Benedetto XVI Forum


Last Update: 6/10/2019 6:42 PM
Print | Email Notification    
7/9/2018 6:13 AM
Post: 32,048
Post: 14,134
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

Just a bit of chronological context: 'INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY', which became an almost-instant theological classic, was published one year before Jorge Bergoglio was ordained a priest.


From 'Amoris laetitia to heresy -
by way of Macchiavelli and masonry

Translated from

July 7, 2018

Let us get back to Amoris Laetitia. Rather, to the instructions that the bishops of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy have derived from that apostolic exhortation. Why? Because the instructions contain a grave heresy!

And it’s not I who say it, since I am not competent in this, but don Alfredo Morselli, indomitable priest and theologian from Bologna who has dedicated diligent study to AL and now to the document from the bishops of his region.

Calling himself a ‘backwoods theologian’, don Alfredo has no polemical intentions, but simply wishes to unmask the heresy. In the essay that we shall proceed to examine (the original may be read in its entirety here –

He ends up concluding that the bishops’ document has statements that come straight out of Macchiavelli and masonic thought, but he does not accuse the bishops of being heretics, masons or followers of Macchiavelli. His intention, as he himself says, is “to put a flea in their ears” so they may reflect on the logical consequences that some of their statements have - consequences which, he charitably concedes, would be well beyond the bishops’ intentions.

So he writes:

In the Instructions regarding Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, published in the name of the Bishops fo Emilia-Romagna, are found statements that are unacceptable to every good Christian. Particularly Paragraph 9 which says:

“Discernment on conjugal relationships, the possibility of living together as ‘brother and sister’ in order to be able to go to confession and receive communion, is contemplated in Footnote 329 of AL. This teaching, which the Church has always imparted and which was confirmed in the Magisterium in Familiaris consortio 84, must be presented with prudence, in the context of an educational pathway aimed at recognizing the vocation of the body and the value of chastity in various states of life. This choice is not considered the only one possible, in that the new union and therefore, even the good of the children from that union, could be at risk in the absence of conjugal relations. It is a delicate matter for discernment in that internal forum which AL refers to in Par. 300”.

At first reading, this paragraph may seem to be nothing but a product of common sense and a spirit of mercy. But don Alfredo points out why not:

“First of all, [it is wrong] to refer to the sexual relations between the two partners [of an irregular union] as conjugal relations, and then, the expression ‘vocation of the body’ is used rather loosely. [In Catholic theology],the union between a man and a woman is a symbol of Christ’s union with the Church, and corporality is called on to realize this image, But it is not possible that the most faithful spousal relationship possible (that between Christ and his Church) could even be remotely set alongside an adulterous relationship.

In the third place, it is affirmed that a certain benefit (the education of the children from the adulterous union) could be put at risk when a sin (adulterous sexual relations) is not committed, as if to say that a sin could really be an act of love!

In the fourth place, the instructions unduly refer the discernment of the partners to the internal forum (the confessional) about an act which is intrinsically and therefore always evil – when, in fact, a) the word discernment is correctly used only when referring to making a choice between two good acts, not between a virtuous act and a sin; and b) no sin can be authorized, neither in the internal forum nor externally (cfr Veritatis splendor, 56).

As you can see, so many errors in just a few lines. [The entire criticism really points back to AL since the passage cited from the bishops' statement seems to have been lifted verbatim from the text of that accursed document!]

And which is the error from which all the rest derive from? Don Alfredo says:

It seems to me it is the heresy that John Paul II called teleologism”, i.e., a heresy that practices and perpetuates the excuse that ‘the end justifies the means’ and which the pope-saint described with precision in Veritatis splendor 75 when he wrote about ‘consequentialism’ (in which the criteria for defending the rightness of a chosen mode of conduct are derived only from calculating the consequences one foresees arising from making the choice) and of ‘proportionalism’ (which is weighing the ratio between the good and bad effects of a given situation, with a view to determining the ‘greater good’ or the’ lesser evil’).

It is easy to verify that in the document of the Emilia-Romagna bishops, in don Alfredo’s words, “acts that are always illegal – namely conjugal relations between unmarried persons – are allowed towards the end of “not putting the new union and the good of the children at risk”, which precisely constitute consequentialism and proportionalism.

St John Paul II is clear when he explains in VS,

If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain “irremediably” evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person.”

Her goes on to cite St. Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas, who had explained very well that intrinsically evil and sinful acts do not become good and not sinful if they are dome with ‘good intentions”.

And how do Macchiavelli and Masonry come in?
We begin with Macchiavelli. As everyone knows, the saying “the end justifies the means" is attributed to him, and he says very clearly in The Prince: Whoever aims at the acquisition and maintenance of power looks only at his ends and is only preoccupied by what he wishes to achieve.

Don Alfredo introduces a playful but eloquent comment. First, he cites Macchiavelli, then shows how the thinking of that founder of modern political science can be perfectly applied to the bishops’ document.

Macchiavelli: "And you have to understand that a prince, especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things by which a man is considered good, being often required – in order to maintain his power - to work against humanity, against charity, against religion. So he must have a spirit willing to turn according how the winds and vagaries of fortune command him to do to the fact that the winds and the variations of fortune command him; and, as I said above, do not start from the good, being able to do so, but know how to get into the evil if you have to”.

Bishops: You have to understand that a couple of remarried divorcees cannot observe all those things whereby, according to Paul VI and John Paul II, spouses are considered good, since they are often required – in order to maintain their new union, to work against chastity. But this couple must have a spirit willing to turn wherever the particular situation commands them; and as I said above, do not start from the good, being able to do so, but know how to get into the evil if you have to”.

Machiavelli: "Therfore make the Prince accountable for living to maintain the State: the means will always be judged honorable and praised by everyone”.

Bishops: “Therefore let a couple of civilly remarried divorcees be accountable for living to maintain their union: the means will always be judged honorable and praised by everyone”.

Macchiavelli was motivated by a profound pessimism about man. Not knowing what grace is, he saw in many only the need to adhere to evil (“it would be nice of all men were all good, but that is not the case and never will be”). The same pessimism is found in the new morality, which ignoring divine Providence and grace, is always focused on fallen human nature, as though holiness, which is beautiful in itself, were alas, not pursuable – which is a great offense to God, who not only asks holiness from all of us, but concedes it to everyone, in every situation, providing us with the means to to achieve it.

And now about masonry.
The Macchiavellian slogan “Tne end justifies the means” is found in its more ancient form, exitus acta probat (The result justifies the deed) [from Ovid’s Ars amatoria], on the family coat of arms of George Washington who became a Mason in 1752, later a Master, then Venerable Master and finally a Grand Master of the Masonic Order.

And why would a mason choose that motto? Because it is incompatible with objective morality, namely, one that presupposes absolute values. As don Alfredo explains: For masons, as for neo-modernist Catholics, who lack ultimately objective criteria to weight the morality of an action, the only possible measure is the outcome if the act itself. But the consequences of such an attitude are disastrous because, following it, then everything becomes permissible and legitimized.

“That which establishes the moral value of an act,” don Alfredo writes, “is not its outcome but the answer to the question, 'In this act, am I realizing the image of God?' Acts that are intrinsically evil are not deductions by philosophers but acts in the commission of which man would never conform himself to to the concrete Truth which is Jesus himself”.

John Paul II:

“Circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act "subjectively" good or defensible as a choice. Furthermore, an intention is good when it has as its aim the true good of the person in view of his ultimate end. But acts whose object is "not capable of being ordered" to God and "unworthy of the human person" are always and in every case in conflict with that good. Consequently, respect for norms which prohibit such acts and oblige semper et pro semper, that is, without any exception, not only does not inhibit a good intention, but actually represents its basic expression. (VS, 81-82)

We come to the conclusion.
The Church has always taught that sometimes it is licit to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or to promote a greater good, but she has never taught that it is licit to do evil out of which good might come. And if we Catholics should ever come to sustain such a position, then we must really ask ourselves whether we are still Catholic.

Don Alfredo says that if Cardinal Caffarra were still alive [he was Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna], this pastoral instruction would never have been issued. But in the absence of that courageous cardinal who passed away last year, we now have the ‘backwoods theologian’ who inherited his moral theology from Caffarra, along with, as he himself is the first to say, “love for the Holy Father and fidelity to the Magisterium”.

“Therefore I entrust what I have written to the judgment of the Church,” don Alfredo says, “and will consider everything retracted that is contrary to what she teaches us to believe. Did I err by writing this? Then, punish me because ‘whoever fails to use the stick hates his child; whoever is free with correction loves him” (Proverbs 15,31). Finally, I entrust this writing to the Most Blessed Mary, Exzterminatrix of all heresies, as we await the inevitable triumph of her Immaculate Heart”.

My final comment: John Paul II was canonized by the reigning pope but what is happening to his teachings?
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/9/2018 6:34 AM]
Il ForumGP degli Utenti - Finito il GP #2 - Vincono Hard is Ono ed EdoardoAnkie & Friends - L&#...60 pt.6/16/2019 4:19 PM by anklelock89
Maria Leitner a TG2 MotoriTELEGIORNALISTE FANS FORU...42 pt.6/16/2019 5:06 PM by christian1273
La scienza degli erroriTestimoni di Geova Online...25 pt.6/15/2019 10:35 PM by barnabino
X-men: Dark Phoenix TOPMANGA FORUM25 pt.6/16/2019 3:18 PM by manuenghel
7/10/2018 5:36 AM
Post: 32,049
Post: 14,135
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
The McCarrick scandal & the gay lobby:
A problem the US bishops won’t address

By Phil Lawler

July 06, 2018

The news that Cardinal McCarrick has been credibly accused of molesting a young man — and the subsequent revelations that “everybody knew” about the cardinal’s homosexual activities — have raised new and important questions about the silence of other American bishops. What did they know, and when did they know it? How did the cardinal advance through the ecclesiastical ranks, even after complaints had been received in the dioceses where he served?

These are not new questions. In fact our sometime contributor Diogenes asked them — and pointed to the obvious answer — in a post that appeared on this site over 13 years ago. His argument was powerful in 2005, and although some of his references will now seem dated, nothing that has happened in the intervening years affects the essential force of that argument.

Herewith the thoughts of Diogenes, from June 16, 2005:

The Washington Times reports that “the U.S. Catholic bishops will sidestep the issue of whether gay men should become priests at their semiannual meeting,” which began today at the Chicago Fairmont.

And why, boys and girls, was it a foregone conclusion that the bishops would “sidestep” the issue? Because the question of whether gays should be ordained cannot be addressed without first addressing a considerably more explosive question: the number of bishop-disputants who are themselves gay and have a profound personal interest that there be no public examination of the connections between their sexual appetites, their convictions, and their conduct of office.

Let’s do a little stock-taking of those U.S. bishops who are publicly known to be gay:
- Retired Bishop Dan Ryan of Springfield, IL. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Tom Dupre of Springfield, MA. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Patrick Ziemann of Santa Rosa, CA. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Kendrick Williams of Lexington, KY. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Keith Symons of Palm Beach, FL. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Lawrence Soens of Sioux City, IA. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Joseph Hart of Cheyenne, WY. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Retired Bishop Anthony O’Connell of Palm Beach, FL. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? Through the offices of the civil justice system.
- Non-Retired Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, FL. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? The papers reported his $100,000 sexual harassment pay-off to his communications flack. .
- Retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, WI. Did he tell us he was gay? No. Did his brother bishops tell us he was gay? No. Then how did we find out? His lover broke the news on Good Morning America.

Nota bene: this isn’t a roster of gay bishops. This isn’t even a roster of gay bishops who have misbehaved. This is a list of only those gay bishops whose misbehavior has gotten them in trouble with the law —and so deeply that their proclivities were objectively undeniable.

What percentage of the total of gay bishops do they represent? I don’t know and you don’t know. And about the only things we do know are:
- the US bishops [i.e., the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB] won’t be up front with us about names or numbers;
- their clandestine gay brethren are voting, caucusing, doing committee work, legislating, cutting deals, and deciding (among other things) whether gays should be admitted to the seminaries;
- all bishops, gay and not, will maintain in public that there is no reason to believe a gay bishop would use his vote — on this or any issue — in any way other than to advance the good of the universal Church.

The abuse scandal has already cost the U.S. Church $1 billion, as well as immeasurable spiritual harms, predicated on the grotesquely perverse intuition that personal sexual anarchy can co-exist in a truce with priestly life. The fact that the obvious reckoning can still be “sidestepped” tells us all we need to know about the episcopal will for reform.

Say hello to the future, folks.

That was the prediction of Diogenes in 2005. To be fair, the long-overdue exposure of Cardinal McCarrick was not brought about by the civil-justice system. It was the result of an investigation by a review board, acting on authorization from the Holy See.

But neither was it disclosed by the bishops of those dioceses that had previously received complaints. So after all these years, you might count this story as a small, hesitant, partial step forward toward a goal that should have been obvious to everyone fifteen years ago: holding bishops accountable.

Since the sex-abuse scandal exploded, our bishops have frequently spoken about the need to re-establish trust. But they still haven’t given us reason to trust them. [Instead, the US bishops seem to expend an inordinate amount of time and headline-grabbing efforts blathering against Trump's immigration policies and questioning the Supreme Court's decision to uphold his 'ban' on unrestricted immigration from Muslim countries or the same court's decision outlawing compulsory union dues from public agency employees (whose dues are used by their unions to support political candidates) and other busybody nosing into anything but religious and spiritual matters!]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/12/2018 4:29 AM]
7/12/2018 6:47 AM
Post: 32,050
Post: 14,136
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

The pope’s ‘paradigm shift’
and its true import

Translated from

June 29, 2018

In the book Il 'cambio di paradigma' di papa Francesco. Continuità o rottura nella missione della Chiesa?(Instituto
Plinio Corrêa de Olivera, 216 pp), José Antonio Ureta seeks to draw up a balance sheet of Bergoglio’s pontificate after five years,
and the titles of the chapters into which he subdivides the text can well summarize the content of the author’s arguments. So it
suffices to list the titles to understand what Ureta thinks of Bergoglio’s doctrinal, pastoral, social and political line.

First of all, Ureta sees in Bergoglio’s Magisterium a ‘pastoral restriction on the non-negotiable values’ that were at the center
of the teaching of both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This is followed by chapters dedicated to Bergoglio’s main secular obsessions.

And after providing an example of this ‘paradigm shift’ focused on allowing communion for remarried divorcees, Ureta discusses “the common denominator of the paradigm shift” introduced by Bergoglio ass the attempt to “adapt to revolutionary, anti-Christian modernity”. [I think rather than ‘modernity’ per se, ‘modernism’ - as used by the Church since Leo XIII and Pius X to describe all the objectionable anti-Christian features of modernity - is the more appropriate term.] An effort well demonstrated by “the other side of the coin”, namely, “the sympathy of the worldly powers and anti-Christian currents” for this pontificate.

Before his conclusion, in which the author explicitly writes about the ‘confusion’ prevailing in ‘the Church’ today and arrives at taking note of a possible ‘practical scission’ as a consequence of the ‘virtual division’ between two currents that are clearly opposed to each other, Ureta asks whether there can be ‘legitimate resistance’ to a magisterium which under many aspects no longer appears to be Catholic, and the answer, considering the preceding arguments, is obviously that resistance is not just possible but dutiful and obligatory.

What Ureta proposes has, for some time, been at the center of analyses that other writers have done in various forms, each one according to his own style. Everything that Ureta explains and underscores with great clarity – with recourse to a rich apparatus of citations – is verifiable, and for many Catholics, a source of great pain.

Some observers (only a few really) became aware of it right away, others needed a little more time to get to it. [Which is understandable because the very idea that the pope himself should turn out to be so anti-Catholic in itself had always been unthinkable. Especially since this pope started out being called ‘the best pope that ever was’, which was a totally unwarranted and unsupported ‘rush to judgment’ analogous to but far worse than the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama when he had just taken office! The novelty of a pope being so totally and unconditionally heaped with hosannahs from ‘the world’ was obviously heady enough for most Catholics who readily bought the myth – and consequently, would be and are most unlikely to ever see anything wrong in a ‘pluperfect pope’ also hailed as ‘the most popular man who ever walked the earth’.]

But it is a fact that Ureta’s concerns appear justified. [That is quite an understatement, Mr. Valli.] I would say that it lacks just another step to go deeper. One must ask: Why is all this happening? Which way is Bergoglio headed? What is his plan? And to try to give an answer, I think one must start from the observation that, in fact, among all the many things this pope has said and written, one can find all the objectionable things Ureta and others point to, but one can also find their opposite, or almost, anyway.

Let’s take, for instance, ‘non-negotiable values’. It is true Bergoglio has said it is no longer necessary to strike at the same keys all the time [i.e., he does not think it is necessary to restate the Catholic position on these values over and over because, as he claims, ‘they are well-known to everyone” – ignoring, of course, that these values have had to be reaffirmed over and over by his predecessors precisely as a response to the constant assault of the world that has sought to finally obliterate Catholic teaching altogether in our day]. And he has even said that he doesn’t understand the very term ‘non-negotiable values’ itself.

It is also true that he has spoken of families with many children in terms that are hardly flattering (“breeding like rabbits”), and it is true that he has not really descended into the arena to defend the rights of the unborn with the power and consistency that his predecessors did, and indeed, at times, he has seemed to distance himself from those who are on the frontlines of the fight to save the lives of unborn children.

But at the same time, we can find words in which he defends the traditional family as that formed by a man and a woman in the state of matrimony, and occasionally, against abortion and euthanasia. [Of course, we can – when he has no choice but to say them, in all those pro forma statements that a pope unavoidably has to make, if only to reassure the faithful he is still a Catholic. Even though he still gets it wrong - as Valli himself critiqued the pope's recent address to the Association of Italian Family Forums, in which he paid lip service to marriage as between one man and one woman and called abortion on demand as ‘Nazism with white gloves’ or something equally silly. The difference is that he speaks about all the items on his personal agenda for action with a passion and conviction, and with a frequency and consistency, that one does not find at all in his ‘Read-my-lips-I-am-a-Catholic’ protestations.]

As for what Ureta defines as his ‘promotion of immigration’ [here again, I would use the term immigrationism, not immigration per se, because it is not so much the actual immigration that Bergoglio advocates as much as the very idea – and ideology - that immigration is a ‘fundamental human right’ that can only be a fountainhead of benefits for the host countries and must therefore be favored and accommodated at whatever cost!] – it is useless to pass in review all the interventions this pope has expended admonishing ‘welcome’ for all immigrants wherever they may choose to debark. But in his words, we have also noticed a subtle and gradual adjustment which has, over time, forced him to acknowledge the difficulties faced by the host countries so that he now speaks generically of ‘refugees’ rather than’ immigrants’. [A matter of cosmetic semantics, really, which does not change the burden and intent of Bergoglio's immigrationist advocacy. Genuine refugees do have a theoretical and legal right to seek asylum in other countries, whereas undocumented immigrants have no such analogous right, albeit the United Nations and the secular world - and with them, Bergoglio - have endowed them with the 'right' to be admitted to any country in violation of that country's immigration laws, in much the same way that liberals have declared every woman has a 'right' to abortion.]

Finally, it is true that on doctrinal aspects, we can find in Bergoglio a tendency towards ‘liquidity’, towards the primacy of ‘pastoral practice’ over doctrine, and of subjective experience over generally binding norms, but he also speaks about the centrality of Jesus and that Christians must not abandon the Cross. [More pro forma lip service. Yet in his propaganda videos promoting the 'equality' of all religions, you will never ever hear him say the word Christ, lest other religions accuse him of being intolerant of all who are not Christian!]

In short, with the passage of time, the true characteristic of this pontificate appears to be be that of giving the papacy a connotation that we could well term ‘political’ in a lateral sense.

What do politicians do? They often say and do not say, one day they say A, the next day B, one day they place the emphasis more on A, the next day more on B. The logic of politics is that of ambivalence, depending on who the interlocutor happens to be and on the circumstances. For the politician, nothing exists as absolute, but everything can be modified.

The typical response of a politician is “It depends…”, and we can see that Bergoglio the Jesuit, in general, proceeds precisely in this way. A typical example is the answer he gave at the Lutheran church in Rome to a question about interfaith communion, when his answer – extremely confused – could be substantially summarized as “maybe yes, maybe no, I really don’t know, it depends, decide for yourself”.

[A great illustration of Bergoglio’s thinking. It’s not that he does not have an answer: he knows exactly what he thinks about whatever it is he decides to speak or write about. On interfaith communion, for instance, he has hardly tried to dissimulate that he is all for it, in other circumstances when he is actually saying Yes without having to say it explicitly, as in his latest “No one is putting a brake to intercommunion” when asked about the German bishops’ ‘unofficial’ publication of their guidelines allowing the practice. Of course, he found no fault with the German bishops who seemingly ‘defied’ Bergoglio’s admonition via the CDF not to publish the document (not because of its content) but because ‘it was not ready for publication’. Not ready because the text needed more editing, or not ready simply as a matter of timing?

One might note Bergoglio plays this game only and always on matters involving Catholic doctrine and possible heresy or apostasy with regard to it, i.e., ever careful not to give any of his critics the opportunity to catch him red-handed in an act or statement that is clearly and unequivocally heretical or apostate, thereby enabling them to accuse him of material heresy. He’s not about to risk losing the papacy – and all the powers it gives him – by opening himself to the possibility of any such accusation. Better to sound muddled than to self-incriminate himself by plain talk and have Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider, and the entire militant Catholic blogosphere finally slap him down with a solid GOTCHA! accusation that meets the letter and the spirit of canon law on heresy and/or apostasy.]

It is basically the same logic that we find in Chapter 8 of AL in its proposal of situation ethics within a document that elsewhere appears to raise a hymn to sacramental marriage and on the family based on such a marriage. [And that perhaps is the supreme way in which Bergoglio is ever the politician – his ability to lie unflinchingly and/or contradict himself in the same breath. What does it serve to sing the praises of sacramental marriage and then concede that circumstances can be ‘discerned’ that justify violating everything Jesus taught about marriage and adultery, saying in effect that adultery is not always a sin?]

I have had occasion in the past to define Bergoglian logic as ”Yes but also no; no but also yes” since everything to him is fluid, indeterminate. Prof. Roberto Pertici in the essay he published not too long ago on Sandro Magister’s blog spoke properly and opportunely of Bergoglio’s pontificate as ‘the end of Roman Catholicism’.

The Bergoglian paradigm shift is not so much in the attempt – which is ongoing – to come to terms with Modernism and enjoy the accolades and deference from the masters of contemporary secular thought, but in the process of deconstructing the papacy that Bergoglio has set into motion from the very beginning.

From the iron logic of the Dictatus papae [Papal Dictation] [a compilation of 27 powers attributed to the pope and published under Pope Gregory VII in 1075, advancing the strongest case for papal supremacy and infallibility], we have now come to what I call ‘politics’ which, as Pertici writes, “ends up by making an issue of the very principal of authority”.

Nor does Bergoglio do it out without awareness or from distraction, but because he really wishes to follow this line: to minimize the juridical, hierarchical, authoritative and external features of the munus petrino [the Petrine office] while emphasizing its pastoral, dialoguing, anti-dogmatic weight in ‘the world’ to which it seeks assimilation to the point that the logic of the world becomes his logic.

The ‘peripheral character’ (as defined by Pertici) of Bergoglio’s formation certainly weighed for much in his concept of the papacy. It is one thing to be born and raised in Europe, and quite another thing to be ‘formed’, even in the ecclesial sense, in Argentina. Pertice says that Bergoglio is so rooted in the Latin-American world that he is unable to incarnate in himself the universality of the Church. So even this must be taken into account in order to understand the deconstruction taking place in the Church today.

On the other hand, the obvious sympathy that Bergoglio has for Lutherans and the Protestant world is significant. For them, deconstruction – and everything it brings by and with itself – did take place, as did the depotentiation of authority and the decentralization of religion.

The real ‘forcing through’ on the part of Bergoglio is taking place In ecclesiology. In which he repeatedly underscores the importance of ‘the people’, to whom he gives an almost mystical [and mythical] dimension. In the center we no longer have the pope’s auctoritas, as the rock on which the church is built, but rather, the way that ‘the people’ must travel together, which is the literal meaning of the ‘synodal’ process.

This is also explains his preference for using the image of a polyhedron [with its theoretically infinite variations] to represent the church or any given community, rather than the sphere which is an image of perfection. He says he has never been attracted by perfection, nor the principle of non-contradiction, nor by structured thought, but rather by non-uniformity, by the encounter with diverse attitudes, by multiculturalism. [In short, he revels in what he must think of as his ‘anti-intellectualism’. Yet in every interview he gives, he does not miss the chance to show off his erudition, sometimes on arcane matters, but who can doubt he also wants to ‘prove’ to everyone that he is a substantial ‘thinker’ as his two immediate predecessors were? Hence that ‘intellectual biography’ of him published last year – if a book can be written about it, his intellectual grounding must be pretty solid and impressive, right? And the Vatican’s instant mini-book series about ‘the theology of Pope Francis’ which Mons. Vigano thought he could ‘use’ Benedict XVI to endorse.]

Indeed, as he often says, he sees his task not as seeking solutions but as getting processes started. And so he sees the Church “almost as if it were a federation of the local Churches”, in Pertici’s words, each of them endowed with ample disciplinary, liturgical and even doctrinal powers”. [Ah so! “The United Churches of Bergoglio”! Whatever happened to the Church of Christ as a universal Church, a truly ‘catholic’ Church – in which I can go anywhere on the planet and have reasonable assurance that I will find myself at home in any church and in any Catholic liturgy celebrated anywhere on earth!]

Indetermination [Might ‘equivocation’ be a more appropriate term?] is part of the design. Where should this common path lead? What would be the goal for that ‘discernment’ that is so often invoked these days? Does one see better from the peripheries? What direction is the ‘outward-going church’ headed for? Do not expect answers, because the pope himself is less interested in answers than in just getting ‘the process’ underway!

In short, there certainly has been a paradigm shift in the Church, and it is profound. Yet it concerns above all and substantially, the figure of the pope and the nature of the Pontificate. [Typically narcissistic, everything somehow ends up being about him !]

As for Ureta’s reflections on the legitimacy and need for criticisms of the pope, the discussion is open. With the hope that the current ‘virtual division’ among Catholics of diametrically opposing views and sensibilities will never come to a formal schism! Because that would be the true tragedy.

Edward Pentin discussed the book with the author...

How should Catholics respond
to the pope’s ‘paradigm shift’?

Chilean author José Antonio Ureta believes faithful ‘resistance’
to destructive innovations is a necessary act of charity

July 5, 2018

In view of the “paradigm shift” said to be taking place during this pontificate, one that critics say breaks with the Church’s teaching and tradition, how should a concerned Catholic respond? Is it legitimate, for example, to resist Church authority, including perhaps even the Pope, and if so, how?

Chilean author José Antonio Ureta offers some answers to these questions in his new book, Pope Francis’ Paradigm Shift: Continuity or Rupture in the Mission of the Church? — An Assessment of his Five-year Pontificate. The book has yet to be published in English but a detailed summary by the author can be found here

In this June 23 interview with the Register in Rome on the sidelines of a conference examining new and old modernism, Ureta explains where he and others believe that Pope Francis is erring, why resistance to error is an act of charity rather than dissent, and why he believes the term “paradigm shift” can only really apply to one event in the life of the Church: the Incarnation. The author also warns against the temptation to sedevacantism (the belief that the See of Peter is vacant), which he says is “no solution at all.”

Ureta is a member of the Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira Institute founded by the eponymous Brazilian Catholic thinker. The Institute to which Ureta belongs says it takes Oliveira’s “filial, sincere, and loyal spirit” to the Pope “as a model” and that resistance is a part of that. “It is not revolt, it is not acrimony, it is not irreverence,” the institute says in publicity that accompanies Ureta’s book. “It is fidelity, it is union, it is love, it is submission.”

Mr. Ureta, what made you want to write this book? Why did you feel this book needed to be written?
I think a lot of people — ordinary, good Catholics — are distressed with all the changes they see with this papacy. They are perplexed, they are confused, and they don't know what to say, what to do.

And so some of them say: “Well it’s the Pope or the bishops who are the leading magisterium so we have to follow. I don’t understand, but I will follow.” Others are getting so distressed that they say that all this is just pure heresy, and so if these are heresies he cannot be the Pope. Then they put one foot at least on this very slippery slope of sedevacantism which is no solution at all.

So [the book] is to show to them that it’s true: There are very distressing statements and gestures, they don’t correspond to the traditional teaching of the Church, but they don’t involve infallibility. The popes can err and the bishops obviously can err when leading the Church into such a direction. We have the right to resist because St. Paul said “If we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let him be anathema.”

So I took as issues the abandonment of the non-negotiable values. The accepting the neo-Marxist agenda of the social movement, these radical ecologies, immigration. Obviously on normal things the Pope can err and he is erring. So I go through each of them, with a lot of references — there are like 500 references. Everything is just quoting his own words. It’s very well documented and so it’s undeniable that he is teaching or promoting wrong things. But we can disagree, we can resist. And what this book presents is a kind of middle of the way, a balanced attitude that any Catholic can take.

So what’s the solution for you? And what do you say to those who are perhaps tempted by sedevacantism? What is the answer to come to terms with the issues you mention?
The first is obviously to preserve our faith. That is our duty because it is our salvation, and the salvation of others, maybe people in the family. So we need to stick with the traditional faith. Now, that is a very practical and serious problem: Can we still receive the teaching of the Church from the lips of those pastors who are demolishing the Church? Can we receive the sacraments from their hands?

It’s a very difficult question because in the same way in the family, the relationship between a child and his father presupposes confidence. The relationship between the faithful and the pastors has to be in a climate of confidence, but now these pastors are so engaged in this self-demolition that there are no conditions for such coexistence (or convivenza in Italian which is more expressive) — this familiar coexistence between pastors and the flock. So I think that in those cases we can stop a kind of daily coexistence with those pastors, and then come close to those who really defend true Catholic doctrine.

You say in the book: “The reader will find clear and substantiated answers to these questions over these five years of this pontificate, both in the doctrinal field and regarding the conduct that one should have.” Could you expand on what you mean by that?
It is mainly in the last chapter on resistance. The answer is precisely this: Theologians throughout history have insisted that because the charism of infallibility doesn’t cover every teaching and every gesture, every act of the pope or of the pastors, they can err. And if we are using our reason, we can recognize anathema with the teaching of our Lord and Savior in the gospel, and then recognize this disagreement. We have the full right not to follow these novelties that are not guaranteed by either the previous dogmatic definition or the universal teaching of the Church — Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus (That which has everywhere been believed in the Church, always been believed, and by all universally). And so there are a lot of quotes from theologians regarding this initiation of resistance.

You talk about resistance not as revolt, not as acrimony, and not irreverent but as an act of fidelity. Do you see that as an important point to get across, because some people say, for example, that the DUBIA represented an act against the Pope whereas its authors see it as an act of charity to the Pope and to the faithful, to ensure he does not err. Is that also the point you want to get across?
Exactly, because when someone does something wrong, a fraternal correction is an act of charity. Not warning of the mistake that’s being committed is complicity with the evil that's being done and with the bad effects of this evil on the person who had carried these out. So it is an act of charity and, yes, it’s very difficult to enact not fraternal but filial charity, because then how does one do it in a very respectful manner? But there are situations where we have to, even in our family lives. We have to. If we don’t, we are not fulfilling our filial obligation.'

On the definition of “paradigm shift': What should people understand by that? For the ordinary Catholic, how can they better understand what they’re trying to do with this paradigm shift?
It’s a very confusing use of the term. We can understand that in science to some extent there are some paradigm shifts. In religious matters there was one paradigm shift, which was the Incarnation and Redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we passed from the ancient law which didn’t save by itself through to the new law where we are saved.

So this is the real paradigm shift which actually is the kind Cardinal Kasper doesn’t recognize because he says that for the Jews, salvation is still about being faithful to the ancient law. So for them there is no paradigm shift. But now he proposes a paradigm shift for Catholics. After our Lord came down to earth and became man, it is not possible to have another paradigm shift in the faith because that would mean that we are n denial of our Lord - by somehow turning away from him, departing from his teachings and from his saving actions.

But could it also mean, as some of its proponents contend, bringing the Church “up to date,” bringing her into the 21st century, into a fuller engagement with a whole new world which is different than how it used to be? Is here any truth to that?
The Church is one and is apostolic. She cannot suffer a metamorphosis in order to become something different than it was in the beginning.

Based on what the world is like?
Exactly. The great 18th-century theologian Jacques-Bénigne Lignel Bossuet said “the Church is Christ shared and communicated.” So if the Church separates from Christ, there is nothing more to share, and nothing more to communicate, and what is being communicated is basically whatever the Church has received from the world!

So now we have to go out and preach again, since we’re living in a very neo-pagan society. Are we to adopt neo-pagan values to evangelize this neo-pagan society? St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is very interesting: Corinth at the time, because of the geographical situation, was a crossroads, with a lot of merchants and military men traveling through. So it was also a city of corruption, of prostitution. Plus, in earlier times, the people there worshipped a goddess of fertility. To these people, St Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, preached not only fidelity in marriage but also virginity. For the first time, the Church proclaimed the ideal of virginity. To whom? To those who denied it.

At present, for instance, there’s this new [Oct. 3-28] synod on the youth. They’re saying now that all these young people don’t share at all the Church’s teaching on sexuality and this and that. Well, those are like the Corinthians whom St. Paul saw. Let’s preach to them the ideals of chastity and virginity.

The following reviews a much earlier book than the spate of books in 2017-2018 critical of Bergoglio...

An idiosyncratic guide to
papally-minimalist, free-market Catholicism

John Zmirak’s 'Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism' is a witty, acerbic,
and clear book that shows up the ongoing crisis in contemporary Catholicism

by Leroy Huizinga

July 9, 2018

Recent months have seen the publication of several books critical of Pope Francis’s exercise of the Petrine office. Phil Lawler, Ross Douthat, and Henry Sire have all issued tomes critical of the direction Francis is taking the Church.

Contrary to the accusations of certain self-anointed Franciscan Fanboys come rather lately to ultramontanism, many of those uneasy with the direction of the Church under Francis are thoughtful people of substance and good will who developed grave concerns after a period of cautious optimism early in the current pontificate.

Perhaps Francis was engaging in a radical new style of papal display while maintaining the substance of Catholic teaching, a strategy very much in keeping with Pope St. John XXIII’s understanding of the very purpose of Vatican II, which was to keep the substance of the Faith while adapting forms of its expression to modern man’s needs and modes of understanding.

For instance, Matthew Schmitz of First Things has recounted that he was able to appreciate and esteem Pope Francis’ early statements and documents using the lens of the hermeneutic of continuity. But the synods on the family and Amoris Laetitia foreclosed that possibility going forward:

I was not then, and never will be, against Francis. In June of that year, I celebrated the publication of Laudato Si’: “Francis’ encyclical synthesizes the great cultural critiques of his two most recent predecessors.” I was glad to see Francis smashing the false idols we have made of progress and the market. […] [I seem to have missed this part of Schmitz's 'conversion' story, and I am sorry I think less of him now because of his misplaced and misguided plaudits for Laudato Si, a greatly flawed encyclical that espouses false science and all its falsehoods!]

My admiration for Laudato Si’ has only grown with time, but I fear the import of that document is bound to be obscured by Amoris Laetitia. A pope who speaks with singular eloquence of our need to resist the technocratic logic of the “throwaway culture” seems bent on leading his Church to surrender to it. What is more typical of the throwaway culture than the easy accommodation of divorce and remarriage?

And so I ended up criticizing Francis — the pope for whom I once had such great hopes — in the pages of the New York Times. “Francis has built his popularity at the expense of the church he leads,” I wrote. How little I had wanted to arrive at these conclusions — how much I had dragged my feet along the way.

Schmitz is representative of many thoughtful Catholic intellectuals (Phil Lawler has recorded his own shift); it’s easy and honest to read much of what Francis wrote in (say) Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’ in true continuity with what Benedict (and John Paul II) before him had taught. [And we're back at Bergoglio's pro forma 'Catholic' formulations! How can you take any of it seriously when in his genuinely Bergoglio statements - i.e., thoughts attributable to him alone and not to any other pope - are so anti-Catholic!] A fun game on social media early in Francis’s papacy was to post a papal quote and query one’s followers about which pope said it as a way of illustrating continuity among the three.

And yet the synods on the family and the resulting Amoris Laetitia proved a tipping point, where cautious optimism about Francis gave way to concern and loyal opposition in a sort of Emmaus moment, where for many their eyes were opened and they saw the Vicar of the risen Christ for who they now think he is: a radical dedicated to changing the Church in accord with the mischievous Spirit of Vatican II.

John Zmirak was there first. A witty, acerbic, and informed writer, he struck an anti-Francis tone from the first. And so the recent spate of books critical of Francis warrants taking a look at Zmirak’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, issued back in 2016. Zmirak describes his aim for the book as follows:

It’s my task to throw a wet blanket on the hootenanny that began with the election of Pope Francis and help the reader discover” that fundamental Catholic teaching and practice can’t change on matters of politics, economics, love, marriage, sex, and resistance to “evil ideologies” from “Islam to feminism, Nazism, and communism. (pp. 3-4)

Zmirak attempts to support a papally-minimalist, free-market, pro-life, pro-marriage understanding of Catholicism by discerning a solid core of official Catholic articulation of the Tradition, interpreting certain documents and movements (such as “Catholic Social Teaching”) in ways counter to progressive readings, and claiming other documents and statements don’t represent the true Tradition.

Zmirak’s book puts into bold relief the problem faithful Catholics have in the post-conciliar era. It presents a defensible but idiosyncratic reading of modern Catholicism and a proposal for how faithful Catholics should situate themselves within it.

Zmirak begins the book with a couple of chapters covering basics, setting up general principles to move to his particular critiques. After running through some introductory preliminaries addressing the confusion many outside and inside have about Catholicism, the first chapter, “The Church: What It Says about Itself, the World, and What Will Happen to you When You Die”, presents an efficient and helpful rehearsal of salvation history, beginning with the fact of sin bequeathed to the human race from the Fall, through the chosen people of Israel, through the Church founded by the Jew Jesus.

Zmirak here is reminding his readers that salvation of souls is the first thing for which the Church and its teaching and practices exist, often forgotten in an age where many inside and outside the Church assume it’s both a caucus for advancing secular policy goals and a club for a sort of group therapy in which people can have an opportunity to feel good about themselves.

From there, Zmirak in the second chapter deals with the episcopacy, from your friendly local Ordinary to the Pope, as bishops are the authentic teachers of the Faith. The title is, “The Pope, the Other Bishops, and When and Why Catholics Have to Believe What They Say—and When They Don’t.” This chapter is the most important for the book, as it grounds Zmirak’s critiques of what many left-leaning clergy have asserted in recent decades. Zmirak herein affirms a certain magisterial minimalism:

There is just one thing that Catholics believe about every pope who legitimately held that title: not one has ever taught ex cathedra (“from the chair” of Peter) — that is, when he was making a solemn pronouncement of a dogma for the whole Church —anything on faith or morals that contradicts “the Deposit of Faith”. (p. 30)

Zmirak then flirts with conciliarism, noting that papal infallibility itself was affirmed by a council (Vatican I, 1870), and that “virtually everything that Christians share in common as points of faith was…arrived at as the decision of often contentious councils of bishops” (p. 31), such as Christ’s equality of divinity with the father and Mary’s appellation as Mother of God.

Indeed, Zmirak is concerned that many contemporary Catholics see the pope as an “oracle” (p. 39), whose words on economics and politics must be obeyed and cannot be challenged. Helpfully, Zmirak reminds his readers that the Holy Spirit does not directly choose popes (pp. 42–45, a point Cardinal Ratzinger also once made, with real force).

Zmirak notes that it’s actually Mormons who treat their president as an oracle who can declare heaven’s will directly and change doctrine on a dime, as with polygamy (pp. 44–46). Positively, Zmirak explains the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium and what sort of obedience and assent is owed to each. The upshot for Zmirak is that Catholics must obey (but have only to obey) authentic teaching on faith and morals. False teaching, however subtle, or clerical statements 0n (say) economics or politics outside the bounds of faith and morals, merit no necessary obedience.

Against “cafeteria Catholicism” and “Feeding Tube Catholicism,” then, Zmirak advocates for “Knife-and-Fork Catholicism.” Instead of picking what teachings we like in the cafeteria of faith and morals or lying back “as the latest pope’s latest statements are downloaded into our brains” as if (here mixing metaphors) hooked up to a feeding tube, Zmirak would have us “sit up like men and women with knives and forks at a restaurant,” accepting “balanced, healthful meals sent out by a chef whom we trust” (p. 50).

“But,” he continues, “if there seems to be some kind of mistake,” like the serving of “prison rations,” then “we drop our forks” (p. 50). “We send the chef a message that we will pass, in the happy faith that the restaurant’s Owner will agree and understand” (p. 50). We are to side with Our Lord against his unfaithful shepherds.

This, here, is the key issue of Zmirak’s book: Under what conditions do ordinary, faithful Catholics get to reject what some ecclesial authority asserts, from their parish priest to the pope?

Zmirak’s model requires faithful Catholics to know ecclesial documents backwards and forwards and assumes a high place for sanctified reason — that is, it presumes that Catholics have the ability to know the Faith and sift and sort contemporary pronouncements by it.

The Church issues official documents - conciliar constitutions, apostolic exhortations, encyclicals, dicasterial directives, catechisms, and so on — and publishes them in myriad languages in many media, from traditional booklets to the Web, because the Church esteems reason. It believes Catholics can read, understand, interpret, and apply them.

But a problem arises when thinking Catholics of whatever stripe interpret them in a way that seems to others at odds with what a document says, or simply rejects them because they seem to err in facts of morality or history or seem to contradict prior binding teaching. And so progressives reject Humanae Vitae because it supposedly relies on an outmoded and insufficient conception of natural law, most Catholic biblical scholars reject what the Church really teaches about the authorship of many books of the Bible, and Amoris Laetitia gets interpreted and implemented in radically different ways in different dioceses and parishes. What’s a Catholic to do? Zmirak would have them think for themselves as informed and faithful Catholics, and if they do so, they’ll agree with him.

Having established the basics of Catholicism and how magisterial authority is supposed to work within, Zmirak moves both to hot-button issues and how progressives on one side and orthodox and traditionalist Catholics on the other have operated since the Council. Zmirak rightly emphasizes that the “Spirit of Vatican II” is a nebulous, even Gnostic concept that allows its advocates the sole role of determining what the Spirit is saying, often in spite of the explicit statements of the conciliar documents, and argues convincingly that the texts of the council are normative.

In one of the best chapters in the book, “How Birth Control Tore the Church Apart,” Zmirak does an admirable job summarizing the context and aftermath of Humanae Vitae, explaining how modern medicine and urbanization (thanks to which children became an economic burden more than an asset) made possible a reconsideration of the Church’s historic teaching on contraception.

Zmirak also notes that Pius XII made a “theological development” in 1951 in a speech to Italian midwives by asserting that limiting and spacing births was legitimate by means of periodic abstinence. But by the time of the Second Vatican Council, many leading laity and clergy were in the fevered grip of the ideology of technological progress and so rejected Humanae Vitae absolutely.

Issued fifty years ago this month, it served to unmask the fissures simmering during and before the Council, making public and unavoidable a rift between progressive Catholics on one side of the divide and orthodox and traditionalist Catholics on the other.

As progressives came to dominate the conversation as well as chanceries and institutions in the West, the orthodox (associated later with John Paul II, who sought to receive the Council and implement it rightly) and traditionalists (who largely rejected the Council and joined splinter groups like the SSPX) retreated into subcultures.

Zmirak observes that progressivism became an exercise in autophagy [self-consumption], as the Church and its institutions have withered under their reign. Vocations have plummeted, and measures of fidelity among the laity indicate collapse. The orthodox and traditionalists persisted in maintaining a certain fidelity to the Faith, but have been ineffective in seizing real control of the Church.

Zmirak here is ecumenical in a way, calling the orthodox and traditionalists to get along and work together, whatever they make of John Paul’s actions and legacy, the state of the liturgy, and other items on which they might disagree.

As he does often in the book, Zmirak also reminds his readers that we need the other ninety-five percent of Catholics who reject Church teaching or don’t go to Mass because they simply don’t know any better (see pp. 119–120): instead of writing them off or retreating to the righteous enclave of a subculture, Zmirak would have faithful Catholics see them as objects of gentle mission.

From here Zmirak moves on to hot-button political issues, such as economics, amnesty for illegal immigrants, gun rights and capital punishment, climate change, and sex. Whereas much of the Church’s clerical and lay leadership leans left on these issues, Zmirak contends that right-wing positions are compatible with Catholicism.

The Church, he thinks, has approved of market economics from the Middle Ages to today, and Zmirak accuses Francis and others of launching “straw-man” bromides against capitalism and economic freedom. Amnesty for illegals, Zmirak argues, will empower leftist politics in the United States and thus lead to ever more abortion.

Zmirak finds that Catholic calls for gun control are ill-informed and at real odds with Catholic teaching regarding the right of self-defense. So too with calls to abolish capital punishment; this of course is the most obviously problematic case for the so-called “development of doctrine,” as there was a papal executioner until 1870 and capital punishment remained on the Vatican City State’s legal books until 1969 (see p. 194).

As regards climate change, Zmirak reminds us that the Church and its magisterium can pronounce definitively only on faith and morals, not matters of science. In the penultimate chapter, “Sex, Sanity, and the Catholic Church,” Zmirak describes the carnage left by the sexual revolution and shows in contrast how perennial Catholic teaching on marriage, sex, and family is sane and humane.

But he also decries how contemporary progressive Catholics —including, for him, Pope Francis — are seeking to undermine perennial teaching under the banner of a supposedly “pastoral” approach, rehearsing the drama surrounding the synods on the family and Amoris Laetitia.

Zmirak offers his own five-point plan to “make us prophetic witnesses to the reality of marriage, in the face of the pale pansexual temporary sex contract that our laws call by that name” (pp. 282–283). The plan includes NFP training, a “covenant” binding Catholics to Catholic teaching (lifelong marriage; a renunciation of divorce and remarriage, and an agreement that the aggrieved party gets all common property in the case of a civil divorce); the making of a civil divorce a result of an annulment, not a prerequisite; strict application of canon law; and a waiting period of three to five years for marriage after annulment.

Zmirak closes the book with a chapter dealing with “Temptations and Opportunities for the Church.” For Zmirak, the temptation is retreat: either a retreat into progressivism (he names several prominent, supposedly orthodox Catholics active on the internet who in his view have given in), or a retreat into righteous enclaves.

In Zmirak’s view a “seamless garment” approach to life issues will dilute prolife witness and activism on the fundamental crime of procured abortion (see also prior in the book, pages 96–101), while he also fears blessing gay couples is a real possibility in the near future, as is surrendering our fight for political freedom as citizens and religious liberty as churchmen.

In all these areas, certain progressives would have us surrender to the Spirit of the Age (which, I observe, is what ecclesial progressivism is designed to do, as it attempts to progress to the ends determined by liberal modernity, and thus seeks to employ the Church as a caucus supporting the standard laundry list of left-wing causes favored by Western elites).

Along the way here Zmirak wrongly derides Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” as defeatist retreatism, which Zmirak, and most reviewers of Dreher’s work, misunderstand — Dreher is calling for traditional Christians to realize they’re on the margins on the West and to focus on developing thick communities devoted to Christian practices like liturgical prayer, mutual support, and hospitality while still evangelizing and fighting tooth and nail for religious liberty.

Zmirak ends by endorsing Jason Scott Jones’ “Whole Life” program which he himself modified with Jones in The Race to Save Our Century (Crossroad, 2014), and which is presented in the present work as a five-point list of fundamental principles (see pp. 325–326):
- The sanctity of each human being as an image of God
- The reality of a transcendent moral order that is above all man-made laws
- The need for a free society that protects fundamental rights
- The virtues of a humane economy that allows humans to flourish
- The duty of solidarity among every member of the human family

Zmirak is an entertaining writer, by turns witty, by turns acerbic, and always clear. For those looking for a representative model of how certain Catholics disagree with clerics and remain faithful, this book serves as a ready, readable resource.

But it’s perhaps also idiosyncratic to the point of being Quixotic; has Zmirak made himself a one-man magisterium? Is his sort of political conservatism, which looks so traditionally American, if not libertarian, really what the Church affirms? Zmirak would say yes, of course, and he can point to myriad moments in history and official documents to make his case.

Above all his work shows up the crisis in contemporary Catholicism, in which the post-conciliar Church seems to many to be estranged from the Church of prior eras. Whether one follows him will depend on just how confident one is in one’s own knowledge and reason in judging contemporary clerical pronouncements. But perhaps that’s precisely the sort of laity that Vatican II envisioned.

Dr. Leroy Huizenga is Administrative Chair of Human and Divine Sciences at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. Dr. Huizenga has a B.A. in Religion from Jamestown College (N.D.), a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Duke University. During his doctoral studies he received a Fulbright Grant to study and teach at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany. After teaching at Wheaton College (Ill.) for five years, Dr. Huizenga was reconciled with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil of 2011. Dr. Huizenga is the author of The New Isaac: Tradition and Intertextuality in the Gospel of Matthew and co-editor of Reading the Bible Intertextually.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/21/2018 11:04 PM]
7/15/2018 5:05 AM
Post: 32,051
Post: 14,137
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
‘Discernment’ is one of those words I have come to detest because of its repeated misuse and abuse by the reigning pope and his minions. I am glad someone has tackled the subject of this misuse and abuse of a word to the point where it has lost its original positive meaning….

Does Bergoglian discernment have anything
to do with what Ignatius meant by the word?

Translated from

July 12, 2018

One of the central words in Pope Francis’s teaching is certainly ‘discernment’. As a son of St. Ignatius, Bergoglio knows the rules written in the 16th century by the Jesuit founder and therefore is fully aware of the importance of ‘discernment’ in spiritual life.

To discern means to sift carefully – it means to distinguish and to choose. But in what sense? To choose the good and refuse the bad. To choose that which brings us closer to God and refuse that which keeps us away from him. To choose virtue and reject sin.

But in this pope’s magisterium, the concept of discernment appears to have taken on a different connotation, to the point that we are made to understand discernment means, above all, to see up to what point it is possible for the individual to follow doctrine, and to what degree it is possible to choose instead what personal conscience suggests.

This way, it seems more like justifying human limitations, to separate that which is considered to be ‘rigid’ law which is supposed to be 'distant' from ordinary human beings and therefore ‘impossible’ to follow, but to replace it with a friendly and comprehensive accompaniment that is able to grasp the specific conditions to which the individual is exposed and therefore exonerate him of any fault or sin.

[Do Bergoglio and his followers not realize that it is, above all, the Ten Commandments they reject as being 'rigid, distant from ordinary human beings and therefore impossible to follow'? How 'foolish' it was of God to lay down his law - a series of 'don'ts', as it happens - on stone tablets, no less, so that early in the 21st century, the supposed Vicar of his Son on earth, would excuse any violation of his law, his rules for human conduct, on an individual's existential circumstances to the point for nothing counts as a sin against God any more!]

To face this issue of discernment in the context of the present papal magisterium means grappling with the model of faith and pastorality that this pope is indicating for ‘the Church’. [Quotation marks mine – because I would never attribute anything uncatholic said or done by this pope to the Church, as in the one true Church of Christ, but only to ‘the Church’ which is de facto the church of Bergoglio. The Jesuit motto is 'Ad majorem Dei gloriam" - For the greater glory of God. Can Bergoglio or his fellow Jesuits say that any of this pope's pet obsessions, actions and statements are for the greater glory of God?]

Therefore I find the essay I am reprinting herewith highly instructive. Written by Prof. Benedetto Rocchi of the University of Florence, it does not hide its dismay at the abuse of the term ‘discernment’ in many ecclesial circles today.

The professor wrote in an introduction to the text that he kindly sent me: “I belonged to the Comunita di Vita Cristiana where I had the good fortune to practice the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – in which, however, discernment is something else completely!” I offer Rocchi’s essay, with my gratitude, as a contribution to the debate.

Discernment according to Ignatius of Loyola
By Benedetto Rocchi

There is one word that has been resounding more frequently in ‘the Church’ under Pope Francis: discernment. Which is invoked most of all on the most red-hot issues concerning morality, particularly those that have to do with matrimony and sexuality. But its use has since extended even to areas that are most specifically linked to doctrine, as in allowing access to Communion for remarried divorcees [without need to amend their life of adultery], and more recently, to non-Catholics married to Catholics.

Some permissive interpretations of passages in Amoris Laetitia and some progressivist statements on moral matters (such as homosexual acts) increasingly invoke the primacy of conscience on the formulation of doctrine [or on the discretion whether to follow doctrine at all], with doctrine being described as a cold and blunt list of do’s and dont’s, instead of the pulsing heart of Christianity, where faith and reason intertwine and are mutually supportive.

We are being told that through ‘discernment’, personal conscience can guide the believer to bypass and go beyond doctrine towards a ‘dynamic’ understanding of that which is God’s will for him, in his concrete existential condition. Mons. Paglia did so recently – clearly in consonance with many of his brother bishops – during a ‘formative’ session organized by the Dioecese of Oppido Palma (as recounted by Avvenire on May 17, 2018), in which he said that AL invites ‘the Church’ “to perform pastoral and personal discernment which allows, within the path of accompanying couples and in specific cases, that they can both have access to all the sacraments while continuing with what is, to all intents and purposes, a conjugal life”. He added that this helps overcome ‘facile schematics’ which often “closes off the way of grace and of growth” and “would discourage ways of sanctification that give glory to God”.

I do not wish to dispute the obvious ‘stretch’ made by Paglia on a passage in AL (which was ambiguous to begin with) which the pope has never deigned to clarify officially, leaving each one the freedom to understand it as he wishes. I say that Mons. Paglia is clearly in error.

But I think it is more urgent to reflect on the increasingly abused word and subject of ‘discernment’ because conscience is the essential place in which our personal relationship with God takes place, and erroneous teaching on discernment can well bring many Christians away from the right path to God.

Since the reigning pope is a Jesuit, the emphasis on the word ‘discernment’ should not be surprising. “Discernment of spirits” (Spiritual Exercises 176b) is a characteristic feature of St. Ignatius’s teaching and is typically experienced by those who practice the Exercises he proposed.

Since I was a member of the Comunita di Vita Cristiani during my formative years, I had the gift of experiencing these exercises many times and benefiting from Ignatian spirituality. But I do not recall that we were ever encouraged to an examination of conscience totally dissociated from the Church’s consolidated body of teaching.

[Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, published in 1548, are a plan of contemplation to be carried out over about a month They were intended for use during a retreat and are a central part of the first-year training of Jesuit novices. But one does not have to be a Jesuit-in-training to take advantage of the Exercises: Increasingly, lay people and even non-Catholics follow this path.]

So, after so many years, I looked up a copy of the Spiritual Exercises in the library to check exactly what Ignatius wrote about discernment. And what I found does not bear the least resemblance to what Mons. Paglia and other prelates like him [starting from, including and especially the reigning pope] have been preaching. [Well, if Bergoglio feels free to take liberties with editing what Jesus said or cherrypicking only what he finds acceptable in Jesus’s teaching, as he continually does, why would we expect him to respect Ignatius’s words any better?]

At the end of the second week of exercises, Ignatius explains how the Christian should face a choice about his status in life. In his dry style, which is nonetheless full of fervor and tension towards God, Ignatius guides the practicant, that is, anyone who understands he is making an important life choice and wishes to make that before God.

In Point 169, he starts off from a fundamental premise: In every good choice, our intention must be pure, “putting his creation, life and state for the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of his own soul” (169a).

Any choice one makes must be subordinated to that end. With his healthy realism, Ignatius recognized that very often, men do the exact opposite: first, they make their choice based on their ‘disordered desires’ and then seek to see if they can serve God within this context. [Interesting that Ignatius used the adjective ‘disordered’, as the Catechism does to describe homosexuality as ‘intrinsically disordered’ – that description which LGBT ‘patron saint’ James Martin, a Jesuit, wishes to be removed from the Catechism. Perhaps Martin has never given a thought to, much less a look at, Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises since his first novitiate year!]

"In practice, it happens that many choose marriage, and then, serve the Lord God through marriage, whereas to serve God is the real goal… In this way, they are not approaching God directly, but they want God to ‘be aligned’ to their disordered desires, thus making of the end a means, and of the means an end, which means that they end up considering first what they should be considering only afterwards." (169b-c)

This is a general premise to all the choices one makes in order to live oriented to “the service of God our Lord” (169e), i.e., correctly oriented towards the will of God. As, for example, when we observe the failure of human relationship with a spouse, and above all, when we acknowledge that the choice of getting married was done not “to give praise to God and for the salvation of our soul” but simply to satisfy our personal desire.

The ideal Ignatius proposes to the Christian is a life in which every choice, big or small, is done for the glory of God. In reality, because we are sinners, we find ourselves, sooner or later, reconsidering all our past choices to assess their consequences for our soul, seeking to recover our orientation towards the will of God. Ignatius, who is a true teacher of souls, obviously knows this very well and leads the practitioner of his exercises to face these difficult and oftentimes painful decisions in our life of faith.

In this case, he introduces a fundamental distinction between ‘immmutable’ choices and ‘mutable’ choices. There are those that are the object of immutable choice, such as priesthood and matrimony, and others of mutable choice, such as accepting or giving up benefits, taking or refusing temporal goods (171).

In the first case, Ignatius is clear that we cannot turn back: In an immutable choice, when the choice has been made, there is nothing more to choose, because the choice cannot be annulled, as when we choose matrimony or priesthood. (172a).

I find it significant that in the matter of a few lines, Ignatius repeats as the only two examples of immutable choice the two ‘states of life’ that Catholics can assume only by way of a sacrament. They are choices that involve not just our will but that of the Father, too. Substantially, the saint tells us: The Lord calls us, out of love for us, to a state of life that he has intended for us and for our own good. So we must conform our choice to his call (and it is for this, precisely, that one should make use of discernment). Nonetheless, God respects our freedom and works through the sacraments with his creative and redemptive power even when our choice is ‘disordered and distorted’ (172c) by our desires, and not the response to “a divine calling, as some erroneously think.”

Because of God’s respect for us, the choices we make which imply a specific state of grace – as in marriage and priesthood – are immutable. And so, even if we then acknowledge that we made a choice to follow our own desires rather than what God desires for us, we cannot turn back. We have no choice but to serve God in the way we claimed God has led us to choose. So if that choice was not made correctly and in the way it ought to have been done – namely without our disordered inclinations – then we must seek to repent and to live an honest life in the status we chose (172b).

This interpretation of some passages in the Exercises that I have cited is consistent with what Ignatius affirms elsewhere in the book. His advice on choices follow the exercises that have to do with “state of life’. In 135d, the saint proposes an exercise about “how we should behave in order to arrive at perfection in whatever state and condition of life God our Lord allows us to choose" (2135d). For Ignatius, God allows us to choose in the full sense, meaning we can choose even that which is NOT our divine calling. [The true sense of free will: we are free to choose good or evil, but we must be responsible – and answerable to God - for the bad choices we make.]

In the case of an immutable choice following our disordered inclination, Ignatius says we must “live an honest life in the choice we made”. How then should we interpret this ‘honest life’ that he recommends? In the case of a marriage which now seems to have been wrong, or a choice that does not correspond to our true calling, what does it mean to live an honest life?

Any interpretation that allows a conjugal relationship with someone whom God has not made our spouse through the sacrament of matrimony doesn’t seem plausible. I wouldn’t want to be in Mons. Paglia’s shoes if, by chance, he has to explain to St. Ignatius his interpretation of AL! [And what about Jorge Bergoglio, SJ? Does he really care what Ignatius would say? He doesn’t care what Jesus would say to his many heterodoxies and apostate tendencies – and yet he is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. Did the plotting and scheming of the Sankt-Gallen Mafia, with Bergoglio’s complicity, represent the will of God? Or is Bergoglio the current ‘Vicar of Christ on earth’ merely through political chicanery – and, one must lament, the full complicity of at least two-thirds of the cardinal electors!]

For Ignatius, living honestly cannot mean other than living faithfully to the sacramental character of marriage: Whether we like it or not, we have become one flesh with our spouse even if we no longer love each other, quite obvious when there are children but even when there are none. God does not take back his graces, and the grace he conceded for a marriage that perhaps we claimed as a ‘right’ rather than accepted as a ‘gift’, nonetheless remains, ever ready to act on us if we allow it to.

This fundamental premise on the correct orientation to follow in carrying out an immutable choice is followed by very beautiful suggestions on how to exercise ‘discernment’ on mutable choices. In which not only must we seek to “perfect ourselves as much as we can” when we made the choice “correctly and in the right way, without regard for sensuality and the world” (173), but one can somehow correct wrong choices, or abandon them by making a new choice but this time with the right orientation… (but) if the mutable choice was not made correctly and sincerely, then one must choose again properly so that the new choice "will bear fruit that is good and pleasing to God" (174).

In other annotations by Ignatius (173-189), reason dialogs with faith and serves it, while faith continually illumines reason. Discernment, according to St. Ignatius, is not a narcissistic self-interrogation on one’s own desires, as many sentimental catechists today seem to think, but on the contrary, it should be an effort to detach oneself from one’s own desires in order to allow God to guide us, with his eyes, and according to truth.

After reminding himself of the end for which man was created, the Christian should then remain ‘indifferent’, that is, without any disordered propensity to be inclined or motivated to accept a choice under consideration or to reject it, or vice versa” (179b). Because it is only when we become ‘indifferent’ that we can ask God to orient our choice by praying to him (180a) and “reflecting well and faithfully with one’s own intellect” (180b).

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/15/2018 5:26 AM]
7/15/2018 5:39 AM
Post: 32,052
Post: 14,137
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
Don’t let the scandals of the hierarchy
lead you to despair - or to leave the Church

July 12, 2018

The Church in the United States is once more stunned to learn of scandal within our leadership as news of accusations of sexual abuse by Cardinal McCarrick continue to be reported.

The news coming out of Chile has been bad enough, but now a high ranking member of the hierarchy is accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse. Those of us in the Church continue to feel anger, sadness, confusion, and, quite frankly, disgust, about a problem that just will not seem to go away.

People outside of the Church now have even more ammunition to lob our way, which makes it harder for us to evangelize in an ever more hostile culture like our own. Many are asking: When will this evil finally be purged from the Church? The truth is that evil will only be fully purged from the Church when Christ returns.

I read various threads in social media about this latest scandal and one of the greatest concerns I had was about those people who are struggling with despair and a loss of faith. Some people are even contemplating leaving the Church for some other denomination or leaving Christianity for good.

[It's hard for me to understand why people leave the Church because some priests and bishops are scandalously sinful. They are fallible human beings like the rest of us, and they do not 'represent' or 'make up' the Church, which is a divine institution far more than it is a human one. It is also unfair to the good and faithful priests and bishops who are hopefully far more numerous than the bad ones. Because it is they - and their good influence on the faithful they serve - who have kept the Church alive and faithful to Christ in good times and bad.]

This is one of the great evils of public scandal within the hierarchy of the Church. It harms the faithful directly and can lead people to the sin of despair. Sin always has communal dimensions, but when it is tied directly to our leadership its reach is far and wide.

When I was stationed in England, at the height of the American Church’s abuse scandal, I worked with a gentleman who had left the Church because of the scandal. He was angry, repulsed, hostile, and had become anti-Catholic. Underneath, I could see great pain and disappointment. He couldn’t stomach that some priests had abused children and this caused him to leave the Faith. There was little I could do to help change his mind. The damage was done.

The McCarrick situation seems to follow the more common issue of a man in power abusing other adults [the worse sin here is against chastity and against the vow of chastity he made as a priest] but the media has made sure the majority of people think that the vast majority of victims were children, even though they were not. This in no way minimizes the seriousness of the situation or the crimes. Abuses of power and coercion for sexual gain, or any other type of gain, is gravely sinful and evil, even more so when children are involved. It is merely to clarify the situation because precision does matter. It also allows us to explain this terrible situation to our interlocutors.

The danger is very real for people to leave the Church as these scandals continue to happen. Rightly so, we have expectations of our priests and bishops that they will truly live out their vocation and be alter Christus — another Christ — to us and the world. We want them to be men of heroic virtue and steadfast holiness. This is understandable, but it isn’t necessarily in conformity with reality. Church history is very instructive here, as is parish life.

Priests oftentimes are not as progressed in holiness as we would like, or even as they would like to be. They have character flaws, weaknesses, temptations, and struggles of their own that they are working on through the grace given to them through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, as well as the other Sacraments.

They need the Sacrament of Confession just as much as we do and the grace that Christ extends to all of His people through it. They are also nourished and strengthened through the Holy Eucharist even as they make it present to God’s people.

Priests have chosen to walk the path to holiness through that particular vocation, which means they are on the path to sainthood too. All of us, clergy and laity, are works in progress. We are all capable of great evil, which is why we need the salvation extended to us through Christ and His Church. Conversion of heart is a daily—minute-by-minute—activity.

The Church has always been a mess. It is one of the reasons we know that it is Christ who is the Head and the Holy Spirit who keeps us on course. There’s no way we would have survived this long with all of our in-fighting, scandals, sins, and blunders over the last 2000 years if the Church was merely a human institution or invention.

The Church is always living in dark days and will continue to do so until Christ returns at the end of time. At least bishops aren’t currently orchestrating murders of other priests and bishops while they say Mass, like in past centuries. The hierarchy, for all of its fighting, is pretty peaceful when compared to other times in Church history.

If you are struggling with the state of the Church hierarchy and the continued scandals ,it would be beneficial to study Church history a little more closely. It tends to turn people into realists and pragmatists. I find rose-tinted glasses and sentimentality don’t do us any good in the spiritual life. The same is true when it comes to understanding the fallen men in the hierarchy. Church history allows us to understand that our age is not somehow worse than any other. The sins and scandals are still appalling and evil, but the same has been true since Pentecost, and even longer since the Fall.

Our faith is not in princes or men, not even princes of the Church. Our faith is in Christ Jesus. We trust in the power of His Paschal Mystery and the Holy Spirit who guides the Church through history. We know that it is Christ who is leading us to our ultimate destiny. Don’t take your eyes off of Him, even as the waves crash, the wind blows, and the clouds whirl. The Church has survived many storms and she will survive this one. Yes, it is a painful process, but purification is always painful. That’s exactly what is going on. Christ is purifying His Church. It will take time and it won’t be complete until His return.

Keep in mind that our priests and bishops are Fallen men who need our prayers, support, and sacrifice. They struggle with weaknesses just as much as we do. The Enemy attacks priests with great intensity. As members of the laity, we can fight by their sides as their brothers and sisters in Christ in order to help lift them up in their own struggles. They fight for us and we should be doing the same for them.

When a scandal breaks, turn to Christ in prayer, hope, and trust. Offer reparation for the sins of our leadership, but never lose hope. When the urge to leave wells up inside of you, remember the words of St. Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).”
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/15/2018 5:41 AM]
7/20/2018 8:58 AM
Post: 32,053
Post: 14,139
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
In an article describing his personal experiences with Italian dolce far niente [literally 'sweet doing-nothing', idiomatically, 'happy carefree inaction'],
John Allen divulges two significant pieces of information that ought to be the subject of serious reportage and analysis, not just throwaway hints...

To this day, for instance, there hasn’t been a consolidated annual financial statement from the Vatican since the first year of Francis’s papacy, and no audit of the Vatican’s books, despite repeated claims that both those developments are right around the corner. [Which goes to show how much this is is really a pontificate by propaganda - Goebbels in hell must be applauding the Bergoglio PR machine!]

On another front, three years after Pope Francis decreed a reform of the Church’s process for granting annulments, official Vatican statistics show that few bishops around the world are actually taking advantage of the abbreviated procedure [I think I'll say 'Deo gratias!' for that] - a delay which many experts blame, at least in part, on the fact that the Vatican was slow in producing explanations of how it was supposed to be done.

7/20/2018 1:02 PM
Post: 32,054
Post: 14,140
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

'The birth of Humanae Vitae' -
and woe to who would dare touch it!

July 18, 2018

The campaign that is underway to demolish Humanae Vitae - Paul VI's 1968 encyclical that said NO to artificial contraceptives - has in recent days met with an unexpected obstacle in a book that reconstructs the genesis of that text, thanks to access, for the first time, to the secret documents concerning it, personally authorized by Pope Francis:
> Gilfredo Marengo, "La nascita di un'enciclica. 'Humanae vitae' alla luce degli archivi vaticani", Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano, 2018.

The obstacle is all the more serious in that the proponents of a 'paradigm shift' by this pope - meaning in this case a liberalization of the Church position against artificial contracpetion - its rah-rah boys from Cardinal Walter Kasper to the theologian Maurizio Chiodi, author of the infamous lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University that fired the starting gun for the campaign, with the apparent approval of Pope Francis - were expecting from this very book not an obstacle, but a further boost for their ideas.

The author of the book, in fact, was the coordinator of a study group set up more than a year ago at the Vatican precisely in a climate predisposed to a revision of HV. In addition to Marengo, the members were the theologian Pierangelo Sequeri, who at the time had been recently appointed by Bergoglio to head his revamped John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, Angelo Maffeis of the Paul VI Institute in Brescia, and the historian Philippe Chenaux of the Pontifical Lateran University.

Proponents of 'going beyond' HV hailed the institution of the study group with great approval, seeing that it had been organized by one of them, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who is very close to Pope Francis, who made him president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II institute.

Last March 8, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference, Avvenire - also in lockstep with the innovators - had gone so far as to prognosticate “surprising results from the studies authorized by the Pontifical Academy for Life,” concerning the genesis and therefore also a liberal interpretation of HV.

But a first disappointment for the innovators came on May 9 from the most authoritative member of the study group, Sequeri, who in an academic lecture on HV at the Catholic University of Milan reiterated as “unjustifiable the practice that procures and imposes artificial sterilization on the conjugal act”:
> Surprise. Among Francis's men, there is one who is defending 'Humanae Vitae'

But now, after the release of Marengo’s book, disappointment has turned to consternation. Because with the power of facts, the book contradicts the ideas most dear to the proponents of 'going beyond' HV.

In fact, it suffices to read the summary of the book presented by Andrea Tornielli on Vatican Insider - an unimpeachably Bergoglian source - to understand how there has been a substantial failure of the stratagem of finding among the hitherto secret papers regarding the preparation of the encyclical a few pretexts for scaling back its teaching.

For example, it is true that Paul VI had the future cardinals Jacques-Paul Martin and Paul Poupard, at the time officials of the Secretariat of State, rewrite the first draft of the encyclical, which had been written by the theologian of the pontifical household, himself a future cardinal, Mario Luigi Ciappi.

But in both drafts the doctrinal contents are the same, albeit formulated differently. But even the second draft did not satisfy Paul VI, so he adjusted it again to remove what seemed like ambiguities to him, re-writing parts of it by himself or with one of his trusted theologian, the Milanese Carlo Colombo.

Likewise, the facts also disprove the a hypothesis that in preparing HV, Paul VI 'overlooked the demands of synodality and collegiality', so vaunted today, quite paradoxically, by one of the the most monocratic pontificates in history.

In 1967, the year before the publication of HV, Paul VI asked the synod fathers meeting in Rome for the first-ever Assembly of the Bishops' Synod (some 200 bishops took part) to communicate their opinions to him in a confidential manner.

26 of them responded to him with views that are presented in the book, and among those who spoke out NO were a future pope and saint, Karol Wojtyla, and the highly popular American bishop Fulton Sheen, with a great flair for preaching, he too on his way to the honors of the altar.

In the notes Wojtyla, as Archbishop of Cracow, he sent to Paul VI, he already foreshadowed the expansion of the teaching of HV that he would carry out in his papal magisterium.

Among those in favor of allowing artificial contraception were a few cardinals and bishops of the first rank in the progressive camp, from Suenens to Döpfner to Léger.

In the substantial study commission set up by John XXIII and then expanded by Paul VI, those in favor were more numerous than those against.

But Marengo’s book confirms the fact that Paul VI “evaluated 9their positions) very attentively” and rejected them - as he afterward wrote in the prologue to the encyclical - because he had recognized in them “criteria for a solution to this question which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.”

In other words, one gathers from the book that Paul VI, far from being hesitant and doubtful right to the end, exercised “by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ” precisely that “discernment” [in the right sense and in the right way] which is so exalted today [in the Bergoglian meaning, whereby 'discernment' is exercised in favor of an individual's personal desire and convenience, rather than in choosing absolute good over evil], and which, in that same year of 1968, led him to solemnly reconfirm the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith against widespread doubts, with the public proclamation of that which he called the “Credo of the People of God.”

As we know, HV was immediately subjected to a massive barrage of opposition, even on the part of important sectors of the hierarchy. But Paul VI never backed down. On the contrary, he always maintained that it was one of the highest points of his mission as successor of Peter. In his last public homily, for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 1978, taking stock of his pontificate, he indicated his most significant acts as 'Humanae Vitae' and his Credo. [On the other scale, however, one must weigh the instantly institutionalized and widespread damage to the Church and the People of God, caused by his virtual overnight abrogation of the Mass of the Ages in favor of an unabashedly Protestantized Novus Ordo.]

For the proponents of a revision of HV, there now remains nothing to do but to insist - as they are doing - that its teaching is “neither infallible nor irreformable,” in the words from a leading theologian of the Pontifical Lateran University, Ferdinando Lambruschini, who reportedly said this at the direct request of Paul VI.

The fact is, however, that immediately after those statements Lambruschini was removed from his teaching position, appointed archbishop of Perugia, and replaced, at the Lateran, by a moral theologian of extreme rigor, Ermenegildo Lio.

Not to mention that Lambruschini's statement is off the mark, since HV does not proclaim a new dogma of faith, and does not present itself as “definitional magisterium” but rather as “definitive magisterium,” meaning the reaffirmation of a constant teaching in the history of the Church, as solemnly reiterated by a successor of Paul VI, John Paul II, in a memorable address for the twentieth anniversary of the encyclical:
> "Humanae Vitae" Under Siege. But It Will Have To Go Over Wojtyla and Caffarra's Dead Bodies

All the above - and Marengo's book - apparently have not stopped Bergoglio's other pet cardinal theologian from doing his share of systematically undermining HV any way he can...

In Austria, official websites under
Cardinal Schönborn are undermining HV

by Maike Hickson

July 18, 2018 2

The official website of the Austrian bishops under Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s watch, as well as his own diocesan website, has published a series of articles in light of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.

These articles represent a major undermining of essential Church teachings as laid out in HV and put into doubt the abiding unlawfulness of contraception.

Cardinal Schönborn is the “media bishop” of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, therefore ex officio editor of Kathpress, the news website of that conference. He is also responsible, as the archbishop of Vienna, for what his diocesan website publishes.

On July 12, Kathpress published a dossier with six articles, most of which undermine HV's central teaching that artificial contraception is immoral. (None of the articles presents a strong defense of this encyclical’s teaching.)

One of these articles, entitled “Moral Theologian: to Further Develop Humanae Vitae,” is a review of a new book on HV and AL written by a progressive moral theologian Professor Martin Lintner (Brixen, Italy). Lintner opposes Paul VI’s teaching that natural family planning is the acceptable method of 'birth control' for Catholics.

Lintner denounces John Paul II reaffirmation of the ban on artificial contraception, and insists that the Church “has to take into account the decisions of conscience on the part of the faithful, and to include their reflections as a possible source of moral insight.”

Lintner flatly rejects Pope Paul VI’s concern about a coming and pervasive “contraceptive mentality” in the near future – which would also result in an increase of abortions – and says that this claim cannot be proven empirically. [Has there not been a spate of articles during this 50th year of HV quantifying just how prophetic Paul VI's warning was about the 'contraceptive mentality'. The figures and the correlations are hardly empirical but directly relate cause and effect.]

This troubling article was also published by Cardinal Schönborn’s own diocesan website, but notably without any reference to Kathpress as its source.

Another Kathpress article, also published by the Diocese of Vienna, is an interview with Martina Kronthaler, general secretary of “Aktion Leben” (“Action Life”), an Austrian non-Catholic counseling organization for pregnant women. She thinks it is not obvious which method is to be applied in order to “avoid an unwanted pregnancy” (in the words of Kathpress), and that Natural Family Planning, recommended by HV, is not the right method for every woman.

“A person being taught to avoid abortions has to be informed about all different methods of regulation of conception and of contraception,” she claims. As to what would remain of HV in those circumstances, Kronthaler explicitly cited a passage from AL (82): “When morally assessing the methods, the dignity of the person has to be respected.”

In a third, quite heterodox article published by Kathpress, Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff (Freiburg, Germany) is interviewed. He is a moral theologian like Professor Lintner, and both are at the forefront of another moral revolution within the Church.

Schockenhoff claims that at least since the pontificate of John Paul II, there has been [a significant restraint of the Church’s Magisterium with regard to the methods of family planning. Benedict XVI and certainly Francis have been much more reticent than their predecessors. [And that, to me, is a completely empirical ad hoc affirmation. I doubt Paul VI himself spoke repeatedly of NFP, and if I had the time and the means, I would do a search to show how many times he and his successors spoke of NFP - because it is one thing to say that NFP is the only approved means of 'birth control' acceptable for Catholics, and another to advocate it openly and repeatedly as if proselytizing for birth control, albeit naturally!]

“I think one has realized it to be a wrong path” to insist upon Natural Family Planning as the only acceptable method of avoiding conception while still engaging in marital relations."

Schockenhoff also claims that, today, there is much less emphasis placed on the infallibility of magisterial instructions. [That's a stupid statement, since papal infallibility refers only to papal statements on faith and morals, certainly not on climate change or economics or immigration! But aren't the most appalling parts of AL statements on morals and thereby extremely fallible on those grounds because the morality it advocates is situational and empirical and worse, favors what is objectively sinful in the eyes of the Church and our Lord.]

Francis, for example, has refrained from using the “normative precision” that characterizes Humanae Vitae, and he has limited himself to stressing human dignity with regard to “the regulation of conception”. [Really? And what human dignity is to be respected in willful self-indulgent copulation (also sinful in the case of unmarried couples)?] Moreover, he adds, Francis does not make any condemnations,. [What is there for him to condemn since ultimately, nothing is a sin to him?]

“A Pope cannot simply correct his predecessor and say that he was in error, but he simply tries not to demand it [certain moral conduct] with the same loudness and sense of obligation,” says Schockenhoff. [Thus, the standard Bergoglian apologia for, say, violating many of the precepts in Veritatis splendor, ignoring the definitive ban on communion for remarried divorcees in Familiaris consortio, and all the sacramental leniencies allowed by AL.]

Another article published only on the website of the Archdiocese of Vienna describes the history of HV and negative criticisms of it offered independently by several bishops’ conferences, such as the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, which, in 1968, issued the “Mariatroster Erklärung” (Declaration of Mariatrost). These declarations proposed giving more freedom to the individual conscience when it comes to choosing methods of birth control. The Mariatrost document also questions the infallibility of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical.

It is noteworthy to see that Cardinal Schönborn himself in 2008 – during Pope Benedict’s pontificate – made a strong public criticism of that rejection of HV's essential teaching, claiming that it led to a weakening of the engagement for life on the part of the Church. The Austrian cardinal and papal adviser at that time spoke of Europe’s threefold “no” to its future: in its rejection of HV, the legalization of abortion, and finally the promotion of same-sex partnerships. One should never say NO to HV, the cardinal said then.
The archbishop now seems to have forgotten his own earlier words, or he has now changed his position.

The move to 'go beyond' HV is even more regrettable inasmuch as Europe is demographically dying, as Gotti Ettore Tedeschi, the former head of the Vatican bank, pointed out at the May 21 Rome Conference of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF), an institution set up by orthodox pro-lifers after the Bergoglian changes to the JPII Institute for Studies on Family Life at the Pontifical Lateran University.

OnePeterFive reached out to its president, Professor Josef Seifert, an Austrian Catholic philosopher, for a comment on the recent articles on HV here presented. In his response, he speaks about the “shocking disloyalty of the Austrian bishops toward Humanae Vitae” and adds that it is “more than sad to see how the Austrian Bishops’ Conference – and also Cardinal Schönborn – react to the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.” Seifert notes that “Schönborn, back in 2008, finally after many decades of papal admonishments, declared that the Declaration of Mariatrost, with its attenuated and ambiguous praise of Humanae Vitae which truly was a rejection of it, was a mistake.” [How can a Prince of the Church justify his 180-degree turns (and back again, sometimes, as in this case) on essential matters of Catholic doctrine? Surely, Dante has a place in Hell assigned to traitors to the faith like Bergoglio, Schoenborn and their ilk.]

Commenting on the recent set of articles as published by kathpress, Seifert says:

Several articles by moral theologians and others on episcopal websites do nothing but attack Humanae Vitae, in spite of hypocritical assurances that it was a prophetical document, etc. They not only put into question the main truth as proclaimed in Humanae Vitae that each act of contraception is in itself evil, but they also try to support their error with even more generally grave and nearly absurd errors. One of them is being presented by the moral theologian Professor Lintner, who claims that the moral law has to be subject to developments – that is to say, when a majority of the people does not follow it anymore and does not act anymore according to Humanae Vitae...

Will adultery become good because so many people break their marriages? Is abortion now becoming good or a less grave sin? Is it not anymore a crime that cries to heaven because millions commit it?”

Is the law to love God above all not any more valid because a large part of the people break it?”

Nothing could be more absurd than such historical-ethical relativism. And yet we find this absurd error even on episcopal websites on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae...

It is to be hoped that the Austrian bishops finally understand the truth of the words spoken by Cardinal Schönborn in 2008 and then unanimously rescind the wrong Declaration of Mariatrost and speak up clearly for the truth of the teachings of Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio...

Contraception is for many reasons intrinsically evil, not only because the pill has two effects that cause an early abortion and thus is, in a high percentage in its application, murder but also because contraception separates the procreative from the unitive meaning of the marital act.

What a shame it is for the Church in Austria to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae with the help of a swarm of its enemies on episcopal websites!”

In order to counter these initiatives, the philosopher, a student of Dietrich von Hildebrand, now proposes that the Austrian bishops, as a sort of reparation, publish on their websites articles on HV and invite speakers to a conference on HV, all of whom would “defend beautifully this encyclical, and who are now active in pastoral care which explains its fuller teaching to married couples and to betrothed couples in an appealing way.”

As participants of such a positive initiative, Seifert recommends Professor Helmut Prader (Heiligenkreuz), Bishop Andreas Laun (the retired auxiliary bishop of Salzburg), and Bishop Athanasius Schneider (Astana, Kazakhstan).

We may add that, in light of these trenchant words, as well as his own expertise, Professor Seifert himself should also be invited as a speaker at such a conference.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/21/2018 10:36 PM]
7/21/2018 11:01 PM
Post: 32,055
Post: 14,141
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
Save the seed of faith:
A lesson from the creator of Don Camillo

Translated from

July 19,, 2018

We are approaching the 50th anniversary of the death of Giovannino Guareschi (7/22/68) and we wish to metaphorically lay a flower on his tomb by writing about a beautiful book by Alessandro Gnocchi, who is our best scholar on Guareschi.

The book, Lettere ai posteri di Giovannino Guareschi (Letter to the heirs of Giovannino Guareschi (Marsilio, 144 pp) is a ‘journey’ – sorrowful and amusing at the same time – through the alarms that, in his own way, with a mixture of humor, sarcasm and poetry, the creator of Don Camillo and Peppone repeatedly launched towards the end of his earthly life, in the face of the inexorable advance of those monsters brought forth by the post -Conciliar ‘new church, all progressivism and reformism", which was committed to rid itself of tradition, and without the least sense of ridicule, to show itself more modern than the moderns.

The interventions reported and commented on by Gnocchi date from 1963 to 1968, the last five years of Guareschi’s life. Half a century ago – it seems like an eternity. And yet in those writings one sees the ‘logic’ of ‘the Church’ today as photographed at its dawning, the same spasmodic striving for aggiornamento (‘keeping up to date’) if it means giving pleasure to the world and earning the consensus of the enemies of the Catholic faith.

Under his disconsolate eyes, and his mustache that seemed to droop increasingly sadder, Giovannino saw the advance of a ‘church’ in which the adjective ‘dialogante’ (dialoguing) rhymed appropriately with ‘protestante’, a church that had abandoned its altar in favor of ‘snack bar’ tables, a church that nonchalantly got rid of Latin and all of the marvels of liturgy that had come down to us through the ages, a church that consigned images of Christ, Our Lady and the saints to the attic because they were considered ‘shameful’, a church that transformed the Holy Mass into a social gathering, etc, etc.

The letters which Guareschi, in the midst of the post-conciliar disasters, wrote to his Don Camillo all deserve to be read and meditated on. The parish priest who spoke with the Crucified Lord was now in a new world where the enemy was no longer the old communist Peppone, no longer the Communist Party, no longer the fellow travllers, but ‘the new church’ that was arm in arm with the Marxists of the day and the radical chic Leftists, the ‘new church’ which – in order to be admitted to the grand ball of dominant ideas, had tossed to the wayside 2000 years of Christian wisdom to follow the ways of the world, a church that no longer spoke of salvation n but of ‘liberation’, which seemed not to believe in the sacraments anymore and was abandoning long-held dogmas to embrace the new super-dogma of dialog, a church that no longer saw itself as the Spouse of Christ, but as ‘a people’.

Today, half a century later, we are experiencing the results of what Guareschi grasped rapidly and well as he witnessed the prodrome of the great ‘deconstruction’: Christ expelled from the house of God; the Host become 'fast food' to be eaten while standing, as at a bar; atheist theologians hailed as prophets; priests transformed into televangelists attached to a microphone; persons proposed to be beatified and canonized only if they are considered pacifists and socially committed (one must read the pages Guareschi dedicates to the soon to be Blessed La Pira, to what Guareshi calls ‘lapirism’ and the ‘lapirate’ (La Pira’s followers).

[The man’s biodata – as recounted by Wikipedia – exemplifies the ideal Bergoglian saint. La Pira (1951-1965) was an Italian Roman Catholic politician who served as the Mayor of Florence twice. In his public and private life he was a tireless champion of peace and human rights who worked for the betterment of the poor and disenfranchised. He was a staunch advocate for peace and made several trips to the East to places such as China and Russia which were sometimes deemed to be controversial in the Cold War era. Those trips were undertaken to discuss peace ventures and ends to conflict, with La Pira also prioritizing ecumenism as a reason for visiting Moscow where he often met with members of the Russian Orthodox Church. La Pira's cause for sainthood opened in the 1980s and became titled as Venerable on 5 July 2018 when Pope Francis confirmed that he had lived a life of heroic virtue.]

But at least 50 years ago, the new conquistadores, however foolish, were animated by a sacred fire, while today we are offered the moldy remnants of their own thought. At least 50 years ago, the new liturgy, however atrocious, seemed to hold something that was vital whereas now, it offers nothing but tired and meaningless remastications, as no one knows anymore why Holy Mass has become a happening instead of the recreation of the Divine Sacrifice.

What does it serve to dig this all up, my friend Gnocchi asks, saying clearly he has no ‘solutions’ out of pocket, and we ask ourselves, too, especially in the face of current events.

Let us consider the proposal made by Cardinal Coccpalmerio, who has suggested to the pope that he should insert a new norm in the Code of Canon Law that would be dedicated to the ‘grave duty’ of every Catholic to improve the natural environment. We all know that after Laudato si, an anomalous wave of ecologism washed over the ‘Catholic Church’, but we did not imagine it would come to this! While we are at it, perhaps the Holy See should ask Greenpeace to draft the new norm!

But here is what Coccopalmerio himself suggests: “The Code of Canon law, at the start of Book II, in Canons 208-221, under the title ‘Obligations and rights of all the faithful’, presents a list of these obligations and rights, and therefore constitutes an authoritative identikit of the Catholic faithful and his life as a Christian. Unfortunately, it says nothing of one of the most serious of all duties: that of safeguarding and promoting the natural environment in which man lives. I propose to ask the pope to ask the Dicastery for Legislative texts [which Cocco led until his recent retirement upon turning 80] the insertion of a new canon that would be something like this:

“Every faithful Christian, remembering that Creation is our common home, has the grave duty not only not to damage but to improve, whether by normal good behavior or by specific initiatives, the natural environment in which every person must live”.

All very well. But why not do more and better? For example, in the light of the new and urgent duties inspired by the ecologist ideology, why not rewrite Canon 211. What, you don’t know what Canon 211 provides for? It says:

“All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.”

Ah, but divine message? Salvation? Come, come! The new paradigm needs far different perspectives. So the Bergoglian Canon 211 would read:

“All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the defense of the natural environment more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.”

Which would also, among other things, eliminate the problem of proselytism. Which, according to the new paradigm, must be avoided like the plague.

And what are we to say about this Father Zanotelli who has expressed the wish that all Catholic churches be transformed into hostels for ‘illegal aliens’ and has promoted a fasting marathon in St. Peter’s Square where participants would relieve each other as relay teams do. And of Mons. Nogaro, emeritus bishop of Caserta, who agreeing with Zanotelli’s notions, has said he is morally ready, as a man of faith, to transform all Catholic churches into mosques in order to save the lives of the poor and the unhappy?

One is dumbfounded. But we cannot afford to be. We are reminded by the Crucified Christ himself who, when asked by don Camillo what can be done in the face of the disaster to the Church, replied:

“What the peasant does when the river overflows its banks and invades the fields: he must save the seed. When the river goes back to its bed, the earth will emerge again and the sun will dry it up. If the peasant had saved seed, he can now sow it into earth that has been made more fertile by the river’s deposits, and the seed will flourish and bear fruit, and those ripe golden spikes will give man bread, life and hope.

"The seed must be saved – that seed is faith. Don Camillo, help anyone who still has the faith and keeps it intact. Today the spiritual desert is growing more vast by the day, and every new day brings new souls drying up because they no longer have faith. With every new day, men of many words and no faith are destroying the spiritual patrimony and the faith of others”.

And there is a thought from Aleksandr Solzhenitskyn that Gnocchi cites at the end.

"When lies seem to dominate everywhere, there is always one thing we can do: refuse to participate personally in the lying, so that if it dominates, it is not due to something I did”.

In one of his letters, Guareschi writes don Camillo: “Hold fast, don Camillo. When the generals are traitors, then we need the fidelity of soldiers even more.” So, take courage and move onward.

“As often happens when intellectuals, theologians and pastors lose their heads," Gnocchi comments, "the sensus fidei of the ordinary faithful becomes even firmer. And we can be sure that where the true sense of the faith survives, it also broods over the sensus traditionis”.

Guareschi makes this point very clear in a scene he imagines with the Bianchi family (characters he created in order to show the encounters and skirmishes among various Catholic types), in which the progressivist priest don Giacomo, the progressivist Catholic layman Signor Bianchi, and the ‘unlabelled’ (plain) Catholic who is Signora Bianchi have this exchange:
- “We must form a committee of parishioners who have modern ideas,” says Don Giacomo.
- “Count me in!” says Signor Bianchi.
- "What about you, Madame?”, the priests asks the Signora.
- “No. One cretin in the family is enough."
7/21/2018 11:21 PM
Post: 32,056
Post: 14,142
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
So much has been happening in the FSSPX lately that I am glad Fr Z has a convenient summary and update...

Updates on the FSSPX

July 20, 2018

The FSSPX leadership has been meeting to elect officers and make decisions about their future direction.

Recently, they elected as their Superior an Italian priest, Fr. David Pagliarani. If stories be true, he has some game. There is an anecdote about him. It seems that, as the story goes, when he was a small boy, some clerics, including bishops, stopped at the inn which his family ran. He heard them joking about and denying transubstantiation. This boy then confronted them, saying, ”Jesus is truly present and I believe it. God is going to punish you for saying this!!” This was Fr. Pagliarani.

The SSPX determined that they wanted this priest to be their Superior General. And to indicate an new/old direction, they elected as his Aaron and Hur, SSPX Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and Fr Christian Bouchacourt. Hence, some concluded that the SSPX would now take a harder line.

However, an SSPX communique tersely says that two more assistants have been added, Bp. Bernard Fellay, who has led them for years, and Fr. Franz Schmidberger, who was their first Superior from 1988.

So, additional depth – along with continuity – has been added to the leadership bench of the SSPX.

It was pointed out to me that there is a significant difference between English and the French Press Releases.

The English has an additional piece of information.

As the Society has grown over the years, the Chapter saw it fit to add two councillors who will serve as advisors to the new Superior General.

That point about their growth is significant.

This may suggest that there isn’t such a strong shift in direction. Perhaps they needed additional central advisers because they are so much larger now than they were in 1988 when it was originally set up. Their expansion requires more personnel, and they have provided for continuity.

Also, keep in mind that it was Archbp. Lefevbre’s intention that a priest, not a bishop, lead the Priestly Fraternity. So once again, a priest is their Superior.

UPDATE: 21 July
The final address of the Chapter has been released.

At the close of its General Chapter, the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X calls to mind the importance and timeliness of the declaration made by its founder, Marcel Lefebvre, on November 21, 1974. More than fifty years of the Church’s “self-destruction” allow one fully to appreciate the soundness of that declaration, which the Society embraces in its entirety:

“We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth. (…)

No authority, not even the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic Faith, so clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s Magisterium for twenty centuries. (…)

That is why we hold fast to all that has been believed and practiced in the faith, morals, liturgy, teaching of the catechism, formation of the priest and institution of the Church, by the Church of all time; to all these things as codified in those books published before the Modernist influence of the Council. This we shall do until such time that the true light of Tradition dissipates the darkness obscuring the sky of Eternal Rome.”

The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X intends to pursue its principal purpose, which is the priesthood as Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted it, and always to keep the priesthood focused on its very reason for existing: the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The Society is enlivened by the same sentiments as Saint Pius X, its patron saint: “To eliminate all vain delusions for such, We say to them with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. Hence, should anyone ask Us for a symbol as the expression of Our will, We will give this and no other: “To renew all things in Christ.'” (E supremi apostolatus, October 4, 1903.)

With the same faith and the same hope as this holy pope, the Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, through its preaching and apostolate, proclaims Our Lord Jesus Christ’s dominion over all men and all nations, such that his rights and authority be acknowledged and venerated by all. For this reason the Society continues to work for the triumph of Christ the King and invites all souls of good will to join in this stirring supernatural endeavor.

Sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Ecône July 21, 2018

God bless the FSSPX, its leadership and members, and all the benefactors and supporters who have kept it alive and flourishing all these years as a Catholic institution that has kept the faith, its doctrine and its traditions intact.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 2:07 AM]
7/22/2018 12:23 AM
Post: 32,057
Post: 14,143
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
Sad to say, the phenomenon and great sin of lying for convenience and to push one's agenda has become pandemic in the Bergoglian community, starting with the pope himself... In this story, Pinocchio is the president of one of those bleeding-heart liberal Catholic organizations that, I am sure, does its share of good work wherever it operates, but which also trades sanctimoniously, hypocritically and shamelessly on its do-goodism...

Sant'Egidio president claims:
More old people are dying in Italy
because there are not enough caregivers
since the migrant influx slowed down

Translated from

July 19, 2018

We got an urgent telephone call from Pezzo Grosso, who sounded strange. I could not tell if it was from tears or from laughter, pr perhaps from both – he wept because of laughing and he laughed in order not to weep. He said he was sending me a new message and begged me, literally on his knees (we were not using the videophone but it seemed clear to me), to publish it even if it was his second commentary this week, as he knows that I generally space out the contributions to this blog.

And when I finally did get his piece, I realized he was right – it is something not to lose! And I am still laughing over it.

Dear Tosatti, I got this information from a friend – it is too good not to share with your readers if it is the truth. Of course, with my comments:

“The president of the Sant’Egidio Community, Prof. Marco Impagliazzo, released through the most authoritative news agencies, a statistical document that allegedly shows a cause-and-effect relationship between the drastic reduction in the arrival of new ‘migrants’ to Italy, the reduction in the number of persons seeking employment as caregivers, and the consequent increase in the suffering and even the mortality of aged persons”.

In short, the current Minister of the Interior [who implements the government’s immigration laws and has turned away boatloads of ‘undocumented aliens’ seeking to land in Italy] is responsible for an increased death rate among older Italians.

The correspondents of the AP, BBC, CNN and Reuters assure us that at the time he made his declaration to a news conference in Trastevere, Prof. Impagliazzo definitely seemed sober.

My comment: If Impagliazzo had been able to explain his statements rationally, he would deserve the Nobel Prize for Economics and should immediately replace the current Minister for Economic Development!

But his statements were exactly what one has read in the thousands of propaganda flyers circulating in Italy to explain the need for unrestricted immigration into Italy – statements virtually identical to what we have heard from radicals like Emma Bonino or from the Italian bishops’ conference.

Now it seems we don’t have enough people wanting to serve as caregivers. Has anyone seen boatloads of immigrants comprised mainly of caregivers (or people intending to work as caregivers)? If we don’t get as many immigrants now, it’s only because intending migrants who are undocumented no longer have as much incentive as before.

As for the mortality of older people, one must relate it to the cuts in the government’s budget for health and pension services – cuts made necessary in order to pay for the basic needs of those migrants who have come into the country illegally.

Incidentally, once and for all, help me cry out: WHEN CAN WE SEE THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF SANT’EGIDIO? I am convinced it would me most interesting to analyze the figures.

Another interesting item from Tosatti:

Rumors about imminent
Vatican sanctions on FFI founder

Translated from

July 21, 2018

On July 11, 2013, an order from the Congregation for the Religious placed the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate under the Vatican’s administrative control and suspended its leadership.This take-over continues (even if the first Vatican commissar has died in the meantime) and no one knows when it could end.

This state of affairs has lasted too long. But this is not the only anomaly in this entire affair. The Vatican never gave a formal reason for the take-over except for the late commissar’s words that the FFI had shown a ‘Lefebvrian drift’ – and what he meant by that, we cannot now know.

[Of course, his words were generally taken to mean that the FFI had become too ‘traditionalist’, choosing for instance to use the traditional Latin Mass in the community liturgies. A handful of FFI priests who prefer the Novus Ordo – and who were not barred from using it if that was their preference – complained to the Vatican, and the take-over was effected on their word.]

These days, however, voices at the Vatican as well as at the Italian bishops’ conference claim that the Vatican is about to issue some sort of disciplinary sanction against Fr. Stefano Manelli, founder of the FFI, who turned 85 last May. [And who has been under house arrest since 2013, not even being allowed by the Vatican to visit his parents' graves on All Souls Day.]

The rumor is supposed to have originated from one of the three present Vatican commissars for the FFI, Sabino Ardito, a Salesian priest. Though unfortunately not verifiable for now, it is said that a document containing the sanctions and prepared by the Congregation under Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz is already on the pope’s desk and that the sanctions would be followed by a new chapter-general (an assembly of the entire FFI membership) that would review the order’s charter, specifically to do away with the vow of consecration to Mary Immaculate which the commissars have already discarded in the professions required of novices. [So is the FFI still getting novices???] They would also reportedly do away with the vow of poverty which prohibits the order and its members from having any material possessions.

Because of that vow of poverty, the all of the FFI’s material assets were held by lay associations that provided the order with its material needs. And because of this, the Vatican has been unable to expropriate these assets.

The Italian courts upheld the rights of the lay associations, so the Vatican tried to put pressure on Fr. Manelli to convince the lay associations to turn over the assets to the Vatican!

The legal battle waged by the Vatican was tough, reaching all the way to the Court of Appeals. And it is curious that one of the main protagonists in this legal battle was the secretary of the Congregation for the Religious, the Spaniard Fr. Francisco Carballo, a trusted aide of the reigning pope and the man responsible for the financial collapse of the Franciscan order during the time he was the Superior-General. The encounter between priests and money often leads to unpleasant results.

According to the rumor, the canonical sanctions against Fr. Manelli would be based on his failure to exercise moral suasion over the lay associations supporting the FFI. If that were indeed the case, we would be witnessing yet another anomaly, in which the founder of an order is canonically sanctioned not for any crime he committed, nor for whatever reason led to the Vatican take-over of the FFI, but because refused or failed to make persons over which he has no rights whatsoever to do or not do whatever he asks them to do.

In the saga of the FFI, we have been witnessing singular forms of ‘justice’. Including the pope’s imperious act prohibiting the female branch of the FFI from protesting their takeover to the Apostolic Segnatura, the church’s supreme canonical court.

If the rumored Chapter-General is held, it could possibly sweep out everything that remains of the FFI’s particular charism, starting with its consecration to the Immaculate.

Why this overweening will to destroy – or denature – a charism so beloved to St. John Paul II, which had given rise to so many new vocations when the order was still autonomous? This is the most mysterious and inexplicable aspect of this sad and depressing episode in the annals of this pontificate.

We shall see if the rumors have any basis.

It is worthwhile to be acquainted with the essential facts about Fr. Manelli. It says a lot about this Vatican that it should be persecuting a man like him:

Stefano Manelli (born 1933) was the sixth of 21 children born to the Servants of God Settimio and Licia Manelli, a couple whose cause for beatification is pending. He received his First Communion from Padre Pio, who was a close friend of his parents, and for whose church he served as a choirboy. He entered the minor seminary of the Conventual Franciscan Friars in Cupertino at age 12 and was ordained a priest in October 1955. He obtained his doctorate in sacred theology from the Seraphicum in Rome, going on to be a professor of patristics and Mariology at various Franciscan seminaries in Italy. During this time, he became universally renowned in scholastic circles for his studies on the Bible, on dogma, and on Marian devotion.

In response to the call of Vatican II for religious to “return to the spiritual sources of their order” and “adapt them to the contemporary world”, Fr. Manelli conceived of an order that would follow the Franciscan life in its integrity, inspired by Saints Francis of Assisi and Maximilian Kolbe [who had promoted devotion to the Immaculate and founded the he Militia Immaculatae (Army of the Immaculate One), to work for conversion of sinners and enemies of the Catholic Church, specifically the Freemasons, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary].

Manelli founded the FFI in August 1970 in Italy. In 1982, he founded the first community of the Sisters of the Immaculate in Manila. And in 1990 he founded the Mission of the Immaculate Mediarix in Loreto as the lay order of the FFI.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 2:26 AM]
7/22/2018 2:30 AM
Post: 32,058
Post: 14,144
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis reaches out to hug Cardinal McCarrick after a meeting with more than 300 U.S. Bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. McCarrick prided
himself in having been among those who actively worked for the election of Jorge Bergoglio as pope.

Will more revelations of Cardinal McCarrick's
sex abuses lead the pope to take away his 'red hat'?

by Nicole Winfield

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 20, 2018 (AP) — Revelations that one of the most respected U.S. cardinals repeatedly sexually abused both boys and adult seminarians have raised questions about who in the Catholic Church hierarchy knew — and what Pope Francis is going to do about it.

If the accusations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick bear out — including a new case reported Friday involving an 11-year-old boy — will Francis revoke his title of cardinal? Sanction him to a lifetime of penance and prayer? Or even defrock him, the expected sanction if McCarrick were a mere priest?

And will Francis, who has already denounced a “culture of cover-up” in the church, take the investigation all the way to the top, where it will inevitably lead, given that McCarrick’s sexual misdeeds with adults were reportedly brought to the Vatican’s attention years ago?

The matter is on the desk of the pope, who has already spent the better part of 2018 dealing with a spiraling child sex abuse, adult gay sex and cover-up scandal in Chile that was so vast the entire bishops’ conference offered to resign in May.

And just Friday, Francis accepted the resignation of the Honduran deputy to Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who is one of Francis’s top advisers.

Auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, 57, was accused of sexual misconduct with seminarians and lavish spending on his lovers that was so obvious to Honduras’s poverty-wracked faithful that Maradiaga is now under pressure to reveal what he knew of Pineda’s misdeeds and why he tolerated a sexually active gay bishop in his ranks.

The McCarrick scandal, too, poses the same questions, given it was apparently an open secret in some U.S. church circles that “Uncle Ted” invited seminarians to his beach house, and into his bed.

While such an abuse of power may have been quietly tolerated for decades, it doesn’t fly in the #MeToo era, even though there has been a deafening silence from McCarrick’s brother cardinals about what they might have known and when.

“There is going to be so much clamor for the Holy Father to remove the red hat, to formally un-cardinalize him,” said the Rev. Thomas Berg, vice rector and director of admissions at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, the seminary of the archdiocese of New York.

Recounting how the McCarrick scandal has demoralized seminarians and priests alike, Berg said the church needs to ensure that men with same-sex attraction simply don’t enter seminaries — a position recently reinforced by Francis in reference to both the Chilean and Italian churches.

And Berg said the church needs to take action when celibacy vows are violated. “We can’t effectively prevent the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults by clergy while habitual and widespread failures in celibacy are quietly tolerated,” he said.

McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington and confidante to two popes, was ultimately undone when the U.S. church announced June 20 that Francis had ordered him removed from public ministry. The sanction was issued pending a full investigation into a “credible” allegation that he fondled a teenager more than 40 years ago in New York City.

The dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, New Jersey, simultaneously revealed that they had received three complaints of misconduct by McCarrick against adults and had settled two of them.

The New York Times on Friday reported details of another alleged victim, the son of a McCarrick family friend identified as James, who reported that he was 11 when McCarrick first exposed himself to him. From there, McCarrick began a sexually abusive relationship that continued for another two decades, the Times quoted James as saying.

McCarrick has denied the initial allegation of abuse against a minor and accepted the pope’s decision to remove him from public ministry.

Asked Friday about the latest revelations in the Times, a spokeswoman said McCarrick hadn’t received formal notice of any new allegation but would follow the civil and church processes in place to investigate them.

Francis could take immediate action to remove McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, said Kurt Martens, a canon lawyer at the Catholic University of America.

He recalled the case of the late Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who recused himself from the 2013 conclave that elected Francis pope after unidentified priests alleged he engaged in sexual misconduct. In 2015, after a Vatican investigation, Francis accepted O’Brien’s resignation after he relinquished the rights and privileges of being a cardinal. O’Brien was, however, allowed to retain the cardinal’s title and he died a member of the college.

“I think that is totally unsatisfactory,” Martens said, noting that just as the pope can grant the title of cardinal, he can also take it away. “O’Brien resigned, the pope accepted it. Isn’t that the world upside down that someone picks his own penalty?”

O’Brien was never accused of sexually abusing a minor, however, as McCarrick now stands.

The stiffest punishment that an ordinary priest would face if such an accusation is proven would be dismissal from the clerical state, or laicization.

The Vatican rarely if ever, however, imposes such a penalty on elderly prelates. It also is loath to do so for bishops, because theologically speaking, defrocked bishops can still validly ordain priests and bishops.

Not even the serial rapist Rev. Marcial Maciel was defrocked after the Vatican finally convicted him of abusing Legion of Christ seminarians. Maciel was sentenced to a lifetime of penance and prayer — the likely canonical sanction for McCarrick if he is found guilty of abusing a minor in a church trial.

A blogger whose site is called 'Conquered by Love' reports and comments on the reaction of LGBTQ advocate and patron James Martin, SJ, to the McCarrick revelations - which were not revelations to him.

Fr. James Martin outs himself
as an enabler of sexual predators

July 20, 2018

Lousy catechesis in the Catholic Church has resulted in enablers that come in all shapes and sizes.

A lot of times, priests and bishops suffer from cowardice and spiritual sloth.

A good amount of cognitive dissonance comes from priests who are sexually active or wish they were.

Every once in a while, you bump into a priest/bishop/Cardinal whose lies are seductive, sophisticated and pathological.

They even lie when there's no reason to lie. Then they lie about their lies.

Everything Fr. James Martin says or writes is saturated with this kind of dishonesty.

Martin has written an exhaustive thesis on how and why 'Uncle Teddy' got away with his sexual crimes. It's every excuse in the book, except the real reason: There are hundreds of Uncle Teds in episcopal office, and Rome is filled to the rafters with them - so if you want to be a priest, you've got to keep under their radar.

Before Pope Francis, they were at least an underdog, though they still held powerful positions in Rome and had the capacity to destroy a vocation. Some priests claim they are capable of murder and this is one of the reasons why the Church has been unable to drive them out. They certainly have been given more power under Pope Francis, which is not at all edifying.

Fr. Martin admits he heard all the stories of Cardinal McCarrick's sexual assaults. He even knew where Cardinal McCarrick was committing sexual assaults. But, he never personally knew a victim, so the sexual assaults were OK to sweep under the rug because he admired him for his kindness and social justice work.

For the record, Cardinal McCarrick was also someone whom I, like many American Catholics, admired for both his pastoral work and social justice advocacy. Whenever I met him, he was also unfailingly kind, and I saw him extend that same kindness to others.

The overwhelming vibes Cardinal McCarrick gave off that he was a sexually-active homosexual might have had something to do with the admiration, too. After all, that is Fr. James Martin's entire shtick.

This is enabling at its best.

I cannot help but wonder how many other sexual predators in the Church he hasn't reported?

Mundabor calls attention to a 'delicious' irony involving two of Bergoglio's favorite cardinals in this item I belately saw...

Cardinal McCarrick well deserves
the 'Spirit Of Francis Award'

July 11, 2018

This is, in fact, no irony at all.

Cardinal McCarrick, a decades-long homosexual predator, truly deserves the “Spirit of Francis award” given to him by no other than Cardinal Cupich.

McCarrick did what many of these these homo scoundrels do: they go among the poor, spreading money and favours and, in the meantime, looking for uneducated, very poor victims too hungry or too afraid to speak. This is the method of the curas villeros, the priest plunging (I should say: disappearing) into the Argentinian slums in search of easy prey, who so well epitomise this dirty papacy smelling of… shit.

If you have not understood by now that Cupich had to know about the allegations against McCarrick and the payments made to shush his accusers, and that he is clearly part and parcel, and immersed up to his neck, in this system of either homosexual conduct or, at least, homosexual blackmail, you have not been playing attention. How could, otherwise, a newly-minted Cardinal have been do dumb to link his name to a man the Cardinal had to know was unofficially radioactive?

[Mundabor links to the July 10, 2011 LifeSite report on the award given to the now disgraced cardinal on Nov. 27, 2016 in New York.
But a news report on the award ceremony itself, held in Manhattan, can be found on
The award was from Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based organization that helps with church construction, provides funds for ministerial needs and seminary training, and contributes other ways in underfunded dioceses around the USA. Cupich, who is the Chancellor of Catholic Extension, praises McCarrick for "his own unique way of making his mark on the Church. He’s always cared for people who are easily forgotten, who are on the margins. Even today, he is involved in efforts to open the doors to the church in China.” But the last line of the report is a real corker: "At the end of the presentation, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan made a surprise appearance to express his 'appreciation and admiration and love for Cardinal McCarrick, whom all of us look up to'.” Did Dolan flash back to those words when he made the announcement last month that the Vatican had decided to strip McCarrick of his priestly faculties because of sex abuses committed on a minor in New York more than 40 years ago?]

I suspect of homosexuality every priest, Bishop or Cardinal who puts social work at the center of his “pastoral” activity, and so should you. They do this, certainly, in order to create a diversion from their loss of faith and from their betrayal of the Church, earning the easy applause of the world and ready-made career opportunities; but more often than not, they do this in order to find prey among the “dispossessed”.

McCorrick actually was even happy (and dumb enough, in retrospect) to assault his own seminarians instead of going huntin' in the “peripheries”; but this only shows what a scoundrel he is, not that the method does not work, or that he has himself not used it.

Congratulations, Cardinal McCorrick. You truly are an extremely worthy recipient of the “Spirit of Francis” award.

Congratulations, Cardinal Cupich. You are one of the standard bearers of the Church in which the likes of McCorrick have thrived for decades, honouring and enabling them and those like them.

We should talk about this “Spirit of Francis award” more. It is clear that, at the moment, it is all the rage.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 9:44 AM]
7/22/2018 5:55 AM
Post: 32,059
Post: 14,145
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

New Catholic at Rorate caeli weighs in on the positive legacy of soon-to-be Saint Paul VI, a much-conflicted pope, in reflecting on the significance of his most famous encyclical.

Humanæ Vitæ at 50 - I
"It is never lawful to do evil
that good may come of it"

Salomon de Bray (1597-1664) was a Dutch painter. He was also an architect, urban planner, poet, and designer of silverware. He was, above all, a Catholic father of ten children, three of whom also became successful painters (Jan, Joseph, and Dirck).

The tenderness with which Salomon pictures (see our special masthead) his nephew's twin babies, Clara and Aelbert de Bray, is remarkable: How much love De Bray must have dedicated to his large family in the city of Haarlem, amidst the generally harsh conditions imposed upon Catholics in the newly-independent United Provinces!

A strong Catholic identity, a love for life and family in a hostile environment: As most Catholics of most ages, De Brey probably understood intimately what Popes of the twentieth century would have to write explicitly - that "it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it" (Humanæ Vitæ, 14).

Pope Paul VI is described by most historians as a kind of tragic figure, trying to control the whirlwind of events surrounding him, but unable to do much. It is probably because of this, because it seemed that Montini often bent to the opinions of the world, because it seemed that he frequently accepted the fabricated notions and texts which committees of false sages delivered to him (with very small modifications), that the moments in which he did not bend shine so clearly with the simple brightness of Peter.

The Nota Prævia to Lumen Gentium, the vigorous defense of the traditional Eucharistic doctrines (in Mysterium Fidei) and of the teachings on Indulgences (in Indulgentiarum Doctrina), the Credo of the People of God are pillars which remain standing in a crumbling edifice, signs of supernatural protection.

Amidst the moral collapse of the 1960s, and against the commission set up by his predecessor to re-examine the matter, Peter spoke though Paul in Humanæ Vitæ:"It is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it."

It is thus never lawful "to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general."

NUMQUAM - never. Therefore, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

Fr H riffs on Paul VI and HV in a minor key:


July 21, 2018

There is a committee in Rome, we are told, researching the genesis of ... the events and processes leading up to ... Humanae Vitae. I wonder what is going on. If anybody actually knows I would be glad to be informed. But I suspect that we all have little to go on except for inferences to be drawn from the composition of the committee.

So ... a hypothesis ...

The committee's task is to construct a claim like this: "HV says ... apparently and on the surface ... X. But if you examine HV carefully in the context of the evolution of its text, it becomes obvious that HV really means non-X (or not-quite-X or not-always-X)." [That really is a superb precis of Bergoglian pastoral 'logic', otherwise known as Jesuitic casuistry!]

Other hypotheses?

Less hypothetically: Blessed Paul VI is going to be canonised, unless the Eschaton prevents it. Rather than letting the organisers make headway out of it as a celebration for the Bergoglian view of 'the Council', would it not be rather jolly if something could be done to present the positive aspects of that pontificate? [Which is exactly what New Catholic in Rorate caeli has done in a nutshell!]

Seminars on the biblical typology of the concept of the Smoke of Satan ... that sort of thing, perhaps? On the magisterial teaching of Paul VI on the Latin Language? [Ah, Fr H, New Catholic actually singled out Papa Montini's doctrinal high points!]

Those who are in heaven and partaking for eternity of the Beatific Vision would be beyond all human vanity and other vices that none of them care at all whether they are venerated as saints on the earth below. It matters to us who seek their intercession, but up there, I imagine the popes who reached heaven having a jolly good time bantering about who among them were declared saints and who were not - and why!

In an anthropomorphic Paradise, I would like to imagine Paul VI sheepishly apologizing to his mentor Pius XII for the random human vagaries that decide who is canonized, why and when, because until not too many years ago, it had been unthinkable to anyone in the Church that he could leapfrog his predecessor - who, except to Catholic-hating Jews, was thought a living saint in his lifetime - in the 'race to the honors of the altar' that the canonization process has become. And I would like to also imagine him apologizing to Pius V and Pius X - and all the saints who knew only the traditional Mass - for what he did to the Mass of the Ages. And maybe, John Paul II has been apologizing to God and St. Peter for making people like McCarrick and Bergoglio cardinals!

Meanwhile, Roberto de Mattei issues an important caveat that is contrary to Sandro Magister's seemingly total approval of the book by Mons. Marengo on the birth of HV, as a positive contribution that counter-acts the Bergoglio Vatican's apparent intention to modify HV and justify artificial contraception for pastoral reasons when a person 'discerns' it is right and good for her (just as it has justified the adulterous life of remarried Catholic divorcees and the choice of many contemporary couples to simply live together unmarried, and may soon be justifying same-sex unions).

The birth of Humanae Vitae
as documented in the Vatican Archives

by Roberto de Mattei
Translated for Rorate caeli by Francesca Romana from

July 18, 2018

At the beginning of 2017, Pope Francis set up “a study committee” to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25th 2018). The existence of this “secret” committee was brought to light some months later by two Catholic sites - Stilum Curiae and Corrispondenza Romana.

The committee coordinated by Monsignor Gilfedo Marengo, had the task of finding the documentation in the Vatican Archives related to the preparatory work for Humanae Vitae, during and after the Second Vatican Council. The first fruit of this work is the volume by Monsignor Marengo, The Birth of an Encyclical. Humanae Vitae in the light of the Vatican Archives, published by the Libreria Editice Vaticana. Other publications will perhaps follow and other documents will presumably be submitted, privately, to Pope Francis.

From a historiographical point of view, Monsignor Marengo’s book is disappointing. On the genesis and consequences of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, inserted into the context of the contraceptive revolution, the best book is still, in my view, Renzo Puccetti’s, The Poisons of Contraception (Edizioni Studio Domenicano, Bologna 2013).

Monsignor Marengo’s study, nevertheless, contains some new things. The most relevant is the publication of the entire text of an encyclical De nascendi prolis (On the birth of a child) (pp. 215-238), which, after five years of agonizing work, Paul VI approved on May 9th 1968, fixing the date of its promulgation for the Solemnity of the Ascension (May 23rd).

The encyclical that Monsignor Marego defines as “a rigorous pronunciation of moral doctrine” (p.194), was already printed in Latin when there was an unexpected turn of events. The two French translators, Monsignor Jacques Martin and Monsignor Paul Poupard, expressed strong reservations about the document’s too “traditional” approach.

Paul VI, upset by the criticisms, worked personally on numerous modifications of the text, changing, most of all, its pastoral tone, which became more “open” to the cultural and social solicitations of the modern world. Two months later, De nascendi prolis, had been transformed into Humanae Vitae. The concern of the Pope was that this encyclical “would be received in the least problematic way possible” (p. 121), thanks not only to the reformulations of its language, but also to the lowering of its dogmatic nature (p.103).

Monsignor Marengo recalls that Paul VI did not accept the invitation sent to him [after the huge controversy in the Catholic world caused by the publication of HV] by the then Archbishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyla, to issue “a pastoral instruction, reaffirming in no uncertain terms, the authority of the doctrine of Humanae Vitae, in face of the widespread movement of contestation to which it was subjected".

The objective, or at least the result of Monsignor Marengo’s book, seems to be that of relativizing Paul VI’s encyclical, which appears as if it were a phase in a complex historical journey and which has not been concluded by the publication of t he encyclical nor with the discussions that have followed it. One cannot “claim to have said the ‘last’ word and close, if it were ever needed, decades of debate” (p.11). [That seems proof enough about the intentions behind the study committee which Marengo headed, and that despite the weight of the documentation he cites contra, Marengo shares those intentions! I am surprised Magister did not catch this.]

On the basis of Monsignor Marengo’s historical reconstruction, the new theologians, who refer to Amoris laetititia, will say that the teaching of Humanae Vitae has not been changed, but must be understood as a whole, without reducing it to the condemnation of contraception, which is only one aspect.

In addition, they will say, pastoral care ought to be the criterion to interpret a document that refers to the doctrine of the Church on birth-control, but also to the need to apply it according to wise pastoral discernment. In the final analysis, Marengo's book is about reading Humanae Vitae in the light of Amoris laetitia. [Is De Mattei just hypercritical, or did Magister simply miss all that in his reading of Marengo's book?]

Humanae Vitae was an encyclical that caused great anguish (this is how Paul VI himself defined it) and was certainly courageous. The essence of the ’68 revolution, was, in fact, to reject all authority and all laws, in the name of liberating instincts and desires. Humanae Vitae, by reiterating the condemnation of abortion and contraception, was a reminder that not everything could be permitted, that there is a natural law and a supreme authority, the Church, which has the right and the duty to guard it.

Humanae Vitae was not a “prophetic” encyclical. It would have been, if it had dared to oppose the false neo-Malthusian prophets with the divine words “Increase and multiply” (Genesis 1, 28; 9,27). It did not do so, as Paul VI, in fear of coming into conflict with the world, accepted the myth of the demographic explosion, launched in 1968 by Paul Erlich’s book, The Population Bomb.

In 2017, this same Erlich, was invited by Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo to repeat his theories about overpopulation at the congress organized by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences on the theme: Biological Extinction: How To Save The Natural World On Which We Depend (February 27-March 1, 2017). Erlich had described the catastrophic scenarios awaiting the earth's inhabitants if they fail to take measures to contain population growth.

What the encyclical correctly condemns is artificial contraception, but without rejecting the new “dogma” of a necessary reduction in births. Humanae Vitae thus replaces Divine Providence, which until then, had regulated the births in Christian families, with the human calculation of “responsible parenthood”.

The Magisterium of the Church, affirms however, in a dogmatic manner, that contraception needs to be condemned not only because its per se an unnatural method, but also because it is in direct opposition to the primary end of marriage, which is procreation. If the procreative purpose is not declared to prevail over the unitive, it will be possible to sustain the thesis that contraception may be licit when it jeopardizes the intima communitas of the spouses.

John Paul II affirmed vigorously the teaching of Hunanae Vitae, but the conception of conjugal love during his pontificate is at the origins of many ambiguities. With regard to this, I would refer to the accurate analysis made by Don Pietro Leone, an excellent contemporary theologian, in his book The Family Under Attack: A Philosophical and Theological Defense of Human Society (Loreto Publications, 2015) of which Maike and Robert Hickson wrote a fine review in Rorate Caeli.

Over the last fifty years, due also to a misleading conception of the purposes of marriage, pontifical teachings have not been applied, and among Catholics the practice of contraception and abortion, cohabitations outside of marriage and homosexuality have spread widely. Amoris laetitia represents one outcome of an itinerary which has been a long time in the making.

Repeating almost verbatim the words pronounced on October 29th 1964 by Cardinal Leo-Joseph Suenens in the Council Hall: “Perhaps we have accentuated the words of the Scriptures: ‘increase and multiply’ to the point of neglecting the other Divine word: ‘and the two will be one flesh’, Pope Francis affirmed in Amoris laetitia “Then too, we often present marriage in such a way that its unitive meaning, its call to grow in love and its ideal of mutual assistance are overshadowed by an almost exclusive insistence on the duty of procreation". [36].

By turning these words around, we might say that in the last decades we have emphasized the biblical words “the two will be one flesh” almost exclusively, to the point of neglecting the other Divine Words “increase and multiply”.

It is also from these words, rich in significance, that we must start again, not only for a demographic rebirth but for a spiritual and moral regeneration of Europe and the Christian West.


Speaking of 50th anniversaries, 2018 is also the Golden Jubilee of the Cultural Revolution that apotheosized sex, drugs and rock-and-roll (along with Marx, Marcuse and Che Guevara), proclaimed the primacy of individual conscience over any law or norm, and gave birth to the 'me, myself and I' generations. But why is the secular and liberal world not celebrating it at all, nor even referring to it? I live in New York City where I could not possibly miss any sign of it.

So now, forgive me for this personal 'me, myself and I' digression. I remember being in Paris in May 1968 to report on the start of the Paris peace talks on Vietnam for my TV station in Manila - an assignment I got as a fledgling reporter simply because I had a working knowledge of French and knew enough about Vietnam from editing the foreign news for the nightly TV newscast and a crash course I gave myself beforehand on the history of Vietnam from the French colonial era to America's involvement. Willy nilly, I found myself literally on the frontlines of that 'overnight' Cultural Revolution (which, of course, I did not realize for what it was at the time) - covering the peace talks in the daytime (the Americans held their briefings at the posh Hotel Crillon near the US embassy, and the North Vietnamese at the Lutetia on Boulevard Raspail), then crossing over back to the Left Bank at night with my cameraman to photograph the student barricades, where they dug up cobblestones from the streets to hurl at policemen, their rioting and marches, their Marxist banners and slogans, and their occupation of the Sorbonne, then travelling by car to Brussels airport every other night to send home our film (yes, film! - those were the days before videocameras had become portable enough to replace film cameras that also require a cumbersome professional tape recorder for the audio part) because everything was at a standstill in France (no flights out of France and into France on account of the 'greve generale' - general strike - which also meant mountains of uncollected garbage in the streets). I never did have the chance to see President de Gaulle, but I would see him one year later in Washington, DC, when he came to the USA to take part in Dwight Eisenhower's funeral, which we were covering because our President took part.

As my roundtrip ticket in 1968 was on Air France, the only way I could get out after a month in Paris was to take the train to Spain and fly out of Barcelona for home, with day stops in Rome and Tehran. (Day stops were easily arranged on long-distance flights then. Enroute to Paris, I chose to stop off in Beirut for two days.) So I took another week off work to be a tourist in Spain, a kind of spiritual homeland for Filipinos like me who admire all the positive things Spain brought to us in 350 years of colonization, starting with the Catholic faith and their language. And I remember being in Santo Tome church in Toledo admiring El Greco's stupendous 'Burial of the Count of Orgaz' (said to be his greatest masterpiece) when some American tourists near me started exclaiming excitedly at the news on the radio that Robert Kennedy had been shot during a campaign speech in Los Angeles (he would die the next day)... All in all, quite a memorable first trip to Europe.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 8:26 AM]
7/22/2018 8:12 AM
Post: 32,060
Post: 14,146
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

Concluding Mass of the Sacred Liturgy Conference in Salem, Oregon. All photos by Marc Salvatore.

'Without the Eucharist, we cannot exist':
Reviving beauty and reverence in the Mass

The annual Sacred Liturgy Conference – with inspiring talks, gorgeous music,
and beautiful liturgies – comes again to western Oregon.

by Paul Senz

July 19, 2018

Nestled in the lush Willamette Valley of western Oregon, the city of Salem was host to the sixth annual Sacred Liturgy Conference from June 27-30, 2018.

According to the conference website, the mission of the gathering remains the same as it was at its beginnings in 2013: “to educate and inspire the faithful about the life-changing realities of the holy Mass, to encourage dignity and beauty in the celebration of the sacred liturgy, and to promote the use of sacred music according to the mind of the Church.”

This mission is evident in the many talks and workshops given throughout the four days of the conference.

“The impetus for the Sacred Liturgy Conferences is to promote the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Roman Catholic liturgy,” Dr. Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre, co-founder and director of Schola Cantus Angelorum, and one of the conference organizers, told me following last year’s meeting. “The liturgy is a gift from God to his Church for the right worship of him and as the efficacious path to holiness. It brings us to divine life in union with the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the liturgy should be beautiful and oriented toward God.”

Attendees from all over the country partook in the conference, the them of which was “Transfiguration in the Eucharist.” The conference featured workshops on Gregorian chant, the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the sacrament of Reconciliation, and talks by many notable guests, including Bishop Athanasius Schneider of the Archdiocese of Astana in Kazakhstan, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon, Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, of Norcia, Italy, and Msgr. John Cihak, a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland who is a former official of the Congregation for Bishops and Papal Master of Ceremonies under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, among many more.

Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth was another of the conference speakers; he is executive director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), a position he has held since 2009. He was brought on board at ICEL essentially to oversee the final two years of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. He has supervised every translation project since that time, covering most of the books of the Roman Rite. The major work at the moment is ICEL’s contribution to the revised edition of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Msgr. Wadsworth feels that conferences and other events like this are important.

“The liturgy is central to the life of the Church,” he said, “and the more people know about the liturgy the more they can enter deeply into the mystery of Christ, which is made present to us in the celebration of the liturgy. Any conference, any initiative like this, that offers the possibility of us deepening our knowledge and faith in the liturgical celebration is of great value.”

The question of the vernacular in the liturgy remains one of great debate, even 50 years after the introduction of the missal of Blessed Paul VI.

“I think that the fundamental task of the liturgical translations in their use in the liturgy is to be able to communicate the content of meaning of the Latin original in our own languages,” said Msgr. Wadsworth, “so that we can understand to the greatest degree possible – considering the time, the sensibilities, the culture – the ideas that are expressed in these ancient prayers, many of which are really from the first millennium.”

“So the use of the vernacular, really, is, from my point of view, to enable the content of meaning of these texts to be more widely understood.”

Msgr. Wadsworth pointed out that the Second Vatican Council “made it clear that the use of Latin is to be retained, and that Catholic faithful are to know how to say and sing the major parts of the Mass in Latin.” This was in the first utterance of the Council, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium.

“That’s a precious part of our patrimony and a precious expression of the unity of the Catholic faith across barriers of language. That’s a common patrimony to all Catholics of the Latin Rite,” he said.

There has been a recovery of that tradition, particularly over the last 20 years, according to Msgr. Wadsworth. “It has been understood that this is something important, it mustn’t be lost, and that while using the vernacular, to be able to have the major parts of the Mass – which are easily understood, because they’re the parts which are common to every celebration of the Mass – to be able to say and sing those parts in Latin is something that we want to allow people to have,” he said.

Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, gave two lectures at the conference: “The Patristic Fathers on the Transfiguration” and “Post-Communion Prayers and the Transfiguration.” This was his first time attending this particular conference, and he feels that such gatherings are very important.

“It seems to me that the people who come need to be nourished and encouraged,” he said, “because when they go to their respective homes or parishes, oftentimes they find themselves quite isolated. Here they can be nourished by the input and encouraged by meeting other people and forming networks and making new friends, so I think it’s very important and very encouraging, as it shows a certain vitality that gives people a real boost.”

The Benedictine spiritual life gives Father Folsom an insight into how the liturgy can and should be part of our daily lives.

“I am reminded of the comment of martyrs in North Africa, who were arrested and put to death because they gathered together for Sunday Mass against the law,” he said. “They said Sine Dominico non possumus: Without the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day, we can’t exist. I think that’s what we need in terms of an attitude – not ‘Oh, I have to go,’ but ‘Without this, I cannot live,’ and you’re willing to die for that.”

That means that the laity deserve the fullness and beauty of the Church’s tradition when they go to Mass on Sunday, he said. “Unfortunately, in the last 50 years there’s been so much confusion that the faithful are often given scraps instead of a royal banquet.” In this way, it is understandable that people might see it as an obligation rather than a joy.

“I think that’s missing in the lives of most people. They’re not immersed, it’s something occasional, and not always beautiful. And so there are real challenges there.”

Bishop James D. Conley is the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, where he has served since 2012. This year’s Sacred Liturgy Conference was the first he has attended, but he has a long history with Oregon and the Archdiocese of Portland, having worked in the vineyards for a summer while in seminary.

“I think that there is a great thirsting and hunger for beautiful liturgy,” said Bishop Conley, “especially among young people. People who grew up in the 80s and 90s are slowly discovering the great patrimony and heritage of the Church’s liturgical tradition, particularly sacred music.”

The sacrifice of the Mass was a part of each day’s schedule, with music provided by Schola Cantus Angelorum. “So we not only talked about music,” said Bishop Conley, “but we got to experience the music. I think all of these things are important because beauty in the New Evangelization takes the lead.”

Bishop Conley observed that of the three transcendentals (truth, beauty, goodness), truth and goodness may be compelling, but today they have been compromised in many ways by relativism and “a kind of hyper-sensitivity about ‘judging,’” so young people in particular may have a hard time understanding them and relating to them. “But beauty still has an appeal and attraction, and I think the beauty of the sacred liturgy, its rites and rituals, and its sacred music – the great treasures and patrimony we have – can be powerful and appealing to young hearts.”

The following article draws from concrete experience the liturgical principles discussed in Salem.

Novus Quodlibet:
The 'new whatever' liturgy


July 16, 2018

I have attended the Novus Ordo Mass all my life. I do not believe it was necessarily a mistake to have the Mass translated into the vernacular so that people could more readily understand the words and actions. Yet I have great sympathy for people who flock to, or flee to, the traditional rite, and have wondered why, if language alone were the point, the old rite had not simply been translated and otherwise left as it was. [But the point is that language was simply used as a pretext to justify the dumbed-down protestantization of the Mass that I still cannot 'forgive' Paul VI for agreeing to and imposing overnight as a totalitarian diktat, with nary a thought for the Mass of the Ages he discarded as reflexively as flicking ash from a cigaret.]

During the week, when I pray from the Baronius Press edition of the old Roman Missal, I am struck by the sheer richness of that old order. It is a work of tremendous theological insight and power, and of artistic beauty.
- We find subtlety, as the psalms and readings are cunningly arranged to fit the time of day, the season of the year, and the feast being celebrated.
- We find taste and intelligence, as the hymns combine the specifics of petition or praise with a comprehensive grasp of Scripture. We find breadth, as the hours and the seasons touch upon all of the vicissitudes of human life; sorrow and joy, shame and glory, suffering and exaltation, and sin and redemption.
- We find a massive power, as in the matins of nine lessons for the major feasts, or the antiphons that place beside one another, in a single sentence or two, verses from Scripture that we do not generally hear simultaneously. The effect is like joining two high voltage wires.

And then I go to Sunday Mass.

When school is in session at Northeast Catholic College, we go to Mass there, and it is superb. Our old parish in Rhode Island (Sacred Heart, West Warwick) is terrific. Elsewhere, it is what I’ll call the Novus Quodlibet: the New Whatever.

I kneel and try to pray before Mass. I’m trying to say those preparatory prayers that used to be in the old missal, but seem to have been banished, certainly from the experience of the churchgoers, because the place is usually abuzz with conversation. Mainly I hear whispers from old ladies. It would tend to be old ladies, as their demographic opposites, young men, seem to have been wiped out in a massacre, and are nowhere to be found. [What a contrast to our congregation for the traditional Mass at Holy Innocents- where male teenagers and young men in their 20s are just as numerous as their female counterparts.]

A woman ascends the pulpit. She says her name, then welcomes everybody. I do not want to know her name, and I am trying to pray. She announces the names of the readers, the Eucharistic ministers, and the altar servers. She announces the name of the priest. At one church, I am urged to get up (if I can; they make allowances for people with disabilities) and greet the people around me by name. I do not want to do this. I find it false. I do not remember the names of strangers, and I do not like to give my name out to strangers, either. It’s an act of aggressive etiquette, parading as bonhomie. I do not go to church for bonhomie. If I ever wanted it, I would go to a bar and order gin and tonic.

The choir, milling about up front, finally puts themselves in order. Then comes the hymn. Here I am three and four times cursed.

I have read and taught poetry all my adult life. This is one curse. I know English grammar. That is a second curse. My family and I are versed in the long tradition of Christian hymnody; we collect hymnals from all traditions, and we have sung one or two thousand of them, sometimes in languages other than English. This is a third and most terrible curse. And we know our Scripture. Cursed a fourth time, cursed and damned to writhe in eternal pain. Well, not eternal. The pain is transient but real — pain mingled with frustration and disappointment, that well-meaning people should give their talents and energies to stuff that is so worthless, and sometimes worse than worthless. For sometimes it is flat-out heresy.

Well, I won’t sing heresy, and I won’t sing chloroform for the brain, and this means that I hardly ever sing at such Masses. (I say a quiet prayer of gratitude for the goodwill of the singers instead.) No need here to bring up, like ill-digested onions, the specifics.

What strikes me, though, is the general liturgical lassitude. I don’t mean that there is not often a lot of energy, with drums, verses projected on the wall, and sometimes applause. I mean that there’s no plan to it, no aim. You are as likely to sing the peculiarly awful “Gather Us In” — well, that’s an onion, sorry —during Advent as in the middle of the summer, and if the choristers, or the lady at the piano, or the tenor at the organ likes it, you may be singing it twenty times a year. The hymns are chosen by the musicians for the same reason as the cartoon-like banners on the wall. Somebody who has wangled his way into the works likes them.

If you go to Mass every Sunday and every holy day during the year, and if four hymns are sung at each Mass, this gives you the opportunity to sing over two hundred different hymns. Need I say that, outside of the Christmas carols and three or four old Easter hymns, the typical Novus Quodlibet church boasts a repertoire of eight or nine? The same, the same, the same, like the drip, drip, drip of cold rain, without meaning, without artistic coherence, and without any feint toward the whole of the liturgical year and the history of salvation.

Many of them are narcissistic, rather like “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. “Let us build the City of God,” really? I cannot build the City of God. I can be made, by God, into a stone for the building of that spiritual city, but the action is his, not mine. “We have been sung throughout all of history”? I haven’t been sung even once in my whole life, and if I ever were to be, I would surely want to slug the singer. “Here I am, Lord, is it I, Lord?” Why, who ever would have thought!

But as the music, so the rest.

Often the priest will, after the entrance hymn, arrogate attention to himself, and say hello to the people, and crack a joke, and there’s nothing evil about that, no. It’s all friendly, in a pleasant and shallow way, and it gives you the sure sense that you are there for this reason or that reason, whatever floats your boat. Sometimes the altar servers have nothing to do but stand by and look pretty, while lay people potter about. Everybody gets involved, right, except the churches aren’t full.

In Canada, we have been instructed not to kneel, no, except for the first part of the Eucharistic prayer. We do not kneel after the Agnus Dei. We are not supposed to kneel after communion, but are to remain standing, in solidarity with the other people in line at Tim Horton’s — I mean, in line for communion; and then when everyone has received, why, naturally, everyone sits down. There is no sense to this, no art of prayer.

When I delve into the riches of the old Missal, I see order within order: the whole is like a cathedral, in which each element reflects the integrity and the structure of the entire work.

You feel the difference between an ordinary day and a feast, between feasts of the second class and feasts of the first class, and between those and first class feasts with an octave: fuller and more complex antiphons after the readings (antiphons set to polyphonic music in the old days, by such composers as Palestrina, Tallis, and Gregorio), special hymns, and a departure from the ordinary series of psalms.

In other words, what you say or do not say, or sing or do not sing for a weekday of the third class is oriented toward, for example, what you will be singing on Easter or Pentecost. It all fits together, rather as the largo in a symphony echoes the allegro past and the maestoso to come.

I am not suggesting that laymen should become liturgists. Was that not one of the plagues of Egypt? Most people are not great artists, or even good artists. The work is already given, and the task of the priest, who alone should determine what the ancillary people are doing or not doing, is to conform the praying of the Mass, in word, gesture, and spirit, to that work.

Let us take, for example, one of the many Sundays after Pentecost, and ask what hymns might be sung for that day. Suppose it is the seventeenth Sunday in ordinary time, this year. The first reading tells of how the prophet Elisha fed a hundred people with twenty barley loaves. In the second reading, Saint Paul urges the Ephesians to live with one another in the unity of love, as worthy of their one baptism. In the Gospel, Jesus feeds the multitudes with five barley loaves and two fishes.

On such a day it should be easy for the priest to choose hymns. We have two sacraments, baptism and the Eucharist, and the great miracle recounted by John, just before the Lord’s discourse on his body as true flesh and his blood as true drink. The focus is on God’s nourishing us and making us one in him. Think of hymns accordingly: Shepherd of Souls, The King of Love My Shepherd Is, At That First Eucharist, Pange Lingua Gloriosi, Blest Be the Tie that Binds, In Christ There is No East or West, At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing, The Lamb’s High Banquet, Adoro Te, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, and perhaps concluding with Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, sung, of course, to its grand completion.

If someone objects that the choir does not know those hymns, I reply that the choristers should be dismissed, then, because hymns are not hard to learn and to sing. If the organist cannot play them, they may be sung a capella. The work comes first. The feelings of the choristers do not come second; they do not come in at all.

In general, no one in the congregation should be choosing anything, nor should there be any perception that the priest, or anyone assisting the priest is making something up for the nonce. Unless you are yourself an artist of world class, when you sit down at the piano to play Beethoven, you should want to disappear, so that the people hear Beethoven and not you.

With the Mass, we want no one’s personal interpretation, not even if he was the most learned liturgist in the world. We want the order of the work of art — not whatever, or whoever.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 10:45 AM]
7/22/2018 10:25 AM
Post: 32,061
Post: 14,147
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

Andy Warhol meets John Paul II, April 2, 1980.

And here are some surprising revelations about an American artist who was iconic of the '68 Cultural Revolution and its consequences, yet was a devout Catholic
homosexual who 'endeavoured to be celibate all his life'. The item was written in February this year but it was highlighted in the Herald's 'Most Popular Stories'
for this week and that's how I became aware of it.

Andy Warhol’s devotion was almost surreal
by Michael Davis

February 8, 2018

On April 1, 1987, the most popular artists, actors, fashion designers, writers and musicians in America converged on St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Liza Minnelli showed up, along with Calvin Klein, Tom Wolfe and George Plimpton. Yoko Ono arrived a bit early; she was giving a speech.

One could have easily mistaken Andy Warhol’s memorial service for a society event rather than a religious one, were it not for the eulogy given by the artist’s friend John Richardson. He spoke of Warhol’s “secret piety”, which “inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing his only obsessions were money, fame and glamour, and that he was cool to the point of callousness... The callous observer was in fact a recording angel. And Andy’s detachment — the distance he established between the world and himself — was above all a matter of innocence and of art.”

It is this secret piety that the Vatican Museums hope to uncover in their major exhibition of his work next year [in cooperation with the Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsbugh on the occasion of the museum's 25th anniversary]. Indeed, the Catholic faith is the only constant theme in his strange life.

Warhol’s parents were born in a village on the northern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were Ruthenians: members of a small Byzantine Catholic Church that grew out of Cyril and Methodius’s mission to the Carpathian Mountains. In 1909, his father moved to Pittsburgh, home of the largest Ruthenian community outside Europe. His mother followed in 1921, and their son Andrew was born seven years later. His father worked as a coal miner until he died when Warhol was 13.

In 1955, the shoe brand I. Miller hired Warhol to illustrate its advertisements in the New York Times. Critics compared the results to Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters. This drawing upon commercial themes in the pursuit of high culture came to define the Pop Art movement. It also placed Warhol at the center of the New York avant garde, and his studio (nicknamed “the Factory”) became its headquarters.

The contrast with his working-class, immigrant Catholic boyhood could not be starker. All the hallmarks of the Sixties were there: drugs, sex, radical politics, more drugs. Several of the Warhol Superstars – minor artists whose work he promoted – overdosed or committed suicide in their twenties or thirties.

Religion kept Warhol from going over the brink. He attended Mass almost daily. Other days he would just slip into St Vincent Ferrer on Lexington Avenue, drop into the back pew and pray. He spent his Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters volunteering at a soup kitchen, and befriended the homeless and poor whom he served. He put his nephew through seminary. Though openly gay, he endeavoured to remain chaste throughout his life. When he refused to support the gay rights movement, many of his friends blamed his faith.

He lived with his mother until she died, and every morning they would pray together in Old Slavonic before he left for the Factory. He always carried a rosary and a small missal in his pocket.

Warhol’s aloof façade forbade him from talking about his spiritual life in any depth with interviewers, but Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, the last employee hired at the Factory, identified a conservative streak in his religion. “Being brought up Catholic gives a sense of hierarchical order, discipline and faith. Faith, when embraced, anchors the creative” – even for “unconventional traditionalists” like Warhol, she told Rolling Stone.

So how did Catholicism anchor the creativity of this “unconventional traditionalist”? Perhaps there are traces of it in his screen prints of Hollywood stars, which are widely hailed as “secular icons” in a society that venerates fame. The most popular of these is of Marilyn Monroe, declared a martyr by our cult of celebrity.

But the greatest insight is gained from the last year of Warhol’s life, when he became obsessed with Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. He produced hundreds of variations on this theme, many of them with colourful brand logos – Dove Soap, General Electric – stamped on top of a black-and-white stencil of the masterpiece. The ordinary overwhelms the extraordinary. The implication is that our appetites distract us from the vision of Christ.

Even more strikingly, Warhol draws on his faith while avoiding the two pitfalls of Pop Art: pompous sneering at all things “bourgeois” and outright blasphemy. He was reflecting on our society, not passing judgment on it. As Warhol himself said: “People are always calling me a mirror, and if a mirror looks into a mirror, what is there to see?”

The Vatican Museums have clearly decided that there is something to see. Sceptics will accuse the Vatican of cheap populism worthy of Warhol himself, but they may be unaware of the artist’s almost surreal devotion to the Church. At any rate, there can be no doubt that Warhol would have been overwhelmed by the honour.

His “icons” will come to rest above the catacombs of true saints and martyrs. He will be among – if not necessarily one of them – the great artists of Christendom, whose work so powerfully reflected a God that remained just out of reach in his own

As it happens, Warhol travelled to Rome in 1980 to meet John Paul II. It is said he wore his tamest wig and his plainest tie as a gesture of respect to the Holy Father. A photo shows him squeezing the Pope’s hand, squinting and smiling faintly, as though holding back tears. It is the only photo of Warhol that betrays his “secret piety”. For once, he looks like a person, not a symbol or a caricature. The Vatican Museums exhibition will be something of a homecoming.

An article in America magazine about the Vatican exhibition says this:

Warhol’s work was anchored in the cross. His first grand religious works was a series of crosses in 1982: red and yellow, 90 by 70 inches, silkscreened against black. In other paintings, crosses are scattered.

For Warhol, the world was suffused with Christ. He chose the paradox of representing that truth by illuminating those stripped-down crosses against an expanse of darkness—very much a light for the world.

At St. John Chrysostom in Pittsburgh, the priest’s Slavonic Mass was framed by the grand iconostasis, a white-paneled grid of “portraits of the saints,” according to Bob Colacello, one of Warhol’s biographers. “Very two-dimensional, with gold-leaf backgrounds...which is so much like his work, especially his portraits.” The hours of devotion and spectacle introduced Warhol to a mystical world that was his first experience with the transformative capabilities of faith and art.

The Vatican’s exhibition should reveal that Warhol’s Catholicism was essential to his artistic vision of the body, of iconography and of the radical energy of faith.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/22/2018 2:52 PM]
7/22/2018 10:57 AM
Post: 32,062
Post: 14,148
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

Hilary White is back in full cry on the blogsite she has subtitled 'Promethean neopelagian chronicles'...

Things 'good' bishops can do
to re-earn (some) trust

July 21, 2018

Back in Dallas in 2002, the US bishops gave themselves a pass. They put this Dallas Charter on clerical sex abuse up in front of the cameras, a thing that brazenly shifted blame, and said the whole affair was over and-can-everyone-please-go-back-to-respecting-us-now…

Frankly, the only people fooled were themselves. The Dallas Charter specifically excluded their own from the regulations, focusing on the media-generated phantasm of “pedophile priests”. LifeSite and a few others climbed wearily back onto the housetops to start shouting – again – that the whole thing was a whitewash, and that the facts clearly indicated that 1) it was the preponderance of homosexuals in the priesthood and episcopate that was to blame; 2) the victims were almost never children, but adolescent males; and 3) that bishops were guilty of collusion by shifting blame and covering up.

And, now… McCarrick.

Of course, LifeSite were among the majority who had known about McCarrick all along. [Then why did it not make an issue of it - at all??? White was the Rome correspondent for LifeSite before she 'retired' to Norcia. I'm not blaming her for LifeSite's failure to expose and pursue what knowledge they had about McCarrick's personal evil, but all those in the media who now claim they have known about this for some time - but didn't divulge it, much less make an issue of it - are just as morally irresponsible as the bishops and priests who, in effect, covered up for McCarrick all these decades.] It was the worst kept secret in the Church. In fact, the same could be said for the entire homosexual nightmare in the Catholic institutions.

Rod Dreher is collecting data on how much this was true, and how much everyone knew, and how tightly controlled the bishop-silence was, and remains. And how this includes the “good” bishops, the men most people who hold the simplistic “conservatives vs. liberals” narrative have always held to be the “good guys”.

The level of denial required to imagine that there is a group of “good bishops” out there working against the badness in the Church reaches into the range of the psychotic. But it is out there still. And the men who want to be seen as the good guys, making all the right noises, are capitalising on it.

Today this post from Bishop Thomas Joseph Tobin, dubbed the “good Tobin” (with increasing irony, it should be noted) turned up in my feed today, and it’s hard to believe.

Thomas J. Tobin
Despite the egregious offenses of a few, and despite the faults and sins we all have, I’m very proud of my brother bishops and I admire and applaud the great work they do everyday for Christ and His Church.
7:17 AM - Jul 19, 2018 · East Providence, RI

I think the “good” Bishop learned an uncomfortable lesson today from the responses he got. I think we’re up to 94 responses, and I only saw two that were praising him for it.

[That was a crass, ill-considered - and worst, totally unnecessary - tweet from a bishop who has heretofore seemed unequivocally 'good'. Does it serve Christ and the Church to keep silent and do nothing about evil you know about, to even pay for it, in the case of the New Jersey dioceses that made a financial settlement with two victims of McCarrick's lusts? If a man in New York had not, for some reason, decided to pursue his charge against McCarrick four decades later, and the archdiocese had not, miraculously, done its duty to investigate his charge thoroughly, McCarrick who is now 85 may well have gone to his grave unsullied in the public mind and his evil never disclosed, with the usual fulsome eulogies on his death by even those who have known about his evil for decades. How many McCarricks have there been before him who successfully hid their evil behind the veneer of social activism because in the public mind, anyone who speaks and works so actively in behalf of 'the poor' must be a living saint!]

The only apt description of the response: “blinding hot rage.” Most people there, with the possible exception of myself, were pretty polite about it, there weren’t any Bad Swears, but it’s easy to see that this kind of self-congratulatory PR blither isn’t going to fly ever again.

We want you gone. That’s the long and the short of it. The well is poisoned. The bishop brand is toxic. We’re pretty much here: “They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” And we’re about ready to run the entire boatload out on a rail.

It shows me that my suspicion is correct: in their polite little bubbleverse they have no idea that the peasants are getting ready with the pitchforks and torches, that plans for DIY gallows are being Googled…

In seriousness, I think they don’t understand that there are laity who are working right now on creating financial endowments to build churches and fund priests completely outside the episcopal structures. That laymen are grouping together to buy convents for nuns because they’re sick of bishops destroying religious orders. It’s been decades since they started grouping together to do homeschooling so they could keep their kids out of (what remains of) Catholic schools, to safeguard them bodily and spiritually.

So, I thought I’d try to be fair. I thought maybe I’d assume that Bishop GoodTobin is actually a decent guy who means well, (I know; stop laughing) and that this little thing was just a bit of bad timing or a misplaced effort to help. A bit of totally tone deaf PR, maybe on the suggestion of a lawyer or chancery official. Completely, utterly, inappropriate – like making a bawdy joke about the deceased to the widow at a funeral. But not completely malicious. (Let’s pretend, anyway…)

To all bishops taken aback by the current seething rage of the laity, here are some things you can do, for realsies and no irony, that would win back a modicum of trust.

1. Publicly denounce – BY NAME – bishops whom you personally know are homosexuals and/or sexual predators. But not the ones we already know about from the press. Let’s hear about the ones who haven’t been outed yet that are known to you personally.

2. Petition the pope, PUBLICLY, for them to be removed, excommunicated and laicised.

3. Say – PUBLICLY AND LOUDLY – that such offenders are not welcome in your diocese.

4. Personally launch and pay for an independent, TRANSPARENT investigation of the gay lobby in the Church.

5. Denounce gay priests and throw them out if they complain.

6. Preach yourself and order all your priests to preach the full Catholic teaching – just the 1993 Catechism will be fine – on homosexuality, not just the New York Times-approved bits.

7. Launch a full, independent audit of diocesan finances; publish the findings in the local papers.

8. Launch and personally supervise an independent investigation of priests and Bishops associated in any way with Cardinal McCarrick and any of the other homosexual bishops you know of.

9. Announce a “Zero Tolerance” policy for the preaching of ANY sexual heresy, including the endorsement of books, movies, magazines or any other public speech, for all your priests. One strike you’re out. Go see if the other Tobin wants you.

10. Ban men like Fr. James Martin from ever speaking or preaching or publicly appearing in your diocese for life.

11. Invite the FSSP, the ICK, AND the SSPX to erect personal parishes in your diocese.

12. Invite them to start liturgical workshops for your priests.

13. Prioritise the traditional Mass/Extraordinary Form in your cathedral.

14. Require Latin and training in the Extraordinary Form in your seminary.

15. Ban Communion in the hand; ban extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.

16. Publicly and loudly denounce the USCCB’s embeddedness with the Democrat party.

Fly to Italy in a charter plane, pick up Fr. Manelli and any surviving FFIs & FSIs you can find, and fly them back to your diocese and set them up so they can get the apostolate going again.

In general, stop smiling and nodding into the cameras as we all watch your wonderful “Brother bishops” destroy what’s left of the Church.

Understanding that this is just the first stuff that comes to mind, I’d say this is the minimum. This is the VERY LEAST it is going to take.

In the following item, Fr H skewers no less than the present 'Holy Father' himself who did say the words Fr H attributes here to 'a very senior prelate' [can't get more senior than the pope!], speaking to Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz who reported it to the world, without any objection or remonstration whatsoever from the Bergoglio Vatican.

Would the pope tell a sex-offender priest or bishop
'I love you like this and I don't care?'

When, once again, Bergoglio thoughtlessly puts foot in mouth

July 23, 2018

A very senior prelate is reported recently to have said
"X, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and loves you like this and I don't care. I love you like this. You have to be happy with who you are."

I find it logically helpful to substitute other things for gay (Paedophile? Psychopath?) and to see how the propositions look then.

Of course, this is a dangerous line to take. Those with an enfeebled grasp of logic are likely to blurt out "So you're saying that all homosexuals are paedophiles!" or "So you think homosexuals are as bad as psychopaths?"

(In fact, I think that Christian homosexuals [who live chastely] are, almost by definition, likely to be more admirable than heterosexuals. Because, denied the sexual outlets which are available to heterosexuals, they lead a grace-filled and continent life. I condemn those heterosexuals, often fundamentalist Evangelicals, who are very 'strong' against homosexuality, but don't seem to have noticed what the Lord said about remarriage after divorce.)

Questions abound, some of them in the field known as theodicy [explaining or seeking to explain why a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God permits evil].
- Does God make people gay, or are there (sometimes?) cultural factors involved?
- If gaydom is to be deemed a matter of divine creation, why is paedophilia (or bipolarity or spina bifida) not to be so considered? - If gaydom is a matter of divine creation, does this imply that those so born should be permitted/encouraged to live along their instincts?

These are difficult questions. But Holy Mother Church has always taken the line that, whatever one is born with, one is still subject to the same divine laws (although psychological compulsion may well diminish the subjective culpability of particular breaches of the laws in individual cases).

If this is, according to the High Prelate concerned, no longer true, then it is not only 'gays' who are affected. There are other categories who need to be reassured that they are made the way they are by God, loved like that by him, and expected by him to be happy with the way they are; others who, perhaps, must be allowed to express the sexual inclinations God is said to have put within them.

Here's an expanded reaction to 'Good' Bishop Tobin's rather thoughtless and insensitive tweet about his brother bishops in the context of the McCarrick scandal... Hard to understand why on earth he even felt the need to tweet it.

An open letter to Mons. Tobin
by Chris Altieri

July 22, 2018

To: His Excellency Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence, RI

Dear Bishop Tobin,

These lines are in response to your tweet of Thursday, July 19th, 2018. I’m afraid I have rather more to say than the 280-character platform will comfortably allow. You will recall that you said:

Despite the egregious offenses of a few, and despite the faults and sins we all have, I’m very proud of my brother bishops and I admire and applaud the great work they do every day for Christ and His Church.

I assume that the “few” to whom you refer are the Catholic bishops who abuse people sexually, and those who enable such clerics’ abusive behavior by winking and connivance if not active coverup.

To be frank, whether those men are a “few” in any defensible sense of the term is at this point doubtful, but that is not what I would like to discuss. Here, I am concerned to address a different elephant in the sanctuary.

You have all failed us.
- You, personally, and all your brother bishops have failed Christ’s faithful.
- You have failed our children.
- You have failed our clergy.
- You have failed the people searching for the Lord, who have a right to the Gospel and therefore a right to the Church as Christ intends her to be, rather than as you have made her; you have failed us all.

I hope you are not one of the “few”, who knew something and yet did nothing – but candor compels me to tell you that, for the present purposes, I do not care. Your duty as a bishop is to know, and to act.

It says so right in the name of the office you hold: episkopos. You episkopoi are the curators, the guardians, the superintendents – in a word, the overseers – of the Church.

Seeing that justice is done by way of transparent and reliable criminal procedure whenever a credible accusation is lodged, while indispensably necessary and imprescindible, is only a small part of the seeing for which Christ instituted your office.

Before that, it is your duty to see that the Christian faithful of every age and state of life in the Church are safe from every possible bodily, psychological, and spiritual harm.

If you bishops cannot do that, you cannot hope to help us grow in the holiness to which Our Lord calls us, and for which he has placed us in your charge. It simply will not do for you to tell us that you did not see, hence that you did not know, what was before you.

If it were not an insult to our intelligence, it would still be gravely unsatisfactory.

It is your duty to see that your brethren in the episcopacy and the clergy in your charge live morally upright and orderly lives.
- Ideally, you would see that yourself and all of them live lives of exemplary virtue. At a bare minimum, you must see to it that
- The children and young people everywhere are safe, and that vulnerable people are protected;
- That no seminary should become or continue to be a farm for perversion, nor any chancery or chapter a hotbed of corruption and disorder – for, so long as they are, parishes and schools and oratories cannot fail to become playgrounds for perverts.

I say again: it is your duty to see, and to act – even to see and to denounce your brother bishops’ failures and misdeeds and miscarriages of duty when and where you do see them.

Just this Sunday, we heard Our Lord tell words of stark warning to the shepherds of His people:

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.

We need leaders who will not mislead us and scatter us. We cry out for shepherds who will shepherd us, so that we need no longer fear and tremble.

There is something else, Bishop Tobin, which I feel I must say to you: I do not doubt for one second that Our Lord will in His own good time send us good shepherds, who shall do what is just and right. The only question I have for you, Your Excellency, is this: what kind of shepherds will you and your lot try to be in the time the Lord has appointed you to watch over His flock?

You will not see the end of the ruin to lives and souls that you have wrought – not if you live to see a hundred years – but if you open your eyes and act now, you may be in time to arrest the destruction. You may even be in time to take such steps, as may begin to repair the damage.

I believe I speak for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, when I say that we will not fail to support any shepherd who proves his willingness to toil and to suffer in this cause for our sake and Our Lord’s.

Nevertheless, our patience with those of you, who do not see, is at an end.

Yours in Christ Our Lord,

Christopher R. Altieri

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/24/2018 2:29 AM]
7/22/2018 2:17 PM
Post: 32,063
Post: 14,149
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
How politics becomes religion
The sheer ferocity of contemporary politics suggests
that, for many people, it’s their real religion.

by Samuel Gregg

July 15, 2018

Over the past few years, political rhetoric in many Western countries appears to have attained levels of hyperbole and hysteria that we haven’t seen for some time. One NPR commentator recently went so far as to describe Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court as “the end of the world as we know it.”

That type of language, I’d submit, should be reserved for truly catastrophic events like the Nazi attempt to wipe Jews off the face of the earth or the Communist Khmer Rouge’s slaughter of 2 million people in Cambodia. But the apocalyptic phraseology being employed today to describe, for instance, someone’s nomination to high judicial office or Britain’s decision to leave the European Union tells us something about how some people in the West treat politics.

It has effectively become the focus of religious-like hopes. And when, as it inevitably must, politics fails to deliver on the fullest realization of such aspirations (and often not at all), it’s unsurprising that the resulting fury is expressed in terms akin to the Hebrew Prophets berating unfaithful kings of Israel and Judaea.

It’s easy to have disdain for politics and those who choose to enter that world. The popularity of expressions like “the Swamp” owes something to widespread awareness that political life is a source of self-aggrandizement for individuals of all political persuasions. Of course, self-enrichment through cronyism and political lobbying is as old as Rome itself. Occasionally, however, the sheer brazenness of it all provokes backlashes, invariably deserved.

Politics nevertheless remains the appropriate realm for societies to address some very important issues. These range from how we realize liberty and justice in societies composed of imperfect human beings, to determining which matters are the responsibility of government and which are not.

Yet this is far removed from treating politics as something akin to a religious enterprise or imagining that a type of earthly heaven can be established through political activity. Such mindsets are bound to produce inflated expectations of politics and therefore, eventually, colossal disappointments and, in due course, the search for enemies to blame and destroy.

One instance of politics-becoming-religion is called “immanentizing the eschaton.” The expression first appears to have been used by the German philosopher Eric Voegelin to describe the outlook of those who believe that humans can bring about heaven-on-earth through their own efforts.

Marxism’s provision of an all-embracing explanation of history and its account of a perfect society’s ensuing emergence sometime in the future is perhaps the most advanced expression of this phenomenon. Being rooted in atheism and philosophical materialism, Marxism couldn’t help but propose a very this-worldly theory of human salvation and redemption. The religious-like character of Marxism is well-documented.

But Marxism isn’t the only ideology with distinctly religious features. In his 1963 book Mill and Liberalism, the Cambridge political philosopher Maurice Cowling argued that John Stuart Mill’s liberalism amounted to the creation of a full-blown replacement for supernatural religion.

It isn’t hard to understand how such transformations occur. Humans appear wired to think about and engage religious questions. Even the convinced atheist has presumably inquired into whether the universe has transcendental origins and what this means for rightly ordering human choice and action. In short, the religious impulse with human beings seems indestructible. Hence, many who abandon their religion, or who have never known religious faith, find an outlet in political thought and activity for their natural inclination to search for the ultimate and satisfy their longing for a world that’s finally set to rights.

But secular-minded people aren’t the only people who fall into the trap of making politics their faith. Plenty of religious believers invest religious-like hopes in politics. Consider, for instance, those Christian social justice activists who seem uninterested in, or even disdainful, of Christian doctrines that the Church regards as explaining the fullness of reality to man, but who endlessly insist that Christians must address any number of political questions in very specific ways.

You can be fairly sure that a social justice activist’s faith has largely collapsed into politics when he plainly could care less about, say, the divinity of Jesus Christ or the integrity of the sacraments, but insists that you’re an unfaithful Christian because, for instance, you think minimum wage laws are counterproductive or that most foreign aid does more harm than good.

The point is when Christians try to absolutize what are largely prudential matters – or, conversely, attempt to “prudentialize” moral absolutes like the impermissibility of legalizing euthanasia – it’s usually an indication that some form of politics, whether conservative or liberal, center-right or center-left, has become their real religion. Before you know it, they look, sound, and are just another secular NGO.

Tendencies to absolutize politics have even taken on theological expression at different points of history. Some forms of liberation theology that gained traction in the late-1960s exemplified this. One reason why those liberation theologies which rely heavily upon Marxist analysis are irreconcilable with Church teaching is that they reduce the content of Christian faith to politics.

In a letter to his fellow Jesuits in 1980, the Jesuit General, Father Pedro Arrupe (hardly a knee-jerk reactionary) pointed out that Marxist analysis “as it is normally understood . . . implies in fact a concept of human history which contradicts the Christian view of humankind and society, and leads to strategies which threaten Christian values and attitudes.” To Arrupe’s mind, one such contradiction was how Marxist analysis led to the collapse of Christian belief and action into politics.

Quoting the Latin American Catholic bishops who gathered together at Puebla in Mexico in 1979, Arrupe noted that "theological reflection based on Marxist analysis runs the risk of leading to ‘the total politicization of Christian existence, the disintegration of the language of faith into that of the social sciences and the draining away of the transcendental dimension of Christian salvation’.” The very substance of Christian faith is thus replaced by an understanding of the world that, by definition, condenses Christian faith and morality to very secular forms of thought and action. [How ironic that Arrupe's statement appears to have predicted 23 years in advance exactly the mindset of the first Jesuit pope in history whose agenda, whether based on Marxist analysis or not, is strikingly more and more secular if not frankly anti-Catholic, and only incidentally religious pro forma, i.e., to keep up the appearance of being pope.]

From that, it’s only a short step to abandoning even nominal adherence to Christian faith. As one priest wrote in a 2014 reflection on liberation theology’s impact upon Latin American Catholicism, “my students who are laypeople and clergy in Latin America give testimony to their experience in their parishes: wherever and whenever liberation theology has entered, people have lost their faith.”

We’re thus left with the question of how to help people understand what politics can and can’t do. It’s not that we should actively discourage citizens from regarding politics as a place to discuss and even pursue solutions to particular problems. The real issue is how we desacralize the realm of politics so that political debates aren’t invested with the fervor of something equivalent to a holy war that leads us into the wilderness of hyperbole or results in people demonizing each other.

In the case of those who have lost or never had religious faith, one way forward is to underscore something which should be obvious to everyone: that humans are, and always will be, imperfect. This truth — which is instantly confirmed by looking at our own lives and the lives of those around us — is often portrayed as a conservative insight into the human condition. It’s more accurately understood as a warning against utopianism. The non-believer who recognizes the folly of thinking and acting in a utopian manner is surely less likely to see politics as the route to a type of secular salvation.

As far as Christians are concerned, one way to make a similar point is to remind them of the Christian insight that neither the effects of original sin nor the freedom of people to sin can be eradicated from the human condition. Thanks to the Fall, we are stuck with the former, while the latter is a side-effect of God giving us the freedom to choose to the narrow path that leads life. If you grasp the full import of these truths, it’s improbable that you will regard politics as a vessel for establishing the Kingdom of God in all its fullness in the here-and-now.

This isn’t to suggest that the much-needed desacralization of politics is a counsel to complacency in the face of injustice and evil. Certainly, as Benedict XVI once wrote, “the formation of just structures is not directly the duty of the Church.” He immediately added, however, justice “belongs to the world of politics, the sphere of the autonomous use of reason.”

The apparent intractability of many problems isn’t therefore an excuse for political inertia or a basis for opposing any change whatsoever. Nor does it give us license, for instance, to shrug our shoulders when our Jewish neighbor is hauled off to a concentration camp, or to cease working to protect unborn humans and the disabled from being treated as sub-humans, or to write off the ongoing slaughter of Middle-Eastern and African Christians by jihadists as something which we can’t really do much about. That would be to abandon our concrete responsibilities to our fellow man as well as to demean human reason’s capacity to know and promote the good and minimize evil.

Understanding, however, that politics isn’t capable of fixing everything for eternity does help us recognize that, in this world, relative justice is the norm. The alternative is to imagine that we’re somehow capable of rendering the type of definitive justice that, Christianity teaches, will only be realized at the end of time when God renders judgment on all of us. And to think that way would be to commit the folly of imagining that we are God. To suppose that a society of perfect freedom and justice can be created in this world through human efforts is thus the height of hubris.

But the more such religious expectations seep into our politics, the more poisoned and frenetic, I’m afraid, we can safely assume our politics will become.
7/24/2018 3:00 AM
Post: 32,064
Post: 14,150
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

PORTRAIT OF SANCTIMONIOUS SMUGNESS: Two of Bergoglio's favorite cardinals mug it up. Cardinals Cupich and McCarrick after the former presented McCarrick with the 2016 'Spirit of Francis' award from Catholic
Extension, a liberal support group for financially strapped US dioceses, of which Cupich is the Chancellor, and headed by the man on the right, Mons. John Berg.

Without truth there is no trust, and without trust…
This is not a time for silence, mediocrity, or fear on the part of the laity or the bishops.
The rot and corruption must be outed; the truth must be stated; trust must be renewed and restored.

by Carl E. Olson

July 23, 2018

“Trust in a faithless man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.” (Prov 25:19)

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Cor 4:1-2)

My wife and I entered the Catholic Church in 1997, not long before the news about clergy sexual abuse started coming out of Dallas. I recall having a conversation with a life-long Catholic who expressed some amazement that my wife and I — both former Evangelical Protestants —had made the journey into the Church.

“Things are really a mess,” he lamented, referring to the sex abuse stories. “How could you overcome that and still become Catholic?”

I’ve thought of that conversation a few times in recent weeks, as details of reports about Cardinal McCarrick — the lecherous “Uncle Ted” who groped, fondled, and abused seminarians and others as he steadily climbed the episcopal ranks — have emerged like rotten sewage bubbling up through cracks in a suddenly hollow and ugly house. Social media erupted with anger, pain, and disgust.

One question is repeated, like a swelling drumbeat: “Who knew?” (After all, reports of McCarrick’s known and alleged actions — some dating back to the 1960s and early 1970s — have been around for many years.)

Some Catholics have said they can no longer support the Church; a few have indicated they are thinking of walking away altogether. [Perhaps they were wrongly catechized. Jesus, who established the Church, is the head of the Church. Nothing can change that. To walk away from the Church because of shame and outrage at the evil that some Church leaders are capable of, and because 'the world' rightly condemns that evil, is a sin of utter pride. It ignores altogether that Jesus is the head of the Church, and that all of us men and women, laity and clergy, who make up the membership of the Church are by definition sinners, denatured by Original Sin from what God had intended his human creatures to be, and constantly in need of God's grace to avail of the redemption that his Son's sacrifice has brought us. One might say to these fair-weather Catholics, 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone".]

I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Catholic Church — I was 28 years old when I entered — and I can say three things with certainty and honestly:
- I have never regretted becoming Catholic,
- I sympathize deeply with the frustrations expressed by so many, and
- I think we are at a precarious and potentially disastrous moment in the life of the Church here in the United States (if not also beyond our borders).

I became Catholic because, first, I believe in Jesus Christ and believe he founded the Catholic Church.

I remain Catholic despite the many failings of her members because I, of course, am a sinner in need of God’s mercy and grace, but also because I know the Church has endured many dark travails — even deaths, as Chesterton wrote about in The Everlasting Man — over the centuries.

The gates of hell will not prevail, but that doesn’t mean that sin, evil, corruption, and rot must not be constantly confronted, addressed, and denounced. Quite the contrary.

It is true, without doubt, that many of the bishops and cardinals are good men who are trying to do the right thing. But the rot in the Church cannot be covered by good intentions, the corruption in the Body of Christ cannot be treated like a PR problem, and the righteous anger of the laity cannot be placated by soothing sound bites.

Put simply, the current course — which has all too often been a wearying combination of tweaks, spins, deflections, and obfuscations— has deeply damaged trust in the leadership of the Church. Not in the Church — One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic — but in her current leadership as a whole, which often seems to think the laity are either stupid or not able to handle the truth.

But, in fact, there is one thing the Catholic faithful want and deserve is the truth. The whole truth. The ugly, even nasty truth. The dark and difficult truth. Indeed, all the Christian faithful and all people everywhere, who have a right to the Gospel, deserve the truth.

Speaking of the Church and of holiness, the Catechism states:

“Christ, ‘holy, innocent, and undefiled,’ knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. (par 827)

And yet, as of this writing, McCarrick has not publicly acknowledged his sin; on the contrary, he has denied any wrongdoing. Very little has been said by the USCCB. Perhaps something substantial is in the works. But I’m not at all convinced that the bureaucracy of the USCCB is interested in really taking on the wolves, to borrow a term from Benedict XVI.

While distinctions, of course, must be made between consensual adult relationships and non-consensual adult-child relationships, the two are not unrelated, as Fr. Thomas V. Berg argues in this First Things essay:

We can’t prevent the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults by clergy while habitual and widespread failures in celibacy are left unchecked.

Most experts who have studied the phenomenon of sexual activity by clerics agree that the offenders do not constitute a large percentage of priests — though the incidence is difficult to measure with any accuracy, given the success with which sexually active clerics, especially those who pursue a gay lifestyle, are able to cover their tracks.

Nevertheless, most priests I know would estimate, as I do, that in dioceses in the United States, at least 5 percent of the clergy in a given diocese are or have been sexually active with consenting adults since their ordination. Most of us would venture that the majority of sexually active clergy participate in networks of gay priests, networks that maintain a code of silence out of mutual fear of being discovered.

“Silence” is a key word. Consider that fifty years ago this week Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, which exhorted priests (par 28) in this way: “In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth.”

The sad irony is that numerous priests not only openly dissented from the encyclical, far too many bishops shrunk away from addressing the dissent and defending the prophetic words of Paul VI. That silence, combined with cultural revolution and other challenges, had a devastating effect (hence the title of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s 1973 book: The Devastated Vineyard).

It is true that the Catholic Church has continued to teach the truth about marriage, sexuality, and related matters; it is also true that huge numbers of Catholics ignore those teachings and embrace the use of artificial contraceptives, have no issue with cohabitation, feel that homosexuality is perfectly normal, and even give a nod to gender ideology.

As John Paul II explained twenty-five years ago in Veritatis Splendor, more than a few Catholics — and he was specifically addressing certain moral theologians — believe that “man, as a rational being, not only can but actually must freely determine the meaning of his behaviour” (par 47). Not only does such an approach sound reasonable, it has the benefit of being far easier than holding to the teachings of Christ.

But, as John Paul II stated at the very beginning of that essential encyclical:

Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, “the true light that enlightens everyone” (Jn 1:9), people become “light in the Lord” and “children of light” (Eph 5:8), and are made holy by “obedience to the truth” (1 Pet 1:22). This obedience is not always easy. (par 1)

- The Catholic faithful do not want “easy”; they want the hard truth.
- They do not want therapists and counsellors; they want faithful men of God.
- They do not pine for happy talk, but for the joy found in the word of God, preached by servants of Christ in and out of season.
- And they do not easily trust those who do not vigorously proclaim and live the truth.

As John Paul II stated twenty years ago in his encyclical on Faith and Reason, “To bear witness to the truth is therefore a task entrusted to us Bishops; we cannot renounce this task without failing in the ministry which we have received” (Fides et ratio, 6).

Meanwhile, the fathers of Vatican II stated, “Each individual layman must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the living God” (Lumen Gentium, 38).

This is not a time for silence, mediocrity, or fear on the part of the laity or the bishops. The rot and corruption must be outed; the truth must be stated; trust must be renewed and restored.
7/24/2018 3:31 AM
Post: 32,065
Post: 14,151
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

Jacket of the English edition. The blurb is understandably one-sided.

OnePeterFive has published an appendix written by Henry Sire for the updated English edition of his book, THE DICTATOR POPE....

Two priests imprisoned:
A strange story from Pope Francis’s Buenos Aires days

by Henry Sire

July 23, 2018

The question of Fr. Jorge Bergoglio’s relations with the Argentine military regime, which was in power from 1976 to 1983, was treated in 2005 by the journalist Horacio Verbitsky, who accused Bergoglio of deliberately betraying two of his priests, Fathers Yorio and Jalics, to the authorities.

The accusations were discounted, largely because of Verbitsky’s Marxist and anti-clerical bias, and I am not concerned here to revisit the question of fact. It is useful, however, to study the story that Verbitsky tells, on the basis of the narratives of the two Jesuits, for the disclosure that they give of Bergoglio’s character.

The following is a summary of an article that was published by Horacio Verbitsky in Salta, on 12 April 2010, while Bergoglio was cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires. The title is: 'Mentiras y Calumnias’. Acusaciones de Yorio y Jalics contra el Cardenal Bergoglio ('Lies and Calumnies’: Accusations by Yorio and Jalics against Cardinal Bergoglio). The article can be read here.

The background to the story is as follows: In 1976, while Fr. Jorge Bergoglio was Jesuit provincial, a coup d’état established a military dictatorship in Argentina. Two of Fr. Bergoglio’s Jesuit subjects, Fr. Orlando Yorio and Fr. Francisco Jalics, were left-wing priests pursuing a mission in the country’s shantytowns, where terrorist actions took place in the early days of the regime. They were kidnapped by the military and tortured before being released.

In 1995, after the fall of the military regime, Fr. Jalics wrote a book, Ejercicios de meditación, in which he made strong accusations against Bergoglio without naming him openly. As a background to his arrest, he notes that when the left-wing priests worked in the shantytowns, sympathizers with the military regime wanted to denounce them as terrorists.


We knew where the wind was blowing from and who was responsible for these calumnies. I therefore went to speak with the person in question and I explained that he was playing with our lives. The man promised me that he would let the military know that we were not terrorists. By later declarations of an officer and by thirty documents to which we subsequently had access we were able to discover without the slightest doubt that that man had not kept his promise but on the contrary had presented a false denunciation to the military..

In another part of the book, Jalics adds that that person “made the calumny credible, using his authority” and “gave witness to the officers who kidnapped us that we had worked on the scene of the terrorist action. Shortly before, I had told that person that he was playing with our lives. He must have been aware that he was sending us to certain death with his declarations.”

For the identification of the anonymous person, Verbitsky referred to a letter that Fr. Orlando Yorio wrote in November 1977, soon after the events, to Fr. Moura, the assistant to the general of the Society of Jesus in Rome. Yorio’s narrative is obviously parallel to Jalics’s.

He relates that Fr. Bergoglio, as provincial, told him in conversation that he had received adverse reports about him, and he named three fellow Jesuits, Fathers Oliva, Vicentini, and Scannone, as the source of them. However, when Fr. Yorio spoke to these three, they told him they had given opinions not against him, but in his favor.

Yorio states in his letter that Fr. Bergoglio had promised to rein in rumors within the Society of Jesus and to speak to the military to assure them of Fr. Yorio’s and Fr. Jalics’s innocence, but as the provincial, he did nothing to defend them, and “we began to have suspicions about his honesty.”

Yorio asserts that for years, Fr. Bergoglio subjected them to a covert harassment, never openly adopting the accusations against them, which he always attributed to other priests or bishops. These clergymen denied such accusations when confronted.

According to Yorio, Fr. Bergoglio had guaranteed him and Fr. Jalics three years’ work in the district of Bajo Flores, but to Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu, Bergoglio declared that they were there without authorization. They were told this by Fr. Rodolfo Ricciardelli, who heard it from Archbishop Aramburu himself. Fr. Yorio therefore challenged Fr. Bergoglio, who replied by saying Archbishop Aramburu was a liar.

The circumstances surrounding their kidnap by the military authorities were explained by Fathers Yorio and Jalics as follows: - Fr. Bergoglio advised them, once they left the Society of Jesus, to go to see the bishop of Morón, Miguel Raspanti, in whose diocese they might keep their priesthood and their lives, and he offered to send a favorable report so that they might be accepted.
- But Fathers Yorio and Jalics heard from the vicar and various priests of the diocese of Morón that Fr. Bergoglio’s letter to Bishop Raspanti contained accusations “sufficient to ensure that we should not continue exercising the priesthood.”
- Replying to Fr. Yorio, the provincial declared, “It’s not true. My report was favorable. The trouble is that Raspanti is an aged person who sometimes gets muddled.”
- Yet Bergoglio repeated his accusations to Bishop Raspanti in a further meeting that he had with him, as the latter himself revealed to another priest of Bajo Flores, Fr. Dourrón.
- Fr. Yorio therefore challenged Bergoglio again, and this time the provincial replied, “Raspanti says that his priests object to your coming into the diocese.”

The alternative was then proposed that Fathers Yorio and Jalics join a pastoral team in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires. The leader of the team put this to Archbishop Aramburu, whose answer was “Impossible. There are very grave accusations against them. I don’t even want to see them.”

One of the priests of the team complained to the episcopal vicar in the Flores district, Fr. Serra, who replied, “The accusations come from the Provincial,” and he told Fr. Yorio that he was being deprived of his license to exercise the priesthood in the archdiocese because the provincial had told him that he was leaving the Society of Jesus.

When questioned about this, Fr. Bergoglio replied, “They didn’t need to take your license away. This is Aramburu’s doing. I am giving you a license to continue saying Mass in private, until you find a bishop.”

The final attempt to find a bishop to incardinate the two priests was made by the Rev. Eduardo González, who in May 1976 approached the archbishop of Santa Fe, Vicente Zazpe. The archbishop replied, “It is not possible to accept them because the Provincial says that he is dismissing them from the Society of Jesus.” Upon this, the pastoral team sent a letter of protest to Fr. Bergoglio, with copies to Archbishop Aramburu; Bishop Raspanti; and the nuncio, Pio Laghi, but they received no reply.

A few days later, Fathers Yorio and Jalics were kidnapped and tortured by the military forces. They were later released after the negotiation of an agreement between the government and the Church.

The question then arose of getting them out of the country. Fr. Bergoglio, as Jesuit provincial, did not want to send them to Rome. Fr. Yorio was sheltered by a nun, Norma Gorriarán, until Fr. Bergoglio demanded that she tell him where Fr. Yorio was, ostensibly for the purpose of protecting him. Sister Gorriarán was not convinced and refused. Bergoglio, she related, “trembled with fury that an insignificant nun should stand up to him. He pointed his finger at me and said, ‘You are responsible for whatever risks Orlando runs, wherever he may be.’” Finally, the nuncio obtained papers for Fr. Yorio, and Fr. Bergoglio authorized payment for his journey to Rome.

On reaching Rome, Fr. Yorio heard from Fr. Gaviña, the secretary of the Jesuit general, the news that he had been dismissed from the Society of Jesus, and also that the reason why he and Fr. Jalics had been captured by the military was that the Argentine government had been informed by their religious superiors that at least one of them was a guerrilla fighter. This information was provided by the Argentine ambassador, who confirmed it in writing.

As to Fr. Jalics, he declared that after his release from detention, Fr. Bergoglio opposed his remaining in Argentina and spoke with the bishops so they would not accept him as a priest in their dioceses. Fr. Jalics gave this account in later years, when Bergoglio had become a bishop and archbishop, and he noted that Bergoglio now made a practice of seeking him out and talking to him as part of the whitewashing operation he was perfecting at the time.

Information was also given to Verbitsky by the brother of Fr. Yorio, Rodolfo, who was able to tell the writer from his own knowledge that Fr. Bergoglio had personal contacts with the military regime. He recalled a meeting with the provincial, who told him he was about to receive a visit from the military, and after he left the house, he saw a car draw up outside the door and three officers get out of it.

Rodolfo Yorio added that Fr. Bergoglio sometimes used these contacts to protect people: “I know people whom he helped. That shows his two faces and his closeness to the military authorities. His way of managing ambiguity is masterly. If they were killed, he was rid of them, if they were saved he was the one who had saved them. That’s why there are people who consider him a saint and others who are terrified of him.”

As I began by saying, it is not my purpose to discuss whether Fr. Bergoglio did in fact betray Fathers Yorio and Jalics to the military regime. It is generally agreed that Verbitsky failed to prove his accusations, although neither were they conclusively disproved.

What I am concerned with here is the picture of Bergoglio’s character that emerges from the above narrative. [The facile duplicity and habitual double-dealing is quite familiar to anyone who follows Vatican news in manifold manifestations by Bergoglio as pope! According to analysts like Samuel Gregg of Acton Institute, this had been among the salient characteristics of Juan Peron.]

A politically motivated accusation that he collaborated with the military regime would be easy to invent, but it would be difficult to manufacture out of nothing the pervasive impression of duplicity and the charges and counter-charges of untruthfulness that mark the story told by Fathers Yorio and Jalics. Moreover, they correspond closely with the accounts of Bergoglio that come from other sources.

The Church’s faithful are thus challenged to contemplate the possibility that they have as pope a figure who falls short of the standards of integrity that we have come to assume in that office, and who has conducted a careful and highly successful whitewashing campaign to present himself as a limpid spiritual figure, first to the Argentine public and then to the world as a whole.
7/25/2018 12:44 AM
Post: 32,066
Post: 14,152
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User

McCarrick, dissent from HV,
and the ‘sensus fidelium’

The Church has paid an incalculable price for neglecting to preach
the truths of Humanae vitae and to promote Natural Family Planning

by Janet E. Smith

July 24, 2018

The fact that the 50th anniversary of Humanae vitae should fall within the year of the #Metoo movement is ironic since that movement painfully reveals how the modern sexual ethic has debased men, women and sex — something that (soon to be) Saint Paul VI predicted would happen if contraception became widely available.

The entertainment world and secular institutions must clearly radically change their cultures. (But) the failure of the Church to maintain a culture respectful of sexual values and to protect the innocent is even more distressing, for the Church has been appointed by Our Savior Jesus Christ to safeguard all morality.

It is very painful for any Catholic to learn of the shocking and immoral behavior of Cardinal McCarrick, who exploited, violated and betrayed the trust of so many young men. Even more appalling is the fact that his success in the Church reveals a continued existence of a culture within the Church that permits such behavior to take place and prevents it from coming to light.

Bishops, priests, religious and laity must band together to find a way to eradicate what has been repeatedly spoken of as a network of homosexuals who abuse people and who control too much of what goes on in dioceses, orders, and even in the curia. [A tough challenge when many of those who hold the levers of power are directly or indirectly invested in covering up the whole festering stink!]

To those who have eyes to see, it is not hard to see that the widespread embrace of contraception leads to approval of homosexuality. After all, those who accept contraception hold that respecting the procreative possibility of the sexual act is not essential to the moral performance of that action. Thus why not homosexuality and a whole host of deviant sexual actions?

The sexual abuse crisis in the Church was largely a crisis of homosexual priests exploiting young men. How many others did not prey on young men, but have lived double lives? Their ways of thinking and behaving surely permeated their priesthood in many ways.

What happened with McCarrick explains a lot.
- Over the last 50 years those priests and laity who have tried to promote Humanae vitae and to teach methods of Natural Family Planning have regularly been astonished and demoralized by how little support they have received from bishops.
- For decades the family life offices were dominated by dissenters, by those who taught couples in marriage preparation that using contraception was not a sin if their consciences were not troubled.

After I had given a talk explaining how the dissent from Humanae vitae quickly led to a dominance of dissenting faculty in seminaries, institutions for Catholic higher education, and in diocesan structures as well, a woman observed to me that now she understood why the good bishops who have been appointed in recent times have such a hard time with their presbyterates.

Many bishops this year are preaching on, writing statements on, and holding conferences on Humanae vitae. But that is a relatively new phenomenon. The good bishops of today inherited a Church shaped by bishops who have tolerated dissent and even manifest and egregious violations of chastity.

I have no doubt that many of the dissenting bishops were badly educated in seminary; indeed, I have been surprised that so many good bishops have come out of the seminary system that was in place for years. [McCarrick at a ripe 85 attended seminary more than 6 decades ago - before the seminary system was laid open to the anti-Catholic depredations widely occasioned by the 'spirit of Vatican II' of which McCarrick is a 'shining' example (like a comet before it plummets to earth and turns to dust). In his case, one must conclude his failings are due to an inherent character flaw that neither his decision to pursue the priesthood nor his seminary training did anything to change!]

In the midst of all this confusion, dissent, and betrayal, the fidelity of lay Catholics who have sacrificed and struggled to defend Humanae vitae and promote Natural Family Planning is all that more admirable.

Blessed John Henry Newman predicted that at times in the Church there would be a small portion of the flock (parvus grex), a flock largely abandoned by its shepherds, who would maintain commitment to the truth. It is this group that he believed possessed(s) the sensus fidelium; it was (is) this group whose faith was (is) so deep and loyally practiced that the lack of leadership from those whose duty it is to lead did (does) not deflect them from the true faith and from evangelizing as best they could.

The price the Church has paid for neglecting to preach the truths of Humanae vitae and to promote Natural Family Planning is incalculable. Lives have been ruined, vocations have been lost, priests have left the priesthood, families have been destroyed, conversions have been stymied, and the culture has been deprived of the bold witness that the Church could and should give to the spectacular vision God has for human sexuality.

Janet E. Smith holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. She has recently edited Why Humanae vitae Is Still Right (Ignatius Press 2018) and Self-Gift, Essays on Humanae vitae and the Thought of John Paul II (Emmaus Press: 2018)

Humanae Vitae’s singular vision
By Michael Pakaluk

July 24, 2018

The marital act has both a unitive and a procreative meaning – this, we are told, authoritatively in Humanae Vitae, whose fiftieth anniversary is tomorrow, but not only there. And we are also told that these meanings are inseparable.

So couples who think they are getting the unitive dimension on its own, by using contraception, are deceived and not getting it at all. They have changed what appear to be acts of love into a mere coordination of egoisms (as Wojtyla says in 'Love and Responsibility').

A single marital act, however, seems enough for the procreative meaning of the act to have its full force – namely, when a child is conceived. The couple comes together just once and, as it happens, they have successfully procreated. So, if the unitive and procreative meanings are inseparable, does it follow that a single marital act can be enough, too, for its unitive meaning to have full force?

I want to argue that it does, not merely for its own sake, but to help refute a heresy of the day. According to that heresy, when couples get married they should want two things: to beget and raise children, and to enjoy a lifetime of sexual satisfaction.

Call this second thing “sexual companionship,” “a good sex life,” or “continual intimacy” – or whatever. The heresy is to say that this second thing, or the marital act’s contribution to this, is what is meant by the unitive dimension.

Some people even say that a married couple has a right to “sexual satisfaction.” But since pregnancy, childbirth, and the stresses of parenting are plainly at odds with this “sexual satisfaction,” it looks like contraception is needed to balance the two, in what gets called “responsible parenthood.”

For this heresy, once is not enough – no number of times is ever enough. The sex act has a purely progressive meaning, as contributing to an ongoing life of sexual fulfillment. The next act is always necessary to continue this satisfaction and, even, to prove it. The past act must appear to count for nothing.

But once is enough as regards the most important unity in marriage, whereby they become two in one flesh:

“A valid marriage between the baptized is called ratified only if it has not been consummated; it is called ratified and consummated if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.” (CIC 1061 §1)

And clearly there are many couples for which once was enough for every kind of unity. You probably know couples – my uncle and aunt were like this – he was a soldier, and she his high school sweetheart. They got married just before he was deployed to Europe during World War II. He spent three years away.

Assume for argument’s sake their honeymoon night was one night only. Wouldn’t the consummation of that one night – or their marriage as viewed through that lens – have been enough for him to claim, for all those years, every form of marital union? So he would have a strong reason to refuse to visit prostitutes, or to flirt with the girls in French towns?

The case is even stronger, of course, if a child is conceived. In the movie The Natural, Iris (the Glen Close character) sends Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) a note, saying to the messenger, “I have his son in the stands. He doesn’t know his son is here.” When Hobbs (in the on-deck circle) reads the note, and realizes that his one act with this woman fourteen years before had conceived a child, he does not weigh having a son with her against lack of sexual satisfaction with her, through their years of separation – as if the lack in the one respect could touch the unity in the other respect. We would despise him if he did.
Rather, in the movie, he must deliberately reject as a false, competing ideal the sexual companionship promised by Memo (Kim Basinger).

The “once is enough” attitude is retrospective as well as prospective. A pure-hearted man, during courtship, longs to be joined with his beloved. When he gains her, he takes custody of that union in his heart. What before was longing, becomes gratitude afterwards. Gratitude is never static. But each subsequent union on this understanding is free rather than compelled. There is no need to constitute anything – continual sexual satisfaction – because the one-flesh unity of the marriage already exists, which the couple will naturally want to memorialize and restate.

I said that it “seems” that the procreative meaning can attain its full force in a single marital act. Actually not: because procreation for human beings is not the mere conception of a new life but also the raising and educating of that being over something like twenty years.

Thus, the procreative meaning is not something inert; it must be elicited by the deliberate will of the parents, cooperating together. But in the same sense it can fulfill the unitive sense, if the parents deliberately choose to see that growing child as the embodiment of their one-flesh union.

We cannot discuss the good direction of the will and “seeing” things in the right way without bringing in the virtues. That is why it is a calumny to say, as some do, against the magisterial teaching of John Paul II, that he failed to appreciate the difficulties of married couples needing to abstain.

What I have called the heresy of sexual satisfaction, he refers to as “concupiscence.” He concludes his famous catechesis on theology of the body with a lengthy discussion of the virtue of “continence” in the service of “conjugal chastity,” which “gradually reveals itself as a singular capacity to perceive, love, and practice those meanings of the language of the body which remain altogether unknown to concupiscence itself.”

Prometheus unbound
by David Warren

July 20, 2018

Prometheus – not the Prometheus of Shelley and Byron, but the Prometheus of Aeschylus and the ancient Greeks – was no liberator and no martyr. For his theft of Fire from the gods, he got what he deserved. He was trying to overturn the natural and divine order. He had committed something like the sin of Adam. He was attempting what could not be done.

The old Greeks were subtler and deeper than we realize. Their mythology was not superficial, as our children were once told. (These days not even this is taught.) We still imagine them as revolutionaries; as iconoclasts of one sort or another. They were the opposite.

We still imagine them as men who refashioned the world; as the “scientific” liberators from primordial superstition and tyranny; as Prometheans against a Jove who is petty and vindictive. We celebrate them as the initiators of “Western Civ,” and ultimately, the Modern.

In that modern view, they were not passive; they took their own fate into their own hands, and their heritage is free speech and inquiry. We place them almost in opposition to the Hebrew prophets of Obedience.

Read Hesiod with attention. Read Aeschylus again: the surviving fragments of whose Prometheus trilogy are today read anachronistically, in a false romantic light. Note that the punishment of Prometheus was eternal; that with the Fire he brings down human misery.

Aeschylus was a tragedian, not a comedian; he is not working towards a happy ending. He is most certainly not a “progressive” in any modern sense.

The gods may be inscrutable to us. They do not answer to our own convenience. Yet to man was given from the beginning a gift greater than fire, or the wheel, or any other natural contrivance. We are able dimly to discern the order of things, and to work with, rather than against, the grain of reality. The Christian revelation came as a completion, a “perfection,” of the Greek understanding of things.

It came as a stroke through the knot. The conflict of Orestes at the heart of tragedy – exactly analogous to the myth of Prometheus – was unpredictably resolved. A harmony of the human with the divine will was proposed to the Greek mind. It had come into the world not by human but by divine agency, in the form of a Man, in utter humility. Philosophy and theology converged.

As we approach the anniversary of Pope Paul’s Humanae vitae – in danger now of revision by the glib spirits who prevail in Rome – I think of this longer history.

The human interest is not to rebel. There is in this world an order of things, a grain of reality, which we may acknowledge or deny. As the pagan Greeks knew, it cannot be changed. But as the Christians taught, it can be embraced. We can be saved from the consequences of our own rebellions, by trust and by faith in that divine order, from every angle converging not on Prometheus but on Christ.

Pope Paul VI left a mixed legacy. A man of real faith, he tried to accommodate the spirit of modernity, in disastrous ways. Yet in his deepest meditations and prayers, embodied in the text of his great encyclical, he encountered that unchanging God, who Is, law-giver and not law-taker. He came as close as any man to explaining God’s law in terms of human reason.

For me, a half-century ago, this was a shocking revelation.

I shall never forget a summer train, from Buffalo to Cleveland. From a newsstand, in the old Buffalo station, I had picked up a copy of a Catholic newspaper, which contained the full text of the encyclical, in English translation. This because I had a lot of time to kill.

Back then, I was a fire-breathing, adolescent atheist, and persecutor of nice Christian souls in high-school cafeterias. My intention was to provide myself with more ammunition against Christians generally, and Catholics in particular.

On the train journey, I read the encyclical with attention. Twice. The first reading disoriented me: for the document was very intelligently argued. At the second, I began to see that, given premises openly and honestly acknowledged, the argument was irrefutable. In order to mock it, I would have to misrepresent it.

I realized that I could dismiss the premises; but that if I did, I would have to argue that Man was a creature of no moral significance; that human life did not matter. I was a reasonably intelligent child. I could see the consequences of that position.

Nineteen sixty-eight was for other reasons a memorable year. In so many ways, it became clear that Western man was attempting suicide. The convulsions on American campuses, and in her streets, the parallel events in Paris and through Europe, blared in the news. Even then, my native “conservatism” was appalled: especially by the wincing cowardice of “authority figures,” abandoning their stations. It seemed to me that Pope Paul had made a stand.

My atheism was hard-boiled, if internally scrambled. It survived this encounter for a few more years. But I was no longer able to pretend that the Catholic and Christian position on human life was (as many in my parents’ generation thought) ridiculous. Rather, I could see that the line on human life had to be drawn at the moment of conception, not at birth; that abortion is murder.

Returning to a small-town high school in Ontario (for a last year before I dropped out), I added to my growing reputation for eccentricity. In the student debating clubs to which I belonged, I was now arguing – frankly as an atheist – that Pope Paul was dead right.

If we did not draw the line at contraception, we would verily be on the “slippery slope” to real, murderous barbarism. (This in a Protestant town that despised atheists and papists about equally.)

Half a century has borne out every prediction.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/25/2018 1:35 AM]
7/25/2018 1:17 AM
Post: 32,067
Post: 14,153
Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
Gold User
Examining citizens' contribution
to the Church via the church tax

Highs and lows in Italy for the last 3 popes

July 24, 2018

Every year the Italian state allocates 8 per thousand [0.8% - or 'otto per mille', as the Italians call it] of its tax revenue to the religious confessions that have entered an agreement to benefit from it.

Among these, the Catholic Church gets the lion’s share. The state allocates around a billion euro to it each year. That is a lot, but it must be kept in mind that the Catholic Church in Germany, which is half the size of the Italian Church, receives five times as much from the state every year by virtue of the Kirchensteuer, the tax imposed on religious affiliation in that country.

In Italy, on the other hand, the allocation of the combined total of the 0.8% among the various religious denominations is decided every year by the taxpayers, who are free to indicate or not, with a signature, to whom they want the contribution to be given. And from 1985 until now, or in other words ever since this mechanism has been introduced, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church have been in an overwhelming majority, reaching in the record year of 2005 nearly 90 percent of the signatories, or 89.82 percent to be exact.

2005 was the last year in which John Paul II was pope [Also the first year of Benedict XVI who was pope for 7-1/2 months in 2005.] And various commentators associated with his popularity the peak that was reached by the 8 per thousand. [Not to quibble, but since the allocation from the 2005 revenues is made in 2006, and Benedict XVI was pope the larger part of 2005, does part of the credit not redound to him?]

Just as in 2013, the final year of Benedict XVI, it was easy to associate with his unpopularity the drop to 80.91 percent of the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church. [An even greater fallacy than the statement made about 2005!]

But today, after five years of the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, once again extremely popular, how do things stand?

After a timid upturn to 81.23 percent of signatures in 2014, the follow-up has been entirely on the decline:
- 81.09 percent in 2015;
- 79.94 percent in 2016;
- 79.36 percent in 2017, the last known figure and a negative record in the history of the 8 per thousand.

But if instead of the percentage of taxpayers choosing to direct their tax to the Catholic Church, one looks at the absolute figures, meaning the number of signatures in favor of the Catholic Church, the tune changes.

One discovers, for example, that the all-time record in the number of signatures was reached during the pontificate not of John Paul II but of Benedict XVI: in 2011, with 15,604,034 signatures.

Not only that. In all the last six years of Benedict XVI, the signatures in favor of the Catholic Church were above 15 million, which had never happened in the pontificate of John Paul II.

And the same happened in the first two years of Pope Francis. Followed, however, by a clear and continuous drop:
- 14,437,694 in 2015;
- 13,944,967 in 2016;
- 13,762,498 in 2017.

It is dicey to use these figures to measure the success or failure of a pontificate. Nor is it straightforward to connect these data to the general advance of secularization in a country labeled “Catholic,” like Italy.

Instead, what is unusual in Italy is the favor garnered by the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, in second place among the various religious denominations in the allocation of the 8 per thousand, with a number of signatures a dozen times higher than their actual presence in the country:
- 469,071 in 2015;
- 523,504 in 2016;
- 515,829 in 2017.

Also steadily on the rise in recent years is the number of signatures in favor of the Italian Buddhist Union:
- 125,786 in 2015;
- 173,023 in 2016;
- 164,934 in 2017, to which must be added the 52,777 signatures for the Soka Gakkai Buddhists, which also entered the allocation.

Taxpayers can also sign to have a portion of the 8 per thousand remain with the Italian state. And for a few years these signatures have also been slightly on the rise:
- 2,493,431 in 2015, 14.03 percent of signatures;
- 2,535,404 in 2016, 14.54 percent;
- 2,576,882 in 2017, 14.86 percent.

The statistical breakdown of the mechanism of the 8 per thousand in Italy can be found on this webpage of the ministry of the economy, finance department:
> Analisi statistiche 8 per mille, serie storiche

As for the proceeds of the 8 per thousand for the Catholic Church and how they are used, there is the “ad hoc” website of the Italian episcopal conference, full of constantly updated details and account statements:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 7/25/2018 1:36 AM]
New Thread
Cerca nel forum

Home Forum | Bacheca | Album | Users | Search | Log In | Register | Admin
Create your free community and forum! Register to FreeForumZone
FreeForumZone [v.5.0.0] - Leggendo la pagina si accettano regolamento e privacy
Tutti gli orari sono GMT+01:00. Adesso sono le 5:29 PM. : Printable | Mobile
Copyright © 2000-2019 FFZ srl -