, particularly Greece and Germany. Nor must it be forgotten that many refugees and migrants seek to reach Europe because they know that there they will find peace and security, which for that matter are the fruit of a lengthy process born of the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the European project in the aftermath of the Second World War. Europe should be proud of this legacy, grounded on certain principles and a vision of man rooted in its millenary history, inspired by the Christian conception of the human person. The arrival of migrants should spur Europe to recover its cultural and religious heritage, so that, with a renewed consciousness of the values on which the continent was built, it can keep alive her own tradition while continuing to be a place of welcome, a herald of peace and of development.

In the past year, governments, international organizations and civil society have engaged in discussions about the basic principles, priorities and most suitable means for responding to movements of migration and the enduring situations involving refugees. The United Nations, following the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, has initiated important preparations for the adoption of the two Global Compacts for refugees and for safe, orderly and regular migration respectively.

The Holy See trusts that these efforts, with the negotiations soon to begin, will lead to results worthy of a world community growing ever more independent and grounded in the principles of solidarity and mutual assistance. In the current international situation, ways and means are not lacking to ensure that every man and every woman on earth can enjoy living conditions worthy of the human person.

In the Message for this year’s World Day of Peace, I suggested four “mileposts” for action: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[19] I would like to dwell particularly on the last of these, which has given rise to various opposed positions in the light of varying evaluations, experiences, concerns and convictions. Integration is a “two-way process”, entailing reciprocal rights and duties. Those who welcome are called to promote integral human development, while those who are welcomed must necessarily conform to the rules of the country offering them hospitality, with respect for its identity and values. Processes of integration must always keep the protection and advancement of persons, especially those in situations of vulnerability, at the centre of the rules governing various aspects of political and social life.

The Holy See has no intention of interfering in decisions that fall to states, which, in the light of their respective political, social and economic situations, and their capacities and possibilities for receiving and integrating, have the primary responsibility for accepting newcomers. Nonetheless, the Holy See does consider it its role to appeal to the principles of humanity and fraternity at the basis of every cohesive and harmonious society. In this regard, its interaction with religious communities, on the level of institutions and associations, should not be forgotten, since these can play a valuable supportive role in assisting and protecting, in social and cultural mediation, and in pacification and integration.

Among the human rights that I would also like to mention today is the right to freedom of thought, conscience and of religion, including the freedom to change religion.[20] Sad to say, it is well-known that the right to religious freedom is often disregarded, and not infrequently religion becomes either an occasion for the ideological justification of new forms of extremism or a pretext for the social marginalization of believers, if not their downright persecution. The condition for building inclusive societies is the integral comprehension of the human person, who can feel himself or herself truly accepted when recognized and accepted in all the dimensions that constitute his or her identity, including the religious dimension.

Finally, I wish to recall the importance of the right to employment. There can be no peace or development if individuals are not given the chance to contribute personally by their own labour to the growth of the common good. Regrettably, in many parts of the world, employment is scarcely available. At times, few opportunities exist, especially for young people, to find work. Often it is easily lost not only due to the effects of alternating economic cycles, but to the increasing use of ever more perfect and precise technologies and tools that can replace human beings. On the one hand, we note an inequitable distribution of the work opportunities, while on the other, a tendency to demand of labourers an ever more pressing pace. The demands of profit, dictated by globalization, have led to a progressive reduction of times and days of rest, with the result that a fundamental dimension of life has been lost – that of rest – which serves to regenerate persons not only physically but also spiritually. God himself rested on the seventh day; he blessed and consecrated that day “because on it he rested from all the work that he had done in creation” (Gen 2:3). In the alternation of exertion and repose, human beings share in the “sanctification of time” laid down by God and ennoble their work, saving it from constant repetition and dull daily routine.

A cause for particular concern are the data recently published by the International Labour Organization regarding the increase of child labourers and victims of the new forms of slavery. The scourge of juvenile employment continues to compromise gravely the physical and psychological development of young people, depriving them of the joys of childhood and reaping innocent victims. We cannot think of planning a better future, or hope to build more inclusive societies, if we continue to maintain economic models directed to profit alone and the exploitation of those who are most vulnerable, such as children. Eliminating the structural causes of this scourge should be a priority of governments and international organizations, which are called to intensify efforts to adopt integrated strategies and coordinated policies aimed at putting an end to child labour in all its forms.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recalling some of the rights contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration, I do not mean to overlook one of its important aspects, namely, the recognition that every individual also has duties towards the community, for the sake of “meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”.[21] The just appeal to the rights of each human being must take into account the fact that every individual is part of a greater body. Our societies too, like every human body, enjoy good health if each member makes his or her own contribution in the awareness that it is at the service of the common good.

Among today’s particularly pressing duties is that of caring for our earth. We know that nature can itself be cruel, even apart from human responsibility. We saw this in the past year with the earthquakes that struck different parts of our world, especially those of recent months in Mexico and in Iran, with their high toll of victims, and with the powerful hurricanes that struck different countries of the Caribbean, also reaching the coast of the United States, and, more recently, the Philippines. Even so, one must not downplay the importance of our own responsibility in interaction with nature. Climate changes, with the global rise in temperatures and their devastating effects, are also a consequence of human activity. Hence there is a need to take up, in a united effort, the responsibility of leaving to coming generations a more beautiful and livable world, and to work, in the light of the commitments agreed upon in Paris in 2015, for the reduction of gas emissions that harm the atmosphere and human health.

The spirit that must guide individuals and nations in this effort can be compared to that of the builders of the medieval cathedrals that dot the landscape of Europe. These impressive buildings show the importance of each individual taking part in a work that transcends the limits of time. The builders of the cathedrals knew that they would not see the completion of their work. Yet they worked diligently, in the knowledge that they were part of a project that would be left to their children to enjoy. These, in turn, would embellish and expand it for their own children. Each man and woman in this world – particularly those with governmental responsibilities – is called to cultivate the same spirit of service and intergenerational solidarity, and in this way to be a sign of hope for our troubled world.

With these thoughts, I renew to each of you, to your families and to your peoples, my prayerful good wishes for a year filled with joy, hope and peace. Thank you.

_____________

[1] Cf. JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, 11 April 1963, 90.

[2] Ibid., 80.

[3] Ibid., 86.

[4] Ibid., 91.

[5] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948.

[6] Ibid. Preamble.

[7] PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 26 March 1967, 14.

[8] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Preamble.

[9] Cf. ibid., Art.3.

[10] Cf. ibid., Art. 25.

[11] Pacem in Terris, 112.

[12] Ibid., 111.

[13] Ibid., 126.

[14] Ibid., 127 and 129.

[15] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 16.

[16] Cf. PAUL VI, Address in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, 5 January 1964.

[17] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 13.

[18] FRANCIS, Message for the 2018 World Day of Peace, 13 November 2017, 1.

[19] Ibid., 4.

[20] Cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 18.

[21] Ibid., Art. 29.

 

Personally PopeWatch would like a Pope who would address certain ambassadors as Pope Julius II in the Agony and the Ecstasy addressed the French Ambassador:

 

Julius II:  You may tell your master,
the King of France...
that I have looked up the Cardinal
Clermont in Sant'Angelo...
because he is no
better than a spy.
I know where the loyalty
of you French cardinals lie!
You belong with you King,
not with your church.
Don't tempt me to provide
you both with similar lodgings.
French Ambassador:  My master will be
deeply distressed...
when I report Your Holiness's
words to him.
Julius II: Remind your master
that I am at war...
and I will remain at war until
I have recovered the Papal States...
for the Church!
Every city, every village,
every foot of ground.
And I will stand no interference
from your master, or anyone else.
French Ambassador:  The King of France wishes
Your Holiness every success...
...in your enterprise.
Julius II:  - Yes, and spies on me...
in my own court, stirs up my
enemies throughout Italy...
and even boasts in private
that he will put a Frenchman...
on the throne of Peter and before
long make me his chaplain!
French Ambassador:  But His Majesty entertains nothing
but veneration for Your Holiness.
Julius II:  His Majesty called
me anti-Christ...
that only a stick on my back
would keep me in order.
Let him learn that
I too carry a stick.
Let him learn that I am the Pope!
The audience is over.


 

6

PopeWatch: Obvious

Phil Lawler, who has a book out about Pope Francis next month, has a telling anecdote that he relates at Catholic Culture:

 

 

How popular is Pope Francis? With the public? With bishops and priests? With young seminarians? Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers. It’s hard to gain an accurate reading.

But here’s a remarkably revealing clue, nearly hidden in a feel-good story about an American seminarian, Nick Sentovich, who is a 3rd-year student at the North American College in Rome, “and like all third-year seminarians, he was given the opportunity to assist during the papal Mass on Christmas Eve.”

Usually, a lottery decides who will serve during the Christmas Eve Mass, but there weren’t enough students who expressed interest this year, Sentovich said, so everyone who applied was accepted.

Emphasis added, obviously. But that’s not the only thing that should be obvious. Continue Reading

3

PopeWatch: Recreational Heresy

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

 

 

Roman Catholic dioceses in California began allowing recreational heresy Monday in what has been seen as a milestone in the mainstreaming of dissent.

Lines formed outside churches licensed to allow heresy hours before Mass and CCD times, and RCIA teachers said they had stocked up in expectation of huge demand for new types of heresy.

“There’re bigger crowds here than I saw at all the Christmas masses put together this year,”  said pastor of St. Basil Catholic Church, Matthew Dreyer, whose Legalize Dissent campaign has garnered thousands of followers on social media. “We’ve had dissent for decades now, but we’ve been marginalized to more liberal parishes. Now we can finally come out of the shadows and into the rad trad parishes.”

At one Catholic church in San Diego, hundreds lined up for hours to have a chance to be among the first to teach heresy at an RCIA or CCD class at a liturgically orthodox parish.

“There’s really nothing that the priests can do now to stop it,” said California native, Connie Schick. “The USCCB gave us a voice—they gave us a vote and we did it. Finally, we did it!”

Speaking with EOTT, Dreyer said he expected a 25% bump in dissent overnight, but that it could be as high as 50%.

California is the sixth state to allow the use of recreational heresy, and as one of the largest concentrations of Catholics in the United States, it has been widely seen as the corner stone on which legalization of mainstream heterodoxy will be built in the country.

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch managed to get the Pope on the phone for a comment:

“Gringo, I have warned you to stop calling me!  Of course California has embraced recreational heresy.  They are all loons out there, especially the bishops I have appointed.  In the 2005 Conclave I told Mahony that if he didn’t stop chattering I would have to use my rosary as a garotte.  No, you may not quote me!”.  With that, the Holy Father brought the call to an end.

5

PopeWatch: Wow

Wow:

 

Profession of the Immutable Truths About Sacramental Marriage

After the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (2016) various bishops issued at local, regional, and national levels applicable norms regarding the sacramental discipline of those faithful, called “divorced and remarried,” who having still a living spouse to whom they are united with a valid sacramental matrimonial bond, have nevertheless begun a stable cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.

The aforementioned rules provide inter alia that in individual cases the persons, called “divorced and remarried,” may receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, while continuing to live habitually and intentionally more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. These pastoral norms have received approval from various hierarchical authorities. Some of these norms have received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church.

The spread of these ecclesiastically approved pastoral norms has caused a considerable and ever increasing confusion among the faithful and the clergy, a confusion that touches the central manifestations of the life of the Church, such as sacramental marriage with the family, the domestic church, and the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.

According to the doctrine of the Church, only the sacramental matrimonial bond constitutes a domestic church (see Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 11). The admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” faithful to Holy Communion, which is the highest expression of the unity of Christ the Spouse with His Church, means in practice a way of approving or legitimizing divorce, and in this meaning a kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.

The mentioned pastoral norms are revealed in practice and in time as a means of spreading the “plague of divorce” (an expression used by the Second Vatican Council, see Gaudium et spes, 47). It is a matter of spreading the “plague of divorce” even in the life of the Church, when the Church, instead, because of her unconditional fidelity to the doctrine of Christ, should be a bulwark and an unmistakable sign of contradiction against the plague of divorce which is every day more rampant in civil society.

Unequivocally and without admitting any exception Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ solemnly reaffirmed God’s will regarding the absolute prohibition of divorce. An approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment. This practice therefore represents a substantial alteration of the two thousand-year-old sacramental discipline of the Church. Furthermore, a substantially altered discipline will eventually lead to an alteration in the corresponding doctrine.

The constant Magisterium of the Church, beginning with the teachings of the Apostles and of all the Supreme Pontiffs, has preserved and faithfully transmitted both in the doctrine (in theory) and in the sacramental discipline (in practice) in an unequivocal way, without any shadow of doubt and always in the same sense and in the same meaning (eodem sensu eademque sententia), the crystalline teaching of Christ concerning the indissolubility of marriage.

Because of its Divinely established nature, the discipline of the sacraments must never contradict the revealed word of God and the faith of the Church in the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage. “The sacraments not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 59). “Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1125).

The Catholic faith by its nature excludes a formal contradiction between the faith professed on the one hand and the life and practice of the sacraments on the other. In this sense we can also understand the following affirmation of the Magisterium: “This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 43) and “Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).

In view of the vital importance that the doctrine and discipline of marriage and the Eucharist constitute, the Church is obliged to speak with the same voice. The pastoral norms regarding the indissolubility of marriage must not, therefore, be contradicted between one diocese and another, between one country and another. Since the time of the Apostles, the Church has observed this principle as St. Irenaeus of Lyons testifies: “The Church, though spread throughout the world to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the Apostles and their disciples, preserves this preaching and this faith with care and, as if she inhabits a single house, believes in the same identical way, as if she had only one soul and only one heart, and preaches the truth of the faith, teaches it and transmits it in a unanimous voice, as if she had only one mouth”(Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2). Saint Thomas Aquinas transmits to us the same perennial principle of the life of the Church: “There is one and the same faith of the ancients and the moderns, otherwise there would not be one and the same Church” (Questiones Disputatae de Veritate, q. 14, a. 12c).

The following warning from Pope John Paul II remains current and valid: “The confusion, created in the conscience of many faithful by the differences of opinions and teachings in theology, in preaching, in catechesis, in spiritual direction, about serious and delicate questions of Christian morals, ends up by diminishing the true sense of sin almost to the point of eliminating it” (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitenia, 18).

The meaning of the following statements of the Magisterium of the Church is fully applicable to the doctrine and sacramental discipline concerning the indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage:

  • “For the Church of Christ, watchful guardian that she is, and defender of the dogmas deposited with her, never changes anything, never diminishes anything, never adds anything to them; but with all diligence she treats the ancient doctrines faithfully and wisely, which the faith of the Fathers has transmitted. She strives to investigate and explain them in such a way that the ancient dogmas of heavenly doctrine will be made evident and clear, but will retain their full, integral, and proper nature, and will grow only within their own genus — that is, within the same dogma, in the same sense and the same meaning” (Pius IX, Dogmatic Bull Ineffabilis Deus)
  • “With regard to the very substance of truth, the Church has before God and men the sacred duty to announce it, to teach it without any attenuation, as Christ revealed it, and there is no condition of time that can reduce the rigor of this obligation. It binds in conscience every priest who is entrusted with the care of teaching, admonishing, and guiding the faithful “(Pius XII, Discourse to parish priests and Lenten preachers, March 23, 1949).
  • “The Church does not historicize, does not relativize to the metamorphoses of profane culture the nature of the Church that is always equal and faithful to itself, as Christ wanted it and authentic tradition perfected it” (Paul VI, Homily from October 28, 1965).
  • “Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ” (Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 29).
  • “Any conjugal difficulties are resolved without ever falsifying and compromising the truth” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).
  • “The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm [of the Divine moral law]. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 33).
  • “The other principle is that of truth and consistency, whereby the church does not agree to call good evil and evil good. Basing herself on these two complementary principles, the church can only invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways, not however through the sacraments of penance and the eucharist until such time as they have attained the required dispositions” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34).
  • “The Church’s firmness in defending the universal and unchanging moral norms is not demeaning at all. Its only purpose is to serve man’s true freedom. Because there can be no freedom apart from or in opposition to the truth”(John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).
  • “When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal” (emphasis in original) (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 96).
  • “The obligation of reiterating this impossibility of admission to the Eucharist is required for genuine pastoral care and for an authentic concern for the well-being of these faithful and of the whole Church, as it indicates the conditions necessary for the fullness of that conversion to which all are always invited by the Lord“ (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration on the admissibility to the Holy Communion of the divorced and remarried, 24 June 2000, n. 5).As Catholic bishops, who – according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council – must defend the unity of faith and the common discipline of the Church, and take care that the light of the full truth should arise for all men (see Lumen Gentium, 23 ) we are forced in conscience to profess in the face of the current rampant confusion the unchanging truth and the equally immutable sacramental discipline regarding the indissolubility of marriage according to the bimillennial and unaltered teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. In this spirit we reiterate:
  • Sexual relationships between people who are not in the bond to one another of a valid marriage – which occurs in the case of the so-called “divorced and remarried” – are always contrary to God’s will and constitute a grave offense against God.
  • No circumstance or finality, not even a possible imputability or diminished guilt, can make such sexual relations a positive moral reality and pleasing to God. The same applies to the other negative precepts of the Ten Commandments of God. Since “there exist acts which, per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17).
  • The Church does not possess the infallible charism of judging the internal state of grace of a member of the faithful (see Council of Trent, session 24, chapter 1). The non-admission to Holy Communion of the so-called “divorced and remarried” does not therefore mean a judgment on their state of grace before God, but a judgment on the visible, public, and objective character of their situation. Because of the visible nature of the sacraments and of the Church herself, the reception of the sacraments necessarily depends on the corresponding visible and objective situation of the faithful.
  • It is not morally licit to engage in sexual relations with a person who is not one’s legitimate spouse supposedly to avoid another sin. Since the Word of God teaches us, it is not lawful “to do evil so that good may come” (Romans 3, 8).
  • The admission of such persons to Holy Communion may be permitted only when they with the help of God’s grace and a patient and individual pastoral accompaniment make a sincere intention to cease from now on the habit of such sexual relations and to avoid scandal. It is in this way that true discernment and authentic pastoral accompaniment were always expressed in the Church.
  • People who have habitual non-marital sexual relations violate their indissoluble sacramental nuptial bond with their life style in relation to their legitimate spouse. For this reason they are not able to participate “in Spirit and in Truth” (see John 4, 23) at the Eucharistic wedding supper of Christ, also taking into account the words of the rite of Holy Communion: “Blessed are the guests at the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19, 9).
  • The fulfillment of God’s will, revealed in His Ten Commandments and in His explicit and absolute prohibition of divorce, constitutes the true spiritual good of the people here on earth and will lead them to the true joy of love in the salvation of eternal life.

Being bishops in the pastoral office, who promote the Catholic and Apostolic faith (“cultores catholicae et apostolicae fidei”, see Missale Romanum, Canon Romanus), we are aware of this grave responsibility and our duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage. For this reason we are not allowed to be silent.

We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:

It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.

By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth .

31 December 2017, the Feast of the Holy Family, in the year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.

 

+ Tomash Peta, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

+ Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop of Karaganda

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

 

I hope that a barrel of whatever these bishops of Kazakhstan are drinking is sent to all the bishops of the Church.

8

PopeWatch: Creche

Sandro Magister brings us the news that few things seem to be sacred to the powers that be at the Vatican:

 

But as if that were not enough, here comes the third own goal, centered on the nativity scene set up this year in Saint Peter’s Square (see photo).

There is neither ox nor ass, neither sheep nor shepherds. Jesus, Joseph, and Mary can be spotted with some effort, against the backdrop of a dome of Saint Peter’s in ruins. It is a nativity scene without grace and without poetry, the intention of which is rather to depict one by one the seven corporal works of mercy.

The offer of such a nativity scene to the pope was made by the abbey shrine of Montevergine, which stands on a mountain above Avellino, not far from Naples. At the governorate of Vatican City they say that the project, realized afterward by the Neapolitan artisan Antonio Cantone, was submitted beforehand to the judgment of the secretary of state and of Pope Francis, receiving their approval.

But even more enthusiastic was the approval of Arcigay of Naples and of its president, Antonello Sannino, who told the American journalist Diane Montagna of LifeSite News: “The presence of the Vatican Nativity Scene for us is a reason to be even happier this year,. For the homosexual and transsexual community in Naples, it is an important symbol of inclusion and integration.”

The shrine of Montevergine, in fact, hosts an image of the Blessed Mother – reproduced in the nativity scene of Saint Peter’s Square – that was adopted some time ago as patroness by a vast LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual), which once a year, on February 2, the feast of the presentation of Jesus at the temple, popularly called “Candlemas,” makes a festive climb of the sanctuary by foot, called “juta dei femminielli,” the climb of the effeminates.

It is a “mix of the sacred and profane,” a sort of “ancestral gay pride,” Sannino explained. In 2002 the  abbot of Montevergine at the time, Tarcisio Nazzaro, protested against the political spin being given to that the pilgrimage, which was joined this year by the transexual parliamentarian Vladimir Luxuria.

But at the “Candlemas” of 2014 Luxuria appeared at the shrine reading a letter that he had written to Pope Francis in the name of the LGBT community.

In 2017 an LGBT group, again with Luxuria, met with new abbot Riccardo Luca Guariglia, who – they later reported – gave them his blessing in an “atmosphere of dialogue.”

The town of Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo, from which the climb to the shrine departs, this year gave honorary citizenship to a married couple of homosexuals, inaugurated for the “femminielli” a “no gender” bathroom and put up a sign at the entrance to the town saying: “Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo is against homotransphobia and gender violence.”

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Sannino should say he is convinced that a greater openness of the Church on the subject of homosexuality also depends on “how conscious” Vatican officials are of the connection between the nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Square and the LGBT community. “The Church is extremely slow in its transformations,” he added. “But we hope that the Church will finally develop a real sense of openness in the wake of the pope’s words: ‘Who am I to judge?’”.

Meanwhile, in this Christmas season, pilgrims and tourists who have come to Rome from all over the world are looking with visible bewilderment at the nativity scene set up in the middle of Bernini’s colonnade, and especially its chiseled “nude” who seems to be longing after something other than being dressed mercifully.

Like every year, on the evening of December 31, after the “Te Deum” Pope Francis will also appear before the nativity scene in Saint Peter’s Square, although it is not known “how conscious” he will be of the mess he has gotten himself into. And the LGBT community will certainly be very attentive to scrutinizing and interpreting every one of his gestures and expressions.

For a complete reconstruction of the incident, here is a link to the article by Diane Montagna:

Vatican’s “sexually suggestive” nativity has troubling ties to Italy’s LGBT activists

Go here to read the rest.  Here is a picture of part of the creche:

 

 

Remember when the query “is the Pope Catholic” was not meant to be a real question?

4

PopeWatch: Fake News

Well this is interesting:

 

Pope Francis plans to highlight the importance of truth and the fight against “fake news” in a message to be released Jan. 24, the Catholic News Service reports.

A spokesman for the Vatican told the news service that Francis will speak out against false information that leads to the “polarization” of public opinion in modern societies.

Go here to read the rest.  This seems fitting to PopeWatch.  Considering how factually challenged many of the statements of the Pope have been, go here to read a typical example, he would seem to have a certain expertise when it comes to fake news.

1

PopeWatch: Begone Nerdia

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

 

Pope Francis has called for the renaming of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, saying current translations that changed it from the original “Philosopher’s Stone” to “Sorcerer’s Stone” does not make sense.

Read by millions of people across the world, the young adult fantasy novel has become a staple read in many homes. But in a recent interview, Pope Francis said that the word “Sorcerer” should be changed because it has been translated badly.

“It’s not a good translation because the Philosopher’s Stone is an actual legend dating back to 300ad whereas the Sorcerer’s Stone was simply made up,” he told TV2001. “The changing of the name implies that American children are too stupid to understand the word or, if not stupid, than clearly not being given the opportunity to learn a new word. The Harry Potter publisher Scholastic is essentially saying that American teachers actively push their students to fail. But it’s not teachers pushing anyone to fail. A teacher doesn’t do that—a teacher helps you learn how to open a dictionary.”

Last month, publishers in France agreed to switch from “Sorcerer” to “Philosopher.” The pope said he was impressed with the new wording.

Go here to read the comments.  PopeWatch attempted to contact the Vatican for comment, but was advised that the Vatican is currently under siege from hordes of fanatical Harry Potter fans, waving wands and trotting along on broom sticks, and that the Swiss guards were laughing too much to have broken the siege yet.

With that, PopeWatch will be on Christmas hiatus until January 3.  See you in the new year!

1

PopeWatch: Dictator

Philip Lawler gives a review of Dictator at Catholic World Report:

 

And some of the book’s revelations will be new to any but the most attentive followers of inside Vatican news. The author reminds us, for instance, that Cardinal Bergoglio became prominent when he delivered a speech at the Synod meeting of 2001, after New York’s Cardinal Egan, who was scheduled to give the address, hurried home in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The Argentine cardinal’s speech was heartily applauded by the prelates who heard it. What they did not know, Colonna tells us, is that Cardinal Bergoglio merely read a text that had been prepared by a Vatican staff member.

The Dictator Pope also gives readers samples of a highly critical memo by Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, then the worldwide leader of the Jesuit order, written in 1991 to explain why, in his opinion, Father Jorge Bergoglio should not be made a bishop. The memo is devastating, pointing to character flaws that are confirmed throughout this book.

Indeed the most valuable service provided by the author of The Dictator Pope is the psychological portrait of the Pope: a man who follows in the footsteps of Juan Peron, the demagogic Argentine political leader of young Bergoglio’s formative years. Manipulative, hypersensitive, and often downright vindictive, Pope Francis is certainly not the cheerful populist that his supporters make him out to be. For all the talk about a “reformer pope,” the rhetoric about decentralization, and the promises of reform, the net results of this pontificate to date have been a climate of fear within the Vatican, a tightening of control, and a resurgence of the “old guard” in Rome.

The Dictator Pope concludes with a plea that the College of Cardinals should recognize the damage that has been done and, when the time comes, derail the efforts of the liberal prelates like the “St. Gallen mafia” to elect another Pontiff like Francis. Even before the conclave, the author persuasively argues, ranking prelates should fulfill their duties, resisting the public pressure exerted by an authoritarian Pontiff. It’s a compelling argument. But it would have been more compelling still if the author of this book had set an example, defied the pressure, and written this book under his own name.

Go here to read the rest.  Part of the interest in Dictator is generated by the fact that the news media has done a very poor job in ferreting out even basic facts about Pope Francis.  PopeWatch was started because of the paucity of information about our new Pope.  Five years later, the situation persists and much about Pope Francis remains mysterious and often contradictory.

9

PopeWatch: The Devil

When it comes to the Devil, who he mentions frequently, the Pope has been preaching the truth since the beginning of his pontificate:

The Devil is more intelligent than mere mortals and should never be argued with, Pope Francis has warned.

Satan is not a metaphor or a nebulous concept but a real person armed with dark powers, the Pope said in forthright remarks made during a television interview.

“He is evil, he’s not like mist. He’s not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I’m convinced that one must never converse with Satan – if you do that, you’ll be lost,” he told TV2000, a Catholic channel, gesticulating with his hands to emphasise his point.

Go here to read the rest.  Saint Thomas More in his Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, which he wrote while imprisoned, has quite a bit to say about Satan including this passage which strikes PopeWatch as quite wise:

Some folk have been clearly rid of such pestilent fancies with
very full contempt of them, making a cross upon their hearts and
bidding the devil avaunt. And sometimes they laugh him to scorn
too, and then turn their mind unto some other matter. And when the
devil hath seen that they have set so little by him, after certain
essays, made in such times as he thought most fitting, he hath
given that temptation quite over. And this he doth not only
because the proud spirit cannot endure to be mocked, but also
lest, with much tempting the man to the sin to which he could not
in conclusion bring him, he should much increase his merit.
4

PopeWatch: Dictator

Lifesite News has an interview with the author of Dictator:

 

The author assumes the pseudonym of a real historical figure named Marcantonio Colonna. Born in 1535, Colonna was an Italian aristocrat who served as a Viceroy of Sicily and is best remembered for his service as admiral of the papal fleet in the Battle of Lepanto.

About the author’s true identity, we are only told in the brief biographical note accompanying the book that he is “a graduate of Oxford University and has extensive experience of historical and other research. He has been living in Rome since the beginning of Pope Francis’s pontificate, and his book is the fruit of close contacts with many of those working in the Vatican, including the leading Cardinals and other figures mentioned in the narrative.”

In an email exchange with Marcantonio Colonna, we discussed why he wrote The Dictator Pope, what he hopes the book will achieve, and the most surprising discovery he made in his research.

LifeSite: Why did you write ‘The Dictator Pope’?

Colonna: The popular image of Pope Francis is one of the most extraordinary deceptions of the present time, and contrasts totally with the reality of Bergoglio’s character as it was known in Argentina before his election and is known in the Vatican today. My aim was to let the cat out of the bag and to set out, in a series of studies of policies followed over the past five years, the true nature of Francis’s pontificate.

What do you hope the book will achieve?

I don’t know whether my book could have the effect of encouraging cardinals and other churchmen to tell Francis, “The game’s up.” Perhaps not. But what I principally had in mind was trying to avoid a similar mistake being made again in the next Conclave. My aim was to expose the myth of the supposedly liberal Pope who was elected in 2013 and to urge the cardinals at the next Conclave to avoid electing an unknown figure who turns out to be quite different from what he had been thought.

If your main concern is to see that a similar mistake not be made at the next Conclave, why did you not simply send a report privately to the cardinals. Why go public? Some readers may wonder if the book might do more harm than good, by fostering division and ill will toward Pope Francis among the faithful.

The notion that the College of Cardinals as a whole would read a 60,000-word book sent to them privately is wholly unrealistic. Moreover, the book needs to have the credibility that comes from having been made public and recognized as true by those who know the Vatican. And the cardinals do not make their choice in a vacuum. When they vote in the next Conclave, it needs to be in a context in which the whole Church has recognized the imposture that has been practiced upon it and realizes that we need a Pope who is primarily a man of God and not a politician.

What did you find most interesting, surprising, or shocking in your research?

In fact my book is mainly based on a long series of articles which have already exposed many aspects of Francis’s pontificate, but the world’s media have preferred to take no notice of them. A personal contribution of mine has been to transmit to the rest of the world the estimate of Bergoglio that had long been held in Argentina. In researching Bergoglio’s past, one of the most significant pieces of evidence I came across was the report written by his religious superior [Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach] in 1991 when it was proposed to make Bergoglio a bishop. The Jesuit General wrote that Bergoglio was not suitable for such an appointment, that he was a man of devious character, lacking psychological balance, and had been a divisive figure as Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina. The existence of this report has long been known, and I received the account of it from a priest who read the document himself at the time.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The first of many tell all books in regard to this kidney stone of a pontificate.

3

PopeWatch: Dictator

The book Dictator, among its many passages, has this interesting section:

 

 

In contrast, the dedicated but politically hapless Benedict XVI, it emerges, was deceived in more ways than one by his power hungry, avaricious long-time secretary, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Among other achievements, Bertone, without his former boss’s knowledge, allowed more than 400,000 euros from the papal children’s hospital to be streamed into the restoration of his vast apartment.

Bertone duped Benedict to the last, when the former pope entrusted him with the task of lobbying for the tough, orthodox patriarch of Venice, Angelo Scola, to succeed him as Pope when he resigned in February 2013. Bertone did not want Scola and ignored the instruction. It opened the way for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who, in a curious twist, appears to have been expecting Benedict’s abdication. He had been subtly lobbying US cardinals for some time and he had the backing of the “St Gallen mafia’’, a liberal, anti-Ratzinger cabal of European cardinals.

Pope Benedict had his gifts, but red capped thieves at the Vatican were apparently running rings around him.

17

PopeWatch: Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate

The squalid war against the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate continues apace, and Rorate Caeli gives us the grim details:

 

  • The FSI (Sisters) were assigned a commissioner (Noris Adriana Calzavara of the Suore Rosarie di Udine) and two co-commissioners by a decree of the Congregation for Religious. Since the Congregation did not have its decree approved in forma specifica by the Pope, it was open to be challenged in the Signatura. The challenge resulted first in a reduction of the powers of the commissioners. It looked as though a further challenge would lead to the decree being be overturned altogether early this year. 
  • However, before it was overturned, the Congregation went to Pope Francis and got his personal approval for a fresh assignment of the same commissioner. This was obviously very demoralizing for the sisters, who thought they were about to regain their autonomy.
  • The FSI have been ordered by their commissioner not to accept postulants for three years. The Sisters, which we are told numbered around 500 before these attacks, now amount to half of that.
  • The FSI are closing their House in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which ends their North American Mission as there will be not a single convent left in the United States. 
  • The FFI (Friars) were forced to close and end their Australian Mission earlier in the year. We hear the Sisters may leave as well, but do not have solid enough reporting on this to say it’s 100%. But we feel compelled to report it if there’s any chance of exposure and pressure stopping the move. 
  • About that same time of the Austrian Mission ending, Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles of Lipa, was “resigned” from his episcopacy. He was guilty of having approved a public association of the faithful made up of ex-FFIs, but since that’s not a crime, he was accused of — and apparently framed for — something unrelated.
  • In late January/early February, the FFI commissioners spoke of having the General Chapter of the Institute this past September. The Chapter would approve the new constitutions and elect the new Minister General, and the Congregation’s approval of this would end the period under a commissioner. Multiple sources tell us the principal targets of the reform appear to be the Marian Vow and poverty in common (i.e., the rule that not only individual members, but also the Institute as a legal person, are not capable of having property).
  • The Marian Vow has, in the view of many Friars, been eliminated in the new formula of profession promulgated with “dubious legality” and used in the professions in Italy in September of last year. The Friars did not vow to live in total consecration to the Immaculate (which comports three juridical obligations defined in their present constitutions), but vowed total availability to go to the missions in view of their consecration (which is the third of those obligations). 
  • It was surprising to those who asked for a commissioner that the issue of the traditional Latin Mass has disappeared and been replaced by other changes they did not desire. Some sort of prohibition in this sense might be included, but it is clearly not the main interest of the commissioners.
  • The General Chapter has obviously not been held. It is reasonable to think that this is because it would not achieve the desired end (the gutting of the constitutions), although no reason has been announced. 
  • The number of Friars interested in eliminating the Marian Vow could probably be counted on one hand, and perhaps on one finger. Therefore it is necessary (1) to significantly stack the deck in terms of voting members of the chapter, or (2) to convince those voting that the Marian Vow has not been eliminated, but merely clarified, or (3) to find Friars willing to vote for constitutions they don’t like but are willing to accept for secondary motives (exaggerated respect for the Holy See, fear of suppression, etc.)
  • Another possible (and likely) reason why the General Chapter has not taken place is that the commissioners have still not succeeded in getting control of the goods the Institute uses. These goods belong to non-profits, which are controlled by laymen, so that the Institute does not have effective ownership of anything. At the beginning of February, when the Congregation and the commissioners thought they could hold the chapter is September, Fr. Stefano M. Manelli was ordered to hand over ownership of the goods to the Institute, but he simply replied he has no legal power to do so.
  • While we can say the Sisters have been halved to 250 with some confidence, we cannot report on the current number of Friars, although we know of many who have left the order to another, or left for the world. We know of seminarians — some who were ready to be ordained to various positions the day after the seminary was closed! — who lost their vocations. There used to be a yearbook listing all of of the friaries and Friars, but the commissioners no longer publish them. They don’t even distribute a list of addresses and phone numbers for the friaries.

Go here to read the rest.  This war against the faithful is the current pontificate in miniature.  This Pope is not technically an anti-pope, but he is certainly the almost complete opposite of what a pope should be.  May God forgive him and the Cardinals who elected him.

 

2

PopeWatch: Saint Santa

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

 

After close to a decade of research, historians from the University of America announced Wednesday that the fabled third-century saint, known to many as St. Nicholas, was actually a “sort of devolution” on the present day character of Santa Clause.

“What we believe is that the Santa Clause we all know and believe in today actually inspired legends that would be told during Advent about a saint who supposedly lived around 1,700 years ago,” University of America historian Carmen Banks told the press early this morning. “This was an unusual case, obviously, since most fables evolve over years or decades—even centuries after an event, whereas this one actually began with people looking into what decedents far in the future would think of a tough, orthodox saint they invented.”

“One of the most fascinating things I personally learned was that Nicholas, as they would come to call him, was first written to be an average, run-of-the-mill saint,” research head Douglas Fitzgerald said. “But the songs and stories never really caught on, so that’s when the idea first came up about rewriting the character as someone who was not only holy and extremely zealous, but who was also a bit rowdy and who assaulted people who had heretical opinions. But what ended up happening was that they began to fear what people would say of him in a terrifying dystopia where nearly everyone was sensitive and butt-hurt about everything.”

That’s when, Fitzgerald continued, they began to concoct a “softer side” of the fabled St. Nicholas.

“That’s when they began to Photoshop, for the lack of a better word, their legend. Story tellers were given free rein to add things about the character of St. Nicholas as centuries past, such as the constant smile and jolly laugh and so on, but with one exception—that everything about the original written character, his holiness, his staunch orthodoxy and so on would be omitted, leaving only a caricature of man that everyone, whether Christian or heretic, would love.”

 

Go here to read the comments. PopeWatch called the Vatican for comment and did get through to the Pope.  Our conversation was brief.  “I have no time for this!  I am drafting my naughty and nice list for Santa, and you, Gringo, who keeps bugging me with your calls, are definitely on the naughty list!”  And with that, the Holy Father hung up.

4

Pope Francis: Latin

Latin is a Language,
Dead as Dead Can Be,
It Killed the Ancient Romans,
And Now It’s Killing Me.

 

 

PopeWatch is in full agreement with the Pope on this:

In a message to the Pontifical Academies on Tuesday, Pope Francis praised the study of Latin, especially for young people, and encouraged scholars and teachers to promote its study as a positive guide for students as they navigate life.

Addressing academics and Latin teachers, the pope said Dec. 5 that they should “know how to speak to the hearts of the young, know how to treasure the very rich heritage of the Latin tradition to educate them in the path of life, and accompany them along paths rich in hope and confidence…”

Francis’s message was read at the 22nd Solemn Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, which had as its theme, “In interiore homine: Research paths in the Latin tradition.”

The pope praised “the theme of interiority, of the heart, of consciousness and self-awareness” which he said is found “in every culture as well as in the different religious traditions.

“Significantly,” he continued, this theme is “presented with great urgency and strength even in our time, often characterized by concern with appearance, superficiality, the division between heart and mind, interiority and exteriority, consciousness and behavior.”

Moments of change, crisis, or transformation, whether in relationships or in a person’s identity, require reflection “on the inner and intimate essence of the human being.”

Francis also noted the many important figures, both in the classical and the Christian traditions, who have reflected on the dynamism of man, pointing especially to the Fathers of the Church and the Latin writers of the first millennium.

s

 

 

3

PopeWatch: Dictator

Lifesite News has this interesting tidbit on Pope Francis from the book Dictator:

 

The Dictator Pope, by a pseudonymous author who calls himself Marcantonio Colonna, claims to describe what Pope Francis is like when his adoring public isn’t looking: “arrogant, dismissive of people, prodigal of bad language and notorious for furious outbursts of temper which are known to everyone from the cardinals to the chauffeurs.”

Despite the hidden identity of the author, the book has hit the bestseller list and received praise from seasoned Vatican watchers.

According to the book, Francis is a master manipulator, and was fully conscious of both attempts to have him elected pope. When the 2005 Conclave elected Cardinal Ratzinger instead, the formerly conservative Cardinal Bergoglio adopted a newly progressive stance in line with the theology of his backers. And it seems that he was privy to the resurrection of their plans when Benedict cut his own papacy short. According to Colonna:

“By the middle of 2012, a few insiders in the Curia knew that Pope Benedict was considering abdication; he had confided his intention to two of his closest associates, the Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone, and the papal secretary Archbishop Ganswein, and he had named the exact date: 28 February 2013.

“Cardinal Bergoglio’s communications with Rome were abruptly stepped up from this time, rising to hectic levels as the date approached. Sure enough, on 11 February 2013 Pope Benedict made his public announcement to the cardinals, and it took almost the whole world by surprise; not Bergoglio and his associates, however, as eyewitnesses discovered.

“On the day of the announcement itself, the rector of Buenos Aires cathedral went to visit his Cardinal and found him exultant. During their interview, the telephone never stopped ringing with international calls from Bergoglio’s allies, and they were all calls of personal congratulation. One Argentinian friend, however, less well informed than the others, rang up to ask about the extraordinary news, and Bergoglio told him:’You don’t know what this means’.”

 

Go here to read the rest.

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PopeWatch: Dictator

PopeWatch has not yet begun reading Dictator, but hopes to do so this weekend.  In the meantime he found a review by “Kindle Customer” on  Amazon intriguing:

 

To be honest, the past week of hype has been a little bit exaggerated. Fr. Z seemed to be using a strange reverse psychology
whereby he cautioned his readers about the dangers of curiositas, while simultaneously providing US, UK and Italian links so
that everybody gets a Kindle and gets the book! He also said “I won’t tell Marcantonio’s name but I KNOW lol.” Nobody will be
scandalized who is a regular reader of the traddie blogs, or even First Things (Reno), Catholic World Report (Olson, Schall),
the NC Register (Pentin et al.), and even Douthat of the NY Times. It’s just a compilation of what the bloggers have been
reporting for the past 4 and 3/4 years or so. For me, the Bergoglio pontificate hit me gradually. First there was the weird thing
about the kids who donated 3,000 rosaries and I said “that’s weird for a Pope to mock their piety like that, even if he doesn’t share it”.
I mean, Ratzinger’s a high-rational guy but he wouldn’t say that. Then there was the interview in 9/13, and by 10/14 with the first session
of the synod it was clear that something wasn’t right. During the spring and summer of 14 I began regularly checking Rorate, Eponymous,
Mundabor and eventually Corbinian’s. Oddly, the trads and the mainstream liberal media tended to get Francis right, where the formerly
astute vaticanisti like John Allen and Rocco Palmo tried to keep squaring the circle (and most bishops and priests, etc., understandably
because we seek ecclesial unity). One of the turning points in the blogosphere was when the once-ubiquitous Amy Welborn, one of the
pioneers and the epitome of a center-right establishment figure, got all critical and negative on PF. By now Allen has acknowledged some
of the setbacks (gently!) and Rocco concedes there is a lot of “change”. Then we have the weird phenomenon of folks like Sean Winters,
Jim Martin, Spadaro, Ivereigh etc. etc. who are more papal-fundamentalist than almost any right wingers from the past. I don’t think many
women fall into this category, although Betta Pique comes to mind.

Perhaps the most important new information is the apparent report of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, a mainstream center-left Jesuit
who appeared to be psychologically on the mark. It’s true that there was a dispute between the Marxist and Peronist-populist
brands of liberation theology. The stuff on the cardinals and the conclave is interesting but for the most part not new to those
who have been following. Financial reform just isn’t that interesting to me, but it is tied in with other forms of corruption and
scandal. The point is that it hasn’t been successfully carried out.

The author is an Oxford-trained historian who’s well-connected in Rome and those qualifications come through from time to time. Again,
I don’t find it nearly as inflammatory as its title, but maybe that’s from reading too many blogs. Perhaps the best service this book has
done is to convert the blog post format (whether traddie or con) into a more traditional book, even if it’s only an e-book for now in English.
The Dictator Pope compiles in 141 pages a lot of the major events from the conclave, the synod, the attempted and promised reforms,
and ecclesiastical events like those with the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the Knights of Malta and various cardinals. It is a useful
marker as we approach the 5 year anniversary of this unique period in recent Church history.