One aspect of Pope Francis’ character that seems little-explored by the Catholic and secular media alike is his apparent disdain for contemplative religious life – a facet of Catholic life that could be described as the most purely religious of all the Church’s undertakings. The world does not understand it or want it. Therefore, it is something of a thorn in the Bergoglian side, and he has repeatedly expressed his contempt for it. So when, in 2016 he issued a document on contemplative nuns, the faithful braced for impact.
The Francis Vatican’s approach to the contemplative life is probably the most illustrative of our entire crisis. Contemplative life is aimed only at a purely supernatural end. It has no “use” in the sense that either the Bergoglians – in terms of their political machinations – or the world can understand. There is probably no other place where the differences between the two programmes - the Catholic programme of Christ and the Bergoglian/Kasperian programme - are more sharply contrasted.
I write this on the Feast of the English Carthusian Martyrs, St. John Houghton and companions.
I’m afraid of martyrdom. In fact, I’m afraid of experiencing anything bad - even things as silly as mean tweets - because of the things I believe. And I shy away from even the minor discomforts of fast and abstinence. I moan and complain at the normal aches and pains of being 52. I fear more cancer; I’m afraid of the increasing infirmity of age; I’m as worried as an old biddy about my health.
Zeno’s papacy: Francis cuts finer and finer slices of reality away as he daily halves the distance between himself and a formal declaration of heresy.
The ancient Greek mathematical philosopher Zeno of Elea (c. 450 BC) proposed a kind of thought experiment in which, in order to complete a distance of, say, a hundred meters, a runner would have to first divide in half the distance between himself and the finish line. But to get to that fifty meter mark, he would first have to achieve half that distance, which would in turn require that he halve that 25 meters, and to get to that mark would have to halve that distance… Each iteration of the project of getting from here to there requires splitting the difference again and again, meaning it would require an infinite regression of smaller and smaller distances be crossed to get to the finish line.
One of the painful parts of writing about the Church crisis is having to learn about the Church crisis. It’s a sad fact that in order to write about something with adequate care and diligence, one spends a lot of time amassing facts that most people, most sane people, would really just rather not know.
When I was younger the centre of gravity for the neo-modernist revolution in the Church was the Netherlands. But with yet another announcement gravely contrary to the Catholic Faith, it seems clear that the Spectre of Vatican II has settled permanently in Germany. With it being said more often and more openly that the German bishops are in a state of open schism, I thought maybe the time has come for us to have a closer look.
Editor's Note: In a March 11th letter signed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and addressed to Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, the former pope reportedly offers an impassioned defense of Pope Francis against the claim that he lacks theological and philosophical formation. In no uncertain terms, this letter, bearing Benedict's signature, affirms that “there is an internal continuity between the two pontificates.” Whether Benedict actually wrote this letter or not, it gives rise to a number of grave questions that need to be answered rather urgently before history closes the book on this commedia diabolica. Our thanks to Remnant columnist, Hilary White, for addressing the most pertinent of these here below. MJM
Recently an editor of a “conservative” Catholic magazine asked me if I would be interested in contributing a piece about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, five years on. I declined, telling him that I was morally certain that anything I had to say about it would not be in keeping with his editorial policies. It’s been five years, and I’ve noticed that there are a lot fewer people talking about what a “courageous” act it was to give up the pontificate. The consequences of that act have been so outlandish – even for people who are mostly OK with Francis – that very few people are still willing to make polite noises about it.
“Divinity of hell! When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows.”
Iago, Othello, Desdemona and the Father of Lies
English literature provides many studies of human evil, but perhaps the most poignant and appalling of all is Iago, Shakespeare’s villain of the Tragedy of Othello. Iago provides us with an examination of St. Thomas Aquinas’s claim that lying remakes a person into the very image of the devil. Iago is held by literary historians as possibly the most purely evil character in English literature whose calculated and ruthless manipulations bring about ruin and death for all around him. And he accomplishes all this by lies and the presentation of a false front of virtue, a “heavenly show”.
Placuit Deo is interesting, if for no other reason than in it, Ladaria the Silent, Ladaria the Absent, suddenly speaks. And I say this as one who was more than expecting a Bergoglian nuke this afternoon. A Rome-based journalist I consulted about the document told me, “The most interesting part of this is it’s from Ladaria.”
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, is the Jesuit chosen by Francis to replace the beleaguered Cardinal Muller as prefect of CDF. So far, perhaps the most singular thing we know about him has been his, and under him the CDF’s, absolute silence through the entire furor over Amoris Laetitia, an unprecedented mass-apostasy with bishops, national conferences and even cardinals openly declaring that the Church’s teaching on marriage no longer applies, that same-sex partnerings can be somehow “blessed” by the Church and, most recently, that non-Catholics can receive Holy Communion.
I’m going to start by saying that it seems generally like Ed Peters a good guy, an apparently faithful Catholic and conscientious canon lawyer. His blog always has interesting and useful – and factual – stuff in response to the incredible cascade of insanity coming lately out of Rome and the only-slightly less horrifying avalanche of confusion in response.
He’s certainly a go-to blogger for solid information on things canonical, whether you are a canon law expert or not. He’s got a significant voice in the Big Discussion because he’s earned our trust.
No more “humble pope”
Hey, remember five minutes ago when Pope Francis shouted at a reporter in Chile that there was “no evidence” supporting complaints against his good friend Bishop Juan Barros? And, just for good measure he accused the people accusing him – victims of sexual abuse by Barros’ mentor, the convicted sex-predator Karadima – of committing “calumny”? And remember when Cardinal O’Malley told the pope off in public over the “pain” these accusations had caused the victims of sexual abuse? And then remember how the pope had apologised-except-not-really because the accusations are, after all, still lies, and that there’s still “no evidence” against Barros…?
This month has been quite a spectacle, even for this pontificate; an apparently unending stream of outrages and embarrassments, with the pope and his Vatican media support jumping from one scandal to the next. But among secular reporters the sex abuse issue trumps all others and the fallout continues to blaze down on the Bergoglian pontificate in response to his amazing accusation earlier this month that victims of sexual abuse by clergy were engaging in “calumny,” in their accusations against a Chilean bishop, Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid.
The incident was brief: on the Thursday of the pope’s week-long South American trip, in response to an impromptu question tossed out by a Chilean reporter, the pope responded in what one reporter described as a “snippy tone”: “The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all calumny. Is that clear?”