Monday, 25 December 2017

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Day of Anguish, Day of Terror



I have seen that those Meddling Catholics, hot on the heels of their popular You Tube hit 'World Over' (it isn't yet, but I sometimes get the feeling Francis is taking us there) interview with Pope Francis, have produced a very amusing version of 'White Christmas' with Raymond Arroyo and Francis performing a duet of the popular festive tune.

Today was the Curia's 'dressing down' day, a day not to be mistaken with Crib figures flinging their clothes off to lay down naked near the scene of the birth of our Salvation, it is that day when the Curia are debriefed and their hidden faults are laid bare, as they bathe in the glorious light that radiates from our  'Dictator Pope', still retailing at just £7.12 on Amazon Kindle.

I had forgotten that I had a while ago recorded a version of Sir Cliff's 'Mistletoe and Wine', a mini-musical monument, a little sing-a-long obelisk to the annual verbal massacre that is the Pope's Christmas address to the Curia, a festivity immortalised when he informed the Curia of their 'fifteen diseases' in, I believe it was, 2014.

This year the Pope has not disappointed those people who were looking for some really nasty insulting words towards his staff. There aren't many of those people and surely very few in the Curia. Here are some of those choice words...

This year the Pope again delivered some stern criticisms of his staff, and appeared to make reference to recent public controversies.
The Pope denounced an “unbalanced and debased mindset of plots and small cliques that in fact represent – for all their self-justification and good intentions – a cancer leading to a self-centredness”.
He also referred to former officials who left after being “corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a “Pope kept in the dark”, of the “old guard”…, rather than reciting a mea culpa.”

Hmm...who could he be talking about? The St Gall Mafia? The clique of militant homosexuals once hiding in the woodwork and now marauding around Rome and elsewhere? The still powerful and bemusingly appointable Jesuits? Cardinal Maradiaga? Or Cardinal Muller and the CDF and CDW talent dismissed for no specific reason who might just feel a little aggrieved?

Again, 'mystery' surrounds the intended audience for the latest stinging rebuke. Presumably, should his words be believed, the Pope is well-informed and does not deem himself to be kept 'in the dark' by anyone about anything, which is a shame really, because Pod-casting men of goodwill in this season of goodwill are still cutting Pope Francis some serious slack despite his poorly camouflaged intention to nullify the Word of God by means of Jesuitical sorcery.

These generous souls remain determined to present a hypothesis that the Pope is being played like a naive schoolboy at the mercy of the 'wrong crowd' who just happen to all be his friends and with whom he agrees. Surely, he is not one of them! Surely not! It has reached a stage where I fear that such dewy-eyed hopefulness is the final stage in what they call in the psychological field 'denial' and that it serves those who still present the hypothesis for the duration of this papacy because they know the people of God are defenceless in the face of a monster Pope. I don't blame these people. We all need coping mechanisms! Personally, I find singing cathartic.

It seems incredible in the truest sense of the word to hear Francis criticising those who betray trust placed in them, when so many loyal Catholics feel betrayed on a daily basis by the direction of this pontificate, but nonetheless, according to this Crux report...

Francis decried the “betrayers of trust, or those who profit from the maternity of the Church,” meaning, he said, people who “don’t understand the lofty nature of their responsibility.” He also said the process of reform requires “patience, dedication and delicacy.”

Perhaps after 'The Dictator Pope' has been well and truly digested by the Church and Francis has gone to his eternal rewards only and been canonized anyway just because that's what happens to Popes, His Holiness's Feast Day could be somewhere around 21st December, that day on which he really says what he thinks to people he doesn't feel are entitled to respect, because, you know, forthright honesty and fraternal correction is a mark of sanctity, right? You feeling that FrancisMercy? No? Well at least Christmas is near!

If you missed 'Misanthropic Swine', my rendition of the festive song at which many an Englishman says, 'I think I'll go and put the kettle on', I post it for your enjoyment below. I know there have been quite a few songs recently, but today is 'Curia Address Day', a day in which the Vatican annually quakes and tremors are felt beyond the walls of the City. It simply cannot be allowed to go unmarked.

If I don't blog beforehand, may all readers of this blog have a very happy, blessed, holy and joyful Christmas. Let no man destroy your joy in Christmastide!  The Lord has foretold and warned us in advance of those days when it will appear that the wicked are triumphant. Remain in the Truth of Christ, stay faithful, evil is not triumphant in the Church of God and never can be, despite what you see.

The Lord wins, the Lord will win in the end. What joy and what celebration there shall be for those who trust in Him and take Him for their refuge now. May you and I be numbered among those for whom purest and sweetest joy shall come! In the twinkling of an eye, the Lord's enemies will cringe at His feet! What a dressing down tha shall be! Still, come, Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Ding Dong! Everybody's High!



Here is a musical interpretation of the inglorious Vatican crib which continues to be controversial. Vocals are ropey, but hope it gives readers a laugh.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Truly Soviet


I don't know who runs the Twitter account, @Pope_news, but clearly the account holder was a little upset that the Catholic Herald ran a story on the book, The Dictator Pope. @Pope_news, a character just as anonymous as the author of the stunning new release, claimed that the revelations within the book and news of the books arrival itself have caused no stir in Rome at all and included within the tweet the image above of the adorable Pope cuddling a young couple in an adorable manner in what can only be described as a frantic attempt to portray the 'dear leader' as both invincible and inviolate. 'How could any of these accounts of the Franciscan pontificate be true!? Look! He's so cuddly and fluffy!'

Quite honestly, I don't know what I find more distressing - the picture of the character of Jorge Mario Bergoglio that emerges from within the pages that I have read of 'The Dictator Pope', or the race by the Vatican's PR men to close ranks and protect the image of "Juan Perón in ecclesiastical translation”.

What is more distressing and destructive? A Pope who runs the Vatican like a mafia boss or a Vatican inner court that has no interest in allegations of corruption and manipulation and that continues saying that everything in the garden is rosy when it knows that everything in the garden has been ravaged by beasts?


The above picture shows that the communication organs of the Vatican are now behaving like Soviet propaganda arms and little more, but then we have been used to this for five years. The only thing that matters is the image of the Pope - nothing else!

Truth, lies, heresy, corruption, fabrication, brutality, isolation and discrediting of 'enemies', manipulation, deceit on a hitherto unprecedented scale? None of that matters! Folks, all that matters is that the leader is wonderful and to prove it, 'Look, here he being wonderful! How could anyone think otherwise!'

However, it looks rather like The Dictator Pope is causing enough of a stir to prompt such preposterous defensive tactics by @Pope_news. A clear sign that he who must be pleased is more than a little displeased!



Monday, 20 November 2017

Pope Benedict XVI and the Great Reveal


I expect that Benedict XVI reigned as Pope for a great deal longer than his official tenure from 2005 - 2013 would suggest. Back in the day when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was seen as really very important indeed (has anybody heard anything from Archbishop Ladaria recently or has he gone on an extended holiday?) the then Cardinal Ratzinger was Pope John Paul II's right-hand man and right-hand men are significant. As John Paul II's illness deepened in the 1990s and his ability to govern effectively became limited, I expect that the competences Joseph Ratzinger took on became more papal. Perhaps his experiences under John Paul II even gave the then Cardinal Ratzinger his novel and hugely problematic idea of a bifurcated papacy with an active and contemplative ministry.

St John Paul II still today has his critics in traditional circles, Koran-kissing, Assisi gathering Popes do somewhat give the impression of a tarnished papacy, but at no stage in either Benedict XVI's or John Paul II's reign did Catholics feel that the axe was being laid to the moral foundations of the Church. What has astonished me and many others is the 'great reveal' that has taken place with the removal of just one man at the summit of the Church.

It would seem very much that the removal of the one man has revealed what we can see is a kind of 'mystery' that leaves many Catholics bewildered and shaken in their faith. Around them, both Benedict and John Paul II had a few, but perhaps not many, senior members of the Church as bulwarks of support. Both were strong in their Catholic faith and in their Catholic identity. But in hindsight - such a wonderful but often bitter tasting thing - the presence of even a few pillars of Catholic orthodoxy gathered close to the Chair of Peter turned out to be entirely dependent on the faith of the person in the Chair.

The election of Pope Francis represents the definitive crossing of the rubricon for the Catholic Church. Perhaps it is temporary, perhaps it is not, but both Amoris Laetitia and Magnum Principium are documents that suggest we have reached a moment of full disclosure, a moment in the Church's history when the Church's slide into irrelevance, of being subsumed into the decaying culture of the once Catholic West is virtually guaranteed. There is no trumpet to announce the surrender of the Catholic Church from false apostles to announce the Church's surrender to the evil forces at work in the world. There will probably be no announcement to this effect. All we will receive as Catholics is mini-announcements. Praise for an abortionist here. A bishop reinventing the Mass there. The invitation of Planned Parenthood to the Vatican here. Such are, I am sure many readers will agree, the announcements of a counter-Church established within the bosom of the bride of Christ.

The true Catholic Church, however, the one faithful to her Lord, to use the words of the Second Vatican Council's own phrase, would now seem to 'subsist' within the walls of a fabricated Catholic Church, fashioned by human hands, constructed by enemies of Christ, because the takeover of the "official" Catholic Church is by now all but complete. This is the Church which, of course, our Lord has promised, cannot be destroyed and against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.



Everybody who believes in the ordinary Magisterium of the Church once proclaimed without any sense of embarrasment by Popes and which finds its expression in the Catechism of the Church was sitting very comfortably knowing that the Vicar of Christ was a strength and bulwark against the demon and nobody thought for a moment that what was taking place in their Diocese and their local parishes could ever happen to Rome. Why were we so naive? Did we consider that Christ's promises meant what we had thought they mean or did we not read Christ's promises in a sensible way? For 2,000 years no Pope - no, not even an "Antipope" - has tried to separate the moral teaching of the Church from her pastoral practise. No "Antipope" in history has ever actively sought the dilution of Christian doctrine on morality.

Antipope Benedict XIII
Ultimately, however, the resignation of Benedict XVI and the great reveal that this has engendered - though catastrophic in the short term - catastrophic indeed it is, for souls - will purify the Church, but the truly disturbing thing to realise is that the true Church - the one which is faithful to Christ, the one that is faithful to His teaching, is small. We must praise and give thanks to God for men of courage such as Cardinal Burke and the small number of cardinals and bishops who have stepped forward at a time of great crisis in the heart of the Church, but we must also be astonished at the lack of faith of so many of the Hierarchy.

Yes, the reality check is here and it is most painful and salutary. We might ask the question: Of what use to the Church is a doctrinally sound and exemplary man of virtue in the Chair of Peter if anything between 50 - 90% of bishops and clergy do not believe him and are, in fact, implacably opposed to the Catholic truth. Of what use is this exemplary and holy Pope in the outcome that in your local parish, your priest tells you that the Mission of the Church consists of caring for our neighbour but that Baptism itself is not in any way necessary for Salvation. Of what use is this Pope if your bishop, for example, writes pastoral letters with words to the effect that Confession is an unnecessary, repetitive or even burdenesome duty on a soul. How heartening is it really to know that the 'man at the top' is doctrinally sound if on the ground, where real life is lived, bishops and clergy give the impression that they simply don't believe in God or the Real Presence or devotion to the Mother of God and are fundamentally liberal in outlook? Was it really that consoling to know that at least the Pope was Catholic? Really? Even when nearly nobody in the Church but you listened to a single word he had to say?

If we really want evidence of the wholesale abandonment of the Lord by His people, we need not look to the mad things happening in Rome under the reign of Pope Francis. No, if we really want to see evidence of the wholesale abandoment of the Lord by His people, we must look to the reaction against Francis's actions and his subtly deceptive documents. How strong is that? We must ask, how many Cardinals have signed the dubia asking for clarification on Catholic doctrine held by the Pope? How many? Four. Two of them are now dead. So that's now two. Will this number increase? One can forgive the Team Francis for feeling incredibly confident of the success of their 'revision' of the Catholic Faith, we must forgive Archbishop Paglia, Fr James Martin S.J, Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin and the small number of Francis activists in the clergy and the Hierarchy who are brimming with (over) confidence in the carrying out of their ideas, because the counter movement within the Church, which should be the Church Militant is so weak and vulnerable. Few Cardinals, they can be counted on one hand, few bishops, they too can be counted on one hand, are actually coming forward to refute the errors that are coming from Rome. It is not so much that the Church Militant is 'giving up' and surrendering to the spirit of the age adopted from the summit of the Church, it is rather that the Church on Earth is not very militant at all.

Yes, Benedict XVI's abdication of the Chair of Peter was indeed the great reveal. It has revealed something of a mystery of iniquity working behind the scenes, it has revealed in all its gory reality, the pack of wolves who surrounded him and who were waiting for him to fall. However, it has revealed much more than that, that the apostasy we now see occuring within the Universal Church was already in operation in your town, in your city, in your home, in your Church. Already the Church faithful to her Lord was there, already the Church unfaithful to Christ, an adulterous Church was there and had been for years, even decades.

Ultimately, Benedict XVI's abdication reveals something about Benedict XVI, something about his trust in Christ, something about the 'new' Pope, something about the papacy itself, but more importantly, it reveals what was already in plain sight, but which so many of us overlooked, that faithlessness, heresy and godlessness had become so among clergy and bishops that it was foolhardy of us to look at the Pope and at WYD gatherings and say, 'Yes, I see the faith is strong!' No, the faith is not strong. Perhaps it is stronger in Poland.

No. When Catholics organise a million man march on Vatican City to protest against the destruction of Christian faith and morals undertaken or the presence of Planned Parenthood at the Vatican, or 100 - 200 million people sign a petition rebuking seemingly heretical suppositions in a papal document, or when entire bishop's conferences stand up to reject both a rupturous interpretation of Amoris Laetitia or Magnum Principium, then yes, then, maybe then we can call the Catholic Church strong. When Catholics demand that their pastors give them the undiluted Catholic Faith, then we can say that the faith is strong.



Yes, the Great Reveal may have revealed the mystery of iniquity at work in the Bride of Christ - I see no reason to doubt this - and may even have revealed a subtle form of apostasy at the summit of the Church, but it also reveals something about you and something about me, something about your priest and something about your bishop. It reveals something about our character and our faith. Are we faithful to Jesus Christ or not? Will we fight for our faith or let wolves ravage it and rebel bishops rape the Church? There is not a single member of the Church Triumphant who is not on the side of those who fight for Jesus Christ. Christ is Victor. Our Lady's Immaculate Heart will triumph!

There may indeed be many clergy and many bishops who are afraid now to speak out in defence of the Lord and His Teachings or to rebuke the terrible things that come from Rome, but laity, clergy and bishops, Cardinals as well, must know this. If those who seek not the restoration of all things in Christ but instead the reconciliation of Church with the world on the world's terms are in any sense victorious for a time, though they can never be triumphant, it is because we, the Body of Christ, are letting this happen. No Pope has the authority to destroy the Church. Nobody may rape or molest the Bride of Christ! But they do not see any substantial opposition to their programme. A petition here, a letter there, a theologian here, they are all easily dismissed. What is not easily dismissed? An army. What is this army? The Church Militant. Who are its soldiers? Those of any rank confirmed to be soldiers of Christ.




Where are the soldiers of Christ?

In establishing the answer to this question, we will, I expect, be establishing at least a partial answer as to why the good Lord has permitted this crisis in the Church. Of what use would Pope Leo XIV be to the Church tomorrow if the Church refused to fight for Her right to be fed by a Successor of Peter worthy of the name?  Of what use would Pope Leo XIV be to the Church tomorrow if 75% or more of bishops and clergy despised him and rejected him because he stood up for the truth of Jesus Christ and a similar percentage among clergy, bishops and laity had no faith in the Blessed Sacrament?

Honestly, I used to think the Catholic Faith was so very simple. 'The Pope's Catholic so all is right with the Church!' Everybody tolerated the heretical priest down the road. Everybody tolerated the heretical bishop in his diocese. Everybody tolerated the dissenting theologian who obviously had no faith, the Catholic author who propagated heresy and profitted from it.  The Catholic university which  was anything but. The Catholic school which gave its pupils sex tips. The Church of the future, if it has a future, will not be like this.  The people of God will not stand for it.

I don't know what Pope Francis has to do to provoke the raising up of generals to form this army that will terrify those who seek the overthrow of the Catholic Church for an imitation of it devoid of Christian doctrine and morality.  Apart from a diocese that has 'too many' vocations, there is only one think that is going to keep Pope Francis up at night. And that's this. An army of people young and old of every rank, from the great to the small shouting, 'We Want God'. Until the Catholic Church has this spirit, I now see, we have precisely the Pope we deserve. 

If we will not fight for our glorious Catholic Faith, for the defence of the Church, we deserve Francis and, more, we deserve worse! If we Catholics desire that the Pope be Catholic and tolerate apostasy and faithlessness everywhere else, we are not worthy of Jesus Christ and we're certainly not worthy of Pope Leo XIV, and the Pope of the restoration of the Church will find few helpers and not many friends upon his accession to the Throne.  Right now, the Church is indeed a field hospital. The only combatants laying down dead or wounded, however, are faithful Catholics. The heretics are doing just fine, nor do they see a substantial opposition.  Unless that changes, a great and holy Pope makes no real difference to the Church in the future. We must pray for the resurrection of Christian Europe, a Europe that gave the Popes a Holy League, that was willing to shed its blood than permit alien religions take over Christendom, a Church of martyrs, a nation sealed for battle in Confirmation against the foes of Christ. We must pray that our clergy and bishops, the faithful among them will make a fortress of their Dioceses and parishes against the coming onslaught, and an onslaught it will be and that the Body of Christ convulses with  righteous anger against a regime that seeks the destruction of Christian morals. It happened in Poland. It can happen in the Church.


St John Paul II, pray for us!




Poles! You're going the wrong way! Rome is that way!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Seminary



It's a weepy!

The whole of Michael Davies's 'Timebombs in Vatican II', more relevant than ever, is available at this website.


Michael Davies's statistics are from 2002. That was 15 years ago! Things are much worse now. Here in the UK, more and more people are becoming more and more familiar with Bishops announcing that there will be 'difficult decisions' at a local level with parishes 'merging'. I am certian this is a nationwide phenomenon. The whole issue of parish mergers becomes the most wonderful form of Newspeak, with Bishops announcing 'mergers' which amount to a near shutdown of ordinary parish life  - with, you know, no resident priest - for existing parishes. This is predicted to become more and more common, never less. What many Catholics are seeing at a local level is a reorganisation and restructuring that almost imitates what is happening to British libraries. I'm told many British libraries are closing with a central one being manned mostly by volunteers. Most are being sold off to private firms who manage them, restructure them, gut them, sack their staff and then say, 'Good job done!'

Only the beginning of sorrows at Ground Zero.

Parishes don't 'close' they 'merge' and it is often glibly slipped in that we have to see as a diocese where 'the Holy Spirit is taking us'. There is never or rarely an assessment from Bishops as to whether it is the Holy Spirit, or rather a spirit of godlessness and faithlessness, the collapse of perhaps an entire culture that has led us to parish closures a.k.a 'mergers', the taking over of parishes by lay communities, the drastic decline in vocations, a dearth of religious and the increasing isolation and pain of those heroic priests who are still alive holding the fort as best they can.

The question that I and others would like to have answered is: Do bishops even want more vocations to the priesthood or are they now so comfortable with the management of decline that the management of decline is in fact the de facto policy of the Church in England, Wales, Germany and elsewhere in the West? Have they already decided that 'the Holy Spirit' is leading us to a priestless (or even Christless) Church?

'I'll just leave this 1962 Missale Romanum and maniple here for fifty years.'

The ideas that I hear from many bishops are about a 'creative' or 'innovative' response to the crisis of vocations (not that it is ever regarded or alluded to as a 'crisis' in public, after all, we don't want to upset the children!), but these responses rarely amount to a resolution to 'up the game' on making the priesthood look attractive to men who are devoted enough to Christ to consider it, nor to encourage such devotion among the clergy to the venerable Rite of the Church that might foster embryonic vocations.



One could be forgiven for wondering if a culture of acceptance about the loss of so many Catholics in two generations has bred not only a culture of pessimism about the future of the priesthood in the average diocese, but indeed a culture of death and sterility sweeping over the Church. It is never the Holy Spirit Who takes the Church to Hell in a handcart. It is always Bishops (of elsewhere, but not excluding Rome) who do that.



There are of course real reasons for optimism for the growth areas in the Church but they seem to lay within traditional orders and traditional communities. I have spoken to at least two people in the last week or two who promote the Traditional Latin Mass online and on social media but in fact do not even attend the Mass in the Extraordinary Form because it is not available within a 50 mile radius of their house. 

I think the late and great Michael Davies (RIP) may have prophecised the coming of Cardinal John Dew, having examined the Second Vatican Council and discovered the various loopholes therein that could be the seeds of the destruction of the universality - read Catholicity -  of the Church if bishops so willed it. But then even Cardinal Dew could not do what he has decided to do without the aid of an atmosphere of lawlessness encouraged by Francis, courtesy of Magnum Principium and other 'signs' destructive to the unity of the Church. It is with a sense of dread that one anticipates what stories we shall hear in the coming weeks and months of liturgical innovations being touted in other major Dioceses around the World.

A number of bloggers are using the word 'antipope' in relation to Pope Francis. I'm beginning to think that this is most unjust and deeply unfair.  

Let's be fair to the antipopes of history.

No antipope in Church history has sought to do what Francis is doing. 

Nor would any of the antipopes of history even dreamt of doing what Francis is doing.




Pray for bishops and pray for vocations to the Priesthood.

Pray for the Pope and pray for an end to the crisis in the Church.


Please note: Cats ears and whiskers have no been placed on the Princes of the Church in order to mock them as individuals (whoever they may be) but to add a humourous dimension and to make more visually effective a parody of the Andrew Lloyd Webber West End musical, 'Cats'. 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Friday, 10 November 2017

Love Changes Everything...




Just realised this morning I am being 'followed' on Twitter by Archbishop Paglia.

I have no idea how long he's been following me.

Does he like my songs? 

With a little vocational training I am sure I could do murals as well, Your Grace!


Though I'd have to do a little sanding at first, I think.

A lot of sanding, in fact...


Say a prayer for the Archbishop and all those in Rome who fancy the odd fag here or there. The Holy Father is really clamping down on vice since Cocco's party!



May Pope St Leo the Great intercede for Holy Mother Church 
and for the occupant of the Chair of Peter in this hour of grave crisis.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Clear Sign from God...




That much is clear!

May God bless Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy (O.F.M) for writing to the Pope and for speaking out publicly.

May many more come forward to make the defence of the Holy Catholic Church, Her doctrines and yes, to defend the Office of the Papacy itself at this most critical time.

Poor Cardinal Nichols, usually such an astute media representative of the Church, is himself finding it difficult to answer questions about Pope Francis at the moment.

Even the media are waking up to the reality that 2 + 2 does not equal five and are asking uncomfortable questions.

Hugs?

Really?

Chaos and confusion over doctrines reigns supreme but...



...at least there are hugs!

Still, I suppose that Francis is not making it easy for Cardinal Nichols...

“There is no doubt there is tension within the Catholic Church, but one of its great strengths is that we have a Pope – and we have a Pope who can say yes or no and then give you a hug.”

Hugs! How did the Church manage for so long without them?

Ironically, 'yes' or 'no' answers are what the remaining Dubia cardinals are seeking. So far, for them at least, no answers and not even...hugs!

Happy Feast of All Saints to all readers. May all the Saints intercede for the Church on Earth, so that the Lord may deliver His Bride from anarchy and bring Her to the restoration of Faith, doctrine and sanity!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Anti-Luther Song to Mark Reformation Day



Today marks the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther. This song in no way supports anti-Jewish sentiment or anti-Semitism in case its title should alarm viewers. Its aim is to serve to condemn, educate and explode the myths about the deservedly excommunicated Augustinian friar Martin Luther and condemn the anti-semitism and other loathsome beliefs of the notorious arch-heretic, Martin Luther...



...who, for some strange reason, is being celebrated by the Vatican as some kind of hero, mystic, doctor, sage or even saint. He doesn't belong on a postage stamp, any postage stamp, but certainly not a Vatican stamp. His life should serve as a warning to all Catholics and a reprimand who those who follow his heretical teachings.

May the Lord have mercy on His Church!

Only one kind of stamp merits the face of Martin Luther...the stamp of the foot upon his image.



Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Omega Pope

A heads up for readers on a La Stampa article by Emmett O'Regan which amounts to a shot across the bow to those who signed the filial correction of Omega-Pope Francis. Another article in the same publication is here, by Rocco Buttiglione whose article I have not yet read.

The O'Regan article makes the assertion that those who would offer correction to the Pope on seemingly heretical positions he would seem to have taken during his pontificate are  - by virtue of having objected to the teaching of Francis - dissenters of a nefarious kind. Several Church documents are put forward as evidence of this. We are seeing the beginning of the cementing of opposition to the filial correction from the Vatican insiders in the Francis camp.

In particular - and I believe this is what we can now call the Stephen Walford approach - they draw upon the Catechism - yes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church no less - to define the role of the Supreme Pontiff and the special assistance he is granted. Mr Walford is obsessed with the 'special assistance' given to each and every Pope. So much so that he holds that a Pope cannot resist, unlike the rest of the human race, God's grace or gifts, but that even if a Pope resisted each and every Catholic truth before his election, upon his election he is summarily raped by the Holy Ghost into submission.

Thus it is truthfully asserted:

Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent” which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. (CCC 892)

I would suggest that - assuming Francis is the Pope - that divine assistance is given to him in a particular way. Can divine assistance be refused? The answer must be yes. If Francis has no intention of teaching the Faith (nothing suggests he did so as a Cardinal) then he is not constrained by the Holy Ghost to do so against his will. This would make a mockery not only of Catholic belief concerning the Papacy, but Catholic teaching on free will, the kind of free will that enabled the Blessed Virgin Mary to say yes to bearing the Son of God at the Annunciation, even though she was 'full of grace'. Unfortunately, the author of the article does not wish to contemplate the possibility of a Pope who refuses to act as Successor of St Peter, but rather as a Pope with no predecessors, one who would desist from his calling as Vicar of Christ in order to become Vicar of only himself.

Donum Vertitatis is also drawn upon to enlist help for the cause of defending the Pope against charges that he has taken heretical positions in his teaching Office. This document was, of course, written by one Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was at the CDF. Thus it is truthfully asserted:

One must therefore take into account the proper character of every exercise of the Magisterium, considering the extent to which its authority is engaged. It is also to be borne in mind that all acts of the Magisterium derive from the same source, that is, from Christ who desires that His People walk in the entire truth. For this same reason, magisterial decisions in matters of discipline, even if they are not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, are not without divine assistance and call for the adherence of the faithful. (Donum Veritatis 17) 

The writer then draws upon a special "dispensation" granted to theologians to withhold private assent from religious truths to point out to the Church any inconsistencies or problems with the Church's teachings. Really? The author asserts this but is it true?

In the CDF document Donum Veritatis, a special dispensation is given for trained theologians to withhold their religious assent from certain aspects of the Ordinary Magisterium they perceive to be potentially problematic, so that they can bring their findings and objections before the Magisterium for study and reflection. However, Donum Veritatis states that such non-assent should always be conducted privately, so as not to lead the faithful into confusion, and any dissenting theologians are instructed to avoid presenting their objections before the mass media.

Two points are raised here since the article clearly is:

a) an attack on those who would point out grievous errors that are being promoted during this pontificate alone, not a previous pontificate, not the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but on the problematic expressions and omissions of one Pope.

b)  a clumsy defence of the right to theologians to withhold private assent from religious truths for the purpose of religious enquiry.

Indeed, the tone of the article sounds like a great way to get liberal theologians (let alone doctrinally ambiguous Popes) who do not given their assent to divinely revealed truths to be let off the hook entirely. This is not what the document says. Here is what the Cardinal Ratzinger wrote but which the author has omitted because it does not serve the agenda of the Omega-Pope.
The theologian's code of conduct, which obviously has its origin in the service of the Word of God, is here reinforced by the commitment the theologian assumes in accepting his office, making the profession of faith, and taking the oath of fidelity.(21)

From this moment on, the theologian is officially charged with the task of presenting and illustrating the doctrine of the faith in its integrity and with full accuracy.

23. When the Magisterium of the Church makes an infallible pronouncement and solemnly declares that a teaching is found in Revelation, the assent called for is that of theological faith. This kind of adherence is to be given even to the teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium when it proposes for belief a teaching of faith as divinely revealed.

When the Magisterium proposes "in a definitive way" truths concerning faith and morals, which, even if not divinely revealed, are nevertheless strictly and intimately connected with Revelation, these must be firmly accepted and held. (22)

When the Magisterium, not intending to act "definitively", teaches a doctrine to aid a better understanding of Revelation and make explicit its contents, or to recall how some teaching is in conformity with the truths of faith, or finally to guard against ideas that are incompatible with these truths, the response called for is that of the religious submission of will and intellect.(23) This kind of response cannot be simply exterior or disciplinary but must be understood within the logic of faith and under the impulse of obedience to the faith. 

24. Finally, in order to serve the People of God as well as possible, in particular, by warning them of dangerous opinions which could lead to error, the Magisterium can intervene in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements. It often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent. 

Finally, Cardinal Ratzinger applies a concession to those theologians who would wish to make enquiry on certain subjects, we can presume, not those divinely revealed truths found in the Church's tradition and scripture.

When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question. But it would be contrary to the truth, if, proceeding from some particular cases, one were to conclude that the Church's Magisterium can be habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments, or that it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission. In fact, the theologian, who cannot pursue his discipline well without a certain competence in history, is aware of the filtering which occurs with the passage of time. This is not to be understood in the sense of a relativization of the tenets of the faith. The theologian knows that some judgments of the Magisterium could be justified at the time in which they were made, because while the pronouncements contained true assertions and others which were not sure, both types were inextricably connected. Only time has permitted discernment and, after deeper study, the attainment of true doctrinal progress.


Now, I doubt very much that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was thinking that his own document would be used against those 'theologians' (are they really all theologians?) who, in defending the Church's teachings, must include within that defence an admonition or rebuke of a Pope who refuses to do the same, but who, taking his advice from theologians who do not give their assent to divinely revealed truths, basically makes it up as he goes along. This would in fact be an anti-Ratzinger position because Joseph Ratzinger was always interested in clear doctrine supported by the Church's tradition and the infallible rule of faith to be found in the Church's Magisterium. He was also interested in emphasising the limits on the Pope's power over doctrine and the Church's creed and stressed that the Pope himself is bound to obedience to the Word of God, Jesus Christ.


Readers, what we are seeing here is a brazen propaganda campaign which involves the manipulation of Church documents to point the finger at those who would defend the Magisterium of the Catholic Church - ironically, that which finds its most accessible expression in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Yes, this process even uses to that same Catechism to back it up. Thus it is truly Orwellian! It omits that in defending the right doctrines of the Catholic Church it has become necessary to draw attention to deficiencies in the Popes own teaching because they do not happily align with the teachings even of Jesus Christ, the Son of God Himself, let alone St Paul and the Church Fathers and Francis's predecessors.


Ultimately, the question is in this insane period of the Church is the same one in different forms:


Is the Supreme Pontiff bound to obedience to Jesus Christ or not? I answer yes. How do you answer?
Is the Pope subject to the Word of God or not? I answer yes. How do you answer?
Is he bound to uphold all that each and every Catholic must hold to attain salvation or not? I answer yes. How do you answer?
Is the Pope a super-Catholic for whom the necessity to believe divinely revealed truths is abrogated by virtue of his Office? I answer no. How do you answer?
And if he behaves as if he is above even Christ, can he be corrected by anyone beneath him in rank? I answer yes, for the express purpose of the defence and salvation of souls. How do you answer?





Saturday, 30 September 2017

Princes...


H/T Rorate Caeli for image inspiration

I don't consider Cardinal Burke susceptible to worldly ambitions in Rome. Wherever he has been, in whatever role he has had, promotion, demotion, he has always, from what I can tell of him, done his best for the Lord and for His Church. I am certain he will continue to do so.

I am sure I am not alone in thinking His Holiness is perhaps being somewhat shrewd in bringing Cardinal Burke back into the fold at this particular moment in time. The appointment gives him renewed respectability - even Burke's enemies may now think twice about dissing him, stand up Cardinal Maradiaga.

This move may place Cardinal Burke in a more sensitive position regarding any forthcoming correction he wished to make of His Holiness but I do believe that the Cardinal will continue to do what he feels is necessary for the good of the Church and souls. Nearly five years of character assasination, manipulation of truth and bizarre man-management practises have made me rather suspcious of Pope Francis. Is there a strategy at work or has His Holiness learnt that including voices who offer the timeless teaching of Christ is actually healthy for the Church and for his own governance?



Let us not place all our trust in princes, but let us nonetheless storm Heaven for Cardinal Burke and for the Pope, for the Church and for the preservation and proclamation of true doctrine for the Salvation of souls, so that judgements will be just once again. We are Catholics. We must always live in hope. Hope in the Lord.



Friday, 29 September 2017

He Who Sings, Signs Twice




A very happy Feast of St Michael and the Archangels to all readers. 

Above you will find my musical offering in support of the filial correction, less nuanced than the actual correctio, but music always is rather less nuanced. It's a comic song. It has been produced to generate laughter and entertainment, not ecclesiastical controversy. That said, all satire contains an element of truth, however exaggerated.

In the first instance, the fililal correction was signed by academics, clergy and theologians and, in the wake of this, it was bolstered by the support of around 10,000 members of the laity, thanks to a petition organised by One Peter Five's founder Steve Skojec. Another petition for the laity was organised by the Lepanto Institute and LifeSiteNews. I encourage all who haven't to sign.

I must say, like the vast majority of readers, I for one did not see the filial correction coming but I think it is a truly remarkable work of love for the Lord and His Church and will lay the ground very well for any formal act of fraternal correction that may be coming from those who signed the Dubia to the Pope. We must pray and hope that the Pope responds to the parrhesia he once called for within the Church and responds decisively to the Dubia. Even if dialogue itself, as Cardinal Parolin suggests, is a necessary aspect of the Church and its governance, we do not profess or believe in dialogue but Christ. Ultimately, it is Christ and His Teaching which must be upheld and respected, adhered to and believed for He is the Word of God.

With friends like these...


What is interesting to me about the filial correction is the reaction. First, there is the mass media interest - they seem to have loved the 'hasn't happened since the middle ages' angle. Then, we see the names of those who have leapt to the Pope's defence (with friends like Fr James Martin SJ who needs..) Yet this too has been coupled with a complete unwillingness to discuss contents of correction. They want to discuss everything but the contents of the correction!

Absurdly, this was followed by a firm conviction that St JPII and BXVI were criticised also and traditionalists leapt to their defence. The problem here for the ultra-uber-hyper-papalists was that nobody actually accused either Pope St John Paul II or Benedict XVI of heresy. They were accused instead of not following the kind of secular zeitgeist now being incorporated into the Church under the governance of Pope Francis. Astonishingly, the one thing these people do not want to discuss is heresy, or heretical positions, when this charge is by far the most controversial and historic element of the correction. It is this word that has caused consternation among, I expect, clergy who have not yet signed. Fear not, it would appear, since as soon as you mention 'the H word', those who seem to advocate it want to talk about something else, like how you're opinions just don't matter or do something else, like insult you.

How very apt...


On the last point I imagine the cohorts are stymied because they have to be careful what they say. If they say 'nothing's changing' that too blows the game. They know well they want a great deal to change. The second problem is the language used in the correction is alien to them, taking them right out of their comfort zones, as real Catholicism would. It isn't vague enough to whitewash bad or misleading teaching with words like 'mercy', 'dialogue' and 'accompaniment' etc. It is clear enough to make certain people feel uncomfortable.

Despite the S.Js of this world scoring a hit with the 'low numbers' etc, my assessment is that the fillial correction has so far been very effective, but more effective than anything for the here and now is how this leaves the legacy of the Francis years. Shaky, to say the least. Francis, the dubious Pope! "He was regarded by a great many as a heretic you know." It's now a matter of public record and the history books are waiting to be written. Just how will that leave the Francis legacy, if the good Lord gives us another Pope after Francis. Yet a crumbling papal reputation is entirely his own doing. Yes, these are bewildering and Church-shaking times but, like me, can you see some light at the end of this dark tunnel?

A little unfair on Thomas Paine, who was at pains to stress his devotion to reason, something alien to this pontificate.

Fr Ray Blake has written an excellent piece on how being asked to sign the correctio filialis may put some members of the clergy between a rock and a hard place psychologically. Signing anything critical of the current events and directions being taken in Rome seems to bring with it unwanted and unwarranted attention - and intimidation - from certain circles in the Church. Many clergy must be weighing up their decision over whether to sign or not. The fact that bullying and intimidation as well as insult has become a hallmark of this pontificate is worrying indeed.



           A classic episode of Thomas the Tank Engine entitled "Bye, George!" 
         "George" is a steamroller, much like our own 'Jorge'. Entertaining and even more 
        'Thomist' than Amoris Laetitia!

Pray for the clergy very much. Pray that the Lord will grant to the clergy both prudence and courage in their ministry. In the final analysis, truth, the Truth is on their side. There is only one party in the Church for whom truth is an obstacle now. It is they who should fear, not those who champion the cause of justice, true mercy and right. The true friends of Pope Francis are those who are willing to call him to fulfill his ministry, not those who would call him to disobedience to Christ. They and they alone are his enemies.



Monday, 25 September 2017

Sign the Petition in Support of the Filial Correction of Pope Francis


I commend with gratitude the enormous work for Christ and the Salvation of Souls undertaken by those who have prepared the Filial Correction of His Holiness Pope Francis and the bravery of those clergy and lay scholars who have signed it. I urge you all to sign the petition in support of it. You can do so here.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Part Two: The Sanctimonious Horror

I reconvene taking up, paragraph by paragraph, Steven Walford's take on Amoris Laetitia and the reaction within the Church that it has provoked. Your Holiness, you are right. I need therapy. This is my therapy.

The prophet always despises hypocrisy, not only because it is contrary to the way of life one professes to live, but also because it damages the message itself, rendering it less credible. The famous, “Who am I to judge?” is a classic example of the sanctimonious horror of those who prefer to make as much noise as possible in the hope they are praised for their valiant defence of truth–at the expense of actually following Jesus’ command. 

I don't know why Steven Walford wants to persuade us that Pope Francis is some kind of mega-prophet. Why is this narrative to the papacy required? The prophet - if he is from God - hates what God hates. God hates all falsehood, lies and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is offensive to God because it lacks truth and lays bare a lack of humility. The famous 'Who am I to judge?' statement is notorious now, not because in so saying, Pope Francis revealed his lack of hypocrisy, but rather because in the face of an opportunity to defend the truth and safeguard doctrine, he side-stepped the reporter's question entirely, instead offering to the reporter a question, neutralising not only the reporter's own question, but neutralising his own position on homosexual actions.

Let's be clear on this: Pope Francis has never qualified his unwillingness to judge homosexual persons with any kind of statement either a) encouraging chastity for homosexuals (or anyone for that matter!) or b) making plain that homosexual acts are wrong and contrary to nature. The statement he made won him the favour of the World's media (true prophets despise the world's praise, right Steven?) and he even got on the front cover of a gay magazine, you know, like all prophets would have, had gay magazines been a thing. Remember that St John Paul II Gay magazine cover with Pope John Paul on the front calling him the best thing since sliced bread? No, me neither.

It would not have been hypocritical of the Pope to say he felt that a press interview was not the place in which to discuss the actions of one man, in this case Mgr Ricca, but he could have said something in defence of the moral law because, you know Mr Walford, the moral law is not simply, 'Don't be a hypocrite.' The Pope referenced the Catechism, in particular that homosexuals should be treated with respect and compassion, but passed over in silence what the Catechism says about homosexual conduct, about it being morally wrong and offensive to God, a misuse of sexuality as intended by the Creator.

If the Pope had said, publicly, 'Ah yes, Mgr Ricca, that notorious sodomite! Well, you can imagine my horror on hearing of this escapade, so henceforth I shall drive each and every homosexual from the Vatican, morning by morning I will root out this vice from my Court!' that might not be either wise or charitable in the full glare of the world's media towards this one unfortunate individual, though I suspect Pope Francis only considers him unfortunate because he was caught, like the priest caught with drugs at the gay sex orgy at Cocco's flat. Who were the other people present at that party? We do not know.

Ah well, another classified report for the Vatican archives. Soon we'll have more scandals in this pontificate than Motu Proprios. What's the ratio? The main thing is that nobody has been judged and everybody knows that nobody will be judged because the Pope is nobody to judge so the next party will be at someone else's flat instead, in a more obscure location. For his message hath gone out to the whole of the Vatican and yea, even to the ends of the Earth, who is he to judge gay orgies? I mean, he's only the Successor of St Peter and the Vicar of Christ on Earth.

It is not hypocritical to uphold the moral law, nor is it hypocritical to speak the truth in charity in the manner of, say, Cardinal Raymond Burke. It is not hypocritical to tell your brother in the faith that he has committed a sin if you desire his reconciliation with God and the Church. Had King David not been told he had done wrong by having had killed Uriah the Hittite in order to take his wife Bathsheba, perhaps he would not have repented. Both St John the Baptist, the prophet and Jesus Christ, the Lord, told us to repent and turn to God. Are they hypocrites too? No. Why? Because hypocrisy is not a matter of condemning something someone does or an immoral action that contradicts the Law of God, but is a matter of condemning something a particular sin or a particular someone who does it that you yourself commit. 



If I say, 'Here, have a biscuit.' You take five biscuits. I say, 'That's incredibly greedy!' and as soon as you leave the room I eat five biscuits, that is what we call hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not exhorting God's children to reject sin and embrace God and virtue. Hypocrisy is saying things like, 'Who am I to judge?' a homosexual priest caught in a lift with a man doing immoral things but proceeding to judge in a most unmerciful manner the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on trumped up charges that amount to innocence proven in a court of law. Hypocrisy is saying, 'Who am I to judge?' and proceeding to label people who uphold the moral law as Pelagians, hypocrites, doctors of the law, rigid Pharisees and, basically, the offal of the world. So, to sum up, it is licit and right for a Supreme Pontiff to rebuke error, correct others and condemn immorality. In order to avoid the charge of hypocrisy from God and man, he would be wise not to do those things which he himself condemns.


Divine mercy always enshrines the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, and this is because, for him, the centrality of morality questions is to allow the sinner and the Lord to come together, to “sit down at table” and allow grace to fully flower in a time and way divine wisdom decrees. In order to understand this approach of the Holy Father, we need to reflect on several questions: From our knowledge of the Gospels, what is the likely response of Jesus to this person in this situation? What is in the sinner’s heart? Is it for us to compartmentalize individual acts from the rest of a person’s life, or can we say with St. John of the Cross, that in the evening of our lives, we will be judged on love? 

In the first instance, divine mercy does not ignore sin or pretend it is not present in a soul. Divine pity looks upon the sinner and loves the sinner so much that it calls the sinner back to God, always, so that true life in God may be embraced, rather than the passing illusions of sin, may be found. Divine mercy is linked to our repentance, Steven. God loves us so much that His will is that our fallen human nature may be recreated in His own image, the image of the Son whom the Father loves, by the sanctifying grace poured out upon His children in His Church. Divine mercy calls us to be forgiven by God, to be cleansed of our faults by God, to be healed by Him. We all stand in need of divine mercy. None of us are perfect. It also calls us in turn to forgive.



If it helps your arguments for Amoris Laetitia to insert a quote from a Doctor of the Church, then at least appreciate that St John of the Cross, master of the school of divine love also shows us that the way to perfection lies in self-forgetfulness, a constant remembrance of God, ceaseless prayer and a resolute determination to take up the ascetic life, mortification and complete dependence on God, the source and origin of all virtue. Is this what Pope Francis advocates? Love of God? Rejection of the world and its passing pleasures? Did this Saint, have any Saints, ever advocated the reception of Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Would they ever condone a single mortal sin, or advice one in mortal sin that it had no consequences?

Why is a 'new approach' necessary when the Church in the name of Christ, or Christ, through His Church, has been healing, forgiving, cleansing sinners of faults for centuries? What else, other than Salvation, Eternal Life, sanctifying grace and the forgiveness of sins can the Church offer to sinners? If the Church does not offer to sinners truth, in charity, if it does not make clear the path to Eternal Life, if the Church does not call sinners back to God, but acquiesces in sinful lifestyles, or condones sinful lifestyles, crowning the impenitent with Holy Communion - whether accompanied and pastorally assisted or not - it does not guide sinners to Heaven, but rather to Hell.

Steven is about to call critics of this papacy Pelagians. So part III will be fun, fun, fun....

Monday, 18 September 2017

First Principles and the Greater Principle


Pope Francis, a Pontiff chosen “from the ends of the Earth”, continues to display a boundless energy that attracts huge attention from both within the Church and without. Just in the past few days we have seen millions flock to hear his message promoting love, mercy and reconciliation in Colombia, and also the appearance of his Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, Magnum Principium, concerning the preparation of liturgical translations. The reception of both events could, in a sense, be seen as a microcosm of his entire Pontificate. On the one hand, there is the joy of countless simple faithful who love him, who see in him the active presence of the Holy Spirit, who above all recognize a pure, authentic Christianity; on the other hand, a bitter faction who can see little else but the deliberate dilution of Catholic doctrine and tradition. How can we explain this sad and unnecessary situation?

Thus begins this trenchant piece of propaganda by Steven Walford, serving as an introduction precisely as it means to go on. The first section of the paragraph conveys the Pope's enormous popularity. With whom? The answer comes: from 'simple faithful who love him'. Could any of those with whom the Pope has in some way fallen out of favour ever constitute 'the simple faithful'? It would appear not! Already, see, the sheep and the goats are separated, but not without insult, not even towards the Pope's 'joyful' supporters as opposed, we may surmise, to the 'joyless' detractors. Next time you call your friend a simpleton, see how they react. They, the Pope's fans, you see, are the 'simple' faithful. The critics are not the simple faithful. We shall see who and what manner of persons they are later in the next post.

The 'simple faithful'


Why are the Pope's critics not 'the simple faithful'? The answer comes: they have failed to recognise the 'pure, authentic Christianity' that the Pope promotes. We shall address this 'pure, authentic Christianity' later on. But more than this, they are 'a bitter faction'. They cannot see, as 'the simple faithful' see, the Pope in his greatness. All they see is wilful dilution of Catholic doctrine and tradition. Speaking personally, I have to say Mr Walford is correct here. Much of the Pope's wonderful PR is, I fear, a wonderful camouflage for doctrinal dilution, but on this point I can speak for none but myself. Yes, I am a cynic. If you're not a cynic in the 21st century, then I would ask where you have been.

If Mr Walford wishes to, he can define his terms of the 'simple faithful'. Does he mean those who simply believe that everything the Pope does is wonderful because he is the Pope? Or does he mean 'the uncatechised' who the Pope has failed to teach and does not wish to teach the Catholic Faith? Or does he mean 'the ignorant' who simply aren't sure what's going on in the Church viz a viz the dubia and the Pope's rejection of the Four Cardinals who submitted it to him, asking him to clarify his teachings on key points of Catholic doctrine, but whom he has ignored? We are left untold.

For the majority of Catholics, I would suggest, Pope Francis is a prophet in the truest sense of the word; one who has put heart and soul into carrying out the divine mandate he has been given. Yet prophets always leave one uneasy. They invariably come with a message many do not want to hear; they pierce the conscience in a way others do not, and they appear like a comet, ready to cause havoc for the unprepared. This, of course, explains why they usually end up wearing the crown of martyrdom. The key distinguishing feature of these luminous figures is a steely courage, and a focus that cares not for worldly adulation or concern about possible persecution. No, they come in the name of God in order to sweep clean the historical path that leads to eschatological newness.

I too believe that Pope Francis is a 'prophet', though I do not have to believe it, since I am only called upon to believe he is occupying the Chair of Peter. The question is whether he is a 'true' prophet, or, as many fear, a 'false' prophet. Before we begin in earnest on this question, let us not be so silly as to think that a Pope cannot become a false prophet. Of course, in considering this mystery of the papacy, much of Mr Walford's argument will not hold water, because he is starting out on first principles that require the Pope to be immune to Satan's wiles. This is essential to understanding the narrative of awe built around this papacy and it is not a Catholic belief that the Pope has had his personal will removed by the Holy Spirit, that he may not refuse good and instead pursue evil. The Gospels record that such immunity was never promised to the Successors of St Peter, otherwise Our Lord would not have said to St Peter that Satan intended to sift him like wheat, but that He had prayed for him, that on recovering (the Pope may fall) he may turn and strengthen the brethren. If Peter could not fall in such manner, then we may even ask what good it would serve the Church for the incidence of Peter's disloyalty to be included in the Gospels.



Mr Walford clearly believes Pope Francis to be a true prophet, which means that He has been sent by Almighty God for the edification of His children, by calling them back, as prophets do, from the road that leads to eternal perdition to the narrow way that leads to eternal life. This is what Scripture tells us prophets do. False prophets, as Jesus Himself said in the Gospels, tell people what they wish to hear, gaining popularity for themselves but leaving their hearers starved of the Word of God and the means to obtaining eternal Salvation. It is for this reason that prophets are often martyred. It is for this reason that the are vilified. It is for this reason that prophets, if they are true, make us feel uncomfortable. They lead us out of our comfort zones of sin and awake within us the voice of God that calls us to repentance and renewal of our lives in Him.

A good example would be the prophet par excellence, St John the Baptist, forerunner and herald of Our Blessed Lord who, for upholding the dignity and integrity of marriage, was cast into prison before being beheaded. Now, let us ask the question, is this what Pope Francis does? He has received worldly adulation, yet we are told this is what a true prophet rejects. He refuses to answer five basic points of Catholic doctrine, of which the dignity and sanctity of marriage is a subject. I leave it to the reader to discern therefore whether Pope Francis, as yet, can be described as a prophet, 'in the truest sense of the word'. Finally, it must be said that prophets do not necessarily come to 'sweep clean the historical path that leads to eschatalogical newness', unless, in referring to Pope Francis as just such a prophet, Mr Walford believes that a true prophet destroys what has come before him in order to assert his dominance upon the present and inscribe upon the future of the Church, not the Law of God, nor the spirit of Christ, but the steely mark of his very own self.

Prophets are also sent at specific times; times when the people of God have turned away, or are sleeping in a “safe” and cosy Christianity that is oblivious to the sufferings of the poor or the outcasts of society. They come with two main messages linked to salvation history: justice and mercy. But as the Crucified Christ shows, God’s justice is manifest in divine mercy, “where sin abounds, grace even more abounds!” The prophet’s message therefore will always contain a message of hope, based on God’s desire to bring salvation to all.

This paragraph, by again omitting what God's real prophets do - call people back to God and His Law - turns 'the prophet' into someone who shouts on behalf of the poor and marginalised. Fair enough, but it must be said that the prophet does not simply have regard for the plight of the poor because helping the poor is his message, but that the blood of the poor will be avenged by God Who raises the poor from the dunghill and casts princes from their thrones, who exalts the lowly and humbles the proud. It is a mark of a society which has descended into abject sin that even toleration of the poor is forfeited on account of the pride of life and the lust for pleasures and wealth. In Great Britain the poor are criminalised for begging while the sins of the rich are overlooked or enshrined into law, such is the perversion of justice we now see with our own eyes.

 The 'message of hope', as Mr Walford describes it however, was proclaimed by Benedict XVI and St John Paul II was the message of Salvation and they did not leave out the marginalised. Caritas in Veritate, in particular, pondered just such themes. Ultimately, both men held that societies which embrace sin and the culture of death could never achieve the exchange of avarice for Christian modesty of life and generous donation to the poor without Christianity itself. Indeed, it is questionable even whether Pope Francis advocates strongly for the conversion of the individual in this regard, since most of his lamentations of the state of income equality focus on the benefits of collectivisation which could be achieved by the State.

Finally, God's desire to see the Salvation of all, unless God has changed, will require that His commandments are respected greatly by the Church and proclaimed by the Church, since how can God grant mercy to those who stand in ignorance or are defiant of their need for mercy? Perhaps He has a way, but Jesus has not revealed this. He has told His Apostles to baptize and teach in His name for the salvation of the world. It is not mercy to leave in ignorance the adulterer, the fornicator, the thief, the active homosexual and every and any kind of sinner inhabiting the Church and the World. It is a work of mercy, the Catechism holds, to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant. Does Pope Francis assist or hinder the propagation of those divine truths that Lord God wills, the Lord Whose desire is the Salvation of the World? If he does, he could begin by answering the dubia. If he does not wish this, then he may continue as he has hitherto chosen to proceed, be it with serenity, or, indeed, not, since as we all know, His Holiness is given to a hot temper at times but only when things don't go his way. When the Church ignores the divine mandate entrusted to him and the Successors of the Apostles, he appears thoroughly pleased.

If we take authentic private revelation into consideration, alongside many prophetic statements of a succession of popes, then we begin to understand that we live in a Kairos of mercy; a season of advent that will eventually lead, in God’s own time, to the making of all things new. Anyone who has studied Divine Mercy in my Soul by St. Faustina Kowalska cannot fail to see this momentous element. Indeed, St. John Paul II while dedicating the new Shrine of Divine Mercy in 2002, recalled Jesus’ famous prophecy about a “spark from Poland” that “will prepare the world for my final coming”, calling it a “binding promise.”

If only we could say that this was visibly the case but we cannot, as Mr Walford does, simply wish something to be that is not because we wish this were to be. Alas, Pope Francis, were he to be a continuation of the divine mercy message proclaimed by the Polish Pope, he would surely not in a manner that could only be described as like unto subterfuge the enormous defence of marriage and the family undertaken by St John Paul II. Simply taking the language of mercy used by St JPII and Benedict XVI and manipulating it to mean something which, in the Church's understanding since the beginning, it does not mean, is not an extension of the themes of these pontificates but in fact constitutes a rupture with them.

Both of these holy and venerable Pontiffs proclaimed for the whole Church to hear that it was not possible to sanction the admittance of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion unless they agreed to live in perpetual continence. By doing so, both made plain that in this teaching, a matter of Sacramental discipline, the Lord's own words were upheld by the Lord's Church. Both made plain that every pastoral effort must be made to encourage such persons in this heroic choice for the sake of the Kingdom and for their Salvation. Both made plain that the Church's compassion was not closed to such couples. Both made plain that in line with St Paul's admonition to those who did not discern the Body and Blood of the Lord, guilt in the sixth commandment would not render them ready to receive the Lord of life, but would rather hasten their way along a path to eternal death.

Now, Mr Walford, if Pope Francis is a continuation of these 'mercy' Popes, and Pope Francis heralds, through Amoris Laetitia, the continuation or deepening of this mercy theme, why should Pope Francis wish to open up the possibility of admittance to Holy Communion to those who, for their own good, as well as for the good of souls in general, were categorically forbade from reception of the Body and Blood of the Lord where repentance and resolution to live chastly was lacking?

How can you possibly tell the 'simple' Faithful that Francis's exhortation in this matter reflects that which has come before or opens new paths of mercy when previous Popes made plain that this teaching and discipline was true not just for then, or now, but for all time when they, of course, are not the only ones? That those in unrepentant mortal sin may not receive Holy Communion is a simple timeless truth of the Holy Faith. Anyone above the age of reason can understand it. Yes, Mr Walford, even the 'simple faithful' can understand it.

No Pope can alter this and if he tries to do so, that Pope will be a false prophet leading souls into Hell, but, of course, if we believe what you write, you seem to believe that Popes cannot go to Hell, since Popes cannot mislead people, or do wrong things, or lead God's people astray, or be vainglorious, because everything they do is holy. Familiaris Consortio was the exhortation of St John Paul II on the family. Amoris Laetitia obliquely contradicts it. Please, do not tell me, that an intelligent man such as you, also believes that 2 + 2 = 5 at the Pope's say so. If this Pope is to tell Christ's Church that the Lord's second coming is close then will you, who are able to gain audiences with him, please ask him to call the sons and daughters of the Church to fidelity to Christ? If we can call the sons and daughters of the Church to fidelity to Christ, perhaps too we can boldly proclaim Christ to the nations of the World also.

If the great Polish Pontiff was the main instigator of the new promotion of mercy (although we should of course recall St. John XXIII), then Pope Francis must be seen as the one who has placed this “greatest attribute of God” at the very heart of the Church and the hermeneutical key to understanding his magisterium.

One question arises here: If it is only the 'simple faithful' who understand Pope Francis's dynamic teaching which is both new and fresh, but which also retains that which his predecessors taught, then why is a 'hermeneutical key' required to understanding his magisterium? You cannot have it both ways, Mr Walford. Either the 'simple faithful' get Pope Francis's message because they are humble, simple folk, or only such men as yourself, with theology degrees, understand Francis because you have the magical hermeneutical key to understanding his magisterium, the key that renders rational thought useless in the face of his holy gaze of mercy and requires that the divine mandate you say he exercises with such exuberance be utterly redefined to mean something different to that which the Church's Founder meant.

Either the changing of the discipline of the Church on who may be admitted to Holy Communion via a process of personal discernment and acccompaniment that does not seem to require the deliberate choice to renounce sexual relations in the case of the divorced and remarried is a watershed moment of astonishing change that suggests rupture with tradition, or it is not, because this discipline and teaching has not changed. It cannot be both. Forgive me for not being fooled, but I and many others who you describe as embittered are not fooled. Why? Because we are striving to be faithful to Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed and Thrice Holy Trinity! Because, in a word, we are Christians!

'Pure, authentic Christianity', as you put it, is not what this Pope presents to the Church, because what he presents to the Church are not yet faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ. What he presents is subversive of His teachings. If you want an ancient heresy, Steven, try the ancient heresy that asserts that 'pure, authentic Christianity' can be found by re-inventing it and then claiming your version of it as that of its Founder, since each heretic claims that he represents the 'true' version intended by Him. If the Pope represented 'pure, authentic Christianity', then doctrine, even the dubia, would not present an obstacle to his course because, until 2013, when doctrine became a dirty word, it was considered risable that we could have Jesus Christ without fidelity to Jesus Christ's teachings. To say that we can throw Jesus Christ's teachings overboard and still have 'pure, authentic Christianity' is, sorry, ridiculous. Please, do not pretend that the Pope is not dispensing with Jesus Christ's teachings, while he passes over in silence His teaching on adultery, divorce and remarriage and makes ambiguous statements over who may receive Holy Communion, thus wilfully sanctioning by proxy the behaviour of those in mortal sin and legislating for sacrilege. Unless black means white and white means black, this is the precise opposite of what a 'true prophet' would do.

Two Bergoglian images of the Church speak of this charism: 1) a spiritual field hospital 2) a tender mother. Francis sees mercy as a way into people’s lives; an outreach ministry that is willing to descend into the darkest places where despair leaves souls paralysed; a means to see in the gravest sinner, a dearest brother. This may, in part, explain his dislike for bureaucrat priests, airport bishops and those who prefer a preening Church, standing in front of the mirror admiring its own beauty. In essence he rails against a narcissistic attitude that hides the maternal nature of Mother Church. The Church as a field hospital on the other hand, is always at the service of a wounded humanity, ready to apply the medicine of mercy with compassionate and open arms; it will always set up shelter wherever needed. It does not ask needless doctrinal or theological questions when souls are ill, but works on the immediate priority–that is to offer love, mercy and hope. In those critical moments, everything else is of secondary importance. 

There can be no objection to either the Church as a field hospital nor the Church as a tender mother. Certainly, none of us are without sin. The question is Who do we require to heal us? Deeper questions also arise for us. Do we want to be healed? Might we also make a distinction between who is Mother and who is Healer? Might we also ask by what means we might be healed? Or is it the case that we may be left by the teaching of Francis unaware that Jesus Christ is no mere private trained in medicine pouring whisky over our wounds in a trench, but that the Lord wills very much that we may entrust ourselves to Him completely and allow Him to heal us of all that wounds us, but also cleanse us of all that offends Him? One might also ask whether, in the field hospital, Jesus Christ is even mentioned. I fear not. Only the Church is mentioned, the Church and Francis, Francis who indeed limits the Church to this truncated analogy of a field hospital in which 'doctrinal or theological questions' - let us call them dubia - are ignored. Why are they ignored? Because souls are ill. They are the priority. Fine. What are they offered? Love, mercy and hope. Are they also offered the Truth, which is necessary to obtain the forgiveness of our sins, since ignorance of sin will likely lead us into sin and, unrepented of, eternal perdition? Are they offered this? No. Of course not. These things are, after all, of 'secondary importance'.



The radicalness of the Gospel message is that each Christian must pour out themselves for others in a continuous and unconditional act of love. Too often, however, this truth is conveniently ignored and thus hypocrisy becomes an anti-gospel where mercy is replaced by judgment and accusation.

Mr Walford, as a Vatican observer I have compiled a book of some of His Holiness's most imaginative insults, his judgements towards the faithful, priests, bishops, Cardinals, laity and yes, even nuns. So aside from my own lamentable vice or seeing fault in others when of course I am a miserable sinner, my own vocabulary has been broadened by this Supreme Pontiff when it comes to running others down. However, I do detect within this paragraph perhaps just the smallest admonition to those who are not thoroughly convinced, as you reputedly are, of the wisdom of this Pope's governance of the Church. Do you perhaps think that it is the Church's 'bitter faction' which replaces mercy with judgement and accusation?

Yes, it is a lamentable vice, but I must say, if it is going to be a vice enjoyed by those disputing the current remarkable events going on in Holy Mother Church, let those who throw insults first produce a logical argument - one grounded perhaps in the Church's perennial teachings - and in the teachings of successive popes, perhaps even the words of our Blessed Lord Himself, before such fierce accusations are made. I, for one, shall hold back, since it profits me nothing to insult you. I shall not insult you. I shall allow your own arguments to do that for you. You may claim, if you wish, that you stand on rock, for you unequivocably support the Pope's document without reservation and see in it no inconsistencies at all and the Pope is the rock. But if you do not stand with Jesus Christ, if the Pope chooses to stand aside from Him or distance the Church from Him, do you think you, do you think I will stand His coming, if we choose to forget God and His Commandments because the Pope willed it? Do you really think being 'faithful' is really that 'simple'? Well, you are one for prophecy, so here it is, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:




Mr Walford, if you consider that the Lord's return is close, you had better prepare yourself for the persecution that is coming, the persecution that precedes it. I assure you, that if Pope Francis continues in the manner he has been, and you continue in the manner you have been, you shall meet with no persecution at all. Criticism from a 'bitter faction'? Yes. But that is not the same thing and you know that. For the love of Christ, however, articles such as yours must be replied to by those who will grow more and more saddened that our prelates should choose to sell Our Lord for worldly glory.

I, for one, will not be silent, not, at any rate, on this vehicle for communication, as long as I see that Catholics are being told, by such men as you, to suspend the operation not only of logic and reason, but also the divine faith unto which we cling for our salvation and for the salvation of the whole world just because 'Pope says so'. To follow your advice would indeed be a great insult, not only to intelligence, but also to the theological virtue of Faith which does not follow fashion blindly and does not accept as true that which has already been declared false, which does not accept as 'mercy' that which is, in fact, complicity in evil. Jesus warned, as well you know, His disciples about false prophets who would appear to deceive even the elect. If He had wanted to say that it could never happen that such a prophet could appear in the black loafers and white cassock of a Pope, He could have. He did not. Where would we stand if Jesus Christ returned tomorrow is the most important question for us all, but a lesser one for you, Steven...

Where would you stand if a Catholic Pope turned up tomorrow?


The Stage is Set

There is, I don't doubt, a thin line between suspicion, a healthy cynicism informed by observation of recent times and boggle-eyed par...