Saint of the Day

Today, September 21, 2018, is the feast day of St. Matthew, Apostle, according to Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year) read about this Saint at

There is a much more extensive article about St. Matthew at Tradition in Action at

Reading about these Saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

Saint of the Day & Active Participation of the Laity in the Liturgy

Today, September 20, 2018, is the feast day of St. Eustachius & Companions, Martyrs, according to Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), read about this day at

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

Active Participation of the Laity in the Liturgy

This is at the root of the change from Vatican II’s version of the mass from the traditional Latin Mass; and the problem of using it as a basis for change is explored at Tradition in Action.

An excerpt.

The first thing that strikes us is the inability of liturgical commentators to agree on what “active,” actuosa in Latin, means in the context of lay participation in the liturgy. It is a classic case of the “equivocation fallacy” when multiple meanings of a single term are conflated and treated as if equivalent.

Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass springs to mind, where words mean whatever you choose them to mean, in accordance with the “Humpty Dumpty principle” of (re)definition. (1) This is evidently not the wisest route to follow, for we all know what happened to the eponymous Egg.

The progressivists contend that actuosa must be influenced by human values, customs and institutions. In this they are supported by §§37-40 of the Vatican II Liturgy Constitution, which allow the liturgy to incorporate the cultural and social identities of all local communities, including their languages.

But this inescapably turns the decision-making process into a subjective evaluation system, so that no agreed limit can be set on what to include in the liturgy, and no easily identifiable grounds can be found for excluding anything either. (2)

Their more conservative counterparts, however, insist that actuosa means incorporating some traditional customs of genuflecting, making the sign of the Cross etc., with a dash of “dialogue” and congregational singing, plus the odd moment of silence for “contemplation.” The question is: Which of the two sides (if either) is in the right?

In order to find the true meaning of actuosa – which, as we have seen, Pius X did not use in his 1903 motu proprio – the only reliable method to settle all disputes is to check its etymology. (3) This will show us how we arrived at its present usage, which is the best indicator of what it means today.

True to form, the Latin word has not changed meaning since its use in classical antiquity. Actuosus – to give it its dictionary entry form – meant the same for Seneca and Cicero as it did for St. Augustine, all of whom used the word to describe vigorous activity involving movement of the body. (4) We know this from the work of the 8th century Benedictine monk, Paul the Deacon, an important member of Charlemagne’s court, who recorded its meaning from Roman times for posterity. (5)

And ever since, all authoritative Latin dictionaries have defined actuosus as “very active, full of activity,” i.e., to a greater degree than other Latin words that denote activity, such as activus and actualis.

But Paul the Deacon had done more than provide a historical record. He put flesh on the bones of the word actuosus, showing how it was used to describe, for example, the actions of “saltatores et histriones” (dancers and actors). (6)

Retrieved September 20, 2018 from

Our Lady of La Salette & The Queen of Heaven’s Appearances

Today, September 19, 2018, is the day of Our Lady of La Salette, according to Tradition in Action, read about this day at

Reading about these is a wonderful daily reflection.

The Queen of Heaven’s Appearances

She remains with us through her many appearances, especially during the previous century, well recounted here by this article at OnePeterFive.

An excerpt.

In a remarkable series of apparitions in the 19th century – in Rue du Bac, in Rome, in La Salette, in Lourdes, in Pontmain, in Knock – the Mother of God made herself known. The Blessed Virgin Mary left her mark not only through private encounters or spiritual messages, but in a tangible way that tens of thousands of people had seen and could believe.

She left the Miraculous Medal and its thousands of miracles at Rue du Bac. St. Catherine Labouré’s incorrupt body, another miracle, is entombed there to this day. She converted Alphonse Ratisbonne, an anti-Catholic Jew, in Rome. She appeared in La Salette to warn the people of rotten harvests, temporal and spiritual, and how to overcome them. She left a miraculous grotto and tens of thousands of healed people over the centuries at Lourdes. She appeared with St. John and St. Joseph to an entire village of people at Knock to testify to the living nature of the Saints in Heaven.

Why did Heaven decide at this point in history to bless us with such stark reminders of the eternal God?

In God’s wonderful, awe-inspiring, amazing concern for our well-being, it is clear that He was trying to prepare us for what was to come. He cared for us, for His people, for those who love Him, to do everything short of the Second Coming to steel our faith for the horrors and challenges of the 20th century.

Evolution, wars, communism, secularism, liberalism, materialism, ecumenism, and apostasy were to come in ways that no other generation ever had to face, so He gave us His Mother in a way that no other generation had received. God knew that His sheep needed help, and He sent us His Blessed Mother to stiffen our resolve and show us the way to defeat these forces of spiritual death.

The capture of the machinery of the Church by apostates – begun in the middle of the same 19th century, thrust into power with Vatican II, and let loose without restraint during the pontificate of Jorge Bergoglio – is the spiritual danger that Heaven worked so hard to prepare us for. We are here, and we are living it. It is tough, but it is no excuse to falter. We have been given concrete, modern, miraculous reasons to believe in the mission of the Church, and no matter how horrible our leaders become or how bad the scandal, none of us has any reason to apostatize. We have no reason to abandon our Mother in her hour of need and no reason to be anything but faithful to the God Who created us and sustains us.

It is important to note that St. John, when gazing upon the Woman, the Harlot of Babylon, “wonders” with “great admiration.” Some modern commentators say this passage refers to a reborn Rome – the European Union. Regardless, St. John is looking at a church that isn’t really the Church. It looks like the Church. It is located where the Church used to be. It owns the relics of the saints. It calls itself by the name of the Church. But when St. John looks really close, he can tell that it isn’t really the Church at all.

What we have now appears to be a church doing things the Church could never do. The Church could never stand in the place where St. Peter was martyred and endorse religious indifferentism. It could never call an act – capital punishment – endorsed by God for certain offenses in the Old Testament and affirmed by Christ in the New “inadmissible.” The Church could never use a liturgy where man is at the center of the service rather than God. The Church could never align with Satan and propagate errors of faith and morals around the world.

Retrieved September 18, 2018 from

Saint of the Day & Communism’s Power Over the Church

Long post today, important subject.

Today is the feast day of St. Thomas of Villanova, according to the traditional Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler, read about this day at

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

Communism’s Power Over the Church

Its power began during the failure to hear the message of Fatima and increased during Vatican II when KGB assets were allowed to sit in on the proceedings, as I noted in my book:

“The Church and its doctrine of each life being precious to God, has always been attacked by the world from the day its founder was crucified, and far too often, it has become corrupted in its worldly institutional form, but the corruption by Communism, which the 19th and early 20th century popes had warned about so clearly, seems to have begun in earnest by the failure of the Holy Father to fulfill the command of the Holy Virgin at Fatima in 1917, to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

“Much of the horrors she foretold which would happen if Russia was not consecrated, have happened.

“It is within the diplomacy-influenced reasons partially responsible for that failure—the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan who lobbied to ensure the consecration would not happen, was a KGB directed operative—that we see the Vatican corruption that infected the clear support of Catholic teaching about Communism, rendering it virtually mute.

“Amerio (1996) writes about the pact between the Vatican and Moscow regarding Vatican II:

“When one is talking about the liberty of the council, the salient and half secret point that should be noted is the restriction on the council’s liberty to which John XXIII had agreed a few months earlier, in making an accord with the Orthodox Church by which the patriarchate of Moscow accepted the papal invitation to send observers to the council, while the Pope for his part guaranteed the Council would refrain from condemning communism. The negotiations took place at Metz in August 1962, and all the details of time and place were given at a press conference by Mgr. Paul Joseph Schmitt, the Bishop of that Diocese [newspaper Le Lorrain, 2/9/63]. The negotiations ended in an agreement signed by metropolitan Nikodim for the Orthodox Church and Cardinal Tisserant, the Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, for the Holy See. News of the agreement was given in the France Nouvelle, the central bulletin of the French communist party in the edition of January 16-22, 1963 in these terms: ‘Because the world socialist system is showing its superiority in an uncontestable fashion, and is strong through the support of hundreds and hundreds of millions of men, the Church can no longer be content with a crude anti-communism. As part of its dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church, it has even promised there will be no direct attack on the Communist system at the Council.’ On the Catholic side, the daily La Croix of February 15, 1963 gave notice of the agreement, concluding: “Following on this conversation, Msgr. Nikodim agreed that someone should go to Moscow carrying an invitation, on condition that guarantees were given concerning the apolitical attitude of the Council.”

“Moscow’s condition, namely that the council should say nothing about communism, was not, therefore, a secret, but the isolated publication of it made no impression on general opinion, as it was not taken up by the press at large and circulated, either because of the apathetic and anaesthetized attitude to communism common in clerical circles or because the Pope took action to impose silence in the matter. Nonetheless, the agreement had a powerful, albeit silent, effect on the course of the Council when requests for a renewal of the condemnation of Communism were rejected in order to observe this agreement to say nothing about it.” (Italics in original. pp. 75-76). Amerio, R. (1996). Iota unum: A study of changes in the Catholic church in the XXth century. Kansas City, Missouri: Sarto House. (

(pp.79-81) David H. Lukenbill (2013). Catholicism, Communism & Criminal Reformation. Lampstand Foundation: Sacramento, California.

George Weigel wrote about metropolitan Nikodim:

“On September 5, 1978, the new pope [John Paul I] received [Russian Orthodox] Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad, one of the six presidents of the World Council of Churches and a man who struck many Westerners as deeply pious. The KGB knew Nikodim as ADAMANT, as it knew his secretary, Nikolai Lvovich Tserpitsky (code name VLADIMIR). At the end of his private audience with John Paul, ADAMANT suffered a massive heart attack and died in the Pope’s arms. John Paul I later remarked that Nikodim had spoken “the most beautiful words about the Church I have ever heard” during their meeting; his last words, as the Pope held the fallen bishop, were said to have been “I am not a KGB agent.” But he was.” (p. 99) Weigel, G. (2010). The end and the beginning: Pope John Paul II—The victory of freedom, the last years, the legacy. New York: Doubleday.

This was also included in my book on page 119.

Communism’s influence appears to be alive and well, at least in China, as this story from OnePeterFive reports; though it is just a report of what might happen, not about what has happened, so take with a grain of salt; an informed grain of salt, however, considering the history.

An excerpt.

The Vatican is set to sign an agreement with China by the end of the month, one that cedes control over the appointment of bishops to Beijing. In return, we are told, Beijing has agreed to recognize the pope as the head of China’s Catholics.

From my position as a long-time observer of the machinations of the Chinese Party-State, this seems like a bad deal. The pope is ceding his very real authority to name bishops to China’s Communist authorities in return for the promise of symbolic recognition as the titular head of all Catholics in China. Might he not be giving up something for nothing?

The Vatican originally proposed that China follow the terms of an agreement it had reached with the Vietnamese government over the appointment of bishops. Under its terms, the Vatican and the Vietnamese authorities, working together, draw up a list of potential candidates. The Vatican then chooses someone from the list who, once Hanoi ratifies the choice, is consecrated as a bishop by the pope. Such a model clearly preserves papal authority.

This “Vietnam model” was rejected by China, however. As the official Global Times later reported, “Such a model was not accepted by China when it was tested in the country in 2005, as the Chinese authorities want total control over choosing candidates.” [italics added]

Beijing went on to insist upon a “Chinese model”, under the terms of which the Communist authorities alone will nominate a potential candidate for bishop. The pope must then approve or reject that candidate. If he vetoes the first candidate, Beijing will nominate another.

The pope’s “veto power,” however, is not unlimited.

As a Chinese official familiar with the negotiations was quoted as saying, “We cannot submit endless candidate lists to the Vatican if the pontiff keeps saying no. We may have to appoint bishops unapproved by the pontiff after a set number of rounds of negotiations. Such bishops may not be legitimate under the Church doctrine, but they can still give Church services to Chinese Catholics.”

In other words, the pope may veto an obviously unsuitable candidate or two, but Beijing has made it clear that there is a limit to the number of times a papal veto can be used. It has also limited the amount of time that the Vatican has to respond once a candidate’s name is submitted.

This means that at the end of the day it is the Communist authorities, and not Pope Francis, who will have the final say over who becomes a bishop in the Chinese Catholic Church.

The Vatican is reportedly prepared to make other concessions as well.

Perhaps the most important is that Pope Francis will formally consecrate as bishops seven men who were made “bishops” by the Communist authorities over the past decade. All of these men have been previously rejected by the Vatican as bishop candidates for various reasons having to do with personal morality, public actions, or both.

In a further concession, the Vatican has promised that the Pope will lift the excommunication of the seven illicit “bishops” of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association even before the new agreement is signed.

Second, the Pope will order two bishops of the underground Church, who have faithfully served for decades under intense persecution, to hand over their dioceses to bishops appointed by the Communist authorities. Shantou Bishop Zhuang Jianjian has been ordered to retire, a decision that has caused enormous pain to the local Church, while Mindong Bishop Guo Xijin has been told that he will be made an “auxiliary” of the Shantou diocese he has long headed.

Retrieved September 15, 2018 from

Saint of the Day & The Church is Holy, Leaders Often Not

Today is the feast day of St. Lambert, Bishop, Martyr, according to the traditional Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler, read about this day at

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

The Church is Holy, Leaders Often Not

An important point to remember, as this story from Life Site News reports.

An excerpt.

September 12, 2018 (Rorate Caeli) – The courageous denunciation of ecclesiastical scandals made by  Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has generated  the consensus of many, but also the displeasure of others, convinced that everything discrediting the representatives of the Church should be covered up by silence. This desire to safeguard the Church is understandable when the scandal is an exception. There is the risk in that case of generalizing, by saddling the behavior of a few onto everyone . Quite different is the case when immorality is the rule, or at least is a widespread way of living accepted as the norm. In this case public denunciation is the first step towards the necessary reform of “morals”. Breaking the silence is part of the duties of a pastor, as St. Gregory the Great admonishes: “What in fact is the fear of a pastor to state the truth, if not the turning of his back on the enemy with his silence? If, instead, he fights in defense of his flock, he builds a bastion for the House of Israel against its enemies. For this the Lord through the mouth of Isaiah admonishes: “Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet” (Isaiah, 58,1).

At the origins of a guilty silence there is often the lack of distinction between the Church and the men of the Church, be they the simple laity, bishops, cardinals or Popes. One of the reasons for this confusion is precisely the prominence of the authorities involved in the scandals. The higher their dignity, the more the tendency to identify them with the Church, attributing good and evil indifferently to the one and the other. In reality the Good is the sole business of the Church, whereas all the Evil is due to the men who represent Her. For this the Church cannot be defined as sinful: “She – writes Father Roger T. Calmel O.P. (1920-1998) – asks forgiveness to the Lord not for the sins She has committed, but for the sins committed by Her children, insofar as they do not listen to Her as Mother.” (Breve apologia della Chiesa di sempre, Editrice Ichtys, Albano Laziale 2007, p. 91). All the members of the Church whether of the teaching or student parts, are men, with their own nature, wounded by original sin.  Neither Baptism renders the faithful faultless, nor Holy Orders render the members of the Hierarchy such. The Pope himself can sin and fall into error, except for that which concerns the charism of infallibility.

It must be said, moreover, that the faithful do not constitute the Church, as happens in human societies, created by the members that form them and dissolved as soon as they separate. To say “We are Church” is false, since the belonging of the baptized to the Church, does not derive from their will: it is Christ Himself who invites us to belong to His flock, by repeating to everyone: “You have not chosen me but I have chosen you” (John 15, 16).  The Church founded by Jesus Christ has a Human-Divine constitution: human as it has a material and passive component, made up of all the faithful, part of both the clergy and the laity; supernatural and divine for Her soul. Jesus Christ, Her Head, is Her foundation and the Holy Spirit is Her supernatural propeller.

The Church therefore is not holy because of the holiness of Her members, but it is Her members that are holy thanks to Jesus Christ Who directs Her and the Holy Spirit Who gives life to Her. From them comes all Good, that is, all that is “true, noble, just, pure, lovable, honorable and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4,8). And from the men of the Church comes all the Evil: disorders, scandals, abuse of power, violence, turpitudes and sacrileges.

“So – writes the Passionist theologian Enrico Zoffoli (1915-1996) who dedicated many fine pages to this theme –  we have no interest in covering up the faults of bad Christians, of unworthy, cowardly, inept, dishonest and arrogant priests. The intent to defend the cause and mitigate their responsibilities would be ingenuous and useless along with minimizing the consequences of their errors, having recourse to historical contexts and singular situations in order then to explain  away and absolve everything” (Chiesa e uomini di Chiesa, Edizioni Segno, Udine 1994, p. 41).

Today there is great filth in the Church, as the then Cardinal Ratzinger said during the Via Crucis of Good Friday 2005, which preceded his rise to the papacy.  “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to Him! (Jesus)”.

Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony is praiseworthy, since, by bringing to light this filth, he renders the work of purification of the Church more urgent. It must be [made]clear that the conduct of unworthy bishops or priests is not inspired by the dogmas or morals of the Church, but constitutes their betrayal, as it represents a negation of the law of the Gospel.  The world that accuses the Church for Her faults accuses Her of transgressing a moral order: but in the name of what law and doctrine does the world claim to indict the Church? The philosophy of life professed by the modern world is relativism to the degree that there are no absolute truths and the only law of man is to be devoid of [all] laws; the practical consequence is hedonism according to which the only form of possible happiness is the gratification of one’s desires and the satisfaction of one’s instincts.

How can the world, devoid of principles as it is, judge and condemn the Church?  The Church has the right and duty to judge the world because She has an absolute and immutable doctrine. The modern world, child of the principles of the French Revolution, develops with coherence the ideas of the libertine Marquis de Sade (1740-1814): free love, free blasphemy, total freedom to deny and destroy every bastion of Faith and Morals, as in the days of the French Revolution when the Bastille, where Sade was a prisoner, was destroyed. The outcome of all this is the dissolution of morality, which has destroyed the foundations of civil society and over the last two centuries has created the darkest age in history.

The life of the Church is also the history of betrayals, defections, apostasies and insufficient  correspondence  with Divine Grace.  But this tragic weakness always goes along with extraordinary faithfulness: the falls, even the most terrifying, of many members of the Church, are interlaced with the heroism of the virtue seen in many other of Her children.

A river of sanctity gushes out of the side of Christ and runs flowing through the course of the centuries: the martyrs who face the wild animals in the Coliseum; the hermits who abandon the world to live a life of penitence; the missionaries who go to the ends of the earth; the intrepid confessors of the faith who combat schisms and heresies; the contemplative religious who sustain the defenders of the Church and Christian civilization with their prayers; all those, who, in different ways, have conformed their lives to the Divine one.  St. Theresa of the Child Jesus wanted to gather up all these vocations in one supreme act of love to God.

The saints are different from one another, but what they all share is union with God: and this union, which never flags, makes it so that the Church, prior to being One, Catholic and Apostolic, is first of all perfectly Holy. The holiness of the Church doesn’t depend on the holiness of Her children; it is ontological, given that it is connected to Her very nature.

Retrieved September 14, 2018 from

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

Beautiful reflection on this feast day from Tradition in Action.

An excerpt.

As the octave of the Nativity of Our Lady ends, the consideration of her suffering would not normally come to the mind of the faithful. But if someone would ask about the future of this child, we would recall that before being proclaimed blessed by all nations, Mary would suffer with her Son for the salvation of the world.

The voice of the liturgy invites us to consider her sorrow: “Ó all ye who pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.” This applies to her.

The sorrow of Our Lady is a work of God. He was the One who destined her to be the Mother of His Son. Therefore, He indissolubly united her to the Person, life, mysteries and sufferings of Jesus in order to make her His faithful companion in the work of Redemption. Suffering has to be a great gift, because God gave it to His Son and to the creature He loves more than any other after Him, Our Lady. He gave it as a most precious gift.

For Mary the suffering did not start at Calvary, but with Jesus, “that incommodious child,” as Bossuet called Him, because wherever He went, He entered with His Cross and with His thorns which He distributes to those He loves.

The prophecy of the aged Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the Divine Child in Jerusalem, to see her Son carrying the Cross, His Crucifixion, the taking down from the Cross, and the burial of Jesus: these are the seven mysteries into which are grouped the almost infinite sufferings which made Our Lady the Queen of Martyrs, the first and loveliest rose in the garden of the Spouse.

Above all, this solemn day shows us Mary on Calvary, and reminds us of that supreme sorrow among all the sorrows that ran through the life of Our Lady. The Church gave this feast the title of Seven Sorrows because this number expresses the idea of totality and universality.

To understand the extent and intensity of the suffering of Our Lady, we need to understand the extent and intensity of her love for Jesus, because her love increased her suffering. Nature and grace concurred to produce in Mary’s heart profound impressions. Nothing is stronger by nature than the love a mother has for her son, and by grace the love one has for God

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

There are so many excellent thoughts in this selection by D. Guéranger that I could be tempted to prolong these comments. I will not do so, but will just select some ideas that he offers us.

The first is that since God loved His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, with an infinite love and loved Our Lady with a lesser love, but still greater than His love for any other creature, He reserved for them His highest gifts. For this reason He gave them that vastness of crosses represented by the number seven. Seven sorrows is understood as all sorrows. Our Lady could be called the Lady of all sorrows because she suffered everything.

All generations call her blessed, but all generations also could call her sorrowful.

Retrieved September 15, 2018 from

Saint of the Day & Are Catholics Waking Up?

Today is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the traditional Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler, read about this day at

And here is a link to what Tradition in Action writes about this day,

Reading about these days is a wonderful daily reflection.

Are Catholics Waking Up?

If articles like this from LifeSite News keep appearing, they well might; and as an aside, the great book of awakening mentioned in the first paragraph, The Soul of the Apostolate, is one I bought years ago, early in our Catholic journey, and it is still a must read; especially for those of us engaged in an apostolate.

An excerpt.

September 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – They say that Pope Pius X’s favorite bedside reading was The Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard. I am beginning to wonder if Pope Francis’s favorite bedside reading is Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Authors like Ross Douthat, Phil Lawler, and Henry Sire have provided copious documentation of the Pope’s Machiavellian modus operandi. It may help to recall, in the midst of Viganògate, a few egregious examples from the past that demonstrate how it works.

We remember when the pope deliberately washed the feet of women, against the universal liturgical law that limited the washing of feet to men. Then he changed the law to allow for the inclusion of any baptized member of the faithful—and proceeded to violate his new law by washing a Muslim’s feet. Even if one argues that the pope, as the highest legislator, is not bound by these laws in the same way as his subjects are, he should (as popes in the past have done) set the first and best example of observing Church discipline, since others will, in fact, take their cue or their justification from him. Thus, his public actions contrary to discipline are meant to transmit a spirit of contempt for law, with the message that subjective motives of “charity” or “mercy” can and should lead to the practical neutralization of Church discipline.

We have seen the same contempt, message of neutralization, and stirring up of confusion in regard to the German bishops’ disputes over whether communion should be given to Protestant spouses of Catholics. The pope first feinted to the left, favoring the liberal bishops, then feinted to the right, seeming to support backpedaling from the CDF, and finally let it be understood that the bishops could do whatever they pleased, even if the result will be a cuius regio eius religio checkerboard of dioceses with contradictory policies.

Then, in his manner of modifying the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as in the new content that was ordered to be inserted, Pope Francis pushed through another victory for progressivism by effecting a change in doctrine, or initiating a motion towards that end, without having used a form of language that is unequivocally heretical. We saw that he did precisely the same thing in Amoris Laetitia (taken together with the Buenos Aires guidelines), in his revisions to the annulment process, and in many other cases, using techniques such as equivocation, studied ambiguity, internal contradiction, false quotation, and stalling tactics between phases to accomplish his purposes.

Again and again he displays this duplicity, playing off one side against the other, keeping people guessing—and keeping employed an army of anxious conservative Catholics who rabbinically reshape each act or statement. But a situation in which it is thought necessary to bend over backwards to defend the pope against undeniable appearances of doctrinal rupture and moral corruption is already a crisis of unprecedented scope. It means, at very least, that this pope has permanently lost the trust of many, and has therefore introduced a strong note of instability into the very office of the papacy, since future popes will be governing from a weak foundation. All of this coming from a Pope who told youths at a Mass in 2015 to “make a mess.”

There are still some Catholics who are digging in their heels. They refuse to believe that any pope can be as bad as this pope would have to be, if the most natural “reading” of things turns out to be true—so it must not be true! “Perhaps all of these doctrinal contradictions and moral meanderings and policy flip-flops are being misreported or misunderstood. Let’s circle around and defend the Pope at all costs from these naysayers, scandalmongers, and calumniators!” By doing this, they are effectively consigning their heads to a permanent vacation in the sand. This is one kind of coping mechanism: it effectively denies that there is a problem. It is like a child who puts his hands over his ears and says some loud nonsense in order to avoid having to hear what an adult is saying to him.

Retrieved September 13, 2018 from

Saint of the Day & Fish or Cut Bait

Today is the Feast Day of St. Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, according to the traditional Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler, read about this Saint at

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

Fish or Cut Bait

That moment in the horror of the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church may be upon us, as this article from Catholic Culture reports.

An excerpt.

As Pope Francis meets on Thursday with leaders of the US bishops’ conference, one question looms more important than all others:

Will the Pope authorize an apostolic visitation of the American hierarchy?

An apostolic visitation—a full investigation, under papal authority—could, if it was conducted rigorously and honestly (and that’s a crucial “if”):

  • unearth the documents that will prove conclusively whether or not Archbishop Vigano’s testimony is accurate, whether or not his criticism of the Pontiff is justified;
  • identify the bishops, in this country and in Rome, who helped advance the ecclesiastical career of ex-cardinal McCarrick—and those whose careers McCarrick has advanced;
  • expose the influence of the “lavender mafia” and the corruption of the Roman Curia; and
  • give American Catholics at least some reason to believe that the Vatican is finally taking action, and the cover-up is ending.

Cardinal DiNardo, in his role as president of the US bishops’ conference, has urgently requested an apostolic visitation, and indicated that he will go to Rome to pursuit of that request. That is a remarkable development: the head of the USCCB is, in effect, calling for an investigation of the USCCB! This is a bold move; one might even call it a desperate move. It’s almost the clerical equivalent of an infantry officer calling down artillery strikes on his own unit’s position. Casualties would be inevitable.

Retrieved September 13, 2018 from

Saint of the Day & Please, More Meetings?

Today is the Feast Day of St. Guy of Anderlecht, according to the traditional Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler, read about this Saint at

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection.

Please, More Meetings?

The Vatican strategy is well-addressed at Catholic Culture.

An excerpt.

Pope Francis has called the leaders of the world’s episcopal conferences to Rome, to “speak about the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.” Great.

The meeting will take place next February—more than five years after the Pope announced his plan to set up a special commission to recommend plans and policies for “the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.” So you might ask yourself, what has that commission been doing these five years?

For one thing, the commission has been butting heads with various Vatican officials, trying—and often failing—to gain approval for its recommendations. Commission members have resigned in frustration, complaining about the lack of cooperation from Vatican agencies and episcopal conferences. If he saw the problem as urgent, the Pope, as the Church’s supreme legislator, could require all the world’s episcopal conferences to adopt norms suggested by his commission. Instead, he’s convened a meeting—in five months—to talk about the issue some more.

Or rather, to talk about a part of the issue. The revelations of recent weeks—the Chilean debacle and the McCarrick scandal in particular—have made it impossible to ignore two aspects of the scandal that have not been addressed: the influence of a homosexual network among the clergy, and the complicity of bishops who have failed to address abuse charges. These issues are not even mentioned in the Vatican’s announcement of the February meeting.

To be fair, the papal commission did recommend the creation of a special tribunal that would hold bishops accountable for their negligence in handling abuse charges. In 2015, the Pontiff approved that recommendation and created the tribunal. On paper. But in reality nothing changed—it was all talk, again—and after a year the Pope announced a new policy, rescinding the plan for a tribunal, claiming that existing procedures were adequate for disciplinary action against negligent bishops.

But if those procedures worked, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The Pope is inviting the world’s bishops to discuss the problem, ignoring the fact that to a large extent the world’s bishops ARE the problem.

Retrieved September 12, 2018 from