Benedetto XVI Forum


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3/7/2019 11:19 PM
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Please see preceding page for earlier posts today, 3/7/19.

From Summorum Pontificum, 7/7/2007:

"Art. 5. 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.
5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

In Cremona, the Latin Mass remains banned
Repeated violation by two bishops of the universal church law
promulgated by Benedict XVI in 'Summorum Pontificum

Translated from

March 7, 2019

There’s nothing to be done. In Cremona, the Latin Mass remains prohibited. [Despite Summorum Pontificum, obviously.]

Three times now, two bishops of the diocese have illegally rejected a petition by the faithful to have a traditional Mass said regularly in the diocese. [But why did they have to petition the bishops, considering that SP does not require it? They had the priests and the church to do it in - they didn't have to go through the bishop.]

In December 2009, the blogsitee Cremona Fildeissima launched a petition on the possibility of celebrating the Mass in the usus antiquior. 120 persons signed up right away, but the bishop at the time, Dante Lafranconi said, “NO”, he would have nothing to do with the traditional Mass.

In January 2016, Cremona had a new bishop, Antonio Napolioni, who was also sent a similar petition by a group of faithful who described themselves as ‘a stable group of faithful’ who wish “regular celebration of the Holy Mass according to the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal” as provided for by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. They explained:

What impels us, is neither sterile nostalgia for the past nor any form of diffidence against the celebration of the Ordinary Form which we have been attending, nor any desire for eccentricity or out-of-place ‘extravagance’, much less any attempt of causing divisiveness in the diocese. What impels us rather is the desire to be able to cultivate our liturgical sensibility in a shared manner and to be able to do this within our diocese.

They identified a church in Buzzolo, whose parish priest and vicar both said they were able and available to offer the traditional Mass. But both were suddenly reassigned to another parish, and in March 2017, the bishop finally answered his parishioners’ letter to say NO, giving a singular explanation.

Such a request had already been brought up to my predecessor, who opposed it saying that he did not think the diocese met the conditions for saying Yes to the request, especially in the light of the fact that, for more than 40 years, the application of the Vatican II liturgical reform promoted by Blessed Paul VI [he was yet to be canonized in March 2017] was serenely welcomed by the Diocese of Cremona ‘without resistance or exceptions, singular or collective’ from any of its components. Sharing the reasons given then, and not thinking that in the meantime there have emerged new reasons to sustain a different evaluation of the circumstances of liturgical life in the diocese, after careful consideration, I am convinced that, insofar as my competence goes, I have no reason to reply favorably to your request.

The objection to that reasoning is obvious: If the application of the Vatican II liturgical reform was ‘serenely’ accepted in the diocese, then why would the re-introduction of the Vetus Ordo be a problem? [This irrational opposition can only be explained by sheer hostile prejudice. NO ONE IS FORCING ANY NOVUS ORDO MASSGOER TO ATTEND A TRADITIONAL MASS, AND CHURCHES THAT OFFER IT ARE CAREFUL THAT ANY TLM CELEBRATION DOES NOT INTERFERE IN ANY WAY WITH REGULAR PARISH ROUTINE. These bishops who oppose SP all say Mass at cathedrals whose altars contain the relics of saints who, without exception, lived and died by the traditional Mass. Should they not then perhaps disinter those relics from their altars and replace them with a holy card with the image of Paul VI?]

After Napolioni’s letter, the group forwarded their request to Ecclesia Dei, which has since been completely absorbed into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as one of its offices. Mons. Guido Pozzo, then still secretary of Ecclesia Dei (the pope has now made him financial overseer of the Sistine Chapel Choir whose officials ares being investigated for a fund-raising scandal) promptly replied that Ecclesia Dei had contacted the bishop in their behalf.

A period of silence followed, until Napolioni finally informed the group that Ecclesia Dei had not agreed to their request. He never showed them a copy of any letter from Ecclesia Dei.

A few months later, a young priest started saying the TLM sine populo at the church of the Barnabite fathers in Cremona, doing so according to Article 2 of SP:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without a congregation, any Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use either the Roman Missal published in 1962 by Blessed Pope John XXIII or the Roman Missal promulgated in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, and may do so on any day, with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such a celebration with either Missal, the priest needs no permission from the Apostolic See or from his own Ordinary.

‘Sine populo’ does not strictly mean the absence of any faithful at such Masses, as Art 4 of SP says:

Art. 4. The celebrations of Holy Mass mentioned above in Art. 2 may be attended also by members of the lay faithful who spontaneously request to do so, with respect for the requirements of law.

Which is precisely what happened in Cremona. The Barnabite priest’s Mass became known, and from just a few people at first, his daily Massgoers soon numbered around 60, most of them young people.

In the face of these developments (which became local news in the past few weeks), the bishop summoned the priest and his superior and ordered them to stop saying the traditional Mass.

Napolioni’s actions are totally in violation of SP as well as the Apostolic Letter of Instructions that came with it, which says in Art. 14: “It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum”, while Art. 8 of the Instructions says that the aim of SP was precisely that of

...offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;
b. effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;
c. promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.

It is worth going on record with the position taken by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, emeritus Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, who told the local newspaper La Provincia that he was ‘stunned’ by the attitude of the Bishop of Cremona:

“I don’t understand his reasoning. The Tridentine Mass is now celebrated everywhere in the world where it is requested. I have no idea why this would not be so in Cremona. Many dioceses in Italy offer it. Anywhere else in the world, it is enough that there is a priest who is able and available to say the Mass on a fixed schedule. If I were in Cremona, I would look for any church that offered it”.

[But that’s just the problem! No church in Cremona is ‘allowed’ to offer it because no priest is ‘allowed’ to celebrate it.]

But for now, the Latin Mass remains banned in Cremona. The highhanded arrogance comes from abishop who prides himself in following ‘the line of Pope Francis’, the same pope who thunders against clericalism in the sense of abuse of priestly and episcopal powers.

But this lunatic and literally senseless hostility towards the Latin Mass is very much in line with a move initiated by some Italian bishops at the autumn conference of the Italian bishops'conference last year, when some bishops incredibly claimed SP ought to be repealed as "it was illegal, to begin with, since Benedict XVI claimed falsely that the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated when in fact it was". A monumental act of chutzpah revisionism - i.e., TOTAL FALSEHOOD - in every word.

Make no mistake about it - all the Bergogliac bishops in Italy will soon be in mass violation of SP because, rightly or wrongly, they believe that is what Jorge Bergoglio really wants.

Cremona, BTW, to those who may not be familiar with the place name, is a city about 75 kms southeast of Milan, which became famous since the 16th century as a musical center and for producing the best violins and other stringed instruments in the world, from the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families), so much so that in 2012, the "Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona" was declared an intangible world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Claudio Monteverdi was a native of Cremona, as was Pope Gregory XIV.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 10:36 PM]
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3/7/2019 11:38 PM
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I posted the first two items in the previous page but in view of an update, I have added the latest item and am re-posting the whole thing here.

French cardinal convicted
for failing to report a sex abuse crime
will appeal the surprise verdict

March 7, 2019

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, was found guilty on Thursday of failing to report to authorities the alleged sexual abuse of a priest in his diocese. He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence.

French tribunal president Brigitte Vernay declared Barbarin guilty on March 7 “of non-denunciation of ill-treatment” of a minor, according to AFP. Barbarin was not present in court for the verdict.

Five other archdiocesan officials on trial with Barbarin were acquitted. Barbarin was also expected to be acquitted after even the prosecutor of the case argued there was no proof of the cardinal’s legal wrongdoing and therefore no grounds for conviction, the Associated Press reports.

The cardinal will appeal the verdict, according to AP. Barbarin’s lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said Thursday about the conviction that “this is a decision that is not fair at the juridical level.” Implying hope in the success of an appeal, he stated: “We hope that at the next step, justice will be done.”

The trial against Barbarin began in January on charges he did not report facts of abuse to judicial authorities between July 2014 and June 2015, in a case involving Fr. Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of abusing dozens of minors in the 1980s and early 1990s.

In 2017, the cardinal told Le Monde that he did not conceal allegations against Preynat, but said that his response to the allegations had been “inadequate.” He said he opened an investigation against Preynat after becoming aware of the allegations against him.

Allegations against Preynat became public in 2015. Prosecutors dropped the case the following year after an initial investigation, but a victims’ group with more than 80 members who say they were abused by Preynat led to a reopening of the case, the Guardian reports.

Preynat was banned from leading boy scout groups in the early 1990s, but remained in ministry until being removed by Cardinal Barbarin in 2015.

The priest has acknowledged abusing minors, according to the Guardian, and will face trial later this year.

Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was also ordered to testify in the case. In October, the Vatican invoked diplomatic immunity in refusing to deliver a French court summons to Ladaria, saying that as a minister of Vatican City State, he is protected under international law.

The court summons had involved a letter Ladaria sent to Barbarin, advising him to take disciplinary action against Preynat, “while avoiding public scandal.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyers wanted Ladaria to testify as to whether the direction to prevent scandal was intended as an injunction to avoid going to court, in which case they accuse the CDF prefect of being complicit in failing to report the allegedly abusive priest to authorities.

Barbarin’s trial comes as revelations of clerical sex abuse and cover up continue to send shock waves through the Catholic Church. The United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Germany are among the countries that have seen recent abuse scandals uncovered.

Cardinal Barbarin offers to resign
after conviction for covering up
by Aurelien Breeden
sexual abuse by one of his priests

March 7, 2019

PARIS — A Catholic cardinal offered his resignation on Thursday after being found guilty by a French court of covering up decades-old sexual abuse by a priest in his diocese, a surprise victory for the priest’s accusers, who had forced the case to trial after it was dropped by prosecutors.

[Typically, it appears this story was written by someone who knows little about the Church because it does not say whether Barbarin offered to resign as Archbishop of Lyon or from the College of Cardinals as well. The NYT desk editor also should have known enough to get a clarification.]

The conviction of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was the first in France against such a high-profile clergyman, adding to a long list of sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church just weeks after a landmark meeting at the Vatican ended without a concrete plan to tackle the issue.

Cardinal Barbarin, 68, was found guilty of failing to report child abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat to the authorities from 2014 to 2015, after parishioners accused the priest of sexually abusing dozens of Boy Scouts in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The court handed down a six-month suspended prison sentence to Cardinal Barbarin, who had faced up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, nearly $51,000. His lawyers said they would appeal.


Barbarin resigns after receiving
suspended prison sentence over
failure to report abuse allegation

By Luke Hurst & Alasdair Sandford
March 7, 2019

Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, has resigned after being handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for failing to act on sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic church. [Do we assume he resigned as Archbishop only, not as cardinal?]

A French court convicted him on Thursday of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts that took place in his diocese in the 1980s and early 1990s, by a priest who is due to go on trial later this year.

The cardinal – Archbishop of Lyon since 2002 – is the highest profile cleric to have been caught up in the sexual abuse scandal in the French Catholic church so far. He was once tipped as a possible future pope.

The Prosecutor's Office had originally said on Wednesday it would not seek a conviction because "the statute of limitations has expired."

The 68-year-old had always denied the allegations. “I never sought to hide, even less to cover up these horrible acts,” Cardinal Barbarin said at his trial.

He claimed in court that he only learned of assaults attributed to the priest in 2014, when a victim confided in him. However, in a 2016 interview in La Croix newspaper he said he had been made aware of the priest’s “behaviour” around 2007 or 2008 – but had not acted as there had been no complaint.

The alleged victims of Father Bernard Preynat, who has admitted sexual abuse of underage boys in the 1980s and 1990s, believe Church officials knew of the abuse as early as 1990 when Preynat was moved to a different parish.

Barbarin has been condemned for taking months in 2015 to follow a Vatican directive to remove Preynat from any duties which would put him in contact with children. He claimed his slowness to act was due to the Vatican asking him to avoid a public scandal.

The suspended jail sentence handed down to Barbarin came as a surprise to some observers: at the end of the trial in January the prosecutor had not sought punishment for the cardinal or the five other church officials accused alongside him. The court did not find them guilty.

However, the verdict in Barbarin’s case was incriminating. “Philippe Barbarin made the conscious choice, to preserve the institution to which he belonged, to not pass 0n (information) to the legal authorities,” AFP reported the judgment as saying.

The court found that “by wanting to avoid scandal”, the cardinal had risked preventing many other cases of abuse from being revealed, to the detriment of the victims.

A lawyer for one of the nine victims who were civil parties to the case described the cardinal’s conviction as “an extraordinary symbol”.

François Devaux, co-founder of the victims association “La Parole libérée”, hailed the verdict as “a great victory for child protection”.

Lawyers for Barbarin have said they intend to appeal against the conviction. “The court’s reasons do not convince me. We will therefore contest this decision,” said Jean-Félix Luciani, adding that the court had been under pressure as a result of documentaries and a film about the case.

The film “Graçe à Dieu” by François Ozon, currently on release in French cinemas, tells the story of how the Lyon victims came together to reveal the abuse they had suffered – and their battle for justice as the Catholic Church dragged its feet.

Cardinal Barbarin’s trial and conviction comes as another blow to the Catholic Church. It comes just weeks after the Vatican’s special summit on tackling child sexual abuse, and news of the conviction in Australia of another senior figure in the church, Cardinal George Pell.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/8/2019 7:19 AM]
3/8/2019 5:47 PM
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Surely, PF must have realized that Mons. Schneider would be among the bishops of Kazakhstan and Central Asia that he would meet ad limina - and that it would mean
an exception to the travel ban he imposed on Schneider last year! Because everywhere Schneider went, he would give interviews and make statements as he does in
the following interview. Occupational hazard, Your Holiness! Get used to it. After all, it's been six years so far of unprecedented - nay, previously unthinkable -
non-stop, deliberate and probably gleeful 'Hagan lio!' wholesale provocation
[exacerbationis gaudium
(the joy of provocation)!] of Catholics by no less than you,
the pope! You have to be accountable for the mess you make.
... In the following interview, Schneider is as articulate and concrete as he always is. If only we had more
bishops - and cardinals! - as willing and able to come forward as he does, every occasion he gets.

Bishop Schneider wins clarification
on 'diversity of religions' from Pope Francis,
brands abuse summit a 'failure'

by Diane Montagna

ROME, March 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In their recent ad limina visit to Rome, the bishops of Kazakhstan and Central Asia raised a number of concerns which have been widely shared in the Church over the last several years, concerning perceived ambiguities in the magisterium of Pope Francis.

At the March 1 meeting, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, also obtained from Pope Francis a clarification that God only permits but does not positively will a 'diversity of religions'.

In an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Bishop Schneider said the concerns raised during the two-hour meeting with the Holy Father included “Communion for divorced and civilly ‘remarried’ Catholics, the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses in mixed marriages, and the issue of the practical spread of homosexuality in the Church.”

[However, nowhere in this long interview does the bishop tell us what the pope said exactly about the above concerns, though he was quite specific about the one papal answer he gives us. I take it to mean the bishops did not get an answer, or more probably, they got the typical Bergoglian evasive non-answer which most people, especially cardinals and bishops face to face with this pope, are unable to pursue. Hence. Mons. Schnieder glosses over these major unanswered issues of Bergoglian 'magisterium'.

'Unanswered' is the wrong word, of course, because everything Bergoglio has said or done so far about these three issues tell us that Yes, in effect, 1) he condones adultery not just in unqualified remarried divorcees but also its form in cohabiting couples; 2) he has no problems with interfaith communion; and 3) he does not consider homosexuality a problem at all, whether in the clergy or in general.

The operative word is 'in effect' because he has been calculatedly equivocal and ambiguous about his direct statements on these issues, but not even the most fanatic Bergogliacs will deny that this is exactly where he stands on these three issues, because it is the position they have been touting in his behalf.]

In a direct exchange between Pope Francis and Bishop Schneider, the claim that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” was also discussed. The expression, contained in a joint statement that Pope Francis signed last month with a Grand Imam in Abu Dhabi, has incited considerable controversy.

The Pope explicitly stated that Bishop Schneider could share the contents of their exchange on this point. “You can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God,” he told the assembled bishops, who come from predominantly Muslim regions.

The auxiliary of Astana in turn asked the Pope to officially clarify the statement in the Abu Dhabi document. [One can predict htat such an official clarification will never be made because the pope would have to consult his 'co-author', the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in order to do that. Otherwise, oh mortal offense! PF can well leave it as it is - “You can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religion means the permissive will of God,” - which is perfectly deniable by him if push comes to shove. "Oh, Mons Schneider is putting words in my mouth that I never said".]

LifeSite sat down with Bishop Schneider in Rome following the ad limina visit. In a wide-ranging interview, we discussed his meeting with Pope Francis, his views on the recent Vatican sex abuse summit, and the anticipated attacks on clerical celibacy at the forthcoming Amazonian Synod.

Schneider branded the sex abuse summit a “clerical show” and a “failure” for not addressing the “deep roots” of the crisis and issuing “very precise, compelling and incisive norms.” He expounds on what he believes are the four causes of the abuse crisis and proposes two concrete norms he believes should have come out of the summit.

Asked about Cardinal Blase Cupich’s denial of a causal relationship between homosexuality and clerical sex abuse, Schneider asked despairingly: “How can I speak with a man who denies reality?”

In the interview, Bishop Schneider also praises the open letter issued by Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller ahead of the Vatican abuse summit and suggests further action that cardinals and bishops might take to address the current crisis in the Church.

Here below is our exclusive interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider.

Your Excellency, what can you tell us about your recent ad limina visit and meeting with Pope Francis?
It was for me a very spiritual experience — a pilgrimage to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, where we celebrated the Holy Mass. At the tomb of St Peter we sang for Pope Francis the antiphon “Oremus pro pontifice nostro” followed by the Creed. We also prayed for the intentions of the Pope to gain the plenary indulgence. We did the same at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls and at the Marian Basilica of St Mary Major.

Regarding our meeting with the Pope, he is the Vicar of Christ on earth in this time, and he was very fraternal and kind to us. It was a very kind atmosphere. Our meeting with him lasted two hours. I consider this an act of great generosity on the part of the Pope, to spend so much time with our group of 10 bishops and ordinaries of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. During the meeting, the Pope invited us to freely express our concerns and even our criticisms. He stressed that he likes a very free conversation.

Some bishops were able to raise concerns about the life of the Church in our days. For example, the issue of Communion for divorced and civilly “remarried” Catholics; the issue of Communion for Protestant spouses in mixed marriages; and the issue of the practical spread of homosexuality in the Church. These points were discussed. [ Maybe Mons. Schneider refrained from saying anything more about these specific 'discussions' because the questions were raised by his colleagues, not just by him. In contrast, he does tell us how the pope answered his specific question.]

Then I also asked the Holy Father to clarify the statement in the Abu Dhabi document on the diversity of religions being “willed” by God.

The Pope was very benevolent in his response to our questions and sought to answer us from his own perspective on these problems. He answered in a more general way about principles of the Catholic Faith, but in the given circumstances we were not able to go into detail on the specific issues. [That nails it! That's the answer he gave to the bishops' three doctrinal questions - in other words, the typical Bergoglian evasive non-answer! As in "Look up what the Catechism says about homosexuality" to the journalists who asked about Mons. Ricca back in July 2013. When he could have easily said in as many words, "Homosexuality is a disordered condition and its practice is sinful". But no, why would he give anyone a chance to claim he actually said that about homosexuality, about which he is personally quite permissive? Instead, we got the ultimate copout from a pope directly confronted about a moral issue: "Who am I to judge?"] Even so, I am very thankful to the Holy Father that he gave us the possibility in a very serene atmosphere to raise several concerns and to speak with him. [after all, that is one of the purposes of an ad limina visit with the pope - which is mainly to discuss the situation in the local churches concerned and the bishops' problems in governance. And I have no doubt PF can be and is most charming and accommodating to his visitors on everything, except when he is challenged on his major 'Here I stand' controversies.]

Can you say more about how Pope Francis responded to your concern about the Abu Dhabi statement on the diversity of religions? The controversial passage reads: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”
On the topic of my concern about the phrase used in the Abu Dhabi document – that God “wills” the diversity of religions – the Pope’s answer was very clear: he said that the diversity of religions is only the permissive will of God. He stressed this and told us: you can say this, too, that the diversity of religions is the permissive will of God.

I tried to go more deeply into the question, at least by quoting the sentence as it reads in the document. The sentence says that as God wills the diversity of sexes, color, race and language, so God wills the diversity of religions. There is an evident comparison between the diversity of religions and the diversity of sexes.

I mentioned this point to the Holy Father, and he acknowledged that, with this direct comparison, the sentence can be understood erroneously. I stressed in my response to him that the diversity of sexes is not the permissive will of God but is positively willed by God. And the Holy Father acknowledged this and agreed with me that the diversity of the sexes is not a matter of God’s permissive will.

But when we mention both of these phrases in the same sentence, then the diversity of religions is interpreted as positively willed by God, like the diversity of sexes. The sentence therefore leads to doubt and erroneous interpretations, and so it was my desire, and my request that the Holy Father rectify this. But he said to us bishops: you can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God. [So no, there will not be a formal rectification at all.]

For readers who may not be familiar with the distinction between the permissive and positive will of God, can you give some examples of other things that God allows through his permissive will?
Yes, permissive will means that God allows certain things. God allowed or permitted Adam’s sin and all its consequences; and even when we personally sin, in some sense God permits this or tolerates this. But God does not positively will our sin. He permits it in view of the infinitely meritorious sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, and because he does not want to destroy our freedom. This is the meaning of the permissive will of God.

Many people, including victims of sexual abuse who had come to Rome for the February 25-27 Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the Church, were disappointed with the meeting for what they considered its lack of concrete action. Your Excellency, what do you believe would be the most effective way to solve the problem of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Church?
When there is a huge problem — which the abuse of children, minors and adult subordinates by the clergy certainly is — we always have to go to the deepest root, as every good doctor and physician does.

We cannot resolve a sickness only by making a superficial diagnosis. A deep and integral diagnosis is needed. And in my opinion, this was not done at the summit, because one of the evident, observable and deepest roots of the sexual abuse of minors is homosexuality among the clergy. Of course, I will not say that all homosexuals are necessarily abusing children. This would be unjust and untrue.

But we are speaking about clerical abuse in the Church, and so we have to focus on this illness. It has been proven that more than 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent males. It is therefore evident that the nature of the majority of this abuse involved homosexual acts. We have to stress that this is one of the main roots.

The other main root of the abuse crisis is the relativism on moral teaching which began after the Second Vatican Council. Since then, we have been living in a deep crisis of doctrinal relativism, not only of dogmatics but also of morals — the moral law of God.
- Morals were not taught clearly in seminaries over the past 50 years;
- it was often not clearly taught in Seminaries and Theological faculties that a sin against the sixth commandment is a grave sin.

Subjectively there may be mitigating circumstances, but objectively it is a grave sin.
- Every sexual act outside a valid matrimony is against the will of God.
- It offends God and is a serious sin, a mortal sin. This teaching was so relativized. And this is one of the other deep roots. We have to stress this.
- In my opinion, this was not stressed at the summit: the relativism of moral teaching, specifically on the sixth commandment.

Another deep cause is the lack of a true, serious and authentic formation of seminarians.
- There has been a lack of asceticism in the life and formation of seminarians.
- It has been proven by two thousand years, and by human nature, that without physical asceticism like fasting, praying, and even other forms of corporal mortifications, it is impossible to live a constant life in virtue without mortal sin.
- Due to the deep wound of original sin and the concupiscence still at work in every human being, we need corporal mortification.

St. Paul says: “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14)
- We can paraphrase these words, saying: do not nurture your flesh too much or concupiscence will dominate you.
- And this is exactly what often happened in seminaries. Seminarians and priests nurtured the flesh through a comfortable life without asceticism, without fasting and other bodily and spiritual mortifications.

But to me, the deepest cause of the clerical sex abuse crisis is the lack of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- When a seminarian or a priest does not have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, in constant fidelity to a life of prayer and really enjoying a personal love for Jesus, he is easy prey for the temptations of the flesh and other vices.
- Furthermore, when you have a deep and personal love of Christ, you cannot deliberately commit a horrendous sin. Occasionally, because of the weakness of human nature, a priest or seminarian could commit a mortal sin against purity. But in the same moment, he is deeply repentant and decides to avoid the next sin at any cost. This is a manifestation of a true love of Christ.

But it is for me completely excluded that a person who deeply loves Christ can sexually abuse minors. It is for me impossible. To my opinion, a deep love of Christ excludes this.

These are the main roots: homosexuality among the clergy, relativism of doctrine, a lack of ascesis and above all the absences of a deep and true love for Christ. And this was not stressed in the summit. Therefore, I consider the summit to be a failure, as a doctor fails to cure an illness when he fails to address its causes. This problem will break out again.

You mentioned the statistic that 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent males. How do you respond to Cardinal Blase Cupich and others who point to the John Jay report and other studies as evidence there is no causal relationship between homosexuality and clerical sex abuse?
It’s a denial of reality. How can I speak with a man who denies reality? This is only explainable as an ideological position.

What concrete measures do you believe the summit should have taken to offer real solutions to the problem of clerical sexual abuse?
The summit should have issued concrete canonical norms, but it didn’t, and therefore I think the summit was a failure.
- It was a beautiful clerical show, it was a show of clericalism — all the clerics with their titles came from all over the world. And many beautiful words — very emotional words — were spoken.
- But these deep roots were not addressed, and concrete and incisive norms were not given.

To my mind, very precise, compelling and incisive norms should be given. The first canonical norm I would propose is this: that people with homosexual inclinations should categorically not be accepted in seminaries. And if they are discovered, of course with respect and love, they must be dismissed from the seminary and helped to be healed and to live as a good Christian layman.
- Currently the norms only say that those with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not be admitted to seminary, but for me this is not sufficient. What does “deep-seated” mean? If an adult man comes to the seminary and feels homosexual attraction, even if it is not yet deep-seated, it is still a homosexual attraction. And in itself it is already a condition that, in some circumstances — such as in the exclusively male atmosphere of a seminary — could develop into a deeper or more aggressive tendency.

And when he becomes a priest, he will be with seminarians, with young altar boys and so on. And so while perhaps these tendencies were not deep-seated earlier, they can become deeper in certain circumstances.

It is for me in some way disingenuous. Let’s say that a young man is not an aggressive homosexual. He does not take pleasure in having homosexual tendencies, and they are not so deeply rooted.
- But when he acknowledges that he has these tendencies, or when it is proven by exterior acts or signs that he has homosexual tendencies, even if they are not deep-seated, he should be charitably sent away from the seminary.
- And this should be a canonical norm: that someone who acknowledges that he has homosexual tendencies, even not deep-seated, cannot be received into another seminary and cannot be ordained.

Homosexual tendencies are a kind of a personality disorder trait and a distorted perception of reality, since this signifies a desiring an object of pleasure against the natural order of the sexes. Magisterial documents call it an “objective” disorder. - How can you ordain a man with a disorder in his personality or in his psychosomatic makeup? Of course, there are other psychological disorders as well.
- We do not ordain men with certain psychological disorders, even when they are not so deep. It would harm the priesthood.

You mentioned exterior signs. In the canonical norm you propose, what sort of exterior signs do you have in mind?
If he were to have an exclusive and ostentatious friendship with a man, it would already be an exterior sign. Or if he looks at male pornography on the internet, this would be another sign. These are exterior, verifiable signs.
- Once these are discovered, such a seminarian should be forever excluded from ordination.
- Yes, he can be healed, but the seminary is not a sanitarium for healing people with psychological disorders or homosexual tendencies. This is naïve, and it will harm the priesthood and the person.
- It would be better for such a person to be a good Christian in the world and save his soul, and not to be a priest.
- We can and should help him, or course. But we have to be willing to say to him: you will not be ordained, it is for the salvation of your soul. Be a good Christian in the world.

Better to have fewer priests but healthy, psychologically healthy men. And deep lovers of Christ, deeply spiritual men. It would be better for the entire Church.
- Better to leave some parishes without a priest and some dioceses without a bishop for several years than to ordain a man who has a disorder, either homosexual or other personality disorders.

What other concrete norms do you believe the Vatican sex abuse summit should have issued?
- In a case when a priest or a bishop commits sexual abuse, even one case, he has to be dismissed from the clerical state.
- There should be “zero-tolerance” in this case, and it should be established in Canon Law. There should be no exception.

Of course, the fact of the sexual abuse must be proven and verified by a true canonical process, but when it is, he has to be dismissed from the clerical state.

These two norms (the categorical non-admittance to the seminary and to ordination of men with homosexual tendencies, and the dismissal from the clerical state), in my view, should have been explicitly mentioned in the summit, if it is to have a concrete impact. Otherwise it was a beautiful meeting, but more or less a clerical show with sentimental words and statements.

Should a priest who has abused minors receive any money from the Church?
I think yes. We have to be merciful and should not be cruel. We must always still be human and Christian, and I think the Church should at least temporarily give these clerics who are dismissed financial help – maybe for the first two years.

Prior to the summit, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller issued an open letter calling on the bishops attending the summit to end their silence on the moral corruption in the Church and to uphold divine and natural law. How much do you think their open letter was listened to and heeded at the meeting?
I think the letter of the two cardinals was meritorious and very timely, and history will regard it as a truly positive contribution in this very delicate crisis of abuse on the universal level of the Church. It was a beautiful witness, and I believe this letter honored the College of Cardinals. [If only other cardinals had promptly signed up!]

But I think it was heard more by the simple people than by the clerics: again, clericalism. Some have suggested that the Vatican sex abuse summit was the greatest example of clericalism. They failed to listen to the voices of the lay people. The voice of the laity was not heard sufficiently by clerics. Is this not clericalism?

What do you believe explains the obvious and repeated refusal to address the issue of homosexuality at the summit? Some have argued it might be due to a desire to protect homosexual networks within the hierarchy. Others have suggested it comes from bishops being afraid to say anything negative about homosexuality for fear of repercussions from the State.
I think that the first argument does not have considerable weight in the context of the summit. There are homosexual groups, but in this summit it was not decisive, in my opinion.

The second argument which you mentioned does have some weight but was not decisive. Fear on the part of bishops to confront the world is a factor; the fear of the world. Even though they may personally be against homosexuality, they fear a confrontation with the world. Clerical cowardice: again, clericalism.

But the deepest reason, in my opinion, is that there are mighty clerical clans among bishops and cardinals who want to promote and change in the Church the divine moral law on the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and of the homosexual lifestyle.
- They want to make homosexuality acceptable as a legitimate variant of sexual life.
- In my view, this is the deepest and perhaps the decisive reason why they were silent and failed to address this.

In October a Synod on the Amazon will be held at the Vatican. Your Excellency, you lived in Brazil for a time and are familiar with the region. It’s been said there is a shortage of priests in the Amazon, which some say justifies introducing viri probati. Is it true that such a sacramental crisis and shortage of priests exist?
Well, there is a shortage of priests in Amazonia, but there is also a shortage elsewhere. There is an increasing shortage of priests in Europe.

But the shortage of priests is only an obvious pretext to abolish practically (not theoretically) celibacy in the Latin Church. This has been the aim since Luther. Among the enemies of the Church and sects, the first step is always to abolish celibacy. Priestly celibacy is the last stronghold to abolish in the Church. The sacramental life is only the pretext for doing so.

In my own experience in the Soviet Union, we had several years go by with no Holy Mass. And we survived strong in faith. The faith was lived in the domestic Church which is the family. The faith was handed on through the Catechism. We prayed. We made spiritual communions, through which we received many graces. When suddenly a priest came after one or two years, it was really a feast, and we were so happy, and we sacramentally confessed, and God guided us. So I have had personal experience of this in my life, in the Soviet Union.

I also lived and worked in Brazil for 7 years.
- And I know the Brazilians. They are very pious people, simple people. They would never think up married clergy.
- No, this is an idea put into their heads not by indigenous peoples but by white people, by priests who themselves are not living a deep apostolic and sacrificial life.

Without the true sacrificial life of an apostle you cannot build up the Church. Jesus Christ gave us the example of the sacrificial offering of himself, as did the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Saints, the Missionaries. This built up the Church with lasting spiritual fruits for entire generations.

The shortage of priests in the Amazon is for me an example of the contrary: perhaps priests lack a deeply committed and sacrificial life in the spirit of Jesus and the Apostles and the Saints. They therefore seek human substitutes.
- Indigenous married clergy will not lead to a deepening and growth in the Amazonian Church.
- Other problems will surely arise with the advent of married clergy in the indigenous culture of the Amazon and in other parts of the world of the Latin Rite.

What is most needed is to deepen the roots of the faith and to strengthen the domestic church in the Amazon.
- We need to begin a crusade in the Amazon among these indigenous families, among Christian Catholics, for vocations – imploring God for vocations to the celibate priesthood, and they will come.
- Our Lord said to “pray,” so this lack is a sign that we are not praying enough. And people will be tempted to pray even less because men are filling their heads with the promise that in October they will receive the possibility of having married priests.
- So they no longer pray for their sons to be priests like Jesus, who was celibate. And Jesus is the model for all cultures.

Even one good indigenous celibate priest, a spiritual man, could transform tribes, as the saints did.
- St. John Marie Vianney transformed almost all of France.
- Padre Pio is another example.
- I am not saying that we must expect this standard of holiness but am offering them as examples of the supernatural fruitfulness that can come through one holy priest.
- Even a simple, deep spiritual man who is dedicated to Jesus and to souls in celibacy, an indigenous priest from Amazonia, will surely build up the Church so much there, and awaken new vocations by his example.

This has been the Church’s method since the time of the Apostles. And this method has been tried and proven through 2000 years of the Church’s missionary experience. And this will be true until Christ comes. There is no other way. Adapting to purely humanistic, naturalistic approaches will not enrich the Amazonian Church. We have 2000 years of history to prove this.

I repeat: Brazilian people are deeply aware of the sacredness of the priesthood.
- This is what the Amazonian Synod should do: deepen the awareness of the sacredness of the celibate priesthood.
- The Church has such beautiful examples of missionaries. It should deepen and strengthen the domestic Church, i.e. family life.
- And the synod should start Eucharistic adoration and prayer campaigns for priests and new priestly vocations.
- Without the sacrifice of love, without prayer, we will not build up a local Church. With married clergy, no.

I am not speaking against the married clergy in the Orthodox Churches or Eastern Catholic Churches. I am speaking of the Latin tradition in America and Europe. We have to keep this treasure without weakening it though the introduction of a married clergy, because it has been proven by so much fruitfulness when we look at it from a comprehensive point of view.

Do you believe it’s important for the Cardinals to speak up about the crisis in the Church, and if so what form do you believe this should take?
Yes, it’s very timely and very necessary because the confusion is only increasing.

I think the cardinals should address the issue of the Abu Dhabi document and the phrase on the diversity of religions, because this statement leads ultimately to a denial of the truth of the unique and obligatory character of the Faith in Christ, which is commanded by Divine Revelation.
- In my view, the Abu Dhabi statement is the most dangerous from the doctrinal point of view. The cardinals ought respectfully to ask the Holy Father to correct this phrase officially.

I believe it would also be very timely and needed for cardinals or bishops to issue a kind of profession of faith, of truths, while also rejecting the most widespread errors of our time.
- In my view, they should make a very specific, enumerated profession of truths, saying for example: “I hold firmly that …” followed by the refutation of an error.
- I believe such a profession should include all of the main dangerous errors which are spreading through the life of the Church in our day. [Something more wide-ranging and specific than Cardinal Mueller's recent Manifesto of Faith, which was an admirable initiative on his part, as well as something that had to be expected from a recent Prefect of the doctrine of the faith, who had to live in tacit approval (despite some occasional but far from frontal objections) of what he could later openly protest once he was no longer in the Curia.]

A profession reaffirming the faith but also refuting errors?
Yes, in the same sentence.
- Such a text should be published and widely disseminated to priests and bishops, perhaps asking them to make a public profession with this text in parishes and cathedrals.
- There would be no novelties. It would only state what the Church has always professed.

But of course, Jorge Bergoglio reflexively shoots from the lip, irrepressibly and often irresponsibly...
Read the latest outrageous example of this pope being thoughtless and careless with his words (and being even more outrageous, if he really means them)!

Francis besmirches our Spotless Mother
and Bride of Christ - the Holy Catholic Church

by 'New Catholic'

March 8, 2019

The technique is old: the criminal accuses the innocent in order to create the impression that all are to blame. "In this they are accusing the Church of something for which their own conscience plainly reproaches them," as Saint Pius X warned about the Modernists in Pascendi.

In a meeting with the clergy of Rome in the Lateran Basilica yesterday, the Bishop of the City, Francis, had the temerity to say this while discussing the abuse crisis, of which he is surely a protagonist:

“It [God?] is saving us from hypocrisy, from the spirituality of appearances. He is blowing his Spirit to restore beauty to his Bride, surprised in flagrant adultery.” ("Ci sta salvando dall’ipocrisia, dalla spiritualità delle apparenze. Egli sta soffiando il suo Spirito per ridare bellezza alla sua Sposa, sorpresa in flagrante adulterio.")

No, the Church is spotless and without wrinkle, as Saint Paul explained to the Ephesians:

: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.

- The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, our Holy Mother Church, is spotless, without wrinkle and without blemish.
- She is holy, immaculate, absolutely untouched in her purity washed by the Blood of the Lamb by the unfaithfulness of the laity and of the clergy, in particular of the careless popes of the past few decades, who let the hierarchy be taken by a volcanic wave of immorality and debauchery.

She remains spotless! Those who besmirch her accusing her of adultery when they are the adulterers themselves -- may Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, who calls her "my sister, my love, my dove, my Undefiled," punish them mightily for their horrid defamation!

How can this pope himself mistake the Church, which is the Spouse of Christ, for the sinners who make up the human component of the institution? Christ established the Church - therefore, a divine institution to begin with - precisely to prolong his presence, example and teachings for all men to the end of time, until he comes again to judge all of us.

Jorge Bergoglio makes it worse because with his penchant for colorful expressions, he more or less says the Church has been caught in flagrante delicto, which means literally, in the act of committing an offense, but commonly used to specifically mean "while engaged in sexual activity, often, in illicit or perverse sexual activity".

More recent Bergoglio-speak in which he contradicts himself. One had thought with his Feb. 28 homilette that God's mercy is not infinite, that he was 're-Christianizing' his notion of mercy, but that was apparently a momentary aberration...

Francis versus Francis:
Another day in Casa Santa Marta

by Chris Ferrara

March 7, 2019

Pope Francis on February 28:

“Don’t say: ‘God’s compassion is great, he’ll forgive me my many sins’, and so I continue doing what I want. Regarding this, the advice of the father or grandfather is: ‘Don’t wait to convert yourself to the Lord, don’t postpone it from day to day because the anger of the Lord will suddenly burst forth’…

Pope Francis on March 6:

‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.’ These words are not at all a threat; on the contrary, they are a happy proclamation, a message of joy. Jesus doesn’t want to push people to convert by sowing fear of God’s impending judgment or the sense of guilt for the evil committed. Jesus doesn’t proselytize: He simply proclaims.

First of all, the notion that “Jesus doesn’t proselytize” is among the most ridiculous of this Pope’s theological bloopers. If the statement “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:16) is not proselytizing, then nothing is. To proselytize means “to induce someone to convert to one’s faith” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). The warning by God Incarnate that He will condemn for all eternity those who refuse to be baptized and to believe in Him would appear to be a fairly substantial inducement to conversion.

At any rate, which is it?
(1) Stop sinning and convert now, lest the anger of the Lord come upon you suddenly
or, only a week later,
(2) the Lord does not expect us to convert now for fear of His judgment, and His call to repent and believe because to say the Kingdom of God is at hand is “not at all a threat.”

Answer: Either or both depending upon the rhetorical needs of the moment. For the art of strategic self-contradiction has characterized the entire ecclesiastical career of the man from Argentina.

I am reminded — as I have been so often — of the dire prognostication at Rorate Caeli concerning this pontificate at its very outset, at the time I was expressing unqualified optimism. To quote Rorate:

“Famous for his inconsistency (at times, for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies), accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions, it cannot be said that his magisterium is heterodox, but rather non-existent for how confusing it is.”

[The statements came from an Argentine Catholic who wrote Rorate caeli about his great 'reservations' regarding the newly-elected pope almost right after the 'Habemus papam' on March 13, 2013.]

That’s putting it rather mildly, concerning the deluge of plainly heterodox pronouncements from Francis over the past six years. Above all, the outrageous declaration in Amoris Laetitia (¶ 303) that conscience can rightly tell divorced and “remarried” people that while “a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel” it can constitute “what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God” and “that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”

God Himself is asking divorced and “remarried” people to continue living in adultery! For now. That is what Francis really believes and what he has falsely denominated “authentic Magisterium.” It can hardly be squared with his pious declaration on February 28 that one ought to convert and cease sinning lest he fall unexpectedly into the hands of an angry God.

But such is the purpose of strategic inconsistency, the modus operandi of Modernism. To quote Pope Saint Pius X on this score, under the heading “The Methods of the Modernists”:

“In [their] writings and addresses they seem not infrequently to advocate now one doctrine now another so that one would be disposed to regard them as vague and doubtful…. Hence in their books you find some things which might well be expressed by a Catholic, but in the next page you find other things which might have been dictated by a rationalist. When they write history they make no mention of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the pulpit they profess it clearly; again, when they write history they pay no heed to the Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechise the people, they cite them respectfully.”

It ought to be obvious to any reasonable observer at this point that in Francis we have a Modernist Pope. Worse, a Modernist who, unlike those assessed by Pius X, does not even bother to present a consistently orthodox camouflage for his liberalizing program but rather employs only an occasional orthodox utterance to throw his justified critics off-scent of the trail he follows relentlessly.

If this is not the Pope who would reign during the height of the calamity predicted by the Third Secret, I would hate to contemplate who would be.

I don't believe any modern pope before Jorge Bergoglio was ever careless and thoughtless about the words he said or wrote. The very awareness of being pope and therefore, responsible for confirming his brothers in the faith handed down through two millennia, thereby being a symbol of the unity of all Catholics in the 'one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church', kept any of them from saying anything that would be a breach of that fundamental duty.

But not Jorge Bergoglio, no! As the now-increasingly-exposed-to-be-fraudulent Fr. Rosica told us all - and never denied by the Vatican in any way, shape or form:

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is “free from disordered attachments.”

Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual
rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture

I am thinking that, for once, Rosica didn't plagiarize that from anyone, unless it was written out or dictated to him by some unregenerate Bergogliac like Fr. Spadaro or Andrea Tornielli who used a willing fallguy mouthpiece to say what even they wouldn't publicly dare say at this point!

BTW, a great terse comment from Fr Z who got a lot of flak for his initial benefit-of-the-doubt for the pope for that diversity thing in the Abu Dhabi statement - he said "the only way that it could be understood in a Catholic sense without it being heretical" was to consider that God's will can either be active or permissive (i.e., he allows evil things to happen as one of the consequences of Original Sin, but man can and ought to use his free will to decide against evil, which a 'diversity of religions' is). Reacting to Bishop Schneider's account of the pope's answer, Fr Z wrote:

That doesn’t change the text of that dreadful statement, but it brings a little more clarity to the situation.
Of course, what else was Francis supposed to say? The only way out of that quicksand was the rope of “permissive will”.

Yet another new 'oddity' from our increasingly strange pope. There's really nothing objectionable about the anecdote itself. Unless you recoil a bit at the image evoked
by the last line of the account. My objection is that it showed a total insensitivity on the part of the pope to express such enthusiasm for a'naked-boy Christ' icon
at a time when the Church is grappling - not very well - with the devastating consequences of too many priests having been obsessed with naked boys (pre- and post-
pubescent)! Do you think I am quibbling to make a small issue of this?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/15/2019 3:04 PM]
3/8/2019 11:13 PM
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Gold User

How we redefine the good
to justify our sins

Adapted by

from a chapter in 'GRACE AND TRUTH'
March 8, 2019

I remember a political debate where participants were asked, “Who is your favorite philosopher?”

Mostly their answers were ones you’d expect — Aristotle, Plato and so on. But one piously said that his favorite philosopher was Jesus. Another replied with even greater rectitude that Jesus was not a philosopher: Jesus is not a lover of wisdom, but Wisdom itself. He is the Truth that has ordered the universe.

Philosophy is a natural activity of the mind — the discerning of the basic hierarchy of principles by which we deduce what truth is. Theology, however, moves beyond philosophy by considering the source of truth itself.

When Our Lord was twelve years old, the rabbis in the temple marveled at His wisdom. I am sure that Our Lady and St. Joseph had a very good little domestic school going in Nazareth, but His wisdom did not come from them. In His human nature, He did have to learn natural things; for instance, He had to be taught the grammar of the Scriptures that He had given the world. But this magnificent paradox does not contradict His divine nature, which is not merely intelligent, but is the source of all intelligence.

The human being has a free will to choose good or evil. But after having plotted evil, when a person begins to commit the act itself, it begins to contradict the human dignity and the conscience in a more poignant way. This is why the most evil people in the world have had to redefine evil, pretending that it was good. Or, when that hasn’t worked, they have had to drug themselves, either with intoxicating language — slurs and euphemisms and so on — or with chemical drugs.

If we cooperate with evil, if we plot to do evil, and then if we commit ourselves to evil, the human spirit has to deny that what it is doing is evil. Evil always calls itself good; every vice parades itself as a form of liberation. [What's the first and most egregious current example in the Church that comes to your mind when reading those lines?]

In the nineteenth century there was a remarkable character named Fr. Theobald Mathew, an Irish Capuchin who dedicated his life to the temperance movement. There are those today who speak patronizingly of such work, but he was not a puritanical teetotaler, and drunkenness truly was a social crisis at that time.

He had a higher vision, a vision of the human soul as a reflection of the glory of God. And it was so wonderful to him that he wanted people to understand that they were losing sight of something far more splendid than what alcohol or drugs could give.

He was a virtual miracle worker, giving the temperance pledge to hundreds of thousands of Irish and, on one occasion, to a multitude of a hundred thousand Scotsmen. He came to the United States and visited at the White House, where he presented his work to the admiration of President Zachary Taylor. The vice president at the time, who later became President Millard Fillmore, received him at City Hall in New York, and it is said that he even took the pledge.

What Fr. Mathew faced in his day was no different from the drug culture we face today. Any sociologist can come up with an explanation for why alcohol was such a problem in the nineteenth century: The breakdown of social institutions, economic oppression, the suppression of religion, political tyranny, or any number of other things drove people to seek some kind of escape.

But this good priest told the people that God gives us not an escape but an “inscape” — a vision of the good that challenges every attempt to contradict that good by doing evil.

Our Lord gives us His Body and His Blood in the Holy Eucharist. When the world denies the majestic reality of the Holy Eucharist, it will always try to drink itself into oblivion or drug itself out of reality.

Any attempt to redefine the Blessed Sacrament as something less than the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the presentation on the altar of His True Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is an embarkation upon a kind of semi-life.

Why do people even consider doing evil? Well, it’s in the blood — not the Blood of Christ, but human nature. It’s Original Sin. When we appropriate that Original Sin in the form of explicit acts against the good, that’s what we call a sin.

Our Lord told a parable about the owner of a vineyard who left tenants in charge of the land. The proprietor sent one man to visit the vineyard and collect the rents, and that man was beaten. Another went to the vineyard, and he was gravely wounded. And then finally he said, “Surely, they will not touch my son.” He sent his son in, and they killed him.

Our Lord is giving us an allegory for sin.
- The beating of the first servant is venial sin, a lighter kind of offense against the good that can easily be remedied through an Act of Contrition. It does not even require a sacramental Confession, though it is recommended.
- But a venial sin is not to be dismissed lightly, because it lays the groundwork for the more direct affront against God represented by the wounding of the other servant, which represents habitual sin.

The ache in the soul that takes away our desire for the good forms a habit of behavior. These habits lead to the gravest offense of all: killing of the Son Himself.
- This is mortal sin, and every mortal sin is an act of violence against the Lord of Life. St. John Vianney said that when we confess our sins, we take the nails out of Jesus.

Charles Darwin, in his expedition to the Galapagos Islands, noted with great insight how the wildlife seemed unperturbed by the arrival of his ship or the men on it. The reason was clear: They had never seen humans before, and thus had no reason to feel threatened by them. They were not potential hunters or collectors, but just like the birds in the air and the beasts of the field.

But, he observed, the seals jumped off the rocks and swam away at the ship’s approach, for the seals alone of all the species on that island had a long experience of being hunted by humans.

The sons of Adam were like those seals. We have had a long experience — that is, all of human history — to observe and to learn the various ways in which people have offended God by offending against men and women, and this has created a deep wound in the human heart.
- If we are not careful, it can rust into cynicism, which denies the possibility of holiness and eternal joy. Cynicism cooperates with evil.

One of the most admirable writers in the English language was Jonathan Swift. He lived something of a misplaced life as a non-Celt living in Ireland and the dean of the Protestant cathedral of a Catholic country. But he was a man of deep natural virtue. He saw injustice all around him, and he marshaled his literary talent to do what he could to publicize these accounts. To do this, he unleashed his acidic tongue in the form of biting satire.

A lot of people continue to think that Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is a children’s book. It is anything but! A child can enjoy it, of course, but it was written for the minds and hearts of the most sophisticated people of his day.

He aimed his satirical barbs at the government officials and the representatives of the ancient institutions of his culture who had fallen into the dismal self-parody of worshipping themselves and their class instead of worshipping the God Who gave them life and power and prosperity.

He reserved particular scorn for the intellectuals who used their intelligence for no useful purpose at all. In the book, they live on a flying island, which they can never quite get to settle down on solid ground.

He satirizes the politicians as jumping through hoops or over strings just to get a particular kind of colored ribbon. Swift laid before the reader how easy it is for us, deprived of the vision of God, to lapse into a kind of innocent rejection of our own dignity. Once we have done that, we become easy prey for the liar. The prince of lies knows that once we have lost the vision of higher things, we can be persuaded to participate in the lower things.

Jonathan Swift, as I said, was a man of natural virtue, to a remarkable degree. What he did lack were the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love to a degree that could overcome bitterness and cynicism. He practically dissolved in his frustration and indignation at the injustices of his day. On his tomb in the cathedral in Dublin is this epitaph: “Where savage indignation no longer tears his heart apart.”

- Our Lord doesn’t want us to deny that kind of bittersweet indignation, but He also doesn’t want our hearts to be torn apart by cynicism.
- The goodness of the human soul can discern good from evil, but it will be eternally frustrated if it doesn’t have access to the grace and truth of Christ, which can release the good and conquer the evil.

It is highly significant that Our Lord reveals Himself as an eternal light shining in the darkness. Our Lord, when He wanted us to see His divine mercy, showed it in a private revelation to St. Faustina with lights coming out of Him. The Light that made the world can cancel out the propensity to evil that is in every human heart.

Instead of surrendering to indignation and dying with a sense of futility, it is far better to follow the example of the saints. In particular, we could take as our model that saint whose very name means “fire”: Ignatius Loyola. He prayed in his Spiritual Exercises, and the Church has taken up his prayer ever since.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I am and have You have given to me. And I give all back to You to be disposed of according to Your good pleasure. Give me only the comfort of Your presence and the joy of Your love, and with these, I shall be more than rich and shall desire nothing more.

[It happens to be the first post-Communion prayer I say these days, thanks to St. Edmund Campion's Missal which features it along with other pre- and post-Communion prayers from the saints.]
3/9/2019 8:59 AM
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Thank God they seemed to have shot down that sacrilegious proposal by a Jesuit theologian in his 80s who nonetheless is said to have written many books including one
on the theology of the Eucharist! It took the Vatican quite a few days to do it but they did it, hooray! Were there spirited debates over it in Casa Santa Marta involving
Jesuits Bergoglio and Spadaro and their theologians from the various pontifical universities to come to a decision?... I am glad I decided not to put this story on the front
burner right away when it first broke.

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2019 (CNA)- Vatican officials have said there are no plans to discuss changing the matter of the Eucharist during an upcoming synod for the pan-Amazonian region of South America.

The possibility of changing the kind of bread allowed to be used in the celebration of the Eucharist does “not appear in the Preparatory Document for the Special Assembly next October and therefore is not a subject of the next Synod,” Bishop Fabio Fabene, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, told CNA Friday.[Should we take the word of the Synod Secretariat for that? Nothing stopped them or their boss, PF, from inserting whatever they/he wanted on the agenda of the past three synods nor in their final documents. Don't forget AL was the pope's formal and definitive final word on the 'family synods', and who's to say that his post-synodal exhortation for the 'youth synod' will not turn out to be a Laetitia amoris prohibiti (The joy of forbidden love) - and let a Latinist please correct me if my translation is wrong!]

The clarification comes after a Brazilian Jesuit theologian said last month that the October synod on the Amazon could consider the substitution of wheat bread in the eucharistic species with a host made from yuca – a root plant common in the Amazon. [Yuca is an archaic word for what is more commonly known as cassava, from which tapioca is made. It is different from the cactus-like yucca plant. Unleavened cassava-bread is common in Latin America, and is usually crisp like a cracker.]

The exclusive use of bread made from wheat and wine from grapes for celebrating Mass is explicitly regulated by the Church, with any other material defined as invalid matter for the sacrament.

Fr. Francisco Taborda, SJ, said Feb. 28 that a fundamental shift in the matter of the Eucharist was a likely topic to be addressed during the special session of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region in October.

Speaking to Crux, Taborda suggested that because of the humidity in the Amazon at different times of the year, wheat bread sometimes becomes overly moist – something he suggested could justify a radical departure in sacramental teaching and disciple.

"If bread turns too moist, it’s not bread, and if it’s not bread, it’s not the Eucharist,” he said. “In the Amazon, bread is made out of yuca.”

[And no one from Crux thought to dispute him on this? Hosts from wheat have been used throughout the Americas since the Spaniards brought the faith to that continent in the 16th century, and in the even hotter Asian and African tropics. Keeping them dry in properly closed containers was obviously never a problem. Who ever heard of hosts getting too moist because of the climate? They are kept in the tabernacle in a closed ciborium until they have to be distributed, and are never left out in the open. Even the recipe books for cassava bread say that although insects are not interested in it, it must be stored in a tightly sealed container so it does not get exposed to moisture and air.]

Taborda said that the decision to substitute the essential matter of Eucharistic consecration should be left to local bishops. [This calls to mind Mons. Schneider's recent remarks about the faith of Brazilian Catholics who, on their own, would never have thought about having married priests until the notion was introduced to them. I bet few Latin American bishops - or none at all - ever even thought of yuca hosts until Taborda brought it up unbidden.]

Fabene told CNA that “the changing of the Eucharistic matter is the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” [Really? It is in the CDF's competence now to decide to change the matter of the Eucharist??? Can you believe the fundamental ignorance of that statement by the #2 man in Bergoglio's synod secretariat?]

The 80 year-old Taborda is an emeritus professor of theology at the Jesuit Faculty of Philosophy and Theology (FAJE) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he taught for many years. He has written several books, including on the theology of the sacraments.

Taborda spoke to Crux while attending a seminar entitled “Toward the Special Synod for the Amazon: Regional and universal dimensions,” and held in Rome Feb. 25-27.

While the study session was organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, a Synod spokesman told CNA that Taborda’s statements “are exclusively personal,” and do not represent official plans.

The teaching of the Church on the essential matter for the consecration of the Eucharist is closely regulated. Canon 924 §2 of the Code of Canon Law states that the bread “must be only wheat.” Similarly, the wine used must be natural and made from grapes and mixed only with water.

Fr. Mark Morozowich is the Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, an ecclesiastical faculty with special authority from the Vatican to teach theology.

Morozowich explained to CNA the principles that govern “enculturation,” or deference to local circumstances, within the Mass.

“The Church has always enculturated the liturgy,” he said. “This is something we’ve done through the centuries in every single place from the very beginning.”

Starting with the first ministry of the apostles, he said, “the Church lived Jesus Christ, proclaimed his cross, death, and resurrection. The Church proclaimed Jesus Christ being present body and soul in the elements of the Eucharist.”

He said that there have been, and continue to be, some regional differences in the matter used in the celebration of the Eucharist, but those differences are limited by the Church’s doctrinal teaching.

“Classically, we can look at the very clear acceptance of the Byzantine rite having a leavened bread for its Eucharist, whereas the Roman Church has an unleavened bread for its Eucharist.”

“Both are different but yet both are valid matter according to their own ritual tradition,” Morozowich said. “This is something that has been going on for two thousand years.”

“Some people talk about the use of something else besides wheat flour or the use of something besides wine in the Eucharist; one important part of this is certainly about [remembering] what we are expressing in this prayer, but there’s a continuity to the sacrifice of Christ when he was on this Earth. That basic principle needs to be reflected in all these discussions.”

The Mass is not, Morozowich said, about enacting an exact historical recreation of the last supper, “but at the same time the Church has said there are some core elements of this reality in the way the [Catholic] community has celebrated throughout its history.”

“The Church needs to be very cautious with what are the latest ‘fads’ if you will,” he said. “The Church is very concerned to present the culture and the prayers in a way that is telling and faithful to the way they have been lived through the centuries.”

Even within the differences between the Latin and Byzantine rites, he said, there is an essential continuity of Eucharistic matter.

“Leavened or unleavened, the Church has always used wheat bread. Whether it is mixed with hot or cold water, or mixed once or twice, the Church has always used wine,” Morozowich said.

“These are essential, so that as the believer celebrates the Eucharist and reflects on the institution of that Eucharist, e has a sense of transcending time and a sense of the True Presence that is mediated through these specific elements.”

Of course, Taborda's proposal about what is not a minor matter at all provoked consternated reactions right away which I will post for the record.

Changing the matter of the Eucharist
would create a ‘new religion’, experts say

ROME, March 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Experts including Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider are sounding the alarm over a shocking proposal at the Vatican to consider changing the matter of the Eucharist.

Such a move, critics warn, would invalidate the Sacrament and create, in effect, a “new religion.”

Jesuit theologian Father Francisco Taborda last week raised the possibility that the upcoming Amazonian Synod scheduled for next October might consider changing the matter of the Eucharist, allowing the use of bread made with a South American root called yuca rather than wheaten bread.

Fr. Taborda told Crux on Feb. 28 that climate issues and inculturation warrant the change. Intense humidity during the Amazonian rainy season turns wheaten hosts into a pasty mush, he said, adding that “in the Amazon, bread is made out of yuca,” a shrub native to South America from which tapioca is derived.

Taborda, a professor of theology at the Jesuit university in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was a featured speaker at a study seminar held at the Vatican on Feb. 25-27, in preparation for the October synod on “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”

Key figures at the two-day seminar included Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a principal proponent of married priests in the Latin Rite. Also in attendance were presidents of Pan-Amazonian bishops conferences and other “prelates and experts” from Amazonia and other geographical regions.

While Fr. Taborda acknowledged that a change to the matter of the Eucharist is a “very complex question,” he said he believes it should be decided by local bishops.

LifeSite approached a number of prominent Catholic theologians and ecclesiastics to ask them if such a change is even conceivable. They replied unanimously and vehemently in the negative.

“It would be entirely improper for the Synod on the Amazon to discuss the change of the matter of the Holy Eucharist,” Cardinal Burke told LifeSite. “To depart from the use of what has always been the matter of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist has the gravest of implications.”

“This is completely impossible because it is against the divine law which God has given us,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, responded to the proposed change. “To celebrate the Eucharist with yuca would mean introducing a kind of a new religion.”

Fr. John Saward, senior research fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, said that replacing wheaten bread with yuca would contravene the witness of Tradition, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Code of Canon Law.

And one prominent theologian, speaking on condition of anonymity, told LifeSite:

If the Pope were to press ahead with this permission on the grounds of “development of doctrine,” thereby aiding and abetting the heterodox theologians in Rome (or Brazil or Germany or wherever) who proposed it, then he will be authorizing a change of the substance of the Sacrament as determined by the action of Christ our Lord at the Last Supper. “Masses” celebrated with “yuca” bread would not be Masses; there would be no Real Presence, no Sacrifice."

We asked these authorities to explain in more detail why it is simply impossible for such a change to occur.

Cardinal Burke explained that “according to the Faith of the Roman Church, the matter of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is wheat bread and natural grape wine... If any other matter is used, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is not validly confected,” he said.

The cardinal noted that “the ancient custom of the Church, according to which only wheaten bread may be used for the Eucharistic Sacrifice, was confirmed at the Council of Florence (Bull of Union with the Armenians Exsultate Deo, November 22, 1439).”

“The matter of the sacraments respects what is taught in the Holy Scriptures,” Cardinal Burke also explained. “The narrative of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist specifies that Christ took wheat bread, not barley bread or any other form of bread, at the Last Supper and changed its substance into the substance of His Body. The Greek word, artos, nearly always signifies wheaten bread.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider agreed, saying: “Our Lord Jesus Christ took wheat bread and natural grape wine, and the Church has constantly and in the same sense taught for over two thousand years that only wheat bread is the matter of the sacrament of the Eucharist. This is an infallible teaching of the Ordinary Universal Magisterium.”

The auxiliary of Astana added that the Catechism of the Council of Trent states that the matter of the Holy Eucharist is only wheaten bread. The relevant passage reads:

There are, however, various sorts of bread, either because they consist of different materials — such as wheat, barley, pulse and other products of the earth; or because they possess different qualities — some being leavened, others altogether without leaven.

It is to be observed that, with regard to the former kinds, the words of the Savior show that the bread should be wheaten; for, according to the common usage, when we simply say bread, we are sufficiently understood to mean wheaten bread. This is also declared by a figure in the Old Testament, because the Lord commanded that the loaves of proposition, which signified this Sacrament, should be made of fine flour.

He therefore argued that to change the matter of the Eucharist from wheat bread to another kind of matter would be “tantamount to inventing a sacrament, alien to the one established by Our Lord, which has been preserved unchangingly by the bi-millennial tradition of the entire Church in East and West.”

“To celebrate the Eucharist with yuca would mean introducing a kind of a new religion,” Schneider contended. “Were they to introduce yuca as matter for the Eucharist, it would no longer be the sacrament of the Catholic religion. It would be a new Amazonian religion with Catholic decoration, but it would no longer be the sacrament of the Eucharist of the Catholic Apostolic Church.”

Bishop Schneider also pointed out that “the Council of Trent, Pope Pius XII and John Paul II taught that the Church has no power to change the substance of the sacraments.”

The Church can only change what she has established,” he said. “Yet the Church did not establish the matter of the Eucharist. It was established by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who likewise established that water be the matter of Baptism.”

LifeSite also asked the highly regarded English theologian and author, Father John Saward, to explain why it is impossible to introduce a change in the matter of the Eucharist. Fr. Saward responded:

The witness of Tradition is as clear as can be: the only valid matter of the Eucharist is wheaten bread (panis triticeus). It is the teaching of the Council of Florence and is argued for by St. Thomas in his treatise on the Eucharist in the Summa: “We believe that Christ used this kind of bread when He instituted the Eucharist” (3a q. 74, a. 3). “Without wheaten bread,” St. Thomas goes on to say, “the Sacrament is not validly confected” (sine quo non perficitur sacramentum) (3a q. 74, a. 4)... The 1983 Code is likewise unambiguous: ‘The bread must be made of wheat alone’ (can. 924/2).

Saward argued that a vague notion of “development of doctrine” cannot be invoked to justify this rupture with Sacred Tradition. The limits of such development, he said, are carefully set out by the First Vatican Council: “That meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother Church has once declared, and there must never be a deviation from that meaning on the specious ground and title of a more profound understanding.” (Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius on the Catholic Faith, ch. 4).

The Oxford-based theologian noted that “Blessed John Henry Newman made the same point in this way: ‘There is nothing which the Church has defined or shall define but what an Apostle, if asked, would have been fully able to answer and would have answered.’ (Letter to Flannigan). In other words, if you had asked St. Peter, ‘What is the only valid matter of the Eucharist?’ he would have replied, ‘Wheaten bread.’”

Fr. Saward also observed that, in recent times, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has insisted that celiac priests “must consecrate and consume altar breads made of wheat, even if the gluten content is reduced.”

As recently as 2017, in fact, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued guidelines for bishops on the bread and wine to be used for the Holy Eucharist.

For all these reasons, Cardinal Burke has said “it would be entirely improper for the Synod on the Amazon to discuss the change of the matter of the Holy Eucharist.”

“It would signify some doubt about the unbroken Tradition by which the Holy Eucharist continues to be the action of Christ in our midst, in fact, the highest and most perfect manifestation of His Presence with us,” he said. “To depart from the use of what has always been the matter of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist has the gravest of implications.”

The cardinal added: “One wonders why, after centuries of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Amazon, now there is so much difficulty surrounding the use of hosts of wheaten bread.”

“There is something more involved than a problem of keeping the hosts fresh,” Cardinal Burke observed. “The use of some local food, which is like bread but is not the kind of bread which Our Lord used at the Last Supper, reflects a totally horizontal view of the Holy Eucharist, in which the Holy Eucharist is the action of the community which gathers instead of the action of Christ Who gathers the community.

If, as these authorities suggest, the proposal to change the matter of the Eucharist from wheaten bread to yuca represents a clear and manifest break with the Catholic Faith, the question arises: Should an orthodox bishop refuse even to participate in the Amazonian Synod were such a question on its agenda? [Thankfully, we have now been told it won't be on the agenda, even if that gratitude may well be provisional.]
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 10:06 PM]
3/9/2019 11:22 AM
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The words 'adultery' and 'homosexuality'
have vanished from this pope's teaching

Adapted from the English translation of

March 8, 2019

It is a fact, not an opinion. The words 'adultery' and 'homosexuality' have both disappeared from the Magisterium of 'the Church' at its highest level, that of the Roman pontiff.

'Adultery' disappeared completely just when it would have been most natural to say it - at the two synods on the family, and shortly afterward, in Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.”

The disappearance of the second is more recent. But also right at the moment in which it seemed impossible not to say it: at the February 21-24 summit at the Vatican on clerical sex abuse and episcopal cover-ups, in which 80% of reported cases were on male children and adolescents.

“It is known that when one wishes to marginalize or eliminate some truth, there is no need to contradict it openly; on the contrary, this would be the worst strategy, because it would prompt open reactions and draw attention. Much better, instead, to pass over it in silence, not talk about it anymore, to lock it up with the old junk in the attic or the basement, and over the span of some time,all memory of it will be lost, and life will go on as if it were no longer there.”

This observation comes from Dom Giulio Meiattini, a Benedictine monk of the abbey of the Madonna della Scala in Noci, professor of theology at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome, in the preface to the second edition of his book “Amoris laetitia? The sacraments reduced to moralisms”.

The preface can be read in its entirety on the blog of Aldo Maria Valli. But here we will sample the passages most focused on the effective banning of these two words.

On the word adultery, Dom Meiattini writes:

The first change, which does not seem to have been grasped in its effective gravity because it has been dissembled, is the complete disappearance, not to say the banning, of the word ‘adultery.’ This is entirely absent from the two ‘Instrumenta laboris’ preceding the synods of 2014 and 2015, absent from the respective intermediate relations (‘Relationes post disceptationem’), never used by the two final documents submitted for the approval of the synod fathers, and finally definitively buried by ‘Amoris Laetitia.’ Not a detail of little account.

The teaching of the Church, from the time of the Fathers, has always made unmistakable reference to the evangelical and New Testament texts relative to adultery as an essential part of its teaching on indissoluble marriage, with the relative consequences on pastoral practice and canonical discipline. In the aforementioned presynodal, synodal, and postsynodal documents, however, these Gospel passages are never expressly cited, apart from a couple of fragments of Mt 19:8-9, from which however is censored precisely the passage that makes explicit reference to adultery.”

It is the passage in which Jesus says that “whoever repudiates his wife, except in case of concubinage, and marries another commits adultery....

“One must have the honesty to say it and to recognize it: already for some time in the Church there is very rarely any use of the word ‘adultery’ in preaching or in catechesis. Now instead, taking the cue from chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the preference is to use the neutral and innocuous term ‘frailty,’ which in most cases also replaces the very word ‘sin.’

Occasional conjugal infidelity or stable new unions subsequent to the sole marriage celebrated before God are no longer designated with the appropriate term with which Jesus and the Christian tradition define them: adultery...

In the two synods and in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ the sin of adultery has been erased not with a sponge stroke, but rather with a stroke of silence: it is simply no longer spoken of. And what has become of all of those New Testament passages, above all from the gospels, that speak of it openly? All that appears of them is a faded reference in parentheses, preceded by the 'cf'. ['cf' or 'cfr' are both abbreviations for the Latin verb meaning 'to compare', and refers the reader to other material to make a comparison of its contrast to the idea being presented.]

The disappearance of 'homosexuality' from the Church’s magisterium, Dom Meiattini points out, happened more gradually. First, with a change of meaning and therefore of judgment, and then with its total abandonment.

The key moment marking the change of judgment on homosexuality can be seen in paragraphs 50, 51, and 52 of the “Relatio post disceptationem” made public halfway through the 2014 synod on the family.

When on Ocober 13 2014 the “Relatio” was presented to the press, Cardinal Péter Erdõ - who formally figured as the author of the document - dissociated himself from those three paragraphs and attributed their surreptitious composition to Bruno Forte, appointed by the pope as special secretary of the synod.

The next day another cardinal of the highest rank, the South African Wilfrid Napier, denounced the irreparable damage that had been done with that coup de main: “The message has gone out: This is what the synod is saying, this is what the Catholic church is saying. No matter how we try correcting that… there's no way of retrieving it.”

What was written, in fact, in those three paragraphs? That homosexual behaviors must be “accepted” and that “mutual support to the point of sacrifice constitutes a valuable mainstay for the life of couples of the same sex,” better still if gladdened by children.

Dom Meiattini comments:

These expressions prompted substantial and understandable reactions in the synodal assembly, so much so that at the 2015 synod and finally in ‘Amoris Laetitia’, there was a reversion to a few phrases that were much more sober and non-problematic. But it is clear that the words used in those paragraphs represented in any case an attempt at indirect legitimization, not even so veiled, of homosexuality and even of the adoption of children by homosexual couples.

In the runup to the 2018 'youth synod', expectations were therefore high over what the hierarchy would say on the subject of homosexuality, after there peeped out from its base document, the“Instrumentum laboris, the not innocent [but now very common secular term] acronym LGBT, for the first time in any official Church text.

However, in the final document - in the composition of which it was communicated that “Pope Francis had also taken part personally” - only one brief generic reference was dedicated to homosexuality, in paragraph 150.

In regard to which Dom Meiattini observes: quote] At first reading this seems to be a matter of a paragraph that is basically innocuous. The talk is of respect for homosexual persons, of pastoral initiatives for their integration. It is clear that no one would want to discriminate against these persons and fail to respect them. But what is striking, in these phrases, is not so much what is said, but rather the silence. The silence around the Church doctrine of all time, according to which the homosexual inclination represents a disorder and giving in to it is a sin. Silence, we see, seems to have become a method for softening consciences and brains. In keeping quiet one opens the way to oblivion.

And this brings us to the summit of February 21-24 2019, from which there disappeared entirely not only the notion but even the word “homosexuality.” And to those at the press conference who asked why, Cardinal Blase Cupich and Bishop Charles Scicluna - the two main pilots of the event by the pope’s mandate - responded that “homosexuality has nothing to do with the sexual abuse of minors", even though the evidence of the facts says the opposite.

The word “homosexuality” does not even appear where it would have been practically inevitable, if not obligatory, to say it. There is one passage in the most lauded relation of the nine given in the assembly, in which the Nigerian sister Veronica Openibo lists the “other issues around sexuality” in addition to that of the sexual abuse of minors that is the object of the summit. And here is the list: “misuse of power, money, clericalism, gender discrimination, the role of women and the laity in general.” Full stop. Homosexuality is not there. Replaced with its opposite, gender discrimination, which implies homophobia.

This silence, Dom Meiattini notes, even if by now in various parts of the world there are “priests and bishops who in practice recognize homosexual partnerships, even bless them, hope for their civil regulation and carefully avoid calling them what they are: a moral disorder, a sin that requires penitence, conversion, and forgiveness.”

Is this strategy of silence on adultery and homosexuality, adopted by 'the church of Pope Francis', part of a coordinated and targeted plan? Dom Meiattini says Yes, and he explains it as follows:

Between the downgrading of conjugal infidelity and illegitimate unions between man and woman from the sin of adultery to a simple imperfection or frailty, on the one hand, and the beginning of a subtle legitimization of homosexual relations, above all if they are 'faithful', on the other, there exists a clear relationship of consequentiality.

In fact, if ‘so-called irregular unions’ (as ‘Amoris Laetitia’ calls them) between man and woman are no longer called adultery. On the contrary, they do not even represent ‘true’ irregularities but are merely considered ‘frailty’ or ‘imperfections’ with respect to the evangelical conjugal ideal (again according to the language used by ‘Amoris Laetitia’), then the first obstacle has been toppled in order to recognize sexual relations outside marriage as, at the very least, not condemnable.

If we add to this the pastoral accessory of ‘laissez-faire’ (like entrusting pastoral positions to publicly cohabiting homosexuals, etc.), then the way is now partly open to a tacit and de facto admission of same-sex unions between Catholics.

One can thus understand better the words of Cardinal Walter Kasper on the verge of the publication of ‘Amoris Laetitia’: that this would be only the first of a series of epochal changes in the history of the Church.

All these subterfuges were very obvious to anyone who read AL objectively - especially given the not-very-tacit notions and intentions of Jorge Bergoglio about these 'sins below the belt' - which he has subsequently referred to, post-AL, as 'minor' sins. Which is why it was infuriating to read Cardinal Mueller's defense of AL when he was still part of the Curia - that everything it said was orthodox if read in the light of tradition!

How, in God's name??? His defense of AL was made even more absurd by the fact that the pope's followers were trumpeting it loud and clear that AL marked part of the 'paradigm change' that Bergoglio is working in 'the church'. How can it be 'read in the light of tradition' and a 'paradigm change' at the same time? I suppose that is what rankles me most about Muller's opportunism and its underlying dishonesty, which are not mitigated at all by his recent Manifesto of Faith, as welcome as that surprising initiative was.]

I am sorry I have not gotten around to translate the entire preface of Don Meiattini's new edition of his book, which Aldo Maria Valli did publish on March 4. As soon as I have done so ,I will post it in this space.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/9/2019 11:24 AM]
3/9/2019 11:44 AM
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As I am unable to post various developments in this regard, I am thankful for this commentary which more or less summarizes the appalling positions taken lately by Catholic politicians in the US Congress and in the various statehouses supporting infanticide of babies who are born despite abortion attempts or simply as an outrageous extension of the mother's supposed right to abort. How has this country's lawmakers many of them Catholic) have gone so quickly - in the space of months - from extending legal abortion all the way to term, to allowing the murder of babies who are born nevertheless? Which is happening at the same time as more ad more citizens are waking up to realize the horrors of abortion and therefore to protest it?

If Catholic politicians were faithful...
by Lawrence P. Grayson

March 7, 2019

“All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics,” said Pope St. Pius V. While the events of the past several weeks demonstrate the truth of this statement, it may be more accurate to say they are also due to Catholics who abandon, reject or stray from the tenets of their faith.

With actions in several states to legalize late-term abortion, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was recently introduced in the U.S. Congress. The bill would not restrict a woman’s ability to have an abortion nor affect any health care she may require.

Rather, it states that if a child is born alive following an abortion — and is now an independent human being outside of its mother’s womb — that it be given the same degree of medical care to preserve its life and health as would be given to any other newborn.

The bill faced severe opposition. First, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., blocked a vote. Then, under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a vote on the measure was blocked seven times in the House of Representatives. Both Murray and Pelosi are Catholic.

When a vote finally was taken in the Senate Feb. 25 to break a filibuster, it was defeated 53-44, with 10 Catholics voting against the bill. One of those Catholics was Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who was quickly criticized by Virginia Bishops Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond and Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington. They said that the outcome was “appalling and beyond comprehension,” and that they were “outraged” that the state’s two senators “voted against this critical lifesaving legislation.”

These are not the only high-profile political office holders who profess to be Catholic while opposing the Church’s teachings. They are only the latest ones who have taken prominent action.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a professed Catholic, signed the Reproductive Health Act into law - which allows abortions to be performed throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy, permits non-physicians to perform them, and removes all criminal penalties for the procedure.

In a display of arrogance, Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the act Jan. 22, the anniversary of the enactment of Roe v. Wade, and celebrated by having the World Trade Center bathed in pink lights.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, also a Democrat who identifies as Catholic, is supporting an abortion bill similar to that of New York, which was introduced Jan. 16 into the state’s House of Delegates.

In Maryland, where abortion is already legal throughout a woman’s pregnancy, the speaker of the state’s House of Delegates, Michael Busch, introduced a bill this legislative session to enshrine abortion as a woman’s right in the state constitution, which would preclude any laws to restrict abortion from being passed in the future. Busch is a Democrat and a cradle Catholic who left the faith a few years ago. With strong public opposition, Busch withdrew the bill Feb. 23, but said he would reintroduce it next year when the reaction to the New York law diminishes.

In Virginia, Delegate Kathy Tran (D), a proclaimed Catholic, introduced a bill to allow abortion even when a woman is in labor and about to give birth. The embattled state governor, Ralph Northam, a non-Catholic Democrat and pediatric neurologist, commenting on the bill, said that if a “severely deformed or otherwise nonviable” child was delivered “a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother” to consider possible termination options. Hence, even infanticide would be allowed as a medical option under a bill proposed by a Catholic.

But the Virginia measure is no less draconian than if a child who survives a failed abortion is not given medical care and allowed to die. Abortion is a violent and brutal act, conducted by people who are willing to kill children, not only in the womb, but, increasingly, after being delivered alive.

Pope Francis recently said, “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.”

How has humanity become so degraded that children in the womb are routinely killed and treated as disposable? How can physicians who have taken the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm ignore the cries of a newborn infant who needs their attention? How have mothers gotten to the point where the quality of their lives is more important than life itself for their children?

Pelosi’s words reflect the attitude of too many Catholic politicians. In an interview a few years ago, she stated: “I grant the Church where they are on abortion. That’s where they are; that’s where they have to be. But my faith isn’t about what their position is.”

Kaine, Hillary Cinton's vice-presidential runningmate, expressed a similar view, stating: “I’ve taken a position which is quite common among Catholics. I’ve got a personal feeling about abortion, but the right role for government is to let women make their own decisions.”

This attitude of misguided toleration that too many Catholic politicians express is embraced because it imposes no obligation on them to publicly live the faith and does not interfere with their drive for political success.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson recently wrote, “I do not see how it is possible to build a culture of life in America as long as our elected officials harden their hearts to the cries of unborn children.”

Pope Francis, in his exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, stated, “Our defense of the innocent unborn needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred.”

Responding to that call, Carl Anderson declared: “You will not see a reed bending here. … On this issue [of life] we will not yield. We will never give in. The Knights of Columbus will never abandon the field.”

Neither should any faithful Catholic.
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Satan says 'Follow me'(Temptation of Jesus Christ), Ilya Repin [1903)

Temptation is inevitable; sin is not
Lent is an opportunity to do intensively what should be done normally.

by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas

March 9, 2019

Homily preached by the Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan on the First Sunday in Lent, March 10, 2019.

Imagine, if you will, a desert – arid, lifeless, boring in its sameness, oppressive in its heat, removed from civilization, inhabited by wild beasts, eerie because the possibilities for violence, suffering and death seem so real. In fact, the Jews believed that the desert was the abode of evil spirits. And yet, all three Synoptic evangelists tell us that Jesus is driven into the desert under the impulse of the Spirit.

Having painted such a grim picture of life in the desert, I should also note that there is something different about this particular desert. In spite of the potential for violence in the Gospel scene, we also have a sense of peace. Although Christ is with the wild beasts, we have no fear for Him. Nor does Jesus appear to be mastered by the elements; He seems in control throughout. Is there a hint here that the sinful, disordered condition of our world is now being renewed? Do we have here a hint of a “Paradise Restored”?

Sin breeds hate and discord, even in nature. Grace produces harmony and order. Jesus comes proclaiming a time of fulfillment, a time when God’s reign will be established in men’s hearts. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Our Lord renders that challenge after going through the depths of human suffering and temptation. Jesus has the right to make this kind of proclamation because He knows that it is possible to overcome temptation. He has done it, and so can we. Reform [of ourselves] is possible. Our situation is not hopeless; we are meant to be greater and better than we are. That is the good news Jesus brings, and that is the good news Lent bids us practice.

An important question, however, is this: Is sin inevitable for us? Actually, there is an even more basic question, the answer to which will tell me whether you are a Catholic or a Protestant. How many people think that mankind since the fall of Adam is essentially corrupt? How many think he is merely weakened? All of you who raised your hands for corruption are Lutherans.

You see, the main point of contention between Luther and the Church revolved around the view of man each held. Luther believed that the sin of Adam had so totally destroyed man that the only way for man to find favor with God was to hide behind Christ on Judgment Day.

But the Church disagreed. The Catholic approach to man is much more positive, more hopeful, and it stems from the belief that although original sin weakened us as a race and as individuals, it did not take away our basic longing and capacity for good. And the reason for our more positive attitude is because we believe that Jesus reversed and undid the damage done by Adam. When Adam was tempted, he failed; when Jesus was tempted, He conquered.

Lent affords us the opportunity to view reality from the perspective of contrasts: sin and grace; feasting and fasting; death and life. The contrast is the most striking when we consider the behavior of the first Adam and that of the second Adam: The first was tempted and sinned, while the second was tempted but prevailed over His tempter.

If this holy season is going to make us any holier, it will be through making us come to a deeper and better understanding of temptation. Some basic facts are essential to grasp.

First, the Devil is real, and he has an uncanny insight into human psychology, preying on our weaknesses, which he seems to know better than we do ourselves, or at least more than we are usually ready to admit.

Jesus the Messiah is thus subjected to three primal enticements (which have a tug on all people), but they had special significance for One who would be a Savior.
- His first temptation was of the flesh – carnal desires. Interestingly, Satan tempts Jesus to break His fast! Pay heed to this at the outset of your own commitment to holy fasting. Beyond that, today we see all around us the abuse of sex, food, drugs and alcohol. This is what happens when the body masters the mind; the human person is enslaved by the idolatry of creature comforts and eroticism.

- Christ’s second temptation was of the mind, with appeals to pride and envy, among the basest instincts. Today, for example, we encounter people who think that science has all the answers to the questions of life: When and how should life begin? When and how should life end?

These short-sighted people fail to realize that science is neutral and so requires direction, which direction can come only from minds and hearts formed by correct moral principles. When man succumbs to the arrogance of Adam and Eve – trying to be like God or trying to “go it alone” without God – he invariably becomes the victim of these urges, the just reward for the idolatry of a scientism-gone-wild or a pseudo-intellectualism, which are bound to self-destruct. As the Second Vatican Council reminded us in Gaudium et Spes: “Without the Creator, the creature vanishes” (n. 36).

- The Lord’s final temptation was of things, which gaininfluenc e from the force of greed. Today we see its power over those who value possessions more than persons, so that a Caribbean vacation is worth more than another child. In their foolishness, they never learn that the human heart attains complete fulfillment and happiness only in the Creator and never in the creature.

Saint Augustine, who had been tempted in every way and had given into just about every one of those allurements, finally came to the sobering conclusion – after much painful experimentation: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” The sinner-turned-saint still offers that wise counsel to those locked into the idolatry of materialism.

Both Matthew and Luke show Jesus to be a Master of Holy Scripture. Of course, it makes perfect sense for the Word Embodied to know well the written Word. This holy season is an ideal moment to delve more deeply into a prayerful reading of Holy Writ, perhaps by taking a chapter of the Gospels each day as one’s daily reflection on the life of our Savior.

The parish mission at Holy Innocents this coming week, devoted to the Gospel of St. John is likewise an occasion to grow in one’s love for Christ and His holy Word. Remember, however, that Bible study is not an end in itself for, as these temptation accounts demonstrate and as the adage informs us, “even the Devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes.” No, we delve into the Word to know better the Word Himself.

St. Luke concludes his account of the Lord’s temptations with a tantalizing phrase: “[The Devil] departed from him for a time” (4:13). Some translations, however, render the verse as “for another opportunity.” Might that “another opportunity” not be Christ’s temptations which occur in us, the members of His Body, the Church?

Lent, then, is a time to smash the idols in our lives; it is a crash course in confronting temptation.
- How does one respond appropriately to the phenomenon of temptation?
- Granted, massive doses of actual grace can be infused by Almighty God when the Devil makes his assaults.
- Generally, however, the Lord expects us to prepare for temptation by good Christian living on a daily, on-going basis.

Lent is an opportunity to do intensively what should be done normally, as Pope Saint Leo the Great taught in the sixth of his several homilies for this holy season:

“We are summoned more urgently to prepare ourselves by a purification of spirit... What the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin.” [dim]

Therefore, works of prayer, charity and self-denial should be embraced with gusto as ways of demonstrating our love for God and as means of strengthening ourselves for the battle of temptation. When the hour of testing comes – and it always does (sometimes far more often than we wish) – the good Lents of our lives will have provided us with the good habits and necessary experience to handle temptation effectively. Which is to say, we shall know how to tell the Devil to go to Hell!

The Church is most realistic in assessing human nature: Temptation is inevitable; sin is not. Saint Augustine again sets the pace in his homily preached on this very same Sunday 16 centuries ago:

“If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the Devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of His victory? See yourself as tempted in Him, and see yourself as victorious in Him. He could have kept the Devil from Himself; but if He were not tempted, He could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.”

In Christ’s temptation, we were all tempted. But there is more: In Christ’s victory over temptation, we were all victorious. That, then, enables us to face the temptations embodied in Lent with a sense of confidence and even joy.

Lent is a prelude to Easter; it is the time of fasting to prepare for the feasting; it is the transition from sin to grace; it is the hour of death leading to everlasting life – all done in and through the Christ who once spent these forty days in the desert.

More 'adventures of a Massgoer'
I did get to hear Fr. Stravinskas preach this homily this afternoon - at the 12:30 pm Novus Ordo Mass at Holy Innocents, the first time I had occasion to attend an NO there. (Because, despite Fr Z's warnings about the switch from daylight saving time, I woke one hour late and couldn't make it to the 10:30 AM Solemn TLM that I usually attend). Fr S was not the Mass celebrant for the NO, so I imagine he preached it first at the TLM Mass that he occasionally celebrates there in place of our pastor, Fr. James Miara.

I must say that Holy Innocents is trying its best to do what Benedict XVI wished with Summmorum Pontificum, which is to incorporate some elements of the TLM into the NO. This was a sung Mass, maybe because it is Sunday (I think the weekday NO Masses would be the typical low Mass).

The Propers that could be sung were sung by the organ-assisted choir, in English, of course, but in a formal chant setting, not Church pop. Even better, some of the prayers in the Canon were chanted (in English) by the priest celebrant in the familiar Gregorian chant as he would have in a TLM. Not however, the Credo and the Pater Noster which in the NO are recited aloud by the congregation with the priest.

I grant it would not be easy to adapt the English version of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Credo to Gregorian chant that the congregation could be 'trained' to sing, but I wonder if an effort has been made to adapt them to the two most common Credo settings in the TLM ('Credo-III' from the 16th century and 'Credo-I' from the 11th century), which are both quite memorable and even beautifully haunting. (It is awesome to suddenly hear, in the middle of doing something, my mind intoning "Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto, ex Maria Virgine...")

In the Philippines, I grew up hearing only the Credo-III (and could sing it in my sleep by the time I had my first Communion) which is the most popular of its musical settings. I was first introduced to Credo-I at the Church of Our Savior on Park Avenue, where I used to go for the TLM when the pastor was Fr. Rutler; it has become as familiar to me as Credo III. The Credo 'melodies' linger so much that I find myself singing them in my head many times a day, the same way that when I 'say' the Our Father when praying the rosary, it comes naturally to chant it (in my head, of course) as the priest chants it at Mass.

Remember when Benedict XVI made it a feature of his General Audiences that attendees were given a handout with the Pater Noster in Latin so that everyone could say or chant it together at the end of each audience? What a great idea that was - so everyone in those international gatherings could pray together in a common tongue.

For those who may never have heard the sung Credo, here are Credo-III and Credo-I sung by Benedictines [Please immediately click 'skip ad' because the ad that precedes both presentations is truly gross, especially in this context.]

Back to my NO at Holy Innocents: Best of all, I think, was that all those who received communion knelt at the communion rail and received the Host on the tongue. I wonder how many NOs elsewhere are doing this!

Moreover, thankfully, we didn't have that part of the NO where various Massgoers speak up and offer their prayers for their respective intentions, which I find really out of place, almost offensive, at Mass, which is a collective act of worship, not a vehicle to advertise one's private prayers. (Though I admit that the first and only time I found myself in such a situation probably 3 or 4 years ago - at the St Gregory the Great parish church near my house which does not do the TLM at all but which has a 12 noon NO Mass on Sundays - I did take advantage to speak up and say something like, "Let us all pray for Pope Francis that he may lead the Church the way Christ wants his Vicar on earth to do", or probably stronger but properly decorous words to that effect.)

After the Mass (how I missed the Prologue to the Gospel of st John that ends the TLM!), in another TLM enhancement of the NO, the choir intoned the Ave Maria caelorum, the Marian antiphon sung from Candlemas to the Easter vigil (but unlike TLM congregants, these NO Massgoers did not join in - perhaps because it is in Latin). [From Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday, the Marian antiphon is Regina caeli; from the day after Pentecost to just before the first Sunday of Advent, it is the Salve regina (perhaps the most familiar to most Catholics, at least as a spoken prayer - Hail, Holy Queen - recited at the end of a rosary; and Alma redemptoris mater, from Advent to Candlemas. These antiphons are more wonderful examples of Gregorian chant in TLM hymnody.]

Oh, one last thing: There were less than 100 Massgoers at this NO, compared to the 250-300 'stable' composition of the 10:30 TLM. Maybe most of the NO Massgoers of Holy Innocents go to morning Mass.

Interestingly, Father Z had one of his occasional on-the-mark rants about the liturgy on this first Sunday of Lent:

The Mass and 'triumphalism'

March 10, 2019

...I was deacon for a Solemn Mass this morning. During Mass I pondered briefly the brainless accusations many libs level at those who want traditional forms of worship. For example, they trot out the label “triumphalism”. Using gold vessels, having rich vestments, singing complex music that requires work on the part of those who hear, maintaining decorum in movement… these things are triumphalistic.

The implication is that traditionalists want a Church to grow back into some kind of secular dominance. They, on the other hand, are spirit-filled rather than institutional. They are all grown up now, so they don’t have to bend the knee. Clay and cheap stuff is adequate for virtue signaling, after all.

That’s not what sober tradition is about.

Sober tradition (all liberalism is stoned) recognizes the eschatological dimension of worship. As I have been preaching and writing for years, we build our churches and fill them with beauty, we develop our worship and participate in it because we are all going to die. Awareness of the Four Last Things pulses within every word and gesture, every stitch of lace and every quilisma.

Liturgical worship, properly understood and properly activated, keeps the participant in a constant tension between the reality of Christ’s definitive, once for all time, defeat of death and the reality that, even though we belong wholly to Him in His mystical Body, we still have to die.

By our sacred liturgical worship we fulfill our obligations to God by the virtue of religion and we confront the fact of our impending death. We go to Mass because of love of God to whom we owe everything. We go to Mass because we are going to die.

At Mass, during which really hard things happen – such as the descent of heaven to earth in anticipation of the descent of the New Jerusalem – which allow us a foretaste in our worship of the liturgy before God’s throne, we come into touch with Mystery, which is transforming.

All our efforts in worship must be directed at fulfillment of the virtue of religion and obtaining that transforming encounter in which God wants to give us what He knows we need to deal with our role in the economy of salvation and with death.
- All of this is hard. So why should worship be easy?
- All of this is mysterious. So why should liturgy be banal?
- All of this is grand beyond telling. So why should Mass be mediocre?

What we do…. at least what we do here where I am involved… has nothing to do with the dopey charge of triumphalism that lazy-brained libs toss around. It has everything to do with recognition of the opposite of triumphalism.
- We know that the Church is going to go through a tribulation, not a worldly triumph.
- We who belong to Christ will have Christ’s experience. That means persecution and emptying.
- Our traditional worship is our propaedeutic for suffering. It is where we practice dying.

Elsewhere I have described the reason why we dress our priests and bishops in solemnity and with beautiful and costly garments. They are our priests who offer our sacrifice. They are, however, at the same time also the victim on the altar of sacrifice. Christ’s priesthood, in them, also means victimhood.

Just as during the time of the Temple the sacrificial lambs were spotless and pampered, so too our priests… right up to the moment their necks are slashed open and their blood drained. We vest our priests [the way we do according to Tradition] because they are also our living offering.

Traditional sacred liturgical worship is all about learning the way up Mount Moriah.

The Church is going to get smaller. Do we want to keep what we have? Maintain our buildings and properties, etc.? Sure. But not at the expense of our role in the the economy of salvation and God’s timeline.

We will probably lose much of what our forebears built with their hope and sacrifices. We have, after all, actively squandered our patrimony like the son who fled from his father’s house.

It’s time to get up, turn, and go back to the point where we started to stray and work to get it right.

I have transposed Father Z's initial paragraphs to the end:

The other day I posted something about churches and synagogues losing membership. This is going to happen, friends. Demographics, on top of decades of stupidity, are not on our side.

I’m not saying that this is the great “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2. I’m also not saying that it is isn’t. To my mind, the “restrainer” of whom Paul wrote is probably St. Michael the Archangel. We collectively stopped praying the St. Michael Prayer after Low Mass as part of the Leonine Prayers in 1965 and… all hell breaks loose. Breaking loose is what one does after the restraint stops.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 10:48 PM]
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In October 2013, Foglio editor Giuliano Ferrara joined Gnocchi and Palmaro in their criticism of the new pope with a book ironicallly entitled 'Questo papa piace troppo' (literal meaning -
'This pope pleases too much'), and in 2015, he wrote the Preface for the book of tributes to Palmaro edited by Gnocchi entitled 'Il buon seme fiorira' (Good seed will flower).

Remembering Mario Palmaro
by Alessandro Gnocchi
Translated from

March 9, 2019

It's been five years since Mario Palmaro passed away and I had thought of evoking his memory by telling you how we came about writing the article we co-signed for Page 1 of Il Foglio on October 9, 2013, with the title "We do not like this pope".

I also thought of describing the vacuum that immediately enclosed us and the 'merciful' attacks we were subjected to, especially from some so-called 'men of the Church' and a certain circle of 'intellectuals', from enemies and so-called friends as well.

At that time, no one had dared to say what Mario and I were already writing, not even those who had already begun to ask themselves about the terrible pontificate that had begun just seven months earlier, and they have not pardoned us for that.

But I must not waste time speaking of others than Mario - no one deserves it better. I think the best thing to do is to re-present the article which marked our lives and which I believe still has something to say. [More, I would say, because it has been more than totally vindicated.]

I simply wish that it be read - or re-read - keeping in mind three dates: When it was published on Oct. 9, 2013, less than 7 months had passed since that 'terrifying' Buona notte [the first words Jorge Bergoglio said to the world which the newly-elected pope addressed to the world] on March 13, and Mario who was suffering from cancer, would die exactly five months later, on
March 9, 2014.

I am re-posting here what I posted of and about that article on this forum at the time:

When 2 reputable authors get fired from
their radio shows for criticizing the Pope elsewhere

The article, published in Il Foglio (the daily newspaper edited by ‘devout atheist’ Giuliano Ferrara), led to the expulsion two days later of its authors from the radio shows they had been hosting individually for 10 years on Radio Maria in Italy (founded privately in 1987 as a ‘tool for evangelization’, it has since grown into an international network in 55 countries), on the grounds that no one working for Radio Maria ought to criticize the Pope.

The authors of the article have co-authored at least 22 books since 2000 on Catholic apologetics and tradition, and are considered among the most authoritative Italian exponents of Catholic tradition, without being extremists in any way.

Alessandro Gnocchi, born in 1959, is a journalist and literary scholar who has written books on Tolkien, Georges Simenon, Conan Doyle, and the Italians Carlo Collodi, author of Pinocchio, and Giovannino Guareschi, author of the Don Camillo series). Mario Palmaro, born in 1988, is a canonist and professor of fundamental philosophy and moral philosophy at the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum, and a lecturer on bioethics at the Universita Europea di Roma. Gnocchi’s radio show was entitled “"Uomini e Letteratura: incontri alla luce del Vangelo" (Men and Literature: Encounters in the light pof the Gospel); Palmaro’s was “Incontri con la Bioetica" (Encounters with Bioethics).

Their article is the strongest of any critical statements against Pope Francis that I have yet seen in MSM . Its very title – 'Questo Papa no ci piace', which translates literally as ‘This Pope does not please us’, but idiomatically as “We do not like this Pope” - is equivalent to throwing down the gauntlet to all those who are passionate followers of Pope Francis, as well as to those Catholics who believe it is bad form, if not a sin, to criticize the Pope at all (but many of whom may have been indifferent when the Pope being criticized – and attacked unfairly – was Benedict XVI).

Not surprisingly, however, MSM, even in Italy, appear to have chosen to ignore the challenge (they consider it inconsequential, perhaps, in the vast ocean of popularity engulfing this Pope), and the only strong reaction so far is that of Radio Maria which chose to fire the two ‘dissenters’. So much for freedom of speech.

The following day, Il Foglio published a rejoinder by Massimo Introvigne, an authoritative commentator and sociologist of religion, who has gone out of his way since March 13, 2013, to explain away and justify every gesture and statement of Pope Francis that has caused perplexity to some Catholics. Like Jose Luis Restan [veteran Spanish Catholic commentator who, like Introvigne, wrote prompt commentary underscoring any statement (and actions supportive) of Catholic orthodoxy made by Benedict XVI during the latter’s pontificate], he appears to be sincerely motivated by the desire to support the Pope, whoever he is, and under any circumstances.

But Introvigne argues, in his response to Gnocchi and Palmaro, that disagreeing with the Pope could lead to schism. An extreme statement, which implies that persons critical of the Pope are incapable of distinguishing between the Church and the person of the Pope, or between Catholic teaching and the personal opinions of the Pope. Also, Introvigne never said about the vigilante attackers of Benedict XVIU that they risked fomenting schism! That said, here is the Gnocchi-Palmaro article.

We do not like this Pope
His interviews and gestures are a sampler of moral and religious relativism.
The attention of the media-ecclesial circuit is on the person of Bergoglio, not on Peter.

By Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro
Translated from

October 9, 2013

We do not know how much it cost to put up the impressive display of 'poverty' in which Pope Francis was a protagonist on October 4 in Assisi. Certainly, at a time when simplification is the mode, one could say that the historic day had little that was Franciscan (about the saint) in it.

It was a well-prepared and well-enacted script that was, however, devoid of that something that made the spirit of St. Francis unique: the ability for true surprise. [1) I disagree that the ability to surprise made the saint's spirit unique - it was his ability to truly 'wear Christ' that did; 2) Francis the Pope had that ability to surprise, initially, except that his ‘surprises’ are now taken for granted – “He’s bound to surprise us” has become the routine expectation - and even predictable, as the day in Assisi showed.]

Francis the Pope, who embraces the sick, who cannot gladhand the crowds enough, who makes jokes, who speaks off the cuff, who rides a Panda [a Fiat model], who leaves his cardinals to lunch with government officials while he joins Caritas soup kitchen beneficiaries - all that was expected and did indeed happen.

Of course, amid great competition in the Catholic and para-Catholic media to extol the humility of this Pope. And with a sigh of relief by some because this time, the Pope also spoke about meeting Christ. And the secular media had a chance to say once more that yes, now, with this Pope, the Church is finally keeping step with the times. All of it good stuff for mediocre headline writers eager to close their editions in haste, and let’s see what tomorrow brings.

But in Assisi, there was not even any new surprise, much less an attention-calling one. Any gesture would have been relatively minor anyway, given what Papa Bergoglio has said and done in just six months of being Pope [seven months today] which culminated with his winks at Scalfari and the interview with La Civilta Cattolica.

The only ones who might have been surprised this time were the ‘normalists’, those Catholics who are pathetically intent on convincing other Catholics – and even more pathetically, of convincing themselves – that nothing has changed. That everything in the Church is normal, and that, as usual, it is only the media who are misrepresenting the Pope who has only been saying the same truths taught by his predecessors but expressing himself differently.

But although journalism may be the oldest profession in the world [Are Gnocchi and Palmaro equating it to prostitution?], it is difficult to give credence to such a hypothesis.

For example, Scalfari asked the Pope, “Holiness, is there a single vision of what is good? And who would establish that?”

“Each of us”, replies the Pope, “has his own vision of good and even of evil. We must inspire each one to proceed towards that which he thinks is good”.

Scalfari prods him jesuitically: “You, Holiness, already said so in the letter you sent me. Conscience is autonomous, you said, and each one must obey his own conscience. I think that is one of the most courageous statements ever made by a Pope”.

“And I repeat it now,” the Pope replies. “Each one has how own idea of good and evil, and he must choose to follow the good and combat the bad as he perceives it. This would suffice to make the world a better place”.

[What PF said about conscience in his letter to Scalfari was bad enough, but the statement was equivocal enough for all his Catholic adulators to give him the benefit of the doubt and say, “No, he was not at all adopting the secular idea of conscience!” But then, he reiterates his belief unequivocally in the above exchange with Scalfari, perhaps basking in the latter’s praise of his courage. That reiteration is hard to rationalize, even with the best intentions towards the Pope. Take it from Fr. Schall, an honest Jesuit, who was critical enough of the ‘equivocal’ statement on conscience in the letter to Scalfari.]

As concluded by Vatican II and afterwards more than well restated in Chater 12 of John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis splendor (The splendor of truth), the Polish Pope disputed “some currents of modern thought… which attribute to individual conscience the prerogative of being the supreme resort of moral judgment which decides categorically and infallibly what is good and bad… to the point of arriving at a radically subjectivistic concept of moral judgment”.

Even the most fanciful ‘normalist’ cannot possibly reconcile Bergoglio 2013 with Wojtyla 1993.

In the face of such a change, the media are carrying out their job honestly. In Page 1 headlines and stories, they have cited Pope Francis’s statements as a distinct contrast to what previous Popes and the Church have always taught.

And now, the normalists – who generally always say whatever L’Osservatore Romano thinks – questions the context for these headlines, i.e., that the statements extrapolated from their blessed context do not at all reflect the mens (mind, thinking) of the Pope.

But, as the history of the Church teaches us, some statements which express a complete sense are meaningful in themselves and can be judged regardless of the context. If, in a long interview, someone says “Hitler was a benefactor of mankind”, it would be difficult to defend such a statement to the world.

If a Pope says in an interview, “I believe in God, but not a Catholic God”, the damage is done, regardless of the context. [The point here is that the Allah of Islam, for example, or the one God of the Jews, is not the Trinity that Christians believe God is. For the Pope to say he does not believe in ‘a Catholic God’ would seem to be denying the Trinity. Obviously, he is not doing that, but bending over backwards to assure an atheist like Scalfari that he does not believe in ‘a Catholic God’ is imprudent and thoughtless, to say the least. It seems to me yet another proof of a failing that seems to be consistent in PF - he is more concerned about the PR effect of what he says, rather than in its content or how he expresses it.]

For 2,000 years, the Church has judged doctrinal affirmations by individuals and groups, isolating them from their original context.
- In 1713, Clement XI published the constitution Unigenitus Filius (The only-begotten Son) condemning the 101 propositions of theologian Pasquier Quesnel.
- In 1864, Pius IX published the Syllabus of Errors listing propositions of modern thought that were contrary to Catholic doctrine.
- In 1907, St Pius X in Pascendi dominici gregis had an appendix of 65 ‘modern’ statements incompatible with Catholicism.

Those are just examples to show that when there was a doctrinal error, it was identified and acknowledged openly. And a review of Denzinger would not be a bad idea. [Denzinger is often mentioned these days – the name inevitably recalls Ratzinger – that I have to cite the Wikipedia entry on him: “Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger (1819–1883) was a leading German Catholic theologian and author of the Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum (Handbook of Creeds and Definitions) commonly referred to simply as 'Denzinger’.”]

Moreover, in the case of the Scalfari interview with the Pope, an analysis of the context would just make things worse. When, for instance, the Pope tells Scalfari that "Proselytism is a solemn folly”, the normalist jumps up to explain right away that the Pope is talking about the aggressive proselytism of the evangelical sects in Latin America.

Unfortunately, in the interview, Papa Bergoglio tells Scalfari:. “I don’t wish to convert you”, which implies that when he called proselytism a ‘solemn folly’, he meant the work done by the Church to convert souls to Catholicism. [Once again, an instance of PF not thinking about what he says and the way he says it There is a reason modern Popes have rarely spoken off the cuff. John Paul II and Benedict XVI did it relatively often but never got into the tangle of undergrowth that PF finds himself in when he does it, because they were able to think carefully about what they said before they said it. PF can get so informal he seems to forget that a Pope cannot speak casually and loosely, especially not about doctrine as basic as the God we believe in, or adopting the secular definition of conscience, without referring at all to the ‘formed conscience’ that Catholics are taught to exercise. ‘Conscience’, after all, implies a knowing decision that one makes and takes.]

It would be difficult to interpret the Pope’s statement otherwise, in the light of the ‘marriage’ between the Gospel and the world that he himself blessed in his interview with La Civilta Cattolica.

“Vatican II,” he said, “was a re-reading of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture. It produced a movement of renewal that arose, very simply, from the Gospel itself. The fruits have been enormous. Just look at the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform was a service to the people as a rereading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are lines of hermeneutic continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamic of reading the Gospel that is current today, and which was that of the Council, is absolutely irreversible”.

Just so! No longer the world seen in the light of the Gospel, but the Gospel deformed [‘read’, the Pope said, i.e., interpreted] in the light of the world, in the light of contemporary culture.

And how many times will that happen then - with every cultural shift that will always dispute the preceding interpretation? This would be nothing other than the ‘permanent Vatican II’ theorized by the late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini.

Along these lines, the idea of a 'new Church is looming on the horizon, in the image of the ‘field hospital’ evoked by the Pope in the Civilta interview, in which, it appears, the doctors have so far not done their work well at all. [Well, haven't the Vatican II 'spiritists' always maintained that the Council gave birth to a new Church that ought to have nothing to do with 'the old'????]

“I am thinking, for example, of the situation of a woman who has put behind her a failed marriage and has even had an abortion,” the Pope says. “Now she has remarried and is living in serenity with five children. But the abortion weighs on her enormously and she has repented sincerely. She wishes to proceed with her Christian life. What should her confessor do?”

It was a statement consciously constructed to end with a question, after which one can proceed to another topic, almost as if to underscore the inability of the Church to respond. And very disconcerting from a Pope, if one considers that for 2,000 years, the Church has answered this with a rule that allows the absolution of the sinner, provided he has repented and resolves not to remain in sin.

[In the example cited, her abortion is not the question – it’s done, and it’s clear she repents because she has since had five children, but the question the Pope fails to confront is her ‘bigamous’ marriage if her first marriage has not been canonically annulled, unless the first husband has died. However, the alternative the Church proposes in such cases – for the woman to live chastely with her present husband – is as 'absurd’ and impractical to the modern mind as the Church’s admonition that Catholic homosexuals should refrain from homosexual activity.

This is the sense in which I believe PF is seeking to accommodate Church teaching with ‘contemporary culture’, for which the Catholic sense of ‘amending one’s life’ accordingly to atone for a sin, is simply unacceptable and even inconceivable. Indeed, the idea that. in seeking God’s mercy, one must atone for the sins one has committed has been missing all along from this Pope’s constant invocation of God’s mercy.

The Cross of Christ that we are called on to share is not just our lot of human trials and tribulations, but also the burden of atoning for our sins. If going out to the peripheries to serve the poor is one way of doing that, so be it – but say so! Not that it should be the primary motivation for doing it, but if one does so as a means of atonement, then one would come to appreciate that it is a good thing by itself.]

And yet, subjugated by the overwhelming personality of Papa Bergoglio, legions of Catholics have swallowed the myth of a problem that does not exist. All of them, burdened now with the supposed error of 2000 years during which the Church has terrorized the poor sinner, are now grateful to the bishop who has come ‘from the ends of the world’ not to resolve a non-existent problem but to invent it.

The disquieting aspect of the thinking that underlies such statements by Pope Francis is the idea of an incurable rift between doctrinal rigor and mercy – that if one imposes doctrine, there cannot be mercy.

But the Church has always taught and lived the contrary. It is one’s perception of sin, and repentance for having sinned with the resolve to avoid sin in the future, that make God’s mercy possible. Jesus saved an adulterous woman from being stoned, absolved her of her sins, but said to her, “Go and sin no more”. [And that’s just what I have been remarking all along, since this ‘Pope of mercy’ myth first sprung, citing the very same and obvious Biblical passage]. He did not say, “Go, and rest assured that my Church will not seek to exercise any spiritual interference in your personal life [As Pope Francis said textually in one of the interviews. But is 'spiritual interference' ('intervention' would be a more appropriate word) not the mission of the Church?].

With the seemingly near-unanimous consensus of the Catholic world and the enamourment of the world with Pope Francis (not to forget that the Gospel also warns against the dangers of such universal praise), one could say that six months of Pope Francis have produced an epochal change.

The fact is we are witnessing the phenomenon of a leader who tells the crowd exactly what they want to hear. One cannot deny that he does this with great talent and mastery. But communication with the people – wherein there is no longer any distinction between believers and non-believers – has been direct and spontaneous only in a fairly small way. [i.e., much of it is done through the media.]

Even the Pope’s immersion in the crowd at St. Peter’s Square or at WYD Rio, in Lampedusa or in Assisi, are filtered through the media which report events to support their own interpretations. [Actually, it has been a major synergy – the normal interest in a new Pope became super-inflated after his initial gestures which the media, and Francis’s cardinal electors, breathlessly greeted right away as ‘a new springtime for the Church’ and Francis as ‘the Pope the Church never had and should have’, and other such superlative absolutes. Everyone loves a winner, and when the entire media world, and in fact, most of the secular world, praises Francis as the pluperfect Pope, then anyone who has a chance to be ‘part of history’ goes out of his way to see him. Though I am perplexed that they do not show up in the numbers expected on occasions like the prayer vigil for peace in Syria, or last night’s Marian prayer vigil.]

The Francis phenomenon does not detract from the fundamental rules of the media game – indeed, it uses it almost to the point of being second nature. The mechanism was defined most effectively in the early 1980s by Mario Alighiero Manacorda in a delightful little book with the most delectable title, Il linguaggio televisivo. O la folle anadiplosi (The language of TV, or the folly of anadiplosis). [Anadiplosis is a rhetorical device used for emphasis, in which the last word of a preceding statement is used to start the next statement, as in, “I am telling you now. Now you must listen!”]

Manacorda pointed out that this artifice has become the essence of mediatic language. “These artifices which are purely formal (about form), superfluous, useless and incomprehensible as to substance”, he wrote, “induce the listener to follow the form – namely, the rhetorical device – and to forget the substance of what is being said”. [In the case of the Francis phenomenon, the form has become the substance, not just in terms of media language, and as John Allen solemnly noted without any shade of irony, "Francis himself has become the message".]

In time, mass communications has replaced substance with form, truth with appearances. [The more usual expression is that perception has replaced reality, because public perception of reality has come to be identical to what the media represents to them as reality.]

And mass media has done so with the habitual use of synecdoche and metonymny, two other rjetorical devices in which one part is made to represent the whole (synecdoche) or a brand name is made to represent a genre or institution [e.g., ‘the Vatican’ for the Catholic Church]

The increasingly vertiginous speed of communications imposes a neglect of the whole picture and places the focus on some particulars consciously chosen by the media to portray the picture they wish to show. Increasingly, newspapers, TV, radio and Internet sites choose to depict events through the use of carefully chosen details, sometimes just one.

From this viewpoit, it would seem that Pope Francis was expressyly ‘made’ for the media, and vice-versa. Just take the image of him boarding an airplane carrying an old black briefcase: the perfect use of synecdoche and metonymy together.

The figure of the Pope becomes represented and absorbed into that briefcase – cancelling out the centuries-old image of the sacred Papacy to replace it with one that is completely new and modern. This is the new Pope, and everything in that detail of the briefcase speaks of his poverty, his humility, his dedication to work, his contemporaneity, his quotidianity, his being down-to-earth and as close to anything terrestrial as one can imagine.
The final effect of this process rejects the impersonal idea of the Papacy and the simultaneous highlighting of the person who happens to be the Pope now. It is an effect that is even more upsetting when one considers that the public which receives this message exalts the ‘grear humility’ shown in this gesture and think that it brings great luster to the Papacy. [But that’s human nature. We exalt in the virtues of others that which we ourselves find hard to exercise, even if, in this case, it was a deliberate studied gesture – PF is not naïve, he knew exactly what he was doing, that it was completely unnecessary, but nevertheless, that it would be a great PR move as a ‘message’ to underscore the humility he professes. A perfect example of playing to the gallery.]

Through synecdoche and metonymy, the next step has been to identify this Pope with the Papacy itself – one part to represent the whole. And Simon has pushed away Peter.

Because fro this phenomenon, Pope Francis, even when expressing himself as a private person, immediately transforms whatever he says or does into a magisterial – or teaching – act. If one also considers that most Catholics believe that anything a Pope says is ‘infallible’, the die is cast.

No matter how much commentators can say that a letter to Scalfari or an interview or whatever informal statements the Pope makes are simply the statements of a private person [Benedict XVI said it best after his decision to renounce the office: “A Pope is never again private”], in an age dominated by mass media, the effects that these ‘informal’ statements produce are incommensurately greater than any solemn statements that he makes. Indeed, the more trivial and insignificant such informal gestures or statements are, the more effective they are because they are considered to be so small as not to be subject to attack or criticism.

It is not by accident that the symbology that underlies the Francis phenomenon consists of ‘routine’ down-to-earth matters. The black briefcase carried onto the plane is a textbook example. But this applies even to his pectoral cross, his papal ring, the altar he uses for Mass, the vestments he puts on – in which the subject becomes the material of which they are made rather than what they stand for.

One could say Jesus is no longer on the pectoral cross worn by Pope Francis because the faithful have been led to contemplate the fact that it is made of steel not gold. [Fact check: someone has pointed out that it is, in fact, of sterling silver, not stainless steel.] And once again, the part subsumes the Whole, which in this case is a capital W.

The Pope also asks us to seek ‘the flesh of Christ’ out there, in the peripheries, and everyone is free to choose which ‘holocaust’ best suits him. [I do object to the Pope’ simplistically equating ‘the flesh of Christ’ only with the literally poor and the materially and physically suffering. As if persons who are materially well off and in good physical health – but with their own share of human tribulations - were unworthy to be considered ‘the flesh of Christ’.]

These days, he seems to think it is in Lampedusa, tomorrow who knows? {And why do intelligent apologists for the Pope, like the outspoken Cardinal Dolan, never question the fact that all these months, PF has shown far more concern about the Muslim migrants who end up drowning in the Mediteranean, than all the Christians who are persecuted daily in Africa, the Middle East, and the Muslim nations of Asia? Dolan’s latest apologia pro Francis is that “he does not want us bishops to talk about abortion, etc. so we do not get distracted from our work against Obamacare and in favor of illegal immigrants”. Go figure!]

This is the triumph of the ‘wisdom of the world’ that St. Paul condemned as folly but which is now being used to re-read the Gospel with the eyes of TV. Back in 1989, Marshall McLuhan wrote to Jacques Maritain: “The environment of the electronic media, which are completely in the ether [not for nothing is the cable connector to Internet servers called an Ethernet!], nourish the illusion of the world as spiritual substance. This is modern reason’s facsimile of the Mystical Body, a deafening manifestation of the anti-Christ. After all is said and done, the master of this world would seem to be a Supreme Electronics Engineer”.

Sooner or later, the world will wake up from this great mass media dreamworld and come back to measuring itself against reality. [Later, if ever, rather than sooner!]

One must also learn true humility, which consists in submitting ourselves to Someone who is greater, who manifests himself through laws that cannot be changed, even by the Vicar of Christ.

And we must find the courage to say that a Catholic can only be confused by a papal statement that says, out of respect for the supposed autonomy of conscience, that everyone must be encouraged to proceed with his own personal view of what is good or bad. Christ and his way cannot be just one of many options. Least of all, for his vicar on earth.

March 10, 2019
P.S. In fairness, I must also recall that some time in December 2013 - two months since the above article came out - Gnocchi reported that the pope had called Palmaro on the telephone because he ha heard that the latter was seriously ailing, which, needless to say, was a very Christian thing to do. Even if it does not cancel out any of this pope's the anti-Catholic and anti-Christian words and deeds.

Synchronistically (to use Karl Jung's preferred term for 'coincidentally'), Aldo Maria Valli devotes his post today to a reflection by one of his colleagues whose views on the church of Bergoglio have necessarily gone far beyond what Gnocchi, Palmero and Ferrara argued in 2013....

What happens in a church that
has lost the sense of the transcendent

Translated from

March 11, 2019

I have been meditating for some time on the so-called new paradigm of ‘the outgoing church’ that has characterized the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio. I think one can say that this is a ‘going out’, in the first place, from the Church herself. Because this ‘new’ church – which is very horizontal, advocating humanitarian causes all the while it is apparently little inclined to concern itself with the ‘last things’ – is a denatured church.

That is why I offer here a reflection by Marcello Veneziani that I believe to be very well developed.

Indeed, mankind does not need a grand and worldwide social aid organization [for that, we already have the Red Cross and similar agencies, not to mention the Catholic Church herself, whose worldwide social works of charity were in place long before Bergoglio] nor a vaguely Catholic version of humanitarianism, but a pope who speaks to the faithful, as popes before this one have, of eternity and the salvation of souls.


The purpose of the Church
is to save man, not to sedate him

By Marcello Veneziani
Translated from

What is the weak point of Pope Francis’s message to the world? What is the main reason that he evokes such dissent [among Catholics]?

Yesterday, Corrado Augias* in La Repubblica, responding to a reader who had watched his TV conversation with me, noted that in my last book, I had erected ‘a coherent edifice of reactionary thought’ in which I had criticized the pope because he has reduced faith to sociology.

The observation about the pope is correct (even if my book is not about that) but I would not classify it as reactionary thought. I am not frightened by the definition of areactionary but it does not reflect at all the sense of my criticisms.

Indeed, I do not criticize the pope only because he has broken with the past, with tradition and with Christian civilization [Wow! Veneziani has opened up the usual scope of Bergoglian criticism – even if I have gone much farther to say that this pope can be documented well and copiously to be really anti-Christ, if not an or the Anti-Christ], and with the history and doctrine of the Church for the past two millennia.

But I criticize him for something far more radical and devastating, in my opinion.
- That in the church of Bergoglio, there is no longer a horizon of expectation, of hope for the future and of transcendence.
- Everything is instead folded into and sought to be resolved in the context of current history, limited to today and the urgency of giving ‘first aid’.
[After all, he thinks of the Church as a ‘field hospital’, doesn’t he?]

The unequalled resource of the Christian religion compared to any secular vision is to look at eternity beyond time, the future beyond earthly life, resurrection beyond death. The Christian message that opens hearts and engages the mind is all directed towards the future. Faith and hope are theological virtues that are totally aimed towards the future, to what happens then.

The supreme power of the Christian faith is to tame death, to give another opening to life beyond its earthly parabola, to make us understand that everything does not end here, that true life is beyond death, veni foras ['Come forth', Jesus's command when he raised Lazarus from the dead].

Because beyond the human is the divine, beyond history is eternal light. It is this prospect of eternity that is the basis for Christian morals and its rules for how men relate to each other and to the world. It may all be illusion and lies to atheists and skeptics, or the promise of redemption for believers and devotees, but the ultimate reason for believing, for praying and for the morality resulting from these, is in that expectation.

The church of Bergoglio is completely wrapped up in the present, it confronts present problems, it is wholly concerned with the contemporary condition [material and physical, that is – touching the spiritual only pro forma]: migrants, hunger, peace, corruption, social injustices. For him, the priority, if not the exclusive task, of the Church is to face these problems, urge universal brotherhood, denounce inequalities and produce humanitarian policies.

And if the churches are being emptied of priests and faithful, he thinks they must be transformed for ‘social’ purposes – make them places of welcome for the poor and the hungry: more aid, less prayer; more solidarity, less liturgy, less of the sacred, less of devotion.

It is true that charity is the third theological virtue after faith and hope. But if the task of the Church were to make life better for persons living today, then it would not be any different from a humanitarian organization, like Amnesty International, or first-aid and humanitarian rescue programs. The Cross would become only the Red Cross.

Yet the decisive ‘wager’ for the faith is God, not to improve the objective conditions of life. If, in the name of his faith, a Christian takes on this latter burden, that is a good thing, of course, but that faith in God would be replaced by social motivations marks the end of faith – it transforms faith into social commitment, prayer to humanitarian aid. The connotation is that it is more important to save a drowning migrant than it is to save a lost soul.

I know what the answer will be: In saving one man, I am saving Jesus himself, because I see him in everyman, and to practice charity is the best way to bear witness to my faith in God. But judging from the attention [given by the pope] and his daily words and his actions, something quite different is happening: God is replaced by ‘mankind’, Christ is replaced by ‘the poor’, the soul is replaced with just a body to feed and clothe and shelter; eternal redemption is replaced by social rescue.

Therefore, rite, liturgy, symbol, prayer, faith – all become irrelevant. The most disconcerting that many have noted is this mass substitution. ‘Mankind’ in place of God. The cathedral as rescue scow. But does one need faith to carry out acts of solidarity - or are revolution and humanitarian socialism enough?
Sometimes, polemical passion leads me to severe criticism, and I apologize for that. I do not say I hiave all the certainties, much less that I am a depository of truth, and I know I can be mistaken. And if I dare to criticize the present pope, I do so in the name of the saints, popes and theologians who thought differently from him.

For the sake of truth, I cannot keep silent on what I am seeing. If I doubt my faith, I take responsibility. But I cannot accept the fact that the church of Bergoglio increases my doubts instead of dissipating them, or worse, that it would make me consider such doubts secondary or irrelevant compared to the urgency of giving ‘humanitarian aid’.

Is all this reactionary, dear Augias? I don’t think so. Unless you consider God to be the first reactionary of all.

Marcello Veneziani (born 1955) is an Italian journalist who has written some 40 books since 1981 of ‘conservative’ thinking on secular as well as religious issues concening Italy and Europe. He is considered one of Italy’s most outstanding thinkers on the ‘right’. At present, he is an editorial writer for the Italian newspapers' Il Tempo' and 'La Verita'. He has been a commentator for 20 years for RAI (Italian state TV) as well as editor of the midnight edition of RAI’s Radio News.

Corrado Augias (born 1935) is an Italian journalist and TV host who made waves in 2006 as co-author of the book Inchiesta su Gesu (Inquiry on Jesus: Who is the man who changed the world) with Mauro Pesce (born 1941), a Biblicist and Church historian. n the book, they argued, on the basis of their reading of historical data, that ‘the authentic Jesus is not the one preached by the Church’.

In the opinion of Sandro Magister at the time, the publication and success of this book prompted Benedict XVI to an early announcement in November 2006 that he would be publishing a book on Jesus that argues the opposite, namely, that the historical Jesus is the Jesus of faith. The first volume of JESUS OF NAZARETH did come out in April 2007, but in November 2006, the pope authorized publication of its Preface as his preliminary ‘answer’ to the Augias-Pesce book.

Meanwhile, read the continuing apologia pro Bergoglio that Andre Gagliarducci inexplicably keeps making for this pope and his pontificate, even as he points out his and its failings.
I do not know why it reads the way it does linguistically - he writes his blog directly in English, but it was always readable if not always idiomatic and somewhat awkward. This one sounds like it was written by another person altogether in terms of language (not of content), or translated from the Italian by Google. In any case, eminently and amply fiskable. For instance, I cannot believe his two major conclusions, namely:

[sic]"Six years after, we are now experiencing a Papacy that needs to recover some credibility, while secular world figured out this was not the Papacy expected."
"Beyond some doctrinal issue bore by the post-synod exhortation, Pope Francis never changed the Church’s doctrine on marriage and family. Pope Francis has underscored that the defense of life must be framed in the wider field of the social justice, but he did not change the doctrine, and in particular Humanae Vitae, as it was thought."

I have not so far questioned that Gagliarducci appears to sincerely admire Benedict XVI, but I cannot reconcile that admiration with his continued championship of Bergoglio. Which leads me to wonder whether, for all his apparent intelligence (except when it has to do with having to denounce some of Bergoglio's words and actions outright, instead of always justifying them - and worse, consistently blaming them on some mythical 'agenda behind the pope's back' right in the Vatican), he is nothing but a garden-variety robot 'normalist', for whom whoever is pope is right and must be followed.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 9:42 PM]
3/11/2019 6:47 PM
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On his blogsite today, Sandro Magister articulates an obvious but hitherto unasked question (because it was considered unthinkable, improbable and impossible):
After the verdicts against Cardinals Pell and Barbarin, what about trying the pope himself?

Church is under siege and stunned
after the Pell and Barbarin verdicts

March 11, 2019

In Australia, Cardinal George Pell has ended up in prison [as he awaits sentencing]. In France, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, has been given a suspended sentence of six months in jail. And it is not out of the question that other prominent cardinals and bishops could soon end up under the judgment of secular tribunals, charged with having committed or “covered up” sexual abuse against minors.

For the Catholic Church, this opens questions of noteworthy gravity, in the face of which her leadership is showing that it is by no means confident that it knows what to do.

In particular, the following three questionS:
Both Pell and Barbarin have been found guilty on the basis of questionable proofs, both in a second trial, after the first had ended without a guilty verdict. For Barbarin, even the prosecutor had asked for acquittal. Both say they are innocent, and have asked for an appeal ruling.

Meanwhile, however, within the Church, the former was prohibited, when the trial was still under way, from the exercise of his public ministry and from contact with minors. And a few days ago, the latter announced his resignation as Archbishop of Lyon, certain that the pope would accept it.

In Pell’s case, the Vatican has announced that the that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith will open a canonical process. And it is likely that the same thing will happen with Barbarin.

But what kind of process? And how? Along general lines, concerning bishops presumed guilty or negligent in matters of abuse, Pope Francis published in June of 2016 an apostolic letter, Come una madre amorevole (Like a loving mother), in which - as he explained afterward at his news conference on the way back from Ireland on August 26 2018 - “it was said that for trying bishops it would be good to set up a special tribunal,” one for all. But he said he himself thought that "this was not practicable,” and opted to resort to a canonical jury that would be set up for each case. As in the case - he presented by way of example - of Guam archbishop Anthony Sablon Apuron, convicted at first instance by the CDF, but whose appeal has been taken in charge by the pope himself, with the assistance of a commission of canonists.

In all this, the procedures continue to be uncertain. Last November, Francis forbade the episcopal conference of the United States to put to a vote the creation of an independent commission of laymen charged with conducting the first hearing on bishops under investigation.

But the alternative solution upheld by Cardinal Blase Cupich, obviously acting for the pope, namely, tp assign first investigation of an accused bishop to the metropolitan of his ecclesiastical province, is also far from being codified. Although Cupich personally presented at the Vatican summit on 'the protection of minors' last February 21-24, he gave no details of any specific plan to deal with accused bishops.

The first objection to Cupich’s proposal is that entrusting the first investigation to the metropolitan - or to another bishop - of the province of the defendant risks putting the judgment back into the hands of clerics who often belong to the same coterie and therefore are tempted to assist each other.

But if there is uncertainty on how to proceed with regard to a bishop presumed to be guilty or negligent, what is to be done when the one under accusation is the pope himself? [Everyone else, when discussing these accusations against Bergoglio, has failed to follow through with the obvious - which they ought to have asked before the recent summit, as, IMHO, I was saying they should. Why is everyone so gung-ho about trying all other bishops suspected of cover-up except Jorge Bergoglio? Whose offenses, at least prima facie, are among the worst cases of episcopal cover-up we know of - the worst if one considers that at least two of his Argentine proteges were/are bishops (Maccherone and Zanchetta) not to mention his most notorious protege so far, Theodore McCarrick

Pope Francis has not yet responded to those who - like former US nuncio, Carlo Maria Viganò - have accused him of supporting and promoting to the e McCarrick, in spite of the fact that his multiple abuses were known to him. And he continues to keep quiet more than six months after having promised journalists at the press conference on the way back from Ireland, on August 26 2018: “Study [the case], and then I will speak.”

Meanwhile, weighing even more on Francis is the case of Argentine bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, his friend and spiritual son since the latter was undersecretary of the Argentine episcopal conference. The pope made him Bishop of Oran in 2013, soon after he became pope, then after Zanhetta suddenly resigned citing 'health reasons' in 2017, he was promptly elevated by Bergoglio to a Vatican sinecure created for him at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), in spite of the fact that very detailed charges of bad behavior by Zanchetta had been sent by churchmen of the diocese of Orán to the competent authorities, in Argentina and Rome, on several occasions from 2015 to 2017. [The worst part is that these accusations included 'financial mismanagement', which it now turns out, the pope himself had ordered Zanchetta not to disclose he had sold two church properties in Oran so that the diocese could continue to qualify as a 'needy' diocese.]

On this too Francis is keeping quiet.[Worse, his spokesman insisted that the Vatican never heard of the accusations against Zanchetta until late last year.] The only decision that has been made known is that the Vatican has ordered a preliminary investigation by the current Bishop of Oran into the charges on Zanchetta. [Rather academic, and yet another subterfuge, in view of the written depositions sent by the accusers to the nuncio in Argentina and to the Vatiacn.]

And if this investigatio should confirm the responsibility of Pope Francis in theZanchetta case, it remains to be seen how the imperative of a fair trial might be reconciled with the norms of canon law, whose canon 1404 establishes that “the First See is judged by no one", and §2 of canon 1405 specifies that "a judge cannot review an act… by the Roman Pontiff without his prior mandate."

In the case of McCarrick, last February 15, the CDF ruled for his reduction to the lay state, at the end of an administrative penal process, namely one that was simplified and abbreviated, as opposed to a juridical trial.

The congregation almost always proceeds like this, by the extrajudicial route, in the thousands of cases that come under its jurisdiction in matters of abuse. With McCarrick, this made it possible to arrive rapidly at the sentence of reduction to the lay state, before the summit convened at the Vatican from February 21 to 24. But this brought along with it - perhaps deliberately - a grave disadvantage: the impossibility of reconstructing in a judicial setting the network of complicity and of favors, up to the highest levels of the hierarchy, that McCarrick enjoyed for years, from those who nevertheless knew of his misdeeds.

Not to mention the incomprehensible delay in the publication of everything that turns out to be documented concerning McCarrick, “in the archives of the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See.” The announcement of the publication of these documents, as also of the results of the preliminary investigation that had led to his removal from the college of cardinals, was made last October 6.

And the following day Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the congregation for bishops, confirmed in a letter to the former nuncio Viganò that McCarrick had in effect been under confidential “restrictions,” since 2006, against traveling and appearing in public, “because of rumors around his behavior,” restrictions that he had never obeyed. But since October 6 more than five months have gone by, and still the dossier has not been published as announced.

So then, what procedure would be adopted by the CDF in investigating Cardinal Pell, to begin with? Given that the congregation will wait in any case, before issuing its own ruling, for the result of the appeal process requested by Pell in Australia (preliminary hearing on June 5-6), one must keep in mind what the Holy See customarily does in cases pursues an administrative process after a secular tribunal has already issued its verdict; namely, to take the findings of the secular tribunal as its basis for judgment. And therefore, if Pell loses his appeal, this would be y be followed by an ecclesiastical conviction as well, with the reduction of Pell to the lay state.

This is why it is likely that Pell’s attorneys will insist that the Holy See not adopt an administrative procedure for their client, but a regular canonical process, more unshackled from the results of the Australian trial. In other words, more autonomous, more free, more sovereign.

And what will happen when the Holy See has issued its ruling on the Pell case?
- If it convicts Pell, to go along with his defeat in appeals court, there will be great applause from secular public opinion, as also from the champions of “zero tolerance” within the Church.
- But protests will also be raised by those who will point out to a miscarriage of justice because Pell was deprived of his elementary rights to a fair trial and the inconsistency of the accusations against him. Moreover, a me-too verdict from the CDF would be seen as a ruinous act of submission by the Church to the secular powers.
- If the CDF acquits Pell despite his defeat in Australia's appeals court,
some will admire the autonomy - and the courage - of the Church in evaluating the effective absence of proofs in support of the accusations and in deciding as a result.
- But there will certainly be heated reactions on the part not only of secular public opinion, but also of those sectors of the Church that, in any case, would consider a bishop irredeemable for an accusation of covering up clerical sex abuse, even if he is acquitted in civilian court.

This has been the case with Cardinal Barbarin against whom a former magistrate of the interdiocesan tribunal of Lyon, Pierre Vignon, publicly called for his resignation last summer, before the second trial against him had been completed and after a first trial had ended with acquittal:

“I have been asked repeatedly how I would react if the cardinal were to be declared innocent by the tribunal. The reply is very simple. The conscience of a Christian need not wait for the sentence of a tribunal to know what must be done. If Cardinal Batbarin is not convicted, in any case he is no longer the person who can present himself before victims.”

And this is also the message of the film “Grâce à Dieu,” the subject and target of which is none other than Cardinal Barbarin, released shortly before the tribunal of Lyon was to issue its sentence.

Returning to the case of Cardinal Pell, there are some who are even afraid that the Australian government - under the pressure of public opinion - could interpret an ecclesiastical acquittal of the cardinal as an implicit condemnation of the judicial system of Australia, and as a result break off relations with the Holy See and push for its expulsion from the association of sovereign states. [So they break off relations. Big deal. But pushing to expel the Vatican from 'the association of sovereign states'? What does that mean: push to expel the UN's principal mouthpiece to the world? Good luck with the UN on that!]

Whether this dramatic outcome proves true or not, this is a time of siege of the Church.

The pope's Lenten retreat

Christopher Altieri reports in Catholic Herald today that Mons. Zanchetta is with the pope and the rest of the Roman Curia on their annual Lenten
retreat in Ariccia, outside Rome.

(Altieri reports it as if there was anything wrong with that, other than confirming that Zanchetta is still considered part of the Curial family. I should imagine
both Zanchetta and the pope need a cleansing Lenten retreat -and whoever else among the 64 people gathered in Ariccia are among those plausibly and/or simply
maliciously 'outed' by Frederic Martel in SODOMA).

To preach this year's Lenten exercises, the pope chose 50-year-old Benedictine Abbot Bernardo Gianni of the Abbey of San Miniato al Monte near Florence, who seemed
to really get into the spirit of Carnival just before Lent. (Thanks to Marco Tosatti's blogsite for the photos)

The Exercises will end on Friday, March 15. During the week of the Spiritual Exercises, all audiences are suspended, including the General Audience of Wednesday, March 1.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 3:50 AM]
3/12/2019 2:50 AM
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Cardinals spar over 'merits'
of Vatican-China deal

By Courtney Grogan

BEIJING, March 8, 2019 (CNA) - After Cardinal Fernando Filoni and a Chinese-appointed bishop both spoke out this week separately in support of the Vatican-China deal for fostering unity, Cardinal Joseph Zen responded strongly.

During a weeklong trip to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, Cardinal Filoni told Macau News Agency March 4 that the provisional agreement between Beijing and the Holy See signed Sept. 22, 2018 “will be a very good thing for the Church in the future, and also for China.”

“One wonders: from which planet did our leaders in Rome descend?” Zen, the emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, responded on his blog March 5.

In a lengthy interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, called for greater trust between the ecclesial and civil authorities who manage religion in China.

“There is above-all the need to rebuild trust, perhaps the most difficult aspect, toward ecclesiastical and civil authorities entrusted with religious matters, as well as between the so-called official and unofficial ecclesial currents,” Filoni said. “It is not about establishing who wins or who loses, who is right or wrong.

[There's moral relativism for you! It does matter who is right or wrong - on any issue. And there is no 'trust' to rebuild 'towards ecclesiastical and civil authorities entrusted with religious matters" if Filoni means here the underground Church. There was never any trust to begin with, so what's to rebuild?

The Chinese government and its agencies in charge of 'religious matters' have had nothing but hostility towards the clandestine Catholics who have refused to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) set up in 1957 to 'supervise' Catholics living on the Communist mainland. The CPCA has since then functioned as China's 'national Catholic Church', in effect, acting autonomously of the Vatican, naming its own bishops while persecuting underground bishops legitimately appointed by Rome.

Things will not be better with the Bergoglio deal. The CPCA still gets to nominate the bishops it wants, over which the pope reportedly has veto power, then what? It is still the Chinese naming these prospective bishops - the Vatican has no say over these candidates - and they certainly won't nominate anyone who is not completely under their thumb.

The most ominous sign so far of this extremely one-sided deal (whoe details remain secret) to the detriment of the Church is that in order to get the Chinese to agree to a deal, Bergoglio and his agents agreed to recognize seven illegitimately named bishops (2 of whom have families) and worse, to ask a couple of legitimate underground bishops to step down to make way for the 'official' bishops and to serve as subordinates to the latter.

There is no way the Vatican can justify that blatant injustice to the underground bishops and its contemptible kowtowing to Beijing that these moves meant. How can such a situation "do a very good thing for the Church in the future" as Filoni claims so earnestly? He and all of Bergoglio's emissaries to Beijing (including one Theodore McCarrick) to get him a deal by hook or by crook, must have hda their brains thoroughly cooked in Chinese opium dens to capitulate to such abject humiliation.]

Zen responded, “The incredible thing is the invitation to trust the government! Is information on recent oppression measures missing from our superiors in the Vatican?”

Filoni said that he realized that it may appear that the Holy See is asking for “a unilateral sacrifice” from members underground Chinese Catholic community, “while nothing is requested of the ‘official’ members.”

“The issue should not be put in these terms; in fact, it is not about the ‘underground’ surrendering to the ‘official’ or to the civil authorities, regardless of the appearance, nor of a victory over the non-official community,” he continued.

The underground status will fade away, but not the people involved. Their faith, their traditions, and their spirituality remain, which are enjoyed by the entire diocesan community,” Filoni said.

[Shall we cut the crap? How and why will the 'underground' status fade away, for as long as the clandestine Catholics choose not to surface? Persistence in the faith in the face of open persecution has made martyrs for the Church through the millennia. Catholics old enough to have resisted Beijing back in 1957 have since produced at least two more generations in the past 60 years, which is not inconsiderable even with China's strictly enforced one-child policy and even if not all of the younger generations choose to remain Catholic and/or underground. More than enough there to provide the seeds for martyrdom. Any sincere prayers from 'official' or underground Catholics in behalf of upholding and defending the faith in China can only redound to the spiritual wellbeing of all Chinese Catholics.]

He pointed to September’s provisional agreement as a continuation of the dialogue between the Holy See and China under St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Zen objected to this claim, writing, “The Holy See intends to present the dialogue with China as a homogeneous process from John Paul II through Benedict until Pope Francis. Not so, John Paul II and Benedict, having lived under totalitarian regimes, never believed the Ostpolitik theory.”

“With the choice of Parolin as his Secretary of State, Pope Francis gave the curia’s group of powerful men the opportunity to resume their project of Ostpolitik,” Zen said.

“Now following Pope Francis in his optimism, they dangerously push him towards an easy surrender, hiding the horrible face of Chinese communism of which they are well aware,” Zen continued.

Filoni criticized those who “run the risk of rowing out of sync within the ship of Peter” and of leading the Chinese faithful into misunderstanding the agreement.

“Only with a superficial spirit or in bad faith could one imagine that Pope Francis and the Holy See would abandon the flock of Christ, wherever or in whatever condition it finds itself in the world,” Filoni said.

“Therefore, we must continue to work to improve the perception of the faithful, who are often influenced by media messages that are not altogether correct or balanced and find it difficult to understand the due discretion that surrounded the dialogue between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China,” he continued.

“The Pope, together with his coworkers, has done, is doing, and will do all that is possible to be close to the Church in China. Our methods are not infallible, but we truly love the Church and the Chinese people,” Filoni said.

Filoni said that he hopes “not to hear or read about local situations in which the Agreement is exploited to compel people to do what is not even required by Chinese law, such as joining the Patriotic Association.”

“In the sixty years since the creation of the Patriotic Association, everyone, in perhaps an unequal and dramatic way, has suffered, both in a physical and moral sense,” he said.

“It is the Lord who guides history. Therefore, I would hope that, first of all, in dealing with any possible dilemmas, they would know always how to see the other with trust, even if some aspects of the current situation are perceived as injustices and with difficulty,” Filoni said.

Zen responded, “His Eminence loves to have legitimate reservations about what the Holy See does, but in the meantime he accuses me of not rowing in harmony with the barque of Peter.”

Several Chinese bishops participating in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) also spoke out about the Vatican-China agreement this month.

The theme of this year’s CPPCC assembly meeting is “the study and application of Xi Jinping's thinking on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”

Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong (Ningde), a member of the CPPCC, told Chinese press at the meeting, “There will be no official or unofficial Church when the Church is united,” reported UCA News.

Mindong is one of two dioceses in China in which an underground bishop was asked to step down to be replaced by a formerly excommunicated bishop.

Pope Francis reportedly asked the former bishop of Mindong to step down in obedience and “in sacrifice” so that Chinese government-appointed Bishop Zhan could take his place through a letter signed by Cardinal Filoni and Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.

In response to a question about what this would mean for the underground church, Zhan responded, "Don't you want the Church to be united? A Church schism is not the fundamental aspiration of Catholics."

Cardinal Zen questioned, “Can the gentlemen at the Vatican tell us what we have gained with that agreement? Is it true that the Chinese communists have finally recognized the authority of the pope? Has the spokesperson of the Patriotic Association and the bishops’ conference not publicly declared that they will maintain the principle of the independent Church and that they will follow the leadership of the Party?”

On the same day as the story above...

US religious freedom ambassador
dismisses pope’s China accord,
blasts communist assault on Catholics

HONG KONG, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. ambassador Sam Brownback said on Friday that China’s persecution of Catholic citizens continues despite a deal Pope Francis reached with the communist government.

“Since this provisional deal was announced last year the Chinese government’s abuse of members of the Catholic community has continued. We see no signs that will change in the near future,” he said, speaking in Hong Kong as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom. [First such appointment ever made. Another surprising initiative from Donald Trump who, in terms of concrete actions and specific statements upholding some of the most basic tenets of Catholic doctrine on social issues, seems more Catholic than most if not all US Catholic politicians so far going back to the first Catholic President, JFK.] ]

In China, there has long been an underground persecuted Church loyal to the papacy and an ecclesial organization that is officially recognized by the Chinese government.

In September, Pope Francis responded to concerns over the agreement. He gave assurances to persecuted Catholics and asked them to trust his decision to overlap the government-approved organization with the Catholic Church. He said China represents a “land of great opportunities” for the Church. He said the secret deal will “heal wounds of the past.”

In his speech on Friday, Brownback called on China to recognize the free exerciss of religion. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cries of its own people for religious freedom and act to correct its wrongs,” he said. Saying the communist government is waging a “war with faith,” Brownback said it is a “war they will not win.”

At the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, Brownback referred to negotiations engaged by Vatican diplomats with China over the status of the invalidly consecrated bishops of the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is approved by the communist government but does not recognize the authority of the Vatican. The language of the provisional agreement between the two parties remains confidential.

However, one effect was that the Holy See recognized seven illicitly consecrated Chinese bishops and gave them authority over Chinese dioceses.

Currently, all Catholic bishops of China are recognized by China’s government and the Holy See. However, since the deal was concluded, no new bishops have been appointed to China. Brownback, a Catholic, said the Vatican deal has not led to increased freedom for Catholics in China.

The 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong has been vocally critical of Pope Francis and the deal with China.
- In November, Zen said priests of the underground Church have “cried” to him since the deal was inked.
- In late 2018, he went to Rome to deliver a lengthy letter to Pope Francis, asking him to pay closer attention to the crisis within the underground Catholic Church in China.

He said, “They said officials have forced them to become open, to join the (schismatic) Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and to obtain a priest’s certificate with the reason that the pope has signed the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement.”

In a strongly worded opinion piece for the New York Times, Cardinal Zen suggested that the pope’s deal with China “invited the annihilation of the real Church in China.”

On Tuesday, Cardinal Zen responded to statements made by Cardinal Fernando Filoni. During a tour of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, Cardinal Filoni told a local news agency in Macau that the agreement signed by the Holy See and China “will be a very good thing for the Church in the future, and also for China.”

“One wonders: from which planet did our leaders in Rome descend?” said Cardinal Zen on his blog.

China protests US criticism
of its policies on religion

March 11, 2019

China has lodged a protest over remarks by the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom criticizing Beijing’s restrictive religion policies.

China is “at war with faith,” said Sam Brownback in a speech in Hong Kong last Friday. “It’s a war they will not win. The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom.”

The Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong reacted strongly to Brownback’s words. “We ask the U.S. to respect the facts, stop the arrogance and prejudice and cease using religious issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” it said in a statement.

The ministry went on to insist that China’s constitution protects freedom of religion, urging critics to “cease their slander of China’s policies on religion and the situation with freedom of faith and cease using religious issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

In his speech, Mr. Brownback targeted China’s recent actions toward Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China, many of whom China has reportedly rounded up into political education camps in Xinjiang.

The Trump administration is “deeply concerned and considered it a deliberate attempt by Beijing to redefine and control these Muslim minority groups, (their) identity, culture, and faith,” Brownback said.

Brownback, the former governor of Kansas, also called on China to liberate Wang Yi and John Cao Sanqiang, “underground” Christian pastors who are being held for illegal religious activities.

After China complained about his remarks, Brownback told reporters in Taiwan Monday that his office has a list of hundreds of names of individuals in China who have purportedly been detained for their faith.

“Where are they? What is happening to them? Why can’t their family members hear from them?” Brownback asked. “The United States has designated (China) in its most problematic category of countries that persecute people of faith … since 1999. And the situation has gotten notably worse in the last two years,” he said.

“We are calling on alliances of countries and individuals to step up and to oppose these things when they take place,” he said.

This is not the first time the Chinese government has protested U.S. criticisms of its religion policies.

In 2016, China’s Communist party filed a formal diplomatic complaint with the U.S. government for what it called a biased and distorted “attack” on China’s religious policies, following the release of a damning report by the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

In its annual report, the Commission employed some of its harshest language to describe the situation of religious freedom in China, noting that over the past year, “the Chinese government has stepped up its persecution of religious groups deemed a threat to the state’s supremacy and maintenance of a ‘socialist society.’”

“Christian communities have borne a significant brunt of the oppression, with numerous churches bulldozed and crosses torn down,” the report declared.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, the nation formally complained to the United States after the USCIRF listed China as a “country of particular concern” in its annual report for its for its “systematic, egregious, and ongoing abuses,” a designation China has enjoyed each year since 1999.

“The Chinese government fully respects and protects its citizens’ freedom of religion in line with the law, and Chinese citizens enjoy the rights to full religious freedom in accordance with the law,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press briefing.

“The U.S. ignores this fact and releases reports repeatedly to distort and attack China’s religious policies and status. China firmly opposes the U.S. move and has lodged solemn representation to the U.S. side,” Mr. Hong said.

According to a Congressional report at the time, conditions for religious believers in China have been on a “downward trend” ever since President Xi Jinping took office.

The price of Catholic unity
Lectures from a cardinal in contemporary Communist China


March 10, 2019

For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent: On the Situation of the Church in China, published in English this year, is a series of eight lectures by Joseph Cardinal Zen, who delivered the lectures in Hong Kong in 2017. The lectures are an account of the state of the relationship between the Church within and the Church outside China from 2000 to 2017, focusing on a letter written by Pope Benedict to Chinese Catholics in 2007 and on diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Church in China.

Though the plight of faithful in China may currently be overshadowed by the many high-profile sexual-abuse scandals within the Church, the persecution faced by Catholics in the avowedly atheist country should not be disregarded. But it is not the Chinese government’s oppression of religious minorities that Zen focuses on.

In his lectures he details the incompetence and corruption of Church officials in their handling of the complex and tense relationship between Vatican officials and diplomats, the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), and the underground Catholic Church in China.

The CPCA has historically operated under the auspices of the ruling Communist party, appointing its own bishops without Vatican approval and thereby rendering those bishops latae sententiae excommunicants. Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 formally excommunicated two CPCA-appointed bishops and the two bishops who had ordained them.

The underground Catholic Church in China is in good standing and full communion with Rome but lacks the approval of the Chinese government and therefore suffers persecution.

Some Chinese Catholics loathe the state-run Church as an empty apparatus intended for control rather than sincere devotion, some believers trust only the state-sanctioned Church, and some do not bother to distinguish between the two, since the difference is not in rite or theology but in ecclesiological administration.

Zen, who is still outspoken in his disapproval of the provisional agreement signed on September 22 of last year, criticizes the prevarications of the Vatican in its dealings with the Church in China in For Love of My People. He condemns the strategy of “compromise and surrender” and says that the “Curia has always tried to please the Chinese government.”

In 1988, the Vatican issued eight points on Catholicism in China. The provisional agreement signed last year is in discord with them.
- In the eight points, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples decreed that CPCA ordinations were valid but not licit.
- But under the agreement, in what Pope Francis has claimed is an attempt to foster healing and unity among Chinese Catholics, the distinction between CPCA and Catholic bishops has been erased. Francis has recognized eight bishops (one deceased) appointed by the CPCA in Beijing as in full ecclesial communion with Rome, even though they were appointed with flagrant disregard for the Vatican and, in some cases, had been previously excommunicated.

While the agreement is a step toward repairing the rift within the Chinese Church, it has left Catholics who have long fought for the underground Church in China feeling subverted and betrayed.
- Pope Francis has admitted that the agreement will not necessarily end the suffering of Chinese Catholics.
- The pope has also lamented “the suffering for those who don’t understand, or who have so many years behind them of living clandestinely.”
- Catholics such as Cardinal Zen who have long encouraged opposition to the PCA suddenly find the Vatican itself seeking common ground with the organization.

Unity of believers is a worthy and principal goal, but proper form and the authority of the Church should not be sacrificed in achieving it.
-Zen decried the agreement before and after it was signed, seeing it as an attempt by the Church to ingratiate itself with China’s ruling party rather than defend true believers.
- Zen rightly notes of Vatican officials that “if today they go along with the regime, tomorrow our Church will not be welcome for the rebuilding of the new China.”

Zen discusses myriad examples of the incompetence that plagues the Church. One is that Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state appointed by Francis, has allowed the Catholic commission for the Church in China to lapse, no longer facilitating its meetings.

Zen also mentions that Father Federico Lombardi, the former director of the Press Office of the Holy See, allowed himself to be interviewed by Phoenix Television, one of the few private television networks officially permitted by Hong Kong’s government.

Zen suggests that Phoenix is not a neutral outlet. The channel has come under criticism in recent years for the government influence in its programming. In 2016, the channel suspended airing of several popular political-commentary shows because of “ideological mistakes” by the hosts.

Zen also tells of Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, who at a Vatican symposium on organ transplants, invited as a guest of honor Dr. Huang Jiefu, China’s former deputy health minister. Huang has publicly taken credit for a decade-long reform effort in the Chinese medical community.

In 2005, as vice health minister, he admitted that over 90 percent of the transplant organs in China were harvested from executed prisoners, but he promised reform of the medical system.

His high rhetoric notwithstanding, Huang did not seem to effect much change. In June 2016, the U.S. Congress unanimously condemned China’s “state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting,” in a resolution alleging that the Chinese Communist Party was continuing the practice in secret and that it was killing “non-consenting prisoners of conscience,” including religious and ethnic minorities.

Zen is a dedicated, orthodox Catholic and he indicates no disobedience to the pope by his criticisms. In his last lecture, Zen says, “I will never lead a rebellion against the Pope” if he signs an agreement with the Chinese government. “I will quietly withdraw to the monastic life of prayer and penance.”

But a weak and feckless Church that is not willing to fight brazenly for the truth will not inspire many future witnesses like Zen. A Church that does not devote itself to its own teachings is an empty institution.

Zen does not leave us without hope for the Church, or for the Church in China. He is our hope. He is the voice crying out in the desert, refusing to be satisfied with half-truths or cowardly deference. Like Christians in other countries hostile to Christianity, Zen in his unwavering dedication to God is an example and testament to all Christians.

Zen concedes that there is true belief in both the underground and the official state Church in China. “We came to realize that our categories were too sharply divisive,” he says, “when in reality there were so many healthy forces.”

He does not hesitate to point out the failure of the Church to communicate adequately with Chinese Catholics. In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote a letter intended to provide clarity to the Church in China. The letter was meant to be ready by Easter, Zen says, but the final copy was not published until the end of June. Moreover, the final Chinese copy had mistakes and sentences mistranslated. “What a shame that a letter addressed precisely to the people of China had so many errors in the Chinese translation,” Zen laments.

In the last of his eight lectures, given on June 28, 2017, Zen, compares being a Catholic in China to living in a cage. He says that the provisional agreement between China and the pope, which was not yet signed at the time of his writing, will further stifle Chinese Catholics in their ability to worship: [DIM=1p2t]“To us, a terrifying scenario is unfolding, the sellout of the Church! Not reconstituted unity, but a forced cohabitation in the cage. From the point of view of the faith, we cannot see any gain.”

If Catholics have learned anything from the recent crimes propagated in the Church, it should be that there is no mercy without justice. Passivity and capitulation among clerics in the face of injustice or persecution should not be tolerated; and no government or institution, including the tangled bureaucracy of the Catholic hierarchy, is above reproach.

These criticisms of the Church’s entreaties to China come not from an aggrieved anti-cleric but from a cardinal in good standing. Zen’s lectures are not a condemnation of authority but rather a call for the Church to act as a strong authority and an uncompromising garrison of virtue. Clerics should not shy away from their commitment to Christian teaching. They should be fortified by it.

Hope for Catholicism in China lies in the hands of Cardinal Zen and those who, like him, are willing to defend the faith even without strong support from the Vatican. The Church on Earth will be preserved not by equivocations and incompetent bureaucracy but by the Church Militant.

Zen reminds us that it is the Catholics who are steadfast in their devotion to the sacraments and doctrine who will preserve the Church, and that nothing less than martyrdom, be it red or white, is the seed of the Church.

A late breaking addendum:

China's President Xi visiting Italy this month:
An opportunity to clarify the fate of underground Catholics
and whether they must join the Patriotic Association?

by Fr. Bernardo Cervellera

March 11, 2019

o Since the signing of the Vatican-China agreement, underground Catholics are being forced to join the CPCA and its "independent" Church project.
o It is said that the underground Church "must disappear". But Pope Francis’s message speaks only of "reconciliation".
o Cardinal Filoni says CPCA membership is not mandatory under Chinese law.
o But there are bishops and priests who say unity will come through "erasing" the underground community.
oThe time has come for clarity, perhaps in a meeting between Pope Francis and the Chinese president.

ROME (AsiaNews) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Italy on March 20-23. Rumors are already circulating in China of a possible meeting with Pope Francis. Should this be the case, it would be important to clarify the fate of the underground Church and the Patriotic Association.

The Sino-Vatican agreement and the lifting of the excommunication of seven illegitimate bishops seem endorse the idea that by now the only way to live one’s faith in China is in the official Church and that the underground community must disappear.

This position is also strengthened by the push towards reconciliation and unity requested by Pope Francis with his Message to Chinese Catholics and to the Universal Church, published a few days after the signing of the agreement.

In it, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Francis affirms that the phenomenon of clandestinity "is not a normal part of the life of the Church", but also says – again citing Benedict - that "pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith".

In the Message, Pope rancis asks all the faithful to "work towards reconciliation" and " restore full communion among all Chinese Catholics". He urges them to “now offer gestures of reconciliation and communion " to "overcome the divisions of the past" .

He also asked the pastors to establish "ever more fruitful relations between the leaders of ecclesial communities and the civil authorities become more productive through frank dialogue and impartial listening, so as to overcome antagonism on both sides".

The papal Message, therefore, speaks of a process of reconciliation, but does not say that it must be achieved by eliminating the underground community. Moreover, it does not say that unofficial bishops and priests should be forced to join the Patriotic Association (PA).

It is probable that the Sino-Vatican agreement - which unfortunately has not yet been published - says membership of the PA is optional and not mandatory. This aspect is deduced from a note by Prof. Wang Meixiu, from the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing who, commenting on the agreement for AsiaNews, says that the PA is "a popular organization" and not an ecclesial association; and that "participation is voluntary and not imposed".

Also Card. Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano of 3 February 2019, at one point says: "I hope, therefore, not to hear or read about local situations in which the Agreement is exploited to compel people to do what is not even required by Chinese law, such as joining the Patriotic Association ".

Unfortunately, however, this is precisely what is happening. In Xinjian, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Zhejiang, Hubei, the Religious Affairs Office continues to demand and encourage priests and bishops to join the PA and its project of "independence" from the Holy See. Even the incident in Xuanhua (Hebei), where a priest - supported by the local government - accuses his bishop, Msgr. Augustus Cui Tai of "resistance" to the Sino-Vatican agreement and urges the police to arrest him, showing how the falsely "patriotic" and "independent" mentality is also being imposed on the clergy.

Hebei is not new to this attempt to force members of the unofficial community to become official by joining the PA. For several months, four priests of the underground community (unofficial) of Zhangjiakou (Hebei) have been kept in an unknown location, subjected to indoctrination and brainwashing to make them join the Patriotic Association (PA).

Yet, these unofficial bishops and priests are "good citizens" and support the development of the nation, as is the wish of Pope Francis. The only point of resistance is membership of the PA, and its project of "independence of the Church" which for Benedict XVI is "incompatible with Catholic doctrine".

The amazing fact is that even some bishops – precisely among those from whom Pope Francis lifted excommunication - proclaim that it is time to erase the underground community and join the PA. In recent days, Magr. Vincent Zhan Silu, of Mindong - who took the place of ordinary bishop Msgr. Guo Xijin - was in Beijing as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Responding March 3 to a Sintao Daily journalist who asked him if he did not mind that the faithful are being forced to enter the official community, meaning the unofficial one would disappear, he declared that this is the only way for "the Church to be united". He claimed that underground Catholics have refused to turn 'official' for "reasons of personal interest". Msgr. Zhan is vice-president of the PA and benefits greatly from this position.

Another of the reconciled bishops, Msgr. She Shiyin of Leshan (Sichuan), also a vice-president of the PA, has even declared that the application of the new religious regulations (in which young people under 18 are forbidden to take part in the functions and receive a religious education, in addition to the demolition of crosses and statues that are not "sinicized") does not create any problems for religious freedom.

Fortunately, there are also official bishops full of dignity. At the same meeting of the CPCPC, Msgr. Fang Jianping, vice president of the Council of Chinese Bishops, in an interview with the radio station in Hong Kong, said that the official Church should adhere to the spirit of Pope Francis without "forcing the believers of the underground community to move to the officially recognized Church ".

When President Xi Jinping is in Italy, in the possibility of a meeting with Pope Francis, both could clarify some of these directives. [To do that, they probably would have to cite specific provisions from the still-undisclosed text of the agreement. Though why the text has to be kept secret is highly suspicious because there has been no explanation for why this is so. So much for the transparency so touted by the Bergoglio Vatican!]

Church suspends a pro-Beijing priest
Had urged party to arrest his underground bishop
for refusing to join Patriotic Association;
bishop suspends him, with Vatican approval

by Massimo Introvigne

March 11, 2019

he confusion about how to interpret the Vatican-China deal of 2018 reigns sovereign. Bitter Winter has repeatedly reported that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] interprets it in the sense that priests and bishops in the Underground Catholic Church should simply join the Patriotic Catholic Church, which is controlled by the government. As we reported, the Vatican has denounced this interpretation as unacceptable.

A former underground priest in the diocese of Xuanhua (Hebei), Francis Zhang Li, went one step further. As reported by AsiaNews, not only did he join the Patriotic Church himself. Unhappy with the fact that his underground bishop, Mgr Augustine Cu Tai, still refused to join the Patriotic Association and allegedly criticized the government, he denounced Cu Tai to the CCP and called for his arrest. He also organized a group of some 100 laypersons and priests critical of Cu Tai.

The background of the story may go beyond politics: It seems that the bishop had criticized the priest for “inventing miracles” and preaching in a controversial Pentecostal-like style. however, as a result of the priest’s maneuvers, the bishop was arrested in December 2018 and kept in custody for 15 days.

Priest Zhang Li claimed that, by refusing to join the Patriotic Church, the bishop was disobedient both to the CCP and to the Pope, since the latter had blessed the 2018 agreement. If he expected to be approved and rewarded by the Vatican, he was, however, wrong. Bishop Cu Tai suspended him on December 23 and reiterated the suspension on March 3. The bishop claimed to have acted with the approval of the Holy See.

Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews, noted in a separate article that the confusion about the 2018 agreement has now become intolerable. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to visit Italy at the end of March; final confirmation is expected in the next few days. There are rumors he will also meet the Pope. If this happens, Cervellera concludes, it should be an opportunity to clarify once and for all how the agreement should be interpreted.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/13/2019 6:38 AM]
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The tweet is from January 2019, and the infographic Gates shares is from the site OUR WORLD IN DATA, comparing basic indicators of material and physical wellbeing among the world's inhabitants.
Two centuries may seem like going back too far but it must be remembered that the world did not begin to experience the spread of wellbeing [along with a well-known set of social ills) till
the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) when Europe and the USA mechanized manufacturing with the advent of water power and steam power. So the effective time frame of reference shrinks to the
last 250 years.

Bill Gates triggers leftist reaction
by citing facts about would poverty

by Tyler Durden

March 9, 2019

Bill Gates tells the truth about the eradication of poverty...and the left hates it.

During the heyday of Windows in the 1990s, Bill Gates was vilified as an evil capitalist. Then he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at helping the poor and making a better world, and slowly his name was transformed on the left into something akin to a decent human being.

However, he recently tweeted a highly controversial fact: Extreme poverty is rapidly being eradicated.

His tweet shows an infographic by Our World in Data with the development of key factors, such as education, child mortality, and extreme poverty in the last 200 years. He has the audacity to celebrate when poverty is overcome.

Apparently, Gates isn’t just virtue signaling to the cultural elites. He truly seems to care about the poor, and is genuinely happy when poverty is alleviated. Also, he isn’t afraid to give credit where credit is due.

This is the second time in less than a month that I have come upon this sort of story about Gates. On February 18, on page 47 of this thread, I posted an article by Antonio Socci in praise of a 2018 book called FACTFULNESS by Hans Rosling (1948-2017).

Rosling was a Swedish physician, academician, statistician and public speaker who co-founded the Gapminder Foundation which developed the Trendalyzer software system that converts statistics from the UN and the World Bank into interactive graphics that help explain development issues. He was a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences and founder of the Swedish division of Doctors without Frontiers.

Published posthumously in 2018, Factfulness says the vast majority of human beings are wrong about the state of the world. He shows that his test subjects think the world is poorer, less healthy, and more dangerous than it is. Bill Gates recommended the book with these words in 2018:

I’ve been recommending this book since the day it came out. Hans, the brilliant global-health lecturer who died last year, gives you a breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world — how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve. It’s a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Socci says Rosling's book lists an impressive list of data which demonstrate that the world is getting better in many ways, mankind has made some spectacular progress in many areas, including a state of wellbeing that is achievable for everyone but unimaginable before.

Which is not to make light of the very real problemsthe world continues to face everyday, but to show that mankind, for all its collective mistakes, is not completely hopeless about dealing with its main social problems.

If only Gates and the people who put together these helpful infographics using data from the UN and its agencies, and other international organizations, could present us next with a more or less reliable picture of what the world has done about pollution control of the environment and about avoiding climate catastrophe, we might soon get rid as well of the leftist myths about these two issues which have become impregnable components of the leftist ideological worldview.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 5:39 AM]
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The Appearance of Christ to the Apostles Eating Dinner, Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1308-10, [Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena].

On the divine 'plan'
By James V. Schall, S.J.

March 12, 2019

Scripture and Mass Canon No. 4 speak of a divine plan for Creation, Redemption, and bringing all things to an End Time. Then any pending issues between God, man, and the world will be settled.

The gist of this “plan” is already in Genesis. In the “beginning,” we see manifested a definite order. Genesis is about God’s putting order into an initial abyss. Things are created. They do not just “happen.” A considerable amount of chance is found within the existing plan. Chance results from the crossing of two or more things, each with its own purpose. Chance presupposes purpose. Chance events fall within the overall order of things.

In the Prologue to John’s Gospel, even before Creation itself, the plan had an earlier “beginning” in a Word that was with God; that was God. Within this plan, the race of men was given “dominion” over other existing things. That precise word, “dominion,” did not mean some fancy ecological enterprise to save the planet for as long as possible from the activities of men themselves.

The world was not made complete from the beginning. The world was not complete without man in it. It could only be what it was intended to be with the addition of man’s use of the earth, water, and sky. Abundant riches were stored on the planet from the eons before man appeared on this planet.

Man did not exist solely in order to use the earth’s resources for his good. He existed in order to see how he stood with God, who had created him, male and female, with a destiny that elevated him beyond his natural capacities.

The classic end of all man’s strivings, his happiness, is not found in any existing thing that he knows or encounters in this world. Yet the good things that he does come across and use are not illusions. Things less than God are not evil. We are not Gnostics.

Still, we find that no finite thing makes us finally happy. We become aware that something more is offered to us within or through the good things that we do come across in our passing lives.

From the beginning, God’s plan included what alone would make happy the rational creature that God did create in His image. God, in fact, created no man who had a merely natural destiny, one properly due to the level of its being, “a little less than the angels,” as the Psalmist put it.

To understand what goes on here, we need to recall what a final cause is. It is the first cause, the one that initially identifies the “what” we are intending to do. God did not “need” the world or anyone in it. Creation carries the mark of freedom, not of necessity. Many possible purposes can be given as logical reasons why God might create something from nothing.

The main reason, however, that God created a vast cosmos with a race of finite rational beings in it was two-fold. The first reason was that the universe would not be complete unless, within it, someone could understand it. The universe as such bears signs of order, but of an order that the universe itself did not put there. It was a given order, a natural order.

This rational being within the universe, not outside of it like God, can return honor and glory to God in the conscious form of praise and thanksgiving. In this sense, the universe has a liturgical function. The universe, through man’s knowledge, now returns to God in the form of a wakeful awe over its beauty and over how things harmoniously fit together.

The second, and ultimately more important, reason for God’s creation was God’s invitation to each existing person, not to a collectivity, to live within His own Trinitarian eternal life.
- Each human person is invited into the divine friendship as an adopted son or daughter.
- The universe exists in order that this invitation might be freely reciprocated by man.
- His existence in time is essentially concerned with how he will respond to this divine invitation.

In 1989, Joseph Ratzinger wrote:

“Concern for the salvation of others must not lead us to ignore . . . the particularism of God; salvation history and world history must not be regarded as identical entitles just because God’s concern for them must be extended to all. Such direct universalism would destroy the true totality of God’s action which becomes whole precisely through the process of selection and election.” (Co-Workers of the Truth, 75)

The nature of friendship, divine or human, means that it cannot be forced.

The last drama of the universe is seen in the Last Judgment. Our brief lives in time and space constitute the stage on which we decide whether we accept or reject God’s final cause in creating us, that of welcoming us into the friendship we call the Trinity.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/12/2019 9:49 PM]
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Italian scholars unveil 'Virgin and Laughing Child'
as Leonardo da Vinci’s only surviving sculpture

Experts say crucial details prove
the sculpture is Leonardo's work

by Jonathan Jones

March 9, 2019

The curators of an exhibition in Florence have this week unveiled what they claim is the only surviving sculpture by Leonardo da Vinci.

It’s always been part of Leonardo’s legend that he made sculptures, including a giant horse, but not a single extant three-dimensional work by him had been identified.

'The Virgin with the Laughing Child' is the miraculous exception, according to the curators of the exhibition 'Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo', at Palazzo Strozzi, where it has just gone on display. It has an unambiguous label: Leonardo da Vinci. He is said to have created it around 1472, when he was 19 or 20 and a pupil of the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio.

The UK has a special interest in the find, which has belonged to the Victoria & AlbertMMuseum since 1858 but had long been credited to another artist, Antonio Rossellino. That is because scholars had been bamboozled by the posthumous authority of the late art historian and British Museum director John Pope-Hennessy, according to Francesco Caglioti, the Italian academic who is leading the new attribution.

Caglioti, who teaches at Naples University, is well known among Renaissance experts for his unrivalled knowledge of 15th-century sculpture: an art history prodigy who made a catalogue of the Louvre when he was eight.

Victorians had no difficulty seeing the Leonardo-esque look of the V&A treasure, he said. The Virgin Mary looks down at the ChristCchild on her lap with what may be the prototype of all the enigmatic smiles in Leonardo’s art, the most famous of which is the Mona Lisa’s.

Experts say details such as the drapery and Christ’s smile show it to be Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.

Pope-Hennessy, a hugely powerful 20th-century expert, pronounced that the sculpture was by Rossellino, and that was that. But he had no real evidence for his ruling, claimed Caglioti, and heavily promoted Rossellino, to whom he attributed works “at his whim”.

Awestruck journalists at the press viewing of 'Verrocchio: Master of Leonardo gathered around the 50cm-tall red clay (terra cotta) sculpture in its protective vitrine while Caglioti expounded why he thought it was 100% Leonardo.

Revered Leonardo scholar Carmen C Bambach, from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, was also there to support the claim.

They focus on two crucial details. First, the voluminous, complicated draperies that flow over the Madonna’s legs are similar to drawings of draperies Leonardo was making at the time. These drawings, exhibited in the Strozzi show, are almost obsessive studies of abstract folds and shadowy recesses. Caglioti and Bambach believe they can see the same qualities in the sculpture.

Second, there’s the face of the baby Christ and his realistic, well-observed pose. He looks alive. That same attention to young children’s actual behaviour can be seen in Leonardo’s drawings. Yet portraying a laughing Christ in the 15th century was not only radical, but practically blasphemous.

In a passage in Leonardo’s notebooks, he remembers getting into trouble when younger for portraying the infant Christ. Could this be the work that got him in hot water?

The V&A is cautious, saying only: “A potential attribution to Leonardo da Vinci was first proposed in 1899, so Professor Caglioti’s study opens up the discussion of its authorship afresh.”

Yet if this sensational new attribution wins acceptance, it will ironically mean that just as Britain leaves the EU, its public art collections are once again proved to be among the finest depositories of Europe’s cultural heritage.

How unbelievably exciting! Even without seeing the sculpture first hand, the sensation I have is similar to that of my first sight of Leonardo's so-called Madonna Litta (after the Milanese patron who commissioned it), which was also my first sight of a breastfeeding Madonna - I didn't think they even existed. I had never even heard of the Madonna Litta before, although I saw both versions of Leonardo's 'Virgin of the Rocks' in the Louvre and at London's National Gallery.

The Madonna Litta is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and I saw it on my first trip to the USSR in 1974 - when not incidentally, Leonardo's Mona Lisa was on display at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow (one of the few times it has ever left the Louvre) and since I was in a five-man group from the Philippines invited to the USSR by their Union of Friendship Societies, we did not have to buy tickets (the painting was only there for two months, so you can imagine the demand for tickets) but were taken to see it after hours, so I had far greater leisure to study it than the two times I had seen it at the Louvre as a common tourist.

Anyway, any official trip to the USSR at the time meant visiting both Moscow and Leningrad (remember this was still the USSR, so the city had not yet reverted to its historic name of St. Petersburg), and our guides gave us a full day just to visit the Hermitage Museums. It's the second largest in the world in terms of exhibition space (720,000 sq ft) after the Louvre (783,000 sq ft) - by comparison, the Vatican Museums have 460,000, for which I needed a full week to see all I wanted to see, which I was only able to do when I lived in Rome.

The Madonna Litta, painted in 1452, is one of two Leonardos in a room of the Old Hermitage that is dedicated to him. The other is the Benois Madonna, ca. 1478, in which the Child holds a small cruciform flower that seems to occupy his gaze. Both are smaller than the Mona Lisa. I have just checked the size of the Madonna Litta (17x13 inches, compared to the Mona Lisa's 30x21). Not just because of the bolder colors did the Madonna Litta compel my fascination but the fact that it depicted Mary nursing the Christ Child, Baby Jesus suckling on her breast!

I would find out later from Encyclopedia Brittanica - no Internet then - that there is a whole genre of European painting called Madonna lactans (nursing madonna), but of course, it was only with the Internet that I finally saw the amazing number and array of these paintings (just try to google 'nursing Madonna'!). Leonardo's is among the boldest and most 'naturalistic' of these depictions.

As wonderful and unforgettable as that first sight of the Madonna Litta was (I would see it again during a visit in 1981), the revelation of this sculpture is even more thrilling for me. Even if it had never been attributed to Leonardo, it is so preciously and ineffably beautiful in itself, as sublime in its own way as the Pieta, for which it could be a companion piece though it is so much smaller (20 inches high compared to the 5'9"-high Pieta). The happy prefiguration, if you will, to Mary cradling her Son's 'lifeless' body.

3 Madonnas by Leonardo: From left, the Madonna Litta (1452), the Benois Madonna (ca. 1478), and the Madonna of the Carnation (1480).

And yet, such are the conventions of Christian art that even the Madonnas with the Child Jesus contain a prefiguration of the Crucifixion - in the Madonna Litta, it is the tiny goldfinch in the Christ Child's left hand.
In the Benois Madonna, He is holding that cruciform flower, and in Leonardo's Madonna of the Carnation, she is holding out to Him a carnation. The goldfinch is associated with the Passion and Christ's Crown of thorns
because the bird feeds among thorns. While a deep red carnation symbolizes deep love and affection, there is also a legend that carnations grew from where Mary’s tears fell as she watched Jesus carry the cross,
so it is associated with both motherly love and Christ's Passion.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/13/2019 9:07 PM]
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Say a prayer for Cardinal Pell- and for all unjustly accused priests and bishops. Even as we should not stop praying for all the victims of actual abuse that beyond getting justice and redress,
they may find healing and solace; and for all their abusers, that they may do proper penance for their sins and truly convert their lives.

Cardinal Pell sentenced to 6 years in prison
by NBC Nightly News
March 12, 2019

The most senior Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex abuse was sentenced to six years in prison in Australia on Wednesday morning.

Cardinal George Pell, 77, faced as many as 50 years in prison after being convicted in December for the molestation of two choir boys while he was the archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Pell must serve a minimum of three years and eight months before he is eligible for parole.

He will spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.

Pell was convicted for the assault of the 13-year-old boys after he caught them swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne's St. Patrick's Cathedral in late 1996.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd of Victoria's County Court said in his sentencing remarks that Pell's age and history of cardiac issues were a "significant" factor in his sentencing decision. For the same reasons, Kidd also said did not consider there to be a high risk of Pell reoffending.

During the nearly hour-long sentencing remarks, Kidd called Pell's attack "brazen" and suggested that the cleric was "breathtakingly arrogant" in his attack on the young boys. "There is no evidence of your remorse or contrition," Kidd said Wednesday in court. [Why would an innocent man show remorse or contrition???? The sentencing was televised nationally. Kidd obviously made the most of his opportunity.]

Pell and his lawyers have maintained that the cardinal is innocent, and they plan to appeal his conviction at the Victoria Court of Appeal on June 5.

Details of the trial had been suppressed until late February because Pell had faced a second trial in April on charges that he indecently assaulted two other boys as a young priest in the late 1970s in a public pool in his hometown of Ballarat.

Prosecutor Fran Dalziel told the court at the time that the Ballarat charges had been dropped and asked for the suppression order to be lifted. The move came days after a judge ruled out two key prosecution witnesses in the Ballarat case.

Cardinal Pell sentenced to six years
imprisonment for sexual abuse

The prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy has maintained his innocence,
and will apply to appeal his conviction in June, focusing on three points.

Melbourne, Australia, Mar 12, 2019 (CNA) - Cardinal George Pell was sentenced Wednesday to six years imprisonment, after being convicted in December of sexual abuse of two choirboys in 1996. He will be eligible for parole after serving three years and eight months of his sentence.

Chief Judge Peter Kidd handed down the sentence March 13 from the Victoria County Court. Kidd’s remarks of more than 70 minutes were broadcast live.

The prefect emeritus of the Secretariat for the Economy has maintained his innocence, and will apply to appeal his conviction in June.

Pell, 77, had been incarcerated at the Melbourne Assessment Prison while he awaited the results of the sentencing hearing.

The cardinal was convicted on five counts of sex abuse based on charges he sexually assaulted two choirboys while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne.

It was the cardinal’s second trial, as a jury in an earlier trial had failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The first jury were deadlocked 10-2 in Pell’s favor.

His appeal will be made on three points:
- the jury’s reliance on the evidence of a single victim,
- an irregularity that kept Pell from entering his not guilty plea in front of the jury, and
- the defense not being allowed to show a visual representation supporting his claim of innocence.

The appeal document says that “the verdicts are unreasonable and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence, because on the whole of the evidence, including unchallenged exculpatory evidence from more than 20 Crown witnesses, it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the complainant alone.”

Another Australian prelate, Archbishop Philip Wilson, was convicted in May of failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse disclosed to him in the 1970s. But in December a district judge overturned that conviction, saying there was reasonable doubt a crime had been committed. Before his conviction was overturned, Wilson served about five months of a 12-month home detention sentence.

Pell’s conviction has met with varied reactions. While many figures in Australian media have lauded Pell’s conviction, some Australians have called it into question, prompting considerable debate across the country.

Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, suggested that the justice process was tainted by media and police forces that had worked “to blacken the name” of Pell “before he went to trial.”

“This is not a story about whether a jury got it right or wrong, or about whether justice is seen to prevail,” Craven said in a Feb. 27 opinion piece in The Australian. “It’s a story about whether a jury was ever given a fair chance to make a decision, and whether our justice system can be heard above a media mob.” [Thank God for Australians like Craven! May there be more of him!]

Pell was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Ballarat in 1966. He was consecrated a bishop in 1987, and appointed auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, becoming ordinary of the see in 1996. Pell was then Archbishop of Sydney from 2001 to 2014, when he was made prefect of the newly-created Secretariat for the Economy. He served on Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals from 2013 to 2018. Pell ceased to be prefect of the economy secretariat Feb. 24.

Read the AP story here:
I cannot stand the gloating tone the story has, whereas there was a second AP story that was rather forbearing....

Pope anniversary marked by
Pell sentencing, scandal fallout

VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2019 (AP) – Pope Francis is marking his sixth anniversary as pontiff with prayer, attending a weeklong spiritual retreat while elsewhere in the world one of his cardinals is sentenced for sex abuse and a new poll finds American Catholics are increasingly questioning their faith because of the scandal.

In his time as pope, Francis has made it a tradition to bring Vatican leaders with him on retreat at the start of Lent, the period of fasting and prayer leading to Easter. [What crap! The Lenten retreat for the Pope and the Roman Curia began long before Bergoglio - all he did was to ostentatiously take it out of the Vatican's Redemptoris Mater chapel to bring him and some 60 other prelates to a retreat house in the Alban Hills, for which, as far as I know, the media has never questioned the unnecessary expense of doing so - seven days of board and lodging for 64 people.]

While the retreat was underway Wednesday outside Rome, Cardinal George Pell was sentenced in Australia to six years in prison for sexually abusing two youths in the 1990s. He plans to appeal.

And in the U.S., a Gallup poll found 37 percent of U.S. Catholics question remaining in the church.

On the eve of this Bergoglio anniversary, Church Militant had a couple of stories to remind everyone of this pope's personal involvement in shady and sordid matters -
proven and documented unlike the kangaroo-court charges rigged against Cardinal Pell...

Bergoglio, McCarrick and a corrupt Argentine seminary
The pope's friendship with the predator goes back decades

By Chris Caldwell

March 12, 2019

Theodore McCarrick has had longtime ties to Pope Francis stretching back decades, with both involved in a controversial seminary in Argentina.

Evidence reveals McCarrick took multiple trips to Argentina, and a reliable source confirms that on at least one of those trips McCarrick personally visited Bergoglio in the apostolic nunciature.

Public reports reveal that decades ago, McCarrick became heavily involved with the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE, for Instituto del Verbo Encarnado), founded in Argentina by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, a now known homosexual predator who, like McCarrick, sexually assaulted seminarians under his authority.

The Vatican confirmed in 2016 that Buela had been credibly accused of homosexual predation of adult seminarians, and was banned from making public appearances or having any contact with members of his community.

McCarrick took many trips to Argentina to visit IVE seminarians and would ordain a number of them. In McCarrick's own words spoken at a 2015 speech at Villanova University, it was McCarrick's deep involvement with the IVE that began his long and good friendship with Jorge Bergoglio.

On these trips to Argentina, McCarrick would first fly to Buenos Aires, where he would meet with Bergoglio, before taking a flight to rural San Rafael, IVE headquarters, where Fr. Buela was located.

McCarrick became so closely involved with the conservative and traditional religious order that he chose to live with the IVE at their seminary in Washington, D.C. when he retired.

In spite of Buela's homosexual activity, IVE had the reputation of being a deeply traditional and conservative community. It encountered great opposition from the bishops of Argentina. As reported by the Buenos Aires newspaper Pagina 12 and others, all but one of the Argentine bishops were opposed to the IVE, with Bergoglio spearheading the investigation of the community, taking the matter to Rome and eventually succeeding in having it shut down in Argentina.

As none of the Argentine bishops would ordain priests for the IVE, McCarrick flew in often to do so.

In spite of Bergoglio's success in having the IVE closed down in Argentina, McCarrick — with the help of Cdl. Angelo Sodano at the Vatican — was able to have the IVE re-opened, helping to found more seminaries and communities in the United States.

McCarrick never let the IVE forget this, as the Daily Caller reported: "Those who witnessed McCarrick at the seminary during that time said he used his help to the institute as leverage, and summed up his attitude as 'If you're grateful, you'll shut up.'"

Archbishop Viganò wrote in his testimony of McCarrick's longtime friendship with the pope: "At the time I knew nothing of his long friendship with Cardinal Bergoglio and of the important part he had played in his recent election, as McCarrick himself would later reveal in a lecture at Villanova University and in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter."

Viganò said he had personally informed the pope of McCarrick's homosexual predation on June 23, 2013, but the pope "continued to cover for him."

"He followed the advice of someone he knew well to be a pervert, thus multiplying exponentially with his supreme authority the evil done by McCarrick. And how many other evil pastors is Francis still continuing to prop up in their active destruction of the Church!" the former papal nuncio wrote.

Viganò also claims at least one other Argentine bishop, Cdl. Leonardo Sandri, knew about the allegations against McCarrick as early as 2000.

Pope Francis' friendship and his promotion of McCarrick as a close papal advisor continued even when in 2016, the Vatican affirmed the veracity of the accusations that the founder of the IVE, Fr. Buela, was guilty of sexually abusing seminarians. The Vatican sanctioned Buela, ordering him to have no contact with the community — even while McCarrick was living at the IVE seminary in Washington, D.C.

Deep questions remain as to Bergoglio's relationship with McCarrick, particularly in light of the fact that, in spite of Bergoglio'sb vigorous opposition to McCarrick's project with IVE in Argentina, he was still heavily supported by McCarrick, who admitted in his Villanova talk that he had lobbied for Bergoglio's election to the papacy in 2013.

McCarrick associate barred from ministry
in West Vrginia over abuse allegations

by David Nussman

March 12, 2019

BALTIMORE ( - A bishop with close ties to laicized Theodore McCarrick has been barred from priestly ministry over abuse allegations.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield resigned from his post in the Wheeling-Charleston diocese in West Virginia in September 2018. He submitted his resignation when he turned 75, as is policy for Catholic bishops. Just a few days after, the Vatican appointed Abp. William Lori of Baltimore to oversee the Wheeling-Charleston diocese temporarily and to investigate the allegations that have been made about Bp. Bransfield accusing him of abuse, abuse cover-up and financial mismanagement.

Following an investigation, Abp. Lori announced Monday that Bp. Bransfield is banned from public ministry in the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which encompasses the entire state of West Virginia, as well as in the archdiocese of Baltimore.

Archbishop Lori said in Monday's statement, "Pending the assessment of the findings of the Holy See, as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, I have directed that Bp. Bransfield is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry either within the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston or within the archdiocese of Baltimore."

Archbishop Lori also announced similar restrictions for retired Bp. Gordon Bennett, a former auxiliary bishop in the Baltimore archdiocese who has been accused of sexual abuse. Bishop Bennett was auxiliary in Baltimore 1998–2004, then he was appointed to the diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica. A Jesuit, Bp. Bennett resigned in 2006 after the Baltimore archdiocese received an allegation that he sexually abused a minor, and the archdiocese reported the allegation to the Holy See.

The Baltimore archbishop says he is imposing these restrictions with approval from the Holy See. The findings from the investigation into Bp. Bransfield have been sent to Rome, where a final decision will be made.

These new restrictions on Bp. Bransfield come after a five-month investigation. The archdiocese stated, "The preliminary investigation, which took place over five months, was conducted by Abp. Lori with the assistance of a team of five lay experts. The investigative team examined multiple allegations of sexual harassment of adults and financial improprieties. It involved interviews with more than 40 individuals, including Bp. Bransfield."

Bishop Bransfield has close ties to McCarrick. He was formerly president of the Papal Foundation's board of trustees.

In 2012, Bransfield was accused of enabling a priest to rape underage boys in the 1980s. He was also accused of having sexually abused minors himself as well as financial impropriety.

The accusation against Bp. Bransfield was brought up by a witness in the trial of Msgr. William Lynn, an official of the Philadelphia archdiocese accused of covering up clerical sex abuse. In 2012 court proceedings, that witness claimed he was sexually abused as a minor by Fr. Stanley Gana, a Philadelphia priest, in the 1980s.

He testified that Fr. Gana abused minors at a beach house in New Jersey owned by Bransfield, a priest of the Philadelphia archdiocese at the time. He further claimed that Bransfield knew about Fr. Gana's abuse and committed similar crimes himself.

Bishop Bransfield firmly denied the allegations, writing in an April 2012 statement, "I have never sexually abused anyone."

He went on to state, "I understand that I am a public figure and therefore subject to public criticism. The nature of these statements and the manner in which they were released, however, go way beyond any sense of fairness and propriety."

Bransfield said it was possible that Fr. Gana had used his beach house as a place to groom and abuse minors but maintained that he had no knowledge of the abusive activity.

The bishop argued:

The statement that a former seminarian of mine, Stanley Gana, abused a minor at a home which I owned on the shore and at which I permitted numerous friends and priests to use is misleading. What did not get released was additional information available to the Prosecutor that I was not aware of the incident and was not present at the house at the time./dim]

A few days ago, Fox News obtained information about McCarrick from the new bishop of the rural Kansas diocese where has lived since he left Washington DC last month.


I've been too outraged by the 70-minute nationally televised grandstanding of the judge who sentenced Cardinal Pell - even if I have not watched it or listened to it, since that will not change the fact that he convicted an innocent man (of that I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt) - to register all my initial reactions.
1. All pre-sentencing stories had been trumpeting that Pell could get a 50-year prison sentence since each count for which he was found 'guilty' (meaning alleged number of times he 'molested' his complainant) carries a maximum of 10 years jail time, but this judge ended up giving him 6 years only. Which all the anti-Pell, anti-Catholic elements have predictably and indignantly denounced -and will go on denouncing - as nothing but a slap on the wrist.
2. It tells me that the judge himself - for all his sanctimonious bluster - had 'reasonable doubt' about his jury's verdict, because surely he could not be unaware how such a 'light' sentence would received by everyone who has been gunning for Pell. Why six years, and not ten, for example, which is supposed to be the maximum sentence for each count, and which also would amount to 2 years for each of the counts?
3. I think the AP story reports the judge told Pell that he was not convicting the Catholic Church but only him, Pell, as an individual. Should we be thankful for that, at least?
4. Did it have to take the judge 70 minutes to hand down his sentence? Much of it could have been about 'explaining the law', which would have been unnecessary, but it probably was more gratuitous lecturing of the 'sentencee' along the lines of his denouncing Pell for brazen conduct and arrogance, and for not even having shown any sign of contrition or remorse.
Let us all pray he gets reversed in appeal, as Bishop Wilson's judge was.

George Weigel wrote the following in behalf of justice and truth in principle, and as they apply to his longtimme friend, Cardinal Pell, before the sentencing today. But the sentence itself - which was an expected formality, but which still caught everyone by surprise by how 'light' it was, considering all the Sturm und Drang around Pell, including by the sentencing judge himself - has no bearing on the principle Weigel argues here about the Bergoglio Vatican playing nice to the Australians, unnecessarily, which only underscores the hypocrisy of diplomatic niceties. To me, the Vatican's very calculated words and actions about Pell are simply duplicitous.

The Holy See and Cardinal Pell
Why did the Vatican, the day after the conviction was announced publicly,
reiterate the mantra that has become habitual in Vatican commentary on the Pell case?

by George Weigel

March 13, 2019

Cardinal George Pell’s Decembe 2r018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse” was a travesty of justice, thanks in part to a public atmosphere of hysterical anti-Catholicism — a fetid climate that had a devastating impact on the possibility of his receiving a fair trial.

How else does one explain how 12 jurors, presented with uncorroborated charges refuted by overwhelming evidence that the alleged crimes could not have happened, completely reversed the overwhelming pro-acquittal vote delivered by a hung jury in the cardinal’s first trial last year?

Cardinal Pell knew from hard personal experience how virulent the anti-Catholic atmosphere in Australia had become. As a member of the College of Cardinals and a senior Vatican official, Pell enjoyed Vatican citizenship and held a Vatican diplomatic passport; he could have stayed put, untouchable by the Australian authorities. [The entirely legitimate reason why, for instance, CDF Prefect Luis Ladaria could refuse a subpoena from a French court to testify in Cardinal Barbarin's trial.]

Yet he freely decided to submit himself to his country’s criminal justice system. He knew he was innocent; he was determined to defend his honor and that of the Church; and he believed in the rectitude of the Australian courts. So he went home.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that the Australian justice system has thus far failed one of Australia’s most distinguished sons, who had put his trust in it. The police went on a tawdry fishing expedition for something-on-Pell. (Who, one wonders, set that in motion? And why?) A preliminary hearing sent the subsequent charges to trial, although the hearing magistrate said that, were she a juror, she wouldn’t vote for conviction on several of alleged crimes. The first trial proved the cardinal innocent, and the re-trial re

turned an irrational verdict unsupported by any evidence, corroborating or otherwise. The media gag order placed on both trials, although likely intended to dampen the circus atmosphere surrounding the case, in fact relieved the prosecution of having to defend its weird and salacious charges in public.

So as of early March, the cardinal is in jail, in solitary confinement, allowed a few visitors a week, as well as a half-dozen books and magazines at a time. But he is not permitted to say Mass in his cell, on the bizarre grounds that prisoners are not allowed to lead religious services in prisons in the State of Victoria and wine is not permitted in cells.

Given all this, it is not easy to understand why, the day after the conviction was announced publicly, the interim Vatican press spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, reiterated the mantra that has become habitual in Vatican commentary on the Pell case: the Holy See, Gisotti said, has “maximum respect for the Australian judicial authorities.”

Why say this? It is precisely the Australian judiciary (and the lynch-mob atmospherics in Melbourne and elsewhere) that is on trial today in the global court of public opinion.
- There was no need for such gratuitous puffery.
- Mr. Gisotti could have, and should have, said that the Holy See awaits with interest and concern the results of the appeal process, and hopes that justice will be done. Period. Full stop.
- No flattery. Above all, no hint of a suggestion that the Holy See believes that the Australian police and judicial authorities have done their job fairly, impartially, and respectably thus far.

Shortly after Mr. Gisotti’s comment, it was announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was beginning its own canonical inquiry into the Pell case. In theory, and one hopes in practice, the CDF investigation can be helpful: properly conducted, it will exonerate Cardinal Pell of the preposterous charges on which he was convicted, because there is zero evidence that the cardinal abused two choirboys, and ample evidence that the abuse could not have occurred in the circumstances in which it allegedly happened. So justice can be done by the Holy See, whatever the ultimate outcome in Australia.

For the sake of an old friend, but also for the sake of Australia’s reputation in the world, I hope that the appeal process, which begins in early June, will vindicate Cardinal Pell — and the faith he has put in his countrymen and the Australian judicial system.

The latter is and should be under the closest scrutiny by fair-minded people, however. The Holy See should take note of that, and should therefore resist any further temptations to render a gauzy, and certainly premature, verdict on “the Australian judicial authorities.”

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/15/2019 4:08 AM]
3/13/2019 8:03 PM
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Survey shows more than a third of US Catholics
question their own loyalty in wake of scandals

by Jack Jenkins

March 13, 2019

A new survey reveals that more U.S. Catholics are questioning whether they should remain in the church today than when news of the “Spotlight” child sex abuse scandal broke in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002.

According to a poll released Wednesday (March 13) by Gallup, more than a third of U.S. Catholics — 37 percent — surveyed in January and February said they have questioned whether they should remain in the church. That’s up from 22 percent in 2002, when The Boston Globe published its report detailing widespread child sex abuse by priests in the city.

Frequent churchgoers were less likely than other Catholics to say they are rethinking their affiliation with the faith this year. Only 22 percent of Catholics who attend church weekly today said they have considered leaving the faith, compared with 37 percent of those who attend nearly weekly or monthly and 46 percent of those who seldom or never attend.

However, all groups showed an increase of 10 percentage points or more compared with the 2002 polling. Back then, 12 percent of those who attended church weekly, 24 percent of those who attended nearly weekly or monthly and 29 percent of those who seldom or never attended had considered leaving the church.

The shift comes in the wake of the 1,300-page grand jury report released by Pennsylvania’s attorney general in August 2018, which included accounts of alleged sexual abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests against more than 1,000 children in that state over a 70-year span. At least 14 attorneys general in other states have since said they would launch their own investigations or reviews of clergy abuse, and federal authorities have initiated reviews as well.

In November 2018, police searched the offices of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese — the see of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — as part of an investigation into a priest accused of abuse in Texas.

The flurry of renewed coverage of the scandal was compounded by
-allegations of an abuse cover-up in Chile that led to the resignation of several bishops there last year;
- the conviction of Australian Cardinal George Pell in February on charges of sexually abusing two choirboys in the 1990s; and
- the defrocking of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after allegations that the onetime archbishop of Washington, D.C., sexually abused seminarians and a minor earlier in his career.
[Not surprisingly, no mention at all of the current pope's own multiple and worsening list of accusations regarding cover-up and/or active protection of offending bishops and priests. I bet if the survey had an extra question to ask whether the respondent was aware of this at all, probably 99% would answer NO - that's how much the media have covered up for Bergoglio even on this potentially hottest button on the crisis board today.]

Pope Francis attempted to address the scandal in February by hosting a four-day conference at the Vatican on the subject, where prominent bishops heard from multiple abuse survivors and the pontiff called for an “all-out battle” against abuse in the church. However, many advocates for survivors left the gathering disappointed by what they saw as a lack of concrete action. [As if anyone expected anything 'concrete'to come out of a grandstanding exercise intended to be a PR sop and what is now called virtue-signalling ("Yeah, we're listening, you know, just don't say we are not doing anything!")]

Even so, Gallup reports that most American Catholics still largely support Pope Francis, with 58 percent saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in him. [See, they have no clue at all about his faults and offenses in this regard, even overlooking that the rule of McCarrick and his proteges in the US Church is largely his doing.]

Roughly the same amount — 59 percent — said they had the same level of confidence in the priest at their church, but only 30 percent said the same about U.S. bishops and other Catholic leaders in the country.

Remember all that raving hooplah about a supposed positive 'Francis effect' on the Church and the faithful? And yet in 2015 when it peaked,
look at what a US survey showed:

Not much 'Francis effect', was there? And have we heard any such talk in the past four years, say? If you google 'Francis effect' today and look
for images about it, much of what you will get is a rehashing of two items - a Salt+Light documentary released to all TV stations in North America
in February 2015, and an eponymous book by one John Gehring, a Democrat operative working for the Soros-funded Center for Public Life which
was the front for John Podesta's 'Arab spring' operation against the Catholic Church before the 2016 presidential elections, when Podesta
was Hilary Clinton's campaign manager.

So consider the two main propagandists of the mythical 'Francis effect' - Salt+Light headed by serial plagiarist and supreme Bergogliac
Fr. Rosica; and Ghering, a saboteur operative of the Democratic Party in its war to the bitter end against the Catholic Church. In which
they are not touting the Catholic Church at all but rather Jorge Bergoglio's (mis)appropriation of the institution and its infra-
structure in order to build the 'church' that all ultraliberals and progressivists like him want - an ideological machine disguised
as a religion' but totally in the world, of the world and for the world.

One would look in vain for God or Christ to figure anywhere except to 'legitimize' Bergoglio's active agency in their behalf by claiming him to be
the Vicar of Christ on earth, which, having been elected pope, he is, theoretically. And, regardless of what Steve Skojec's critics may say,
Bergoglio is pope, de jure and de facto, alas and alack!, and there is no actionable argument - as everyone has concluded by now - nor Bergoglio
odium so extreme that can change that.

A rather strange participant in this campaign was an organization called Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia, which mobilized
a number of 'catholic' writers Down Under to tout the 'Francis effect' in a three-volume series whose Vol. 1 was published in December
2013, and the last one in 2017 after Amoris laetitia was published. I suppose the endless polemics over that one - and the ensuing stories
on sex abuse and cover-ups, etc., has dampened the urge to publish more. And obviously, there has been no positive 'Francis effect' if one goes
by the worsening anti-Catholic animus gripping Australia and its media.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/13/2019 8:39 PM]
3/14/2019 3:31 PM
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It falls to the erudite and always apposite Fr. Rutler to call attention to a little-known episode in the life of soon-to-be-saint John Henry Newmanand its amazing relevance to Cardinal Pell's current ordeal.

What Newman can tell us
about the Pell verdict

by Fr.George W. Rutler

March 14, 2019

The scene in the London courtroom in 1852 might have been out of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with the defendant in simple clerical black standing in the dock before the bewigged representatives of ancient justice. But one of the judges, John Coleridge, a great-nephew of the poet, saw behind the stooped figure of John Henry Newman the shade of Armada and the ghosts of spies from Douai.

So the trial of Newman was about more than the slander of which he was accused. As a scion of Oxford himself, Coleridge, whose own wife Jane Fortescue Seymour had painted a portrait of Newman, resented that the Oxford Movement had been chipping away at the claim of the Established Church to apostolic validity and, worse, that it had become a halfway house to Rome.

Lord Campbell, who was the presiding judge, had authored the Libel Act of 1843: “If any person shall consciously publish any defamatory libel, knowing the same to be false, every such person, being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned in the common gaol or house of correction for any term not exceeding two years, and to pay such fine as the court shall award.”

Newman had been arraigned under these provisions, for in a series of lectures on “The Present Position of Catholics in England” he had attracted large audiences, many of literary and political note, in an entertaining display of unfamiliar logic and eloquence during which he had delicately exposed the indelicacies of a defrocked Dominican friar of Naples: “…a profligate under a cowl … ravening after sin.”

One court reporter described the plaintiff: “He is a plain-featured, middle-sized man, about fifty years of age, and his face is strongly Italian. His forehead is low and receding, his nose prominent, the mouth and the muscles around it full of resolution and courage. He wears a black wig, the hair of which is perfectly straight, and being close shaved, this wig gives to his appearance a certain air of the conventicle. Yet he retains many traces of the Roman Catholic priest, especially in his bearing, enunciation, and features, which have a sort of stealthy grace about them. His eyes are deep-set and lustrous, and with his black hair, dark complexion, and somber, demure aspect, leaves an impression on the mind of the observer by no means agreeable, and not readily to be forgotten.”

Gaetano Achilli, having fled the outraged fathers of various Italian maidens, justified his exploits by what he asserted was a correction of the Petrine claims, and hired himself to an English No-Popery society called the Evangelical Alliance.

The slowly emerging Catholic populace in England was inured to attacks by the crude and sophisticated alike, but it was intolerable that audiences were listening to the charmingly accented English of a Neapolitan friar who, having left a long line of defilements in his wake, including the rape of a 15-year-old girl in his church’s sacristy on Good Friday, should melodramatically describe Rome as the Whore of Babylon.
- He was forced to flee Malta, after at least eighteen sexual offenses.
- His seductiveness took other forms, to the point of flattering the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Palmerston, for his stilted Italian, which was fashionable in the age of the poetical Brownings, though inferior to the Italian of Newman’s mercurial friend Gladstone.

Cultural attitudes were stirred even more by the hysteria following the restoration of the Catholic episcopate to the United Kingdom in 1850, and Cardinal Wiseman did not help things with his florid letter celebrating the fact “From Out the Flaminian Gate.” In the mind of the Anglican Archbishop of York, Thomas Musgrave, this was “Rome’s ever wakeful ambition plotting for our captivity and ruin.”

The Achilli Trial, as it came to be known, was one of the judicial dramas of the age. It would have had prime time on today’s television. It began on June 21 in 1852 and lasted five days.

One thinks of what the sensitive personality of Newman, whose whole life was consecrated to the “Kindly Light” of truth and whose youthful and aged boast was that he had never sinned against it, endured during the trial. Yet, he was more than Stoic because he was not a pagan Greek bowing to the cruel fate, but was more luminously a son of serene truth.

On the night of his conviction for libel against Achilli, secured after a neglectful Cardinal Wiseman had mislaid corroborative letters, he wrote unperturbed to a correspondent: “I could not help being amused at poor Coleridge’s prose…. I think he wished to impress me, I trust I behaved respectfully, but he must have seen that I was as perfectly unconcerned as if I had been in my own room. I have not been the butt of slander for 20 years for nothing.”

Newman’s legal team were some of the finest barristers in the land, headed by the colorful Sir Alexander Cockburn. He would serve as Lord Chief Justice from 1875 to 1880, though Queen Victoria refused him a peerage because of his louche private life.

Newman had been subjected to the condescension of Coleridge who lamented Newman’s “deterioration” from the heights of Protestantism. In his personal diary, Coleridge wrote: “Perhaps I have been so much accustomed to hear Newman’s excellence talked of that I have received an exaggerated opinion of him. But I have a feeling that there was something almost out of place in my not merely pronouncing sentence on him, but in a way lecturing him.… Besides, in truth Newman is an over-praised man, he is made an idol of.”

Newman was found guilty by the Queen’s Bench and even The Times observed in the shocked aftermath:

“We consider … that a great blow has been given to the administration of justice in this country, and Roman Catholics will have henceforth only too good reason for asserting, that there is no justice for them in cases tending to arouse the Protestant feelings of judges and juries.”

In the annals of jurisprudence, the Achilli Trial helped to establish the bounds of the statutory defense of truth under the 1843 Libel Act.

It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Queen’s Court, and a moral victory for Newman, as he had to pay nominal fine of £100, while not having to be kept in custody. Court costs nonetheless, were nearly the equivalent of two million dollars today, and donations from home and abroad were a proclamation of universal Catholic solidarity. Newman would save letters from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, towns in the Midwest, and San Francisco. The year after the trial, Newman published his immortal “Lectures on the Idea of a University” and inscribed the volume:
"In grateful never-dying remembrance
of his many friends and benefactors,
Living and dead,
At home and abroad,
In Great Britain, Ireland, France,
In Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Malta,
In North America, and other countries,
Who, by their resolute prayers and penances,
And by their generous stubborn efforts
And by their munificent alms,
Have broken for him the stress
Of a great anxiety."

On November 26, Newman wrote reflectively to his sister Jemima: “I consider that the Judges did me a far greater injury than the Jury, for they made me incur the expense, and the long proceeding. I believe they are now much annoyed at the Verdict—but I cannot help saying that educated men and judges have more to answer for when they do wrong, than a vulgar, prejudiced jury.

It is hard to read those lines without consciousness of those many who now support the attestations of George Cardinal Pell as he stands in the vortex of a cultural tempest malignant in motive and design, preparing to appeal his conviction and sentence of six years in custody, handed down on March 13.

Theirs is the assurance from the apostolic fathers familiar with indictments and assaults, that those who endure will by their humiliations produce an abundant harvest.

Anti-Catholic hysteria, not unlike that which preceded Newman’s trial, animated charges against Cardinal Pell, indicting him for alleged profane acts witnessed by no one, and which would have seemed impossible under the circumstances.

Etymologists have traced the term “kangaroo court” to makeshift jurisprudence in the United States at the hands of an Australian immigrant at the time of the 1849 gold rush, but Australia is the homeland of the marsupial.

Cardinal Pell stood against politically correct policies such as contraception, abortion, the Gnostic revision of sexuality, and attempts to teach anthropogenic climate change theories as dogma. These are not welcome opinions in the courts of secular correctness. He also began with unprecedented vigor, not typical in Rome, the task of cleaning the Augean stable of Vatican finances.

The situation now is different from 1852 because George Pell was accused, and back then John Henry Newman was at first the accuser. But both subjects have claim to impeccable integrity, as victims of justice miscarried.

In the nineteenth century, Gaetano Achilli fled with his ruined reputation to the United States, having abandoned an acknowledged wife and son, and threatening suicide after some time in a utopian “free love” community in Oneida, New York. His grave has no mark for his end is unknown; This year, by divine grace and mortal assent, Newman will be raised to the altars.

From a higher bar of consummate justice, Newman has the last word:

What is good, endures; what is evil, comes to naught. As time goes on, the memory will simply pass away from me of whatever has been done in the course of these proceedings, in hostility to me or in insult, whether on the part of those who invoked, or those who administered the law; but the intimate sense will never fade away, will possess me more and more, of the true and tender Providence which has always watched over me for good, and of the power of that religion which is not degenerate from its ancient glory, of zeal or God, and of compassion towards the oppressed.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/14/2019 3:37 PM]
3/14/2019 6:48 PM
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San Francisco's Church of the Assumption, a typical contemporary 'worship space'.

Of 'worship spaces' and
other post-Vatican-II newspeak

by Fr. John A. Perricone

March 14, 2019

Euphemisms are de rigeur for revolutionaries.
- Communist states call themselves “people’s republics.”
- When they instigate conflicts, they are “wars of liberation.”
- Abortionists call their abattoirs “pregnancy centers,” and their executions, “terminations.”
- Most currently, surgeons call sexual mutilation, “gender reassignment.”
All of this a clever strategy to stave off natural human revulsion so that after a sufficient passage of time the moral sense is deadened. And it works.

George Orwell dramatized it in his dystopian novel 1984 when he minted the word “newspeak” to name the manipulative devices of the Ubiquitous State, and that very brutalizing State itself by the anodyne “big brother.” Orwell was only dramatizing a parlous trend in Western culture plying junk sentimentality masquerading as Progress. It served to clog human language, prompting Graham Greene to quip: “When I hear about the brotherhood of man, I think of Cain and Abel.” [One should send this to Casa Santa Marta, so it can be plastered across PF's door.]

A deeper intellectual rot goes beyond euphemism to neologisms. Such novel constructions are yanked from the ether of a dreamy Gnostic redesign. These odd sounding constructions are the bricks of a kind of Magic Kingdom far removed from the world of ordinary men. It is Gnostic because it leaps from the inventive imaginations of intellectuals frustrated by the humdrum landscape of reality.

T.S. Eliot wrote well in Burnt Norton: “Human kind/cannot bear very much reality.” The twentieth century boasted of many intellectual tribes who excelled in the manufacture of neologisms, not least in the Catholic Church. Hers were called the New Theologians (of the Nouvelle Theologie).

[Fr Perricone hereby indiscriminately and wrongly vilifies all who followed the Nouvelle Theologie, whose most prominent proponents in our time were Henri de Lubac, Yves Congar, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Louis Bouyer, Jean Daniélou, and yes, even Joseph Ratzinger, just to mention the anti-'spirit of Vatican II' theological consultants to that council (along with Hans Urs von Balthasar, who was not in Vatican-II), and their progressivist colleagues Karl Rahner, Hans Küng, and Edward Schillebeeckx, from whom they broke off after the Council to become respectively the Communio and Concilio theologians (after the theological journals that they published).

The Nouvelle Theologie that Joseph Ratzinger adhered to was the theology that arose to counteract neo-Scholasticism which had dominated Catholic theology since the late 19th century and which advocated a return to the sources of Christian faith, i.e, Scripture and Patristic thought. They preferred to call their movement by the French word ressourcement, to describe their methodology which was a counterbalance to the prevailing aggiornamento (updating) mentality at Vatican-II.

This meant a new emphasis on Biblical exegesis in accordance with the Church Fathers (from Ignatius of Antioch in the Apostolic era to John of Damascus in 747, passing through Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Basil and the Cappadocian Fathers, Jerome, Augustine and Vincent of Lerins), and the admirable and ongoing enterprise of compiling Patristic thought in Sources Chretiennes, which has published 600 texts so far, offering the original Latin or Greek texts alongside their French translation (there is now a German edition) to make the writings of the Church Fathers accessible to modern theologians.

As Joseph Ratzinger practised it, 'theology must take place in a context of prayer and charity, and be closely linked to the liturgy', according to a study placing him among the second generation of ressourcement theologians...

From all the above, it is clear that Fr. Perricone's blanket attribution in this article of post-Vatican II liturgical changes to 'Nouvelle Theologie' in general is wrong, and a great injustice. Most of those responsible for the worst post-Vatican-II liturgical abuses probably never even heard of Nouvelle Theologie.]

Spawned in the ferment of early twentieth-century Modernism, they devotedly went about the business of refashioning the Catholic Church. Once they finished their labors of “re-imagining” the doctrinal pillars of Catholicism, they turned their attention to the principal engine used to propagate the Church’s dogmatic teaching: The Sacred Liturgy.

These Imaginers of New Things left no stone unturned. One ironclad rule controlled their thinking: all that existed before 1970 must be held in the highest suspicion. In that regard, they were absolutists of the highest order. To these theological pioneers the Sacred Liturgy was to be their private tabula rasa. Untethered from ancient liturgical tradition, their creativity knew no limits.

For each jarring novelty, an even more jarring neologism appeared. One of them was the idiosyncratic “worship space”. It suggested a protean world of insertions and subtractions wide enough to accommodate the most fanciful ideas of man and God. It was sufficiently ambiguous, amorphous, and malleable, like a soft clay, into which a New Theologian could knead any theological whim.

Simple Catholics treated such open ended argot like nails scratching on a blackboard — or should have. All of it poured out from that bottomless cornucopia: “the spirit of Vatican II.” As G.K. Chesterton warned: “Beware of those who speak of the ‘spirit of Christianity’; they mean the ‘ghost of Christianity.’” Apply the same logic to those who utilize the capacious “spirit of Vatican II”; it means in translation: “be anything you want to be.” In other words, Gnosticism.

Theologians anchored in the normative tradition of the Church speak of “sanctuary,” “nave,” “clerestory,” “narthex,” transept,” and “altar.” Unmoored from this criterion, whimsical interpretations such as “worship space” suddenly materialize. Under this unforgiving regime, Catholics have suffered architectural and artistic anomalies that strain credulity.

Without wasting a moment, the New Theologians rolled out edict after edict, all treated as solemnly as the Nicene Creed. One of their diktats: every church in Christendom required retooling. Never has such a fashionable lie taken such firm hold of the global population of Roman Catholics.

Truth be told, there has never existed a duty to renovate any Church. Similarly, no mandate has ever been issued by the Holy See commanding the appalling designs of not a few newly constructed Churches. Just as the Supreme Court discovered a right to privacy in the Constitution and called it a penumbra, a shadow, so The New Theological Knowledge class did the same.

To them, the penumbrae were the parts of text that might remotely suggest a meaning compatible with a highly specific (usually anti-traditional) agenda. No one can divine these penumbrae except the elite group that display the proper academic credentials.

Philosophers call this “privileged meaning.” Sound strange? It is. Stranger still are the vast numbers of people who eagerly swallowed this fantasy whole. Since these liturgists obsessively invoke the Second Vatican Council, intelligent Catholics should know what that 1962-1965 ecumenical council taught.

Vatican II devoted exactly eight paragraphs to the topic of Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings (Sacrosanctum Concilium, December 4, 1963 # 122-130). From the universal sacking of churches accomplished in its name, it might be assumed that it was volumes.

Under the umbrella of “worship space,” they stretched terms used by the Church beyond comprehension. Take “simplicity,” for instance. Of all the terms that have served the liturgists best, “simplicity” holds pride of place.
- They splashed thousands of gallons of white paint over sacred images and precious ornamentation under the banner of “simplicity.” - Many a trash dumpster was stuffed with magnificent vestments while modernist vandals intoned ‘simplicity.’ A former age called it Iconoclasm.
- Tabernacles, ciboria, chalices and candelabra found their way into display windows of antique shops, and other odd places, for not conforming to the new sacred norm “simplicity.”

And where is the justification for this term and its scorched-earth policy? Paragraph 124 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, “Ordinaries are to take care that in encouraging and favoring truly sacred art, they should seek for noble beauty rather than sumptuous display. This same principle applies also to sacred vestments and ornaments.”

Not even the most fevered imagination could find in that paragraph a justification for “simplicity” and its trail of unrelieved chaos. “Noble beauty” is what every Church has striven after these 2,000 years. The Council changed nothing. It called for more of what former centuries have shown will elevate the faithful.

What it did caution the bishops against is precisely what has befallen our churches today: “Bishops should be careful to ensure that works of art which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety and which offend true religious sense … be removed.” How many penumbrae can survive those words?

There is a bible of liturgical penumbrae issued by the USCCB in 1978 entitled Environment and Art in Catholic Worship (its successor 2000 document, Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture and Worship). Read it and stare down the circles of liturgical hell.

Every conceivable distortion that has appeared in churches is given “theological” justification there and is chock full of Gnostic neologisms. Chancery offices quoted it as reverently and (probably) more frequently than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But they are hiding a dirty little secret—though never admitted: Environment and Art in Catholic Worship enjoys absolutely no binding force. Never underestimate the legerdemain of a liturgist. Whatever logic these Imaginers followed, it is not a logic flowing from the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church.

Catholics irked by the din of theological “newspeak” ought not feel disenfranchised. While many a Catholic has come to feel right at home with the nouveau jargon, Catholics of the Old Faith must endure in the world of Catholic reality. Boycott all such newspeak. Again, Orwell writes: “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” Let Catholics be about the task of restating obvious things. In God’s good time, the claws of the Gnostic netherworld will loosen.

Fr. John A. Perricone, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor of philosophy at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/14/2019 6:51 PM]
3/14/2019 8:16 PM
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Cardinal Danneels, second from right, joined his winning candidate on the Grand Loggia of St. Peter's on March 13,2013.

Another one of Bergoglio's Grand Electors dies:
Belgium's Cardinal Danneels, 85

by David Nussman

MECHELEN, Belgium ( - Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 85, former head of the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese in Belgium, has died.

The 85-year-old retired cardinal died Thursday morning. The current archbishop of Mechelen and Brussels, Cdl. Jozef De Kesel, announced Cdl. Danneels' passing, saying, "We continue to thank him gratefully. May he rest in God's peace."

Danneels was part of a coalition of left-leaning Church leaders known as the St. Gallen Mafia — so named after their meeting place in St. Gallen, Switzerland. [It was Danneels himself who dubbed his group a 'Mafia', in his authorized biography published in 2014.]

Although the cardinal's exact cause of death is unknown to the public, a statement from the Belgian bishops mentions, "His physical health gradually deteriorated."

Pope Francis expressed his condolences, saying in a message to Cdl. De Kesel on Thursday, "I send my deepest condolences to you and to his family, the bishops of Belgium, the clergy, the consecrated persons and all the faithful affected by this mourning.

"This zealous pastor served the Church with dedication," the Pope added.

Known as a liberal in the Church, Cdl. Danneels spoke favorably in 2013 of the legalization of gay marriage in Belgium, telling a Dutch newspaper, "I think it's a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want."

Another member of the St. Gallen Mafia, German Cdl. Karl Lehmann, died in March of last year at the age of 81.

The St. Gallen Mafia was instrumental in getting Pope Francis elected in 2013. The semi-secretive group conspired for years to get a progressive-minded prelate elected to the papacy. Although the group disbanded in 2005 when it failed to elect Jorge Bergoglio Pope, it was resurrected in 2013 after the sudden abdication of Pope Benedict.

In August 2015, papal advisor Austen Ivereigh mentioned the St. Gallen Mafia in his biography The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope. Ivereigh [who had been press officer for UK Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, ringleader of the Bergoglio organizers in the 2013 Conclave, who provided Ivereigh with much of the information about the Conclave that he used in his book] claimed the St. Gallen Mafia was instrumental in Pope Francis's election to the papacy by the College of Cardinals during the 2013 conclave.

Along with Cdl. Danneels and Cdl. Lehmann, members of the St. Gallen Mafia include Dutch Bp. Adriaan van Luyn, Cdl. Walter Kasper from Germany, Cdl. Achille Silvestrini of Italy and now-deceased British Cdl. Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (he died in 2017).

In September 2015, now-deceased Cdl. Danneels confirmed the existence of the cabal. He said in an interview on video, "'The Saint Gallen Group' is a sort of posh name. But in reality we said of ourselves, and of that group, 'The Mafia.'"

It appears the St. Gallen Group formed in the late 1990s to counter Pope St. John Paul II and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was the Polish Pope's closest aide.. The St. Gallen group [initially led by the late Cardinal Carlo Maria 'ante-Pope' Martini, chose Bergoglio as their candidate in the 2005 Conclave because Martini himself was already ailing with Parkinson's) were high-ranking Catholic clergy with radical views who were afraid that Ratzinger would become the next pope.

The secretive coalition supposedly threw its weight behind then-Cdl. Jorge Bergoglio in the 2005 conclave. They unsuccessfully opposed the election of Cdl. Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI. The St. Gallen Mafia backed Cdl. Bergoglio again at the 2013 conclave after Pope Benedict XVI resigned. Their 2013 campaign was successful, and then-Cdl. Bergoglio became Pope Francis.

This type of organized campaigning for papal election during a conclave is technically forbidden. In chapter six of the 1996 apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. John Paul II issued a series of condemnations against various forms of politicking among the cardinal-electors at conclaves.

The Supreme Pontiff warned, "The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons."

Such behavior, according to the document, merits a latae sententiae excommunication.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/15/2019 2:28 AM]
3/15/2019 12:42 PM
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The two Italian Vaticanistas whom Mons. Carlo Maria Viganò consulted on his own last year - to their surprise - about the Testimony he planned to publish on the sad record
of Theodore McCarrick which he claimed he had brought to Pope Francis's attention back in June 2013, have now both written about their involvement in this historic episode.
Aldo Maria Valli's book came out first, in October 2018, followed by Marco Tosatti's more recently. Valli, as director of Chora Books' publishing line on books about the
Vatican, writes about Tosatti's book...

’Viganò e il papa' -
That great silence which wounds the Church

Translated from

March 14, 2019

It was a strange experience for me to read Viganò e il Papa. Un testimone racconta (Vigano and the pope: A witness speaks) (Chorabooks). Because Marco Tosatti, its author, tells a story which is also mine, and I find myself mirrored in these pages.
- Tosatti, like me, was one day sought out by Mons Carlo Maria Viganò..
- He asked Tosatti, like he asked me, to read his memorandum on the McCarrick case.
- Tosatti, like me, decided to publish the document and to contribute to its disseminaton.
- And I, like Tosatti, was attacked for that decision and accused of being part of some dark machination thought up in the most reactionary circles.

Perhaps the only aspect that differentiates me from Tosatti in this case is that I was spared the accusation of having been the real author of the ex-nuncio’s testimony. But let it be.

The key question remains that which Viganò denounced in his testimony, and which Tosatti, on his blog site Stilum curiae, as I, on this site, brought to the attention of our readers: Papa Bergoglio, since 2013 shortly after his election, knew all about the misdeeds of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Yet not only did he decide not to to do anything about it, but instead, used McCarrick as a privileged adviser [and personal envoy] on international politics and the appointments of bishops and cardinals in the US Church.

In simple words, the reigning pope covered up, for five years, for the cardinal, who had sexually abused dozens of seminarians and young priests. And as we all know, the pope has not replied to the charge.

These are the facts, alongside which we must consider the reason why a faithful servant of the Holy See decided to make that public denunciation. Let us allow Viganò himself to explain it, as reported by Tosatti:

“The principal reason why I am revealing these facts today is because of the tragic situation of the Church, which can be repaired only by the whole truth about the way she has been gravely wounded by abuses and interceptions. I am doing it to protect the Church – only the truth will set her free.

The second reason is to unload my conscience before God about my responsibilities as a bishop of the universal Church. I am old and I wish to present myself to God with a clear conscience. The secrets of the Church, even so-called pontifical secrets, are not taboo. They are instruments to protect her and her children from her enemies. They should not be used for conspiracies.

The people of God have a right to know the whole truth even about their pastors. They have the right to be led by good pastors. In order for them to trust in their pastors and love them, they should be able to know them openly in transparency and truth, to know who they really are. A priest ought to be a light on a candlestick always, everywhere, and for everyone”.

In this respect, Super Ex (ex-Movement for Life, ex-Avvenire,but fortunately not ex-Catholic), a well-informed undercover contributor to Stilum curiae, has some incisive observations:

“Could Viganò, knowing all he does, tolerate that the Vatican continues to blame the abominations in the USA on some vague clericalism, to the Church in general, and on subjects who cannot be identified? No.

That is why, for love of justice and of the Church, he spoke up: those who are culpable, abusers like McCarrick, have names and surnames, and so do those who have covered up for them (from Bertone to Bergoglio). To disclose those names would mean insults, slander, but at least one bishop was needed, just one, who could, with his courage and sacrifice, wash away the disgusting abominations witnessed by the faithful. And that is what Vigano chose to do.

The true Church thanks him and will thank him even more after she has overcome this terrible and long tragedy that has been going on for over 40 years, but which has reached its peak today, in this grotesque climate where, while the whole the world is asking for an accounting of the abuses committed by a homosexual cardinal and assorted priests on seminarians and minors, an American Jesuit named James Martin, protected in the highest circles, seeks to legitimize, even doctrinally, the obscene behavior of his protectors, American or not.”

Of course, the denigratory campaign against Viganò got underway soon, and Tosatti also addresses this in his book. The technique has been tried and tested. Since Viganò’s attackers could not respond to the facts – and did not know how – they stooped to muckraking. That is why Tosatti’s book (and in its small way, my book Il caso Viganò), is also a text on the theory and technique of information/disinformation.

Tosatti shows that Viganò is not some miserable curial creature eaten away by envy and rancor for failing his career goals. That indeed, Viganò had turned down the post of Prefect of the Congregation for Economic Affairs that Benedict XVI had offered him in 2011. He turned it down because he said he wished to finish the clean-up he had begun as Secretary of the Vatican Governatorate, and he was afraid that if he left, the team he had assembled there would be liquidated. Which did in fact happen when Viganò was assigned to be Nuncio in Washington.

Many other items of new information enrich Tosatti's book. Meanwhile, there is lingering sorrow over the failure of the pope to reply – ‘a wound to his credibility as a person and as a spiritual leader, and ultimately, even to his mission”. These are not Tosatti’s words. They have been written, each in their own way, by newspapers like the New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Der Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, the Catholic Herald, and many others.

To the faithful who had awaited a response, the pope sent the message: “I will not say a word”. And when, on his return from his visit to the Baltic countries, at his customary post-visit inflight news conference, when someone asked him about Viganò, he replied: “I am told dinner is ready, and the flight is short”. Period.

It is the familiar strategy of silence. But those who may want to return to the subject can turn to Frederic Martel, the French activist for LGBT causes – who has access to high places in the Vatican – and who, in his book SODOMA, confirms that the pope was indeed informed by Mons Viganò about McCarrick’s record, but that he did not consider the information important enough and therefore went ahead and utilized McCarrick as a trusted adviser and personal diplomatic envoy for the next five years.

These are the facts. Which Tosatti evokes with precision. Not surprisingly, one would say, since Tosatti is doing his job as a journalist. But today, in this topsy-turvy world, it is exceptional that a newsman gives the news, and does not censor himself nor allow himself to be intimidated.

In this Chora Books presentation video, both Tosatti and Valli speak about the book:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/15/2019 3:10 PM]
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