Millenial International. A worthy and charitable endeavor? Check this out Snowflake!
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)… – Elton John
Millenial International. A worthy and charitable endeavor? Check this out Snowflake!
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad (so sad)… – Elton John
The Catholic Herald reports today that:
“The US bishops’ conference has announced that Fr Thomas Weinandy has resigned as an advisor to their Committee on Doctrine after he published a letter strongly critical of Pope Francis.”
Here is the letter:
July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.
Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.
First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that. The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching. As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this? Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.
I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.
Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.
Sincerely in Christ,
Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.
Another U.S. theologian bites the dust. But, at least he got his “Parthian shot” off and sent the arrow home! May it cause much discomfort to the unbelieving cabal within the USCCB and the Vatican! It is the grain of sand that causes the oyster to bring forth a pearl!
From Father Z’s Blog:
My friend Fr. Jay Finelli let me know a while ago that Bishop of Worcester has granted canonical status to the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, MA. He has this on his site:
Congratulations to my dear friends, The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, Massachusetts. On 27 October, the Most Rev. Robert J. McManus granted them canonical status as a Public Association of the Faithful.
This is big news! I want to get to the bottom of what really happened to Father Leonard Feeney. Chicanery at the highest levels I suspect! There is something rotten in the city of Brighton! (now Braintree – if ya catch my drift!)
By Allan Gillis
What a wonderful experience for an old “rad-trad grump”! I flew down to Pittsburgh Friday morning, picked up my rental car and drove southwest to the cozy little hamlet of Weirton, West Virginia. There the folks at The Remnant Newspaper had assembled a great stable of Catholic writers and speakers. The theme seemed essentially to be a look at Fatima, 100 years later… in light of the current Church crisis. Very, very interesting stuff!
I’m not going to write a play-by-play as I know I wouldn’t do justice to many of the speakers. You can subscribe to (and I encourage you to!) the online recorded talks given. See their website: www.remnantnewspaper.com
Let me just share briefly my impressions of some people and some ideas of mine as to the experience.
I met Michael Matt and he is a dynamo. Clearly very passionate about his faith (our faith) and clearly a dedicated and loving dad. Many of his brood were there in different roles i.e. greeting conferees, audio/visual technical help and various logistical tasks. The kids in turn seemed to be surrounded by a friendly warren of same-aged kids helping out. It was real nice seeing the younger folk taking part in this conference! Let me be emphatic here; there were a good 20% of the attendees under the age of 40 years old! It wasn’t just us old farts!
I made a point of meeting Chris Ferrara. Gracious and witty! Sharp tongue and pen! A riot of a man.
John Rao … a towering intellect and quite well-read.
Elizabeth Yore… wielding a stinging pen and a rather humorous, righteous indignation.
It seems that this group meets yearly. But, it had an aura of “newness” about it. I did take a random look online at several websites that reported on the same conference of years gone by and the accompanying photos showed far, far fewer people there in the past. So, take my word for it – this thing is growing exponentially!
It felt so nice to be around a few hundred people that saw the world and the Church in a similar way as I do. I fight a degree of skepticism as I grow older. I feel sometimes frightened by the rapidity of decay in the culture. Our civilization is on fire. The Devil is waxing bold. I worry about my children and grandchildren. What will become of them? Will they be able to build and hold onto a faith in Jesus Christ? Will they cleave to truth? …or slide under the mud of the mundane or slowly rot with the dis-believing soul-dead? My task is to pray them into Heaven and set an example of holiness, honesty and self-sacrifice. I found many, many others at this conference that have the exact same sense! It felt nice.
There was a Extraordinary-Form Mass all three days (2 on Sunday!) just down the road in a BEAUTIFUL old Catholic church! Delightful! Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated Friday evening’s Mass in Steubenville (10-15 minutes west of Weirton) at St.Peter’s
Here are a few photos from St.Peter’s website in Steubenville (click to enlarge):
the gorgeous altar:
the incredible schola:
I salute the whole team at The Remnant and shall endeavor to wrestle out on my keyboard a few issues that I faced and ideas that I had at the conference.
One thing that really occurs to me is that we traditionalists must be scaring the shit out of some of these unbelieving bishops across Europe and these United States. As Bishop Schneider said: “thank God for the internet”! We’re successfully connecting with, communicating with and continually encouraging one another in the faith and ancient traditions of Holy Mother Church. Modernism be damned!
Ave Maria, Ora Pro Nobis!
Bergoglio’s “Lunch of Solidarity” proves to be an opportunity to dodge justice for two Italian criminals.
Nice goin’ Jorge’! The Catholic News Agency reports:
.- They were supposed to be having lunch with Pope Francis. By Mary Rezac
During his Oct. 1 trip to Bologna, the Holy Father was scheduled to dine with 20 prisoners from a local drug rehabilitation facility, along with refugees and the poor of the area, during a “Lunch of Solidarity” at San Petronio Basilica.
Instead, two of the Italian prisoners shirked their invitation for what they saw as a prime opportunity for escape.
According to Bologna newspaper Il Resto del Carlino, the prisoners escaped sometime during the hour, though it is unclear whether they first ate lunch.
They have yet to be found.
Pope Francis regularly includes prisoners in his trips and events, including washing the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday and holding a Jubilee Mass for prisoners at the Vatican last year.
check this out from Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Reporter!
(I urge you to check out the original story : http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/hungary-hosts-first-ever-government-hosted-conference-for-persecuted-christ
since they have some great photos accompanying the article!)
Oct. 14, 2017
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán opens conference by calling on nations, particularly in Europe, to cast aside political correctness, stand up against Christian persecution, and defend the roots of Christian civilization.
It is time for Europe to free itself from the shackles of political correctness, speak the truth, and face the facts about the violent persecution of Christians, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday.
In a hard-hitting speech delivered at the opening of the first major conference ever held by a government in support of persecuted Christians, Orbán said that the “forced expulsion” of Christians from parts of the Middle East and Africa are “crimes” against the people and communities concerned that also “threaten our European values.”
“The world should understand that what is at stake today is nothing less than the future of the European way of life, and of our identity,” he told the delegates in Budapest.
Over 300 participants from 30 countries, including Christian leaders and representatives from think tanks and charities, gathered for the Oct. 11-13 international consultation on Christian persecution — “Finding the Appropriate Answers to a Long Neglected Crisis.”
The Hungarian leader, who has been an outspoken defender of Christian values in Europe — and has suffered a backlash from the European Union and others as a result — said it is time to “liberate” the issue from the “shackles of political correctness and human rights incantations which conflate everything with everything else.”
Rather, he said, we are “duty bound” to use facts and “straight-forward language” in describing these events and to “identify the dangers that threaten us.” Four out of five persecuted people are Christians, Orbán noted, and the religion is the most persecuted in the world today, yet the international media gives it “little coverage.”
Furthermore, he said the “greatest danger” is the “indifferent, apathetic silence of a Europe which denies its Christian roots.” The fate of what is happening in the Middle East should “bring home to Europe” what “may also happen to us” he said, at a time when European governments are pursuing an immigration policy that allows in “dangerous extremists” and will “utterly transform” its culture, ethnicity and Christian identity within a “few generations.”
After centuries of fighting to defend the “whole of Christian Europe,” and having lived under atheistic Communist dictatorships for much of the 20th century, Orbán said it is a “cruel, absurd joke of fate” to be again living as members of a community “under siege.”
But for all these reasons, he said Hungary wishes to be at the forefront of helping persecuted Christians, and referred to the watchman in the Book of Ezekiel to underline its responsibility: “If a watchman sees the enemy approaching and does not sound the alarm, the Lord will hold that watchman accountable for the deaths of those killed as a result of his inaction.”
“Europe is a Christian continent,” he said, “and this is how we want to keep it.”
Orbán highlighted the fact that Hungary, although only a “medium sized European state,” is a “stable country” and unlike many other countries, is therefore in a position to “speak up for persecuted Christians.” But he stressed it’s not just about talking but acting, and he drew attention to some of the initiatives it has taken, in particular being the only government to set up a ministry dedicated to helping persecuted Christians (the Deputy State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians began work last year).
He gave an overview of its achievements so far, which include rebuilding Christian homes, funding scholarships, and resettling displaced Christians. He said he drew attention to these deeds not to “burnish our reputation” (he said the government avoids “doing good things out of calculation, as good deeds must come from the heart, and for the glory of God”) but rather to serve as an example to other countries in the hope they might do likewise.
“When we support the return of persecuted Christians to their homelands, the Hungarian people is fulfilling a mission,” Orbán said, noting that Hungary’s Constitution recognizes “the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood.”
“If we recognize this for ourselves, then we also recognize it for other nations,” he said. Hungarians, he added, want Christian communities returning to their homelands, becoming “forces for the preservation of their own countries, just as, for us, Hungarian Christianity is a force for preservation.”
He closed by urging Europe’s politicians “to cast aside politically correct modes of speech” and “human rights-induced caution” and instead “do everything within their power for persecuted Christians.”
Open Eyes of Europe
The two day conference featured a wide variety of speakers who underlined a number of common themes: that Christian communities in the Middle East are on the brink of extinction; that the West is showing a lamentable amount of attention and concern to their plight (but which they often give to other persecuted groups instead); and the need to give aid directly to those affected through the churches so Christians can remain, be resettled, and rebuild their homes and lives.
All the foreign speakers heaped praise on Hungary for stepping up to the plate and offering tangible help specifically for Christians.
The president of the Hungarian bishops’ conference, Bishop Andràs Veres of Györ, highlighted Hungary’s own history of suffering in defense of the faith which has given “compassion in our own hearts” and admiration for the “courage” of today’s persecuted Christians.
Zoltán Balog, minister for Human Capacities who runs the ministry for persecuted Christians, said loving others does not mean covering up the truth nor failing to express it. Drawing attention to the plight of Christians, and the work his ministry is doing, is vital to “open the eyes of people in Europe,” he said.
“We Hungarians were sentenced to death many times, Hungary was told it was going to disappear, but we learned to swim against the tide, and today we need to swim together” in order to “advance,” he said.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, in a message delivered by Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, expressed “heartfelt thanks” to the Hungarian government for the help they have received in this “tragic situation” (he noted, for example, its donation of $2.4 million to support 1,000 families to return to the predominantly Christian Iraqi city of Teleskof that was overrun by ISIS in 2014).
He noted the drastic decline of Iraqi Christians, from 1.5 million in 2003 to less than 500,000 today. He also warned that a Sept. 25 referendum in which 90 percent of Kurds in northern Iraq voted to secede from Iraq has “accelerated tensions” between Iraqis and Kurds, leading to “the drums of war.”
If it leads to a new military conflict, he said, “the consequences will be a disaster for all and minorities will pay the highest price.” He foresaw for certain “another exodus of Christians” if that happened, adding he could see “no guarantees” to stop the “vanishing of an innocent and peaceful people, violently forced from their homeland because of their faith.”
But Archbishop Warda was more optimistic, telling the Register later that he believed all these political disputes can be resolved, and it now could even be “the time to resolve them for good.”
“We are fed up with crisis after crisis,” he said, adding that he and other Church leaders have been imploring the politicians to dialogue. If these issue are indefinitely postponed, “it’s not healthy,” he said.
In his speech, Patriarch Sako called on the international community to help, especially the U.S. which has a particular “moral responsibility,” and highlighted the importance of education; security and stability in liberated areas; humanitarian assistance; and the dismantling of fundamentalist ideologies.
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said there was a “real danger” Christianity could just become a “museum” in the Middle East, noting that Iraq has lost 80-90% of its Christian population, and Syria, 40-45%. Christianity might be growing worldwide, he said, but where it is uprooted, it’s not always easy to replant a tree in new soil.
And if the West really cared about them, he added, “they would try to do something,” which is why he greatly appreciated Hungary’s efforts. Instead, he said the international community seems more concerned about protecting “species of vegetables.”
“I’m sorry to be very blunt but this is how we feel,” he said. “We’re being killed by groups sometimes supported by Western powers … and the international community overlooks what they’re doing.”
Avoid the “Three Ps”
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan stressed that Middle East Christians are not an “imported” but indigenous people who have lived there for millennia. He urged those who have a “voice on the international scene” to avoid “three Ps”: Paternalism (looking on them as if they’re very young and need to go through what the West went through in the Middle Ages); Profitism (viewing the region as a place to exploit); and Panderism (pandering to Islam and Muslim countries).
As with many other speakers from the Middle East, he said he felt “betrayed and abandoned” by the West. When he gives a speech, the Patriarch said it is as though he has to “stand up to be seen, speak loud to be heard, and shut up to be appreciated.”
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, highlighted how, in Syria, Russian troops have been protecting churches, setting up security zones, and working with the Vatican and Lebanon to get the UN Human Rights Council to support the rights of Christians in the Middle East. The “time has come,” he said, for Christians to unite and “rebuff the misanthropic ideology of extremism.”
He later told the Register he agreed with Orbán that it is important to “name things the way they are,” adding he was glad to see an EU politician willing to go “contrary to trends of political correctness and say what he thinks.”
He also agreed with Orbán’s warnings to Europe, saying its general immigration policy “is very short sighted and in the long run it may bring disastrous results for European identity.” A Europe which denies its own Christian identity and roots “will be destined to annihilation,” Metropolitan Hilarion predicted. “If Europe officially denies Christ and Christianity, in a few generations there will be other people living in Europe professing other faiths.”
In a message read out to the conference, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said the scale of Christian persecution “is not widely appreciated” and being a Christian has “never been as dangerous as it is today.” As Christians “we’re called to take a stand for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said.
American Steve Rasche, director of the Nineveh Reconstruction Project based in Erbil, gave an overview of the reconstruction efforts and fully endorsed Hungary’s approach of direct investment through churches — a common sense approach, he said, as opposed to giving aid through governments and the UN which “stands common sense on its head.”
He said he has testified on behalf of Iraq’s Christians in congress, the UK parliament and elsewhere but “we’re still waiting” for a response. “Taking this action has not been easy for Hungary, it’s created much talk in the EU, but talk is all we’ve received from the EU while the people are disappearing,” Rasche said. “Well let them talk. The people of Hungary have acted and the persecuted know who has truly helped them and who has not.”
Nina Shea, senior fellow and director of Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, congratulated Hungary for a “magnificent conference” and for “standing up unapologetically for persecuted Christians.” She called for more governments to imitate Hungary, and criticized the UN for, among other things, “diverting money” away from minorities who have “suffered the most grievously.”
Many expressed disappointment with the Trump administration for not following through with campaign promises. Shea said it needs to stop funneling money through the UN, and also highlighted a bureaucratic “cold indifference” or “dislike of Christians” among some staff, many of whom were appointed during the Obama presidency. What is needed are “right political appointees,” Shea told the Register, and for Trump to “issue directives to his cabinet.” She said she is “bewildered” that after nine months since Trump took office, “things have not changed.”
Father Benedict Kiely, founder of the charity Nasarean.org for persecuted Christians, said the “jury is really still out” on Trump. “He continually says he’s not a politician but unless he holds to some of his promises, he will be proving he is a politician,” he said. “Time is running out for his promises now to be put into action into defending Christians.
Some signs of hope for greater inter-governmental involvement came on the second day when Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, announced that Hungary and Italy had agreed to join forces to help persecuted Christians. He stressed that Hungary’s willingness to stand up for Christians does not mean “being against others” but that political correctness “doesn’t enable us to speak up and represent the interests of Christians as we would like.”
“How many times do we specifically say the word Christians? Zero,” he said. “We say protect minorities or communities but we dare not talk about protection of Christians. That’s unacceptable.”
“This politically correct hypocrisy has to change,” he said. “We mustn’t use double standards, as if persecution of Christians is the last acceptable form of discrimination.” He added that Hungary would “take up those initiatives where we are able to attract international institutions and get them involved in protecting persecuted Christians and those in need.”
But not all agreed with a tendency at the conference to portray persecuted Christians as victims with a focus on the injustice. Speaking to the Register, Amal Marogy, an Iraqi native now living in England and running the Aradin Charitable Trust, stressed that land, possessions, and property are all “secondary” to what Christians believe is ultimately important: that “faith is the highest and most valuable thing we have in life.” Forgiveness is therefore crucial, she said, and only that way will it be possible to bring healing and bring Muslims to the faith.
Also discussed at the conference was the “Hungary Helps” initiative under which the government’s help for Christians is managed. The program aims to help give people futures in their homelands rather than leaving their community. The idea behind it is not an anti-immigrant one, they stressed, but rather based on their own history. Parliamentary state secretary Bency Rétvári recalled how 800,000 Hungarians were forcibly taken to the far reaches of the Soviet Union and a large number of them never returned. “We’re therefore especially sensitive to people exposed to violence by foreign armed forces,” he said.
Péter Heltai, Hungary Helps’ ambassador-at-large, said the project is also aimed at lifting up and “speaking up” for these minorities “so western countries will listen.” He gave examples of the help Hungary has given, from donating $450,000 to build a new school in Erbil to spending $1.7 million renovating 32 churches in Lebanon.
Tristan Azbej, Hungary’s deputy state secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians, closed the conference by saying many people had congratulated the government on the event, but he said “time will tell” if it is a success, if action is taken on what was discussed.
“This was about sowing seeds that can grow into success, and we hope turn into fruits that will help us to find other governments to help, to solve the problems of persecuted Christians,” he said. He noted it was a pity more political leaders were not present, but that was something they will try to improve on in the future.
He said there isn’t a clash of civilizations but rather a lack of awareness of what is happening, and “our worst problem now: not listening.” Azbej spoke of two crises: the loss of Christian identity due to secularism in the West, and violent persecution in the Middle East and other regions.
He also highlighted the importance of the “Budapest Declaration” — a list of recommendations agreed upon by the conference participants. Among the proposals is to call on governments to implement long term solutions to end the persecution of Christians.
“It’s not a political document imposed on others,” Azbej said, “but a message to persecuted Christians saying: you brothers and sisters are not alone, we’re listening to you and we’ll take your concerns to the international organizations.”
“It’s time to act, to listen to the voices of those in need,” the Hungarian official said. “At the beginning we greeted you with the words that God brought you to Hungary… May God be with us on the road ahead that we will travel together.”
“Justice and peace”, “community”, “sustainable”, “safety”, “equality”… words loaded with political import these days. How I grimace as I hear or read them. How my skin crawls as I sometimes listen (as a penance) to NPR. Or read something in the NYT – or pretty much anywhere in media these days. The choice of words is often a statement of ideology…I guess it always has been. I am so convinced that the Devil is the father of the political Left. I’m serious.
I came upon this particular months-old story; of which I previously commented and posted upon here in this venue. [ “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2) – July 7 2017 ] The cocaine-fueled gay orgy in the Vatican earlier this year. (the one that we just happen to know about – only God knows how often it has and continues to occur!)
The Church IS IN CRISIS!
Yes we know of times in the past – namely during the Renaissance reign of Pope Pius V, that the scourge of homosexuality ran rampant throughout the culture/church/clergy… but at least then the reigning pontiff took a militant (and public) stance against the wave of sin! Pope Pius V (who was later canonized) didn’t spout any “girly-man” statements such as “who am I to judge?”! Pius kicked ass!
Here’s what “ticked me off” this morning as I re-read an older post on Life Site News:
ROME, May 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pope Francis has appointed radically liberal, pro-homosexual Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
The Holy Father made the appointment on Saturday, according to Vatican Radio.
“We must accompany [gay people] as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open,” he said in a 2006 religious education lecture in Los Angeles. “This means watching ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”
In 2005, as the Vatican deliberated the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to study for the priesthood in the wake of the Church sex abuse scandal, Father Radcliffe said that homosexuality should not bar men from the priesthood, and rather, those who oppose it should be banned.
As a contributor to the 2013 Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics Father Radcliffe said of homosexuality:
How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.
Father Radcliffe often celebrated Mass for the U.K. dissident group Soho Masses Pastoral Council (now renamed the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council).
The priest is also a supporter of the proposal of to allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.
He currently works as director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars at Oxford University, a social justice center.
Social justice is the focus of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI in response to the Vatican II proposal for establishment of a body of the universal Church that would “stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene.”
Read the rest here:
Ave Maria, ora pro nobis !!!
The New Oxford Review published this salient piece last month…
A Pontificate of Mercy — or a Merciless Pontificate?
For the past four-plus years, faithful Catholics have bent over backwards to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt, telling themselves that the Argentine Jesuit means well, that he is a faithful son of the Church, that he — like his immediate predecessors — has an enduring love of Catholicism and Western civilization, even if at times he comes across as ambiguous, contradictory, and intellectually deficient. The NOR, more than most Catholic-oriented journals, has published critical assessments of Francis’s confusing statements, pontifical missteps, muddled theological writings, and misguided initiatives (we have an entire online dossier devoted to this pontificate: http://www.newoxfordreview.org/dossier.jsp?did=dossier-francis). Nevertheless, we have always approached the subject with an eye toward giving Francis the benefit of the doubt. We respect the Petrine ministry and we respect the office, but that presupposes the man elected to that office respects the ministry too. The time has come to offer an unvarnished look at the fruits of this papacy and to suggest that we move beyond giving Francis the so-called benefit of the doubt. Frankly, doubt is no longer an issue. Four-and-a-half years of evidence shows that Francis has fomented division, preached politics over the Gospel, and conducted himself more like a South American strongman than a vicar of Christ.
Leaving aside for now the theological hubbub and ensuing kerfuffle surrounding Francis’s controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (see “Amoris Laetitia: What Is Pope Francis Up To?” by Anthony Giambrone, O.P., June), his accommodation and appeasement of Islam (see “Pope Francis’s Appeasement Plan: Securing a False Peace with Iran” by Timothy D. Lusch, June 2016), his enigmatic comments on shared communion (see “Francis & the Lutherans: Intercommunion Confusion” New Oxford Note, Jan.-Feb. 2016), his serial insults of orthodox Catholics (see “Pope Francis: Put-Down Artist?” New Oxford Note, April 2014), his equivocal statements regarding contraception (see “A Virus, a Crisis” by Monica Migliorino Miller, April 2016), and his willfully vague and confusing comments to reporters at 30,000 feet (see “The Poor Misunderstood Pope?” New Oxford Note, Nov. 2013, and “A Sign of Self-Contradiction,” New Oxford Note, Dec. 2016), let’s simply look at the current state of the Church vis-à-vis Pope Francis and the Bergoglio Vatican.
Longtime Francis watchers will know that, shortly after being elected, the Holy Father gave every indication that, as an outsider, he would “clean house” — ridding the Vatican of bureaucratic excesses, financial scandals, and the horrific sexual immorality among the Roman clergy, late lamented by Pope Benedict XVI. Although Francis has effected some much-needed streamlining of the Holy See’s offices, he has shown himself more intent on removing every last vestige of the St. John Paul II and Benedict eras, up to and including the Church’s commitment to life issues, defense of marriage, and support of believers who suffer persecution.
Add to that, in recent months, Pope Francis has championed Islam as a “religion of peace,” hammered Catholic Poland as a nation of xenophobes, supported the “fake” government-sponsored Catholic church in communist China, floated the idea of ordaining married priests and women deacons, and marginalized conservative prelates who question his pontifical trajectory or uncover inconvenient truths that might cast his ideological allies in an unflattering light.
Let’s look at personnel: Much has been made of the Pope’s ham-fisted treatment of Raymond Cardinal Burke, the U.S.’s premiere canon-law expert. After Burke publicly aired his “conservative” views on divorce and “remarriage” at the 2014 Synod on the Family, Francis summarily removed him as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, where he served as the highest-ranking canon lawyer in the Church, and reassigned (read: demoted) him to the obscure position of patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Earlier this year, Francis removed Burke even from this largely ceremonial post after Burke uncovered the order’s promotion of condom use in Africa. To make a long story short, Pope Francis came down on the side of the condom promoter, Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, over the whistleblower, Cardinal Burke. Not to go unnoticed: Burke was one of the four cardinals who signed the dubia asking the Pope to clarify certain passages in Amoris Laetitia, which Francis has refused to do, either publicly or privately.
There’s more: For four years running, Pope Francis has passed up awarding the red hat to either of the longtime leaders of the archdioceses of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two of the largest sees in the U.S., both of which are traditionally home to cardinals. L.A.’s José Gómez and Philly’s Charles Chaput, appointed to their posts by Pope Benedict, are widely known as faithful, orthodox prelates. Some Vatican watchers have tried to explain this away by citing Francis’s desire for a more diversified College of Cardinals and admitting that — to put it bluntly — the Holy Father doesn’t like Americans.
That might explain why Francis has awarded cardinalates to prelates in obscure sees in far-flung parts of the world that have minuscule Catholic populations (relatively speaking), such as José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán of the diocese of David in Panama, Philippe Ouédraogo of the diocese of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso, Patrick D’Rozario of the diocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Sebastian Koto Khoarai of the diocese of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Charles Bo of the diocese of Yangon in Myanmar, to name a few. But that doesn’t explain why Francis, after appointing Blase Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and Joseph Tobin as archbishop of Newark (New Jersey), immediately raised them to the College of Cardinals.
Francis appointed Cupich to his post in September 2014 and named him a cardinal less than two months later, one day after Cupich’s installation as Chicago’s new archbishop. Francis named Tobin a cardinal in November 2016, just 12 days after appointing him archbishop of Newark. For the record, Newark has never been home to a cardinal, perhaps because a cardinal has always lived eight miles away in Manhattan. According to The New York Times, Tobin “is considered a friend and ally of Pope Francis in a potentially important spot in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States not far from New York City, where Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan has been the face of American Catholicism in the nation’s media capital” (Jan. 6). More recently, the Times contrasted him with Dolan, noting that “Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics” (July 16).
As for Cupich, not only is he an ardent Francis ally, the hyper-liberal National Catholic Reporter (NCR) said his appointment is symbolic of the Pope’s personal involvement in “reorienting the U.S. hierarchy after 35 years of seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” (Sept. 25, 2014). Presumably, NCR, and Pope Francis, would lump Gómez and Chaput in the pile of “seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” — in other words, orthodox in their views of the Church and her teachings. (By the way, it is just silly for NCR to speak of 35 years of conservative appointments, considering the extremely liberal cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Joseph Bernardin of Chicago were appointed during that time and became the two primary kingpins in recommending U.S. bishop appointments. That said, after Bernardin died and Mahony retired, the appointments did get more “conservative.”)
Make no mistake: Francis is politically astute. His modus operandi is to marginalize Benedict’s “conservative, dogmatic” picks and promote his own like-minded ideologues. Francis knows that, if nothing else, his appointees to the College of Cardinals will be hand-picking the next pope, and maybe the one after that. Those whom Francis passes over — the Chaputs and Gómezes of the Church — will be locked out of the conclave. This is the surest way for Francis to promote his legacy for decades to come.
But Francis hasn’t stopped there. Oh no. He has extended his legacy-promoting plan by ridding the Vatican of other Benedict holdouts. In early July, Francis abruptly removed 69-year-old Gerhard Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Müller, whom Benedict appointed to the Church’s chief doctrinal post in 2012, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Pope Francis “did not give him a reason” for his dismissal, “just as he gave no reason for firing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier” (July 19). Müller also told Allgemeine Zeitung that the Pope justified his dismissal by claiming that he “no longer intends to prolong roles in the Curia beyond five years,” and that Müller was the first one to whom this practice has been applied (July 10). It is instructive to note that Müller’s dismissal came on July 2, the exact expiration date of his five-year term, and that prior to that date, it had been customary for the head of the CDF to continue in his post until he resigned or reached the age of retirement, which is 75. Why the change for Cardinal Müller? Francis won’t say, but it bears mention that Müller, serving as the Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog, has been critical of Amoris Laetitia, instead upholding the Church’s traditional teaching on Holy Communion and divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Further, he cannot have won brownie points with Francis by criticizing the Pope’s cult of personality and the accompanying “sanctimonious papolatry” he says is rampant within the Vatican. In a nutshell, it seems that Müller is too “dogmatic” for a Bergoglio Vatican. Francis prefers sycophants in his service.
Are we really supposed to believe that the Pope is going to oust every Vatican prelate at the end of his five-year term? The ever-reliable Vatican watcher Sandro Magister of Italy’s L’Espresso has noted (July 10) that Francis has kept in place other curial officials whose terms have expired. Msgr. Pio Pinto, for example, despite being 76 years old (one year past the mandatory retirement age) and at the end of his five-year term as dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, remains in his position. Pinto, charged by the Pope to revise the annulment process in the Church, is a well-known Francis supporter. And then there’s Argentine cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches, whose second five-year term has expired. He’s still there. Is he a big Francis supporter? Yep, you bet.
The list goes on! Most notably, February 15 of this year brought the end of the second five-year term of one of the Pope’s closest collaborators, 79-year-old Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Coccopalmerio published a book earlier this year defending Amoris Laetitia and promoting unmarried, cohabiting couples receiving Holy Communion. (Cardinal Cupich wrote the foreword to the English-language edition of the book, by the way.) Of course, Coccopalmerio is still in his position, despite his age, despite his double-term expiration, and despite a bizarre drug-sex scandal involving his secretary, Luigi Capozzi. Msgr. Capozzi, a 49-year-old canonist, was arrested by Vatican police this spring after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in the former Palace of the Holy Office — a mere 500 yards away from Francis’s Santa Marta residence. Lord have mercy! Accounts by Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano, which broke the story months after the fact, reported that Capozzi, whom it described as an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” was so high on cocaine when arrested that he had to be hospitalized for detoxification (June 28). Interestingly, Capozzi’s arrest came on the verge of his appointment as a bishop — on the recommendation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who, incidentally, made news in 2014 by emphasizing, in an interview with the Italian Catholic website Rossoporpora, the “positive realities” of homosexual relationships. No, the cardinal hasn’t yet shared his thoughts on the possible “positive realities” of cocaine use.
As of this writing, Capozzi remains Coccopalmerio’s secretary. Further, in follow-up accounts of the coked-up gay orgy, a senior member of the Curia told veteran Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin that homosexual activity among the clergy in Rome has “never been worse” (National Catholic Register, July 8). According to the NOR’s boots-on-the-ground sources in Rome, the Vatican is filled with an active gay subculture that is flourishing under Pope Francis. Why? It just so happens that those who are members of this subculture are the Pope’s most ardent ideological supporters, in a certain sense “friends of Francis.” No wonder he tends to look the other way. (Il Fato Quotidiano reported that Francis knew all about Capozzi’s orgy and arrest, months before the story broke in the news, but has remained silent about it.)
Francis is also hard at work undoing the great pro-life work begun by John Paul II. This May, Francis dismantled and reconstituted the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. He dismissed those, appointed by John Paul and Benedict, who believe abortion is an intrinsic evil, in favor of new members who aren’t so sure. In at least one case, the Pope appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances. Francis began his initiative last November when he released new statutes for the academy that summarily ended the terms of 116 of its 139 members (23 of them were re-appointed). The revised statutes no longer require Francis’s new appointees to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. Among the new appointees who won’t be signing that declaration is Nigel Biggar, a professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford. Biggar has supported legal abortion up to 18 weeks and has expressed qualified support for euthanasia. And this man now represents the Vatican on life issues!
Founded by John Paul II in 1994, the academy is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research in bioethics and Catholic moral theology. It has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on medical ethics, including in-vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia, and abortion. Francis has now expanded the academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment and street violence, giving Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” concept a further watering down.
For those wondering (1) why the Pope has summarily dismissed longtime, faithful, intelligent, and effective pro-life leaders around the world, and (2) why he wants to “refocus” the efforts of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the newly appointed head of the academy provides some insight. In an interview with Cruxnow.com (July 19), Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — a close collaborator and ally of Pope Francis? but of course! — explained that the academy “now aims to be missionary in outlook…in collaboration with believers of other churches and faiths as well as non-believers.” The Pope’s new appointments include two Jews, a Muslim, an Anglican, and a number of those “non-believers.” Paglia went on to criticize the current Catholic pro-life movement, calling it ineffectual. “If I may say so,” he told Cruxnow.com, “there is a certain way of defending life that doesn’t defend it.”
And so, Francis is entrusting the pro-life mission to Archbishop Paglia, who presumes to know more about promoting the pro-life ethic (as redefined by Francis) than those dismissed from the academy, including philosopher Robert Spaemann of Germany, Maria Mercedes Arzú de Wilson of Guatemala, Christine de Marcellus Vollmer of Venezuela, Andrzej Szostek of Poland, Mieczyslaw Grzegocki of Ukraine, Jaroslav Sturma of the Czech Republic, and Etienne Kaboré of Burkina Faso, whom Sandro Magister describes as “perfectly in line with the positions of the African Church on marriage, family, and sexuality, seen at work during the last two synods” (L’Espresso, March 13). These are just some of the dismissed members, but the list illustrates how geographically diversified the former members of the academy were. What all the dismissed members have in common is that they ardently believe in the teachings of the Church on critical life issues. What many of the dismissed members have in common, according to Magister, is that “they have distinguished themselves in publicly criticizing the new moral and practical paradigms that have entered into vogue with the pontificate of Francis.”
Have you noticed a pattern yet?
Interesting, isn’t it? Pope Francis has consistently removed those who dare to try to “dialogue” with him or who publicly criticize his initiatives, his offhand utterances, his publications, or his “moral and practical paradigms.” If you’re tempted to draw parallels between Francis’s managerial playbook and that of your run-of-the-mill 20th-century communist dictator, you wouldn’t be alone. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan made the same comparison, likening the Bergoglio Vatican to the Soviet “regime” under which he was born, where those who didn’t “follow the line of the party” weren’t allowed a voice (LifeSiteNews.com, Dec. 6, 2016).
Certainly, in any institution, a case can be made for removing those in positions of authority who seek to undermine that institution through public words and actions. But it is important to note that, by and large, those who are being “silenced” in the Church of Francis are those who have consistently upheld and defended what the Church has always taught, not those liberal Catholics who have made a career of undermining those teachings in a very public manner.
One last point about personnel, and this one is arguably the most troubling of Pope Francis’s pontifical trajectories. One would think that, given the Pope’s penchant for naming cardinals throughout the world — even in traditionally non-Christian countries — he would readily accept the advice of Joseph Cardinal Zen when it comes to the Church in China. Zen was China’s first cardinal and a key adviser to Pope Benedict regarding China-Vatican détente. But now it seems that Francis is ignoring the longtime advocate of religious liberty in communist China. Back in 2014 Cardinal Zen warned Francis not to visit China, cautioning that he would be manipulated by the government, which controls the “officially recognized” church on the mainland and persecutes the Chinese Catholics who make up the Vatican-aligned “underground” Church. The government-sanctioned church includes illegitimate bishops, three of whom have been excommunicated by the real Church. Nevertheless, Pope Francis disregarded Cardinal Zen’s warning. In an interview with Spanish daily El País, the Pope stated in a very dramatic manner that he would like to go to China, and that he awaits his invitation. “In China, the churches are packed,” he said. “In China they can worship freely” (Jan. 24).
Cardinal Zen knows there’s no truth to the Pope’s statement. The Catholic Church in China — the real Church — remains small and persecuted. In 2016 alone, five “underground” bishops from mainland China who had served time in prison or labor camps died either in prison or from health complications arising from their confinement. In 2016 the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom recommended that China be designated a “country of particular concern,” meaning it is one of the world’s worst violators when it comes to respecting the right to religious liberty. Are we to believe that Francis, the alleged Pope of the peripheries, is unaware of the realities in China, given the advice from Cardinal Zen and the widely available reports issued by international agencies?
In response to the Pope’s inaccuracies, Cardinal Zen said he feared that the Vatican, in its desperation to make a deal with China, would sell out the long-persecuted underground Church, the only legitimate Catholic presence in the communist country. The situation regarding religious liberty in China, Zen has said, is worse today than ever.
And now Pope Francis’s Vatican has indeed made an agreement with the Chinese government. Although Benedict stated that China has no legitimate Catholic bishops’ conference, the Holy See under Francis has given the initiative of choosing bishops to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. This agreement amounts to giving an atheistic government the power to choose bishops for its state-sponsored church.
Cardinal Zen has repeated Benedict’s insistence that no legitimate bishops’ conference exists in mainland China. “The whole thing is fake,” he explained in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana (July 14). “I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops’ conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey.” Francis’s Vatican, continued Zen, is “too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.”
Clearly, Francis has his own ideas, regardless of what Pope Benedict might have said and despite Cardinal Zen’s warnings and the reports of violations of human rights and religious liberty from the international community. Pope Francis will plow determinedly ahead, with his sycophants at his side, just as he has done vis-à-vis his detractors in the hierarchy, even while preaching mercy, mercy, mercy and dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. But where exactly is the mercy for those with whom he disagrees? Where is the dialogue?
To recap: Pope Francis is making deals with the state-sponsored church in communist China, diluting the Church’s pro-life ministry, sidelining his critics in the hierarchy, and looking the other way when it comes to homosexual activity that takes place right under his nose (when those involved happen to be his ardent supporters). He has consistently demonstrated that he rejects orthodox Catholicism, a Catholicism that recognizes and respects the legitimate structures and devotional life of the Church — e.g., the parish, the priesthood, religious life, the liturgy properly celebrated, traditional devotions and devotionals, a faith life built on prayer, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and so on.
A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper and often considered a “mouthpiece” of the papacy, illustrates well Francis’s attitude. The article, penned by Giulio Cirignano, an Italian Scripture scholar, asserts that the “main obstacle” to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is “closure, if not hostility” from bishops and priests. Fr. Cirignano believes that the laity understands and supports Francis’s vision, but those pesky bishops and priests keep getting in the way. Fr. Cirignano charges that “seriously conservative” and “dogmatic” clergymen are unfit for a 21st-century Church. He says, for example, that they hold to an “antiquated image of the priesthood,” one that sees the priest as the “boss” or a “sort of solitary protagonist”; that they are relatively uneducated, their “theological and Biblical preparation is often scarce”; and — wait for it — these “seriously conservative” priests and bishops subscribe to a kind of counterreformation theology that is “lacking the resources of the Word,” is “without a soul,” and has “transformed the impassioned and mysterious adventure of believing into religion,” resulting in a “limpid faith.” Yow!
It’s actually reassuring, assuming Fr. Cirignano is correct, to know that bishops and priests present the greatest obstacle to the implementation of Pope Francis’s program. Further, Fr. Cirignano has unwittingly revealed that the Pope just might be the one who considers himself a “sort of solitary protagonist,” that he is unwilling or unable to be collaborative, to listen to other authentic voices in the Catholic Church.
But we’ll give Francis this: His perseverance in reversing so many of the great strides made during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI is impressive. For Francis, his pontificate has become about his geopolitical agenda, his scattershot efforts at “reform,” the installation of his comrades in high places, and the exercise of his own personal power. The aim of his pontificate seems to be to remake the Church in the idiosyncrasies of Jesuit-trained Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, son of an Italian communist. As Cardinal Zen said, “Now things are going down, down.” Perhaps that’s exactly Pope Francis’s intent. The question is: How much further will things descend?
Friday, October 6, 2017
Written by Joseph D’Hippolito / Published in The Remnant Newspaper today!
Two decades before the current Pope caused open consternation among the faithful by disregarding previous teaching, one of his most beloved predecessors successfully did the same thing with barely any outcry.
Concerning capital punishment for murder, Pope John Paul II arbitrarily reversed centuries of teaching from both Scripture and Tradition in favor of an abolitionist approach the Church now embraces. However, that approach changed the fundamental moral criterion the Church applies to the issue, leads to contradiction and confusion, creates a moral equivalence between perpetrators and victims – and, ultimately, threatens the Church’s theological and moral credibility.
The Old Testament provides the deepest layer of soil for the traditional teaching’s roots. In Genesis 9:5-6, God orders Noah and his descendants to execute murderers:
“I will demand an accounting for human life… Anyone who sheds the blood of a human being, by a human being shall that one’s blood be shed. For in the image of God have human beings been made. (New American Bible).”
That command came after a flood that destroyed a morally chaotic world – and is repeated in every book of the Torah, the first five books that form the Bible’s foundation. The command implies three theological principles. First, if God is the author of life, then God retains the prerogative to define the circumstances under which life can be taken. Second, God demands that humanity create just societies to protect the innocent. Third, murder is such a heinous violation of the divine image in humanity that execution is the only appropriate punishment. Exodus 20-23 elaborates on these principles in the lex talonis, which advocates punishment proportional to the offense – the original meaning of “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” Instead of encouraging vengeance, as the modern hierarchy maintains, the lex talonis discourages ad hoc vigilantism – the ultimate form of vindictiveness – in favor of due process. In the New Testament, St. Paul reinforces the idea in his letter to the Romans. In Chapter 12, he discourages his readers from avenging themselves by quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 (“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay!”). In the next chapter, St. Paul encourages them to rely on due process through legitimate authorities “because they do not bear the sword in vain (verse 4).” Centuries of Catholic thought reinforced those principles. In The City of God, St. Augustine wrote:
“The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions. Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ for the representative of the State’s authority to put criminals to death, according to the Law or the rule of rational justice.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, in his masterpiece Summa Theologica, argued against the idea that incarceration alone is enough to protect the community:
“If a man is a danger to the community, threatening it with disintegration by some wrongdoing of his, then his execution for the healing and preservation of the common good is to be commended. Only the public authority, not private persons, may licitly execute malefactors by public judgment. Men shall be sentenced to death for crimes of irreparable harm or which are particularly perverted.”
In Summa Contra Gentiles, Aquinas even argued that an impending execution can stimulate repentance:
“The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.”
Not even Sister Helen Prejean, one of the most popular opponents of capital punishment, contended that abolitionism has biblical roots, as she admitted in her book, Dead Man Walking:
“It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. “This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment.” (emphasis added)
John Paul’s revisionism finds its roots in his 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.” While condemning abortion, contraception and euthanasia, John Paul declared capital punishment to be fundamentally unnecessary:
“Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime…In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behavior and be rehabilitated. “It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment … ought not to go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” (emphasis added)
The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during John Paul’s tenure – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – changed the catechism to reflect the late pope’s view.
“If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority must limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.” (emphases added)
Before “Evangelium Vitae,” the catechism read, “If, however, bloodless means…authority should limit itself….” (emphases added). What is the difference between “should” and “must”? “Should” is advisory but “must” implies a demand. With these substitutions, Ratzinger and John Paul changed the fundamental moral criterion from the divine image within humanity – a criterion imposed by inspired Scripture – to the State’s ability to incarcerate capital felons. Though his written opinion allowed for capital punishment in limited circumstances, John Paul used the encyclical as intellectual cover for his personal campaign to abolish the death penalty worldwide. During his 1999 trip to the United States, the late pope successfully convinced Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan to commute the death sentence issued to Darrell Mease, who was convicted of murdering three people – including a disabled 19-year old. In 2000, John Paul asked Rome’s city officials to let the Coliseum’s lights shine continuously in memory of those who received death sentences. In 2001, the late pope wrote a personal request to President George W. Bush for clemency for Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. John Paul revealed his true opinion about capital punishment at a large Mass in St. Louis on January 29, 1999, two days after Carnahan commuted Mease’s sentence:
“The new evangelization calls for followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation. A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary.” (emphasis added)
Eleven months later, Cardinal Renato Martino connected abortion with capital punishment while admitting the Church seeks to abolish the latter in an address to the United Nations:
“Abolition of the death penalty … is only one step towards creating a deeper respect for human life. If millions of budding lives are eliminated at their very roots, and if the family of nations can take for granted such crimes without a disturbed conscience, the argument for the abolition of capital punishment will become less credible. Will the international community be prepared to condemn such a culture of death and advocate a culture of life?”
Archbishop Charles Chaput, then in Denver, even equated Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with Frances Kissling – the founder and president of the pro-abortion Catholics For A Free Choice – when Scalia expressed skepticism about John Paul’s approach to capital punishment. “(W)hen Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly disputes Church teaching on the death penalty,” Chaput wrote in First Things magazine in 2002, “the message he sends is not all that different from Frances Kissling disputing what the Church teaches about abortion. Obviously, I don’t mean that abortion and the death penalty are identical issues. They’re not, and they don’t have equivalent moral gravity. But the impulse to pick and choose what we’re going to accept is exactly the same kind of ‘cafeteria Catholicism’ in both cases.” Ratzinger tried to clarify the issue – and, in the process, destroyed Chaput’s rhetorical subterfuge – when he addressed American prelates before the 2004 elections: “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion…. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about … applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” Ratzinger knew he could not justify, let alone enforce, an exclusively abolitionist approach. He knows Church history all too well. Nevertheless, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced in 2005 its own comprehensive abolitionist campaign, complete with political lobbying, judicial intervention and educational efforts in every parish. Yet the confusion remains, as exemplified by two reactions to the Vatican’s response to the death sentence former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein received in 2006. Martino, president for the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, and Fr. Michele Simone, deputy director of Civilita Cattolica, condemned the sentence – with Martino expressing sympathy for Saddam. “If someone is himself a murderer, then killing him would seem to amount not to a crime but to justice – i.e., rendering unto the person according to his merits,” wrote Catholic blogger Jimmy Akin. “If you’ve got someone dead to rights, like Saddam, who clearly committed crimes against humanity, then the act of putting him to death is intrinsically an act of justice…This is something that the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace ought to understand…. In any event, these are statements unworthy of responsible churchmen.” (emphases in original). Kevin Miller, professor of moral theology at Franciscan University, begged to differ: “I see that the Vatican has protested the sentence, and rightly so,” Miller wrote on another blog. “Would it be just to hang Saddam for his crimes? Absolutely. But the Church teaches that this criterion, while necessary, isn’t sufficient.” Besides confusion, the Church’s effectively abolitionist position creates a moral equivalence between murderers and their victims – and demonstrates outright disregard for the latter. In 2006, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND, used the following rationale to oppose the execution of Alfonso Rodriguez, who murdered a 22-year-old university student, Dru Sjodin: “Responding to this senseless act of violence with another act of violence through imposition of the death penalty … reinforces the false perspective of vengeance as justice,” Aquila told Catholic News Agency. “In doing so, it diminishes respect for all human life, both the lives of the guilty and the innocent.” When she heard the news about John Paul’s intervention on McVeigh’s behalf, Kathleen Treanor – who lost her daughter and two in-laws in the bombing – told Associated Press:
“Let me ask the pope, ‘Where’s my clemency? When do I get any clemency? When does my family get some clemency?’ When the pope can answer that, we can talk.”
In 1997, John Paul and Mother Teresa – another future saint – were among those advocating clemency for Joseph O’Dell, a Virginia man convicted of raping and murdering Helen Schartner in 1985. O’Dell’s fiancée manipulated public opinion in Italy to such a point that Gail Lee, Schartner’s sister, told Associated Press: “We’re all very fragile at this point. It’s just like the Italians hate us. They in essence have said to my family, ‘You are worthless. Helen’s life doesn’t matter.'” Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. displayed his own self-righteous indifference when he spoke to the Washington Post in 2001 about McVeigh’s execution, which only victims’ relatives could see via closed-circuit television:
“It is like going back to the Roman Colosseum. I think that we’re watching, in my mind, an act of vengeance, and vengeance is never justified.”
McCarrick thus equated the grieving, vulnerable relatives of murder victims with the hardened, barbaric masses of ancient Rome who found the bloody agony of gladiators and religious martyrs entertaining. By fusing the innocent with the guilty in demanding that life imprisonment without parole replace capital punishment, the abolitionists perpetuate their own form of injustice. Perhaps the ultimate example is Charles Manson, serving a life sentence in California for ordering the savage murder of seven people in 1969 – most notably, actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time. In 1971. Manson and three confederates received death sentences that California’s Supreme Court invalidated in 1972. Though the state’s Legislature re-instituted capital punishment in 1977, Manson and his confederates not only continue to serve their sentences in maximum-security prisons but are eligible for parole. Manson’s continued existence begs this question: Why is it fair or just for a murderer to retain his life after arbitrarily taking the lives of people who did no harm to him, denying them the opportunity to enjoy God’s gifts, exercise them and help others? In addressing the controversy surrounding “Amoris Laetitia,” Austrian philosopher Josef Seifert rhetorically asked whether pure logic can destroy the Church’s entire moral doctrine. Tim Capps, who blogs as “St. Corbinian’s Bear,” put the question more colloquially – and, perhaps, more powerfully:
“Is there a legitimate exercise of ‘pastoral considerations’ that is different from what looks more like Catholic three-card monte, with dogma as the Red Queen (that) suckers are led to think they can follow in a rigged game?”
Cannot the same questions be asked about the Church’s revisionism concerning capital punishment for murder? If so, can one say that the modern Magisterium has sacrificed theological and moral consistency for intellectual fashion, fideism, neo-ultramontanism and the modern papal cult of personality? If so, can one say that the modern Magisterium has no more credibility than the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s, 1984? If so, can one say that Pope Francis is hatching the egg that John Paul laid?
Brought to you by Allan Gillis
Check this out… makes me sick!
CBS has parted ways with one of the company’s top lawyers after she said she is “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican,” when discussing the tragic mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas late Sunday night.
“This individual, who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS. Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families,” a CBS spokeswoman told Fox News.
Hayley Geftman-Gold, [A HILLARY CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER AND FUNDRAISER!] the network’s now-former vice president and senior counsel, took to Facebook after a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and sending more than 520 others to hospitals.
“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs [sic] will ever do the right thing,” Geftman-Gold wrote in a now-deleted message that was first reported and captured by The Daily Caller.
Geftman-Gold continued: “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters [sic].”
Geftman-Gold is presumably referring to Sandy Hook, which occurred in Newtown, Conn. back in 2012. A 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed 20 children and six adults during the tragic event that sparked intense political debates regarding gun control.
Geftman-Gold did not work directly with the network’s news division. According to her LinkedIn bio, Geftman-Gold worked at CBS since September 2016 and graduated from the prestigious Columbia University law school in 2000.
I WANT TO THROW UP AS I SEE THE MAIN-STREAM MEDIA QUICKLY TRYING TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THIS CHICK!