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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rabbitgate: Could This Be a Good Thing? Featured

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God Help Us, What Have I Done! God Help Us, What Have I Done!

This article is my take on the impact of the latest scandal caused by the latest papal press conference at the back of an airplane: the one during the flight from Manila to Rome, reported around the world under the eminently predictable headline: “Pope Francis: Catholics Don’t Have to Breed Like Rabbits.” Objectors need not pester me or this newspaper with complaints about “bad translation” or the “whole context” of the Pope’s remarks, nor with such quibbles as “the Pope said be like rabbits, not breed like rabbits.” I have watched the entire interview in Italian and compared it with the transcript provided by America magazine and can confirm that the Pope said what he is reported to have said and that its “context” does not diminish but rather only exacerbates the scandal he has caused—yet again—by speaking off-the-cuff.

That is, the scandal caused by Francis telling us what he really thinks, which is supposed to be the great benefit of his insistence on “speaking from the heart” rather than relying on prepared texts like his overly inhibited predecessor.


First of all, “Rabbitgate,”

to string of infamous pronouncements the likes of which no Pope before him has ever uttered:

This does not mean that the Christian must make children in series. I rebuked a woman some months ago in a parish who was pregnant eight times, with seven C-sections (cesareans). “But do you want to leave seven orphans? This is to tempt God! He [Paul VI] speaks of responsible parenthood.

Incredibly enough, the very Vicar of Christ provided the world media with enough identifiers to make it obvious to everyone who knows this woman that the Pope had personally “rebuked” her for being an irresponsible mother who has sinned by tempting God when in fact she is practicing heroic virtue by accepting all of the children God has given her, with the assistance of a procedure modern medicine routinely provides to mothers all over the world facing difficult pregnancies. (We all know and admire Catholic mothers who have given birth to healthy babies via repeated C-sections.)

Antonio Socci drove home the devastating point about this increasingly bizarre pontificate: “if she [the woman] had said she used the Pill or had divorced, he [Francis] would have said ‘Who am I to judge?’” Once again the Pope whose media-driven theme is

toward the end of the press conference. It came in response to a reporter’s loaded question about whether poverty in the Philippines is related to the fact that the average Filipino woman has three or more children:

That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth (child) and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is an irresponsibility [said with emphasis]. “No but I trust in God! [mocking the woman’s presumed conviction].” But God gives you methods to be responsible. Some think that, excuse me if I use that word, that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood! This is clear and that is why in the church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can seek and I know so many, many ways out that are licit and that have helped this. You did well to ask me this.

These words are a font of revelation about the mentality behind them. What sort of Pope would publicly denounce as an irresponsible tempter of God a faithful Catholic woman who trusts in His providence—a trust so obviously rewarded with many children safely delivered? What sort of Pope would use this woman as an example of Catholics who think they must “be like rabbits,” thus lending credence to the world’s vicious caricature of Catholic mothers? (The neo-Catholic bloggers on “Team Bergoglio” desperately wrenched the rabbit remark from its context of the woman Francis cited as an example of rabbit-like breeding, arguing that the Pope was merely generalizing about Catholic teaching).

Further, what sort of Pope would refer to “many, many ways out” of pregnancy, as if parenthood were something for which Catholics require an exit strategy? And what, by the way, does Francis mean by “many, many ways out” in the first place, seeing that abstinence, either permanent or periodic, is the only licit way to avoid conception, and this only for grave reasons?

But the revelations do not end here.

with these remarks about Filipinos living in poverty:

Another curious thing in relation to this is that for the most poor people [i.e., the poorest—le gente più povere], a child is a treasure. It is true that you have to be prudent here too, but for them a child is a treasure. Some would say “God knows how to help me” and perhaps some of them are not prudent, this is true. Responsible paternity. But let us also look at the generosity of that father and mother who see a treasure in every child.

Why does Francis think it “curious” that for the poorest people a child is a treasure? Why does he say that “even here”—with very poor people—“you have to be prudent,” as if to suggest that the very poor are entitled to be somewhat less “responsible” in begetting children because “for them a child is a treasure” and they have no other treasure? A child is a treasure for everyone, rich or poor, not just “for them [the poorest].” And if every child is a treasure for everyone God deigns to give a child, by what right did Francis twice condemn a woman—evidently not a very poor woman—who has brought eight children into the world with the help of a standard medical procedure?

All in all, the man the press has idolized as a humble and tender pastor of souls by way of invidious comparison with his predecessor has here revealed a rather serious mean streak and not a little condescension toward the poor. And even when the inevitable “clarification” came two days later, with the Pope this time reading a prepared statement at his Wednesday audience address praising large families and affirming that every child is a gift from God, there was not the even the hint of an apology to the woman he had calumniated before the entire world precisely because she had courageously accepted eight gifts from God.

“Rabbitgate” may be as much a turning point in the Bergoglian pontificate as Watergate was for Richard Nixon—a fitting development for a papacy that is being conducted as if it were a presidency . The blogosphere is bristling with the protests of Catholic mothers who have had multiple C-sections and by Catholic parents of eight or more children who are now noticing what this newspaper has been reporting for months: that there is something gravely amiss with this papacy, something the Church has never experienced before.

As a contributor to the resolutely middle-of-the road has observed : “if Facebook is any indication, many large Catholic families are a lot less enamored of Pope Francis after ‘rabbits.’” While the same people have generally accepted without protest this Pope’s scandalous words and deeds, leaving mostly traditionalists to raise objections, this time Francis has struck rather too close to home for the “conservative” Catholic rank and file and new eyes are being opened. As the same writer observes: “If Francis after rabbits is diminished for you, so be it. Jesus Christ still reigns.” A hearty amen to that.

The widening perception that Francis is out of control may be a crucial factor in solidifying the hierarchical and lay opposition that will be necessary to prevent the train wreck he clearly has in mind for Synod 2015 if the boasting of his handpicked leader of the Council of Eight is any indication. As Cardinal Maradiaga has just declared with all the recklessness that has earned him the title “Mad Dog” Maradiaga:

The Council propelled institutional renovations, following the logic of the Spirit. These reforms encompass all levels of the ecclesial organization… But the institutional and functional changes—alone in themselves— proved insufficient, superficial…. The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.

As Francis continues to tell us what he really thinks, thus alienating an ever-growing number of the faithful who are awakening to the reality that this papacy is dangerously dysfunctional, we can only pray that what we are seeing is the Holy Ghost writing straight with crooked lines. It may well be that what we must call the threat posed by Bergoglianism will be averted by the blunders of Pope Bergoglio himself.


Francis Watch

Pope Publicly Condemns Catholic Mother of Eight as “Irresponsible,” Grants Private Audience to a Same-Sex “Transgender” Couple

Bergoglianism now veers into madness. The same Pope who saw fit to use a press conference to condemn as a reckless tempter of God a Catholic mother of eight has just received in a private audience at his residence a woman attempting to become a man through a sex-change operation and her purported “fiancée.” (One account refers to a “wife,” but the “marriage” apparently is awaiting completion of “Diego’s” “gender-reassignment” procedures.)

The audience with Francis, which took place on January 24 at 5 p.m., came after Francis had twice personally telephoned the woman, who now calls herself Diego, after she had written to Francis to complain that her parish priest had condemned her purported “sex-change” and that she felt “emarginated in the Church.” The first call was made on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the second in the days before Christmas, when Francis personally invited “Diego” and her so-called fiancée to visit him at the Vatican.

So we have a Pope who grants a personal audience to a “transsexual couple” while refusing to meet with the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, whose flourishing Catholic order he destroyed, or the lone traditional bishop in Paraguay he summarily removed from a diocese with many vocations because of opposition from a progressive-dominated episcopate, which is driving Catholics from the Church by the millions.




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Last modified on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.