PopeWatch: Judas and the Beggar

Friday, March 31, AD 2017


An interesting difference between the Pope and a Bishop.


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

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

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

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

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

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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Judas and the Beggar

  • That is an interesting tale (Judas tossing money absent-mindedly?) since it was his addictive thirst for money that may have cost him paradise.
    I often have the same feeling of doubt (about where the charity money is going) when a “Bishop’s collection” is asking.

  • In Biblical times, beggars were blind, crippled, or otherwise incapable of making “a living.” Today, not so much.

    True story: A panhandler would stand outside a NYC breakfast café asking for money. One morning, a co-worker, who grew up in Minnesota, went inside, bought a buttered roll, and gave it to the man. The man told him he didn’t want it. My friend was shocked. Better to put money in the Church poor box, or send a check to St. Vincent de Paul Society. That being said, I used to give to panhandlers as an act of penance.

    Each Lent, I “try” to read all the Gospels. Of course, I note the four evangelists’ treatments of well-known Gospel themes. It is often noteworthy how some are related in all four and some only one Gospel. (I have a Catholic HS textbook which cross-references the Gospel chapters and verses) Regarding the woman at Bethany who anointed Our Lord with expensive perfume; three Gospels (Luke doesn’t have it) have it and teach the vital lesson is that the woman will be remembered for what she did (the Spiritual charity) for Jesus. A lesser theme is that the money (from selling the perfume) could have been given to the poor (who will always be with you) but it was appropriate to anoint Our Lord. St. Matthew states that disciples were angry. St. Mark states that some of the people were angry. St. John (12:4- 6) names Judas as the complainant. St. John also states Judas didn’t care about the poor, but was helping himself with coins from the Apostolic purse, which he controlled. Was Judas looking for a Worldly messiah? Was Judas more concerned for money (30 pieces of silver, the price of a man) than the Kingdom of God? How could a man who walked and talked with Our Lord betray him?

  • “In Biblical times, beggars were blind, crippled, or otherwise incapable of making “a living.””

    Or faking it. Professional beggars are as old as Sumer.

  • T.Shaw, I try to do much like your friend and give food to beggers. More than once I’ve handed over a doggie bag I had brought from a restaurant and I’m trying to figure out some “cookie project” thing where I get a dessert or treat from a place (usually cookies) and hand those to the first needy person I see.

    But I know it’s not enough. I was listening to this podcast and the guy talking on it made it a really excellent point: most of what today’s poor are in need of is social capital, not monetary capital. And despite being free, it’s so much harder to give that to people.

  • When a panhandler approaches me on the street for a handout, I ask if I can bring him to the AA meeting to which I am about to go where there is hot coffee and fresh (well, maybe not so fresh) cookies. The answer is always NO. End of story.

    NO FREE HANDOUTS! That was one of the unspoken rules my 2nd 12 step sponsor gave me some 30 years ago. “Bring him to a meeting,” he would always say. But never any money. And his sponsor, a Franciscan priest at the Greymoor Monestary in Putnam County, NY, and my priest confessor, would always agree with him.


  • We lived outside of Boston in the early 90s so my husband would take the T into the city for classes. At the entrance to the T station downtown
    there was a fella living in a refrigerator box. My husband went to hand him some money and he said no; he just wanted something to eat so my husband handed over his bag lunch. From then on I made two sandwiches for his lunch. Sometimes the homeless man was there; sometimes he was not. The number of homeless showing up in Braintree increased dramatically when the town became the last stop on the T. The local priest told us he often had men showing up at the rectory asking for money. He refused to give them money but always had $5 gift certificates to the McDonalds down the street. For awhile in one city there was a group of men and women show up in a shopping center parking lot with cards printed in English asking for money. They appeared to be Central Asian/Mid-eastern. It was closing time at the local coffee shop so I asked waitress for the day’s leftovers. She gave me two big bags of rolls and pastries. When I handed them to the woman she gave the breads back to me and said, “We want money.” In rather good English at that. That said it is hard to see someone apparently in need and not hand them a dollar bill.

  • I generally give money to anyone who asks. But am never sure I am doing the right thing.

  • Saint Mary of Mercy Parish in downtown Pittsburgh has, for many years, operated the Red Door Program. There is a red door at the back of the church building along the Boulevard of the Allies. Every day except Sunday a bagged lunch is offered to anyone who comes to the door and asks. I have contributed to this program through the United Way for I don’t know how many years. Inside the church there is a sign asking those attending Mass or going to Confession or the rosary that they NOT give money to panhandlers, who frequently congregate at the front door of the church. I have followed that advice. Through a reputable charity, I will give money to help poor and homeless people. I won’t give cash to someone asking for it so he can go to the liquor store on Liberty Avenue or go buy illegal drugs. These people know where they can go to get a hot meal or clothing or other assistance. I can’t make them accept that help.

    Inside one of the office buildings leased by my employer is a public area with a food court. There is a cafe and bake shop that donates the unsold inventory at the end of each day to nearby charities so none of it goes to waste.

  • The last time I gave a beggar money I told him the truth, that I was nearly broke myself, and I asked him to pray for me. Besides my need for prayer, perhaps he needed the motivation. A win-win moment?

PopeWatch: They Have the Buildings, We Have the Faith

Thursday, March 30, AD 2017


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

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

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

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15 Responses to PopeWatch: They Have the Buildings, We Have the Faith

  • Thank you, Donald McClarey. I love St. Athanasius, for he writes beautifully about the Catholic Faith. The translation however suffers. “For behold they that hold the Place are charged by them that love God with making it a den of thieves, …” must be: “For behold they WHO hold the Place are charged by them WHO love God with making it a den of thieves, …” Even the devil is a person WHO has forfeit his sovereignty over himself to say “NO” to God. Later on in the piece the person is referred to as “WHO”. “WHO” denotes the PERSON.

  • The One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church ABS was born into in 1948 no longer exists outside the Caves of Covadonga; SSPX, FSSP, ICK etc.

    One prays that in those caves many Pelayos are being formed who will go to war against the revolutionaries who control the Hierarchy to such an extent that putative courageous cardinals quail at the idea of publicly confronting Franciscus.

    They could start slowly and identify how his praxis is perplexing before, slowly, spiritually rounding that up to heresy.

  • But if any are tied in any way to the false church by written agreements with compromises, how can they consider themselves to not be in THEIR buildings and to be in the caves? They have not been kicked out but are indeed united to it.

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  • Very encouraging in these times! We need to hear this! Thank You!

  • Thank you, Donald McClarey. I love St. Athanasius, for he writes beautifully about the Catholic Faith. The translation however suffers. “For behold they that hold the Place are charged by them that love God with making it a den of thieves, …” must be: “For behold they WHO hold the Place are charged by them WHO love God with making it a den of thieves, …” Even the devil is a person WHO has forfeit his sovereignty over himself to say “NO” to God. Later on in the piece the person is referred to as “WHO”. “WHO” denotes the PERSON.

    In the olden says “that” could be used for both people and objects; hence in the BCP translation of the Lord’s Prayer, it has “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive THEM that trespass against us.”

  • “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive THEM that trespass against us.” “…as we forgive them WHO trespass against us.” Who is the Holy Spirit. “That” refers to the physical while objectifying the spiritual. People are WHOs because of the image and likeness of God in WHOM people are created. God’s Name is “I AM WHO I AM” and “I AM WHO IS” Some outside the Catholic Bible refer to God as a “that” and a “which”. Some refer to other people as “that” and “which” . Would refers to yourself as “that” and “which” instead of WHO? All the little WHOS in Whoville will miss you for WHObilation. I do not know what the BCP translation is? I do know that all sovereign persons are referred to as WHO.

  • Correction: Would you refer to yourself as “that” and “which” instead of WHO?

  • That same “who” or “what” issue crops us so many times and I always react to it as you do Mary De Vie
    I also love the strength and feisty faith of Athanasius.
    He says ‘For if ever God shall give back the churches (for we think He will) yet without such restoration of the churches the Faith is sufficient for us.’
    The only problem that wears at me is that the “us’ suffers decimation in the meanwhile. Maybe not the “us” but many souls who do not know any better.

  • Good point Donald. Who needs the building anyway when they stand for nothing or even worse than nothing? Let us hold to the true faith and worship God within us.

  • “….But the Faith within you.”

    You are the Holy Catholic Church to everyone you meet. Especially the unchurched. The wanderer who has chosen to go it alone.

    “The Faith is sufficient for us.”

    Each of us has the privilege and responsibility to be the reflection of the true light, just as the moon reflects the brilliance of the sun. Those that know you know that you are a beacon of light.
    That is why they ask you for prayers.

    Indeed, the Faith within you is sufficient and extraordinary as it can nurture the sanctification of your soul and then the help in the sanctification of your neighbors soul.

    Sanctifying grace is a sharing in God’s work and continues on as long as we don’t get in His way. John 3:30 ..”He must increase and I must decrease.”

    If you received Jesus from the hands of a poor Priest who is suffering in unrepentant sins or from a humble Priest that just received reconciliation a hour before Mass…You are still receiving Jesus… Fully.

    Praise God.


    Five times banished
    Exiled seventeen
    Excommunicated champions
    God puts at each scene.

    Saint Athanasius,
    Feast day of worth
    On the second of May
    The month of great mirth.

    Out in the deserts –
    As history has charted –
    You preserved the true Mass
    Great lion-hearted.

    Now Lefebvre
    And the sixties egalitarians
    Like Athanasius,
    His time his Arians.

    For He who abolished
    Death by death
    Sent him to absolve
    Sin width and breadth.

    And yes the same moon
    The same sun we’re all under…
    We venal rain – but Lefebvre

    Righteous thunder!!


    Five times banished
    Exiled seventeen
    Excommunicated champions
    God puts at each scene.

    Saint Athanasius,
    Feast day of worth
    On the second of May
    The month of great mirth.

    Out in the deserts –
    As history has charted –
    You preserved the true Mass
    Great lion-hearted.

    Now Lefebvre
    And the sixties egalitarians
    Like Athanasius,
    His time his Arians.

    For He who abolished
    Death by death
    Sent him to absolve
    Sin width and breadth.

    And yes the same moon
    The same sun we’re all under…
    We venal rain – but Lefebvre

    Righteous thunder!!

  • If the Supreme Sovereign Being’s name is “I AM WHO I AM”(there can be ony one Supreme Sovereign Being) and man is made in the image of The Supreme Sovereign Being (as all men are created equal but are unique persons), man must be referred to as “WHO”. “That”and “What” are insults and referring to The Supreme Sovereign Being as a thing is blasphemy.

  • …because all things are finite. All physical things are created finite, created with a beginning and with an end. The rational human soul, made in the image of God, has a beginning and is immortal, that is, the rational human soul has no physical matter to corrupt. The human soul is created and is therefore not infinite, that is, without beginning and without end.
    Only The Supreme Sovereign Being is infinite, that is, without beginning and without end. God’s name is “I AM WHO I AM”, and “I AM WHO IS.”
    The breath of life in man, man’s rational, immortal soul made in the image of God must be referred to as “WHO”.
    Anzlyne. Frightening for me to hear at Mass is : ” For all the FAITHFUL here assembled.” Jesus , I trust in you.

PopeWatch: Ban the Bomb

Wednesday, March 29, AD 2017



Pope Francis has called for banning all nukes:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15 Responses to PopeWatch: Ban the Bomb

  • MAD doesn’t work?

    His Holiness assumes much not in evidence.

  • I notice, Donald, you wrote you had a “few” questions. I’m certain your list could be much longer. But really, let’s just get to the heart of the problem. Why didn’t the Pope just propose a ban on mean people? That way, even if nuclear weapons existed, there would be no worries. Everyone would be nice. He’s just the man to propose something that will truly benefit all mankind. Thank God for Pope Francis.

  • It is not as if President Trump needs another reason to defund the UN.

    Mutually assured destruction worked in the Cold War. Chamberlain-style appeasement, and the so-called League of Nations’ arms restrictions on Germany, didn’t work in the first half of the 20th century, when cold reality crushed sunny theory and unicorn farts.

    There are only two outcomes of appeasement: surrender or war. The reality is that there are lunatics (Hitler, Stalin, Kim) that will never honestly respond to a generous gesture.

    Here we have a secular humanist (globalist elite) essay about perfecting the World, which is the only World we have, and which we must feverishly work to make better.

  • “Why didn’t the Pope just propose a ban on mean people?”

    Comment of the week F7!

    Take ‘er away Sam!

  • Very hard to imagine a situation in which use of such weapons could be done in a morally licit way. Yet the situation is such that many bad actors have these weapons, and the most plausible way of deterring their use is our own arsenal. Not an ideal situation, but until and unless the bad guys get rid of them in a verifiable way, our continued possession of them must continue as a deterrence.

    The Pope is merely stating the obvious, that the existence of these weapons is a tragedy, since even one use of a modern warhead would have devastating consequences on innocent noncombatants. I don’t think opposing the existence and maintenance of these wretched weapons is some kind of pacifist, tree-hugging, “librul” position, it’s the consistent Catholic position since the time they were developed. If they could be gotten rid of, it would be a net moral gain for humanity.

  • “The Pope is merely stating the obvious, that the existence of these weapons is a tragedy,”

    Nope, he is calling for their elimination without caring a fig about the practical difficulties that prevent such a policy from having an ending that does not involve the use of nuclear weapons by some very bad actors. Good intentions are never a substitute for intelligence.

  • The Pope’s remarks ever remind one of recycled opinion journalism, like he had a mind which consisted of back issues of The Nation (with a few copies of Commonweal tossed in).

  • Clerics have have spent not a single day aboard a nuclear submarine or in a Trident missile silo should shut their freaking mouths about nuclear weapons. They do NOT get to have an opinion. We gave this Argentinian Marxist Peronist the freedom he abuses to spout froth his liberal progressive feminist nonsense.

    I despise the Church of Jorge Bergoglio.

  • Can Death, War, Famine and Pestilence ever be eradicated?

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  • FYI, due to a lack of berthing space on a 688 class submarine, I slept next to one of these in the torpedo room.


    I was a junior reactor operator back aft in Engineering, and as such had no choice where I berthed. Nevertheless, death from below was a real deterrent. However, my real hope wasn’t that we would never have to use these, but that as we did angles and dangles, the metallic straps securing the weapon would not let loose and pancake me beneath a metal tube containing solid rocket fuel, plutonium-239 and deuterium-tritium.

  • Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus: I have always held your great sacrifice in high esteem. Thank you for your service. I know it was not easy. God bless and keep you always.

  • Pope needs to advocate prayer not pie in the sky pieties.

  • The BOMB?

    This is the BOMB our pontiff should be concerned about;


    This insidious weapon kills body and soul.

  • Philip Nachazel: Thank you for the link. Forty three years and sixty million human souls later, the civil right of “We, the people” to our constitutional Posterity is the eternal truth.

    In atheistic communism, “We, the people” must follow the dictates of the Party. “We, the people” have no right to think, to say or to do what the human soul in search of God indicates. “We, the people must disenfranchise ourselves of our conscience, our civil rights and our freedom. “We, the people” must do what the Party dictates.
    Michael Dowd: My exact thought, “with a reliance on the support of divine Providence.” (Declaration)

PopeWatch: Peron the Papal Role Model

Tuesday, March 28, AD 2017



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


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

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

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

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PopeWatch: Hmmm

Monday, March 27, AD 2017



From Pewsitter:



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

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

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Hmmm

  • “Ordinary Catholics have been…kept in the dark” before. It is now called Good Friday, and its evil confusion and feelings of betrayal were soon dispelled by the light of the Risen Christ on Easter. We “ordinary Catholics” shall always have that gift to weather the most diabolical of storms within God’s holy Church.

  • Amen DonL.

  • It is heartening that Benedict feels this way. It would be devastating if he didn’t.

  • Like everyone here, I too have tried to make sense of this account. I went back to look at some Deutsche.de sites, employing my journeyman German, to check his background, and he has good credentials as a correspondent with die Bild and die Bild am Sonntag. He has previously written about the impending explosion of the sexual abuse problem in Catholic Germany, and from 1995 on, often personally accompanied P JP2 on his airplane on the latter’s travels throughout his pontificate. At first a papal critic, he became an admirer of JP2 and wrote book on him entitled “JP2: The Secret of Karol Wojtyla”, as well as other pro-Catholic works. He is married (to a woman, no less 🙄 ) and has a son.

    But Englisch first came to major attention outside of Germany, predicting some months prior to his abdication that P BXVI was going to resign, the first to hint at the coming crisis.
    So, it sounds like there is more fire to this smoke than originally expected.

    Plus, years in the Holy Office for P BXVI cant be a situation where he appreciates the complete doctrinal undoing of the Catholic Church that the Angry Red from Argentina is doing to the Church.

PopeWatch: Leaving on a Jet Plane

Saturday, March 25, AD 2017


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


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

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

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


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

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

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PopeWatch: Historian

Friday, March 24, AD 2017



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Responses to PopeWatch: Historian

  • How much of The Pontiff’s admiration for Luther comes from the German episcopate? He seems to-do what Kasper and Marx want him to do.

  • The pontiff’s agenda requires a simplistic, contrafactual assessment not only of the moment but also of history. It is of a piece with his cringe-inducing argument [if it can be dignified with such a term] that terrorism is caused by arms dealers.

    His worldview is frozen in a progressive dreamscape from 1965-79, but he’s going to impose it, reality be damned.

  • Silence would improve the Pope’s image and impact appreciatively.

  • Francis gives his embrace of Luther as a sop to the apostate world around us because he doesn’t value the historical teachings concerning sacraments. priesthood etc. Church any more than Luther did.
    Hopefully I say that perhaps Francis’ own “unintended consequences” of his deconstruction will be that the whole Faith will be more carefully studied.

  • When our boys were infants I don’t recall them crying in church. When they were toddlers they were very active. My husband was at sea during that period and I found the nursery or the crying room to be helpful.
    I or we could concentrate on the Mass and the boys were not annoying/distracting others. Except on two ocassions: at the younger son’s baptism the older one escaped from my mother’s grip and rang the bells during the ceremony. and once in a packed crying room when I was listening intently to a good homily, suddenly the priests lips were moving but there was no sound. My 3 year old was no longer in the room. I rapidly crossed the hall to another room and saw my little fellow at the controls of the sound system. Praying that I would select the right button I restored the sound. Why is it children always know how to operated electron devices?
    I am still amazed at the parents who do not correct or remove their misbehaving children from the church during services. It is particularly bad at the Spanish language Mass with young children walking up and down the aisles and transversing past the altar at the Consecration with the aren’t I cute look on their faces. No you are not.
    Catholic school and parents teach their children the proper respect to be shown during the Mass .

  • oops wrong post. Long day and night.

  • If the evil accusations against the Catholic Church are true, then each and every person has the choice that Martin Luther had to make, namely to repair the church or to start a new Christian religion without the REAL PRESENCE, without the APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION and the without CHURCH FATHERS.

PopeWatch: Sophistry

Thursday, March 23, AD 2017


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Sophistry

  • I had a hard time not laughing at this line; “he combines the absoluteness of truth with the absoluteness of charity, in a daily effort of discernment, from which no one should feel excluded.”

    A new way over the wall of the new Jerusalem?

    Good luck with that!

    It’s through the Gate or nothing.

  • No ambiguity here.
    A lesson for the Vatican;

  • All of this sounds very much like the way the ambiguities in the documents of Vatican II were accomplished. Let’s of double talk resulting in the transposition of truth into lies.

  • Shocking. The derision for the four dubia “cherries” who think themselves half the tree. That they have a “sound box” that magnifies them even though more numbers of people seem to believe otherwise. This barometer of truth, the “impressive ‘consensus fidelium.’ ” is only measured by the thoroughly modern and sensitive hearts of those close with Francis.
    All of this still does shock me even after four years of “fluid” magisterium.

PopeWatch: Populism for Me and not for Thee

Wednesday, March 22, AD 2017


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Populism for Me and not for Thee

PopeWatch: Exorcists

Tuesday, March 21, AD 2017

PopeWatch agrees with this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3 Responses to PopeWatch: Exorcists

  • Pope Francis gets an atta-boy for this one. But how difficult it is to find the thread of consistency in his various statements. Let us pray for Pope Francis.

  • Bravo to Pope Francis. In this age of increasing drugs use, mental illness, and TV shows, books and websites on the occult, it must be difficult for priests and the medical establishment to differentiate
    between sin, physical and mental ill health and genuine possession. Who ever thought that Black Masses would be in the news or a subject of Sunday homilies or there’d be an exhibition of OUIJA boards at SFO? The church is quiet about actual possession cases but I have to wonder if cases are up in the civilized world? Used to be that the missionaries to pagan countries were more apt to see possession.

  • I remember there was a post about demons, but I put off reading it. Can possession of a person be intermittent?

PopeWatch: Dirty Money

Monday, March 20, AD 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many questions, however, remain unanswered, including:

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

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One Response to PopeWatch: Dirty Money

  • Are we sure this isn’t in an event in Chicago? Did they move the Vatican lately? How many condoms can be distributed with $31 million …?

PopeWatch: Bugged

Saturday, March 18, AD 2017



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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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3 Responses to PopeWatch: Bugged

  • Believe it or not, Fr. Raymond de Souza actually took this seriously. He took to Facebook warning people that this was fake news. A Catholic media figure who is too ignorant to realize EOTT is satire. Now there’s a real hoot for you. Sad too, when you think about it.

  • The international C.H.A.O.S. group is behind the wiretap. They were behind the Crow drone in the infamous Peace Dove attack at the Vatican a few years ago;

    CHAOS is; Catholics Honoring Another Oracle than holy Spirit.

    This movement is catching on and some believe woman Priest’s​ will be the next big development since the election of its first Pope.

  • Fr. de Souza was right to spell it out. I knew several who thought Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” was non-fiction.

PopeWatch: Saint Patrick Weeps

Friday, March 17, AD 2017


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


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

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

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

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

Who would have wanted Archbishop Brown removed from Dublin?

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

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

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

– The lavender mafia, always? Check.

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

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

Too many suspects.

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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Saint Patrick Weeps

  • “I am neither Conservative or Liberial, I’m Apostolic!” Pope Francis.

    May the snakes be lead out of the Vatican by the demand of God through His Saints! Sooner than later… Please.
    St. Patrick…Pray for us.
    St. Joseph…Pray for us.
    St. Peter…Pray for us.

    May Our Lady of Knock come to the aid of Ireland and the entire Catholic Church.

    Clean your Church Mother of God.
    Create a clean heart in Rome.
    One worthy of the Chair of Peter.

  • “..the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”
    I’ve developed a more complete understanding, Jesus must have known that sometimes things would look like hell.
    Thank you, Pope Francis

  • David, I always view that quote about The gates of Hell….as one with a key word in it–prevail.
    Prevail to me, means that there must be one heck of a struggle first. The good guys also prevailed in WWII, but the cost of lost lives was enormous, and so it will be with souls, before this is all over.

  • Not only St Patrick but all of us should weep for the Church as the wheat and chaff are separated and mixed together by that grimmest of reapers, Pope Francis. This is truly a time of testing for all of us. Let us pray that we are able to discern the truth of God.

  • I keep feeling that the Church is leaving me and not me leaving the Curch

PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But now it’s Rabbi Laras’s turn.


Dear friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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8 Responses to PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

  • I suspect most Europeans with some tertiary schooling are anti-semites in a very contemporary way. They despise the state of Israel – not because of any acts of the government therein or properties of social life therein – but because Israel’s political class sides with it’s own population in making public policy and has no time for the talking cure in international relations or domestic security. There are anti-semites in loci like this. About 1/3 of them are ‘social justice’ types, 1/3 are old-school cuckoos babbling about the Rotshchilds, and 1/3 are palaeo types. One thing that bothers me about Traditionalist literature is that (The Latin Mass the exception) editors are willing to open their pages to these types.

  • This is deeply disturbing because I can feel the frustration and concern in Rabbi Laras’s response and it greatly saddens me. The specter of anti-semitism is ever at the door and, to many of the Jews I know well, the Pogroms, Holocaust, and the Edict of Expulsion are as yesterday. What I mean is that I am friends with Jews DESPITE what has been done by my culture to their ancestors so every fresh insult and offense is going to cut deeper than our learned Jesuit friends imagine.

    Academia is rotten and one of the elements that is rotting that tree is an overabundant need to “publish or die.” We research, write, and publish to justify position, not to enlighten or spur thought. One of the results is that disturbing that status quo is its own purpose. We see that Shakespeare’s work is “homoerotic,” “Jesus” is an amalgam and, so, neither human, nor divine, or, as here, reinterpreting Scripture to create a stir.

    Here, we are, regular, ordinary Christians who seek to live as Christians in a diverse world that includes Jews. By declaring the fundamental beliefs of Jews to be elitist and potentially extreme, the presentation gets notoriety at great cost to the faith.

    Now, we have to answer for this nonsense, assuring our friends and the general public that we are not anti-semites, despite our history and the reinforcing realities of the now.

    Nice going, guys!

  • Saint John Paul II called Jews “our older brothers” because, since Abraham, the Jews carry the Truth of the Triune God, the law of God and the Ten Commandments. “(T)he laws of Nature and Nature’s God” allow “their Creator” to be a jealous God, in Justice. Those who would deconstruct “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and “their Creator” as Lord must aggregate together to eradicate the Truth. We are all Jews in Jesus and Jesus Christ’s Virgin Mother, our Mother and Mother of the Church. It is atheism.

  • These people have no grasp of the obvious. They uncharitably judge entire nations/groups of their brothers and sisters based on dishonest, counter-factual stereotypes. and outright falsities

    Anti-Semitism isn’t the only “anti” of which many on the left are guilty. Many misguided, mal-educated ideologues apparently are also anti-facts, anti-free-markets, anti-historical, anti-personal responsibility, anti-marriage/nuclear family, anti-unborn, anti-economic growth, anti-white, anti-American, etc.

  • I have read a fair amount of rad-Trad items around the ‘NET. Many of them remind me of a Sponge Bob Squarepants episode when Sponge Bob chases around jellyfish with a net without catching anything. The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.

  • “The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.”

    Who is trying to? They share that with the majority of mankind. That says nothing as to how they should be treated by those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy the gift of the Faith.

  • I think one of the reasons we’re seeing a resurgence in anti-semitism on
    the left is that the Democrats are cozying-up to muslims, and anti-semitism is
    practically as much a Pillar of Islam as making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    The recent “Women’s March” held in DC right after Trump’s inauguration was
    chaired by a Brooklyn-based Islamist named Linda Sarsour, recruited by the event’s
    organizers. Ms. Sarsour has ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and is
    an outspoken proponent of sharia law for the USA. She is deeply and outspokenly
    anti-semitic, and runs with that unsavory BDS crowd. And the left recruited her
    to be a chair of that march. She was chosen to be the face of feminism by today’s

    The recent “Day Without Women” organized by the left was also chaired by the
    odious Ms. Sarsour, in tandem with others such as Angela Davis and Rasmieh Odeh–
    muslims all, and each more anti-semitic than the next. Interestingly, Ms. Sarsour
    recently made the news when she publicly stated that “Jews cannot be feminists”.

    And of course, the DNC’s recent selection of a new party Chair saw Rep Keith
    Ellison come close to securing the position, landing endorsements from Bernie
    Sanders, Rep. John Lewis, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Sen. Elizabeth
    Warren, and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Ellison has a long history of anti-semitic
    statements and well-documented associations with Nation Of Islam and the Muslim
    Brotherhood– both groups being deeply, proudly anti-semitic. And yet this man
    just came within an ace of being elected chair of the Democrats’ party. Such is
    the willingness of the left to overlook (or not-so-secretly accept and normalize)
    hatred of Jews and of Israel.

  • Robert Redeker has suggested that, post Cold War, the French left has replaced “sovietophilia” with “islamophilia,” and that “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. (Le Monde, 11/21/01).

    Similarly ,in an essay on anti-Semitism, Au Nom de l’Autre: Réfléxions sur l’antisémitisme qui vient (In the Name of the Other: Reflections on the Coming Anti-Semitism), Alain Finkielkraut took aim at the left, explaining that anti-Jewish hatred of today comes not from those nostalgic for Pétain and Vichy but rather the activists of the anti-globalization and anti-racism movements. He explains that European unity is constructed around a series of ‘never agains.’ No more war, nor power, nor empire, nor nationalism. Progressive Europe has disavowed its embarrassing past. This makes it ill at ease with a state, Israel that clings to its borders just as Europe renounces its own, that nurtures its army just as Europe demilitarizes, and that must combat implacable enemies just as Europe denies such things exist.

    in La Nouvelle Judéophobie, Pierre-Andre Taguieff points to a myth current among many young people, Christians, third-worldists” and anti-globalization activists. The myth “is constructed on the demonized figure of ‘Jews-Israelis-Zionists’ supported by the ‘Americans’ and in opposition to that, no less mythical, of the Palestinian Arab ‘innocent victims.’“ On one side, Taguieff continues, stands the “cosmopolitan Satan,” the unholy trinity ‘United States/Israel/The West.’ On the other side stands the “dominated and the oppressed.” Thus the new judeophobia recycles old stereotypes such as the rich Jew and the dominating Jew under the “varnish of progressivism.” The Jew is once more the stand-in for capitalism, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, indeed the whole economic order

PopeWatch: First Sight

Wednesday, March 15, AD 2017


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



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

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

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

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


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10 Responses to PopeWatch: First Sight

  • Can’t say I had that premonition, but I went to a CCD seminar later and there were many persons saying Pope Francis this and Pope Francis that, a man selling a young person’s magazine with Pope Francis on the cover. I thought to myself “no, Jesus, is our savior”. Glancing around I realized something was indeed wrong.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

    The clergy at the novus ordinary parish I’ve been attending have quit mentioning him. The photo in the hallway is the only acknowledgement of him.

  • While not as strong as Steve’s, I felt a sense of unease. Something was off.

    The last four years have confirmed that first impression, and then some.

  • If you haven’t read Eponymous Flower’s Mar 10th post, “Why Can’t He Just Knell?”, I recommend it:


    It is originally from the German site, Katholischesnet.de FYI. Especially, the comments and their citations are very good: the present Pope is alleged to have “sciatica” and unable to kneel: but there are many occasions (such as washing of the [Muslim women’s and other’s] feet on Holy Thursday) when, if he wished to make a point, he has knelt and knelt at length. Why is this? Why this clear obstinate refusal to kneel, especially when he wishes to make a bold statement?

    Now, couple that with EF’s comment on “The Invisible Last Supper under Pope Francis” (3/5/17). The Lateran Basilica is the ancient seat of the Pope going back to (at least the site) of Constantine and the year 313AD when a synod was held against the Donatist heresy. EF makes the point that the Lateran Basilica celebration of the Mass In Coena Domini was historically always open to the public and maintained the ancient tradition going back via the popes to Peter and the Apostles celebrating the Mass with Our Lord in the Upper Room.

    So where has Pope Frank celebrated the Last Supper these years of his pontificate?
    2013: Visit to the Youth Prison
    2014: visit to a disabled facility
    2015: visit to prison
    2016: visit to refugee home
    2017 😕
    (source: EF: http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-invisible-last-super-under-pope.html )

    Like Skojec (and I have read and pondered his comments before), there is something unsettling about this pontiff’s opposition to giving absolute honor to Christ in the Sacrament, and to respecting the ancient Petrine tradition, without which he would just be another babbling Argentine socialist.

  • Jorge Bergoglio had no business being elected Pope and he had no business ever being a Cardinal. Like so many Latin American prelates, his diocese has suffered a lack of vocations. Rorate had to shut down its combox which was melting down over his election.

    For someone who spends too much time castigating capitalism, he sure is friendly with the German bishops, who live fat and happy…at least Marx and Kasper do.

  • Not all of us have Steve’s gift of premonition. My immediate reaction was to find out more about Pope Francis. And the more I found out the more I was concerned. Note at that time I was not into the Catholic blogosphere in any way. Basically, it was Pope Francis that got me interested in learning more about Traditional Catholicism. Anyway, the blog sites such as American Catholic were most helpful in sorting out Pope Francis as a proponent of Modernism.

    By the way, for a stinging premonition of Pope Francis papacy try Ann Barnhardt:

  • @Steve Phoenix

    Holy Thursday night and the Pope?

    My guess….He will be washing the feet of these criminals from his beloved Argentina; http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/15/abortion-activists-kill-baby-jesus-in-graphic-abortion-on-virgin-mary-outside-catholic-church/

    A hometown boy in the Vatican…
    ….a bloody mess indeed.

    Jesus Christ alive in the Blessed Sacrament will not be mocked forever.
    Even if the mocking comes from the so-called leader of the Holy Church.

  • My first impression of Pope Francis is that this Pope cannot be serious, that Pope Francis is a joke. Stan Laurel comes to mind. Pope Francis even looks like Stan Laurel with a silly smirk on his face. However, Pope Francis’ aggression against tradition is simply his abdication of his office.

  • I was disconcerted a bit and felt let down when, as Pope Francis made his first appearance he said a rather banal, “Good evening”.

PopeWatch: Marie Collins

Tuesday, March 14, AD 2017


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


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

The most pointed criticism dates back to two years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Marie Collins

  • “Mercy without justice is always injustice.”

    And it is unmerciful to grease the skids to hell for the perpetrator of the wrong-doing by exonerating him in the public eye.

    “So think with your heads, and don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by all those leftists who are the ones who drummed up the business.”

    That’s rich, coming as it does from the commie crucifix wearing Argentinian Marxist Peronist Pontiff himself who endorses every left wing fling there is.

  • Pope Francis has shown considerable indulgence towards abusers and those who shield
    them– I’m surprised that the article didn’t also mention Cardinal Daneels. Cardinal Daneels,
    despite being retired as Archbishop of Brussels, was personally appointed by Francis to attend
    the Synod on the Family and helped shape the results. Back in 2010, Cardinal Daneels had
    urged the nephew of the Bishop of Bruges not to go to the police with accusations that
    his uncle had been molesting him for 13 years, citing the bishop’s upcoming retirement as
    a reason. The nephew had been recording the conversation and went to the police despite
    the Cardinal’s advice not to “make a lot of noise”. Ultimately, the Bishop of Bruges admitted
    to the abuse. Later that year, the Church in Belgium released a report on 488 cases of sexual
    abuse in the Church in Belgium occurring between 1950 and 1990. In 50 cases, the Cardinal’s
    name was linked– not as an abuser, but as someone who knew of the abuse by the clergy.

    In 1990, Cardinal Daneels had also advised King Baudouin to sign into law Belgium’s liberal
    abortion legislation. The Catholic King balked, and in the end his government declared His
    Majesty temporarily “incapacitated” so the legislation could be enacted without royal assent.

    It is astonishing that Pope Francis brought this man out of retirement to help shape the
    results of the Synod on the Family. Evidently, Cardinal Daneels spends a great deal of time
    in Rome, having the ear of this Pope. For all his protestations about his “zero tolerance”
    for molesters and those who’d cover for them, Francis seems willing to look the other way
    if a man has the correct ideology and can make himself useful… Marie Collins was right
    to resign from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors– it’s become a bit of
    a joke.

  • Ultimately, the Bishop of Bruges admitted
    to the abuse. Later that year, the Church in Belgium released a report on 488 cases of sexual
    abuse in the Church in Belgium occurring between 1950 and 1990. In 50 cases, the Cardinal’s

    If they had 50 cases where the chancery in question had been informed of anything in real time, I’d be quite surprised, much less the Primate. Cdl. Danneels was an academic and held no episcopal position until 1977.

  • I’d also point out there’s a difference between something ‘occurring’ and a complaint that something occurred.

  • Art Deco, it was a commission set up by the Church in Belgium which
    came up with the report and the statistics I quoted– I believe the report was
    made from the same records seized in a police raid on the Cardinal’s residence
    after the story broke over the Bishop of Bruges’ abuse of his nephew.

    Cardinal Daneels was Archbishop of Brussels almost 30 years. The 50 cases
    I referred to are those out of 488 that had been brought to the attention
    of the chancery and had received the attention of the Cardinal. Several involved
    that same Bishop of Bruges, by the way, with other minors. The news reports
    I’ve read suggest that those accusations of abuse were all withheld from the
    police–certainly the Bishop of Bruges remained in his position despite several
    complaints to the chancery until his nephew went to the police and the press
    with his story.

    Did His Eminence learn of these cases of abuse “in real time”? Certainly the
    accusations involving the Bishop of Bruges came to his attention while the man
    was still a bishop. De Standaard reported that 2 Belgian priests, Frs. Rik
    Deville and Norbert Bethune had personally informed Cardinal Daneels about
    accusations against Bishop Vangheluwe several times over a 10-year period.
    Fr. Deville told the AP that he’d told Cardinal Daneels about several cases of
    sexual abuse, and the response was “(t)he cardinal sometimes got angry and
    said it wasn’t my job, that I should not get involved”. So yes, it appears that
    Cardinal Daneels received credible information about sexual abuse of minors
    “in real time” and failed to either act or to involve the police, and the records
    seized by the police bear out that conclusion.

  • Bad Pope being bad.

  • “[C]ommandeered judgment for himself, nullifying or sidestepping canonical procedures….”

    An odd way of putting it, given that Pastor Æernus teaches, “And since, by the Divine right of Apostolic primacy, the Roman Pontiff is placed over the Universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the Church, recourse may be had to his tribunal, and that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, for none has greater authority, nor can anyone lawfully review its judgment.”

    Moreover, all the old canonists agree that the pope may proceed “summarie et de plano, sine forma et strepitu juris.” – Summarily and without argument, without the forms and measures of law.”

  • Cardinal Daneels was Archbishop of Brussels almost 30 years. The 50 cases
    I referred to are those out of 488 that had been brought to the attention
    of the chancery and had received the attention of the Cardinal. Several involved
    that same Bishop of Bruges, by the way, with other minors. The news reports
    I’ve read suggest that those accusations of abuse were all withheld from the
    police–certainly the Bishop of Bruges remained in his position despite several
    complaints to the chancery until his nephew went to the police and the press
    with his story.

    Did His Eminence learn of these cases of abuse “in real time”?

    If the dioceses from which the accusations originated are ordinary, the Cardinal was typically reviewing a report of an incident which occurred perhaps 15 years earlier. The Cardinal may have been a perfectly awful assessor and adjudicator. The trouble is, even had he been conscientious, he’d still have a high error rate.

  • Re law enforcement, was the accusation against the priest in question justiciable? We had a case in the Diocese of Syracuse where a monseigneur who had been in Bp O’Keefe’s camarilla had a mess of accusations against him. The thing is, he’d retired in 1989 with no accusations against him. He was accused by one young man in 1998, an incident to which he confessed. He received 4 additional accusations in 2002 which he denied. One concerned incidents in 1962-63 and one an incident in 1949. So, should Bp. Moynihan have told the police?

PopeWatch: Music

Monday, March 13, AD 2017


The Pope thinks some Church music is terrible:


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

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15 Responses to PopeWatch: Music

  • “You will know them by what they do.” Everything a person does bears some of who he is. To impart holiness the author of music and writing must have holiness to impart holiness to others. Only this way can holiness be shared and spread about the world. Sacred music raises up the heart and mind to God. Sappy music drains the soul of holiness. There can be no ecumenism in sappy music, as all people search for Truth.

  • No kidding. The trouble is, your parish diva doesn’t, the parish council doesn’t, and the pastor doesn’t. I was told a tale about a music professor, a specialist in early music, who was hired to improve the music program at the local novus ordinary parish. He failed completely and quit in frustration after an interim period of time. It might just help if the pastor does not regard the music directrix as having a property right to her job a la the Bourbon civil service. In the case of that parish, she’d never recruited a choir much less trained one and played the piano one service a week with musical selections courtesy Oregon Catholic Press. About 85% of the selections were composed after 1965. No one sang, either.

    It’s not that difficult. Three women in the balcony, one man in the sanctuary, the former chant the ordinary, the latter the propers. You’ll never see it anywhere, of course.

  • Art, I was on our “Parish Worship Commission” (where my primary task was to say “no”) for nearly six years when I presented multiple Catholic Church documents which described what the Church thought was necessary and proper music and chant for Mass. We took a vote and surprise, surprise, the Church lost. I was stunned. It was all very Protestant. That was the last meeting I attended.

  • We are early risers. However, a main “attraction” of 7:30 AM Sunday Mass is there is no singing.

    “Holy God we praise thy Name . . . “

  • I understand Oregon Catholic Press sends suggestions regarding music for the Sunday Mass. Unimaginitive or unadventurous music directors seem to go along passively. Either too busy, too lazy, or whatever. Saw hymn boards at 2-3 churches that had the numbers still up from previous Sunday. there were 2-3 songs that were the same at different parishes. The worst thing about the music is since it is derived from folk and pop and other instantly learnable genres, it is also instantly dislikeable. Think about any pop tune you once liked and now hate because of overexposure. Catholic parishes have a playlist of perhaps 30 or so songs that you will find played in any parish on any weekend. Usually be Haugen, Haas, etc. etc.

  • They’re not too busy. The Anglican parish I grew up in had a youth choir and an adult choir with about 30 members total. The choirmistress managed at least two evenings a week. The hymnody I was not attached to, but it was head and shoulders above anything you hear in a contemporary Roman-rite parish, and the congregation actually sings.

    Keep in mind that Ukrainian parishes do a handsome job with a limited repertoire of traditional music (St. Josephat’s in Rochester had a set of stapled photocopies that the (all female) choir was thoroughly familiar with. A Roman-rite service based on plainchant (where only the propers varied) would be less time consuming then OCraP’s selections. They don’t do it because they just don’t feel like it.

    What gets me is that about a dozen years ago, the Diocese of Rochester did a survey of parishioners about their preferences in music. The results were as follows: 24% favored strictly traditional, 18% favored strictly modern, 29% favored a mix, and 29% did not care or did not like music. The Diocese of Syracuse is right adjacent. How often do you have services of each type? Well, you have strictly modern, a mix, and no music each about 1/3 of the time. The mix is typically 75% modern, 25% traditional. A strictly traditional service is rare, and to my knowledge found in the Diocese at that time only at indult masses and at St. Malachy’s in Sherburne, New York. Not more than 10% of the parishioners in the diocese live within 35 miles of St. Malachy’s. It’s nearly the most isolated parish therein.

  • Mary De Voe.

    True statement.
    “You can’t give what you don’t have.”
    If the music isn’t inspired to raise hearts heavenward or lead one into deeper realms of contemplating then leave it behind. The,…I….Me…..Us….Is the sixties and seventies schlock that took the focus off of heaven and God, and reflected a false praise of MAN.

    Man isn’t great! He’s a mess.

    The powerful hymn’s of our grandparents and their grandparents are inspiring because they focus on Christ, The Holy Spirit and Marion devotion. At That First Eucharist…Faith of our Fathers…Sing with All the Saints in Glory..And Marty Haugen’s, My soul in stillness waits ….Marty’s being a recent addition compared to the others.

    Is it a matter of taste?

    To a point, maybe. I only picked out a couple off the top of my head.
    The Latin Mass and the hymns that mingle with the incense is my favorite.
    Chant is mentioned by Pope Francis.
    I’m happy to see that.

  • The biggest thing that bothers me about the music is that it doesn’t worship God. it might or might not be good musically, but is not pastoral in the sense of ministering or giving an education about what we are about as we gather there. The songs are not pastoral and often not really liturgical at all- more of a campfire song, which can be humanly appealing but more about the
    we-ness of us and less about the majesty of God.
    We talk about “gathering us in” “companions on a journey breaking bread and drinking wine”, and going to “Make a Difference” because we are “many parts but we are all one body” Our songs are all about us!
    We should enter his courts with praise and thanksgiving ( psalm 104) Holy God We Praise Thy Name!
    Recently at mass we sang the melody of Pange Lingua- but the words were social justice.

  • I have not heard a really first-rate organist in a Catholic Church since the late ‘80s – That was Olivier Messiaen at the sainte-Trinité in Paris.
    Perhaps, Olivier Latry (a great improviser) qualifies, but he is primarily a teacher at the Conservatoire, who plays occasionally at Notre-Dame-de-Paris and there is Johann Vexo, who has recorded performances on many historical organs throughout France.

  • Most of the lyrics we hear these days seem to imply how lucky God is to have us to worship Him

  • I have not heard a really first-rate organist in a Catholic Church since the late ‘80s –

    Of the last three novus ordinary parishes I’ve attended, one had no organ and the organ in the other was never used. They had an upright piano on which the music directrix played greeting card text set to music.

  • Art Deco wrote, “They had an upright piano…”

    I don’t mind betting that Messiaen would have given a better performance on an upright piano than most parish organists could manage on the best pipe organ ever built.

    I once heard George Malcolm, play Bach’s Italian Concerto on a harpsichord, as an interlude before mass at St Mary’s, Cadogan Street in London. The church was crowded to the doors with students from the nearby Royal College of Music; the applause was deafening; it rose to a crescendo, died away a little and then rose and swelled again for a full five minutes (which is a very long time), mingled with cries of “bis” and “encore.”

    Malcom was a fine organist, too, and I recall him playing Bach’s “Sheep may safely graze” (or as he called it in conversation afterwards, “the Butcher’s Funeral) at Brompton Oratory at the wedding of a friend of mine. It was a Saturday and the wedding guests had to struggle through the crowd standing in the aisles, who had come to hear Malcolm play, in order to reach their reserved seats.

    There is no doubt people appreciate good music and will flock to hear it.

  • There is no doubt people appreciate good music and will flock to hear it.

    That’s nice, but I’m not interested in the Mass as a setting for fine chamber music or organ recitals. If the music is ‘good’, that’s gravy. Music that’s congruent with the service and not left over scores from Hallmark Channel productions would be acceptable. Plainchant, please.

  • Art Deco wrote, “Music that’s congruent with the service…”
    And every age, except our own has produced it; to take only the Requiem, listen to Mozart’s or Cherubini’s, that Beethoven wanted for his own funeral. These were followed by Berlioz, Fauré and Verdi. We even have Saint-Saëns, not a believer, but who, in his own words, knew “how to respect what is respectable,” and produced a truly touching Missa pro Defunctis.

  • And every age, except our own has produced it;

    They’re not producing anything new, and that’s regrettable. You still have an enormous body of music from which to chose, dating back at least to the 10th century.