The National Association of Catholic Families


This edition of CF NEWS (No.2217) posted at 12.52 pm on Sunday, January 14th, 2018. For full contents, scroll down or click on 'more' for the story of your choice. To return here click on one of the small green arrows





Vatican watch

Prayer intentions for January CONTINUE READING
New PAL member: AL says some circumstances 'require' contraception
Cardinal Parolin: Amoris Laetitia represents new paradigm, sprit an approach CONTINUE READING
Is this for real? Cardinal Coccopalmerio's 'Explanation' of AL CONTINUE READING
Architect of Safe-Abortion Fund given Pontifical Honour CONTINUE READING
Over 2,800 Muslim converts protest Francis' statements on Islam CONTINUE READING
Card. Burke debunks Card. Müller's exception for divorced, remarried CONTINUE READING
Card. Burke: 'Harmful experiments' have damaged the liturgy CONTINUE READING
Pope Francis' 5th anniversary CONTINUE READING

Parents as primary educators, protectors

Move to licensing parenting CONTINUE READING

Humanae Vitae

Professor Seifert on Fr. Chiodi's 're-reading' of Humanae Vitae CONTINUE READING
The theological importance of HV and its prophecy for our time CONTINUE READING


The Apotheosis of the migrant in Italy CONTINUE READING

News from around the world

EGYPT Ancient monastery closed, Christmas cancelled CONTINUE READING
GERMANY Bishops' Conference VP wants to bless homosexual unions CONTINUE thREADING
UK Home Office caves to pressure - will consult pro-lifers CONTINUE READING
UK UK Christian printer reported to police CONTINUE READING
UK Peer fears preaching Christianity could be hate crime CONTINUE READING
INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news
INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week CONTINUE READING




Hollywood liberals are on a slippery slope CONTINUE READING


Compulsory 'relationship' education and sex education CONTINUE READING

Book review

The Pope as The Lost Shepherd CONTINUE READING
Why the Jesuit General didn't want Bergolio made bishop CONTINUE READING

Comment from the internet

Schism rising? Seven bishops resist Pope's revolution VIDEO CONTINUE READING
A look ahead at 2018 CONTINUE READING
Confronting the Gay Priest problem CONTINUE READING
The Triumph of the People's Church CONTINUE READING
It's the end of the Word as we know it CONTINUE READING
Beyond Amoris Laetitia CONTINUE READING
Fifty years descent to Amoris Laetitia Footnote 351 CONTINUE READING

Our Catholic Heritage

Site of the Day : Ulcombe CONTINUE READING
Te Deum laudamus


Dom Hubert van Zeller, OSB CONTINUE READING




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Vatican watch


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New Academy for Life member uses Amoris Laetitia to say some circumstances 'require' contraception

Fr ChiodiRESPONSIBLE parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are 'circumstances - I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 - that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.'

Chapter 8 of the Pope's 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly 'remarried' couples to Holy Communion.

When 'natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,' argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, 'an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.'

The Italian professor's comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church's ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception 'intrinsically wrong,' approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church's teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

Chiodi's lecture was the third in a series of talks being hosted this academic year by the Gregorian University's faculty of social sciences and moral theology. The aim of the talks is to take a new and broad look at the encyclical 'in the context of a time of change' and 'more complex' situations.

Fr. Chiodi's lecture also follows revelations that the Vatican quietly created a four-member commission with the Pope's approval, in order to 'promote a comprehensive and authoritative study' of Humanae Vitae to coincide with the anniversary. The move came after Pope Francis purged the Pontifical Academy for Life, filling it with new appointees (including Fr. Chiodi), some with dissenting views on Humanae Vitae. And they coincided with the Pope issuing on September 8 a papal decree replacing the John Paul II Institute with a new institute to carry forward the teaching of Amoris Laetitia.

Concerns about the conference series were first made public in the National Catholic Register by Edward Pentin, and by George Weigel in an article published in First Things. But Fr. Chiodi's public lecture, which included students and religious sisters, may be the most explicit indication to date that an organized effort to challenge Humanae Vitae's prohibition against artificial contraception is underway.

Fr. Chiodi, a professor of moral theology at the Northern University of Italy in Milan, began his talk by summarizing an article published in First Things during the 2015 Synod on the Family. Two professors from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family had drawn up the 'Appeal' that criticized paragraph 137 of the synod's working document (Instrumentum Laboris) which focused on responsible parenthood and Humanae Vitae.

The authors took issue with the text, saying it contradicted the teaching of the Church's Magisterium about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment. In particular, they argued that it fell into the error of using particular situations to grant exceptions, which in turn, would permit someone to commit an intrinsically evil act in 'good' conscience.

The authors further maintained that the text's 'ambiguous and imprecise formulations' suggested a 'rejection of the existence of intrinsically evil acts,' and appeared to call into question the Tradition of the Church and the explicit teaching of Pope St. John Paul II's 1993 encyclical on the fundamentals of the Church's moral theology, Veritatis Splendor.

They urged the Synod Fathers to reject the paragraph, saying it 'empties' Humanae Vitae of its 'central teaching' and could have 'devastating consequences.' The appeal was signed by 62 philosophers and theologians worldwide, including key figures from John Paul II Institutes in Rome, Washington D.C., Krakow, and Melbourne.

In his talk, Fr. Chiodi, who preferred to call the appeal an 'accusation,' said the authors' interpretation of paragraph 137 seemed 'to force its meaning' and was 'guided by a kind of methodical doubt or suspicion.' Chiodi added that the authors failed to address what he considered to be the central question in moral theology today, i.e. 'the relationship between the objective and subjective.'

The Italian moral theologian explained that 'normally, the objective is identified with the moral norm known by reason and the subjective is identified with the conscience enlightened by the law.' But he rejected this idea, arguing instead that 'the relationship between objective and subjective is not a relationship between the norm known by reason and the conscience' but 'between the act … and conscience.' The task for philosophers and theologians, Chiodi said, is to 'rethink a theory of conscience' that recovers 'the original link between conscience and the moral act.'

He concluded by saying that the authors' final 'accusation' - that paragraph 137 'undermines the central purpose of the encyclical' which is to offer a normative interpretation of the natural law - is a 'theoretical question' which 'requires us to think.'

Fr. Chiodi dedicated the second part of his lecture to the relationship between Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia. While he acknowledged that Humanae Vitae occupies 'a very important place' in the 'historical development' of the Church's magisterium on marriage, he said the encyclical has become more of a 'symbolic issue, criticized or rejected by those who were disappointed with its conclusions, or considered as a true pillar of Catholic moral doctrine on sexuality by others.'

The Italian priest attributed the encyclical's increasing importance to its insertion in John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio, n. 29-34, but especially, he said, 'to the fact that Veritatis Splendor n. 80 includes contraception among the 'intrinsically evil' acts.'

But from a pastoral point of view, he said the 'urgency of the issue' of contraception 'seems gradually to be diminishing.'

'While in the 50s and 60s was an urgent for believers, now the great majority of even believing married couples live as though the norm doesn't exist,' he said.

'Officially and objectively the norm has remained,' but 'even many pastors' don't talk about it, he said. 'In public, in catechesis, and in preaching, they prefer not to talk about it' while 'in personal encounters they maintain a very indulgent attitude when the issue is raised.'

'And therefore,' he argued, 'it's significant that Amoris Laetitia speaks so little about it.'

Commenting further on the significance of this silence, Fr. Chiodi pointed out that Humanae Vitae is cited only six times in Amoris Laetitia. 'It has been observed,' he added, that its most important reference - on the generation of life, responsible choice and conscience (paragraph 222) - presents 'a relatively soft formulation' of Paul VI's encyclical, since 'it refrains from a clear and strong condemnation of differing positions, both systematic and normative.'

Moreover, Chiodi noted that Amoris Laetitia makes no 'explicit reference' to contraception as 'intrinsically evil,' adding that 'it would have been very easy to do so given Veritatis Splendor.'

In light of the paucity of references to Paul VI's landmark encyclical in Amoris Laetitia, Fr. Chiodi asked: 'How can one claim to reread Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia It seems I've been given an impossible task.'

Impossible, really

But he proceeded to do exactly what he feigned to be unachievable, moving straight to a consideration of what he called the 'two great questions' that emerge in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. The first question, Fr. Chiodi said, is the 'objective relevance of extenuating circumstances and subjective responsibility of the conscience.' The second: 'the constitutive relationship between norm and discernment.'

His talk then took a sophistic turn through a wandering reflection on conscience, act, norm, and discernment. Fr. Chiodi himself acknowledged his ambitions 'might be excessive' in the time allotted, but eventually got to the crux of his argument.

Through His Paschal Mystery, Fr. Chiodi said, 'Jesus ... opens to the believer the possibility of acting responsibly, that is, a way of acting that responds to grace, passing through the travails of history and of evil.'

'Within this perspective,' Chiodi argued, 'moral norms are not reducible to rational objectivity but belong to human life understood as a story of salvation and grace. The norms conserve the good and instruct in the way of good. But they are historical.'

'In other words, they are subject to change,' an academic close to the Vatican told LifeSite. This is 'nothing more than historicism and relativism,' he added.

Chiodi continued: '[Moral norms] have a symbolic and universal quality, because they point to the good to which they attest, and to the conscience which they instruct and guard.'

And 'in this light,' Fr. Chiodi said, 'discernment is not an activity added on' but is 'the conscience itself.'

He then moved on to his last point - Humanae Vitae: conscience, norm and discernment - and said the theory he was proposing was aimed at 'rethinking the anthropology of marriage in its core, on the one hand in sexual difference, and on the other in responsible fruitfulness.'

The 'wisdom of Humanae Vitae,' he said, is to have stressed 'the connection between the spousal relationship and generation,' which he believes is 'the fundamental anthropological lesson that we have to take' from the encyclical.

Significantly, Fr. Chiodi said the reflection he had offered in his lecture 'seems to authorize us to rethink the meaning of the moral norm of Humanae Vitae, so that we don't concentrate on [it] as an objective truth that stands before reason, in this case, of the believing spouses.'

'My thought is to take up the anthropological meaning of the norm of Humanae Vitae,' Chiodi said. Therefore, he stressed, 'it's not a matter of abolishing the norm, but of demonstrating its meaning and truth.'

The academic speaking anonymously to LifeSite said that given Fr. Chiodi's 'clear historicism, it seems that for him, there is no objective truth.' For Chiodi, the source added, 'there is no moral norm that is always normative.'

Some cases 'require' contraception

In the final part of his talk, Fr. Chiodi developed an 'anthropology of marriage' based on what he considered its 'four fundamental aspects': The relationship between sexuality and sexual difference; the relationship between human sexuality and the spousal covenant; the relationship between marital communion and generation; and the meaning of responsibility in generation [i.e. responsible parenthood].

Before moving on to consider these four aspects, Fr. Chiodi said that 'naturally, we need to ask if natural methods can and have to be the only form of responsible parenthood, or if this doesn't need to be interpreted more broadly.'

He also noted, referring to Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, that these four aspects have the character of a 'promised good' which 'opens up the possibility of failure.' Therefore, in these four aspects of marriage a person is called to 'discern the good that is possible' and to avoid the 'absolute opposition between good and evil, between black and white, as Amoris Laetitia says,' by considering 'the very obscure and dramatic circumstances of life.'

Moving rapidly through the first three points, Fr. Chiodi came to the fourth, i.e. the meaning of responsible parenthood. He said the vocation inscribed in generation is to 'recognize that generating is not creating' but involves 'responding to a gift and recognizing with gratitude the call to welcome the presence of another.'

'I believe that this is what the natural methods of fecundity attest to,' Fr. Chiodi said. 'They attest to the responsible character of generation, through the rhythm of time, the rhythm of the body of the other, the care for a relationship that involves dialogue and mutual acceptance, not the instrumentalization of the other.'

Having given a 40-minute lecture laden with ambiguities and vague philosophical theories, interspersed with intimations of where he was going, Fr. Chiodi in the last three minutes of his talk revealed his true intention and meaning - namely that, in some circumstances, artificial birth control is not only acceptable but even good and therefore is not 'intrinsically evil.'

Fr. Chiodi concluded his lecture with remarkable frankness about his intentions, saying:

'If it is true that the responsibility in generating is what these [natural] methods point to, then we can understand how, in situations when natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found. There are circumstances - I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 - that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception. In these cases, a technological intervention does not negate the responsibility of the generating relationship. The insistence of the Church's Magisterium on natural methods cannot be interpreted, in my opinion, as a norm which is an end in itself, nor as a mere conformity with biological laws, because the norm points to an anthropology, to the good of marital responsibility.

He added:

'Technology [i.e. artificial birth control], in certain circumstances, can make it possible to guard the responsible quality of the sexual act, even in the decision not to generate, for all of the reasons that Paul VI, and even before, Pius XII already indicated as 'plausible reasons' for avoiding the conception of a child. Technology [i.e. artificial birth control] it seems to me, cannot be rejected a priori, when the birth of a child is at play, because technology [i.e. artificial birth control] is a form of acting, and so requires discernment on the basis of these circumstances, one however that is irreducible to a material interpretation of the norm. In the above-mentioned circumstances, then, an artificial method for the regulation of birth could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child but because in those situations, responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.

Fr. Chiodi's talk was introduced by one of the chief organizers of the conference series, Argentine Jesuit Father Humberto Miguel Yanez. Fr. Yanez is the Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University. Yanez is known to be close to Pope Francis, and in fact Bergoglio was Yanez' religious superior as a young Jesuit (see Pope Francis, untying the knots).

In May 2015, Father Yanez participated in the 'secret synod' at the Gregorian, during which a number of theologians sought to sway the synod on the family to accept same-sex unions, dispense with the term 'intrinsically evil,' and introduce a controversial 'theology of love.'

Father Chiodi's December 14 lecture is not his first attempt to justify contraception, nor to use arguments that critics say are condemned in Pope St. John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Earlier this year, both he and Father Yanez also took part in the presentation at the Gregorian of a new book entitled Amoris Laetitia: A Turning Point for Moral Theology, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, in which it is argued that Amoris Laetitia represents a paradigm shift for all moral theology and especially in interpreting Humanae Vitae.

Fr. Chiodi's lecture was followed by an accompanying talk by Emilia Palladino, a professor of family ethics in the Gregorian's department of social sciences. Palladino, one of the chief organizers of the conference series together with Fr. Yanez, also expressed support for the use of artificial contraception in some circumstances.

Fr. Chiodi's talk comes after several articles appeared in Avvenire, the Italian bishops' newspaper, promoting a similar position. A summary of Fr. Chiodi's talk is expected to be published in Avvenire in mid-January.

Asked for an interview by LifeSite, Fr. Chiodi declined to comment, saying these are 'sensitive matters.'

Here below are comments on Fr. Chiodi's talk from a well-respected moral theologian who wished to remain anonymous.

The Church's position on this matter is abundantly clear, and has been repeated many times. According to perennial Magisterial teaching, the use of contraceptives is an intrinsic evil, that is, a moral evil that never becomes good no matter what circumstances may exist. As an objective moral evil, the use of contraceptives therefore is never responsible, but rather is a practice that is always irresponsible because it undermines the dignity of the spouses and instrumentalizes the conjugal union by destroying its chief end, namely, procreation.

Fr. Chiodi's position, therefore, is no different from a moral relativism which states that there are no actions which by their very object are intrinsically evil. Instead, his view assumes the principle that circumstances can make any action good and laudable provided certain circumstances exist and the agent act with a good intention. Such a view undermines the entire moral order and will justify every kind of moral disorder.

Pius XI makes this abundantly clear, saying:

'Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin (Casti Conubii, n. 56).

Likewise, Paul VI in Humanae Vitae declares:

'Excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation-whether as an end or as a means. […] Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. […] Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong. (n. 14)

The Church, said Paul VI, 'condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious' (n. 16).

Pope Paul VI also stated in Humanae Vitae, n. 14, that 'it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.'

And in Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II states that:

'[T]he negative values inherent in the 'contraceptive mentality' - which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation [to commit abortion] when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected. [emphasis added] (Evangelium Vitae n. 13)

...Today an important part of policies which favour life is the issue of population growth. Certainly public authorities have a responsibility to 'intervene to orient the demography of the population. But such interventions must always take into account and respect the primary and inalienable responsibility of married couples and families, and cannot employ methods which fail to respect the person and fundamental human rights, beginning with the right to life of every innocent human being. It is therefore morally unacceptable to encourage, let alone impose, the use of methods such as contraception, sterilization and abortion in order to regulate births (n. 91).

It is surely significant that Francis never quotes St. John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor. Had he done so, Francis could have easily shown that he rejects all forms of moral relativism, situationism, and the sorts of theories proposed by Fr. Chiodi. This is particularly clear with respect to Veritatis Splendor no. 80:

'[T]he acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed 'intrinsically evil' (intrinsece malum): […] are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that 'there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object.

John Paul adds:

'With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches: 'Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) - in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.'

(And see Humanae Vitae, below)

[LSN] 2217.1



















Cardinal Parolin: Amoris Laetitia represents new paradigm, spirit and approac

The Vatican Secretary of State’s comments come amid unease that the document is being used by some to alter Church teaching, specifically regarding the Church’s ban on artificial contraception.
Edward Pentin

Card.ParlinEDWARD PENTIN reports for the National Catholic Register: ' Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said Amoris Laetitia represents a 'new paradigm' that calls us to a 'new spirit, a new approach' to help 'incarnate the Gospel in the family.'

In an interview with Vatican Radio published on Thursday, the Vatican Secretary of State said 'at the end of the day, Amoris Laetitia has emerged as a new paradigm that Pope Francis is conducting wisely, prudently and also patiently.'

He added that the 'difficulties' arising from the document and which 'still exist in the Church, beyond certain aspects of its content, are due precisely to this change in attitude that the Pope is asking of us.'

'It’s a paradigm shift, and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us — this new spirit, this new approach!,' he said.

He added that 'any change obviously always involves some difficulty, but these difficulties are taken into account and must be tackled with commitment, to find answers that become moments for further growth, further study.'

Amoris Laetitia, he continued, as well as indicating the Church’s 'embrace of the family and its problems in the world today, really helps to incarnate the Gospel in the family — which is already a gospel: the Gospel of the family — and at the same time is a request for help from families that they might collaborate and contribute to the growth of the Church.'

In the same interview, Cardinal Parolin said the Church in 2018 will be especially focused on young people.

He said he believed it important to 'search for a new relationship between the Church and young people, characterized by a paradigm of commitment free of every type of paternalism.' The Church, he added, 'truly wants to enter into dialogue with young people’s reality; it wants to understand young people and wants to help them.'

Paradigm of Unease

The term 'paradigm shift' in relation to Amoris Laetitia and the Church’s moral teaching has been causing unease of late.

In a book published last year entitled Amoris Laetitia: A Turning Point for Moral Theology, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, it is argued that Amoris Laetitia represents a paradigm shift for all moral theology and especially in interpreting Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.

The foreword to the Italian edition was written by the president of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, who is also on the board of governors of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Proponents of such a change refer to Amoris Laetitia's stress on the objective relevance of extenuating circumstances, the subjective conscience and discernment to allow some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion and apply it to allowing use of artificial contraception in some cases.

At a talk last month at the Pontifical Gregorian University, moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi, who presented the Goertz and Witting book at the university, similarly suggested that Amoris Laetitia opened the way for a new interpretation of Humanae Vitae to allow artificial contraception, saying some circumstances 'require' it. Father Chiodi is also a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Theologians have warned such a paradigm shift in moral teaching would represent a radical departure from the Church’s moral doctrine and could cause 'untold damage' to the Church.


Comment : Cardinal Parolin gives hints of the next disaster

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA comments for Fatima Perspectives that the video interview with Cardinal Parolin, 'provides a window onto the next looming disaster for the Church: the 'Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.' As the Church reels from the effects of the ecclesial H-Bomb that is Amoris Laetitia (AL), Parolin reveals that the next Phony Synod, which will be manipulated from start to finish like the last two, will probably culminate in a document already written as the predetermined 'fruit of the Synodal process.'

Parolin advises — or rather warns — that the next Synod will involve 'a search for a new relationship of the Church to young people' according to which the Church will 'enter into a dialogue with youth' involving 'the reality and the understanding of youth.' This will be 'a step of evolution' in keeping with AL, which has given rise to 'a new paradigm of responsibility excluding any paternalism', 'a change of attitude', 'a new spirit, a new approach.'

There is great danger lurking in this word salad. What exactly is this 'new relationship with young people' for which the Synod will 'search'? What is meant by 'a new paradigm of responsibility' without 'paternalism'? What 'change of attitude' is expected?  And what is the 'new spirit, a new approach' that will supposedly emerge?

That is for them to know and for us to find out.  The only mystery is what they are already preparing to spring on us.  The process will undoubtedly mirror that of Phony Synods I and II on the Family, following which AL introduced the very thing the Synod Fathers had insistently rejected: the admission of public adulterers to Holy Communion.  That is, Phony Synods I and II really had nothing to do with the predetermined outcome of AL.  So it will very likely be with Phony Synod III.

An alarming clue is provided in Parolin’s remark that the 'dialogue with youth' at Phony Synod III will involve their 'weaknesses and fears.'  Here I would point to the incredible title of Chapter 8 of AL: 'Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness.'  That is, 'integrating' the 'weakness' of the 'divorced and remarried' by admitting them to Holy Communion while they continue to engage in adulterous relations — an enormity Pope Francis has had the audacity to label 'authentic Magisterium' even as numerous bishops quietly refuse to implement it and seven prelates, including one cardinal, publicly condemn it as 'a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.'

What seems to be coming, then, is an application of AL to the 'weakness' of youth so as to institutionalize the toleration of their 'irregular unions,' meaning cohabitation without marriage. To quote AL (n. 78), which dares to invoke the name of Our Lord as a warrant for the moral subversion to be introduced in Chapter 8:

'The light of Christ enlightens every person (cf. Jn 1:9; Gaudium et Spes, 22).  Seeing things with the eyes of Christ inspires the Church’s pastoral care for the faithful who are living together or are only married civilly, or are divorced and remarried…. When a couple in an irregular union attains a noteworthy stability through a public bond – and is characterized by deep affection, responsibility towards the children and the ability to overcome trials – this can be seen as an opportunity, where possible, to lead them to celebrate the sacrament of Matrimony.'

So, according to the 'new paradigm,' the concept of living in sin has been abolished in favor of cohabitation and adultery as merely stages leading — possibly but not necessarily — to the Sacrament of Matrimony.  That people embroiled in such sinful unions are in peril of damnation has been completely eclipsed by the 'new paradigm.' Thus will Phony Synod III predictably attempt to validate relationships between 'the young' that constitute, objectively, habitual mortal sin.  Indeed, practically speaking, the application of AL tends to the abolition of the very concept of mortal sin in favor of the insane idea that sinful behaviors are merely points on a continuum of the good that are more or less good, never simply immoral as such.

We must, then, prepare for the worst as Phony Synod III approaches — with confidence, however, that God will draw a greater good from 'this disastrous papacy.'  By His permissive will, God has allowed this disaster to happen, perhaps because it will involve a great winnowing of the Church by which her enemies will be exposed and her defenders revealed in anticipation of a great historical climax in the long-delayed Consecration of Russia — probably in the midst of the most dramatic developments for the Church and the world.


[NCRegister / FP] 2217.1b



















Is this for real? Cardinal Coccopalmerio's 'Explanation' of Amoris Laetita

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives: 'As the number of prelates signing the Profession of Immutable Principles rises to seven, with Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Laun of Salzburg, Austria, adding his signature on the Feast of the Epiphany, the National Catholic Register's Edward Pentin has pointed back to an interview in the Register of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. In that interview, conducted by the redoubtable Pentin, Coccopalmerio confirms precisely that disastrous interpretation of Amoris Laetitia (AL) which the Profession now rejects as 'alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.' That is, the interpretation to which Pope Francis dares to affix the deceptive label 'authentic Magisterium.'

Engaging in the usual Modernist doubletalk, Coccopalmerio insisted that AL does not change the application of Canon 915, rooted in divine law, which forbids administration of Holy Communion to those who are 'obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin,' but that those who are indeed persevering in adulterous sexual relations in 'second marriages' can be admitted to Holy Communion if they find it 'impossible' to change their behavior by living as brother and sister. To quote the Cardinal's clumsy sophistry:

'Think of a woman who lives with a married man. She has three little children. She has already been with this man for 10 years. Now the children think of her as a mother…. How can you stop the whole thing if that will harm people It is important that this person doesn't want to be in this union, wants to leave this union, wants to leave, but cannot do it….

'If the two can live together as brother and sister, that's great. But if they cannot because this would break up the union, which ought to be conserved for the good of these people, then they manage as best they can. Do you see That's it….

'I can't damage a person to avoid a sin in a situation that I haven't put myself into; I already find myself in it, one in which I, if I am this woman, have put myself into without a bad intention. On the contrary, I'm trying to do good, and, at that moment, I believed myself to be doing good, and certainly I did do good. But maybe if, already at the beginning I had known, if I knew with moral certitude that this is a sin, maybe I would not have put myself in that condition. But now I already find myself there: How can I go back It is one thing to begin, another to interrupt. These are also different things, no...

'Do you see there is an impossibility in this case One cannot change immediately.

'Do they have to change their style of life before receiving Communion

'No, they have to change their intention, not their style of life.'

Incredibly enough, this is the thinking of the man Pope Francis has put in charge of interpreting canon law: i.e., that a woman living in adultery can receive Holy Communion while continuing her adulterous relations with a man to whom she is not married so long as she would like to stop but finds it 'impossible' to do so. And why is it 'impossible' Evidently because her partner in adultery would abandon her if he is not provided with sexual relations outside of marriage and the children of the illicit union would suffer. In other words, the woman is justified in doing evil to prevent another (perceived) evil.

By that logic, no habitual mortal sin is an impediment to Holy Communion so long as one can construct an argument that it would be 'impossible' to cease committing the sin because some onerous burden would ensue. Thus collapses the entire moral edifice of the Church into a heap of 'good excuses' for continuing immoral behavior while professing that one would like to change. And with that collapse, if it were possible, the entire Faith ultimately collapses. For if even obedience to the fundamental moral law is optional in given circumstances, why not also obedience to any other teaching of the Church

Coccopalmerio, lest we forget, is the same prelate whose secretary, Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, was 'arrested by Vatican police after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in a building right next to St. Peter's Basilica.' Whoever thinks Coccopalmerio was unaware of his own secretary's corruption and perversity might be interested in purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Is this for real One might wish to believe it's all a nightmare from which we will eventually awake. But in fact it is an awful and unparalleled reality in the history of the Church - one from which, it now seems, only direct divine intervention can deliver us.

[Hat tip to Canon212 for links to the Pentin articles.]

[FP] 2217.2


















Pope Francis raises leading abortion promoter to the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great

MICHAEL HICHBORN reports for OnePeterFive: 'On January 12, reports began surfacing on Twitter that Lilianne Ploumen, former Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, was honored by Pope Francis with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.  The Lepanto Institute was able to confirm from a December 22, 2017 Dutch radio broadcast that Ploumen indeed received the honor.  In a brief video clip promoting the broadcast, Ploumen displays the medal while saying that she received it from the Pope.

Here is the video:



Here is a crude translation of the exchange:

BNR – And this is the umpteenth prize that Lilianne Ploumen observes, won in 2017 and from whom they came.

Ploumen – Yes, it is a high distinction from the Vatican; from the pope.

BNR – From the pope.

Ploumen – Beautiful.

BNR – Yes.

Ploumen – It is Commander in the order of St. Gregory.

BNR – And that despite that you are pro-abortion.

Ploumen – Yes you can check.

To say that Lilianne Ploumen is 'pro-abortion' is an extreme understatement and doesn’t even come close to the scandalous reality of her activism.

In January of last year, after US President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, Ploumen launched a new NGO called She Decides to provide mass amounts of funds to organizations that would no longer receive funds from the US government.  The Mexico City Policy automatically denies US funding for international organizations which perform or promote abortion.

Referring to the Mexico City Policy as a 'Global Gag Rule,' Ploumen stated that the intention of She Decides was to continue support for existing programs being run by organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.  She said, 'These are successful and effective programs: direct support, distributing condoms, making sure women are accompanied at the birth, and making sure abortion is safe if they have no other choice.'

By July of 2017, Ploumen’s program had raised over $300 million.

In October of 2017, Ploumen wrote an article for the Financial Times, in which she emphatically stated, 'America’s regressive policies on abortion are a calamity for girls’ and women’s rights that the rest of the world must counter.'

Ironically, just a few days ago, Ploumen was awarded the Machiavelli Prize 'for her campaign for the safe abortion fund SheDecides.' The article on the award indicates that 'The Machiavelli prize is awarded to a person or organization which the jury considers has excelled in public communication. In particular, the jury praised the speed at which SheDecides was set up and went global.'
It is worth noting that from 2004-2007, Ploumen was the Director of Programs and on the Board of Directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.

But Ploumen’s anti-Catholic activity isn’t restricted to abortion.  In September of 2017, Ploumen participated in the United Nations LGBTI Core Group.  As the first speaker at the event, Ploumen noted that 'LGBTI rights are human rights.'  In her opening remarks, she said, 'We cannot be complacent. [Today] in more than 70 countries homosexuality is still criminalized…stigma against LGBT people continue all over the world.'

In 2014, Ploumen ended foreign aid to the country of Uganda for passing a bill banning sodomy and same-sex 'marriage.'

In February of 2010, Ploumen called on LGBT activists to descend upon and disrupt Mass at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, wearing pink triangles with the words 'Jesus excludes no one.' The reason?  She and other pro-LGBT activists were protesting the Church’s moral teaching regarding homosexuality.

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established in September 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI.  The honor of membership in the Order is conferred on individuals for their 'personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their unusual labors, their support of the Holy See, and their excellent examples set forth in their communities and their countries.'

It remains to be seen what service Lilianne Ploumen has provided for the Catholic Church or the Holy See, given her staunch support for homosexuality, abortion and contraception.  Given that the one thing that Lilianne Ploumen is known for in the past year is the establishment of a fund that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that commit abortion and dispense contraception, it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate her recent Pontifical honor from this grievous and scandalous act.

[A version of this article first appeared at The Lepanto Institute]


[1P5] 2217.2a



















More than 2,800 Muslim converts protest Francis' statements on Islam

MORE than 2,800 converts from Islam to Christianity have signed an open letter to Pope Francis, protesting the Pontiff's public statements affirming the value of the Muslim faith. 'Don't your words shed doubt on the solid basis for the choice we have made' the converts ask.

Libero Quotidiano writes: 'Here follows the text of an Open Letter to Pope Francis that you can sign if you so wish. We will present it as soon as it reaches a significant number of signatories. Thank you for helping to make it known. We base our initiative on Canon Law: 'According to the knowledge, the competence and the prestige enjoyed by the faithful, they have the right and sometimes even the duty to give the Sacred Shepherds their opinion on what concerns the good of the Church and to make it known to the other faithful, keeping safe the integrity of faith and morals and the reverence due to pastors, and taking into account the common utility and dignity of people.' (Canon 212 § 3)

From former Muslims who became Catholics, and their friends, to His Holiness Pope Francis, about his attitude towards Islam.

Most Holy Father,

Many of us have tried to contact you, on many occasions and for several years, and we have never received the slightest acknowledgement of our letters or requests for meetings. You do not like to beat around the bush, and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not understand your teaching about Islam, as we read in paragraphs 252 and 253 of Evangelii Gaudium, because it does not account for the fact that Islam came AFTER Christ, and so is, and can only be, an Antichrist (see 1 Jn 2.22), and one of the most dangerous because it presents itself as the fulfillment of Revelation (of which Jesus would have been only a prophet). If Islam is a good religion in itself, as you seem to teach, why did we become Catholic Do not your words question the soundness of the choice we made at the risk of our lives Islam prescribes death for apostates (Quran 4.89, 8.7-11), do you know How is it possible to compare Islamic violence with so-called Christian violence 'What is the relationship between Christ and Satan What union is there between light and darkness What association between the faithful and the unfaithful' (2 Cor 6: 14-17) In accordance with His teaching (Lk 14:26), we preferred Him, the Christ, to our own life. Are we not in a good position to talk to you about Islam

In fact, as long as Islam wants us to be its enemy, we are, and all our protestations of friendship cannot change anything. As a proper Antichrist, Islam exists only as an enemy of all: 'Between us and you there is enmity and hatred forever, until you believe in Allah alone!' (Qur'an 60.4) For the Qur'an, Christians 'are only impurity' (Quran 9.28), the worst of Creation' (Qur'an 98.6), all condemned to Hell (Qur'an 4.48), so Allah must exterminate them (Quran 9.30). We must not be deceived by the Quranic verses deemed tolerant, because they have all been repealed by the verse of the Sword (Quran 9.5). Where the Gospel proclaims the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection for the salvation of all, and the fulfillment of the Covenant initiated with the Hebrews, Allah has nothing to offer but war and murder of the 'infidels' in exchange for his paradise: 'They fight on the way of Allah, they kill and are killed.' (Quran 9:11) We do not confuse Islam with Muslims, but if for you 'dialogue' means the voice of peace, for Islam it's only another way to make war. Also, as it was in the face of Nazism and communism, naiveté in the face of Islam is suicidal and very dangerous. How can you speak of peace and endorse Islam, as you seem to do: 'To wring from our hearts the disease that plagues our lives (…) Let those who are Christians do it with the Bible and those who are Muslims do it with the Quran. '(Rome, January 20, 2014) That the Pope seems to propose the Quran as a way of salvation, is that not cause for worry Should we return to Islam

We beg you not to seek in Islam an ally in your fight against the powers that want to dominate and enslave the world, since they share the same totalitarian logic based on the rejection of the kingship of Christ (Lk 4.7). We know that the Beast of the Apocalypse, seeking to devour the Woman and her Child, has many heads. Allah defends such alliances by the way (Quran 5.51)! Moreover, the prophets have always reproached Israel for its willingness to ally with foreign powers, to the detriment of the complete confidence they should've had in God. Certainly, the temptation is strong to think that speaking in an Islamophilic tone will prevent more suffering for Christians in those countries that have become Muslim, but apart from the fact that Jesus has never indicated any other way than that of the Cross, so that we must find our joy therein and not flee with all the damned, we do not doubt that only the proclamation of the Truth brings with it not only salvation, but freedom as well (John 8.32). Our duty is to bear witness to the truth 'in season and out of season' (2 Timothy 4.2), and our glory is to be able to say with St. Paul: 'I did not want to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.' (1 Corinthians 2.2)

As to Your Holiness's stance on Islam: even as President Erdogan, among others, asks his countrymen not to integrate into their host countries, and while Saudi Arabia and all the petrol monarchies do not welcome any refugee, expressions (among others) of the project of conquest and Islamization of Europe, officially proclaimed by the OIC and other Islamic organizations for decades; you, Most Holy Father, preach the welcoming of migrants regardless of the fact that they are Muslims, something forbidden by Apostolic command: 'If anyone comes to you but refuses this Gospel, do not receive him among you nor greet him. Whoever greets him participates in his evil works.' (2 John 1.10-11); 'If anyone preaches to you a different Gospel, let him be accursed!' (Galatians 1.8-9)

Just as 'For I was hungry, and you gave me no food.' (Mt 25:42) cannot mean that Jesus would have liked to be a parasite, so 'I was a stranger and you welcomed Me' cannot mean 'I was an invader and you welcomed Me', but rather 'I needed your hospitality for a while, and you granted it to me'. The word (xenos) in the New Testament does not only have the meaning of stranger but of guest as well (Rm 16.23; 1 Co 16.5-6, Col 4.10; 3 Jn 1.5). And when YHWH in the Old Testament commands to treat foreigners well because the Hebrews have themselves been foreigners in Egypt, it is on the condition that the foreigner assimilates so well to the chosen people that he accepts their religion and practices their cult… Never is there mention of welcoming a foreigner who would keep his religion and its customs! Also, we do not understand that you are pleading for Muslims to practice their religion in Europe. The meaning of Scripture should not be supplied by the proponents of globalism, but in fidelity to Tradition. The Good Shepherd hunts the wolf, He does not let it enter the sheepfold.

The pro-Islam speech of Your Holiness leads us to deplore the fact that Muslims are not invited to leave Islam, and that many ex-Muslims, such as Magdi Allam, are even leaving the Church, disgusted by her cowardice, wounded by equivocal gestures, confused by the lack of evangelization, scandalized by the praise given to Islam … Thus ignorant souls are misled, and Christians are not preparing for a confrontation with Islam, to which St. John Paul II has called them (Ecclesia in Europa, No. 57). We are under the impression that you do not take your brother Bishop Nona Amel, Chaldean-Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in exile, seriously, when he tells us: 'Our present sufferings are the prelude to those that you, Europeans and Western Christians, will suffer in the near future. I have lost my diocese. The headquarters of my archdiocese and my apostolate have been occupied by radical Islamists who want us to convert or die. (…) You are welcoming into your country an ever increasing number of Muslims. You are in danger as well. You must make strong and courageous decisions (…). You think that all men are equal, but Islam does not say that all men are equal. (…) If you do not understand this very quickly, you will become the victims of the enemy that you have invited into your home.' (August 9, 2014) '. This is a matter of life and death, and any complacency towards Islam is treasonous. We do not wish the West to continue with Islamization, nor that your actions contribute to it. Where then would we go to seek refuge

Allow us to ask Your Holiness to quickly convene a synod on the dangers of Islam. What remains of the Church where Islam has installed itself If she still has civil rights, it is in dhimmitude, on the condition that she does not evangelize, thus denying her very essence. In the interest of justice and truth, the Church must bring to light why the arguments put forward by Islam to blaspheme the Christian faith are false. If the Church had the courage to do that, we do not doubt that millions, Muslims as well as other men and women seeking the true God, would convert. As you said: 'He who does not pray to Christ, prays to the Devil.' (14.03.13) If people knew they were going to Hell, they would give their lives to Christ. (cf. Quran 3.55)

With the deepest love for Christ who, through you, leads His Church, we, converts from Islam, supported by many of our brothers in the Faith, especially the Christians of the East, and by our friends, ask Your Holiness to confirm our conversion to Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the only Savior, with a frank and right discourse on Islam, and, assuring you of our prayers in the heart of the Immaculate, we ask your apostolic blessing.

[CWN/ http://exmusulmanschretiens.fr] 2217.3




















Cardinal Burke debunks Cardinal Müller's exception for divorced and remarried

BRADLEY ELI, M.Div., Ma.Th. reports for ChurchMilitant.com: 'The former head of the Vatican's highest court has debunked a so-called exception floated recently by Cdl. Gerhard Müller that supposedly allows some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion while still living as husband and wife.

Church Militant reported on statements made by the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during an interview published December 31. During the interview, Cdl. Müller stated, 'It is possible that the penitent may be convinced in conscience and with good reasons of the invalidity of the first marriage even though they cannot offer canonical proof.' Speaking of such Catholics living as husband and wife in a second civil marriage, the cardinal stated, 'In this case, the marriage that is valid before God would be the second one, and the pastor could grant the sacrament.'

Cardinal Raymond Burke was asked last September by the Hungarian independent Catholic news website, Katolikus Válasz, 'Are there really such cases His Eminence responded, 'Such cases do not exist.' He further explained:

No priest has the authority to declare a marriage null in the internal forum. Marriage is a public state in the Church, and the judgment regarding an accusation of nullity of marriage must be made in accord with the long practice of the Church. If a college of judges in a matrimonial tribunal is not able to arrive at moral certitude regarding the nullity of a marriage after a careful and thorough examination of the petition of nullity, how can an individual priest be capable of making such a judgment having to do with the eternal salvation of the soul in question

Cardinal Burke then reiterated the Church's unbroken discipline of requiring that Holy Communion is granted only to those not living in an objective state of sin:

The only case in which a priest could admit a person living in an irregular matrimonial union to receive the sacraments of penance and Holy Eucharist is the case of a couple who agree to live 'as brother and sister,' that is to respect the marriage to which they are bound by not living in a marital way with another person.

His words match identically with remarks made Sunday to Church Militant by Fr. Dean Perri, who works in the marriage tribunal for the diocese of Rhode Island. Asked specifically about Cdl. Müller's so-called exception, Fr. Perri replied:

If a Catholic has been married before in the Catholic Church ... then that Catholic is not permitted to enter into a new sacramental marriage bond without an annulment. If the Catholic parties divorce and attempt to marry civilly to another person, then that marriage is invalid. The second marriage is not sacramental and therefore not valid in the eyes of the Church. ... If the Tribunal and all the appeals declare that the first marriage is valid, then, no, there is no second marriage, and the couple will either have to bear the Cross of Christ and live as brother and sister in order to receive Communion.

Cardinal Müller is well respected by all including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who last month insightfully said of the cardinal: 'You have defended the clear traditions of faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis, you have tried to understand how they can be lived today.' The cardinal is seen by some members of the faithful as staunchly defending traditional Church teaching on marriage and the sacraments while trying to interpret current papal remarks in the light of that tradition.

You have defended the clear traditions of faith, but in the spirit of Pope Francis, you have tried to understand how they can be lived today.

This hesitancy on the part of Cdl. Müller to clarify teaching in the current hierarchy was evidenced in the same above mentioned interview. The cardinal was asked about the highly controversial guidelines on the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia that were presented by the Buenos Aires bishops last year. Current papal approval of those guidelines preceded a strong response last month by the bishops of Kazakhstan. Asked to weigh in on the debate concerning the guidelines, Cdl. Müller responded, 'This is an issue on which I would not like to comment.'

Instead of bringing up rare or impossible exceptions to Church teaching, concerned Catholics are calling for clear and faithful teaching to clear up the confusion plaguing the Church. They want Church leaders to preach and teach, instead, on the indissolubility of marriage, mortal sin, the Real Presence of Our Lord in Holy Communion and what a terrible sacrilege it is to receive Him in a state of mortal sin.

Now, there's a widening division among prelates on how to address the issue of divorced and civilly remarried couples receiving Holy Communion. This hearkens back to another approved apparition by Our Lady of Akita, who in 1973 predicted, 'The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops.'

[CMTV] 2217.4



















Cardinal Burke, 'Harmful experiments' have damaged the liturgy

THE ASPECT of the liturgy most in crisis is sacrality itself - according to Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Talking to O Clarim, a newspaper owned by Macau diocese, Burke remarked on December 15 that the liturgy was damaged after Second Vatican Council by anthropocentrism, a concept of the liturgy not as a gift of God to us but as a creation or invention of our own.

These 'harmful experiments' have entered into the liturgy, along with a very worldly vision of the liturgical action 'that is antithetical to the liturgy and extremely harmful.'

[en.news] 2217.5


















Pope Francis' 5th anniversary

The 81-year-old Pope will mark the fifth year of his pontificate March 13th

EDWARD PENTIN reports for the National Catholic Register: 'A synod of bishops on youth, further moves toward a decentralization of authority from the Vatican, and a probable consistory of new cardinals are just some of the expected papal happenings to take place in 2018.

Events already locked in the calendar make clear that another busy year awaits Pope Francis, one in which he is expected to press on in pursuing his vision for the Church as he approaches the fifth anniversary of his pontificate.

One of the most significant papal engagements will be the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme 'The Young, Faith and Vocational Discernment,' to be held in October.

Francis, who just turned 81, has said the theme is 'consistent' with the content of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), his summary document on the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family, and it will aim 'to accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity' so that through 'discernment' they will 'discover their plan for life and realize it with joy.'

The synod itself promises to introduce a 'new approach' for the Church concerning youth, moving away from the tendency to think 'we have always done it this way,' in the words of Pope Francis. It is expected to focus on helping them deal with today’s challenges such as the 'throwaway culture' of a consumerist society.

The synod will be preceded by a March 19-24 meeting of young people in Rome held by the Synod Secretariat to allow them to share 'their hopes, doubts and worries ahead of the synod.'

The Vatican last year sent out a 25-page preparatory document to all the dioceses in the world, which included a questionnaire to allow young people to share their opinions on social issues ahead of the October synod.

The Register has learned the Vatican has been overwhelmed with tens of thousands of responses, and as well as posing a processing challenge for the synod secretariat, critics have said the preparatory document 'is heavy on sociology and psychology and light on Scripture and Tradition.' Others are concerned the synod will be pushed in a harmful direction, largely because it will fail to address the most serious problems facing young people today. But still others see the synod as a very positive way for the Church to accompany young people in their human and spiritual growth so that they can make the world a better place.

A further possible flashpoint for heated debate this year will be the 50th anniversary of Pope Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on artificial contraception. There are concerns that moves are underway to use this anniversary to reassess the encyclical and implement a 'new moral paradigm,' as some have tried to do in their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.

The intention of such moves would be to soften the Church’s position upheld in Humanae Vitae — an encyclical believed by its proponents to have been prophetic, as it foresaw that widespread use of contraception would lead to a breakdown of the family and a greater dehumanization of society.

The Church officials involved in the commission, established in 2017 with Pope Francis’ approval to study Humanae Vitae, say that concerns about weakening the document are unfounded.

Papal Trips

So far, only one overseas papal visit has been confirmed for this year: to Peru and Chile, Jan. 15-22. The apostolic voyage will be significant for its emphasis on the environment and the welfare of indigenous people. The Holy Father will meet indigenous communities from the Amazon in Lima Jan. 19 — a timely visit ahead of the 2019 Pan-Amazonian Synod of Bishops.

This will be his fifth trip to the Americas, which he reportedly views as one continent, and like the 21 other visits outside Italy that he has made since his election, the people he will meet are typical of the 'peripheries' that are a central focus of this pontificate.

The Holy Father is expected to visit Ireland in the summer, at some point during the World Meeting of Families in Dublin that takes place Aug. 21-26.

Since the implosion of the faith in Ireland due to the clerical sex-abuse crisis and rampant secularism, the Pope will effectively be traveling to a country that once led the world in missionary outreach but is now on the Church’s periphery.

His visit is also likely soon after a referendum on whether to repeal Ireland’s ban on abortion in almost all circumstances. The vote is expected to take place sometime in the summer.

Many will be interested to see if Francis also becomes the first pontiff to visit Northern Ireland, once the focal point of the 'Troubles' between Unionists wanting to remain part of the United Kingdom and Republicans aiming for a united Ireland. Pope St. John Paul II came close to making it there during his visit in 1979, but security prevented him from crossing the border.

Other possible visits this year could be to Romania and India, postponed from 2017. The Pope told reporters on the flight back from Bangladesh in December that he needed a 'single trip' to India, given it is a vast and culturally diverse country, and he hoped 'to do it in 2018 if I’m alive!'

Also possible is a trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to mark 100 years since their independence. The visit, which the Vatican says is still in its planning stage, would be timely, as concerns grow about Russian aggression against the Baltic states.

Within Italy, the Pope is to make a pastoral visit to Pietrelcina and San Giovanni Rotondo March 17. The trip will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and the 100th anniversary of Padre Pio receiving the stigmata. The Holy Father will visit a pediatric oncology ward of the hospital St. Pio founded.

Papal Appointments

Papal appointments will be something to look out for this year, with expected changes in leadership within the Roman Curia as well as dioceses worldwide. Included among those could be Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington D.C., who is two years beyond retirement age, although insiders say the Pope is likely to keep him on for at least another year.

Others who will have just reached or will reach the retirement age of 75 this year and could be replaced include Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Argentinian prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches; Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The French cardinal has worsening symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which has affected him for some years and prevented him from joining the Pope on his recent visit to Burma and Bangladesh.

Senior Curial officials who are well past retirement age and expected to step down this year are Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (he turns 80 in June), and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who will celebrate his 80th birthday in March.

Also due to reach retirement this year is Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See — a Vatican dicastery at the center of questions concerning the Pope’s reform of Curial finances. The continuing tensions over financial reform, with obstructions of investigations into alleged corrupt practices, could remain a significant challenge for the Pope in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, eyes will be on the future of key papal adviser Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, following an investigation into corruption allegations in his archdiocese (see related story on page 10).

The cardinal, who turned 75 in December and handed his resignation to the Pope on age grounds, has denied many of the accusations, although questions remain unanswered. So far, he remains archbishop of Tegucigalpa, a position he has held since 1993.

As of Jan. 1, the number of cardinal-electors under the age of 80 is precisely 120 — the suggested limit set by Blessed Paul VI. But by mid-June, that number will have fallen to 114, giving Pope Francis the possibility of holding a small consistory in the fall to create six new red hats. That would take the number of his personal choices of cardinal-electors to 55, almost half the number eligible to vote in a conclave.

Persistent rumors have circulated that he wants to enlarge the number of cardinal-electors to more than 150, paving the way for a much larger consistory, but so far no concrete evidence has emerged that this will actually happen.

Decentralization Drive

Meanwhile, the push toward decentralizing the Church away from the Vatican and into the hands of local bishops is expected to continue, in line with the Pope’s vision laid out in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).

Speaking about the most recent meeting of the 'Council of Nine Cardinals' on Curial reform, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said that the priority for the Pope is not reform of structures and changing documents so much as creating a 'mentality of service' based on the vision that the Holy See 'is at the service of the local Churches.'

Prominent examples of the Holy Father’s intention to extend greater authority to bishops’ conferences in matters that involve the Church’s doctrine and pastoral practice include Amoris Laetitia, which has controversially resulted in bishops having differing interpretations of pastoral practice with regard to allowing civilly remarried divorcees to Holy Communion, and his recent motu proprio on liturgical translations, Magnum Principium, which reduced Vatican oversight over translations into local languages.

Other areas where such an approach potentially could come under consideration in the upcoming months include ordaining some married men and intercommunion for Protestant spouses.

Concerns over these and other issues related to doctrine and the effects on the Church of decentralization are likely to be a continued challenge for the Pope in the months ahead.

In terms of the Holy Father’s pastoral outreach, he is expected to continue to witness to Divine Mercy by making further surprise visits to the poor, sick and elderly in Rome and further afield.

Meanwhile, on the global scene, look out for further diplomatic efforts toward Russia, China and the Islamic world, as well as interventions in trouble spots such as Venezuela, the Middle East and Africa — part of what L’Osservatore Romano’s director, Giovanni Maria Vian, has said is Francis’ skill in 'breaking down walls between North and South.'

[NCR] 2217.5a





















Parents as primary
educators, protectors


Baby's hand


Move to licensing parenting

OFSTED seems to think that home-schooling is a hotbed of extremism. It wants the government to require parents to tell local authorities if they wish to homeschool their children and why. In the House of Lords some peers have called for all home-schoolers to be registered and inspected annually or more frequently.

The Christian Institute writes: 'This is concerning. There can be little doubt that the same people who equate promoting LGBT issues with 'British values' would assess parents on this basis.

To go into the home and inspect parents crosses the line for everybody. It ends the autonomy of all families, not just those who home school.

Under UK law, parents have always had the final decision on how to educate their children. The primary responsibility for the care and nurture of their children belongs to them. For many reasons, often related to bullying or special needs, parents choose not to send a child into mainstream education. A democratic state must respect this.

The State makes a poor parent. At the UK Supreme Court said only last year: 'within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way'.CIC.

[CI] 2217.6




















Humanae Vitae


Seifert & Chiodi


Professor Seifert comments on Father Chiodi's 're-reading of Humanae Vitae'

OnePeterFive Editor's Note: The following text is a statement written by Professor Josef Seifert, a famous Austrian philosopher and co-founder of the International Academy of Philosophy (IAP). He kindly sent it to us for publication.

PROFESSOR Father Maurizio Chiodi delivered last Dec. 14, 2017, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a speech entitled 'Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016)'. He is a new member of PAV, the Pontifical Academy for Life, founded by Pope John Paul II in order to explain and defend the truths the Church teaches about human life in Humanae Vitae and other documents. Nonetheless, Chiodi does not only rejects openly a central moral teaching of the Church on contraception, admirably stated in Humanae Vitae, namely that a wonderful and deep link exists between the conjugal loving union and procreation, such that any single contraceptive act that separates the unitive from the procreative meaning of the conjugal act is intrinsically wrong in any situation. Above and beyond his denial of this teaching, Chiodi asserts that contraception is even morally mandatory under certain circumstances. According to him, responsible parenthood can oblige a married couple to use artificial birth control.

This suggests an answer Fr. Chiodi gives to two of the famous five dubia of the four Cardinals. Chiodi's implicit answer may be formulated thus: 'Indeed, there are no human actions that are intrinsically wrong under all circumstances'.

Chiodi invokes Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, as a new model and paradigm for moral theology that eliminates the notion (solemnly and magisterially laid down in Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, and Veritatis Splendor) that contraception is an intrinsically evil human act that is wrong anywhere and at any time. Chiodi adds, in radical and direct contradiction to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church in Humanae Vitae, that there are 'circumstances - I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 - that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.' When 'natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,' Fr. Chiodi argued.

Chiodi's position constitutes an unequivocal defense of the consequentialist and proportionalist ethics that attacked Humanae Vitae from the first day of its publication on, and not only took issue with its teaching that contraception is intrinsically wrong, but claimed that there are no intrinsically evil acts at all; and that any human action is determined in its moral character solely by the proportion between its good and bad effects. This opinion was clearly and unambiguously refuted and rejected by Veritatis Splendor.

Chiodi likewise proposes more general philosophical and ethical positions that are profoundly erroneous and totally destructive not only of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, but also of the essence of morality, and in fact, of any truth and any Church Teaching: namely 1) a historical relativism, 2) a consensus theory of truth, and 3) situation ethics.

Saying that the norms of natural law 'conserve the good and instruct in the way of good, but they are historical, ' Chiodi denies the perennial truth and validity of the norms that tell us that contraception and many other acts are intrinsically wrong, in a way that is not relative to, and dependent on, historically changing opinions, as if Humanae Vitae could have been true in 1968 but would no longer be so in 2018.

Besides this, Chiodi, while not directly claiming it, still strongly suggests that the fact that a large percentage of Catholic spouses practice contraception and do not accept the norms justifies silence about them, or even proves that these norms are no longer valid, as if majority consensus determined the truth.[1] With the same right, he could claim that we are justified no longer to speak of the first commandment to love God above everything else, or even that this norm is no longer valid because a majority of Catholics do not fulfill it, or that the commandment that forbids to give false witness against one's neighbor is not valid any longer because most people lie and calumniate others.

Claiming that some 'circumstances - I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 -precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception' (Chiodo, ibid.), Chiodo denies in fact directly the intrinsic wrongness of contraception magisterially taught by Paul VI and his predecessors and successors, and makes what is morally good or bad in the transmission of human life entirely dependent on concrete situations. Drawing out the lines of such a purely teleological or consequentialist proportionalist ethics of contraception, Chiodi suggests that quite in general no intrinsically wrong acts exist and that the moral quality of a human action can never be determined universally 'by a general rule,' but depends on a proportion between good and bad consequences of human actions in concrete situations. Understood in this general way, the situation ethics Fr. Chiodi defends would also deny the intrinsic wrongness of abortion and euthanasia, and of many other acts listed in Veritatis Splendor as acts that are morally wrong under all circumstances and in all situations. It is worth noting that this opinion has nothing to do with blindness of conscience, lack of ethical knowledge, or personal imputability invoked so often by Rocco Buttiglione in the present debate. No, Chiodi implies an entirely objective 'duty to contracept' in certain situations.

Thus the lecture of Father Chiodi contains, besides his open rejection of Church Teaching on contraception in Humanae Vitae, disastrous general philosophical errors that have been magisterially and forcefully rejected by Pope John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor. One can only hope that Pope Francis, Archbishop Paglia, and the large majority of members of PAV will ask Father Chiodi to revoke these grave errors, or to resign immediately his membership in this illustrious Academy, whose founder and spiritual Father Pope John Paul II unambiguously and consistently fought against precisely these same errors that Father Chiodi now proposes, and condemned them in a definitive way.

Moreover, Saint John Paul II founded the PAV precisely in order that it explain and defend these truths Chiodi denies. (As, prior to its reform through Pope Francis in 2016, an ordinary, life-long member of PAV, who had to take an oath never to deny these truths, I could only feel profound sadness over this betrayal of the PAV, especially dear to the heart of John Paul II, if such views as Chiodi's are not retracted by himself, by the PAV, or by Pope Francis).

Ethical truth and the untruth of this proportionalism are not only subject of Catholic faith, however, but can be recognized by human reason as well.[2] They have been forcefully defended by the great pagan philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Cicero and are being defended by members of other religions, some of whom are members of the new John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family that continues, without any ambiguities, its service to the great founding truths and goals of PAV.


[1] I rely here on the summary of the talk in LifeSite: 'While in the 50s and 60s was an urgent for believers, now the great majority of even believing married couples live as though the norm doesn't exist,' he said.

'Officially and objectively the norm has remained,' but 'even many pastors' don't talk about it, he said. 'In public, in catechesis, and in preaching, they prefer not to talk about it' while 'in personal encounters they maintain a very indulgent attitude when the issue is raised. And therefore,' he argued, 'it's significant that Amoris Laetitia speaks so little about it.'

[2] See Josef Seifert, 'The Splendor of Truth and Intrinsically Immoral Acts I: A Philosophical Defense of the Rejection of Proportionalism and Consequentialism in Veritatis Splendor'. Studia Philosophiae Christianae UKSW 51 (2015) 2, pp. 27-67; 'The Splendor of Truth and Intrinsically Immoral Acts II: A Philosophical Defense of the Rejection of Proportionalism and Consequentialism in Veritatis Splendor'. Studia Philosophiae Christianae UKSW 51 (2015) 3, pp. 7-37.

[1P5] 2217.7



















The theological importance of Humanae Vitae and its prophecy for our time

This address by Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta was delivered on 28 October 2017 at Voice of the Family's conference, 'Humanae Vitae: Setting the Context' which marked the approach of the 50th anniversary year of the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae.

1. Humanae vitae has faced acute problems

Humanae vitae (HV), Pope Paul VI's Encyclical on the solemn duty of the transmission of human life, spoke loud and clear at a troubled historical and cultural moment. 25th June 1968, the day on which Paul VI signed the Encyclical, marked the beginning of a major controversy in the Church. One objection put to the Magisterium was that pronouncements could not be made on moral questions beyond the scope of Divine Revelation, for example the natural moral law, in particular artificial birth control, that is, contraception. However, HV 4 states from the outset that it is beyond dispute - as moreover taught by Paul VI's predecessors -

'that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation'.

Some theologians were also of the opinion that, if the principle of totality[1] (a part in relation to a larger whole) was extended to the moral sphere of matrimony, it could be claimed that the procreative purpose belongs to the entirety of conjugal life and is therefore unaffected by individual acts intended to prevent conception. Individual matrimonial acts would hence be sterilising in material terms, but fertile in formal terms, invoking right intention and separating fertility from an order defined as merely bodily and material, linking it instead to a rational, and hence superior, order. Reliance was in fact placed on a morality of effects and consequences combined with convenience, an approach whose grave repercussions continue to this day.

The doctrinal vision presented by HV rests on two principles, abused to favour artificial birth control, but explained by Paul VI in the light of the Revelation as a whole. These two principles are: a) human love and b) responsible parenthood.

a) It appeared in fact that human love, said by many to have been restricted by Casti Connubi because it focused on marriage whose sole purpose was the transmission of life, was an alternative approach to a static notion of 'nature', favouring instead the dynamic of the 'person' and 'communion'. HV 8 teaches that 'husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives

b) Responsible parenthood, however, was not to be defined merely as the predominance of right judgement in the couple's openness to fertility, but also as a decision either to have additional children or 'for serious reasons and with due respect to natural law, not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time' (HV 10). Further clarifying the limits of responsible parenthood, HV 10 sheds new light on true human love which guides a couple, stating that parents:

'are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out'.

True human love unites parents and hence makes them capable of transmitting the gift of life; the gift of life is in turn an expression of human love. This will be important in avoiding a division between union and procreation (a binomial which remains indigestible). In fact, Paul VI was to observe in HV 11 - a significant magisterial step forward, in particular from the Second Vatican Council and Gaudium et spes (here authentically interpreted) and holding fast to Pius XI's Casti Connubi - that

'the Church […] in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life'[2].

Here, always with the primary aim of procreation, the truths of love and union are welded together. HV 12 further states, on the indivisibility of these two aspects, that:

'This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act. […] And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called'.

This indivisibility leads us to reflect on the fact that the binomial - first expressed by Paul VI and linking Gaudium et spes to Casti Connubi as a result of a reappraisal of the important contribution of human and sacramental love to marriage - brings together union and procreation in the same moral principle, in fact showing it to be a procreative union. Marriage makes a couple one in love with the aim of begetting new life. Hence, the matrimonial union is intended for procreation and procreation perfects the union in a circular relationship of truth and love: the truth of the union finds its completion in love which begets new life and the fertility of love is in turn built on the indissoluble unity of the couple; if this were not the case, the love would be false, a deceit. As there is no procreation without union, so there is no union without procreation. So too love and fertility go hand in hand and are a reflection of love and unity.

As correctly noted by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Wittin in a recent book of collected essays entitled Amoris laetitia. Un punto di svolta per la teologia morale (Amoris laetitia. A turning point for moral theology), invoking HV 12, 'contraception is no longer only contrary to nature, but also contrary to love'[3].

2. To what extent does HV interpret and authentically complete Gaudium et spes while holding fast to Casti Connubi

To begin this brief excursus, we must refer to the doctrine of the blessings of marriage, formulated by Augustine, taken up by St. Thomas Aquinas[4] and proclaimed in Casti Connubi. 'All these - says St. Augustine - are the blessings which make marriage good: procreation, faith and the sacrament'.[5] According to Pius XI, these three blessings constitute a splendid compendium of the entire doctrine on Christian marriage. However, Casti Connubi affirms that, of the three, procreation has prime place. Marriage is intended by the Creator and elevated by the Redeemer for the procreation of life and enrichment of the Holy Church through the begetting of new citizens, that is the procreation of 'fellow citizens of the Saints and members of God's household' (Eph 2:19).

The discourse on the blessings of marriage is joined and intertwined with the discourse on the purposes of marriage (and its properties): the primary purpose which is procreation and the secondary purpose which is mutual aid associated with the blessing of fidelity (bona fidei) and the allaying of concupiscence associated with the blessing of indissolubility (bona sacramenti). These precepts were originally formulated in the theology of Saint Isidore of Seville. The 1917 Code of Canon Law attaches importance to expression of the three purposes of marriage, primary and secondary (cf. Canon 1013, § 1), continuing a long-standing scholastic and controversialist tradition. The relevant theological works endorsed this approach adopted in Canon Law and formulated the discourse on the blessings of marriage on which Casti Connubi rests.

However, tension was frequently noted, having developed after Casti Connubi, between a vision of marriage as 'an institution given by nature' and a vision of marriage as a 'communion of persons' founded on conjugal love. This tension was said to have been triggered by the neoscholastic thinking which underlies Pius XI's Encyclical on marriage, where the Encyclical states:

'This mutual molding of husband and wife, this determined effort to perfect each other, can in a very real sense, as the Roman Catechism teaches [ch. VIII, q. 13], be said to be the chief reason and purpose of matrimony, provided matrimony be looked at not in the restricted sense as instituted for the proper conception and education of the child, but more widely as the blending of life as a whole and the mutual interchange and sharing thereof'.[6]

At Vatican II, there was a confrontation between two different motivations in the writing of Gaudium et spes, one defined as institutionalist and the other as personalist. The former, bolstered by the hierarchy of the purposes of marriage, continuously invoked Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, while the latter, rooted in the centrality of conjugal love, exhorted a broader interpretation of traditional and scriptural works on the three purposes of marriage, seeking the inclusion of love and sexuality in the original plan of the Creator, giving rise to the exigencies of marriage.

It is indeed opportune to note that, in Casti Connubi, Pius XI refers to the Catechism of the Council of Trent which, even at that date, placed an emphasis on love in marriage.[7] For Pius XI, the love in married life which permeates all functions of conjugal life 'holds pride of place in Christian marriage'.[8] Indeed Casti Connubi perceives no opposition between nature and the communion of persons, that is between the natural/sacramental aspect of matrimony and the communion/personalist dimension. This division, arising from an absolutist interpretation of love, was deepened by the application of an unbalanced hermeneutic to Gaudium et spes (and the rejection of HV). However, it is equally true that the interpretation of the Constitution of the Church in the modern world in fact leans towards the personalism of love rather than the hierarchy of the purposes of marriage, placing greater emphasis on the former and neglecting the doctrine of the hierarchy of the purposes of marriage formulated at an earlier date.

In Gaudium et spes 47-52 one sees the clear imprint of the personalist position of the majority. An entire paragraph is dedicated to human love (47) and as, last but not least, noted by Goertz and Witting, 'the category of 'natural' as an ethical criterion has been consciously dropped'.[9] Gaudium et spes 48 affirms that: 'By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown'. This is reiterated in paragraph 50. While it is hence emphasised that the intrinsic purpose (not the primary purpose, but the purpose deriving from matrimony as an 'intimate partnership of life and conjugal love', GS 48 reiterated in the 1985 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1055, § 1), is procreation, there is no longer mention of the fact that each single conjugal act is, by its very nature, oriented towards procreation, as stated in HV, in express reiteration of Casti Connubi. Only in a footnote to paragraph 51 of Gaudium et spes is the reader referred to the doctrine of Casti Connubi on the rules on birth control. It is added, again in note form, that problems requiring further and more careful consideration had been referred to an ad hoc Commission for study of the population, the family and the birth rate. Hence the Conciliar Magisterium offered no concrete solutions on the matter of birth regulation. As we well know, the study carried out by the Commission was to be preparatory to Pope Paul VI's Encyclical on human life.

What emerges from this brief excursus is significant: while HV fills the void left by Gaudium et spes, condemning contraception and establishing a proper understanding of the value of human love, associated with responsible parenthood and always open to the gift of life, it also harmoniously unites the two inseparable aspects of marriage, the unitive and the procreative (described in paragraph 291 of the Catechism of the Council of Trent as 'reasons of the matrimonial union', together with the remedium concupiscentiae). Therefore, the link between Gaudium et spes and Casti Connubi is restored, the virtualities of the latter are developed and the truth of conjugal love is planted in the soil of procreation in cooperation in the design of God, which is the purpose of each individual act of conjugal love. This therefore is once again a procreative union. For this reason, it is also expedient, in a discourse on Christian marriage, not to neglect the hierarchical purposes of matrimony, purposes to be continuously embedded in the vital and supreme discourse of procreation, likened to the Creator and the fertile love of Christ for his Bride. The unity of love of husband and wife finds its completion in procreation, even where this is naturally absent because love - from a consistently spiritual and supernatural standpoint - is, or is simply not, fertile.

3. Amoris laetitia as a means of overtaking HV

The Magisterial teaching of HV, which provides a clear definition of the immorality of all contraceptive practice, includes the following passage (paragraph 14):

'Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation-whether as an end or as a means. Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these'.

The warning given to us by Paul VI is the risk of focusing - as we said at the outset - on a morality based on the 'principle of totality' in order to reject the morality of each individual act, hence of the moral act as such. A morality of the person, understood to be in opposition to nature, in relation to the moral act in itself, in fact postulates the soundness of teleological ethical theories such as consequentialism and proportionalism, condemned by Veritatis splendour, but reappearing in force and gaining popularity.

HV could be overtaken in a context of teleological morality - referring to the ethical and moral content of Amoris laetitias (AL), as articulated by leading interpreters of that document - through the application of a consequentialist or proportionalist morality to the ends chosen, and hence to the intentions of anyone who elects to make a choice rather than refer to the moral object. In a world in which human actions are increasingly a blend of good and evil, the only means of adequately assessing the morality of an act is not based on the act itself, the end chosen, hence ascribed to the person choosing it, but instead on the aims desired based on a calculation of effects produced or a just proportion between the good to be thereby achieved and the evil to be thereby caused. As explained by John Paul II in Veritatis splendour 75:

'concrete kinds of behaviour could be described as 'right' or 'wrong', without it being thereby possible to judge as morally 'good' or 'bad' the will of the person choosing them. In this way, an act which, by contradicting a universal negative norm, directly violates goods considered as 'pre-moral' could be qualified as morally acceptable if the intention of the subject is focused, in accordance with a 'responsible' assessment of the goods involved in the concrete action, on the moral value judged to be decisive in the situation.

The evaluation of the consequences of the action, based on the proportion between the act and its effects and between the effects themselves, would regard only the pre-moral order. The moral specificity of acts, that is their goodness or evil, would be determined exclusively by the faithfulness of the person to the highest values of charity and prudence, without this faithfulness necessarily being incompatible with choices contrary to certain particular moral precepts'.

Let us consider a concrete example. From a standpoint of 'situational ethics', in a situation of adultery (a pre-moral good), if the cohabitants are obliged to remain together for the good of the children and hence live as husband and wife to safeguard a more important good (the motive being charity and hence a moral good), the moral action would be good because there would be a satisfactory proportionate relationship between the good attained and the wrongful act tolerated. For this reason, the intention of the agent could not be judged to be good or bad and it would therefore no longer be possible to judge the behaviour in itself, but merely in relation to the circumstances of the case. However, in a situation involving contraception, in which the moral good of the act in itself is eliminated due to the circumstances of that act (for example the need to safeguard the good of the family as a whole or other children), the moral action would be judged on the basis of a calculation of the effects produced or the proportionate relationship between the good effects and the bad effects, but in any event the morality of the act would no longer pertain to the person or persons choosing this behaviour, but derive from a calculation based on the end attained. If the end is good because the chosen good inherent in it is, for example, the good of the family, contraception would be morally acceptable and the intention of the agent would be considered neutral and hence not open to judgement. Therefore the objectivity of the moral act per se, and hence of the divine precepts, including those which impose prohibitions semper et pro semper, is disregarded as futile or immaterial.

A morality such as this, which favours the intention and consequences of the act only, to the exclusion of the act itself, falls into the acceptance of 'intrinsic evil'; these are acts whose object cannot be ordered to God because they radically contradict the good of the person created in His image, violating what is stated clearly in the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (3:8): 'It is not licit to do evil that good may come of it'.[10]

A closer examination of AL reveals two paragraphs which lend themselves to interpretation in this direction. The first is AL 80, where it is affirmed that:

'no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this [generative] meaning [here reference to HV 11-12 is made], even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life'.

As noted by Goertz and Witting, 'this is surely an ambiguous assertion because, from a 'not licit', one proceeds to a 'not being able'. Is fertility of love to be understood here as transcending actual procreation'.[11] These reasons are not identified, or even defined as 'grave', but merely as reasons, ultimately ascribable to the supreme reason of love which, in a more general interpretation, precedes, or is implicit in, procreation. There is however a further text which paves the way for the convenient positioning of an invoked 'shift in moral paradigm', namely AL 82 which, quoting the Relatio Synodi states that:

'We need to rediscover the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI, which highlights the need to respect the dignity of the person in morally assessing methods of regulating birth…'.

In fact, nowhere in HV is any reference to the dignity of the person in an assessment of birth control methods to be found; instead it is said that the Church, in defending conjugal morality in its entirety and consistently condemning contraception as directly contrary to the unitive and procreative aspect of marriage, is thereby defending the dignity of husband and wife (cf. HV 18). However, quoting Gaudium et spes 50 in AL 222, Pope Francis underlines the dignity of the spouses, inviting them to form a right judgement before God regarding children to be brought into the world. He adds that the use of natural methods birth control is to be encouraged.

According to an influential moral theologian, Eberhard Schockenhoff[12] (theological adviser to a number of German prelates), who perceives in AL a 'Paradigmenwechsel', a 'paradigm shift' (which has attracted many followers in Italy also), if we follow the exhortation of Pope Francis on love in the family, we would be 'downplaying the sexuality' affirmed in recent centuries. The title chosen for AL invite us instead to gaze from on high at the playfulness, passion and ecstasy of love. In the opinion of Schockenhoff, AL 82 is particularly expressive of this shift in moral perspective. In his opinion, the text should be read in the light of the sceptical observations made by Pope Francis on the overestimation of a deductive moral theory which, from general principles, aims to arrive at a solution for all possible situations. From this Schockenhoff forms the impression that behind this text is 'a tendency to relativize the teaching hitherto upheld of the absolute moral censure of artificial birth control'.

In other words, according to this German theologian, AL has paved the way for an overhaul of the moral doctrine on contraception, favouring a personalistic morality rather than the existing neo-scholastic or essentialist morality. Is this the guiding idea behind the new Commission, established to monitor the historical progress of HV and so identify possible links between this document and Gaudium et spes against Casti Connubi Are we again to be confronted with the invocation of an absolute Conciliar Magisterium, contrary to the Church's unwavering tradition and moreover developed homogenously and definitively in its earliest beginnings by the Pontifical Magisterium of the last 50 years

Furthermore, according to Schockenhoff, this would be a propitious moment to set aside a morality based upon the neo-scholastic moral act deriving from the ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas. From a morality of acts (and their object), we would proceed, as in AL, to a morality of the person. Hence the root of the problem of remarried divorced persons would be solved in a nutshell: if it ceases to be necessary to judge consciences, it then becomes necessary to ask whether the life shared by remarried divorced persons is loved in its moral value. If what matters is the communion and personalism aspect, then, in the view of the German theologian, even a civil union should be seen as a bond and an entirely personal community of life. Therefore, to refer to 'rupture' of the abandoned partner will be simply absurd. This is the extreme conclusion to which arrival at the 'paradigm shift' invoked would lead, resulting in substantial repercussions on life and procreation within marriage. This would mean that the love formerly proclaimed is trampled upon.

4. Conclusion

Much effort is being exerted to generate an irreversible turnaround in moral theology, as encouraged by AL. It is hence suggested that AL should be read in the light of Gaudium et spes in order to disregard the (neo-scholastic and jusnaturalistic) norms set in stone in HV, which refer organically to Casti Connubi and the moral doctrine on marriage of the Tradition as a whole. It is proposed to disregard an ethic on the law or the norm to make reference to an ethic of the person or of love or of responsibility. The moment of this disregard is important and programmatic. It is fed by characteristic prolixity, which in turn becomes a pedagogical method. In the opinion of another German theologian, H.K. Pottmeyer, prolixity (or verbosity) is instrumental to a transition which it is desired to cause: 'Through persuasive language, it is intended to obtain support for a new beginning, while at the same time demonstrating continuity'.[13]

We should therefore focus increasingly on an analysis of the language employed and its proper usage in theology. What is at risk as a result of this reckless shift in paradigm is not just the morality of marriage, but morality itself, which would be reduced to good intentions. However, our stance is such that the only words we utter are 'Yes for Yes' or 'No for No'. Whatever goes beyond this comes from evil. (cf. Mt 5:37).

[1] This principle was formulated with reference to the matter of organ transplants, as developed by Pius XII. According to this principle, respect should always be given to oneself and others, as members of the human community regarded as an organic unity of persons, distinct from one another.

[2] This is the central statement, after making reference to the natural law, whose rule is inserted in the doctrine revealed by God: '[…] quilibet matrimonii usus ad vitam humanam procreandam per se destinatus permaneat'. HV here holds fast to Casti Connubi: '[…] quemlibet matrimonii usum, in quo exercendo, actus, de industria hominum, naturali sua vitae procreandae vi destituatur, Dei et naturae legem infringere, et eos qui tale quid commiserint gravis noxae labe commaculari, AAS XXII (1930) 560.

[3] S. Goertz - C. Witting (edited by), Amoris laetitia: un punto di svolta per la teologia morale San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo 2017 (in German: Amoris laetitia - Wendepunkt für die Moraltheologie, Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2016), p. 27.

[4] Cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae, Supplement, q. 49.

[5] St. Augustine, De bono coniug., chap. 24, no. 32.

[6] In AAS XXII (1930) 548-549.

[7] The Catechism of the Council of Trent (par. 290) gives the following definition of matrimony: 'The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life'.

[8] In AAS XXII (1930) 547-548: '[…] ex coniugali scilicet amore, qui omnia coniugalis vitae officia pervadit et quemdam tenet in christiano coniugio principatum nobilitatis'.

[9] S. Goertz - C. Witting (edited by), Amoris laetitia: un punto di svolta per la teologia morale, cit. p. 25.

[10] Veritatis splendor 79 teaches: 'One must therefore reject the thesis, characteristic of teleological and proportionalist theories, which holds that it is impossible to qualify as morally evil according to its species - its 'object' - the deliberate choice of certain kinds of behaviour or specific acts, apart from a consideration of the intention for which the choice is made or the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned'. Paragraph 81 adds: 'In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: 'Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:9-10)'. Lastly, Veritatis splendor 80 quotes HV 14, in so doing ratifying its magisterial authority on matter of intrinsic evil acts with direct reference to contraception. Therefore, the Encyclical Veritatis splendour, in reiterating the teaching of HV (in the light of the magisterial tradition as a whole) and invoking it as an authority on this matter, allows us to hold HV to be definitive magisterial teaching on contraception.

[11] S. Goertz - C. Witting (edited by), Amoris laetitia: un punto di svolta per la teologia morale, cit. p. 57.

[12] See his essay Traditionsbruch oder notwendige Weiterbildung. Zwei Lesarten des Nachsynodalen Schreibens 'Amoris laetitia', published in 'Stimme der Zeit' 3 (2017) 147-158. Also a digital version is available: www.stimmen-derzeit.de/zeitschrift/archiv/beitrag_detailsk_beitrag=4797115&k_produkt=None. We will make reference to this essay in its digital version.

[13] H.J. Pottmeyer, 'Von einer neuen Phase der Rezeption des Vaticanum II. Zwanzig Jahre Hermeneutick des Konzils', in H.J. Pottmeyer - G. Alberigo - J.P. Jossua (edited by), Die Rezeption des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils, Düsseldorf 1986, p. 48, cit. in S. Goertz - C. Witting (edited by), Amoris laetitia: un punto di svolta per la teologia morale, p. 56.Preserving marriage, family life

[VOTF] 2217.8




















EU flag


Socci on the Apotheosis of the Migrant in Italy

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives: 'As the human element of the Church is seemingly being transformed into what Antonio Socci has called 'a social assistant to the New World Order,' Europe is suffering the brunt of the Leftist exaltation of immigrants, especially illegal Muslim immigrants, as a privileged class to which everyone must be subservient. Implicit in this operation is the planned destruction of whatever is left of Europe’s Christian identity, a plan only Hungary and Poland are resisting successfully.

Socci’s column compiles some astounding facts, both large and small, of just how bad the Left’s apotheosis of the 'migrant' has become in Italy. He notes that 'the Bergoglian bishop Crescenzio Sepe' has showered 500 Christmas gifts on migrant children in Naples, but none for the children of the Italian poor in his Archdiocese. Thus Befana — the female Italian version of Santa Claus — has become 'the Befana of migrants.'

Meanwhile, the number of Italians living in poverty has increased from 2.3 million to 4.7 million between 2006 and 2016, and the percentage of Italian citizens employed (57.2 percent) is lower than that of non-EU citizens (57.8) as immigrants displace native-born Italians in the labor market.

Quite the opposite situation obtains in Germany, where German citizens enjoy an employment rate 50% higher than that of immigrants.

Worse, the Italian welfare payment system allocates only €1.7 billion to citizens but €4.6 billion for immigrants, and the total cost to the Italian state for each illegal alien is €1050 per month versus only €190 for each Italian citizen. Italians are now having difficulty paying even the cost of heating their homes, ranking fifth among EU countries in that index of quality of life, while the standard of health care for Italians has sunk so low that from 2017-2020 it will fall 'below the minimum threshold set by the World Health Organization.'

At the same time, Italians are being forced to pay for the cost of military operations in Algeria to serve 'the African interests of the French,' while onerous Russian sanctions for the supposed benefit of Ukraine harm the Italian economy as Ukraine increases its imports from Russia.

In sum, Socci concludes, Italy — for the sake of immigrants and foreign interests — 'has been economically and socially destroyed and reduced as if it had lost a war.' But Italy has lost a war: a war for the preservation of its identity as a Catholic country. It is the same war, now in its final stages, that the Prince of Darkness has been waging against the kingdom of the Prince of Peace since 1789 in France and 1917 in Russia, with consequences that now threaten what Our Lady of Fatima described as the 'annihilation' of various nations.  Ending with the execution of a Pope on a hill outside a devastated city filled with dead — very probably Rome itself — as we see in the vision of the Third Secret whose 'soundtrack' (the words of the Virgin explaining the vision) we have yet to hear.

All things, in the Church as in the world, now seem to point toward a fulfillment of the Message of Fatima that will involve a dramatic imposition of the divine will on the course of history, the foolish plans and vain notions of the Church’s leadership having (for now) thwarted fulfillment of the Blessed Virgin’s simple request for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.





















News around the world


Egypt Ancient monastery is closed and Christmas cancelled

LOCAL authorities decided to close down the Saint Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on January 5 and January 6, when Christmas church services are held according to the Coptic Orthodox calendar. The general directorate of tourist police further ordered all tourist companies not to lead tours to the historic monastery.

Although the official reason for temporarily closing down the building and canceling Christmas is due to the establishment of a plan for the development of the surrounding area as befits a World Heritage Site, it is believed that the order came as a precautionary safeguard against Islamic terrorists targeting the site and any foreign tourists visiting it during the Christmas holiday.

Built in the mid-sixth century, the Saint Catherine Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world; additionally, it has the oldest continuously operating library in existence, with many precious manuscripts.

Although surrounded by high, thick walls, the Christian site has increasingly come under terror threats, particularly as the Sinai Peninsula is a hotbed of jihadi activity, where Coptic Christians are openly persecuted and sometimes slaughtered.

The monastery was targeted last April, when unknown gunmen opened fire on an Egyptian police checkpoint guarding it, killing one policeman and wounding four. The Islamic State later claimed the attack.

[Jihad watch] 2217.9




















Germany VP of Bishops' Conference wants to bless homosexual unions

BISHOP FRANZ-JOSEF BODE, the Vice President of the German Bishops' Conference, has called for a discussion about the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. He believes there to be 'much [that is] positive' in such relationships.

The new statement from Bishop Bode comes in the wake of a recent interview given to the German journal Herder Korrespondenz by Cardinal Reinhard Marx – President of the German Bishops' Conference and papal adviser – in which he proposed that the Catholic Church rethink her teaching on sexual morality in which he argued against 'blind rigorism.' For him, it is 'difficult to say from the outside whether someone is in the state of mortal sin.' Marx applied this statement not only to men and women in 'irregular situations,' but also to those in a homosexual relationship.

There has to be 'a respect for a decision made in freedom' and for one's 'conscience,' claimed Marx. He said that one has to take into account the 'concrete circumstances,' while still remembering 'one's own responsibility in light of the Gospels.' Of course, added Marx, one also has 'to listen to the voice of the Church.'

In the new interview with the German regional newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, Bishop Bode made remarks which have already led to a vivid discussion in Germany, with conservative Catholics like Mathias von Gersdorff and Dr. Markus Büning raising their voices in protest.

'I think we have to discuss this matter in more detail within the Church,' says Bishop Bode – who has been the bishop of Osnabrück since 1995 – adding that it does not help to maintain 'silence' in this matter. As the newspaper report continues:

The Vice President of the German Bishops' Conference proposed to reflect upon a blessing [of such homosexual couples], which is, however, not to be mistaken as a wedding. Even if the 'marriage for all' is different from the Church's understanding of marriage, it is, after all, a political reality.

Bishop Bode asks, with reference to homosexual couples, 'how do we do justice to them?' and adds: 'how do we accompany them pastorally and liturgically?' Moreover, the German prelate – who had been one of the representatives of the German bishops at the Synod of Bishops on marriage and the family – proposes to reconsider the Church’s stance on active homosexual relationships which are regarded as gravely sinful. 'We have to reflect upon the question as to how to assess in a differentiated manner a relationship between two homosexual persons,' he says. 'Is there not so much positive and good and right so that we have to be more just?'

Mathias von Gersdorff, a well-known German pro-life activist and book author, comments on his blog concerning the Bode interview, warning 'German Catholics who are orthodox' to prepare themselves: 'The German progressivism does not wish a few things changed here and there, but it wishes to scrap the whole of Catholic teaching and to create a fundamentally new religion.' Von Gersdorff sees that the new Bode statement could 'introduce a new phase of destruction.' He concludes his comments, as follows:

The 'normal' Catholic is perplexed and asks himself: How far can the Catholic Church in Germany continue this path of destruction and still be called 'Catholic'? When does it come to the point that there exists the moral duty to refuse to pay the Church tax?

Bishop Bode had raised such a discussion already earlier, in 2015, when he proposed 'private blessings' for homosexual couples, and claimed that 'remarried' divorcees 'perhaps corresponds in a better way than the first [relationship] to the Covenant of God with men.' Bode then wondered whether such new relationships 'always have to have as a consequence the exclusion from [the Sacraments of] Confession and Communion.'

In 2015, Bode claimed the Church should take the 'life realities' of people into account and even consider those 'realities' to be a third source of revelation – next to Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Both Cardinal Paul-Josef Cordes and Cardinal Kurt Koch at the time protested against this claim.


[LSN] 2217.9a




















United Kingdom Home Office caves to pressure - now saying they will consult pro-lifers in buffer zone review

SPUC reports: 'The Home Office appears to have changed tack on its review into pro-life activity outside abortion clinics, with a senior minister now saying that those running the vigils will be consulted. SPUC has welcomed the change, which appears to have been brought about by Society members lobbying their MPs on the issue.

Something missing

In November, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced a review into 'harassment and intimidation near abortion clinics.' The announcement said that the 'review will gather evidence from police forces, healthcare providers and local authorities to understand the scale and nature of these protests, before considering what further action the government can take to protect those using or working in abortion clinics.'

No mention was made of consulting with groups such as the Good Counsel Network, who have run peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics for decades. In answer to a specific parliamentary question by Mary Glindon MP on whether evidence from such groups would be included, again the only parties mentioned were 'police, healthcare providers and local authorities.'


However, Nick Hurd, the Minister of State for Policing has now said that 'protesters' will be included in the review. In response to a letter from Andrew Mitchell MP, on behalf of a constituent, Mr Hurd said 'the review will gather evidence from police forces, healthcare providers, local authorities, from representative groups of the clients, and also those engaging in protests and demonstrations.'

The letter was written on Home Office paper in Mr Hurd's capacity as Minister of State for Policing. The change of wording also appeared in the answer to a parliamentary question by Fiona Bruce MP on the same day the letter was sent.

Keeping up the pressure

Katherine Hampton, SPUC's Political Officer, welcomed the 'sharp change in direction' from the Home Office, hailing it as a major victory for pro-life campaigners. 'SPUC has been lobbying Members of Parliament asking them to call on the Government to allow the pro-life groups which organise acts of witness outside abortion clinics to participate in the review,' she said. 'This result shows just how important it is to keep pressure on our elected members of Parliament. It now remains for us to hold the Home Office to this commitment, and make sure that groups who do lifesaving work outside abortion clinics are properly consulted in this review.'

SPUC and the Good Counsel Network recently reiterated to the Home Affairs Select Committee that no 'harassment and intimidation' takes place outside clinics.

[SPUC] 2217.10




















United Kingdom Christian printer reported to police

A CHRISTIAN printer was accused of a 'hate crime' declining to promote a cause he believed could negatively impact Christians.

Nigel Williams said he could not fulfil a request to produce promotional materials for SEE Change - a group that says it promotes 'equality' and 'diversity'.

Nigel politely declined the order from male-to-female transsexual Joanne Lockwood, saying he was 'very happy' to print for Lockwood but not for SEE Change Happen.

In an email exchange Nigel wrote: 'it is foundational to Christianity that every person must be respected, valued and loved because they are made in the image of God, irrespective of their economic status, religious belief, gender, sexuality, race etc, etc'.

'Although I am quite sure you have no intention of marginalising Christians it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellowChristians'.

Lockwood reported Nigel's response to Hampshire police. It was treated as a 'hate incident' even though no criminal offence had been committed.

In England and Wales, a hate incident is 'any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone's prejudice towards them'.

Nigel is being supported by The Christian Institute's Legal Defence Fund.

[Christian Institute] 2217.11




















United Kingdom Peer fears preaching Christianity could be hate crime

Lord PearsonCHRISTIAN CONCERN reports: 'Lord Pearson of Rannoch has said that that he fears that telling other people about Christianity could soon become a hate crime.

In an interview with Premier Radio, Lord Pearson said that free speech is being eroded by hate crime legislation.

In a debate on freedom of speech and the definition of hate crime, Lord Pearson asked the government:

'My Lords, will the Government confirm that the latest definition from the CPS of a hate crime is one which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by prejudice based on a person’s religion? Will the Government therefore confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only Son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone of any other religion?'

Responding on behalf of the government, Baroness Vere said 'My Lords, I am not going to comment on that last question from the noble Lord.' Lord Pearson told Premier Radio that her refusal to comment was 'unique' and that he’s never witnessed a question being refused an answer.

The problem is that what constitutes a ‘hate crime’ is very poorly defined. The CPS definition of hate crime is very dependent on perception:

'Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.'

It also says that a hate crime 'can include verbal abuse.'

It is shocking that the government would not confirm that preaching the gospel would not constitute a hate crime in law.

Christian Concern has helped several street preachers who have been arrested for preaching the gospel. Most recently Daniel Courney was charged with 'using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.' His conviction was overturned.

Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell also had convictions overturned earlier this year after they were convicted of a similar offence in a magistrates court. The prosecutor had argued that publicly quoting parts of the King James Bible in modern Britain should 'be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter'.

Lord Pearson also initiated a debate on the tenets of Islam in the House of Lords, in which he said that whilst criticism of Christianity is entirely permitted in society, criticism of Islam is not tolerated.

He said to Premier Radio that 'I’m afraid at the moment that free speech is on the retreat in this country, particularly from our wish to appease Islam.'

The evidence of street preachers being arrested would suggest that Lord Pearson is correct to fear the erosion of free speech in this country.


[CC] 2217.11a


























International gloria.tv.news


[gloria.tv] 2217.12




















International Some headlines of the week


Canada: Liberal MP labels anti-ISIS protestors 'white supremacists'

Egypt: New report says Christians face unprecedented persecution from Muslims

France: Kosher store burned down on anniversary of jihad attack

Germany: 18 and 12-year-olds plotted jihad bombing at Christmas market

Israel: Two teenagers charged with plotting ISIS New Year massacre

Turkey: Club-wielding Muslim, tell Santa 'to convert to Islam, the true faith'

UK: Army cadets told be careful 'because me and my ISIS brothers will kill you all'

USA: 'Slave of Allah' plan to funnel Christmas crowds onto SF pier and shoot them dead


[CF News] 2217.13




















International The Prophet Voris




[CMTV] 2217.14




















International The World Over with Raymond Arroyo



[EWTN] 2217.15























Newman examined

Bro. Peter Dimond of Most Holy Family Monastery discusses Newman's positive as well as negative points.



[vaticancatholic.org] 2217.16





















Hollywood liberals are on a slippery slope toward morality … and it's scaring them to death

DOUG MAINWARING writes for LifeSiteNews: 'The upcoming Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) annual 'Oscars' award night is shaping up to be more conundrum than celebration. Liberal elites who have always scoffed at conservatives' warnings of slippery slopes when it comes to moral issues, now faced with their own moral dilemma, are suddenly true believers.

And they are scared.

When the Academy's board of governors - including luminaries such as Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Spielberg - held an emergency meeting in October to deal with multiple sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, they had no choice but to oust the legendary producer from their ranks.

After all, with the flood of Weinstein allegations the Academy quickly found itself drowning in bad press. A Change.org petition with more than 100,000 signatures demanding Weinstein be expelled no doubt helped to cinch the decision.

They thought they had disposed of the issue quickly, freeing themselves from future controversy and unwanted attention. They were wrong. Dead wrong.

After the Weinstein story broke, one story after another of sexual impropriety by some of the biggest names in Hollywood erupted. It seems like it will never end.


Now the Academy doesn't know what to do.

According to a report in PageSix.com, one male Academy member said, 'Harvey opened the floodgates. Now the Academy's drowning in a tide of s-t. They don't know what hit them.'

Kevin Spacey was accused of assaulting young men. Dustin Hoffman, brothers Ben and Casey Affleck, and former Saturday Night Live cast member Al Franken were accused of assaults against women. Screenwriter James Toback and director Brett Ratner were also accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Sliding Toward Morality

'Kathleen Kennedy [producer of the 'Star Wars' series] and some other female governors panicked and felt compelled to act,' according to a prominent female AMPAS member in the PageSix.com report. 'They thought [Weinstein] could hurt AMPAS' cred. Some of them did admit this was a slippery slope. But I don't think they imagined how slippery.'

By admitting that the immoral sexual behavior of one man - Harvey Weinstein - was a bad, if not criminal thing, and that it was something that AMPAS and its members could neither ignore or sweep under the carpet, the liberals who control the entertainment industry are in a quandary: Where do they stop When can their consciences be safely ignored again

The slippery slopes that conservatives have dealt with over the years have been issues triggered by the sexual revolution.

A Different Kind of Slippery Slope

For decades, conservatives have been assured that abortion would be 'safe, legal and rare,' and that no slippery slope existed. Fifty million-plus in utero infant murders later, the slippery slope was clearly there.

Conservatives were also assured that gays and lesbians only wanted to be left alone to live their lives in peace, and that same-sex marriage wouldn't impact anyone outside those 'marriages.' Yet now those who can't in good conscience bake cakes, arrange flowers or photograph gay 'weddings' are harshly punished, faced with exorbitant fines and the dissolution of their businesses. Though conservatives were laughed at - told that their homophobia was running wild, imagining there was a slippery slope - the slope was there.

And religious organizations which once enjoyed the fruits of religious liberty, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, found that the slippery slope resulted in them being bullied and discriminated against for choosing to uphold their religious beliefs.

Now, the Left finds itself sliding down a slippery slope of its own making, unable to reach out and grab a branch or tree trunk to slow its out of control descent.

But the left's slippery slope is different from the one conservatives have sought to avoid. The Left finds itself slipping uphill toward morality, and they are panicked by it. Suddenly, they are unable to continue to protect or legitimize the sexual revolution - a revolution for which they have gladly marched out front carrying their banners.

How can they possibly continue to defend the sexual revolution while condemning the behaviors the revolution fosters It's a no-win situation.

They have brought this upon themselves via the monsters they created and whose enormous appetites they fed.

Reason tells them they must keep moving forward down their treacherous, icy Matterhorn, glancing off sharp-edged, craggy rocks of truth and buffeted about by unwanted self-realization.

At the end of their slippery slope, however, lies not the death of countless innocents and the destruction of marriages, families and freedom, but salvation and reformed lives.

In fact, it's almost as if they are afraid of sliding uphill, not down.

No wonder they are scared to death.

[LSN] 2217.17





















Letter box


Act now on compulsory 'relationship' education and compulsory sex education

JOHN SMEATON, SPUC Chief Executrive, writes: 'The Department of Education is running a consultation on: 'Changes to the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE'

SPUC has produced briefing notes to help you respond to the consultation. Please act now and respond.

• The Children and Social Work Act 2017 made Relationship Education in all primary schools a compulsory school subject and Relationships and Sex Education in all secondary schools. This legislation applies to England only.

• This new legislation has been described as: 'a state takeover bid for parenting'.

• On 19 December 2017 the government launched a consultation on what should be taught in these new compulsory subjects.

• This is an opportunity to help shape what is taught to our children in school about these important matters.

• All concerned citizens, and especially parents, grandparents and those working professionally in schools are encouraged to take part in this consultation.

• This consultation closes at 11.45 pm on 12 February 2018


[SPUC] 2217.COR1






















Book review


Lost Shepherd


Phil Lawler on the Pope as The Lost Shepherd

Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock, Philip Lawler, Gateway Editions, 256 pages, $25.79 Hardcover; $14.99 Kindle

DR. MAIKE HICKSON writes for OnePeterFive: 'A book that is already drawing the attention of international media despite a publication date nearly two months out (at the end of February) is Phil Lawler's upcoming work, The Lost Shepherd. How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock.

The Lost Shepherd (disclosure: I received a free advance copy in order to prepare this review) is yet another book offering a critical look at Pope Francis and his current reign over the Catholic Church. Previously, two other books have taken a similar approach: first, George Neumayr's The Political Pope. How Pope Francis is Delighting the Left and Abandoning Conservatives; and second, the pseudonymous writer Marcantonio Colonna's recent book The Dictator Pope. (Another big book in the same vein will arrive in March of 2018, with New York Times' columnist Ross Douthat's To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism.)

Sandro Magister, the Italian Vatican specialist, recently discussed Lawler's forthcoming book. As he puts it, Lawler is 'one of the most authoritative and balanced Catholic writers in the United States. He was editor of 'Catholic World Report,' the news magazine of Ignatius Press, the publishing house founded by the Jesuit Joseph Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger. And today he directs 'Catholic World News.' He was born and raised in Boston. He is married and the father of seven children'.

Before we look at Lawler's criticisms of Pope Francis in more detail, therefore, it should be stated that arguably the greatest importance of Lawler's book does not lie in its newness of approach or in its originality of argument; rather, it is significant because Lawler is a prominent and well-respected Catholic conservative - that is to say, a Catholic who is not known as a stringent traditionalist, and thus, not an obvious or easily-dismissed papal critic. Lawler makes clear in the book that he identifies with the teaching of the two previous popes, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and that he considers them still to serve as a bulwark against some of the devious and specious developments in our times. It is, for example, Lawler's view that one should approach the Second Vatican Council through Benedict's 'Hermeneutic of Continuity,' which implies that all of the 1962-1965 Council's teachings can and should somehow be reconciled with the 2,000 year-old traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.

Such a perspective should stand as a counter-argument against those who claim that resistance to the 'reforms' of Pope Francis is mainly 'Lefebvrist' or 'traditionalist' in origin. Andrea Tornelli, a confidant of the pope and journalist for La Stampa's Vatican Insider, recently put it this way:

'Philosopher Rocco Buttiglione had said this, commenting on the 'correctio filialis' which accused Pope Francis of propagating heretical teachings: 'at the origin of many doctrinal criticisms against the current Pontiff there is also the opposition to his predecessors and ultimately to the Council'. And now this observation finds further confirmation in a book signed by Enrico Maria Radaelli, who critiques Joseph Ratzinger's theological thought and his fundamental work 'Introduction to Christianity', and has been endorsement [sic - endorsed] by theologian Antonio Livi, former professor of Lateran and signatory of the 'correctio'. I don't know all the other signatories of the correctio - Buttiglione said last October - Of those I know, some are Lefebvrians. They were against the Council, against Paul VI, against John Paul II, against Benedict XVI and now they are against Pope Francis. [emphasis added]

On the contrary, what may become the most prominent book taking a critical look at Pope Francis has now been written by a non-traditionalist Catholic, as it were! My own husband, Dr. Robert Hickson, as a matter of fact, first memorably encountered and debated Mr. Lawler in 1985 when the latter had come to Christendom College to deliver a laudatory talk about Pope John Paul II and the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops' 1985 Relatio Finalis (20 Years after Vatican II), which was an encomium of the Second Vatican Council itself, as well as of its twenty-year aftermath. (Of some significance is that that document was drafted by now-Cardinal Godfried Danneels.) My husband - then a Professor and Head of the Literature Department at Christendom College - challenged Mr. Lawler (as well as Christendom Philosophy Professor Russell Hittinger) - and with it the Council - concerning some of its problematic aspects. He then questioned whether the College effectively wished to 'preserve the revolution of the Second Vatican Council,' and he added that he believed that parts of the teaching of the Council cannot be reconciled with the Church's tradition, especially about religious liberty, syncretism, and indifferentism, and about grace, a sincere but erroneous conscience, and about the very nature of the Church (de Ecclesia).

We hope that this debate will be continued in good Faith with Mr. Lawler at some point in the future. Having taken the opposite position in that earlier debate, let us now honor him for his courage in taking such a stance on the current crisis in the Church.

For many readers of OnePeterFive, Lawler's book will serve mostly as a review of what we have also reported closely over the course of this papacy, and it moves step by step. Lawler's book is organized along a chronology - starting with the election of Pope Francis and his first programmatic writing -Evangelii Gaudium - and later describing the two Synods of Bishops on the Family and the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia. It also deals with different problematic themes of this papacy, such as Pope Francis' reform of the curia, his statements about contraception, the gender issue (the famous 'she who is a he' statement!), Islam, environmentalism, and more. He ends the book with the discussion of whether a pope can be wrong and what the response of the clergy and laity could now be.

In the following, we shall not recapitulate Lawler's - in many ways very painful - depiction of the trajectory of revolutionary papal steps, but we shall concentrate on the assessments and the criticisms that Mr. Lawler presents along the way. As he puts it at the beginning of his book:

'I did my best to provide assurance-for my readers and sometimes for myself-that, despite his sometimes alarming remarks, Francis was not a radical, was not leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the Faith. But gradually, reluctantly, I came to the conclusion that he was.[….] I found I could no longer pretend that Francis was merely offering a novel interpretation of Catholic doctrine. No, it was more than that. He was engaged in a deliberate effort to change what the Church teaches. [emphasis added]

As many of us then reported, Francis' own theological adviser, Archbishop Victor Fernández, had made it clear already in 2015 that the pope was aiming at an 'irreversible reform.' Here is how Lawler comments on this matter. After talking about how loyal Catholics, trying to maintain their Faith, had under the previous popes the further 'support of the Vatican,' he continues, saying:

'No longer. Francis has reopened the debate about the continuity of Catholic teaching. His supporters see him as the liberator of the spirit of Vatican II, bringing permanent change to the Church, while his critics protest that the Church cannot alter its fundamental doctrine'.

And further:

'The pope's closest advisers have stated on several occasions, Francis intends not only to change the Church but to lock in the changes. Archbishop Victor Fernández, a fellow Argentine who helped the pontiff draft his first encyclical, remarked in 2015, 'You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible.'

Comments Lawler:

'For Catholics who have weathered two generations of confusion and conflict, clinging to beliefs they hold precious, the prospect of 'irreversible change' along the lines suggested by Fernández is horrifying'.

When dealing with Cardinal Gerhard Müller's removal from his position as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July of 2017 - as an example of how the pope is dealing with those who stand in the way of his intended 'irreversible reform' - Lawler sees a 'striking reversal of roles.' He says: 'It was not the stern German 'inquisitor general' but the smiling Argentine pope - supposedly the embodiment of mercy and compassion - who demanded unquestioning acquiescence to his authority.' These words make it clear that Phil Lawler is past the point of trying to attenuate or mince words. He comes back to the pope's manner of dealing with critics within the Vatican when saying:

'From early in his pontificate, Francis showed no patience with officials of the Roman Curia who questioned his policies. As tensions heightened, morale plummeted in Vatican offices. Reports circulated in the Italian media - too many to be ignored - of staff members called before the pope for reprimands because of unguarded remarks in private conversations. The pope demanded immediate dismissal of three clerics on the staff of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, angrily refusing to give an explanation and insisting that he had the authority to insist on obedience'.

With regard to some of the close advisers of the pope, Mr. Lawler also has some strong words to say. The record of the new President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, is 'troubling.' He is responsible 'for a shocking sex-education guide that featured explicit images, instructed children in sexual techniques, and encouraged discussion of sexuality without reference to the Church's moral teaching.' One other adviser, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras, 'has not been a conspicuously successful pastor at home.' While the number of Catholics in his diocese were plummeting, Maradiaga was 'the epitome of the 'airport bishop' that Francis denounces, jetting around the world to deliver speeches rather than tending his flock.' The German Cardinal Reinhard Marx 'has, like Maradiaga, presided over the collapse of the Church in his own diocese.' Pope Francis, says Lawler, 'longs for 'a Church that is poor, for the poor.'' But: 'He would not find that Church in Germany.' Lawler proceeds to show the immense material wealth of the German Catholic Church - a wealth amassed amidst a 'mass exodus from the pews.'

Lawler also speaks about the pope's constant denigration of loyal Catholics. This seems to be one of the aspects of this papacy that is most offensive to Lawler. As he puts it at the beginning of his book: 'Every day I pray for Pope Francis. And every day (I am exaggerating, but only slightly), the pope issues another reminder that he does not approve of Catholics like me.' Lawler describes the pope's speech at another place as follows:

'[E]ven a cursory reading of the pope's daily homilies reveals harsh rhetoric, stinging rebukes, and angry denunciations such as we have not heard from a Roman pontiff for generations'.

Additionally, Lawler touches upon the matter of the 'Sankt Gallen Mafia' (the title of a sub-chapter of his book), although he does not come to a clear conclusion himself as to whether it unduly influenced the election of Pope Francis or not. As the author puts it:

'Maybe there was no active conspiracy or illicit campaign for the election of Bergoglio. Maybe three different cardinals - Danneels, Murphy-O'Connor, and McCarrick - exaggerated their own roles in the process for the sake of a good story. But there can be little doubt that a group of liberal prelates saw the Argentine cardinal as their best hope for changes in the Church'.

Lawler shows there to be a certain lack of seriousness in the pope when he asked Cardinal Christoph Schönborn after promulgating his post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia as to whether it was 'orthodox', and for showing himself 'comforted' after a positive response from the Austrian cardinal. Lawler comments:

'It is to be expected that Francis consults Schönborn, one of his close advisers and a respected theologian. But he apparently sought assurance of his writing's orthodoxy after the document had been issued. Publishing the document first and soliciting opinions about its doctrinal soundness later bespeaks a dangerously insouciant approach to the integrity of the Faith. [emphasis added]

Finally, let us turn to Lawler's more fundamental discussion on the 'Limits of Papal Authority,' the title of one of his other sub-chapters. Lawler makes it clear that 'when he [the pope] speaks on questions of faith and morals, there are some things the pope cannot [may not] say.' The author gives an example:

'The Pope cannot say that 2+2=5. Nor can he repeal the laws of logic. So if the pope makes two contradictory statements, they cannot both be right. And since every pontiff enjoys the same teaching authority, if one pope contradicts another pope, something is wrong'.

Applying this principle of non-contradiction, Lawler himself concludes, as follows:

'Thus if Amoris Laetitia contradicts Veritatis Splendor and Casti Connubii - earlier papal encyclicals, which carry a higher level of teaching authority - the faithful cannot be obliged to swallow the contradiction. [emphasis added]

In the context of some statements issued by Rocco Buttiglione, the Catholic philosopher and defender of Amoris Laetitia, Lawler makes this principle of non-contradiction clear when he states:

'Thus, Buttiglione assumes that a couple should remain together, even in an illicit marriage, for the sake of their children. But that assumption contradicts the understanding of marriage set forth by a previous pontiff. In his 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, Pius XI, quoting St. Augustine, wrote that the marriage bond is so sacred that 'a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring.'

It is our hope that the excerpts presented here give our readers enough of a sense to see that the Catholic Church has in Phil Lawler a loyal and morally earnest Catholic layman willing to take a lucid stance in confronting an all-too-insouciant (and often abrupt) pope for his being a 'lost shepherd' and for 'leading the sheep astray.' May Lawler's book help to open the eyes of many well-meaning Catholics who still have illusions about this pope, especially for the sake of their salvation and the salvation of their children.

[1P5] 2217.18




















The Bergoglio Mystery. Why the General of the Jesuits didn't want him made bishop

SANDRO MAGISTER blogs for http://magister.blogautore.espresso.re 'A new book about Pope Francis is on the way, one that has already been making a stir, even before its scheduled release on February 26, Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock.

The title sounds decidedly critical. But not from prejudice. The author of the book, Philip Lawler, is one of the most authoritative and balanced Catholic writers in the United States. He was editor of 'Catholic World Report,' the news magazine of Ignatius Press, the publishing house founded by the Jesuit Joseph Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger. And today he directs 'Catholic World News.' He was born and raised in Boston. He is married and the father of seven children.

In the initial phase of Francis's pontificate, Lawler did not fail to appreciate its novelties. But now, as it turns out, he has come to see in him the 'lost shepherd' of a flock sent out to wander.

And he has developed this critical judgment on Jorge Mario Bergogio as pope in part through a careful reexamination of Bergoglio as a Jesuit and bishop in Argentina.

Which is exactly what has been done by other biographers of the current pope, both for and against him: to reconstruct his Argentine journey, in order to obtain from this a better understanding of his activity as pope.

One striking example of this revisitation of Bergoglio's Argentine phase is in the most recently published book about him: 'The Dictator Pope,' released as an e-book in Italian and in English at the end of last autumn by an anonymous author, likely a native English speaker, who conceals himself under the pseudonym of Marcantonio Colonna.

One of the passages of 'The Dictator Pope' that has raised the biggest uproar is the one in which the author lifts the veil on the judgment on Bergoglio written in 1991 by the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Peter Hans Kolvenbach (1928-2016) of the Netherlands, in the course of the secret consultations for and against the appointment of Bergoglio as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires.

The pseudonymous Marcantonio Colonna writes:

'The text of the report has never been made public, but the following account is given by a priest who had access to it before it disappeared from the Jesuit archive: Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as Provincial of his own order.'

Too little and too vague. Beyond doubt, however, is the existence of a judgment on Bergoglio that the Vatican authorities requested from Kolvenbach in view of his appointment as bishop.

Just as beyond doubt is the severe friction that existed between the ordinary Jesuit at the time and his superiors of the Society of Jesus, both in Argentina and in Rome.

Abundant, solid, and concurrent information on this friction is provided by other biographies of Bergoglio, not suspect of preconceived hostilities, because they were written by authors very close to him or were even reviewed by him in the course of their composition.

This latter is the case, in particular, with the volume 'Aquel Francisco,' written by the Argentines Javier Cámara and Sebastián Pfaffen with the pope's supervision, dedicated precisely to the years of Bergoglio's greatest isolation within the society of Jesus.

It does not cover up the fact that Jesuits who were opposed to him went so far as to circulate the rumor that Bergoglio had been sent into exile in Córdoba 'because he was sick, crazy.'

But it is completely silent on the judgment against his appointment as bishop written by Jesuit general Kolvenbach, whose name does not appear even once in the more than 300 pages of the book.

Nor is there any news of the Kolvenbach report in what is so far the most exhaustive and 'friendly' biography of Bergoglio, written by Austen Ivereigh of England: The Great Reformer. Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

But on the origin and context of that negative judgment of Kolvenbach, the information given by Ivereigh/Bergoglio is extensive and valuable. And it deserves to be reprised here.

Bergoglio himself referred to this friction with his Argentine confreres in the interview he granted to 'La Civiltà Cattolica' and to other magazines of the Society of Jesus shortly after his election as pope:

'My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative. But I have never been a right-winger.'

In Argentina, in effect, the campaign against Bergoglio was led by the Jesuits of the Center for Research and Social Action, CIAS, made up 'mostly,' Ivereigh notes, of 'older, academic, upper-class' progressives irritated over the success of this Jesuit 'from a lower-middle-class background, and not even a doctorate in theology,' who 'privileged popular religiosity while neglecting the research centers': a type of religiosity 'very close to the people, to the poor,' but in their judgment 'more Peronist than modern.'

It was not enough to placate them that Bergoglio, in 1979, ended his term as provincial of the Argentine Jesuits. His leadership over a substantial portion of the Society was by no means diminished. On the contrary, Ivereigh writes, 'he had more influence by the end of his time of rector than he had had as a provincial.'

But precisely for this reason his opponents became more and more antagonistic. The criticisms of the CIAS and of others made their way to Rome, to the curia generalizia of the Society of Jesus, where the assistant for Latin America, José Fernández Castañeda, was also hostile to Bergoglio, and evidently they convinced the new superior general, Kolvenbach. Who in fact, in 1986, at the time of choosing the new head of the Argentine province, appointed none other than the candidate of the CIAS, Víctor Zorzín, who immediately took as his right-hand man 'one of Bergoglio's fiercest critics,' Ignacio García-Mata, who succeeded him.

After this came a purge that Ivereigh compares with the 'clash between the Peronists and anti-Peronists' of Argentina in the 1950's, with the difference that now 'the 'gorilas' [fanatical anti-Peronists] were in the CIAS, and the 'pueblo' was with Bergoglio and the others.' In short: 'a cleansing, in which everything associated with the deposed regime was reversed.'

And Bergoglio In May of that same year of 1986, in agreement with the new provincial, Zorzín, he migrated to Germany, officially for a doctorate on Romano Guardini. But in December of the same year he was already on his way back home, to the rejoicing of his still numerous followers. Who in fact succeeded in electing none other than him as procurator of the Argentine province for a summit at the curia generalizia of Rome in September of 1987.

The next year it was Kolvenbach who went to Argentina, for a meeting with the provincials of the continent. But he avoided meeting Bergoglio, in spite of the fact that he was staying very near by. Ivereigh writes: 'Over the next two years, the province increasingly polarized and turned in on itself' and Bergoglio 'was increasingly blamed for stirring this up.' He cites the minutes of the meetings of the provincial consultors: 'In every one of them we spoke about him. It was a constant worry, what we were going to do with this man.'

In 1990 they exiled Bergoglio to Córdoba, no longer with any position, and they sent his closest confreres abroad. But soon after came the miracle. The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Antonio Quarracino, asked Rome for none other than Bergoglio as his auxiliary bishop. And he got him.

Ivereigh does not mention this. But it is here, in the secret consultations that precede the appointment of every new bishop, that Jesuit superior general Kolvenbach set down in writing his negative judgment on the appointment of Bergoglio. He was not heeded. But there is one episode immediately after the consecration of Bergoglio as bishop, in the summer of 1992, that shows how bitter the discord between the two remains.

While waiting for his new residence to be prepared, Bergoglio was accommodated at the house of the Jesuit curia of Buenos Aires, where in the meantime his archenemy García-Mata had become provincial.

Ivereigh writes:

'But it wasn't an easy relationship. Bergoglio blamed García-Mata for defaming him in a report the provincial had written to Rome - the report was secret, but one of the consultors had informed Bergoglio - while García-Mata felt threatened by Bergoglio's popularity among the younger Jesuits.'

The weeks went by and Bergoglio was for García-Mata an ever more 'interfering' presence. Until on July 31, the feast of Saint Ignatius, the provincial hinted that he should leave. 'But I'm very comfortable here,' Bergoglio answered.

Ivereigh continues:

'If he wanted him out, said Bergoglio, he should inform him formally. So García-Mata wrote to Father Kolvenbach, who backed the provincial, who left the general's letter in Bergoglio's room. García-Mata received a written response in return, in which Bergoglio gave the date of his departure.'

Against this background one can understand why from them on, during his many trips to Rome, Bergoglio never set foot in the curia generalizia of the Jesuits, staying instead at the clerical residence on Via della Scrofa, nor did he ever speak with Kolvenbach.

In order to be reconciled with the Society of Jesus, in short, the first Jesuit pope in history had to do nothing less than precisely that, be elected pope.

But today we know about the preceding conflict almost exclusively from his point of view, mediated by his biographer friends.

The point of view of the others, starting with the judgment of his general from a quarter of a century ago, is still to a large extent unknown to us.

[Settimo Caeli] 2217.19





















Comment from the internet


Schism rising? Seven bishops resist Pope Francis's revolution

HEADED up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of six bishops and one cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October's Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called 'gay unions'?




[Remnant] 2217.FR1



















A look ahead t0 2018

STEVE SKOJEC writes for OnePeterFive: 'Most years, right around Christmas, or maybe a little after, I get a little intuition about what the coming year will hold. It’s always been a fairly accurate feeling, if only because it’s rarely very specific. 'This will be a prosperous year,' I might think, or 'This year is really going to be a tough one.'

The key to this process of discernment is the studied pursuit of doing absolutely nothing for as long as possible. Key ingredients are things like sleeping in, watching too many movies, playing mindless games, eating last night’s leftovers for breakfast, spending the day in my pajamas covered in chip crumbs, and so on. Last month, as I took my Christmas break, I noticed the feeling beginning to coalesce. Usually, it’s a pretty clear positive or negative.

This time, it was different.

'2018,' I started telling people, 'is going to be weird. It’s going to be a year of defying expectations. Of things not going at all the way we think they will.' Sensing the concern some people had upon hearing this, I attempted to reassure them: 'I’m not saying it’s going to be bad,' I said. 'Just that it’s going to be surprising.'

The fact is, I do NOT claim to be a prophet, though I am a fairly good intuiter of things. What I can say is that I take in a lot of information pretty much all the time, and I’ve gotten good at reading the lay of the land, so to speak. You might compare me golfer reading the break on a putting green: what looks like magic is actually science.

What do I think 2018 has in store, then? Please note that the following is not comprehensive. And taking into account my sense that it’s going to be a wild, unpredictable year, in fact, it’s not even probable that it will be very accurate. Caveat lector, but some of the handwriting on the wall appears to be in permanent marker.

The world has been changing rather drastically in the past few years. New, unexpected, and even unthinkable political possibilities (ie., Trump, Brexit) have become realities in various parts of the world where the status quo seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be on rails. I pay far less attention to politics these days than I ever have, but there’s no way to avoid spillover into areas that affect every one of us, however non-political we may be determined to be. For example, the continued hijra in Europe, and the way the ignorati in political power there are just determined to be dhimmis will undoubtedly continue to dominate much of the news cycle. Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region will also likely continue to play a dominating role in global geopolitics. I expect the non-stop jawing about Russia/America collusion to die down somewhat even as new fronts are explored in the as-yet-bloodless revolution against the new American President. So too will continue the purge against powerful men in entertainment and politics through the sudden and overwhelming force of the #MeToo campaign. (I do not doubt, for the record, that many of the targets are moral monsters who deserve to be driven out like demons, but I sense a deeper opportunism beneath the aggregated whole, and I wonder what new horrors will fill the vacuum.)

The larger zeitgeist battle being waged is the escalating War Against Sanity. This is the term I am using to describe the usurpation of reason and the rebellion against the laws of rational thought in pursuit of various ideological agendas. From a continued push to argue things like the notion that biological sex/age/identity is irrelevant (and that people can be trans-anything) and the increased acceptance of gender-bending sexualization of children (who apparently don’t get to claim #MeToo) to the seemingly endless arguments that what the Catholic Church has always believed and taught can be turned on its ear because the magic man in Rome says so, it will become increasingly difficult to have a rational debate with anyone about anything because logic as we know it has been beaten mercilessly, discarded, and left for dead. Language is meaningless, nobody is willing to concede anything, and the fact that we could ever have real discourse at all seems a relic of a bygone era we might as well erase from our memories, just for good measure.

All of this deconstruction of our ability to think clearly and know actual truths is very relevant, for obvious reasons, to what we may expect from the Vatican in the coming year.

This is the year, I think, that the Amoris Laetitia debate, per se, will likely begin to recede from its position of total dominance in Church discourse. People on all sides are growing tired of discussing it, since it seems all angles have been explored and exhausted, and with no answer to the dubia and no formal correction seemingly on the way, we have been reduced to trench warfare, neither side gaining ground, neither side losing it, yet both knowing that to retreat would be catastrophic. So shots will continue to be fired, the occasional body will languish in the fetid ground of no man’s land between, and nothing will move very much one way or the other.

But what will move forward are the monsters that AL has unleashed. What has come into stark relief is the truth that AL was always intended to be a theological Pandora’s Box. As Josef Seifert so sagely predicted, if AL 'claims a totally objective divine will for us to commit, in certain situations, acts that are intrinsically wrong, and have always been considered such by the Church,' then the alarming developments we have seen thus far 'refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the 10 commandments and of Catholic Moral Teaching.'

So, as we have just seen in the case of Fr. Chiodi of the Pontifical Academy for Life, this is precisely what is now happening. Last June, I had warned that we were seeing signs of a move on the part of the Vatican to re-interpret Humanae Vitae according to the moral framework created by Amoris Laeitita. 'They’re coming for Humanae Vitae,' I said, 'and its proscriptions against contraception, and they’re not going to stop until they get what they want.' People scoffed. Denials were issued that there was any such plan afoot.

And then this happened.

'Fr. Chiodi dedicated the second part of his lecture to the relationship between Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia. While he acknowledged that Humanae Vitaeoccupies 'a very important place' in the 'historical development' of the Church’s magisterium on marriage, he said the encyclical has become more of a 'symbolic issue, criticized or rejected by those who were disappointed with its conclusions, or considered as a true pillar of Catholic moral doctrine on sexuality by others.'

'The Italian priest attributed the encyclical’s increasing importance to its insertion in John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, n. 29-34, but especially, he said, 'to the fact that Veritatis Splendor n. 80 includes contraception among the ‘intrinsically evil’ acts.'

'But from a pastoral point of view, he said the 'urgency of the issue' of contraception 'seems gradually to be diminishing.'

Fr. Chiodi then did those in attendance the favor of crystalizing his insinuations with unmistakable clarity:

'There are circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception. In these cases, a technological intervention does not negate the responsibility of the generating relationship. The insistence of the Church’s Magisterium on natural methods cannot be interpreted, in my opinion, as a norm which is an end in itself, nor as a mere conformity with biological laws, because the norm points to an anthropology, to the good of marital responsibility. [emphasis added]

And there it is.

This is a priest who, again, was appointed to the new Pontifical Academy for Life after Pope Francis gutted it of its former members. His lecture was organized by the Argentine Jesuit Father Humberto Miguel Yanez — Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University and a good friend of Pope Francis. As Diane Montagna reported in her piece about Chiodi’s talk, the signs were already there:

'Father Chiodi’s December 14 lecture is not his first attempt to justify contraception, nor to use arguments that critics say are condemned in Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

'Earlier this year, both he and Father Yanez also took part in the presentation at the Gregorian of a new book entitled Amoris Laetitia: A Turning Point for Moral Theology, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, in which it is argued that Amoris Laetitia represents a paradigm shift for all moral theology and especially in interpreting Humanae Vitae. [emphasis added]

Similarly, the Vatican is beginning a shift in its position on euthanasia, as certain events seem to indicate. And despite recent statements seemingly to the contrary, as reported by Dorothy Cummings McClean at LifeSiteNews just before Christmas, some Italian pro-life leaders are pointing the finger at the pope himself for helping along the passage of a new Italian euthanasia law:

'Critics say the resistance of Catholic politicians to the bill was weakened after Pope Francis’ November speech to the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which he indicated that people may refuse life-prolonging medical treatment but failed to note that administration of nutrition and hydration are basic humanitarian care rather than medical treatment. According to Italy’s La Repubblica, and The New York Times, many of the bill’s supporters, and many Catholics, saw Francis’s speech as a 'green light' to the new law.

'The words of Pope Francis on the end of life, on November 16 at the Pontifical Academy for Life, were interpreted by all as an ‘open door’ to the form of euthanasia that is the living will,' wrote Roberto di Mattei, Catholic historian and head of Italy’s Lepanto Foundation.

'The Pope’s words on the topic were necessary, wrote Corrado Augias in La Repubblica, 'to overthrow the last resistance of some Catholics and–probably–to convince at least a group of them to give their consent to [the pro-euthanasia law].'

'Right-to-die advocate Marco Cappato, a member of Italy’s far-left 'Radical Party' praised Francis immediately after his Academy for Life address for placing the wishes of the sick person at the center of the controversy about medical care for the terminally ill. Francis, he thought, was on the side of the bill'.

And so things will continue. This pope who ever says one thing while manipulating events toward a different end. A cabal of advisors and surrogates empowered to spread the messages of the revolution through the Church, changing practice by altering perception while leaving doctrine untouched — the latter tactic making it possible for the useful idiots to keep saying that the pope has done nothing unorthodox.

Other agenda pieces likely to dominate the headlines this year include a married priesthood — with a trial run in Latin America — and more pushes in the direction of female deacons. At some point down the road, whether this year or beyond, we can also expect to see the arguments of Amoris Laetitia applied more directly to homosexual relationships. There’s simply no reason for them not to be, with the moral barriers smashed open, and too many power-players in Rome or with influence over the pope who want to see movement on this issue. (No sooner did I hit 'publish' than I received this story in my inbox.)

But as I said, I also think this will be a year of surprises. Of unexpected twists and turns. Critical reaction to this papacy continues to snowball, as even Catholics who see opposition to the pope as distasteful find themselves forced to decide between traditional morality and Church teaching and the machinations of the this papacy. When Phil Lawler’s book hits shelves next month, it will have come as the result of just such a decision — long debated and hard won — and will be the third of its kind in the past year, as Francis’ indiscretions are no longer able to be sufficiently contained in the space provided by articles and blog posts, instead necessitating dedicated volumes of their own. Even now the Vatican search continues for the true identity of the author of the most explosive of the three — The Dictator Pope — amidst a somewhat lighthearted but nevertheless spirited campaign of misdirection now in its infancy on social media, under the hashtag '#IAmMarcantonioColonna'.

Meanwhile, as convenient but dispensable papal defenders like Stephen Walford, Emmett O’Reagan, Austen Ivereigh, and Massimo Faggioli continue to be taken less and less seriously in their attempts the defend the indefensible in whatever ersatz Catholic media will have them, will the Vatican will be forced to find new champions of their agenda? It’s a program so transparently un-Catholic that the only professional theologian among the current crop flatly admitted, 'There is no possible coexistence between an ‘ordinary form of Catholic theology’ and an ‘extraordinary form of Catholic theology’,' because 'some of most active promoters of the Old Mass' hold 'theological views that are not Catholic anymore.' (In other words — the Catholicism of the past 2,000 years is dead and buried, along with its immutable and divinely revealed truths. Viva la revolución!)

This kind of crazy can only end in heartbreak for the people who believe it.

So yes, I think 2018 is the beginning of the end for Francis and Friends. They’ll ram through as much as they possibly can — remember, we’ve been warned by his closest friends that if the pope thinks he’s running out of road, he’ll speed things up — but there’s only so much time left on the clock. What I am less confident about is how it will end or what we’ll get after. I do not see that we have an episcopacy with the courage to confront the man while he is alive, so we may have to settle for a posthumous settling of accounts. (As surely as Catholicism is true, this papacy will eventually be condemned. Honorius was an amateur in comparison.) But we have to be realistic: we have a curia with an increasingly Franciscan flavor — and I don’t mean the Seraphic Father — and we’ve already heard loud whispering that the Bergoglian electors plagued with buyer’s remorse think it’d be a good idea to replace the Argentinian Apocalypse with a more subdued version in the shape of someone like Cardinal Parolin. If the Holy Spirit ever needed to be at work in a co