9

PopeWatch: Democratic Socialism

News missed by PopeWatch courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

You can’t go into a Whole Foods or indie record store without hearing somebody talk about it: democratic socialism. Is it a radical new idea that we should try out in our nation, or is it an old idea with the word “democratic” stapled to the front to make it sound more palatable? Find out in this handy explainer from your friends at The Babylon Bee:

What is Democratic Socialism?

Democratic Socialism is a growing movement in America promising every citizen the most basic human rights, including but not limited to free healthcare, a government-guaranteed job making at least $15 per hour, free college tuition, guaranteed housing, broadband internet access, and cage-free vegan lattes.

How would the government pay for all of that?

By rightfully appropriating money from terrible, evil, oppressive, hardworking, enterprising citizens who have earned wealth via the dreaded free market economy that has led to unprecedented human flourishing. Governments are known for being the most efficient spenders of money, and so surely would do an excellent job as stewards of your wealth—err, we mean, the public’s wealth.

Isn’t it immoral to take most of the money people earn?

No—actually, it’s the right thing to do. People with money only got that money because of inherent privilege, racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, and all kinds of other unfair power structures and phobias. You know what, we’re a little concerned with all the questions you’re asking here. It sounds like someone needs to spend a little more time in a democratic re-education loyalty center! KILL THE KULAKS!

How does Democratic Socialism differ from just “Socialism”?

It has the word “Democratic” in front of it, you see, which means it is achieved by promoting identity politics, stoking class warfare, and cranking that entitlement mentality up to 11, instead of literal violent overthrow of the government. Besides, voting for the government to seize people’s wealth is totally different from the government deciding to do so on their own, right? Err… uh… DID WE MENTION YOU GET FREE STUFF?? Say it with us: Socialism good, Democratic Socialism better!

It seems like if you try to run the numbers, there’s just no way Democratic Socialism is a fiscally feasible form of government.

“Run the numbers”? “Fiscally feasible”? Have you been paying attention, like, at all? Do you want free money, or are you part of the problem? YOU GET FREE MONEY, AND YOU GET FREE MONEY—ERRYBODY GETS FREE MONEEEEEEEEEEEY!!!

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch is stunned to realize that the same people who write for The Bee must also write economic policy statements for the Vatican.  That explains a lot!

 

5

PopeWatch: Abandoned Churches

A perfect symbol of this papacy:

That’s why the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and the Gregorian University in Rome have called for an international congress next November 29-30 called, “Does God not live here anymore? Disposal of places of worship and integrated management of ecclesiastical cultural assets,” to be held at the Jesuit-run campus.

Given the massive scope of Church properties around the world, it comes as no surprise that there’s no exact number of struggling and abandoned churches. Secularization, a decrease in vocations and economic mismanagement have led to significant challenges for many parishes worldwide, and speakers at the press event said that the problem exists in many countries.

“We have registered an extraordinary interest by the bishops of various countries,” Ravasi said.

The congress aims at presenting guidelines on the disposal and reutilizations of the Church’s patrimony. In the next few weeks, delegates from bishops’ conferences in Europe, North America and Oceania will discuss and approve the document.

Go here to read the rest.  One would think that in such a time the Pope would be concentrating on growing the Church, our duty under the Great Commission give to the Church by Christ:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mathew 28: 19

However that seems to be the very last thing the Pope has on his mind.

 

6

PopeWatch: Bye Sacraments

Sandro Magister brings us an article which exposes how the Sacraments are being ejected from the center of the life of the Church:

 

But in this same latest issue of “Catholica” another voice is raised – not of a cardinal, but of a Benedictine monk and talented theologian – that thoroughly analyzes and criticizes what is perhaps the most radical subversion taking place in the Catholicism of today: that which assigns primacy no longer to the sacraments – “culmen et fons” of the Church’s life, according to Vatican Council II – but to ethics.

It is the subversion that underlies, in particular, both the new discipline of communion for the divorced and remarried and “intercommunion” between Catholics and Protestants.

Giulio Meiattini, the author of this critical analysis, has presented it in its most complete form in a book he published at the beginning of this year:

> G. Meiattini OSB, “Amoris laetitia? I sacramenti ridotti a morale”, La Fontana di Siloe, Torino, 2018

While in the interview in the latest issue of “Catholica” he presents its salient passages, the most significant of which are reproduced below.

Fr. Meiattini, a monk of the Benedictine abbey of La Madonna della Scala in Noci, is a professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia and at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome.

*

“AMORIS LAETITIA” AND THE OBLITERATION OF THE SACRAMENTS

by Giulio Meiattini, OSB
(passages selected from the interview in “Catholica” no. 140)

NOT DISCERNMENT, BUT CUNNING

The situation of confusion is evident. Naturally there are those who deny that this is a matter of confusion, maintaining that this is the positive result of a style of ecclesial governance aimed at “initiating processes rather than possessing spaces” (cf. “Evangelii Gaudium” 223). Therefore, the first discernment to be made would be precisely on the nature of this situation: can confusion, disagreement among bishops on sensitive doctrinal points, be fruits of the Spirit? To me it seems not. To discern also means understanding if it is appropriate or not to initiate processes in certain fields, and also with what timing, modalities, and objectives.

Let us observe, for example, the manner in which the new discipline for the “divorced and remarried” was reached.

After Cardinal Kasper’s talk at the consistory had prepared the terrain so to speak, the two synods, with an intermediate year of heated discussions, were unable to give rise to a common approach on the problem discussed. Those who read the accounts of the “circuli minores” of the 2015 synod realize very well that on the point in question there was not a shared perspective.

But one thing is clear: that a large majority of the fathers had not developed the conviction to change the traditional discipline. So much so that the authors of the “Relatio finalis,” on the controversial point, took care not to introduce innovations.

But – here is another small step – they drafted formulas of an indefinite tone that, while not providing for access to the sacraments, changed the atmosphere so to speak. Thus the “non-opposition” to those hesitant formulas (which had trouble getting two thirds of the votes) was enough to allow another subsequent small step: a couple of ambiguous little footnotes in “Amoris Laetitia,” which do not affirm or deny but hint at a certain direction.

This further passage smashed the interpretive boundaries, until in the autumn of 2017 – another step – there came the pope’s official approval of the “Criteria” of the bishops of the region of Buenos Aires on chapter VIII of “Amoris Laetitia.”

But these criteria, if one is honest, are not a simple interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia.” They add and say things that are not to be found in “Amoris Laetitia” and that, above all, had never been approved at the synods and never would have been. […]

Thus, through small successive steps, over the course of three years a very large one was made and the discipline was slowly changed, but certainly not in a synodal manner, in my view.

I may be wrong, but this “modus operandi” is not discernment, but rather cunning. In place of reasonable and open debate (the famous “dubia” have never received a response!), the strategy of persuasion and of the fait accompli took hold.

FAITH REDUCED TO ETHICS

Among the ethical demands and the sacramental foundation of Christian existence, the center is undoubtedly the sacrament, which is the communication to the believer of the grace that saves, and, in that it is welcomed by and transforms man, is also an act of glorification, doxology. […] Ethics is neither the first word not the last.

In “Amoris Laetitia,” however, the opposite logic is followed: the starting points are categories taken from the natural law and principles of general ethics (attenuating factors, the relationship between universal norm and subjective situation, non-imputability, etc.), and from these major premises are drawn the consequences for the pastoral practice of the sacraments.

In this way, the dimension of the symbolic and the sacramental, which should anchor, embrace, and transcend the moral sphere, loses its significance and becomes a mere appendix to ethics. […] The demonstration is given by the fact that in concrete terms the sin of adultery loses its public significance linked to the testimonial aspect of the sacrament, and can be remitted in the “internal forum” without any need to explain before the community why a spouse who publicly contradicts the sacramental sign of fidelity should publicly receive the Eucharist.

In short, the result of the decisions of “Amoris Laetitia” is the reduction of the sacramental to the moral, meaning of faith to ethics, which to me does not seem to be a mere question of pastoral practice. What is at stake here is something essential to the nature of Christianity.

A “TREMENDOUS BURDEN”?

I sincerely do not understand how a bishop, above all that of Rome, could write phrases of this kind: “There is no need to lay upon two limited persons the tremendous burden of having to reproduce perfectly the union existing between Christ and his Church” (“Amoris Laetitia” 122).

Here is the glaring exemplification of what I stated before in a general way: if the evangelical ethic is isolated from the sacrament and reduced to a general norm it becomes “a tremendous burden,” like the Mosaic law, instead of “an easy yoke and a light burden.” Whatever happened, in this perspective, to the transformative effect of the sacrament? […] So then we could ask ourselves whether the encouragement of bearing witness to faith in Christ to the point of bloodshed is not an even more tremendous burden, not to be placed on the shoulders of the people. […]

One arrives at this point only if one is accustomed to conceiving of Christianity – perhaps without fully realizing it – as ethics.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Take the Sacraments from Catholicism and what is left is not Catholicism.

1

PopeWatch: Not News

Father Z gives us the latest disturbing, if totally unsurprising, news about Pope Francis:

I saw the strangest story at La Stampa.

From Italian:

Pope Francis phones Gianni Vattimo, philosopher of “weak thought”

The Italian scholar sends a copy of his last book to Francis who calls to thank him.  A a short and pleasing conversation about the Church and philosophy: “With this Pope I am not ashamed to call myself Catholic”.

Perhaps someone will translate the whole thing.

This seems so very strange to me.  It leaves me a little confused, frankly.   I’ve written about this guy back in 2013.  HERE  Vattimo, if memory serves, is openly homosexual.  He had his … partner… euthanized in Holland.   Vattimo, who is pretty much against any truth claim and set against just about every moral teaching of the Church, has also spoken of Pope Francis.

I’ve gotten a couple notes asking me what this is all about.  I don’t know.  However, after a little digging around, I found once again a fascinating post that connected Vattimo with Pope Francis, as well as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  Have a look at THIS.

Sorondo applauded with obvious satisfaction, as the radical left, gay, Italian philosopher, Gianni Vattimo on 13 March 2015 Teatro Cervantes in Buenos Aires in front of all the prominent left radical figures, to form a new Communist International, which he dubbed the “Papal International” because was supposed to be led by Pope Francis. Vattimo said at the time:

“Pope Francis is the only one who is capable of a political, cultural and religious revolution to lead against the superior power of money in the Civil War, which is already raging in the world, and is disguised as ‘the fight against terrorism’ , but in reality is the class struggle of the 21st century against the large number of the critics of capitalism.”

You will recall that Sorondo was the one who said that Catholic social teaching is exemplified in Communist China. HERE

 

Go here to read the rest.  Of course this is not news, unfortunately, in this Pontificate.  If the Pope were to call a philosopher who defends orthodox Catholic teaching, now that would be news.  What a kidney stone of a papacy.

 

10

PopeWatch: No Experience

Perhaps PopeWatch is just noticing it more, but in the age of Francis there seems to be a great reek of stupidity from high ranking clergy.  An example:

 

 

Catholic priests lack “credibility” to prepare the faithful for the sacrament of marriage because they have never been married, according to the leader of the Vatican’s office for ministry to the family.

Priests are not the best people to train others for marriage, said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

“They have no credibility,” Farrell said, “they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day…. they don’t have the experience.”

The comments from Cardinal Farrell, who hails from the Dublin suburb of Drimnagh, came in a recent interview with Intercom magazine, a publication of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. His remarks were covered by The Irish Times and picked up by Crux.

The cardinal’s assertion that lack of marital experience is a handicap conflicts with Pope Saint John Paul II’s pivotal 1960 work Love and Responsibility. In it, then-Karol Wojtyla said that priests have a different and “wider” experience that allows them to minister to couples. He wrote: 

It is sometimes said that only those who live a conjugal life can pronounce on the subject of marriage, and only those who have experienced it can pronounce on love between man and woman. 

In this view, all pronouncements on such matters must be based on personal experience, so that priests and persons living a celibate life can have nothing to say on questions of love and marriage. Nevertheless they often do speak and write on these subjects. Their lack of direct personal experience is no handicap because they possess a great deal of experience at second-hand, derived from their pastoral work.

For in their pastoral work they encounter these particular problems so often, and in such a variety of circumstances and situations, that a different type of experience is created, which is certainly less immediate, and certainly ‘second-hand’, but at the same time very much wider. The very abundance of factual material on the subject stimulates both general reflection and the effort to synthesize what is known. 

Go here to read the rest.  For background on Cardinal Farrell go here.   Perhaps the best way for faithful Catholics to get through this pontificate is to view it either as God’s judgement or God’s practical joke.

1

PopeWatch: God Made Him That Way

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, The Catholic Misfit:

 

VATICAN CITY – A Trump supporter, while touring Rome earlier this week, said Pope Francis told him his politics “doesn’t matter” to him and that “God made you like this.”

Mylan S. Yerrlan, from Akron OH, provided details of their conversation to ACMPress.

“Mylan, that you support Trump doesn’t matter,” Yerrlan said Francis told him. “God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

Yerrlan said his political beliefs came up after Pope Francis commented on his MAGA t-shirt, adding that the Pontiff’s words gave him great comfort.

“First thing he said was, hey, the Latin word for magic is ‘Magus’, not MAGA, and we both laughed,” Yerrlan said. “I told him what it stood for, he took me by the hand and said, I can imagine how persecuted you must be. I answered, yeah, you have no idea.”

The Vatican, which as a policy doesn’t comment on the pope’s private comments, declined to confirm or deny the remarks.

“Any remarks by the Holy Father to Yerrlan does not amount to a public pronouncement, as the Church has no official teaching on the morality of supporting Donald Trump,” one official told ACMPress. “However, a person can find infallible opinions to support their positions simply by reading any Catholic website or blog, if they so choose.”

 

Go here to comment.  It was just announced by the Vatican that Pope Francis thought that he was participating in a revival of The Apprentice and thus no attention should be paid to his remarks.  Sound advice!

4

PopeWatch: U-Turns

Sandro Magister describes some recent U-Turns of the Pope:

 

This year there are at least three U-turns that Francis has made on crucial questions, but always without making it clear if these are definitive and sincere, seeing what he has said and done before and after the apparent reversals.

*

The first U-turn has been activated against the ordination of women to the priesthood. Here, properly speaking, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has not contradicted himself, because every time he has been asked since becoming pope he has always said he is against it personally, for example after his voyage to Sweden, where he had however embraced a female Lutheran bishop (see photo).

But at the same time he has long allowed the favorable opinions to run free, also on the part of figures on friendly terms with him, like cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn.

Last May 29, nonetheless, there appeared on “L’Osservatore Romano” a note from the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, the Spanish Jesuit Luis Ladaria, who reconfirmed that the no to women priests is “definitive” and “infallible.”

Ladaria enjoys the esteem of Francis, who a few days ago also made him a cardinal. It must be said, however, that the supporters of women priests have not given up, because meanwhile Francis has set up a commission to study the ordination of women not to the priesthood but to the diaconate, which is however still a sacrament and is the first of the three steps that culminate in ordination as bishop.

To judge by the preparatory document of the synod for the Amazon, scheduled for 2019, it is projected that this same region will see the ordination of the first women deacons. And then who knows.

*

The second U-turn has been activated against communion being given also to Protestant spouses who are married to Catholics. When asked about this very question three years ago, while he was visiting the Lutheran church in Rome, Pope Francis leaned heavily toward the favorable side. And in Germany, where mixed couples are numerous, this new practice has spread to such an extent that last February a majority of the German bishops approved a document that justifies it.

Seven bishops including one cardinal, however, have appealed to Rome. The pope called them in for consultation, took some time, but then handed the issue back to Cardinal Ladaria, who with a letter dated May 25 written “with the explicit approval of the pope,” blocked both the document and the practice that had entered widely into use, putting everything off until a future reflection “at the level of the universal Church” and of an overall ecumenical accord, meaning a remote and improbable future, since the Orthodox Churches are unshakably against so-called “intercommunion.”

Except that a few days ago, returning from his voyage to Protestant Geneva, Francis once again reopened the question, praising the document made null and void by Ladaria, and asserting that “there has been no braking.”

*

The third and most striking U-turn, that made by Pope Francis against the bishops of Chile – one in particular, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid – complicit in the sexual abuse committed by the priest who was their teacher when they were young, Fernando Karadima, tried and convicted by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in 2011.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The simple truth is that with this Pope anything is possible, and that is not supposed to be how popes behave.

0

PopeWatch: Peter’s Pence

Father Z ponders the questions of whether Catholics able to are obligated to contribute to Peter’s Pence:

 

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

To what extent are we as Catholics obligated to provide donations to Peter’s Pence? Can we abstain out of principle while still donating to our local parish/diocese and other charitable endeavors?

You are not obliged to provide donations to Peter’s Pence.

Peter’s Pence or Denarii Sancti Petri is a quite ancient custom going back to Saxon England before the Norman Conquest.  It spread the rest of the world.  In some periods it was imposed like a tax, but that is not the case now.  Bl. Pius IX brought the custom back in the 19th c. as an entirely voluntary donation for the Pope’s personal projects.

One of the Commandments or Precepts of the Church is that we must provide for the needs of the Church.  How we do that is not spelled out by a specific means.  In general, it means financial support.   Canon law has points about this:

First,

Can. 222 §1 Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.

§2 They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the Lord’s precept, to help the poor from their own resources.

And then,

Can. 1260 The Church has the inherent right to require from the faithful whatever is necessary for its proper objectives.

Can. 1261 §1 The faithful have the right to donate temporal goods for the benefit of the Church.

§2 The diocesan Bishop is bound to remind the faithful of the obligation mentioned in Can. 222 §1, and in an appropriate manner to urge it.

Can. 1262 The faithful are to give their support to the Church in response to appeals and in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference.

So, when the Pope or the Bishop or the Pastor of the parish makes an appeal, the faithful should pay attention and consider how they can help.  They shouldn’t mere dismiss or ignore the appeal.   They should weigh it and prudently respond.   It could be that, in some individual case, prudence requires a person not to give money.   It could be that, in some individual case, a person could offer time or skills in working on some project.  It could be that, in some case, a person determines that – for whatever reason – he won’t do anything.  That reason could be that the project is not a good project or the person running the project is not trustworthy.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Since 2014 PopeWatch has sent the money he would have contributed to Peter’s Pence to some worthwhile Catholic charity.

1

PopeWatch: Tweet

The Catholic wing of the Catholic Church is out of favor in the current pontificate:

 

An indication of the true state of the Catholic Church under the Francis pontificate was unwittingly revealed by the Pope’s biographer and one of his most ardent defenders in a tweet.

“One time, the fringe at big Catholic events was made up of LGBT groups, women’s ordination & ‘Church of the poor’ advocates, complete with their friendly bishops,” observed Catholic journalist and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh in a June 18, 2018 Tweet. “Now the fringe is occupied by traditionalists (incl bishops) pushing a 1930 encyclical as a way out of ‘confusion’.”  

Ivereigh was responding to a tweet by another Catholic journalist, Ed Pentin, who had called attention to a parallel conference to be held in Ireland at the same time as the Vatican sponsored World Meeting of Families (WMOF).  

The alternate conference which will run concurrently with the WMOF is being held to defend the Church’s teaching on sexuality.  

The 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, mentioned by Ivereigh in his tweet, will be highlighted at the parallel conference. The document was Pope Pius XI’s response to the Anglican church approving contraception — the first time a Christian denomination had done so — at the Lambeth Conference. In it Pope Pius XI defended marriage and family life, emphasizing the sanctity of marriage, prohibiting artificial birth control, and reaffirming the Church’s stance on abortion. He also took a firm stand on eugenics.

 

Go here to read the rest.  In these dire times all Catholics should recall what Saint Athanasius wrote when Arianism seemed to be the wave of the future:

 

“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …

“You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

“Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.

0

PopeWatch: China

The bad deal with China gets worse.  Sandro Magister gives us the details:

 

In his recent interview with Philip Pullella of Reuters, Pope Francis was also asked about China and about what cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin had said about it, according to whom “dialogue moves forward with successes and failures, two steps forward and one back.”

Francis expressed confidence in an agreement between the Holy See and the Chinese authorities, even if this does not come soon:

“I think the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture…They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China a lot. […] With respect to time, someone mentioned Chinese time. I think it is God’s time, forward, calm.”

And as for the criticisms of Cardinal Joseph Giuseppe Zen Zekiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, he downplayed them:

“I think he’s a little scared. Perhaps age might have some influence. He is a good man. He came to talk to me. I received him, but he’s a bit scared. Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk to the sure defeat of not talking.”

Lately, however, the news from China has not been encouraging at all. In May, Settimo Cielo reported on an upswing of anti-Christian repression, and the flimsy justifications set forth by the supporters of an agreement at any cost were worthless.

On June 19, the highly informative website “Bitter Winter,” which deals with religious freedom in China, founded and directed by Massimo Introvigne, reported on a textbook episode of the terrible climate surrounding the negotiations:

> Catholic Priest Detained for Plans to Discuss Proposed China-Vatican Agreement in Hong Kong

The protagonist of the episode is a priest named Yan Lixin, 55, of Guangping in the province of Hebei, the leader of several communities of what is referred to as the “underground” Church, meaning that it is run by bishops who are appointed by Rome but not recognized by the Chinese authorities.

In April, the bishop of Hong Kong, Michael Yeung Ming-cheung – recognized by both Rome and Beijing, who a few days ago, on June 23, was on  an “ad limina” visit with the pope – had invited Fr. Yan to his city for a public discussion precisely on the negotiations underway over the procedure for appointing future Chinese bishops.

Fr. Yan booked the flight to Hong Kong on his cellphone. And on April 9, with the same phone, he got in contact with a Japanese journalist who was also invited to the same discussion. But his phone was under surveillance, so that same evening a dozen police officers descended on his home.

The priest was arrested and held at a hotel in Handan, where he was subjected to incessant interrogation. After seven days they moved him to a different hotel, in Guangping, still under arrest. And the interrogation continued, with the main objective of forcing Fr. Yan to enroll in the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

This goal is not a trivial matter. Far from it. In the 2007 letter from Benedict XVI to Chinese Catholics – which is still viewed even by Pope Francis as the “magna carta” of the Church in China –  the Patriotic Association is considered the foremost of those “entities that have been imposed as the principal determinants of the life of the Catholic community,” membership in which “is the criterion for declaring a community, a person or a religious place legal and therefore ‘official,’” but whose “declared purpose to implement ‘the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church’ is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.”

So then, in full fidelity to the Church, Fr. Yan refused to yield. And after twenty days in custody, on April 28, he was released, but under the requirement not to leave his region and to be traceable at all times.

Since then he has been living under strict surveillance and has had to reduce the frequency of his celebration of Mass with his communities, to avoid as much as possible putting this too in danger.

Go here to read the rest.  I bet Pope Francis as a kid kept having his lunch money taken from him by sharper kids.  His deal with China gives the Church precisely nothing while selling out loyal Chinese Catholics.  Stupidity on Stilts!

2

PopeWatch: Heretic Pope?

Father Z discusses whether a Pope can teach heresy:

 

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

What if the Pope were to dogmatically declare that [insert major heresy here] was true? I don’t have an answer for this, which means I am utterly dependent on faith that God won’t let such a thing happen.

Still, what if…

So, what if a putative Pope say… what’s a really trendy name… Pope Logan (the second Jesuit to be elected) … were to call everyone to St. Peter’s Square and formally announce:

“We solemnly declare by our Apostolic authority and our office to confirm the brethren and we teach ex cathedra and infallibly so that it must be firmly and immutably held by the faithful that Christ did not rise from the dead in a physical sense, but rather in a spiritual sense in the hearts of His followers at the time.”

That would be pretty bad.

I, too, believe that God would not allow that to happen.  I am with Ratzinger in holding that the role of the Holy Spirit in the election of a Pope is not to choose the Pope, but to ensure that the choice made by the Cardinals is not a total disaster.   A Pope who would attempt to promulgate something obviously contrary to the doctrine of the faith would be a disaster.  Hence, I don’t think that will happen.

As a matter of fact, I suspect that God would end the pontificate before that would occur.  Pope Logan would get to the words “…it must be firmly and immutably held by the faithful that…” and he would more than likely clutch his chest and fall over with a long, “eehhhehhehe” sound.  There is also another less obvious way God could do it, which I’ll touch hereunder.

Theologians have debated about this point.  Most notable among them is the mighty St. Robert Bellarmine.  Bellarmine thought it impossible for a Pope to be a heretic, but he speculated that by holding a heretical view even privately as a material but not a formal heretic, he would cease to be Pope because he placed himself outside the Church, and no one outside the Church can be Pope.  That, however, can’t be entirely right because we would constantly be in doubt about the status of the Pope, if all it takes is private, material heresy.

A Pope might wind up on some point or other being a material heretic, in that it could happen that he doesn’t realize that he has erred.   A whole other pot of caponata would result were the Pope be a formal heretic, openly teaching heresy, fully culpable for both the sin of heresy and the crime of heresy.

I trust that God will not permit the Pope to be a formal heretic who attempts to promulgate something contrary to the faith.

But say that he does, for the sake of the intellectual exercise.

One problem that rises in this hypothetical discussion is that the Pope cannot be judged formally, as if in a trial.  Not even an ecumenical council could do so.  Only God can do that.

However, it is possible that – while not judging the person of Pope Logan- a council or perhaps the College of Cardinals could make a declaration that a certain thing that a Pope attempted to teach was a formal heresy and, ergo, God Himself as the Pope’s judge, would have caused that Pope’s office to cease, end the pontificate such that the See of Peter was empty from the moment before the Pope taught heresy.

Think about this. A marriage tribunal cannot break a marriage.  A tribunal can only issue a declaration that there never was a marriage.  Tribunals can’t nullify, they can only identify nullity.  Councils can’t take the Pope’s office away, they can identify that God took it away.

A council could declare that Pope Logan had lost his office because of what he had intended and attempted to do.

 

Go here to read the rest.

8

PopeWatch: Adam and Eve

Pope Francis states the obvious and receives anger for doing so:

 

Pope Francis on Saturday denounced the use of the word “family” to refer to unions that do not consist of a man and a woman, sparking condemnation from homosexual activists, who noted the mixed signals that Francis has sent regarding LGBT issues during his pontificate.

In extemporaneous remarks to a delegation of Italy’s Forum of Family Associations, Francis said that it “hurts” to speak of the fact that the word “family” is being used apart from the definition of traditional marriage.

“Then today – it hurts to say this – we talk about ‘diversified’ families: different types of families,” said Francis.

“Yes, it is true that the word ‘family’ is an analogical word, because we speak of the ‘family’ of the stars, the ‘families’ of the trees, the ‘families’ of the animals … it is an analogical word. But the human family as an image of God, man and woman, is only one. It is only one,” the pontiff said.

 

Go here to read the rest.  What insane times in which we live when it is controversial for a Pope to say that the building blocks of a human family are a man and a woman.

7

PopeWatch: McCarrick

As Joan Desmond at National Catholic Register points out, one of the key issues in regard to the Cardinal McCarrick scandal is what did the Vatican know, and when did the Vatican know it:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., was suspended from public ministry on Wednesday, after an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor was found to be credible. 

According to a statement released by the Archdiocese of New York, McCarrick was accused of abusing a teenage altar boy almost 50 years ago, while serving as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York. The Vatican had directed Cardinal Timothy Dolan to investigate the claim and it was found to be “credible and substantiated.”

But that was not the only disturbing news to be disclosed about McCarrick’s record. 

In a statement issued by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, the public learned that McCarrick had faced three accusations of sexual misconduct involving adults.

“In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults,” read Cardinal Tobin’s statement, which referenced McCarrick’s previous posts as archbishop of Newark (1986–2000) and bishop of Metuchen (1981–1986).

“This Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

The shocking statement raised additional questions about whether the Vatican learned of the three allegations of sexual misconduct before or after McCarrick was named archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2001, serving until 2006.

The Register contacted the Archdiocese of Newark and was told that neither the settlement dates, nor details about identity of the victims—whether they might have been seminarians or young priests—would be provided.

“We don’t release that kind of information because of confidentiality issues,” Jim Goodness, the spokesman or the Archdiocese of Newark, told the Register.

Without the dates of the three allegations and two settlements, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to know if the Vatican knew about the allegations in time to stop the appointment. 

 

1

PopeWatch: Separation Anxiety

From the most intentionally humorous Catholic site on the net, A Catholic Misfit:

FT LAUDERDALE, FL – An unidentified US bishop suggested that penalties be put in place for Catholics who help carry out any parish’s Worship Committee policy of separating families during Mass, when children are removed from the congregation for the Liturgy of the Word. He presented the recommendation while speaking Wednesday at the annual spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Canonical penalties are there in place to heal, not punish,” he said, according to ACMPress. “And therefore, for the good and well-being of these people’s souls, it’s time we take a look at canonical penalties.”

A canonical penalty is defined as a punishment imposed by the church, which could include excommunication. Catholic church laws are outlined in its Code of Canon law.

Others joined the bishop in denouncement of Children’s Liturgy policies, which have been popular since the Second Vatican Council. The unnamed bishop read a statement at the event. “The Church has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma that the Spirit of Vatican II inflicts. Families are the foundational element of our society, and they must be allowed to pray together throughout the entirety of the Mass,” he said. “Separating babies from their mothers during the Liturgy of the Word is not the answer and is immoral.”

The USCCB is not expected to issue a similar statement recommending ‘canonical penalties’ for Catholic pro-abortion politicians.

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch was about to call the Vatican when the Pope called him.

“Gringo, I told you I would be calling you again.”

Yes, your holiness.

“What do you think of Mark Shea?”

I’d rather not say your holiness.

“Would he be loyal to me?”

I am sure holiness if you told him to engage in self cannibalism he would immediately reach for a carving knife.

” Good gringo, good, I will be calling you again.”

Seizing my opportunity I asked the Pope about the above story.

“You gringos.  If Christ came tomorrow you would be calling me to ask about how to properly address Him!  I don’t care if you have your brats play in the streets during Mass!”  And with a loud slamming sound the phone audience came to a conclusion.

3

PopeWatch: Lying

Hmmm.  Is lying still a sin under the current pontificate?

 

 

ROME, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking with Reuters in an interview which appeared yesterday, Pope Francis criticized Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other cardinals who joined him in begging the Pope for clarification on key issues of faith. The cardinals used the long-standing ecclesial practice of issuing dubia, or questions to the Pope. There were five such questions altogether. But, according to Reuters the Pope said that “he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him ‘from the newspapers.’” The Pope knocked the cardinals, saying that it was “a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes.”

Cardinal Burke, however, told LifeSiteNews that “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016, as he also delivered subsequent correspondence of the four Cardinals regarding the dubia.” 

Burke added that, “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”

Cardinal Burke suggested that perhaps the Pope misunderstood the reporter’s question. “If the question of the journalist is referring to the formal presentation of the dubia or questions regarding Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, and myself, then Pope Francis must not have understood him,” he said.

The only other living dubia cardinal also responded to the Pope’s accusation in comments to OnePeterFive. Cardinal Walter Brandmuller told Dr. Maike Hickson “The dubia were first published after – I think it was two months – after the Pope did not even confirm their reception. It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”

Cardinal Burke insisted that, “The presentation of the dubia to the Holy Father was done according to the long-standing practice of the Church, that is, they were presented to the Holy Father without any publication, in order that he could answer them for the good of the whole Church.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  To be fair, it is possible that the Pope is telling the truth.  He may only read newspapers, since he has given precious little evidence during his papacy of reading much of anything else.

10

PopeWatch: Open Borders

No left wing crusade these days is complete without a papal blessing:

In a new interview with Reuters, Pope Francis backed the U.S. bishops’ opposition to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border, calling the move “immoral” and “contrary to Catholic values.”

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to statements made by U.S. bishops earlier this month.

Francis’ comment was made in reference to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which was rolled out in May and, among other things, enforces the separation of children from parents who have been detained by border officials.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, issued a statement at during their bi-annual meeting in Houston last week criticizing the enforcement of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying “separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

He said later the bishops would consider the possibility of sending a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the detention centers for themselves and offer solidarity for incoming migrants and refugees.

“Let it be clear that in these things, I respect [the position of] the bishops conference,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Reuters.

Go here to read the rest.  Now that Trump has signed an executive order requiring that parents seeking asylum reside with their children, we will see the illegal aliens’ lobby combating the administration’s attempt to overturn the Flores Decree to allow holding the kids until the government has ruled on their parents’ petitions for asylum.  This has always been about the attempt by Leftists to cause a renewal of the policy of catch and release and has zip to do with kids.  That our Pope is on the side of the illegal aliens and their advocates, and repeat their mendacious talking points, should come as no surprise to any sentient Catholic.

 

5

PopeWatch: Bilderberger

This papacy is the gift that keeps on giving to conspiracy theorists,  Edward Pentin explains:

 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, accepted an invitation to address the controversial and secretive Bilderberg Meeting earlier this month in order to take the teaching of the Church to a group who would not otherwise hear it, a Vatican official has told the Register.

The Vatican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Italian organizers of the visit were persistent in extending an invitation to the most senior Vatican official after Pope Francis to this year’s event, which took place June 7-10 in Turin, Italy. 

“The cardinal decided to take part after the Italian organizers very insistently invited him to the meeting six months ago,” the official explained. “He thought about it for a long time and, after consulting the necessary people, he decided to go.” 

Key topics for discussion at the 66th Meeting included “populism in Europe,” “the inequality challenge,” and “the ‘post-truth’ world.” 

Founded in 1954 at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, the Bilderberg Meeting has drawn controversy for its secretive nature and alleged globalist agenda, one that critics say is pushing for open borders and a one world government. 

But the organizers convey a more benign organization in which politicians, businessmen, academics and the media can come together to “foster dialogue between Europe and North America” about major issues facing the world. 

The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of any participant may be revealed.

The organization, currently chaired by French businessman Henri de Castries, argues that the private nature of the meeting means the participants “are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions.” This allows them “take time to listen, reflect and gather insights,” it says, and so there is “no desired outcome.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Perhaps The Simpsons give us the best commentary on this pontificate:

 

10

PopeWatch: Irish Hospitals

Well this was predictable:

 

Publicly-funded hospitals in Ireland will be required to perform abortions, even if they are Catholic and morally opposed to the procedure, the nation’s prime minister announced this week.

A survey on GPBuddy.ie, an online medical directory for Irish healthcare professionals, found that nearly 70 percent of general practitioners say they are unwilling to perform abortions.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar clarified to the Dáil (Irish Parliament) on Monday that individual medical professionals will be able to opt out of performing abortions, but entire hospitals will not be able to do so, now that abortion is being legalized in the country.  

“It will not, however, be possible for publicly-funded hospitals, no matter who their patron or owner is, to opt out of providing these necessary services, which will be legal in this state once this legislation is passed by the Dáil and Seanad (senate),” said Varadkar.

He went on to say that “hospitals like for example Holles Street, which is a Catholic voluntary ethos hospital, the Mater, St Vincent’s and others will be required, and will be expected to, carry out any procedure that is legal in this state and that is the model we will follow.”

A “voluntary” hospital in Ireland is one supported by charitable contributions. Healthcare in Ireland is government-funded and free for citizens. Many publicly-funded hospitals have historic ties to the Catholic Church and operate under Catholic ethics.

Go here to read the rest.  Of course the proper response is for the Irish Church to announce that all Catholic Irish hospitals will be closed down rather than participate in any abortions.  The Pope is visiting Ireland in August.  Will he say anything about it, or will he remain ingloriously silent?

7

PopeWatch: Bravo

Now if he had only said something as devastatingly on target as this prior to the Irish abortion vote:

 

“I have heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” Pope Francis was reported as saying.
“I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”
Go here to read the rest.
1

PopeWatch: Mercy Me

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

 

The Vatican announced today that they will be opening a second Year of Mercy.

The initiative is intended to address the crisis in the sacrament of confession and is being called, “The Year of Mercy: A Second Helping.”

“Over half of the confessions in the Church today are invalid because the faithful actually do not believe any of their actions are sinful,” Cardinal Thomas Olvelli explained. “Without an actual sin confessed, the sacrament is invalid.”

“Many penitents find the confessional line burdensome and are not able to wait for confession. That is not mercy,” The Cardinal went on to say. “During this new round of mercy, an individual will simply have the ability to have a deep, inward conversation with the Lord. Then with prudent and mature reflection, that individual will determine, in the sanctity of his or her own conscience, that he or she has never actually committed any sins, and thus maintaining the sanctity of the sacrament.”

In addition, Olvelli announced that 10,000 newly appointed “Agents of the Second Helping” will begin circling the globe this January to close down all remaining confessionals.

One Agent of Mercy, Monsignor Alejandro Pipetti, explained the initiative, saying, “Let’s face it, the confessional is a medieval torture chamber, designed to instill fear of the Lord into the faithful. How can the faithful begin to grow closer to the Lord if they fear Him? I believe it is better to have fear of one’s own conscience, especially since it can so easily be manipulated and told what is right and what is wrong. After all, there is no fear in that which you control.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch would be afraid to confess to himself.  Saying perpetual Paternosters on his knees would make blogging problematic for PopeWatch.

22

PopeWatch: Canonical Penalties

The Pope can ignore a vote to bring abortion to Ireland, but his man in Tucson wants to go Innocent III on those trying to uphold the immigration laws of our nation:

 

Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger raised the possibility of implementing canonical penalties for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump administration’s asylum rules.Canonical penalties could range from withholding the sacrament of communion to excommunication.

Bishop Weisenburger and other leading U.S. Catholic bishops escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling the separation of mothers and children at the border “immoral.”

The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the organizing body of bishops, gathered at their biannual meeting on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Bishop Weisenburger stated the following: “In light of the canonical penalties that are there for life issues, I’m simply asking the question if perhaps, our canonical affairs committee could give recommendations, at least to those of us who are border bishops, on the possibility of canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved in this. I think the time is there for prophetic statement. I also think, even though what I’m saying could be a little risky or dangerous, I think it’s important to point out the canonical penalties are there in place to heal.  First and foremost, to heal.  and therefore, for the salvation of these people’s souls, maybe it’s time for us to look at canonical penalties.”

 

Go here to read the rest.  Before the Bishop begins excommunicating members of ICE he might wish to read this provision of the Catechism:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

 

These clowns are doing their best to convince people that if you are not a Leftist you have no place in the Catholic Church.  That is a lie.  Our Church has endured over 20 turbulent centuries and it will endure and outlast the current idiots in charge of the Bride of Christ.  May God forgive them.

 

Ten Years of TAC: The First PopeWatch

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from October 6, 2013.)

 

 

Announcing a new series at The American Catholic:  PopeWatch.  I think it is obvious that Pope Francis will be making the headlines on a regular basis,  and I will be commenting on him fairly frequently as a result, hence the new series.  First up, a statement by papal press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.  I have a soft spot in my heart for press flacks.  They have tough jobs, especially in the wake of feathers hitting a fan.  Then they come out to meet the media, and often have to say the most absurd things with a straight face, and it would take a heart of purest granite not to feel some sympathy for them at such times.  In the wake of Pope Francis’ colorful interviews, Father Lombardi explained what the problem is:

Perhaps the most insightful take on all this came from Lombardi himself, who said we’re seeing the emergence of a whole new genre of papal speech — informal, spontaneous and sometimes entrusted to others in terms of its final articulation. A new genre, Lombardi suggested, needs a “new hermeneutic,” one in which we don’t attach value so much to individual words as to the overall sense.

“This isn’t Denzinger,” he said, referring to the famous German collection of official church teaching, “and it’s not canon law.”

“What the pope is doing is giving pastoral reflections that haven’t been reviewed beforehand word-for-word by 20 theologians in order to be precise about everything,” Lombardi said. “It has to be distinguished from an encyclical, for instance, or a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which are magisterial documents.” Continue Reading

6

PopeWatch: Six Counties

The Pope will not be visiting Northern Ireland during his visit to the Republic:

 

Arguably, the most significant item in the papal programme, at least from the secular viewpoint, will be the Missing Item, namely that oft-discussed papal visit to Northern Ireland.

This comes as no surprise. When Pope Francis officially confirmed the trip in a general audience in March, senior Vatican spokesman Greg Burke categorically told the Sunday Independent that there would be no “diversion” to the Six Counties.

The two main movers behind the visit – Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Dublin – have always been very cautious and circumspect about the possibility that he would include the North on his travels.

He will make a pastoral visit to the World Meeting of Families on August 25-26.

The visit – the first by a Pontiff since Pope John Paul’s Mass at Phoenix Park in 1979 – will include a series of events.

It includes a national opening, simultaneously in the 26 dioceses on August 21, followed by a three-day pastoral congress at the RDS, Dublin, on August 22-24.

However, most attention will focus on the weekend – the Festival of Families in Croke Park on Saturday, August 25, and the centrepiece of the visit – the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families on the following day.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world are expected to flock to the Phoenix Park.

The feeling remains, however, that this is an opportunity missed.

Go here to read the rest.  Well why shouldn’t he visit Northern Ireland?  As the abortion vote indicates, Northern Ireland no longer has a monopoly on virulent anti-Catholicism.  Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland and the contrast could have been made by the Pope.  Better to face the honest hatred of Protestant fanatics in the North than the hatred of the Faith expressed by the “Catholics” in the Republic who celebrated, and that is not too strong a term, the abortion vote.  From a Catholic point of view there is little to choose now between the Six Counties and the rest of that island.

3

PopeWatch: Sell Out

One of the few points of certainty in the current Pontificate is that we can always rely upon our Pope to sell out the interests of Catholics around the globe.  Sandro Magister gives us the details on the latest sell out:

 

The words addressed by Pope Francis to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, received in audience on Wednesday, May 30 (see photo), evidently were supposed to have remained confidential.

But on June 2, the press office of the Holy See released the transcription of the discourse. Which at that point could no longer remain secret, because right away the website Rome Reports posted a video with the key passages from it, and above all the official website of the patriarchate of Moscow featured it prominently, with complete satisfaction over what the pope had stated.

An understandable satisfaction, seeing how Francis espoused the ideas of the patriarchate of Moscow and instead condemned, in very harsh terms, the positions of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Here in fact is what Francis said to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow, headed by its powerful “foreign minister,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk:

“Before you I would like to reiterate – in a special way before you, my dear brother, and before all of you – that the Catholic Church will never allow an attitude of division to arise from her people. We will never allow ourselves to do this, I do not want it. In Moscow – in Russia – there is only one Patriarchate: yours. We will not have another one. And when some Catholic faithful, be they laypeople, priests or bishops, raise the banner of Uniatism, which does not work anymore, and is over, then it causes me pain. The Churches that are united in Rome must be respected, but Uniatism as a path of unity is not valid today.”

And further on:

“The Catholic Church, the Catholic Churches must not get involved in internal matters of the Russian Orthodox Church, nor in political issues. This is my attitude, and the attitude of the Holy See today. And those who meddle do not obey the Holy See.”

To a non-specialist, these words of Francis may appear cryptic. But they become perfectly clear as soon as their backstory is known.

First of all, there is an ambiguity that must be cleared from the field. When the pope seems to say that he does not intend to create any Catholic “patriarchate” as an alternative to the Orthodox one of Moscow, he is not thinking about Russia – where Eastern-rite Catholics barely number 2,000 and are served by a Latin-rite bishop – but about Ukraine, where the Greek Catholic Church has 4 million faithful and has strongly aspired for some time to be established as a patriarchate, and in fact already often considers itself and acts as such.

In 2003, the elevation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to a patriarchate seemed almost like a done deal. And curiously, it had its promoter in Rome in Cardinal – now an ultra-Bergoglian – Walter Kasper, who at the time was the president of the pontifical council for Christian unity and sent the patriarch of Moscow a letter to announce the imminent turning point to him.

Look out below. When the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, also saw that letter, he wrote a fiery response to Rome, threatening a complete rupture in the ecumenical dialogue. Bartholomew’s letter to the pope, dated November 29, 2003, was made public in the international Catholic magazine “30 Giorni,” and the Vatican made a U-turn.

But the Orthodox camp also has its internal conflicts, with their epicenter in Ukraine.

Ukraine is the birthplace of Orthodox Russia and it is there that the patriarchate of Moscow has a large portion of its faithful and finds many of its vocations and much of its economic support.

Today, however, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that is part of the patriarchate of Moscow is only one of the three Orthodox groups present in that country and is the only one that is canonically recognized by all of Orthodoxy, with Metropolitan Onufry.

There have in fact arisen in Ukraine, in recent decades, first a patriarchate rival to and declared schismatic by Moscow, with its patriarch a former top-level hierarch of the Russian Church, Filaret, and then another autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with Metropolitan Methodius.

So then, for some time there has been a growing push – also political, with the government of Kiev very active – to unify these three Churches in an autonomous new reality, under the aegis of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.

Who has been working hard in this direction. And has personally kept Pope Francis informed, meeting with him in Rome last May 26.

The solution designed by Bartholomew is similar to the one that put an end to the Western schism at the end of the Middle Ages, when the three popes in office resigned in order to bring about the election of a new pope recognized by all.

In Bartholomew’s plan, the three Orthodox Churches now present in Ukraine would have to give up the jurisdiction they now exercise in order to allow the creation of a new Orthodox ecclesial subject in which the respective bishops, priests, and faithful would converge.

This new unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church would not necessarily be a patriarchate, but it would still enjoy its own autonomy and autocephaly.

And for the patriarchate of Moscow this would be a high price to pay, because it would lose any jurisdiction in Ukraine that it is now guaranteed by the Orthodox Church under its rule.

In Moscow, Patriarch Kirill and his deputy Hilarion are therefore understandably very distrustful in the face of this operation. And Russian President Putin is even more hostile, being at war with Ukraine and not wanting to see any decrease in his dominion over the region by autonomist religious as well as political movements.

But it is not out of the question that Constantinople patriarch Bartholomew may want to bring the operation into port anyway, even with the opposition of Moscow. There would be a repeat, in this case, of what happened in 2016 with the pan-Orthodox council, strongly backed by Barhtolomew and ultimately celebrated in spite of the defection of the patriarchate of Moscow.

And the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, what role is it playing in this affair?

It is certainly very active in supporting the reunification of the three Orthodox Churches, in agreement above all with the most anti-Russian one, which has in Filaret its self-proclaimed patriarch. But the officials of the patriarchate of Moscow are accusing it of something much more serious: of wanting to surreptitiously lead this reunified Ukrainian Orthodox world back into unity with the Greek Catholics as well, and therefore into obedience to the Church of Rome.

This is the “uniatism” that Pope Francis as well has condemned in no uncertain terms, in his discourse on May 30 to the delegation of the patriarchate of Moscow. “Uniatism” is the most intolerable thing there is for the Orthodox. It stands for the mimicry of those who display a resemblance to them in everything, in the Byzantine Greek liturgies, in customs, in the calendar, in the married clergy, but in addition to this obey – and want to make others obey – the pope of Rome.

At the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with the title of major archbishop, is Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 48, a dynamic figure of great intelligence, whom Jorge Mario Bergoglio knows personally on account of a period of time that he spent in Buenos Aires caring for Ukrainian emigrants in Argentina.

This does not change the fact that Pope Francis addressed against none other than him, without mentioning him by name, the harshest words of his discourse on May 30, ordering him “not to meddle in internal matters” of Orthodoxy.

Among Shevchuk, Kirill, and Bartholomew, therefore, in this matter the pope is clearly distancing himself from the first of these, as he has also done with regard to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

While between Kirill and Bartholomew he is trying to be friends with both. With a greater preference for the Russian patriarch, in the event of a tie between the two.

*

It can be pointed out, in confirmation of this last preference of the pope, that Francis has declined to grant a place of worship in Rome to the Orthodox faithful of Russian tradition who fall under Bartholomew’s jurisdiction.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Bang up job on choosing Pope Francis in 2013 Cardinals.  No Pope would have been preferable.

2

PopeWatch: The Great Escape

News that PopeWatch missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis again eluded his security detail Monday, this time quickly releasing statements which seem to cast doubt on the Catholic Church’s longstanding positions on polygamy and Unitarianism before he could be secured again, sources confirmed.

Francis was reportedly able to trick his handlers into thinking he was still in bed by stuffing pillows under his blankets early in the morning and leaving a CD of snoring sounds on repeat in the papal apartment. By the time his head of security discovered the ruse, Francis had already given an interview to an Italian television station possibly affirming polygamy, saying, “Listen, I don’t want to come down too heavy on that. Just seems kind of harsh—and who am I to judge?”

The Pope then led his security detail on a wild chase through St. Peter’s Square, weaving in and out of the Swiss Guard, losing his pursuers in the cheering throngs. However, he did stop long enough to give a quick, scandalous statement to the Catholic News Syndicate on Unitarians, saying he thought they were “maybe, you know, not too far off.”

Go here to read the rest.  A confidential source of PopeWatch among the Swiss Guards denied the story.  “Once they isued us the tranquilizer darts, he no longer can elude us.”.

 

4

PopeWatch: Maradiaga

Small peanuts when you consider everything the Cardinal is accused of, but why was he giving financial advice?

The widow of a former dean of the Vatican diplomatic corps has called on Pope Francis to intervene after she lost her life savings with a fund manager recommended to her by one of the Pope’s chief advisers.

Martha Alegria Reichmann, the widow of Alejandro Valladares who was Honduran ambassador to the Holy See for 22 years, alleges she and her husband were advised in 2012 by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, to make the investment with London-based investor Youssry Henien. 

But Henien then disappeared with all their life savings.

In this May 14 email interview with the Register, Reichmann says Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is coordinator of the C9 Group of Cardinals advising the Pope on curial reform, assured them that the investment was safe and that he too had invested archdiocesan money through Henien.

She explains that her motive for going public with her losses is simply to seek “justice.”

Reichmann says she is one of many victims of the Church in Honduras which, she says, is “governed by terror toward anyone who dares to question the cardinal’s bad decisions or, even more dangerously, to rub up against the auxiliary [Bishop] Juan Jose Pineda.”

The Register recently reported that Bishop Pineda, who often runs the archdiocese in the cardinal’s absence, has been accused of sexually abusing seminarians as well as financial misconduct. 

The cardinal and the bishop have yet to respond to Register inquiries about the allegations. The Vatican also has declined comment.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Go here for a good overview of the allegations made against the Cardinal.  Maradiaga might as well have a sign hanging around his neck saying “I’m a bad guy.”.  Judas might be the Patron Damned for all crooked clerics.

 

8

PopeWatch: Vamoose

One of the features of Pope Francis that must be kept in mind is that he is a remarkably petty man.  Case in point:

 

It is a story that reads like a passage from The Dictator Pope: Pope Francis recently accepted the age-related resignation of Héctor Aguer, the Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina — the capital city of the Buenos Aires province — and will replace him with his close confidant and ghostwriter, Archbishop Víctor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández. Not only did the pope accept the resignation of Archbishop Aguer within just a few days of its mandatory submission, he also ordered him, through the nunciature, to immediately leave the diocese and not to remain there for his retirement.

Go here to read the rest.  Like many Leftists, the Pope loves people, but only in the abstract.

3

PopeWatch: Monty Python Skit

Life in the current pontificate often seems to resemble a Monty Python skit.  Case in point, the choice by the Pope of Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez  to head the Archdiocese of La Plata in Argentina:

On December 15, 2009, Cardinal Bergoglio appointed Fernandez as rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina. However, much to the frustration of Cardinal Bergoglio, Fernandez was not able to take the oath of office until May 20, 2011, after he had answered objections to his appointment raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which assessed concerns about the orthodoxy of certain elements of his scholarship.

An avid writer, by the time Fernandez was chosen by Cardinal Bergoglio as the UCA rector, he had written more than 100 articles and books, including, “Incarnated Spiritual Theology” (2004), a book that was featured in the Argentinean soap opera “Esperanza Mía,” about an illicit love affair between a priest and a nun.

The book commonly regarded as his most unusual is the 1995 work “Heal me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing.” Regarding the book, Fernandez explained that: “in these pages I want to synthesize the popular feeling, what people feel when they think of a kiss, what they experience when they kiss… So, trying to synthesize the immense richness of life, these pages emerged in favor of kissing. I hope that they help you kiss better, that they motivate you to release the best of yourself in a kiss.”

The book has disappeared from most official lists of Fernandez’ works.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Our Church is governed by fools and worse.

1

PopeWatch: Pressure

Something to remember for the remainder of this pontificate.  When the Pope encounters enough resistance he can be slowed down, if not stopped.  Sandro Magister brings us the details:

 

In receiving this morning, Monday June 4, a delegation of the German Lutheran Evangelical Church, Pope Francis cautioned against the “eagerness to run ahead” and was at pains to say that “some issues, I think of the Church, the Eucharist and the ecclesial ministry, deserve detailed and thoroughly shared reflection.”

In these words there can be glimpsed a veiled allusion to the controversy, which has exploded among the Catholic bishops of Germany, of whether or not to admit Protestant spouses as well to Eucharistic communion.

But that’s not all. Because this same morning the German bishops received a letter from newly created cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer (in the photo), prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, which establishes firm guidelines on this very question.

The letter is reproduced in its entirety further below, translated from the original German. It bears the date of May 25. And the day before, on May 24, Francis had met with Ladaria to compose the definitive draft.

The background to this letter is the document approved last February by a majority vote in the German episcopal conference, headed by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich, which says how and when to allow communion for Protestant spouses.

An appeal against this document was made to Rome, to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, by seven bishops including the cardinal of Cologne, Rainer Maria Woelki:

> One Cardinal, Seven Bishops, and Four New “Dubia.” This Time on Intercommunion

After this a summit was convened in Rome by the pope on May 3, with the Vatican authorities in charge of doctrine and ecumenism and German representatives of the two conflicting sides.

The summit had concluded with a statement informing that Ladaria had communicated to the German bishops Pope Francis’s request that they “find, in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a unanimous result if possible.”

And this made the dispute continue in an even more heated way, not only in Germany but all over the world:

> Communion For Protestants. The Bomb Went Off In Germany, But It’s Shaking the Whole Church

Now, however, this letter from the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, written and sent “with the explicit approval of the pope,” blocks the publication of the document of the German bishops that ignited the controversy and reassigns the question to a more mature reflection at the level of the “universal” Church and of ecumenical relations with other Churches, apart from the Protestants.

 

Go here to read the rest.

 

4

PopeWatch: Venezuela

The socialist idiots who run Venezuela have a slogan:  Socialism or Death!  They seem to have modified the slogan to Socialism and Death, since violent death, or death by starvation, seems to be the only thing being produced by that country currently.  The Pope has largely remained silent, and Sandro Magister gives us an example of the indulgent attitude of the Pope to the Venezuela regime:

 

One of these concerns Venezuela. Against the background of the disaster into which the country has plunged and in the run-up to the false elections for reconfirming in power the heir of Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro, there erupted last week a revolt – which was harshly repressed – in the El Helicoide prison in Caracas, a place of detention and torture for political prisoners who crime is that of having opposed the regime.

At the news of the revolt the archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, and then the Venezuelan episcopal conference appealed “to the state, to its responsibility for the life and well-being of all persons imprisoned.” And at the Vatican, the secretariat of state judged it opportune for Pope Francis to speak out as well, at the end of the Regina Caeli on May 20, the Sunday of Pentecost.

In fact, here is the text of the appeal as provided for the journalists accredited to the Holy See one hour before the pope spoke, naturally under embargo until the moment when the text was spoken and with the obligation of comparing it with the words actually said:

“I would like to dedicate once again a special consideration to beloved Venezuela. With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all work to find just, effective, and peaceful solutions for the grave humanitarian, political, economic, and social crisis that is exhausting the population, and avoid the temptation of resorting to any kind of violence. I encourage the authorities of the country to guarantee respect for the life and well-being of every person, especially those who, like the imprisoned, are under their responsibility.”

But then, when he addressed the crowd present in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis did not read the text he was holding in his hands. He looked up and improvised these words:

“I would like to dedicate a special consideration to beloved Venezuela. I ask that the Holy Spirit give the whole Venezuelan people – all, leaders, people – the wisdom to find the path of peace and unity. I also pray for the prisoners who died yesterday.”

Very disappointing words for Venezuelans, precisely because they are so indulgent – like other times in the past – toward the regime of Maduro, for which the pope avoided any direct call to responsibility, which instead was explicit in the severe words that the secretariat of state provided and that he set aside.

Go here to read the rest.  Like most leftists the Pope clearly believes in the maxim:  No enemies on the Left.

5

PopeWatch: Too Catholic

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

 

Congregants of a Baptist church in South Carolina yesterday unanimously voted to remove all bibles from their church because many believe it’s too “Catholic” for their place of worship.

In a letter written to his congregation, Pastor Don Ringle said the bibles would be removed this week.

“We have discovered that there are people that view the bible as Catholic in nature,” Ringle wrote, going on to say that the bible was beginning to bring into question “the theology and core values of the church.”

“I’ve tried for years to remove certain passages from the bible, telling people to tear out this book and that, this chapter and that, until we were basically left with a pamphlet. After some consideration and dialogue with my congregants, as well as prayer, we decided the whole bible that was left to us still smelled a little too papist.”

The letter also stated that Catholic churches around the South Carolina area had until Friday to pick up the bibles if they wanted to keep them, and that if not, they would be destroyed.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in the area thanked Ringle, but said that they have no use for abridged versions of the bible.

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch has been unable to confirm that in response the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue is contemplating a statement of concern that the Bible is un-ecumenical.

8

PopeWatch: Only Words

Good words from the Pope:

 

Ideologies that do not acknowledge and uphold the dignity of human life must be resisted and the Catholic Church’s teaching on life affirmed, Pope Francis told a group of Catholic doctors Monday.

“The Church is for life, and her concern is that nothing is against life in the reality of a concrete existence, however weak or defenseless, even if not developed or not advanced,” the Pope said May 28 in the Vatican’s papal hall.

He noted the “hardships and difficulties” physicians may face when they are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly when they promote and defend human life “from its conception to its natural end.”

Doctors “are called to affirm the centrality of the patient as a person and his dignity, with his inalienable rights, primarily the right to life,” he said.

“The tendency to debase the sick man as a machine to be repaired, without respect for moral principles, and to exploit the weakest by discarding what does not correspond to the ideology of efficiency and profit must be resisted.”

Pope Francis spoke with members of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians ahead of a congress on the theme of “Holiness of Life and the Medical Profession, from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si” in Zagreb, Croatia, May 30-June 2.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Now what actions can we expect to back up the words?  (Please stop laughing!)

 

Here are a few suggestions:

  1.  Cancel the Papal trip to Ireland.
  2. Dissolve the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland as being worse than useless.
  3. Proclaim Ireland as mission territory.
  4. Order that all students, parents and teachers in Catholic schools in Ireland must sign an oath in support of the right to life from conception until natural death.
  5. Proclaim a day each month for fasting and repentance in Ireland.
  6. Begin a root and branch visitation of the Catholic Church in Ireland and expect to reduce the ranks of the priesthood by at least half.
  7. Close down all Irish seminaries.  Future Irish priests to be trained in seminaries noted for their orthodoxy.

Of course nothing like this will be done, because when it comes to the sickening dehumanization of the West through abortion and euthanasia, Pope Francis is merely paying lip service to the fight against these crimes that cry out to Heaven.

10

PopeWatch: Married Cardinal?

Hattip to commenter Phillip.  From Rorate Caeli:

 

Scandalous news first broken by our Spanish-language partners at Adelante la Fe. The information has been appropriately and thoroughly checked from multiple sources on the ground.
On May 2th, 2018, Pope Francis announced that in the consistory to be celebrated on June 29 this year, Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, he will raise to the cardinalship Bp. Toribio Ticona, titular bishop of Timici and prelate emeritus of Corocoro, Bolivia. The 81-year-old bishop was born on April 25, 1937. He was ordered priest in 1967 and consecrated as Timici’s bishop and axiliary bishop of Potosí, Bolivia, on May 31st, 1986. In 1992 he was appointed prelate of Corocoro, retiring in 2012.
During his frequent visits to Oruro at the beginning of his office, the then bishop of Oruro and future Third World ideologist cardinal, Julio Terrazas Sandoval, CSsR, boasted visiting Oruro’s bishop and called him his “padrino” or sponsor, since he said he had been promoted to the bishopric thanks to Terrazas,who on several occasions as president of the Bolivian Conference of Bishops, and obviously was very influential on the other bishops and the apostoloic Nunciature.
Ticona participated in two Ad Limina visits, in 2008 and 2017. He served as alcalde, according to the local traditional customs of a 12-person community in Bolivia. During his 10-year tenure in the Corocoro prelaturre, the Catholic flock went down from 94.6% to 87.6%, while the Protestant sects’s following grew. It is a well-known fact that while he was servirng his office in Corocoro, he was living more uxorio with a lady in Oruro’s chancery. She and her children are proud to be called wife and children of  the Patacamaya bishop, as Bishop Toribio Ticona is also known.
The family of Bp. Toribio Ticona, Patacamaya bishop, lived in up to three different places of residence in Oruro.
Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch is beyond being shocked by the antics of the Pope.
Update:  The Bishop has denied the allegations.  Go here to the twitter feed of Edward Pentin for the latest.  Pass the popcorn, as this looks to be the best Vatican soap opera of this Ponificate since the trial of Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui.

 

 

6

PopeWatch: His Base

John McCain sometimes jokingly refers to the media as “his base”.  (McCain seems to still be completely clueless, in spite of 2008, that the media gives him good coverage simply because he is a Republican who can always be counted on to stab other Republicans in the back or in the front.  When he is up against a Democrat who can beat him, the media then views him just as another knuckle dragging Republican.)  Recent developments indicate who the Pope considers to be his “base” as the author of the Dictator Pope notes:

 

A few days ago Pope Francis told the bishops of the Catholic Church that they need to be prepared to resign when the right time comes for them. He even said that he hoped he would know when the Holy Spirit wants him to resign, a remark that was taken as a hint (not the first he has given) that he intends to do so at some point. As we waited for a manifestation of this resolve, on 18 May we were given a dramatic sign. The entire Catholic hierarchy of Chile (all thirty-one active bishops, with three retired ones thrown in) have offered their resignation, supposedly because of failings in the handling of clerical sexual abuse in that country.

Any thought that this represents the new promptings of the Spirit would be off the mark. It is an effort to save face after the biggest public-relations blunder in Francis’s pontificate, the one he committed on January 18, when he defended Bishop Juan Barros against accusations of complicity in sexual abuse by the notorious Father Fernando Karadima in Chile. Pope Francis’s off-the-cuff pronouncements, which have earned him such popularity with the journalistic profession, on this occasion backfired on him. He declared that he had seen no proof of the sexual crimes alleged and that the accusations were slander. It was later demonstrated that Pope Francis had indeed seen the evidence, and he was dismissing the claims of victims who had been trying to gain justice for years.

The reason why this was such a disaster for Pope Francis was that, for the first time, it earned him criticism not only from such a senior figure as Cardinal O’Malley but from the liberal media, to whose applause he had been successfully playing for five years. A rescue operation was urgently needed. First of all, the Pope organised one of what may be called his “humility opportunities”, which he welcomes the way other celebrities like photo opportunities. There was a meeting with victims, and Pope Francis admitted his own failings; but this was nowhere near enough. To expiate his mistake, the Pope called all the Chilean bishops to Rome and told them — what? — that they were all to blame. One sentence from his rebuke is especially worth quoting: “No one can exempt himself and place the problem on the shoulders of the others” — a classic case of Francis’s frequent habit of denouncing other people for the faults of which he is the prime exemplar.

 

Go here to read the rest.  To understand the Pope one must view his Pontificate through a political prism, and an Argentinian political prism at that.  One must always pretend to be on the side of the poor and downtrodden while carefully cultivating the politically well connected and powerful.  That explains why the Pope rarely takes an action, as opposed to words, that would not garner him positive reviews in the New York Times, and its think alike colleagues throughout the West.  The role of a Pope is to convert the world to Christ.  The role of this Pope is to convert Christians to positions acceptable to the dominant mindset of the secular elites throughout the West.

1

PopeWatch: Shazaam!

News that PopeWatch missed, courtesy of The Babylon Bee:

 

VATICAN CITY—In an honest, impromptu homily delivered Monday, Pope Francis admitted he is just making most of his theology up as he goes, ignoring thousands of years of official Church doctrine in favor of “whatever pops into my head at the time.”

Where past Popes have been careful in their attempts to stay in line with official Catholic teaching, Pope Francis confessed he doesn’t really know much official doctrine, stating that he’s more of a “shoot from the hip kind of guy” when it comes to weighty topics of morality, salvation, God, and eternity.

“People ask me questions, and I’m not always sure what to say, so honestly I’m just winging it,” the Pope said in his candid, unscheduled address. “This job is really hard, when you think about it. Trying to be the Vicar of Christ and deal with everybody’s complicated theological questions all at the same time? Ugh. It gives me a headache. So I just start talking. Even I’m surprised with what comes out sometimes.”

“I just want everyone to know about, like, love and God and stuff,” he added thoughtfully before beginning to take questions from those gathered in the Sistine Chapel, with the Pope signing off on Christian fornication, adultery, and polygamy during the short impromptu Q&A session.

At publishing time, frantic Catholic leadership had located the Pope and tackled him to the ground to prevent him from saying anything further.

 

Now he tells us!  And with that PopeWatch will be on Memorial Day hiatus until May 29.

 

3

PopeWatch: Father Martin Hardest Hit

Father Z brings us an interesting tidbit:

At Vatican Insider I spotted something interesting.  Each Spring the Italian bishops have a plenary meeting at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall, in the smaller hall where the Synod usually meets.  The Pope attends at least part of the meeting.  This year was no exception.

This year the Pope told them… my fast translation from the Italian original:

“If there’s a doubt about homosexuality, it’s better not to have them enter the seminary.”

The words of the Pope in the closed door session with the Italian bishops: “Discernment is needed”. Reaffirmed what was in the Vatican documents of 2005 and 2016

With the pastors of the CEI (Italian bishops conference) – Vatican insider learned – Francis, speaking about the downturn in vocations, one of his “three worries” for the Italian church, he was, instead, more straightforward and, inviting the bishops to oversee more the quality of future priests, then the quantity, explicitly mentioned cases of homosexual persons who desire, for various motives, to enter into the seminary. Then he invited the bishops to a “careful discernment”, adding: “if you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”.

One indication, from the Pope, that expresses his deep concern: these tendencies, which are “deeply rooted”, and the practice of “homosexual acts”, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and an eventual future priesthood. They can generate those “scandals” of which the Pope had spoken in his discourse at the opening of the assembly of the Italian bishops in the new hall of the Synod, that disfigure the face of the Church.

Between the lines one can read what was already put in black and white by Pope Francis in a letter of meditation given brevi manu [directly] to the Chile in bishops during their meeting in the Vatican. In a note added to the text. The Pontiff denounced verified problems in seminaries where – as he wrote – bishops and religious superiors have entrusted control to “priests suspected of practicing homosexuality”.

[…]

There’s more, but it mainly reviews what previous documents say about homosexual candidates or seminarians.  I suspect someone will translate the whole thing soon… for the sake of general Jesuit reading.

 

Go here to read the rest.  The Lavender Mafia at the Vatican must be scratching their heads over this one.

 

7

PopeWatch: Mark Shea Hardest Hit

At last, a point of agreement:

 

Pope Francis has told the Italian bishops that it is “not a sin to criticise the Pope here” as he opened their General Assembly.

Go here to read the rest.

 

“Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.” – Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent.

11

PopeWatch: Blame

Anyone doubt that the Pope said this?

 

Pope Francis’ reported comments to a gay man that “God made you like this” have been embraced by the LGBT community as another sign of Francis’ desire to make gay people feel welcomed and loved in the Catholic Church.

Juan Carlos Cruz, the main whistleblower in Chile’s clerical sex abuse and cover-up scandal, said Monday he spoke to Francis about his homosexuality during their recent meetings at the Vatican. The pope invited Cruz and other victims of a Chilean predator priest to discuss their cases last month.

Cruz said he told Francis how Chile’s bishops used his sexual orientation as a weapon to try to discredit him, and of the pain the personal attacks had caused him.

“He said, ‘Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way. God made you like this and he loves you,'” Cruz told The Associated Press.

The Vatican declined to confirm or deny the remarks in keeping with its policy not to comment on the pope’s private conversations. The comments first were reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Note that these private comments, which the Vatican never confirms nor denies, always go one way:  against traditional teaching.  That such off the cuff remarks produce chaos within the Church is for this Pope a feature not a bug.  PopeWatch really does not blame the Pope anymore.  He is what he is.  PopeWatch does blame the clergy and the laity who sit idly by as Francis drives the Church off a cliff.

13

PopeWatch: Ireland

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Ireland in August.  On May 25 a referendum is being held in Ireland on whether the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution banning abortion will be repealed.  The chattering classes in Ireland are almost unanimous in their pro-abort sentiment which makes it remarkable that the pro-life forces have been keeping the election close.  Pope Francis could be influential in the outcome.  In this post we will review all statements by the Pope in regard to the referendum:

 

 

 

That’s it!  Thanks for reading all of it.

3

PopeWatch: Mirrors are Overated!

Phil Lawler explains how to be a respected Catholic journalist in the age of Francis:

  • Wake up, shower, have a good cup of coffee, and jump on Twitter.
  • Begin the day by denouncing any criticism of Pope Francis. (You’ll want these tweets posted early in the morning, East Coast time—right about when Vatican officials break for lunch.)
  • Next, denounce anyone who has dared to disagree with your analyses of Vatican statements.
  • Don’t just disagree; impugn the integrity of your adversaries. Question their motivations.
  • Accuse them of calumny, blasphemy, and schism.
  • Demand retractions. Threaten lawsuits.
  • Then, to close out a busy day, deliver a magisterial lecture on how Catholic commentators must learn to disagree politely.

Go here to read the rest.  Additionally one must learn, if male, to shave without looking directly in the mirror, and, if female, to apply makeup without looking directly in the mirror.

 

14

PopeWatch: More BOMFOG

One of the interesting aspects of the Vatican since Vatican II is the overall poor job that the Popes have done in leading the Catholic Church, with the partial exception of John Paul II, and, to a lesser extent, Pope Benedict, and the attention that the Vatican has paid to matters in which clerics have no special competence.  Nowhere is this more the case that in the area of economics, where Catholics who know something about the dismal science have to blush with shame at most of the droppings from the Vatican on that subject.

These musings usually read as if they were parodies written by someone imitating Saint Thomas More writing about Utopia:  texts to belabor current conditions without containing a clue as to how realistic change for the better could possibly be initiated.  They usually contain genie-like invocations of the power of the State to control the economy, seemingly oblivious to the disasters such control has often led to throughout history and particularly during the last century.  They are usually written in the most cloying, unctuous language frequently deploying BOMFOG at length.  The late Nelson Rockefeller used to work into many of his speeches that his chief goal was   “The Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God!”  To people who know much about his political career, that invocation could be either considered to be a sick joke or a dark comedy.  His aides used to refer to these statements as BOMFOG.  The more high-falutin’ the language, the closer you need to read any concrete proposals embedded within.   Pope Francis has just issued what could almost be regarded as a parody of a parody of these exercises in economic ignorance and baroque and opaque prose.

What PopeWatch wrings from this tortured text is the usual when it comes to this Pope:

  1.  Markets are to be subject to extreme skepticism.
  2.  Government regulation of the economy is a positive good, and the more the better.
  3.  Governmental debts should be made to magically disappear.
  4.  The Vatican believes that it knows how markets operate when it clearly does not.
  5.  The Vatican favors international regulation of the global economy, paying scant attention, as always, of how this would be accomplished and the likely devastating impact on global markets.
  6.  The Vatican never grasps that regulation is always a source of graft, and that the more that governments intervene in markets, the more large corporations will seek to intervene in the political  process.
  7.   Buried in the text is the prediction that a “moderate” tax on transactions in “offshore banking institutions”, one of the chief boogeymen of the Pope, global hunger could be ended.  In that small aside, which PopeWatch suspects was a direct contribution of the Pope to this Sargasso Sea of verbiage, we see both the utopianism of the Pope, his never ending faith in government action, and his steadfast belief that poverty is a problem that could be solved but for these greedy merchants,
  8.  The Vatican casts about a lot the phrase “the common good” without ever pondering that surely a growing economy is good for the majority of people and that many of his prescriptions would strangle that particular common good.
  9.   The Vatican has fallen in love with the buzzword “transparency” when it comes to economic matters, which is rich considering the hidden machinations of the Vatican Bank and the finances of the Church that remain completely opaque.
  10.    This entire text brings to mind the immortal phrase of Hayek:  “The pretense of knowledge.”

Below is the text.  It epitomizes this observation from the first volume of Asimov’s Foundation trilogy:

“The analysis was the most difficult of the three by all odds. When Holk, after two days of steady work, succeeded in eliminating meaningless statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifications – in short, all the goo and dribble – he found he had nothing left. Everything cancelled out.

Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of discussion didn’t say one damned thing, and said it so you never noticed.”

 

 

“‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones’. Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, 17.05.2018

 

I. Introduction

1.  Economic and financial issues draw our attention today as never before because of the growing influence of financial markets on the material well-being of most of humankind. What is needed, on the one hand, is an appropriate regulation of the dynamics of the markets and, on the other hand, a clear ethical foundation that assures a well-being realized through the quality of human relationships rather than merely through economic mechanisms that by themselves cannot attain it. This ethical foundation needs to inform a range of persons but especially those working in the fields of economy and finance. In this situation a synthesis of technical knowledge and human wisdom is essential. Without such a synthesis, every human activity tends to deteriorate. But where it exists, it can foster progress towards the integral and concrete well-being of the human person.

2.  The integral development of every person, of every human community, and of all people, is the ultimate horizon of the common good that the Church, as the “universal sacrament of salvation,”[1] seeks to advance. In the fullness of the good, which has its origin and consummation in God and is fully revealed in Jesus Christ, the head over all things (cf. Eph 1:10), lies the ultimate goal of every ecclesial activity. Such well-being flourishes as an anticipation of the Kingdom of God, which the Church is called to proclaim and establish in every sphere of human enterprise[2], and is the special fruit of that charity which, as the bright path of ecclesial action, is expressed even  in the social, civil and political realms. This love for society “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Love for society and commitment to the common good are eminent forms of a charity that affects not only relationships between individuals but also ‘macro-relationships, social, economic and political ones’.” That is why the Church sets before the world the ideal of a ‘civilization of love’.”[3] Love for the integral good, inseparable from love for the truth, is the key to authentic development.

3. The Church pursues this aim with the certainty that in every culture, there are multiple areas of ethical agreement that express a common moral wisdom[4] and form the objective order upon which the dignity of the person is founded. From the solid and indispensable basis of such an order arise the clear and common principles that establish the fundamental rights and duties of the human person without which the control and abuse of the most powerful would come to dominate the entire human scene. This ethical order, rooted in the wisdom of God the Creator, is therefore the indispensable foundation for building a worthy community of persons, regulated by truly just laws. This is all the more evident where human beings, despite striving wholeheartedly for the good and the true, often succumb to vested interests, tyrannies, and iniquitous practices that cause grave suffering for all humanity, and especially for the weak and defenceless.

In order to liberate every realm of human activity from the moral disorder that so often afflicts it, the Church recognizes among her primary duties the responsibility to call everyone, with humble certainty, to clear ethical principles. The shared human reason, that ineffaceably characterizes every person, demands an enlightened discernment in this regard. Moreover, human rationality searches, in truth and justice, for the solid foundation that sustains its operation and maintains its sense of direction.[5]

4. Therefore, the proper orientation of reason can never be absent from any area of human activity. It follows that there can be no area of human action that legitimately claims to be either outside of  or impermeable to ethical principles based on liberty, truth, justice and solidarity.[6] This is true for those areas in which the political and economic laws apply: “Today, with a view towards the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.”[7]

Every human activity, in fact, is called to bear fruit, to use generously and equitably the gifts that God provides to all, and to nourish with lively confidence the seeds of goodness implanted in the whole of creation as a promise of abundance. The call to bear fruit is a continual invitation to human freedom, even if sin is always ready to undermine the original divine plan.

For this reason, God encounters man in Jesus Christ. Drawing us into the marvellous event of his Resurrection, he “redeems not only the individual person, but also the social relations existing between human persons”[8] and works for a new order of social relationships founded on the truth and love, and supplying yeast for the transformation of history. In such a way, he anticipates in the course of time that Kingdom of Heaven which he has come to proclaim and inaugurate in his person.

5. Although global economic well-being appears to have increased in the second half of the twentieth century with an unprecedented magnitude and speed, at the same time inequalities proliferate between various countries and within them.[9] Moreover, the number of people who live in conditions of extreme poverty continues to be enormous.

The recent financial crisis might have provided the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities that would neutralise predatory and speculative tendencies and acknowledge the value of the actual economy. Although there have been many positive efforts at various levels which should be recognized and appreciated, there does not seem to be any inclination to rethink the obsolete criteria that continue to govern the world.[10] On the contrary, the response seems at times like a return to the heights of myopic egoism, limited by an inadequate framework that, excluding the common good, also excludes from its horizons the concern to create and spread wealth, and to eliminate the inequality so pronounced today.

6. At stake is the authentic well-being of a majority of the men and women of our planet who are at risk of being “excluded and marginalized”[11] from  development and true well-being while a minority, indifferent to the condition of the majority, exploits and reserves for itself substantial resources and wealth. Therefore, it is time to initiate the recovery of what is authentically human, to expand the horizons of minds and hearts, to recognize faithfully the exigencies of the true and the good without which no social, political and economic system could avoid bankruptcy, failure, and, in the long term, collapse. Selfishness, in the end, does not pay while it makes everyone pay a high price; hence, if we want the real well-being of humanity, “Money must serve, not rule!”[12]

For this reason, the competent and responsible agents have the duty to develop new forms of economy and of finance, with rules and regulations directed towards the enlargement of the common good and respect for human dignity along the lines indicated by the social teachings of the Church. With this document, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose competence extends to moral questions, in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, offers some fundamental considerations and clarifications in support of such development and in defence of human dignity.[13] It is especially necessary to provide an ethical reflection on certain aspects of financial transactions which, when operating without the necessary anthropological and moral foundations, have not only produced manifest abuses and injustice, but also demonstrated a capacity to create systemic and worldwide economic crisis. This discernment is offered to all men and women of good will.

 

II. Fundamental Considerations

7. Some basic considerations are evident to all who seek to understand the historical situation in which we are now living.  It is beyond the scope of this document to discuss the legitimate disagreements among their diverse theories and schools of thought (apart from the desire to contribute towards dialogue among them). Furthermore this document acknowledges that there do not exist universally valid economic formulas for every moment. Nevertheless, this document intends to offer an interpretation of the situation in which we find ourselves.

8. Every human reality and activity is something positive, if it is lived within the horizon of an adequate ethics that respects human dignity and is directed to the common good. This is valid for all institutions, for it is within them that human social life is born, and thus it is also true for markets at every level, including financial markets.

It must be noted that the systems that give life to the markets—before deploying the anonymous dynamics made possible by ever more sophisticated technologies—are in fact founded on relationships that involve the freedom of individual human beings. It is evident therefore that the economy, like every other sphere of human action, “needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred.” [14]

9. It is evident that without an appropriate vision of the human person, it is not possible to create an ethics, nor a practice, worthy of the dignity of the human person and the good that is truly common. In fact, however neutral and detached from every basic concept one may claim to be, every human action, even in the economic sphere, implies some conception of the human person and of the world, which reveals its value through both the effects and the developments it produces.

In this sense, our contemporary age has shown itself to have a limited vision of the human person, as the person is understood individualistically and predominantly as a consumer, whose profit consists above all in the optimization of his or her monetary income. The human person, however, actually possesses a uniquely relational nature and has a sense for the perennial search for gains and well-being that may be more comprehensive, and not reducible either to a logic of consumption or to the economic aspects of life.[15]

The fundamentally relational nature of the human person[16] is characterized essentially by a rationality that resists a reductionist view of one’s basic needs. In this regard, it is impossible to be silent in the face of today’s tendency to reify every exchange of “goods” as if it were no more than a mere exchange of “things.”

In reality, it is evident that in the transmission of goods among persons there is always something more than mere material goods at play, given the fact that the material goods are often vehicles of immaterial goods whose concrete presence or absence decisively determines the quality of these very economic relationships (for example, trust, equity, and cooperation). It is at this level that one can well understand that the logic of giving with nothing in return is not an alternative to, but rather is inseparable from and complementary to the exchange of equivalent goods.[17]

10. It is easy to note the advantages of a vision of the human person understood as constitutively inserted in a network of relationships that are in themselves a positive resource.[18] Every person is born within a familial environment, enjoying a set of pre-existing relationships without which life would be impossible. The human person develops through the stages of life thanks to pre-existing bonds that actualize one’s being in the world as freedom continuously shared. These are the original bonds that define the human person as a relational being who lives in what Christian Revelation calls “communion”.

This original nature of communion, while revealing in every human person a trace of the affinity with God who creates and calls one into a relationship with himself, is also that which naturally orients the person to the life of communion, the fundamental place for one’s fulfillment. One’s own recognition of this character, as an original and constitutive element of our human identity, allows us to look at others not primarily as potential competitors, but rather as possible allies, in the construction of the good that is authentic only if it is concerned about each and every person simultaneously.

Such relational anthropology helps the human person to recognize the validity of economic strategies that aim above all to promote the global quality of life that, before the indiscriminate expansion of profits, leads the way toward the integral well-being of the entire person and of every person. No profit is in fact legitimate when it falls short of the objective of the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods, and the preferential option for the poor.[19] These are three principles that imply and necessarily point to one another, with a  view to the construction of a world that is more equitable and united.

For this reason, progress within an economic system cannot measured only by quantitative and profit-driven standards, but also on the basis of the well-being that extends a good that is not simply material. Every economic system is legitimate if it thrives not merely through the quantitative development of exchange but rather by its capacity to promote the development of the entire person and of every person. Well-being and development both demand and support each other,[20] calling for sustainable policies and perspectives far beyond the short term.[21]

In this regard, it is particularly desirable that institutions such as universities and business schools both foresee and provide, as a fundamental and not merely supplementary element of their curricula of studies, a formational dimension that educates the students to understand economics and finance in the light of a vision of the totality of the human person and avoids a reductionism that sees only some dimensions of the person. An ethics is needed to design such formation. The social doctrine of the Church would be a considerable help in this connection.

11. Well-being must therefore be measured by criteria far more comprehensive than the Gross Domestic Product of a nation (GDP), and must take into account instead other standards, for example, safety and security, the growth of “human capital”, the quality of human relationships and of work. Profit should to be pursued but not “at any cost”, nor as a totalizing objective for economic action.

The presence of humanistic standards and cultural expressions that value generosity turn out to be both useful and emblematic here. Thus the discovery and implementation of the true and just as good in themselves, become the norms for evaluation.[22] Profit and solidarity are no longer antagonists. In fact, where egoism and vested interests prevail, it is difficult for the human person to grasp the fruitful interchange between profit and gift, as sin tends to tarnish and rupture this relationship. In a fully human perspective, there is actualized an interchange between profit and solidarity that, thanks to the freedom of the human person, unleashes a great potential for the markets.

An enduring call to acknowledge the human quality of generosity comes from the rule formulated by Jesus in the Gospel, called the golden rule, which invites us to do to others what we would like them to do for us (cf. Mt 7, 12; Lk 6, 31).

12. Economic activity cannot be sustained in the long run where freedom of initiative cannot thrive.[23] It is also obvious today that the freedom enjoyed by the economic stakeholders, if it is understood as absolute in itself, and removed from its intrinsic reference to the true and the good, creates centers of power that incline towards forms of oligarchy and in the end undermine the very efficiency of the economic system.[24] 

From this point of view, it is easy to see how, with the growing and all-pervasive control of powerful parties and vast economic-financial networks, those deputed to exercise political power are often disoriented and rendered powerless by supranational agents and by the volatility of the capital they manage. Those entrusted with political authority find it difficult to fulfil to their original vocation as servants of the common good, and are even transformed into ancillary instruments of interests extraneous to the good.[25]

These factors make all the more imperative a renewed alliance between economic and political agents in order to promote everything that serves the complete development of every human person as well as the society at large and unites demands for solidarity with those of subsidiarity.[26]

13. In principle, all the endowments and means that the markets employ in order to strengthen their distributive capacity are morally permissible, provided they do not turn against the dignity of the person and are not indifferent to the common good.[27]

At the same time, it is clear that markets, as powerful propellers of the economy, are not capable of governing themselves.[28] In fact, the markets know neither how to make the assumptions that allow their smooth running (social coexistence, honesty, trust, safety and security, laws, and so on) nor how to correct those effects and forces that are harmful to human society (inequality, asymmetries, environmental damage, social insecurity, and fraud).

14. Moreover, besides the fact that most of its operators are singularly animated by good and right intentions, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the financial industry, because of its pervasiveness and its inevitable capacity to condition and, in a certain sense, to dominate the real economy today, is a place where selfishness and the abuse of power have an enormous potential to harm the community.

For this reason, it must be noted that in the economic-financial world there are conditions in which some methods, though not directly unacceptable from an ethical point of view, still constitute instances of proximate immorality, that is, occasions that readily generate the kind of abuse and deception that can damage less advantaged counterparts. For instance, to commercialize certain financial instruments is in itself licit, but in a asymmetrical situation it would be possible to take advantage of a lack of knowledge or of the contractual weakness of either counterpart. In itself this amounts to a violation of due relational propriety, which is already a grave violation from an ethical point of view.

The complexity of numerous financial products currently renders such asymmetry an inherent element of the system itself and puts the buyers in a position inferior to those who commercialize these products—a situation that from several aspects leads to the surmounting of the traditional principle of caveat emptor. This principle, on the basis of which the responsibility to assess the quality of the good acquired should rest above all with the buyer, in fact presupposes a parity in the capacity to safeguard the proper interests of the contractors. This actually does not exist in many cases both from the evident hierarchical relationship that comes to be established in certain types of contracts (for example, between the lender and the borrower) as well as in the complex structuring of numerous financial instruments.

15. Money in itself is a good instrument, as are many other things at the disposal of the human person, and is a means to order one’s freedom and to expand one’s possibilities. Nevertheless, the means can easily turn against the person. Likewise, the financial dimension of the business world, focusing business on the access of money through the gateway of the world of stock exchange, is as such something positive. Such a phenomenon, however, today risks accentuating bad financial practices concentrated primarily on speculative transactions of virtual wealth, as well as negotiations of high frequency trading, where the parties accumulate for themselves an excessive quantity of capital and remove the capital from circulation within the real economy.[29]

What was sadly predicted a century ago has now come true today. Capital annuity can trap and supplant the income from work, which is often confined to the margins of the principal interests of the economic system. Consequently, work itself, together with its dignity, is increasingly at risk of losing its value as a “good” for the human person[30] and becoming merely a means of exchange within asymmetrical social relations.

Precisely in this inversion of the order between means and ends, where work as a good becomes an “instrument,” and money an “end”, the reckless and amoral “culture of waste” finds a fertile ground. It has marginalized great masses of the world’s population, deprived them of decent labor, and left them “without possibilities, without any means of escape”: “It is no longer simply the phenomenon of exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside, or those on the fringes or its disenfranchised, but rather they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.[31]

16. In this regard, we cannot but think of the irreplaceable social function of credit whose performance looms large to qualified and reliable financial intermediaries. In this sphere, it is clear that applying excessively high interest rates, really beyond the range of the borrowers of funds, represents a transaction not only ethically illegitimate, but also harmful to the health of the economic system. As always, such practices, along with usurious activities, have been recognized by human conscience as iniquitous and by the economic system as contrary to its good functioning.

Here financial activity exhibits its primary vocation of service to the real economy: it is called to create value with morally licit means, and to favour a dispersion of capital for the purpose of producing a principled circulation of wealth.[32] For instance, very positive in this regard, and to be encouraged, are arrangements of cooperative credit, microcredit, as well as the public credit, in the service of families, businesses, the local economies, as well as credit to assist developing countries.

Especially in this context—where the positive potential of money can be best actualized–is it clear that it is morally illegitimate to expose to an undue risk the credit deriving from civil society by deploying it predominantly for speculative purposes.

17. What is morally unacceptable is not simply to profit, but rather to avail oneself of an inequality for one’s own advantage, in order to create enormous profits that are damaging to others; or to exploit one’s dominant position in order to profit by unjustly disadvantaging others, or to make oneself rich through harming and disrupting the collective common good.[33]

Such a practice is particularly deplorable from the moral point of view when the intention of profit by a few through the risk of speculation even in important funds of investment,[34]  provokes artificial reduction of the prices of public debt securities, without regard to the negative impact or to the worsening of the economic situation of entire nations. This practice endangers not only the public efforts for rebalancing, but also the very economic stability of millions of families,  and at the same time compels government authorities to intervene with substantial amounts of public money, even to the extent of artificially interfering in the proper functioning of political systems.

The speculative intention, often in today’s economic-financial environment, risks supplanting all other principal intentions that ground human freedom. This factor is devouring the immense patrimony of values that renders our civil society a place of peaceful coexistence, encounter, solidarity, renewed reciprocity and of responsibility for the common good. In this context, words such as “efficiency”, “competition”, “leadership”, and “merit” tend to occupy the entire space of our civil culture and assume a meaning that ends up in impoverishing the quality of exchanges, reducing them to mere numerical coefficients. 

What is demanded is an initiative, above all, for the renewal of humanity in order to reopen the horizons towards that abundance of values which alone permits the human person to discover himself or herself, and to construct a society that is a hospitable and inclusive dwelling place with room for the weakest, and where wealth is used for the benefit of all—places where it is beautiful for human beings to live and easy for them to have hope.

 

III. Some Clarifications in Today’s Context

18. In order to offer concrete and specific ethical bearings to all economic and financial agents, from whom there come more and more appeals in this regard, we now present some further clarifications, formulated with a view to opening the paths by which human beings can become truly human by promoting both human dignity and the common good.[35]

19.  Thanks to globalization and digitalization, the markets can be compared to a giant organism through whose veins, like life giving sap, flow huge amounts of money. This analogy allows us to speak of the “health” of such an organism when its means and structures are functioning well, and the growth and diffusion of wealth go hand in hand. The health of a system depends on the health of every single action performed. In a healthy market system, it is easier to respect and promote the dignity of the human person and the common good.

Correspondingly, every time unreliable economic-financial instruments are introduced and diffused, they put the growth and the diffusion of the wealth into serious danger creating systemic problems and risks that amount to the “intoxication” of the organism.

We understand the demand, felt more and more today, that public authorities should provide a certification for every product generated by financial innovation, in order to preserve the health of the system and prevent negative collateral effects. To favor economic health and to avoid manipulation are an inescapable moral imperative for all the stakeholders engaged in the markets. Also this demand shows how urgent is a supranational co-ordination among diverse structures of local financial systems.[36]

20. Such well-being nourishes itself on a multiplicity and diversity of resources, which form a kind of economic and financial “biodiversity”. This biodiversity represents an added value to the economic system and needs to be favored and safeguarded through adequate economic-financial policies, with the aim of assuring to the markets the presence of a plurality of persons and healthy instruments with a richness and diversity of characters. When it is positive, it is sustained and, on the contrary, by way of the negative, it hinders those who degrade the functionality of the system that produces and spreads wealth.

In this regard, it must be noted that the task of producing added value within the markets in a healthy way is realized by a unique function of cooperation. A loyal and intensive synergy of agents easily achieves that surplus of value towards which every economic achievement aims.[37]

When human beings recognize the fundamental solidarity that unites them with all of humanity, they realize that they cannot keep only for themselves the goods that they possess. When one habitually lives in solidarity, the goods that he or she possesses are used not only for one’s own needs, but they multiply themselves, also producing unexpected fruits for others.[38] It is here that we clearly notice how sharing may not be “only the distribution but also the multiplication of goods, the creation of new bread, of new goods, of new Good with a capital “G”.[39]

21. Experience and evidence over the last decades has demonstrated, on the one hand, how naive is the belief in a presumed self-sufficiency of the markets, independent of any ethics, and on the other hand, the compelling necessity of an appropriate regulation that at the same time unites the freedom and protection of every person and operates to create healthy and proper interactions, especially with regards to the more vulnerable. In this sense, political and economic-financial powers must remain distant and autonomous and at the same time directed, beyond all proximate harms, towards the realization of a good that is basically common, and not reserved only for a few privileged persons.[40]

Such regulation is made even more necessary in view of the fact that among the major reasons for the most recent economic crisis was the immoral behavior of agents in the financial world, where the supranational dimension of the economic system  makes it easy to bypass the regulations established by individual countries. Moreover, the extreme volatility and mobility of capital investments in the financial world permit those who control them to operate smoothly beyond every norm that does not aim at an immediate profit, often blackmailing by a position of strength even legitimate political authority.

Hence, it is clear that the markets are in need of solid and strong bearings, macro-prudential rather than normative, more shared than uniform; there is also need of continuously updated regulations that can respond to market flux. Similar bearings must guarantee a serious control of the quality and reliability of every economic-financial product, especially of those more structured. In addition, when the velocity of the innovative processes produces excessive systemic risk, the economic operators must accept the obligations and limits that the common good demands, without attempting to bypass or diminish their purpose.

The current globalization of the financial system requires a stable, clear and effective coordination among various national regulatory authorities, with the possibility, and at times, the necessity of sharing binding decisions promptly when required, in the face of the threats to the common good. Such regulatory authorities must always remain independent and bound by the exigencies of equity and the public benefit. The understandable difficulties in this regard should not discourage the search for and imposition of concordant normative systems consolidated among different nations but with supranational scope.[41]

The regulations must favor a complete transparency regarding whatever is traded in order to eliminate every form of injustice and inequality, thus assuring the greatest possible equity in the exchange. Likewise, the asymmetrical concentration of information and power tends to strengthen the more stronger economic agents and thus to create hegemonies capable of unilaterally influencing not only the markets, but also political and regulatory systems. Moreover, where massive deregulation is practiced, the evident result is a regulatory and institutional vacuum that creates space not only for moral risk and embezzlement, but also for the rise of the irrational exuberance of the markets, followed first by speculative bubbles, and then by sudden, destructive collapse, and systemic crises.[42]

22. Systemic crisis can be more effectively avoided if  there were a clear definition and separation among banking responsibilities for the management of credit, of the ordinary daily management of credit, of investment savings, and of  mere business.[43] This is intended as much as possible to avoid situations of financial instability.

A healthy financial system also requires the maximum amount of information possible, so that every agent can protect his or her interests in full, and with complete freedom. It is in fact important to know if one’s capital is used for speculative purposes, and also to know the degree of risk and the adequate price of the financial products to which one subscribes. Much more than the usual savings of the familiar type, it is a public good to protect and search for an adverse optimization of risk. The saving itself, when entrusted in the expert hands of financial advisers, needs to be administered well, and not just managed.

Among the morally questionable activities of  financial advisers in the management of savings, the following are to be taken into account: an excessive movement of the investment portfolio commonly aimed at increasing the revenues deriving from the commission for the bank or other financial intermediary; a failure from a due impartiality in offering instruments of saving, which, compared with some banks, the product of others would suit better the needs of the clients; the scarcity of an adequate diligence or even a malicious negligence on the part of financial advisers regarding the protection of related interests to the portfolio of their clients; and the concession of  financing on the part of the banking intermediator in a subordinate manner to the contextual subscription of other financial products issued by the same, but not convenient to the client.  

23. Every business creates an important network of relations and in its unique way represents a true intermediate social body with a proper culture and practices. Such culture and practices, while determining the internal organization of the enterprise, influence also the social fabric in which it operates. At this level, the Church recalls the importance of the social responsibility of each venture,[44] wherein the ad extra is congruent with the ad intra.

In this sense, wherever mere profit is placed at the summit of the culture of a financial enterprise, and the actual demands of the common good are ignored, every ethical claim is really perceived as irrelevant. This is reported today as a fact and is very much widespread even in the prestigious business schools. Every ethical claim is actually perceived as irrelevant and juxtaposed to the entrepreneurial action. This is very much highlighted from the fact that, in the organizational logic, those who do not adjust to business targets of this type are penalized both at the retributive level and at the level of professional recognition. In these cases, the objective of mere profit easily creates a perverse and selective logic that often favours the advancement of business leaders who are capable, but greedy and unscrupulous, and whose relationship with others is prevalently driven by a selfish and personal gain.

In addition, such logic has often pushed managements to establish economic policies aimed not at increasing the economic health of the companies that they serve, but at the mere profits of the shareholders, damaging therefore the legitimate interests of those who are bearing all of the work and service benefiting the same company, as well as the consumers and the various local communities (stakeholders). This is often incentivized by substantial remuneration in proportion to immediate results of management, but not likewise counterbalanced by equivalent penalization, in the case of failure of the objectives, though assuring greater profits to managers and shareholders in a short period, and thus ending up with forcing excessive risk, leaving the companies weak and impoverished of those economic energies that would have assured them adequate expectations for the future.

All of these factors easily create and diffuse a profoundly amoral culture—in which one often does not hesitate to commit a crime when the foreseen benefits exceed the expected penalty. Such behaviour gravely pollutes the health of every economic-social system It endangers the functionality and seriously harms the effective realization of that common good, upon which is necessarily founded every form of social institution.

Exactly here, the natural circularity that exists between profit, a factor intrinsically necessary for every economic system, and social responsibility, an essential element for the survival of any form of civil coexistence, reveals its full fruitfulness and exposes the indissoluble connection, that sin tends to hide, between the ethics respectful of persons and the common good, and the actual functionality of every economic financial system. Such virtuous circularity is favoured, for example, by the pursuit of the reduction of the risk of conflict with the stakeholders in order to nurture greater inner motivation of the employees of a company.  The creation of added value here, the primary objective of the economic financial system, must demonstrate, with all of its implications, its practicality inside a solidified ethical system founded on a sincere search for the common good. Only from the recognition, and from the realization, of the intrinsic connection that exists between economic reasoning and ethical reasoning, can a good indeed spring forth, that may benefit all of humanity.[45] Therefore, in order to function well, the market needs anthropological and ethical prerequisites that it is neither capable of giving for itself, nor producing on its own.

24. If, on the one hand, credit-worthiness demands a prudent activity of selection for identifying the really worthy beneficiaries capable of innovation, protected from unhealthy collusions, then on the other hand, in order to withstand effectively the risks encountered, the banks must have a suitable management of assets, so that an eventual division of the losses may be limited to a greater extent and may fall above all on those actually responsible for losses.

Certainly, the delicate management of savings, besides appropriate legal regulation, calls for culturally adequate paradigms, together with the practice of careful revisiting, from an ethical perspective, the relationship between the bank and the customer, as well as a continuous defence of the legitimacy of all relevant transactions.

Along these lines, an interesting suggestion that should be tried out, is the institution of Ethical Committees within the banks, to support the Councils of Administration. This is done in so far as the banks are helped not only to protect their balance from the consequences of sufferings and loses, and towards an effective coherence between the collective mission and the financial practices, but also to adequately sustain the actual economy.

25. The creation of titles of credit is extremely risky. They operate under the guise of creating a fictitious value without proper quality control or a reliable assessment of credit, and can enrich those who arrange them, but easily creates insolvency to the detriment of those who then have to withdraw them. This is all the more so if the critical burden of these stocks are passed from the institute that issues them on to the market on which they are spread and diffused (for e.g. security of the subprime mortgages) This practice creates wide ranging harm, and potentially systemic difficulties. Such manipulation of the markets contradicts the necessary health of the economic-financial system, and is unacceptable from the point of view of the ethics respectful of the common good.

Every credit share must correspond to a potentially real value, and not merely to a presumed one that is difficult to verify. In this sense, a need for a public regulation, and an appraisal super partes of the work of the rating agencies of credit, becomes all the more urgent, with legal instruments that make it possible to sanction the distorted actions and to prevent the creation of a dangerous oligopoly on the part of a few. This is even more true in the presence of the system of credit brokerage, in which the responsibility of the credit granted is passed on from the original lender to those who assume them.

26. Some financial products, among which the so called “derivatives”, are created for the purpose of guaranteeing an insurance on the inherent risks of certain operations often containing a gamble made on the basis of the presumed value attributed to those risks. At the foundation of such financial instruments lay contracts in which the parties are still able to reasonably evaluate the fundamental risk on which they want to insure.

However, in some types of derivatives (in the particular the so-called securitizations) it is noted that, starting with the original structures, and linked to identifiable financial investments, more and more complex structures were built (securitizations of securitizations) in which it is increasingly difficult, and after many of these transactions almost impossible, to stabilize in a reasonable and fair manner their fundamental value. This means that every passage in the trade of these shares, beyond the will of the parties, effects in fact a distortion of the actual value of the risk from that which the instrument must defend. All these have encouraged the rising of speculative bubbles, which have been the important contributive cause of the recent financial crisis.

It is obvious that the uncertainty surrounding these products, such as the steady decline of the transparency of that which is assured, still not appearing in the original operation, makes them continuously less acceptable from the perspective of ethics respectful of the truth and the common good, because it transforms them into a ticking time bomb ready sooner or later to explode, poisoning the health of the markets. It is noted that there is an ethical void which becomes more serious as these products are negotiated on the so-called markets with less regulation (over the counter) and are exposed more to the markets regulated by chance, if not by fraud, and thus take away vital life-lines and investments to the real economy.

A similar ethical assessment can be also applied for those uses of credit default swap (CDS: they are particular insurance contracts for the risk of bankruptcy) that permit gambling at the risk of the bankruptcy of a third party, even to those who haven’t taken any such risk of credit earlier, and really to repeat such operations on the same event, which is absolutely not consented to by the normal pact or insurance.

The market of CDS, in the wake of the economic crisis of 2007, was imposing enough to represent almost the equivalent of the GDP of the entire world. The spread of such a kind of contract without proper limits has encouraged the growth of a finance of chance, and of gambling on the failure of others, which is unacceptable from the ethical point of view.

In fact, the process of acquiring these instruments, by those who do not have any risk of credit already in existence, creates a unique case in which persons start to nurture interests for the ruin of other economic entities, and can even resolve themselves to do so.

It is evident that such a possibility, if, on the one hand, shapes an event particularly deplorable from the moral perspective, because the one who acts does so in view of a kind of economic cannibalism, and, on the other hand, ends up undermining that necessary basic trust without which the economic system would end up blocking itself. In this case, also, we can notice how a negative event, from the ethical point of view, also harms the healthy functioning of the economic system.

Therefore, it must be noted, that when from such gambling can derive enormous damage for entire nations and millions of families, we are faced with extremely immoral actions, it seems necessary to extend deterrents, already present in some nations, for such types of operations, sanctioning the infractions with maximum severity.

27. A central point of the dynamism that rules the financial markets is the level of the taxation of interests relative to interbank loans (LIBOR), whose measurement acts as the guide for the rates of interest in the monetary market, as well as in the rate of the official exchange of the different currencies handled by the banks.

These are some of the important parameters which have significant effect on the entire economic-financial system as they influence daily the substantial transfer of money between parties that approve contracts actually based upon the measure of these rates. The manipulation of the measuring of these rates constitutes a severe ethical violation with wide ranging consequences.  

The fact that this could have happened impunitively for many years shows how fragile and exposed to fraud is a financial system not sufficiently controlled by regulations, and lacking proportionate sanctions for the violations in which its stakeholders often encounter. In this environment, the establishment of real “networks” of connivance, among those persons who were instead predisposed for the correct fixing of those rates, form, by coincidence, a criminal association, particularly harmful for the common good, which inflicts a dangerous wound to the health of the economic system. It must be penalized with adequate punishments and be discouraged from repetition.

28.  Today the principal agents that operate in the world of finance, especially the banks, must be endowed with internal organisms, which ensure a function of compliance, or of self-control of the legitimacy of the major steps in the decision-making process and of the major products offered by the company. However, it is necessary to point out that, at least until the very recent past, the practice of the economic-financial system is often significantly based on a  purely “negative” judgment of the function of compliance, that is to say, on a merely formal respect of the limits established by the law. Unfortunately, from this arose also the frequency of a practice, elusive of normative controls, wherein actions were directed toward bypassing the normative principles in place without contradicting explicitly the norms themselves in order to escape sanctions.

In order to avoid this, it is therefore necessary that the judgement of compliance enter on the merit of various operations from “positive” perspective that seeks verify their effective correspondence with the principles that inform the current norms. According to many, the execution of the function in this manner would be facilitated if it helped the institution of Ethical Committees, operating along with the Councils of Administration, which may constitute a natural interlocutor made up of those who should guarantee, in the concrete functioning of the bank, the conformity of behaviour to the existing norms.    

In this sense, it is important that within the company there would be some guidelines which allow the facilitation of a similar corresponding judgement, so that one can discern in fact, which ones, among the operations, may technically be achievable and practical from the ethical point of view (a question that arises, for instance, in a very relevant way for the practices of tax avoidance). In such a way, one may pass from a merely formal adherence to a substantial respect of the regulations.

Moreover, it is desirable that even in the normative regulatory system, the financial world may foresee a general clause that declares illegitimate, with consequent accountability of the assets, all the persons to whom these are attributable, and whose predominant aim may be predominantly to bypass the existing norms.

29.  It is no longer possible to ignore certain phenomena in the world, such as the spreading of the collateral banking systems (Shadow banking system). These, although well understood within themselves, and also the types of intermediaries whose functioning does not immediately appear disapproved, in fact have led to the loss of control over the system on the part of various authorities of national securities. Hence, they have knowingly favored the use of the so-called creative financing in which the primary aim of the investment of the financial resources is above all speculative in character, if not predatory, and not a service to the actual economy.  For instance, many agree that the existence of such “shadow” systems may be one of the contributing causes that advanced the development, and the global diffusion, of the recent economic-financial crisis started in the USA with subprime mortgages in the summer of 2007.   

30. Such speculative intent, on which the world of offshore finance thrives, while offering also other legitimate services, through the widely diffused channels of tax avoidance, if not directly of evasion and the recycling of money deriving from crimes, contributes to an additional impoverishment of the normal system of production and of the distribution of goods and services. It is difficult to distinguish if many such situations give life to particular instances of proximate or immediate immorality. Certainly, it is by now evident that such realities, where they unjustly subtract vital nourishment from the real economy, can hardly find justification both from the ethical point of view and from the point of view of the global efficiency of the economic system itself.

On the contrary, there seems to be all the more evident a negligible degree of correlation between the unethical behaviors of the operators and the existing bankruptcies of the system in its complexity. It is now undeniable that ethical scarcity exacerbates the imperfections of the mechanisms of the market.[46]

In the second half of the last century, the offshore market of euro-dollars, the financial space of exchange outside every official normative framework, was born. The market expanded from an important European country to other countries of the world, paving way to a real alternative financial network to the official financial system and the jurisdictions that protect them.

It must be noted, in this regard, if the formal reason which is given to legitimize the presence of the offshore sites is that of permitting the institutional investors not to be subjected to a double taxation; firstly in the country of their residence and secondly in the countries where the funds are domiciled, in reality, these places, to a considerable extent, have become an opportunity for financial operations often border line, if not beyond the pale, both from the point of view of their lawfulness under the normative profile and from that of ethics, meaning an economic culture, healthy and free from the intentions of tax avoidance.

Today, more than the half of the commercial world is orchestrated by noteworthy persons that cut down their tax burden by moving the revenues from one site to another according to their convenience, transferring the profits into fiscal havens, and the costs into the countries of higher taxation. It appears clear that all these have removed decisive resources from the actual economy and contributed to the creation of economic systems founded on inequality. Furthermore, it is not possible to ignore the fact that those offshore sites, on more occasions, have become usual places of recycling dirty money, which is the fruit of illicit income (thefts, frauds, corruption, criminal associations, mafia, war booties etc.)

Thereby disguising the fact that the so-called offshore operations do take place in their official financial places, some States have consented to obtain profit even from crimes, thinking however of not being responsible as the crimes did not take place formally under their jurisdiction. This represents, from the moral point of view, an evident form of hypocrisy.   

In a short period, such a market has become a place of major transition of capital, because its configuration represents an easy way for realizing different and essential forms of tax avoidance. Therefore, we understand that the offshore domestication of many important societies involved in the market is very much coveted and practiced.

31. Certainly, the tax system prepared by the various nations does not seem to be always equal. In this regard, it is relevant to keep in mind how such inequity often disadvantages the economically weaker persons and favors the more endowed, and is capable of influencing even the normative systems that regulate the same taxes. In fact, an imposition of the taxes, when it is equal, performs a fundamental function of equalization and redistribution of the wealth not only in favor of those who need appropriate subsidies, but it also supports the investments and the growth of the actual economy.

Tax avoidance on the part of primary stakeholders, those large financial intermediaries, who move in the market, indicate an unjust removal of resources from the actual economy, and this is damaging for the civil society as a whole.

Due to the non-transparency of those systems, it is difficult to establish with precision the amount of assets that are transacted in them. However, it was calculated that a minimum tax on the transactions accomplished offshore would be sufficient to resolve a large part of the problem of hunger in the world: why can’t we undertake courageously the way of a similar initiative?

Furthermore, it has been established that the existence of offshore sites has encouraged also an enormous outflow of capital from many countries of low income, thus creating numerous political and economic crises, impeding them from finally undertaking the path of growth and a healthy development.

For this reason, it is worth mentioning that more often different international institutions have denounced these practices and many governments have righty tried to limit the flow of the offshore financial bases. Many positive efforts have been undertaken in this regard, especially in the last decade. However, they could not successfully impose accords and norms adequately efficient until now. On the contrary, the normative frames proposed even by the international authoritative organizations in this regard have been often unapplied, or made ineffective, because of the notable influence that those bases are capable of exercising towards many political powers, thanks to the large amount of capital in their possession.

All this, while contributing grave damage to the good functionality of the actual economy, indicates a structure that, as it is formed today, seems to be totally unacceptable from the ethical point of view. Hence, it is necessary and urgent to prepare at the international level the suitable remedies to those unjust systems. Above all, practicing financial transparency at every level, (for example, the obligation of public accountability for the multinational companies of the respective activities and the taxes paid in each country in which they operate through their subsidiary groups) along with incisive sanctions, imposed on those countries that repeat the dishonest practices (tax evasion and avoidance, recycling of dirty money) mentioned above.

32. The offshore system has also ended up aggravating the public debt of the countries whose economies are less developed. It was in fact observed how the accumulated private wealth of some elites in the fiscal havens is almost equal to the public debt of the respective countries. This highlights how, in fact, at the origin of that debt there are often economic losses created by private persons and unloaded on the shoulders of the public system. Moreover, it is noted that important economic players tend to follow, often with the collusion of the politicians, a practice of division of the losses.

However, it is good to point out how often the public debt is also created by an incautious, if not fraudulent, management of the public administrative system. These debts, those financial losses that burden the various nations, pose today one of the major obstacles to good functioning and growth of the various national economies. Numerous national economies are in fact burdened by having to cope with the payment of interest, which derives from that debt, and must therefore dutifully undertake structural adjustments to suit this need.

In the face of all of this, on the one hand, the individual States are called to protect themselves with appropriate management of the public system through wise structural reforms, sensible allocation of expenses, and prudent investments. On the other hand, it is necessary at the international level to put every country in front of its unavoidable responsibility to allow and favor the reasonable exit routes from the spirals of debt, not placing it on the shoulders of the States, and therefore on that of their citizens, meaning upon millions of families carrying untenable financial burdens.

So also the effort is mediated politically, by way of a reasonable and concurred reduction of the public debt, especially of the kind held by persons of such economic solidity capable of offering it.[47] Similar solutions are required both for the health of the international economic system in view of avoiding the contagion of a potentially systematic crisis, as well as for the pursuit of the common good of all people mutually.

33.  All that we have been talking about so far is not only the work of an entity that operates out of our control, but that is also in the sphere of our responsibilities. This means that we have within our reach important instruments capable of contributing towards the solutions of many problems. For instance, the markets live thanks to the supply and demand of goods. In this regard, every one of us can influence in a decisive manner by giving shape to that demand.

It becomes therefore quite evident how important a critical and responsible exercise of consumption and savings actually is. Shopping, for example, a daily engagement with which we procure the necessities of living, is also a form of a choice that we exercise among the various products that the market offers. It is a choice through which we often opt, in an unconscious way, for goods, whose production possibly takes place through supply chains in which the violation of the most elementary human rights is normal or, thanks to the work of the companies, whose ethics in fact do not know any interest other than that of profit of their shareholders at any cost.  

It is necessary to train ourselves to make the choice for those goods on whose shoulders lies a journey worthy from the ethical point of view, because also through the gesture, apparently banal, of consumption, we actually express an ethics and are called to take a stand in front of what is good or bad for the actual human person. Someone spoke of the proposal to “vote with your wallet”. This is in reference to voting daily in the markets in favor of whatever helps the concrete well-being of all of us, and rejecting whatever harms it.[48] 

They must also have the same considerations towards the management of their savings, for instance, directing them towards those enterprises that operate with clear criteria inspired by an ethics respectful of the entire human person, and of every particular person, within the horizon of social responsibility.[49] Furthermore, in general, each one is called to cultivate procedures of producing  wealth that may be consistent with our relational nature and tend towards an integral development of the human person.

 

IV. Conclusion

34.  In front of the massiveness and pervasiveness of today’s economic-financial systems, we could be tempted to abandon ourselves to cynicism, and to think that with our poor forces we can do very little. In reality, every one of us can do so much, especially if one does not remain alone.

Numerous associations emerging from civil society represent in this sense a reservoir of consciousness, and social responsibility, of which we cannot do without. Today as never before we are all called, as sentinels, to watch over genuine life and to make ourselves catalysts of a new social behavior, shaping our actions to the search for the common good, and establishing it on the sound principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.

Every gesture of our liberty, even if it appears fragile and insignificant, if it is really directed towards the authentic good, rests on Him who is the good Lord of history and becomes part of a buoyancy that exceeds our poor forces, uniting indissolubly all the actions of good will in a web that unites heaven and earth, which is a true instrument of the humanization of each person, and the world as a whole. This is all that we need for living well and for nourishing a hope that may be at the height of our dignity as human persons.

The Church, Mother and Teacher, aware of having received in gift an undeserved deposit, offers to the men and women of all times the resources for a dependable hope. Mary, Mother of God made man for us, may take our hearts in hand and guide them in the wise building of that good that her Son Jesus, through his humanity made new by the Holy Spirit, has come to inaugurate for the salvation of the world.

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has approved these Considerations adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Dicastery and ordered its publication.

Rome, January 6, 2018, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

 

+ LUIS F. LADARIA, S.I.                                                                        PETER CARD. TURKSON

Titular Archbishop of Thibica                                                                     Prefect of the Dicastery

Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith                         for Promoting Integral

                                                                                                           Human Development

 

X GIACOMO MORANDI                                                                       BRUNO MARIE DUFFÉ

Titular Archbishop of Cerveteri                                                                Secretary of the Dicastery

Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith                    for Promoting Integral

                                                                                                  Human Development

 

_____________________________________

 

[1] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, 48.

[2] Cf. ibid., 5.

[3] Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ (24 May 2015), 231: AAS 107 (2015), 937.

[4] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate (29 June 2009), 59: AAS 101 (2009), 694.

 

[5] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio (14 September 1998), 98: AAS 91 (1999), 81.

[6] Cf. International Theological Commission, In Search of a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law, 87:

ttp://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20090520_legge- naturale_en.html.

[7] Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 189: AAS 107 (2015), 922.

[8] Id., Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013), 178: AAS 105 (2013), 1094.

[9] Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, 1: L’Osservatore Romano (24-25 October 2011), 6.

[10] Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 189: AAS 107 (2015), 922.

[11] Id., Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 53: AAS 105 (2013), 1042.

[12] Ibid., 58: AAS 105 (2013), 1044.

[13] Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis humanae, 14.

[14] Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate (29 June 2009), 45: AAS 101 (2009), 681.

[15] Ibid., 74: AAS 101 (2009), 705.

[16] Cf. Francis, Address to the European Parliament (25 November 2014), Strasbourg: AAS 106 (2014), 997-998.

[17] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 37: AAS 101 (2009), 672.   

[18] Cf. ibid., 55: AAS 101 (2009), 690.

[19] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollecitudo rei socialis (30 December 1987), 42: AAS 80 (1988), 572.

[20] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1908.

[21]  Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 13: AAS 107 (2015), 852; Apostolic Exhortation  Amoris laetitia

     (19 March 2016), 44: AAS 108 (2016), 327.

[22]   Cf. For example the motto, Ora et Labora that recalls the Rule of St. Benedict of Nursia, in its simplicity,

      indicates that prayer, especially liturgical, while opening for us a relationship with God who, in Jesus

      Christ and in his Spirit, reveals himself as the Good and True, also offers in this manner the appropriate   

      form as well as the way to construct a better and truer world that is more human.

[23]   Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus (1 May 1991), 17, 24, 42: AAS 83 (1991), 814, 821, 845.

[24]    Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno (15 May 1931), 105: AAS 23 (1931), 210; PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum progressio (26 March 1967), 9: AAS 59 (1967), 261; Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 203: AAS 107 (2015), 927.

[25]   Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 175. On the necessary connection between economy and politics cf.

Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 36: “Economic activity cannot solve all social problems

through the simple application of commercial logic. This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common  

      good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. Therefore, it must be borne                   in   mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth             creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.”

[26]  Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 58: AAS 101 (2009), 693.

[27]  Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World        Gaudium et spes, 64.

[28]  Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno, 89: AAS 23 (1931), 206; Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter   Caritas in veritate, 35: AAS 101 (2009), 670; Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 204: AAS 105 (2013), 1105.

[29]  Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 109: AAS 107 (2015), 891.

[30]  Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens (14 September 1981), 9: AAS 73 (1981), 598.

[31]   Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 53: AAS 105 (2013), 1042.

[32]   Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 369.

[33] Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo anno, 132: AAS 23 (1931), 219; Paul VI, Encyclical Letter

    Populorum progressio, 24: AAS 59 (1967), 269.

[34]  Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2409.

[35]   Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum progressio, 13. Some important indications were already offered in this regard (cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, 4: L’Osservatore Romano, 24-25 October 2011, 7). We now intend to proceed in the line of a similar discernment in order to encourage a positive development of the economic-financial system and to contribute towards the elimination of those unjust structures that limit potential benefits of them.

[36]  Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ ,198: AAS 107 (2015), 925.

[37]   Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 343.

[38]  Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 35: AAS 101 (2009), 670.

[39]   Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting “Economy of Communion”, Sponsored by the Focolare Movement (4 February 2017): L’Osservatore Romano (5 February 2017), 8.

[40]  Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollecitudo rei socialis, 28: AAS 80 (1988), 548.

[41]   Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 67: AAS 101 (2009), 700.

[42]   Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice And Peace, Towards Reforming the International Financial and

     Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority, 1: L’Osservatore Romano (24-25 October 2011), 6.

[43]   Cf. ibid., 4: L’Osservatore Romano (24-25 October 2011), 7.

[44]  Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 45: AAS 101 (2009), 681; Francis, Message for the      Celebration of the 48th World Day of Peace (1 January 2015), 5: AAS 107 (2015), 66.

[45]  Cf. Benedict, Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 36: AAS 101 (2009), 671.

[46]  Cf. Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato si’, 189: AAS 107 (2015), 922.

    [47]  Cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See (8 January 2007):

     L’Osservatore Romano (8-9 January 2007), 6-7.

[48]  Cf. Id., Encyclical Letter Caritas in veritate, 66: AAS 101 (2009), 699.

[49]  Cf. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 358.

 

More analysis next week.

 

PopeWatch: Twittering Nuns

Agreed:

 

The Vatican has issued new guidelines for cloistered nuns, reminding them that they’re supposed to live separated from the world and in silence — and therefore shouldn’t be tweeting too much or downloading too much news.

The instructions from the Vatican’s office for religious orders cover a host of administrative and financial issues. Included are norms for when a monastery must be closed because the number of nuns shrinks to the point that the community is no longer viable — an increasingly frequent occurrence.

 

Go here to read the rest.  Presumably the same rules would apply to monks.  Social media tends to have a pernicious impact on quite a few people.  In regard to religious, PopeWatch suspects that social media acts as a solvent, dissolving the desire of many to live apart from the world.  If the world is with you 24-7, the battle against the world, the flesh and the Devil is lost before it begins.  A sobering thought for those of us who live in the world.

7

PopeWatch: A Firebell in the Night

Sandro Magister is sounding the alarm:

 

 

Attention. The conflict that has exploded in Germany for and against communion for Protestant spouses should have exceeded the threshold of alarm for the unity of the whole Church, to judge by the warnings issued in recent days by several cardinals to the pope. Warnings of a severity that has no precedent, in the five years of the pontificate of Francis (in the photo, on the set with Wim Wenders).

The backstory can be found in this post from Settimo Cielo of May 2, just before the encounter between the opposing parties when they were called to Rome by the pope:

> One Cardinal, Seven Bishops, and Four New “Dubia.” This Time on Intercommunion

The meeting between the German cardinals and bishops and the Vatican authorities took place on May 3 in the offices of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. But it concluded without any sort of decision. In the evening, a laconic statement simply revealed that “Pope Francis values the ecumenical efforts of the German bishops and asks them to find, in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a unanimous result if possible.”

And it is precisely this deflection – backed by the pope – to a further encounter among the German bishops, to be resolved by a vote, that has unleashed the reactions of some of the highest ranking cardinals, absolutely convinced that questions of faith cannot be resolved by vote and without the universal Church being involved.

*

The first of these is Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht.

“The response of the Holy Father is completely incomprehensible,” he wrote in no uncertain terms in a commentary published in the United States on the “National Catholic Register” and in Italy on “La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.”

And he explained:

“The Holy Father has informed the delegation of the German episcopal conference that it must discuss again, and try to find unanimity. Unanimity about what? The practice of the Catholic Church, based on her faith, is not determined and does not change statistically when a majority of an episcopal conference votes in favor of it, not even if unanimously.”

And again:

“The Holy Father should have given the delegation of the German episcopal conference clear directives, based on the clear doctrine and practice of the Church. He should have also responded on this basis to the Lutheran woman who asked him on November 15, 2015 if she could receive Communion with her Catholic spouse, saying that this is not acceptable instead of suggesting she could receive Communion on the basis of her being baptized, and in accordance with her conscience. By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered.”

Eijk is referring here to the tortuous response – yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out – that Francis gave to that Protestant woman and that can be viewed in this video from Centro Televisivo Vaticano, in the original language with an English translation:

> “La domanda sul condividere la cena del Signore…”

And here is the dramatic conclusion that the Dutch cardinal reaches, citing an unsettling passage from the catechism:

“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ‘Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth’.”

Go here to read the rest.  Heresy from Germany tore the Church apart five centuries ago.  The Catholic hierarchy in Germany is commemorating this tragedy by attempting to repeat it, with the sly and secret endorsement of our Pope.  God help our poor Church and all faithful Catholics.

1

PopeWatch: China

The Chinese government is suddenly developing cold feet about the proposed agreement between China and the Vatican which is odd considering what a sell out the agreement is to the Communist government.  Cardinal Zen, an 86 year old dynamo and a fierce critic of the agreement, in a recent interview gave his thoughts:

“Some are saying maybe now there are difficulties on the Chinese side, because there are people who think that they don’t need the agreement, they can control everything. Maybe there are voices in China against the eventual agreement,” said Zen.

“You see that there are many actions on the side of the government which show that they are tightening control on religion. And so it’s more difficult to understand how the Vatican can come to a deal at this moment, because obviously they are seen as collaborating with the government.”

For instance, new regulations on religious affairs were installed on February 1, under which minors are banned from entering places of worship.

“There is no reason for optimism,” said Zen. “Any agreement on the side of the Vatican may be seen as collaboration with the government to persecute our own people; that’s terrible.”

The cardinal said China’s recent amendments to the constitution, such as the removal of the presidential term limit, may also have influenced how the Vatican looked at the issue.

 

“Surely they should take into account also these new things – which are not encouraging any agreement. I really hope that a miracle may happen, the Pope may say we need more time to be more cautious, to consider again,” he said. “No deal is better than a bad deal. I really cannot understand how people can say bad deal is better than no deal, I don’t think it’s correct.”

Zen stressed his loyalty to the Pope. Zen travelled to Rome in January to personally give the Pope a letter from the 88-year-old persecuted Chinese Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou.

Zhuang, a priest loyal to the Vatican but not recognised by China, was one of two bishops asked by the Vatican to step aside for priests excommunicated by the Vatican but accepted by Beijing.

“I told him everything. I wrote so many letters,” Zen said. “My last letter was very clear, I have the impression that the Pope now is aware of the worries in the church in China, so I don’t think I need to see him again or say more things.”

“Maybe now there are some other things which may make the Holy Father more aware that he is not receiving good information from people around him.”

 

Zen has been in a war of words with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who he said was considering the potential deal like a diplomat, but not from religious standpoints.

“I can understand that Pope Francis may not be well informed about the real situation in the church in China, because he comes from South America,” Zen said. “But these people like Parolin, they must know very well the situation, so I really cannot understand how are they so enthusiastic to push for a deal, so they may have a wrong objective.”

“Because from the point of view of Catholic faith, they are not going to achieve anything. Maybe they are more interested in diplomatic success. That’s very sad, because they are the collaborators of the Pope, the faith should be the first thing in their mind.”

“It’s very scary. These people – they should understand a lot of things, why do they do this? They are not naive, they are evil.”

Go here to read the rest.  Part of PopeWatch, a part of which PopeWatch is not proud, could understand this sell out of Chinese Catholics if it fit into some vast Machiavellian plan to achieve some cherished goal of the powers that be at the Vatican.  PopeWatch does not see this.  The underground Chinese Catholic Church has proven itself quite resilient in the face of persecution, even while the Communist dynasty of China is clearly unable long term to deal with the problems of an increasingly capitalist economy governed by a Communist oligarchy.  The Vatican is selling out both the Chinese Catholics and common sense simultaneously.  The men behind this deal may be evil as Cardinal Zen says, they most certainly are inept bunglers.

 

PopeWatch: Bad Deal

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

Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he will withdraw the Vatican from the Columbia House 8 CDs For A Penny Deal, breaking with European churches, and fulfilling a major conclave campaign promise.

“Today’s action sends a message that the Vatican no longer makes empty threats,” a boastful Francis told the press, going on to attack his predecessor Benedict XVI. “Signing up the Vatican for this was horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. Columbia house gets its money, but we really don’t get anything because no one uses CDs anymore.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement denouncing Francis’ decision while urging Columbia House to “continue to meet its own obligations in bombarding the Vatican with special new offers.”

“Our church remains committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case so that we may ecumenically come together once a month to discuss CDs that we like and those that we disliked.”

Some in the Catholic Church, with one anonymous Cardinal saying, “While I strongly opposed the Columbia House deal, it is a grave mistake to walk away from this deal without a plan for ensuring that [Columbia House] doesn’t launch a barrage of email offers.”

 

Go here to comment.  PopeWatch eagerly awaits the excommunication by Pope Francis of all who initiate robo calls.

PopeWatch: Who You Know

Edward Pentin at The National Catholic Register reminds us that in this Pontificate it is never what you do, but who you know:

 

 

Despite serious allegations involving abuse of seminarians and financial misconduct leveled against him, Honduran Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle of Tegucigalpa remains in position, and put in charge of the archdiocese during the frequent times Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga is away. 

Sources in the Honduran capital have told the Register that no action has been taken against Bishop Pineda, even though a papal investigation last year contained accounts of sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by Bishop Pineda against priests and seminarians, as well as allegations of extensive financial misconduct and corruption. 

The head of the investigation, retired Argentine Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaretto, was reportedly shocked by the testimonies, taken from more than 50 witnesses, including diocesan staff members and priests. The Register obtained affidavits from two of the seminarians who accused Bishop Pineda of sexual abuse, and published them last month.

“Everything is kept silent and so everything continues as it always has,” an informed Honduran source told the Register. “Unfortunately, nothing has changed, only threats have been made against those who have revealed themselves.” 

Another source, working for the Church there, also told the Register April 26 that “everything is the same” and that “Pineda remains in his position with the protection of Maradiaga.” 

Investigations carried out by the Register last month, and more recently, show the bishop, who lives in a country where 63% of the population live below the poverty line, enjoys a lavish lifestyle which includes ownership of several expensive cars and frequent air travel. He flew first class on at least two occasions to Madrid last November, including one trip — a week-long Jesuit-run retreat in Spain — that was meant as a sanction following allegations made to the papal investigation. 

Go here to read the rest.  One of the more laughable misreadings of this Papacy is that Pope Francis is, in any sense, a reforming Pope.

 

9

PopeWatch: Vatican Trolling

You know you are living in interesting times when  an ink stained Fleet Street wretch like Piers Morgan is more Catholic than the Pope:

 

 

Why is it deemed unacceptable to wear a red Chinese dress to a prom, but acceptable to lampoon an entire religion at a celebrity gala?

This particular subject is personal to me.

I’m a Catholic.

Not the most devout you’ll ever meet, I’ll admit.

But I was brought up a Catholic – I even received not entirely successful spiritual guidance from nuns as a teenager! – and I still consider myself to be a Catholic.

I know many people don’t believe in any God or religion, let alone Catholicism, and I respect that.

All I ask in return is for my beliefs not to be rudely disrespected.

Just as I always respect other religions even if I don’t believe in what they represent.

To me, this year’s Met Gala crossed a line and was openly, brazenly disrespectful.

By doing so, it confirmed itself as an organisation of rank double standards, because everyone knows they’d have never dared do it to Islam or Judaism.

Apparently – staggeringly – the Vatican gave permission for the Gala to be ‘Catholic-themed’ because it has already provided a variety of clothes and other items for an accompanying exhibition at the Met.

To which my response is: what the hell was the Vatican thinking?

Go here to read the rest.  Let PopeWatch answer that question.  The Vatican is currently controlled by people who hate traditional Catholicism.  It is impossible to imagine this crew associating the Vatican with anything that mocks the sacred cows of the secular elites.  However, mocking Catholicism as practiced by those troglodytes who actually believe what the Church has taught for 2000 years?  Have at it!  We are being trolled by the current crew at the Vatican who have nothing but contempt for the Faith and for us.  May God forgive them and quickly end their misrule of His Church.