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Tag Archives: The Remnant

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 31st, 2017

Francis Twists Words of John Paul

I must share with you this piece from The Remnant newspaper, written by its star correspondent Christopher Ferrara. The article is rather long, but even if you never  read anything elseabout the catastrophic pontificate  of Francis, you will be well enough informed  from now on. These days, I’d recommend The Remnant  without reserve.              

     Purely from the standpoint of ecclesiastical history, the Bergoglian pontificate is a fascinating anomaly. Never before has the Church witnessed a Pope fanatically devoted to the overthrow in practice of universally applicable, exceptionless negative precepts of the natural moral law, beginning with Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.
     It is easy enough to show that the rest of this pontificate is merely a continuation of the trajectory established during and after the Second Vatican Council, which provided the decisive opening for the neo-Modernist uprising that has convulsed the Church ever since. As I have noted on these pages before, Pope Bergoglio’s rampant ecumenism, his disdain for liturgical tradition, his demagogic attacks on “rigorists,” his religious indifferentism, his pursuit of endless, fruitless “dialogue” with the Church’s implacable foes, and his preoccupation with social and political issues beyond the purview of the Magisterium differ from the line of immediate predecessors, if at all, only in intensity.
     But as I also noted on that occasion (may the reader forgive me for quoting myself):
     “There is one truly substantial difference between Francis and the other conciliar Popes, that being his astounding, relentless attempt to subvert, in the name of “mercy,” the Church’s teaching and sacramental discipline concerning marriage, family and sexual morality generally. It is Francis alone—dismissing the contrary teaching even of his two immediate predecessors—who has launched the “final battle” of which Sister Lucia of Fatima, speaking in light of the Third Secret, warned Cardinal Caffarra… It is here, with Francis, that we encounter something really new and terrifying, even in the midst of what Cardinal Ratzinger admitted is a ‘continuing process of decay’ since the Council.”
     This new and terrifying Bergoglian innovation reduces to a single subversive pseudo-doctrine, which now joins the others (e.g. “dialogue,” “ecumenism,” “collegiality”) that have proliferated in the Church since the Council. Like the other pseudo-doctrines, it in turn is reducible to a single operative word with immense but never openly explicated consequences: “discernment.”
     Having plucked the word from its context in John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio, n. 84—which reaffirms the Church’s constant teaching that public adulterers in “second marriages” cannot be absolved or admitted to Holy Communion without an amendment of life—Bergoglio has, with the promulgation of Amoris Laetitia (AL), broadened its meaning into a practical framework for the introduction of situation ethics into the Church’s moral theology and praxis, thereby flatly contradicting John Paul. But Bergoglio’s—one must say it—mendacious abuse of his predecessor’s terminology allows him to claim “continuity” with the very Pope whose teaching he seeks to negate.
     Whereas John Paul II spoke of “discernment” in the context of dealing pastorally with those who, on account of their divorce and remarriage, cannot be admitted to the sacraments but are in differing degrees of fault respecting their situation, Bergoglio twists the concept into a pastoral program precisely for their admission to the sacraments while continuing to engage in adulterous sexual relations. With his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires, confirming that they are correct in interpreting AL to allow precisely for this outcome—under the illusory restriction of “more complex circumstances”—Bergoglio has left no reasonable doubt of his intention.
     Hence the Four Cardinals’  Letter and the dubia it presents in a direct challenge to Bergoglio’s attack on the moral order. For as the cardinals recognize, AL involves much more than “a practical question regarding the divorced and civilly remarried,” but also “questions [that] touch on fundamental issues of the Christian life.”
The full implications of “discernment” are set forth with artful ambiguity in ¶¶ 303-304 of AL:
     “Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.
     “It is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being.”
     For the first time in Church history, a Pope dares to propose that a negative precept of the natural law is merely “a general rule or law” representing merely an “objective ideal” for human conduct, and that fidelity to God is not inconsistent with disobedience to the precept—e.g. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery—given the “concrete complexity of one’s limits” and the “concrete life” of each individual as “discerned” by a local pastor or bishop. In short, for the first time in Church history, a Pope advocates the pastoral practice of situation ethics: What is adultery for John may not be adultery for Sarah; it all depends on the “complexity” of their respective “limits,” which must be “discerned” in each particular situation.
     Accordingly, the four cardinals wish Francis to answer Yes or No to the following question, among the five they have presented to him:
     “After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’  (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’ n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?”
     Bergoglio’s silence in the face of this question is a thunderclap that will echo in history until the end of time. He cannot answer the question because the answer, if given honestly, would condemn him as a heretic. Bergoglio really does think, and wishes the Church to think, that moral laws are merely rules from which one can be exempted based upon circumstances. This is just another way of saying that he really does not believe there is any such thing as mortal sin—at least when it comes to sexual behavior. For him, there are only variously excusable departures from “the general rule” and the “objective ideal.” Seen Bergoglio’s way, the negative precepts of the natural law would become benchmarks, not divine commands admitting of no exceptions. They would cease to have the character of true and binding law. The prohibitory Commandments would be obrogated, if not entirely abrogated, by a Bergoglian gloss on the Gospel.
     As he continues to attempt to hide his nefarious scheme behind a wall of silence while his subordinates attempt to implement it, Bergoglio’s co-conspirators confirm the object of the conspiracy. One example suffices—that of his closest Jesuit confidant, Antonio Spadaro. As Spadaro revealed during a Q & A with Religion News Service. “He realizes that the problem at the core of Amoris Laetitia is not a dogmatic problem. Which it’s not – it’s not a dogmatic problem.
     “The problem is that the church must learn to apply the practice of discernment better and more deeply and not just apply rules in the same way for everyone. The church must be attentive to people’s lives, to their journey of faith and to the way in which God works in each person. So a pastor can’t be a pastor by applying general rules to individual people. The church has to grow in discernment. That would be also one of the most important topics of the next synod….
     “I don’t know if they [the four cardinals] are critics of the discernment. I just know that the pope has said that life is not black and white. It is gray. There are a lot of nuances, and we have to discern nuances.
     “This is the meaning of the Incarnation – the Lord took flesh, which means we are involved with real humanity, which is never fixed or too clear. So the pastor has to get into the real dynamic of human life. This is the message of mercy. Discernment and mercy are the two big pillars of this pontificate.”
     There we have it from the Pope’s “mouthpiece” (a description Spadaro denies even as he performs the function). According to Bergoglio “the church must learn” from him—for the first time in 2,000 years! —that she cannot “apply rules in the same way for everyone,” that a priest “can’t be a pastor by applying general rules to individual people” and that “life is not black and white. It is gray.” That is, the Church must learn to practice situation ethics, applying the negative precepts of the natural law differently to different people based on “discernment” of their circumstances.
     With rhetoric about as subtle as the blandishments of a used car salesman, Spadaro dares to root Bergoglio’s error in the Incarnation, risibly asserting that God Incarnate represents a humanity “that is never fixed or too clear,” meaning that the application of Christ’s moral teaching is “never too fixed or clear.” Bergoglio relies on this ecclesiastical con man, replete with Twitter account, to dupe the faithful into accepting blasphemy and moral relativism as a teaching of the authentic Magisterium.
     What is this but yet another revival of the Gnostic heresy that has arisen in one form or another throughout Church history? It is the Gnosticism of the Pharisees, who claimed special knowledge— “discernment,” at it were—concerning the application of God’s law to “complex circumstances” such as divorce and purported remarriage.     
     The Pope who ceaselessly condemns Pharisaism—on the part of those who defend our Lord’s teaching against the Pharisees’ toleration of divorce—turns out to be the leader of a Neo-Pharisaic movement. The adepts of this movement purport to “discern,” based on their superior insight, which adulterers, which cohabiters, indeed which practitioners of sodomy in “homosexual unions,” are in the state of grace and may be allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist, and which of these objective sinners, on the other hand, must continue to be denied the Sacrament. But what are the criteria for this “discernment”?
     There are none. There is only the gnosis of the discerner, who is in the know.
     The new age of “discernment” has been revealed—so the neo-Pharisees tell us—by a “God of surprises” very much like the God who never failed to tell the Pharisees exactly what they wanted to hear. It is the God of the keepers of the ever-evolving gnosis, who always know better than the simple faithful what God requires “today,” denouncing their orthodox Catholic opposition as “rigorists” and accusing them of being exactly what they themselves are.
      As Bishop Athanasius Schneider has observed of these neo-Pharisees (without naming their leader), they “try to legitimize their infidelity to Christ’s word by means of arguments such as ‘pastoral need’, ‘mercy’, ‘openness to the Holy Spirit’. Moreover, they have no fear and no scruples to pervert in a Gnostic manner the real meaning of these words labeling at the same time those who oppose them and defend the immutable Divine commandment and the true non-human tradition as rigid, scrupulous or traditionalist. During the great Arian crisis in the 4th century the defenders of the Divinity of the Son of God were labeled ‘intransigent’ and ‘traditionalist’ as well.
     The “God of surprises” is simply the God of the silent apostasy, of that time when the people “will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (2 Tim 4:3-4).” And the author of these fables, as always, is man masquerading as God.
     But who could have imagined that the chief fabulist would sit on the Chair of Peter? Who could have foreseen that there would one day be a Pope who observes a stony silence—broken only by petty invective against his questioners—when asked if he really intends to bring about the collapse of the moral order? Who could have thought that a Pope would relentlessly engage in threatening to end the Church’s salvific mission by having her consent to be nothing more than yet another religious organization that has died the death of the sexual Zeitgeist?
     In an article on the rising Catholic opposition to his insane designs, Bergoglio is reported to have admitted to the members of his inner circle that “It is not to be excluded that I will be remembered in history as the one who split the Church.” With Bergoglio, by his own admission, we are confronted with a possible realization of the hypothetical scenario of a schismatic Pope as discussed by the great Suarez and other theologians, or at least a Pope who is the cause of schism. There is certainly no sign that Bergoglio wishes to avoid the schism he is already provoking, or that he has any intention of changing the course that would earn him that shameful place in history. He seems, rather, to be proud of the effect he is having on the Church, a testament to the power of his vainglorious “vision” or “dream” of a “Church of Mercy” he actually seems to think did not exist before his arrival from the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, which he left in shambles.. (Is it some ironic heavenly twist that Bergoglio has the same number of syllables and rhymes perfectly with orgoglio, the Italian word for pride?)
     Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four presenters of the dubia, has rightly and courageously declared that “Whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism.” The man from Argentina may well succeed in being the Pope who split the Church, although not even a Pope can defeat her. Should it happen, the Church will recover from the Bergoglian Schism as the Holy Ghost infallibly secures the promises of Christ through the intercession of the Mediatrix of All Graces.
     But this much must be said of Pope Bergoglio lest we unjustly attribute to his predecessors his own unique contribution to the post-conciliar crisis: No document of the Council, nor any Pope since then, has so much as intimated a practical elimination of the distinction between right and wrong in the natural moral law that is written on the heart of every man. In propagating the heresy of “discernment,” Jose Mario Bergoglio stands alone among all the Roman Pontiffs. Alone in the singularity of his disgrace.

July 29th, 2016

Trumping Hillary

The American Presidential election is becoming more intriguing by the day.  US voters  must  choose between  the unspeakable Hillary Clinton, who wants to ride roughshod over what remains of Christian civilisation, and Donald Trump who’s generally regarded on this side of the Atlantic as a dangerous nut-job. Some choice!

Here is an exchange between Michael Matt, editor of the Trad Catholic newspaper The Remnant, and his columnist Christopher Ferrara, a distinguished Catholic lawyer. It lasts around half an hour, but it’s well worth watching. It helped clarify my thinking on this crucial election, and  I believe it will do the same for you.

 

 

These exchanges between Matt and Ferrara are invariably challenging and stimulating. They usually appear weekly, and can be found by googling Remnant TV.

 

July 11th, 2016

Gay Zombies Strike a Blow for Sanity

I’m just back from a  symposium in Gardone, Northern Italy, where we learned much about  Martin Luther’s Revolt—I refuse to call it a Reformation—and why it  was such a runaway success. One reason was Luther’s remarkable propaganda skills: a master manipulator, he pioneered the use of the media to crucify Catholic Christendom, employing  pamphlets, woodcuts, and even music to get his message across.  Some of the woodcuts were particularly obscene; for instance, one portrays demons sitting on a privy,  defecating monks.

Michael Matt of The Remnant newspaper expressed a certain degree of admiration for Luther’s media skills, and suggested that  disenfranchised Catholics could learn quite a lot from him. In particular, we could make judicious use of some of his techniques, but this time  against the Church’s enemies, imparting  the truth instead of lies and employing ridicule where necessary.

I must confess I thought this to be a tall order.  True, we have a very powerful instrument at our disposal—the world wide web. But how could we  effectively expose, for example, the all-powerful militant sodomite  lobby and help to negate some of their mendacious propaganda??

But today I opened the LifeSite News site and found out how this has already been done, quite brilliantly, in Canada, by some Christians—presumably  Evangelical Protestants, who would be in some sense heirs of Luther. It’s rather ironic, really.

Here’s the LifeSite News  report by Pete Baklinski, slightly edited:

 

Featured Image

                                                           Christians dressed as ‘Gay Zombies’

Half-a-dozen Christians led by activist Bill Whatcott paid the $100 fee to parade organizers to register “Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association” so that they could move more easily along the parade route to deliver their message.

The group said their goal in participating in the event was twofold: First, to be a prophetic and unambiguous witness against the unfettered celebration of homosexuality, and second, to offer people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a way out through a call to repent and to turn to Jesus Christ to be saved.

“Our delivery was a bit creative,” said Whatcott to LifeSiteNews, “but, we wanted to give people this message because it is truthful.”

Image
 Bill Whatcott handing out information about same-sex activity.

Whatcott said that as a street preacher in other Pride parades he seldom handed out more than a few dozen pamphlets. But this time, dressed as gay zombies, he and his crew managed to hand out thousands of pamphlets.

“I asked them if they wanted ‘Zombie safe sex.’ Everyone loved it. But if you try to give out a Gospel pamphlet, they swear at you and throw slushies on your forehead. But, give them some wackadoddle thing that looks like a condom, and they really can’t grab it fast enough. I had three thousand out in 20 minutes. He described the handout as “pretty direct hitting stuff” that was also “charitable” because it offers people caught up in the same-sex lifestyle a “way out.”

[Links to pamphets can be found on Whatcott’s blog. [WARNING, GRAPHIC]

The pamphlet shows graphic images of diseases associated with same-sex behaviours, including anal warts and AIDS. It states:

Natural law is clear, homosexuality is incompatible with human nature. Disease, death and confusion are the sad and sordid realities of the homosexual lifestyle. The ‘Gay Zombies’ are concerned about the spiritual, psychological and physical welfare of all potential homosexual pride attendees, so we want to give you this accurate information and encourage you to abstain from  homosexuality. The rejection of true marriage is also in direct opposition to God’s law and it is our duty to warn you that those who choose to rebel against the God who created them, do so to their eternal peril. For those reading this Gospel package we also want to let you know there is a God who loves you, and who is real, and who has made a way for you to come to Him.

Whatcott said that same-sex attracted people need to know the medical facts about the practices they engage in. “We don’t feel that this message should be closeted and that we should be bullied into silence.”

In 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada found Whatcott guilty of “hate speech” against homosexuals for pamphlets in which he warned that “children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgment if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong.”

I hope to do several more blogposts on the Gardone symposium in the coming days.

 

 

June 10th, 2016

Is This a Call for Schism?

You’ll probably remember that “Traddery and Trumpery” item we published on May 31st, on a furious row about an article in The Remnant (the leading American Catholic Trad paper) by one Ann Barnhardt. To recap briefly:  in Ethika Politika (a publication of which I’d never heard) John Médaille, a theology teacher and retired businessman, savaged Miss Barnhardt’s article and asserted that  Remnant editor Michael Matt was “trying to become the Donald Trump of Catholic traditionalism” for even carrying such a piece.

Mr Médaille’s article has now been reprinted by my favourite neo-Catholic (by which I mean Vatican II Conservative) magazine the New Oxford Review under the headline “The Remnant Crosses the Rubicon”. By so doing, the NOR is clearly expressing agreement with Mr Médaille’s  assertion that The Remnant, by carrying a piece suggesting that “those bishops remaining who still hold the Catholic faith” should depose and anathematise Pope Francis, is openly calling for a schism.

Schism, as I’ve said before, is never the answer to heresy. But is this a call for schism? I honestly don’t know. But if it is, couldn’t the charge also be levelled at St Athanasius? He went so far as actually to go around ordaining bishops in dioceses where the incumbent was an Arian heretic, which is  hardly less drastic than anything proposed in The Remnant. Athanasius, who considered he was  defending the Catholic faith as handed down,  was excommunicated by Pope Liberius, but everyone now considers Athanasius acted rightly.  As Cardinal Newman says: “St Athanasius, driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trèves (Trier) to Ethiopia.” There can surely be little doubt that Athanasius was responding to a state of emergency within the Church. Are we in a similar state today? Who am I to judge?

I hope to write more about the New Oxford Review in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 31st , 2016

Traddery and Trumpery

There has been quite a rumpus recently in Traditional and Conservative Catholic circles about an article in the American Trad newspaper The Remnant by Ann Barnhardt,   describing  Pope Francis as “personally responsible for the most loss of human souls to eternal damnation, above Luther, above Mohammed, above Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), above Paul VI Montini”.

Well, I think most readers, even those most critical of the present pontificate,  would agree that such language is more than a little over the top. And Miss Barnhardt goes on to insist that the Pope  must be “deposed and anathematised for being a heretic” by  what she describes as “those bishops remaining who still hold the Catholic Faith”, called together in an “imperfect Ecumenical Council”.

Whoa! In the first place she can’t possibly know how many—if any—souls have been lost because of the Holy Father’s admittedly destructive polices and heterodox utterances. In the second place, it is not our business as lay people to advocate what would amount to a schism.

All the same, I can’t go along with John Médaille, (a theology teacher, a retired businessman and a Distributist more or less on the lines of Belloc and Chesterton) who bitterly attacks The Remnant‘s editor Michael Matt for carrying Miss Barnhardt’s piece at all. He insists that Mr Matt is just trying to  increase his circulation by appealing to the worst passions of his audience and saying the most outrageous things—thus becoming “the Donald Trump of Catholic Traditionalism”.

Now, every editor wants to increase his circulation. But I’ve met Michael Matt on several occasions, and I’m sure his motives are worthier than that. I think he felt that Ann Barnhardt’s voice was one that should be heard, and I think—despite the  hysterical tone of the piece—that he was probably right. You can read John Médaille’s critique on www.ethikapolitica. org. In the appropriate  combox on that site you will find dozens of entries arguing for and against Mr Matt’s decision to carry the article. Mr Médaille concludes:

And who can fail to note the irony that on the eve of the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s famous 95 Theses that split the Church apart, some Traditionalists, with their own theses, want to do the same? And to make the irony complete, they seem to want a council to overrule the Pope, which sounds a lot like the conciliarism they pretend to oppose.

Christopher Ferrara, distinguished pro-life lawyer and Remnant columnist retorts:

And who can fail to note the irony that Francis is going to Sweden next year to commemorate the 500th anniversary of that same “Reformation”, including participation in a joint liturgy with faux Lutheran “bishops” who condone abortion, contraception, divorce, the “ordination” of women and practicing homosexuals, and who would be viewed as worthy of the flames by Luther himself? Surely we Catholics have not lost the capacity to recognize this kind of thing as simply insane. There is more to the Remnant‘s position than the rhetoric and tone of one column.

And in a separate comment,  Mr Ferrara says: “No Pope in Church history has received the world’s praise like this Pope. That is a very bad sign, as Our Lord himself made clear.”

In another comment, one Stephen Hand notes:

Just weeks before the Irish same sex referendum in which Ireland was lost to the Catholic Church for the first time since St. Patrick, Francis appointed the notorious gay advocate, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, as Consultor to the Vatican’s Peace and Justice Commission. What a sly signal to the Irish in that critical hour. And that appointment also illustrated that Francis, unlike JPII and BXVI has been driving a sly wedge between Church praxis (works of mercy) and traditional Catholic doctrine. The former must ever be the “fruit” of orthodoxy, sound doctrine, never a substitute for it.

I would agree with John Médaille that no matter how bad things get, schism is never the answer. Perhaps our best course  would be to heed the advice of Cardinal Raymond Burke:

I think of so many faithful who express to me their profound concerns for the Church in the present time, when there seems to be so much confusion about fundamental dogmatic and moral truths. In responding to their concerns, I urge them to deepen their understanding of the constant teaching and discipline of the Church and to make their voices heard, so that the shepherds of the flock may understand the urgent need to announce again with clarity and courage the truths of the faith and to apply again with charity and firmness the discipline needed to safeguard the same truths.

Both Mr Matt and Mr Médaille were at last year’s symposium of the Roman Forum in Gardone on the Italian lakes. I hope they’ll both be there again.