Background on the Knights of Malta debacle from Tim Hedges at The Commentator:
It is hard to know how Pope Francis gets himself into these scrapes. What should have been a quiet private matter, if it happened at all, was in every paper in the civilised world. For sheer, bull headed, foot-in-mouth belligerence Papa Bergoglio trumps Trump.
The Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta was Fra’ Robert Matthew Festing, Guards Officer and son of a Chief of the Imperial General Staff. You have to be a bit socially upmarket to get on in this company, the other bigwigs being a selection of the European Catholic aristocracy.
Anyway, Festing had sacked Albrecht, Freiherr von Boeselager, the Grand Chancellor, on the grounds that he, the Freiherr, had been involved in charitable works which distributed condoms. Now, the Catholic faith is against the use of condoms, so you might imagine that the Pope would have patted the blessed Festing on the back for ridding the order of a dangerous progressive.
It is of course Francis who is the progressive, dangerous or otherwise, but, being the Pope, he can’t say that condoms are OK. As with offering Holy Communion to divorcees, he can’t change the rules but doesn’t want them exercised too strictly. So he just sacked someone for doing the right thing.
Then came the posters. All over central Rome, they featured a grumpy looking Pope and, underneath, a philippic against the Holy Father, mentioning, amongst other sins, the Order of Malta fiasco. Where is your Mercy?, it asked, referring to the Pope’s Jubilee year of Mercy.
Strangely enough, the screed was written in the Roman dialect, putting it in the tradition of the denouncers and rumour mongers of old, who used to leave their handwritten defamations on various statues in the ancient city. But no one is fooled by this. They all think it comes from Cardinal Burke.
PopeWatch wonders if the Pope had this all planned out when he assigned Cardinal Burke to the Knights of Malta?:
ROME-Pope Francis has appointed a personal delegate to the Sovereign Order of Malta to serve as the sole liaison between the embattled order and the Vatican, virtually replacing American Cardinal Raymond Burke.
The man tapped for the job is Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican’s deputy Secretariat of State (known as the “substitute”). The decision was announced by the Vatican on Saturday, through a letter from Francis to Becciu.
As “sole spokesperson in all matters relating to relations” between the Vatican and the order, the pope writes, Becciu will have “all the necessary powers to decide any issues that may arise concerning the implementation of the mandate entrusted to you.”
Becciu’s assignment as papal delegate will last until a new Grand Master for the order is elected, which could take place in April after the group’s Sovereign Council is summoned, according to what was announced by the Knights of Malta in a recent press conference.
Technically, Burke is the papal envoy to the order. He assumed that role in November 2014, after leaving the post of head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court.
Becciu will in the meantime work closely with Ludwing Hoffmann von Rumerstein, currently the Lieutenant ad interim of the order, appointed last Saturday, after former Grand Master Matthew Festing presented his resignation at the pope’s request.
Festing’s resignation marked the end of a power struggle between the Order of Malta and the Vatican, which began with the dismissal of Albrecht Boeselager from his position as Grand Chancellor in early December. The month-long spat included Francis’s creating a committee to examine the order’s situation, which the now former Grand Master had declared “legally irrelevant.”
Rorate Caeli brings us this story about anti-Francis posters going up in Rome:
Rome woke up this Saturday with something quite new, and very old, in its streets: posters throughout the City (in the style of the old “pasquinate“) critical of the Pope.
In English, from the Romanesco-inspired Italian:
Ah Francis, you have intervened in Congregations, removed priests, decapitated the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals… but where is your mercy?
These were common at the time of the Papal States (before the fall of Porta Pia and the full unification of Italy in 1870): not for religious reasons, but rather for political complaints, since the Popes were also the secular rulers of the Pontifical territories.
Since then, these public criticisms of Pontiffs mostly disappeared in the City, considering the new Italian authorities were now those responsible for the secular government of the old papal territories, and that the Pope remained responsible only for religious matters. They still show up all the time against Italian politicians.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Reports out of Cincinnati, Ohio today suggest sightings of Creepy Clown Masses are on the rise nationwide, and at levels not seen since the introduction of the 3rd typical edition of the Roman Missal five years ago.
While anecdotes abounded in the 1990’s, most Catholics had never seen a Creepy Clown Mass themselves until recently.
“I was ascending the side altar for my morning Latin Mass when I suddenly heard a calliope playing ‘All Are Welcome’ for a procession of creepy clowns in the nave,” said Monsignor Adrian Fitch. “They wouldn’t leave until I let them present the gifts. Another time I felt this hand on my shoulder and, at first, I thought it was just crazy ol’ Sister Ann [Provincial of the Congregation of Pant-Suited Pantomimes] extending her hand again for the Consecration, but nope, it was a freakin’ creepy clown with a chalice in one hand and a machete in the other.”
While some are calling the phenomenon a natural response to calls for more inclusive and diverse faith communities, others are calling it a publicity stunt for the upcoming Vigil of All Saints Day. A growing minority, however, are attributing it to the circus atmosphere of the current Pontificate.
Cardinal Muller gets to the heart of the matter in a recent interview:
Catholic Cardinal Gerhard Muller, who heads the Vatican’s office for the Doctrine of the Faith, said divorced and remarried couples must live in continence, as brother and sister, if they want to receive Communion at Mass and this teaching cannot change — not by a Pope, an angel, a council of bishops, “no power on Heaven or on Earth.”
Lifesite News has an interview with Italian journalist Aldo Maria Valli who has just released a book on Pope Francis. From an early supporter of the Pope, he has become a critic:
Aldo Maria Valli: I wanted to express my perplexity that arose from some parts of the teaching of Francis, especially after Amoris Laetitia. To sum them up: on the one hand, I see a certain superficiality, on the other hand an ambiguity.
I especially see superficiality in three distinct arguments: the unity of Christians, the acceptance of migrants, and the dialogue with Islam. With regards to the unity of Christians, when the Pope asks to leave out some theological aspects in order to concentrate on things that Christians of different confessions have in common, he seems to me to be risking wanting to divide by zero. The Church is not a welfare office, or at least that is not her first role. If everything is reduced to social work, without awareness of theological fundamentals, then there is risk to dilute the faith and to cut away the basis of everything. Furthermore, without theological depth the dialogue also remains generic “benevolence.”
We should never lose sight of the fundamental question of truth.
In regard to migrants, it seems to me that the Pope is too generic when he says to open the doors without thinking about the problem of the defense of the Christian identity and the European identity especially. It is true that Europe is composed of different cultures, but it is also true that there would be no Europe – as we know it today – were it not for Christianity, and also today’s Europe has known moments in history during which it had to defend itself against Islam. Concerning dialogue with Islam, I think that the Pope is superficial when he affirms that extremists exist in all religions. This is surely true, but it is equally true that Islam has a particular problem with violence and the origins of the problem are within the Koran. It is a given fact that we cannot ignore and the best way of helping our Muslim brothers is to make them realize it.
The ambiguity lies mostly with Francis’ teaching of mercy. God is without doubt a merciful father, but it is not possible to separate mercy from justice. If we do so, then we risk transforming mercy into God’s duty and the obtainment of mercy into man’s right. It is not like that. Mercy is a gift offered for those who are open to conversion, to penance, and to recognition of their sin. Furthermore, mercy is not the soft slap of a father who forgets all. If it were like that, then the principle of personal responsibility would be defeated and liberty would be self-abased. We have to ask ourselves in the end: a generic psychological-physical well-being or the salvation of the soul? If we do not ask for salvation, then we risk putting man in the center, not God.
Pope Francis notes that the Church is losing clergy:
“We are dealing with a ‘hemorrhage’ that is debilitating to consecrated life and the very life of the Church,” the Pope said, noting that the number of desertions from the consecrated life is “worrisome.”
In his speech Saturday, the Pope cited three chief factors contributing to the loss of clerical and religious vocations: a society allergic to commitments, the worldly aspirations of many young people and the bad example of priests and religious.
We live in “an era of change,” Francis stated, “in which it is hard to take on serious, lifelong commitments” when everything around us seems temporary.
The present social and cultural context makes fidelity difficult, Francis said, since it is a culture of “the fragmentary and the provisional,” leading many to make choices “à la carte” while always “leaving ‘back doors’ open to other possibilities.”
The Pope said that this culture is rooted in “a strong practical relativism,” according to which everything is judged in terms of one’s personal fulfillment.
A second factor, the pontiff proposed, is the complicated world of young people today. While recognizing that there are many generous and committed young people in search of a deep spiritual life, many succumb to a secular logic entailing “a quest for success at any price, easy money and easy pleasures,” he said.
This logic “seduces many young people,” he added.
A third and final factor comes from within consecrated life itself, in which “there is no shortage of counter-witness that make fidelity difficult.”
When priests or religious sisters and brothers allow “routine, weariness, administrative burdens, internal divisions and careerism” to take root, there is little motivation to keep going when consecrated life becomes trying, Francis said.
In order to maintain its “fascination,” consecrated life must keep the “freshness and novelty of the centrality of Jesus,” which nourishes the “attractiveness of spirituality and the strength of the mission.”
Quick, someone get the smelling salts for Mark Shea. Pope Francis sent out a message of support for the March for Life:
His Holiness Pope Francis sends warm greetings and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the many thousands of young people from throughout America gathered in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington for the annual March for Life. His Holiness is profoundly grateful for this impressive testimony to the sacredness of every human life. As he has made clear, “so great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right… can justify a decision to terminate that life” (Amoris Laetitia, 83). He trusts that this event, in which so many American citizens speak out on behalf of the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, will contribute to a mobilization of conscience in defense of the right to life and effective measures to ensure its adequate legal protection. To all present the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
Tensions have escalated between conservative and liberal Catholics today as Knights of Columbus members amassed on Malta’s border, which was recently annexed by the Vatican.
Maltese U.N. Ambassador Marcallino Galea told EOTT this morning that the Knights of Columbus had amassed more than 40,000 knights on the border of Malta.
“These numbers may reflect some very bad intentions and this is the last thing we would like to happen,” Galea said. “Our hope is that the Vatican will come to its senses and that they will come to understand that they cannot continue order us around and to tell us where we can or cannot park in our own parishes.”
Pope Francis has pledged to take counter-measures against Malta, which he accused of sending saboteurs into the Vatican to carry out liturgical-terrorist acts in which priests say the Latin Mass in Rome.
Pro-Vatican separatists have been fighting near Malta’s border for months now, with hundreds of Maltese civilian casualties from shelling, mines, and tickling people to death with fluffy ostrich plumes from their stupid hats.
“Casualties are horrific, yes, but what is worse than death is that they are infiltrating our churches and nagging parishioners about becoming members of the Knights of Columbus. They are torturing innocent bystanders by continually reiterating how good their life insurance policy is. Please send help.”
Pope Francis is attempting to take over the Knights of Malta. Father Z gives us the details:
The Holy See issued a press release about the SMOM (aka Knights of Malta) dust up. HERE
Traduzione in lingua inglese
Yesterday, 24 January 2017, in audience with the Holy Father, His Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing resigned from the office of Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Today, 25 January, the Holy Father accepted his resignation, expressing appreciation and gratitude to Fra’ Festing for his loyalty and devotion to the Successor of Peter, and his willingness to serve humbly the good of the Order and the Church.
The governance of the Order will be undertaken ad interim by the Grand Commander pending the appointment of the Papal Delegate.
[00139-EN.01] [Original text: Italian – working translation]
This leaves me perplexed.
Let’s break it down into manageable bites.
So, it seems that, the Grand Master offered his resignations to Pope Francis. Then, Francis accepted the Grand Master’s resignation. Now, Francis will appoint a delegate to lead the SMOM.
On the other hand, the SMOM is SOVEREIGN. It is the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta. They are a separate entity from the Holy See that, like Vatican City State, has sovereign nation status.
Moreover, as I have been instructed, article 6 of the constitution of the SMOM says that the Sovereign Council alone accepts or rejects the resignation of the Grand Master.
In fact, the Pope is informed only by the Council, for validity of the acceptance or rejection of the resignation. The Pope does not accept the resignation.
In addition, the SMOM’s Constitution does not foresee a “pontifical delegate”. There is no such critter in the life of the SMOM. There is a pontifical delegate in canon law for religious institutes. But, though there are aspect of the religious life to the SMOM, the SMOM is not a religious institute. SMOM is a sovereign nation.
Is this a play by one state to take over the SMOM?
How would His Holiness react were, say, Italy to decide that it is time to absorb the Vatican City State. “Your Holiness, we are appointing a ‘civil delegate’.” If you erode the sovereignty of one, is it possible that you are eroding your own sovereignty?
I could use some schooling by someone who is well-versed in international law and who understands the SMOM.
Surely in the vast readership here, there is somebody who gets this.
Is it a play for the money they control?
I just read that there is involved in this mess a bank account with many millions. HERE
Continuing our look at the interview in El Pais, the largest leftist paper in Spain, of Pope Francis, we look at the portion of the interview which concerned Donald Trump:
Q. Your Holiness, going back to the global problems you just mentioned, Donald Trump is just now being sworn in as president of the United States, and the whole world is tense because of it. What do you make of it?
A. I think that we must wait and see. I don’t like to get ahead of myself, nor to judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will form an opinion. But being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities or windfalls that will not come to pass. We will see what he does and will judge accordingly. Always work with the specific. Christianity is either specific or it is not Christianity.
It is interesting that the first heresy in the Church took place just after the death of Jesus Christ: the gnostic heresy, condemned by the apostle John. Which was what I call a spray-paint religiousness, a non-specific religiousness…nothing concrete. No, no way. We need specifics. And from the specific we can draw consequences. We are losing our sense of the concrete. The other day, a thinker was telling me that this world is so upside down that it needs a fixed point. And those fixed points stem from concrete actions. What did you do, what did you decide, what moves did you make? That is why I prefer to wait and see.
Q. Aren’t you worried about the things we have heard up until now?
A. I’m still waiting. God waited so long for me, with all my sins…
Continuing with our look at the Pope’s interview with El Pais, the largest leftist newspaper in Spain, the question of populism came up:
Q. Both in Europe and in America, the repercussions of the crisis that never ends, the growing inequalities, the absence of a strong leadership are giving way to political groups that reflect on the citizens’ malaise. Some of them —the so-called anti-system or populists— capitalize on the fears of an uncertain future in order to form a message full of xenophobia and hatred towards foreigners. Trump’s case is the most noteworthy, but there are others such as Austria or Switzerland. Are you worried about this trend?
A. That is what they call populism here. It is an equivocal term, because in Latin America populism has another meaning. In Latin America, it means that the people —for instance, people’s movements— are the protagonists. They are self-organized. When I started to hear about populism in Europe I didn’t know what to make of it, until I realized that it had different meanings. Crises provoke fear, alarm. In my opinion, the most obvious example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933. After [Paul von] Hindenburg, after the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, it needs a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler who says: “I can, I can”. And Germans vote for Hitler. Hitler didn’t steal power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people. That is the risk. In times of crisis we lack judgment, and that is a constant reference for me. Let’s look for a savior who gives us back our identity and let us defend ourselves with walls, barbed-wire, whatever, from other people who may rob us of our identity. And that is a very serious thing. That is why I always try to say: talk among yourselves, talk to one another. But the case of Germany in 1933 is typical, a people who were immersed in a crisis, who were searching for their identity until this charismatic leader came and promised to give their identity back, and he gave them a distorted identity, and we all know what happened. Where there is no conversation… Can borders be controlled? Yes, each country has the right to control its borders, who comes in and who goes out, and those countries at risk —from terrorism or such things— have even more of a right to control them, but no country has the right to deprive its citizens of the possibility to talk with their neighbors.
Pope Francis just had an interview with El Pais, the largest leftist paper in Spain. PopeWatch will be looking at the interview this week. One answer gives us a clear indication of how the Pope came up with his crackpot economic ideas:
The trouble is that Latin America is suffering the effects —which I emphasized in Laudato Si— of an economic system that has the money god at its center, and that means policies that lead to a lot of exclusion. Which leads to a lot of suffering. It is obvious that Latin America today is the target of a strong attack from economic liberalism, the one I condemn in Evangelii Gaudium when I say that “this economy kills”. It kills with hunger, it kills with a lack of culture. Migration flows not just from Africa to Lampedusa or Lesbos. Migration also flows from Panama to the Mexican-U.S. border. People migrate in search of something, because liberal systems don’t give them job opportunities and foster criminality. In Latin America there is the problem of the drug cartels, drugs that are consumed in the United States and Europe. They make them for the rich countries here, and they lose their lives in the process. And there are those who do it willingly. In my homeland we have a term to describe them: cipayos. It is a classic, literary word that is included in our national poem. The cipayo is the one who sells his homeland to the foreign power who pays him the most. In the history of Argentina, for instance, there has always been a cipayo among the politicians. Or some political position worthy of cipayos. Always. So Latin America must re-arm itself with political groups that will recover the strength of the people. The biggest example for me is Paraguay after the war. The country lost the War of the Triple Alliance and was left almost entirely in the hands of women. And the Paraguayan woman felt that she had to rebuild the nation, defend her faith, defend her culture and defend her language, and she did it. The Paraguayan woman wasn’t a cipaya, she defended what was hers, and she repopulated the country. I think that she is the most glorious woman in the Americas. That is an example of someone who never gave up. Of heroism. In Buenos Aires there is a neighborhood on the banks of the Río de la Plata, where the streets bear the names of patriotic women, women who fought for independence, for their homeland. Women have better sense. Maybe I am exaggerating. Correct me if I am. But they have a stronger inclination towards defending their homeland because they are mothers. They are less cipayas. They are less at risk of being cipayas.
Pope Francis is doing his best to present a false image of Martin Luther:
The Pope was speaking to a delegation of pilgrims led by the Lutheran Archbishop Kari Makinen of Turku. Their annual visit takes place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
In his address, Pope recalled his visit to Sweden last October marking 500 years since the start of the Reformation, saying it was a “significant step” that “gave us courage” for the ecumenical journey ahead.
“This joint commemoration of the Reformation was important on both the human and theological-spiritual levels,” he said.
“After 50 years of official ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans, we have succeeded in clearly articulating points of view which today we agree on. For this we are grateful.”
“At the same time we keep alive in our hearts sincere contrition for our faults,” the Pope said. “In this spirit, we recalled in Lund that the intention of Martin Luther 500 years ago was to renew the Church, not divide Her.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
According to several reports out today, the Vatican will be issuing lower back tattoos to Catholics in honor of German priest and protestant reformer Martin Luther this October.
Although Martin Luther was declared a heretic and excommunicated in 1521, Vatican officials have reportedly sent letters to all Catholics that are “able and willing” to visit Rome for the “official issuing of the ecclesiastical tramp stamp.”
“We believe that Martin Luther, though deemed a heretic by the antiquated Catholic Church, is deserving of recognition for being a witness to the gospel,” said Vatican Tramp Stamp official Eduardo Rosalini. “Also because we want people to like us. No matter whether it’s our fault or not. We do as Christ did in the Scriptures when he apologized to Pontius Pilate, blaming hypocritical members of the Sanhedrin for driving [Pilate] away from a potential conversion to Judaism.”
Rosalini went on to say that, although Catholics will not be eligible for indulgences for getting the tramp stamp due to Luther’s stance on the issue, they will, nevertheless, be compensated with salvation “no matter what sins they commit after the getting the tattoo.”