GRILLO IS ‘TOASTED’ BY MARCO TOSATTI ON A VERBAL GRILL

Amoris LaetitiaRorate Caeli

Tosatti: “those who don’t agree with the boss [Francis] – off with their heads!”

By Marco Tosatti
May 20, 2017

Reading three news articles yesterday makes me think that someone is really “getting bent out of shape” and we are entering now a perilous phase of decline: those who don’t agree with the boss – off with their heads! An unprecedented populist degeneration in the life of the modern Church. I sincerely hope I’m wrong: I’m not just saying this, I really hope so. However we have signs that are anything but comforting.

The crux of the matter, it seems to me, is once again the Pope’s non-response (a year has now gone by) to the five questions asked by the four Cardinals on the controversial points of the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Questions made in a spirit of obedience, following the classical procedure of the Church, i.e. asking the Pontiff and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a clarification. Two months after the questions had been made, when the Cardinals discovered that the Pontiff had no intention of responding, they made the questions public. These regard everyone and in substance can be reduced to one only: is it licit, in mortal sin and with no change to one’s life habits, to receive Holy Communion?  {Emphasis by Abyssum}
We don’t know the reason for the Pope’s non-response. We seem to recall that a certain Jesuit close to him had said that the reason was the fact that the questions were of an ideological nature. Forgive me, but this sounds a bit weak. It is the task of authorities to clarify their thoughts: and in doing so it will make clear whether a question is useless or has some point.  In the Church, especially, is an authority which doesn’t respond fulfilling its duties?

Instead of a response, there sparked never-ending attacks against the four Cardinals, and against anyone who shared their perplexity. We don’t wish to believe, as we have heard, that the Pontiff had encouraged or given “the green light”  for his followers to do this. However, there is no doubt that the only one of the four who still holds an office – Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Order of Malta – has entered and is still in, the firing range. As regards Malta you can find a summary here.  Perhaps in fact it was Burke’s parrhesia that was so irritating.

And so we come to the first of yesterday’s three episodes: the disconcerting personal attack by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga on Cardinal Burke is unprecedented. Maradiaga in an interview-style book, written along with his Salesian confrere Antonio Carriero entitled “Only the Gospel is Revolutionary”,  with regard to the Dubia, writes about Burke in the preface: “The Cardinal who sustains this, is a disillusioned man, inasmuch as he wanted power and lost it. He thought he was the highest authority in the United States”. And he adds: “He is not the Magisterium: the Holy Father is the Magisterium, and it is he who teaches the entire Church. The other just states his own ideas, and they deserve no further comment.  These are the words of a poor man.” This is precisely the point though: he is asking for a clarification on the Magisterium which has not yet been given. However for Maradiaga, the Pope’s great sponsor, this is an insignificant detail and he also lashes out at a not-well-defined “Catholic right-wing” which wants “power and not truth.  If they say they find some “heresy” in Francis’ words, they are greatly mistaken, since they think like men and not as the Lord wills.”
The virulence of the words is staggering.  Where have the dialogue and mercy gone?
Now we come to the second episode, which is also significant. Its protagonist is a certain Andrea Grillo, layman, Professor of Theology at St. Anselm’s.  Grillo would be – according to what we are told – in the never –officially-announced and officially unknown to the Prefect of Divine Worship (i.e. the authority that should deal with this issue) commission to study ifand how to create a Mass in which Catholics and Protestants can participate together. This is a problem of no small consequence, seeing as the significance of the Eucharist is understood completely differently [in the two parts].  {Emphasis by Abyssum}
The Prefect of Divine Worship is the African Cardinal Robert Sarah, appointed by the Pontiff, and for reasons of reform, he had to move him from where he had been, i.e. Cor Unum. In the afterword of his book soon to be issued, Benedict XVI said that with Cardinal Sarah, the liturgy was in good hands.  This doesn’t appear to us to be a scandalous affirmation; it is only for those who hate Sarah.
This Andrea Grillo, whom we don’t have the misfortune of knowing personally, let it all loose:  “We need to consider well the rarity of the situation. A Pope abdicates the exercise of his Petrine Office. The procedure of succession is opened and his successor is elected. Normally this occurs “mortis causa”. When the reason is not the death of the predecessor, but the “resignation” thereof, this fact for the institution opens up a delicate case of possible conflict of authorities which should have been surmounted by the predecessor’s “consignment of silence”, and who, in the preface wherein he praises Cardinal Sarah’s accomplishments, cites a text by St Ignatius of Antioch saying: “It is better to remain in silence.”  If he not only speaks, but even praises a Prefect who has created continuous embarrassment to the Church and his successor, a perilous conflict opens up, which would require more prudent behavior and more responsible words. In future, norms which regulate the predecessor’s “institutional death” in a clearer and more certain way should be envisaged and the full authority of the successor, in the case of resignations”.
Along with other unpleasant and disrespectful things, Grillo also said: “There cannot be cohabitation. This is now completely evident. As is evident that the white garments, the loquacity and the residence, must be regulated in detail. The Emeritus Bishop must depart the Vatican and be silent forever.  Only under these conditions it is possible to give shape to a real ‘succession’.  The intentions of discretion and humility have been manifestly broken, in an almost scandalous way. I find it truly disconcerting that the Emeritus Bishop of Rome praises Francis for an appointment that he knows well he had strongly influenced in bringing about. To me this seems to be the most serious datum, a sign of clericalism and would say also of a certain hypocrisy”.
The solution we can suggest is that of Fumone, the castle in Ciociara where Celestine of Morrone ended his days! We know well at least one of the owners, and if necessary we can act as mediators! Joking aside, what is scandalous is this thuggery shown by the champions of the new course. [It is] malice on such a scale that someone at Santa Marta should perhaps be worried about it.
To conclude, we arrive at the third episode: the Pontiff’s words at Santa Marta. He was addressing the problem of pagans wanting to become Christians, and the discussion of this problem among the Apostles. The Pontiff describes the situation like this: “the group of Apostles who want to discuss the problem and others who go about creating problems, dividing, dividing the Church, they say that what the Apostles are preaching is not what Jesus said – that it is not the truth.”
In the end an agreement is reached and the pagans can enter [the Church] without physical circumcision.  The Pontiff affirms that “it is the Church’s duty to clarify doctrine” (Oh oh! The Dubia? Editor’s note!) until “what Jesus said in the Gospels is understood well – and is the Spirit of the Gospels”.
“But there have always been those [type of] people, who, with no office, go about troubling the Christian community with talk that throws souls into confusion: This one who said that is heretical, the one who says you cannot say that, this no, the doctrine of the Church is this… And they are fanatics of things that are unclear, like those fanatics who went about sowing discord to divide the Christian community.  And this is the problem: when the doctrine of the Church –  which comes from the Gospel, inspired by the Holy Spirit – because Jesus said: ‘He will teach you and will remind you what I have taught’ -, that doctrine becomes ideology. This is the great error of these people. “  
Let’s play a little game: in which of the two groups cited by the Pontiff would Maradiaga and Grillo be placed? And if the fanatics speculate on things that are unclear, why not clarify them, when one is asked about them, and so cut off ambiguity at the roots?
*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumone
Source: click here.

Read the full article at Rorate Caeli

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SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE CARDINAL GERHARD MUELLER INTERVIEW WITH RAYMOND ARROYO ON EWTN

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Some Observations on the Cardinal Müller Interview

BFP

 

 

Yesterday, 25 May, the Catholic channel EWTN aired an interview of Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over which was conducted a week ago with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In this interview – which was conducted in English – the German cardinal touches upon several important matters which are of interest to the larger Catholic world.

When Raymond Arroyo asks Cardinal Müller about the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the confusion stemming from it, the cardinal first states: “It is absolutely impossible that the pope, as the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Jesus Christ for the Universal Church, [would] present a doctrine which is plainly against the words of Jesus Christ.” The pope and the magisterium are “merely the interpreter” of the words of Christ, and the “doctrine on indissolubility of matrimony is absolutely clear,” explains the cardinal.

In Müller’s eyes, the pope intends with Amoris Laetitia “to help, to have in his sight,” all those people who live “in the secularized world” and “who do not have a full understanding what is a Christian life.” “He does not want to say: ‘Either you accept absolutely all from the beginning or you are absolutely out.’” The German cardinal explains that “we must lead them as good pastors until [up to] this point that they could accept completely the Christian doctrine and Christian life and our understanding.”

With regard to the famous footnote in Amoris Laetitia according to which it is possible to have, under certain conditions, access to the Sacraments while living together as a “remarried” couple, Cardinal Müller explains that this only applies to those “who live as brother and sister” after “a conversion of the heart, penitence” and the “intention not to sin again.” “It is impossible to live with two legal wives,” he adds. “We don’t accept polygamy!”

It is in this context – and after explaining that doctrine and pastoral care always go together – that Cardinal Müller makes a side remark about Father Antonio Spadaro’s recent tweet according to which, in theology, 2 and 2 does not need to make four, but can be five:

Some of those people who present themselves as a counselor of the pope, [saying] that the theology, the pastoral [care] for two and two can be five, that is not possible, because we have the theology.

When Raymond Arroyo, in his searching questions, raises the problem that Pope Francis himself has encouraged the Argentine bishops in their progressive understanding of Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Müller responds that he is not glad “that the bishops interpret the pope, the pope interprets the bishops,” adding: “We have some rules how to act in the Church.”   {Emphasis by Abyssum}  The cardinal adds that, after two synods and a papal authoritative word in this matter, the discussion should be “finished.”

When asked about the dubia and whether they should be answered by the Holy Father, Cardinal Müller says that, with regard to the content of the dubia, these are “legitimate questions to the pope.” However, he regrets that “that it came out into the public,” causing “tensions between the pope and some cardinals.” “This is not good in our world of mass media,” concludes the cardinals, adding that “our enemies are glad to see our Church in a certain confusion.”

Moreover, Cardinal Müller distances himself from the misunderstandings on “both sides” or camps during the two family synods, saying that this had to do with “prejudices” and “an ideological view of things.” “Some argued too ideologically,” and thought that “we must fight for our ideas,” he explains, yet “we have the responsibility for the unity of the Church.” “It is not good to make a pressure group,” “to enter as a pressure group for one’s own ideas in the synod.” There are in the Church today “two wings, two ideological wing, extremes,” adds the German cardinal. “Everybody wants to win the battle against the other.” But, says Cardinal Müller, “the Revelation of God unites” and “it is not our task to unify in a totalitarian way.” It is wrong, according to Müller, to think “everybody must think like me.”

It seems that here, Cardinal Müller distanced himself, not only from the progressive camp, but also from those conservative prelates who tried to defend the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage during the two synods.

With regard to the question of the female deaconate, Cardinal Müller makes it clear that there cannot be a sacramental female deaconate and that Pope Francis established his study commission merely in order to find out more ways of participation in the Church for women.

Raymond Arroyo also asks the German cardinal whether the invitation of Paul Ehrlich and other progressive speakers at the Vatican is disturbing for him. In response, Cardinal Müller explains that, as a former academician, “I can discuss with everybody,” but “we must avoid the impression” of a relativization. “These people might be good scientists, but anthropologically, they [these secular academicians] have some lacks [deficiencies],” but we must “always have respect” for the natural law and the dignity of man, explains the cardinal. It is important to highlight the “right to life,” according to Cardinal Müller. “Overpopulation of the world could be a problem [sic], but we cannot resolve it with the killing of the half of mankind.”

When asked whether he is worried about giving moral credence to these speakers, Müller responds: “That could be the danger.” “Pope Francis was very clear against the gender ideology against transhumanism,” he adds. Pope Francis, in Müller’s eyes, “wants not to exclude these people” but wants them to learn from our “good anthropology” and have more “respect for human life.”

Moreover, Cardinal Müller confirms the idea that this approach is part of Pope Francis’ “evangelical hand held out to them,” as Arroyo puts it. The Church was once “a little bit separated from other groups,” seeming to be a little bit by itself, explains Cardinal Müller, and the pope wants now to reach out more to other groups in society.

With regard to the story about the three CDF priests who were dismissed around Christmas 2016 (as Marco Tosatti reported), upon the order of Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller makes it clear that he was opposed to the measure taken: “I am in favor of a better treatment of our officials in the Holy See because we cannot only speak about the social doctrine, we must also respect it.” The German distances himself “absolutely” from this dismissal which was not based on the fact that they committed a “mistake.” Müller does not want to participate in a form of a “court system”: “I am not a man of court [courtier].” For the employees of the Congregation for the Doctrine, orthodoxy and competence have to be the reasons for their employment, explains the cardinal.

When asked about the possible reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, Cardinal Müller responds with the words: “It needs time,” because it is not only about “signing a document” but also about the change of heart. Some of the members of the SSPX, he adds, think “we [ourselves] are the right Catholics.” They have to accept the “hierarchical communion” of the Church, as well as the creed, the pope’s authority and the councils. A “deeper reconciliation” is needed, according to Müller.

Cardinal Müller also explains to Raymond Arroyo that he generally agrees with Cardinal Robert Sarah’s claim that we have a “crisis of the liturgy,” but he insists that this crisis goes back to before the Second Vatican Council. The loss of the sense of the “mystery” at Holy Mass was a problem which already Romano Guardini discussed, says Cardinal Müller. It depends on the “inner attitude” as to whether one has a “life in God,” and not so much because of the “exterior forms.” The German cardinal states that, also with the traditional Latin Mass, one could celebrate Mass quickly – even in ten minutes – without entering into the mystery of the Mass.

His desire, Cardinal Müller says at the conclusion of the interview, is to “help to overcome secularization,” i.e., the “life without God.” In the face of his burdens as the Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Müller insists that “with the help of Grace, we can confront all these questions.” In light of this new interview, it might be worthwhile considering what Professor Anna Silvas recently said at the Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia in Rome:

There is one group however, whose approach I find very strange: the intentionally orthodox among higher prelates and theologians who treat the turmoil arising from Amoris Laetitia as a matter of ‘misinterpretations’. They will focus on the text alone, abstracted from any of the known antecedents in the words and acts of Pope Francis himself or its wider historical context. It is as if they interpose a chasm that cannot be crossed between the person of the Pope on the one hand, over whose signature this document was published, and the ‘text’ of the document on the other hand. With the Holy Father safely quarantined out of all consideration, they are free to address the problem, which they identify as ‘misuse’ of the text. They then express the pious plea that the Holy Father will ‘correct’ these errors.

No doubt the perceived constraints of piety to the successor of [Saint] Peter account for these contorted manoeuvres. I know, I know! We have been facing down that conundrum for a year or longer. But to any sane and thoughtful reader, who, in the words of the 45 Theologian’s Censures, is ‘not trying to twist the words of the document in any direction, but … take the natural or the immediate impression of the meaning of the words to be correct’, this smacks of a highly wrought artificiality.

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THE CHURCH WILL LIVE ON IN ITS FAITHFUL LAITY, BISHOPS AND PRIESTS. BUT AS A BUREAUCRATIC INSTITUTION ?????

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 

28 mag 

A Very Popular Pope, But Not Among the Bishops

vescovi

 

 

With the appointment as president of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, after that of the secretary general three years ago, Pope Francis now has full control of the Italian episcopal conference, one third of whose bishops have been installed by him, even in dioceses of the first rank like Bologna, Palermo, the vicariate of Rome, and soon also Milan.

Appointments are a key element in the strategy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. It should suffice to look at how he is reshaping in his image the college of cardinals, which in the future will elect his successor. After the latest batch of cardinals, announced one week ago for the end of June, chances are slimmer that the next pope could mark a return to the past.

Italy aside, however, winning the agreement of the bishops is anything but easy for Francis.

The only national episcopates that he can count on today are those of Germany, Austria, and Belgium, nations in which the Catholic Church is in the most dramatic decline.

While on the contrary the more vital Churches of Africa are those that stood together, in the two combative synods on the family, against the innovations desired by the pope.

If one then looks at the Americas, both North and South, the picture appears even more unfavorable for the pope.

In Canada, the six bishops of the region of Alberta have publicly taken a position against the go-ahead given by Francis to communion for the divorced and remarried, while in the United States the episcopal conference last November elected as its president Cardinal Daniel N. Di Nardo, precisely one of the thirteen cardinals of the memorable protest letter that infuriated Bergoglio at the beginning of the last synod.

In the American media, this election was covered as a referendum on Pope Francis, and there was reason for this. One year before, on a visit to the United States, Francis had ordered the bishops to change course and to get into step with him; and he had accompanied these commands with a series of appointments close to his mentality, in the first place that of Blase J. Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and as cardinal.

But if there was a referendum, Bergoglio lost it altogether. In the preselection for the appointment of the president, out of ten candidates elected only one to his liking made it in. And the elections of the vice-president – archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gómez, a member of Opus Dei – and of the heads of the commissions were also contrary to the pope’s expectations.

Even in Latin America, Bergoglio has few admirers.

In Colombia the bishops did not like – and they let him know this – the prejudicial support that Francis gave for the “yes” in the referendum on an agreement with the guerrillas of the FARC, an agreement that many bishops judged as a surrender and that in effect was rejected by the popular vote.

In Bolivia the bishops simply cannot stand the blatantly friendly relationship between Bergoglio and “cocalero” president Evo Morales, their bitter enemy especially since they publicly accused the “high structures” of the state of connections with drug trafficking.

In a Venezuela plunged into catastrophe, there is sadness and anger every time President Nicolás Maduro lashes out against them while appealing to Pope Francis, whose support he boasts having. And unfortunately for the bishops, the words spoken by the pope in commenting on the Venezuelan crisis during his latest in-flight press conference, on the way back from Cairo, sounded too benevolent toward the president and malevolent toward the opposition.

An analogous sentiment of being betrayed by the pope had also arisen among the bishops of Ukraine after the embrace between Francis and Moscow patriarch Kirill in Havana, which they saw as the latest of many shows of “support of the Apostolic See for Russian aggression.”

Not to mention China, where Francis continues to say that “one can practice religion” precisely while some bishops, precisely those who most want to obey the pope, are persecuted and imprisoned.

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)
mailto:traduttore@hotmail.com

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This commentary was published in “L’Espresso” no. 21 of 2017 on newsstands May 28, on the opinion page entitled “Settimo Cielo” entrusted to Sandro Magister.

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CARDINAL CAFFARA DISCUSSES SISTER LUCIA’S CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT THE FINAL BATTLE

May 27, 2017Saturday
“The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” —Sister Lucia of Fatima, in the 1980s, in a correspondence with the then-monsignor Carlo Caffara. Caffara, now a 78-year-old cardinal, reveals and discusses the correspondence below

 

 

The Last Battle

THE MOYNIHAN REPORT

American journalist Diane Montagna published an interesting interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, 78, the now retired Archbishop of Bologna in central Italy, on May 19 on the website Aleteia.

 

At the same time, Caffara (photo) gave a very clear and powerful address on May 19 in Rome, against the attack on the traditional family, which is also published below, after the interview.

 

These two texts will give an insight into his mind, and that seems important, because Caffara is one of the four cardinals who signed the “dubia,” the five “doubts” (questions) regarding the text of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia submitted privately to Pope Francis and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last September. After the dubiawere not answered, they were made public in November. They have still not been answered.

 

(Below, the four cardinals who posed the five questions, or “dubia” (“doubts”) to Pope Francis last September: from left, Cardinal Walter Brandmueller, Cardinal Carlo Caffara, Cardinal Raymond Burke, and Cardinal Joachim Meisner)

 

 

So who is Caffara?

 

He was the choice of St. John Paul II in 1981 to be the first head of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome. John Paul made him a bishop in 1995 and appointed him archbishop of Bologna at the end of 2003. Pope Benedict made him a cardinal in 2006. He retired in 2015. He will turn 79 on June 1in four days.

 

Caffara has spoken out on the immorality of contraception, and for this has been criticized by more progressive Catholic theologians. “Even the smallest moral wrong is so much greater than any physical wrong,” he has said. “I know this is hard for some to accept when the dangers are great, but the Church is here to combat moral wrongs.”

 

(Here, Caffara with Pope Francis)

 

Caffara in this interview goes into some detail about a correspondence in the early 1980s that he had with Sister Lucy, one of the three children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917. (The other two children, St. Jacinta and St. Francisco, both died very young, and were just canonized two weeks ago in Fatima, Portugal, by Pope Francis. Sister Lucia lived until February 2005, dying just before Pope John Paul II died.)

 

It is not new information. Some of the things Cardinal Caffara says were said already nine years ago, in 2008. He spoke on February 16, 2008, to the Italian radio station Tele Radio Padre Pio, after celebrating Mass at the shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, on the eastern coast of central Italy.

 

The interview was published in the Voce di Padre Pio bulletin in March of 2008.

 

And the Rorate Caeli website translated portions of the interview two years ago, in June of 2015, here.

 

“At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God (now St.) John Paul II,” Caffara said in 2008, “I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Inexplicably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature — now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

 

Here is the text of Montagna’s May 19, 2017 interview with Caffara…

From Aleteia

 

(Exclusive) Cardinal Caffarra: “What Sr. Lucia wrote to me is being fulfilled today”
Diane Montagna | May 19, 2017
The Fatima visionary told him: “A time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.”

 

VATICAN CITY — Sr. Lucia’s prophetic words that “the decisive battle” between the Lord and Satan would be over marriage and the family “is being fulfilled today,” Cardinal Carlo Caffarra has told Aleteia.

 

The Italian cardinal was speaking on Friday afternoon, May 19, at the fourth annual ‘Rome Life Forum,’ a gathering which brings together over 100 life and family leaders from over 20 nations to discuss how to defend and strengthen marriage and family life around the world.

 

Cardinal Caffarra is the Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. He has also served as a Member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

He was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2006. Cardinal Caffarra was one of Pope Francis’ 45 handpicked delegates chosen to attend the Ordinary Synod on the Family in 2015.

 

In this exclusive interview, given prior to his talk, Cardinal Caffarra also describes how Satan is attempting to destroy the two pillars of creation, so as to fashion his own “anti-creation”; and why, in this battle, woman is “the human being who must be defended the most.”
Your Eminence, what can you tell us about the letter you received from Sr. Lucia while you were working to found the Pontifical John Paul II institute for Marriage and Family in Rome?

Cardinal Carlo Caffara: In 1981 Pope John Paul II founded the Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. The first years (1983-1984) were very difficult. The Institute was not wanted.

 

Who didn’t want it?

Caffara: It was not wanted within and outside of the Church, because of the vision it was proposing. And so I was very concerned. Without asking anyone, I thought: “I will write to Sr. Lucia.”

 

How did that come to mind?

Caffara: Just like that. But as you know, from the beginning the patroness of the institute has been Our Lady of Fatima. It is contained in the Apostolic Constitution. There the pope places the institute under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin of Fatima. So much so — I hope it is still there — that when one enters the institute, at the end of the corridor there is a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and the chapel of institute is dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.

And so, I thought to write to her. So I wrote, but simply saying: “The pope wanted this Institute. We are going through a very difficult time. I ask you only to pray.” And I added: “I do not expect a reply.” Her prayers were enough for me.

 

As you know, in order to have any contact with Sr. Lucia, even by letter, one needed to go through her bishop. So I sent the letter to the bishop, and he passed it on to Sr. Lucia.

 

To my great surprise, after not more than two or three weeks, I received a reply. It was a hand-written letter and quite long. I have given sworn testimony of what the letter said. The letter ended, saying (in 1983 or 1984): “Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.”

 

This remained engraved on my heart, and amid all of the difficulties we have encountered — and there have been so, so many — these words have always given me a great strength.

 

When you initially read Sr. Lucia’s words, did you think she was speaking of that moment in history?

Caffara: I began thinking a few years ago, after almost thirty years: “Sr. Lucia’s words are taking place.” This decisive battle will be the thesis of my talk today. Satan is constructing an anti-creation.

 

An anti-creation?

Caffara: If we read the second chapter of Genesis, we see that the edifice of creation is founded on two pillars.

 

First, man is not something; he is someone, and therefore he deserves absolute respect. 

 

The second pillar is the relationship between man and woman, which is sacred. Between the man and the woman. Because creation finds its completion when God creates the woman. So much so, that after he created woman, the Bible says God rested.

{Emphasis added by Abyssum}

Today, what do we observe? Two terrible events. First, the legitimization of abortion. That is, abortion has become a subjective right of woman. Now, ‘subjective right’ is an ethical category and therefore we are here entering into the world of good and evil, and we say that abortion is a good; it is a right.

 

The second thing we see is the attempt to equate homosexual relationships with marriage. You see that Satan is attempting to threaten and destroy the two pillars so that he can fashion another creation. As if he were provoking the Lord, saying to Him: ‘I will fashion another creation, and man and woman will say: we like better here.’

 

The Scriptures say the devil is the father of lies, who presents himself as an angel of light…

 

In my talk, I will explain the words of Jesus, when he says of Satan: “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).

 

And so in my opinion — and I do not know if John Paul II had already seen this — in this sort of situation the human being who must be defended the most is the woman. In fact, early on in his pontificate he wrote Mulieris Dignitatem (August 15, 1988, “On the Dignity of Women”). There he sought to develop a theology of femininity, because he understood that this was a delicate point.

 

Is woman the battlefield then?

Caffara: There is a detail in the Bible that has always struck me. After the original sin, God addresses the serpent and says: “I will place enmity between you and the woman.” That is, God puts a particular enmity between the woman and evil, as if woman had a kind of instinct for the good, because God has put this enmity between woman and evil. The text continues: ‘and between your seed and her seed,’ and here the theologians see the foretelling of the Son of Mary. Therefore, woman has a particular involvement that has consequences for culture, society, and the family.

 

We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady to the children of Fatima. What is the message today?

Caffara: For me, the originality of Fatima is this: At Fatima, Our Lady prophesied. In other apparitions, she doesn’t prophecy; she exhorts. Like at Lourdes: do penance, pray, tell the priests to build a chapel in this spot. She exhorts and recalls the strong exhortations of Jesus to penance and prayer. But at Fatima she prophesies; that is, she enters into and interprets human events. She had never done this before.

 

Did Sr. Lucia also prophesy?

Caffara: Yes, she fully entered into [Our Lady’s prophecy] and has left her Memoires. Some are very impressive. She sensed that this was the task Our Lady had given her, that is, to hand on and interpret this prophecy.

 

And were Sr. Lucia’s words to you about the “decisive battle” also a prophecy?

Caffara: Yes, absolutely. What Sr. Lucia wrote to me is being fulfilled today.

 

==============

 

And here is the text of the address Cardinal Caffarra gave at the Rome Life Forum on May 19.

 

CARDINAL CAFFARRA: “WE ARE NO LONGER WITNESSES, BUT DESERTERS, IF WE DO NOT SPEAK OPENLY AND PUBLICLY”
May 19, 2017
This address was given by His Eminence Carlo Cardinal Caffarra on May 19, 2017 at the fourth annual Rome Life Forum, which is organized by Voice of the Family.

 

By Carlo Cardinal Caffara

 

“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” [John 12, 32]. “The whole world is under the power of the Evil One” [1 John, 5, 19].

 

Reading these divine words gives us perfect awareness of what is really happening in the world, within the human story, considered in its depths.

 

The human story is a confrontation between two forces: the force of attraction, whose source is in the wounded Heart of the Crucified-Risen One, and the power of Satan, who does not want to be ousted from his kingdom.

 

The area in which the confrontation takes place is the human heart, it is human liberty.

 

And the confrontation has two dimensions: an interior dimension and an exterior dimension. We will briefly consider the one and the other.

 

At the trial before Pilate, the Governor asks Jesus whether he is a king; whether – which is the meaning of Pilate’s question – he has true and sovereign political power over a given territory.

 

Jesus responds: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” [John 18, 37].

 

“Jesus wants us to understand that his kingship is not that of the kings of this world, but consists of the obedience of his subjects to his word, to his truth. Although He reigns over his subjects, it is not through force or power, but through the truth of which he is witness, which ‘all who are from the truth’ receive with faith.” [Ignace De La Potterie].

 

Thomas Aquinas puts the following words into the mouth of the Saviour: “As I myself manifest truth, so I am preparing a kingdom for myself.”

 

Jesus on the Cross attracts everyone to Himself, because it is on the Cross that the Truth of which he is witness is resplendent.
Yet this force of attraction can only take effect on those who “are from the truth.” 

 

That is, on those who are profoundly available to the Truth, who love truth, who live in familiarity with it. 

 

Pascal writes: “You would not seek me if you had not already found me.”

 

He who holds the entire world under his sway, instead dominates through lies.

 

Jesus says of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8, 44].

 

The wording is dramatic.

 

The first proposition – “He was a murderer from the beginning” – is explained by the second: “and he does not stand in the truth.”

 

The murder which the devil performs consists in his not standing in the truth, not dwelling in the truth. It is murder, because he is seeking to extinguish, to kill in the heart of man truth, the desire for truth. By inducing man to unbelief, he wants man to close himself to the light of the Divine Revelation, which is the Word incarnate. 

 

Therefore, these words of Jesus on Satan —  as today the majority of exegetes believe — do not speak of the fall of the angels. They speak of something far more profound, something frightful: Satan constantly refuses the truth, and his action within human society consists in opposition to the truth. Satan is this refusal; he is this opposition.

 

The text continues: “because there is no truth in him.” The words of Jesus go to the deepest root of Satan’s work. He is in himself a lie. From his person truth is completely absent, and hence he is by definition the one who opposes truth. Jesus adds immediately afterwards: “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

 

When the Lord says “speaks according to his own nature,” he introduces us to the interiority of Satan, to his heart. A heart which lives in darkness, in shadows: a house without doors and without windows.

 

To summarize, this therefore is what is happening in the heart of man: Jesus, the Revelation of the Father, exerts a strong attraction to Himself. Satan works against this, to neutralize the attractive force of the Crucified-Risen One. The force of truth which makes us free acts on the heart of man. It is the Satanic force of the lie which makes slaves of us.

 

Yet, not being pure spirit, the human person is not solely interiority. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in construction of the society in which he or she lives. Human interiority is expressed and manifested in culture, as an essential dimension of human life as such. Culture is the mode of living which is specifically human.

 

Given that man is positioned between two opposing forces, the condition in which he finds himself must necessarily give rise to two cultures: the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.

 

There is a book in Holy Scripture, the last, the Apocalypse, which describes the final confrontation between the two kingdoms. In this book, the attraction of Christ takes the form of triumph over enemy powers commanded by Satan. It is a triumph which comes after lengthy combat.

 

The first fruits of the victory are the martyrs. “The great Dragon, serpent of the primal age, he whom we call the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was flung down to earth… But they [= the martyrs] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony of their martyrdom” [cfr. Ap. 12, 9.11].

{Glory and thanks be to God for the witness of the Christian Martyrs (Copts in Egypt  and Syria) who are giving this testimony through their martyrdom!!!       – Abyssum}

In this second section, I would like to respond to the following question: in our Western culture, are there developments which reveal with particular clarity the confrontation between the attraction exerted over man by the Crucified-Risen One, and the culture of the lie constructed by Satan? 

 

My response is affirmative, and there are two developments in particular.
The first development is the transformation of a crime [termed by Vatican Council II nefandum crimen], abortion, into a right. 

 

Note well. I am not speaking of abortion as an act perpetrated by one person. I am speaking of the broader legitimation which can be perpetrated by a judicial system in a single act: to subsume it into the category of the subjective right, which is an ethical category. This signifies calling what is good, evil, what is light, shadow. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This is an attempt to produce an “anti-Revelation.”
What in fact is the logic which presides over the ennoblement of abortion?

 

Firstly, it is the profoundest negation of the truth of man. As soon as Noah left the floodwaters, God said: “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by a man shall that person’s blood be shed, for in his own image God made man” [Gen. 9, 6]. The reason why man should not shed the blood of man is that man is the image of God. Through man, God dwells in His creation. This creation is the temple of the Lord, because man inhabits it. To violate the intangibility of the human person is a sacrilegious act against the Sanctity of God. It is the Satanic attempt to generate an “anti-creation.”

 

By ennobling the killing of humans, Satan has laid the foundations for his “creation”: to remove from creation the image of God, to obscure his presence therein.

 

St Ambrose writes: “The creation of the world was completed with formation of the masterpiece which is man, which… is in fact the culmination of creation, the supreme beauty of every created being” [Exam., Sixth day, Disc 9, 10.75; BA I, page 417].

 

At the moment at which the right of man to order the life and the death of another man is affirmed, God is expelled from his creation, because his original presence is denied, and his original dwelling-place within creation – the human person – is desecrated.

 

The second development is the ennoblement of homosexuality. This in fact denies entirely the truth of marriage, the mind of God the Creator with regard to marriage.
The Divine Revelation has told us how God thinks of marriage: the lawful union of a man and woman, the source of life. In the mind of God, marriage has a permanent structure, based on the duality of the human mode of being: femininity and masculinity. Not two opposite poles, but the one with and for the other. Only thus does man escape his original solitude.

 

One of the fundamental laws through which God governs the universe is that He does not act alone. This is the law of human cooperation with the divine governance. The union between a man and woman, who become one flesh, is human cooperation in the creative act of God: every human person is created by God and begotten by its parents. God celebrates the liturgy of his creative act in the holy temple of conjugal love.

 

In summary. There are two pillars of creation: the human person in its irreducibility to the material universe, and the conjugal union between a man and woman, the place in which God creates new human persons “in His image and likeness.”

 

The axiological elevation of abortion to a subjective right is the demolition of the first pillar. The ennoblement of a homosexual relationship, when equated to marriage, is the destruction of the second pillar.

 

At the root of this is the work of Satan, who wants to build an actual anti-creation. This is the ultimate and terrible challenge which Satan is hurling at God. “I am demonstrating to you that I am capable of constructing an alternative to your creation. And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation.”

 

This is the frightful strategy of the lie, constructed around a profound contempt for man. Man is not capable of elevating himself to the splendor of the Truth. He is not capable of living within the paradox of an infinite desire for happiness. He is not able to find himself in the sincere gift of himself.

 

And therefore — continues the Satanic discourse — we tell him banalities about man. We convince him that the Truth does not exist and that his search is therefore a sad and futile passion. We persuade him to shorten the measure of his desire in line with the measure of the transient moment. We place in his heart the suspicion that love is merely a mask of pleasure.

 

The Grand Inquisitor of Dostoevsky speaks thus to Jesus: “You judge of men too highly, for though rebels they be, they are born slaves… I swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined him to be! Man is weak and cowardly.”

 

How should we dwell in this situation? In the third and final section of my reflection, I will seek to answer this question.
The reply is simple: within the confrontation between creation and anti-creation, we are called upon to testify. This testimony is our mode of being in the world.

 

The New Testament has an abundantly rich doctrine on this matter. I must confine myself to an indication of the three fundamental meanings which constitute testimony.

 

(i) Testimony means to say, to speak, to announce openly and publicly. Someone who does not testify in this way is like a soldier who flees at the decisive moment in a battle. We are no longer witnesses, but deserters, if we do not speak openly and publicly. The March for Life is therefore a great testimony.

 

(ii) Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the divine Revelation, which involves the original evidence, discoverable only by reason, rightfully used. And to speak in particular of the Gospel of Life and Marriage.

 

(iii) Testimony means to say, to announce openly and publicly the Gospel of Life and Marriage as if in a trial [cfr. John 16, 8-11]. 

 

I will explain myself. I have spoken frequently of a confrontation. This confrontation is increasingly assuming the appearance of a trial, of a legal proceeding, in which the defendant is Jesus and his Gospel. As in every legal proceeding, there are also witnesses in favor: in favor of Jesus and his Gospel.

 

Announcement of the Gospel of Marriage and of Life today takes place in a context of hostility, of challenge, of unbelief.

 

The alternative is one of two options: either one remains silent on the Gospel, or one says something else.

 

Obviously, what I have said should not be interpreted as meaning that Christians should render themselves… antipathetic to everyone.

 

St Thomas writes: “It is the same thing, when faced with two contraries, to pursue the one and reject the other. Medicine, for example, proposes the cure while excluding the illness. Hence, it belongs to the wise man to meditate on the truth, in particular with regard to the First Principle… and to refute the opposing falsehood.” [CG Book I, Chapter I, no. 6].

 

In the context of testimony to the Gospel, irenics and concordism must be excluded.

 

On this Jesus has been explicit. It would be a terrible doctor who adopted an irenical attitude towards the disease.

 

Augustine writes: “Love the sinner, but persecute the sin.” Note this well. The Latin word per-sequor is an intensifying verb. The meaning therefore is: “Hunt down the sin. Track it down in the hidden places of its lies, and condemn it, bringing to light its insubstantiality.”

 

I conclude with a quotation from a great confessor of the faith, the Russian Pavel A. Florenskij. “Christ is witness, in the extreme sense of the word, the witness. At His crucifixion, the Jews and Romans believed they were only witnessing a historical event, but the event revealed itself as the Truth.” [The philosophy of religion, San Paolo ed., Milan 2017, page 512].

 

“When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” [John 12, 32].

 

===================

 

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MUELLER MUSES MODESTLY MEDIATING MIT MARNUNG UND MUT

 

Cardinal Müller on Amoris Laetitia, Paul Ehrlich, Antonio Spadaro and the Three Dismissed Priests

{Emphasis in red type by Abyssum}

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Yesterday, 25 May, the Catholic channel EWTN aired an interview of Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over which was conducted a week ago with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In this interview – which was conducted in English – the German cardinal touches upon several important matters which are of interest to the larger Catholic world.

When Raymond Arroyo asks Cardinal Müller about the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the confusion stemming from it, the cardinal first states: “It is absolutely impossible that the pope, as the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Jesus Christ for the Universal Church, [would] present a doctrine which is plainly against the words of Jesus Christ.” The pope and the magisterium are “merely the interpreter” of the words of Christ, and the “doctrine on indissolubility of matrimony is absolutely clear,” explains the cardinal.

In Müller’s eyes, the pope intends with Amoris Laetitia “to help, to have in his sight,” all those people who live “in the secularized world” and “who do not have a full understanding what is a Christian life.” “He does not want to say: ‘Either you accept absolutely all from the beginning or you are absolutely out.’” The German cardinal explains that “we must lead them as good pastors until [up to] this point that they could accept completely the Christian doctrine and Christian life and our understanding.”

With regard to the famous footnote in Amoris Laetitia according to which it is possible to have, under certain conditions, access to the Sacraments while living together as a “remarried” couple, Cardinal Müller explains that this only applies to those “who live as brother and sister” after “a conversion of the heart, penitence” and the “intention not to sin again.” “It is impossible to live with two legal wives,” he adds. “We don’t accept polygamy!”

It is in this context – and after explaining that doctrine and pastoral care always go together – that Cardinal Müller makes a side remark about Father Antonio Spadaro’s recent tweet according to which, in theology, 2 and 2 does not need to make four, but can be five:

Some of those people who present themselves as a counselor of the pope, [saying] that the theology, the pastoral [care] for two and four [sic – two] can be five, that is not possible, because we have the theology.

When Raymond Arroyo, in his searching questions, raises the problem that Pope Francis himself has encouraged the Argentine bishops in their progressive understanding of Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Müller responds that he is not glad “that the bishops interpret the pope, the pope interprets the bishops,” adding: “We have some rules how to act in the Church.” The cardinal adds that, after two synods and a papal authoritative word in this matter, the discussion should be “finished.”

When asked about the dubia and whether they should be answered by the Holy Father, Cardinal Müller says that, with regard to the content of the dubia, these are “legitimate questions to the pope.” However, he regrets that “that it came out into the public,” causing “tensions between the pope and some cardinals.” “This is not good in our world of mass media,” concludes the cardinal, adding that “our enemies are glad to see our Church in a certain confusion.”

Moreover, Cardinal Müller distances himself from the misunderstandings on “both sides” or camps during the two family synods, saying that this had to do with “prejudices” and “an ideological view of things.” “Some argued too ideologically,” and thought that “we must fight for our ideas,” he explains, yet “we have the responsibility for the unity of the Church.” “It is not good to make a pressure group,” “to enter as a pressure group for one’s own ideas in the synod.” There are in the Church today “two wings, two ideological wing, extremes,” adds the German cardinals. “Everybody wants to win the battle against the other.” But, says Cardinal Müller, “the Revelation of God unites” and “it is not our task to unify in a totalitarian way.” It is wrong, according to Müller, to think “everybody must think like me.”

It seems that here, Cardinal Müller distanced himself, not only from the progressive camp, but also from those conservative prelates who tried to defend the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage during the two synods.

With regard to the question of the female deaconate, Cardinal Müller makes it clear that there cannot be a sacramental female deaconate and that Pope Francis established his study commission merely in order to find out more ways of participation in the Church for women.

Raymond Arroyo also asks the German cardinal whether the invitation of Paul Ehrlich and other progressive speakers at the Vatican is disturbing for him. In response, Cardinal Müller explains that, as a former academician, “I can discuss with everybody,” but “we must avoid the impression” of a relativization. “These people might be good scientists, but anthropologically, they [these secular academicians] have some lacks [deficiencies],” but we must “always have respect” for the natural law and the dignity of man, explains the cardinal. It is important to highlight the “right to life,” according to Cardinal Müller. “Overpopulation of the world could be a problem [sic], but we cannot resolve it with the killing of the half of mankind.”

When asked whether he is worried about giving moral credence to these speakers, Müller responds: “That could be the danger.” “Pope Francis was very clear against the gender ideology against transhumanism,” he adds. Pope Francis, in Müller’s eyes, “wants not to exclude these people” but wants them to learn from our “good anthropology” and have more “respect for human life.”

Moreover, Cardinal Müller confirms the idea that this approach is part of Pope Francis’ “evangelical hand held out to them,” as Arroyo puts it. The Church was once “a little bit separated from other groups,” seeming to be a little bit by itself, explains Cardinal Müller, and the pope wants now to reach out more to other groups in society.

With regard to the story about the three CDF priests who were dismissed around Christmas 2016 (as Marco Tosatti reported), upon the order of Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller makes it clear that he was opposed to the measure taken: “I am in favor of a better treatment of our officials in the Holy See because we cannot only speak about the social doctrine, we must also respect it.” The German distances himself “absolutely” from this dismissal which was not based on the fact that they committed a “mistake.” Müller does not want to participate in a form of a “court system”: “I am not a man of court [courtier].” For the employees of the Congregation for the Doctrine, orthodoxy and competence have to be the reasons for their employment, explains the cardinal.

When asked about the possible reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, Cardinal Müller responds with the words: “It needs time,” because it is not only about “signing a document” but also about the change of heart. Some of the members of the SSPX, he adds, think “we [ourselves] are the right Catholics.” They have to accept the “hierarchical communion” of the Church, as well as the creed, the pope’s authority and the councils. A “deeper reconciliation” is needed, according to Müller.

Cardinal Müller also explains to Raymond Arroyo that he generally agrees with Cardinal Robert Sarah’s claim that we have a “crisis of the liturgy,” but he insists that this crisis goes back to before the Second Vatican Council. The loss of the sense of the “mystery” at Holy Mass was a problem which already Romano Guardini discussed, says Cardinal Müller. It depends on the “inner attitude” as to whether one has a “life in God,” and not so much because of the “exterior forms.” The German cardinal states that, also with the traditional Latin Mass, one could celebrate Mass quickly – even in ten minutes – without entering into the mystery of the Mass.

His desire, Cardinal Müller says at the conclusion of the interview, is to “help to overcome secularization,” i.e., the “life without God.” In the face of his burdens as the Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Müller insists that “with the help of Grace, we can confront all these questions.” In light of this new interview, it might be worthwhile considering what Professor Anna Silvas recently said at the Lay Conference on Amoris Laetitia in Rome:

There is one group however, whose approach I find very strange: the intentionally orthodox among higher prelates and theologians who treat the turmoil arising from Amoris Laetitia as a matter of ‘misinterpretations’. They will focus on the text alone, abstracted from any of the known antecedents in the words and acts of Pope Francis himself or its wider historical context. It is as if they interpose a chasm that cannot be crossed between the person of the Pope on the one hand, over whose signature this document was published, and the ‘text’ of the document on the other hand. With the Holy Father safely quarantined out of all consideration, they are free to address the problem, which they identify as ‘misuse’ of the text. They then express the pious plea that the Holy Father will ‘correct’ these errors.

No doubt the perceived constraints of piety to the successor of [Saint] Peter account for these contorted manoeuvres. I know, I know! We have been facing down that conundrum for a year or longer. But to any sane and thoughtful reader, who, in the words of the 45 Theologian’s Censures, is ‘not trying to twist the words of the document in any direction, but … take the natural or the immediate impression of the meaning of the words to be correct’, this smacks of a highly wrought artificiality.

Update, 4 P.M.: Raymond Arroyo has now posted a full transcript of this interview on his Facebook.

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SIGNS OF SCHISM SHINE SIGNIFICANTLY

JEFFERSON CITY DIOCESE OPENS SCHOOLS TO LGBT STUDENTS

NEWS: US NEWS

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 25, 2017    20 Comments

Diocesan priest: ‘We are sitting back while children are being abused’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Bishop John Gaydos of the diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, is spearheading a new policy that pushes pastors to admit LGBT students from abusive homes into Catholic schools. Some teachers and pastors object to this plan, saying it forces them in practice to ignore the abusive environment LGBT students endure at home and also exposes other students to scandal.

The 17-page policy drafted by the Jefferson City diocese was presented to all priests of the diocese on May 9 and to all diocesan school principals on May 11. One priest, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, objected to being morally responsible for LGBT students when he knows they’re living in objectively abusive situations at home.

In reference to the archbishop of Boston, Cdl. Sean O’Malley, who had to close adoption agencies in the archdiocese rather than place children in LGBT homes, this priest at the policy meeting remarked, “Cdl. O’Malley had to close an adoption agency because the Church would not put children into those homes. It’s psychologically and emotionally abusive.”

 

The priest reminded those at the meeting that clerics and teachers were duty bound to anticipate and report suspected child abuse. “And then you have a transgendered child … We are sitting back while children are being abused.” Speaking of Bp. Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, who was convicted for not suspecting potential child abuse, the priest added, “We had a bishop taken out because he didn’t suspect child abuse. We’re standing back, planning how to watch it all happen.”

Cdl. O’Malley had to close an adoption agency because the Church would not put children into those homes. It’s psychologically and emotionally abusive.Tweet

It should be noted that the new plan would no longer require LGBT parents and students to sign the School Handbook, agreeing to practice Catholic ethics. Instead, they are encouraged to sign a nebulous document called Covenant of Trust, “which doesn’t include this promise to abide by this code of ethics. In relation to this, the priest remarked, “Why are we having people sign a Covenant of Trust when we’re breaking it by ignoring the situation of these children?”

Proponents of the policy say it’s worded in such a way as to give pastors and principles the right to refuse to enroll such students, who would be immersed in an objective state of scandal at home and who would be a potential source of scandal to other students at school. There are others who believe that in practice, gay friendly or weak priests will cave to political pressure and bend the rules to admit problematic students into Catholic schools. They foresee such commonsense problems evolving, which include the transgendered bathroom fiasco and transgendered sports issue that’s currently plaguing public schools.

We had a bishop taken out because he didn’t suspect child abuse. We’re standing back, planning how to watch it all happen.Tweet

Church Militant reached out to Jesse Barton, a teacher and parent in the diocese, for his insight into issues related to the policy. Barton, who has watched this policy unfold, told Church Militant, “This document is … carefully-worded and ambiguous … The issue here, as defined by the anonymous priest in the audio recording … isn’t the policy, it’s the praxis.”

Barton then paraphrases the priest, who at the meeting addressed the presenters of the policy: “Anyone with a mustard seed’s worth of contemporary sense understands that arriving at the answer of ‘NO’ [meaning no admittance] is a practical impossibility for the priests of our diocese.”

The Church isn’t following her duty to safeguard the teachings of the Church regarding this policy, says Barton:

Families are asked to “support the moral and social doctrine of the Catholic Church to ensure consistency between home and school.” Nowhere in the document, however … are souls trapped in these irregular unions asked to separate, which is what the Church requires of all of us living in a state of objective sin. Instead, we are to accompany them. To where?

As a teacher and parent, Barton believes it’s insulting to the LGBT community not to ask them to convert, as if they weren’t able:

Do couples engaged in openly gay lifestyles, those who adopt children, genuinely respect our Catholic faith? It’s disingenuous. In fact, this whole exercise is insulting to the LGBT community … that our diocese regards them with such contempt that we are essentially regarding them as permanently lost. No call to conversion.

For Barton, this policy, absent of any meaningful call to conversion, is saying to the person, “You’re not worth saving. … the political and legal cost of choosing Christ instead of the world is just too great, so we’ll enable you. That’s what it says.”

Church Militant reached out to the diocese for comment but has yet to receive a response.

 

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

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ACCOMPANIMENT TO HELL !!!

When “Accompaniment” Never Names Sin

CRISIS MAGAZINE
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{EMPHASIS IN RED TYPE BY ABYSSUM}
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Here’s a little thought experiment to start your day: Imagine you woke up one morning last week and read this headline in your local Catholic newspaper: “Bishop John Smith Leads Prayer at Contra Catholic Gathering.”

In this imagined universe, you’ve heard of these “Contra Catholics”—these are fellow Catholics who have publicly “come out” as using artificial contraception in their marriages. No longer willing to silently endure the stigma associated with their attraction to birth control, tired of the ridicule they face from those who accept what is taught in Humanae Vitae, they boldly, proudly claim that this is who they are. The Contra Catholic community that grew from this shared experience even has its own advocacy group—New Day Ministry—which this year held a symposium promoting their practice of contraception and their identity as Contra Catholics, “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: Contra Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.”

This is the event at which Bishop John Smith was invited to lead prayer. He gladly accepted, according to the Catholic newspaper’s account:

CHICAGO—Bishop John Smith seemed at home at New Day Ministry’s eighth annual symposium. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group, which supports contracepting Catholics of all backgrounds.

“New Day Ministry made me want to come here,” the bishop said. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to Contra Catholics over several years, he added. Smith said he was honored to be asked “to break open God’s Word” with the 300 weekend participants.

He said he is humbled by those Contra Catholics who have pursued “a life of faith in a church that has not always welcomed or valued” them or their worth. As a shepherd, he needs to hear their voices and take seriously their experience, he said, adding that both the presence and persistence of Contra Catholics inspired him.

Contra Catholics show “a valuable expression of mercy” in calling the church “to be more inclusive and more Christ-like despite being given so many reasons to walk away,” he said.

But his acceptance of the invitation to address the New Day Ministry gathering did not sit well with many other Catholics. “The flack has been enormous and continues on the blogosphere” and from “self-righteous strangers online and those who subscribe to these feeds,” Bishop Smith said, calling some of the posts and e-mails “vicious.”

Bishop Smith said that among objectors there are many sincere Catholics who are “really struggling” with all the issues around contraception. He said he hopes and prays “for a culture of encounter” in which the Church can become fully engaged with Contra Catholics “who want to live the Catholic life and who love the Catholic Church. … Why would we want to turn our backs on them?”

“Our usual way of thinking is that justice and mercy are incompatible,” Bishop Smith said, suggesting that Catholics need to find new ways to work together, to open up new possibilities and to try to be nonjudgmental of one another. “It’s about the need for a conversion of attitudes for both the institutional church and for all its members,” he said.

With regard to Contra Catholics, Bishop Smith suggests that the Church has alienated “a whole generation.” He said that on his many visits to confirmation classes, teens in his diocese ask: “Why can’t Contra Catholics be themselves? Bishop Smith, why can’t they love the way they want?”

“We have to listen to our young people and pay attention to things like this,” the bishop insisted.

He also told the Contra Catholic assembly that in his reading of Christian morality, he finds the infinite value of the human person to be “the touchstone and foundation for determining the morality of a given act or issue. Christian morality is more concerned with the well-being and dignity of the person than with rules, norms or commandments. Jesus seems to teach this on many occasions,” he said.

Perhaps in this thought experiment, you put down the Catholic newspaper on your kitchen table, nodding your head approvingly at the compassionate, truly pastoral expression of “accompaniment” that Bishop Smith has embraced in reaching out to the Contra Catholics. You might even be reflecting positively on just how pervasive this culture of “encounter” has become in dioceses and parishes across the nation. Dioceses everywhere now have Contra-Catholic-affirming ministries—even Contra-Catholic Masses celebrated for faith-filled Contra Catholics are held just down the street at your parish. New Day Ministry even publishes a list of “Contra-Catholic-friendly” parishes across the nation. Pastors and bishops everywhere are now welcoming Contra Catholics—and their spouses—with smiles and warm wishes. Some even apologize to Contra Catholic couples for the lack of welcome they had received in the past.

You, too, may even smile, knowing Contra Catholics and their allies are thriving under this model of “accompaniment.” New Day Ministry has even joined forces with other Contra Catholic advocacy groups to form a network called “Artificially Blessed.” Contra Catholics are now so media-savvy that they have produced books and videos expressing who they are and what they believe—even going so far as hand-delivering a Contra-Catholic-affirming video to the Holy Father himself!

Yet it might be the case that one or two of you have this warm and fuzzy reverie of praise for “accompaniment” interrupted by a tiny but persistent voice: “Hey, wait! Isn’t there something missing?”

This, dear thought-experimenter, is the too-often-overlooked voice of reason.

Through the noise and distraction of just how good we all feel after reading about Bishop Smith and New Day Ministry, if we try really hard to listen, we will hear that voice of reason say to us: “Well, um, isn’t artificial contraception an intrinsic evil? Isn’t willfully saying ‘yes’ to it an objectively grave sin?”

If we hear reason’s voice, it’s quite possible that, on further reflection, we would realize that the “accompaniment” that received our nodding approval mere moments before, found in dioceses and parishes across the nation, never once, in all its welcoming and affirming, mentions the truth about the evil of contraception.

Why? Simple. Contra Catholics have absolutely no interest in hearing that what they choose to believe and choose to practice is somehow not good for them, not healthy for them, and downright evil.

Because Contra Catholics feel “alienated” by such expressions, our “accompaniment” must expressly avoid any and all mention of them. Otherwise there will be no warm feeling of welcome and acceptance. If we Catholics openly reject the false “truths” claimed by the Contra Catholics—truths they say make them “who we are”—it is viewed as a personal rejection of “who we are.”

Put plainly, this form of “accompaniment” is a one-way street. Traffic is one-way only—the Catholic Church does not get to be “who we are.” The Church doesn’t get to speak from her true “identity” as Bride of Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit, called to love in truth. In this thought experiment, only the “Contra Catholics” are able to maintain their belief in “who we are.”

Such a compromising of the truth cannot occur without grave personal and communal consequences. If naming the reality of sin is incompatible with our pursuit of “accompanying” fellow Catholics, then our claim that we are accompanying is itself an unreality, a sham. Such false forms of “accompaniment” as described above cannot—must not—win the day.

But wait, you may say—it’s just a “thought experiment,” right? Whew! It’s not like there is really a so-called “Contra Catholic community” out there.

True, of course. But—full disclosure—the basis for my thought-experiment and imagined news report is indeed quite real, and can be found right here{SEE ARTICLE IMMEDIATELY BELOW THIS – ABYSSUM}

(Photo credit: Robert Shine)

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Deacon Jim Russell

By 

Deacon Jim Russell serves the Archdiocese of St. Louis and writes on topics of marriage, family, and sexuality from a Catholic perspective.

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THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER

Bishop John Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic gathering
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, at the New Ways Ministry symposium in Chicago April 28. Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of the organization, is seated behind him. (Robert Shine)
Patricia Lefevere | May. 4, 2017
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CHICAGO Clad in traditional brown Franciscan robes, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, seemed at home among the rainbow of colors at New Ways Ministry’s eighth annual symposium here April 28-30. This was the first time that the bishop had spoken in front of the advocacy group, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics.
“New Ways Ministry made me want to come here,” the bishop told NCR during a 40-minute interview at the gathering. He has been observing and admiring the group’s outreach to LGBT Catholics over several years, he added.

New Ways Ministry director Frank DeBernardo invited Stowe, 51, after he’d heard the bishop give scriptural reflections at the 2016 annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” DeBernardo said, comparing Stowe’s words to those of Pope Francis and to St. Francis of Assisi. All three men seemed to be saying that “it was the church’s job to take the Gospel to the margins,” DeBernardo said.

Stowe said he was honored to be asked “to break open God’s Word” with the 300 weekend participants. The Franciscan offered homiletic reflections on two Gospel texts read at the April 28 opening prayer service (Matthew 12:1-14) and at the April 29 morning service (Luke 6:37-45). Retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, also on the program, had to decline due to a viral infection.

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Stowe said he is humbled by those who have pursued “a life of faith in a church that has not always welcomed or valued” them or their worth. As a shepherd, he needs to hear their voices and take seriously their experience, he said, adding that both the presence and persistence of LGBT Catholics inspired him.

They’ve shown “a valuable expression of mercy” in calling the church “to be more inclusive and more Christ-like despite being given so many reasons to walk away,” he said.

But his acceptance of the invitation to address the New Ways Ministry gathering did not sit well with many Kentucky Catholics and others farther afield.

“The flack has been enormous and continues on the blogosphere” and from “self-righteous strangers online and those who subscribe to these feeds,” Stowe said, calling some of the posts and e-mails “vicious.”

The uproar quieted somewhat after the bishop addressed the issue on a local Catholic radio show in December 2016, “but it never completely died down. I expect it will resurface after the symposium,” he said.

Among objectors, Stowe believes there are many who are sincere Catholics and are “really struggling” with all the issues around homosexuality. He said he hopes and prays “for a culture of encounter” to ensue so “we can become fully engaged with those who want to live the Catholic life and who love the Catholic Church. … Why would we want to turn our backs on them?” he asked.

Stowe harkened back to St. Francis’ encounter with the beggar 800 years ago. At first, the leper with his open sores repelled him, but later St. Francis was able to kiss the leper. “He was transformed by his encounter,” the bishop said. The reaction was fitting for a symposium with the theme “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.”

“Our usual way of thinking is that justice and mercy are incompatible,” Stowe said. But Pope Francis has asked Catholics to find new ways to work together, to open up new possibilities and to try to be nonjudgmental of one another, he added. “We all still require [mercy]; it’s about the need for a conversion of attitudes for both the institutional church and for all its members,” Stowe said.

When Stowe was asked how he felt the church should respond to cases of LGBT employees — many of whom had been fired from long-held church positions when their same-sex marriages were publicized or outed — he stressed that the church must be consistent and non-discriminatory in dealing with all its employees.

“We must preserve our tradition and our integrity as a church,” he said. “We risk contradicting ourselves if we want our employees to live by the church’s teaching and if we ourselves as an institution don’t live by our teaching, which has always opposed discrimination of any sort.”

Stowe thought the church could find a way to “defend our religious liberty without violating any one’s human rights.”

He pointed to its century-long championing of working people, of their rights to a living wage, to humane treatment in the workplace and to collective bargaining. “We must be consistent, even though that can be very difficult sometimes.”

The challenge is to “articulate Gospel principles consistently and implement them compassionately,” he said, noting that Catholic social teaching has always upheld the dignity of each human person. “We preach that human flourishing is a primary goal,” he said, “much more important than the protection of our institutions.”

Although he has been a bishop less than two years and thus attended few national bishops’ meetings, he said there is fear shared by the leadership that legislation and judicial rulings could increase pressure on the institutional church to resolve workplace issues with LGBT employees differently.

However, there is the graver reality that the church has alienated “a whole generation,” he said.

Stowe said that on his many visits to confirmation classes, teens in his diocese ask: “Why can’t gay and lesbian people be themselves? Bishop Stowe, why can’t they love who they want?”

He said he admires how well young people know that the church believes each person is of value. But they also know that LGBT persons are not always welcomed or treated fairly in the church, he said.

He tries to acquaint them with church teaching on the dignity of each human being, citing passages in the 1965 Second Vatican Council document Gaudium et Spes (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) and other examples. He indicates how discrimination leads to dehumanization, frequently expressed in bullying, abuse, sometimes violence and even death.

“We have to listen to our young people and pay attention to things like this,” the bishop insisted.

In reflecting on Matthew 12:1-14, the bishop told the LGBT assembly that in his reading of Christian morality, he finds the infinite value of the human person to be “the touchstone and foundation for determining the morality of a given act or issue. Christian morality is more concerned with the well-being and dignity of the person than with rules, norms or commandments. Jesus seems to teach this on many occasions,” Stowe said.

[Patricia Lefevere is a longtime NCR contributor.]

ChicagoLexington
United States
Diocese of Lexington, KentuckyNew Ways Ministry
John StoweFrancis DeBernardoSt. Francis of AssisiPope Francis
Kentucky
LGBT CatholicsJustice and Mercy Shall KissSame-sex marriageGaudium et SpesYoung Catholics
A version of this story appeared in the May 19-June 1, 2017 print issue under the headline: Bishop Stowe leads prayer at LGBT Catholic event .

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Bloom’s central indictment of contemporary higher education is that it not only does little or nothing to cultivate the “soul,” it systematically operates to obscure its very existence.

 

Bloom’s War for the Imagination
by Jon Fennell
within Book Reviews, Education
May 26, 2017 07:00 am http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/05/19205/
The authors in this symposium have offered insightful analyses of Bloom’s book and the contemporary university it describes. Can what has been lost be recovered? If so, this will come through restoration of the imagination.
 {Emphasis in red type by Abyssum}

It must have been around 1960 when my father told me that during the 1930s, while a graduate student in Ann Arbor, he forwent eating for a week in order to purchase a sport coat—a piece of clothing that he believed one must wear in order to show appropriate respect for the university and one’s teachers. A romantic and passionate young Englishman, my father was deeply appreciative of this place that not only took seriously his longings but promised a suitable response to them. In 1967, he returned to campus for a visit, only to encounter the jeans, irreverence, and unruliness that had, in just a few short years, become the norm. He never again spoke of “U of M,” with which he had for decades nostalgically been in love. Something majestic had been defiled.

What on earth happened? Is it possible to recover what has been lost? The first of these questions is the explicit focus of Bloom’s book. The second question is not so clearly addressed by Bloom, but the stimulating essays that constitute this symposium help clarify our thinking on that troubling issue.

Nathan Schlueter wonders if The Closing of the American Mind is a great book. In my estimation, it is not. Yet it surely qualifies as near-great (a “masterwork,” according to Paul Rahe), spawned by appreciation of what is great. As our contributors have shown, Bloom dwells on an impressive number of significant human themes while interpreting the university’s decay in terms of the perennial problems that define political philosophy. Among these themes are the eclipse of Nature (at the center of Peter Lawler’s analysis), along with the decline of Reason and hence the West (an important focus for Schlueter). In addition, all four of the commentators note Bloom’s alarmed recognition of the ascendancy of “nice” boys and girls and the utter collapse of proper character formation, as well as its impact on higher education and the American regime as a whole.

Although it may be surprising to some, given Closing’s emphasis on reason, Bloom’s most important contribution is his continuing illumination of the vital role played by imagination. Bloom’s depth of insight on this matter makes perfect sense, given his grounding in both Plato and Rousseau (he is the translator of the Republic as well as Emile—a prodigious achievement).

Imagination and the Purpose of the University

Imagination is central to our understanding of the fundamental purpose of the university. Charles Taylor reminds us that “every person, and every society, lives with or by some conception(s) of what human flourishing is: what constitutes a fulfilled life? What makes life really worth living? What would we most admire people for?” Even more to the point, Bertrand Russell observes, “We must have some concept of the kind of person we wish to produce, before we can have any definite opinion as to the education which we consider best.” What Bloom forcefully shows is that the diminished higher education he describes is the product of an ever-shrinking conception of human flourishing on the part of faculty and administrators. Accordingly, as the subtitle of Bloom’s book indicates, his central indictment of contemporary higher education is that it not only does little or nothing to cultivate the “soul,” it systematically operates to obscure its very existence.

With this last statement, we encounter an ambiguity at the heart of Bloom’s book. For example, in his notorious critique of rock music, Bloom speaks of both “the dark, chaotic, premonitory forces in the soul” and of “preparing the soul for the unhampered use of reason.” One’s choice of music is a response to the existing state of his soul, but the music to which one attends is also capable of refining the soul. (The popularity of rock is an illustration of the first principle and is fully at odds, according to Bloom, with the second.) We can see, then, that “soul” for Bloom refers to an essential element of a human being as well as the completed condition of that element (a normative ideal).

Both the bitter criticism and the noble aspiration that characterize Closing are inspired by the life well-lived, as imagined by Bloom. This vision animates Bloom and at least some of his readers. Yet the soul exists whether it is elevated or not. Actual human beings reside somewhere on a continuum, and any location on that continuum can be understood as a condition of the soul. Bloom’s “impoverishment of the soul” makes sense only with respect to an imagined ideal.

It was inevitable that Plato’s cave, as well as the pit beneath the cave (signifying entrapment by historicism and relativism), should play a central role in Bloom’s account. What will our emerging young elites understand, at the level of presupposition, to be necessary or possible, beyond the pale or beautiful? If one is concerned about the future, then imagination in this second sense (what Bloom refers to as “horizons”) is the most important thing, for how persons act is necessarily subservient to their deep and typically tacit convictions with respect to such matters. Rahe is correct in noting that our nation today reaps what it has sown for the past fifty years.

Yet the third and fourth arenas for the imagination are those of (1) the media and (2) the popular culture that is largely formed by them. In their ubiquity, these forces decisively shape how many of our fellow citizens (within their caves) view the world. In recognizing their role, we are led to an important question raised by Closing and highlighted by Schlueter: In regard to the university vis-à-vis the world at large, in which direction does the influence flow?

While for Bloom the university has, for the most part, been contaminated from the outside, Schlueter wisely adds that what happens to future elites during their years on campus has everything to do with the cultural influences that pound away on the soul beginning at birth. Indeed, Bloom himself laments that many of his students are already incapable of genuine education by the time they arrive on campus. The university has been corrupted. But—and this is the immediate point—in its depraved state, higher education is itself now among the most significant agents of corruption. Whatever the direction of the influence, Closing makes it clear the contamination of higher education shapes the imagination of students. So too must any remedy for that corruption. Given the current condition of higher education, correction must come from without: prophylactic measures in the homes of future students and faculty (including home or private schooling, in conjunction with strong spiritual guidance) are a necessary condition for the resurrection of the genuine university.

Bloom is bitter and angry because contemporary higher education is woefully effective in destroying the conditions that permit the moral and intellectual possibilities that make life worth living. The very reality of these possibilities is in jeopardy. Like C.S. Lewis and Michael Polanyi, Bloom recognizes that preservation of the most important things is a matter of education, broadly understood. It is simple, really. Everything depends on keeping the possibilities we treasure urgently and imaginatively alive in the young who follow us. To the degree we succeed, what is vital is safe (but for no more than the next generation); to the degree we fail, the chain is interrupted and those treasures may be lost, possibly for good. Alas, the institutions created precisely for the preservation of the tradition have now become the agents of its undoing.

Is There Hope for the University?

What hope do we find in the contributors to this symposium? Platt closes his essay with the observation that if only literature professors had followed Bloom in his critique of mindless jargon and, through the study of great books, had led the university to employ the language used by Shakespeare, the Founders, and the King James Bible, the past thirty years might well have been a time of recovery. While rectification of the university’s vocabulary is certainly a prerequisite for its rehabilitation, Platt’s remedy seems unrealistic. His analysis appears more penetrating when he notes that “the way of philosophy” is “probably tragic.” A significant reason that the rhetoric of higher education is shallow is that the pedagogical ideal envisioned by Bloom, not least its tragic dimension, is so demanding and hence uncongenial to so many students and faculty that they flee via empty words to a comfortable mindlessness. Without mentioning the matter, Platt thus points to the anti-egalitarianism (what Bloom elsewhere calls his “elitism”) at the core of Bloom’s critique. As Joseph Epstein recently remarked, “the realm of art and intellect has little or nothing to do with equality.”  {Incredible !!! Abyssum}

We were alerted to Bloom’s complex relationship to the indiscriminate, open-to-everything contemporary university by Schlueter’s query regarding “Bloom’s ultimate sympathies,” and Lawler’s commentary leads us into the depths of the matter. Bloom’s educational program is an expression of his philosophical anthropology. To him, a vital feature of human health is a certain kind of longing that can define a life. This longing, so important to Bloom, is in itself wondrous. That it is incapable of more than fleeting satisfaction makes it tragic. Bloom’s disenchantment follows from the recognition that such wonder has been eclipsed as higher education has grown ever more intolerant of the prospect of perennial tragedy, in whose company alone the wondrous longing can emerge. This is a flattening, indeed.

Lawler, reminding us of Schlueter’s emphasis on Nature, asserts that the squashing of human possibilities can last only so long. The springs from which the longing emerges will not be denied. Still, even if this is true, might not the return to health require several decades, if not centuries? This dismal prospect calls for faith and hope, qualities on prominent display in some of our contributors. As Rahe highlights, those virtues are not so evident in Bloom, for whom there is little prospect of a renaissance of “authentic liberation” (“perfection of soul”) within the existing mass-oriented institutions.

The flattening of soul documented by Bloom and reaffirmed by Lawler is celebrated by Richard Rorty. In his philosophical anthropology, the elimination of a longing marked by never-ending conflict and disappointment yields “nice” boys and girls who are uninterested in troubling deep questions, the raising of which seems to them an act of cruelty. For Rorty, this is a great victory over a regime of sadomasochism masquerading as allegiance to principle. Bloom’s adversary is therefore the conviction that acquiescence to and stimulation of longing as the central objective of higher education is circular: were one not already in the grips of this perversity, he would certainly not call for its accentuation. The advent of nice young people and the desuetude of controversy regarding capital-letter concepts is the great accomplishment of the twentieth century.

Lawler believes that Bloom, in his disenchantment, goes beyond the evidence. Nature will assert itself. Here are faith and hope. Might wishes give rise to reality? On this question, each of us must decide. To his credit, Lawler admits that his comparative optimism follows from his Christian vision. Which of these perspectives—Lawler’s Christian aspiration or Bloom’s desperate appeal to the philosophic spirit—is more capable of prompting a recovery in higher education remains to be seen. It is entirely possible that neither can succeed. Yet concern entails responsibility. What more can our devotion mean?

Jon Fennell, professor emeritus at Hillsdale College and author of essays ranging from Rousseau to Rorty, has, in recent years, written extensively on Michael Polanyi. He may be contacted at jfennell@hillsdale.edu.

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ICON OF JESUS CHRIST

Dome of Basilica of Saint Andrew in Patras

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EVERYONE IS SEEING RED IN THE VATICAN THESE DAYS

The Pope’s Marxist Head of the Jesuits

{Emphasis in red type by Abyssum}

Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, a Venezuelan Communist and Modernist, is carrying out Francis’s agenda.

Understanding the adage that personnel is policy, Pope Francis has been planting Marxists throughout the Church, including at the top of the troubled religious order to which he belongs. In 2016, the Jesuits, with the blessing of Pope Francis, installed as its general superior a Venezuelan, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, whose communist convictions have long been known.

Sosa has written about the “Marxist mediation of the Christian Faith,” arguing that the Church should “understand the existence of Christians who simultaneously call themselves Marxists and commit themselves to the transformation of the capitalist society into a socialist society.” In 1989, he signed a letter praising Fidel Castro.

Turn down any corridor in Francis’s Vatican, and you are likely to run into a de facto communist: Francis has a communist running his order, a communist running his Council of Cardinals (the Honduran cardinal, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga), a communist running the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (Margaret Archer, a British sociologist who has said that she represents the “Marxian left”), and communists such as the renegade Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff and the Canadian socialist Naomi Klein drafting his encyclicals.

It is no coincidence that the only U.S. presidential candidate who made a visit to the Vatican during the campaign was a socialist who had honeymooned in the Soviet Union. Bernie Sanders turned up at the Vatican in April 2016, having received an invitation from Pope Francis’s close Argentine friend, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo.

“We invited the candidate who cites the pope most in the campaign, and that is Senator Bernie Sanders,” explained Sorondo, who added that Sanders’s agenda is “very analogous to that of the pope.”

In this smug leftist atmosphere in Rome, Sosa’s elevation to the head of the Jesuits was inevitable. In the past, the Jesuits had been called the pope’s marines. Under Sosa, they are more like the pope’s Marxists, peddling his climate-change propaganda as a pretext for global socialism.

But Sosa’s ambitions, like Pope Francis’s, go well beyond meddling in economies. He is also pushing a moral revolution in the Church, evident in his astonishing claim that, since none of the Apostles tape-recorded Jesus Christ, his words on adultery can be elastically re-interpreted.

“You need to start by reflecting on what exactly Jesus said,” Sosa told an Italian interviewer in February. “At that time, no one had a tape recorder to capture the words. What we know is that the words of Jesus have to be contextualized, they’re expressed in a certain language, in a precise environment, and they’re addressed to someone specific.”

In other words, Sosa is confident that he understands Jesus’s meaning better than the Gospel writers. Like Francis, Sosa can’t resist the mumbo-jumbo of Modernist biblical scholarship, which always manages to dovetail conveniently with liberal views.

The Council of Trent explicitly condemned the claim that the Gospel writers were just making stuff up when recounting the words of Jesus Christ. But Sosa has no problem trafficking in that heresy.

“Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say,” he said.

The presumption here is extraordinary but typical of a Francis acolyte. The new orthodoxy is heterodoxy, and Sosa is wallowing in it. He is given to little sermonettes on relativism, such as this whopper:

The Church has developed over the centuries, it is not a piece of reinforced concrete. It was born, it has learned, it has changed. This is why the ecumenical councils are held, to try to bring developments of doctrine into focus. Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much, it brings with it the image of the hardness of stone. Instead the human reality is much more nuanced, it is never black or white, it is in continual development.

Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today, the order he founded wouldn’t ordain him, and he would have wondered how a de facto Protestant ended up on the chair of St. Peter. Nor would St. Ignatius have believed the sheer sophistry that now passes for theological “sophistication” in his order.

Fr. Antonio Spadaro, another Jesuit close to Pope Francis, tweeted out earlier this year this profundity: “Theology is not #Mathematics. 2 + 2 in #Theology can make 5. Because it has to do with #God and real #life of #people.”

Gobsmacked by the relentless leftism of Francis and his aides, Al Gore asked in 2015, “Is the pope Catholic?” The question is no longer a joke.

George Neumayr is the author of The Political Pope

This essay originally appeared at The American SpectatorIt has been reprinted with the permission of the author. 

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