31 July 2020

Feasts of the First Part of August

Turn to Tradition – A Response to George Weigel

Whilst I do occasionally share pieces by Weigel, he is a Traditionalist in neither his politics nor his religion. He is a neo-con and a neo-Cath.

From Rorate Cæli

By Fr Richard Cipolla

Recently George Weigel offered an Op-Ed titled  “A Paradox for the Next Pope” as part of the Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship series.  He quite rightly calls attention to several issues that will confront the successor of Pope Francis:  confronting and ending the terrible scandal of sexual abuse by clergy; reform of the financial structure and administration of the Church; and the challenge of supporting the vitality of the Catholic faith in those disparate places in which it found and at the same time embark on a program of renewal in those parts of the world, mostly Europe, where the Catholic faith is less than robust.

Weigel says:  “The past fifty years should have taught the Catholic Church that the only Catholicism with a future is Catholicism in full.”  And what Catholic with faith could disagree with that?  But Weigel, while correctly seeing that “aggressive secularism” is antithetical to the Catholic faith and is part of the reason for the parlous state of Catholicism in the West does not see that the root problems of the Catholic Church today lie in the deliberate ambiguities of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the post-Conciliar radical assault, in the name of aggiornamento, on the heart of the Catholic worship that is the Mass.  The Catholic Church decided in the 1960s to become “modern” at the same time that Western culture turned its back on Modernism and embraced, with all of its ambiguities, Post-modernism.  The obvious increasingly irrelevant state of the Catholic Church in the West is not due mainly to secularism but rather to the failure of the Church to be true to herself and her founder, Jesus Christ, and instead trying to become relevant to a society that was already then and is even more now post-Christian.  

It is no accident that the horrific sexual corruption of the clergy during the 1960s and beyond occurred at that particular time.  The moral rot was there before that time, but the romanticism of the post-Conciliar Church that adopted the worst of the sentimental understandings of what it means to be human and a secular understanding of freedom opened up the gates that led to the mass of sludge the symbol of which is Uncle Ted McCarrick.  Even today we read with terrible pain the pain and suffering inflicted on young boys and men by this prince of the Church and by so many other priests of the Church.  

Pace George Weigel, the moral rot in the Church cannot be addressed merely by “creating safe environments for its young people.” The problem is much deeper.  The heart of the problematic situation in which the Catholic Church finds herself today is the failure of the Church hierarchy to stand up to that which is not Christian in our society.  But this “standing up” does not consist of vacuous and pietistical pronouncements from the United States Conference of Bishops, a group that models itself on already outdated modes of expression and communication.  

There is a real movement among young priests and among young men and women in the Catholic Church, especially, mirabile dictu, in our own country, whose basis is the rediscovery of the glorious Tradition of the Catholic Church: of the intellect, of the arts, of liturgy and above all depth of faith. These young Catholics have come back to the Church not because they are now married and have to have their children baptized. They are coming back because they have seen an alternative to the banal post-Vatican II way of worshipping God, modeled on a Brady Bunch culture that has no relevance today.  These young men and women have found meaning in what Pope Benedict called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, a convoluted phrase  (that fools no one) for the Traditional Roman Mass.  These young people, both laity and priests, are rediscovering the Tradition of the Church, not in some merely aesthetic sense but at the level of faith, a faith that is relevant to the world in which they now live.  And the Church for the most part ignores this real flowering, for it goes against the mantra of “whatever happens in the Church is the will of God.” For the Catholic Church to admit a serious mistake by those who are “in charge” of the Church is very difficult, perhaps impossible.  But it is not impossible to let go of wrong turns in the road and to embrace once again that which is at the heart of Catholicism, worship of God in Spirit and in Truth in the Cross of Jesus Christ. 

This turn to the Tradition of the Church is not at all conservative in a normal understanding of that term.  It is rather a rediscovery of that which is at the heart of the Catholic faith, that is, in George Weigel’s words, “Catholicism in full”.  

Flannery O’Connor Was Not a Racist

Remember that the Order that has 'canceled' her were slave owners and held the largest slave auction in US history when they sold their slaves!

From The Catholic Thing

By Lorraine V. Murray
Note: Many readers were moved by Professor Smith’s column yesterday about the hypocrisy in Loyola University Maryland’s removal of Flannery O’Connor’s name from a dormitory because of vague charges of “racism.” We thought readers would also benefit from today’s exploration of O’Connor’s actual views about race. – Robert Royal
Flannery O’Connor is the latest cultural figure to be canceled. The very title of Paul Elie’s recent article in The New Yorker, “How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?” assumes her guilt. Jumping upon the cancellation bandwagon, the Jesuit president of Loyola University Maryland has announced that her name will be removed from a dormitory.

But this is the woman who wrote a story poignantly revealing the suffering of black people in the South. This is the woman whose spiritual director was a Jesuit priest, James McCown, who was known as a strong proponent of integration. And this is also the woman who said, after an upsetting experience involving a bus driver’s cruel remark toward black passengers, “I became an integrationist.”

True, O’Connor sometimes used the “n” word in her letters and stories, as well as the term “white trash,” but this was not shocking for someone born in 1925 in Georgia.

Indeed, some of O’Connor’s best stories reveal the ugly underbelly of racism among white Southerners, while also showing how God’s grace can convert hearts. In “Revelation,” a poor white woman sitting in a doctor’s waiting room talks aloud of sending blacks back to Africa. Mrs. Turpin, who prides herself on being a landowner rather than “white trash,” shares her own racist thoughts until a quietly seething college girl hurls a book at Mrs. Turpin and whispers, “Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog.”

This is the moment of grace for Mrs. Turpin, who later has a vision of people processing into heaven, blacks entering first and white landowners at the end.

Paul Elie cited an incident in 1959 where black author James Baldwin was traveling to Georgia and a New York friend suggested O’Connor should meet him. O’Connor set her friend straight about the manners of the Deep South: “In New York it would be nice to meet him; here it would not.” Such a meeting, she added, would cause “the greatest trouble and disturbance and disunion” in a Southern town.

Elie claims this refusal is proof of O’Connor’s racism: “O’Connor-lovers have been downplaying those remarks ever since. But they are not hot-mike moments or loose talk. They were written at the same desk where O’Connor wrote her fiction and are found in the same lode of correspondence that has brought about the rise in her stature.”

But William Sessions, a lifelong friend, said O’Connor expressed “considerable anguish” about being unable to receive Baldwin in her home, and that when O’Connor became close friends with a black woman during her graduate-school days in Iowa, her mother, Regina, protested that interracial contacts were dangerous. The young O’Connor had held her ground, saying her “friendships would not be fettered by racial considerations.” The thirty-two-year-old O’Connor was suffering from lupus and was extremely dependent on her mother – and thus more inclined to follow her rules.

O’Connor’s 1955 short story “The Artificial Nigger” caused great controversy then and still does today, but it reveals her sympathy for the suffering of Southern blacks perhaps better than anything else she ever wrote. Backwoods Mr. Head wants to take Nelson, his 10-year-old grandson, to visit Atlanta, so the boy can witness the bleakness of the big city and be content to stay at home in their small town.

Nelson has never seen a black man, and Mr. Head assures him he won’t like Atlanta because it’s “full of n*****s.” After they get lost, the grandfather decides to show how important he is to the boy by pretending to leave him behind. Nelson becomes so terrified that he plows into a crowd, knocking down an elderly woman. The police show up and want Mr. Head to assume responsibility for the boy’s behavior, but the old man does the unthinkable by denying the child is his kin.

After this terrible moment of betrayal, the two come across the plaster figure of a black man. The statue is unsteady, cracked, chipped, and holds a brown watermelon. They can’t tell the age of the artificial man, since it looks “too miserable” to be young or old.

As they stand to gaze at it, they see it as “the monument to another’s victory” and feel it “dissolving their differences like an action of mercy.” The broken-down statue awakens in Mr. Head the first feelings of sympathy for what blacks have endured in the South. O’Connor later said nothing encapsulated the tragedy of the South so much as these statues.

In a letter, O’Connor described an experience that had brought her face to face with the real-life suffering endured by blacks. A personal revelation had taken place on a bus. The driver told the rear occupants, who were black, “All right, all you stove-pipe blonds, git on back there.” O’Connor’s reaction? “I became an integrationist.”

O’Connor favored slow, rather than dramatic, social changes, largely because of her concern about backlash from the KKK. In tiny Milledgeville, Georgia, they burned crosses and threatened lives whenever there were sit-ins and frightened some black people into leaving town.

In 1963, O’Connor reported that some blacks in Milledgeville had petitioned the city council to integrate the schools, restaurants, and library. Unbeknownst to them, however, the library had been quietly integrated the year before. For O’Connor, that exemplified change coming about quietly, without publicity – and without trouble.

She believed the problems in the South wouldn’t be entirely solved by passing laws, but instead required a change in behavior and culture. The South had to evolve “a way of life in which the two races [could] live together with mutual forbearance.” This would require “considerable grace” and a code of manners based on mutual charity.

She would no doubt agree that we can legislate the ways people receive education, the places they can go, and the things they are allowed to do. But we can’t pass laws requiring people of different races to see each other as neighbors. We can’t require them to love each other as Christ loves them. This change of heart, above all else, requires God’s powerful intervention in the hearts of men.

As O’Connor remarked, the South “still believes that man has fallen and that he is only perfectible by God’s grace, not by his own unaided efforts.” In short, some people need to be clipped on the head by a book, like Mrs. Turpin was, before they see the light of truth.

China’s Population Control Atrocities Can Backfire

No regime lasts forever. 'For they shall sow wind, and reap a whirlwind', Osee 8:7. The CCP must be destoyed!

From MercatorNet

By William Huang 

Rage over forced sterilisations and abortions has led to mayhem and murder

The Chinese Communist Party has defended re-education camps and population control in Xinjiang as “security” measures.
Time and time again, Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo and others have declared that they have brought stability and security to a volatile region. There have been no terrorist attacks in Xinjiang for more than three years. Mass sterilization, forced abortion and cultural genocide are all necessary for peace in Xinjiang.
However, the recent history of Xinjiang and of China itself discredits that argument. Time and time again, the brutal population control policies have triggered intense resentment and hatred, sparking violent backlashes. In this article, we will look at some of the best-known episodes to see what the future could hold for Xinjiang.
1990 Baren Insurrection
The 1990 Baren Insurrection sparked a violent low-intensity insurgency in the troubled region. It was launched by Islamist jihadis led by Zeydin Yusup of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement using weapons of the Afghan Mujahideen from the Soviet-Afghan war. (ETIM was later sanctioned by the United Nations as an international terrorist group.) The armed rebellion began after hundreds of Baren Uyghurs protested in front of the local Baren township government building. What were they protesting against?
According to Uyghur accounts, the trigger was forced abortions of 250 Uyghur women in Baren in 1989 and 1990 and Uyghur resentment of the settling of Han Chinese in Xinjiang. According to an Amnesty International Report in 1999 population control policies begun to be implemented in Uyghur areas in the late 1980s – although the rules were still lenient compared to the one-child policy applicable to Han Chinese and some other minorities, as rural Uyghurs could have three children and urban Uyghurs two children.
The forced abortions caused severe resentment amongst the Uyghurs. Birth control officials were violently attacked in Xinjiang throughout the 1980s and 1990s and the Baren Islamists exploited the resentment. Days of violent confrontation between Uyghur militants and the Chinese army ensued, resulting in dozens of casualties and thousands of arrests.
Han Chinese accounts emphasise the Islamist motivation. This was definitely true as the Baren militants invoked jihad and called for elimination of infidels. But the Chinese often failed to mention demographic resentment. Han Chinese dissident writer Wang Lixiong, in his book Your Western China, My East Turkestan, provided an unexpected insight as he made nine trips to Xinjiang before publication in 2007. During one of them he was detained by secret police and shared a cell with a Uyghur prisoner, “Muhtar”, who gave described the Baren incident in great detail.
Muhtar mentioned that the un-Islamic forced abortions helped promote anger and resentment. Imams who promoted population control and family planning were attacked. Some were even assassinated by militants who viewed them as traitors for promoting such a hated policy.
Anti-family planning rhetoric was central to the Islamists’ anti-government message. Islamist militants and jihadists across the world can use what is happening in Xinjiang today to radicalize a generation of young Uyghurs and Muslims — just as the Bosnian War radicalized people a generation ago.
But Uyghurs are not the only Chinese citizens who rioted against the population control policy. Han Chinese did too — as recently as 2007.
2007 Bobai riots
Bobai, in the southwestern region of Guangxi, China, is an impoverished county of 1.8 million people. It has a Hakka speaking majority (60 percent) and a Cantonese-speaking minority (40 percent).
The Hakka people are a subgroup of southern Han Chinese who migrated from northern and central China to the hilly southern regions of Guangdong and Guangxi a thousand years ago. They have a reputation for being tough, traditional and conservative. Most of the rebels in the Taiping Rebellion were Hakka. Many Communist Red Army soldiers and generals in the Chinese civil war era were also Hakka. The Hakka diaspora stretches from Malaysia to Taiwan. Taiwan’s current president Tsai Ing-wen is half-Hakka.
Hakka majority regions in southern China and Taiwan have some of the highest birth rates in the Sinosphere. According to the 2010 Chinese Census, Yulin City in Bobai County had a total fertility rate of between 1.9 and 2.0, which is far higher than the Chinese average of 1.18. Guangxi, the provincial entity under which Bobai is part of, in fact had the highest total fertility rate out of all Chinese provinces, with a TFR of 1.79.
In Taoyuan City, which has Taiwan’s largest Hakka population, 800,000 Hakkas make up nearly half of the population in a country where they are only 13 to 15 percent of the national total. It had the highest fertility rate in all of Taiwan’s six major metropolises, with a TFR of 1.325, 30 percent higher than the national TFR of 1.05.
However, in 2007 a relatively healthy birth rate was not a badge of honour, but an invitation for a massive population control crackdown.
Bobai and surrounding counties, including Rongxian, were given “yellow card” warnings by Guangxi’s party chief Liu Qibao in a provincial population control meeting in early 2007. Previously, Bobai officials went relatively easy on their subjects, and used fines to punish the “illegal births”.
Following that humiliation, Bobai and other Guangxi party officials went on an all-out offensive to curb the birth rate. “Hammer teams” destroyed the homes of peasants with too many children and confiscated virtually all of their belongings, from livestock to DVD players.
Women fled to mountains and caves to escape the fate of thousands who were sterilized or had their children forcefully aborted. Girls who had never been pregnant were sterilized by zealous officials eager to make up the birth control quota.
The Bobai people were enraged. In May 2007 angry villagers surrounded the local government buildings in seven townships, destroyed them, burned them down and attacked the family planning bureau officials. Tens of thousands of locals battled thousands of armed police. Police cars were torched and the villagers painted slogans across walls “Down with Su Jianzhong (the party chief of Bobai County) and “Execute Huang Shaoming by firing squad!” (the Mayor of Bobai County). Nearby counties such as Rongxian took their cue from Bobai.
The Chinese authorities suppressed the riots and jailed dozens of rioters. However, the violence worked. According to a 2015 report by Chinese reporter Zhao Meng, Bobai became the only “population special zone” in China. Local officials were told to basically ignore population control targets and birth limits — something that is still not possible in the rest of China today. As a result, Bobai had one of China’s highest fertility rates on the county level according to the 2010 census.
Individual attacks
The violent population control policy in China has also triggered “lone-wolf” attacks. In the province of Guangxi in 2015, a mentally ill man named He Shenguo broke into the local Family Planning Commission of Dongxing City and murdered two family planning officials and injured several more with a machete.
The family planning officials had denied Mr. He’s children hukou (household registration/personal identification), which is absolutely vital in China for everyday life, because he had four children. Enraged, He went on a violent spree and was eventually captured by the police.
He became an unlikely hero for many Chinese netizens, who praised him for his “bravery”. The photo of him bidding farewell to his wife prior to his execution also went viral in China, with many calling him a martyr. This shows how deep the resentment runs against family planning.
Tian Mingjian
The most dramatic lone wolf attack was the Tian Mingjian incident. A People’s Liberation Army first lieutenant snapped. His wife, who was seven months pregnant, was forced to have her child aborted in her home village in Henan Province. Family planning officials believed she had exceeded the birth limit whilst he was stationed in Tongzhou, just outside Beijing.
The aborted fetus turned out to be a son, which Tian Mingjian was desperate to have. His wife also did not survive the forced abortion due to complications.
On September 20, 1994, an enraged Tian Mingjian gunned down tens of his fellow Army officers, including the regiment political commissar (party chief) and soldiers during a routine morning inspection. Then he stole a military jeep and drove to central Beijing, where many diplomats live and embassies are located. He began shooting everyone, from civilians to policemen. He even killed an Iranian diplomat and his son, which turned the mass shooting into an international diplomatic incident.
An elite sharpshooter, Tian battled for hours with police and soldiers in central Beijing. The incident was even briefly broadcast live on Canadian television as it was right outside the Diplomatic Residence Compound. He was eventually killed by a sniper. By the end, Tian had murdered 15 or 17 people (estimates vary).
China’s violent population control policies have caused massive resentment and sparked some of the most violent episodes in recent Chinese history. The current campaign in Xinjiang is no exception. The CCP claims that repression creates stability and harmony. It does not.
Xi’s era, just like the Mao era, will eventually end. The budget for the extremely costly “pacification” of Xinjiang will dry up one day because the CCP’s approach is not sustainable.
And the hatred, resentment and scars created by such policies are baked deep into the psyche of Uyghurs and other peoples of Xinjiang. If one day the CCP loses its grip, massive bloodshed will ensue. Warring Han Chinese and Uyghurs will probably create another bloody Yugoslavia.
Violence begets violence. The CCP cannot expect otherwise if it engages in some of the most egregious human rights abuses in history.

A Matter Of Hearts

The contrast between Francis's message to a 'spirituality course' and Bishop Schneider's Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation is stark!

From Restore DC Catholicism

Last Friday a diocese in Argentina conducted a virtual "Community Spirituality Course".  Right away it sounds like a hoot. Anyway, Pope Francis sent a video message to them.  It was brief, very brief, uncharacteristically brief - and that was probably a good thing.  I quote, "I ask you to let your heart beat, nothing else."

Pardon my french, but what the hell does that mean??  Does it mean that the pope was simply too tapped out of bovine excretement to cough up something more verbose and convoluted?  I guess for that we should be grateful.  But why does any living person have to let their heart beat?  It will beat until the day we meet God in our particular judgments.  It also says absolutely nothing about Our Lord or the Faith, which actually says quite a bit about the derth of worth in that "spirituality course".

On the other hand, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has initiated an "International Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation", to atone for sins against the Blessed Sacrament.  Those kinds of sins have always abounded, but during this covid thing, bishops and priests have actually multiplied those outrages by mandating Holy Communion in the hand, denying the Sacraments to the faithful, etc.  One of his chief aims, and it should be ours', is to make reparation to His Sacred Heart that has been outraged by these sacrileges.  If there's any "heart" that should be at the center of our attention, it would be Jesus' Sacred Heart.  Please read that link for practical actions to participate in this crusade.

But turning our gaze again to Argentina, they are doing the exact opposite.  At least Bishop Eduardo Maria Taussig ordered Catholics in his largely conservative diocese to receive Holy Communion in the hand.  When priests and faculty at his diocesan seminary objected to the orders to commit sacrilege, he closed his own seminary.  The pope approved his actions.  Just what kind of "heart" does the pope think is beating in Argentina?

Again, seriously consider Bishop Schneider's crusade.

The Vatican and China: Lessons From John Paul II and Cuba

It is in the essential nature of commies to be evil and duplicitous. Is anyone surprised that the ChiComs hacked the Vatican?

From the National Catholic Register

By Paul Kengor

COMMENTARY: Why a past historical episode came to mind when learning of reports of espionage shenanigans against Pope Francis’ Vatican by the communist Chinese.

In October 1997, as Pope John Paul II prepared for a historic visit to Fidel Castro’s Cuba, a once devoutly Catholic country that communists had subjected to a nasty war on religion, Vatican aides found a hidden microphone in the parish house where the Pope was scheduled to stay. The Vatican team made the discovery once it had gone ahead to Havana to help plan for the pontiff’s Jan. 21-25, 1998, visit.

According to the Madrid-based newspaper El Pais, Vatican aides were outraged by this betrayal and threatened to cancel the trip. The Polish Pope, for his part, was no doubt unsurprised. He had long dealt with far worse mischief from communists in his homeland. He was surely also unsurprised when Cuban officials laughably claimed that the microphone was an unnoticed leftover of the Batista era that had somehow eluded their previous inspection.

Such behavior was standard operating procedure for a communist regime.

I thought of this episode when learning of reports of espionage shenanigans against Pope Francis’ Vatican by the communist Chinese.

“The Vatican Is Said to Be Hacked From China Before Talks in Beijing,” stated the headline in The New York Times, echoing what other newspapers are reporting. Catholic News Agency reported:
“State-sponsored hackers have reportedly targeted Vatican computer networks in an attempt to give China an advantage in negotiations to renew a provisional deal with the Holy See.

“A report, released July 28, said that hackers may have used a counterfeit condolence message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, to gain access to Vatican communications.

“The report was compiled by the Insikt Group, the research arm of the U.S.-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future. Researchers said they had uncovered ‘a cyberespionage campaign attributed to a suspected Chinese state-sponsored threat activity group,’ which they referred to as RedDelta.”
According to investigators, RedDelta began targeting the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong in early May. Additional Catholic targets included the Hong Kong Study Mission to China and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Italy. These “network intrusions” took place ahead of sensitive talks to renew a “provisional agreement” between the Holy See and China. The controversial agreement was initially sealed in 2018, with an expiration date in September.

As the Insikt Group report noted, this suspected intrusion would provide RedDelta with crucial insight into the negotiating position of the Holy See ahead of the deal’s September 2020 renewal. Moreover, the targeting of the Hong Kong Study Mission and its Catholic diocese could also provide “a valuable intelligence source for both monitoring the diocese’s relations with the Vatican and its position on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement amidst widespread protests and the recent sweeping Hong Kong national security law.”

If these reports are accurate — and there’s no reason to suspect they are not — then they ought to serve as a wake-up call to this Vatican as it pursues an Ostpolitik-like policy of accommodation toward communist China, akin to what John Paul II’s predecessor, Pope Paul VI, had pursued toward the Soviet Union in the 1970s. For Pope Francis and his Vatican, these reports, if true, should teach them the harsh reality of who they’re dealing with in Beijing.

To that end, the Vatican should not only take this as a lesson, but it ought to play Beijing’s duplicity to its advantage. In fact, it should take a page from John Paul II’s trip to Cuba in 1998, which brings me to the rest of the story regarding the hidden microphone found in that parish house in Havana in October 1997.

According to reports from January 1998, Fidel Castro — who, for whatever reasons, badly wanted the John Paul II visit to his island — sought to mollify angry Vatican aides by declaring Christmas Day a national holiday in Cuba that year. Until then, Christmas had been banned in Cuba. Thereafter, it would be acknowledged and even celebrated. It was suspected that Castro made this move under pressure from John Paul II’s Vatican, with the shrewd Polish Pope pushing the Cuban dictator in that direction. Karol Wojtyla was adept at such maneuvering with communist officials during battles with them in Krakow in the 1960s.

For the record, John Paul II’s Vatican had already been pushing for a celebration of Christmas that year. George Weigel, in his classic biography, Witness to Hope, notes that Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls that October had been prodding Castro precisely on that point, with the despot objecting that it would be difficult to celebrate Christmas that year “since it was the middle of the sugarcane harvesting season.”

Something prompted Castro to give in. According to El Pais, he relented once Vatican officials expressed outrage over the hidden mic, threatening to cancel the trip. The Vatican played a little diplomatic hardball.

It’s important to understand John Paul II wanted to go to Cuba as badly as Castro and the Cuban people wanted him there. He likewise did not want to jeopardize the trip. Still, a good negotiator seizes a bargaining chip when it’s dropped in front of him.

And that brings me back to the Chinese communist leadership and Pope Francis today.

The Vatican of Pope Francis should take advantage of this situation to likewise gain some sort of concession from communist officials to benefit the Christians in China and Hong Kong. Bargaining is about bargaining.

The Vatican should not allow itself to be played by the communist Chinese. Fears of Vatican naivete toward China already exist, and these latest reports merely compound those fears. The Chinese have reportedly betrayed the trust of the Holy See. Pope Francis and the Vatican cannot let Beijing treat them like patsies.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Apology to the Flittermice

Dr Warren apologises to bats for referring to members of the Party of Death as 'batsh*t insane'. Well he should! Bat's are useful, unlike Democrats!

From Essays in Idleness

By Dr David Warren

Resolved: I must swear off calling people “batshit insane,” for my chief bat informant — who doubles as my acting deputy chief correspondent for western South Dakota — won’t have it. Vespertilio Antiqua, as she signs herself, thinks bats are being libelled, slandered, and smeared. Frankly, I should have agreed with her from the start, for in my experience — which has included sharing an office with them — I have found the Chiropterians to be not only blameless but upstanding (well, downstanding in their case) — polite, considerate, and while flighty, always impressively so.

Only a very few vampire bats give their whole order a bad name; so that even while jungle-camping in hottest tropical Americas, gentle reader is unlikely to be bothered by one. For the rest, they should not be criticized if they are unwillingly infected, or attacked by thoughtless parasites. Nor should other species complain that they are carriers of disease; for this would hardly be a problem if the bats were left alone.

As I learnt in Lawrence Gardens, across the street from me when I was a little lad in Lahore, bats are much like us. Their chatter is decipherable when anyone is listening, and as computer analyses were always certain to show. They have many dialects, and their speech is not mere declarations, as we (no doubt falsely) assume of most animals. Rather their conversation is addressed specifically to their neighbours.

According to researchers in the Tel Aviv university (in the latest study done with algorithms), Egyptian fruit bats are easy to translate. They review food, and argue about portions over dinner; they give each other fruit and insect-finding tips. When roosting they upbraid those who may be jabbing them, or otherwise huddling too close. The females take a “me-too” attitude towards unwanted sexual advances. They use baby talk with their juniors, and different tones with their contemporaries, ranging from subservient to smug. Like most species, they hang together when threatened, but when not they squeak as proud individuals. They know who, among predator species, are particularly mean to them; and I suspect, when to shut up.

Their skin-wings, which some might think could be aesthetically improved by feathers, make them more manoeuvrable than any kind of bird, and the tiniest can be mistaken for moths. You’d need a pretty quick stop-action camera, to appreciate some of their aerial tricks. To turn on a dime is hard enough for quadrupedes (quadrupedi?), but to do it while airborne is spectacular.

Neither this Dakotan correspondent, nor I, have any idea how the current epidemic was launched from the Wuhan coronavirus lab, but we doubt that the bats — from Yunnan caves or wherever — played any voluntary part in it. Given what the Chinese Communists do to Uighurs, Falun Gong, and Christians, I hate to think what they do to bats.

My own allusions to bat guano were unfair. It makes an excellent fertilizer, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — to say nothing of the micronutrients. Verily, I regret comparing bats to Democrats, or other loathsome progressive fools. They didn’t deserve it, and I take it all back.

Chinese Infiltration of Vatican Networks Was No Surprise, Says Father Cervellera

And yet Francis seems to want to renew the betrayal agreement with the ChiCom slavemasters. The CCP must be destroyed!

From the National Catholic Register

By Edward Pentin

The director of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions’ AsiaNews press agency says the reported cyberattacks are part of the Chinese Communist government’s efforts to ‘control the Vatican.

Reports that Chinese hackers had infiltrated the computer networks of the Vatican, the diocese of Hong Kong, and those of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Milan over the past three months, came as no surprise to Father Bernardo Cervellera and his colleagues at AsiaNews.

Father Cervellera, the director of the Rome-based AsiaNews which is the PIME’s official press agency, told the Register July 29 that although their news service was not directly affected by the attacks, he and his colleagues already knew that AsiaNews “is controlled, followed and read by the Chinese Communist Party.”

“In the past they have tried disrupt our service, and criticize it publicly,” he continued. “Nowadays AsiaNews is blocked in China, although our news is widely spread in the country through social networks and proxy servers.”

Father Cervellera said the webmasters for AsiaNews’ website, which has its own special server for security reasons, had noticed some anonymous attacks in the past few weeks that had failed.

Various news outlets reported yesterday that Recorded Future, a firm based in Somerville, Massachusetts, had detected cyberattacks on computer networks in the Vatican, PIME and the diocese of Hong Kong since May. The details were published in a 20-page report titled “Chinese State-Sponsored Group ‘RedDelta’ Targets the Vatican and Catholic Organizations.”

The firm said it believed that the recent cyberattacks, carried out by a state-backed group called RedDelta, were also an attempt to steal secrets and spy on the Vatican during talks over a controversial and secret provisional agreement signed by the Holy See and Beijing and which comes up for renewal in September. The agreement, whose contents have yet to be made public since it was signed in 2018, is believed to concern the appointment of bishops — for many years an obstacle to improved relations.

The news also comes as the Chinese Communist Party wages a campaign to tighten its grip on all religious groups, in what Chinese government leaders have referred to as an effort to “Sinicize religions” in the country. Beijing officially recognizes five religions but sees them all as undermining the CCP’s control and threatening the country’s national security.

The details of the attacks also emerged in the light of resistance to Beijing’s new national security law imposed on Hong Kong. Recorded Future said the targeting of the Hong Kong diocese would likely be a “valuable intelligence source for both monitoring the diocese’s position on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and its relations with the Vatican.” Many of protesters against the law, and a failed extradition bill last year, were Catholics.

The Chinese hackers planted malware, also known as computer viruses, by luring users to open documents with a counterfeit condolence message dated May 14, 2020, addressed to the head of the Hong Kong Study Mission and signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, and the sostituto, Archbishop Edgar Penã Parra. The Study Mission, which acts as an informal nunciature to China (the Holy See and Beijing have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1951), was also attacked.

Once malware is planted on a computer, passwords and contacts can be stolen, data can be deleted, locations captured, or the user can be secretly recorded.

PIME’s mail server was hacked in June, according to PIME’s general secretary Father Marco Villa, who said the infiltration had affected mail servers “for weeks” whereas previous attacks had only lasted very short periods of time.

The Vatican has not commented on the attacks but Father Cervellera said in an AsiaNews article that he believed it would reinforce the view that China is an unreliable dialogue partner.

In his comments to the Register, Father Cervellera said many countries spy on other nations so it “would be obvious that the China regime spies on us (AsiaNews, PIME, the Vatican).”

But he stressed that the Chinese government “spies on all of its population as it is sick with a paranoia of control. They live in the fear of danger if something is not controlled by them.”

The provisional agreement, he added, was signed by China “just because Beijing wants to control the Catholic Church even more.”

It is therefore obvious, he concluded, “that in preparing the possible renewal of that agreement, they even try to control the Vatican.”

Blessed Noël Pinot

May Bld Noël, Martyr of the Revolution, pray for us as the Revolution rears its ugly head again, threatening the Mystical Body of Christ.

From Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval

By Dom Antoine Marie, OSB

On Sunday, January 23, 1791, Father Noël Pinot, the parish priest of Louroux-Beconnais in the diocese of Angers, France, celebrated Mass in his packed church. The assistant priest, Father Mathurin Garanger, was present in the choir and the mayor and town officials were seated in the first rows. At the end of Mass, the mayor and officials were to hear the two priests take the oath of loyalty to the civil constitution of the clergy. The priest went to the sacristy to take off his vestments. When they went to look for him, he stated that he could not in good conscience take the oath. When the mayor then forbad him from performing any clerical duties, he asserted that, since his powers came from God and His Church, he remained the legitimate priest of the parish, and would never submit to unjust laws.

This priest would go as far as martyrdom to remain faithful to God and to his conscience. In 1926, he would be proclaimed blessed by Pope Pius XI.
Noël Pinot was born in Angers on December 19, 1747, into a family that already had fifteen children. Tears were mingled with the joy—that same day, the youngest of his brothers, a twenty-month-old baby, died in his cradle. The following day, the newborn was baptized. During his early years, Noël had before him the example of courage and austerity of life of his father, a master weaver. In 1756, this hardworking Christian would be torn from the affection of his loved ones, worn out by his hard work. While his father instilled in him a liking for work well done, it was his mother who taught the young boy to pray. In 1753, the eldest of the family, Rene, was ordained a priest. This older brother took a special interest in the youngest of the family. Noël confided to him his desire to study to also become a priest. In 1765, at the age of eighteen, he entered the seminary. On December 22, 1770, he was ordained a priest. The next day he celebrated his first Mass, assisted by his brother. What joy and what emotion for their mother to contemplate, at the same altar, the youngest and the eldest of her sixteen children!

The Incurables

Over the next ten years, Father Pinot served as an assistant priest in various parishes. Everywhere he went, he showed an attentive charity to the poor and the sick, so much so that in 1781, his bishop appointed him chaplain of the Incurables in Angers. This institution took in the poor who often were brought there only to wait for death. The young chaplain experienced true consolation in celebrating Mass and preaching for the sick. Relieved of all material anxieties by charitable Christians, he devoted himself body and soul to his new ministry. His great concern was the sanctification and salvation of his sick. The rule for the Incurables specified that the chaplain “with prudence bring the poor, during their first year in the house, to make a general confession, above all those who never made one, and employ his zeal and charity to encourage them in the practice.” Father Pinot’s tenderness towards these poor men and women was for them an unaccustomed consolation. In spite of his youth, they cherished him like a father.

The bishop of Angers appointed 
Noël Pinot to the vacant position of parish priest for Louroux-Beconnais; Noël took possession of the parish on September 14, 1788, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This parish, the most spread out of all those in the diocese of Angers, was made up of small hamlets quite far from one another, connected by poor roads. Its population rose to over three thousand souls. Even though he was assisted by a vicar, the pastor had a considerable amount of work to do, but his devotion readied him for everything. Day and night, he was at the service of his parishioners, to provide them with the help of his ministry or to help them materially, for in his love for the poor, he deprived himself of everything for their sake. The memory of his good deeds and his zeal would remain so vivid in Louroux that, long after his death, the elderly would bear witness: “What a good pastor he was!”

Two years thus passed, but, after the Revolution broke out, the storm raged to the heights of the Church in France: the National Assembly wanted to dictate the affairs of the Church. The ecclesiastical committee that it erected placed ecclesial life in the service of the new State. After church property was nationalized on November 2, 1789 and religious vows were abolished on February 15, 1790, came the vote on the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, ill-advisedly sanctioned by Louis XVI, on August 24, 1790. With this law, the civil authority claimed to impose on the Church in France a modification of the boundaries of dioceses and the jurisdiction of bishops, without regard for the authority of the Pope. Thus were 52 of the 135 bishoprics abolished; bishops and pastors would henceforth be determined by popular election—each department would choose its bishop, and each district would elect the pastors. Everyone could vote. This provision, which wished to return to the practice of the early Church, was absurd—it gave the right to vote to Protestants, Jews, and atheists, but not to the poor. The bishop would give notice of his election to the Pope “as to the head of the universal Church, as a sign of the unity of faith and of the communion that he must undertake with him”. In the exercise of his duties, he could only make decisions after the favorable vote of a “permanent council” made up of various clergymen from his diocese. The gravest vice of the Civil Constitution was the lack of submission to the Holy See, because on the one hand, only the Vicar of Christ is entitled to re-draw the map of dioceses and, on the other hand, no one can be granted an episcopal see without having first been appointed by the Pope.

A National Church

In the following weeks, the protests of the bishops, who could not in conscience accept this Civil Constitution, were heard; however, they suspended their definitive response until the Pope had given his verdict. In this spirit, on October 30, 1790, an Exposition of the Principles of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was published, an analysis with which nearly all the bishops in France concurred. The passive resistance recommended in this text exasperated the delegates of the Assembly: a law of November 27th declared that bishops, priests, vicars, superiors of seminaries and all other clergy, as public civil servants, were required to take an oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. On December 26th, Louis XVI, his hand forced, signed this law, which instituted a schismatic national Church. Any priests who refused to take the oath would be declared removed, and if they continued to carry out their ministry, they would be prosecuted as “disturbers of the public peace”. Even though the Pope had not yet given his verdict, the priest of Louroux was resolved—he would not take the oath. He visited his confreres in the area—when he had the unpleasant surprise of encountering indecisiveness, he tried to convince them: “Be certain,” he told them, “the Pope will condemn this oath. He knows only too well, I think, that in reality, this Constitution only serves to separate us from the Catholic Church, in creating in France a so-called national Church.” But his own vicar would not let himself to be persuaded.

On Sunday, January 23, 1791, after having met with a refusal from the parish priest, the Mayor of Louroux invited the assistant priest to take the oath required by law. Shaking from head to toe, Father Garanger complied, amidst icy silence from some and disapproving murmurs from others. 
Noël Pinot, convinced that the awaited instructions from Rome would open his assistant priest’s eyes, allowed him to continue his duties in the parish as before. Soon, in two successive briefs of March 10 and April 13, 1791, Pius VI condemned the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, declaring it heretical on several counts and an infringement of the rights of the Holy See. Father Garanger would in fact retract his oath the following May 22nd. Without waiting, Noël Pinot went up into the pulpit on Sunday, February 27th at the end of the Mass. He had deliberately chosen this day, on which a gathering of neighboring parishes would be held in Louroux. Without an insulting word for anyone, he began to explain in a speech he had long prayed about before the tabernacle, why, as a Catholic priest linked through his bishop to the successor of Peter, the sole head of the entire Church of Jesus Christ, he had refused on January 23rd to swear the constitutional oath, which was an infringement on the rights of God and of the Church. The National Assembly did not have the right to demand an act of the clergy that, by its very nature, detached them from the center of the Church.

“Incendiary priest”

The mayor, seated in the front pew, interrupted the priest in an angry voice: “Come down from that pulpit! You claim it’s a pulpit of truth, but you spew forth only lies!” The faithful rose up in protest, astounded by such insolence. A loud voice dominated the others: “Stay in the pulpit, Father! You speak well, and we support you!” That evening, the residents of neighboring parishes reported to others what had happened. 
Noël Pinot’s courageous example made him a rebel who influenced others—his passionate declaration would echo throughout the Anjou, the Vendee, and even Brittany. The town officials met and sent a report to the Revolutionary Tribunal in Angers, demanding the arrest of this “incendiary priest” and “disturber of the public peace”. The following Friday, a detachment of the National Guard arrived in the town to arrest the priest, by night out of fear of the population. He was taken away, tied onto his own horse. Around noon, the procession entered Angers, where the inhabitants showed him compassion and respect. The judges sentenced him to remain at least eight leagues (thirty kilometers) from his parish for two years. This sentence was too light in the eyes of the public commissioner, who appealed it unsuccessfully. Noël Pinot withdrew to the Incurables hospice, where he was welcomed with joy. But the revolutionaries soon took offense at his presence. Father Pinot then withdrew, in July 1791, into the Mauges region, close to Beaupreau, and lived there as an outlaw, devoting himself with zeal for souls. He did his best to make up for the absence of the priests who had been forced into exile. In 1793, the events of the War of the Vendee gave him the opportunity to return to his parish.

The motives for the Vendee uprising were religious rather than political. An old Vendeen would later recount, “In spite of our indignation, we had not acted when they took away our priests and our churches. But when we saw them make fun of the sufferings of the good Lord, we rose up to defend Him.” In March 1793, the Vendeen army conquered Saumur and Angers; with control of the two banks of the Loire they held, for the moment, the revolutionary army in check. 
Noël Pinot’s return to Louroux was a triumph. Several priests who had taken the oath (called “juror” priests) had tried to take the post, but had been unable to remain. The faith of his flock had not wavered. What joy for the pastor’s heart, after so many trials! But this was but a break in the storm. The disaster of the Vendeen army at Nantes, in June 1793, reopened the persecution. The National Convention dispatched into the west “representatives of the people” with unlimited powers. They became the Terror in the provinces, often much more terrible even than the Terror in Paris. Such was the case in Maine-et-Loire with Francastel, a disciple of Carrier, the “Butcher of Nantes.” The hunt for non-juror priests began once more. Noël Pinot had to go back to wearing disguises, and living the life of an outlaw. He could have fled abroad like many clergy, but preferred to remain among those whom God had entrusted to him, thinking he could still be of service to them. The vast majority of his parishioners were devoted to him; however, as he knew, the area also had its demagogues, and a betrayal was always possible. Judging that the hour had come for the good shepherd to give his life for his sheep, he stayed.

The Church of the Catacombs

The vast territory of his parish, cut up by woods and heaths, enabled Father Pinot to hide in remote farms. The watchful affection and complete discretion of the faithful provided good protection for his hideouts. Nevertheless, he frequently had to change his hiding places, because the National Guard suspected his presence and conducted searches frequently. During the day, he stayed closed up in attics or barns, sleeping there as best he could, praying, reading, or writing. When night fell, he went out to administer the sacraments to the sick in the neighboring parishes whose pastors were nearly all prisoners, in exile, or already put to death. He baptized newborns, instructed the children, and received the faithful, hearing their confessions and comforting them. At midnight, the necessities for celebrating Mass were prepared, and the faithful—who in doing so put themselves at risk of death, along with their pastor—could participate in the Holy Sacrifice and receive Communion. A religious life continued, worthy of that of the catacombs.

Noël preserved Christian life through catechesis, prayer, and the sacraments; he emphasized family prayer. This advice still holds true today: “The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Daily family prayer is particularly recommended because it is the first witness to the life of prayer in the Church. Catechesis, prayer groups, and ‘spiritual direction’ constitute a school of and a help to prayer.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 565). The Catechism itself specifies, “The memorization of basic prayers offers an essential support to the life of prayer, but it is important to help learners savor their meaning” (CCC, no. 2688).

The year 1794 began in blood and tears. Robespierre was at the height of his dictatorship. All public Christian worship was suppressed, even that of the schismatic Church, the so-called “Constitutional Church”. Deconsecrated churches were converted into weapons repositories or revolutionary clubs. The Committee of Public Safety increased its efforts to destroy the Church. It mercilessly imposed the decree of October 21, 1793, which punished by death any non-juror priest who did not leave the country within ten days. A one hundred pound reward was offered to any citizen who informed against a priest. 
Noël Pinot no longer had a stone on which to rest his head, and his outlaw sack held his entire fortune: a few articles of clothing and what was needed to celebrate Mass. The sufferings and physical and mental trials of the existence he led since the summer of 1793 had succeeded in severing the ties that could attach him to earth; only his love of Christ, his zeal to serve souls, and his charity for his parishioners gave him the courage to continue the fight.

Niquet, the traitor

The net was closing in on the outlaw. He had been advised to withdraw to a quieter place far away, but he refused. Each day, he prepared himself for death. If he was spared, he had the consolation of telling himself that he had not been betrayed by his devoted country parishioners. Moreover, they admired him—they would sacrifice everything, even their lives, to save their priest. In order to discover where he was hiding, the National Guard roughed them up and ransacked and devastated their homes, but in vain. But the “the powers of darkness” had their hour. On February 8th, Father Pinot was in the village of Milandrerie, a few kilometers out of town, at the home of a pious widow, Madame Peltier-Tallandier. When night fell, he went out for some fresh air in the garden, when a worker named Niquet, whom the priest had once rescued with generous alms, recognized him despite the dark. The hope of the one hundred pound reward made him forget all the benefits he had received. Niquet ran to denounce 
Noël Pinot to the authorities. Immediately the National Guard set out. Around eleven o’clock, the house was surrounded. In the widow’s home, nothing was suspected, and all was ready for Mass when blows resounded on the door. There was just time to hide the priest in a large chest and make the liturgical objects disappear before Madame Peltier opened the door. Since the valiant widow refused to speak, they searched the house without finding anything. As he was passing close to the chest one of the guards, who had been pressed into service, lifted the lid in a distracted manner, then paled as he let it close. He had just discovered the outlaw and hesitated to denounce him. But Niquet had noticed everything: “You found the priest,” he yelled, furious, “and you want to hide him?” He lifted the lid and the priest came out, his face serious and calm. He looked the traitor in the eyes. A single protest left his lips as he addressed the ingrate, like an echo from Gethsemani: “What! It’s you?” (cf. Lk. 22:48). Insulted and beaten, Noël Pinot allowed himself to be bound without giving any resistance. His vestments were seized with him. He was taken to Louroux, then Angers, where he appeared before the Revolutionary Committee. Accused of being an “extreme counter-revolutionary”, the priest was thrown into a dungeon and sentenced to bread and water.

After ten days of imprisonment, the rebel was brought before the revolutionary court, which held its trials in a deconsecrated church. This February 21st, the committee was presided over by Citizen Roussel. By a horrifying coincidence, this revolutionary officer was an apostate priest, who had initially taken the oath, then left the priesthood! But in Anjou, no one knew his past. After he had given the sentence, Roussel looked at the vestments displayed before the court, and mockingly suggested to the prisoner: “Wouldn’t you be well pleased to go to the guillotine in your vestments?”—“Yes,” agreed the confessor of the faith without hesitation, “it would be for me a great consolation.”—“Well, then,” the other replied, “you will wear them and be executed in this get-up.”

A Friday at three in the afternoon

The execution took place that very day. The procession, led by drums, set out, the judges accompanying the victim, dressed in his vestments. The scaffold was erected on the new square, called the Rallying Square, in the place where once stood the collegiate church of Saint Peter, destroyed by the revolutionary town authorities. Father Gruget, an eyewitness and priest who had remained faithful to the Pope, testified, “The martyr prayed in a state of profound recollection. His countenance was calm and his brow radiated the joy of the elect. On his lips, so to say, one could follow the canticles of thanksgiving bursting forth from his heart.” This Friday, at three in the afternoon (the hour of the Lord’s death on the cross), 
Noël Pinot found himself at the foot of the scaffold. The sinister platform was transfigured in his eyes—he saw himself at the foot of the altar of real sacrifice, the altar once again bloody where, in the image of the God of Calvary, a true victim would be immolated. So naturally the first words of the Mass came to his lips: Introibo ad altare Dei (I will go to the altar of God). His chasuble was removed; his stole crossed over his chest, he presented himself to the executioner. From afar Father Gruget gave him absolution. A drum roll… The blade fell… The sacrifice was consummated—the soul of the good shepherd had reached the altar of God! And so died, February 21, 1794, at the age of 48, Father Noël Pinot, the pastor of Louroux-Beconnais.

After having declared on June 3, 1926 that 
Noël Pinot died a martyr of hatred of the faith, Pope Pius XI beatified him the following October 31st, on the solemnity of Christ the King. The Blessed’s example calls to mind this remark of Saint Gregory the Great: “When we celebrate the mystery of our Lord’s passion, we ought to imitate what we then do: for then shall it truly be a sacrifice for us unto God, if we offer ourselves also to him in sacrifice” (quoted by Paul VI, November 18, 1966). May Jesus Christ, the Supreme Priest, through the intercession of Blessed Noël Pinot, grant us the grace to be faithful to Him even in the most difficult circumstances!

Published by the gracious permission of the Benedictine monks of St Joseph Abbey, France.



What is the special grace attaching to the sacrament of Matrimony?

It is the grace of perfect conjugal harmony which inspires a true, lasting, and supernatural affection; it is of such nature that it is able to resist all that might compromise this affection, until death; at the same time this grace brings with it a generosity whereby shortcomings and trials are overcome as regards the children which by the blessing of God may be the fruit of this union; and to this effect that they do nothing whatsoever that may hinder the coming into the world of their children. Moreover, this grace helps the parents to watch over their children with jealous care so that they may be healthy and strong both in body and soul (XLIX 1-6).


Cardinal Wyszyński: Primate of the Millennium

May the soon to be Beatified Stefan Wyszyński pray for his land, Poland, under assault again by the forces of Satan!

From Crisis

By Monika Jablonska
The modern world needs to be reminded of the great truth that men are called for eternal life and that their life does not end here, on earth. Our faith in eternal life has a very important meaning: it teaches us to respect men. We must always remember that man is the most important, most precious, most splendid work of God. — Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński (May 24, 1964)
On October 3, 2019, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints officially approved a miracle by Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński’s intercession. This was his final hurdle on the road to beatification. The Polish primate was a dear friend of Pope Saint John Paul II, who led Poland during Communist persecution.

His beatification in June was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Vatican sources tell me that the new date of the beatification will be announced imminently.

Cardinal Wyszyński (1901-1981) was the soul of the Polish nation. He was a father of the Fatherland and the primate of the millennium. He was a friend and mentor to John Paul II. A strict and unshakable man of powerful spirituality, he helped to save the Church—and the nation—during the period of Soviet occupation. He defended Christians from the persecutions by the Communist government. He was arguably one of the key figures in Poland’s 20th-century history.

Stefan Wyszyński was born in the village of Zuzela in Russian-occupied Poland in 1901. His father, an organist of the local parish, had a strong devotion to Our Lady of Częstochowa. The father’s devotion passed on to his son; his faith, too, kept him strong.

Stefan’s trials commenced when he was still a child. He lost his mother in early childhood and experienced persecutions during the period of “russification.” His family suffered from chronic poverty. At various points in his boyhood, he fell ill with both tuberculosis and typhus.

In 1924, at the age of 23, Stefan was ordained to the holy priesthood. Next, he undertook his studies in canon law at the Catholic University in Lublin. In every location he served as a parish priest, he took extra steps to minister to the youth, the poor, and the handicapped. He was active in Catholic Action and taught in “workers’ universities” as well as assisting Christian trade unions. Early on, Wyszyński became involved in the anti-Communist struggle, lecturing and publishing on Red Menace already in the early 1930s.

The Second World War and its aftermath was Father Wyszyński’s trial by fire. He witnessed enormous suffering while he served as a military chaplain, tending to the wounded and assisting the dying during the Warsaw Rising against the Germans in 1944. Simultaneously, he led a clandestine female youth group and ministered to the blind. Under such difficult conditions, Father Wyszyński matured into his Polishness and his priesthood; patriotism and Catholicism became inexorably entwined in his mission.

What was forged during the war, remained as steel afterwards. In 1946, he became the Bishop of Lublin. In 1948, he was appointed Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw and Primate of Poland. Four years later, Pius XII named him to the Sacred College, but Archbishop (now Cardinal) Wyszyński was prevented from traveling to Rome.

The Polish primate’s strength, faith, and diplomacy emerged during the fierce repression by the Communist government against the Polish Church in the early 1950s. Priests and religious were imprisoned without a trial. Church property was confiscated, and Catholic organizations dissolved, including schools, hospitals, and charities. The Reds demanded that the Catholic Church and its leaders bend to Moscow’s will and kowtow to Stalin. The Communists wanted to use the hierarchy to enslave the flock. Cardinal Wyszyński refused. More repressions followed.

Once this brutal attack on the Church reached its zenith, Cardinal Wyszyński wrote a letter, which was signed by all the bishops, to the Communist authorities:

We affirm that the aforementioned decree cannot be recognized by us as legitimate and valid, since it is contrary to the [Polish] Constitutions, and the laws of God and the Church… We will follow the apostolic voice of our vocation and priestly conscience; we will go with inner peace, with the awareness that we have not given reason for persecution and that the suffering that we will endure will not be for any other cause than that of Christ and his Church. We cannot sacrifice God’s things on the altar of Caesar! Non possumus!
The letter clarified the position of the Polish episcopate so the Communists realized that they could take control of the country, but not of the Catholic Church. On the night of September 25, 1953, Cardinal Wyszyński was arrested and taken to prison. The imprisonment lasted three years.

In October 1956, he was released because the Communists needed his help. Intra-party struggles brought back from oblivion a disgraced leader, Władysław Gomułka. Now with the Polish nation in turmoil, Gomułka needed Cardinal Wyszyński to stem the swelling tide of anti-Communism. As a possibility of an anti-Red rising loomed large, the Red Army prepared to invade Poland.

On October 28, 1956, the Wyszyński returned to Warsaw, where he calmed the waters. His magisterial authority reverberated throughout the nation. The hot heads relented. No uprising broke out, unlike in poor Hungary. Seeing that Poland stepped down from the brink, the Soviets acquiesced in Gomułka’s rise.

Cardinal Wyszyński immediately named his price. On December 8, he concluded an agreement with the Communist government. Gomułka accepted all the cardinal’s conditions. The government now guarantied freedom of worship, separation of State and the Church, including non-interference in the affairs of the latter by the former. The regime also confirmed that the Communist decree usurping the right to the nomination of bishops was canceled.

Wyszyński’s compromise defused a crisis that might have culminated in Soviet invasion and yet more Red Terror. The agreement was continued under Gomułka’s successor Edward Gierek in the 1970s. However, by that time, the Cardinal (and the Church he led) waxed in moral authority—to the great detriment of the Communist party.

His diplomatic skills were legendary. So, too, was his evolutionary conservatism. He was very skeptical of the novelties of Vatican II; he thought them pernicious for the unity of the Church, in particular the faithful suffering under communism. Yet he was able to mitigate the damage of the Council as its dictates spread to Poland. Cardinal Wyszyński balanced the Church reforms imposed from abroad with the requirements of survival under the Soviet occupation by proxy.

Each time a political crisis broke out in Poland, Cardinal Wyszyński would step into the fray in a regal way. In 1968 he defended students after mass university unrest, riots, and expulsions after the kids rebelled against Communist-led, anti-Semitic purge in the party and state apparatus. The Primate also shielded the victims of the anti-Jewish campaign.

In the 1970s, he spoke out in support of rebellious workers of the Baltic Sea coast. Later, he quietly aided the victims of the strikes of 1976. He backed the human rights movement, in particular the Movement for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights in Poland, rather than the Committee to Defend Workers, which he viewed as infiltrated by post-Stalinists and Trotskyites.

Similarly, Wyszynski prayed for the rank-and-file of “Solidarity,” when the movement erupted on Poland’s scene in August 1980. Yet he was very weary of the independent union’s firebrands. He did not wish to provoke a Soviet invasion, and he looked askance at the undue influence of leftist intellectuals in the councils of the union’s leadership. However, the Primate wholeheartedly supported the more conservative “Rural Solidarity.”

In all this he was essentially of one mind with his one-time protegee, Karol Wojtyła, who now reigned as Pope John Paul II. In the 1960s and later, because of Cardinal Wyszyński’s austerity and conservatism, the Communist secret police deluded itself that the smiley and easy-going Archbishop Wojtyła of Krakow could be pitted against the severe Primate. They were wrong.

In October 1978, then-Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Pope. According to the Pontiff’s own words,

When, on the day of October 16, 1978, the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński told me: “The task of the new pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium.” I do not know if I am repeating the phrase exactly, but at least such was the sense of what I heard then. It was said by the Man who has passed into history as the Primate of the Millennium. A great primate. I was witness to the mission, to his total entrusting of himself to his struggles, to his victory.
Wojtyła would defer to Wyszyński even after the latter’s death.

It was a great joy for Cardinal Wyszynski to see his close friend and once young protégée as the successor of Saint Peter in Rome. Wojtyla was always next to Wyszynski, always by his side, always transparently loyal, always full of respect, and always attentive. He was absolutely faithful to the Primate, and always demonstrated in a clear way that they were united and followed the same line of action. The two cardinals had found a way of dividing up their roles but always acted together. According to John Paul’s personal secretary, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz,

The primate set the direction, the overall strategy, while Wojtyła articulated the theory behind it. Wyszynski devoted himself completely to the Church and the Polish social and political situation; Wojtyła partly because he was younger and better at foreign languages, visited the Polish communities abroad.
In taking the name of John Paul II (which Wyszyński had urged him to adopt, in memory of the deceased Pope and out of respect for the Italian people, who had loved John Paul I), Wojtyła demonstrated his intention to continue with the council’s reforms. John Paul II’s first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979 was a dream come true to Cardinal Wyszyński as well. Gaude Mater Polonia! Wyszyński exclaimed to his friend: “Rejoice, oh Mother Poland!”

Cardinal Wyszyński spent the last two years of his life continuing to fight the Communist regime. He became a mediator between the regime and Solidarity. He met Edward Gierek, First Secretary of the ruling Polish United Worker’s Party, who asked for the Cardinal’s help in preventing strikes along the Baltic coast. Unfortunately for Gierek, he didn’t listen to Wyszyński’s advice, and strikes spread out all over the country.

Cardinal Wyszyński also negotiated with General Wojciech Jaruzelski in an effort to stabilize the situation in Poland. In the meantime, he supported Solidarity and met with its leader, Lech Wałęsa, and other representatives of the opposition. After years of battling the Communist government, Cardinal Wyszyński used his enormous influence to mediate between the authorities and Solidarity. Thanks to his efforts, Solidarity was officially registered as a legal union on April 17, 1981.

It was his last service to his beloved country. On May 28, 1981, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński died at 79. For the Poles it was a “Black May.” John Paul II narrowly survived an assassin’s bullet. Just over a month earlier Ronald Reagan (hugely popular in Poland) was also shot; he, too, barely escaped with his life.

Cardinal Wyszyński was an unquestionable leader of the Polish nation in opposition to the Communistic regime. As Father Raymond de Souza noted, “Without the space that Cardinal Wyszyński created, it would not have been possible for Cardinal Wojtyła to emerge and, as the first Polish pope, to vanquish the Soviet empire.”

Stefan Wyszyński, ora pro nobis.