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Tag Archives: Pope Francis

September 20th, 2017

Francis the ‘Dialoguing’ Dictator

As  I think I’ve said before, my favourite “conservative” as opposed to “trad” Catholic magazine is the American New Oxford Review. (By conservative I mean orthodox but with a tendency towards papal positivism. The  (formerly Anglican) NOR has always tried hard to approach the subject of   Pope Francis with an eye  (in its own words) to always giving him  benefit of the doubt, despite his “confusing statements, pontifical missteps, muddled theological writings and misguided initiatives”.

But now it has had enough. The latest issue which arrived a few days ago contains a hard-hitting editorial entitled “A Pontificate of Mercy—or a Merciless Pontificate?”  This is such an important piece that I am reproducing most of it here. It shows that it’s no longer just dyed-in-the wool traddies but mainstream Catholics who are fed up with  this cack-handed, bullying pontificate:

We respect the Petrine ministry and we respect the office, but that presupposes the man elected to that office respects the ministry too. The time has come to offer an unvarnished look at the fruits of this papacy and to suggest that we move beyond giving Francis the so-called benefit of the doubt. Frankly, doubt is no longer an issue. Four-and-a-half years of evidence shows that Francis has fomented division, preached politics over the Gospel, and conducted himself more like a South American strongman than a vicar of Christ. 

Leaving aside for now the theological hubbub and ensuing kerfuffle surrounding Francis’s controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, his accommodation and appeasement of Islam, his enigmatic comments on shared communion, his serial insults of orthodox Catholics, his equivocal statements regarding contraception ,and his wilfully vague and confusing comments to reporters at 30,000 feet, let’s simply look at the current state of the Church vis-à-vis Pope Francis and the Bergoglio Vatican. 

Longtime Francis watchers will know that, shortly after being elected, the Holy Father gave every indication that, as an outsider, he would “clean house” — ridding the Vatican of bureaucratic excesses, financial scandals, and the horrific sexual immorality among the Roman clergy, late lamented by Pope Benedict XVI. Although Francis has effected some much-needed streamlining of the Holy See’s offices, he has shown himself more intent on removing every last vestige of the St. John Paul II and Benedict eras, up to and including the Church’s commitment to life issues, defense of marriage, and support of believers who suffer persecution.

Add to that, in recent months, Pope Francis has championed Islam as a “religion of peace,” hammered Catholic Poland as a nation of xenophobes, supported the “fake” government-sponsored Catholic church in communist China, floated the idea of ordaining married priests and women deacons, and marginalized conservative prelates who question his pontifical trajectory or uncover inconvenient truths that might cast his ideological allies in an unflattering light.

Let’s look at personnel: Much has been made of the Pope’s ham-fisted treatment of Raymond Cardinal Burke, the U.S.’s premiere canon-law expert. After Burke publicly aired his “conservative” views on divorce and “remarriage” at the 2014 Synod on the Family, Francis summarily removed him as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, where he served as the highest-ranking canon lawyer in the Church, and reassigned (read: demoted) him to the obscure position of patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Earlier this year, Francis removed Burke even from this largely ceremonial post after Burke uncovered the order’s promotion of condom use in Africa. To make a long story short, Pope Francis came down on the side of the condom promoter, Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, over the whistleblower, Cardinal Burke. Not to go unnoticed: Burke was one of the four cardinals who signed the dubia asking the Pope to clarify certain passages in Amoris Laetitia, which Francis has refused to do, either publicly or privately.

There’s more: For four years running, Pope Francis has passed up awarding the red hat to either of the longtime leaders of the archdioceses of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two of the largest sees in the U.S., both of which are traditionally home to cardinals. L.A.’s José Gómez and Philly’s Charles Chaput, appointed to their posts by Pope Benedict, are widely known as faithful, orthodox prelates. Some Vatican watchers have tried to explain this away by citing Francis’s desire for a more diversified College of Cardinals and admitting that — to put it bluntly — the Holy Father doesn’t like Americans. 

That might explain why Francis has awarded cardinalates to prelates in obscure sees in far-flung parts of the world that have minuscule Catholic populations (relatively speaking), such as José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán of the diocese of David in Panama, Philippe Ouédraogo of the diocese of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso, Patrick D’Rozario of the diocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Sebastian Koto Khoarai of the diocese of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Charles Bo of the diocese of Yangon in Myanmar, to name a few. But that doesn’t explain why Francis, after appointing Blase Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and Joseph Tobin as archbishop of Newark (New Jersey), immediately raised them to the College of Cardinals. 

Francis appointed Cupich to his post in September 2014 and named him a cardinal less than two months later, one day after Cupich’s installation as Chicago’s new archbishop. Francis named Tobin a cardinal in November 2016, just 12 days after appointing him archbishop of Newark. For the record, Newark has never been home to a cardinal, perhaps because a cardinal has always lived eight miles away in Manhattan. According to The New York Times, Tobin “is considered a friend and ally of Pope Francis in a potentially important spot in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States not far from New York City, where Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan has been the face of American Catholicism in the nation’s media capital” (Jan. 6). More recently, the Times contrasted him with Dolan, noting that “Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics” (July 16). 

As for Cupich, not only is he an ardent Francis ally, the hyper-liberal National Catholic Reporter (NCR) said his appointment is symbolic of the Pope’s personal involvement in “reorienting the U.S. hierarchy after 35 years of seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” (Sept. 25, 2014). Presumably, NCR and Pope Francis would lump Gómez and Chaput in the pile of “seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” — in other words, orthodox in their views of the Church and her teachings. (By the way, it is just silly for NCR to speak of 35 years of conservative appointments, considering the extremely liberal cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Joseph Bernardin of Chicago were appointed during that time and became the two primary kingpins in recommending U.S. bishop appointments. That said, after Bernardin died and Mahony retired, the appointments did get more “conservative.”)

Make no mistake: Francis is politically astute. His modus operandi is to marginalize Benedict’s “conservative, dogmatic” picks and promote his own like-minded ideologues. Francis knows that, if nothing else, his appointees to the College of Cardinals will be hand-picking the next pope, and maybe the one after that. Those whom Francis passes over — the Chaputs and Gómezes of the Church — will be locked out of the conclave. This is the surest way for Francis to promote his legacy for decades to come. 

But Francis hasn’t stopped there. Oh no. He has extended his legacy-promoting plan by ridding the Vatican of other Benedict holdouts. In early July, Francis abruptly removed 69-year-old Gerhard Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Müller, whom Benedict appointed to the Church’s chief doctrinal post in 2012, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Pope Francis “did not give him a reason” for his dismissal, “just as he gave no reason for firing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier” (July 19). Müller also told Allgemeine Zeitung that the Pope justified his dismissal by claiming that he “no longer intends to prolong roles in the Curia beyond five years,” and that Müller was the first one to whom this practice has been applied (July 10). It is instructive to note that Müller’s dismissal came on July 2, the exact expiration date of his five-year term, and that prior to that date, it had been customary for the head of the CDF to continue in his post until he resigned or reached the age of retirement, which is 75. Why the change for Cardinal Müller? Francis won’t say, but it bears mention that Müller, serving as the Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog, has been critical of Amoris Laetitia, instead upholding the Church’s traditional teaching on Holy Communion and divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Further, he cannot have won brownie points with Francis by criticizing the Pope’s cult of personality and the accompanying “sanctimonious papolatry” he says is rampant within the Vatican. In a nutshell, it seems that Müller is too “dogmatic” for a Bergoglio Vatican. Francis prefers sycophants in his service.

Are we really supposed to believe that the Pope is going to oust every Vatican prelate at the end of his five-year term? The ever-reliable Vatican watcher Sandro Magister of Italy’s L’Espresso has noted (July 10) that Francis has kept in place other curial officials whose terms have expired. Msgr. Pio Pinto, for example, despite being 76 years old (one year past the mandatory retirement age) and at the end of his five-year term as dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, remains in his position. Pinto, charged by the Pope to revise the annulment process in the Church, is a well-known Francis supporter. And then there’s Argentine cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches, whose second five-year term has expired. He’s still there. Is he a big Francis supporter? Yep, you bet. 

The list goes on! Most notably, February 15 of this year brought the end of the second five-year term of one of the Pope’s closest collaborators, 79-year-old Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Coccopalmerio published a book earlier this year defending Amoris Laetitia and promoting unmarried, cohabiting couples receiving Holy Communion. (Cardinal Cupich wrote the foreword to the English-language edition of the book, by the way.) Of course, Coccopalmerio is still in his position, despite his age, despite his double-term expiration, and despite a bizarre drug-sex scandal involving his secretary, Luigi Capozzi. Msgr. Capozzi, a 49-year-old canonist, was arrested by Vatican police this spring after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in the former Palace of the Holy Office — a mere 500 yards away from Francis’s Santa Marta residence. Lord have mercy! Accounts by Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano, which broke the story months after the fact, reported that Capozzi, whom it described as an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” was so high on cocaine when arrested that he had to be hospitalized for detoxification (June 28). Interestingly, Capozzi’s arrest came on the verge of his appointment as a bishop — on the recommendation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who, incidentally, made news in 2014 by emphasizing, in an interview with the Italian Catholic website Rossoporpora, the “positive realities” of homosexual relationships. No, the cardinal hasn’t yet shared his thoughts on the possible “positive realities” of cocaine use.

As of this writing, Capozzi remains Coccopalmerio’s secretary. Further, in follow-up accounts of the coked-up gay orgy, a senior member of the Curia told veteran Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin that homosexual activity among the clergy in Rome has “never been worse” (National Catholic Register, July 8). According to the NOR’s boots-on-the-ground sources in Rome, the Vatican is filled with an active gay subculture that is flourishing under Pope Francis. Why? It just so happens that those who are members of this subculture are the Pope’s most ardent ideological supporters, in a certain sense “friends of Francis.” No wonder he tends to look the other way. (Il Fato Quotidiano reported that Francis knew all about Capozzi’s orgy and arrest, months before the story broke in the news, but has remained silent about it.)

Francis is also hard at work undoing the great pro-life work begun by John Paul II. This May, Francis dismantled and reconstituted the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. He dismissed those, appointed by John Paul and Benedict, who believe abortion is an intrinsic evil, in favor of new members who aren’t so sure. In at least one case, the Pope appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances. Francis began his initiative last November when he released new statutes for the academy that summarily ended the terms of 116 of its 139 members (23 of them were re-appointed). The revised statutes no longer require Francis’s new appointees to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. Among the new appointees who won’t be signing that declaration is Nigel Biggar, a professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford. Biggar has supported legal abortion up to 18 weeks and has expressed qualified support for euthanasia. And this man now represents the Vatican on life issues!

Founded by John Paul II in 1994, the academy is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research in bioethics and Catholic moral theology. It has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on medical ethics, including in-vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia, and abortion. Francis has now expanded the academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment and street violence, giving Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” concept a further watering down.

For those wondering (1) why the Pope has summarily dismissed longtime, faithful, intelligent, and effective pro-life leaders around the world, and (2) why he wants to “refocus” the efforts of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the newly appointed head of the academy provides some insight. In an interview with Cruxnow.com (July 19), Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — a close collaborator and ally of Pope Francis? but of course! — explained that the academy “now aims to be missionary in outlook…in collaboration with believers of other churches and faiths as well as non-believers.” The Pope’s new appointments include two Jews, a Muslim, an Anglican, and a number of those “non-believers.” Paglia went on to criticize the current Catholic pro-life movement, calling it ineffectual. “If I may say so,” he told Cruxnow.com, “there is a certain way of defending life that doesn’t defend it.”

And so, Francis is entrusting the pro-life mission to Archbishop Paglia, who presumes to know more about promoting the pro-life ethic (as redefined by Francis) than those dismissed from the academy, including philosopher Robert Spaemann of Germany, Maria Mercedes Arzú de Wilson of Guatemala, Christine de Marcellus Vollmer of Venezuela, Andrzej Szostek of Poland, Mieczyslaw Grzegocki of Ukraine, Jaroslav Sturma of the Czech Republic, and Etienne Kaboré of Burkina Faso, whom Sandro Magister describes as “perfectly in line with the positions of the African Church on marriage, family, and sexuality, seen at work during the last two synods” (L’Espresso, March 13). These are just some of the dismissed members, but the list illustrates how geographically diversified the former members of the academy were. What all the dismissed members have in common is that they ardently believe in the teachings of the Church on critical life issues. What many of the dismissed members have in common, according to Magister, is that “they have distinguished themselves in publicly criticizing the new moral and practical paradigms that have entered into vogue with the pontificate of Francis.” 

Have you noticed a pattern yet?

Interesting, isn’t it? Pope Francis has consistently removed those who dare to try to “dialogue” with him or who publicly criticize his initiatives, his offhand utterances, his publications, or his “moral and practical paradigms.” If you’re tempted to draw parallels between Francis’s managerial playbook and that of your run-of-the-mill 20th-century communist dictator, you wouldn’t be alone. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan made the same comparison, likening the Bergoglio Vatican to the Soviet “regime” under which he was born, where those who didn’t “follow the line of the party” weren’t allowed a voice (LifeSiteNews.com, Dec. 6, 2016).

Certainly, in any institution, a case can be made for removing those in positions of authority who seek to undermine that institution through public words and actions. But it is important to note that, by and large, those who are being “silenced” in the Church of Francis are those who have consistently upheld and defended what the Church has always taught, not those liberal Catholics who have made a career of undermining those teachings in a very public manner.

One last point about personnel, and this one is arguably the most troubling of Pope Francis’s pontifical trajectories. One would think that, given the Pope’s penchant for naming cardinals throughout the world — even in traditionally non-Christian countries — he would readily accept the advice of Joseph Cardinal Zen when it comes to the Church in China. Zen was China’s first cardinal and a key adviser to Pope Benedict regarding China-Vatican détente. But now it seems that Francis is ignoring the longtime advocate of religious liberty in communist China. Back in 2014 Cardinal Zen warned Francis not to visit China, cautioning that he would be manipulated by the government, which controls the “officially recognized” church on the mainland and persecutes the Chinese Catholics who make up the Vatican-aligned “underground” Church. The government-sanctioned church includes illegitimate bishops, three of whom have been excommunicated by the real Church. Nevertheless, Pope Francis disregarded Cardinal Zen’s warning. In an interview with Spanish daily El País, the Pope stated in a very dramatic manner that he would like to go to China, and that he awaits his invitation. “In China, the churches are packed,” he said. “In China they can worship freely” (Jan. 24). 

Cardinal Zen knows there’s no truth to the Pope’s statement. The Catholic Church in China — the real Church — remains small and persecuted. In 2016 alone, five “underground” bishops from mainland China who had served time in prison or labor camps died either in prison or from health complications arising from their confinement. In 2016 the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom recommended that China be designated a “country of particular concern,” meaning it is one of the world’s worst violators when it comes to respecting the right to religious liberty. Are we to believe that Francis, the alleged Pope of the peripheries, is unaware of the realities in China, given the advice from Cardinal Zen and the widely available reports issued by international agencies?

In response to the Pope’s inaccuracies, Cardinal Zen said he feared that the Vatican, in its desperation to make a deal with China, would sell out the long-persecuted underground Church, the only legitimate Catholic presence in the communist country. The situation regarding religious liberty in China, Zen has said, is worse today than ever.

And now Pope Francis’s Vatican has indeed made an agreement with the Chinese government. Although Benedict stated that China has no legitimate Catholic bishops’ conference, the Holy See under Francis has given the initiative of choosing bishops to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. This agreement amounts to giving an atheistic government the power to choose bishops for its state-sponsored church. 

Cardinal Zen has repeated Benedict’s insistence that no legitimate bishops’ conference exists in mainland China. “The whole thing is fake,” he explained in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana (July 14). “I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops’ conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey.” Francis’s Vatican, continued Zen, is “too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.” 

Clearly, Francis has his own ideas, regardless of what Pope Benedict might have said and despite Cardinal Zen’s warnings and the reports of violations of human rights and religious liberty from the international community. Pope Francis will plow determinedly ahead, with his sycophants at his side, just as he has done vis-à-vis his detractors in the hierarchy, even while preaching mercy, mercy, mercy and dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. But where exactly is the mercy for those with whom he disagrees? Where is the dialogue?

To recap: Pope Francis is making deals with the state-sponsored church in communist China, diluting the Church’s pro-life ministry, sidelining his critics in the hierarchy, and looking the other way when it comes to homosexual activity that takes place right under his nose (when those involved happen to be his ardent supporters). He has consistently demonstrated that he rejects orthodox Catholicism, a Catholicism that recognizes and respects the legitimate structures and devotional life of the Church — e.g., the parish, the priesthood, religious life, the liturgy properly celebrated, traditional devotions and devotionals, a faith life built on prayer, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and so on. 

A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper and often considered a “mouthpiece” of the papacy, illustrates well Francis’s attitude. The article, penned by Giulio Cirignano, an Italian Scripture scholar, asserts that the “main obstacle” to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is “closure, if not hostility” from bishops and priests. Fr. Cirignano believes that the laity understands and supports Francis’s vision, but those pesky bishops and priests keep getting in the way. Fr. Cirignano charges that “seriously conservative” and “dogmatic” clergymen are unfit for a 21st-century Church. He says, for example, that they hold to an “antiquated image of the priesthood,” one that sees the priest as the “boss” or a “sort of solitary protagonist”; that they are relatively uneducated, their “theological and Biblical preparation is often scarce”; and — wait for it — these “seriously conservative” priests and bishops subscribe to a kind of counterreformation theology that is “lacking the resources of the Word,” is “without a soul,” and has “transformed the impassioned and mysterious adventure of believing into religion,” resulting in a “limpid faith.” Yow!

It’s actually reassuring, assuming Fr. Cirignano is correct, to know that bishops and priests present the greatest obstacle to the implementation of Pope Francis’s program. Further, Fr. Cirignano has unwittingly revealed that the Pope just might be the one who considers himself a “sort of solitary protagonist,” that he is unwilling or unable to be collaborative, to listen to other authentic voices in the Catholic Church.

But we’ll give Francis this: His perseverance in reversing so many of the great strides made during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI is impressive. For Francis, his pontificate has become about his geopolitical agenda, his scattershot efforts at “reform,” the installation of his comrades in high places, and the exercise of his own personal power. The aim of his pontificate seems to be to remake the Church in the idiosyncrasies of Jesuit-trained Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, son of an Italian communist. As Cardinal Zen said, “Now things are going down, down.” Perhaps that’s exactly Pope Francis’s intent. The question is: How much further will things descend?

 

August 10th, 2017

Is the Vatican a Giant Bath-house?

There can now be little doubt that the Vatican, up to the highest level,  is infested with sodomites.

When Pope Benedict XVI spoke of “so much filth”, this was surely what he meant.  How the faggot fraternity managed to infiltrate themselves into positions of authority is a mystery, but they must have been a powerful force there for a very long time, possibly even before Vatican II.  I wouldn’t go quite so far as American blogger Ann Barnhardt, who described the Vatican as a giant bath-house, where “they’re all sodomites”. But unnatural vice does appear to be endemic there.

The latest scandal involves Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, an expert in canon law, who organised a cocaine-fuelled homosexual orgy in a building next to St Peter’s basilica. His boss, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio,  had earlier recommended that Capozzi be made a bishop.

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                            Mgr.  Capozzi (left),  Cardinal Coccopalmerio (centre) and Pope Francis

Then there is Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, whom  Pope Francis recently appointed to head up the Pontifical Academy for Life. Some years ago  Archbishop Paglia paid a homosexual artist to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his Cathedral of Terni-Narni-Amelia  . The mural includes an image of the archbishop himself. I’m not reproducing the mural here, but you can find it on LifesiteNews.Com if you really want to see it.

It’s not just in the Vatican that homosexuality is rife. This cri de coeur, obviously by a disgusted curate in Britain or possibly the US,  is from the combox of Fr Ray Blake, who had written a post deploring the way the BBC never misses an opportunity of  extolling “the gay lifestyle”:

Fr Ray , if you were an orthodox Catholic priest assigned to a “Gay Friendly” parish, you would find yourself feeling bullied not only day after day, but night after night. You would notice that the Rainbow on the Parish Welcome Board was bigger than the Cross. You would be expected to celebrate Mass with Rainbow Vestments. Your gay-friendly Parish Priest would label you a prehistoric monster and advise you that the kind of “dialogue” you wanted to enable on issues of sexual morality was non PC…The only kind of dialogue required was one which accentuated the positive aspects of homosexual lifestyle. Such is the state of the Church today. The “Catholics for Gay Lifestyle” clergy juggernaut has now come out. And intends to broke no opposition. It is no coincidence that Cardinals,  Bishops and Priests who are now openly promoting homosexual lifestyle are also the ones who are ok with divorce for Catholics. Co-habiting likewise receives their blessing. No word of authority from Pope Francis to correct the errant and strengthen the brethren in the true faith. Am I to believe then that these Cardinals Bishops and Priests who promote gay lifestyle are clerics in good standing?

 

 

 

 

June 17th, 2017

Papal Purge of Pro-Lifers

In a week when Italian history professor Roberto de Mattei has predicted that  Pope Francis is to “revisit” Pope Paul’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Holy Father  has purged the  Pontifical Academy of Life of dozens of  members renowned for their fidelity to Catholic teaching. These include Australian professor John Finnis who had criticised the Pope’s encyclical Amoris Laetitia,  German philosopher Robert Spaemann—a longtime friend of Pope Benedict XVI—Englishman Dr Luke Gormally  who had asked the Pope to remove a problematical section on contraception from the preparatory document for the Synod on the Family,  and three eastern Europeans who were influenced greatly by John Paul II.

[Back in the 1990s Drs Finnis and Gormally spoke at a meeting in Maynooth and criticised in vitro fertilisation. My wife  Stramentaria covered this rather dodgy conference for the old Ballintrillick Review, and editor Doris Manly headlined her article  “Take-Away Babies with Maynooth Sauce”.]

The Pope’s 17 new appointments to the Academy include Nigel Biggar, an Anglican professor of moral and pastoral theology who has expressed support for legalised abortion up to 18 weeks, and qualified support for euthanasia; and  Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, an Italian moral theologian and professor who has openly criticized Catholic teaching on life issues, including Humanae Vitae

Last November the Holy Father  released new statutes for the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which members are no longer required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. He also expanded the Academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment.

According to Professor de Mattei a commission has been nominated by Pope Francis to “reinterpret” Humanae Vitae in the light of his own encyclical Amoris Laetitia . Next year will see the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception. The Commission has been ordered to procure from the Vatican archives the documentation on the preparatory work on the encyclical, lasting  three years.  In 1966 the “experts” delivered their conclusions to Pope Paul VI, and suggested  opening the doors to birth control. After two years of wavering, the Pope followed the perennial teaching of the Church and rejected the idea in Humanae Vitae. As the philosopher Romano Amerio said, it was the most important act of his pontificate.

The Commission is to be co-ordinated by Mgr Gilfredo Marengo, who has made it clear in his writings that he supports the view of Pope Francis that  one should “abandon models of of life derived from too abstract and artificially constructed theological ideals”.  Professor de Mattei believes this indicates that praxis rather than doctrine will be followed in this “reinterpretation” of Humanae Vitae. And he wonders whether any Catholic theologian will have the courage to declare “heresy” when faced with this reinterpretation.

 

 

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May 22nd, 2017

Trump and Bergoglio: Birds of a Feather

More about how much Pope Francis and Donald Trump have in common.

A reader who prefers to remain anonymous (and has sound reasons for this) has drawn my attention to further clear similarities between the two world leaders…

Neither Trump nor Bergoglio are readers of serious books on theology or politics/economics. In fact, both hold academics in low esteem and aren’t bothered by their ignorance or verbal errors that follow.

Both tend to take disagreement personally and to slag off opponents, often with crude and unjust insults, never publicly used by previous office holders.

Both men tend to act as dictators, riding roughshod over laws and established custom when they think they are in a winning position.

Both are outsiders who have made little effort to adapt themselves to the demands of the office, thereby giving their staff the unending task of putting some kind of consistency to their sometimes contradictory remarks.

May 20th, 2017

A Trump-Bergoglio Love-In?

That very insightful blog “Ignatius His Conclave” notes that there has been much speculation about the forthcoming meeting between Pope Francis and President Donald Trump.

Liberals have been portraying Trump and Francis as opposites in some Manichaean struggle. Francis is seen as the Anti-Trump whose wisdom, mercy and compassion contrast with the bluster and belligerence of the President. Francis is the bridge-builder; Trump the unchristian builder of walls.

Most of this is nonsense.

Far from being a cataclysmic confrontation, the meeting is likely to be a huge success. The two men will discover how much they have in common.

Both are shameless populists; both are foolishly garrulous; and both prefer to govern by diktat rather than consensus. Both are pursuing a reformist agenda with little time to spare. Both have a declared aim to “drain the swamp”; and both are faced with an apparently immoveable bureaucracy.

With so much in common, the things upon which they disagree – like capitalism and Islam – can easily be set aside in the ensuing love-fest.

February 7th, 2017

Where’s Your Mercy, Holy Father?

Image result for Francis anonymous posters

This poster has appeared in lots of places all over Rome. It says , in Roman working-class patois: “Hey, Frankie, you’ve  policed congregations, removed priests, beheaded the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate,  ignored Cardinals … but where is your mercy?” Progressive bloggers say the posters are the work of “conservatives”; Cardinal Ouellet,  (usually regarded as a “conservative”) says they are the work of the devil and show that the pope is doing right. The city authorities are pasting them  over with notices saying the posters are “illegal”.

I met a young man after Mass on Sunday who told me that the atmosphere in Rome is such that supporters of one traditional priestly society are wondering whether, like the Israelites of old, they should  smear blood on the lintels of their doors, so that the angel of death—or in this case Mercy—will pass them by. When this priestly society organised a pilgrimage to Rome last year, they were given the smallest possible church the authorities could find. But this turned out very well for them because the church was crammed with Trads; and this was duly noted by the media. If they’d been allowed the use of some vast basilica, the attendance would have looked rather sparse, and any publicity would have far less favourable.

Interestingly, criticism of this pontificate has now spread far beyond Trad organs like The Remnant.  The broadly conservative New Oxford Review goes so far as to describe Pope Francis’s style of Church governance as vindictive, and says some observers are comparing the mood in and around Rome to that of post-revolutionary Bolshevik Russia.    The NOR has become quite militant in its alliterative reaction to our beloved Holy Father’s refusal to clear up the ambiguity and confusion over Amoris Laetitia.  Requests  for clarity, it says, have been met with “rage, reprimands, and threats of repression. Welcome to Francis’s Vatican, where fury, fear and fractionalisation rule the day.”

I think you’ll agree that this is pretty strong stuff.

 

 

 

January 19th, 2017

O Worship the Pope!

If you haven’t yet chosen the blog Eccles Is Saved as one of your favourites, as I have suggested you should, you will have missed this post. Warning: depending on your temperament, the video may induce intense anger, a strong desire to vomit, or a fit of howling maniacal laughter.

We strongly recommend this video by Emily Clarke, which has been produced in honour of Pope Francis, due to visit Ireland next year in order to see whether there are any Catholics remaining there. It shows the best of modern Catholicism, pushing aside Jesus Christ in favour of an unqualified adoration of the Holy Father. According to the lyrics, “The Lord kept his promise to us and sent us a treasure to see us safely home.” This treasure being, er, the pope.

Papa Francis 1

Shine, Francis, Shine!

Of course the pope, being a humble and modest man, has angrily written to sister Emily to tell her to delete her video, which anyone but the most arrogant of people would find rather embarrassing. Luckily we still have some screen captures to see us safely home.

Papa Francis 2

A quick change of dress mid-song, and we pose in front of the Tabernacle.

Actually, dear Emily may not have changed her dress in the middle of the song; it may be a trick of the light, like that ambiguous dress which, according to the Daily Mail, has “baffled the Internet” because nobody is sure what colour it really is. And nobody really cares.

Papa Francis 3

The first ascent of the north face without ropes. And another change of dress.

According to the song, the pope was chosen by God, as a leader for our times. Well, it was either God or the St Gallen Mafia, and we still haven’t sorted out all the contradictions in the apostolic exhortation Austenis Iveria. But let’s be charitable and suppose that the Holy Spirit spoke through Cormac Murphy-O’Connor when Francis was chosen.

Papa Francis 4

Very dignified. Very tasteful. Oh, and the dress – what there is of it – is red.

Well, thank you very much, Emily. We’ll let you know.

For those whose collection of Pope St Francis memorabilia is still not complete, we have another exhibit.

Santo sùbito! A miraculous medal.

Well, that’s enough papalistic adoration for now. In fact, the medal I was given says “Insult us” on the back, and that does seem to be a more likely prospect.

However, we can report that the crisis involving the Knights of Malta seems to have been resolved. You will recall that it had reached an impasse, with the conversation reduced to “You have no authority to judge us.” “Oh, yes we have!” “Oh no, you haven’t!” etc. Finally, following my personal intervention, we have a solution.

pope squares up to Fra' Matthew Festing

Pope Francis and Fra’ Matthew Festing decide to settle things by sumo wrestling.

January 14th, 2017

From Foot-Washing to Coprophagia

The website LifeSite News has done us all a great favour by cataloguing the main eyebrow-raisers perpetrated by the Holy Father during 2016. I’m reproducing them here. You should be able to access most of the sources by clicking on each item.

January 18, 2016

Pope: Catholics who say “it’s always been done that way” have a “closed heart,” “will never reach the full truth,” and are “closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.”

January 21, 2016

Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual to include women. Christ washed the feet of his all-male apostles at the Last Supper.

February 8, 2016

Pope calls Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’In an interview with Corriere Della Sera Pope Francis praised Italy’s unrepentant leading abortionist and proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures such as Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman.

February 18, 2016

Pope Francis’ uncorrected remarks on contraception interpreted worldwide as a shift in Church teachingOn his return flight from Mexico Pope Francis was asked about “avoiding pregnancy” in areas at risk of Zika virus transmission. “Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape,” he said.  After reiterating that abortion is never morally justified, he said, “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

Vatican confirms that Pope Francis was approving use of contraceptives and condoms in grave cases. (However, to do so would contradict the clear teaching of previous popes.)

March 2, 2016

Pope changes Vatican protocol to allow for Catholic Heads of State in irregular marital unions to be able to meet the Pope along with their partner.

April 8, 2016

Pope issues apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, creating an ongoing storm in the Church.

April 14, 2016

Pope Francis warns against those who resist the Spirit with “so-called fidelity to the law.”

April 16, 2016

Pope visits migrants on Greek island of Lesbos, then takes 3 Muslim families back to the Vatican, but no Christian families.

April 29, 2016

Pro-abortion U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Vatican event on adult stem cells.

May 3, 2016

Archbishop close to Pope says Pope wanted to conceal his support for communion for remarried divorceesArchbishop Bruno Forte, the Special Secretary for the synods on marriage and family, claims publicly that Pope Francis said, “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly, do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusions.”

May 12, 2016

Pope says the Church should study ordaining women as deacons.

May 16, 2016

Pope Francis compares radical Islam to Catholic evangelization: “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

May 29, 2016

Pope Francis gives award to Hollywood pro-abortion, anti-marriage advocates Richard Gere, George Clooney, and Salma Hayek.

June 2, 2016

Pope laments too much focus on Christ’s words to adulterous woman “go and sin no more”: “Sometimes I feel a little saddened and annoyed when people go straight to the last words Jesus speaks to her: ‘Go and sin no more’. They use these words to ‘defend’ Jesus from bypassing the law.”

June 9, 2016

Pope Francis: “Rigid… this or nothing” Catholics are “heretical” and “not Catholic.”

June 17, 2016

Pope Francis: Cohabitations are “real marriage” and “have the grace of real marriage.”

June 21, 2016

Pope Francis says there’s an absolute ban on the death penalty: “The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty…. One sign of hope is that public opinion is manifesting a growing opposition to the death penalty, even as a means of legitimate social defence… It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan.”

Pope says all of Amoris Laetitia is sound doctrine: “For your own peace of mind, I have to tell you that everything that is written in the exhortation [Amoris Laetitia] – and here I refer to the words of a great theologian who once was a secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Schönborn, who presented it [Amoris Laetitia] – everything is Thomistic, from the beginning to the end. It is sound doctrine.”

June 26, 2016

Pope Francis misrepresents the Catechism on homosexualityOn the return flight from his visit to Armenia, Pope Francis said Catholics should apologize to gays. “I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally,” said the Pope. “The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well…this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism,” the Pope added. The Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality is given in three paragraphs comprising just over 220 words. The Pope’s response references only 20 words from the middle of the second paragraph, ignoring the numerous passages warning against the harmful sexual behaviour.

July 7, 2016

Pope Francis named Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich to serve as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

Pope Francis distances himself from ‘very conservative’ bishops.

July 18, 2016

Vatican issues quick dismissal of Cardinal Sarah’s call for Mass facing East.

July 26, 2016

Pope: Martin Luther’s intentions were not mistaken, he was a reformer.

July 27, 2016

At World Youth Day, Vatican releases teen sex-ed program that leaves out parents and mortal sin and includes sexually explicit photos and films.

August 2, 2016

Pope’s deaconess commission includes women’s priesthood supporter.

August 23, 2016

Leaked e-mails show George Soros paid leftist groups to influence Pope’s USA visit. The e-mails name key papal adviser Cardinal Maradiaga as a potential contact.

September 1, 2016

Pope Francis: Go to confession for not recycling, repent of excess plastic and paper, ecological conversion and new works of mercy.

September 9, 2016

Pope: There’s “no other interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia than allowing communion for divorced/remarried in some cases.

Pope Francis: “Division is the weapon the devil employs most to destroy the Church from within.”

September 29, 2016

Report reveals that some of the 45 signatories are feeling the heat over their letter urging clarification of ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

October 1, 2016

Pope Francis says it is a “very grave sin” to try to convert the Orthodox: “There is a very grave sin against ecumenism: proselytism.”

October 2, 2016

Pope Francis calls woman with sex-change operation a “man” and calls partners “married”.

October 6, 2016

Pope: True doctrine is not a rigid attachment to the Law, which bewitches as ideologies do.

October 9, 2016

Pope to replace Cardinal Sarah for speech at John Paul II Institute’s inauguration, and the Cardinal is not permitted to speak at another event.

In “seismic shift” Pope appoints very liberal Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich and 2 more U.S. progressives among 17 new cardinals. He also appoints the liberal Belgian Jozef de Kesel as cardinal.

October 13, 2016

Pope receives a statue of Luther in the Vatican and gives a new definition of “lukewarm.” Pope Francis told pilgrims to the Vatican “it is not licit” to “convince [non-Christians] of your faith.” “You must give testimony of your Christian life; it will be your testimony that will stir the hearts of those who look at you,” he added. And he concluded: “It will be the Holy Spirit that moves the heart with your testimony – that is way you ask – and regarding that you can tell the ‘why,’ with much thoughtfulness. But without wanting to convince.”

In that meeting, the pope also offered a novel definition of “lukewarm,” which according to Pope Francis is when Christians “are keen to defend Christianity in the West on the one hand but on the other are averse to refugees and other religions.”

October 24, 2016

Pope Francis said ‘…beneath rigidity there is something hidden about a person’s life. Rigidity is not a gift of God.

October 28, 2016

Pope Francis again elevates Church progressives in a complete overhaul of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship.

November 1, 2016

Pope proposes ‘new beatitudes for a new age’.

November 8, 2016

Pope Francis again welcomes visit from Italy’s leading abortion advocate.

November 10, 2016

Pope: Pontifical Academy for Life members no longer required to sign pro-life declaration.

November 11, 2016

Pope Francis on the young who like Latin Mass: ‘Why so much rigidity?’ Pope Francis said he wonders why some young people, who were not raised with the old Latin Mass, nevertheless prefer it. “And I ask myself: Why so much rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something, insecurity or even something else. Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”

In an interview Pope Francis said, “What we want is a battle against inequality, this is the greatest evil that exists in the world.

Eugenio Scalfari reports Pope Francis’ response to a question, “It is the Communists Who Think Like Christians“. The Vatican, as usual, does not issue any clarification.

November 18, 2016

In wake of 4 Cardinals letter, Pope Francis rebukes ‘legalism’ of Amoris Laetitia critics.

Vatican expert: Sources say Pope Francis ‘boiling with rage’ over Amoris criticism.

November 27, 2016

Pope publicly uses the scatalogical terms coprophagia and coprophilia.

December 21, 2016

Pope launches an investigation of the Knights of Malta after they fired top official over condom scandal.

In his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis says that ‘malicious resistance’ to his reforms that ‘takes refuge in traditions’ is from the devil.

December 29th, 2016

Pope Frankenstein and the Brandsma Review

It was a pleasant surprise to receive Issue 141 of the Brandsma Review a day or two before Christmas. With a gap of over a year  since Issue 140, I presumed the magazine had already come to  an end, without so much as  T.S. Eliot’s proverbial whimper. Not so.

However, editor Peadar Laighléis warns that in the not-too-distant future he will be giving up the print edition of the BR.  This I think is an immense pity, as it’s the only proper traditional/orthodox conservative Catholic publication in Ireland, apart from some devotional magazines. With an increased  workload as a civil servant in taxation, he has struggled manfully to keep the BR  going, but I have to say that he seems to have ignored much of the advice I gave him when I handed over the editorship some years ago. I told him then that if he didn’t make a priority of bringing the magazine out in time, or nearly in time, his readership base would disappear. I also advised him to be sure to notify readers when their subscriptions were due. These are the only ways to prevent a fatal haemorrhaging of subscribers.

There are several problems with confining oneself to an electronic publication. The most serious is that there are still many people who don’t have access to the internet—and why should they? Peadar is offering to investigate the possibility of printing individual copies for such readers, but I doubt if he will have more than a handful of takers. An electronic magazine amounts to little more than a lengthy blog post.

The layout in the latest issue has improved, but is still pretty dire. There are several excellent articles: perhaps the most notable are by Joe McCarroll and Fr Brendan Purcell. The former’s piece is a review of the latter’s book Where Is God in Suffering? which impressed me so much that I am going to order it. Fr Brendan’s article is on the murder by Moslems of Fr Jacques Hamel.

Peadar’s German correspondent Monika Barget, a convert from Lutheranism, has a strong attack on the country’s new right wing party Alternative für Deutschland which has crossed swords with the country’s Catholic hierarchy. While I hold  no particular brief for this party, it seems a bit over the top to mention Bismarck in the same breath as the  AfD, and when she reminds people that Adolf Hitler started with  similarly low ballot results, warning all German Christians to be on their guard, she just loses me entirely.  That’s scaremongering. And it’s not as if the corrupt, heterodox and grotesquely wealthy state-funded German Catholic Church had anything to boast about these days.

Peadar covers the 1916 anniversary commemoration in a very well balanced manner. He himself  broadly approves of  the Rising, and deplores the way secularists have appropriated the executed leaders to their own cause, when in fact many of these leaders were motivated by their Catholic faith. Hibernicus, on the other hand, points out that while 1916 cannot be retrospectively abolished, it may be reassessed. He is certainly right to remind readers that the Rising violated the traditional Catholic requirements for a just war or rebellion,  was the work of a self-proclaimed messianic group, and has caused periodic mayhem ever since.

Unfortunately Peadar has still failed to tackle the problem now facing every orthodox Catholic. I refer of course to Pope Frankenstein the Merciful. (That’s not original; I stole it from an anonymous priest-correspondent of Ann Barnhardt’s.)  Mel Cormican has an article praising the Holy Father’s “covert critique of Islam”, which contains some good points about the evils contained in the Koran. But really: what is the point of the pope’s “pulling the rug” from under Islam, as Mr Cormican puts it, if very few people—and certainly not the Moslems—are aware that this is what Pope Francis is doing? There is already a hideous persecution of Christians in countries where the crescent holds sway. Plain unequivocal speaking in relation to Islam would hardly make this much worse.

I am strongly of the opinion that if Mr Laighléis were to grasp the nettle firmly and question some of the Pope’s unorthodoxies—such as his promotion of Holy Communion for unrepentant adulterers—his circulation would not suffer at all. Peadar’s hope is that the BR, in whatever form it takes, will be a beacon in the darkness. It goes against the grain to criticise a reigning pontiff, but in the appallingly chaotic  situation in which Catholics now find themselves such criticism is indispensable. Unless the Review can summon the moral courage to do this, whatever light it manages to shine will be dim indeed.

 

December 13th, 2016

Pope Commends Luther’s Laxative

The other day, my eldest grandson asked me if I had noticed  that many traditional Catholic blogs had recently become quite scatological in content. I said this was hardly surprising, in view of the example set by His Holiness.

It occurs to me that Pope Francis may have got his strange metaphor about faeces-eating  from the British author D.H. Lawrence who, I recall,  referred to some of his critics as “coprophagous baboons who make the filth they feed on”. Charming.

The founder of Protestantism suffered grievously from constipation, to such an extent that he had to set up an office in his privy.  John Osborne, one of the luminaries of the “kitchen sink” drama of the 1950s  wrote a play about Martin Luther in which he portrays the reformer, agonising over his sins during a marathon session on the loo, suddenly receiving the insight that man is justified by faith alone, so that his sins don’t really matter. At the same instant his bowels are set free. What a wonderful double relief!

Damian Thompson of The Spectator believes the Holy Father may be losing his marbles and should consider retirement.  This weekend  the Pope will turn 80, which means he is about three weeks older than I am.  But a blog  called Ignatius His Conclave, which deserves to be better known, speculates that this obsession with matters cloacal may be caused by the state of the Holy Father’s bowels, rather than by any  incipient senility. Here’s how he develops his thesis….

is

Is Pope Francis constipated?

The question – a strange one – arises from his recent repeated use of the term ‘coprophagia’ in an attack on irresponsible journalists.

Commonly encountered only in dogs, faeces eating is an unusual image, even when applied to the paparazzi.

Says Arnold Dubekker, the distinguished clinical psychiatrist: ‘Though rarely used, such imagery is most common among those who themselves have reason to be fixated on excretion – typically the victims of chronic constipation. Another common symptom is talkativeness. Victims habitually compensate for inability in the one area by laxity in the other’.

Dr Dietrich Hartlieb, a Reformation history specialist of the University of Jena, concurs. ‘Both conditions are to be found in Martin Luther. Shared symptoms may well account for Pope Francis’s obvious affection for the founder of Protestantism.’

Yes, our Holy Father certainly has a great deal in common with Luther.  After all, on one of his mid-flight press conferences he even went so far as to say:  “And today Lutherans and Catholics, Protestants, all of us agree on the doctrine of justification. On this point, which is very important, he did not err. He made a medicine for the Church.”

I conclude with an appalling pun: What sort of medicine had the Pope in mind? A laxative, of course!