Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

September 2019 • Volume 48, Number 9 • Myron Magnet

Myron Magnet
Author, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

Myron Magnet

Myron Magnet is editor-at-large of City Journal, where he served as editor from 1994 to 2007. He earned an M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he also taught for several years. A 2008 recipient of the National Humanities Medal, he has written for numerous publications, including CommentaryThe Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He is the author of several books, including The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817 and, most recently, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on September 17, 2019, at Hillsdale College’s Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C.

Clarence Thomas is our era’s most consequential jurist, as radical as he is brave. During his almost three decades on the bench, he has been laying out a blueprint for remaking Supreme Court jurisprudence. His template is the Constitution as the Framers wrote it during that hot summer in Philadelphia 232 years ago, when they aimed to design “good government from reflection and choice,” as Alexander Hamilton put it in the first Federalist, rather than settle for a regime formed, as are most in history, by “accident and force.” In Thomas’s view, what the Framers achieved remains as modern and up-to-date—as avant-garde, even—as it was in 1787.

What the Framers envisioned was a self-governing republic. Citizens would no longer be ruled. Under laws made by their elected representatives, they would be free to work out their own happiness in their own way, in their families and local communities. But since those elected representatives are born with the same selfish impulses as everyone else—the same all-too-human nature that makes government necessary in the first place—the Framers took care to limit their powers and to hedge them with checks and balances, to prevent the servants of the sovereign people from becoming their masters. The Framers strove to avoid at all costs what they called an “elective despotism,” understanding that elections alone don’t ensure liberty.

Did they achieve their goal perfectly, even with the first ten amendments that form the Bill of Rights? No—and they recognized that. It took the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments—following a fearsome war—to end the evil of slavery that marred the Framers’ creation, but that they couldn’t abolish summarily if they wanted to get the document adopted. Thereafter, it took the Nineteenth Amendment to give women the vote, a measure that followed inexorably from the principles of the American Revolution.

During the ratification debates, one gloomy critic prophesied that if citizens ratified the Constitution, “the forms of republican government” would soon exist “in appearance only” in America, as had occurred in ancient Rome. American republicanism would indeed eventually decline, but the decline took a century to begin and unfolded with much less malice than it did at the end of the Roman Republic. Nor was it due to some defect in the Constitution, but rather to repeated undermining by the Supreme Court, the president, and the Congress.

The result today is a crisis of legitimacy, fueling the anger with which Americans now glare at one another. Half of us believe we live under the old Constitution, with its guarantee of liberty and its expectation of self-reliance. The other half believe in a “living constitution”—a regime that empowers the Supreme Court to sit as a permanent constitutional convention, issuing decrees that keep our government evolving with modernity’s changing conditions. The living constitution also permits countless supposedly expert administrative agencies, like the SEC and the EPA, to make rules like a legislature, administer them like an executive, and adjudicate and punish infractions of them like a judiciary.

To the Old Constitutionalists, this government of decrees issued by bureaucrats and judges is not democratic self-government but something more like tyranny—hard or soft, depending on whether or not you are caught in the unelected rulers’ clutches. To the Living Constitutionalists, on the other hand, government by agency experts and Ivy League-trained judges—making rules for a progressive society (to use their language) and guided by enlightened principles of social justice that favor the “disadvantaged” and other victim groups—constitutes real democracy. So today we have the Freedom Party versus the Fairness Party, with unelected bureaucrats and judges saying what fairness is.

This is the constitutional deformation that Justice Thomas, an Old Constitutionalist in capital letters, has striven to repair. If the Framers had wanted a constitution that evolved by judicial ruling, Thomas says, they could have stuck with the unwritten British constitution that governed the American colonists in just that way for 150 years before the Revolution. But Americans chose a written constitution, whose meaning, as the Framers and the state ratifying conventions understood it, does not change—and whose purpose remains, as the Preamble states, to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

In Thomas’s view, there is no nobler or more just purpose for any government. If the Framers failed to realize that ideal fully because of slavery, the Civil War amendments proved that their design was, in Thomas’s word, “perfectible.” Similarly, if later developments fell away from that ideal, it is still perfectible, and Thomas takes it as his job—his calling, he says—to perfect it. And that can mean that where earlier Supreme Court decisions have deviated from what the document and its amendments say, it is the duty of today’s justices to overrule them. Consequently, while the hallowed doctrine of stare decisis—the rule that judges are bound to respect precedent—certainly applies to the lower courts, Supreme Court justices owe fidelity to the Constitution alone, and if their predecessors have construed it erroneously, today’s justices must say so and overturn their decisions.

To contemporary lawyers and law professors, this idea of annulling so-called settled law is shockingly radical. It explains why most of Thomas’s opinions are either dissents from the Court’s ruling or concurrences in the Court’s ruling but not its reasoning, often because Thomas rejects the precedent on which the majority relies. Content with frequently being a minority of one, he points to Justice John Marshall Harlan’s lone dissent in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case as his model. The majority held in Plessy that separate but equal facilities for blacks in public accommodation were constitutional. Harlan countered: “Our Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. . . . The law regards man as man.” “Do we quote from the majority or the dissent?” Thomas asks. Like Harlan, he is drawing a map for future justices, and he will let history judge his achievement.


Thomas’s opinion in the 2010 McDonald v. Chicago case takes us back to the first of three acts in the drama of constitutional subversion. In that opinion, Thomas agrees with the majority that Chicago’s ban on owning handguns violates the Fourteenth Amendment, but disagrees on why. The Fourteenth Amendment deems everybody born or naturalized in this country, and subject to its jurisdiction, to be a citizen of the United States and of the state where he lives, and declares that no state may “abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” What the drafters meant by that language was that former slaves were full American citizens, and that no state could interfere with their federally-protected rights—including, said one senator in framing the amendment, “the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution.” The rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, observed a typical commentator of the time, “which had been construed to apply only to the national government, are thus imposed upon the States.” And the feds, the amendment’s chief draftsman declared, have the power to enforce them.

Perfectly clear, right? Well, no—not once the Supreme Court got hold of it. As Thomas recounts in McDonald, the Court’s first pronouncement on the Fourteenth Amendment came in its 1873 Slaughter-House Cases ruling, which drew a distinction between the privileges and immunities conferred by state citizenship and those conferred by national citizenship. The latter, the Court held, include only such things as the right to travel on interstate waterways and not to be subject to bills of attainder. All the rights having to do with life, liberty, and property attach only to state citizenship, not national, so they aren’t protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. One of the four dissenting justices correctly noted that the majority opinion “turns . . . what was meant for bread into a stone.”

The day before the Court handed down its bizarre Slaughter-House decision, the worst atrocity of the terrorist campaign in the South to nullify Reconstruction had occurred. Black Louisianans, aiming to safeguard Republican victories in contentious recent elections, occupied the courthouse in the county-seat hamlet of Colfax. Mounted White Liners—an anti-black militia like the KKK—massed in the surrounding woods, prompting more frightened blacks to crowd into the courthouse. On Easter Sunday, the White Liners set the courthouse ablaze and shot those who ran out the door or jumped out of the windows. That evening, they shot the captive survivors.

No Louisiana district attorney was going to charge the murderers, so a federal prosecutor convicted three of them of violating a congressional enforcement act that made it a crime to conspire to deprive someone of the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizenship. But in its 1876 Cruikshank decision, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions. The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights aren’t the privileges or immunities conferred by U.S. citizenship, the Court held, citing Slaughter-House as precedent. They come from the Creator, and the first eight amendments merely forbid Congress from abridging them. Moreover, the murderers were individuals, and the Fourteenth Amendment refers only to states. That was the end of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause.

In time, the Court rigged a workaround. The Fourteenth Amendment forbids states from taking away a citizen’s life, liberty, or property without “due process of law”—which really means, the Supreme Court asserted out of the blue during the New Deal, that some liberties are so basic that no state can invade them, a doctrine dubbed “substantive due process.” Thomas calls this smoke and mirrors in his McDonald opinion. Even worse, the “substantive due process” doctrine allows judges to conjure up imaginary rights out of thin air, making law instead of interpreting the Constitution. Why, Thomas asks, is the Court treating Slaughter-House and Cruikshank as sacrosanct? It doesn’t hesitate to overturn laws passed by Congress and signed by the president when it thinks the Constitution doesn’t allow them. Why should it treat the errors of previous Courts with any more respect? Yes, the Chicago handgun ban is unconstitutional, Thomas writes. But that’s because it abridges citizens’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Why not junk the mumbo-jumbo of “substantive due process,” on which the majority of his colleagues are relying in this case, and return to the original text?

Act Two of the great constitutional subversion stars Franklin Roosevelt, who wrongly diagnosed the cause of the Great Depression as a crisis of overproduction and thus wanted to seize control of the whole U.S. economy to regulate output. For years the Court resisted this power-grab, but it buckled under Roosevelt’s threat to enlarge its membership and pack it with judges who would go along. The “Court’s dramatic departure in the 1930s from a century and a half of precedent,” Thomas says, was a fatal “wrong turn” that marks the start of illegitimate judicial constitution-making.

In his 2005 dissent in Gonzales v. Raich, Thomas cites the New Deal Court’s zaniest decision: Wickard v. Filburn, a 1942 ruling in which the Court abjectly capitulated to the federal government’s takeover of the economy under the pretext of the Constitution’s commerce power. Wickard held that Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce could even forbid a farmer from growing grain only to feed to his own livestock. In his Gonzales dissent, Thomas hints that the Court should overturn the whole tangle of Commerce Clause cases related to Wickard.

The majority ruling in Gonzales held that federal agents had the authority, under the interstate commerce power—and despite California’s legalization of medical marijuana—to punish two ill Californians who grew and used pot to control their pain. Interstate commerce? Hardly, Thomas demurs. Like farmer Filburn’s grain, the pot was never bought or sold, never crossed state lines, and did not affect any national market. “Not only does this case not concern commerce,” Thomas writes, “it doesn’t even concern economic activity.” Next thing you know, the feds will be raiding potluck suppers.

Thomas understands that the New Deal gave rise to an even more powerful device for constitutional demolition than the engorged commerce power—a whole set of administrative agencies like the NLRB and the SEC. The Supreme Court, Thomas grumbled in the first of a series of 2015 administrative state opinions, has “overseen and sanctioned the growth of an administrative system that concentrates the power to make laws and the power to enforce them in the hands of a vast and unaccountable administrative apparatus that finds no comfortable home in our constitutional structure.”

For starters, the Constitution vests all legislative powers in Congress, which means that they cannot be delegated elsewhere. As the Framers’ tutelary philosopher John Locke wrote, the legislature can make laws but it cannot make legislators—which is what Congress does when it invests bureaucrats with the power to make rules that bind citizens. Nor can the courts delegate judicial power to bureaucrats, as the Supreme Court began doing in a World War II case when it ruled that courts must defer to agencies’ interpretations of their own regulations. The Court’s rationale was that agencies have technical expertise that judges lack. That’s not the relevant issue, Thomas contends: “The proper question faced by courts in interpreting a regulation is not what the best policy choice might be, but what the regulation means.” And who better to interpret the meaning of words, Thomas asks in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, than a judge?

Worsening this problem, Thomas argues in Michigan v. EPA, is the deference doctrine that the Court hatched in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council in 1984. This doctrine requires courts to assume that Congress intended that any ambiguity it left in a statute under which an agency operates should be resolved by the agency, not by the courts. Consequently, Thomas exasperatedly observes, not only do we have bureaucrats making rules like a legislature and interpreting them like a judge, but also the interpretations amount to a further lawmaking power, with no checks or balances whatever.

A not untypical result of all this administrative might, to cite an example recently in the news, was an EPA ruling that a Montana rancher polluted the navigable waterways of the United States by digging two ponds to be filled by a tiny trickle on his land, 40 miles from anything resembling a navigable waterway. For providing reservoirs to fight potential forest fires, the rancher was fined $130,000 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. (The rancher served his time in prison but continued his legal fight until he died at age 80. A month after his death, the Supreme Court vacated the ruling against him. The Trump administration recently revoked the regulation under which he was convicted.)

In a virtuoso dissent last year in Carpenter v. U.S., Thomas takes on the third and last act of the Court’s attack on the Framers’ Constitution—the license with which the Court presumes to make up law out of whole cloth, with no prompting from either Congress or the president. The best recognized example of this is the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Carpenter is less incendiary, but it is deliciously instructive.

A career armed robber, Carpenter claimed that police use of cell phone location data in convicting him violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The Framers, of course, had no cell phones. But, Thomas notes, Chief Justice William Howard Taft had shown as early as 1928 how to adapt to new circumstances, in a case concerning a telephone wiretap. The phone lines were outside the convicted bootleggers’ premises, and conversations aren’t papers, so federal agents had not invaded their Fourth Amendment-protected “persons, houses, papers, [or] effects.” Thus, Taft held, no Fourth Amendment-banned search had occurred.

But in a 1967 wiretapping case, the Supreme Court decreed that what the Fourth Amendment really protects is a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.” With this “reasonable expectation,” on which the Carpenter majority rests, Thomas has a field day. Dictionaries from 1770 to 1828 define a “search” as a looking into suspected places, he notes; transferring Fourth Amendment protection from places to people reads that word out of the text. And “their . . . papers,” he points out, can’t mean someone else’s records, so what does the Fourth Amendment have to do with a subpoena for the phone company’s files? And finally, Thomas asks, who’s to decide what a “reasonable” expectation is? That is a policy determination, not a judicial one—so shouldn’t Congress decide? Nevertheless, Chief Justice Roberts cast the deciding vote to uphold this nonsense, in line with half a century of Court-created rights that subverted the authority of the police to fight crime and of teachers and principals to discipline disruptive students.


In conclusion, let me shift my focus from constitutional law to ethics. It takes a certain kind of character to be capable of liberty, and Clarence Thomas embodies that character. Indeed, his character is bound up with his jurisprudence in an exemplary way.

Born in a shanty in a swampy Georgia hamlet founded by freed slaves, Thomas enjoyed a few Huck Finn-like years, until his divorced mother moved him and his younger brother to a Savannah slum tenement. On her meager maid’s wages, her children knew “hunger without the prospect of eating and cold without the prospect of warmth,” the Justice recalls. After a year of this, Thomas’s mother sent her two little boys a few blocks away, to live with her father and step-mother, a magical, Oliver Twist-like transformation.

Thomas’s grandfather, Myers Anderson, the self-made if semi-literate proprietor of a modest fuel oil business, lived in a sparkling clean cinderblock house with porcelain plumbing, a full fridge, and a no-excuses childrearing code that bred self-discipline and self-reliance. A convert to Catholicism, Anderson sent his grandsons to a strict parochial school—segregated like everything else in mid-century Savannah, but teaching that all men are created equal—and he put them to work delivering oil after school and on weekends. Summer vacation was no holiday for the boys: with their grandfather, they built a house on 60 rural acres. Thereafter they tilled the fields every summer, harvested the crops, and butchered livestock for winter food. Anderson urged them on with his rich stock of moral maxims, including, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” There wasn’t a spare minute in the year for the boys to fall into street culture, which Anderson feared.

These lessons in self-reliance formed the bedrock of Thomas’s worldview. He temporarily flouted them, he recounts, during his student black-radical phase, when he and his college comrades spouted off about how they were “oppressed and victimized” by “a culture irretrievably tainted by racism.” Visits home became “quite strained,” he recalls. “My grandfather was no victim, and he didn’t send me to school to become one.”

By Thomas’s senior year, he had snapped out of it. His old self-reliance expanded from a personal creed to a political one, as he reflected upon how much his college stance of victimhood had threatened to diminish and impede him, especially compared to his grandfather’s heroic independence. He also pondered deeply the harms that affirmative action—purportedly America’s atonement for its historic sins—had done to his black classmates at Holy Cross and Yale Law. Thomas saw that it led to failure and grievance by placing smart but ill-prepared kids in out-of-their-league institutions and branding successes like him with the imputation of inferiority. His nine years as a federal civil rights panjandrum, running the civil rights division of President Reagan’s Department of Education and then the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, confirmed his impression that “there is no governmental solution” to black America’s problems—a conclusion underlying the anti-affirmative action opinions he has written on the Court. In this equal opportunity nation, black citizens must forge their own fate, like all other Americans. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Regardless of race, everybody faces adversity and must choose whether to buckle down and surmount it, shaping his own fate, or to blame the outcome on powerful forces that make him ineluctably a victim—forces that only a mighty government can master. The Framers’ Constitution presupposes citizens of the first kind. Without them, and a culture that nurtures them, no free nation can long endure.


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CommentOpinion & Features

The moral theory that failed – but is now back in fashion 

Fr Thomas Berg 17 October, 2019Vatican II (CNS) 


You don’t have to be a Catholic theologian, journalist or even that much of a Church-watcher to understand that there has been a battle afoot during the Francis pontificate. It is a struggle for hegemony between two competing accounts of morality. That conflict has been notably more pronounced in the past three years with often very public manifestations.

From the promulgation of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the ensuing firestorm over what exactly it implied about Holy Communion, divorce and remarriage; to the reconstitution of Rome’s John Paul II Institute, the unprecedented firing of two tenured faculty members and the hiring of two moral theologians known to challenge the Church’s teaching on contraception and homosexuality; and to the German bishops, led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, embarking upon a “synodal process” apparently contrary to Pope Francis’s wishes, and unmistakably aimed at rethinking priestly celibacy and certain of the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. It’s all connected.

It’s a final push by a bloc of grey and ageing moral theologians and like-minded bishops to attain hegemony for their brand of moral theology, namely, Proportionalism.

Proportionalism is an umbrella term that groups together several approaches to moral theology that broadly share certain beliefs about human nature and the moral life.

Each is a version of an “ends justify the means” approach to moral problem solving. Proportionalism offers the possibility of engaging in a moral calculus of values which, presupposing a good intention or sufficiently weighty reason in the moral actor, could potentially validate any action – even those which Sacred Scripture and the Church’s perennial moral teaching have held to be intrinsically evil.

Proportionalism flourished in the three decades spanning the 1960s through the 1980s and dominated Catholic seminaries and moral theology departments on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly in Germany and then notably in the United States. It was the theoretical vehicle justifying theological dissent from St Paul VI’s teaching on contraception in Humanae Vitae. And it quickly became clear that Proportionalism could justify much more.

Many of the world’s bishops today were schooled as seminarians in Proportionalism. Not all embraced it, but many undoubtedly did, and their own understanding of Christian moral life was deeply affected by their exposure to it.

In addition to its radically autonomous concept of moral conscience (I – and only I – decide what’s right and wrong), Proportionalism follows many of the other contours of the modern moral zeitgeist: the subjective trumps the objective, conscience trumps the norm, a good intention trumps intrinsic malice. The theory presumes that virtually all human moral experience is so irreducibly complex that no one moral norm could possibly be generated over time to respond to each situation, and no behaviour in itself could be understood as always immoral in all circumstances.

Pope St John Paul II felt the urgency of responding to the fundamental tenets of Proportionalism, tackling them 26 years ago in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor. In paragraphs 54-64, he rejected the notion of conscience as autonomous decision, and in paragraphs 74-83, he refuted Proportionalism’s denial of intrinsically evil acts.

For his part, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has been unrelenting in his critique of Proportionalism, describing it as a moral theory detached from metaphysical moorings, “deaf and blind to the divine word in being” and a moral theory “that contradicts the very foundations of the Christian vision” He’s even gone so far – on more than one occasion – as to suggest that Proportionalist ideas are at least partly to blame for the clerical abuse crisis.

That notwithstanding, Proportionalism has had a broad appeal among progressive Catholics. Its veneer of eminent reasonableness, resulting primarily from its submissiveness to the secular moral zeitgeist, is also enhanced by the circumstances of history.

Proportionalism was a theological reaction to an older method of doing and teaching moral theology which had held sway in Catholic seminaries from the late 16th to the mid 20th centuries. That method – casuistry, sometimes referred to as manualism – while providing the Church with plenty of sound moral theology, also engendered a legalistic approach to the moral life which sapped moral truth of its richness and Christ-centered vitality.

With good reason Vatican II called for a renewal in the teaching of moral theology: a robust rooting of moral teaching in Sacred Scripture and a new emphasis on virtue, on the Beatitudes and on Christ-centred discipleship.

And there were some good steps taken in that direction. Yet, by and large, much of mainstream Catholic moral theology caved in to the cultural onslaught of the 1960s. And in that milieu, the first Proportionalist theories proliferated.

We can only be grateful that many among a new generation of theology students in the early-to-mid 1990s began to take a pass on the Proportionalism they continued to be taught in their moral theology courses. If the theory continues to exercise an influence today, it does so principally through an older generation of priests and bishops who stubbornly cling to it, while rejecting the teaching of Veritatis Splendor.

It’s not surprising then that over the decades a certain narrative has arisen around Proportionalism, contrasting its adherents with a caricature of its opponents. Adherents are reasonable and balanced; opponents are rigid and extreme. Proponents employ sound moral “discernment” in order to understand the specific situation of the individual; opponents do not. Proponents are pastorally realistic and sensitive; opponents not so much.

Pope Francis, for his part, has shown sympathy for that narrative. One can only assume that this is because he has been exposed to Proportionalism for much of his life. When Pope Francis speaks of priests who turn the confessional into a “torture chamber,” or who pharisaically “indoctrinate the Gospel”, converting its life-giving message into “dead stones to be hurled at others”, he might simply be referring to the older manualist approach to the moral life. But it also serves to reinforce the Proportionalist narrative.

The latest twist to the narrative holds that a cabal of American conservative Catholics is threatening schism with Francis or at least trying to undermine his pontificate. If Proportionalist loyalists have chosen to weaponise the notion of schism, maybe it’s because they are getting desperate.

Nonetheless, the German Church’s “synodal process”, along with the Amazon synod in Rome, present a cadre of progressive bishops, theologians and journalists with fresh opportunities to continue to press the Pope for an unambiguous endorsement of Proportionalism-inspired reworking of Catholic moral teaching – beyond the tacit endorsement some would speculate he has already granted.

Fr Thomas Berg is vice rector and professor of moral theology at St Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers, New York. He is author of Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics (Our Sunday Visitor, 2017)

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BLOGSCATHOLIC CHURCH Wed Oct 16, 2019 – 7:14 pm EST

Former nun participating in Amazon Synod: Female ‘ordination’ ‘simply has to come’

  AdveniatAmazon SynodCatholicFemale PriestsGerman BishopsGerman Bishops ConferenceMisereorRegina Reinart

October 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Female “ordination” “simply has to come,” an employee of the German bishops’ relief agency Misereor said in an October 12 interview, adding that “the house of cards has to fall.”

Those words came from Regina Reinart, who is participating at the current Pan-Amazon Synod in Rome, in an interview with the website The German bishops’ news website subsequently picked it up.

Married priests must come too, said Reinart, who in addition to being Misereor’s expert on Brazil is a former nun.

Reinart also shows how intensely the two German bishops’ relief agencies – Adveniat and Misereor – are involved in the Amazon Synod. Upon reading this interview, LifeSiteNews reached out to Misereor and Adveniat, asking them about their financial and organizational investment in the events taking place in Rome – for example, the pagan ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, as well as the financial support for the travel expenses of many of the activists (indigenous and others) present in Rome. Misereor’s press speaker, Ralph Allgaier, declined to answer these questions, including one on the symbolism of the naked pregnant statue seen at many synod events.

Should Adveniat answer our inquiry, LifeSiteNews will update this report.

To return to the interview with Mrs. Reinart. After being asked by what she thinks about the calls for a female “diaconate” in the Catholic Church, Reinart says, “that is not enough for me. It has to go much farther. The house of cards has to fall. And it is already happening.” There is already a “married priesthood, the clear wish for optional celibacy, and the ordination [sic] of [women],” she adds. “This simply has to come.” According to Reinart, some bishops have “very clearly” spoken about these matters in the last days at the synod. 

She states: “Some parishes in the Amazon say already today: ‘the worship service of sister is much more beautiful.’” 

“We at the basis already live for a long time what does not yet have the official stamp, but it has to come. I think for this the Amazon Synod is a kairos moment, a moment of decision.” 

Reinart, who lived in Brazil for 12 years, implies here that women in the Amazon are already playing a much more prominent role in the local Church than what the Catholic Church officially permits.

Similar statements have already been made at the synod – for example, when Deborah Rose-Milavec  spoke about hearing the confessions of Catholics without giving absolution.

According to one report, one Brazilian bishop – Bishop Adriano Ciocca Vasino – also revealed that in his school for future priests and deacons, he also forms female theologians and that he would “ordain” them as female “deacons” if the Church were to permit it. As Vatican News writes: “Theology in his school is open to both men and women, he said, but it begins with the local reality. After initial years of study, candidates are sent to work within an indigenous community for four years. If that community agrees they are suitable, they are ordained. The bishop said there are women too who are training to become theologians. Should the Pope allow it, and if the local community requests it, he would ordain them deacons, said Bishop Vasino.”

This could be a further revelation of the “realities” of which Mrs. Reinart also spoke in her interview.

Reinart also made it clear that there is an entire team of Misereor in Rome participating in workshops taking place alongside the synod. “With a team of Misereor we participate in workshops that belong to the program accompanying the synod. The demands of the participants [of these workshops] we pass on to the synod members such as Cardinal Hummes. As Misereor, we hope that there will be a global perspective of the synod.”

As to Misereor’s overall influence, Reinart states: “With the help of Adveniat and other organizations, we will succeed to make this regional synod a global synod.”

“I hope and pray that women in the future will have…voting rights at synods,” Reinart says, adding that the already “great influence” of women should not be “underestimated.” But nevertheless, she hopes that women not only are being “taken seriously,” but that they can “sit at the same table.” 

“The clericalism has to stop – that is also what many men in the Church want.”

LifeSiteNews has already reported on Misereor and Adveniat’s heavy financial and organizational involvement with the synod. Many observers see a congruence between their support of certain reform plans at the Amazon Synod – such as the female “diaconate” and married priests – and the German plans for a “synodal path,” which starts the first day of Advent and will discuss exactly the same topics.

In an article on the German participants of the Amazon Synod, the German bishops’ website neglected to mention Reinart as one of the participants, merely mentioning Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Sister Birgit Weiler, who works in Peru. But in effect – especially in light of the role of Adveniat and Misereor – the German influence is much larger.

Additionally, the German priest Paulo Suess is one of the main architects of this Amazon Synod and one of the drafters of the synod’s working document. The 81-year-old liberation theologian has lived in Brazil since the 1960s.

Misereor has already been involved with eight different events with participants of the Amazon Synod to talk about the conclusions to be drawn from it. These events are either co-sponsored or organized by Misereor, or they present a speaker who either represents Misereor or who works with Misereor.

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Morgan: Secular man’s inability to grapple with death finds expression in truly bizarre ways. It turns out that before he died, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was planning to have his penis cryogenically preserved as a way to perpetuate his DNA into eternity! Crazy, but true. He seemed to operate according to Kubrick’s “ferret of fear.” His life was as pointless as Nietzsche prophesied humans’ lives would become. Nevertheless, Epstein still wanted to seed the galaxy with his chemical self. It’s amazing how “sci-fi” is just rarified anti-humanism in so many movies and books.

Lost in the Cosmos: A Discussion of Death, Deep Space & Man’s Ultimate Destiny


MAN, MONKEYS & MOVIEGOERSBy Pieter Vree & Jason M. Morgan | October 2019Pieter Vree is Editor of the NOR. Jason M. Morgan, who writes the NOR’s Cultural Counterpoint column, teaches history, language, and philosophy at Reitaku University in Japan.

The tenor of our times is both Calvinist and Promethean. Mankind has achieved astounding feats of technical skill over the past century, and his scientific prowess has convinced many that he has stolen fire from the heavens and is able to make his way in the universe alone. But mankind also remains deeply Calvinist. For all his successes, man still seems undeserving, at least to some. Just as man was setting his sights on outer space, a nihilism based on man’s utter worthlessness, or total depravity, engulfed the culture at large. Astronauts were declaring giant leaps for mankind while anti-human humanists were pulling the rug out from under such grandiose proclamations.

Prometheanism and Calvinism — it’s a strange juxtaposition. And yet it perhaps defines our cultural condition as no other set of terms.

Recently, NOR editor Pieter Vree and NOR columnist Jason M. Morgan sat down to discuss this phenomenon and whether man is homo asterum, “star-man,” or just homo asterisk, a forgettable Darwinist blip.

Pieter Vree: In your latest column, “Denizens of a Pale Blue Dust Mote” (Jul.-Aug.), you explore some of the consequences of astronomer Carl Sagan’s contradictions. On one hand, Sagan lauded man for breaking free of his earthly chains and propelling himself out among the stars, or at least heading in that direction with the lunar landings, the Voyager probes, and other space-exploration initiatives. On the other hand, Sagan, in explaining his interstellar photograph, Pale Blue Dot, took pains to belittle man as deluded by his sense of grandeur and his “imagined self-importance.”

Jason M. Morgan: Right. Sagan essentially portrays man as some randomly evolved, non-centrally-located, and ultimately meaningless scrap of material fluff in a universe that came from nowhere and was bound for the same.

Vree: Randomly evolved — like a monkey in a moon suit? Exploring a cosmic zoological enclosure? David Byrne put that thought into the lyrics of a song: “Someday we’ll live on Venus, and men will walk on Mars / But we will still be monkeys down deep inside.”

What’s interesting is that the song, “Facts of Life,” appears on the Talking Heads album Naked, which also features a few “back to nature” songs — sort of an artistic symbiosis of the dual disparagement and exaltation of Earth embodied in Pale Blue Dot and Earth Day that you discuss in your column. Not coincidentally, Naked was released a mere two years before those two fateful events of 1990.

Morgan: That was the cultural moment, and the Talking Heads caught the Zeitgeist perfectly.

Vree: Speaking of monkey-man cultural moments, we can go back to 1968, when 2001: A Space Odyssey was released. Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic has a match cut of a shot of a monkey throwing a bone to a shot of a massive space station in orbit. It’s a clever cinematic technique, and the overall effect is to impress on viewers that no matter how far man travels, he still comes from primates.

Morgan: It’s Freudian, isn’t it? Man is always the naked ape. There’s always some barely repressed atavism, primitivism, just beneath the veneer of civilization. There’s always discontent lurking somewhere. The monkey and the man can never quite reconcile their evolutionary differences.

Vree: Coincidentally, after your column went to print, I came across an interview with Kubrick from 1968. He says essentially the same things Sagan did over 20 years later when expounding on Pale Blue Dot: “If man really sat back and thought about his impending termination and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad…. He is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space.”

Morgan: That last line could have come straight from Sagan’s mouth! And the first line is the inevitable corollary of such thinking.

Vree: As you mention in your column, in the West we’ve endured the “death of God” and the “end of history” — a collapse of the grand story of mankind and his salvation in Christ. The result, for space-oriented men — for modern men in general — is that a kernel of nihilism undoes whatever meaning they try to inject into their own lives. As Kubrick says in the same interview, “Our ability, unlike the other animals, to conceptualize our own end creates tremendous psychic strains within us; whether we like to admit it or not, in each man’s chest a tiny ferret of fear at this ultimate knowledge gnaws away at his ego and his sense of purpose. We’re fortunate, in a way, that our body, and the fulfillment of its needs and functions, plays such an imperative role in our lives; this physical shell creates a buffer between us and the mind-paralyzing realization that only a few years of existence separate birth from death.”

Morgan: It sounds like Kubrick and Sagan would have benefited greatly from reading Walker Percy.

Vree: Talk about “lost in the cosmos”!

Morgan: Marx and, later, Marxists talked at length about alienation, but nobody nailed the theme like Percy. He was famously jolted by a line in Kierke­gaard about the Hegelian who can explain everything in the universe except himself, except man. It’s the strangest thing. In his book The Moviegoer, Percy uses the example of the lowly dogfish. The scientist can give you the dogfish biologically, chemically, genetically, any scientific way you please, but the scientist has no idea who the man in the mirror is. He can’t even begin to guess. Science can say profound things about things, but it is pitifully inarticulate when people try to make it say things about non-things. Science as religion is just plain silly.

For example, what I always found most striking about 2001 was the opening scene, the one with the monoliths and the monkeys and the bones. There’s something almost Wiccan, definitely New Age, about the power of a slab of rock to connect lower lifeforms with the “cosmos” — in the 1960s sense of higher consciousness or enlightening vibrations.

Vree: According to Kubrick, the monoliths are artifacts left behind by unseen (in the movie) “extraterrestrial explorers” that allow them to “observe the behavior of the man-apes.” These ETs then decide to alter the man-apes’ “evolutionary progression.” At the climax of the film, the human astronaut, after being caged in a “human zoo,” passes through some kind of psychedelic vortex to a higher consciousness — very 1960s, indeed — an elevated state, in which he is “reborn,” in Kubrick’s words, as “an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman,” and “returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.”

Granted, Kubrick is the director and co-screenwriter, but that doesn’t sound right to me. I always thought there was a plausible Christian interpretation of the film. I take the monoliths to be representations of evil — perhaps the knowledge of good and evil — because they appear before moments of conflict in the film, or epiphanies of sorts. The “zoo” scene seems to me a consideration of man’s most refined culture, the height of human civilization — we see the astronaut in a Victorian dining setting, eating on fine china. And in the final scene, as I interpret it, the astronaut passes through the portal from human life to death and the afterlife, in which he is reborn as a “new man” and rewarded a share in the Godhead and the sum of knowledge that that affords — he appears before Earth as a baby with adult eyes, meaning he is a new creation but one privileged with understanding.

Of course, I could be wrong! But after numerous viewings, that’s my best interpretation.

Morgan: So much of the symbolism and imagery in 2001 echo the Bible. I’d heard that the acronym “HAL,” used for the supercomputer that pilots the ship to Jupiter and on the way malfunctions or becomes sentient and tries to kill the crew, was intentionally one letter each away from “IBM.” But now I wonder if Kubrick might not also have meant “El” — as in “Elijah,” “Elizabeth,” “Israel.”

Vree: Well, one thing is certain: Kubrick was trying to stir religious sentiments in his audience, without defining the religion — very much a New Agey 1960s project. He said that “the God concept is at the heart of 2001,” though he claimed that he himself did not believe in “any of Earth’s monotheistic religions.”

Morgan: The monoliths seem to be key — those smooth, black, impenetrable, nameless, and featureless slabs that somehow hurtle through space imbuing carbon-based lifeforms with self-awareness. In many ways, I think those monoliths are good metaphors for the modern condition. Modern man shunted all the old, hard metaphysical questions out into space, as it were, the way folks sweep dust under a rug. The origins of human life and intelligence are explained away by “aliens,” and so forth.

In fact, Sagan was a big SETI proponent — that is, the “search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.” I always thought the contradiction was glaring. Here’s a guy who wants humans to know that they’re just meaningless froth on the evolutionary whirlpool, but he won’t quit looking for other lifeforms elsewhere in the universe. But by his own admission, wouldn’t those other lifeforms also be just evolutionary accidents? Even if he found them, what would be the point?

Vree: That eagerness to encounter extraterrestrials is telling. All the talk of UFO sightings and the like might be hoaxes or delusions, but the bigger point is a religious one, and also a cultural one. What we see in the sky, or at least claim to see, says a lot about how we see ourselves. For example, our religiously deracinated society sees “aliens,” whatever they might be, as akin to angels: higher-order beings possessing some sort of transcendent knowledge, not to mention way-cool technology — angels without the religious trappings. We can project our own dreams of a better world onto these fantastic, though as yet illusory, beings.

Morgan: I’ve thought the same thing, and felt that this comes from a position of intense false humility. It’s with a mixture of fascination and jealously that we peer at the images of weird objects floating and darting around in the heavens. Before real angels, we would fall down to the ground in awe. Nobody who saw an angel would retain the presence of mind to film him on a cellphone. If modern man could be summed up in a phrase, it would be “he who will not bow down, but who deep down still really wants to.” The tension is the same as in Kubrick: Man is nothing, but he wants to be everything.

By the same token, the anthropological schizophrenia in Sagan was extreme. We got rid of God — and Sagan was clearly happy to see Him go — but then we realized that we were not exactly qualified to take His place. We can’t escape the wound to our pride that follows the so-called death of God. We lacerate ourselves for being lesser mortals, even though we congratulate ourselves for shucking off the old fairytales and taking possession of the universe as our own. Prometheus in Geneva!

Vree: Something that’s always struck me as odd — and something Kubrick repeats — is the assumption that alien lifeforms, whether benign or aggressive, would be “more advanced,” with superior technology and intellect. Why should that be the case? Perhaps that assumption has to do with the wishful notion that man is not so grand after all, and that the existence of other, more advanced beings would prove that point conclusively.

Morgan: This reminds me of another movie, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, one of the biggest hits of all time. I remember seeing it in the theater as a boy when it first came out in 1982. There was something unsettling about that interplanetary do-gooder then, and looking back now I see him as another example of an angelic alien. “Love one another” — a little waddling Mother Teresa. He even takes the veil in one scene!

Vree: Even more, ET is portrayed as something of a Christ figure: He has the power to heal.

Morgan: It gets better: ET himself was dead and then rose again. He was pallid and cold, but he revived. I wonder how many of the people who cried during E.T. believe in the Resurrection, believe that death really has been conquered? What is slathered in sentimental sappiness in E.T. was truly accomplished, with blood and sweat and horror, at Golgotha. But we prefer Disneyfied death.

Vree: And unspecified, saccharine spirituality. As evidenced by 2001E.T., and Pale Blue Dot, the problem of death haunts secular man. He can’t make sense of it; it’s anathema, an enigma.

Morgan: Secular man’s inability to grapple with death finds expression in truly bizarre ways. It turns out that before he died, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was planning to have his penis cryogenically preserved as a way to perpetuate his DNA into eternity! Crazy, but true. He seemed to operate according to Kubrick’s “ferret of fear.” His life was as pointless as Nietzsche prophesied humans’ lives would become. Nevertheless, Epstein still wanted to seed the galaxy with his chemical self. It’s amazing how “sci-fi” is just rarified anti-humanism in so many movies and books.

Vree: Kubrick’s “needs and functions of the body” certainly played an “imperative role” in Epstein’s life and career. As a serial pedophile who assaulted — and likely pimped — young teenage girls, Epstein mocked morality. And by seeking to preserve his DNA for eternity, he mocked mortality.

Morgan: Epstein wasn’t only a moral cipher; he was also — probably not by coincidence — very popular among the rich and famous. When Epstein entered his island sex-abuse palace and saw all the A-listers in attendance, he, like Kubrick’s character in 2001, also could have exclaimed, “My God, it’s full of stars!”

Vree: Epstein is the classic sci-fi villain: wealthy, powerful, and perverted. Only he was real. And he was really connected. Very few were surprised by his “suicide.” I found it notable that people across the political spectrum — conservative, liberals, you name it — basically agree that he was “suicided,” silenced, as it were, in order to protect the powerful.

Morgan: St. Paul mocked death — “where is thy sting?” — but we are all cowed by it. We believe the Devil, who says that death still has the power that Christ already took from it forever. Epstein isn’t the only one who sought his immortality in the physical world. It’s a true victory for Satan — for men to be afraid of the death that Christ conquered, to be too proud to cling to Christ and enter Heaven, where the moth and the worm don’t nibble away at our vainglory. Epstein’s cryogenic eternity is a hell in and of itself.

Vree: If there’s a thread between Kubrick, Sagan, and Epstein, it’s that for them, this world and its pleasures aren’t enough. They sought something greater in the “great beyond,” something that hasn’t been thought of or considered before now. Our humble abode, and its old pathways to eternity, are simply too boring to these self-styled geniuses. They have rejected God — emptied Heaven, as you say in your column — yet they can’t help looking to the heavens, to some glorious technological future, for meaning, for a sense of perdurance.

In fact, I would say that being perceived as “boring” by modern man is one of Christianity’s greatest challenges at the dawn of its third millennium.

Morgan: We are endlessly distracted and, I think, on purpose. The Enemy wants us to forget who we really are. There are diversions everywhere, and so many people throughout the ages have sought their fortunes in this world — which now includes, practically speaking, the neighboring planets and beyond. Elon Musk wants to go to Mars; Kubrick imagined a trip to Jupiter; Sagan’s Voyager 1 has flown past the orbit of Pluto; and if we go back to the moon we’ll find all the junk we left there 50 years ago. Whatever we’re looking for, it’s not in this universe. On all the billions and billions of worlds, there has only ever been one empty tomb.

©2019 New Oxford Review.

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Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 18 ott 19

“Dis-evangelized” Amazon. The Numbers of a Catholic Church Reduced By Half



At the press conference on Monday, October 14 Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican dicastery for communication, was asked why updated statistical data have not been released on the religious affiliation of inhabitants of the Amazon, seeing the impetuous growth of the Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches, at the expense of the Catholic Church.

Ruffini replied that all the information in the possession of the Vatican offices has been made available to the accredited journalists, and that in any case the synod has to address rather more important questions than statistical data on religious affiliation.


In the second part of his response, Ruffini is contradicted by the synod fathers themselves, or at least by some of them. In order to intuit, in fact, to what extent the erosion of the Catholic presence in the region touches the heart of the synod on the Amazon and is a question not of statistics but of faith, it should suffice to cite what was maintained by one of the guests of Pope Francis, Fr. Martín Lasarte, head of missionary outreach in Africa and Latin America for the Salesian congregation to which he belongs and with direct experience of the Amazon, who spoke before the assembly on the morning of Saturday, October 12:

“I visited a diocese, where 95% of the population were Catholics in the early 1980s; today they are 20%. I remember the comment of one of the European missionaries who systematically ‘dis-evangelized’ the region: ‘We do not favour superstition, but human dignity’. That says it all. The Church in some places has turned into a great services manager (health, education, promotional, advocacy…), but little in the mother of faith.”


In the first part of his response, however, Ruffini was right. In effect, on October 3 the Vatican press office sent the accredited journalists a link to a voluminous dossier in Spanish and Portuguese on the “realidad ecclesial y socioambiental” of the region, prepared in view of the synod by the REPAM, the Red Eclesial Panamazónica set up in 2014 and headed by Cardinal Cláudio  Hummes:

> Atlas Panamazónico

And it had escaped Settimo Cielo that in the dossier, almost entirely dedicated to social and environmental questions, on page 35 there appears a graphic with the presence percentages in the Amazon of various non-Catholic denominations.

Here they are, in decreasing order of size:

With 5 percent of the total population:
Testigos de Jehová

With 4 percent each:
Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día
Iglesia Cristiana Evangélica

With 3 percent:
Asamblea de Dios

With 2 percent each:
Iglesia de los Santos de los Últimos Días
Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostés del Movimiento Misionero Mundial
Iglesia Universal del Reino de Dios
Iglesia Cristiana de Restauración
Iglesia Cuadrangular
Otras Iglesias Evangélicas

With 1 percent each:
Iglesia Pentecostal Unida de Colombia
Iglesia de Dios Ministerial de Jesucristo Internacional

On the whole, these 14 non-Catholic denominations make up a third of the population of the Amazon, 33 percent.

In a note next to the graphic, however, it is specified that to these must be added “Otras Iglesias Cristianas” – almost half of which are “iglesias únicas que no tienen relación aparente entre sí” – which together add up to another 13 percent.

In all, therefore – according to the “Atlas Panamazónico” of the REPAM – fully 46 percent of the 34 million inhabitants of the region have in recent decades abandoned the Catholic Church to switch to other religious denominations.

The case of Brazil as a whole is just as startling. In the official census that is conducted each decade in that country, in 1970 Catholics were 91.8 percent of the population, while in the 2010 census they were just 64.6 percent, and in next year’s census it is expected that they will be less than half.

Already today, in fact, given that 46 percent of Brazilians have switched – as in the Amazon – to non-Catholic denominations and that another 10-12 percent is made up of animists, agnostics, etc., those remaining faithful to the Catholic Church would make up little more than 40 percent of the population.

And no turnaround is foreseen for the near future. Unless the synod for the Amazon is able to identify the reasons for this disaster and undertake “new paths” of evangelization, the real kind.Condividi:

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OCTOBER 18, 2019

A Nation That Can’t Forgive Is Doomed



On October 2, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murdering Botham Jean in his own home. Guyger claims she entered Jean’s apartment by accident (she lived on the floor above) and, mistaking him for a burglar, shot him dead. Jean was eating a bowl of ice cream.

Following Guyger’s sentencing, Jean’s 18-year-old brother Brandt embraced Guyger. “I forgive you,” he told her; “I love you as a person, and I don’t wish anything bad on you.”

Most of us would call this a model act of mercy. Yet, astonishingly, many Americans quickly took to social media expressing their disapproval of Brandt. One newspaper columnist called it a “disappointing display of yet another person of color too ready to absolve a white person who harmed them.” Apparently, forgiveness is no longer a virtue in this country.

In the case of Guyger and the Jeans, there are complicating factors. Guyger, a white woman, was sentenced to ten years in prison for sneaking into the home of an unarmed black man and killing him. Many believe her sentence to be unacceptably light. “I think this whole act of forgiveness has gotten black people where they are in this country right now,” Ryan Williams, a black man, told The Washington Post. African American historian Jemar Tisby similarly argued that “black people, when they experience injustice, there’s almost an expectation that we will immediately forgive and therefore can sort of move on.” Not so, says Tisby: “We have a right to be angry, a right to grieve, and a right to want justice.” 

This rising reticence about forgiveness goes beyond racial politics. Recently, television personality Ellen DeGeneres was castigated by left-wing celebrities and activists for sitting next to former president George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game. As one of the first celebrities in Hollywood to “come out” as same-sex attracted, Degeneres has long been a progressive icon. Yet even that didn’t get her a free pass. Actor Mark Ruffalo of Spotlight fame tweeted: “Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead [sic] torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness.”

Meanwhile, our current cultural distemper is one in which any celebrity or politician, dead or alive, risks having some comment or action revisited for public censure—the so-called “cancel culture.” Black comedian Kevin Hart was pressured to step down from hosting the Oscars because of a 10-year-old tweet that disparaged homosexuality. Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was publicly censured for several homophobic tweets he wrote when he was 15 years old. And, of course, we can’t forget the rapid return of that ancient Roman practice, damnatio memoriae—the “condemnation of memory,” where any figure in American history found to have violated modern standards of political correctness may be unceremoniously purged from public memory.

We as a nation are rapidly dispensing with forgiveness. In its stead, we favor resentment, vengeance, and even hatred. This cultivation of animosity is a thoroughly un-American trait, and one that seriously threatens the Christian foundations of our republic.

Christ himself, more than anyone else in human history, had a right to bitterness and revenge. His own people betrayed him to an oppressive foreign regime, who then visited the full force of government-sanctioned violence upon him. Mocked, scourged, stripped, and crucified, this sorrowful servant refused to indulge in hate. Rather, as he asphyxiated on the Cross, he gasped those unforgettable words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Ever since, those who know Christ to be the Savior and Redeemer of mankind—and even those who simply believe him to be a great moral teacher—have sought to follow his example. Such willingness to pardon is what enabled North and South to reconcile in the aftermath of a bloody conflict that killed 620,000 Americans. It was exemplified in the nonviolent protests of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, who managed to forgive those white racists who brutally mistreated them. And it was demonstrated in 2007 when the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, forgave the man who shot 10 of their girls in a one-room schoolhouse.

A culture that no longer appreciates the restorative power of forgiveness is already on the road to self-destruction. A culture that feeds on revenge and hatred is at war with itself, prone to exacerbate conflicts rather than mend them. Revenge and hatred, we know, kill the soul. History, literature, and social anthropology are ripe with examples of cultures that have fed on cycles of revenge: the Florence of Dante, the Verona of Romeo and Juliet, the Rwanda of 1994, the Afghanistan of the last 30 years. Each one of them offers a case study in social suicide.

None of this is meant to excuse racism. Nor is it to downplay legitimate black frustrations with continued racism in American society. But, to the question posed by one writer—“When it comes to racism, is forgiveness ever appropriate?”—the answer, if Christ has taught us anything, is assuredly and unequivocally: Yes. Always.

Photo credit: YouTube/KENS 5

Tagged as Amy GuygerBotham JeanBrandt JeanEllen DegeneresPolice Abuse / Brutality / CorruptionPresident George W. Bushrace26

Casey Chalk

By Casey Chalk

Casey Chalk is a senior contributor at Crisis and a graduate student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College.

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ABOVE: Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho, Brazil, addresses the media conference following the Synod assembly session Oct. 17 at the Vatican (Edward Pentin/National Catholic Register). INSET: Screen image captures from the Ford Foundation database detail grants given to the Indigenous Council of Roraima, COICA, COIAB and CIMI between 2006-2018. BELOW: The Ford Foundation Building in New York City (Stakhanov/CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia Commons).

ABOVE: Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho, Brazil, addresses the media conference following the Synod assembly session Oct. 17 at the Vatican (Edward Pentin/National Catholic Register). INSET: Screen image captures from the Ford Foundation database detail grants given to the Indigenous Council of Roraima, COICA, COIAB and CIMI between 2006-2018. BELOW: The Ford Foundation Building in New York City (Stakhanov/CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia Commons).  |  OCT. 17, 2019Pro-Abortion Ford Foundation Major Funder of Key Synod OrganizationsThe Register has learned that organizations belonging to REPAM, which has held the primary role in organizing the synod’s proceedings, have received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. foundation.Edward Pentin

VATICAN CITY — A missionary council for indigenous peoples run by the Brazilian bishops’ conference has received almost $2 million from the pro-abortion Ford Foundation since 2006, a Brazilian journalist has revealed.

Bernardo Küster, who publishes largely through YouTube and on the website, said two other organizations participating in the synod have also received funding from the foundation, which has actively lobbied for abortion rights and gender ideology.

All are members of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM), an organization set up by the bishops’ conference of Latin America (CELAM) and Caritas, which has played the leading role in organizing the Amazon Synod that runs until Oct. 27.     

Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho, Brazil, the head of the missionary council — called the Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIMI) — did not deny it had received such funding when the Register asked him at Thursday’s press briefing at the Vatican and presented him with evidence.

The Ford Foundation is a private foundation in the United States, created in 1936 by motoring entrepreneur Henry Ford and his son Edsel, with a mission to advance human welfare. It is one of the world’s wealthiest charitable organizations with assets of $12.5 billion (2014) and its programs have focused primarily on education, science and policy-making for minorities and those suffering from poverty.

But it is also well known for its overt support for abortion rights and gender ideology. In 2016, for example, it supported a rally outside the Supreme Court opposing Texas legislation that required abortion facilities to meet specific medical standards, which would have resulted in the closing down of state abortion facilities if the Supreme Court hadn’t subsequently struck down the law. The foundation is also a vocal supporter of gender ideology and LGBT activism.

The Ford Foundation did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Details of the funds CIMI received, first discovered by Brazilian journalist Küster, are clearly visible on the Ford Foundation’s grants database. It shows that since 2010, CIMI has received $739,269 from the Ford Foundation, but it is not clear where the funds were spent.

In 2016, the foundation says the funds were spent on “Natural Resources and Climate Change” but for the other four years that it received grants, the purposes are not clarified. Only “Beyond Current Program Structure” and within the topics of “Urban and rural land management” and “Civil and human rights.”

From 2006 until 2018, the Indigenous Council of Roraima, a local branch of CIMI, received $1,164,906 from the Ford Foundation. Roraima is one of the largest regions of Brazil, and although itself not wealthy, is the richest Amazonian region in terms of resources. It is also unclear precisely where these funds were spent.

CIMI’s Founders

CIMI was founded by Bishop Erwin Kräutler, emeritus of Xingu, Brazil, who is a supporter of women’s ordination and of ordaining married men in the Amazon because of a shortage of priests there. He is a key figure behind the synod and a member of REPAM.

Also a co-founder of REPAM, according to its vice president, Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno, is Cristiane Murray, the new deputy director of the Holy See Press Office. Murray is reportedly an old friend of Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the general relator of the synod and president of REPAM.

At today’s press briefing, the Register showed the evidence of the funds received from the Ford Foundation and asked Archbishop Paloschi if he could say why CIMI is accepting funding from such an organization. The Register also asked if any of that funding was being used to fund REPAM and consequently this synod, as well.

The archbishop said in response, “We already know the numbers that appear on the internet, they’re out there.” He said CIMI’s financial reports “are public and undergo internal and external financial auditing by the Brazilian government.” He acknowledged that CIMI is “connected to the Brazilian bishops” and that they “don’t have any disagreement about working together but we do not exchange resources.”

Archbishop Paloschi continued: “REPAM’s resources belong to REPAM and CIMI’s resources belong to CIMI.”

“It’s easy for him to throw out numbers like that,” Archbishop Paloschi said. “My personal bank account has already undergone a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry (PCI) [when Brazilian congressmen officially investigate a specific problem of public interest it passes through the PCI], conducted by the legislative assembly of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

“This also happened to all the bank accounts of the regional councils of CIMI,” he added. “Until this day there has been two PCIs, one at the regional sphere and a national one. CIMI wasn’t accused of anything. And like REPAM, the data is public. But there isn’t any formal accusation made by the Public Prosecutor’s Office nor by the Federal Police; wherever it is.”

Küster told the Register he was “astonished” by the archbishop’s reply “but in some way I’m not surprised.” He said he expected he would avoid answering the abortion issue and the Ford Foundation, which the Register referenced in its question, “so he just said all the accounts were cleared by the government.

“But that doesn’t mean anything because the problem is that this would be disapproved by the doctrine of the Church, by the Lord, by the Virgin Mary, by Our Lady of Fatima,” he added.

Küster said this shows that not only are there “theological problems” with the synod, but “through the Ford Foundation, there’s blood money inside the Vatican” which he believes has “influenced” the Catholic documents, such as the controversial working document for the synod.

Other Ford Foundation Funding

Two other organizations not linked to the bishops’ conference but works closely with it and with REPAM have also received funding from the Ford Foundation. The Coordinating Body for the Indigenous People’ Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) received $4,097,535from 2007 to 2018.

Its coordinator general, José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal, is attending the synod and appeared at a press briefing last week. The Register asked him on Wednesday via email why his organization accepted funds from the foundation and what the funds have been spent on, but he has not replied.

A second organization which also works closely with the Brazilian bishops and REPAM, the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), received $1,623,443 from 2010 to 2018. It’s also not clear how the Ford Foundation funds were spent but Küster says the bishops are involved with it through pastoral coordination and the World Social Forum. It is also part of the Pan-Amazonian Social Forum.

“The funding is not transparent,” Küster said. “CIMI’s accounts are not published, it does not publish its financial reports.” He believes this is because CIMI does not want us to know “where and with whom they’re spending their money and what they’re funding.”

He said the same is true for REPAM, which also does not publish its financial reports. “Why? What are they doing with their money?” Küster asked. “The Church needs to be more transparent.” 

The Brazilian journalist said the Ford Foundation is not the only dubious donor of these organizations, and cited the Rainforest Foundation and the Norwegian government as other major funders. “This must be made public to the world,” Küster said.

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.

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The advice given by Francis the Merciful in the opening speech of the synod: “Let us approach the Amazonian peoples on tiptoe, respecting their history, their cultures, their styles of ‘buen vivir’ in practicing population control of the tribe. What Francis the Merciful necessarily included in ‘buen vivir’ but did not specifically mention is the practice by some of the indigeneous tribes is their practice of infanticide and euthanasia to control the size of their tribe in relation to the natural resources that sustain it. ‘Tiptoe’ is hardly the proper word for an occupant of the Throne of Peter to use in addressing the problem.

Settimo Cielodi Sandro Magister 16 ott 

From Infanticide To Euthanasia. The “Buen Vivir” in the Amazon Is Made of This As Well


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> All the articles of Settimo Cielo in English


Marcia María de Oliveira, a Brazilian, is among the 25 coworkers of the two special secretaries of the synod for the Amazon: the Jesuit Michael Czerny, made a cardinal by Pope Francis last October 5, and the Dominican David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea, bishop of Puerto Maldonado, in Perù.

De Oliveira is a specialist on Amazonian societies and cultures, and was called to collaborate as an “expert” along with, among others, the Argentine Carlos María Galli, a theoretician of “the people’s theology,” and the German Paulo Suess, a professor of “inculturated” theology and coauthor of the base document of the synod, the controversial “Instrumentum Laboris.”

In this capacity, de Oliveira took part in the synodal press conference on Tuesday October 15. At which, responding to a question, she went back to the infanticide practiced in some Amazonian tribes, prefacing her remarks by saying that these questions are “very complex” and must be viewed from “different perspectives,” especially in their relationship with the sacred.

The following is an exact transcription of the words she spoke in this regard, delivered in Portuguese with simultaneous translation into other languages.

The transcription is taken from the video recording of the press conference, from 47:18 to 48:17:

“I personally have not followed any community that adopts this practice as a ritual or political question. There are some communities that establish some collective procedures or initiatives of birth control. It is all in relationship with the size of the family and the extent of the groups. All is based on conservation, survival, food supply, the number of persons who make up the group… It also has a lot to do with internal relations, to what extent that child, that elderly person, that adult person is capable of following the group in what are its internal movements.”


That’s all for the words of the expert on Amazonian cultures Marcia María de Oliveira, which certainly agree very poorly with the insistent, acritical exaltation – before and during the synod – of the “buen vivir” of those tribes, described in the “Instrumentum Laboris” as “harmony with oneself, with nature, with human beings and with the supreme being, since there is an inter-communication between the whole cosmos, where there is neither excluding nor excluded, and that among all of us we can forge a project of full life.”

But that’s not all. In the words of de Oliveira there is an allusion to the selective elimination not only of children but also of the elderly, which was the subject of the question that had been posed to her at the press conference by Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi.

A few days before, in fact, at another synodal press conference, on Saturday October 12, São Félix bishop Adriano Ciocca Vasino – successor to the 91-year-old ultraindigenist Pedro Casaldaliga – had said: “My Indians tell me that the whites are cruel, because they allow the elderly who are not self-sufficient to live. And in this way they force the spirit of the elderly to remain chained to the body. And the spirit, chained, cannot spread its benefits upon the rest of the family.”

This too said with imperturbable nonjudgmental detachment. Pushing to the extreme limit the advice given by Pope Francis in the opening speech of the synod: “Let us approach the Amazonian peoples on tiptoe, respecting their history, their cultures, their styles of ‘buen vivir’.”Condividi:

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How Cardinal Sodano robbed the Papacy from Pope Benedict!

Oct11by The Editor

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As I have reported before, in February 2013 there was a de facto coup d’etat at the Vatican, the result of which was the imprisonment of Pope Benedict XVI, and the convocation of an illegal, illicit and invalid Conclave, which resulted in the illegal, illicit and invalid election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Now, I invite the entire Church to examine more carefully what happened in the 58 minutes after the Consistory of February 11, 2013, which ended just before noon, Rome time, on that day.

According to Canon Law, it was the grave and solemn duty of the Dean of the College of Cardinals to approach Pope Benedict and ask for a written copy of his act of Renunciation.

Here are the relevant Canons of the Code of 1983 which regulate what should have been done:

Can. 40 — Exsecutor alicuius actus administrativi invalide suo munere fungitur, antequam litteras receperit earumque authenticitatem et integritatem recognoverit, nisi praevia earundem notitia ad ipsum auctoritate eundem actum edentis transmissa fuerit.

Can. 41 — Exsecutor actus administrativi cui committitur merum exsecutionis ministerium, exsecutionem huius actus denegare non potest, nisi manifesto appareat eundem actum esse nullum aut alia ex gravi causa sustineri non posse aut condiciones in ipso actu administrativo appositas non esse adimpletas; si tamen actus administrativi exsecutio adiunctorum personae aut loci ratione videatur inopportuna, exsecutor exsecutionem intermittat; quibus in casibus statim certiorem faciat auctoritatem quae actum edidit.

Needless to say, I have added some color to the letters of the text to make it clear that, in the very 2 Canons which Cardinal Sodano should have carefully read and acted upon, there is made by the Code itself the distinction between munus and ministerium. And yet for 6 years, and especially during the last 12 months, those who have sustained that the renunciation was valid, dared use the argument that there no distinction between the terms!

It seems so true, that it is almost a law, that whatever one investigates about the Pontificate of Bergoglio, one uncovers nothing but lies and frauds. This is clearly the greatest.

The Laws which governed what Cardinal Sodano should have done

Because in that key moment, before Sodano through Father Lombardi gave the Sig.ra Chirri the go ahead to publish to the world that Benedict had resigned, He will leave the Pontificate on Feb. 28 (B16 è dimesso. Lascia il Pontificato Feb 28), he HAD TO read these 2 canons, or at least recall them.

Let us therefore take a closer look at these 2 canons, which regard what is to be done when someone, with mere Executive authority, receives notice from someone, with the jurisdiction to posit an adminstrative act, that he is to take an action.

My English translation of the Canons:

Canon 40: The executor of any administrative act invalidly conducts his office (suo munero), before he receives the documents (letteras) and certifies (recognoverit) their integrity and authenticity, unless previous knowledge of them has been transmitted to him by the authority publishing the act itself.

Canon 41: The executor of an administrative act to whom there has been committed the mere ministry (ministerium) of execution, cannot refuse execution of the act, unless the same act appears to be null from (something) manifest [manifesto] or cannot be sustained for any grave cause or the conditions in the administrative act itself do not seem to be able to have been fulfilled: however, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune by reason of place or adjoined persons, let the executor omit the execution; in which cases let him immediately bring the matter to the attention of (certiorem faciat) the authority which published the act.

What Cardinal Sodano did

First, as Canon 40 states, Cardinal Sodano’s first duty was to ask Pope Benedict XVI for a written copy of the Act of Renunciation. This is because, as read out-loud, anyone fluent in Latin, as Cardinal Sodano is reputed to be, would have noticed multiple errors in the Latin, most grievous of which was the enunciation of commisum not commiso by the Holy Father. This touched upon the integrity of the act.

Second, in receiving the Act of Renunciation in the authentic Latin Text, and finding that it was as it was intended to be read, he was obliged to examine if the act was in conformity with Canon 332 §2, which reads:

Canon 332 § 2. Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.

My translation:

Canon 332 §2. If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his office (muneri suo), for validity there is required that the renunciation be done freely and duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

And thus, in this examination, the Cardinal had to confront the very Distinctionbetween munus and ministerium that was founded in the Act of Renunciation, which contains the terms munus and ministerium, but renounces only the ministerium!

Clearly anyone reading Canon 40, would see that munus means office or charge! And in reading canon 41 that ministerium means execution of the duties of the office. Clearly he would as Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals realize that it is one thing to have a munus to do something, quite another to put into motion his ministerium to execute it. — He was acting on the very basis of that distinction, because before he acted, he held the munus to act, and in acting he executed the ministerium to act!

For this reason, Cardinal Sodano must be questioned if not publicly accused of having closed his eyes! That is, of having ignored the distinction and his own grave duty and invalidly executed his office, by declaring the act a valid act of renunciation of the papal office!

This is especially true, because Canon 41 forbids (“let him omit the execution“) and Canon 40 invalidates the action of the executor to proceed to any action, not only because the core act of renunciation was invalid, as per canon 188 (for substantial error), to effect the loss of papal office, but also because, being invalid, the Cardinal Dean could NOT recognize that the command to call a conclave was opportune.

There are other anomalies in the Act of Renunciation which also should have caused the Cardinal to stop and refer to Pope Benedict, namely:

  1. The Act of Renunciation is not an act of renunciation, but the declaration of an act of renunciation. As such it lacks the formal quality of a canonical act per se, since it is one thing to announce, another to enact!
  2. The Act of Renunciation contains what appears to be a command to call a conclave. But this command is NOT a command, because it is a declaration not a command, and it is made in the First Person singular, which signifies the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, NOT the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the pope. But the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, whether he has renounced or not cannot call a Conclave, since he has no authority to do so!
  3. The Act of Renunciation contains no derogation of any terms of canon law which it violates as is required by canon 38.
  4. The errors in the Latin demonstrated clearly that the Holy Father had prepared the Act in secret without the counsel of canon lawyers and Latinists, and that therefore, it may lack formal interior consent or be based on other errors of fact or law or comprehension of Latin.

Thus, for Cardinal Sodano to proceed to act as if the renunciation were valid, violated the general principle of law, that the validity of the renunciation of power or right is NOT to be presumed.

This is a general principle of jurisprudence and is even found in Canon Law, in an applied form, in Canon 21:

Can. 21 — In dubio revocatio legis praeexistentis non praesumitur, sed leges posteriores ad priores trahendae sunt et his, quantum fieri potest, conciliandae.

Canon 21 — In doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws are to be compared with prior ones, as much as can be done, be reconciled to them.

In a word, Cardinal Sodano by acting was claiming a munus to act (Canon 40) and using that authority to exercise a ministry (Canon 41) to deny that the Pope had a munus which had to be renounced (Canon 332 §2)!

Thus the Act of Renunciation appeared to be null from MANY manifest aspects of the terminology and grammatical structure. Canon 41 therefore required that he confer with the Pope to have them corrected! Canon 40 invalidated any action he took prior to recognizing the act as authentic and integral, that is, not canonically invalid, irritus or null. — And in Canon Law, as per canon 17, to recognize something as valid, does NOT mean insisting it is valid, when it is not! That is fraud.

By omitting the honest fulfillment of his duties, he acted with reckless disregard for his own office as Dean. He exploited the canonical defects in the Act to perpetrate a horrible crime of misrepresentation. This was tantamount to robbing the Roman Pontiff of his office by exploiting his authority, so as to declare valid what was invalid to produce a papal resignation!

Thus, according to the terms of Canon 40 and 41, Cardinal Sodano should have acted differently. The act of renunciation was of ministry, not of munus, and therefore was NOT an act of resignation. Therefore the declaration of a resignation, which had to have emanated from Cardinal Sodano’s desk, was a canonical lie and fraud! And since, ignorance of the law in those who should know the law is not presumed, Cardinal Sodano cannot be excused from an abuse of his office (munus).

What Cardinal Sodano should have done!

Upon receiving the document of Renunciation, and noticing that the renunciation of ministerium was not the act specified by Canon 332 §2, he should have spoken with Pope Benedict in the presence of 2 credible witnesses and brought this to his attention, as Canon 41 requires. Then he should have asked whether it was his intention to renounce the Petrine munus or simply to renounce the Petrine Ministerium. In the latter case, he should have (1) asked the Holy Father to issue a Motu Proprio naming someone to be his Vicar extraordinaire who would have the potestas executionis but not the office of the Pope, during the remainder of his life, OR, (2) in the case that he indicated that it was his intention to resign the papal office, he then should have asked him to sign a corrected copy of the act, containing the word muneri instead of ministerio and correcting all the other errors, whether of form, of Latin, or grammatical structure etc.. To have done anything less would be a grave sin of disrespect for the Office of the Successor of St. Peter, to which the Cardinal was bound by solemn vow to protect and defend.

Simple. Easy. Legal, Legit. By failing to do that, he convened an illicit, illegal and invalid Conclave, and made Bergoglio an Antipope, not the Pope!

(Photo Credits: CTV)

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They Won’t Release the 3rd Secret of Fatima Because…

October 13, 2019 – by LH – 5 Comments.

…it probably tells us what they’ve been doing all along. The suppressed Third Secret of Fatima probably tells everyone that a secret sect would one day supplant the true pontiff with an impostor. And most important of all, the Third Secret probably tells us how we, the faithful laity, are supposed to cope with this crisis. It probably speaks DIRECTLY to us, which is precisely why it has been hidden away for a near century—because filling the Chair of Peter with a Freemasonic ally, and keeping a grip on it through a tedious knot of technicalities, is EXACTLY what they’ve always intended throughout the 20th Century. 

So, what do we have? We have a “third secret of Fatima” that was released on June 26, 2000. It’s four pages long. And yet, we know that Sister Lucy’s letter was only one page long with about 25 lines of text. Heck, even a forensics laboratory confirmed that the four-page released letter has different handwriting from the past handwriting of Sister Lucy.  It’s a fraud. A forgery.

But let’s suppose the official “third secret” letter at least has some elements of the original letter in it.  And let’s suppose the following statement is truly a fragment that was recorded by Sister Lucia. She saw

“a Bishop dressed in White, we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.”

Let’s suppose this is a true part of her vision.  Take note that she has the impression it was the Holy Father. Just as most of the world has the impression that Pope Francis is pope. Yet, Sister Lucy is not saying it IS the pope. Merely that she thinks this man could be the pope, judging from how he’s dressed. Stating that she “had an impression that it was the Holy Father” and that “this man is the Holy Father” are two different things. Later on in this description, she confidently discusses the Holy Father getting killed, but as for this person in the beginning, he merely looks like the Holy Father. 

But, Fatima aside, we have other Heaven-sent messages telling us that Rome would turn. We can already recall how Our Lady of La Salette told the faithful that “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist,” and that the Church will be in eclipse. We already know the story of Our Lady of Akita when she said: “The work of the Devil will infiltrate even into the Church.” But most of all, remember the words of Our Lady of Good Success, who told us exactly what we would be going through at this precise moment in history:

The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.

Our Lady of Good Success

I cannot speak with certainty and confidence to definitively know that Pope Francis holds no authority whatsoever, and that Pope Benedict is truly still the real pope. I can only go so far as saying “It’s probably true.”  Like the Beast of the Sea, this man we call Pope Francis “is, but he isn’t.” Most certainly, we are all being gaslit by the cabal in the Vatican. But to what extent? I am doing what I can. As Steve Skojec wrote just two days ago:

And if the best, most qualified minds in the Church don’t tackle this, the amateurs will continue to do so, and they will make an awful mess of it. 

It’s Past Time for Theologians, Canonists, Bishops, and Cardinals to Weigh in on the Status of the Papacy, Steve Skojec

And so here we are. Our fathers are not protecting the children as we are abused and bullied. The shepherds have abandoned the sheep, and the flock is going feral. 

Is Our Lady of Good Success talking about Pope Benedict being a prisoner in the Vatican? At first blush, Pope Benedict appears to have stated multiple times that he’s happy with his resignation. But the following account claims otherwise. It is printed here, on my blog, with permission from the editor of the blog, From Rome. Read with discernment, and join me in praying to God for answers and help.

To view the original article, click here to go to their site.

# # # #

The Imprisonment of Pope Benedict XVI

I will summarize in this article the suppositions and analysis which the volunteers and members of Veri Catholici have worked out in recent days about what really went on in the Vatican in 2012 — 2013. I will do so in a Timeline, which makes understanding what was going on easier. This will be a recitation of facts, with an interpretation which explains them all elegantly.


In March 2012 Pope Benedict XVI established a Commission of Cardinals to investigate leaks of reserved and confidential documents on television, in newspapers, and in other communications media (in what is known as the Vatileaks scandal). It first met on Tuesday, 24 April 2012. Cardinal Herranz served as the Chair, and was accompanied by Cardinals Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi. (Wikipedia: Vatican Leaks Scandal)


Someone leaks the results of the Vatican Commission on Gays in the Vatican to Team Bergoglio, which in response begins feverish activity at Rome (Documented by Dr. Sire in the Book, The Dictator Pope). This activity aims for the forced abdication of Benedict.

Early November: The Coup d’etat is hatched. Team Bergoglio demands the resignation of Pope Benedict to prevent the revelations of the Dossier to be presented by Vatican Commission on Gays in the Vatican. The contents of the dossier will implicate all the key members of Team Bergoglio and thus all force and expediency must be employed to stop its publication.

The conspiracy includes not only Team Bergoglio, but all named in the Dossier, the names of whom are given to Team Bergoglio by someone working in the Commission.

The terms of the Coup d’etat are as follows:

  • Pope Benedict will resign
  • Pope Benedict will not publish the contents of the Dossier
  • Pope Benedict will continuously testify that he resigned willingly

If Pope Benedict refuses, Team Bergoglio threatens the Pope with assassination, citing the published testimony of an Italian Journalist on Feb. 11, 2012 saying that the assassination will be within 1 year. The date Feb 11, 2013 is chosen for the resignation to signal to the Lavender Mafia round the world, that the abdication has been forced precisely to defend their evil institution.

Pope Benedict, taking counsel from no one, because he trusted no one, decides to go along but to leave tell tale signs for the Catholic world, so that any intelligent observer will discern what is going on. He extracts the condition of the promotion of his personal secretary to the position of the Pontifical Household, believing this will keep him safe and to signify that after his resignation, He is still the only one true Pope.

Nov. 23: James Michael Cardinal Harvey, who had been the Prefect of the Papal Household under Benedict is named Cardinal Priest of Saint Paul outside the Walls, in an apparent reward for his role in allowing Benedict to be betrayed in the Vatican Leaks scandal and to make way for Ganswein.

Dec. 7: Father Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of Pope Benedict from the time he was a Cardinal, is named Prefect of the Papal Household.

December 17: The Pope received a report on “Vatican lobbies” prepared by Cardinals Julián Herranz, Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and Jozef Tomko. The same day, the Pope decided to resign. (Wikipedia: Vatican Leaks). This decision is forced and is Benedict’s sign to Team Bergoglio that he has accepted the terms given in the Coup d’etat.


January 6: The Feast of the Epiphany. Father Gänswein is ordained Archbishop of Urbs Salvia. He becomes the only holder of the office of Prefect of the Papal Household to ever enjoy the dignity of an Archbishop. Another Papal sign that the renunciation would be invalid and that Benedict would retain the true dignity of Pope. The choice of the titular see, Urbs Salvia, which was a center of the Imperial Cult of Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, is another sign to the Catholic world that Benedict’s resignation would be invalid, as the Prefect will care for the Pontifex Maximus. (That Bergoglio does not have an officer of the Papal Household caring for him is another sign he is not pope.)

Feb. 11, 2013: Pope Benedict XVI, his capacity as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter renounces “the ministry which he received at the hands of the Cardinals” and calls for a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff. The alternate use of titles Successor of Saint Peter for himself and Supreme Pontiff for the one who would follow him is another sign to the Catholic world of the coup d’etat and forced resignation. But in his act of resignation, in resigning the ministerium not the munus he makes his resignation canonically invalid and sends a BIG CANONICAL MESSAGE to the Church warning them of what is going on (cf. Canon 332 §2). He also includes several errors in Latin in the text as written and as spoken to show that he is being coerced and has not acted freely.

Upon Benedict’s finishing the reading of Non Solum Propter, Cardinal Sodano, a chief conspirator in the Coup d’etat stands up and shouts out: This takes us as a surprise, like a bolt of lightning from heaven. He then orders all in the Vatican to say nothing about what the Act of Pope Benedict means, because he notices that the renunciation is of ministerium, not munus, as agreed. Not wanting to show that he is a member of the coup, he refrains from saying Benedict resigns. He orders Father Lombardi to speak with Journalists and find one who thinks it means he abdicated. Having found Giovanna Chirri, Lombardi gives her to go ahead to spread the fake news, and after the journalists of the world (prepared by Team Bergoglio) make it a fact, the Vatican Press Office confirms the fake news in the afternoon. — This is the Marxist tactic of using hearsay to repress truth. This hearsay is now the unquestionable dogma of the Lavender Mafia world wide. The sign that priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as laymen, will not question it is a tangible proof of their adhesion to the coup d’etat or beguilement by it.

Feb. 28: Pope Benedict, alarmed that no one has understood the signs he has given, gives his final address spelling out explicitly that he has resigned the active ministry, not the munus, in a last desperate attempt to stop the forced resignation. The lack of response from any Cardinals leads Benedict to believe that he has no friends among them and that they too are part of the Lavender Mafia. He flys to Castle Gandolfo where he hopes to be rescued by Catholic Forces who recognize his resignation is invalid.

Feast of Saint Joseph, Protector of the Church: March 19: At the papal inauguration of Pope Francis, Cardinal Tomko, a member of the Commission on Gay activity in the Vatican, was one of the six cardinals who made the public act of obedience on behalf of the College of Cardinals to the new pope at his papal inauguration. (Wikipedia: Cardinal Tomko) — In an act of obvious agreement to the coup d’etat. A sign, perhaps, that he was the one who leaked information of the investigation to Team Bergoglio in the late summer of 2012. — The date of March 19 was chosen to indicate to the Lavender Mafia that the coup had protected their evil institution.

March 23: Bergoglio warned that Benedict’s residence at Castel Gandolfo may be to escape the terms of the Coup d’etat, meets with him there and orders his return to the Vatican as a prisoner.


June 12 : Bergoglio awards Cardinal Herranz for his silence by raising him from the dignity of a Cardinal Deacon to that of a Cardinal Priest. (Wikipedia: Cardinal Heranz).


April: Pope Benedict approves the up and coming talk by Archbishop Gänswein at the Pontifical University of St Gregory the Great, in which the Archbishop affirms that Benedict retains the petrine munus and ministry, as another desperate attempt to get Catholics to study the timeline of events. Bergoglio responds with force and orders them both to silence on these matters.


February to May: Benedict having received a canonical brief demonstrating his renunciation was invalid as regards the petrine munus, tacitly accepts it to indicate canonically that he knows he is still the Pope, and politically, that he is under duress not to speak.

# # # #

In fine: His Holiness Pope Benedict, XVI remains a prisoner in the Vatican waiting patiently that someone in the Catholic world will read this timeline and realize what it means.TAGGEDCATHOLIC CHURCHPOPE FRANCISPROPHECYSKOJEC


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September 30, 2019

That Time I Suggested The Pope Was The False Prophet 

September 21, 2019

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September 16, 2019

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About LH

Laramie Hirsch is a red-pilled traditionalist Catholic writer. He is the author of the blogs Forge and Anvil and The Hirsch Files. His articles have appeared at blog sites such as Men of the West, Culture Wars, Stares at the World, Affirmative Right, The Counter-Revolution, and OnePeterFive. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.View all posts by LH → 

5 Comments on “They Won’t Release the 3rd Secret of Fatima Because…”

  1. Michael Dowd says:October 13, 2019 at 7:09 am All you have said is true. It is therefore up to you and others like you to spread the word of truth as you are now doing. One day we may have to abandon the Vatican supervised Catholic Church , as it continues to deteriorate morally and doctrinally and form an underground Catholic Church as the various predictions of Our Lady come to pass. God Bless you and your work.REPLY
  2. Br Alexis Bugnolo says:October 13, 2019 at 10:18 am Thanks for connecting the dots. I was unfamiliar with the statement of Our Lady of Good Success when I wrote the above article. Here is more proof that Benedict never said he resigned the papacy
    1. Lindsay Wheeler says:October 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm Thank you Br. Bugnolo! Thank you for posting that link! What that link does is CONFIRM Ann Barnhardt’s analysis two months ago! But I want to further the analysis, a better one, a different one, than Br. Bugnolo or Barnhardt makes. From the above link is a direct quote from “Pope Benedict”:Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005. The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. In a manner of speaking, the private dimension of his life is completely eliminated. I was able to experience, and I experience it even now, that one receives one’s life precisely when one gives it away. Earlier I said that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and feel great affection for him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, throughout the world, and that he feels secure in the embrace of your communion; because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.The “always” is also a “for ever” – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God. This IS SICK. Sick, Sick, Sick. This guy is COMPLICIT in evil! He is bifurcating! He is “creating” ad nuovo, out-of-thin-air—A NEW POSITION, of this so-called Papal Emeritus! It is NOT in Canon Law!Let us make this clear—-Either you Resign or you don’t. Clear, unambiguous, succinct. This is so-called “Pope” Benedict DOES NOT DO THIS. He purposely obfuscates!!!!! He is creating out of thin-air—this New Position of “emeritus” —against the clear direction of stated guidelines!A pope, any pope, is just a Bishop. First and foremost. Any bishop can resign his post due to physical health, disease, terminal illness, dementia or Alzheimers. What then happens, logically and commonsensically, the person resigns and either moves into a monastery, into a villa, or a nursing home and gives up ALL factors of the Office! That is Righteousness!Pope Benedict is NOT righteous and I stand by my earlier comments on another thread on this blog that Pope Benedict with this half-resignation is playing into the hands of those “Church theologians” that wanted a “Conciliar papacy”! This is Pope Benedict’s reason—as can be clearly be seen in the words from the Horse’s (ass) mouth!This::::: “”””””The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. “””””””That is PURE unadulterated Narcissism! That is Sick people. To think of oneself that way—-IS SICK. Pope Benedict is a SICK man. That quote is full of sickness! The man is Deranged. No NORMAL person speaks like that. No person with COMMONSENSE speaks like that!You want to talk about who is the “real Pope”? Pope Benedict is COMPLICIT in this derangement of Office going on now! He is Complicit because he is mentally deranged! Pope Benedict is SICK in the head and in the Spirit!Pope B says “I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross,” “I’m not abandoning the cross”? Resignation of office—DOES NOT MEAN abandoning the cross!!!! People resign offices all day long everyday due to very good intentions–that doesn’t negate Righteousness or commonsense! If he went to Private Life—would he be abandoning his Christianity? Hell NO! What the hell, and it is hell, is this guy thinking?This guy is Sick. He is complicit. And he knows FULL well what he is doing! Yes, He is Still the Pope–but he is thoroughly deranged and a heretic. He is a Deranged, Sick, Heretical Bishop of Rome!Thank you Br. Bugnolo. That quote explains it all!REPLY
  3. Concerned Commenter says:October 13, 2019 at 2:44 pm Mr. Hirsch, here is an in depth discussion of a precise English translation of Pope Benedict’s Declaration of intent to renounce the Petrine Ministry. Posted September 14th at Bishop Rene Gracida’s blog Abyssum:
  4. Withrow says:October 13, 2019 at 4:53 pm I totally agree that there is an element of foul play in Benedicts resignation.
    However, Im not really sure that I trust that Benedict is the innocent victim who has been wrongly overthrown. Or for that matter that he has been trying to signal to the faithful that he was coerced. The reason I say that, is from my own reading of his works, a few encyclicals, etc. I really do think he is at least in terms of his theology, actually insane. Remember that this is a guy who was instrumental in V2 from the beginning, has repeatedly questioned the idea of bodily resurrection, and doesn’t really think that Protestants are “really” outside the Church. And has in his career made very strange comments how he thinks Church leadership works. If he suddenly seems to advocate some kind of weird split papacy, I don’t nessesarily think thats just from coercion. I think it’s possible he may actually think its some kind of new phase, or update “adapting the Church to the modern age.” Which is the same way he has approached other aspects of the faith. For example he was initially glowing with the prospects for the new mass, and in his 1983 “eschatology”, even in the first few chapters he is intensely scornful of both specific aspects of traditional liturgy (like the Dies Irae chant representing a “spirit of apostasy”) and the culture of the church for huge stretches of time. But he then also writes documents around the same period praising traditional liturgy, and complaining of novelties. I don’t think he has a coherent understanding of contradictions being a problem. If two kinds of liturgy with different theology at same time, why not two popes? He doesn’t see the problem. Im not saying that coercion isn’t possible, or a contributing factor.
    But from my own limited understanding of what I have seen him write, and the theological ideas he has supported, I don’t see it as impossible that he would break Church canon and traditions willingly.
    Nor do I think it would be impossible, that he could do so and still think he was doing the right thing. I just think his ideas are a mess, and its possible that he wouldn’t even see it as a contradiction to traditional church practice. But at the same time I could be wrong.
    Its a mess and needs prayers. Regardless of his complicity or not, he needs prayers. Hail Mary full of grace!
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