Thursday, 19 September 2019

You Don’t Need to Go Ortho: Every Good Thing They Have Is Already Ours

As one who came into the Church from Orthodoxy, as did Stefanie Nicholas, I can't imagine why someone would abandon the Barque of Peter for the rudderless, schism ridden row boat of an Orthodox Church.

From One Peter Five

By Hilary White
We’ve been hearing it a lot: “Should I just quit paying attention to the apparent collapse of the Catholic institution and become Orthodox?”

I’d like to start with the unequivocal assertion that this is a temptation to the grave sin of schism. Don’t do it.
Also, as we will see below, it’s a bit of climbing out of the frying pan and into the flames.

In an email I received a while ago, a distressed Catholic said her entire understanding of the Faith — indeed, her whole understanding of life, the universe, and everything — was being called into question by the actions of this pope. Her story will be familiar to many: born after Vatican II, this person had never known the “old Church.” Her return to the practice of Catholicism was based on the prompting from her admiration for the last two popes. She “read her way” back to Catholicism and returned to the Faith just in time to see the current occupant of the Chair of Peter, the vicar of Christ, apparently tearing it all down.

She said that before 2013 she had been mainly focused on her prayer life, and she loved the early Fathers of Christianity, those great spiritual writers of the first centuries of undivided Christendom. She asked me, simply, why should she not just become Orthodox if the pope could not be trusted to love or defend or hand on the Faith? She even cited the rhetoric of recent popes, especially John Paul II, that the Catholic Church and the Orthodox schismatics are “sister Churches” or “two lungs” of the same body.

The modern Church’s obsessions with false “ecumenism” and “inter-religious dialogue” has eroded the faithful’s understanding of ecclesiology. Catholics are simply no longer aware that the Orthodox are in schism and that schism is a bad thing — as though there used to be warning signs along the schism-cliff that the hierarchy of the recent past have removed.

I promised my correspondent I would consult and get back to her with as thorough an answer as I could manage, but I told her: “You don’t need to ‘go Ortho’ because everything the Orthodox have, all the things you love, we have too — are in fact already ours.”

If you love Eastern liturgy, you can find it in the Catholic Church. The Byzantine liturgical and spiritual heritage is yours. John Chrysostom, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, John of Damascus, Irenaeus are all your saints. All their writing is addressed to us; all the greatness and security of their path to sanctification are the treasures of our own Church. The spirituality of the Desert Fathers, the Apophthegmata, the Philokalia, are every bit yours as a Catholic. Macarius the Great, Dorotheos of Gaza, Abba Poemon, St. Moses the Black, St. Mary of Egypt, Pachomius and Anthony of the Desert are all Catholic saints, your saints, your friends. If you want to pursue the Christian goal of sanctification, evocatively called “divinization” in the East, all these helps are yours to appropriate.

Orthodoxy seems more authentic since Vatican II, the New Mass, and all that followed.

Orthodoxy undeniably has a huge appeal on the surface: the exotic aesthetic of the mysterious East, the apostolic antiquity, the manly Patristic path to holiness, the chants, the icons and architecture, the appearance of their priests, archetypal father figures, bearded in their black robes, dispensing ancient wisdom. Who wouldn’t find it fascinating and appealing? Their emphasis on the doctrines and spirituality of the earliest centuries of Christianity feels safe and protected; it feels like a clean cut through the impossible toxic knot of our modern malaise.

People are attracted to Orthodoxy because it appears to have retained some or all of the rigor, substance, transcendent meaning, and vigor that has been abandoned in the Latin Church. And in our time, the appeal of such an authentic Christianity that does not require paying attention to the incredible scenes going on in Rome right now is somewhat understandable.

One of the problems of modern, post-conciliar, “mainstream” Catholicism is that it asks nothing. Or at least, it asks nothing that the secular world does not also ask. If “catechesis” consists entirely of “be nice” and similar platitudinous nonsense, what is to distinguish us as Catholics from the rest of the unbelieving world? Orthodoxy has the reputation of being a demanding, even exacting religion, an idea that certainly appeals to us rootless, fatherless postmoderns.

But Fr. Michael Mary Sim, the founder and superior of the traditionalist Transalpine Redemptorists, the iron-tough, Orkney island–dwelling order, says Orthodoxy is far from as exacting as its reputation, far less than Catholicism, particularly in what we are required to hold in matters of doctrine. Their attraction to Catholics in these times “comes from a superficial assessment of the Eastern Orthodox religion,” a case of grass-is-greener.

“The Eastern Orthodox religion makes fewer demands than the Catholic Church,” he said. “It requires less adherence to sound doctrine or participation in a set of external moral and liturgical norms.”

Some Catholics fed up with the current crisis might think Orthodoxy is merely “Catholicism without the pope,” but Father Michael Mary points out the absurdity of Catholics abandoning the Barque of Peter for a schismatic church because they fear that the pope is steering toward a schism. It is the papacy that is the guarantor not only of doctrine according to the dogma of Infallibility, but of the union of the Christian and Christ. The Church teaches that deliberate schism is a form of spiritual suicide, one that severs the faithful from his ties to the Mystical Body of Christ.

While he agrees that the liturgical norms are “strict, mystical and of great beauty,” Father Michael Mary said the rest of Orthodoxy’s doctrinal and even practical rigor is a mirage. In fact, Orthodoxy is quite different in doctrine, and there are rock-solid reasons a Catholic who really believes the things the Church teaches — even about basic items like the divine nature of Christ and like Our Lady — would simply find it impossible to become Orthodox.

Since the Orthodox schism had already occurred by 1054, they never addressed the later questions in the Middle Ages — and are forcefully contemptuous of medieval Scholasticism. They have no tradition of precise and accurate formulation of doctrine, and they rejected the principle of final authority. For this reason, much of their doctrine remains in a fuzzy, gray area of quasi-“optional” beliefs and expressions.

Fr. Michael Mary explains, “The members of the Orthodox Church are not required on pain of sin to believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary nor in the necessity of unity with the Successor of St. Peter for salvation, which beliefs are required of Catholics and which, objectively speaking, are necessary dogmas that may not be denied in order to be saved.”

Among various Orthodox communities there is disunity on many key topics in the moral realm. The Orthodox Church in America tolerates non-abortifacient contraception in marriage, whereas more strict Orthodox bodies hold it to be a grave sin. Chillingly, Father adds, “the seal of Confession is not as secure for the penitent nor as demanding for the priest in the Orthodox church if we compare it to the Catholic Church.”

Faithful and tradition-minded Catholics tempted to flee east who object to Pope Francis fuzzification of the Catholic laws on divorce, remarriage, and reception of Holy Communion will also be disappointed; he got the idea from the Orthodox. “As for the adherence to external moral norms, again this is not as strict in the Eastern Orthodox religion as it is in the Catholic Church, they accept divorce and remarriage as well as the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried,” Father said.

It might not be very widely remembered that Pope Francis was already dropping hints early in his pontificate that the Catholic teaching was about to be changed, and that, specifically, it was Orthodoxy’s compromise in remarriage that was being suggested as a model. On the plane on the way home from World Youth Day in Rio in July 2013, the new pope was asked (in a nakedly pre-arranged propaganda move) by Corriere della Sera’s Gianguido Vecchi:
Holy Father, during this visit too, you have frequently spoken of mercy. With regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline? That these sacraments might be an opportunity to bring these people closer, rather than a barrier dividing them from the other faithful?
The pope replied:
… I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context of the entire pastoral care of marriage. And so it is a problem. But also — a parenthesis — the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem — and here I close the parenthesis — must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.
Orthodoxy isn’t just “Catholicism without the pope,” and it’s not possible to be a Catholic-Orthodox hybrid. Converting to Orthodoxy requires giving up a host of teachings and even historical realities that for believing Catholics shape their universal worldview. The argument over the Filioque — literally ancient history to Catholics — is still a pressing issue in some Orthodox communities. The Orthodox certainly do venerate Our Lady, but not at all in the same way we do. Doctrines we have that they don’t include the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady’s Assumption, and Purgatory.

They don’t like us.

A person joining would be expected not only to become Orthodox, but to repudiate much of Catholicism’s central doctrine. Let’s not be coy about the reception a believing Catholic might get in many of the Orthodox communities if he said he wanted to stay “mostly Catholic” but just didn’t like the pope. To the Orthodox, we are simply in the wrong and have been for a thousand years. And to many, not only are we wrong, but we are the ones who have wronged them. Historical and political memory runs deep among Orthodox Christians, and in many cases, centuries-old grudges are taken as current realities. In short, they don’t like us. To them, Catholics are heretics, but much more importantly, we are political oppressors and invaders.

Moreover, as the video above indicates, without a bi-millennial tradition of universality (“catholicism”) transcending national and linguistic boundaries, Orthodoxy does remain highly nationalistic. Russian, Greek, and Coptic Orthodoxy are all deeply divided and equally deeply involved in the current political questions of those countries.

This raises the question: “Which Orthodox church would you propose to join?” A person of Irish, British, German, Italian, or Spanish descent would have a difficult time, perhaps, figuring out which branch of Orthodoxy he belongs to. After eleven years living in a foreign country where my own language is not often heard, I can testify that the feeling of alienation and isolation is never entirely dispelled. Imagine that kind of cultural disaffection becoming the main principle of your spiritual life.

Stefanie Nicholas, a writer and recent convert to Catholicism from Orthodoxy — right in the midst of our papal crisis — said the “underdog mentality” that is much a part of the Orthodox worldview created a sense of camaraderie, but at the same time, it veiled the reality that it was Catholicism that was most often persecuted. Orthodox in the United States would often make common cause with Protestants in their anti-Catholicism.

“I’ve had Protestants bash Catholic Marian devotion in front of me as a teenager,” she said, “entirely ignorant of the fact that I believed nearly the very same things about the Mother of God! Sadly, I think some less honest Orthodox folks in search of converts today tend to play into the Protestant animus towards Catholics.”

Stefanie also touched on the nationalist aspect of Orthodoxy — what she calls “a strong ethnic connection to their faith which helps in living it out as something ‘separate from the world.’”

Out of the Catholic Neo-modernist frying pan, into the schismatic fire

The theory that we are just a smidgen more Latin than they are and all else is the same is almost entirely a construction of the very doctrinal wateriness such a person is rejecting and fleeing in the post-conciliar Catholic Church. Stefanie warns against an attraction to Orthodoxy for its exoticism: “North Americans enjoy novelty, it seems, and we see this with the mass fascination society has with Eastern ‘spirituality,’ the New Age, yoga, and similar things.”
“Orthodoxy has the same novel appeal for those who want to believe in — or continue believing in — Jesus Christ,” she said.

Joining the Orthodox schism to escape the modern deterioration of Catholic discipline is inherently contradictory, Stefanie said. The blurring of the boundaries between Catholicism and Orthodoxy comes from the same deterioration of clarity on all the Church’s other doctrines.

“I think the wishy-washy view on hell and sin that the human element of the Catholic Church has taken up in recent days is directly linked to the blurred boundaries of the new ecumenism,” Stefanie said.

“Vatican II–ism has pridefully denied the need for man to take his first steps toward God, so it’s really no wonder that we find problems when he starts running — in this case, right for the schism cliff. If there’s no hell worth actually fearing, why would the sin of schism be a big deal?”

The language used in recent decades, even by popes, has helped to create this confusion: “If the Orthodox Church is no longer a schismatic sect, but only a flagging ‘lung,’ the faithful have nothing to fear by forgoing their Sunday guitar Mass for a beautiful Divine Liturgy. So the logic goes: in fact, becoming Orthodox might actually be a good act in service of unity…”

So how should we handle this crisis?

By loving Christ, and striving to be closer to Him. If Eastern liturgy, ancient Patristic writing, and the spirituality of the Desert Fathers helps, do that. Prayer, fasting, frequent reception of the sacraments, study of Scripture and doctrine. Pursuing friendship and closeness with God. In any age, of peace or turbulence, the answer to the question, “What should we do?” will be the same. These are not only the things the Christian life is about, but the things human life is for.
Catholics may well be in the midst of the worst crisis since the 3rd century, but the origin of it, the underlying idea behind it, is that we must know the truth about God. There can be no ambiguity, blurring, or fuzzing. And if it is necessary for our salvation that we know this truth unequivocally, clearly and formulated in an unambiguous manner, then a pope is a necessity also. Right now there is a mighty struggle going on within the Church over what is and is not true, but the reason for the struggle is that we know that something must be true, that there must be an answer that can be found, articulated, and understood.

In contrast to this, it is impossible even to talk about what “the Orthodox” believe. In many cases, our ideas of doctrinal certainty and clarity are just not a thing in Orthodoxy. Ambiguity and open-endedness are a normal part of their ecclesial life, a condition that a formed intellect must reject. Exactly as we reject Bergoglian aspirations to ambiguity, so we reject those of Orthodoxy.

Stefanie offers a quote from Isaiah: “As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and his form among the sons of men.” She adds, “Whether or not Jesus was recognizable to human eyes as the Son of God does not change the fact that He was, and is, that Person. The same is true for His Body the Church. Saint Peter’s actions as the Passion took place also bring me a certain comfort when I look at the actions of his successor today.”

19 September, Antonio Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Gospel Reading

1. The Gospel is the books of books, for it contains, not the words of men, but the words of God. In the beginning the Word of God was made man and became the life-giving word during His earthly life. Thus we have the written word in the Sacred Scriptures. When we read the Gospel, we should imagine that Jesus is there before us, so that we can hear the words from His divine lips and feel the breath of His life and the fire of His love.

“In Heaven,” says St. Augustine, “Jesus continues to speak to us on earth through His Gospel.” His words are the bright stars which should guide men – often wandering in the darkness of error or engulfed in the abyss of sin – through the way of virtue and goodness towards Heaven. The more one penetrates the Gospel the more one gets to know Jesus Christ. St. Augustine writes that the Gospel is another way which Jesus has chosen of remaining among us. The same holy Doctor does not hesitate to say that “he who scorns even of these sacred words would be no less guilty than if he let the Blessed Eucharist fall on the ground through negligence.” When we read the sacred pages we begin to understand the infinite goodness of Jesus. We see Him whimper and suffer in the manger at Bethlehem; we see Him humbly working as a poor labourer in the workshop of Nazareth; we see Him pardon Magdalen and the penitent adulteress; we see Him restore life to the dead, sight to the blind, and health to all kinds of sick people; in the supper-room we see Him give us Himself under the veil of the Blessed Eucharist, at the very moment when He was forgotten, denied and betrayed; we see Him in the Praetorium before Pilate, where He was scourged for our sins; we see Him on Calvary dying on a cross for us, forgiving His crucifiers, and promising Heaven to the penitent thief; and finally, we see Him rising from the dead and ascending gloriously into Heaven, where He went to prepare a place for us, should we persevere as His faithful followers. “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

The Saints often read and meditated on the Gospel. It provided spiritual food for their souls. In the life of St. Philip Neri, we read that during his last years he read nothing but the Gospels, especially the Gospel of St. John, which treats profoundly of the love of God. Do you read the Gospels? With what dispositions and with what results do you read it? In modern times, unfortunately, very few read it at all. That is why so many stray so far from the spirit of Jesus, and why they often display a material form of piety, insipid and useless in the practice of the Christian life.

2. It is not enough to read and to meditate on the Gospel. We should do so with the correct dispositions, which are three in number. In the first place we should read the Gospel with the recollection of one who prays. “Prayer must often interrupt reading,” says St. Bonaventure. Now and again while we are reading, we should lift our minds to God and ask Him to enlighten us and to inspire us towards greater fervour.

Heavenly truths cannot be understood or penetrated without the light and grace which comes from on high. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus said. “No one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) The Gospel, therefore, cannot be read like any other book. It is the word of supernatural life which cannot be infused into our souls, except by grace, for which we should pray humbly and with fervour. In the second place we should read slowly and reflectively. “Read with the heart and not with the eyes,” writes Bossuet. “Profit by that which you understand, adore that which you don’t.” In the Gospel there is always something which is applicable to ourselves and to the particular circumstances which we find ourselves. The Saints found there their own particular road to sanctity to which they had been called; from our reflective and devout study of the sacred pages we also shall find what Jesus wants in a particular way from us.

3. Finally, we should practice what we learn in the Gospel. If this were not the result of our reading, our efforts would be worth very little. When reading, we should apply to our lives the spirit and the precepts of Jesus. This was the practice of the Saints, whose lives were a continual implementation of the Gospel message. St. Aloysius and many others understood and applied to their own lives the maxim: “Blessed are the clean of heart.” St. Francis and his followers applied another maxim: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” St. Francis de Sales applied to himself in a special way the words: “Blessed are the meek.” As a result, he was noted for his gentleness of character.

We should read the Gospel every day. It should be for us a school of practical spirituality, specially adapted to the needs of our own soul, which will finally lead us to sanctity.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 19 SEPTEMBER – SAINT JANARIUS (Bishop and Martyr) ...: During the persecution of Christians under Diocletian and Maximian, Januarius, bishop of Beneventum (Benevento), was brought before Timot...

19 September, A Chesterton Calendar


Brave men are all vertebrates: they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.

'Tremendous Trifles.'

20 September, The Roman Martyrology

Duodécimo Kaléndas Octóbris Luna vicesima prima Anno Domini 2019

Tomorrow is the Eve of the holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew.
September 20th 2019, the 21st day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Rome, the holy martyrs Eustace and Theopista his wife along with their two sons Agapitus and Theopistus, who, under the Emperor Hadrian, were condemned to be devoured by wild beasts, but, as by God's help these would not touch them, they were shut up in a bull of hot bronze, and so finished their testimony.
At Cyzicus, in the Propontis, under the Emperor Maximian, the holy martyrs, the Virgin Fausta and Evilasius. Evilasius was a priest of idols who shaved Fausta's head to put her to shame, hung her up, and tormented her, then he was fain to cause her to be cut in two, but the executioners could not hurt her whereupon he was confounded and believed in Christ. Then was he mightily tormented, by command of the Emperor, and Fausta was pierced through the head and nails fixed into her whole body, and so was laid upon a vessel of burning metal and then a voice came from heaven and called them both together to go to be with the Lord.
In Phrygia, the holy martyrs Denys and Privatus.
Also the holy martyr Priscus, who was stabbed with poignards and beheaded.
At Perge, in Pamphylia, under the Emperor Antonine, the holy martyrs Theodore and Philippa his mother, and their Companions.
At Carthage, the holy Virgin and martyr Candida, who was crowned with martyrdom under the Emperor Maximian, her whole body being torn with stripes.
Also, (in the fourth century, at Beyt Jabryn, in Palestine,) the holy martyrs Susanna and Martha, of the whom Susanna was the daughter of Arthemius, a priest of idols.
Upon the same day, (in the sixth century,) the holy Confessor Pope Agapitus, whose holiness is recorded by blessed Gregory the Great.
At Milan, (in the fifth century,) the holy Confessor Clicerius, Bishop (of that see.)
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.

Memes of the Day

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Jesuit-Run Amerika Aims at Francis’ “Detractors”. Incoherence Ensues.

Fr Zed rakes the Jesuit communist heretics at 'Amerika' over the coals.

From Fr Z's Blog

Jesuit-run Amerika Magazine trotted out a piece by a Barcelona-based Jesuit professor of theology which claims to explain why certain, primarily northern, theologians reject Pope Francis’ theology. 

The article intentionally misconstrues what it is about Francis’ teaching that seriously alarms more and more Catholics.
Writes Fr. Víctor Codina, SJ,
“Although he had studied and taught pastoral theology at San Miguel de Buenos Aires as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., now his pronouncements belong to the pastoral seat of the bishop of Rome. He does not aspire to fulfill this role as a theologian but as a pastor.  … What really bothers his detractors is that his theology stems from reality: from the reality of injustice, poverty and the destruction of nature, and from the reality of ecclesial clericalism. … Obviously, the problem is not that he is not a theologian but rather that his theology is pastoral.”
First of all, among the past six popes (from Benedict XVI back to Pius XII), only one, Benedict, was a theologian in the formal sense of the term. So it’s highly unlikely that “Francis’ detractors” (to use Codina’s designation) hold it against him that he is not a theologian, but a pastor.

Then Codina goes on immediately to contradict this statement by asserting that Francis’ “theology stems from reality … of injustice, poverty and destruction of nature, and from the reality of ecclesial clericalism.” So, after asserting that Francis is no theologian, Codina credits him with being a theologian, albeit one that “his detractors” don’t accept as worthy.

So which is, Father? Is Francis a theologian or not?

Serious, orthodox Catholic thinkers are careful not to distinguish theologians from pastors. The two roles go together. A pastor should be a theologian (though not necessarily an academic), and a theologian should be pastoral (though not necessarily a parish priest or bishop). One of the great mishaps in the Church is the separation of these two roles, an error encouraged today by liberals who denigrate traditional (e.g., John Paul II) theology as not trendy enough. So they claim that faithful theologians aren’t “pastoral,” meaning that they don’t respond to people’s real needs.

This is how many of Pope Francis’ theological adventures are defended even when they stray from the Church’s long-standing tradition.

Pope Francis’ “detractors” don’t expect him to be a theologian. In fact, they’d rather that he dropped theology altogether and confined the rest of his pontificate to stopping the cover-up of the child sexual abuse crisis. However, if he is going to be the Pope, they do expect him to exercise his magisterial office by defending the Church’s teaching against those innovations which, while claiming to be pastoral, actually weaken the Church’s teaching and thereby its sacramental and pastoral practice.

The best example of Francis’ off-the-rails “pastoral” theology is his 2016 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, which received a lot of attention on this blog. This document weakens the doctrine of the indissolubility of matrimony, weakens the doctrine of moral absolutes, and thus weakens the Sacraments of Penance, Matrimony and the Holy Eucharist.

As evidence of this fact is the gross divisions in the Church over the meaning of the Pope’s teaching, something which the office of the papacy is intended to prevent.

I quoted my friend Fr. Gerald Murray, HERE:

“We have had: papal silence on the dubia; papal approval of a draft statement by a group of Argentine bishops of the Rio de la Plata region that opens the door to the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics; affirmations by Cardinal Müller that Holy Communion cannot be given to those living in a state of adultery; the publication by the pope’s own newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, of the statement by the Bishops of Malta that couples in invalid second marriages can receive Holy Communion if they at are at peace in their conscience with that decision; the reaffirmation by the Bishops of Poland that the teaching and discipline enunciated by St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio have not changed, and that only those civilly remarried couples who live as brother and sister may be admitted to Holy Communion; the Archbishop of Philadelphia saying the same thing; while the bishops of Belgium and Germany agree with the bishops of Malta and Rio del La Plata, Argentina.

“This is the current unholy mess. As the four Cardinals lament: “And so it is happening – how painful it is to see this! – that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta.”

There cannot be a divided truth about the indissoluble nature of marriage, or the nature of mortal sin or the nature of human freedom and responsibility for one’s freely chosen acts. The truth is one and must be defended from errors and misinterpretations.

Francis doesn’t have to be a theologian, but it is his responsibility to guarantee the unity of the Church’s teaching and its solid adherence to Catholic tradition. No appeal to “pastoring” can relieve any Pope – indeed any priest! – of this responsibility.

For Fr. Codina,
“The opposition to Francis is opposition to the Second Vatican Council and to the evangelical reform of the church that Pope John XXIII wanted to promote.”
This charge of opposition to the Second Vatican Council is an old saw among LIBERALS  who use it to discredit today’s orthodox Catholics all the time. If they really want it to stick hard they’re going to have to apply it as well to St John Paul II, whose theology the “detractors of Pope Francis” are championing at every available opportunity.  Fr. Codina’s alignment of “Pope Francis’ detractors” with opposition to the intentions of St. Pope John XIII in summoning the Council also misreads the sainted pontiff’s deliberate instructions to the Council in his inaugural address to it (Gaudet Mater Ecclesia), instructions which have also been repeatedly recalled by this blog HERE:

“The manner in which sacred doctrine is spread, this having been established, it becomes clear how much is expected from the Council in regard to doctrine. That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will.

Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries. […]

… But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine ….”
Writing in the 2015 Five Cardinals’ Book™,  Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church [US HERE – UK HERE], Gerhard Cardinal Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, underscored the Second Vatican Council’s role in reiterating the long-standing Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.

“The Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes on “The Church in the Modern World”, presents a theologically and spiritually profound doctrine of marriage. It upholds the indissolubility of marriage clearly and distinctly. Marriage is understood as an all-embracing communion of life and love, body and spirit, between a man and a woman who mutually give themselves and receive one another as persons. Through the personally free act of their reciprocal consent, an enduring, divinely ordered institution is brought into being, which is directed to the good of the spouses and of their offspring and is no longer dependent on human caprice: ‘As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union and the good of the children impose total fidelity on the spouses and argue for an unbreakable oneness between them’” (no. 48).

Similar evidence against the charge that “Pope Francis’ detractors” by opposing him are in reality opposing the Second Vatican Council is provided by the positive reference to Council documents made by those who criticize Francis for his statement in the Abu Dhabi Agreement that:
“The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”
Against the assertion that God wills non-Christian religions into existence, “Pope Francis’ detractors” cite Vatican II documents Dei Verbum 2-4), Lumen gentium 2-4, 16, Nostra aetate 2 and Ad gentes 3. They also cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church 53, 60, 62, 63, 65, 2084-2086, as well as the encyclical letter of St. John Paul II, Redemptoris missio 5, each of which is based upon the above-mentioned teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

So far from opposing the Second Vatican Council, “Pope Francis detractors” know the Council documents well – better perhaps than do Pope Francis supporters at Amerika.

Viganò Speaks: the “Infiltration” Is Real

Archbishop Viganò agrees with Dr Marshall's book Infiltration, which I'm reading and will review as soon as I'm done.

From Crisis

By Julia Meloni

Jonah began his journey through the city, and when he had gone only a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.  When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (Jonah 3:4-6)

A year after his bombshell testimony on the cover-up for Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò remains a prophet in exile, exposing the filth in a Church that needs to be burned clean. As Inside the Vatican’s Robert Moynihan notes, the Italian prelate is an unlikely hero. He’s a “small man with intelligent eyes, exquisite manners, studious, hardworking.” But this 78-year-old with thin-rimmed glasses bears in his bones the burden of prophetic speech. He bears the weight of being (as Moynihan puts it) a kind of modern-day Jonah, called to preach to Nineveh before the potential destruction comes.

These days, Archbishop Viganò is warning of an invidious campaign to infiltrate the Catholic Church. In a bombshell interview with Moynihan published last week, Archbishop Viganò tells of a “project” that “goes back centuries”—“in particular, to the creation in the middle of the 1700s of Freemasonry.” This “very deceptive” plot against the Church included some of her own senior members.

“This is described in the book Infiltration by Dr. Taylor Marshall, so you may find some indication of this process there,” says the Archbishop. He is referring to the bestselling book which argues that, “for over a century, the organizers of Freemasonry, Liberalism, and Modernism infiltrated the Catholic Church in order to change her doctrine, her liturgy, and her mission from something supernatural to something secular.”
Viganò believes that this process of infiltration “became strikingly evident in modern times,” and that we are now witnessing the “triumph of a 60-year-old plan” to revolutionize the Church with “a Jesuit on the See of Peter.” As Viganò recalls, many key Vatican II revolutionaries were Jesuits who maneuvered to replace the council’s prepared schemas with ones they had drawn up. Most prominent among them was Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J., frequently touted as the council’s most important ideologue.

“This was the beginning of an opening… in the process of creating a new Church,” says Archbishop Viganò.
He isn’t the only one speaking of a “new,” Jesuit-fashioned Church. In La Nuova Chiesa di Karl Rahner (“The New Church of Karl Rahner”), Stefano Fontana soberingly traces the genealogy of Pope Francis’s “open Church” back to Rahner, the towering radical suspected of heterodoxy under Pope Pius XII. As Fontana shows, Rahner negotiated a “surrender to the world” which is being registered in this pontificate’s signature agendas—from Communion for adulterers and the ordination of married men to the enthronement of “conscience” and the rapid abandonment of evangelization.

Historian Roberto de Mattei likewise calls Rahner the Pope’s “grandfather,” arguing that the two Jesuits are linked through a third—Carlo Cardinal Martini, leader of the St. Gallen mafia and Pope Francis’s “father.” “The agenda of Cardinal Martini, which is the same as Rahner’s, offers us the key to understanding the papacy of Pope Francis,” says de Mattei, pointing to the Cardinal’s fiery last interview calling for the autonomy of conscience and Communion for adulterers.

Today, St. Gallen don Walter Cardinal Kasper and others are euphemizing Pope Francis’s ruptures with the past as a glittery “paradigm shift.” But Archbishop Viganò says the “exotic,” “sophisticated” slogans are just being used “to mislead, to deceive.”

He explains that, in the past, a “huge machine of media propaganda” applied a hermeneutic of rupture to Vatican II. Today, he says, a slick “media machinery, including photos of Pope Francis with Emeritus Pope Benedict, and so forth, has been used to argue that the ‘new paradigm’ of Pope Francis is in continuity with the teaching of his predecessors.”

“But it is not so,” he warns. “It is a ‘new church’.”
Benedict XVI “said this would be a catastrophe,” says Archbishop Viganò of the project to make a new Church. He’s referring to the Pope Emeritus’s letter this year on the sexual abuse crisis. To borrow Michael Brendan Dougherty’s summary of the “explosive, acid” text:

Benedict charges that a revolutionary spirit from the world entered the Church in the 1960s. Possessed by that spirit, arrogant theologians determined on creating “another Church” destroyed the traditional moral theology of the Faith, leading to a complete breakdown of moral discipline in the clergy and even a generalized spirit of blasphemy, which Benedict intimately and unforgettably connects with the phenomenon of child abuse.

Today, as the Amazon synod looms near, that malefic spirit seems to have brought with it seven others.  Everywhere we hear klaxon calls warning of heresy, apostasy, and schism. Two powerful traditionalist prelates, Raymond Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, have called for 40 days of prayer and fasting to drive those spirits out.

Publicly, Pope Francis is playing it cool, saying he’s just a copycat of Pope John Paul II and a faithful implementer of Vatican II. It’s the prophets who are lighting angry blazes. Ask the Holy Father and he’ll say it’s an “honor” that they’re “attacking” him.  He almost dares them to keep raising their voices and playing with fire. “I pray that schisms do not happen, but I am not afraid of them,” he defiantly declares, warning the “schools of rigidity” that their “pseudo-schismatic” ways will “end badly.”

“Pope Francis is saying that because he knows the Amazon Synod may provoke a schism,” argues Viganò in another interview with Moynihan last week.  “He is ready to say others are making the schism, but (by his actions in continuing to support the Amazon synod) he is provoking it himself.  Is this the attitude of a pastor who cares for the faithful? It is his own duty to prevent a schism.”
“But what is your message really: that God is about to chastise the Church, as Nineveh was threatened with destruction, or do you believe there is still a chance to renew the Church, through prayer and a renewal of priestly and lay spirituality?” Moynihan asks Viganò.

Fixing his eyes on the burning, purifying thing that must come, he replies: “The two possibilities you offer are not mutually exclusive. There may be both a chastisement, which will shake and diminish the Church, and also a reform and renewal of the Church, making her more resplendent in holiness. Both are possible.”

Today, here in Nineveh, the prophets are speaking—and time is running out for all of us, great and small, to heed them.

Schism for Dummies

OMM takes on the liberal/modernist heretics who are unjustly accusing faithful Catholics of schism, whilst ignoring Germany's very real moves toward actual schism.

From One Mad Mom

The charges of schism being thrown around are getting a bit ridiculous.  Let’s chat, shall we?

First, what ISN’T schism.

Schism isn’t a dislike for the Holy Father’s leadership style. Schism is not questioning things put forth in a “working document.” Schism is not asking people to pray and fast that the crud put forth in a working document never sees the light of day in any final document proposed by the Church. Schism isn’t asking the Holy Father to make clear the teaching put forth in a document (i.e., the dubia). Schism isn’t wishing the Holy Father would never speak again to reporters on a plane. Schism is not EWTN reporting on Catholic news.  Schism is not Archbishop Vigano putting out his testimony. Schism isn’t even asking the Holy Father to resign. Schism isn’t a critique of how the Vatican or Holy Father is handling the abuse scandal.  Schism isn’t supporting Archbishop Vigano’s request for an investigation into the whole McCarrick debacle.

I’ve seen some ridiculous half-wit “theologians” suggesting that pretty much anyone who disagrees with THEM is schismatic. They seem to think that if they bandy the word around enough, the “uneducated masses” will be whipped into submission by the mere thought of it. They even put forth the question to the Holy Father on a plane (who, by the way, said there was no schism at this time) and got him to say the word which, somehow, is supposed to give their charges validation. “A-ha!  The pope said the word so you are in schism!” WRONG!

Let me give you a little list of all the people who have been charged with schism by the liberal Catholic elite.  Let’s see, Archbishop Vigano, for sure; Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Strickland of Tyler, and Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, because they were three of MANY bishops who said the charges made by Archbishop Vigano should be investigated; Cardinals Burke and Brandmueller, because they dared to ask the Holy Father for clarification in their dubia; Archbishop Schneider, because he and Cardinal Burke asked people to pray and fast  before the synod, because of the pretty awful stuff is being discussed. (Prayer and fasting – the horrors! How dare they?!) I guess all of EWTN can be counted, too, because Raymond Arroyo dared to defend himself when a book about how EWTN was trying to overthrow the Holy Father was glorified on a flight. Oh, and EWTN, again, for broadcasting a Mass where the priest giving the homily said that the faithful was being asked to pray and fast before the upcoming “Amazon Synod.” I’d love to know what they are scared of. You want to fast and pray for me?  Please do. And, of course, there’re all those mean Catholic bloggers, radio hosts, commentators, etc., who are scratching their heads about some things the pope says. Yep, all are in schism, it seems, except those who want to change any Church teaching that doesn’t jive with their ideologies.

So, who are all the people declaring or suggesting schism? Thomas Reese, SJ, Massimo Faggioli, Dawn Eden Goldstein, Michael Sean Winters, and all of their ilk.  And don’t forget, the “Well, I didn’t say they were in schism.  I’m just retweeting something I thought was interesting!” crowd. (Yes, Fr. Martin, I mean you.)

The actual definition of schism found in Canon 751 goes like this
Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.
Ironically, none of the accusers are canon lawyers, but they accuse a good canon lawyers to be in schism.  Let’s see, who knows Canon Law better?

The other thing I find totally ridiculous, especially after this week, is that not one of these accusers has pointed toward Germany.  In fact, I failed to locate one story at National catholic Reporter on this as of this writing. If it exists, their search engines don’t work.  Why is this? This is a hell of a lot closer to schism (if not actually in schism) than anything else to which the NcR, America Magazine, or Commonweal types point. I mean, the German bishops were told by the Magisterium that their “binding synodal path” was “not ecclesiologically valid.” Their response? We’re doing it anyway. Who’s removing “submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him” again? Apparently, Cardinal Marx!

Does anyone see the difference in asking the Holy Father to exercise his authority (a la the Dubia 4, Archbishop Vigano, etc.) and rejecting an instruction from the Magisterium as the Germans are doing? The faithful Catholics are appealing to the very authority they should, while the Germans are usurping authority they don’t have. American schism, my foot! The liberals pushing for a declaration of schism are the biggest hypocrites around. Not one of the faithful listed above and accused by the liberals has ever rejected the authority of Pope Francis. In fact, they’ve made request upon request to the Pope to clarify.  To top it off, not even Pope Francis has declared them such. So, not only are the liberal accusers actually willing to reject authority when it suits them, they are also willing to usurp authority where they have none. They need to give it a rest, but sadly, they won’t.

Messori on Church Unrest: Many Are Concerned But Christ Won’t Leave His Church

Edward Pentin on Vittorio Messori's article in La Fede Quotidiana.

From the National Catholic Register

By Edward Pentin

Many prelates are privately ‘pulling their hair out’ because of the current situation, said the Italian writer, who co-authored Crossing the Threshold of Hope with Pope St. John Paul II, and ‘those in command are intolerant of every critical voice.

The well-known Catholic Italian writer Vittorio Messori has said he and “many Catholics are concerned, some are even desperate” about the current state of the Church, but that he is not without hope because Christ never leaves his Church alone.

Messori, who wrote The Ratzinger Report with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Crossing the Threshold of Hope with Pope St. John Paul II, told the Italian Catholic daily La Fede Quotidiana Sept. 17 that confusion is “present and it is saddening, confounding.”

He said a kind of “conformism” about Pope Francis exists, which is “palpable” in the Church.

“It’s disconcerting that only two or three almost 90-year-old cardinals speak and protest,” he observed, adding that he knows of “many bishops and also cardinals whom I have dialogued with in private who are pulling their hair out in disagreement.”

“But they are afraid, silent, shutting up,” he said.

Messori noted that for two millennia criticism of the pope had been discouraged but today this tendency is “accentuated.”

“It’s said this is the Church of mercy, but it’s nonsense,” he said. “Those in command are intolerant of every critical voice.”

The Italian writer recalled writing a “polite article” in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera in which he “asked questions” and made “reflections” but was “overwhelmed with abuse, especially from certain Catholic media.” He added that a kind of committee was set up asking Corriere della Sera to remove him as a contributor.

“So with what consistency can it be stated that this is the Church of mercy, of open and fair dialogue, of parrhesia?” he asked, referring to Pope Francis’ frequent call for both mercy and open, frank discussion.

But he noted that the Church is not a business, multinational or simply a government. “In short, it cannot fail,” Messori observed.

“Of course, there are reasons for alarm. I think, for example, [of] the next Synod on the Amazon and related misunderstandings. I don't know what they want to achieve — probably married priests.

“Therefore I am worried, but not desperate,” he said, because “Christ does not leave the Church alone” and the Church “is not of Bergoglio or of the bishops, but only of Christ.”

“He governs her with wisdom,” he said. “The forces of evil will not win.”
In 2017, Messori criticized the Pope for mirroring modern society by turning the Church into a place where “everything is unstable and changeable.”

“In a ‘liquid world’ where everything becomes uncertain, precarious, provisional, it is precisely the stability and firmness of the Catholic Church that all humanity needs, not only believers,” he said.

From Notre Dame to North Dakota, a Miracle and a Mystery

A beautiful story of love for Our Lady, almsgiving, and a sort of miracle.

From the National Catholic Register

By Patti Armstrong

ABOVE: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame. BELOW: (1) The Ninth Station of the Cross by Luigi Gregori at the University of Notre Dame. (2) The Ninth Station of the Cross that was recently acquired for the new chapel at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Bismarck, North Dakota. (Photos by Ken Keller)
“He opened the crate and pulled out the ninth station and sent me a picture from his phone. It took my breath away.”

It’s not every day that someone builds a church and gives it away, but that is what Ken Keller and his wife Marilyn are doing. If you refer to it as “your” church, he will sharply interrupt with “our church.” But really, it is God’s church and thus, he says, God is tending to the details with many little miracles. They are the sorts of incidents that may not defy science to be technical miracles, but they defy all odds so that we cannot resist calling them miracles. Here is a story about one of them.

A New Chapel for a New School

It begins with the building of a new St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, on 48 acres of land donated by Ron and Ruth Knutson. Their donation shows what can come from a public-school kid with a day off shadowing his buddy at the Catholic school. The Knutsons are not Catholic, but their son Cameron enjoyed his day so much that he transferred, and St. Mary’s found a lasting place in his family’s heart.

As plans for the new school were revealed, Ken, a St. Mary’s alumnus, father of six grown children and grandfather to 13, was disappointed that the chapel would only seat around 150. He recalled his high-school days at all-school Masses in the gymnasium on folding chairs and bleachers under basketball nets and scoreboards with a makeshift altar. It had seemed an uninspiring setting for such a holy celebration. Since the student enrollment is 355, all-school Masses would still need to be in the gymnasium at the new school.

Ken is a gifted businessman, but he and Marilyn live in a modest home and are about as regular a couple as you will find—nothing showy, just nice folks. They offered to pay anonymously for a church to be built at St. Mary’s—something conducive for the students to feel they are entering a holy place when they gather for Mass.

Two of the Keller’s daughters had attended St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, and Ken and Marilyn had fallen in love with the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus. “I always felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as soon as I walked in,” Ken explained. “I wanted to replicate that for the students at St. Mary’s.”

However, since the new school relied on fundraising, secrecy behind the church was causing suspicion and complicating matters, so it became necessary for the Kellers to go public in order for the diocese to accept their gift. It was not what the Kellers wanted but they understood and agreed.

The church will be a replica of the neo-Gothic, cross-shaped Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Notre Dame, surrounded with large stained-glass windows and filled with artwork. One difference with the new church, however, is that Notre Dame’s gold dome with the Blessed Mother statue atop is over an office building. The one at St. Mary’s will be over the church. “The total amount of gold will only amount to around 12 ounces,” Ken said, “but I think Mother Mary deserves to be surrounded by gold.”

Notre Dame’s Stations of the Cross
Ken has always been especially taken with the basilica’s beautiful, life-sized Stations of the Cross painted by Vatican artist Luigi Gregori. They are breathtaking,” he said. “Everything is so lifelike. When you look into the eyes, they draw you in.”

Gregori was born in Bologna in 1819 and commissioned by the Vatican to paint a portrait of Pope Pius IX. In 1874, he was hired by Notre Dame as director of the art department and stayed for 17 years producing many works in the basilica and some of the other buildings. In 1890, Gregori returned to Italy where he won a gold medal for the arts. He died in Florence in 1896.

Ken was determined to copy the beautiful stations exactly. “I got permission from the University of Notre Dame to electronically copy them,” he said.

In the meantime, the architectural engineer had found some other beautiful, hand-painted stations from Europe and went ahead and ordered them. He asked Ken to hold off on making the copies until he saw these. Ken did not imagine they could measure up to Gregori’s stations—the ones he had his heart set on.

“It Took My Breath Away”
Toby Schweitzer, Officer and Event’s Coordinator for Light of Christ Catholic School who is also helping with the church, received the shipment. “He opened the crate and pulled out the ninth station and sent me a picture from his phone,” Ken said. “It took my breath away.” Ken compared it with pictures he had of Gregori’s stations. Many of the poses and faces and clothing of the people were almost identical. Was it possible? Are they the work of Gregori?

Since Ken has seen the sketches that Gregori drew before he painted the stations, they were clearly his original works. It seems that he must have also painted these stations yet, no seems to know their history. Somehow, surely through the hand of God, they have made their way to Bismarck, North Dakota.

This is what he knows. The stations were bought an art auction in Atlanta, Georgia. The paperwork stated that they were purchased three years ago from an antique dealer in Belgium. He had purchased them from the estate of another dealer and were kept in storage for many years. They were originally displayed in a church in Belgium that was destroyed during the Second World War. They date from the early 19th century, 1820 to 1850. Ken later learned that a priest had asked a farmer to put them in storage until things settled but he never returned. The farmer kept them in storage for 60 or more years and after he died it was part of his estate that was sold.

Ken would love to track down the church in Belgium where they originally came from and to verify if they are Gregori’s handiwork. He welcomes any suggestions on how to do that.

In the meantime, the new school is open for this school year and the church is expected to be completed in 2021. “Remember, sometimes it used to take hundreds of years to finish a church,” Ken said. “Making it beautiful and filling it with art is what takes so long.”