This edition of CF NEWS No.2275 posted at 11.25 am on Sunday, April 7th, 2019. PLEASE TELL OTHERS ABOUT THIS FREE SERVICE . . .



Vatican watch

Pope to youth: The Church must change    read more >>>
Pope raps religious fundamentalists during in-flight press conference
   read more >>>
The Pope's "clarification"    read more >>>
Pope warns Catholics against trying to convert others VIDEO    read more >>>
Coexistence between Christians and Muslims 'a beautiful flower'   read more >>>
Cardinal Sarah: Defending migrants is a 'false exegesis' of the Gospels
VIDEO    read more >>>

Humanae Vitae

Sins of the flesh   VIDEO    read more >>>

China supplement

Chinese city offers cash incentives to informants   read more >>>
Undergound bishop blocked from Chrism Mass    read more >>>

United Nations

UN Spokesman dismisses the need for UN agreement on abortion   read more >>>
Population Commission avoids controversy, but leaves backdoor open to abortion    read more >>>

News from around the world

TURKEY Attempts to school Christian teachers   read more >>>
UK Police drop investigation into Catholic mother accused of 'misgendering'    read more >>>
USA Archbishop Gregory appointed to Washington DC Archdiocese    read more >>>
USA A Federal investigation is inevitable
   read more >>>
   VIDEO    read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL gloria.tv.news
   > VIDEO    read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL Some jihad headlines of the week
 VIDEO    read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL The World Over with Raymond Arroyo
   VIDEO read more >>>
INTERNATIONAL Transgender tyranny is the next terrible step
   read more >>>


The Personalist Spirit of Newman's Thought    VIDEO    read more >>>


Family Life International Conference   read more >>>

Book review

Did Darwin get it wrong?    read more >>>

Comment from the internet

Pope Francis: Cause or result of the crisis in the Church?   VIDEO    read more >>>
De Mattei on the Francis Pontificate    read more >>>
A Lamb among Wolves
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The New Pagans and the Church
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Revisiting Paul VI's Apologia for the New Mass   read more >>>

Our Catholic Heritage

Site of the day : Talley    VIDEO    read more >>>
Saint of the day
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Ave Verbum
  VIDEO    read more >>>


Saint Gregory Nazianzen   read more >>>


By courtesy of LifeSiteNews




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Vatican watch




Pope to youth: The Church must change

STEPHEN WYNNE reports for ChurchMilitant.com - Pope Francis is raising eyebrows over his call for "change" in the Church.

In response to the October 2018 Synod on Young People, on Tuesday, Francis issued Christus vivit ("Christ is Alive"), an apostolic exhortation rallying Catholic youth to work for greater openness as part of a campaign of Church renewal.

Titled Christus vivit ("Christ is Alive"), the Pope's message lays out his vision for a faith sculpted by "listening" and "change."

"A Church open to renewal," Francis writes, "should not be excessively caught up in herself, but instead, and above all, reflect Jesus Christ."

"This means humbly acknowledging that some things concretely need to change," he argues, "and if that is to happen, she needs to appreciate the vision but also the criticisms of young people."

Let us ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill.Tweet

Among faithful Catholics, many are voicing concern over the nature of Francis' desired "change."

While urging youth to be "protagonists of change," the Pope calls for them to "ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill."

Some are interpreting the Pope's words as a rejection of the traditional movement, with its focus on the Latin Mass, pre-Vatican II liturgy and an active devotional life - all of which is exploding among young Catholics today.

Francis exhorts Catholics to reject focusing narrowly on certain "issues." Instead, he writes, the Church must humbly listen and respond to the perspectives of its youngest members:

Although many young people are happy to see a Church that is humble yet confident in her gifts and capable of offering fair and fraternal criticism, others want a Church that listens more, that does more than simply condemn the world. They do not want to see a Church that is silent and afraid to speak, but neither one that is always battling obsessively over two or three issues.

"To be credible to young people, there are times when she needs to regain her humility and simply listen," he continues, "recognizing that what others have to say can provide some light to help her better understand the Gospel."

"A Church always on the defensive, which loses her humility and stops listening to others, which leaves no room for questions, loses her youth and turns into a museum," Francis adds. "Even if she possesses the truth of the Gospel, this does not mean that she has completely understood it; rather, she is called to keep growing in her grasp of that inexhaustible treasure."

The pontiff warns against an "overly fearful" Church "tied to its structures," which he says "can be invariably critical of efforts to defend the rights of women, and constantly point out the risks and the potential errors of those demands."

"Instead, a living Church can react by being attentive to the legitimate claims of those women who seek greater justice and equality," Francis suggests. "A living Church can look back on history and acknowledge a fair share of male authoritarianism, domination, various forms of enslavement, abuse and sexist violence."

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Pope raps religious fundamentalists during in-flight press conference

POPE FRANCIS argued that Christianity as well as Islam is troubled by fundamentalists, during an exchange with reporters on his return flight from Morocco.

Asked about the trip to Morocco that he had just concluded, the Pope said that it was part of an effort to encourage dialogue between Christianity and Islam: "a beautiful flower of coexistence that promises to bear fruit." The Pontiff went on to compliment his hosts for their open attitude toward religious dialogue, saying that "in Morocco there is freedom of worship, there is religious liberty, there's liberty of belonging to a religious creed."

Morocco's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and the Christians who constitute less than 1% of the country's population-nearly all of them foreigners-are allowed to worship freely. But native Christian face heavy social pressure and some government harassment, and the country's law forbid efforts to convert Muslims. During his stay Pope Francis implicitly acknowledged that policy, saying: "The Church grows not through proselytism but by attraction."

The Pontiff recognized that some Islamic countries place greater restrictions on religious freedom, but suggested that further dialogue could alleviate tensions. The said that Islamic attitudes could change, and remarked that in Christianity, too, there are some people who resist an open attitude. "In every religion there is always a fundamentalist group that does not want to go ahead and lives on bitter memories, on the struggles of the past, looking for more war and also sowing fear," he said. Pope Francis said that Muslims will "grow in conscience" to accept religious freedom, and argued that, by a similar process, the Catholic Church has come to condemn capital punishment:

So, we understand, for example, that today we in the Church have removed the death penalty from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Three hundred years ago, heretics were burned alive. Because the Church has grown in moral conscience, respect for the person, and freedom of worship. We too must continue to grow. There are people, Catholics, who do not accept what the Second Vatican Council said about freedom of worship, freedom of conscience. There are people who don't accept it. Catholics. Also we have this problem. But, the Muslim brothers also grow in conscience.

During the in-flight interview the Pope repeated his call for acceptance of migrants, saying that "the builders of walls, whether made of barbed wire that cuts with knives or bricks, will become prisoners of the walls they make."

[CatholicCulture.org] 2275.1























The Pope's "clarification"

Abu Dhabi-gate: Round and Round We Go

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives - First, Pope Francis formally declared in a signed Joint Declaration with “Grand Imam” El-Tayeb at Abu Dhabi that “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.”

Then, confronted with his own heretical statement by Bishop Athanasius Schneider during an ad limina visit, Francis told the bishop privately that “you can say this, too, that the diversity of religions is the permissive will of God” — which can only mean, as the Church teaches, that God tolerates the “diversity of religions” replete with error and superstition as an evil from which He is able ultimately to draw a good. In no orthodox sense can the divine toleration of false religions be likened to the divine positive will that there be differences of “colour, sex, race and language” among men.

Next, however, Francis doubled down on the original heresy by ordering that the Joint Declaration, without correction, be circulated to “professors, priests, and sisters at universities to ‘facilitate the distribution, the study, and the reception’ of the document, adding that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue ‘will be grateful to you already now for any possible initiative, in the frame of this institution, which aims at the spreading of this Document.’”

But now Francis has issued a “clarification” in the form of an impromptu remark during his General Audience of April 3. The “clarification,” however, essentially affirms that the “diversity of religions” is a good thing, not merely a tolerated evil. To quote Francis :

“But some may wonder: but why does the Pope go visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics? Because there are so many religions, and why are there so many religions?

“With the Muslims we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham: why does God allow so many religions to exist? God wanted to allow this: the Scholastic theologians referred to the voluntas permissive [permissive will] of God. He willed to permit this reality: there are many religions; some are born of culture, but they always look to heaven, they look to God.

“But what God does will is fraternity among us, and in a special way — hence the reason for this journey — with our brothers, who are sons of Abraham, like us, the Muslims. We must not be afraid of the difference: God has permitted this. We ought to be frightened if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life.”

So, according to the clarification:

• “With the Muslims we are descendants of the same Father, Abraham…”

No, we aren’t. The religion Muhammad invented has no claim on the spiritual inheritance of Abraham, which belongs to the followers of Christ, “the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (cf. Matt 1:1-17), who belong to the Church He founded and “purchased with His blood” (Acts 20: 28) in order to enact the New and Everlasting Covenant with God.

• “God wanted to allow this [the diversity of religions].”

Wrong again. God does not “want to allow” evil of any kind, including the lies and superstitions of religions invented by men. To “want” something means “to have a strong desire for … to have an inclination to… to have need of.” (Merriam Webster) Nothing of these mental states can be predicated of God, Whose very nature excludes any desire, inclination or need to allow evil to be done. To quote Saint Thomas: “God therefore neither wills evil to be done, nor wills it not to be done, but wills to permit evil to be done; and this is a good.” In like manner, it cannot be said that God “wanted to allow” murder, sodomy, war, or indeed all the sins of men.

But, on the other hand, the colloquial “wants” would be appropriate in explaining the revealed truth that God “will have [“wants”] all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God: and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim 2:3-5). That revealed truth, as should be obvious by now, is about the last thing Pope Francis would proclaim.

Granted, this may be merely yet another case of the inexact colloquial speech that litters Francis’ endless stream of theological improvisation. Yet it conveys the false impression that God “wanted to allow” the evils in question because there is something good about the evils as such, which is exactly what Francis thinks, as the next point explains.

“there are many religions; some are born of culture, but they always look to heaven, they look to God.”

In other words, what Francis really believes is that all religions “always look to heaven, they look to God” — no matter what lies and superstitions they contain. That is, they are all more or less good and pleasing to God, not merely tolerated evils. Francis thus embraces precisely the error condemned by Pius XI as the gateway to abandonment of the one religion that God has revealed

“that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.

“Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.”

And finally:

• “what God does will is fraternity among us… We must not be afraid of the difference: God has permitted this. We ought to be frightened if we do not work in fraternity, to walk together in life…”

So, according to Francis, God has permitted the existence of false religions in order that we may have fraternity and “walk together” with their adherents, of whose damnable errors we must not be afraid. Fraternity replaces truth in the divine plan, according to Francis. This is the religion of the Freemasons, not the religion of the Gospel.

Francis has clarified his position alright. He has made it quite clear that he sees no evil in the diversity of religions nor any imperative that their adherents “be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” because “there is one God: and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

For six years, Francis has been taking the faithful on a ride on a roundabout, and it seems we always return to the point at which the ride began. And there we find what Francis really thinks as opposed to what the Church teaches.


[FP] 2275.SA1























Pope warns Catholics against trying to convert others

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Mat. 28

LAST SUNDAY Pope Francis warned Catholics in Morocco against trying to convert others to boost their small numbers, during a rare visit by a pontiff to the North African country. Pope Francis Speaking in Rabat's cathedral on his second day in the Moroccan capital, Francis insisted trying to convert people to one's own belief 'always leads to an impasse'. 'Please, no proselytism!' he told an audience of around 400, who greeted the pope's arrival by ululating and applauding, while hundreds more gathered outside the cathedral. Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis also told young Muslims that they should hold fast to the faith of their parents and grandparents.

Pope Francis' words appear to echo clearly the policy of the United Religious Institute (URI), the interfaith movement, founded in 1995 by Bishop William Swing of the Episcopal Church's diocese in San Francisco, which has worked closely with the UN and received funding from George Soros and Bill Gates. URI leaders repeatedly equate evangelism to manipulative 'proselytizing' and violence. At a 1997 URI forum board member Paul Chafee said 'We can't afford fundamentalists in a world this small'.

The New Oxford Review reported that in 1996, when Bishop Swing met with the head of the Vatican's Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Cardinal Arinze, he received a firm rebuff. The Cardinal said that following URI policy would give the appearance of syncretism 'and would water down our need to evangelize. It would force authentic religions to be on an equal footing with spurious religions'. Archbishop Fitzgerald, who worked under Cardinal Arinze pointedly ignored Bishop Swing's invitation to attend the 1997 URI summit conference.

[https://www.vanguardngr.comb / CF News] 2275.1























Coexistence between Christians and Muslims 'is a beautiful flower that promises to bear fruit'

ASKED by a journalist during the in-flight press conference home from Morocco about the potential consequences of his visit “for the future, for world peace, for coexistence in the dialogue between cultures,” Pope Francis responded:

"I will say that now there are flowers, the fruits will come later, but the flowers are promising. I am happy because in these two journeys I have been able to talk much about what is in my heart — peace, unity, fraternity. With Muslim brothers and sisters, we sealed this fraternity in the Abu Dhabi document, and here in Morocco, with this we have all seen a freedom, a welcome, all brothers with such great respect, and this beautiful flower of coexistence, a beautiful flower that is promising to bear fruit".

Comment 1. Robert Spencer writes for Jihad Watch

When? Where? When has it ever borne fruit? Where and when, in the 1,400-year history of jihad, have Christian lands near Muslim lands ever been left alone by the Muslims? When, in that 1,400-year history, have Christians living in Muslim lands ever been granted equality of rights and been treated as full citizens? The Pope is guilt-tripping Christians into accepting mass Muslim migration into Europe while ignoring the history of Islam and denying the doctrines of Islam, and demanding that everyone believe that the situation will be different this time, despite the absolute lack of any reason to believe that it will be. Is he bent on destroying Europe as a home for free societies and obliterating the remnants of Christendom? That certainly will be the result if his exhortations are heeded.

Comment 2. Steve Skojek writes for OnePeterFive

Don’t tell that to the saints who analyzed Islam as “an impious, blasphemous, vicious cult” and “an invention of the devil” or the many martyrs — like St. Pelagius of Cordoba — who died refusing to submit to its unwholesome demands. They had some potent thoughts of their own about what is, at best, as St. John Damascene called the religion of Mohammed, a “heresy” that constitutes a “forerunner of the Antichrist.”

In other words: Islam is a false ideology and a path to perdition, and the conversion of its adherents, if we care about their souls, is desirable. It is certainly desired by God, who created men to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him forever in Heaven. As my friend Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute relates, when St. Francis of Assisi, not having received the memo against proselytism, attempted to convert the sultan of Egypt, he made the stakes clear: “If you do not wish to believe we will commend your soul to God because we declare that if you die while holding to your law you will be lost; God will not accept your soul. For this reason we have come to you.”

But for Francis, who disparaged Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address as destructive, has offered a false equivalency between the known epidemic of Islamic violence and some unspecified “Catholic violence,” and who encouraged Muslim refugees to look to the Quran and the “faith that your parents instilled in you” to help them, it seems that the idea of actually holding a critical thought about Islam — let alone desiring the conversion of Muslims to Catholicism — is unthinkable.

This is not what Muslim converts want to hear from their pope.

Last year, a group of Catholics who had converted from Islam — many no doubt at great personal risk — made an impassioned plea to the pope in the form of an open letter. They claimed that many of their number had tried to contact the pope, “on many occasions and for several years, and we have never received the slightest acknowledgement of our letters or requests for meetings.”

After making clear with quotes from both Scripture and the Quran that Islam is “a proper antichrist” and “wants us to be its enemy,” they ask, “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,” they continue, “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).”

They lay bare the scandal of this failure of the Church to recognize what its overtures to Islam are causing:

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)

There is no indication that they ever received a response. But if they can see the truth of it, we can too, whether the pope cares to acknowledge reality or continue with his dialogue delusion.

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Cardinal Sarah: Defending migrants is a 'false exegesis' of the Gospels

Cdl. SarahTOM HENEGHAN reports for The Tablet - Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has said that defending migration was a misinterpretation of Gospels by priests and bishops 'bewitched' by political and social issues.

His interview with the French magazine 'Valeurs Actuelles' appeared last weekend, around the same time as Pope Francis spoke up for migrants during his visit to Morocco and said politicians who build walls to keep them out would become prisoners of those barriers.

'It is better to help people flourish in their culture than to encourage them to come to a Europe in full decadence,' he said. 'It is a false exegesis to use the word of God to promote migration. God never wanted these heartbreaks.'

The Guinean cardinal, one of the most conservative voices in the Vatican, said priests, bishops and even cardinals were today afraid to proclaim divine teaching.

'They are afraid of being frowned upon, of being seen as reactionaries. So they say fuzzy, vague and imprecise things to escape criticism, and they marry the stupid evolution of the world,' he said.

Migrants arriving in Europe were parked somewhere without work or dignity, he added. 'Is that what the Church wants?' he asked.

The Church should not support 'this new form of slavery' because the West, with its low birth rate, risked disappearing, he argued. 'If Europe disappears, and with it the priceless values of the Old Continent, Islam will invade the world and we will completely change culture, anthropology and moral vision.'

Pope Francis on Immigration: Right Idea, Wrong Century

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA writes for Fatima Perspectives - During his visit to Morocco, Pope Francis uttered the following sentiments: "Why do we feel sad? Because those who build walls will end up being prisoners of the walls they build…. [T]he builders of walls, whether made of barbed wire that cuts with knives or bricks, will become prisoners of the walls they make."

The statement is nonsensical on its face: physical barriers to illegal immigration are in no sense, even metaphorical, an imprisonment of citizens and lawful permanent residents of the nations these barriers demark. The legal inhabitants of nations that enforce physical and legal barriers to immigration are no more self-imprisoned than is Francis, safe behind the forty-foot-high walls of the Vatican enclave whose immigration policy is the strictest in Europe if not the world. Francis here adopts one of the glittering clichés of a globalist polemic promoted by oligarchs who, just as he is, are well-protected from the adverse consequences to which common people are exposed through uncontrolled mass migration.

Now, it is easy enough to pluck the low hanging fruit of Francis' hypocritical leftist demagoguery on immigration policy. Beneath the empty rhetoric, however, there is the nucleus of a legitimate moral concept: that the refugee, if he truly is a refugee, should be welcomed in the territory to which he has fled. But the unregulated admission of refugees is today impossible. All the more so the admission of those who are not the victims of persecution or natural disaster but rather mere opportunity-seekers who intend to funnel money from the host country back to the families they left behind. Witness, for example, the caravans of Latin American migrants seeking to charge the US border while proudly waving the flags of the countries they still consider home.

What makes unrestricted immigration impossible, indeed madness, today is the existence of the modern nation-state, which serves as a juridical container for rights and privileges administered by a central authority in each nation. No longer is all of Europe united by the bonds of faith that once constituted Christendom. No longer is government primarily a local affair, administered by vassals presided over by a king whose direct authority was sharply limited in comparison with today's all-powerful central governments. No longer does a universal network of Catholic charity - hospitals, monasteries, convents and systematized almsgiving - preclude the need for such measures as the "poor laws" of 16th-century Protestant England, the first "welfare state" in the modern sense.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the end of the so-called "wars of religion" solidified the division of Europe into Protestant and Catholic confessional states, with clearly demarked territories. This was followed, over the next century-and-a-half, by the "age of democratic revolution," the overthrow of monarchy on the Continent (and its emasculation in England), and the rise of the post-Christian secular nation-state, now designated with a cartographic precision that guaranteed division and bloody conflict on a scale never before seen in Western history.

With national governments, no longer the Church, as the primary administrators of social assistance and societal privileges, financed by onerous personal taxation rather than tithes, what was once an exercise of charity toward the traveler has become an unsustainable societal burden. And with the mass migration of Muslims into countries whose once-Christian identity has been totally effaced and even declared illegal, unrestricted immigration is effectively a prescription for the Islamicization of post-Christian Europe and the rise of violence toward individual citizens who still consider themselves Christians.

In short, Francis' gauzy notion of unrestricted immigration as a form of "welcoming" dictated by Christian charity is nothing but a recipe for disaster in a post-Christian Western world in which nation-states are hostile toward Christianity as a matter of law and immigration has devolved into a political weapon for the enforcement of that very hostility. Yet he seems not to notice the problem even though he resides behind massive fortifications erected precisely in response to a Muslim sack of Rome in the 9th century.

Francis perhaps has stumbled across the nucleus of a moral truth, but he seeks to apply it in the wrong century, when its operation can only produce evil outcomes. Nor would Francis ever consider anything like a restoration of the social order in which immigration represented the movement of Christians within Christendom, not excluding charity toward the non-Christian refugee. But that restoration is precisely what Our Lady of Fatima means by the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.

Cardinal Sarah and Birth Rates, Immigration and Christianity

Dr Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon discuss Cardinal Sarah's comments, and as Christianity is CURRENTLY losing the demographic position on planet earth how does this relate to birth rates and migrants? They continue their discussions about immigration and low birth rates, particularly in Europe and North America. How can the Catholic Church grow when her leaders are not promoting large families, evangelization while her leaders are promoting illegal immigration? How can Catholics evangelize planet earth and bring more people to the Holy Eucharist? 'If your Mass ain't crying, it's dying.' - Dr Taylor Marshall.






[The Tablet / taylormarshall.com / FP / tatlormarshall.com] 2275.3
























Humanae Vitae

Sins of the flesh

Father John Hollowell - 'wherein my head is cut off by the camera but you can still hear'



[Father John Hollowell] 2275.4
























China supplement


Chinese city offers cash incentives to informants on illegal religious groups

CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY reports - Guangzhou, the capital of China's Guangdong province, is offering to pay citizens in exchange for information on 'illegal religious groups' as the Communist Party of China continues to crack down on all forms of religious activity.

As the Associated Press reported, the website of the Guangzhou Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs states that it is offering up to 10,000 Chinese yuan (roughly $15,000) for information on the activities of religious groups and assistance that would lead to the arrest of key leaders.

Smaller rewards, it said, would be available in exchange for information on religious venues built without proper permission, and for information on people encouraging 'religious extremism.'

The move is part of a broader government clampdown on all religious activity in the country.

Religious freedom is officially guaranteed by the Chinese constitution, but religious groups must register with the government, and are overseen by the Chinese Communist Party.

Groups that are not officially registered with the Chinese Communist Party are subject to severe persecution, including the detention and forced indoctrination of members and leaders, the destruction of shrines and church buildings, and, in the case of Muslim ethnic minorities in western China, indoctrination and forced-labor internment camps.

The Catholic Church in China has long been split between the underground Catholic Church, which is persecuted and whose episcopal appointments are typically unacknowledged by Chinese authorities, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is government-sanctioned.

In September 2018 the Holy See and Beijing reached an agreement meant to normalize the situation of China's Catholics and to unify the underground Church and the CPCA.

Some have said the move would help bring unity to the Church, though the agreement has been roundly criticized by human rights groups and some Church leaders, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.

In December, two bishops of the underground Catholic Church agreed to step aside in favor of bishops of the CPCA, in the wake of the September agreement.

Last week, authorities in Hebei province detained an underground bishop and his vicar general, while another underground Catholic leader was jailed in Hong Kong.

The Sinicization of religion has been pushed by President Xi Jinping, who took power in 2013 and who has strengthened government oversight of religious activities. In 2017, Xi said that religions not sufficiently conformed to communist ideals pose a threat to the country's government, and therefore must become more 'Chinese-oriented.' Since he took power, crosses have been removed from an estimated 1,500 church buildings.

Reports of the destruction or desecration of Catholic churches and shrines have come from across China, including the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Guizhou, Shnxi, and Shandong.

[CH/CNA] 2275.5























Underground bishop blocked from Chrism Mass

Bp.XijinBERNADO CERVELLERA reports for AsiaNews - Bishop Vincenzo Guo Xijin risks not being able to celebrate the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday because the Religious Affairs Office and the United Front do not recognize him as a bishop. Until a few months ago, Msgr. Guo (photo) was ordinary bishop of Mindong (Fujian), recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government.

Following the agreement between China and the Vatican and the lifting of the excommunication of the official bishop Vincenzo Zhan Silu (photo 2), at the request of Pope Francis he accepted to be demoted to auxiliary bishop to vacate the ordinary see for Msgr. Zhan.

However, the Chinese authorities continue not to recognize him as a bishop and label his ministry as "illegal". In various dialogues with him, they have placed as a condition to recognize him as auxiliary bishop that he enrolls in the Patriotic Association (AP), the control body of the Catholic Church in China, which works for an "independent Church" (from the Holy See ). John, a faithful comment on AsiaNews: "In practice it is blackmail. If the bishop does not register with the PA, he cannot concelebrate with Msgr. Zhan Silu at the Chrism Mass and risks not exercising any ministry. After the China-Vatican agreement, everything turned upside down: the bishop who was previously unlawful [excommunicated] can now celebrate; what used to be the ordinary has now become even illegal! It's something to laugh about, if it weren't serious and painful! ".

In Pope Francis’ eyes the Sino-Vatican agreement was to be a step towards the reconciliation of the two branches of the Catholic Church in China, the official and the underground. In his Message to Chinese Catholics and the Universal Church, released a few days after the agreement was signed, the pontiff spoke of a process of reconciliation between official and unofficial Catholics, but did not say that it should be achieved by eliminating the underground community or with mandatory membership of the PA.

On the contrary, quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Francis affirms that the phenomenon of clandestinity "does not fall within the normality of the life of the Church", but also says - again with Benedict - that "history shows that pastors and faithful have recourse to it only amid suffering, in the desire to maintain the integrity of their faith": which is exactly the case with the so-called "independence " of the Church, wanted by the PA.

But in many dioceses the PA and the Office for Religious Affairs continue to demand that all priests enroll in the PA and support the "independent Church". The Vatican expressed a timid reservation in an interview with Card. Fernando Filoni given to the Osservatore Romano, stressing that PA membership, according to Chinese law, should be optional.

Instead, in the diocese of Mindong, the Religious Affairs Office is calling all the underground priests - who are the majority - one by one and demanding they join the PA, otherwise they will have to leave the parishes and not exercise their ministry.

The Diocese of Mindong has over 90 thousand Catholics. Of these, at least 80 thousand belonged to the underground Church, served by 57 priests, 200 nuns, 300 consecrated lay people and hundreds of lay catechists. There are 12 priests in the official community. These numbers are enough to help us understand that the aim of the Religious Affairs Office is to destroy the diocesan Church, removing the priests who do not want to bow. Moreover in order to encourage enrollment in the PA, the Religious Affairs Office offered some priests an award of up to 200,000 yuan (almost 27,000 euros). But so far no one has accepted.

According to information given to AsiaNews, the Office of Religious Affairs is requiring underground priests to sign a document. In it they ask the new ordinary bishop, Msgr. Zhan Silu, for their the priestly faculties, swearing obedience to him. Secondly, they swear to obey the laws of the State, enroll in state organizations and support the principle of an “independent” Church. In practice, rather than "reconciliation", they are wiping out the (former) underground community, through strong handed interference in the life of the Church.

The position of Msgr. Zhan Silu is ambiguous. According to some faithful he has advised some priests to sign and join the PA. It must be said that he is national vice-president of the PA.

In early March, he was in Beijing as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCCP). Speaking to a journalist of the Sintao Daily (March 3) who asked him if he did not mind that the faithful are being forced to join the official community, leading to the disappearance of the underground Church, he declared that this is the only way "the Church can be united ”. On that occasion, Msgr. Zhan even said that underground Catholics do not become official because they have "reasons of personal interest".


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United Nations

UN logo


UN spokesman dismisses the need for UN agreement on abortion
REBECCA OAS, Ph.D., reports for the Friday Fax - The chief spokesman for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently told an audience in Washington DC that his agency is sponsoring a negotiating session in Kenya because they cannot find agreement among the UN Member States in New York.

Arthur Erken said, “the reason we stayed out of the UN context is indeed, because we realized, trying to get some kind of agreement at the UN, at this point, don’t even bother.”

Erken was discussing the decision to host a forthcoming international conference on population and reproductive health issues in distant Nairobi, Kenya rather than in New York at UN headquarters.

Erken spoke dismissively about the lack of consensus for “sexual rights” and other controversial issues, implying that wealthy donors and being “on the right side of history” would be sufficient to overcome all opposition.

The UNFPA director of communications was alluding to the decades of stalemate over concepts like “sexual rights” and the increasingly controversial nature of “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” in UN resolutions, due to their ties to abortion.

“But it’s also not needed,” Erken went on. “Because you can bring in a coalition together and stay the course. You are on the right side. Don’t be afraid for opposition.”

Erken was addressing the audience at an event hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. looking back at the quarter century since the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. The event, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood, was focused on making ICPD relevant to the youth of today.

For years, UNFPA has increasingly opted to eschew the UN context, where their agenda lacks consensual support, and sponsor regional or thematic conferences where smaller groups in more far-flung places are more likely to adopt language that would be rejected in a truly global forum.

This approach has led to controversy at the UN over the reference to “review conferences” of ICPD, which could be interpreted to include not the follow-up conferences occurring at five-year intervals, but also the regional conferences held in 2014. Diplomats argue that they should not be accountable for decisions reached by countries in different regions.

It was at ICPD when UN member states agreed that abortion was not a human right, and that its legal status was to be determined at the country level. Language on “sexual rights” was also rejected, as it was seen as encompassing homosexuality.

Erken expressed disappointment at the way his opponents had been able to tie the phrase to “the sexual orientation issue,” thus rendering it controversial. “Sexual rights are for all of us, it has nothing to do with your sexual orientation per se.” He immediately hedged: “Or, it has everything to do with sexual orientation, for that matter.”

The younger panelists at the Wilson Center, including a woman who started a hotline to provide abortion information to women in Pakistan where it is broadly illegal, expressed concern over the lack of funding for youth-led advocacy for “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

Erken acknowledged their point and said that UNFPA largely funded civil society organizations as “service providers, not as activists,” and said discussions were underway to “get back to” funding them for advocacy purposes.

As for UNFPA itself, while acknowledging the Trump administration’s decision to defund the organization, he took a more smug tone: “Some partners have pulled out of the reproductive health field, but UNFPA has more money than ever.”

The U.S. remains the largest single donor of family planning in the world.

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UN Population Commission avoids controversy, but leaves backdoor open to abortion
STEFANO GENNARINI, J.D., reports for the Friday Fax - The UN population commission has adopted an agreement for the first time since 2016. In recent years, controversies over abortion, sex-education, and homosexual/trans ideology prevented the commission from reaching an agreement.

The UN Commission on Population and Development adopted a short one-page declaration without controversy and no negotiations. The declaration leaves out the controversial issues that prevented an agreement in the past. But it keeps enough ambiguity on abortion so that abortion groups and their supporters at UN headquarters are still claiming a victory.

“A simple declaration of a page or so must be construed as a success in this highly polarized environment,” said Natalia Kanem, the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) at a press briefing on Monday.

The political declaration recommits countries to the 1994 Cairo conference on population, but it does not mention the favorite term of the population control establishment: sexual and reproductive health. The 1994 conference famously included abortion as a component of “sexual and reproductive health,” but with caveats that exclude an international right to abortion.

Developing countries resent the incessant focus on sexual mores in UN policy and appreciated the toned-down approach of the agreement. They stress the importance of the entire agenda of the 1994 Cairo conference, which includes economic development, infrastructure, education, health care, and migration, alongside the population control agenda.

Their concerns were vindicated by the the Secretary General’s report to the commission. His report shows the overall share of international aid for infrastructure, including access to water and sanitation, declining over the past twenty years. The share of aid for sexual and reproductive health, on the other hand, has increased eightfold.

Abortion groups and their supporters at UN headquarters followed UNFPA’s lead. They welcomed the adoption of the political declaration and claimed it as a victory, continuing to emphasize population control and women’s sexual autonomy.

Kanem described the political declaration as a global reaffirmation of “women and girls’ rights to sexual and reproductive health, just as it was said twenty-five years ago in Cairo.”

In their official statements, Nordic countries and socially progressive nations from Europe and Latin America emphasized sexual and reproductive health policies, expressly mentioning “safe and legal” abortion as a component of these.

Abortion supporters, above all, stressed the political declaration’s mention of “regional reviews.” This refers to agreements and reports prepared by the UN system that tend to be more progressive than what UN Member States approve. They erode the caveats on abortion in the Cairo agreement, and include topics rejected by the General Assembly, including sexual rights, comprehensive sexuality education, and access to abortion and contraception by children without parental consent.

The political declaration allows ambiguity about these agreements and reports. It explicitly recognizes that such reviews can constitute “region-specific guidance,” opening the door for UN agencies to promote abortion and those same controversial issues that prevented an agreement from the commission in recent years.

Moreover, these reviews undermine the normative guidance of the General Assembly in 1994. While the 1994 conference is not binding on states, it is binding for the UN system.

Kanem promised that these regional reviews will be summed up at a UNFPA conference sponsored by Denmark and Kenya in Nairobi on November 12-14, 2019.


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News from around the world


Turkey Attempts to School Christian Teachers
CLAIRE EVANS reports International Christian Concern – Although technically living in a secular nation, Turkey’s teachers are entrusted with the care of ensuring that children are raised as good, Turkish Muslims. Christian teachers, many of whom converted from Islam, often find themselves slowly pushed out of the workforce. These challenges can be especially difficult during Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.

“A person can go to Friday prayers, an hour and a half in prayer! But I do not know that I can ask for permission about any (Christian) feast or activity,” explained one teacher, Ömer “People are afraid to be involved in Christian activities. Therefore, I know that I must come from one step behind.”

Often, Ömer is left to take care of his Muslim coworkers’ students while they attend prayers and holidays. His supervisors say nothing. “They know they can’t make any noise to Muslims. What is he going to say, the guy is going to a mosque! But it is a problem for [a] Christian to fulfill his religious duties… you can’t explain that you have to be at church on Saturday and Sunday.”

Ömer’s supervisors cause him more difficulties than his fellow coworkers, who have at times defended his right to express his Christian faith freely. The teachers at his school have a group chat on WhatsApp, where they share different religious texts with each other. Ömer also wanted to share elements of his faith on the group chain, but his supervisors became upset.

“The deputy director said, ‘I won’t let you do missionary work here; [this is] partisanship!’ and he threw me out of the group. Most of my colleagues then came out of the group to support me. That made me happy,” said Ömer

Other teachers, however, are not as lucky as Ömer. Mehmet used to work as a headmaster in a local school, and his wife worked as a teacher at a different school. Because Mehmet began speaking of his Christian faith, both of their jobs were jeopardized. “I started to tell the Good News to my close colleagues at school. One day, they insulted the Christian faith… We started to have a heated conversation.”

A colleague who taught Islamic culture, was intrigued by the dispute and wanted to visit Mehmet’s church. Mehmet invited him to attend worship, and noticed his attentive note-taking during service. He was then introduced to the church leaders, who prompted stimulating conversation about the Christian faith.

Two weeks later, the school directors warned Mehmet that there were problems regarding his conversations at work. The upper authorities at the General Directorate informed Mehmet that he must quit his job as headmaster, and handed him his petition of resignation. To his surprise, Mehmet’s wife was fired from her job as a teacher on the same day.

Stunned by the situation, Mehmet learned that the school principal and the religious teacher who attended his church had reported that Mehmet imposed Christianity on his students. The school principal had always been friendly with him, but now that he knew Mehmet was a Christian, he began treating Mehmet like an enemy.

The District Governor soon became involved and opened an investigation against Mehmet. In an attempt to explain the situation, Mehmet sought a meeting with the District Governor. Mehmet recalled, “I introduced myself, saying I was Christian. He wasn’t expecting it, and was surprised. I told him I didn’t do missionaries in school, I only answer when I am defending my faith.”

The District Governor warned that Mehmet would be permanently stripped of his headmaster title and demoted to a lesser position because of his public practice of his faith. Mehmet stood strong in claiming his right to practice Christianity, and threatened legal action if the government takes further steps to restrict this right.

When the District Governor saw my determination, he started to speak differently. He told me that my choice was something to be respected,” Mehmet noted.

However, Mehmet was not able to fully restore his and his wife’s jobs. Today, he still struggles with the situation. “I lost a sense of belonging to this country, because being a Christian is like a crime.” Even so, Mehmet has continuously prayed for the people who instigated the unjust situation.

The stories of Mehmet and Ömer reflect the complexity and ambiguity of Turkeys’ education system. Turkish schools are continuously dominated by the religious teachings of Islam, discriminating against Christian teachers and students. But the Spirit of the Lord continues to work, as these teachers’ faithfulness to Christ is the greatest witness of the Gospel within Turkey’s schools.

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United Kingdom Police drop investigation into Catholic mother accused of 'misgendering'

ANITA CAREY reports for ChurchMilitant.com - Police have dropped the 'misgendering' investigation into a Catholic mother while she and her children are being threatened on social media.

After being questioned by the police, Caroline Farrow, a Catholic journalist and mother of five children, will face no further charges for the claim she violated the U.K. Malicious Communications Act of 2003 for comments she made on Twitter.

On March 22, her accuser, Susie Green, withdrew her complaint, and the investigation was dropped.

Ann Widdecombe, a former member of Parliament, sided with Farrow. In a Daily Express column, she blasted the Surrey police for wasting resources, saying, 'Surrey police need never again plead that they are short of cash or manpower, having spent five months investigating a woman who 'misgendered' someone on Twitter.'

Further, Widdecombe suggested the police department be investigated, saying, 'The woman in question, Caroline Farrow, is a devout Catholic, so why doesn't somebody investigate the Surrey police for religious discrimination? Just a thought.'

Farrow also says her husband, a Catholic priest, and her children's school has been doxxed.

Farrow agreed to appear on Good Morning Britain on March 25 and faced heavy criticism from the hosts for her tone of the debate.

Farrow explained that the police were questioning her over a series of tweets that she was accused of 'misgendering,' knowing she was being stalked and threatened online:

I couldn't believe that I was going to be interviewed under caution for 'misgendering,' which is not a crime, and at the same time, Surrey police were very well aware I have been the subject of a horrendous campaign of stalking and intimidation that went way above and beyond anything I had, and I had done nothing.

In one tweet, [warning: graphic language], she claims, 'Trans-activists and soi-dissent liberal 'Catholics' have approvingly referred me to this site which discusses disfiguring mine & my children's faces with acid.'

Other tweets Farrow included in her Twitter feed show crass and rude personal attacks against her.

Farrow told the show host, Piers Morgan, that she was afraid she was going to be a 'test case' for the Malicious Communications Act. Farrow reiterated her claim that she was not targeting Susie Green. In her tweets, she called out Green's charity for assisting gender-dysphoric children, Mermaids, to be challenged. Farrow called the gender-reassignment surgery Green allowed on her 16-year-old child 'castration' and 'child abuse.'

'This is political, not personal,' Farrow explained. 'Susie Green is a political figure who runs a lobby group which has access to Westminster which influences local educational authority policy which influences the police, which influences public policy in this country.'

'The problem is Susie Green uses her child as advocacy for her lobby group,' Farrow said.

Farrow's discussion was interrupted by Susanna Reid, another show host, who said that Green and her daughter were caused distress by the tweets and asked, 'Is there a way to talk about these issues without inflammatory language?'

Farrow said she didn't talk about anything that wasn't in the public domain and then brought up the BBC documentary where Green snickered about her child's genitals being shrunken by all the cross-sex hormones.

Morgan dismissed the concerns about Green laughing about her son's shrunken genitals and said it was her right to talk about her child any way she wants, adding he was glad the charges were dropped.

'I think the idea that to misgender somebody is a criminal offense worthy of police investigation, given all the resource issues that police have in this country, is ridiculous,' he said.

We need to have a clear and honest and open discussion this is what is being advocated for.Tweet

'The whole transgender debate is extremely factious at the moment. Everyone on all sides gets very animated,' Morgan said. He advocated for less aggressiveness on both sides and said that 'Catholics, who have a particular religiously based view about these things' should also watch their aggressiveness in the debate.

Farrow clarified that her position isn't just based on her Catholic faith, but based on science and evidence. She said the British people were accommodating of transgendered people almost to their detriment:

There is so much euphemism in this area. We talk about 'gender affirmation surgery' and 'bottom surgery'' I wanted to be very clear what is being advocated for children - castration is the removal of the testes. This happens in reassignment surgery. The other thing that happens it that actually when it's done so early, it's recommended this procedure needs to be repeated every 10 years and it uses a section of the bowel and eventually, somebody ends up needing a new bowel.

'This is really dangerous,' Farrow added.

Farrow was interrupted several times by Reid, who ended the segment with an implication that Farrow was guilty of a malicious message.

'What people are concerned about is if you repeatedly target an individual and call on other people to do the same, and use language which is, frankly, insensitive ... it's hurtful and there's no need for that,' Reid said.

'The truth is the truth,' Farrow said. 'We need to have a clear and honest and open discussion this is what is being advocated for.'

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United States More of the same: Archbishop Wilton Gregory appointed to DC Archdiocese

Archbp. GregorySTEVE SKOJEC reports for OnePeterFive - As had been widely speculated, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta was appointed Thursday to succeed Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the archbishop of Washington.

The archdiocese has fallen under heavy scrutiny after its two most recent bishops have become emblematic of the clerical sex abuse crisis — Theodore McCarrick for his alleged abuse of priests, seminarians, and altar boys, and his successor, Donald Wuerl, for his failure to properly handle abuse cases during his tenure as the bishop of Pittsburgh. Wuerl had also denied having knowledge of of McCarrick’s illicit activities and was embarrassed when it was later proven that he’d known of allegations about McCarrick since at least 2004.

Archbishop Gregory — no doubt soon to be a cardinal — was the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2001 to 2004. In that role, he was responsible for the implementation of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, an effort the bishops love to tout but which has faced heavy criticism for its failure to address one of the primary underlying problems with clerical abuse: accountability for the bishops themselves. Catholic commentator Phil Lawler, who covered the creation of the Dallas Charter as a journalist in 2002, wrote in a 2016 column, “In Dallas the bishops talked about how to discipline wayward priests; they said very little about how to restore trust in their own leadership.”

“Within weeks after that June 2002 meeting in Dallas,” Lawler wrote, “Bishop [now Archbishop] Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, then the president of the US bishops’ conference, placidly announced that the scandal was past history, and unquestioning Catholic journalists have been echoing that claim for years.”

We all know how that turned out.

The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who consecrated Gregory to the episcopate in 1983 and has been described as his “mentor,” is one of the most troubling figures in the history of the American epicopacy. Dark and sordid allegations continue to surround him over two decades after his death from pancreatic cancer in 1996. Bernardin has been accused of covering up for a number of clerical sex abusers and also of recruiting homosexuals from Latin America to seminaries in Chicago, where he served as archbishop from 1982 to 1996. Bernardin is also alleged to have had a “sexual penchant for young men,” according to Randy Engel in her book The Rite of Sodomy, as quoted here by Catholic journalist Matt C. Abbott. In one of the most disturbing allegations, he was identified by some as being the perpetrator of a ritual Satanic rape of an 11-year-old girl in 1957, as fictionalized in the novel Windswept House by the late Malachi Martin. The young girl, known only as “Agnes,” was reported to have come forward and passed a polygraph examination about this event in 1992.

In much of the reportage of his appointment to D.C., Gregory is being described as Bernardin’s “protégé.” We’re left on our own to figure out what that might mean.

Catholic journalist and author George Neumayr has an idea. He reported last November — when rumors of Gregory being in the running for D.C. first surfaced — that the former Atlanta archbishop “has maintained Bernardin’s program of gay promotion and propaganda in the Church.”

Neumayr observes that Gregory has “defended the writings and speeches” of the notoriously pro-LGBT Jesuit, Fr. James Martin — whom Gregory also invited to speak in his diocese last October — and appointed a priest caught in a homosexual love triangle to be the pastor of a parish in Conyers. (The parish, ironically, is named St. Pius X.)

And do you remember the letter then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the CDF, sent to the American bishops in 2004, saying Catholic politicians who “reject the doctrine of the Church” should not receive the Eucharist? The one Theodore McCarrick “bowdlerized,” as Phil Lawler put it, when it was shared with the other U.S. bishops, “to suggest that the Vatican had not recommended withholding Communion from abortion advocates”?

Well, the letter was addressed to not only McCarrick.

It was also sent to Wilton Gregory.

Everywhere you look, Gregory is there, sidled up close to the wrong kind of ecclesiastical figures, the wrong sorts of issues, his name in close proximity with those promoting or perpetrating evil in the Church, or those who refuse to understand the problems that ail us.

In other words, as long as you don’t want anything of substance to change, he appears to be a perfect fit to succeed the last two men who headed up the D.C. archdiocese.

If they want us to believe they don’t take any of this seriously, they’ve succeeded.

* [Correction: we originally wrote that it was Matt C. Abbot who alleged that Cardinal Bernardin had a “sexual penchant for young men,” but this phrase came from Randy Engel’s book The Rite of Sodomy, as cited by Abbott. We have corrected the error in the text].

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United States Federal investigation is inevitable

BRADLEY ELI, Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th., reports for ChurchMilitant.com - President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is saying a federal investigation into clerical sex abuse is inevitable.

Bannon told Crux on Tuesday that such an investigation would be devastating for Church assets.

'It's so obvious that this thing is going to end in tears,' he said. 'They're going to start treating the Church like the mob … the RICO statutes are set up so they can grab assets immediately, start to monetize those assets and give them to whoever. The victims and these lawyers are just going to plow on top of this.'

Bannon was referring to the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a federal law that empowers the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate coordinated efforts of crime syndicates in perpetrating organized crime.

The organization targeted would be the U.S. bishops as a whole in conjunction with the Vatican which directs them. Crimes that would be investigated involve perpetrating clerical sex abuse by shuffling predator priests into other dioceses and covering up for clerical sex abuse. Other crimes would involve various money schemes involving such individuals.

As devastating as such proceedings would be for Church assets, many Catholics see it as the only way that the Catholic Church will be cleansed of the homosexual network that Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò likened to an octopus that he said was 'strangling the entire Church.'

Church Militant recently concluded a poll asking viewers the following question: 'Given the continuing revelations of cover-up by the U.S. bishops of sexual predation, do you support the federal government launching a RICO investigation?'

Out of nearly 4,500 responders, more than 92 percent said they do support a federal investigation.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro revealed in December that 45 states are pursuing a state-wide investigation into clerical sex abuse. He asserted that his experience has shown that the bishops are not able to police themselves. Church Militant reported in September that the DOJ had also contacted Shapiro concerning a possible federal investigation.

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International Michael Voris

Vade, propheta ad populum meum '. . flicking his whip at the Bishops, cutting them in tender places, throwing stones at Sacred Congregations, and discharging pea shooters at Cardinals' (Newman).


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International gloria.tv.news


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International Some jihad headlines of the week

Brunei : Defends stoning gays. Sharia is for 'criminalising acts against teaching of Islam'

Nigeria : Muslims murder Catholic priest, kidnap church leader who criticised jihadis

Pakistan : Police charge mentally ill Christian with blasphemy

Pakistan : Persecuted Christian mother Asia Bibi still trapped

Spain : Mosque demands that the King apologises for Christian reconquest of the country

France: An average of three churches are attacked every day

France : Islamists arrested over kindergarten children massacre

UK: Asylum application of Christian family facing death fatwa in Pakistan three times rejected

UK: Muslims steal $10,500,000,000 from taxpayers in fraud schemes to fund jihad terror

USA : 'I'll assassinate your pastor in the name of Allah, I'll burn down Christian churches'


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International The World Over with Raymond Arroyo



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International Transgender tyranny is the next terrible step in the sexual revolution

FR. SHENAN BOQUET reports for Human Life International - Disturbing new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) highlight the grave dangers that the transgender ideology poses to children. A new survey of 131,901 public school students has found that nearly 2 percent of students in grades 9-12 identify as 'transgender.' That translates into a staggering number of teenagers suffering profound confusion about their identity and all the accompanying psychological and physical risks.

While reliable statistics about the rates of transgenderism among high school students across time are hard to come by, more and more data suggest that there is an alarming, and rapidly growing epidemic of gender dysphoria (the clinical term for this psychological disorder) among young people.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), for instance, recently reported that children's clinics in Canada are seeing an 'exponential growth' in cases of teenagers 'who don't identify as the sex they were born with.' A doctor at one leading children's hospital, CHEO in Ottawa, told the CBC that ten years ago the clinic might see one or two children a year seeking to 'change' their gender. Last year, they saw 189 such children. In 2013, British Columbia's Children's Hospital saw 20 children seeking transgender 'treatments.' Last year they saw 240.

Similar increases are being seen in other countries. In the UK, officials are investigating the reasons behind a stratospheric increase in teenagers seeking 'treatments' to become another gender in the past 10 years. According to The Telegraph, in 2009-10, there were just 40 girls seeking transgender 'treatments' in the UK. In 2017-18, that grew to 1,806, an increase of 4,500%. Meanwhile, 'referrals for boys have risen from 57 to 713 in the same period,' reports The Telegraph - an increase of 1,250%.

However, instead of seeking to identify environmental factors that may be causing this rapid increase, many clinics and doctors are instead rushing to 'treat' these children using drastic, and in many cases irreversible interventions.

CHEO Hospital in Ottawa is just one hospital engaging in macabre experimentation on children suffering gender dysphoria. As the CBC reports: 'At the clinic, patients from eastern Ontario and western Quebec are seen by a team of doctors who treat them with hormone blockers, hormone therapy and, in some cases, surgery to transition from one gender to another.'

In other words, the clinic is taking children and teenagers who have either not yet gone through puberty, or who have but are still coming to terms with their sexuality (a confusing process at the best of times!) and interfering with their natural biological processes or mutilating their bodies in irreversible ways - confirming these children in an identity that is associated with a host of negative physical and psychological outcomes.

A recent report from the UK has raised serious red flags about the speed with which one children's clinic - the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Clinic - is prescribing these drastic, unproven and unstudied 'treatments' for children, often without making any substantial effort to identify or treat underlying problems that may be contributing to the child's experience of gender dysphoria.

The report was compiled by David Bell, a staff governor at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, which has oversight of the clinic. According to The Sunday Times, the report found that many children 'take up a trans identity as a solution' to 'multiple problems such as historic child abuse in the family, bereavement ... homophobia and a very significant incidence of autism spectrum disorder.' The report provides several examples of cases where the patient's gender dysphoria could reasonably be traced to factors in their environment, and that could be addressed with normal psychological treatments. In one case, for instance, a girl felt so guilty after the death of her brother that she decided to give her parents 'their son back' by transitioning.

Staff at the clinic reported, however, that they often couldn't even attempt to address potential underlying causes, since the pressure to 'affirm' the child in his new 'gender identity' is so strong. In many cases, they reported, children have clearly been 'coached' by transgender activists what to say. As a result, says the report, the clinic is providing 'woefully inadequate' care, with some staff members expressing 'very serious ethical concerns' about the fact that children are being pushed towards dramatic and irreversible procedures with little knowledge about the long-term impact. According to report, in some cases children were being prescribed hormones after just a single session at the clinic.

The clinic, as reported by The Times, 'is exposing young patients to 'long-term damage' because of its 'inability to stand up to the pressure' from 'highly politicised' campaigners and families demanding fast-track gender transition[.]' In other words, weak-kneed doctors and health care workers are perpetuating child abuse because of the political pressures they are under.

On the other hand, staff members have very good reasons to be afraid of this 'pressure' from 'highly politicised' campaigners. Transgenderism is the new sacred cow of liberal progressivism. A decade ago most people had never even heard of transgenderism, or if they did, they scarcely gave it any thought. Now, we are immersed in it, and even to question the flagrantly anti-scientific and extremist transgender ideology is to risk immediate and public consequences, including loss of jobs, public shaming and - increasingly - visits from the police or even arrest.

In one horrific recent case, a Canadian judge ruled that a father couldn't prevent doctors from giving his daughter hormones to help her 'transition' to become a boy against his wishes. In another case, a construction worker was arrested for laughing at a 'transgender woman' - i.e. a biological man dressed as a woman. Then there's the case of a 38-year-old woman who was arrested in front of her children for arguing with a transgender activist on Twitter. Then there's tennis legend Martina Navratilova, a feminist who is fully on board with the LGBT agenda - except for one thing. Recently, she dared to question whether biological men should be permitted to compete in women's sports. She was promptly kicked off the board of Athlete Ally - a leading homosexual activist organization - and vilified by LGBT activists and media.

The most bizarre thing is that transgenderism is being instantiated as an absolute value, one that cannot be criticized, despite a glaring lack of reliable research into the phenomenon - especially as it affects children. Furthermore, any research that goes against the dogmas of transgender ideology is immediately dismissed.

One recent study, for instance, found that gender dysphoria appears to have a 'social contagion' factor. That is, gender dysphoria appears to spread through social groups, similar to the way that 'cutting' and bulimia are known to spread among groups of girls. The researchers described this phenomenon as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. It appears to primarily affect girls, many of whom suddenly claim to be confused about their gender despite never having expressed confusion before.

Some of the anecdotal evidence supporting the existence of a social contagion factor to gender dysphoria is deeply compelling - such as the one school in the UK where an astonishing 17 students - many of them reportedly autistic - are transitioning their gender. As National Post columnist Barbara Kay reports: 'In one case study, a 14-year-old natal female and three of her natal female friends announced they were transgender within a year of a popular coach's announcement that she was transgender.' The fact that the social contagion factor primarily affects girls would also help explain the staggering increase in gender dysphoria among girls, as noted in the statistics from the UK above.

However, instead of carefully looking at the data and considering a compelling hypothesis, transgender activists have come out swinging, demonizing the researchers behind the study, and dismissing out of hand the very possibility of a social factor to gender dysphoria.

The fact is, children suffering gender dysphoria are the unwitting pawns in an ideological war. The entire social left has seized upon the transgender ideology as the next logical step in their bid to embed the principles of the sexual revolution as deeply as possible in society. The sexual revolution first unmoored sex from reproduction; and now it is unmooring sexuality from biology altogether. If sex and sexuality are mere social constructs, then they can be rebuilt as we will. Nothing is forbidden. If transgenderism becomes widely accepted, then the sexual revolutionaries can claim their final victory. And they know that.

They believe that, if innocent children need to suffer in the name of this ideology, then so be it. And they are suffering. The new CDC report, for instance, paints a horrific image of what life is like for children suffering gender dysphoria. The report found that among the teens claiming to be transgender a full 35% of them had tried to commit suicide in the past year; 23.8% reported that they had been forced to have sexual intercourse; and 26.4% reported physical violence while dating.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Reports the CDC (Note that the strange term 'cisgender' refers to people who 'identify' with their biological sex, i.e. normal, healthy people):

Transgender students were more likely than cisgender students to report first sexual intercourse before age 13 years, [and] sexual intercourse with four or more persons than were cisgender students[.] ... Transgender students were more likely than were cisgender females to have ever had sex (43.1% versus 33.2%) and to have drunk alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse (30.0% versus 17.9%)[.] ,,, Transgender students were less likely than cisgender males and cisgender females to have not ever been tested for HIV (70.0% versus 87.4% and 86.9%, respectively).

Of course, transgender activists immediately interpret these statistics as evidence of the harm that anti-transgender 'bigotry' causes. Thus, their preconceived ideological notions are impregnable to evidence. And instead of putting resources into researching and pursuing common-sensical psychological treatments to attempt to resolve underlying issues that may be causing gender dysphoria, transgender activists are enthusiastically pushing children and teenagers into an identity and lifestyle that carries with it the gravest risks to their physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.

As one columnist recently noted, transgenderism amounts to a form of 'mass delusion,' and it will only stop 'when enough people simply refuse to play along.' Notes Jonathon van Maren:

This is not the first time in history that mass delusion has swept through a civilization, but it is undoubtedly the severest case. Elderly women and young mothers are being bullied by the police for insisting that biological men are men. New genders - and I cannot find a single person who can actually name more than a half-dozen of the apparently 50-plus that now exist - multiply almost weekly. Women can have penises. Men can get pregnant. Children should be taken at their word if they are confused about their gender.

Van Maren concludes with this stark warning: 'If the apathy that often defines our political culture reigns supreme and most people simply attempt to ignore the trans activists while they colonize our schools and indoctrinate our children, then we will see a truly radical and very damaged generation rise up to celebrate the death of common sense - and herald the end of Western civilization.'

Jonathon's right. Extremist transgender activists are bullying and shaming normal citizens into pretending to accept an ideology that most people are intuitively deeply uncomfortable with. And all the while they're working hard to recruit and enlist the power of the law and law enforcement to make dissent illegal and punishable. We can't let them. Our children's lives and the future of our society depend on it.

[Published by LifeSiteNews with permission from Human Life International.]

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The Personalist Spirit of Newman's Thought

Dr. John Crosby



[Franciscan University of Steubenville] 2275.13
























FLI logo


Family Life International Conference

FAMILY LIFE CONFERENCE, Saturday 4th May 2019 - St George's Cathedral

Why you should come to this conference?

"The difficulty in explaining 'why I am a Catholic' is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true."

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church to preserve the truth He gave us and hand it down through the centuries, helping people all around the world encounter the love of God in every age and in every corner of the earth.

Over the years, there have been an untold number of questions and objections raised about the Catholic Church's teachings and practices. The answers are there, and it's worth your time to find them. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "There are not even 100 people in this country who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be."

The Lord wants us all to know and understand His truth, so we can embrace it wholeheartedly and live by it. Christ reminds us, "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). G.K. Chesterton

This conference will aid you in bearing witness to the Truth and answer the question "Why be a Catholic?"

Who is speaking?

Gabriele Kuby

THE SEXUAL CRISIS OF THE CHURCH 'The gates of hell shall not prevail" against the Church, not even the hell of sexual abuse. How did we get there? How do we get out? By inspiration, conversion and purification. The beautiful plan of God for man and woman, sex, marriage and family is the answer to the longing in every human heart.

Fr Armand De Malleray

OUR EUCHARISTIC FAITH IS KEY Rediscovering our Eucharistic faith is key to evangelisation. The Sacred Host is God present among us, without Whom we can do nothing, let alone evangelise. The deeper our Eucharistic faith, the more fruitful our witness to the world. The Church grows from the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Presence & Communion.

Fr Linus Clovis

A CHURCH IN CRISIS - WHY BE A CATHOLIC? The Church is in a state of crisis. Sexual immorality and cover-ups, the Vatican Bank scandal, shrinking congregations, open opposition between bishops and the undermining of settled doctrine all point to a time of testing. This presentation identities reasons for remaining a Catholic despite the scandals.

Patrick Fagan

CIVILIZATION'S KEYSTONE: THE FATHER-SON BOND Marxists gradually realized they could dismantle Christian Civilisation from within by destroying the father of the intact married family, that is, the "Patriarch" through "sex gone wild". The key to rebuilding is for each Catholic father to take charge of his sons' formation in the fullness of sexuality


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Book review


Did Darwin get it wrong?

The 'father of evolution' as a Victorian gentleman and apologist for his class

Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker, by A. N. Wilson. Harper, December 2017. £14.36 Amazon

Darwin bookCAROLYN MOYNIHAN, Deputy Editor of Mercatornet, writes - 'Darwin was wrong.' That is the arresting opening sentence of a recent biography of the man whose name is synonymous with the theory of evolution. Countless unbelievers in Darwinism have said as much, and they are not all Biblical fundamentalists; in fact, the author of Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is neither religious nor anti-evolutionist.

A.N. Wilson, a prolific British author best known for his biographies of prominent Victorians, tells us that he is happy to live in a state of uncertainty about the 'why' of life. He even set out to write his book about Darwin assuming that 'this Victorian Titan' was right in his theory of evolution: one species evolving vertically from another through incremental changes over eons of time, with natural selection leading to the survival of the fittest.

Wilson regards evolution as a fact. But as he read the recent literature on the subject, he came to understand that 'there is no consensus among scientists about the theory of evolution.' And although today's Darwinists adhere to the doctrine of natural selection, it has been so heavily revised in the light of modern genetics that, as arch-priest of Darwinism Richard Dawkins once said, Darwin 'would scarcely recognise his own theory in it.'

His own theory?

This is one of the big themes of Wilson's book. He points out that the scientific concept of evolution had been around for some time when Darwin took it up. His own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was an enthusiast for the idea that all forms of life are related and wrote a long heroic poem about it.

According to Wilson, Charles Darwin shared his distinctive theory with English contemporaries Edward Blyth (somewhat) and Alfred Russel Wallace (almost completely); the idea of species descending from a common parentage may have come first from Blyth, he suggests. And then there was Richard Owen, a critic of natural selection whom Wilson believes has been 'forcibly diminished by the Darwinians.'

Darwin in his own time, says Wilson, 'apparently believed that he had made the subject [of evolution] his and his alone,' and in protecting his notion of it he could be ruthless.

Yet, even the idea of natural selection came in a seminal way, not from Darwin's brain but from Thomas Malthus. In his 1798 book, An Essay on the Principle of Population, the clergyman economist argued that when food production rose people had more children, but food production could not keep up with the increase, so the poor would tend to succumb to starvation and vice, and social progress would be impeded. Moral restraint regarding procreation was the key to the continuing perfection of society.

Malthus' Essay was revised many times; its sixth edition, published in 1826, was acknowledged as an influence by Darwin, of whom Wilson writes:

'The implications of Malthus's book, he would later recall, 'struck me at once'. That is, it was not just the strongest or the most robust who would get ahead in the 'struggle for existence'. Rather, it was those who possessed some particular attribute, or variation, which made them suited to living in a particular environment. Those possessing such attributes got ahead. Those lacking them went to the wall.'

Furthermore, it was Herbert Spencer, probably the most famous 'philosopher' of the day, who came up with the phrase 'survival of the fittest' to describe Darwin's theory -- a tag which Darwin adopted and which stuck.

A 'consolation myth' for Victorian England

And it was all playing out in front of Darwin in his own society. That is the central contention of Wilson's book:

'Darwinism succeeded for precisely the reason that so many critics of religions think that religions succeed. Darwin offered to the emergent Victorian middle classes a consolation myth. He told them that all their getting and spending, all their neglect of their own poor huddled masses, all their greed and selfishness was in fact natural.'

Or, as Wilson elaborates elsewhere:

'It was the way things were. The whole of nature, arising from the primeval slime and evolving through its various animal forms from amoebas to the higher primates, was on a journey of improvement, moving onwards and upwards, from barnacles to shrimps, from fish to fowl, from orang-outangs to silk-hatted Members of Parliament and leaders of British industry. It was all happening without the interference or tiresome conscience-pricking of the Almighty.'

The full original title of Darwin's most famous book was, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 'Races' in this case did not refer to humanity but to species in general. However, in his later work, The Descent of Man, Darwin could, going by Wilson's account, be taken for a white supremacist, and is quite explicit about the need to discourage the feckless poor from breeding.

His cousin, Francis Galton picked this up and produced the 'science' of eugenics: a system of 'more from the fit, fewer from the unfit' famously promoted as 'social hygiene' by early family planners, and infamously taken up by the Nazis.

'This seductive idea, the law of competitive struggle for life in which the weak or unadaptive are eliminated, Darwin somewhat reluctantly applied to human beings,' says Wilson. 'As such, it has done untold mischief in recent history and is still influential today.'

Darwin, the Humboldt of the Anglosphere

Wilson sees in Darwin a brilliant naturalist and 'unforgettable word painter' who should have stuck to his knitting. Instead, he conceived the idea of becoming a new Alexander Humboldt - 'a man who set out to conquer the world with his brain.' Darwin thus made a fatal move from observation to theory; he wanted to come up with 'a theory of everything.'

The sticking point in evolution for the first generation of British scientists who tried to come to terms with the fact of evolution was human kinship with the apes.

(In the 1860 Oxford evolution 'debate' - when Darwin's theory was discussed, although he was too ill to be present - Bishop Samuel Wilberforce famously asked Thomas Huxley, 'Darwin's Bulldog', on which side of his family he was descended from a monkey. The socially inferior Huxley, however, put 'Soapy Sam' in his place by quietly responding that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth. However, this story may more of myth in it than history.)

St. George Jackson Mivart, who first supported Darwin's theory but later rejected its applicability to the human intellect, was one of 'thousands of … contemporaries' (Darwin's friend Wallace was another) who maintained that belief in God and a belief in evolution were quite compatible. But Wilson sees Darwin correcting and refining his theory in response to their ideas, only to show, in an anti-theological spirit, that natural processes account for everything , as a disciple like Richard Dawkins does today.

Was Darwin a believer?

Though intended in his youth for Holy Orders and life as a country vicar-naturalist (something that quite appealed to him at the time), Darwin was always cagey about the state of his belief. His devoted wife, Emma, daughter of the famous pottery magnate and noncomformist Josiah Wedgwood, remained a devout believer of Unitarian persuasion, and Darwin's increasing unbelief pained her.

Wilson quotes his posthumously published autobiography thus: 'I had gradually come by this time [January 1839, thirty - three years before the final edition of The Origin of Species], to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world … was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos , or the beliefs of any barbarian.'

And the New Testament? In addition to Emma's plaintive questions to him about Christ's beautiful law of love, Wilson cites a brief note that came up for auction in 2015 and sold for $197,000. It was written by Darwin to a young lawyer, Francis McDermott, who wanted to know plainly what the great man thought about God:

'If I am to have the pleasure of reading your books, I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament. My reason in writing to you is to ask you in writing to give me a Yes or No to the question, Do you believe in the New Testament?'

Darwin wrote back: 'November 24, 1880 - Dear Sir, I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Yours faithfully, Charles Darwin'.

Wilson goes onto observe: 'Darwin was to be, for many people, during and after his lifetime, the embodiment of the essentially Victorian myth that science had somehow disproved, or invalidated, religion.' In spite of that, he was buried in state at Westminster Abbey -- against the wishes of Emma, who stayed home. This, says Wilson, was 'a demonstration that, far from being cowed by Darwin's agnosticism, the Establishment was determined to neuter its danger by bestowing on it a laurel crown.'

Wilson observes that the majority of Christians today accept the 'fact' of evolution, and believes there is no essential conflict between religious faith and evolution.

Why is Darwin still the hero of evolution?

Darwin knew nothing about genetics, the rediscovery of which revolutionised the theory of evolution last century. His idea of very slow change in species over umpteen millennia has had to concede the evidence that nature does 'make leaps'. For him, natural selection involved a kind of warfare in which the weak went to the wall, and sociobiology, most famously in Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, has perpetuated this theory in the human sphere; but many scientists today talk about co-operative behaviour in a species.

In his survey of the recent debate among evolutionary scientists and philosophers, A.N. Wilson highlights the row between Richard Dawkins (representing many others) and E. O. Wilson (it seems the field in littered with Wilsons!) when the latter - 'the father of sociolobiology' -- discarded 'kin [selfish gene] selection' in favour of 'multilevel [altruistic group] selection' as the driving force of 'fitness'. In simple terms this means that individuals who co-operate in groups achieve more and enhance the survival of their group, while selfish individualism does not. Or, as Wilson himself explained: 'In a nutshell, individual selection favours what we call sin and group selection favour virtue.'

In the light of this history and ongoing debate it is difficult to see why Charles Darwin should remain 'the man who discovered evolution', or indeed, as Wilson concludes, why 'his idea' of evolution (natural selection) should survive as the white, empire-building class it suited so well dies out. Will it, like other Victorian intellectual fads become a footnote in our intellectual history?

There is much, much more in Wilson's provocative and entertaining book, including sympathetic sketches of the home-loving Darwin's family life. There is the Voyage of the Beagle and Darwin's painstaking research with barnacles and earthworms. In the background is a throng of many familiar figures - and some less familiar - of the age, ranging from Jane Austen to John Henry Newman, from Goethe to George Elliot, from Hume and Kant to Karl Marx, Hitler and Stalin -- not forgetting Kipling and Beatrix Potter.

Indications are that scientists hate the book. Dr John van Whye, an historian of science and the director of Darwin Online, wrote a short, severe critique for New Scientist and posted an even more damning one on Amazon ('The worst biography of Darwin ever written'), where it sits at the top of 40 others. He accuses Wilson of multiple errors including fundamental misunderstandings of Darwinian theory.

However, since it is the first book on evolution this reviewer has ever read, it sounds very plausible, and is, quite probably, the most readable, up-to-date account of Darwin and his idea that you are likely to come across.

[MercatorNet]. 2275.14
























Comment from the internet


Pope Francis: Cause or result of the crisis in the Church?

CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA at Our Lady's Army of Advocates Conference, Houston, Texas




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De Mattei on the Francis Pontificate: Six Years of ‘Hypocrisy and Lies’ 
THIS exclusive interview is published by OnePeterFive. Professor Roberto De Mattei, President of the Lepanto Foundation, is interviewed by Aldo Maria Valli – one of the Italian journalists who helped publish the Vigano testimony in August 2018.

R de MatteiAldo Maria Valli: Professor De Mattei, not a day passes without this pontificate causing new confusion and doubts for many of the faithful. The declaration about other religions made at Abu Dhabi has provoked a great amount of concern. It seems there is no way of avoiding the fact that it is problematic. How do you interpret it?

Professor Roberto De Mattei: The Abu Dhabi declaration made on February 4, 2019, signed by Pope Francis and the grand imam of Al-Azhar affirms that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.” This affirmation contradicts the teaching of the Church, which says the one true religion is the Catholic religion. In fact, it is only by Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Name that men can attain eternal salvation (cf. Acts 4:12).

On March 1, during the ad limina visit of the bishops of Kazakhstan to Rome, Bishop Athanasius Schneider expressed his perplexity to Pope Francis about the Abu Dhabi declaration. The pope replied to him that “the diversity of religions is only the permissive will of God.” This answer is deceptive, because it seems to admit that the plurality of religions is an evil permitted by God but not willed by him, but the same is not true of the diversity of sexes and races, which are positively willed by God. When Bishop Schneider expressed his objection to him, Pope Francis admitted that the phrase “could be understood erroneously.” Yet the pope never corrected or rectified his affirmation, and in fact the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, at the request of the Holy Father, directed all bishops to see to the widespread diffusion of the Abu Dhabi declaration so that it “may become an object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of education and formation.”

The interpretation which is thus being spread is that the plurality of religions is a good thing, not an evil that is merely tolerated by God. It seems to me that these deliberate contradictions are a microcosm of the entire pontificate of Pope Bergoglio.

How would you, as a historian of the Church, summarize the past six years?

As years of hypocrisy and lies. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen because he appeared to be a bishop who was “humble and profoundly spiritual” (thus did Andrea Tornielli salute him in La Stampa), one “who would reform and purify the Church.” But none of this happened. The pope did not remove the most corrupt prelates either from the Roman Curia or from individual dioceses. He has done so only when, as in the McCarrick case, he was forced to by public opinion. In reality, Francis has revealed himself to be a political pope, the most political pope of the last century. His political persuasion is that of left-wing Peronism, which detests, in principle, every form of inequality and is opposed to Western culture and society. When transferred into the ecclesiastical realm, Peronism joins with liberation theology and leads to an effort to impose synodal democratization on the Church, which strips her of her essential nature.

The summit on sexual abuse seems as though it has already been forgotten. It was full of nice-sounding expressions which the mainstream media trumpeted, but it did not lead to anything new. In general, how do you judge the way in which the Holy See is addressing this crisis?

In a clearly contradictory way. The anti-abuse norms that have just been approved by Pope Francis circumvent the real problem, which is the relationship between the tribunals of the Church and the civil courts, or, seen more broadly, the relationship between the Church and the world. The Church has the right and duty to investigate and judge those accused of crimes that violate not only civil laws but also ecclesiastical laws, established by canon law. In this case, it is necessary to open a regular penal trial in a Church tribunal that respects the fundamental rights of the accused and is not conditioned by the results of any civil trial.

Today, instead, in the case of Cardinal Pell, the Vatican has said it will open a canonical trial, but first it needs to “wait for the outcome of the [civil] appeals process.” In the case of Cardinal Barbarin of France, condemned to six months in prison with probation and also awaiting an appeals process, there has similarly been no announcement of any canonical trial. When Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was called to testify in the Barbarin case by the judges in Lyon, the Vatican invoked diplomatic immunity, but it did not do this for Cardinal Pell. This policy of different standards for different people is part of the climate of ambiguity and duplicity we are living in.

During this pontificate, new norms have been introduced for monastic life, and in particular for the cloister. Some monastic communities are very worried, because they consider these new norms a threat to contemplative life. Do you share this concern?

Yes, it seems as though there is a plan to destroy contemplative life. I very much appreciated the articles you have dedicated to this theme on your blog. The constitution on women’s contemplative life Vultum Dei Quaerere of June 29, 2016, and the Instruction Cor Orans of April 1, 2018, suppress every form of juridical autonomy and create federations and new bureaucratic organisms as “structures of communion.” The obligation to be part of these structures means that monasteries lose, de facto, their autonomy, which is dissolved into an anonymous mass of monasteries that are all moving toward the dissolution of traditional monastic life. The modernist “normalization” of the few monasteries that still resist the revolution would be an inevitable consequence. The juridical suppression of contemplative life we are moving toward does not, however, signify the end of the contemplative spirit, which is becoming ever stronger in response to the secularization of the Church. I know monasteries that have succeeded in securing juridical indepedence from the Congregation for Religious Life and maintain monastic life, supporting the Church in this crisis with their intercessory prayer. I am convinced that, as it once was said, the prayer of the cloisters rules the world.

The sixth anniversary of the election of Pope Bergoglio has passed, even if it felt a bit subdued. One has the impression that even people who once supported him are beginning to distance themselves from him. Is this impression mistaken?

We know that there are forces that want to destroy the Church. Freemasonry is one of these. Yet an open battle against the Church is never productive, because, as Tertullian wrote, the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. And this is why, for at least two centuries, a plan was formulated by anti-Christian forces to conquer the Church from within.

We know that in the 1960s, the Soviet Union and communist regimes of Eastern Europe infiltrated many of their men into the seminaries and Catholic universities. Some of these climbed the ladder and became bishops or even cardinals. But such intentional complicity and activity is not necessary to contribute to the self-destruction of the Church. It is also possible to become unknowing instruments of someone who manipulates from the outside. In this case, the manipulators chose the most suitable men, men who displayed doctrinal and moral weakness, influenced them, conditioned them, and at times even blackmailed them. The men of the Church are neither infallible nor impeccable, and the Evil One constantly places before them the temptations which the Lord renounced (Mt 4:1–11).

The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio was directed by a clerical lobby, behind which may be seen the presence of other lobbies or strong powers. I have the impression that the ecclesiastical powers and powers outside the Church that worked for the election of Pope Bergoglio are not satisfied with the results of his pontificate. From their point of view, there have been many words but few practical results. Those who sponsor Pope Francis are ready to abandon him if radical change does not take place. It seems he is being given one last chance to revolutionize the Church in the Amazon Synod this coming October. It seems to me that they have already sent signals indicating this.

What signals are you referring to?

To what happened after the summit on pedophilia, which was an obvious failure. The large publications of the international press, from Corriere della Sera to El País, did not hide their disappointment. It seems to me that the announcement made by the German Bishops’ Conference by its president, Cardinal Marx, that they will convoke a local synod that will make binding decisions about sexual morality, priestly celibacy, and the reduction of clerical power, should be understood as an ultimatum. It is the first time that the German bishops have expressed themselves with such clarity. They seem to be saying that if the pope does not cross the Rubicon, they will cross it themselves. In both cases we would find ourselves facing a declared schism.

What consequences would such a separation have?

A declared schism, although evil in itself, could be guided by Divine Providence toward the good. The good that could arise is the awakening of so many people who are asleep and the understanding that the crisis did not begin with the pontificate of Pope Francis but has developed for a long time and has deep doctrinal roots. We must have the courage to re-examine what has happened in the last fifty years in the light of the Gospel maxim that a tree is judged by its fruits (Mt 7:16–20). The unity of the Church is a good that should be preserved, but it is not an absolute good. It is not possible to unite what is contradictory, to love truth and falsehood, good and evil, at the same time.

Many Catholics feel discouraged as well as betrayed. Our faith tells us that the forces of evil will not prevail, and yet it is difficult to see a way out of this crisis. Humanly speaking, it seems that everything is collapsing. How will the Church come out of this crisis?

The Church is not afraid of her enemies, and she always wins when Christians fight. On February 4 at Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis said there is a need of “demilitarizing the heart of man.” I believe, on the contrary, that there is a need of militarizing hearts and transforming them into an Acies Ordinata, like the one who stood in prayerful protest at Piazza San Silvestro in Rome on February 19 and confirmed the existence of a Catholic resistance against the self-destruction of the Church. There are many other voices of resistance that have made and are making themselves heard.

I believe we must overcome the many misunderstandings that often divide the forces of good people. Instead, we must seek a unity of intention and action among these forces, while maintaining our legitimate different identities. Our adversaries are united in their hatred of the good, and so we ought to be united in our love for the good and for the truth. But we must love a perfect good, a good that is whole and without compromise, because He Who sustains us with His love and power is infinitely perfect. We ought to place all our hope in Him and only in Him. This is why the virtue of hope is the one we ought to cultivate the most, because it makes us strong and perseverant in the battle we are fighting.


[This interview was translated for 1P5 by Giuseppe Pellegrino. The original in Italian can be found at Aldo Maria Valli’s blog.To find more articles and podcasts by Professor De Mattei and to subscribe to his newsletter defending Christian civilization, go here].


[RC] 2275.SA4
























A Lamb among Wolves

G BernanorGEORGES BERNANOS writes [An Ecclesial Existence by Hans Urs von Balthasar, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996] - Whoever pretends to reform the Church with…the same means used to reform temporal society - not only will he fail in his undertaking, but he will infallibly end by finding himself outside the Church . . .

I say that he finds himself outside the Church before anyone has gone to the trouble of excluding him from her. I say that it is he himself who excludes himself from her by a kind of tragic fatalism….

The only way of reforming the Church is to suffer for her. The only way of reforming the visible Church is to suffer for the invisible Church. The only way of reforming the vices of the Church is to lavish on her the example of one's own most heroic virtues.

It's quite possible that Saint Francis of Assisi was not any less thrown into revolt than Luther by the debauchery and simony of prelates. We can even be sure that his suffering on this account was fiercer, because his nature was very different from that of the monk of Wittenberg. But Francis did not challenge iniquity; he was not tempted to confront it; instead, he threw himself into poverty, immersing himself in it as deeply as possible along with his followers. He found in poverty the very source and wellspring of all absolution and all purity. Instead of attempting to snatch from the Church all her ill-gotten goods, he overwhelmed her with invisible treasures, and under the hand of this beggar the heaps of gold and lust began blossoming like an April hedge.

Ah, yes: I'm well aware that in these matters comparisons aren't worth much, especially when seasoned with a little humor. Would you still allow me to say, however, in order to be better understood by some readers, that what the Church needs is not critics but artists?… When poetry is in full crisis, the important thing is not to point the finger at bad poets but oneself to write beautiful poems, thus unstopping the sacred springs.

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The New Pagans and the Church

The Church is no longer, as she once was, a Church composed of pagans who have become Christians, but a Church of pagans, who still call themselves Christians, but actually have become pagans.

BXVIFATHER JOSEPH RATZINGER (Pope Benedict XVI) writes in "The New Pagans and the Church." from Libreria Editrice Vaticana (1958) - According to religious statistics, old Europe is still a part of the earth that is almost completely Christian. But there is hardly another case in which everyone knows as well as they do here that the statistic is false: This so-called Christian Europe for almost four hundred years has become the birthplace of a new paganism, which is growing steadily in the heart of the Church, and threatens to undermine her from within. The outward shape of the modern Church is determined essentially by the fact that, in a totally new way, she has become the Church of pagans, and is constantly becoming even more so. She is no longer, as she once was, a Church composed of pagans who have become Christians, but a Church of pagans, who still call themselves Christians, but actually have become pagans. Paganism resides today in the Church herself, and precisely that is the characteristic of the Church of our day, and that of the new paganism, so that it is a matter of a paganism in the Church, and of a Church in whose heart paganism is living.

Therefore, in this connection, one should not speak about the paganism, which in eastern atheism has already become a strong enemy against the Church, and as a new anti-christian power opposes the community of believers. Yet, when concerning this movement, one should not forget that it has its peculiarity in the fact that it is a new paganism, and therefore, a paganism that was born in the Church, and has borrowed from her the essential elements that definitely determine its outward form and its power. One should speak rather about the much more characteristic phenomenon of our time, which determines the real attack against the Christian, from the paganism within the Church herself, from the "desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be" (Mk 13:14).

The fact that today, even given an optimistic evaluation, certainly more than half of the Catholics (here we are considering only our Church) no longer "practice" their faith, should not be explained clearly in the sense that this large number of non-practicing Catholics should simply be called pagans. It is still evident that they no longer simply embrace the faith of the Church, but that they make a very subjective choice from the creed of the Church in order to shape their own world view. And there can be no doubt that most of them, from the Christian point of view, should really no longer be called believers, but that they follow, more or less, a secular philosophy.

They do indeed affirm the moral responsibility of man, but it is based on, and limited by, purely rational considerations. The ethics of N. Hartmanns, K. Jaspers, and M. Heidegger, for example, defend the more or less known convictions of many morally upright men, but they are in no sense Christians. The well-known little book published by the List-Verlag entitled, What Do You Think About Christianity? can open the eyes of anyone, who has allowed himself to be deceived by the Christian façade of our contemporary public image, to the realization of how far and wide such purely rational and irreligious morality has spread. Therefore, the modern man today, when he meets someone else anywhere, can assume with some certainty that he has a baptismal certificate, but not that he has a Christian frame of mind. Therefore, he must presume as the normal state of affairs the lack of faith of his neighbor. This fact has two important consequences: On the one hand, it includes a fundamental change in the structure of the Church; and, on the other hand, it has produced an essential change of consciousness on the side of the still-believing Christians. These two phenomena will be clarified in greater detail in this lecture.

When the Church had her beginning, it rested on the spiritual decision of the individual person to believe, on the act of conversion. If one at the beginning had hoped that a community of saints would be built here on earth out of the converts, "a Church without spot or wrinkle," then in the midst of difficulties, one must come more and more to the realization that also the convert, the Christian, remains a sinner, and that even the greatest sins could possibly take place in the Christian community. In four hundred years of conflict with "heretics" [Cathari!] the Church has had abundant knowledge about this. But if, accordingly, the Christian was not a morally perfect person, and in this sense the community of the saints always remained imperfect, still there was a fundamental agreement according to which Christians were distinguished from non-Christians, namely, faith in the grace of God which was revealed in Christ.

The Church was a community of believers, of men who had adopted a definite spiritual choice, and because of that, they distinguished themselves from all those who refused to make this choice. In the common possession of this decision, and its conviction, the true and living community of the faithful was founded, and also its certainty; and because of this, as the community of those in the state of grace, they knew that they were separated from those who closed themselves off from grace. Already in the Middle Ages, this was changed by the fact that the Church and the world were identical, and so to be a Christian fundamentally no longer meant that a person made his own decision about the faith, but it was already a political-cultural presupposition. A man contented himself with the thought that God had chosen this part of the world for himself; the Christian's self-consciousness was at the same time a political-cultural awareness of being among the elect: God had chosen this Western world. Today, this outward identity of Church and world has remained; but the conviction that in this, that is, in the unchosen belonging to the Church, also that a certain divine favor, a heavenly redemption lies hidden, has disappeared.

The Church is like the world, a datum of our specifically Western existence, and indeed, like the definite world to which we belong, a very contingent reality. Almost no one believes seriously that eternal salvation can depend on this very contingent, cultural and political reality that we call the "Church." For the Westerner, the Church is, for the most part, nothing more than a very accidental part of the world; through her externally remaining identity with the world, she has lost the seriousness of her claim. So it is understandable that, today, often the question will be asked very urgently whether or not the Church should again be turned into a community of conviction, in order to confer on her again her great gravity. That would mean that she rigidly abandons the still present worldly positions, in order to get rid of an apparent possession, which shows itself to be more and more dangerous, because it stands in the way of the truth.

For some time now, this question has been eagerly discussed especially in France, where the decline of a Christian conviction has progressed more than it has among us, and so the contrast between appearance and reality is felt to be much stronger. But naturally the problem is the same among us. There, the supporters of a more strict direction stand in opposition to those of a more accommodating position. The former emphasize the necessity of, once again, giving their full weight to the Sacraments, "unless one wants to fall further into the de-Christianization of Europe. It is no longer possible to continue to give the Sacraments to the persons who want to receive them only on the basis of social convention, and thoughtless tradition, and for whom the Sacraments are only empty rituals."

Opposed to that, the supporters of a more accommodating position emphasize that one should not extinguish the glowing wick, that the request for the Sacraments [e.g., Matrimony, Baptism, Confirmation or First Communion; Burial of the Dead!] manifests even now a certain connection with the Church; one should not refuse these things to anyone, unless one wants to risk a damage that would be very hard to repair. The supporters of the strict direction show themselves here as attorneys for the community, while those of the accommodating approach come forth as advocates for the individual: they claim that the individual has a right to the Sacraments. In contrast, the supporters of the strict direction raise this objection: "If we want to bring the country back to Christianity, then it will happen only through the witness of small, zealous communities. In many places, it is probably necessary to begin all over again. Is it bad if a few individuals are rejected, but the future will be saved? Are we not a missionary country? Accordingly, why do we not use missionary methods? Now these require, first of all, strong communities, who then show themselves capable of receiving individual members."

Finally, this discussion became so vehement that the French episcopate saw that it was necessary to intervene. So on April 3, 1951, they published a "Directory for the Administration of the Sacraments," that in general takes a middle position. For example, with regard to Baptism, it determines that fundamentally it should be conferred on the children of non-practicing parents, if they ask for it. So it is not right simply to consider the parents to be apostates; their request for Baptism allows one at least to assume that they still have a certain kernel of religious conviction. "If, however, the prior children have not been raised in a Christian way, one can only confer Baptism, if the obligation is accepted at the proper time to send the child to be baptized to the catechism classes, and also the older children, inasmuch as this is possible."

Some dioceses require a written commitment, and there is a special form for this. The Directory then says in particular: "Nuns, and members of Catholic Action, should be notified that they should not, in order to confer such Baptisms in all circumstances, exercise excessive pressure, which could give the impression of a lack of propriety." This one example of Baptism shows that the Directory, in general, takes a very compassionate, or rather, a mild approach. Especially, it refuses to declare that non-practicing Catholics are simply apostates, and that means in praxis: they are not considered to be pagans, and they prefer, on the contrary, to pass judgment on each individual case.

However, this approach is not essentially different from what is still commonly done in our country. The Directory puts in the place of a pure sacramentalism, once again, an attitude of faith. Among us, one still encounters - and not only among nuns - the attitude that it would be a good thing if someone with finesse and cunning brings it about that the water of Baptism can be poured over a child. One cannot rest until the identity of "Church" and "world" is complete. In doing this, a person not only gives away the Sacraments, but he also cheapens them, and makes them worthless.

The Directory expresses very clearly that the situation is completely different: Certainly in the Sacraments, God offers his salvation to all mankind; certainly he invites all generously to come to his banquet, and the Church has the task of handing on this invitation, this open gesture of offering a place at God's table; but the fact still remains that God does not need man, but man needs God. Men are not doing a favor for the Church, or the pastor, when they still receive the Sacraments, but the Sacrament is the favor which God confers on men. Therefore, it is not a matter of making the Sacraments difficult or easy to receive, but it has to do with having the conviction according to which a man knows and receives the grace of the Sacraments as a grace. This primacy of conviction, of faith in place of mere sacramentalism, is the very important teaching that stands behind the reasonable and prudent determinations of the French Directory. In the long run, the Church cannot avoid the need to get rid of, part by part, the appearance of her identity with the world, and once again to become what she is: the community of the faithful.

Actually, her missionary power can only increase through such external losses. Only when she ceases to be a cheap, foregone conclusion, only when she begins again to show herself as she really is, will she be able to reach the ear of the new pagans with her good news, since until now they have been subject to the illusion that they were not real pagans. Certainly such a withdrawal of external positions will involve a loss of valuable advantages, which doubtless exist because of the contemporary entanglement of the Church with civil society. This has to do with a process which is going to take place either with, or without, the approval of the Church, and concerning which she must take a stand {the attempt to preserve the Middle Ages is foolish and would be not only tactically, but also factually, wrong}. Certainly, on the other hand, this process should not be forced in an improper manner, but it will be very important to maintain that spirit of prudent moderation that is found in an ideal way in the French Directory.

All in all, in this necessary process of the de-secularization of the Church, one must keep three levels fully separated: the level of the sacramental, the level of the proclamation of the faith, and the level of the personal, human relationship between the faithful and the non-faithful. On the sacramental level, which formerly was protected by the arcana, or rule, of secrecy, is the truly inner essence of the Church. It must be freed from a certain simple confusion with the world, which gives either the impression of something magical, or reduces the sacraments to the level of being mere ceremonies {Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Burial}. It must, once again, become clear that Sacraments without faith are meaningless, and the Church here will have to abandon gradually and with great care, a type of activity, which ultimately includes a form of self-deception, and deception of others. In this matter, the more the Church brings about a self-limitation, the distinction of what is really Christian and, if necessary, becomes a small flock, to this extent will she be able, in a realistic way, to reach the second level, that is, to see clearly that her duty is the proclamation of the Gospel.

f the Sacrament is the place where the Church distinguishes itself, and must distinguish itself from the non-church, then the word is the method and way with which she carries on the open invitation to the divine banquet. Still, here one should not forget that there are two kinds of preaching: the ordinary preaching, which is a part of the Sunday liturgy, and the missionary preaching, which can be accomplished in a course of fasting and missionary sermons. The ordinary preaching, or the word proclaimed in the liturgy, can and should be relatively short, because it should not really announce new things, because its purpose is to dig deeper into the mystery of the faith, which has already, fundamentally, been accepted and affirmed. Missionary preaching should not deal with mere attitudes and individual points, but much more fundamentally present an outline of the faith, or the essential parts of it, in a way that the modern man can understand it. But here the matter to be covered cannot be spread out as far as it should be; to the extent that people cannot be reached through the word in this way, pastoral letters and public information can and should be used as much as possible.

Given these considerations, there should never be an attempt to administer a sacrament over a radio program, but it is suitable for missionary preaching. On the level of personal relations, finally, it would be very wrong, out of the self-limitation of the Church, which is required for her sacramental activity, to want to derive a sequestering of the faithful Christian over against his unbelieving fellow men. Naturally, among the faithful gradually something like the brotherhood of communicants should once again be established who, because of their common participation in the Lord's Table in their private life, feel and know that they are bound together. This is so that in times of need, they can count on each other, and they know they really are a family community. This family community, which the Protestants have, and which attracts many people to them, can and should be sought, more and more, among the true receivers of the Sacraments.

This should have no sectarian seclusion as its result, but the Catholic should be able to be a happy man among men - a fellow man where he cannot be a fellow Christian. And I mean that in his relations with his unbelieving neighbors, he must, above all, be a human being; therefore, he should not irritate them with constant preaching and attempts to convert them. In a friendly way, he will be offering him a missionary service by giving him a religious article, when he is sick to suggest the possibility of calling a priest, or even to bring a priest to see him. He should not be just a preacher, but also in a friendly and simple way, a fellow human being who cares for others.

In a summary fashion as the result of this first series of thoughts, we have established this point: The Church, first of all, has undergone a structural change from a small flock to a world Church, and since the Middle Ages in the West, she has more or less been identified with the world. Today, this identity is only an appearance, which hides the true essence of the Church and the world, and to some extent hinders the Church in her necessary missionary activity. And so, either sooner or later, with or contrary to the will of the Church, according to the inner structural change, she will become externally a little flock. The Church must take into account this fact - that in the administration of the Sacraments, she proceeds more cautiously, that in her preaching, she makes a distinction between missionary preaching, and preaching to the faithful. The individual Christian will strive more earnestly for a brotherhood of Christians, and, at the same time, try to show his fellow humanity, with unbelieving fellow men around him, in a truly human and deeply Christian way.

Next to this sketchy structural change of the Church, it is also necessary to note a change of consciousness among the faithful, which is a result of the fact of the increasing paganism within the Church. For the modern Christian, it has become unthinkable that Christianity, and in particular the Catholic Church, should be the only way of salvation; therefore, the absoluteness of the Church, and with that, also the strict seriousness of her missionary claim, and, in fact, all of her demands, have become really questionable. Ignatius of Loyola requires the one making the spiritual exercises, in the meditation on the Incarnation, consider how the Trinitarian God sees that all men are falling into hell. Francis Xavier could tell the believing Mohammedans that all their piety was useless because they, whether pious or godless, whether criminals or virtuous persons, in any event were going to hell, because they did not belong to the only Church that makes a person pleasing to God.

Today, our humanity prevents us from holding such views. We cannot believe that the man next to us, who is an upright, charitable, and good man, will end up going to hell because he is not a practicing Catholic. The idea that all "good" men will be saved today, for the normal Christian, is just as self-evident as formerly was the conviction of the opposite. Indeed, since Bellarmine, who was one of the first to give consideration to this humanitarian desire, the theologians in many different ways have striven to explain how this saving of all "upright" persons ultimately is a salvation through the Church, but these constructions were somewhat too ingenious for them to make, and leave behind much of an impression. Practically, the admission remained that "good men" "go to heaven," therefore, that one can be saved by morality alone; surely, this applies first of all, and is conceded to the unbelievers, while the faithful are constantly burdened with the strict system of Church requirements.

So being somewhat confused by this, the believer asks himself: Why can those outside the Church have it so easy, when it is made so difficult for us? He begins to think and to feel that the faith is a burden, and not a grace. In any event, he still has the impression that, ultimately, there are two ways to be saved: through the merely subjectively measured morality for those outside the Church, and for Church members. And he cannot have the feeling that he has inherited the better part; in any event, his faithfulness is grievously burdened by the establishment of a way to salvation alongside that of the Church. It is obvious that the missionary zeal of the Church has suffered grievously under this internal uncertainty.

I am trying, as an answer to this difficult question which troubles many Christians today, to point out in very short observations that there is only one way to salvation - namely, the way through Christ. But this rests primarily on the cooperation of two mutually opposed powers, on two, as it were, balance scales that together are only one scale, so that each balance scale, by itself alone, would be completely meaningless, and only has meaning as a part of the one scale of God. Indeed, this begins with the fact that God separated the people of Israel from all the other peoples of the world as the people of his choice. Should that then mean that only Israel has been chosen, and that all the other peoples have been rejected? At first it seems to appear as if this contrast of the chosen people, and the non-chosen peoples, should be considered in this static sense: as the placing next to each other of two different groups. But very soon, it becomes evident that that is not the case; for in Christ, the static placing next to each other of Jews and pagans becomes dynamic, so that now the pagans through their "not having been chosen" are changed into the chosen, but this does not mean that the choice of Israel was basically illusory, as is proved by Romans 11.

So one sees that God can choose men in two ways: directly, or through their apparent rejection. To state it more clearly: one sees clearly that God divides mankind into the "few" and the "many" - a division that occurs in the Scriptures, again and again: "The gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matt. 7:14); "The laborers are few" (Matt. 9:37); "Few are chosen" (Matt. 22:14); "Fear not, little flock" (Luke 12:32); Jesus gave his life as a ransom for the "many" (Mark 10:45). The opposition of Jews and pagans, of Church and non-Church, repeats this division into the few and the many. But God does not divide into the few and the many with the purpose of condemning the latter, and saving the former; also, he does not do it in order to save the many easily, and the few in a difficult way, but he makes use of the few like an Archimedean point by which he lifts the many out of their difficult situation, like a lever with which he draws them to himself. Both have their role in salvation, which is different, but still there is only one way to achieve salvation.

One can only then understand this opposition correctly, when he comes to see that for him, the opposition of Christ and mankind lies at the root of the one and the many. That is, one sees here now very clearly the opposition: The fact is that all mankind deserves condemnation, and only the One deserves salvation. Here, something very important is visible, which is often overlooked, even though it is most decisive: the gracious nature of salvation, the fact that it is an absolutely free gift of grace; for the salvation of man consists in the fact that he is loved by God, that his life at its end finds itself in the arms of eternal love. Without that, everything would remain empty for him. Eternity without love is hell, even if otherwise nothing else happens. The salvation of man consists in being loved by God. But there is no legal claim to love. This is so even on the basis of moral goodness. Love is essentially a free act, or it is not really love. For the most part, we tend to overlook this with all moralism. Actually, no morality of the highest kind can transform the free response of love into a legal claim. Thus, salvation always remains a free grace, even apart from the reality of sin; for even the highest morality is still that of a sinner. No one can honestly deny that even the best moral decisions of men, still in one way or another, even if it is subtly hidden, are infected with a certain amount of self-seeking. So this point remains true: In the opposition between Christ, the One, and us, the many, we are unworthy of salvation, whether we are Christians or non-Christians, faithful or unbelievers, moral or immoral. No one besides Christ really "deserves" salvation.

But even here, there occurs a wonderful exchange. Condemnation belongs to all men together, but salvation belongs to Christ alone. But in a holy exchange, the opposite takes place: He alone takes all the evil upon himself, and in this way, he makes the place of salvation free for all of us. All salvation, which can be given to men, is based on this fundamental exchange between Christ, the One, and us, the many, and it is up to the humility of faith to acknowledge this. But here, one must add the fact that according to God's will, this fundamental exchange, this great mystery of substitution, on which all of history depends, continues itself in a complete system of representation, which has its coronation in the opposition of Church and non-Church, of the faithful and the "pagans." This opposition of Church and non-Church does not mean a state of being next to each other, nor being opposed to each other, but of being for each other, in which both sides retain their own necessity, and their own proper function. In the continuation of the mission of Christ, the representation of the many has been committed to the few, who are the Church, and the salvation of both takes place only in their functional coordination, and their common subordination, under the great representation of Jesus Christ, which includes both groups. But if mankind in this representation by Christ, and in its continuation through the dialectic of the "few" and the "many" will be saved, then this means also that each person, above all the faithful, have their inevitable function in the whole process of the salvation of mankind.

If men and women, indeed the greater number of persons are saved, without belonging in the full sense to the community of the faithful, so then it takes place only because the Church herself exists as the dynamic and missionary reality, because those who have been called to belong to the Church are performing their duty as the few. That means that there is the seriousness of true responsibility, and the danger of real rejection, of really being lost. Although we know that individual persons, and indeed many, are saved outwardly without the Church, still we also know that the salvation of all always depends on the continuation of the opposition between the few and the many; that there is a vocation of man, concerning which he can become guilty, and that this is a guilt because of which he can be lost.

No one has the right to say: "See, others are saved without the full weight of the Catholic faith, so why not I also?" How then do you know that the full Catholic faith is not meant necessarily for you - a faith that God requires of you for reasons about which you should not try to bargain, because they belong to the things about which Jesus says: "You cannot understand them now, but you will later on" (John 13:36). So it remains true looking at modern pagans that Christ must know that their salvation lies hidden in the grace of God, on which, of course, his salvation depends, that in a look at their possible salvation he cannot dispense himself from the seriousness of their own act of faith, and that this lack of faith must be for the pagan a strong incentive for a more complete faith, because he knows that he has been included in the representative function of Jesus Christ, on which the salvation of the world, and not just that of Christians, depends.

In conclusion, I must clarify these ideas somewhat by a brief exegesis of two texts of Scripture, in which a point of view regarding this problem will be made known. There is, first of all, the difficult and weighty text, in which the opposition of the many and the few is expressed in an especially forceful way: "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Mt 22:14). What does this text mean? Surely it does not say that many are condemned, as one commonly tends to interpret it, but first of all that there are two forms of divine election. To put it still more precisely: It says clearly that there are two different divine acts, both of which have to do with election, without now giving us clarity whether or not both obtain their end.

But if one considers the course of salvation history, as the New Testament expresses it, then one finds this word of the Lord illustrated: From the static neighborliness of the chosen people, and the not-chosen people, there was in Christ a dynamic relationship, so that the pagans through not being chosen became the chosen ones, and then, of course, through the choice of the pagans, the Jews return back to their election. So this word can be an important teaching instrument for us. The question about the salvation of men is always falsely stated if it is posed from below, that is, as a question about how men justify themselves. The question about the salvation of men is not a question of self-justification, but one of justification through the free grace of God. It is necessary to see these things from above. There are not two ways in which men justify themselves, but two ways in which God chooses them, and these two ways of election by God are the one way of salvation of God in Christ and his Church; and this relies on the necessary dialectic of the few, and the many, and on the representative service of the few in the prolongation of Christ's representation, or substitution.

The second text is that of the great banquet (Lk 14:16-24). This gospel is, above all, in a radical way the Good News, when it recounts that at the end, heaven will be filled with all those that one can, in one way or another, include; with people who are completely unworthy, who with regard to heaven are blind, deaf, lame, and beggars. Therefore, this is a radical act of grace, and who would wish to deny that perhaps all our modern, European pagans in this way can enter into heaven?

On the basis of this position, everyone has hope. On the other hand: The gravity of the situation remains. There is a group of those who will always be rejected. Who knows whether among these rejected Pharisees there is not perhaps someone who believed, who must be considered to be among good Catholics, but in reality was a Pharisee? On the other hand, who really knows whether among those, who do not accept the invitation, precisely those Europeans are to be found, to whom Christianity was offered, but who have rejected it? So at the same time, there remains for all both hope and a threat. In this intersection of hope and threat, out of which the gravity and the great joy of being a Christian manifests itself, the contemporary Christian lives his life for the most part in the midst of the new pagans, which he, in another way, knows are placed in the same situation of hope and threat, because also for them, there is no other salvation than the one in which he believes: Jesus Christ, the Lord.
























A half-century of novelty: Revisiting Paul VI's Apologia for the New Mass

This lecture by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski was given in Wagga Wagga on March 28, in Melbourne on March 30, and in Hobart on April 3, during his visit sponsored by the Latin Mass Society of Australia. The full text is presented below, in a Rorate exclusive.

Cfdl. Burke, kwasniewskiAPRIL 3 of this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae by Pope Paul VI's 1969 Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, the provisions of which were to go into effect on November 30, the first Sunday of Advent.

When we look back a half-century later at this monstrous masterpiece of liturgical reform-and, truth be told, it is no longer only self-proclaimed traditionalists who lament a job badly done-we often feel moved to ask the simple question: Why? Why was it deemed necessary to make so many and such radical changes in the Mass? For an explanation, we must look to the pope who, more than any other figure, was responsible for pushing forward the liturgical reform, handing down not only a new rite of Mass, but also, in like manner, new rites for all of the sacraments and indeed new versions of almost everything to be said or done in church-a figurative "sack of Rome" that throws the work of Alaric and Charles V into the shade.

Where can we look to find the pope's explanation? There are, as one would expect, a plethora of addresses, letters, and other documents that allow us not just a glimpse into the mind of Montini, but a leisurely review; he was frank and outspoken about the liturgical reform, which was and had been his passion prior to and during his pontificate. Above all, however, we ought to look carefully at three general audiences in the 1960s: the first from March of 1965, concerning the epochal shift from Christian Latin to modern vernaculars; and two from November of 1969, on the even greater shift from the classic Roman Rite to the product of the Consilium. Before descending into the details of these general audiences, I will make a theological argument about how we, as believers, should understand the historical development of liturgy in the Catholic Church, as this, I am convinced, is the only way to see the magnitude of what Paul VI desired to do, attempted to do, and, in the judgment of most people, succeeded in doing.

Laws of Organic Liturgical Development

In his 1947 encyclical on the liturgy, Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII pointed out a theological error in the tendency of some members of the Liturgical Movement to reach back to suppositious liturgical rites of ancient times while excluding or denigrating later periods of Church history such as the Middle Ages or the Baroque. Speaking of "some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately," he says:

[T]he liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world (cf. Matt 28:20). They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man. [1]

Pius XII is writing in 1947 about avant-garde liturgists who want to leap frog over the Baroque and medieval periods-in other words, over the Roman rite as codified after Trent-to arrive at a pristine apostolic liturgy. In 1947 the Roman Rite was still very much intact, as vintage photos of Pius XII's magnificent papal liturgies evince; the liturgy committee that was to give Bugnini his first post at the Vatican and eventually produce a new Holy Week was yet to come. So when Pius XII talks about "more recent liturgical rites," he is talking about medieval and Baroque developments, culminating in the Tridentine codification, of which the 1570 Missale Romanum is the flagship. The key points to take away from this paragraph are, first, that something's being more ancient does not ipso facto make it better; second, that the historical development of the liturgy is not an accident that God permits, but a plan that He positively wills, inspired by the Holy Spirit and used by the Head of the Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to sanctify the members of His Mystical Body.

Indeed, this passage reads rather like a commentary on the famous Canon 13 of the Seventh Session of the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church that are customarily used in the solemn administration of the sacraments can be looked down on, or that ministers can without sin omit them according to their own whim, or that any pastor of churches whatever can change them into other new ones, let him be anathema. [2]

The seventh canon of the twenty-second Session of Trent is also highly pertinent. This canon states:

If anyone says that the ceremonies, vestments, and outward signs which the Catholic Church uses in the celebration of Masses are incentives to impiety rather than offices of piety; let him be anathema. [3]

When the Council pointedly says "which the Catholic Church uses," we are given to understand that all of the liturgical ceremonies, vestments, and external signs received from tradition are offices of piety and not incentives to impiety. Thus, the view, later popular with 20th century reformers, that aspects of the classical Roman Rite are to be considered corruptions of authentic liturgy and detrimental to the spiritual life of the faithful is anathematized ahead of time.

In the same spirit, the Roman Catechism published in 1566, three years after the Council of Trent was concluded, says this about the Mass in particular:

The Sacrifice is celebrated with many solemn rites and ceremonies, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august Sacrifice, and to excite the faithful when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine things which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Christ promised that "when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will teach you all truth" [4]: cum autem venerit ille Spiritus veritatis, docebit vos omnem veritatem (Jn 16:13). This includes the fullness of liturgy. [5] One would expect, if the Church is truly governed by the Spirit of God, that her liturgy would, in its large lines and accepted forms, mature and become more perfect over time. Would it not then follow that the rate of change will slow down and the Spirit's work will gradually shift from inspiring new prayers to preserving the prayers already inspired? A liturgical rite will grow in perfection until it reaches a certain maturity, and then will cease to develop in any but incidental or minor ways.

One could diagram this process as a chart with two lines: the descending line [6] represents the creation of liturgical forms, while the ascending line [7] represents the preservation of existing liturgical forms. As the former action tapers, the latter action dominates, until that verse from Ezekiel is fulfilled in the Church's sacred liturgy: "Your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God" (Ezek 16:14). [8]

(The following diagram was distributed as a handout.)


Much more can and should be said on the subject of what we might call "the laws of organic liturgical development," and I am currently researching and writing on the subject. In the interests of time, however, I will turn to the three general audiences of Paul VI on the topic of the liturgical reform. [9]

The first text we will look at was delivered on March 17, 1965, , ten days after Pope Paul VI celebrated the first-ever Italian-language Mass at the Church of All Saints (Ognissanti) in Rome. In spite of official rhetoric, there is little evidence that the people rejoiced; a plaque memorializing the event in Ognissanti was vandalized so many times that a new plaque finally had to be placed high on the wall, out of reach of disgruntled parishioners. [10]

It is hard to know what to be more astonished about: the sheer contempt for the common man with which the audience drips, or the sheer fantasyland into which the pope enters when describing the anticipated benefits of the "new liturgy" that was unveiled at Ognissanti-remember, this was not the Novus Ordo, which was four years away, but a heavily simplified Tridentine Mass conducted in Italian (except for the Roman Canon), with the celebrant facing the people, standing at a temporary altar placed outside of the sanctuary. [11]

The pope says there have been negative reactions and positive reactions. The negative reaction is one of "a certain confusion and annoyance":

Previously, they say, there was peace, each person could pray as he wished, the whole sequence of the rite was well known; now everything is new, startling, and changed; even the ringing of the bells at the Sanctus is done away with; and then those prayers which one doesn't know where to find; Holy Communion received standing; Mass ending suddenly with the blessing; everybody answering, many people moving around, rites and readings which are recited aloud … In short, there is no longer any peace and we now know less than we did before; and so on.

This does not seem an altogether unreasonable reaction. As far as the pope is concerned, however, Catholics who react this way have a paltry understanding of what they are doing:

'We shall not criticize these views because then we would have to show how they reveal a poor understanding of the meaning of religious ceremonial and allow us to glimpse not a true devotion and a true appreciation of the meaning and worth of the Mass, but rather a certain spiritual laziness which is not prepared to make some personal effort of understanding and participation directed to a better understanding and fulfillment of this, the most sacred of religious acts, in which we are invited, or rather obliged, to participate'.

One wonders when a pope has ever said something more self-righteous, presumptuous, insensitive, and unjust? I suppose everyone, before the glorious revolution, was spiritually lazy, unprepared to make even "some" effort to understand, and altogether bereft of participation in the mysteries. The popularity of Liturgical Movement authors like Dom Prosper Guéranger, Pius Parsch, and Ildefonso Schuster, whose commentaries on the Mass instructed and inspired precisely those laymen who were startled and disturbed by the changes of the 1960s-is passed over in utter silence. [12]

Montini continues by explaining that reform always causes people to feel upset because deeply rooted religious practices are being tampered with, but that's okay-soon everyone will love it. And we'll make sure that no one can settle back again into silent devotion or laziness. "The congregation will be alive and active!," he says: everyone must participate. Now one must "listen and pray" (apparently they were doing neither before). Activity is the order of the day, the name of the game! We will finally have a liturgy that is not mummery ("performed merely according to its external form") but "an immense wing flying towards the heights of divine mystery and joy." An immense wing… Excuse me while I reach for the airsickness bag.

The positive reaction, on the other hand, is, according to Paul VI, that of a majority of Catholics, young and old, uneducated and scholarly, the earnestly devout and the urbanely cultured, insiders and outsiders, who greet the changes with "enthusiasm and praise." At last, they say, "one can understand and follow the complicated and mysterious ceremonial" (the pope declines to explain how simplification and easy accessibility fit with "complicated and mysterious," unless his meaning is that a ceremonial that was once complicated and mysterious will henceforth cease to be either). At last, "the priest speaks to the people" (but wait: I thought the liturgy was addressed primarily to God?). One old gentleman, the pope says, fighting back a tear, gushed to a priest that "at last" in this new way of celebrating Mass he fully participated in the sacrifice-indeed, possibly for the first time in his life. Some say this excitement will quiet down and turn into habit. But Pope Paul expresses the hope that the "new form of worship" will continue to stir up "religious enthusiasm," so that "the gospel of love" will be realized in "the souls of our time." (He does not seem aware of Msgr. Ronald Knox's classic critique of religious enthusiasm; it is just this hankering for feelings of enthusiasm or excitement that has led to ever-repeated efforts to stir up or stimulate congregations ever since the sixties, with ever-diminishing returns.)

This papal address is notable for the number of times it uses the word "new": "new, startling, changed"; "new order"; "new scheme of things"; "new liturgical books"; "new form" (twice); "new liturgy" (twice); "new habit"; "liturgical innovation." If we add them up, eleven times. Some Catholics today are critical of traditionalists who speak of the Novus Ordo, but here we have a pope identifying the interim missal of 1965 as a novel thing, when it was vastly less of a novelty than the missal of 1969. I think we owe it to Pope Paul to use his terms when we talk about his reforms. He did not try to hide the fact that there had been a sea change.

Many notable Catholics of this period have left us records of their reaction to the "new Mass" of 1965 (which in retrospect turned out to be a half-way house). Evelyn Waugh and William F. Buckley left us choice words about it, but I shall quote what Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in 1966:

'The basic error of most of the innovators is to imagine that the new liturgy brings the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass nearer to the faithful, that shorn of its old rituals the Mass now enters into the substance of our lives. For the question is whether we better meet Christ in the Mass by soaring up to Him, or by dragging Him down into our own pedestrian, workaday world. The innovators would replace holy intimacy with Christ by an unbecoming familiarity. The new liturgy actually threatens to frustrate the confrontation with Christ, for it discourages reverence in the face of mystery, precludes awe, and all but extinguishes a sense of sacredness'. [13]

Now we turn to a pair of general audiences given 4½ years later, in the month of November 1969. As mentioned at the start, the Novus Ordo Missae was officially to go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent, which fell on November 30th that year.

The Pope was really feeling the heat at this moment. He had promulgated the text of the Novus Ordo Missae seven months earlier, on April 3. The Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, more commonly known as The Ottaviani Intervention, was completed by June 5, but not published until a few months later; somehow it did not come to Paul VI's knowledge until September 29, according to historian Yves Chiron. The popular press picked up the story and made a great deal of it. Paul VI sent the Short Study to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect, Cardinal Šeper, reported to him on November 12 that, in his opinion, the Study was essentially worthless. This was only one week prior to the general audience of November 19. We must bear in mind, then, that this and the following week's address are Paul VI's attempt to defend the entire project of the Novus Ordo in the face of its critics and for posterity. It is his apologia pro Missa sua. [14]

What is perhaps most striking about these addresses is the pope's penchant for gratuitous assertion and his stark authoritarian tone. He wants us to believe that nothing really central has changed, while at the same time listing, and doubling down on, one enormous change after another. For those who take seriously that a developed liturgical rite is a kind of body-soul composite in which one cannot readily separate what it is from how it is done, how it looks, sounds, smells, and feels, the case he makes for essential identity is far from convincing.

On November 19, again the pope does not shy away from the language of novelty: he speaks of "a new rite of Mass" (four times) "a new spirit," "new directions," "new rules," "new and more expansive liturgical language," "innovation" (twice). He closes with the guarded sentiment: "Do not let us talk about 'the new Mass.' Let us rather speak of the 'new epoch' in the Church's life." In a colossal understatement, the pope says "the Mass will be celebrated in a rather different manner from that in which we have been accustomed to celebrate it in the last four centuries, from the reign of St. Pius V, after the Council of Trent, down to the present."

He shows admirable candor in getting right to the point:

This change has something astonishing about it, something extraordinary. This is because the Mass is regarded as the traditional and untouchable expression of our religious worship and the authenticity of our faith. We ask ourselves, how could such a change be made? What effect will it have on those who attend Holy Mass?

His answer is feeble. Just pay attention to the explanations you will get from the pulpit and in religious publications, and trust that "a clearer and deeper idea of the stupendous and mysterious notion of the Mass" is just around the corner, thanks to the new missal. Again, he shows candor in admitting that the faithful will have "spontaneous difficulties."

Paul VI claims that the new missal "is due to the will expressed by the Ecumenical Council held not long ago." This claim is questionable, to say the least-particularly in view of what the pope will say one week later, when he openly contradicts Sacrosanctum Concilium on any number of points. But here, the new missal is said to be four things, each of which is surprising:

It is an act of obedience. It is an act of coherence of the Church with herself. It is a step forward for her authentic tradition. It is a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent.

It is quite unclear how "coherence of the Church with herself" is to be achieved by breaking with much of what the Church had been doing in her most important actions for centuries. It is quite unclear how exactly a radically revised missal counts as a "step forward" (whatever that means) for the Church's "authentic tradition" (whatever that means). I do not think it would be unfair to call this doublespeak. According to Edward Herman, "What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don't fit an agenda or program." [15] Again, one is left speechless at the claim that the Novus Ordo Missae is "a demonstration of fidelity and vitality, to which we all must give prompt assent." Fidelity-how so, precisely? Vitality-just because papal muscle can be flexed to push through the biggest raft of changes in the history of the Church's worship?

The speech continues in a tone almost feverish and certainly imperious, as if the pope were feeling the total inadequacy of his account:

It is not an arbitrary act. It is not a transitory or optional experiment. It is not some dilettante's improvisation. It is a law. It has been thought out by [wait for it] authoritative experts of sacred liturgy; it has been discussed and meditated upon for a long time [that is, for a few years of extremely hasty and busy committee work]. We shall do well to accept it with joyful interest and put it into practice punctually, unanimously, and carefully.

These are not the words of a man who is especially at peace about what he has done, or confident in the power of the product to win over the customers. One suspects a psychiatrist could have a field day analyzing this language.

Pope Paul VI then says that the reform he has imposed "puts an end to uncertainties, discussions, arbitrary abuses. It calls us back to that uniformity of rites and feeling proper to the Catholic Church…" Can irony have no limits? It was in large part the Vatican's practically yearly changes to the liturgy from the 1950s through the 1960s that stirred up this febrile atmosphere of uncertainty, discussion, and abuse; it was the insistence on liturgical reform that shattered the uniformity of rites and feeling that the Church had enjoyed in relative peace from the end of the Council of Trent to the 20th century. Moreover, one of the most characteristic features of the Novus Ordo is its lack of uniformity from one celebration to another, and its multiplication of Catholic "identities."

The second part of the address goes into "what exactly the changes are." Whether from ignorance or from duplicity, the pope states that the changes "consist of many new directions for celebrating the rites," not adverting to the fact that the principal change is in the substance of the texts themselves: for example, only 17% of the orations of the old Roman Missal survived intact in the new missal. He then has the temerity to say: "Keep this clearly in mind: Nothing has been changed of the substance of the traditional Mass." I wonder how many people in 1969 believed this; I wonder how many still believe it today.

A passage in St. Irenaeus of Lyons, directed against the arbitrary interpretations of the Gnostics, seems to me to capture perfectly what was done in our times with the Roman Rite, as well as the subterfuge of saying: "This is the Roman Rite" or worse, "This is now tradition." St. Irenaeus writes:

'Their manner of acting is just as if, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels, one should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception of what a king's form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king'. [16]

Returning to the general audience, we find Paul VI-as if detecting the misgivings his words to this point might generate in a listener-going on the defensive:

'Perhaps some may allow themselves to be carried away by the impression made by some particular ceremony or additional rubric [this is what he says, but in fact the transition from old to new is mostly a matter of lost rubrics, not additional ones], and thus think that they conceal some alteration or diminution of truths which were acquired by the Catholic faith for ever, and are sanctioned by it. They might come to believe that the equation between the law of prayer, lex orandi, and the law of faith, lex credendi, is compromised as a result'.

It is not so. Absolutely not. Above all, because the rite and the relative rubric are not in themselves a dogmatic definition. Their theological qualification may vary in different degrees according to the liturgical context to which they refer. They are gestures and terms relating to a religious action-experienced and living-of an indescribable mystery of divine presence, not always expressed in a universal way. Only theological criticism can analyze this action and express it in logically satisfying doctrinal formulas.

In a spectacular instance of neo-scholastic reductionism, we are told that only dogmatic definitions pertain to the essence of the Catholic Faith, since rites and rubrics have to do with experiences and actions that vary according to place and time; the only expression of truth is a "logically satisfying doctrinal formula." In these words Paul VI has obliterated the lex orandi as a reality unto itself and has denied liturgy as theologia prima, a mode of revelation.

He continues: "The Mass of the new rite is and remains the same Mass we have always had. If anything, its sameness has been brought out more clearly in some respects." As Shakespeare says, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." To belabour the point that the Mass is the same establishes that it isn't; the obvious need not be said. In order to agree with the sameness hypothesis, one would first have to adopt the perspective that the Roman Rite is nothing other than a generic outline-an introduction, some readings, an anaphora with valid words of consecration, communion, conclusion. [17]

As if to offer proof of his claim, the pope rather pathetically turns to the oneness of the Lord's Supper, the Sacrifice on the Cross, and the representation of both in the Mass, which he says all remains true for the Novus Ordo. Apart from the somewhat odd claim that the Mass is a representation of both the Cross and the Last Supper-which is not what the 22nd Session of the Council of Trent teaches-this, it must be said, is placing the bar of liturgical continuity pretty low. Far from supporting the claim that the Novus Ordo is still the same Roman rite, it demonstrates only that the Novus Ordo is a valid liturgical rite, like any other liturgy, Eastern or Western, offered by a validly ordained priest using the correct matter and form. By this logic, one could argue that the Novus Ordo is the same as the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Still clutching at straws, Paul VI says that the new rite brings out more clearly the relationship between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, [18] but fails to explain how this is so; and, as can be shown both theoretically and practically, the opposite proves to be true. He makes one last plug for the joy of active participation, then, as if running out of steam, declares: "You will also see other marvelous features of ouR Mass." Why exactly does this plural suddenly appear? Is it the papal "we": our modern papal rite? Is it an oblique reference to the Consilium: our committee Mass that we now present to a Catholic world panting in expectation? Or is this the "we" of the collectivity that would subsequently find in the Novus Ordo Missae the incentive, and indeed the invitation, to celebrate itself?

Then, another desperate attempt to ram home the sameness thesis: "But do not think that these things are aimed at altering its genuine and traditional essence." We are left once more with the stubborn question that will not go away: What is "the genuine and traditional essence" of a liturgy? Is it whatever the pope decides it is, however minimal that may be, or can we trust the broad lines of its historical development and its universal reception in the Church, as the Council of Trent so obviously did? In short, it is hard to imagine two more opposed visions of liturgy than Trent's and Montini's.

At the end he invokes a favorite word, "pastoral," as justification, and expresses his desire that "the faithful will participate in the liturgical mystery with more understanding, in a more practical, a more enjoyable, and a more sanctifying way." I'll admit this is a subjective call on my part, but to my ear the language here smacks of urban planning and social engineering. How curious, then, that he refers to "the Word of God which lives and echoes down the centuries"-that very Word whose ongoing incarnation in the organic development of the liturgy is being repudiated-and then opines that the faithful will better "share in the mystical reality of Christ's sacramental and propitiatory sacrifice," even though the Novus Ordo has purged the liturgy of its palpable mysticism and its unmistakable accentuation of the propitiatory sacrifice of Calvary.

This address is classic Montini: cold logic, stiff manner, overbearing tone, occasional Maritainian poetic flourishes, and, above all, a baffling obliviousness to the sheer magnitude of what he is doing, as if the dropping of liturgical nuclear bombs were like playing a game of theological chess.

One week later, the pope continues his apologia. Once again, notice how relentlessly Paul VI underlines the newness of what he is imposing on the Church. In the opening sentence he speaks of "the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass." The phrase "new rite" is mentioned seven times; the words "new," "newness," or "renewal," seven more times; "innovation" twice; "novelty" twice. That makes a total of 18 times.

In classic Montini fashion, his second paragraph lingers regretfully over what is to be lost:

'A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and