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Neoconned... Again!

MICHAEL McGRADE

Seeing what's at the end of one's nose requires constant effort.
-George Orwell

 

Loud and shameless, Modernist hirelings dominate the Church, drowning out the orthodox espiscopal remnant. More of the latter need to find their voice; to speak with the conviction and candour of Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island. On 21 October, as the Synod closed, he penned a critical series of "random thoughts" for his flock:

  • "In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, counter-cultural, prophetic voice, a voice that the world needs to hear."
  • "The concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant."
  • "Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?"
    His Lordship concluded with this crystal clear juxtaposition:
  • "Wherever he serves, Cardinal Burke will be a principled, articulate and fearless spokesman for the teachings of the Church.
  • "Pope Francis is fond of “creating a mess.” Mission accomplished."
  • Having made his point, he added a final comforting reminder:
  • "Relax. God’s still in charge."

Pope and papacy in context

Countering the Pope's disoriented mission to create a mess, straight-talking Bishop Tobin thereby accomplished his own God-given mission: to bring order and calm out of disorder and distress. As he, Cardinal Burke and others have shown, it is no more difficult for a shepherd to address collegial lukewarmness, compromise and capitulation in general, than it is to speak truth to pontifical power in particular. It simply requires, in the first place, a recognition that there is nothing to be gained, but many souls to be lost, by not speaking up. And secondly, the will and courage to do so, based upon a correct understanding of our dutiful relationship with the Petrine office. Melchior Cano, a Spanish theologian influential at the Council of Trent, explained the damage caused by distorting that relationship:

Now it can be said briefly that those who defend blindly and indiscriminately any judgment whatsoever of the Supreme Pontiff concerning every matter weaken the authority of the Apostolic See; they do not support it; they subvert it; they do not fortify it… . Peter has no need of our lies; he has no need of our adulation.

In light of the worldly adulation afforded Peter's current successor, it is a sobering reminder of two interrelated aspects of the papacy, namely: just as a pope is not an automaton of the Holy Ghost, our deference to his sacred office is not robotic acquiescence. Concerning the first part of that equation, in responding to a question posed by Professor August Everding during a 1997 interview, on whether he truly believed that the Holy Spirit intervenes in the election of a Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger explained it very well:

I would say not in the sense that the Holy Spirit chooses any particular pope, because there is plenty of evidence to the contrary – there have been many whom the Holy Spirit quite obviously would not have chosen! But, that He does not altogether relinquish control, but rather like a good educator keeps us on a very long cord, so to speak, allowing us a great deal of freedom, but never unfastening the cord – that’s how I would put it. It needs to be taken in a very broad sense and not as if He says, 'You’ve got to pick this one!' What He allows, however, is limited to the fact that everything cannot be completely ruined.

Disastrous flight

As Bishop Tobin put it, God remains in charge. Nonetheless, He not only allowed the election of one Jorge Bergoglio, He allowed Joseph Ratzinger to abandon his papal watch in order to facilitate that ruinous outcome.

Clearly, Pope Benedict's 'resignation' is not the only reason for our present agonies. But it was the avoidable error, the misguided capitulation, the "wolf"-evoking mistake which should never have been made. We are not wise after the event because everyone from our well-informed readership to Vatican scribblers to the dogs in the street sensed it when it was announced.

Even before those spectacular lightning bolts portended the scandalous jolts to come, Benedict's memorable plea of 24 April 2005, during his first papal Mass in St Peter's Square, immediately sprang to every half-alert mind. "Pray for me," he had said, "that I may not flee for fear of the wolves." Yet unlike his gutsy predecessor, who drank his Calvarian cup to its bitter dregs, here he was fleeing; leaving the sheepfold gate ajar for a wolfish mob of collegial compromisers, open or tacit supporters of the "gay lobby", to slip in and assume still greater control.

And so they did, electing one of their own: a pontifical choice so problematic that even Vatican II desperados like Cardinals Pell and George, who would normally rationalise any papal travesty, now openly question it. "Obviously he’s getting input from somewhere," a frustrated Cardinal George queried last November, "... but I'd love to know who's truly shaping his thinking?"

The obvious answer is embodied in the "Who am I to judge?" archetype Francis recently sent to replace His Eminence in Chicago: Archbishop Blase Cupich.

A serial compromiser and Seamless Garment-marginaliser of the pro-life cause, shortly after fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations had met in Rome last November, where they called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honour Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians, as an act of love and mercy, Cupich informed a national television audience that Communion for pro-abort politicians is a positive good: "an opportunity of grace and conversion". (On the contrary, Cardinal Burke views denial of Holy Communion as the pastoral and loving approach, since it calls the wayward politicians back to the truth and helps them avoid sacrilege.)

For Cupich, like his papal patron (who is said to have handpicked him for Chicago), mercy is a one-way street to a Modernist cul-de-sac. Their like-mindedness extends, of course, to that dogmatic hostility to Catholic tradition which has come to define Pope Francis. For his part, Cupich locked a 220-strong Latin Mass congregation in Rapid City out of their church over Easter, leaving them to celebrate Good Friday services on the pavement outside. Why? Because some dared to harbour conscientious objections to the Novus Ordo! (All those regularly forced to endure the Novus Ordo better button their lips!)

Thus, the Cupich appointment embodies the outcome we instantly feared in recalling Benedict's prayerful appeal in 2005: a red flag that flapped harder still on the evening of 13 March, when his symbolically-denuded successor appeared on the balcony to ram home the terryifying symmetry of it all.

Infiltrated and overcome by dissidents and deviants who have long turned the Society of Jesus into an anti-Catholic guerilla army, the inscrutable designs of Almighty God had finally seen fit to allow a member of that same wrecking crew to assume the throne of Peter; as if to complete the social gospel secularisation the Society had led for fifty years. The final purification of the Church beckoned. To anyone, that is, with eyes to see, ears to hear, and sufficient concern to look up the dissident and decrepit state of Buenos Aires under Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio (to include his own workaday dissidence and disobedience).

A Jesuit ruling the roost; the worldlings and his Modernist clique cock-a-hoop; the Lavender Mafia unleashed — what was all that if not the makings of the perfect storm signalled by those lightning strikes shortly after Benedict tendered his resignation?

Vatican soap

Meantime, as the impact of his flight redounds to the detriment of Catholic truth, unity and concord every passing day — as scandal piles on scandal — where is the "Pope Emeritus"? Pathetically trotted out for the papal canonisations and several guest appearances (as at the Day of the Elderly), there is never a protesting word. Just mutual backslapping with his Vatican neighbour, and shows of solidarity (such as their joint appearance in the Vatican Gardens to dedicate a statue of St Michael on 5 July 2013). True, Benedict has backed himself into a papal corner in this regard. But it was he who adopted the role of silence and prayer. Nowhere is it written that he must not raise his voice. So why leave the field clear for heretical windbags like Walter Kasper to endlessly interfere, scandalise, and wreck?

Well, for one thing, he is greatly enjoying his quiet, relaxed, undemanding life in 'retirement.' He is "indeed slow and a little bent," but his eyes still "flash" and he remains "quick-witted," having simply swapped his red shoes for "brown leather sandals." We know this because Germany's Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung ran a puff piece in its 7 December 2014 edition, Ein Besuch bei Vater Benedikt ("A visit with Father Benedict"), wherein Benedict recounted to a journalist over tea and biscuits in his renovated Vatican pad, how "he could pray and read, think, prepare a little sermon for each Sunday; but he did not want to write anymore." It continued on in this vein (all translations mine):

He can talk with friends and maintain friendships. He is so relieved to be rid of the burden of his office. He does not have to give any more speeches, nor travel so much. He would not have been able to do all that.  To remain in office [he said], "would not have been honest" ["wäre nicht ehrlich gewesen"].

Really?! And here we were thinking it would have been far more honest, not to say dutiful and noble, to stay and fight! Silly us.

So it's a great life, then. "Benedict is enjoying the break and tranquility. He seems stronger... . In the house he does not need a cane." Yet as he gets stronger and younger, Holy Mother Church is enfeebled, and her children are all ageing with worry thanks to the wretched fruit of his 'honesty'.

Meanwhile, we are informed that "the former pope," who would much prefer to be called "Father Benedict", receives regular visitors, ranging from bishops to his publisher. "And evidently, as is known, Benedict is also in close contact with Pope Francis. Benedict says only: 'We have very good contact'."

This is the second thing, which we have underlined from the outset: that apart from a few quibbles, Benedict and Francis are on the same theological/philosophical/ecumenical/pastoral page. It is absurd to imagine that Benedict is forever squirming with embarrassment and exasperation over his successor's latest antics, beamed into his living room via "the large television" on which he "enjoys watching the Italian evening news." His praise for Francis is not made through gritted teeth. It is always sincere, as underlined again when he told the Allegemeine that "He would not like his successor put in the shade, who 'is certainly a much stronger presence than I could ever be physically and mentally with my feeble powers'."

In other words, he is not at all as neocons like to portray him: frustrated and champing at the bit to speak out. Nor does he need to be leant on to 'get with the programme' because he has no desire whatsoever to deter Francis from his ruinous path. "Father Benedict had scarcely taken his place on the sofa in his living room," reports Allegemeine, "when he said, it is 'utter nonsense' that he had interfered in the debate of the recent Synod of Bishops about the admission of divorced persons to Communion. Rather, it is this: 'I try to be as quiet as possible'." ["Ich versuche, so still zu sein wie nur möglich"]. Indeed, more than once he asks the journalist "not to write this or that" — for fear of causing the slightest troubling wave, no doubt.

Even the fuss over Benedict's recent orthodox revision of a dissident 1972 essay, in which he had pushed the Francis-Kasper line on admission of the divorced-remarried to Holy Communion, is a beat up. It was seized upon by neo-conservatives to illustrate the supposed message Benedict was signalling apropos papal and synodical wrong turns. Widely ignored, however, was the rest of that problematic essay, which included his current view that the divorced-remarried should still be included on church committees, accepted as godparents, and so forth — i.e.,precisely the same Modernist "integration" agenda recently promoted by Pope Francis in the Argentinian daily La Nacion; an interview published on 7 December, the same day the Allegemeine ran its Benedict profile (as if to mark their meeting of hearts and minds).

Perhaps, too, there is a third factor at play in all this. Conscious of his own papal failings and fiascos, is Benedict too blinded by the beam in his own eye to see more than a splinter in his successor's? For instance, we are now paying for Benedict's abject failure (like his predecessor) to select strong Catholic cardinals, and nominate many more uncompromising prelates like Bishop Tobin. He should be forever haunted, too, by his damaging condom ruminations: a purposeful controversy betrayed by the knowing smile with which he dismissed his press spokesman's plea not to proceed with a book-length interview he knew would be ill-used (see "A 'Safer Morality'," CO, Jan. 2011). Yet Francis has gone some distance beyond the worst of Benedict's provocations and accommodations. As one commentator, described by Rorate Caeli as "a highly influential cleric," noted:

Pope Francis, with all his maneuvering skills, ... has committed considerable mistakes, as the affair of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the submission to synodal vote of the indissolubility of marriage show, errors which have damaged his credibility (in depth) much more than the Williamson affair and Vatileaks cost Benedict XVI.

At very least one might have expected a strong leaked word or two in defence of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate; since they bravely embraced and ran with Benedict's equally brave (if largely ignored) Summorum Pontificum liturgical reform.

The first to feel the merciless iron fist of the 'merciful papacy,' the FFI have been hammered and splintered to the four corners. Quite apart from the punitive blitzkrieg related in previous editions, in order to underline his Modernist intent, one of the three people Pope Francis put in charge of the FFI makeover is a layman named Mario Castellano: a tradition-hating left-winger; a former supporter of the Marxist-Leninist Sandinistas in Nicaragua; a promoter of law reform favouring Islam and mosque-construction in Italy (which he considers a "factor of stability and security"); an advocate of the godless EU-superstate; and — you'll be expecting this — a Mason! He’s said to have belonged to the Grand Orient Lodge of Sanremo since the 90s. In 2011 he gave a public lecture at the Lions Club in Sanremo (Lions being Masonic in origin and purpose), eulogising the anti-clerical 19th century Italian statesman-cum-Lodge puppet, Count Cavour.

(In that light, how unsurprising that Padre Paolo FFI, a holy and humble Friar who wrote a book on the Masons, was subsequently sent to the African missions once Castellano & Co. took over.)

The FFI deserved much better from the Pope Emeritus. Especially since the injustice heaped upon the once flourishing Franciscans is a warning to all outmoded (read faithful and steadfast) obstacles to the new Bergoglian dispensation. As we have noted elsewhere, the broader ramifications for the universal Church are both crystal clear and deeply disturbing. Yet the plot line of "Papal Neighbours" —  the Vatican's cringing soap opera — remains one of broad smiles, photo opportunities, and silent complicity.

Mounting criticism

Of course, an ex-pope who seeks to be as invisible and "quiet as possible" (though curiously not so invisible and quiet as to want to leave Vatican City and find a secluded monastery far away) is a blessed relief for the ecclesiastical establishment. It allows local episcopal spinners like Ronnie Convery, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, to sow the ludicrous Francis legend without fear of contradiction. A former member of Opus Dei who has rationalised the neo-Modernism of Scottish prelates for decades, just several days after the perfidious mid-Synod report, Convery told the Scottish Catholic Observer that Pope Francis is neither "liberal" nor "conservative": "he is far more subtle, far more sophisticated than such pigeon-holing... Jorge Bergoglio is not a liberal Pope or a conservative Pope (but) an Italian Pope from Argentina." Cardinal Kasper himself could not have falsified the plain truth (about a distinctly unsubtle, unsophisticated, textbook Modernist pontificate) more flagrantly.

Still, to the Establishment's chagrin, Benedict's silence has not stopped mounting public criticism from unlikely sources.

In the workaday world beyond Vatican City, many who would have once lambasted papal critics have suddenly rediscovered their critical faculties and relocated their Catholic spine. There has been "criticism of the Supreme Pontiff by writers and clergy who are considered conservative, but not necessarily traditional," remarked Kenneth J. Wolfe last November. "The string of critiques, some even by bishops, archbishops and cardinals following the recent synod, was unthinkable a year and a half ago, when traditionalists were condemned for reporting news, direct quotes and reality."

Wolfe provides a further example to add to the many others we have documented: a piece on the Pope's demotion of Cardinal Burke from "the secular conservative American publication, National Review, whose website carries a column by the Reverend Father Benedict C. Kiely, pastor of Blessed Sacrament church in Stowe, Vermont, and director of continuing education for clergy in the Diocese of Burlington." Among other things, Fr Kiely points out that

Despite the image of Francis as a man of dialogue and compromise, he is regarded in Rome as the most authoritarian pope in decades. ...

His [Cardinal Burke's] crimes? Burke upholds traditional Biblical teaching on marriage and encourages devotion to the traditional Latin Mass. He is regularly seen in different countries celebrating a liturgy that Francis regards as a relic of the past, although the churches where these Masses are celebrated are usually filled with large young families, and they produce a wealth of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. (Buenos Aires was known to have hardly any vocations in the seminary during the time that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop.) But perhaps Cardinal Burke’s most glaring offense was that he declared that Catholic politicians who support abortion should be refused Communion. ....

It was once extremely rare for faithful clergy, especially those holding official diocesan posts like Fr Kiely, to publicly criticise problematic pontiffs. Lay organs like Christian Order, on behalf of their unyielding supporters, were left to take that unpleasant yet unavoidable lead, as also the sanctimonious neo-conservative abuse that came with the responsibility. However belatedly, it is encouraging to see heads raised, eyes opened, and voices finally denouncing the dreadful reality; one we must face in order to face it down.

Sadly, though, this sea change in attitude occasioned by the Pope's full frontal assault remains a minority view among orthodox Catholics. Worse, even those equally appalled by the papal trajectory would still deride our insistence that it represents a continuum within the broad neo-Modernist spectrum. Instead of seeing him joined at the theological/philosophical hip with Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis is viewed in isolation: rightly perceived as a frightening über-Liberal, yet somehow divorced from the Anti-Scholastic/Personalistic papal ideas, actions and omissions of immediate predecessors who paved the way for him.

Shooting the messengers

Even faced with such a heightened, pen-ultimate, or possibly ultimate phase of the Modernist revolution (a century in the making), orthodox members of the Body of Christ remain hopelessly at odds. As just noted, the view that Francis has sparked the common understanding and purpose long needed to confront and defeat the stealth-apostasy within, is not without some foundation. But there is a large degree of wishful thinking and confusion. For instance, the following assessement, by the aforementioned "highly influential cleric" cited by Rorate Caeli,  lumps traditionalists and neo-conservatives together:

"Conservative" Catholicism represents, in all its nuances, tendencies, currents, new communities, Traditionalist communities, youth movements, identity groups, neo-classic seminarians, "new priests", "nuns with veils", decidedly Catholic schools and colleges, what we may call the "living forces" of the Church today. It is an extremely diversified world, that is quite true, but for whom — from Traditionalists on one side to mild conservatives on the other — and including almost the entire African Church, the new orientation taken by Rome in March 2013 "can’t be swallowed". Well, this Catholicism is clearly the Catholicism of tomorrow. It is evidently minoritarian, but it is a minority that does not cease to grow, because it is the only one that is truly fertile in vocations (or even fertile at all!).

The final sentence is spot on! However, the "tendencies" and "nuances" within this "extremely diversified world" are more fully and accurately portrayed by Michael Halloran in "The Ecclesiastical Spectrum: Liberals, Conservatives, and Traditionalists" (CO, Feb. 2014). And while the cleric truly concludes that there is now a "clear 'gap' between a considerable part of the current Catholic 'establishment' and 'elite' cardinals and bishops and the 'new Catholicism'," his view that this "discrepancy is increasingly blatant" overstates the reality.

In fact, at this advanced stage of Catholic decline — with the Bergoglio Express out of control and steaming towards that secular siding where the Lodge intends to park the Church, and shunt it out periodically for mere ceremonial effect — this "gap" is nowhere near large or blatant enough. Since for every Benedict apologist speaking out against Francis (like Burke, Tobin or Kiely), there are several Reasonable Men taking pot-shots at all dutiful bearersof the bad papal news.Michael Voris of "ChurchMilitant TV" has even pronounced them guilty of "spiritual pornography"!

A tradition-leaning neocon who does sterling work holding Modernists to account, Michael's lurid denunciation last year surprised some. Subsequently, faced with an October Synod guilty of real pornification (as CO charged last month), he momentarily wavered; departing from his general line to transmit a dramatic 'breaking news' report from Rome that appeared to signal a merciful end to "Church-not-so-Militant TV." Alas, after papolatrous reflection and a fit of the vapours, he quickly removed the broadcast from his site, replacing it with a toe-curling video disclaimer more worthy of 'reality TV'. He apologised profusely for having given the impression that he had criticised the Supreme Pontiff, proclaiming his intention not only to confess his 'sin', but also abstain from Communion in reparation. (Note to Michael: too much information!)

The scrupulosity and over-compensation smacked of the same Quietistic counsel (believed to have come from Opus Dei) that saw Cardinal Burke himself flee the wolves in 2011; leaving Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice high and dry for describing the English episcopal wolf pack as merely "obdurate"! (Note to Self: never post His Eminence CO without a pack of smelling salts!) Though he never apologised for his sins against justice and charity, the Cardinal has somewhat redeemed himself by standing firm before the Bergoglian onslaught. Still, the kindest thing that can be said of his 2011 flight is that it made him appear ridiculous. Ditto the Voris about-face. But it is far more than wrong-headedness. It is a gift to the very enemies of the Faith he is dedicated to denouncing. Blogger "Mundabor" commented on the contradictions involved:

Michael Voris is, and remains, free to pretend not to see; or, which is much worse, to say or imply that he sees, but then refuse to acknowledge what his eyes are seeing; because apparently there are cases in which to see is bad, and one has to blind himself if he wants to be “in communion with the Church”. The ordinary pewsitter should not be told. To them, ignorance is strength.

Thanks but no, thanks. If I had wanted the Fuehrerprinzip, I would have sought the membership of some modern NSDAP, or perhaps of Scientology. I choose membership in the Church, which obliges me to think and see whether the alleged sheep might not be, in fact, a wolf. And no, I am not fooled by the clothes.

Voris also makes [during his apology] – not for the first time – some comments about those who attack the Pope one day answering for it. Personally, I try to write every blog post as if it were the last one; and I would frankly be terrified of dying without having criticised the Pope, and without having criticised him in a way commensurate (not even remotely, in fact) to the offense and scandal he is causing.

Voris has chosen to believe that two and two is four, as the Church says; but also five, as Francis says. Which then leaves him in the impossible situation of having to attack Cardinal Burke (who at this point can only be a "spiritual pornographer") for saying that it is four; whilst also attacking Cardinal Kasper for saying that it is five.

This is too absurd for serious consideration. It does not pass the test of a seven-year-old boy. It is blatantly self-contradictory.

Astonishingly, many people are apparently ready to believe this nonsense, and think that they will be fine if, when they die, they are on the side of the Pope. These are exactly the kinds of people who will, one day, enthusiastically be on the side of the Antichrist, or of the False Prophet.

Wake up, people, and stop being pussycats. There’s heresy to fight. There’s Tradition to defend. Man up. 

Though renowned for calling out wayward priest and prelates, Michael Voris is not alone in refusing to 'man up' when it comes to the papal crunch. While a good many neocons are abandoning, or at least questioning and reining in their papolatry, "conservative" defenders of the indefensible pontiff are legion.

One Catholic columnist took the doughty Pat Buchanan to task for allegedly misrepresenting Francis, who, the critic pointed out, has said some nice things about marriage. Imagine that! A Vicar of Christ reminding attendees at a 17 November conference in Rome that "[T]he contribution of marriage to society is indispensable." A pontiff insisting that "Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity." One can also point to many excellent passages in the Final Report of the October Synod (— described by Bishop Schneider, rather too generously, as "A very Catholic document").

And so what? More pertinent than Pope's doing their God-given duty is to note how neo-conservatives — through minimalistic expectations and blinkered assessments — drag down rather than elevate the papacy. At the same November conference, for instance, Francis also stated that marriage "transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple," adding that marriage and family today "are in crisis" in part because we live in a "culture of the temporary," where more and more people give up on marriage. But why don't his champions highlight the Modernist negation of these true and good statements by contrary papal views and acts? Such as Francis opining that half of all marriages may be invalid; undermining the indissolubility of marriage by pastoral means; and providing a synodical forum for promoters of homosexual 'relationships' which epitomise the "culture of the temporary"?

It is this excessive counterweight of his Modernist pronouncements that needs forceful correction, since they do the damage. For example, there is not much point eulogising the Pope for admitting, as he did in a private audience, "Yes, there is a 'gay lobby' [in the Curia]. We need to see what we can do about it," when he lets that lobby loose to wreak havoc at an Extraordinary Synod! This is the pattern established by a strategy at once Modernist and Masonic — i.e., doublespeak.(1)

Blind to all of this, the same American columnist preferred to chastise critics for "so eagerly and with so little concern for truth smacking down the pope." In particular, he falsely accused his compatriot Buchanan of doing a "hit job" on Francis. "They couldn’t hit him, or hit him so hard and so often, were they honest about what he has said," he fulminated, oblivious to his own dishonesty in highlighting the Pope's orthodox statements and actions, while ignoring his consistently confused and heterodox ones — all the while failing to consider the liberal omissions, hypocrisy, self-contradictions, and social gospel humanism. Not to mention egregious scandals too plentiful to mention.

Cardinal George clearly has more sympathy for the likes of Buchanan, wondering during his November 2014 interview:

[W]hat has happened just by that phrase, "Who am I to judge?’"... Does he [Francis] not realise the repercussions? Perhaps he doesn’t. I don’t know whether he’s conscious of all the consequences of some of the things he’s said and done that raise doubts in people’s minds. The question is why doesn’t he clarify [these ambiguous statements]. Why is it necessary that apologists have to bear the burden of trying to put the best possible face on it?

[...] You’re supposed to govern in communion with the successor of Peter, so it’s important to have some meeting of minds. I certainly respect [Francis] as pope, but there isn’t yet an understanding of, ‘What are we doing here?’"

Neo-conservatives have always lauded Cardinal George as one of their own. "America's Ratzinger," as journalist John Allen described the neocon take. Yet having done this "hit job" on the Pope, is His Eminence also guilty of "spiritual pornography"? If not, why not?

And what of their hero Cardinal Burke? They have tried to play down his demotion and banishment by Francis as much ado about nothing (see Louis Verrecchio herein). But he was never going to survive his blistering (by ecclesiastical standards) assessment of this papacy. "Many have expressed their concerns to me," he said. "At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a rudder. They are feeling a bit seasick because they feel the Church’s ship has lost its way."

His Eminence is right. So is Buchanan. So are all those who love the Church enough to speak up and point a righteous finger at a reckless helmsman navigating the Barque of Peter towards perilous waters.

Papal bottom line?

It all raises the question: do neocons have a papal bottom line? Obviously, the sight of Pope Francis taking selfies, putting on a red nose, placing a beach ball on the altar in St Peter's, and generally clowning about, poses few if any problems. Traditionalists, on the other hand, find it cringeworthy and belittling behaviour. We immediately ask ourselves: "What happens to the gravitas of the papal teaching office when its incumbent invites the scorn of unbelievers and the mirth of late-night TV comics?" Apparently neocons are too busy laughing to ask such impolite questions.

Moreover, they are quick to seize upon media misreporting of things Francis never actually said or did, as if they somehow excuse the many true and confirmed outrages. One wonders, for instance, how they mentally filtered news of the Pope blithely recounting how he pilfered a dead priests's rosary:

Pope Francis has made a confession — and it’s a doozy. He stole another priest’s rosary cross right from his casket.

The pontiff said the cross belonged to a clergyman known as “the Great Confessor” of Buenos Aires because he had heard the sins of most of the city’s diocesan priests and even Pope John Paul II when he visited Argentina.

When the man died, Francis was arranging roses around his casket when he saw the rosary in his hand.

“And immediately there came to mind the thief we all have inside ourselves and while I arranged the flowers I took the cross and with just a bit of force I removed it,” he told a group of priests Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

“And in that moment I looked at him and I said ‘Give me half your mercy’.”  [NBC News, 8/3/14]

How can necons possibly fail to join the dots connecting this unspeakable boast to his many other crude and shameless statements and acts, such as: portraying traditional Catholics as pharasaical whited-sepulchres; telling Brian Stiller of the World Evangelical Alliance, "I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism"; claiming St. Matthew clung to his money when Christ called him; or speculating that, at the foot of the Cross, Our Lady perhaps thought, "Lies! I was deceived!"

This subversive papal thread lengthens by the week. Yet neocons turn a blind eye, preferring to denounce those who point it out. Are they waiting for all the compromises and corrosion of faith and unity to erupt into the formal schism Bishop Schneider anticipates? (To be ignited, in all probability, by the wretched Germany hierarchy, which increasingly recalls rebellious national episcopates of the past, like those of the eleventh century who routinely thumbed their nose at St. Gregory VII, forcing him to place entire nations under interdict.)

That we are still discussing neocon tipping points says it all. Apart from everything else we have witnessed and endured, the Francis-Kasper alliance and its shocking synodical outcome alone should have expunged every last vestige of papolatry. The papally-endorsed manipulation of the Synod by the sodomites and their fellow travellers almost renders other important considerations superfluous.

True, attempts to engineer Communion for the divorced-remarried are epochal and catastrophic. But they were being made way back. As the late great Father Vincent Miceli, SJ, reported in 1977, it was the first item on the original list of demands at the infamous Detroit Call to Action conference (that he attended in an orthodox capacity): "1) divorced, remarried couples to receive Holy Communion while still living in adulterous unions." Considering so many other familiar demands on that notorious list which are still being touted —  e.g., "8) the creation of a new Church, democratic, non-hierarchical in structure, a classless Church" —  the fact that sodomy was considered too perverse to push at a radical conference in 1976, but is now promoted by prelates at a Vatican Synod, is a measure of the frightening depths of degeneracy and deconstruction we have now reached.

"God helps those who help themselves, to include His earthly Vicars," observed Michael Brendan Dougherty. "He is unlikely to help one who manipulates a Synod, before, during, and doubtless after." (Or one who left his Buenos Aires diocese a decrepit Modernist 'mess'.) Yet the clear intention to press on in a manipulative Call to Action-vein was underlined yet again by Pope Francis in La Nacion of 7 December: 

In the case of divorcees who have remarried, we posed the question, what do we do with them? What door can we allow them to open? This was a pastoral concern: will we allow them to go to Communion? Communion alone is no solution. The solution is integration. They have not been excommunicated, true. But they cannot be godfathers to any child being baptized, Mass readings are not for divorcees, they cannot give communion, they cannot teach Sunday school, there are about seven things that they cannot do, I have the list over there. Come on! If I disclose any of this it will seem that they have been excommunicated in fact! Thus, let us open the doors a bit more. Why can't they be godfathers and godmothers? 'No, no, no, what testimony will they be giving their godson?' The testimony of a man and a woman saying 'my dear, I made a mistake, I was wrong here, but I believe our Lord loves me, I want to follow God, I was not defeated by sin, I want to move on'. Anything more Christian than that? And what if one of the political crooks among us, corrupt people, are chosen to be somebody's godfather. If they are properly wedded by the Church, would we accept them? What kind of testimony will they give to their godson? A testimony of corruption? Things need to change, our standards need to change.

Indeed they do — plainly and simply:  from Modernist "standards" pushed by papally-endorsed rebels echoing their rebellious 1970s forebears, to recognisably Catholic ones! If it even occurs to neocons that this truly radical orthodox "change" requires a change of Pope, they quickly banish it from their minds as an evil thought only rad-trads could possibly entertain. The best of them have simply determined to let pass without comment every spurious papal claim of the type which litter the passage above, as also the entire La Nacion piece (see pages 42-49 herein).

Their stubborn denial mirrors the attitude expressed by a Cardinal during an exchange of tweets with Brother Alexis Bugnolo. It concerned the recently published charge (by Cardinal Murphy Connor's former personal secretary) of a pre-conclave stitch-up, involving as many as 30 cardinals including Murphy O'Connor, to elect Jorge Bergoglio; which illicit activity calls the validity of his election into question. Since only two minor details of the grave charge have been denied, leaving the substance unchallenged, Brother Alexis tried "to appeal to the simple logic and delicate reason" of the said Cardinal, thus:

If Mr. Q is accused of doing X, Y and Z; and in response, he says, “I want no misunderstandings to arise: I did not do Z”, that he has admitted, thereby, that he has done X and Y.

In response, his Eminence replied:

Have the feeling we won’t agree on this one…what you need to do is to support the Pope in carrying his heavy burden.

On the contrary, "we won't agree on this one", or any other Bergoglian scandal, because His Eminence, like his fellow neocons, refuses to face our precisely opposite predicament — our collective "need" for the grace to bear the "heavy burden" of a papacy steamrollering onwards and downwards to the October 2015 Synod. The diabolic descent was re-confirmed by this ominous Associated Press report two days after the La Nacion interview:

The Vatican set the stage Tuesday [9 December] for Pope Francis' next church meeting on the family, urging bishops to be guided not just by doctrine but by Francis' message of mercy and the "turning point" of the first meeting that sought to provide better pastoral care for gays and divorcees.

[...] The new questionnaire urges bishops to "let yourselves be guided by the pastoral turning point that the extraordinary synod began to sketch out." It urged bishops not to turn in responses that were purely doctrinal in nature or ones that "start from zero" by ignoring what emerged from the first synod.

Two Churches? Or three?!

To repeat: the ongoing division of hearts and minds is one more rotten fruit of papal negligence: the failure of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to seek out and appoint bishops of outstanding doctrinal and moral conviction; men of strong character impervious to collegial group-think. Even a small but sizeable core of such prelates would have upset the liberal hegemony; inspiring far more clergy and laity to emerge from their lukewarm torpor and stand firm with us against the "wolves" and the "filth." Without that lead, a synodical outrage of biblical proportions has failed to stir the bulk of the neo-conservative hoi polloi, or the best of their bloggers, commentators and spokesman: who continue to tut-tut insipidly when they are not, like Voris, rounding on critics of the orchestrating pontiff.

As a result, those faithful to tradition view neocons as unwitting aides of the rebellious Bergoglian clique, while neocons see forceful traditionalist objections as personally motivated and, if not entirely baseless, intemperate and exaggerated. This fracture is further complicating the ecclesial landscape.

We are accustomed to speaking broadly of a bi-polar Church — the True Church (of orthodoxy and fidelity) and the New Church (of heterodoxy, heresy and dissidence).

Summing up the October Synod, Father Antonio Spadara, SJ, editor-in-chief of the Modernist Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, held to this view: “Two approaches essentially emerged, two different visions of the Church and of the Church’s relationship with history and the world.” But this overlooks the Francis-effect. As myopic papolatry hardens, three distinctly different visions of the Church are now emerging, with the tradition-leaning neo-con faction of the True Church moving ever farther from uncompromising traditionalists who refuse to ignore a papal threat they perceived from day one. Alerted to Archbishop Bergoglio's Modernist reputation and legacy, this comment blogged barely twenty-four hours into the new papacy typified the instant alarm:

Being the realist that I am, I suspect that Pope Francis will be the crowning apex of the anti-Humani Generis generation of post-Vatican II churchmen. One need only, once again, point out his ecclesiastical career to date. There’s little doubt in my mind that dark days lay ahead for traditionalists, and not just traditionalists. Thankfully, though, God will not allow Pope Francis to do irreparable damage, but prepare you for a time when it will seem like he has, just like in the days of the Great Western Schism.

Similarly, beneath a post-conclave report titled, "The Horror! A Buenos Aires journalist describes Bergoglio", the Rorate Caeli blog immediately cried out: "May God help His Church. One can never dismiss, as humanly hard as it may seem, the possibility of a conversion... and, nonetheless, the future terrifies us."

While sturdy traditionalists find these initial assessments prophetic, our timid brethren dismiss such fears as traddie overkill. Even Phil Lawler, the tradition-friendly former editor of Catholic World Report, is musing darkly about the Pope's malign opponents. "The tendency to despise those who disagree with one's own ideas, to impute evil motives to them," he writes, "makes respectful debate less likely, and thereby makes it less likely that one can persuade others to change their views." Having set up a malevolent straw man, he gives him false teeth by pointing out that Cardinal Burke does not argue against Kasper out of animosity towards Francis, but out of loyalty to the papacy.

For all faithful Catholics, there is, of course, a legitimate fear of undermining hierarchical authority by criticising it. It is a fine line one treads in the holy fear of God. However, there is a world of difference between a necessarily sharp reaction to a Pope pursuing a manifestly harmful agenda, and bearing animus towards him. The former is righteous; the latter sinful, counter-productive; to be avoided. Such mean-spirited traddies surely exist. But they are dwarfed, completely and utterly, both in numbers and influence, by the orthodox mainstream: a vast lukewarm sea of head-buriers and hypocrites. Yet the likes of Phil Lawler, Michael Voris, and other prominent commentators whose Catholic witness I respect (up to a self-defeating neocon point), are preoccupied with knuckle-dragging caricatures of the 'fundamentalist' sort so eagerly drawn and mocked by Francis.

They all protest too much. For on the contrary, given the papal provocations and testing of Catholic patience and good will these past two years, it is testimony to their faith and charity that the overwhelming number of traditionalists condemn the present pontificate in perfectly calm, well argued, uncompromising terms. Eschewing false prudence, they certainly raise their voices. But only in proportion to the gravity of the escalating crisis we face. All in the service of the papacy — which, before it is a person, is a sacred institution. I have underlined this vital distinction numerous times. We must not divorce the Pope from the primary nature, purpose and responsibility of the divine office he holds. The toxic mix of secular media spin and a humanistic pontiff can lull us into viewing him, unconsciously, as worldlings view him: as the mega-President of a humanitarian non-governmental organisation. For the sake of neo-conservative Quietists paralysed by false understanding, I repeat again the Catholic reality:

... that the Pope is the Vicar of Jesus Christ who in His name and through His mandate governs the Church. Before being a private person, he is a public person; before being a man, he is an institution: before being the Pope, he is the Papacy in which the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is embodied, centred and protected... ["John Paul the Great! (... Or Great Disappointment?)", CO, June/July 2005]

Forever Neoconned!

As noted last month, in his closing address to the October Synod, it suited Pope Francis to rediscover and underline this supreme power; previously undermined for eighteen months with his palsy-walsy "Bishop of Rome" carry on. His provocative La Nacion declaration merely confirms that he intends to wield it; invoking obedience to change the face of the Church. But he cannot have it both ways. As the late Giovanni Volpe put it: "Obedience is owed to the Pope, but the Pope owes obedience to the Word and Apostolic Tradition. Obedience is owed to the Pope, but it is the duty of the Pope to give the character of possibility to this obedience." If he does not, then defense of the office requires public corrections and castigations of the man; no matter how disobedient and offensive it may sound to papolatrous ears.

It was Paul who flagged the correct priorities in his pointed stand-off with Peter, related in Galatians 2:11-15. That landmark rebuke speaks directly to the Neoconned: the mainstream Novus Ordo majority forever deceived by the ploy Pius X warned them about: Modernist doublespeak. This is the nub of the problem.

Despite their personal fidelity to Catholic doctrine and morals (routinely misrepresented by crafty pollsters seeking to hide the considerable number of Catholics who still love and obey the Church), neocons who would decry venal or carnal popes, or one promoting a personal theological error, cannot see through a Modernist pontiff. In view of the scintillating Pascendi, they are culpable. And yet... a moving target is always a more difficult proposition. Mixing the true and good with the half-true, false and scandalous in textbook Modernist fashion, Francis leaves the faithful perplexed and clutching at papal straws. And as we have seen, not just the flock but the shepherds. Cardinal George himself sounded less than certain when he wondered out loud, "... does he [the Pope] believe the doctrine? I think he does" (— "think", being the operative word).

And so we face an altogether different kind of threat: at once confrontational and oblique. Every offensive and worrying word or act being countered by another, thrown in as damage limitation. It started early on when Francis rebuked the "obsession" with abortion, only to toss out a few appeasing soundbites after a pro-life uproar. A hackneyed ruse used to pacify the orthodox ever since the Council, it continues to con neocons too easily fooled and pleased for their own (and our) good. 

Whereas they once rejected the social gospel preached by clerics who "would pervert the gospel of Christ" [Gal. 1:7],  out of false obedience they now downplay, or even mindlessly peddle that same counterfeit currency, simply because the person minting it is the successor of Peter. At the outset of the October Stitch-Up, Chris Ferrara had some pertinent questions for these hapless papolators forever rushing to excuse and defend the indefensible:

A challenge to our neo-Catholic critics as catastrophe looms: If the Secret Synod recommends radical changes, including abandonment of the perennial discipline of the Church — affirmed by the neo-Catholics’ greatest hero, John Paul II, only 33 years ago — what will they say and what will they do then? Will they accept even this in silence, as they have every other “officially approved” ruinous innovation of the Church since 1965? Will they reveal that they are willing to accept whatever authority decrees in order to hang on to their comfortable niches in the Novus Ordo establishment, or will they stand up for the objective and unalterable revealed truths of our religion and the practices that have embodied those truths for two millennia — no matter what it costs them and even if the minority of cardinals who have thus far opposed the Synod’s direction all capitulate? Will they, in short, recognize at long last the unprecedented crisis in the Church whose origin was described in two words by Sister Lucia in light of the Third Secret of Fatima, to which Pope Benedict so tellingly alluded before his mysterious abdication: diabolical disorientation.

Alas, feeling rather smug after the hollow 'victory' of the Final Report, neocons will laugh off such discomforting traditionalist queries. 'You see, the gates of Hell have not prevailed!' they finger-wag. Never mind the collateral damage! Perhaps they think Paul VI's dramatic confession a few months before he died, to his close friend Jean Guitton, is inapplicable to popes? Reported in Guitton's book, Paul VI Secret, he said:

There is great unrest at this time in the Church and what they are questioning is the faith. I am alarmed, when I reflect on the Catholic world, that non-Catholic thinking sometimes seems to prevail within Catholicism and it could happen that this non-Catholic thinking within Catholicism will become stronger in the future. But it will never represent the Church's thinking. A small flock must survive, no matter how small it may be ...

Lacking all self-awareness to the bitter end, it was Pope Paul himself who ignited the postconciliar downsizing (albeit, like all pontiffs, as a providential instrument of God's inscrutable separation of sheep and goats). That process is now accelerating precisely because the "non-Catholic thinking" on display before and after Paul VI's death has indeed "become stronger" since March 2013. Habituated to rationalising the 'moderate Modernist' papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (including the worst scandals of the former), covering over the hard-core Modernism now on offer is not such a giant leap for neocons. That being the sad case, the already small "remnant" will continue to diminish at an exponentially rapid rate from hereon, until the current Vicar of Christ either abandons the Modernist presuppositions that drive him, or resigns.

Given the rarity of liberal 'awakenings' — i.e., clerical reversions from prideful Modernism to humble Catholic faith — resignation (already touted by Francis) seems a far more likely bet. But since a prospective addition to the papal retirement village is too excruciating to contemplate, we might also pray that this Pope be called to his early reward: the sooner the better. With the added sincere prayer that he be judged mercifully, by the same Just Judge before Whom we must all account: for our own plentiful sins, and myriad failures to respond to grace.

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

(1) As with Paul VI, this modus operandi of the current pontificate reflects the strategy of the Lodge, explained in these Masonic guidelines of 1961: "The Pope who we will elect shall possess the highest degree in the skill of ambivalence (work as a double agent). For example, disapproving of the Modernists with words, but with 'actions' will support them (abolishing, first of all, the anti-modernist oath)." — Bulletin d’Information Indépendant Catholique” N ° 112-1974, Brussels

 

 

 

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