Current Pontificate: Crisis Worsens

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 27, 2017

Pope Francis celebrates the Assumption Day mass in the Castelgandolfo's central square on August 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO / POOL/ ALESSANDRO BIANCHI (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRO BIANCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

From this Fatima perspective, the rising crisis of the current pontificate brings not surprise but recognition. Have we not known for quite some time that, as Cardinal Ciappi revealed, the Third Secret of Fatima pertains to an apostasy that “begins at the top“?

For too long, however, recognition of the reality of our situation has been largely confined to circles unjustly derided as “Fatimist” or “traditionalist.” Under Francis, however, there has been a radical change for the good as more and more members of the “mainstream” Catholic press are coming to recognize what is indisputable: the current pontificate represents a clear and present danger to the Church.

Perhaps these new voices have yet to recognize that Francis merely represents the end point on a downward trajectory that began after 1960, the year the Third Secret was to have been revealed because, as Sister Lucy said, “it will be clearer then.” But it is imperative that these new voices of the “mainstream” be heard because their awakening will provoke the awakening of vast numbers of Catholics who might otherwise have remained asleep. 

Consider, for example, Phil Lawler’s just-published column on “The Ideological Purge at the Vatican,” appearing on the website of catholicculture.org. This was a subject I had already aired repeatedly on these pages, as one can read here, here and here, but Lawler’s contribution is worthy of note and praise.

Writing in the wake of Francis’ brute-force intervention into the affairs of the Knights of Malta, effectively destroying its centuries-old status as a sovereign political entity, Lawler rightly warns that “the unprecedented papal intervention into the affairs of that venerable body fits into a pattern that should, at this point, worry all faithful Catholics.”

The pattern to which Lawler refers is not a purge of wayward theologians who undermine the doctrines of the Faith, of which the Modernists loudly complained during the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI even though the purge never really happened.  Rather, the purge now in progress is something quite the opposite: “Now a crackdown really is occurring — instigated by the Pontiff who famously asked, ‘Who am I to judge?’ And the objects of the current crackdown are not theologians who question established doctrines, but Catholics who uphold the traditional teachings of the Church.”

Consider the implications of this assessment, coming as it does from a commentator who can hardly be dismissed as a “Fatimist” or “radical traditionalist.”  Lawler now recognizes that the current Roman Pontiff is actually conducting a purge of the orthodox. It began, Lawler notes, with “Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was exiled from the Roman Curia soon after Pope Francis took office, and given a mostly ceremonial post as patron of the Knights of Malta. It is ironic — and perhaps not coincidental — that the latest incident involves his new charge.”

In addition to the forced resignation of the Knights’ head, Matthew Festing, Lawler mentions the following stages of the purge already discussed on these pages:

“The wholesale replacement of the prelates on the Congregation for Divine Worship: another unprecedented move, producing an entirely new panel that will be more friendly to the preferences of Pope Francis, and less supportive of the tradition-minded prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah.

“The abrupt dismissal of three clerics on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. No explanation for the firings was given, and according to published reports, the Pope made a point of saying that he was not obliged to give an explanation. But reliable Vatican sources explain that the clerics had been accused of making unflattering comments about Pope Francis — not in public, but in private conversations with colleagues.

amoris-laetitia-main-site“The contemptuous treatment of the four cardinals who submitted dubia about Amoris Laetitae, by people who are perceived as surrogates for the Pope. And for that matter, the Pontiff’s own studied refusal to answer questions from prelates who should be his trusted advisers.”

Lawler is clearly angry, and justly so. For his is the righteous anger of a faithful Catholic who can no longer remain silent while our beloved Church is scourged in this manner.  His conclusion could not be stronger:

“All these incidents have occurred in a Vatican where the climate has already been formed by the Pope’s tongue-lashings of the Roman Curia, by the blatant manipulation of the Synod of Bishops, by the Pontiff’s daily denunciations of ‘doctors of the law’ and ‘rigid’ clerics. A clear picture emerges: of a Roman Pontiff determined to impose his own will on the universal Church.”

Nothing I have written here is any harsher than the truth Lawler so courageously enunciates from a position in the so-called mainstream — from which it is much more difficult to speak frankly.

Lawler ends on a note that should be echoed by every Catholic worthy of the name.  Noting the arch-liberal Fr. Thomas Reese’s frank admission that he would have been outraged if John Paul II or Benedict XVI had stacked the College of Cardinals as Francis is now doing, Lawler remarks:  “Outrage would have been a reasonable response then, if those earlier Popes had restricted promotions to men who shared their personal opinions [as opposed to sound orthodoxy]. It is a reasonable response now.”

Indeed it is.  It is, in fact, the only reasonable response for a Catholic who cares about the state of the Church today. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Comments invited… 

Pope Francis: Merciful or Authoritarian?

My own research has shown that this incident occurred at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and that it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller himself who now has to obey these peremptory new orders. Additionally, I was able to discover that the three priests involved are, respectively, of a Slovakian-American, French, and Mexican nationality. (One of my sources is a friend of one of these three theologians.) However, the last of these three might now, after all, be able to remain a little longer in his current position at the Congregation.

Let us now consider some of the specific details of what Marco Tosatti himself has perceptively gathered for us. He starts his article with a reference to Pope Francis’ usual rebuke of the Roman Curia at his Christmas address to the Curia and detects the pope’s obvious anger in his words and gestures. When looking over to the Curia itself, however, Tosatti perceives something else than a reciprocal anger to be present among the curial members: “It is not about their resistance, but about their fear, their discontent, and a kind of feeling that belongs to another context altogether.”

Tosatti then refers to a credible source who told him several recent episodes occurring at the Vatican. Two of them appear to be of great importance and might also give us some additional glimpses into Pope Francis’ own authoritarian methods as well as his somewhat indirect way of ruling the Church. But, we should now first concentrate on the new personnel matter at the Congregation for Doctrine, which Tosatti himself says is “decisively sadder.” Here is Tosatti’s report:

“The head of a dicastery has received the order to remove three of his employees (all of whom have worked there for a long time), and it was without any explanation. He [the Prefect] received these official letters: “….I request that you please dismiss ….” The order was: send him [each of them] back into his diocese of origin or to the Religious Family to which he belongs. He [the Prefect of the Congregation] was very perplexed because it was about three excellent priests who are among the most capable professionally. He first avoided obeying and several times asked for an audience with the pope. He had to wait because that meeting was postponed several times. Finally, he was received in an audience. And he said: “Your Holiness, I have received these letters, but I did not do anything because these persons are among the best of my dicastery… what did they do?” The answer was, as follows: “And I am the pope, I do not need to give reasons for any of my decisions. I have decided that they have to leave and they have to leave.” He got up and stretched out his hand in order to indicate that the audience was at an end. On 31 December, two of the three [men] will leave the dicastery in which they have worked for years, and without knowing the why. For the third, there seems to be a certain delay. But then, there is another implication which, if true, would be even more unpleasant. One of the two had freely spoken about certain decisions of the pope – perhaps a little bit too much. A certain person – a friend of a close collaborator of the pope – heard this disclosure and passed it on. The victim received then a very harsh telephone call from Number One [i.e., the pope]. And then soon came the dismissal.” [emphasis added]

In this passage, Tosatti piercingly speaks about an “autocratic fever that seems to have broken out in the Vatican.” [my emphasis] And he concludes his report with the following words:

“Thus it is not so astonishing when the atmosphere behind the walls and in the palaces is not really serene. And one may now ask oneself what kind of credit this fact gives altogether to all the elaborate and sustained fanfare about mercy.” [my emphasis]

Thus Tosatti adds another piece of the puzzle concerning Pope Francis’ manner and methods of governance through which he seemingly aims at removing – or marginalizing – orthodox prelates, priests, and laymen from positions of formative influence in the Vatican.

Moreover, with specific regard of the Congregation for Doctrine, another source had told me the following, more than a month ago:

“One source in Rome says that all those who work for the Holy See are afraid to talk about anything for fear of being chopped because of the presence of informants everywhere. He compared it to Stalinist Russia. He said two priest friends of his, good men, have been fired from the CDF because they were accused of being critical of Pope Francis.”

This same Rome source, who is personally very honest and well informed, reports that these two priests here mentioned (who do not seem to be the same ones who are involved in the recent three personnel cases) fear that they will not be the only ones to be removed. They see their own removal to be just the beginning of a “massive overhaul” [my emphasis] within the Doctrine Congregation, “not unlike what happened recently to Cardinal Sarah’s Divine Worship Congregation.” (Here we might be reminded of the fact that it was Marco Tosatti himself who had earlier called these recent changes at the Congregation for Divine Worship a “Purge.”)

We have also recently reported about the pope’s earlier decision to remove the members of the Pontifical Academy of Life, which is widely known for its strong stance in defense of human life. Here is what one well-informed source had reported to me then about this incident:

“At the end of 2016 the Pontifical Academy for Life was closed and all its members dismissed. The Academy will be reconstituted in 2017 with new statutes and the Academy will be repopulated. The process for naming new members of the Academy is not known.”

We also have repeatedly reported on the atmosphere of fear that now increasingly permeates the Vatican, as did a recent report from the co-founder of LifeSiteNews.

During this forthcoming year of 2017 – the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima – may the Blessed Mother increasingly be our help and our trustworthy refuge. May she help us with those graces we shall need to defend the truth more fully and to manifest Christ’s love, as well, even in the face of fear.  Source

Comments invited… 

Russia: Politics & Faith-The Inside Story

kremlin

Blogger, Benedict Carter writes:

Apparently Russia is now a Christian country and Putin, the champion of Christian values, is in Syria solely to protect the Christian population. Putin is the Traditionalist’s friend because he has banned homosexuality. He should be supported simply by virtue of his enmity to our own godless Western leaders. Orthodoxy is a safe haven for the Traditional Catholic as the Catholic Church lurches towards apostasy in the form of liberal Protestantism, rampant Modernism and (soon) open schism. Fr. Malachi Martin said that “salvation will come from the east” so this means that Modernism in the Church and Vatican II will be swept away by Russia and then true religion will be restored. After all, according to Joanna Bogle and others, Russia has already been converted. (Funny that the period of peace doesn’t seem to have accompanied this conversion Joanna, but I suppose we can’t have everything).

Over the last eighteen months to two years these views have been heard more and more openly on some Traditionalist sites and blogs. Sadly, what these views have in common is that they are so full of factual inaccuracies, false assumptions and ignorant claims that this latest blip on the Traditionalist radar constitutes a material danger and really should be dismissed before it becomes an accepted part of the global Traditionalist mind-set.

The Remnant in the USA has on several occasions pushed the ideas in question. Although to be fair to him Michael Matt, the Remnant’s Editor, has in one or two recent articles rowed back somewhat from his earlier position (which tended to canonise Putin and ascribe to him a divine mandate of some sort), nevertheless he has led the way in promoting the trend in question, even banning posters who sought to balance his and others’ speculation and even pagan-like numerology (the 100 years meme) with a dose of Russian reality.

My objective is to show that these views about Russia are all false, resting as they do on a total lack of understanding of the current nature of Russia and of its so-called Christian revival. Suffering from a sense of helplessness and even despair at the vacuity of Western policy, and the state of the Church and society, it is my contention that those who hold these views are investing an inchoate hope in a “false Messiah” and that this hope will surely be dashed. Indeed, ultimately I hold that those who place their hope in Putin and Russia are guilty of a serious spiritual fault in that they are putting their trust in politics and in a man rather than in Jesus Christ.

My own interest in this subject comes from my own long association with Russia. Having been a student of its literature and history from my early teenage years, in the middle 1990’s I started what was to be a twelve-year plus period living in the former USSR. During that time I lived for nearly three years in Central Asia and then more than ten years in Moscow. I speak Russian, I am married to a Russian, I owned a business in Russia, I know the history of the country and of the Russian Orthodox Church. The years I spent there changed me profoundly. Russia will be part of me until I die. I therefore consider myself well-qualified, at least amongst Traditionalists, to comment on Russian affairs.

Since 1991, it’s true that around 6,000 churches have been built or rebuilt. Ancient monasteries and convents again contain many religious. It is normal for many Russian Orthodox to attend Easter and Christmas liturgies and popping into a church to light a candle is an unremarkable activity. Around 75% of Russians are now baptised. The country’s leadership appear with high prelates on TV on important feasts and all dutifully make the Sign of the Cross (albeit badly) at the appropriate moments. There is a genuine piety to be found among believers. And as everyone knows, Russia has enacted a law preventing the advertising or marketing of homosexuality. All this is of course to be applauded. But does it mean that Russia is now a Christian country? What is the state of Russian society? This should tell us how real is Russia’s Christian life.

State of Russian Society

  • According to a Moscow Times survey, only 1% of the population attends the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. This is almost exclusively the old, particularly the women. The same picture is found in another study (http://tinyurl.com/q5r8xvb).
  • Another Moscow Times survey from last year showed that both trust in the Moscow Patriarchate and support for the building of a new church in one’s immediate locality have plummeted. Has indeed the high-water mark of the restored Patriarchate been reached within twenty-five years of the fall of the Communist regime? It may be so: I am told by one Catholic religious in Moscow that the number of students in Russian Orthodox seminaries has drastically fallen in the last two or three years. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/hu365zo).
  • While the excellent law against homosexual “propaganda” certainly exists, so do gay clubs. Homosexuality is not criminalised nor is its practice restricted in any way. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/z56lzmd).
  • Abortions continue by the million. Both Ukraine and Russia have debated banning abortion in their respective parliaments but neither have done so. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/jm55enf).
  • AIDS cases are now in excess of one million and are rising fast. Drug-resistant TB has broken out of the prisons where it was nurtured for decades and is now rife among the general population. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/hbqgb6u).
  • Drug use is decimating the younger generations in the cities, particularly in Siberia and other places riven by poverty and is growing out of any control. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/zeq85q6).
  • The moral leadership of the government is nil. Putin and those close to him are thieves, knaves, plunderers and looters on a scale beyond the imagination. The very language they use between themselves is the colourful (and utterly vile) “blatnoi yezik”, or “thieves tongue” of the “vor v zakone” (thieves-in-law, aka the mafia).
  • Putin has not conducted any reform of Russia’s economy which would eventually benefit the poorest. The reason is that if he did, his entire system would be in danger of collapse and his power with it. The pigs with their snouts in the trough would get rid of Putin before they allowed other pigs to take their place. Battles between oligarchs are at the moment controlled by Putin as the top Godfather, but if too many pigs lost their place at feeding time that control might be lost. Billions upon billions of dollars are at stake. Some thoughtful Russians I know now worry about civil war conducted between rival oligarchic armies fighting for control of Russia’s natural resources.
  • Crime as ever pervades Russian life. Life expectancy, particularly for men, is static at around 60 due to alcoholism, a collapsed health service and hopelessness. Corruption pervades Russian life. There is no rule of law as understood in the West. Innocence is lost at a very young age (Source: http://tinyurl.com/zgkbch9).
  • Many Russians are turning to eastern sects, philosophies and religions. Buddhism, Indian “spirituality”, Siberian shamanistic paganism: all these are growing in popularity. (Source http://tinyurl.com/zdwfkjz).

State of the Orthodox Church

As ever, the Orthodox Church is the creature of the State. It has been so since even before the Church’s submission to Tsar Peter and his suppression of the Patriarchate. Imagining the Russian Orthodox Church without the crutch of the Russian State is impossible. In return for the State’s provision of tax benefits, cash, Presidential and Prime Ministerial time and constant TV exposure, the Church plays the part of chief cheerleader for the Russian regime. It has always been thus and it certainly is now. Both parties gain but one does wonder who or what the Russian Orthodox Church really worships. Is it the Holy Trinity or the Russian State?

For some, the Russian State undoubtedly comes in first place. For Father Vselovod Chaplin for example, America is Satan, Britain is his chief demon and God demands nuclear warfare against both. And, according to Chaplin, Russian women should have their reign of debauchery ended by the practice of universal female genital mutilation. This oaf has said so many mad things that the so-called philosophy of “Eurasianism”, as developed and taught by Alexander Dugin, seems almost sane in comparison. For Dugin, by the way, the SS was the perfect society and as usual for fanatics of Slav nationalism, the chief enemy for him is the Anglo-Saxon, which means Britain and America. Today’s Russia is semi-fascist and so is its national Orthodox Church.

There is much else that is deeply rotten in the Russian Orthodox Church. Apart from the very ugly nationalist ideology and greed for material reward (remember the Patriarch and his $450,000 watch?), anti-Catholic sentiment remains very high. As told directly to me by a Catholic priest in Russia (and confirmed by an Anglican), some years ago the Catholic Archdiocese in Moscow had to go through the local Anglican vicar to arrange meetings with the Patriarchate. The Catholic side would state what subjects it wished to discuss, the Patriarchate would say how many BMWs and Mercedes it wanted in return for the meeting. (Ecumenism Russian Orthodox style …).

No, the Russian Orthodox Church inspires no confidence. It is this body that is to save the West? I think not. In fact, despite its high position in State and society, it may well have already entered a period of decline only two decades after the fall of Communism.

Putin

Putin is lauded as a strongman who runs rings around Western leaders and makes them look foolish. There can be no doubt that he is a clever man. But consider: if you do not operate by the norms of international law, if you are prepared to lie and cheat your way to your objectives, it is an easy thing to surprise those who do operate by the norms of international law and those who do more or less, in their dealings with each other, tell the truth and act honestly. Thus Putin is a very strong tactician but no strategist. Russia may contain much of genius but in global terms, whatever its showing in Syria (a Russian success only possible because Obama reneged on his “red line” promise) its influence is that of a regional power.

Led by thugs and gangsters, Russia has no vision beyond its own preservation. This indeed is the real key to understanding Russian policy. Russia is an almost-failed State governed by serial liars, thieves and Secret Police operatives. I can personally confirm that FSB officers still, to this day, have a statuette of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the mass murderer who founded the CHEKA, on their desks.

Is Putin a believer? He may be, it’s truly difficult to say. I think he probably is, but that this belief does not prevent him from doing all manner of murder in the interests of his true god who is Mother Russia. God for the Orthodox is a strongly Slavic nationalist deity.

Did Putin ask the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart? I do not believe it for a moment. The Orthodox Church is extremely hostile to Fatima and Putin would not antagonise the Patriarchate unnecessarily. Nevertheless, does Russia have a role to play in the cosmic battle currently being fought? Yes, it does: Our Lady has told us so. If the Consecration does not come as Heaven wished it, then instead of being converted, Russia may well play the part of being the instrument of God’s punishment on an unfaithful, godless world which has long since been soaked in Russia’s own atheistic, Bolshevik errors. It is interesting that some pre-Revolutionary Orthodox prophecy supports a very old traditional reading of Scripture which states that Gog and Magog is Russia.

We can see I think that the real attraction of Putin to Traditionalists is that he provides clarity whereas our own leaders are mired in leftist social engineering (through mass immigration) and political correctness, and thus are imposing on us a revolutionary globalist ideology that is straining our system and very civilisation to the limit. Similarly, the attraction of the Orthodox Church to many Traditionalists is the beauty of its liturgy and music. But do either of them offer the West anything that we cannot better find by restoring what has been taken, both from our society and from the Church? I strongly believe not.

The waters have been badly muddied for the Traditionalist by those useful idiots in the modern Church who hold that Fatima is fulfilled and Russia has already converted. Aside from the asinine suggestion that Our Lady would be pleased by the conversion of Russia to a schismatic sect, the reality of Russian society today cannot but exclude the possibility of Fatima’s completion. I myself am not so hard on this question as many Traditionalists: I am quite able to accept that the 1984 Consecration might have led to the fall of Communism and a partial conversion of Russia; however, this was not what Our Lady requested, desired or promised. That there is no period of peace is self-evident. So the likes of Joanna Bogle not only fool themselves but sadly many others too and the popularity of Putin among so many Traditionalists is at least indirectly and in part due to this false Fatima propaganda.

Following Putin and trusting in Russia is a dangerous temptation and one that must be resisted. The true solution to our woes, which are real, is the restoration of a truly Catholic (= Christian) civilisation, not the adoption, out of despair, of a rotten schismatic and heretical Orthodox one.

Comments invited…

A New Mercy: Mercy As “Way of Life”…

What Religion Is This?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 8, 2016

 

Mercy, said Francis, is not God's forgiveness of sin through Baptism or the absolution of a repentant sinner in the confessional, in the manner Christ ordained when He commissioned His Church (cf. John 20:23). Rather, he opined, "the mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing."

“The mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing.”

In a brief address to an “inter-religious audience” at the Vatican on November 3, Francis spoke on “the theme of mercy,” but without a single reference to the King of Mercy, Jesus Christ, the sole merciful savior of mankind, nor any reference to the sacraments of the Church that Christ established precisely to show His mercy toward men of good will. 

Alluding vaguely to “the Christian message” while saying absolutely nothing about the grace of repentance that must precede the grace of justification and the regeneration of the soul of fallen man, Francis sketched instead a concept of mercy seemingly designed to accommodate any and all religions, so-called.

Mercy, said Francis, is not God’s forgiveness of sin through Baptism or the absolution of a repentant sinner in the confessional, in the manner Christ ordained when He commissioned His Church (cf. John 20:23). Rather, he opined, “the mystery of mercy is not to be celebrated in words alone, but above all by deeds, by a truly merciful way of life marked by disinterested love, fraternal service and sincere sharing.”

What does this have to do with Divine Mercy for the sinner who repents and turns to God, which was supposedly the theme of the Year of Mercy now concluding? The address seems instead to conflate Divine Mercy with human acts of kindness devoid of any motive of supernatural grace.

Indeed, Francis goes on to say that “The Church increasingly desires to adopt this way of life, also as part of her ‘duty to foster unity and charity’ among all men and women…” The Church is depicted as an organization that has only recently begun to discover fully what mercy means! It means, according to Francis, a “way of life” — again, without reference to Divine Mercy toward repentant sinners.

Mercy as a “way of life” — rather than a divine action toward the sinner — is something that anyone, no matter what he believes, can possess. Thus, says Francis, “[t]he religions are likewise called to this way of life, in order to be, particularly in our own day, messengers of peace and builders of communion, and to proclaim, in opposition to all those who sow conflict, division and intolerance, that ours is a time of fraternity.”

Note well: “the religions” are referenced indifferently, as if they were all on equal footing with respect to the quality of mercy, which is reduced, in essence, to social work and brotherhood.

Continuing this indifferentist, pan-religious refrain, Francis declares that “mercy” as he conceives it — quoting himself — is that quality which is “more open to dialogue, the better to know and understand one another; eliminates every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect; and drives out every form of violence and discrimination (Misericordiae Vultus, 23). This is pleasing to God and constitutes an urgent task, responding not only to today’s needs but above all to the summons to love which is the soul of all authentic religion.”

Not a word here about the supernatural grace of charity obtained and maintained through the sacraments instituted by Christ, nor the divine action involved in God’s mercy thus obtained. Rather, again, we see only an appeal to do-goodism depicted as the “soul of all authentic religion.”

As Francis further declares (once again quoting himself), “mercy” also means the practice of environmental conservation:

Mercy extends also to the world around us, to our common home, which we are called to protect and preserve from unbridled and rapacious consumption. Our commitment is needed for an education to sobriety and to respect, to a more simple and orderly way of life, in which the resources of creation are used with wisdom and moderation, with concern for humanity as a whole and coming generations, not simply the interests of our particular group and the benefits of the present moment. Today in particular, ‘the gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which requires patience, self-discipline and generosity'” (Laudato Si’, 201).

So, “authentic religion” now expands to include not merely the one and only religion that God established, but also any and all religions whose adherents do good, including caring for the environment. “Mercy” thus defined would therefore be an element, according to Francis, of virtually all religions that advocate doing good:

“The theme of mercy is familiar to many religious and cultural traditions, where compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life; in the words of an ancient proverb: ‘death is hard and stiff; life is soft and supple’ (Tao-Te-Ching, 76). To bow down with compassionate love before the weak and needy is part of the authentic spirit of religion, which rejects the temptation to resort to force, refuses to barter human lives and sees others as brothers and sisters, and never mere statistics. To draw near to all those living in situations that call for our concern, such as sickness, disability, poverty, injustice and the aftermath of conflicts and migrations: this is a summons rising from the heart of every genuine religious tradition. It is the echo of the divine voice heard in the conscience of every person, calling him or her to reject selfishness and to be open….”

When Francis finally gets around to mentioning Divine Mercy, he appears to make God’s forgiveness of sin available to anyone who practices mercy on a human level whether or not it involves an act of supernatural charity motivated by divine grace:

“How important this is, when we consider today’s widespread fear that it is impossible to be forgiven, rehabilitated and redeemed from our weaknesses. For us Catholics, among the most meaningful rites of the Holy Year is that of walking with humility and trust through the door – the Holy Door – to find ourselves fully reconciled by the mercy of God, who forgives our trespasses. But this demands that we too forgive those who trespass against us (cf. Mt 6:12), the brothers and sisters who have offended us. We receive God’s forgiveness in order to share it with others. Forgiveness is surely the greatest gift we can give to others, because it is the most costly. Yet at the same time, it is what makes us most like God.”

But, as the Church has always taught, in fallen man the imago Dei — the likeness to God — can be restored only by the grace of justification following the grace of repentance for sin. And the ordinary means of justification are Baptism and, after Baptism, absolution of mortal sin by way of Confession, about which Francis has nothing whatever to say to an audience desperately in need of the helps only the Church that Christ established can provide.

Thus does the Catholic faith — the one, true, divinely revealed religion — fade into insignificance in the grand scheme of “authentic religion” reduced to doing good and forgiving others without any obligation to assent to revealed truth, avail oneself of the divinely instituted sacraments, or indeed profess any particular religious belief at all. Catholics may be reconciled in their Catholic way (certainly not by merely walking through a Holy Door with humility and trust), but anyone who simply forgives, on a human level, attains the divine likeness.

Driving home the point, lest anyone miss it, Francis concludes by declaring: “May the religions be wombs of life, bearing the merciful love of God to a wounded and needy humanity; may they be doors of hope helping to penetrate the walls erected by pride and fear.” All religions “bear the merciful love of God,” no matter what errors or superstitions they involve. All that matters, according to Francis, is that their adherents show forgiveness and brotherhood toward others and care for the environment.

Referring to the recent debacle of the Pope’s visit to Sweden to “commemorate” the Protestant Rebellion launched by Luther, the respected traditional Catholic scholar Roberto de Mattei observed: “What surfaced during the ecumenical meeting between Pope Francis and the World Lutheran Federation on October 31st in Lund, seems to be a new religion.”

A new religion indeed. And certainly not the religion established by God Incarnate in the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But then, as Pius XI warned about those who would embrace the then-nascent “ecumenical movement” with its pan-Christian gatherings:

“Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.

As the human element of the Church has come to accept and participate not only in pan-Christian but also pan-religious spectacles, such as this address by Francis, we can consider Pius XI’s warning a prophecy fulfilled, along with the prophecy undoubtedly contained in the integral Third Secret of Fatima.   Source – fatima.org

Comment:

Well, we’ve had a new Mass, new catechism, new rosary, new canon law, new morality,  blah blah, so why not a new “mercy”? 

Are We All Lutherans Now?

‘The Fatima Rapid Response Team distributed our leaflet, “Should a Catholic Celebrate Martin Luther?” to parishioners exiting Saturday Mass at the only Catholic church in Lund. The parish priest was displeased to the point of calling the police to try to stop us, but the police allowed us to continue as we behaved very peacefully. A few parishioners were thankful but many more were wary. Nevertheless, the team persuaded many to accept the leaflet with a promise to read it. We planted the mustard seed and remained after the priest turned out the lights and locked the door – to pray the Holy Rosary, asking God to enlighten them to the truths of the Catholic Faith and the diabolical character of Luther.’

Visit the Fatima Center website for more on the Lund event, including several video presentations…

13/10 Fatima: Miracle of the Sun

Today, 13th October is the 99th anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima.  This thread allows us to reflect on the fact that God has given us an amazing miracle to underline the gravity of the Fatima prophecies, and yet, despite this astonishing miracle (eye witness account linked below), popes and prelates, priests and people continue to treat Fatima as if it were no more than a private revelation.  Click here to read an explanation from Fr Gruner RIP, about the three kinds of revelation. 

Click here to read an eyewitness account of the miracle of the sun

Comments invited…   

Fatima Prophesy, Bows & Arrows…

Extract from the published part of the Third Secret of Fatima taken from Vatican website…

OurLadyofFatimaAnd we saw … a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him  Source (Emphasis added)       

Now read the following extract from An excerpt of a speech given by Christopher Ferrara at the Fatima Center Only the Pope Can Save Washington Conference, September 22 – 24, 2015 published in the Fatima Crusader (Winter 2015)

Unparalleled Church Crisis

Certainly that element of the Secret that predicts an unparalleled crisis in the Church – I mean the text the Vatican has withheld, wherein the Blessed Virgin explains the meaning of the obscure vision published in 2000 – would have been clearer in 1960. In that year revolution was beginning in both the Church, with the calling of the Second Vatican Council, and the world at large, which underwent an accelerated descent into total depravity. (Anyone who is old enough to remember those days will recall that the Sixties were a time in which it seemed that both the Church and society had crossed over a threshold into a state of affairs the once Christian West had never seen before.)

Today, so many large pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place that even the smallest pieces are now readily fitted into the picture. For example, the Synod on the Family, where we see precisely that “the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies outside, but arises from sin in the Church.” …

And yet, one small but seemingly important piece of the puzzle has always seemed odd and completely out of place to me. It is Sister Lucia’s revelation that in the vision of the “Bishop dressed in White” the future Pope’s executioners “fired bullets and arrows at him.” Arrows? What is the meaning of this reference to such primitive weaponry? One might be tempted to think that surely Lucia must have stumbled here, that Our Lady could not possibly mean literally that a future Pope would be hunted down and killed by men wielding bows and arrows.

Here too, however, developments over the passage of time seem to have allowed us to fit even this odd little piece into the bigger picture – with a resounding and quite chilling confirmation of what is actually the great significance of a seemingly incongruous detail. “We Will Conquer Your Rome, Break Your Crosses, Enslave Your Women” … ISIS

Consider first a recent article in the ISIS magazine Dabiq, quoting a fanatical Imam who “prophesies” as follows: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.”

Next consider a recent article in the Italian daily Il Giornale, which may well provide one of those precise historical clues that clarify a prophecy as its fulfilment nears (like the ripening fig tree that heralds the coming of Spring, to use Our Lord’s parable of the advent of the Last Days).

The article reports on an “e-book” being distributed to Muslim militants that provides instructions to prepare for the conquest of Rome by learning to use various weapons, including “home-made bows and arrows.” The idea is to stockpile weapons whose possession is not currently illegal so that they can be employed in urban guerrilla warfare. As the instruction manual states: “The advent of the war for the conquest of Rome will consist primarily of the urban guerilla in the cities and streets of Europe.”

Suddenly the reference to a Pope of the future being slain by bullets and arrows falls into place in the grand puzzle that is being completed before our eyes. Can we be certain this is so? Without the Virgin’s own explanation of the vision – for which the Vatican has substituted the ludicrous “interpretation” of the Vatican Secretary of State – we obviously cannot be. Then again, it is always prudent to examine the signs of the times when Heaven itself has given us a warning of impending disaster – a disaster to which nearly the entire hierarchy remains oblivious as they persevere in the ruinous course of the past fifty years of drift and decay in the Church and widening apostasy in the worldSource

bow-and-arrow

Comment:

It is true that we really only begin to make sense of prophecies as they unfold; hence, when news came that Pope Benedict, on abdication, intended to retain the papal dress, those familiar with the Fatima prophecies immediately recalled that part of the prophecy where the children saw “a bishop dressed in white” and their “impression that it was the Holy Father” – quite different from their other clear references to the Pope.  

Christopher Ferrara, rather surprisingly in my view, appears to assume that this “Bishop dressed in white” who is to be killed IS the reigning Pope, but with two “Bishops dressed in white” currently in Rome, surely a doubt arises as to the identity of the Bishop of the vision – certainly, if this event is to occur during the lifetimes of Pope Francis and the abdicated Pope Benedict. 

However,  the fact that Muslim militants are being exhorted to learn to use and to stockpile bows and arrows, enables us –  in the current frenzy of Islamist attacks in Europe – to make sense of the reference to “arrows” in the Fatima prophecy which has long puzzled us all.  And to consider the rather obvious question: Is the Islamists’ ambition to conquer Rome not far off?

Is there, in fact, a connection between (a) the increasing numbers of ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe (b) the Fatima warning about the death of the “Bishop dressed in white” (c) the exhortation to Muslim militants to learn to use and to stockpile “arrows” and (d) the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the Fatima prophecies in 2017?  I can’t help thinking the answer is obviously “yes” – but what do you think?