Modern Catholics: Confusion Reigns.

Editor writes…

A friend of mine tells me that it was only when she read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics that a light switched on in her head and she began to comprehend the gravity of what is going on in the Church.  Below, Chapter One of the Open Letter, entitled Why are Catholics Confused?

Who can deny that Catholics in the latter part of the twentieth century are confused? A glance at what has happened in the Church over the past twenty years is enough to convince anyone that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Only a short time ago the path was clearly marked: either one followed it or one did not. One had the Faith–or perhaps had lost it–or had never had it. But he who had it–who had entered the Church through baptism, who had renewed his baptismal promises around the age of twelve and had received the Holy Ghost on the day of his confirmation–such a person knew what he had to believe and what he had to do.

 Many today no longer know.  They hear all sorts of astonishing statements in the churches, they read things contrary to what was always taught, and doubt has crept into their minds.

On June 30, 1968, at the close of the Year of Faith, His Holiness Pope Paul VI made a profession of the Catholic Faith, in the presence of all the bishops in Rome and hundreds of thousands of the faithful. In his introductory remarks, he put us on guard against attacks on Catholic doctrine which, he said, “give rise, as we regretfully see today, to trouble and confusion in many faithful souls.”

The same words crop up in an allocution of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on February 6, 1981: “Christians today, in large part, feel lost, perplexed, confused, and even deceived.” The Holy Father summarized the underlying causes of the trouble as follows:

“We see spread abroad ideas contrary to the truth which God has revealed and which the Church has always taught.  Real heresies have appeared in dogma and moral theology, stirring doubt, confusion, rebellion.  Even the liturgy has been harmed. Christians have been plunged into an intellectual and moral illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without clear dogma or objective morality.”

This confusion is seen everywhere–in conversations, in books, in newspapers, in radio and television broadcasts, in the behavior of Catholics, which shows up as a sharp decline in the practice of the faith as statistics reveal, a dissatisfaction with the Mass and the sacraments, a general relaxation of morals.

We naturally ask,  therefore, what brought on this state of things? For every effect there is a cause. Has faith been weakened by a disappearance of generosity of soul, by a taste for enjoyment, an attraction to the pleasures of life and the manifold distractions which the modern world offers? These cannot be the real reasons, because they have always been with us in one way or another. The rapid decline in religious practice comes rather from the new spirit which has been introduced into the Church and which has cast suspicion over all past teachings and life of the Church.  All this was based on the unchangeable faith of the Church, handed down by catechisms which were recognized by all bishops.

The faith was based on certitudes. The certitudes have been overturned and confusion has resulted. Let us take one example: the Church taught–and the faithful believed–that the Catholic religion was the one true religion. It was, in fact, established by God Himself, while other religions are the work of men. Consequently, the Christian must avoid all contact with false religions and, furthermore, do all he can to bring adherents of false religions to the religion of Christ.

Is this still true? Indeed it is! Truth cannot change–else it never was the truth. No new fact, no theological or scientific discovery–if there can be such a thing as a theological discovery–can ever make the Catholic religion any less the only means of salvation.
But now we have the Pope himself attending religious ceremonies in false religions, praying and preaching in the churches of heretical sects.  Television conveys to the whole world pictures of these astonishing events. The faithful no longer understand.

Martin Luther–and I shall return to him later in these pages–cut entire nations off from the Church, pitched Europe into a spiritual and political turmoil which destroyed the Catholic hierarchy over wide areas, invented a false doctrine of salvation and a false doctrine of the sacraments. His revolt against the Church became the model for all revolutionaries after him who would throw Europe and the whole world into disorder. It is impossible to make Luther, as they want to do now after five hundred years, into a prophet or doctor of the Church, since he is not a saint.

If I read La Documentation Catholique1 or the diocesan papers, I find there, from the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commission, officially recognized by the Vatican, statements like this:

“Among the ideas of the Second Vatican Council, we can see gathered together much of what Luther asked for, such as the following: description of the Church as ‘the people of God’ (a main idea of the new Canon Law–democratic, no longer hierarchic, idea); accent on the priesthood of all baptized; the right of the individual to freedom of religion. Other demands of Luther in his time can be considered as being met in the theology and practice of the Church today: use of the common language in the liturgy, possibility of Communion under two species, a renewal of the theology and celebration of the Eucharist.”

Quite a statement! Meeting the demands of Luther, who declared himself the resolute and mortal enemy of the Mass and of the pope! To gather together things requested by a blasphemer who said: “I declare that all brothels, murders, thefts, adulteries, are less evil than this abominable Mass!” From such an extravagant summary, we can draw only one conclusion: either we must condemn the Second Vatican Council which authorized it, or we must condemn the Council of Trent and all the popes who, since the sixteenth century, have declared Protestantism heretical and schismatic.

It is understandable that Catholics are confused by such a turn of events. But there are so many others! In a few years they have seen a transformation in the heart and substance of religious practices which adults have known from early childhood.  In the churches, the altars have been demolished or replaced by tables, which are often portable and disappear when not in use. The tabernacle no longer occupies the place of honor: most of the time it is hidden, perhaps perched on a post, to one side. When it remains in the center,  the priest turns his back to it during the Mass. Celebrant and faithful face each other and dialogue.  Anyone may touch the sacred vessels, which are often replaced by breadbaskets, platters, ceramic bowls. Laity, including women, distribute Communion, which is received in the hand. The Body of Christ is treated with a lack of reverence which casts doubt on the truth of transubstantiation.

The Sacraments are administered in a manner which varies from place to place; I will cite as examples the age for baptism and confirmation, variations in the nuptial blessing, introduction of chants and readings which have nothing to do with the liturgy–but are borrowed from other religions or a purely secular literature, sometimes simply to express political ideas.

Latin, the universal language of the Church, and Gregorian Chant have generally disappeared. All the hymns have been replaced by modern songs in which it is not uncommon to find the same rhythms as in places of entertainment.

Catholics have been surprised also by the sudden disappearance of religious garb, as if priests and religious were ashamed of looking like what they are.

Parents who send their children to catechism discover that the truths of the Faith are no longer taught, even the most basic: the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception. Hence the feeling of profound disorientation: is all of this no longer true, out-of-date, passé? Christian virtues are no longer even mentioned.  Where can you find a catechism speaking of humility, chastity, mortification? The Faith has become a fluid concept, charity a kind of universal solidarity, and hope is, above all, hope for a better world.

Novelties like these are not the kind which, in the human situation, appear at a certain moment in time, so that we get accustomed to them and assimilate them after an initial period of surprise and uncertainty.  In the course of a human life, ways of doing things change.  If I were still a missionary in Africa, I would go there by plane and no longer by boat–if, indeed, you could find a steamship company still in operation. In this sense, we can say that one should live in one’s own time; one is really forced to do so.

But those Catholics on whom they tried to impose novelties in the spiritual and supernatural order, on the same principle, realized it was not possible.  You do not change the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments founded by Jesus Christ; you do not change the truth revealed once and for all;  you do not replace one dogma with another. The pages which follow try to answer the questions you are asking yourselves, you who have known another face of the Church. I shall try also to enlighten the young people born after the Council and to whom the Catholic community does not offer what they have a right to expect from it. I would like to address myself, finally, to the unconcerned and the agnostics, whom the grace of God will touch some day or another, but who by then may find the churches without priests, and a teaching which does not correspond to the needs of their souls.

Then there is a question which, by all evidence, interests everyone, if I can judge by the attention it gets in the general press, especially in France. (The journalists are also showing some confusion.) A few headlines: “Is Christianity Dying?” “Will Time Work Against the Religion of Jesus Christ?” “Will There Still Be Priests in the Year 2000?” These questions I hope also to answer, not with any new theory of my own, but relying on unbroken Catholic Tradition–unbroken, yet so neglected in recent years that to many readers it will seem no doubt like something entirely new.

Comment:

It’s easy to see how Catholics became confused in the immediate aftermath of the Council, but now? Fifty odd years on, surely there must be a  sufficient number of Catholics with intelligence enough to have worked out that something is very wrong – and why. The question is, where are they and what are they doing to end the confusion in their neck of the woods… And, in a spirit of true Christian charity, is there any way in which we can help them?  If you are a modern Catholic, tell us about your confusion – we’re looking forward to hearing from you! 

SSPX on ‘Cowards Behind Computers’ …

The following article entitled Father X Takes Issue With Father SSPX-X  is taken from The Remnant website: 

On February 16, just two days after the Church observed the Feast of Saint Valentine, who was known for his kind gestures and notes, a rather unkind anonymous post appeared on the SSPX U.S.A. website, criticizing of all things anonymous posts on websites, among other things, such as the anti-Francis posters that appeared on many streets throughout Rome last week:

An excerpt from the SSPX website appears below:

“Further, and as we have touched on before, we cannot support this passive-aggressive and disrespectful method of “correcting” the Sovereign Pontiff. While privacy and confidentiality are not without their place, hiding behind a computer screen has, unfortunately, become an accepted method of public discourse. Letters sent without signatures, anonymous emails, and posts on websites using pseudonyms are not done by men of fortitude and conviction in the truth. They are the acts of cowards, who like the mythological figure Eris, only seek to attain their goals – however noble they may be – through chaos.”

Beyond the amusing irony of an anonymous poster denouncing anonymous posts, as an anonymous poster myself I take issue with the anonymous poster, whom we will refer to hereafter as SSPX-X.

In my experience there are two groups of people highly critical of anonymous criticism or correction: those who wield power tyrannically and those who are protected or immune from the power of the tyrant. In the case of Francis of Rome, it is manifestly the case that this man wields his crosier like a club. If you doubt this, ask the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate or Cardinal Raymond Burke or anyone else who has been the object of his papal tirades and insults—to include traditional Catholics. 

With regard to those who are protected or immune from the power of the tyrant, to a degree this applies to the Society of Saint Pius X. Even though—and precisely because—they are regarded as irregular by the Vatican authorities and mainstream Church, this has put them in a position to stand in private and public opposition to the aberrations of the Vatican II era Church with relative impunity. After all, what Society priest would be suspended or laicized by superiors for criticizing Vatican II or any heterodoxy. On the other hand, what diocesan cleric dares speak publicly about the same without a realistic fear of suspension, or far worse?

It is my hope that the criticisms of SSPX-X are not widespread within the Society and do not represent an official position of the Society, even though the post appears on the Society webpage. Many anonymous bloggers and authors within the broad spectrum of tradition are strong supporters of the SSPX, including many or most of us here at The Remnant. And while still supporting the SSPX, many of us are gravely concerned about the impending regularization of the Society with Rome, under a papal regime that is transparently tyrannical, heretical and unprecedented in Church history.

The atypical silence of the Society over the constant outrages of Francis in the months leading up to a possible regularization with Rome does not bode well for the future, for the Society itself and for tradition as a whole. If the price to pay for regularization is silence now, the cost to remain will be the same. Then, my friend SSPX-X, you will find out what it is like to fight in the trenches of tradition and keep your head down from enemy fire.  Source

Father X

Published in Fetzen Fliegen

Is ‘Tradition, Family, Property’ A Cult?

On September 8, 2008 the American Tradition, Family, Property (TFP openly and unashamedly defended traditional marriage at the University of California – Berkeley.  For this (and similar protests, e.g. against abortion) they are to be warmly commended – Editor. 

However, there are some concerns about the TFP – an organisation we’ve never discussed on this blog. Seems its hour has come! Here’s why…

One person, a gentleman and long time reader of Catholic Truth,  took offence during our recent Conference, angry that one of the speakers warned against trusting organisations such as Britain Needs Fatima (BNF) and America Needs Fatima (ANF), because they do not give the full truth about Fatima.  This, as a quick scan of the ANF (BNF) website reveals, is absolutely true.  Check out their “Campaigns” list and there is no appeal to the Pope either carry out the Consecration of Russia in the manner prescribed by Our Lady, or to reveal the full text of the Third Secret.  

I’ve exchanged emails with this gentleman in the past few days, trying (unsuccessfully) to convince him that his anger is misplaced, that it is evident from their own website, that the ANF group is misleading people, but he’s having none of it.   It turns out that he is a devoted adherent of the Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) group, and the America/Britain Needs Fatima groups are run by the TFP  – he will not hear a word of criticism against them, so that got me wondering, asking around, checking online, and I found that there is a school of thought out there which considers the TFP to be a cross between a cult and a secret society.  

In one of his emails, this gentleman referred to “false rights” so I asked him to explain and possibly give an example:  “The Revolution knows that there will always be a reaction by some of the better elements in public opinion to what it is doing, so it prepares a person or group to divert the good reaction into a false solution…[one of these false solutions] is Cardinal Cassaroli [who] was deliberately against tradition and the interests of the Church. [Another] is Marcel Lefebvre.  I stress that this is my opinion, I could be mistaken, but looking at the circumstances and the ‘fruit’ [of the SSPX], I don’t think I am…”

Applying the concept of “false rights” to the Fatima Message, my correspondent adds: Most “false rights like to put most of the burden of Fatima on the pope, and not fight the cultural Marxism which surrounds and pervades our society, making the coming chastisement inevitable.”  

This appears to be saying that the fulfilment of the Fatima Message is reliant on our actions to overcome the prevailing Godless culture.  But that’s not what Our Lady said. She “put the burden on the pope”, to carry out her requests to consecrate Russia in the prescribed manner thus winning the promised period of world peace, and to publish the full text of the Third Secret. 

So, what about the TFP group: they do wonderful work in protesting immorality in various ways and the young TFP men – like those featured in the above video – are to be admired and congratulated on their courage.  Are the critics of the TFP wrong then?  IS the TFP a cult – or is it a valuable apostolate, helping to fight to restore Catholic morality in western secular societies? 

Comments invited…  

Latest Craziness: “Ashes To Go”!

Two churches in the north-east of England will take to the streets on Ash Wednesday, encouraging people to repent and return to God.

080206-N-7869M-057 Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2008) Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Released)

On Wednesday St Mary’s Catholic church and Sunderland Minster, an Anglican church, will be working together to offer “Ashes to Go” – a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition.

The initiative will take place around Sunderland city centre beginning with a 10am service in the Minster Church of St Michael and All Angels and St Benedict Biscop, after which two local bishops and other Church leaders will enter the city’s streets and the Bridges Shopping Centre to mark the foreheads of interested passersby with ashes.

They will invite them to turn away from the past and seek God’s forgiveness and renewal.

“Ashes to Go” will end with Mass at 12.05pm in St Mary’s church.

The bishops taking part are Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle and the Anglican Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler.

Fr Marc Lyden-Smith, parish priest of St Mary’s and chaplain to Sunderland AFC, said: “This will be a tremendous witness in our city, with Catholics and Anglicans working together to start the season of Lent, perhaps reminding those who have fallen away from the Church, or have never been before, that the Christian faith is alive and active in Sunderland.”

He added: “I hope it will remind everyone that we have a loving and Merciful God, who welcomes all no matter what.” Source

Comments invited – from those who can keep a straight face… 

Pope Paul VI Enthusiastic About The Spirit of Novelty Within the Church

PopePaulVI3

Reader, Jim Paton from Perth, submitted the following extract from the text of the General Audience of Pope Paul VI on 2nd July, 1969. It is not available in English on the Vatican website, but you can read the original text by clicking on the photo of Paul VI. All emphases have been added by Jim, and all commentary below is from Jim in blue type.
We look forward to reading your thoughts on this rather startling speech from a pontiff due to be beatified in October. 

“Beloved Sons and Daughters!

We want to welcome the great words of the Council, those that define the spirit, and in summary form the dynamic mentality of many, inside and outside the Church, at the Council relate. One of these words is that of novelty. It’s a simple word, much used, very sympathetic to the men of our time. Flow in the religious field is wonderfully fertile, but poorly understood, it can become explosive. But it is the word that was given to us as an order, such as a program. Indeed there has been billed as a hope. It is a word bounced down to us from the pages of Scripture: “Behold, (saith the Lord). I will do new things “; is the Prophet Isaiah that speaks well; he echoed St. Paul (2 Cor. 5, 17), and then the Book of Revelation: “Behold, I am making all things” (21,5). And Jesus, Master, it is not himself an innovator? “Ye have heard that which was said to the ancients. . . But I tell you. .” (Mt. 5), he repeats in the Sermon on the Mount. The baptism, the beginning of the Christian life, it is not itself a regeneration? “We must walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6: 4). And so the whole tradition of Christianity, tending towards its perfection; it continually takes the concept of novelty, when he speaks of conversion, reform of ‘ascetic perfection. Christianity is like a tree, always in the spring, in the process of new flowers, new fruits; is a dynamic concept, it is an inexhaustible vitality, is a beauty.

 [Jim: I have never seen Scripture twisted like this before. This is diabolical]

A NEW SPIRIT

And the Council has presented us so. Two terms have qualified; renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 8 in the end; OptatamTotius, introd.), and update; this term, which Pope John gave free course, and was now in the current language, and not only in Italy (cf. AAS, 1963,p. 750); two words that speak of novelty; one referring to the field rather than inner spiritual; the other to the outer, canon, institutional. Our concern is very much that this “spirit of renewal”  (that’s how it is expressed by the Council: Optatam Totius, in the end) is to be all inclusive and kept alive. It responds salient aspect of our time, which is all in rapid and massive transformation, that is in the process of producing innovations in every area of ​​modern life. It rises spontaneously in the mind of the comparison: the whole world is changing, and religion is not?   It does not occur between the reality of life and Christianity, especially the Catholic one, a discrepancy, a detachment,mutual misunderstanding, mutual hostility, one runs, the other is still: how can they get along? how can it claim Christianity to influence life today?  And here is the reason of the reforms undertaken by the Church, especially after the Council; here is the Episcopate intent to promote the renewal corresponding to the needs of the present   (cf. Message to the Clergy of the Episcopate Trentino and South Tyrolean, 1967);   here is the Religious Orders ready to reform their statutes; here is the Catholic Laity qualify and articulate to the laws ecclesiastical; here is the liturgical reform, which everyone knows the extent and importance; here is the Christian education to re-examine its methods of pedagogy; behold, all the canonical legislation under review for renewal. And how many more consoling and promising new sprout in the Church in order to certify the new vitality, that even in these years so gory for religion demonstrates the continuous animation of the Holy Spirit! The development of ecumenism, guided by faith and charity alone is enough to score a progress almost unpredictable in the street and in the life of the Church. The hope, which is the Church’s gaze towards the future, fills his heart, and he says even as he throbs in new and loving waiting. The Church is not old, it is old; time is not the fold, and, if it is faithful to the principles of intrinsic and extrinsic his mysterious existence, the rejuvenated. It does not fear new; live by it. As a safe and fruitful tree by the root,it draws to itself every cycle its historic spring.”    Paul VI, General Audience of July 2, 1969. Source: Vatican Website

Comment

Along with the above, it might be worth mentioning, as it names Paul VI, the encyclical Redemptor Hominis (Pope John Paul II);  Article 3 states the following:

“Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council, which John XXIII convened and opened and which was later successfully concluded and perseveringly put into effect by Paul VI, whose activity I was myself able to watch from close at hand.”

If it was unknown previously, then it it doesn’t belong to the deposit of faith. If it doesn’t belong to the deposit of faith then we can be assured that it isn’t the Spirit of truth that to which Pope John Paul II was entrusting himself. Further, the Popes have no mandate to teach this since it is novelty, which means that the faithful do not need to follow the new teachings of these men.

One other thing: where  Paul VI says “here is the Episcopate intent to promote the renewal corresponding to the needs of the present”  this goes against the perennial teachings of the Church, e.g.

“To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a “foundation may be laid of a new human institution,” and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing “may become a human church.”   [Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832]

Restoring Tradition: Reasons For Hope…

Image

That today there are Catholics denominated “traditionalist” is a development unexampled in the entire previous history of the Catholic Church. Even at the height of the Arian crisis—the closest analogue to our situation—the Church was not divided between traditionalists and non-traditionalists, but rather between those who had not embraced the heresy of Arius and those who had.

But what exactly is a traditionalist? A look back at the way things once were might convey the meaning of the term more effectively than the usual attempts at a formal definition:  Click here or on the picture to read more – also, if you find that you experience any difficulty in opening the link, it is reproduced in first comment below.

Comment

I was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of one of our staunchest supporters, a long time reader of Catholic Truth, who is so deeply upset by all that is happening in the Church, crunch time being the recent “canonisations” , that he is now wondering if he should question the very existence of God.

What can we say to help him?  I told him that what keeps me going is (a) that this diabolical disorientation was foretold (Quito and Fatima = diabolical disorientation) and (b) that we must cultivate the mindset that we are, in fact, privileged souls to have the opportunity to exercise real faith in this time of crisis, and, hopefully, play some part in restoring Catholic Tradition.  What would you say to encourage him not to lose heart and faith?

“The Francis Effect” – An Overview…

ImageChristopher Ferrara, the well known American Catholic lawyer and commentator on the crisis in the Church,  has written a devastating critique of the pontificate of Pope Francis to date “lest the true teaching of the Magisterium be lost in all the confusion” (resulting from Pope Francis’ statements). The essays were published over a period of a week on the Remnant website. We decided to place them on the record here, although there’s really nothing new. Still, reading this overview,  seeing the scandalous quotes from Pope Francis all in one place, will come as something of a shock to the most hardened blogger so feel free to comment… after you pick yourself up off the floor.

The Francis Effect: A Gathering Storm…

The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres… churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. (Our Lady of Akita, October 13, 1973)

 Introduction

On March 9, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s foremost Catholic prelate, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and commented as follows on the “coming out” of a “gay” college football star:

Good for himI would have no sense of judgment on him…. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, “Bravo.”

“No sense of judgment…. Bravo.” That is how a Prince of Church in the Year of Our Lord 2014 reacts to a celebrity’s announcement that he engages in unspeakable acts—“men with men, working that which is filthy (Romans 1:26)”—acts that cry out to heaven for vengeance, as Churchmen used to teach before the “opening to the world” at Vatican II. Here we see the vast ripple effect of the “who am I to judge?” mantra that Pope Francis launched into the collective consciousness of humanity by going out of his way to speak to reporters about homosexuals in the hierarchy at “a surprise news conference” they had not even requested. The “Francis effect” is disarming prelates and priests alike. It threatens to disarm us as well, unless we take a stand against what is happening.

As Pope Leo XIII, citing his predecessor Felix III, teaches: “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed.” (Inimica Vis [1892]). That is why this article has been written. For the bad news concerning this pontificate shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, it seems to worsen by the day. This lengthy piece will consider troubling developments that occurred in rapid succession during a span of less than three weeks: from February 14 to March 5. I felt compelled in conscience to write it because I must agree with what the prominent moral theologian German Grisez wrote about this pontificate: “Pope Francis has failed to consider carefully enough the likely consequences of letting loose with his thoughts in a world that will applaud being provided with such help in subverting the truth it is his job to guard as inviolable and proclaim with fidelity.”

My purpose is two-fold: First, to attempt to give an overview of how serious our situation has become. Second, to clarify what is at stake for the Church in the controversies now swirling about Francis, lest the true teaching of the Magisterium be lost in all the confusion. The controversies to be discussed here—all erupting during the three-week period in view—include:

Francis’s apparent endorsement of the neo-Modernist drive to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion via “pastoral solution;”

  His intimations of a “pastoral” relaxation of the teaching of Humane Vitae;

  His apparent opening to “gay marriage” in the form of “civil unions;”

His personal endorsement of the multi-denominational, doctrinally indifferent Protestant “Pentecostal” movement, which Francis gave in a video created for the benefit of a breakaway Anglican “bishop” in that movement;

His continuing disparagement of the traditional liturgy and the growing numbers of the faithful devoted to it, including young people.

I hope in this way to render a service to the readers of this newspaper. Before I present the details, however, I will address a threshold question: Does a Catholic even have a right to publish an article of this sort?  Read Part 1 of The Francis Effect…

 “Let us make no mistake: Satan is right now shaking
the Church to her very foundations over this divorce issue
…”

(Father Brian Harrison, O.S.)

Part II, Continued from Yesterday 
(Read Part I)

A Warning Come True

Immediately after Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope, the Rorate Caeli blog site presented a dire report by an Argentinian journalist, who wrote that as Archbishop of Buenos Aires the Cardinal was a “sworn enemy of the traditional Mass,” that he was “[f]amous for his inconsistency (at times, for the unintelligibility of his addresses and homilies),” that he was “accustomed to the use of coarse, demagogical, and ambiguous expressions,” that he was “loose in doctrine and liturgy,” and that “he has not fought against abortion and only very weakly against homosexual ‘marriage’(approved with practically no opposition from the episcopate)…”

Honesty compels one to admit that every element of this grim assessment has been borne out by the brutal dismantling of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on the Pope’s direct order, and by his astonishing plenitude of disturbing statements and actions during the scant year he has been in office. These include the phrase that will be emblematic of his entire pontificate, which is now appearing on “Who am I to judge?” tee shirts marketed to gay-rights activists and assorted other radical liberals in order to taunt the Church.  Read Part 2 of The Francis Effect…

 “I find that [the Latin Mass] is rather a kind of fashion.
And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention.”…
(Pope Francis)

Part III 
(Continued from Yesterday) 
Read Part I,  Read Part II

Still More Insults for Traditionalists

Pope Francis has publicly insulted faithful traditional Catholics so many times that one wag at CNN has compiled what he callsThe Pope Francis Little Book of Insults.” The insults keep coming.

On February 14, during an audience with Bishops of the Czech Republic, the Pope was informed of the growing numbers of young people who are attracted to the traditional Latin Mass. Instead of expressing approval of this development as a sign of true renewal in the Church, Francis dismissed the development, stating that “he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it [the Latin Mass].” With amazing condescension he added: “When I search more thoroughly, I find that it is rather a kind of fashion. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.”

It must be said that Francis appears to be guilty of the very fault of which he publicly accuses others: liturgical superficiality, and this to an astonishing degree. In all candor, it is Francis who has not “gone deep” at all but rather rendered the shallowest of judgments on a matter that could not be more profound. How is it possible for a Roman Pontiff to dismiss as “a kind of fashion” the Church’s received and approved rite of divine worship down through the centuries, going back at least to the time of Pope Damasus (r. 366-384), if not to the Apostles themselves, a work of the Holy Ghost that is nothing less than the liturgical foundation of Christian civilization?

If anything is “a kind of fashion” it is the new rite of Mass concocted by committee a mere 45 years ago, which almost immediately collapsed in a welter of previously unthinkable abuses and profanations, including the “Pinocchio Mass” and the “Tango Mass” over which Francis himself presided as Cardinal Bergoglio. How can Francis defend and even participate in what his own predecessor admitted is the “collapse of the liturgy” (Ratzinger, Milestones, p. 148) while disparaging the Mass that nurtured the faith and heroic virtue of legions of saints and inspired the world’s most sublime works of art and architecture and music, including Gregorian and polyphonic chant? Read Part 3 of The Francis Effect…

Part IV of The Francis Effect follows..

While Pope Francis has not altered any Catholic doctrines in his interviews and disquisitions, he is sowing seeds of confusion among the faithful, a high price to pay, even for “skyrocketing” poll numbers”.…   Patrick J. Buchanan

Yet Another Explosive Newspaper Interview

The Pope continues to give free-ranging, explosive interviews to Italian newspapers. The latest edition of this “magisterium” by newspaper is an interview with the editor of Corriere della Sera on March 5. As with all the other interviews, this one contains bombshells whose detonations the world media duly note while the diving bell constituency covers its ears. I will address six key statements from the interview:

First, confirming exactly what Antonio Socci was widely ridiculed for suggesting, Francis explicitly declares that the Church now has two Popes—a reigning Pope and a retired Pope: “The Pope emeritus is not a statue in a museum. It is an institution. We weren’t used to it. 60 or 70 years ago, ‘bishop emeritus’ didn’t exist. It came after the (Second Vatican) Council. Today, it is an institution. The same thing must happen for the Pope emeritus. Benedict is the first and perhaps there will be others.”

Notice that Francis does not say that the other Popes who have resigned in centuries past had this status, for in fact they became cardinals and lost all indices of the papal office. No, this is yet another post-conciliar novelty in the Church.   Now, a bishop emeritus is still a bishop because, in receiving the fullness of Holy Orders according to a sacramental formula, including the laying on of hands, he received an indelible mark on his soul that can never be effaced. But a man who ascends to the office of Vicar of Christ does not undergo any such ontological change. So what precisely is Francis suggesting here? Who knows? But one thing is certain: we are witnessing still more confusion about the distinction between one thing and another that has bedeviled the Church since the Council. And confusion in the Church is always a sign of the Adversary at work on her human element.

Second, Francis revealed that he and Pope Emeritus Benedict jointly agreed that Benedict would in effect “come out of retirement” despite his earlier statement that he would remain “hidden from the world.” Said Francis: “We [Benedict and he] have spoken about it and we decided together that it would be better that he sees people, gets out and participates in the life of the Church. He once came here for the blessing of the statue of St. Michael the Archangel, then to lunch at Santa Marta and, after Christmas, I sent him an invitation to participate in the consistory and he accepted. His wisdom is a gift of God. Some would have wished that he retire to a Benedictine abbey far from the Vatican. I thought of grandparents and their wisdom. Their counsels give strength to the family and they do not deserve to be in an elderly home.”

So, as Francis sees it, the newly created Pope Emeritus serves as a kind of consulting Pope to the reigning Pope. But what if the consulting Pope publishes advice that contradicts the reigning Pope—say, in a newspaper interview with Corriere della Sera? Well, what’s a little more confusion in the post-conciliar Church? As Socci has written regarding Francis’s revelations: “The tempests approach.”

Third, taking aim at the Church’s traditional discipline respecting the divorced and remarried, Francis continued his theme that it would be Pharisaical “casuistry” to continue to refuse to admit them to Holy Communion:

There are many separated families in which the project of common life has failed. The children suffer greatly. We must give a response. But for this we must reflect very deeply. It is that which the Consistory and the Synod are doing. We need to avoid remaining on the surface. The temptation to resolve every problem with casuistry is an error, a simplification of profound things, as the Pharisees did, a very superficial theology. It is in light of the deep reflection that we will be able to seriously confront particular situations, also those of the divorced, with a pastoral depth.

In other words, Francis is at least considering a “correction” of the supposedly superficial, Pharisaical theology concerning the divorced and remarried that the Church has always defended. (If not, then what “superficial theology” is he referring to?) This would apparently involve something along the lines suggested by Cardinal Kasper. Francis left no doubt of this during the interview:

Corriere: Why did the speech from Cardinal Walter Kasper during the last consistory (an abyss between doctrine on marriage and the family and the real life of many Christians) so deeply divide the cardinals? How do you think the Church can walk these two years of fatiguing path arriving at a large and serene consensus? If the doctrine is firm, why is debate necessary? [Good question!]

Francis: Cardinal Kasper made a beautiful and profound presentation that will soon be published in German, and he confronted five points; the fifth was that of second marriages. I would have been concerned if in the consistory there wasn’t an intense discussion. It wouldn’t have served for anything. The cardinals knew that they could say what they wanted, and they presented many different points of view that are enriching. The fraternal and open comparisons make theological and pastoral thought grow. I am not afraid of this, actually I seek it.

Fourth, Francis clearly opened the door to “civil unions” as an acceptable legal substitute for civil “marriage” between homosexuals.

Corriere: Many nations have regulated civil unions. Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?

Francis: Marriage is between a man and a woman. Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn’t know how to list the different ways. One needs to see the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.

But there are no “different cases” of “civil unions.” It is only homosexual activists who are promoting them as a compromise on “gay marriage.” Hence the mass media immediately seized on the obvious implication that the Pope has opened the door, at least a crack, to the Church’s acceptance of “gay marriage” so long as it is called “civil union.” As CNN declared, for example: “Pope Francis: Church Could Support Civil Unions.” Meaning, civil unions for “gays,” who are the only ones demanding them.

Given the media storm the Pope’s remark had stirred up, the Vatican issued yet another of its urgent “clarifications” of Pope Francis’s remarks. But the clarification only confirmed the media’s interpretation. Father Thomas Rosica, the English language spokesman for the Holy See Press Office issued this statement:

The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions. In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens…. Pope Francis simply stated the issues and did not interfere with positions held by Episcopal Conferences in various countries dealing with the question of civil unions and same sex marriage.

Just a moment! The state has absolutely no “responsibility toward its citizens” to invent civil unions for sodomites who demand the benefits of marriage. On the contrary, it has a responsibility to forbid such unions for the common good, and Catholics have a duty to oppose them and refuse to cooperate in their implementation. Accordingly, in 2003 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the future Pope Benedict, declared as follows in a document that John Paul II specifically approved and ordered to be published:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. [Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 3 June 2003].

Father Rosica’s “clarification” portends Francis’s disastrous abandonment of this teaching in favor of the local bishops’ conferences that have already caved in on “civil unions.” Then again, it must be said that Father Rosica himself seems to be at sea over what Francis said to Corriere. As he states: “We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms.” Has he not conferred with the Pope on exactly what he meant? Or is Rosica, on his own initiative, engaging in frantic damage control regarding another spontaneous remark Francis uttered without consulting anyone?

Fifth, Francis dropped a thinly shrouded bomb concerning Humanae Vitae, which the interviewer blatantly prompted him to undermine by reference to the infamous Cardinal Martini, who declared in 2008 that “Jesus would never have written Humanae Vitae.” Francis, who has praised Martini as “a prophetic figure” and “a man of discernment and peace,” took the interviewer’s hint:

Corriere: At half a century from Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, can the Church take up again the theme of birth control? Cardinal Martini, your confrere, thought that the moment had come.

Francis: All of this depends on how Humanae Vitae is interpreted. Paul VI himself, at the end, recommended to confessors much mercy, and attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, he had the courage to place himself against the majority, defending the moral discipline, exercising a culture brake, opposing present and future neo-Malthusianism. The question is not that of changing the doctrine but of going deeper and making pastoral (ministry) take into account the situations and that which it is possible for people to do. Also of this we will speak in the path of the synod.

Questions abound:

What does Francis mean by “how Humanae Vitae is interpreted”? There is nothing to interpret: affirming what the Church has taught for all time, the encyclical unequivocally forbids as “intrinsically wrong”—that is, wrong under any circumstance—“any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.”

What does Francis mean by “much mercy”? One of the spiritual acts of mercy is to admonish the sinner. Moreover, the Church has always taught that a sinner cannot be granted absolution absent a firm purpose of amendment: “I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace… to amend my life. Amen.” The Church does not dispense her own “mercy” as a sort of kindly gratuity, but rather obtains Christ’s mercy through the Sacrament of Confession. But the mercy of God’s forgiveness cannot be obtained without a sinner’s repentance. How can priests show “much mercy” respecting the mortal sin of contraception unless a penitent repents of it, vowing not to commit it again?

If, in the name of “mercy,” people were to be excused from the obligation to cease contracepting based on “concrete situations” and what “it is possible for people to do,” what mortal sin would not be excusable on those grounds? How does this not represent the threat of a total collapse of the Church’s moral edifice within the confessional?

On the other hand, if Francis is not suggesting that confessors allow for the sin of contraception out of “mercy,” what does he mean, and what exactly does he have in mind when he says “also of this we will speak in the path of the synod.”

Sixth: Pursuing his vision of a “synodal” Catholic Church and a “conversion of the papacy” in line with Orthodox theology (cf. Evangelii gaudium, n. 246) the Pope told Corriere that “Orthodox theology is very rich. And I believe that they have great theologians at this moment. Their vision of the Church and of synodality is marvelous.”

Consider: With the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X suddenly back in the “schism” penalty box, even though they affirm the Pope’s authority and indeed appeal to it for an end to the crisis in the Church, Francis looks to the theology of true schismatics for a “marvelous” “vision of the Church” premised precisely on denial of the Pope’s authority! Moreover, “marvelous” Orthodox synodality involves autocephalous national churches, which, if applied to the Catholic Church, would mean the destruction of her very unity, if that were possible. No further comment is necessary.

Conclusion

When Pope John XXII gave his errant sermons on the Beatific Vision 700 years ago, he encountered fierce public opposition until he retracted his error, even though the sermons were heard by few and were probably completely unknown to the vast majority of Catholics. Some 700 years later, the statements of a Pope become known to the entire world within hours of their utterance and are amplified and repeated with enormous impact by the global mass media. Today, we are witnessing almost daily scandal provoked by a Pope who has rocked the Church and delighted the Church’s enemies, not with a single erring opinion, but with a cascade of disturbing remarks and suggested radical innovations the media exploit to attack the very foundations of the Faith, followed by frantic attempts at “clarification” by the Vatican Press Office. This has been going on almost from the moment Pope Francis said “Good evening” on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica a year ago, and it has only gotten worse.

In the mere three weeks covered by this article, the Pope has managed to do and say enough to suggest what Roberto de Mattei called “a cultural revolution proposed in the name of praxis,” speaking only of Cardinal Kasper’s stunning advocacy of de facto Church approval of divorce and remarriage in an address Francis solicited and then praised as beautiful and profound. Yet in the midst of the booming explosions Francis has been setting off to the world’s rapturous applause—one after another in seemingly endless succession—the diving bell constituency continues to insist that we ignore the thunderous noise emanating from Rome, act as if all is well with the papacy, and continue to blame the bishops alone for everything that has gone wrong in the Church since Vatican II.

It is time for Catholics to unite in recognizing that the post-conciliar crisis began with, and is being perpetuated by, acts and omissions of the conciliar Popes, and that it will end only when some Pope—please God, this one—finally acts decisively to steer the Barque of Peter back to the course from which it deviated nearly half a century ago. It is time to stop pretending that the Pope’s subordinates are solely to blame for what the Pope has done, authorized, or tolerated for decades. This pretense has inflicted immense harm upon the Body of Christ because it effectively dispenses with the essential role of the Pope as supreme ruler of the Church, who is ultimately responsible for her state, and discourages the faithful from exercising their right to protest publicly the consequences of papal misrule, which the Church’s enemies are left free publicly to praise and promote.

Pope Benedict’s liberation of the traditional Mass, which immediately launched a worldwide movement for its restoration, is but one indication of the Roman Pontiff’s singular power to renew and reform a Church undergoing the deepest of crises. Pope Francis, however, is seemingly intent on disparaging, if not halting, that liturgical revival and dragging the Church back to the liturgical, theological, and pastoral tumult of the 1970s—with the threat of even more unheard-of novelties to come. To continue to insist on the ridiculous proposition that the Pope Francis must not be criticized in public in the midst of public scandals of worldwide magnitude provoked by Francis himself, is nothing less than to become complicit in accelerating the ecclesial auto-demolition Pope Benedict at least attempted to arrest. What Pope Francis is doing and saying publicly to the Church’s detriment must be opposed, just as publicly, by loyal Catholics who love the Church and cannot bear to see the spotless Bride of Christ humiliated before a gloating world.

Yet not a word of this article has been written against the person of Pope Francis. Like the late Dr. Palmaro, whom the Pope thanked for his severe public criticism in a newspaper, we do not “judge the Pope as a human person. We distinguish the action from the person.” Indeed, we ought to presume that Francis is well-intentioned; or even perhaps that his deliberation, focus and sense of restraint are somewhat compromised, as would be natural with anyone of his advanced age. But this does not change the objective signification of the words Francis utters, or their dangerous ambiguity, or the confusion and division they have caused. Nor can even the best of intentions avoid the damage Francis is unquestionably inflicting on the Church’s divinely mandated witness against the errors of this world.

Four years before his death in 1977, the great Dietrich von Hildebrand, hailed by Pope Pius XII as atwentieth century doctor of the Church,” wrote that “the poison of our epoch is slowly seeping into the Church herself, and many have failed to see the apocalyptic decline of our time.” (The Devastated Vineyard, p. 75). Forty years later the poison of our epoch has penetrated into nearly every corner of the Church. Now there is almost a palpable sense that time is running out, that the Church’s human element is surrendering almost entirely to the spirit of the age, that the apocalyptic decline of our time has reached a depth that presages divine chastisement.

By now it should be self-evident to any Catholic who understands the nature of the Church that only the Pope has the power to avert what is coming, and that therefore it is the height of folly to pretend that only the Pope is immune from criticism concerning the disastrous misrule of the Church over the past half-century. At this turning point in salvation history, when virtually every word and deed of the Pope is a matter for worldwide discussion, no Catholic worthy of the name should be counseling silence about what is happening in the See of Peter. To remain silent, to refrain from expressing our conscientious opposition, is to refuse to dispel scandal among our brethren when we have the obligation and the means to do so, and to allow them, and ultimately ourselves, to succumb to the reigning confusion, which has led to nothing less than mass apostasy.

There will be no such silence on these pages. There never has been. For silence in the face of grave harm to the Bride of Christ is not the Catholic way, especially when that harm results from the notorious public conduct of a Pope. May Our Lady of Fatima, to whom Pope Francis’s pontificate is consecrated, intercede for us, illumine the Pope, and deliver the Church from the peril to which her own leaders have exposed her.  Source