If you are sensitive about the Pope, stop reading now. If you continue, consider that I will, most certainly, not publish your comment.
The surprise decision of the Holy Father to step down is only a few hours old, but I am sure you have already read all the sugary stuff your liver can muster.
You are, I hope, not a reader of this blog because you want to read the sugary stuff. If you are, you will be disappointed; but frankly, you haven’t been paying much attention, either.
I have waited before starting to write this post, and have not “stopped” a blog post – and a very bitter one – written two days ago, and scheduled for this evening. I haven’t, because I do not think that simple facts of life change because of our emotional reactions to historical – and today was truly historical – events.
Again: if you are the sensitive type, stop now. If you continue, it’s your problem. Chiaro?
I am fully persuaded Pope Benedict was (allow me the past here) a deeply kind man, intentioned to do good, and sincerely loving the Church. The fact that he was not “telegenic” and “media effective” as his predecessor made it more endearing to me. He did not “kiss the earth”, did not indulge as often in populist gestures, did not spend half of his time traveling like a mad gipsy, or a candidate to the American Presidency. Even in his being less communicative, and more difficult to “sell”, he was more authentic to my eyes than his predecessor. He did not have a beautiful smile, and yet he dared to smile. He knew he wasn’t the darling of the masses, and wasn’t really bothered. He was also, as a Pope, generally more intellectually aware, and less prone to trust the wrong people blindly.
Still, he was a Pope with a deep, irreparable construction mistake: he was a product of the Second Vatican Council.
Like all his predecessors from John XXIII on, he never reigned, he merely presided. Like all of them, he made the bidding of the local Church hierarchies, not really caring of how badly they represented the ideas that he, as the Vicar of Christ, had the duty to defend. Like all of them, he was that kind of person no one in his entourage really fears or really respects. He was the equivalent of those weak teachers we all remember from school: good and well-intentioned chaps, for sure; but in the end, just unable to do their job properly.
He seemed to see his role as the man who is saddened when things go wrong, rather than the man who is responsible to care that things go right. He saw a string of his German colleagues abandon themselves to the most ludicrous heresies (yours truly has reported at times; many other times his liver did not allow him to touch the subject); he saw his Archbishops, like Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, defend “civil partnerships” without punishment. Oh wait, he did not make Nichols Cardinal! This must have been his idea of punishment.
He made people like this one bishops, and for one who comes to such dubious honors there are many who make less an ass of themselves, but aren’t really better. He made another, even more unspeakable tool of Satan like this one a Cardinal. He let this man confuse Catholics without uttering a word to rebuke him (only one of the very many examples you can find on this blog), and lastly, he let this man – an extremely fresh appointment – attempt the demolition of the Catholic culture remained in Italy on occasion of his very first speech in his new position. Again, there are extremely numerous episodes, I merely mention those who are most recent or most striking.
And how could one forget the relentless work of fostering and protection of heresy in Austria tirelessly promoted by this man? How could one forget that the Pontiff allowed his own Kumpeln to get away with simony? How can one ignore that those belonging to his personal circle of friends and proteges (not only, as mentioned, this one, but even this one) were allowed to confuse Catholics at every step without being bothered in the least?
True, this Pope was less naive than his predecessor; but as for protection of his own favourites he wasn’t shy, either. Cardinal Schoenborn, once his favourite students, allowed total freedom of heresy, from laser masses to Medjugorje to the protection of heretics. Mueller, his text editor, put on the fast lane to archbishop and fox guarding the hen-house; Gaenswein, his aide, made a bishop weeks before resigning.
Is it a surprise that he was so little respected, and so little feared, that even his own butler – a sincere and truthful man, apparently, if very naive himself – thought it necessary to defend the Pope from …. himself? Can you imagine even Paul VI treated with so little esteem?
Certainly, the Holy Father did something good. Certainly, he also made some good bishops’ appointments (I like Egan a lot, talking of a recent one who concern me from near). But really, one had the impression the man doesn’t really know what he is doing, he merely does what is told and comes back to his books.
Oh, his books. This was the first Pope I know of who not only loves theology, but keeps seeing himself as a theologian after he became Pope, and judging from his work almost a full-time one. His production since ascending to the Papacy is impressive. Did he really take his job seriously, one wonders? Was he Pope mit Leib und Seele, or did he consider the papacy an unpleasant chore, taking refuge in his beloved theology as soon as he could? But whilst he wrote his books, devoting to them consistent and precious energies – particularly at his age – that should have been employed in … being Pope (doing things like paying attention to whom you appoint as bishop, for example; or taking the time to rein in your unruly Cardinals; or purging a couple of religious orders among the very worst; or other unpleasant things like that) his own clergy devastated the body of Christ in France, in Spain, in England, recently even in Italy. He was, literally, writing whilst Rome burns.
He will, though, be remembered – hopefully for him – chiefly for Summorum Pontificum; which, really, not only defined but epitomised his papacy. Afraid of his own courage, or simply afraid of being Pope, or perhaps never wanting Summorum Pontificum to be really effective in the first place – which I suspect – he started the work and forgot to implement it, a bit like those people so intent in imagining their own future company they never start one. It is now five and a half years and the implementation of Summorum Pontificum is a joke if we want to be gentle, and stable or going backwards in the last two-three years. His own bishops weren’t impressed in the least at the measure, and started to boycott it – and him – with a zeal one wish they would put in the defense of Catholic values. This they did either because they got signals the Pope wasn’t interested in the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, or because they just didn’t care what the Pope did or wanted; see the above mentioned teacher.
If your own butler doesn’t respect or fear you, how will your own archbishops?
The archbishops knew their “client”, and profited from his weakness, indecisiveness and sheer hierarchical incompetence – you can say of Pope Benedict what you want, but he wasn’t born a leader of men – for all it was worth. When – in a rare gust of courage – the Holy Father dared to appoint Monsignor Wagner as bishop (auxiliary, if memory serves) of Linz, the Austrian church revolted. Promptly, the Pope caved in. At that point, it was clear who is (not) in power.
I will, today, renounce to describe you some less savoury aspects of the Pope’s personality; aspects about which I have written, but do not think it appropriate to write today. It has to do, mostly, with the way the SSPX was treated, but again I will not write about this today.
The kindest thing that can be said of Pope Benedict is that he is a kind, gentle man of studies, who failed – yes, failed, and failed badly; look around you, with homosexuals advancing everywhere under his watch, and nothing near the hell on earth he should be making for every elected politician – when he had to really rule people, really take decisions, and run a complex organisation like the Church. He could simply not do it, and preferred to take refuge in his books and studies instead, hoping to be an halfway functioning “Vatican II” Pope and do what he could with the character and inclination God had given him. It didn’t work out.
But I really do not think this is the whole truth. The whole truth is that Benedict has failed because he is a Pope of Vatican II, and was destined to fail like all the Popes of Vatican II were destined, are destined, and always will be destined to fail.
In the simple world I live in, a papacy is not measured by the number of books one has written; or by the increase in Kirchensteuer-money; or by the crowds waiting for one at the airport (look at the “triumphal” England visit; two years later we are talking of so-called same-sex marriage, and most Catholics just don’t give a fig). The way I see it, a papacy is measured by the number of brave priests and bishops thundering against the perversions and madness of our times; by the number of Cardinals bravely promoting the faith in the face of open dissent, hostility, hatred, or loss of income; by the number of vocations, the activity in the seminaries, the assertiveness of religious orders truly devoted to Christ, and the constant defiance of secular thinking at all levels.
Nothing of this, I am afraid to say, was to be seen during Pope Benedict’s pontificate. Like his predecessors, meowing was the order of the day, whilst rapacious bishops and cardinals continued to rape the Bride of Christ every day. All this has happened under his watch, and of all this he is responsible. Then if one is in charge, he is also responsible.
And here I come to the last aspect, in which I pay to this Pope a last compliment among the not many I have paid him from this minuscule blog.
All the Popes of Vatican II are failures – bar JP I of course; probably for lack of time – but Pope Benedict has the immense merit of being the first one who has realised it and has drawn the consequences.
Obviously, he saw the great offensive Satan is launching all over the Western world. Obviously, he saw his sheer inadequacy at being a match for such an attack. Perhaps, incidents like the one with Paglia – a man of colossal incompetence and sheer stupidity and lack of faith, appointed by him, and mocked by the entire thinking Catholic planet at his very first public utterance in his new role – has persuaded him that he really wasn’t even able to make mediocre choices anymore, and from now on he would have become worse and worse in his appointments as his ability to select the right (erm, less wrong) people weakens with age.
The decision the Pope has made public today is – with Summorum Pontificum – the most important and most beautiful of his career, and I have frankly – and again, with the exception of Summorum Pontificum – never liked him as I like him today, or prayed for the health of his soul like I did today, because it takes an awful lot of guts to have the courage to admit one can’t do the job; particularly then, when one is the kind of person who was never noticed for his guts. I so wish Paul VI had done the same, and I am sure many of my readers would today think so much more of him if he had done so.
I do not think one serves the Church by serving on your plate a ton of molasses on a day like this. If you think so you have wasted your time, and you are reading the wrong blog.
We are living our Dunkirk, and we cannot go on with the Neville Chamberlains of this world, no matter how well-intentioned or how much fond of writing they are.
We need a Churchill now, and we need it fast.
Dear Lord, please, please give us a strong Pope.
In a rather interesting article appeared here, the author remarks on the rather clear words the Pope has been speaking in the last few weeks (particularly concerning “gender” issues), and notices with dismay the Holy Father’s words have been uniformly ignored by the media. As the author appears frustrated at the lack of attention given from media outlets to the Pope’s utterances, I dare to hazard a couple of explanations as to why this is so.
1. The secular media mention the Church only if they think it is the right time to attack Her. If, therefore, the Pontiff’s words had been picked up by the press, they would have been picked up with the exclusive aim of criticising the Pope and slandering the Church, and with the usual procession of offended lesbians and convicted pedophile priests thrown in as an added bonus. This time it did not happen, another time it will…
2. The Pope’s words are not picked up, because they aren’t news. “Pope is Catholic” isn’t going to win any Pulitzer Prize. Generally, the Press needs an angle they can exploit, like “Pope preaches against gender equality” so you can trumpet the story of “equality”, but again only if you need a story. If, say, BO’s inauguration and the anniversary of Roe vs Wade are considered news enough, no news will be built around the Pope’s words.
3. The world at large doesn’t consider a warning Pope relevant, but it would immediately notice a roaring one. As long as the Pope isn’t considered a real obstacle for the advancement of the secular cause, he will be either attacked for the fun of it or, more often, happily ignored. If, though, they should see that the Holy Father means business and is set on a frontal attack on secular society, you would experience a huge wave of abuse and slander, then the secular, abortionist, perverted euthanasia Nazis would soon understand they are now fighting for their existence as a meaningful, society-shaping social group.
Let us imagine the Vatican were to announce the removal, on the same day, of a dozen among the worst English bishops and their replacement with young hardliners with spotless reputation. Do you think this would not make headlines? Not even when he repeats the exercise in France, Germany, Italy? Really? How would the reaction be if the Pope were to say every politician promoting the homosexual agenda is a tool of Satan, and those who vote him might well pay for it with their soul? Would this attract attention? Or imagine the Pope would announce the return – after a transition phase for training – of the Mass of the Ages as the Standard, leaving the NO to those priests too old or thick to (re) learn it. Would the world start to notice that something is happening? My answer is: yes it would, and the hounds of hell would be unleashed against the Church; but even if the secularists preferred to be in denial for a while (basically, the behaviour the Catholic hierarchy has been exhibiting for now several decades) the time will soon come when a wave of new bishops and new priests, a new assertiveness or (much better) an outright crusade would force them to notice that they only have the choice between fight and death; which is, by the way, what the Catholic hierarchy will understand very soon concerning their existence in more than some Western countries.
This is, therefore, why the Pope is ignored. This is a time whose needs will not be satisfied with eloquent preaching, but with a war cry to make the blood within every elected politician in the West freeze. This is what works, not speeches in the Vatican only picked up by Catholic agencies, blogs and magazines (some of the latter, of course, very critical of the Pope for being Catholic).
Alas, and said with all due respect, you can’t teach an old Pope new tricks, and I very much doubt Pope Benedict (whose later utterances seem to indicate he is becoming increasingly more aware of the enormous threat hovering over the Christian West) will ever be ready, let alone willing, to transform himself into a roaring lion.
We must hope his successor will be made of a stronger cloth, and will perhaps trade some of the intellectual finesse for a desire to really act (in the dioceses, in the seminaries, in the religious orders; in the eradication of heresy made without waiting a couple of decades; in the excommunication whenever possible of bad Catholic politicians and in the relentless, assertive confrontation of head of states and governments). Only an open fight, and a Pope ready to really fight it, can change the narrative and lead to the turning of the tide.
Catholicism is under attack and has been for some time, and the new generation of mini me antichrists like Obama and Andrew Cuomo are becoming more and more brazen in their hostility to Catholicism; they see very well they have really nothing to fear, and the fat Cardinal will invite them to a prestigious dinner for a photo-op and a good old guffawing between friends.
After all this, should we surprised that the Pope’s words are largely ignored?
You may have noticed that I very seldom post about some speech of the Pope. The reason for this is that I rarely (nay: almost never) find them of any relevance whatsoever in dealing with the concrete, everyday problems of the life of Catholics.
I do not mean here that a Pope should thunder every Monday against Obama and every Tuesday against Cameron, though that would be good, too (A Pope is a head of State, but a Pope first; strong Popes of the past never had a problem in confronting Kings and Emperors). I also do not mean to say that a Pope should not talk about peace, love, and other Christian subjects.
What I mean is that by reading the Pope’s messages you wonder whether the news from Planet Earth manage to enter the offices of the Vatican.
There is almost no day without some new attack on the Christian society, perpetrated by heads of governments, parliaments, judiciary, down to universities, Cardinals, Bishops, and even parish priests. One would expect the Pope to become very stern and very vocal in the defence of Catholicism, and to take the lead in the battle.
Instead, the typical fare coming from the Vatican is the kind of generic waffle which either doesn’t criticise anyone or, if it does, does it in a way that no one needs to feel criticised.
The United Kingdom’s PM might be thinking of launching a same-sex initiative in parliament against the majority of his own party, obviously relying on the Labour votes to make a favour to his girlfriend Clegg and, it is increasingly suspected, keep getting sex at home. Popes of the past would have made his life very difficult.
The US elections showed the Church has almost no grip on the “catholic” electorate, and even her US leader thinks it smart to rub oneself against the president, just in case he should win. I remember reading that in England the entire country was excluded from communion in the XVI century at some stage of the conflict with Henry VIII. Let us say this again: A Pope took away communion from an entire country. In the US, we are probably going to hear another lecture about the importance of “encountering another”.
The HHS mandate threatens the freedom of not only Catholics, but every American. In the past, when the freedom of Catholics was threatened Popes started organising wars, and certainly weren’t shy in saying who was a friend and who was an enemy.
These are just few examples taken out of three seconds of reflection; every one of you can add countless other issues, big and small.
Now let us move on to the Catholic News Agency, and let us see what weapons the Pontiff is using against the deterioration of everything Christian all over the West. As per today I find the following:
“Pope reflects on finding faith in a secular world”: the talk is about “experience of God”, “encountering another”, and such like.
“Pope Calls faith, reason essential to human freedom”: 70 scientists are lectured about “a new vision of the unity of the sciences.” Expressions like “participated being” rear their ugly head.
“Pope reflects on the power of love”. Love is this, love is that. All fine of course, but there’s nothing against Obama, or Cameron.
It’s all like this. If it’s not love is charity, if it’s not charity is understanding, if it’s not understanding is dialogue. All very edifying, no doubt (apart form the “dialogue”), but when it comes to what can make a difference, that is: taking a hard stance on the modern world’s controversies and the battlefields that are shaping the world of the future generations, the Pontiff is utterly and absolutely nowhere to be seen, and rather makes the same impression as the photo above.
In past times, far lesser attacks to Christianity than what is currently going on in countries like the US, Canada and the United Kingdom would have caused prominent excommunications and a promise of cold or – perhaps – warm war.
Nowadays, Joe Biden has just been reelected Vice President, and all we will probably hear is some common place who does not say he is wrong, let aloe punish him. You are unlikely to ever hear from the Pontiff anything even remotely similar to this , and the man who has the gut to talk so beautifully and openly is not some agit-prop, but a Bishop of the Church; one of those who seem to be appointed by the Pope only by mistake, or fortunate coincidence.
The Vatican is fast asleep. What happens outside seems not to concern them and if it does, it is as if Pope and Cardinals thought they are the last one called to vocal and concrete opposition, as opposed to generic waffle.
Sleep, Vatican, sleep.
One day you’ll wake up to jail and persecution, and it will be your fault.
A rather astonishing news came in the last days from the Vatican. It appears Ecclesia Dei now say the SSPX needs more time, and the Vatican is ready to give it to them. Actually, they even mention ongoing discussions…
With all due respect: poppycock.
The SSPX has made very clear, in the most possible public manner conceivable, that further discussions are subject to the Vatican accepting certain conditions, without which there can be no fruitful discussion anyway.
Furthermore, the SSPX has made public that whilst one should never say never, they do not believe in any agreement during this pontificate, and I am rather sure they know why.
Moreover, the SSPX has decided that whatever (future) agreement with the Vatican is proposed, it will not be decided by a small troop of “leaders” (who then ask the other members to simply “obey”) but it will have to be approved by the majority of the SSPX members, thus making it utterly inconceivable that the ambitions of the one or the other may achieve the result of carrying the order with them.
In addition, Cardinal Mueller himself has immersed the negotiations in frozen yoghurt, making very clear he does not want to have anything to do with those bad, bad men who do not even indulge in simony, or encourage sexual perversion like his well-fed German Kollegen. (look at the graphic, please)
Once again: the SSPX has spoken, and unless there is a sudden change of mind from the Pontiff the only reasonable conclusion is that there’s nothing else to say for the time (and the Pontificate) being; then to talk is good, but to waste breath when everything has been said is not very smart.
Why, then, this sudden change of perspective from Ecclesia Dei, which even contradict their own immediate superior?
I can only imagine the following two hypotheses, but perhaps the readers will have other suggestions:
1) Someone at Ecclesia Dei would like to re-launch the discussions and – now Williamson is away – attempt to isolate Mueller, who is clearly an enemy of every sensible agreement. This might make sense because the press release comes from Ecclesia Dei rather than from the CDF itself, and the astonishing description of the discussions as ongoing is clearly an open contradiction of what the boss himself has said. Therefore, it might be Ecclesia Dei now simply pretend the discussions haven’t ended yet; which makes, in this perspective, a lot of sense, as an open offer to the SSPX to re-open them would be linked with some loss of face.
2) This is a very Italian, erm, Southern Italian message: a bit like saying, with a raucous voice, “you think you have spoken, picciotto, but I will pretend you haven’t; just for a while, whilst you reflect on the consequences… I am trying to help you before you get in serious trouble, mi capisci?“.
The second hypothesis is in my eyes less probable, as there would be no need whatsoever to do it in public in such a cryptic way, whilst in the first case the public – if not open – isolation of Mueller is probably the best message the people at Ecclesia Dei can try to send to the SSPX; it is reasonable to assume many at Ecclesia Dei want to see the SSPX reconciled, and could have made without the Pontiff’s sleight of hand when he last changed the text of the preambolo.
Far-fetched both of them, you may rightly say, and I would agree with you. On the other hand, it does not happen very often that both the SSPX and the CDF say “the matter is closed” and suddenly Ecclesia Dei comes out saying “ahem, we are still waiting for your answer then, aren’t we?”
We shall see. Perhaps it was nothing, merely someone at Ecclesia Dei has simply not been paying much attention… one is reminded of the revocation of the excommunication for the SSPX bishop without even knowing Bishop Williamson’s ideas about the Holocaust.
If this is not a case of insisted sleeping activity, I never cease to be amazed at the Vatican corridors: there must be more mines there than at the border with North Korea…
Strange news today with a mini-consistory announced and six new red hats to be created in November.
None of the new Cardinals is from Italy; five work outside of the Curia, and actually outside of Europe; only one appears – for what I know – to have a reputation of “liberal”; and one cannot avoid noticing both Nichols & Mueller have missed this train.
If I were to dare some reflections, they would be as follows:
A mini-consistory might indicate the Holy Father feels the time allotted to him might be coming to an end. I can otherwise not imagine why he would not wait another six months, perhaps twelve, and then have a more substantial Consistory. Perhaps he wanted to send a signal to countries where Christian are at risk of violent persecution. Perhaps, again, he feels his time is running out.
Archbishop Mueller has been left out. I am not very surprised as the man came to Rome mainly because he is a pal of the Holy Father, and has managed to make a lot of damage since. Whilst I am sure the Holy Father likes and protects him, there are clearly limits to the reputational damage he is ready and willing to bear.
No doubt, he plans to deliver for his Kumpel before long; Mueller certainly wishes him good health.
III) Nichols is also (provisionally) out and this is in my eyes more surprising, particularly considering the extreme prestige of his position and the fact he has been a Cardinal-in-waiting for w hile now. Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols is the notorious enabler of the dating service for sexual perverts usually going under the name of “Soho masses”. Rumours of action from Rome have been around for some days; I can easily imagine the two matters are linked, and the bad Archbishop is now asked to deliver at least in matter of blasphemous, openly practiced perversion.
I can also imagine the very tepid resistance put by “Quisling” Nichols to the “homo marriages” in the UK (Lord Carey is very active and the most recognisable face of this campaign; Nichols tries to be noticed as little as possible) might have not helped him much.
Again, this is a high-profile appointment of the current Pope, and a rather scarily young Archbishop of Westminster to boot. I find it entirely possible the Holy Father is now concerned about the way he will remembered, and a red hat for Nichols might – perhaps – be more than he wants to be remembered for.
IV) The news of the Consistory was leaked a couple of hours before the official announcement. If the leak was “steered”, there should be no excessive surprise at other, unwanted leaks happening; if it wasn’t, well it’ s worrying.
I will gather more information about the new six Cardinals in the next days. It seems to me, though, that all in all it could have been worse.
I have barely left the keyboard after writing about the impending “Beatification of V II” and already the Vatican lets it transpire the beatification of Paul VI is rather imminent, and we will soon know what happens with John Paul I.
I will not add much to what I have already written, then I am sure many of you perfectly echo my sentiments without the need to repeat unpleasant words. In the end, beatifications are NOT expressions of the Church’s infallible Magisterium and if a Pope wants to make a pig’s breakfast of the institution this may happen without anyone being seized by Sedevacantist doubts.
I for myself will smile at this very questionable effort, very much in bad taste, of beatifying in one stroke both V II and… oneself once one has gone, and will rather wonder at who the next candidates for beatification will be. Bugnini comes obviously to mind, but Martini might be another one if time allows.
The desperate attempt to give any credibility whatsoever to an entire age of superficiality, desire of popularity and theological drunkenness must fail, because ridicule has never been able to avoid exposure by means of a couple of medals given here and there. One is reminded of those old Soviet fat cats heavy with medals no one knew how they had deserved. A big medal is on its way for Pope Paul ( a man whose escape from Hell, if actually achieved, should give great hope to everyone of us, as the consequences of our actions play on an infinitely smaller scale and we never accepted the responsibility of being Popes), but frankly it does not let him look any better than the old Politburo members.
One day, this farce will end and the Church will look with horror at a time when Popes beatified each other serially, and the Catholic world said pretty much nothing.
I would have looked with great pleasure at the beatification of Pope Pius XII, but frankly I do not know that I would be able to rejoice now that the institution begins to resemble the Nobel Peace Prize.
Not a good time to be a Catholic. When some Proddie makes a mockery of this serial papal beatification, I think I will do the wise thing and shut up. Which I don’t do very often.
And so we are now informed that (courtesy of an “acknowledgment” of the Vatican) a German bishop is allowed to consider (or at least to say so) a German devout Catholic who refuses to pay the Kirchensteuer not a member of the Catholic Church anymore (I do not say this is the case, as this seems to be the most simoniacal bollocks heard in the last several centuries; I merely refer that they say so).
At the same time – and I link to only one of the many astonishing pieces of news you can read on the German press with sad regularity – 200 German priests and deacons openly announce they give communion to divorced and remarried so-called Catholics (the number might have grown or gone down in the meantime, but this is not material here).
Let us reflect on the implications of this:
1) It is to be strongly assumed the divorced and remarried Catholics believing they receive communion do pay the Kirchensteuer. Therefore, if one pays one receives the sacrament (or at least he think he does; but what counts here is that his priest says that he does) and his state of mortal sin, and a scandalous one at that, is not seen as impediment because of the “commandment of brotherly love”, whether the devout Catholic who does not live in scandal but does not pay the pizzo* is told by his own priest that he is outside of the church, and cannot receive the sacraments, or – what counts here – his priest says that he can’t.
This is worse than stupid: this is simoniacal, utterly disgusting, and a clear case of prostitution.
2) It is not very clear how fast Archbishop Zoellitsch (one of the men behind the new initiative concerning the Kirchensteuer and the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference; go figure) has told the relevant priests and bishops that they are now suspended from service due to their obvious, and very public acts of sacrilege, and invited very fast to repent or face sanctions up to and not excluding being defrocked. Hmm…
Now let us reflect: what does this tell us about Archbishop Zoellitsch, and the hierarchy who put him in his place? What must we deduce from the very obvious fact that those who continue to pay as wished by the Archbishop are not only pandered to continuously, but priests and deacons behaving in an obviously and publicly sacrilegious way are left unpunished, whilst those who merely want to be treated like the other 1,2 billion Catholics and in conformity to the Church understanding of charity and the duty of a Catholic for 2000 years are threatened to be excluded from the sacraments?
Is there a scandal bigger than this one in the entire Church? Nay, is there a scandal bigger than this one in the entire history of the Church?
This is, my dear readers, the poisoned fruit of the German Church being allowed to get in bed with the secular authority, and becoming both addicted to the money and the whore of those secular laws and values by which she gets so obscenely fed. It says here when the then Bishop (or perhaps already Cardinal) Ratzinger first came to Rome he was surprised to see it had fewer employees than…. the diocese of Munich. I couldn’t verify the statement, but it seems rather credible to me.
The German Pope sees all this, and “acknowledges”. You reflect on this very sad circumstances and start to understand why the 200 priests and bishops aren’t punished; and why so many German bishops and cardinals (and one Pope, even) are so ready to shower almost unlimited understanding for the “suffering” of Catholics living – poor lambs – not only in sin and open scandal, but in open defiance of elementary Catholic rules.
Mala tempora currunt. I truly hope the next Pope will not come from a country of the Kirchensteuer area.
*pizzo = Kinnbart = chin-beard. Also the unofficial name of the payments made to the mafia by shopkeepers and others out of fear of retaliation if they refuse to pay (because the mafia always avoids open threats, and stroking one’s pizzo was the way to make the shopkeeper understand it was ka-ching time..)..
I have often written on this blog – with disbelief, sorrow and some amusement – about the rather numerous cohort of those for whom the Pope is always the one responsible when he does something they like, and the hapless victim of cruel, ice-cold, shameless corridor plotters when he does something they don’t.
It can’t work, you see. Either one has the shop under control (and then he is responsible), or he hasn’t (and then he is responsible too, incidentally…).
This strange disease by which the Pope is either the man in charge or the victim of the famous “wolves” (people he has chosen to stay or remain near him, without exception; this too is elegantly overlooked) according to whether we like what comes out of the Vatican reached frankly amusing proportions in the last months. On this occasion, the famous preambolo – of which it was clear that it had been approved by the Pope, then otherwise the SSPX would have never dared to run to the wall by saying it was – was given back to the SSPX with mysterious last-minute changes, which were and remain clearly unacceptable not only for the SSPX, but for everyone who love their work and the preservation of Tradition they so beautifully defend.
Ah, how the pious cohorts of Pope Benedict went to defend him! The wolves have betrayed him! They have profited when he was taking a nap and have changed the text of the preambolo! Perhaps they changed some key words whilst he was eating his Leberkäse ! And all under his nose! Shock! Horror!
It now turns out that rather smartly, the SSPX – in my eyes tired to be used and abused by the Holy Father, though certainly far too diplomatic to say so openly – have addressed a more or less direct request to the Holy Father asking him who was the responsible for the, erm, voltafaccia.
At this point, you can be as much the Pope as you like, but you are in a bit of a spot. If you do not answer, they will make it public that you have refused to answer, which will let you look extremely bad; if you say that it was someone else’s fault you have to find and agree the version with the poor scapegoat first – which knowing the Vatican means the entire planet will know about it it in a matter of weeks – and then you will have to go back to the text and change it again, losing face twice in one go; no, the only way to limit the damage is to tell the SSPX the truth and hope they sweep it under the carpet in the hope this nicety will spare them the “worse” (say, a renewed excommunication).
Unluckily for the Holy Father, the SSPX does not make this kind of calculation, does not appear to value his word much and wants the planet to know it, and has – I can find no other words – exposed the Pope by saying in a very diplomatic and gentle way, but still klipp und klar, that the Pope has confirmed the person responsible for the changes is – surprise, surprise – he himself.
Kreuz.net reports the interview with Father Schmidberger, the head of the German province of the SSPX. The interview is on Pius.info, and if you understand German you can listen from 3:25 to dispel every doubt as to who is responsible for what. As Father Schmidberger is a rather authoritative and prestigious source, I do not think there can be any doubt whatsoever – even for the “wolves party” of the conspiracy theorists – about how things went.
Alas, now the time to face reality has come, and all those who have accused those around of the Pope of being “wolves” must ask themselves why the Pope should, now that the truth has emerged, by considered by them any more gently than how they were considering those around him.
Like everyone else, I would so much like to believe that the Pope is on the side of a sensible restoration of traditional Catholicism and that he works, prudently but steadily, toward that goal. There was a time – in particular after Summorum Pontificum – when I have thought that this was more or less the case, at least that this was partially the case, in preparation of the successor who would then set the foot on the accelerator. My, was I wrong.
Not only is this Pope fully committed to the errors of Vatican II bar the worst modernist heresies; not only does he consider Vatican II as a whole so much above criticism that he will not allow the SSPX to work in peace whilst he allows wannabe Catholic Bishops and Cardinals all over the planet – particularly in Germany and neighbouring countries – to set forth their work of destruction undisturbed; but he will not even refrain from wilful deception to damage the SSPX, eating his own word in the hope to divide them in the process.
The game is now up, the SSPX has managed the crisis in a rather admirable way – they might lose Williamson and his “wing”, but will not be substantially weakened by internal strife; more a pruning than a falling – and Father Schmidberger’s claim that they are now more united make perfect sense in light of both the Papal behaviour and the clear absence of strife – apart from the Williamsonites, who aren’t very quiet at the best of times – within the Fraternity.
Kudos to the SSPX for having said – charitably but openly – what was clear enough but too many refused to see. This might well bring them a renewed excommunication – which might have come anyway, after letting them believe it won’t if they behave… – but frankly I do not think they are in the least afraid of it.
To say the truth, I think they don’t think much of the Pope, and want the world to know where they stand, and to know why; I cannot otherwise find a reason for their decision to tell urbi et orbi that the Pope has eaten his word at the last second; a statement as damning in his hard reality as it was gently expressed (see the interview again, and if you speak German enjoy the crystal clear subtext of the interview). Once again, the Holy Father was too clever by half.
Next time you complain about the collapse of the talks, please don’t take it out on Cardinal Bertone, or on Cardinal Levada. Rather, think how the Holy Father allowed them to be in the centre of the scandalised Catholic criticism for months, and whether the Holy Father would have ever told the truth if he had not been put in a rather tight corner by the Fraternity. Perhaps a prayer for them both (and for the Holy Father, who needs it most) is in order.
This appeared some days ago on the generally well-informed (and said to have very good contacts within the SSPX) Kreuz.net.
The news matches rather neatly with another one, always from the same sources, concerning the Bishop having celebrated some confirmations in Brasil without authorisation from the SSPX.
It is now irrelevant to decide whether Bp. Williamson will (would; might) be excluded because of his Brasil confirmations, or whether he decided to fly to Brasil because he had decided to secede in the first place. What I think is relevant is that the news comes from a generally very informed source, and as far as I know has not been denied by the SSPX yet.
Those of us who think that the Holy Father started the entire exercise to try to see whether he could provoke divisions within the SSPX (I am among them) might think that with this development the Holy Father has reached his objective, but I am not persuaded the action will be of any use to the Pope either during the rest of his pontificate or afterwards.
Williamson will – if the exclusion/secession really happens – carry with him a part of the SSPX, but not a very big one. We know this, because we have seen Bishop Fellay carrying with him the vast majority of the Fraternity in the past months and we know that his leadership was not challenged in any significant way. It is reasonable to assume enough supporters and – importantly – wealthy donors will remain with the SSPX to allow it to continue its work undisturbed, with the added advantage of getting rid of the at times embarrassing presence of Bishop Williamson.
At the same time, it is difficult for me to believe Bishop Williamson would have decided to (or encouraged the) split without being assured he will have an organisation at his command with enough supporters and enough means to be of some permanence. I might be wrong, but if this secession is going to happen I think the newly created organisation is going to stay with us for a long time, and to be a voice heard within the Catholic world.
If, therefore, the split was the objective of the Holy Father, what has he obtained? Has he managed to weaken the SSPX, or to undermine its authority and prestige among sanely thinking Catholics? By no means. Has he then at least managed to defuse Bishop Williamson? Improbable.
Of course, the Holy Father might now proceed to excommunicate (again) both Williamson and the SSPX bishops after the clear failure of the negotiations (which I am now persuaded were meant to fail from day one from the Vatican, it being rather illogical that a Pope who placidly tolerates schismatic movements or currents in Austria, Switzerland and Germany would see himself unable to allow the SSPX to continue their perfectly orthodox work), thus striking them when they are, allegedly, weak; but again, I doubt this would lead to any meaningful results, as the SSPX fare best when the Post-conciliar Vatican is against them, as the past decades have abundantly shown.
Therefore, as a result of what I think were rather Machiavellian machinations from the Holy Father, the Vatican will – if the secession happens – be now confronted with not one SSPX but, so to speak, two; of which one rather as strong as ever, and the other possibly destined to become rather strong, too.
I have often thought, and become more and more persuaded, that this Pope is too clever by half, and his policy of deception is not bearing any of the desired fruits.
Pope Benedict gave conservative Catholics Summorum Pontificum to make them believe he was on their side and would (slowly and prudently, but steadily) steer the Church in their direction. In reality, though, he was only giving some food to the pigeons whilst he continued the Vatican-II policy of appointment of modernist bishops, and toleration of almost every form of dissent (not the orthodox one of the SSPX, of course; perish the thought…). As a result, conservative Catholics are now more and more aware of the deception and will (particularly after he has died; alas, many Catholics can just not conceive a reigning Pope might be wrong) soon realise the “hermeneutic of continuity” is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate the Neo-modernist horrors by getting rid of the Modernist tones.
Concerning the SSPX, the same politics was observed: the lifting of the excommunications – a fact which might have been embarrassing for the Vatican, but was certainly not decisive for the SSPX – was the prelude of “talks” meant to divide them in the middle, and possibly strike them separately afterwards. It seems clear to me this policy will fail, too, and the traditionalists will now grow stronger rather than getting weaker.
Make no mistake: Williamson will do fine, and so will the SSPX. The only one who will be disappointed is the one who wanted to beat or destroy them, and whose machinations are now all too clear to see. Just reflect how free the neo-modernist forces are to operate, and how inflexible the Vatican is with the SSPX, to realise on which side this Pope stands.
Again: too clever by half.
And so we are informed the Holy Father is now launching a new initiative to further the study of Latin, with the creation of a new Pontifical academy. There are of course several organisations which should occupy themselves with the matter, but they do not work. Therefore, a new institute with a new name must now come to the rescue…
One wonders, though, why what has not (really) worked in the past should work in the future. Latin studies will take off again when there is greater need for Latin, and this will only happen when the Traditional Mass is more widely celebrated.
In my modest opinion, the way to increase the diffusion of Latin is to increase the diffusion of the Traditional Mass: this will create greater need (and curiosity) which will be promptly filled from public and private institutions of all kind, without any need to wait for a Pontifical Academy.
The Holy father does (emphatically) not encourage the diffusion of the Tridentine (or Traditional) Mass, because he allows Summorum Pontificum to remain lettera morta, as I suspect was his intention from day one.
As long as the situation remains the present one (and it will remain as long as this reign remains) the creation of a Pontifical Academy will only be one of those official initiatives meant to show the Holy father wants to really do something, when in reality he merely wants to be perceived to do something, as abundantly proved from Summorum Pontificum.
Latin will flourish again when it is restored in its proper place in real life, in the liturgical praxis of the Church; not one day before, irrespective of how many facade initiatives are undertaken to show the Church “cares”.
In an age where effeminacy prevails at all levels and a more than alarming level of “sensitivity” is the fashion of the time, it might seem unusual to read about someone calling for the enemy to be “beating with fists”, without “counting” or “measuring” the blows, and striking “as one can”.
Utterly, utterly inacceptable, says the teacher is Islington. What will her unavoidable “gay friends” think? Urgh, monstrous!
Well, you only need to click here to persuade yourself that these words were pronounced (fists, blows, and all) by one of the best Popes of all times.
What does this teach us? Very simply, that the Popes of the past – more importantly, the greatest Popes of the past – thought and spoke like men instead of limiting themselves to the whining of their during- and post-V-II successors, who regularly are oh so “saddened” and “hurt” and generally passive-aggressive, but never think they could do with manning up a bit for a change.
Unavoidably, their pansiness translates in the pansiness of the entire Church, which will then perforce be infiltrated by either pansies, or positively evil men.
Hence the “saddening”.
Oh for a Pope with attributes, like the ones we used to have.
Open heresy has been going on in Austria for years now.
In Germany, hundreds of priest openly declare they (try to) give communion to divorced and remarried (wannabe) Catholics.
Always in Germany, Cardinals openly speaks of “homosexual unions” as if they were something positive, a “commitment” of sort.
announces he has finished a book, and is working on an encyclical letter.
From today’s (Novus Ordo) first reading, Jeremiah 23:1-6
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord.
“You have scattered the flock, driven them away, and you have not attended them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord”
hhhmmm… let us see…
The vast part of the Catholic world could not recite the ten commandments. They have no idea what a rosary is, or a work of mercy; their knowledge of prayers probably stops at Hail Mary and Lord’s prayer. In their vast majority, they do not even know mass attendance is a duty. They consider, in great numbers, contraception pretty much OK. They aren’t very shocked at abortion. They have a vague idea of what sacraments are, and why they are there. Most do not believe in transubstantiation. In their vast number, they have never been explained anything of this: not about their sunday mass obligation, not about their need for confession. Transubstantiation has never been hammered to them more than, say, the sins crying to heaven for vengeance. if asked, they would find it very difficult to tell you what is that characterises a Catholic as opposed to other Christians. They know nothing about the meaning of basic words like “charity”, or “faith”. If they have heard of theological virtues, it must have been because of some fantasy book, or video game .
There are masses not even a Pentecostal would consider decent, with the long-haired priest singing like an idiot to the tune of electric guitars. Or with lasers. Or with the priest dancing like an Hindu. Or with some other stupid form of show meant to make you understand how modern, cool, and utterly innovative the priest is. Masses celebrated even in Cathedrals, with the obvious approval of the local (bad) shepherd.
There are priests and bishops trying every day to undermine Catholic teaching,and Cardinals either helping them, or doing nothing whilst the former massacre our Catholic identity.
There is a Pope writing books whilst Rome burns; unwilling to stop the subversive prelates, and appointing scores of them to episcopal dignity time and again, where they will savage everything Catholic for decades to come; promoting them to highest positions, when they happen to be his own friends; clearly more interested in his legacy as a theologian than as a Pope, and seemingly uninterested in the countless souls going lost in the present climate; but very attentive that the SSPX should recognise the righteousness of V II, that is: of his life work as a theologian and Pope.
In the meantime, Catholicism becomes more and more a religion by hearsay. A growing number of Catholics do not baptise their children, and the grandparents can’t find the gut to say anything even when they care. But the priest smiles and tells them to rejoice in the Lord, so everything must be fine. Joy is everywhere in nuChurch, whence fire and brimstone have all but disappeared. Catholicism tries to joyfully extinguish himself away (hint: it won’t happen) whilst old people sing horrible songs and rejoice about their unbaptised grandchildren, who are under the all-joyful protection of the Spirit, surely?
I could go on, and everyone of you could add to this list.
I wonder whether Jeremiah’ passage might relate to the present times?
Oh, apologies, I had forgotten once again…
How can this be so, if all the wonderful achievements of the past 50 years were a joyous creation of the “Spirit?”
How very un-Catholic of me to even think so…
Still, there is also something else I Know…
“Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall be any missing, says the Lord.”
One day, the fold will be driven back and this senseless massacre of everything Catholic will cease. One day, the Church will re-emerge from the present crisis, from this state of drunkenness and mad search for popularity and friendship with the world, and will surge once again upon the ruins of Western moral civilisation. One day, the present cowardly dwarfs of the Church will make place to real Princes, able and willing to fight once again for unpopular truths.
One day, common sense will be recovered, and “Virgin” will mean “Virgin” again.
I doubt many of us will see that day. But I know it will come, and if we die first it is the more important that we remain alert and vigilant all our life, so that the bad shepherds do not enchant us with their easy modernist gospel, or even induce us to consider halfway acceptable that a priestly ass should sing with electric guitars in a church, and his bishop allow him to do so, and his pope not do anything about it.
In case someone should not have enough already of this interminable ping-pong, I would like to add some considerations to explain how – at least in my limited understanding – thing are going as I write.
I would say the negotiations are not dead. They are, very probably, still going on as we speak. The SSPX text is very clear in that it does not close any door, let alone slam it. The Vatican answer reinforces the impression. I note here the latter mentions a separate document (the famous “road map”) they are awaiting, and it is not clear to me whether this document will be made public when it is released. Methinks, it might be already on Archbishop Di Noia’s desk.
As always, the SSPX expresses itself with wonderful clarity, and makes evident no single inch of orthodox Catholic territory will be given away. The fact that this statement comes from the General Chapter must persuade the most unrealistically minded people in the Vatican that their dream of “acceptance of V II” (meaning with this: of the errors and distortion of V II, and the entire mentality behind it) from the side of the SSPX is just-not-going-to-happen. The Vatican boys may like this or not, but that’s how it is; if they want to talk in a serious way, they must know this is how it is going to be.
The press release, whilst gentle in its tones, lays some very heavy charges (all of them, if you ask me, perfectly justified and proved by a mountain of daily growing evidence) at the Vatican’s door. They accuse the Vatican of being silent in the face of widespread apostasy and heresy; or not having been serious in their discussions up to now; and of having misused and disfigured Tradition with unacceptable novelties not in line with it, on whose acceptance they nevertheless insist. The consequence of this is also very clear: serious discussions will only be possible if this position of the SSPX is, if clearly not approved, at least accepted as a legitimate point of view. This is, in my eyes, the point around which the entire exercise revolves. The SSPX is not asking the Vatican to convert to their vision of Tradition in order to discuss or be regolarised. But there will be no agreement unless and until their position is seen as a legitimate one. This is, as I see it, a simple “yes or no” question, on which it is inconceivable that the Vatican might not have a well-defined position. If they accept the SSPX stance, they should negotiate about the details as long as they please. If they don’t, it might be wiser to stop wasting their time.
The SSPX gives a diplomatic, but rather stern answer to the matter of what happened in June. My personal opinion is that they do not even pretend to be so naive as to believe that Cardinal Levada would take it as a new hobby to change texts already approved by the Holy Father (in this case, it would have been very easy to accuse him in some diplomatic way). On the contrary, it seems clear to me they are well aware the Holy Father himself has either eaten his word because scared of the results of the agreement, or he has wilfully lied to them when he first indicated his agreement with the SSPX’s version of the preambolo. Their answer to this is rather laconic: “We do not make names here, but if you want to talk to us be serious and stop playing clever guys”.
I have read and re-read the SSPX statement and, as always, found myself in agreement with almost every word (the only exception being the rather whining implicit accusation that the Vatican is “persecuting” them; in my eyes a wild exaggeration). Most importantly, I find that the clarity of thought and speech of the SSPX puts to shame the doublespeak or outright heresy we hear from Vatican officials and prelates in good standing with now almost daily frequency, as the meltdown of the – weak at the best of times – Papal authority causes a renewed, massive attack on Tradition from wicked princes of the Church, mainly German or Austrian ones.
We will see in the coming months how all this evolves. In my eyes, following considerations must be made:
1. At this point, it is not so terribly important whether an agreement is reached. Pope Benedict will probably not live long, and his successor will be able to denounce or quietly dismount every agreement which might have been reached during this pontificate, or to reach an agreement with much better chances of, so to speak, consolidating its position on the ground. Much more important than this is that the SSPX hasn’t given away an inch of properly intended, traditional orthodoxy. God bless them.
2. As stated above, the Holy Father must – as in: must – make a decision whether he accepts that the SSPX will continue not to accept what they think wrong in V II, and continue to say so. If he does, ways will be found to allow the SSPX to work properly – but as… SSPX – from a position of full communion. If he doesn’t, he is just wasting his time, or more probably posturing as a Pope looking with a benevolent eye on Traditionalists, when in fact he only wants to destroy them.
It is my personal impression that the Holy Father wanted to be too clever by half, firstly letting the SSPX smell the blood of reconciliation and then taking away the bait at the last moment, in the hope they would either lacerate internally over this, or perhaps even be moved to extraordinary concessions for the sake of this “reconciliation” now being dangled in front of their eyes. In case you would think the Pope would not do that, please reflect this is exactly what he tried to do, as cardinal, with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an institution clearly meant to become the trojan horse inside the SSPX citadel, and a strategy which failed already.
The strategy of division failed a first time in 1988, and a second time in 2012. It is time to see reality for what it is and realise that the SSPX doesn’t care two straws for a reconciliation which asks them to sacrifice what they stand for, though they are always ready for a reconciliation allowing them to fight for true orthodoxy from a position of full communion, and with guarantees of not being regaled with the next trojan horse as a result.
God bless the SSPX.
And so it came to pass – and to be leaked – that the exclusion of bishop Williamson from the General Chapter of the SSPX was approved by an overwhelming majority of the capitularies now gathering in Écône.
Some say this does not mean much, because Williamson is certainly not as dangerous to Fellay’s leadership than the other two I do not say rebel, but at least critical bishops.
Allow me to say why I disagree:
1. Without attributing to certainly very honest men less than honest qualities, it must be evident that if Tissier de Mallerais and Alfonso de Galarreta had intended to openly challenge bishop Fellay’s leadership, they would not have started by asking their supporters to go against Williamson. Not for reasons of duplicity, but simply for reasons of ordinary prudence and political common sense. If, on the other hand, the two bishops do want to mount a challenge but cannot have their men rallying in Williamson’s defence, then they are clearly not nearly strong enough to challenge Fellay’s leadership.
2. It seems to me that, with some exceptions, most f the SSPX members have seen – if I may say so; I think I may – through the Vatican’s game of dividing them trying to cause separations within them and the creation of “splinter” groups; a game already played, most notably in 1988 through the FSSP; a move which seems to me to have been certainly approved – if not altogether engineered – by a Cardinal… Ratzinger.
3. By all disagreements, the cold shower from the Vatican has certainly showed bishop Fellay is not willing to be strong-armed by the Vatican (cow)boys, and no vague threats of (what exactly? Declaration of 2000 years of Catholicism as “schismatic”, perhaps?) “retaliation” will move him to do any concession. Bishop Fellay is, in fact, amply outsmarting the Vatican, being able to present himself as a safe custodian of Catholic orthodoxy – as, make no mistake, I am sure he is; though I have been known to be very wrong in the past, most notably concerning Popes… – whilst the Holy Father shoots himself in the foot by appointing a mediocre, irascible, apparently even interview-addicted pal of his to the main chair in this controversy (three interviews already in just a few days, if memory serves; and not coming well at all out of any of them).
Obviously, during the weekend I might prove to be spectacularly wrong, and I will make a suitable act of contrition if it were to be so; but I do not think bishop Fellay is one of those types preferring the womanly option and saying “if there is dissent against me I prefer to go, so that everyone can see how badly hurt I am”. I think we can safely say the Lord carved the man out of different wood than that.
Therefore, this morning’s
announc leak persuaded me all is – considering the circumstances – rather well within the SSPX. There will be no splits, nor ferocious lamentations; there will be some expression of dissent, largely expected but not threatening the SSPX’ stability; and there will be a show of unity having with special addressee the Vatican. Hic sumus, et hic manebimus optime.
In the end, Fellay must well know his position is much more solid than Archbishop Mueller’s. If he only wants, Fellay will be at his place – Deo volente, of course – for the next six years at the very, very least; Archbishop Mueller can’t even know whether (as the Italian saying goes) he will eat his panettone as the head of the CDF. It may be cynical to say so, but it is the reality on the ground, and it doesn’t really make sense to ignore it.
I’d love to be a fly in the meeting room of the SSPX General Chapter, now underway.
From what I understand, the main arguments will be three:
1. A decision concerning the latest Vatican version of the preambolo dottrinale.
2. A discussion about the opportunity of going into this last phase of negotiation with the Vatican, and
3. Perhaps, a more or less open personal criticism of Bishop Fellay and his leadership style.
As to 1., it seems clear to me the SSPX will reject the text proposed by the Vatican. Whilst we do not know the wording, we know that: a) the last version presented by the SSPX, which had the unofficial blessing of the Holy Father, has been changed again, and b) Bishop Fellay has already said the latest version is not acceptable.
Beside the discussion about the wording of the preambolo, the matter of the concrete way of working of the SSPX will certainly play a role. After the latest weeks, not even Laurel and Hardy would believe in the sincere intention of the Pope or the Vatican apparatus to reconcile themselves with the SSPX because they understand the SSPX is as Catholic as any of them (and I am being generous…).
Therefore, any agreement will have to be waterproofed not only concerning the SSPX relationship with the mistakes of V II and the following years, but also against any attempt to assimilate the SSPX and pollute it with a V II ideology. That will be an interesting discussion indeed, and I can easily forecast the utter rejection – though perhaps not officially stated for obvious reasons – of every agreement subjecting the local structures of the SSPX to any influence whatsoever from the local bishop, let alone from a talking ass like the Archbishop Mueller.
As to 2. I can see a charge of the hard-line brigade, accusing Fellay of having leaned too much out of the window, and having been conned into believing an agreement on the text was reached before the Vatican back pedaled again. In my eyes, the Bishop has the excellent defence than one tends to believe that the Pope’s word has some value until the contrary is proved, and that one should not be blamed for honestly trying to see whether a reconciliation is possible, however untrustworthy the people on the other side should prove afterwards. But this should make for a highly entertaining discussion, too.
Thirdly, it appears some – a minority – of the SSPX priests will push their criticism to the point of asking Bishop Fellay to go. I doubt the latter will comply with their wishes, and it would appear he has – besides being elected for further six years – around two thirds of the Society firmly on his side. It will be interesting, though, to see how this pans out, because if a strong minority harshly criticises Fellay this might have as a result a certain “hardening” of his line toward the Vatican.
Lastly, I do not think there will be any meaningful defection in any way, and now many weeks after the leak of the internal “three bishops’ letter” I have not read a single threat, overt or covert, of secession.
The Vatican is clearly playing the old divide et impera game, alternating phases in which the agreement is made to believe to be imminent and others of more rigid attitude, thus maximising the potential for conflict and recrimination within the Society.
Unfortunately for the Pope, the SSPX appears to be a bit more solid – both politically, and morally – than the corrupt and miserably led bunch he has chosen to trigger the tragic meltdown of his pontificate. His trick of trying to divide the SSPX under the disguise of the “dying Pope who would oh so much want to see the SSPX reconciled before he dies” will, I am afraid, not impress many in Econe. The Pope has already abundantly showed how much he wants to see the SSPX reconciled (to heterodoxy perhaps; certainly not to Catholicism, which the Society already is), and what kind of Church he is preparing for his successor.
Let us support the SSPX members with our prayer, that they may avoid the snares of the Vatican and agree to a solution allowing them to continue their wonderful work without restraints, or to no solution at all.
Still, don’t worry: the SSPX will be around, rich and strong, long after the Pope’s departure.
This will be published from the Italian magazine Panorama today.
If what is alleged is true, the chap was born around 1982, from a prelate who evidently learned the lesson of the Sixty-Eighters so well he was still practising free love many years later.
Whilst we do not know the source, this looks like the next stage of the Vatileaks affair, in the sense that it seems to come from the same people.
I am, obviously, not worried as both Cardinals (Bertone and the influential dad) seem to have the confidence of the Holy Father, and we all know how good he is in selecting the very worst.
The Panorama article makes some names of Cardinals, as the allegations are precise enough as to not allow many alternatives as to who the involved prelates might be. I prefer not to report the names, as it might well be that this last “leak” is motivated by a desire to slander without any proof, spreading a climate of falseness and lies. Still, this will make the round of the planet today, so it’s better you read it here…
I wouldn’t bet my pint that the slander hypothesis is the case, though: if the leakers are the same we have seen operating in the past, we will probably see the evidence of what they say rather soon. They seem to be very well informed, and very determined.
Illegitimate sons of Cardinals aren’t really a novelty, and their papas generally provide for them a good situation. The most famous example is probably Cesare Borgia, in Italy called Il Valentino: bishop at 15 (of Valencia, hence the name) and cardinal at 18, one can’t say papa wasn’t providing for his personal welfare… still, one would have thought these things are out of fashion now…
As it stands, we are solidly on our way of having all the Church corruption of the XVI Century, without any of the theological orthodoxy.
Mala tempora currunt.
Hat tip to Chris Gillibrand at Catholic Church Conservation.
- Benedict is surrounded by wolves – he’s an innocent lamb fearing for his life
- Benedict is a victim of “The Vatican” – he can only appoint whom the Vatican bureaucrats tell him to appoint – he has no real authority
- Benedict is going senile or off his meds
- Benedict is weak and can’t resist the peer pressure
- Benedict is in a liberal dream – we need to pray for him to wake up
- Benedict doesn’t know Mueller is a heretic – how could he possibly be expected to ensure the man he appoints as watchdog of orthodoxy is orthodox himself?!
- It’s all a big mystery – no one knows what any of this means
- Who are you to accuse someone of heresy?
- Just because Mueller is a heretic doesn’t mean we can know he’s a heretic
- Just because Mueller makes heretical statements doesn’t mean he actually believes what he says
- Mueller isn’t a heretic until Benedict says he is one — and since Benedict will never do that, Mueller can never become a heretic
- Mueller isn’t a heretic – he’s just way smarter than all you simpletons put together.
I am no sedevacantist, and can therefore not accept the Pope be no Pope just because he makes mistakes, and at times serious ones. Many Popes before him have done, many will do. My duty as a Catholic is to bear all this with patience, do what I can to react against it, and hope that the day I die this will be counted in my favour.
But there is no denying the shocking amount of denial going on particularly among the laity. Religious know a Pope can even have heretic opinions (and reputed theologians think some did), he will merely not proclaim them in a dogmatic way. Many among the laity, on the other hand, seem to think that if the Pope were wrong then Catholicism would be wrong, and must therefore try to find any kind of excuse to explain how what is wrong is, in the end, right.
If you ask me this is not even clericalism anymore, but simple papolatry.
“Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables”. (2 Tim 4:2-4)
St. Paul was the kind of man who did not hesitate to rebuke a Pope, and a Pope appointed by Christ Himself. He was keenly aware of how easily the faithful look for teachers ready to teach to them “according to their own desires”, and by this way end up “turning away their hearing from the truth”.
We see this happening in an extreme fashion in Germany today. “Reprove” and “rebuke” having disappeared from the language of the hierarchy in everything which does not concern the Society of St. Pius X, a huge pressure has built up to give the German faithful (?) what they want to hear.
Promptly, the teachers of our times try to accommodate them as much as they can, as they try to accommodate pretty much everything under the sun as much as they can; with the exception, again, of the Society of St. Pius X and very few others.
If you read German, you have followed the growing climate of understanding created in Germany for all those who refuse Church teaching. This climate is created – generally – not by officially opposing the teaching, but by a shift of the centre of gravity in the discussion: not the Truth of Christ is extolled, but the “suffering” of those who do not follow it.
Of course, we all know the Church has compassion – as we all must have – for all those who have strayed from the truth and struggle – another fashionable word; more like, “refuse to follow” – with Catholic truth. But a grave disservice is made to them when they are reminded of their suffering, without telling them very clearly where this suffering comes from, and where it will lead to.
Alas, the Holy Father went down this road himself, when he addressed himself, speaking to German faithful, to those divorced and remarried Catholics some weeks ago. As I see it, this wasn’t sound teaching but merely appeasement, and appeasement never works.
If you tell a divorced and remarried Catholic that he is “suffering” oh so much, without telling him what he has to do to put an end to the suffering, his “suffering” will unavoidably be understood as the fruit of an injustice. Which is what German divorced and remarried “Catholics” punctually continue to do.
As (almost; see Archbishop Mueller) always, the problem is not in the literal meaning of what is said: every bad religious can be oily enough to slip in the usual veiled reference to sound Catholic teaching allowing them to say to the critics: “see? I have told them!” whilst making sure the crowds will be pleased with his message. The problem is in the climate of understanding that these utterances unavoidably create.
I always suggest – and will do it today – to think of what our grand-mothers, or even our grandmothers for the less young among us, would have said of such phenomena: would they have complained about the irreligiousness of their times in case of such events – say: explosion of divorce and remarriage among Catholics – or would they have put under the spotlight the “suffering” of those who so behave?
But you see, in those times people did not fabricate their own theology at home, nor did they have priests ready to give to them such stale food. They heard it straight, and repeated it as they had heard it. The idea that everyone has the right to be accommodated was just not there.
How the times have changed.
The Mary Ever-Virgin blog post of the day micro-award goes to EF Pastor Emeritus, a Catholic priest running a blog with a remarkable knack for punching posts.
His blog post, very aptly titled, contains the following statement:
I look forward to reading how the new prefect will explain his apparent or alleged denial of “Ex intacta Virgine” when speaking of Mary and Christ.
and in fact, I wonder what kind of convoluted reasoning will be necessary to explain to us that virgin is not virgin, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strenght. He might persuade some contemporary German, but if we had been in the XVI century and I had been his defender I would have suggested him to plead mental insanity.
I have resigned myself to the fact that the Vatican II doublespeak will only cease when those who promote and continue to promote V II have gone to their more or less pleasant reward.
For the moment, it is consoling to read a priest write the following words:
The Doctrine of infallibility does not, of course, apply to appointments made by a Pope. D.g., and an appointment is not a teaching. I therefore with good conscience continue to accept Papal teaching in both the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium despite some stupid appointments made by popes throughout history.
Kudos to E F, Pastor Emeritus with a knack for truthfulness.
In case you are still lulling yourself in the easy illusion that the Holy Father might have chosen Mueller so that he paves the way for an agreement with the SSPX, you may want to read what Catholic Church Conservation has to say on the matter; or, better, what the man himself felt obliged to put on record not a long time ago.
The following are, verbatim, his words (emphases mine):
The SSPX must fully return to the ground of the Catholic Church and recognise the authority of the Pope, the decisions of the Second Vatican Council and recognize existing canon law. If they do, they also accept that the seminary of Zaitzkofen falls under the supervision of the Diocese of Regensburg. The seminary should be closed and the students should go to seminaries in their home countries – if they are suitable for this purpose.
Zaitzkofen is a seminary of the SSPX in the diocese of… Regensburg.
I have written a letter to the Vatican and asked for the legal status of the seminary of Zaitzkofen to be verified. Even the Constitution of the SSPX should be critically considered by canon lawyers.
The illegal Episcopal consecration cannot lead to a receipt of office. The bishop is a minister of unity. The four Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated bishops do not have the aptitude for this office.
The four bishops of the SSPX should all resign and in political and no longer comment on ecclesiastical policy issues. They should lead an exemplary life as a simple priest and chaplain as part of the reparation for the damage that the schism has caused.
This is the man the Holy Father has put at the head of the congregation in charge not only of defending Catholic truth, but to negotiate with the SSPX.
I rest my case. Paul VII, and no mistake.
A long string of disastrous episcopal appointments to please the local hierarchies (though I slowly doubt they displeased him in the first place).
The appointment of clearly heterodox clergy even in key positions, like Westminster.
The absolute inaction – apart from a couple of words some time ago; but words are no action – against the heresy in Austria.
The “Assisi” kermesse, only marginally better than the past exercises, and accompanied by almost all of the un-Catholic “ecumenical” stench of the past editions. This did not even please the crowds. Lesson learned, I hope. Don’t bet your pint.
The clear desire to ingratiate himself to the German crowds – see the rather astonishing declaration of some weeks ago concerning the “suffering” of the divorced and remarried; poor lambs… – by accurately avoiding to say it straight about divorce.
The ridiculous farce with the SSPX; a farce either started to try to divide them, or precipitated by lying collaborators, or caused by sudden fear to displease the German “sponsors”. This last farce very probably involved eating his own words. Very smart.
The leakage scandal, not so terrible in itself but showing a man who doesn’t even know his most intimate collaborators and companions.
Much worse, the letter leaked showing a duplicitous style of governing the church, with people like Burke first kept in the dark about taken decisions, informed only after the fait accompli, and after the humiliation given a little sweet, like one does with little children in order to keep them quiet. Too clever by half is the right description.
The clear flavour of favoritism, with those near and dear to him free to do how they please (Schoenborn, a “personal friend”; Mueller, another “personal friend”) without any fear of punishment, whilst the SSPX is left out in the cold with a dangling bait only an idiot can think they will swallow. Once again, too clever by half.
Lastly, the double whammy of the appointments of Roche and Mueller.
In the balance of seven years of Pontificate, it is clear Summorum Pontificum was nothing more than another sweet given to the noisy Traditionalist children: a measure whose execution – let alone enforcement – was obviously never wanted, and motivated exclusively by the desire of the Pontiff to appear the ally of more conservative elements. This is why the bishops boycotted it with such gusto: they knew this was exactly fine.
Whilst, though, Summorum Pontificum is largely lettera morta, the appointment of bad – or very bad, or clearly heretical – personnel continues unabated, and with some notable exception (Burke, say; isolated and not even informed of momentous decisions) the happy V II crowds continue to call the shots, with heretics happily promoted in the key positions.
I can understand you if you thought Pope Benedict could be a Pope if not of traditionalist restauration – this he never said – at least of steady and gradual march toward sanity. Forget it. He now even has his own Bugnini, today’s appointment being surely destined to weigh on his memory as heavily as Bugnini’s work weighs on Pope Paulus VI of unhappy memory.
Pope Benedict is no better than Pope Paul VI, and Paul VII would have been a much more apposite name for him. He is probably worse, as Pope Montini might – just might – have had as an excuse the violent – if not unexpected – eruption of an open revolt he was not prepared to quench, whilst Pope Benedict is clearly helping a bunch of grey-haired sixty-eighters oily, slimy, socialist, heretical money and power-grabbers to perpetuate a situation that must – and will – die with them.
Pope Benedict has tried to disguise himself as a Pope friendly to conservative Catholics, and threw them a couple of sweets they were all too eager to accept as gold coins. In order to keep this fiction going, he might even agree to some form of reconciliation with the SSPX, possibly with some small print allowing him to neutralise them; certainly, the SSPX should never accept any agreement requiring them to trust him.
One can safely say the game ended today. It will be very painful for many of us to have to admit it, but I’ll still prefer to look at reality rather than insist in this dream of the conservative pope that just doesn’t manage to act conservative because…. of the wolves he chose.
This is Paul VII, and no mistake.
From Rorate Caeli, an interesting selection of flowers from the very colourful garden of Archbishop Mueller. The flowers are many, all of them extremely poisonous, but I would like to draw your attention to this one:
In his 900-page work “Katholische Dogmatik. Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie” (Freiburg. 5th Edition, 2003), Müller denies the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary claiming that the doctrine is “not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth (such as the birth canal not having been opened, the hymen not being broken, or the absence of birth pangs), but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature.”
Please read this again, and a third time, and tell me whether language can be ever distorted at the point of not letting this words mean what they clearly want to mean.
The person who is expressing this is not being misunderstood; this does not come from a blog post written in haste, or from a chat with a journalist all too ready to misunderstand for the sake of the headline. This comes from a published book, gone through the usual painful process of reading and correcting, rethinking and re-writing. This is not about pressing the “delete” button once whenever one wants to have the text go more or less away. Scripta manent.
No, the meaning of this cannot be misunderstood: forget Mary Ever-Virgin, we are Germans.
No doubt, we will soon be regaled with the usual crap concerning the proper interpretation of what is already as clear as the sun. We will be told that if we read the words in a certain very smart way, then “white” can really be understood as to mean, so to speak, in a sense, possibly, no doubt, black. Bollocks. If one writes “white”, what he means is the contrary of black. If one denies that Mary was Ever-Virgin, what he means is that he is a heretic, and proud to be one.
Now: as I have already written in the past, heretics come in two flavours: the friends of the Pope, and those who aren’t. Cardinal Policarpo belongs to the second category, and therefore he is forced to back pedal and promptly (but don’t worry: very mildly) rebuked when he allows himself a journey into Heresyland. But Cardinal Schoenborn, a well-known protege’ of the Pope, can support Medjugorje and (covertly) do all he can to help the heretics in his own home, and nothing will ever happen to him as long as his buddy Pope Benedict lives.
In this matter I also suspect an even less noble motive: last time I looked, Germany was the single biggest contributor to the Vatican coffins, whilst Austria and Switzerland certainly also did their part. One who doesn’t trust Pope Benedict’s motives (I certainly don’t; nor will I ever again) is certainly authorised to suspect that the big spenders should be appeased by giving to one of them some very important position, in order to show them how much listened to they are, and how important they are to the great machine. Who cares if they are a bunch of heretics.
I will not – today – go into the other blasphemous, proto-communist or simply stupid antics of Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Mueller. This is for another day. Today, I would like to attract your attention on the phrase opening this blog post. No wait, let me repeat them here, just in case you should think this is just a couple of badly spoken words:
In his 900-page work “Katholische Dogmatik. Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie” (Freiburg. 5th Edition, 2003), Müller denies the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary claiming that the doctrine is “not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth (such as the birth canal not having been opened, the hymen not being broken, or the absence of birth pangs), but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature.”
How bad can such a person be? And how can the man promoting him to the top of the CDF pretend to be any better?
Let us not beat around the bush here: people like Archbishop Mueller would have, in Christian times, been put at the stake, and deservedly so. Today, they get to become the theologian in chief, by those who should protect the faithful from people of this kind.
Ahhh, the beautiful world of Vatican II.
In this most disgraceful of days, I must admit (until up to now, 6:45 pm of a rainy afternoon) to be unable to express myself about what has happened in a way I would be pleased to, say, reblog in six months’ time. Perhaps none of you is interested in what I would have to write, but experience and the statistic page say that perhaps one or two might. I feel I am letting people down who in this day simply feel like crying, as I did if dear God had not made me a bit more pugnacious than that.
I invite you to pray to the Blessed Virgin in reparation for the offence publicly made to her today.
If my Catholicism depended from the Pope, I would say to you I have never been so ashamed of being a Catholic as today. But my Catholicism reposes on my faith in Christ and His Church, and therefore I tell you that I have never been so proud of being a Catholic as today: then if Jesus loves the Church so much that He allows such things to happen, surely there is more than a crumble of hope for a wretched sinner like myself.
Apologies, I am not fit to write any blog post I could read again in, say, six months’ time without blushing; which is, at now around Fifty, not an easy admission to make.
Pope Benedict’s mother and grandmother will, methinks, roll in their grave. As well they should.
Please pray the Blessed Virgin in reparation for the offence made to Her today.
The staunchest Catholics are critical of certain popes of the past. The Colonnas and Caetanis of the world, the greedy ones like Benedict IX, the warriors like Julius II, the scheming fornicators like Alexander VI are heavily criticised.
The staunch Catholic knows that he can do this because his faith in the Church, or the validity of the Church’s role and message, do not depend in the least on how good – or bad – the Pope is. Like something else, bad popes simply happen.
The same happens when the criticism concerns popes of a more recent past. There’s nothing easier than to find around the Internet a rather sharp criticism of the long-deceased Pope Paul VI or of his predecessor, Pope John XXIII.
Exactly the same process is now occurring for the last deceased pope, Blessed John Paul II. Treated in life like a pop icon and the undisputed Strange Communicator, the earth-kissing, koran-kissing, rock-loving, airmiles-collecting pope’s legacy is seen with an increasingly more historical, and therefore more critical role now than it was only some years ago, with his rushed beatification probably not doing him any favour in this respect, and rather leaving the impression the Vatican wanted to use a marketing instrument for all it was worth before the reaching of the “sell by” date.
Strangely, though, this exercise of the legitimate ability to respectfully criticising the Pope seems – at least in recent times – to never apply to the Pope in charge.
The pope in charge is, in this prospective, inerrant. If he makes a mistake, his mistake lies in being too good. If the mistake must be attributed to him, he has been badly advised. If he keeps making mistakes, his advisers must be bad apples . If he surrounds himself with bad apples, it is because as an apple he is just too good to notice.
Most recently, I have found a new version of this: if the wrong document has been sent out, a Cardinal must have changed it against the will of the Holy Father, every other explanation having to be excluded because it conflicts with the new unwritten dogma of papal inerrancy. If we believe this, we can truly believe everything: Hitler wanted global peace but has been badly advised, Stalin was a devout Christian but his aides were bad apples, and Mussolini was fundamentally an ascetic character whom bad women kept tempting.
This total abandonment of common sense and basic logic is not only deprived of reason, but profoundly offensive of the same man it is meant to protect. To imply an old man would sit on a chair and suffer at the thought his cardinals change his texts, without doing anything against it, is the open accusation that this man is perfectly inadequate to fulfil his role, either because he is not compos mentis anymore or because he allowed his aides to cow him into inaction to such a point.
It is rapidly becoming apparent the emperor has very few clothes, and to leave him out in his undies whilst the “wolves” are blamed for the scandal isn’t really helpful for anyone, least of all the emperor. The more so, because the time will come when the emperor’s actions are clinically examined both in this world and in the next, and the unwritten assumption of inerrancy will not help him anymore.
Neither I nor the internet were there, but I wonder whether in Paul VI’s times exactly the same mechanisms applied: it is not the pope’s fault; he is surrounded by wolves; he isn’t understood; his collaborators work against him; his documents are even changed, his suggestions not followed, he is the hostage of cruel ruthless cardinals. Bugnini bad, Montini good.
Really? Did this mentality help him in the end? Would he have acted differently had he not felt authorised to think that whining was an acceptable substitute for acting? Did he manage to escape hell in the end? If he did, was it because of, or notwithstanding the silence and excuses of those around him? And these latter, were they not accessories to his sins by silence, or by concealment, or by defence of the evil done?
If you ask me, the duty of a good Catholic does not lie in selective blindness. Not from a general point of view, but the more so because as Catholics we know the Church is stronger than any difficulty, whether external or internal. We must accept the reality of mediocre Popes as we accept the reality of disease and bad weather. Bad popes happen, but they do not change a iota in our faithfulness and dedication to the Church of Christ.
Pray for the Pope; that he may see the situation, and set a couple of things right.
A shocking leak from the SSPX shows the extent of the chaos in which the Vatican is sinking. I know, it is very bad that the letter has been leaked, but this post is not about that so let us leave that aside for the time being.
The letter is not explicit, but very clear in saying what has happened: someone at the Vatican lied, or was duplicitous, or ate his words.
Logically excluding Bishop Fellay himself might have lied about his proposal of preambolo being acceptable to the Holy Father, and espousing the generally accepted opinion – and the only one compatible with common sense and basic diplomacy – that Monsignor Gaenswein informed Fellay the Holy Father had no objections to the revised version of the Preambolo, only one of the two could have happened:
1. Gaenswein lied to Fellay in order to induce him to present a document which would then be refused, fomenting discord and strife within the SSPX.
2. The Holy Father either wilfully lied to reach the same objective or – far more probably if you ask me – just did not have the gut, until today at least, to follow through on what he had said.
Alas, tertium non datur. In both cases, the Holy Father goes out of this story severely damaged, and justifying serious doubts about his ability to adequately fulfil the job description. Whether Gaenswein – the man the Pontiff is supposed to trust the most – lied in order to let the SSPX run through the test of the reconciliation whilst the German bishops were mobilised, of the Pope himself decided to eat his words, the Pontiff – of whom I cannot believe that he himself was the architect of this deception, if for no other reason because no doctor ever prescribed that he starts the reconciliation process in the first place – is rapidly resembling King Theoden before Gandalf’s visit. Alas, I can see no Gandalf around the Vatican.
Let us say this once again: there can be no reasonable doubt Fellay was informed the Pontiff was in agreement with his last draft of the document. This makes the content of the leaked letter so explosive, because it reveals a shocking breach of trust.
I only hope the usual litany of the “wolves” will now cease. The responsibility for bad – or very bad, or awful, or outright stupid – governance does not lie somewhere in the clouds, but in the one who is responsible for it.
Where I grew up a man was only as good as his word, and clearly someone very highly placed in the Vatican isn’t very good at all. Besides, he is too clever by half, because to indulge in such cheap tricks thinking that they will not come out in the open isn’t very smart in the end. Lies have short legs, and nowadays leakers have extremely long ones.
I never thought I’d see the day, that’s all.
The problem of the Vatican isn’t a problem of wolves, but rather of sheep. The Italian saying comes to mind: chi agnello si fa, il lupo se lo mangia. If one makes himself a lamb, the wolf will eat him. He then has, I am afraid, no right to complain.
When the talk is about the problems in the Vatican – and within the Church at large – I understand we Catholic bloggers – from the obscure laymen like myself to the better known names on the Web – can be perceived a bit like armchair generals, ready to shoot from the security of their keyboards without having to actually carry the responsibility for such a complicated matter as to running a diocese, let alone the Church.
The argument doesn’t really stand.
If the blogger is a realistic one, he will not write things like “kick 90% of the bishops to Patagonia NOW”. It doesn’t work that way and anyone knowing a bit about the workings of complex organisations knows it. He will, though, write something that is at the same time highly realistic, and eminently feasible.
Many Popes in the past have been rather harsh. Pope Pius X was not a good diplomatic (he was, actually, dismal at that) but, crucially, he was good at doing things, rather than talking about them or complaining about the cruelty of the world, which refuses to adjust to his wishes without conflict. He was, besides being saintly, an eminently practical man: he identified a problem, and then he acted against it. He knew talking about it was not enough, and wishing the problem to go away would also not help. He also knew, I think, writing a new book whilst there were burning problems to be addressed would help the least.
Alas, we have a completely opposite situation now, with the last two Popes better at travelling the world, writing books and/or marketing themselves than at doing the hard, consuming, ungrateful, obscure, daily work of being the Pope. The one travelled around the world and kissed the earth when he arrived – the media loved it; I never understood whether he was really scared to fly, or sincerely worshipping the earth -; the other continued with his ambitious editorial programme whilst his hierarchy didn’t know how to spell “Williamson” (otherwise they’d have googled him, just for the curiosity), and his bishops couldn’t even stand a Christian like Monsignor Wagner to be made bishop. Who cares, as long as the airport fields are full.
How to get out of this? How to avoid the next Pope being another who thinks the most important organisation existing on earth simply does not need leadership? My suggestion is that when the times comes, the Cardinals put orthodoxy and leadership at the top of the requirements for the job; with personal saintliness, theological prowess, or media expertise way back in the list.
This is not about asking for the moon, or leaving in a dream. It’s about wondering whether among 120 Cardinals there is no one who unites a sincere orthodoxy to the desire to fight the good not in words – for too long words have been considered acceptable alternatives to deed; this grates me immeasurably – but in deeds.
It does not really take so much. To let the Vatican work is not a matter of magic, but of simple leadership. Leadership works, and it is not a matter of obscure voodoo. Send the first inept Cardinal in the wilderness, and no one will notice. Do it with a second, and many people will take notice. Follow up with a third, and you’ll see all others marching like toy soldiers.
The same with bishops. Does it need a genius to understand Archbishop Nichols is as Christian as my door handle? Why on earth was the chap in these photos made bishop? Who appointed him bishop? You don’t say!?
How on earth can a heresy explode in the heart of Europe whilst the Pope is… writing books? Should he not deal with the bonfires in his realm first? Am I asking too much? How many books before the same happens in Germany? Oh wait, we’re already there! Who would have thought it?
I hope and pray the next Pope will be a doer, rather than a talker or a writer. For Heaven’s sake not a genius, or someone thinking himself too clever and intellectually accomplished for something as vulgar and earthly as action. Someone with enough limited intellect to understand the basics of human behaviour: that people (yes! Even Cardinals!) eschew pain and seek pleasure, and if they run the risk of ending up somewhere in Zimbabwe they’ll obey all right or ask to be relieved from office. This is nothing new, nothing revolutionary, nothing that does not follow elementary principles applied in every company, even the badly run ones.
Pope St. Pius X demanded something very simple: accountability. One had to say which side he was on, period. Unthinkable? Hardly. Impossible? He did it. Please don’t tell me “oh but today is different”. Today is not different at all. The powers of the Pope have not changed, nor has human nature.
You punish one, and one hundred learn to behave. You refuse to punish, and anarchy ensues. It will be so for as long as there are human beings breathing.
I am sure I interpret the feelings of many readers when I say I ask for no revolution, and no miraculous works. Just a normal, pragmatic approach, like the one it is used every day even in badly run companies. An approach based on leading instead of talking, acting instead of complaining, punishing and if necessary kicking out the heretics instead of starting a dialogue with them. One thing is patience, another resignation, another still inertia.
We shall see. Don’t hold your breath.
This is a very good example of what happens when those who are in charge refuse to do their job, and unless something happens fast we must brace ourselves for much, much more of this.
Since last summer, an open revolt has been going on in Austria, with more than 300 priests and deacons clearly and openly espousing heretical positions. Just click on the “Stop” sign on the right hand side if you want to know more.
The man in charge and with the task to stop this mess is their – unofficial – ally, but he is also a personal protege’ of Pope Benedict, so nothing happened to him. Nothing happened, of course, also to the priests themselves, who were simply told they are being naughty, or rather “unhelpful”. Clearly, they feel encouraged to go on – with a distinguo here and a small concession there of course – and are the heroes of their own rebellious parishioners.
When such things happen, either one acts to quench the fire at its beginning, or he must accept responsibility when the fire unavoidably extends. The Church is very hierarchical. It is not that no one is in charge, and it is not that no one is responsible. The man in charge is, ultimately, the Pope, and the Pope has the responsibility to watch that bishops and priests behave. He is there for that. If he doesn’t do it, he is a bad Pope. It truly is as simple as that, and how good the Pope personally is does not count. Unfortunately, we live in an age where the virtuous life of a Pope easily helps to conceal the shortcomings of his work. Until a major heresy explodes of course, at which point history’s verdict will be merciless, and deservedly so.
There is one man in charge, then, and the bucks undoubtedly stops by him. In this case, the man in charge threatened – very vaguely – after many months, and we had hoped that at last the Vatican steamroller would start moving. Alas, this did not happen.
On the contrary, the German clergy – encouraged by such evident lack of action – started to become very nervous, and to challenge the Vatican in a thinly veiled manner to protect the interest of their …. sponsors (or better said: clients), the Kirchensteuer-paying German Catholics, many of them divorced and desirous to have things their own way.
Now it appears not one or two deranged idiots, or one or two deranged theologians, but 150 priests from the second-biggest German diocese, Freiburg, admit to giving communion to remarried divorced Catholics, and Benedict XVI starts to look more and more like Paul VI, without the excuse of V II.
The strategy of the Austrian-German-Swiss (very soon) priests and hierarchy is all too clear: they want the money of the Kirchensteuer and are scared by the growing number of Austrian-Germans-Swiss (non)pewsitter refusing not only to accept Catholic rules (for which clearly said clergymen don’t care two straws) but also to pay the Kirchensteuer (for which clearly said clergymen care a lot). Therefore, the shepherds must show they care for the sheep, and call their cowardice and – if we are honest – prostitution “pastoral care”.
In Rome, things aren’t much better and, actually, they are very possibly worse. The man in charge does pretty much… nothing, and unavoidably encourages (unwillingly, of course) the revolt to spread. These priests aren’t stupid: they know which side their bread is buttered, and can recognise an harmless and indecisive Pope when they see one.
These priests – secretly backed, or openly not strongly opposed, by their bishops – are clearly using the tactics already used with Pope Paul VI: mass revolt first, and what, oh what can a Pope do – if he is a bad Pope, that is – but to make concessions to them? This is, my dear readers, all the difference between a good and a bad Pope: the good Pope acts, the bad Pope first doesn’t act, and then says “how can I act, now?”. Mind, the good Pope always acts: if the disease if more dangerous, the cure he will apply will be more energetic. He would defrock not 150, but 15,000 priests if needs be. This is why generally he does not need to defrock many of them. The bad Pope finds some accommodation, because by admitting he will not act when the revolt is big he admits he can be strong-armed. As a consequence, his Church will become a sort of unofficial priestly democracy, led by the populists and the heretics.
Now as in Pope Paul VI’s times, the heretical priest have recognised the weak Pope and – in this case, also seeing that the Holy Father is increasingly more frail, and approaching death – see a good opportunity to strike hard. This is nothing new: we have seen this with the altar girls, and with the countless abuses and irreverent practices then become accepted. We are now seeing this with the abuse of Holy Communion, and the sheer number of the rebellious priests involved in this unspeakable mass sacrilege from the very altar puts the Holy Father in front of the alternatives between showing strenght or letting the chaos go on. But the Pope seems to have no strenght, so the chaos will – bar pleasant but improbable surprises – go on.
Please note the Holy Father – also here, in pure Paul VI manner – positively encourages the revolt (unwittingly, I think) not only avoiding to take any serious action against the Austrian priest and their unofficial protector and mentor, cardinal Schoenborn, but also – and not more than a couple of days ago – expressing himself in a very mealy-mouthed way about the suffering of the divorced and remarried, as if this suffering had come down from the sky like hail or drought. As always, when you say to people they are oh so suffering without telling them who is the responsible for this, they’ll ask you why you should add to their suffering; and if you don’t have the balls to say what is what, you’re in trouble.
As you sow, so shall you reap. The Holy Father’s lack of action has predictably led to the necessity of acting even more harshly now, and if he does not act – which he probably won’t, besides declaring urbi et orbi how saddened he is – there will be even more painful battles to be fought down the line. Alas, being sad never solved any problem, nor does it substitute in any way the need for action. It merely encourages the heretics to become bolder.
I have to say that, unfortunately, this Papacy has up to now given proof of a rather spectacular incompetence as far as concrete action is concerned, and the increasing frailty of the Holy Father might make the next year or two a remarkably catastrophic phase in the history of the Church. I hope the next Pope is a very strong man, or this post V-II mess will accompany all of us to our grave. A pity, as I for myself had hoped to live long enough to see the end of this V-II madness, as I have seen the end of Communism.
At this point, I think it is fair to say the Church would be infinitely better off with fornicators like Alexander VI, personally immoral but energetic and never a unwitting friend of heterodoxy, than with your typical “modern” Pope: personally very pious, but more or less incapable of managing the Church in a decent way. This kind of Pope confuses millions, and contributes every day to the loss of countless souls. But he is very pious and goes to confession every day, so he should be fine when he dies. I’d personally be less sanguine than that.
We must pray for the Pope that he may somewhere find the courage to deal appropriately with heresy, or to consciously pave the way for a successor hopefully able to do it.
If this goes on, brace yourself for the schism of the century; courtesy of a very saddened Pope Benedict XVI.
There are concerns around the internet that wealthy people would try to influence the Pope concerning the episcopal appointments, and more in general. Letters are written and are, through apposite channels – like other influential, but progressive churchmen – put to the personal attention of the Pope.
I am not surprised, but cannot share the dismay.
If wealthy traditionalist Catholics would try to inform the Pope of their concerns in the appointment of bishops, I am sure none of us would have anything to say against it. I am, in fact, rather sure wealthy traditionalist Catholics do it already, nor do I think this attempt to influence the Pope can be seen as anything else than a good deed, if made in good faith.
In addition, it is often said – particularly around the blogosphere – that the Pope is “isolated” and at the mercy of the elusive “wolves” apparently circling around him. It is, therefore, surprising how the attempt to jump the “wolves” and communicate directly with the Holy Father – be it made from traditionalists or “progressive” Catholics – should be seen in a negative light.
As we have all too clearly seen in the last weeks, the Pope does not live in a bubble and there would be much to be afraid of if he did. He will be unavoidably – and rightfully – exposed to a continuous stream of information coming from people who want to influence him for the most various – some commendable, some less so – reasons. The question is in my eyes not whether the Pope is exposed to such an influence – which he is – but whether he will pursue a line of coherent and logical conduct according to the tone he has decided he will give to his Papacy, or will be led to make one concession here and another there to try to make everyone happy and avoid controversy; with the usual result that he will make no one happy, and will foster controversy.
What in my eyes remains the most tragic example of this certainly wavering pontificate – a pontificate with two faces to such an extent, that “wolves” must be invented to justify the activity of the “progressive” Pope, whilst the “conservative” actions are seen as coming from the “authentic” Pope – is the episode of Gerhard Maria Wagner, the appointed auxiliary bishop of Linz, an appointment to which the Pope renounced after the reaction of the Church hierarchy in Austria and the predictable media uproar. The signal was here sent in the most evident of manners, that the Pope was clearly willing to be influenced and ready to change his mind whenever the price of keeping it would be a prolonged controversy.
The problem is not in those who write letters. The problem is, in case, in those who receive them.
It will soon be five years since the great day of the announcement of Summorum Pontificum, up to now the key moment of this Pontificate. These five years read like a mirror of the Pontificate itself: much better at great gestures than at day-to-day administration.
Summorum Pontificum was certainly historical in its value, and of vast significance in its implications: so vast in fact, that the Holy Father lacked the courage to enforce it.
Five years later, the implementation of Summorum Pontificum is left to the good will of the local bishop; which means, local bishops being what they are, that it has largely remained lettera morta. After “only” almost four years, Summorum Pontificum even had its own Instruction, Universae Ecclesiae, which made even clearer how the Pope wanted to see his reform implemented, and that nothing would happen to those who just refuse to do it. Basically, this is the history of this pontificate: not deprived of theological breadth, but clearly lacking in practical bite.
Five years have passed, and still very few have the privilege to smell the incense.
Thankfully, many more have woken up.