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Hilary White

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Cardinals  Daniel Di Nardo and Raymond Burke leave the Paul VI Hall, March 7, 2013, Vatican City. (Source: Getty Images Europe)     

Well! What an exciting week it’s been! All the Catholic bloggy world is in a froth over the Dubia of the Four Cardinals and the pope’s non-response. It has taken me the best part of a week to complete this because events kept changing so fast I couldn’t keep up. But it seems we are in another little lull.

Francis is thought to have refused to meet with his own cardinals at the consistory this weekend in order to avoid being confronted personally in a venue where it would be impossible to avoid answering the question whether he is or is not a Catholic. A pope hiding from his own cardinals in order to avoid being called out on heresy – oh, sorry, on “errors” – is something I’m not sure the Catholic Church has ever seen in all her long and strange history.

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The 13th-Century Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia destroyed, leaving standing only its great facade.

"We are now the remnant of the Church. We have no leadership worth the name. We cannot go where they are going, since they are going to perdition. As awful, as unbearable as it seems, we have only that one duty left; to carry on, by ourselves if necessary." - Hilary White

You may have heard that we were struck again with big earthquakes late last month. I think there was something about it in the news before your election. I’m currently writing from a train in northern Italy where I’ve more or less been wandering the countryside looking for a new place to live while they figure out whether my house in Norcia is going to keep standing up. Things are a little strange at the moment, but I think no stranger than they are in the life of the Church in general. At the moment, my personal life closely resembles the larger situation of uncertainty, turmoil and upheaval, so it is hard to complain of an opportunity to suffer exactly as Christ is now suffering in His Mystical Body.

Pope Francis and the Italian March to the Radical Party
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One of the most important tasks of journalists is to learn to read “signals” in politics, and this week, the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CEI) has sent up an unusually clear one. CEI has demonstrated that they not only have little interest in the spiritual nature of their role, but has this week officially thrown its collective lot in with the country’s most toxic anti-Catholics of the extreme far left.

The other day, someone out there in blogland asked a question that has been in my own mind for nearly three years. In essence, the question was, “How can a pope be a schismatic? If schism means refusal of submission to Peter, how can a pope be in schism from himself?” This logically leads to the next question: if Bergoglio is a heretic, and we are obliged to resist him, how then are we not, by definition, the schismatics?

People feel they are caught in an impossible dilemma; if the pope preaches heresy as though it were Catholic truth (and no bishop condemns this and calls him to account) are we not obliged to obey him? If not, then how are we not in open rebellion against the pope? But how can we who love Christ and wish to obey His commandments, follow this pope in his many brazen rebellions – his “manifest heresies” – against divinely authored truth?

Italian Priest: 'Contemplative nuns, seek the face of God while you can'

The ancient Christian occupation of full-time contemplation of God, the voluntary withdrawal from the world and its temporal concerns, the self-immolation and immersion in the life of prayer, may soon be effectively suppressed by the current occupiers of the Holy See, the men determined in all spheres of Catholic life to force conformity with the Vatican II secularist trends. The document issued recently by the Congregation for Religious, re-writes much of the canonical norms for women’s contemplative communities, and will centralize control over the monastic life.

An Italian priest has expressed the fears of many that the aim is to force the few maverick traditional or tradition-minded nuns to comply with the New Paradigm of Francischurch. Monasteries, that have traditionally been granted broad autonomy, will come under central.

We are probably all familiar by now with the very sensible Ann Barnhardt Maxim: your desire for political office is ipso facto proof that you are not qualified to hold any political office.

Given our current diseased political class and climate of not only irrationality but anti-rationality it is very difficult to argue against this. I don't know much about American politics (it was never my beat, even when I was writing about politics for a living) but it seems that the disease that is so evident in the current American election cycle is the same that we can see in every political jurisdiction in the western world (and most of Asia).

The stench of Marxist putrefaction is exactly the same, no matter where you are, whether it is Washington, Brusels, London, Rome or little Valletta. The source was Gramsci, Alinksy, Frankfurt School, Soros... etc... We all know by now. (And if we don't just go ahead and Google those terms and get yourself up to speed.)

The take-over has been almost total, both in the parliaments and in every other venue of public life (most certainly and especially the Church). The Long March Through the Institutions has been a smash success, they have almost completed their task of turning the whole world into one titanic re-education camp. So, well done all.

Well, sure… yes of course, the radical secularization of Europe is bad, but not as bad as being a gnostic-pelagian!…and failing to “accompany” sinners to help them “gradually” give up their sins… maybe… some day…

So says Pope Francis in his carefully prepared dialogue with the Polish bishops during World Youth Day.

The Vatican has released the official transcript (whether it has been doctored at the last moment no one has yet said) of his friendly, scripted public chat in the cathedral of Krakow, July 27th.

Pope Francis has again said stupid things about war. In his latest plane presser on the way to Poland (dear Lord, are we going to have two of these for every trip from now on?!) he has again parroted the boilerplate leftist blither we were taught to recite in the 70s in our hippie free schools.

CNA reports his comments:

“When I speak of war, I talk about it seriously, but it’s not a war of religion. It’s a war for money, for resources, for nature, for dominion. This is the war,” Pope Francis told journalists on his July 27 flight from Rome to Krakow. “Could one think of a religious war? No. All religions want peace. Others want war,” he said. “Is that clear?”

Yes, it’s the tired old Marxist cant: war is always, by nature, unjust; it is always about the “military/industrial complex” manipulating public opinion and throwing away young lives to gain power and control over economic resources. Again Francis has demonstrated the understanding and depth of knowledge of a 13 year-old “social justice warrior” on Twitter. Groovy, man. Peace out.

The pope was responding to questions about the increasing violence in Europe – attacks are daily now – that this week included the brutal murder in Normandy of a French priest in his church during Mass.

As one commentator, clearly as close to the end of his patience as the rest of us, said, “[F]or Bergoglio, two Muslims shouting ‘Allah (God) is Great!’ attacking a Catholic priest, nuns and worshipers during a Catholic church service – what would seem to be an almost paradigmatic example of religiously based conflict – is not about Islam, or Catholicism or religion but really about ‘money, for resources, for nature, for dominion.’ That’s a Marxist analysis if there ever was one.”

It is extremely important to remember that it is not only ISIS that has no interest in Christian ethics, and that ISIS and Communism share a common disdain for the moral law as Christianity has expounded it and also share a reliance on terrorism as a tool of conquest. Marx himself explicitly endorsed terrorism to promote the Communist cause. When he was pitched out of Germany in 1849 for trying to foment war, Karl Marx wrote, “We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.” This followed his remark in November, 1848: “… there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” 

Using this tool much more effectively than any post-Christian Marxists, ISIS has succeeded in a couple of years in nearly wiping out the 2000-year-old Christian presence in Iraq and Syria, and has prompted increasing attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt. Now, with the help of self-loathing leftist elites in Europe’s leadership, they have moved the show into Europe and have boasted that they will do in the remnants of the current Christian heartland what they have done in its ancient cradle. And this month, that promise seems well on its way to being fulfilled.

Amel Nona, Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, came right out and said it:

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future...

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger.

“You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values.

“If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

What has the pope, the head of the Christian Church on earth, had to say about it? Most recently, he has issued a warning – obviously aimed at Christians more than at the people murdering us – against “all forms of hatred.”

This week, with Poland being among the very few European countries refusing to allow unrestricted access to Islamic invaders, the pope is at it again. To the WorldYouth Day attendees, he said, “A merciful heart can welcome refugees and migrants.” and “Let us listen to those of other cultures and peoples, even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat.”

It is hardly surprising in the face of such trite and childish – and plainly dangerous – banalities that grownup Catholics are calling more and more forcefully for a stronger – and more Catholic – stand against the deadly aggression of militant Islam. This week yet another public appeal was issued – this time by a pair of American Catholic writers at The Stream, John Zmirak and Jason Jones – demanding that the pope walk back his attacks on Christians – comparing them to Cain and Herod – who still have the intestinal fortitude to name names and demand a halt. I expect the letter will be met with the same consideration at Casa Santa Martha of all the other such appeals.

One American commentator, Oakes Spalding, has offered a list of possibilities as to why the pope talks this way about one of the most pressing issues of our times. Given Francis’ proclivities – and his manifest loathing of the Catholic religion – the list seems plausible. Spalding suggests a combination of, “hatred of the ‘old’ Catholic Church…” by which he means “the Church up until, well, himself or at least up until Vatican II”; outright “sympathy with Islam”; the modernist’s characteristic religious indifferentism and his desire to set himself up as “a world leader of religion, rather than the leader of the Catholic Church”; Bergoglio’s demonstrated “quasi-Marxism” that may or may not be conscious; lazy “pop theology” that insists that “all religions are good”; and his demonstrated narcissism that prompts his desire to say “something unexpected, new, different or profound,” and at the same time offend and insult believing Catholics at every opportunity.

Spalding adds two more possibilities that are being considered privately more and more often: demonic influence (“Given Bergoglio’s record, any faithful Catholic who hasn’t at least considered this, hasn’t been paying attention,”) and/or some form of senility or dementia.

No matter what the mindset or motives behind it, it is clear that no provocation is ever going to be sufficient to wake this man into the reality of the situation or prompt him to leave his blatantly heretical worldview and join the Catholic fight. He lives in a perfectly closed bubble of his own making. Personally I believe that the only value of these public appeals will be to make more clear the fact that we are on our own, that no help of any kind will be forthcoming from Bergoglio’s Rome.  

But all this does raise the question where we are to look for guidance on exactly how to respond. Francis has recentlybeen dropping hints that the Church would at some point have to re-examine the Just War theory, that set of ethical imperatives that guide believers in the prosecution of war. Indeed, the conference held at the Vatican said exactly that.

Co-hosted by the notoriously far-left pacifist group Pax Christi and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the conference denied that there could possibly be any such thing as a “just war,” even in self defence or defence of others… Sorry Poland, but the next time someone wants your territory, I guess you’re on your own.

“We believe that there is no ‘just war,’” the conference statement said. “Too often the ‘just war theory’ has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war. Suggesting that a ‘just war’ is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict.”

It is obvious that by abolish the Just War Theory, this pope and his fellow travelers mean to abolish any notion that a war can be justly prosecuted by Christian men. His toddler’s understanding, apparently, is that, “war is bad” and “violence is mean,” so we can’t do it, EVAHR!

Being a bit of a hawk, my own first reaction to this suggestion was a joyous whoop: “So, ‘first strike’ is totally back on the table then. Awesome!” Unfortunately, so are a great many other things. Without the Just War Theory, in fact, we are back to the brutal, Hobbesian world of might making right, rule by whichever bully is strongest.

The existence of an ethical “theory” by which Christians can engage justly in war is taken by those with Bergoglio’s mindset as evidence prima facie that Catholics are warmongering villains of history, probably ready at any moment to return to the rack and burning people at the stake for witchcraft. (Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this pope is his eagerness to believe and disseminate the “black legends” of anti-Catholic mythology.)

But the reality of the Just War Theory has a lot more to do with the strict limitations on what Christian princes can and can’t do in war; primary among which is the presumption that war is only ever justified in defence against a deadly threat.

What are the basic principles of the Just War Theory?

The two main divisions are what reasons justify going to war (jus ad bellum), and how that war may be conducted (jus in bello). In short, a nation may go to war for the same reasons a man may use deadly force to defend his family.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, the jus ad bellum requires

“1) just cause: an actual or imminent wrong against the state, usually a violation of rights, but sometimes provided by the need to protect innocents, defend human rights, or safeguard the way of life of one’s own or other peoples.

2) Competent authority: limiting the undertaking of war to a state’s legitimate rulers.

3) Right intention: aiming only at peace and the ends of the just cause (and not war’s attendant suffering, death, and destruction).

4) Proportionality: ensuring that the anticipated good not be outweighed by bad.

5) Last resort: exhausting peaceful alternatives before going to war.

6) Probability of success: a reasonable prospect that war will succeed.”

Jus in bello requires

"1) proportionality: ensuring that the means used in war befit the ends of the just cause and that their resultant good and bad, when individuated, be proportionate… and

2) discrimination: prohibiting the killing of noncombatants and/or innocents.”

All of this presupposes that the aggressors are the ones to make the first move, though there are those who have taken the theory to allow for “just offensive wars”.

Evidently this pope is not bothered in the slightest by the mortal threat to innocents posed by an aggressor such as ISIS. We have seen this in his limpwristed response to the wholesale slaughter, rape and enslavement of his Christian flock in the Near East. And we have heard nothing from him about the appalling, thoughsadly predictable, consequences of his ludicrous insistence that Catholics actually take these savages into their private homes. This, not even after ISIS had publicly declared that they were smuggling their terrorist operatives in with the great crowds coming over the Mediterranean.

The next time someone tells you that “the pope doesn’t believe in the Just War Theory” you can respond that the news is showing us every day now what the world will look like if he gets his wish that it be abolished. ISIS is perhaps the best demonstration of warfare without justice or moral principles the modern world has yet seen. Even the Nazi savageries were to some degree restrained by the Christian moral background of Europe. Hitler at least had to hide the camps and pretend to offer a justification for his aggressions. National Socialism – as with all forms of post-Christian, atheistic western ideologies – started from the context of Christianized thought, no matter how far they diverge from their origins.

But in ISIS and militant Islam we have seen what humanity is capable of when it is truly unfettered by any vestiges of Christian morality. Western secularist elites have been taken by surprise by these displays of animalistic savagery – something their unconsciously Christianized assumptions were not prepared to deal with. In these Islamic men, the post-Christian world is finally seeing the reality of their relativistic notion of a “different morality.” If you want to know how Muslims think of war, simply invert every item on the list above and you will see what is permissible and even mandated by “Allah”.

Without a concept of the “Just War” we are back to the total barbarism, the savage brutality and indifference to human life and freedom that was warfare in the pre-Christian, ancient world. What did warfare look like before Christianity started holding back the baser instincts? It was aggressive campaigns of conquest; genocidal slaughter of entire populations; total and permanent destruction (“sowing with salt”) of human habitations; routine torture and mass rapes; subjugation, enslavement and deportation of peoples. It was, in short, exactly what Islam has been doing for 1400 years.

Perhaps someone should sit Pope Francis down and show him the photos of what an unjust war looks like. The photos, gleefully uploaded to Twitter and Instagram, of the Christian peoples of the Near East being beheaded, crucified, burnt alive and chopped to bits and the survivors herded as slaves, right now.

As for why the pope talks the way he does – including his logical contradictions, his insults against believers, his persistent misquoting of Scripture and misrepresentation of Catholic teaching – I return to the perspicacious Mr. Spalding who suggests we consider what the devil wants.

“The devil or his demons do not simply lie. They mix lies with truths, half-truths and claims which are simply incoherent. The object is to cause confusion and despair. Hopefully (to them) people will not only come to doubt revealed Christian truth but also the notion that there is any truth. A large part of this demonic rope-a-dope strategy is the spouting of literal non-sense.”

I ask readers to consider carefully what kind of being would mandate that its followers either ignore or “abolish” the Just War Theory.


For further reading on the Just War Theory, one does not have to go far back.

Pacem in terris, Pope John XXIII
Catholic Encyclopedia on “War”
Thomas Aquinas on war, from the Summa
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “On safeguarding peace”

NCR conference at Vatican

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slide 329886 3231965 freeWalking fearlessly alone and among the poor, Cardinal Bergoglio drinks mate, the traditional Argentine beverage, in Buenos Aires on March 3, 2013, ten days before his election as Pope. (Did this man ever do anything without the cameras rolling?)

When Jorge Bergoglio was elected as pope, there was surprisingly little information either released by the Vatican or available online from his long tenure as head of the Church in Buenos Aires or as a leading figure in the South American Society of Jesus. It was there if you knew how to dig hard enough. In fact, the Spanish and Portuguese language news sites and blogs are full of interesting photos of his holiness as a cardinal posing with his good friends in all the Marxist-inspired “social movements”.

But it’s a funny thing, even though the whole world knew five minutes after the 2005 election that Ratzinger had once been drafted into the Hitler Youth as a child, Bergoglio’s ties with these leftist extremist organisations has remained pretty much unknown in the English language press. In fact, to this day, next to nothing about his history or about the fate of the archdiocese of Buenos Aires is known to the general Catholic world.

The pope has issued “new guidelines” for contemplative nuns, and it has set off every one of my alarms, long, loud and terrifying as an air raid siren. It is possibly one of the most sinister things I've seen coming from Bergoglio thus far, but I think few people will understand how serious it is or could be.

Hardly anyone gives a moment’s thought to cloistered nuns. Once they’re inside, the world forgets about them. But contemplative religious life is like the mitochondria of the Church. The power source of the cell that makes all the other systems function. The mitochondria are the most unobtrusive and hidden of the organelles of the body, and for a very long time their purpose was not fully understood. But now we know our lives depend on the health of this tiny, secret and hidden little thing. And mitochondrial disease – when the mitochondria fail to function – is devastating.