Our Lady of the Rosary

Today’s Feast Day and here is a terrific article about it from Tradition in Action.

An excerpt.

The feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by St. Pius V in commemoration of the victory of the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 against the Turks who were threatening Europe. In 1716, the feast was extended to the entire Church in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Muslim Crescent in Hungary.

The devotion of the rosary was revealed to St. Dominic by Our Lady. It was born, therefore, in a private revelation. And we know that such revelations are abhorred by the enemies of the Church – internal and external. Although it came from a private revelation, the praying of the Rosary was extended to the entire Catholic Church, and was considered by St. Louis Grignion de Montfort as the characteristic devotion of predestined souls.

Before Vatican II, the habits of many religious Orders had rosaries that hung on their cinctures, and good Catholics used to carry the rosary with them all day. It was considered not only an item for counting the Hail Marys, but a blessed object, the seal of a special liaison of the person with Our Lady. Many times, the mere physical presence of the rosary would repel the Devil and attract special graces. It became the classic religious object to fight against the Devil.

What is the rosary? The rosary is a series of mediations on the mysteries from the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. These mysteries are simultaneously prayers that one says vocally and meditations that one makes mentally. This mixture of vocal prayer and meditation is a splendid thing, because while the lips pronounce a plea, the mind concentrates on a point of the mystery. It is a dual activity that intimately unites one with God.

The practice of praying the rosary to beg a grace from God supposes the theological truth that Our Lady is the Universal Mediatrix of all graces. It is, therefore, a small masterpiece of spirituality and Catholic doctrine as they should be understood. The rosary is not a religious custom relying on emotions, but rather a serious, solid, and meditative pious practice, which explains why the rosary has obtained so many graces.

It is very beautiful and valuable to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, because for each decade, one contemplates a different thing with its special graces: There are particular graces for the mystery of the Annunciation, others for the Agony in the Garden, yet others associated with the Ascension of Our Lord. Each one of the decades has its special graces, and the person who meditates on all of them attracts to his soul the ensemble of graces from the lives of Our Lord and Our Lady. It is a complete circumnavigation that brings a supernatural plenitude to the soul of the person, which helps us to better understand the salutary influence of the rosary.

A Catholic, thinking and reflecting on things of the Faith, should draw conclusions that build upon each other and constitute a kind of architectural construct. This should be the spiritual life of a Catholic. It follows in accordance with the way God governs the universe. He wisely judges the weight and measure of everything. This is another reason why the rosary is an excellent devotion.

We know that the victory of the Battle of Lepanto was achieved when St. Pius V interrupted a meeting with Cardinals at the Vatican and went to a window and started to pray the rosary. He was deeply concerned about the future of the Church and Christendom that was being decided in those Mediterranean waters. After the Pontiff finished praying the rosary, he returned to the meeting and told the Cardinals that the Catholic fleet had been victorious. That is, he had a revelation while he was praying the rosary. It was the way Our Lady showed him that she linked that victory to his praying of the rosary. Understanding this, St. Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was extended to the whole Church in commemoration for another great victory over the Mohammedans in 1716.

The fact that this devotion is specially linked to victories over the enemies of the Church and Christendom induces us to think that it will protect all those who fight against the enemies of the Catholic cause. It is a devotion that most probably will endure until the end time, when the enemies of the Church will be more dangerous than ever.

Therefore, also during the chastisement predicted at Fatima, the assiduous recitation of the holy rosary should be a decisive factor of victory for those who would be defending the Catholic cause. The historical antecedents of the value of the rosary are a pledge of analogous future victories.

Dark Forces Assault Church

Great article from Crisis Magazine about the ancient and continual onslaught—in relation to other churches as well.

An excerpt.

It’s not easy to discern the role played by the spiritual hosts of wickedness in world affairs. No one knows with any certainty what is going on in that realm, or what part the principalities and powers play in shaping events. But these are exceedingly strange times—so strange that it is difficult to make sense of some of what is happening from a this-worldly perspective. So it seems worthwhile to try to understand some phenomena from an other-worldly viewpoint.

One of the strangest developments of our times is the Church’s response to Islam and Islamic migration. Since the response runs entirely counter to the Church’s historical response, it seems legitimate to wonder if other-worldly forces are at play. If that’s the case, it should not be unexpected. Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church, but the implication of his words is that hell would surely try.

Over the years, various popes have testified to this effort. In the late nineteenth century, Pope Leo XIII reportedly had a vision of demonic spirits during the celebration of Mass. This led him to institute the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (“be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil”), which is said at the end of a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form. In more recent times, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 1972, Pope Paul VI delivered a sermon warning that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

What may come as a surprise to those who worry about Pope Francis’s liberal tendencies is that he also has frequently warned of Satan’s influence. A few months after his election, he consecrated Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel who “defends the people of God from the arch-enemy par excellence, the devil.” When he was a cardinal in Argentina, he described a legislative proposal to redefine marriage as “a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

If the smoke of Satan can enter the Catholic Church, there is no reason to suppose it cannot enter other religions as well. Without getting into the question of whether Muhammad was deceived by Satan, as some maintain, it is probable that Satan seeks to influence the direction of Islam just as he strives to have a malign influence on the Catholic Church.

It may be, then, that the current situation of the Church vis-à-vis Islam is due in part to a dual assault—one aimed at heightening Islam’s traditional aggressiveness, and the other aimed at weakening the Church’s traditional defenses. The result is a kind of dance of death: a ramping up of Islamic militancy matched by an exaggerated emphasis on tolerance, openness, and welcoming on the part of Catholics.

Paschal Candle Tradition

Another chapter in the great series on the dismantling of the Latin Mass from Tradition in Action’s Dr. Carol Byrne.

Our family was too late a conversion to have witnessed this beautifully described aspect of the Easter Vigil service.

An excerpt.

For many centuries, the process of bringing the fire to the Paschal Candle was part of the complex of features that gave the Easter Vigil its unique and recognizable identity. In the Church’s immemorial tradition, this was accomplished by the deacon carrying in procession a triple-branched candlestick representing the Holy Trinity.

As the procession of clergy advanced into the church, the three candles were lit successively to honor each Person of the Holy Trinity; at each lighting the deacon sang the three-fold Lumen Christi and the choir responded Deo gratias, whereupon all genuflected.

The final destination of the Procession was the sanctuary where the unlit Paschal Candle was already in place waiting for the deacon to light it from one of the three candles. This tripartite symbolism was calculated to make a lasting theological impact on the faithful. For those who were waiting inside the unlit church, this was a pinnacle moment, the climax to which the procession was leading.

It illustrated in the most visually dramatic way the doctrine that it was the Holy Trinity – represented by the triple-branched candlestick – that effected the Resurrection. It was a statement without words that Christ raised himself from the dead by His own Divine power.

Elimination of the triple-branched candlestick

The Commission [The 1948 Papal Commission] eliminated the ceremony of the triple candle with its Trinitarian symbolism and replaced it with a procession involving “active participation” of the laity, leaving it, as we shall see, with only secondary, if not exactly marginal, connections with the Resurrection. What this amounts to in practical terms is an attempt to censor or silence the liturgical expression of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It was a pattern that Bugnini replicated not only during the rest of the Holy Week reforms but also in the creation of the New Mass.

The most obvious effect of suppressing this symbolism was to give the impression that belief in the actual physical i.e. bodily Resurrection of Christ – the chief of His miracles as proof of His Divinity – is not something that should be taken too literally. This was the position of the mid-20th century progressivists, successors of the early modernists, (1) who succeeded in spreading doubts about the great supernatural interventions of God in human history. (2)

As we have seen, their influence in the Liturgical Movement was beginning to make itself felt in the Holy Week reforms of Pius XII.

We are, therefore, justified in raising the question: Did those members of the Commission who proposed reforms that accommodated the ideas of the neo-modernists hold the integral Catholic Faith? To ask the question is to answer it.

Here, however, we are less concerned with the presumed intentions of the reformers than with the reforms themselves and their internal logic. Our brief is an objective examination of certain affirmations made by Fr. Antonelli in the “Memo” and the conclusions to which they logically lead.

Fulfill Fatima

That has been the call for a hundred years but the Church—while claiming it has—still has not done so in the case of the Consecration of Russia, as this superb article from Tradition in Action notes.

An excerpt.

Cardinal Raymond Burke made news in a recent interview when he suggested that the Pope should consecrate Russia in the manner described by Our Lady of Fatima about 100 years ago.

Thus, he says, Russia could return to their noble past when there was tremendous devotion of Our Blessed Mother as a means of expressing faith in God. What a great idea! It sounds so simple, but it is again another tactic of the progressivists to deviate from the true message of Fatima.

Since the Cardinal brought up the topic, it seems like a perfect time to review the most tragic and devastating decisions of the Catholic Hierarchy in History when it disobeyed and continues to reject God and His request to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

To save souls from Hell as promised at Fatima on July 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to Lucy at Tuy, Spain, on June 13, 1929, with this message:

“The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the Bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.”

The failure of Pius XI

The rejection of the Fatima message by the Hierarchy of the Church began as early as 1930 when Pius XI failed to respond to the request to consecrate Russia. It has continued for the next 87 years.

The purpose of the consecration – drawn from Our Lady’s words in 1917 – was to prevent “a worse war from breaking out under Pius XI.” One day Lucy asked Jacinta what she was thinking. Her reply: “About the war that is coming. So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to Hell.”

It was clear that the consecration was to be made when Our Lord himself appeared to Sister Lucy in Rianjo, Spain, on August 19, 1931, and requested it, expressing His displeasure with Pius XI. He communicated to Sister Lucy the following:

“Make it known to My ministers that, given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My request, they will follow him also into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”

The consequences of King Louis XIV ignoring the command to consecrate the country to the Sacred Heart given through St. Margaret Mary Alocoque are well known parts of the history of the French Revolution: Louis XVI lost his crown and, three years later, his head to the guillotine. We can only speculate that, following the example of the King, Our Lord meant that the Chair of Rome will be destroyed and transferred to Fatima, as recently published as the deciphered version of the Third Secret.

At Fatima during the 100-year anniversary, Francis announced that he was the “the bishop dressed in white,” who according to Vatican-released version of the Third Secret, is killed along with other religious on a mountain top. The Message of Fatima released on June 26, 2000, stated that the third part of the secret was not a future event, but was a prophetic vision, similar to those in Sacred History. This raises a question: Should Francis not be worrying?

The Vatican has held that John Paul II is the “bishop dressed in white” and the attempt on his life in 1981 fulfilled that prophecy. Was Francis being sarcastic? He does not have any respect for traditional Catholics and for those who closely follow Fatima. Or per chance does he know that the order to move the Chair of Peter to Fatima was announced when the Secret was published and that, in less than 69 weeks, Rome will be destroyed if it continues its abomination?

A long policy of compromise

In 1918, Benedict XV established the policy of “compromise and conciliation,“ Ostpolitik – opening relations with the communist Eastern bloc – completely changing the non-conciliatory approach of St. Pius X, who resolutely condemned Marxism-Leninism. This policy has been adopted by the Vatican for the vast majority of the past 100 years.

Prime Hour

This central part of the Divine Office was removed, over 50 years ago during the Second Vatican Council, and this article from the Exlaodicea Blog bemoans the loss, which is a loss for all Catholics.

An excerpt.

“Let the hour of Prime be suppressed”. So decreed the bishops gathered in Rome in the winter of 1963, at the dead time of the year. Of the 2,147 prelates who voted to suppress, not some local abuse or the apocryphal Acta of an obscure saint, but one of the 8 hours of the divine office, did any, I wonder, feel some slight misgivings?

Like our Lord Jesus Christ, Prime was born in Bethlehem. Perhaps that is why the devil pursues it with a special hatred. St John Cassian tells us that it was the elders of his first monastery who instituted it, to prevent sleepy monks who had got through the long night-office from staying in bed until Terce. “This canonical office was first instituted in our monastery and in our time”, he writes. The learned think that this would have happened around the year of our Lord 380. The Church was still emerging from the long Arian nightmare, and already Prime was sung. It survived the fall of the empire in the West. St Benedict takes its existence for granted when he comes to distribute the psalter for the opus Dei. In the Roman basilicas it marked each day the beginning of the recitation of Psalm 118, the loving praise of the law of God; which, is, St Thomas tells us, a praise by appropriation of the eternal Son.

Matins is the hour of the dead of night. Those who sing the divine office of Matins stand like sentinels on the walls of the Church, repelling the diabolical incursions. Lauds is the hour of vanquished darkness and the return of dawn; it is the hour of victory and relief. Yet the thin shadows are still seen in Lauds, though fleeing; nor has man yet forgotten the passivity and endurance of the night, nor resumed his proper place as master of the world.

Prime is the first hour of true day. The sun now holds the heavens, undisputed. He has made all things new. Man also is himself again, ready to choose and act, not only to endure. It is that first hour, so a mediaeval writer tells us, when the Householder first goes out to call who will to labour for the Penny, the one thing needful, the image of the King.

For well over a thousand years, no one knows how long, the Church has sung the Athanasian Creed at Prime. Perhaps that it is another reason why the devil hates it. This creed is said now only once a year, on the Sunday of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and then only by a few. One tiny foothold in the sacred liturgy, like Pelayo in his cave when all Spain was lost, waiting for the Reconquista to begin…

Pope Responds to Criticism

And he does so surprisingly well, says he wrote controversial Amoris Laetitia based on the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, as this article in the Catholic Herald reports.

An excerpt.

Seeing, understanding and engaging with people’s real lives does not “bastardise” theology, rather it is what is needed to guide people toward God, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Colombia.

“The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father,” he said during a private audience Sept. 10 in Cartagena, Colombia.

Meeting privately with a group of Jesuits and laypeople associated with Jesuit-run institutions in Colombia, the pope told them, “I am here for you,” not to make a speech, but to hear their questions or comments.

A Jesuit philosophy teacher asked what the pope hoped to see in philosophical and theological reflection today, not just in Colombia, but also in the Catholic Church in general.

Philosophy, like theology, the pope said, cannot be done in “a laboratory,” but must be done “in life, in dialogue with reality.”

The pope then said that he wanted to use the teacher’s question as an opportunity address — in justice and charity — the “many comments” concerning the post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia.”

Many of the commentaries, he said, are “respectable because they were made by children of God,” but they are “wrong.”

“In order to understand ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ you must read it from the beginning to the end,” reading each chapter in order, reading what got said during the synods of bishops on the family in 2014 and 2015, and reflecting on all of it, he said.

To those who maintain that the morality underlying the document is not “a Catholic morality” or a morality that can be certain or sure, “I want to repeat clearly that the morality of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ is Thomist,” that is, built on the moral philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, he said.

One of best and “most mature” theologians today who can explain the document, he told them, is Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna.

“I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic,” he said, meaning a morality that changes according to particular cases and circumstances rather than one that determines a general approach that should guide the church’s pastoral activity.

The pope had made a similar point during his meeting with Jesuits gathered in Rome for their general congregation in 2016. There he said, “In the field of morality, we must advance without falling into situationalism.”

“St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure affirm that the general principle holds for all but — they say it explicitly — as one moves to the particular, the question becomes diversified and many nuances arise without changing the principle,” he had said. It is a method that was used for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and “Amoris Laetitia,” he added.

The Neo-Catholic Church

This article in the Remnant Newspaper by Christopher A. Ferrara (one of Catholicism’s greatest current thinkers/writers) is excellent, a must–read.

An excerpt.

At every stage in the ecclesial crisis that followed the Second Vatican Council, the Mensheviks of the Neo-Catholic Establishment (NCE) have been there to defend the Bolsheviks of the post-conciliar revolution as they foisted one destructive novelty after another upon the Church.  The NCE has found a way to defend or excuse the New Mass with all its officially approved abuses (including Communion in the hand and John Paul II’s approval of “altar girls”), the New Ecumenism, the New Dialogue, the New Interreligious Dialogue, the New Bishops’ Conferences, the New Collegiality, the New Seminaries, the New Convents, the New Ecclesial Movements, the New Evangelization, the New Synodal Church, and now, with Amoris Laetitia (AL), even the New Catholic Morality, which declares that God does not expect obedience to the negative precepts of the natural law, including the Sixth Commandment, if one feels unable to attain the “objective ideal” given the “concrete complexity of one’s limits” (cf. Amoris Laetitia, ¶ 303).

In short, the NCE has defended the implantation of Neo-Catholicism itself within the framework of the visible Church: a rapidly mutating infection of the Church by Modernist viruses (e.g., reckless and destructive “reforms” of virtually every aspect of ecclesial life, pseudo-doctrines such as “ecumenism,” “dialogue,” “accompaniment” and “discernment,” and empty, subversive slogans such as “what unites us is greater than what divides us” and “the God of surprises”). The NCE defends with inexhaustible ingenuity and ever more elaborate sophistry the practical triumph of Modernism, which Saint Pius X called “the synthesis of all heresies,” over the Church’s immune system, producing the worst, most far-reaching malaise the Church has ever suffered.

Surrounded by the resulting ecclesial debility, including an incredible “collapse of the liturgy,” to quote Cardinal Ratzinger, and now even a collapse of the Church’s moral edifice in many places thanks to Amoris Laetitia, the NCE still professes to wonder what all the traditionalist fuss is about. And, like wranglers on the range, they now labor to drive what remains of the Catholic herd into the corral of Bergoglianism—the last roundup of the post-conciliar revolution.  With Pope Bergoglio we are witnessing a pleiotropic mutation of Neo-Catholicism that would effectively reduce the human element of the Catholic Church to a Protestant sect headed by a pan-religious, environmentalist guru who happens to reside in Rome, where he announces the latest auguries of the God of Surprises via the Apostolic Press Conference, the Pontifical Homespun Homily, the Palaverous Apostolic Exhortation, and the Ponderous Papal Manifesto on any subject that strikes him as important no matter how little he knows about it, including such burning issues of the day as the level of atmospheric CO2 emissions, the use of air-conditioning and the fate of the mangrove swamps.

Yet, as even certain mainstream commentators now admit that “the current Pope’s leadership has become a danger to the faith,” the NCE as a whole continues to maintain, with maniacal consistency, that nothing is too terribly amiss.  Indeed, if Antichrist himself were to occupy the papal throne and Enoch and Elias were to descend from heaven to oppose him, the NCE would desperately look for a way to defend the words and deeds of Antichrist while denouncing Enoch and Elias as “prophets of doom.” That my hyperbole barely qualifies as hyperbole should indicate the gravity of our situation, the likes of which the Church has absolutely never witnessed before, not even during the Arian crisis, which, after all, involved only a single Christological heresy.

Consider the always useful example of that NCE flagship organization, Catholic Answers (CA).  CA is deeply embedded in the thoroughly infected Diocese of San Diego, where a “gay-friendly” bishop, Robert McElroy, and his “gay-friendly” auxiliary bishop, John Dolan, are spearheading the emergence of Gay Church in the United States according to the Gospel of Who Am I to Judge. CA cannot, of course, say boo in opposition to the Bergoglian debacle for fear that McElroy would declare, by his episcopal authority, that Catholic Answers can no longer use the word Catholic in its name because it has “wounded ecclesial communion.” So did the Archbishop of Granada declare when removing Josef Siefert from his philosophy chair for stating the obvious about AL’s apocalyptic attempt—already succeeding in places—to introduce situation ethics into Catholic moral theology.

CA has long been a laughably Janus-faced operation: meticulously refuting the many errors of Protestantism out of one mouth, while declaring out of the other that those same errors are of no grave consequence given the advent of “ecumenism” and “ecumenical dialogue,” the utter novelties CA must defend against all criticism in order to protect its brand from the embarrassment of being shown up by traditionalist candor respecting the true state of the Church. Thus do we see CA’s “Senior Apologist” Jimmy Akin gamely defending, in a recent article, the perfectly insane idea that Catholics, led by the Pope himself, should participate in a “commemoration” of the “Reformation” with faux Protestant clerics, including loony lady “priests” and “bishops,” who reject not only foundational Catholic doctrines and dogmas but even the natural law respecting marriage, procreation and sexual morality in general.

I refer the reader to Chris Jackson’s able reply to Akin for the details of Akin’s nonsense.  I will confine myself to a few additional observations:

First, even to refer to the “Reformation” uncritically as such is to undermine the integrity of the Church that CA’s “Senior Apologist” purports to defend against a vast swarm of Protestant errors, which errors emerged precisely and only from that same “Reformation.”  Luther and his progeny reformed nothing but rather deformed everything they touched, setting in motion an ineluctable process of doctrinal and moral decay, both individual and societal, whose early manifestations Luther himself lived long enough to lament (without, of course, assigning his own errors any of the blame).  As Luther complained in the midst of the turmoil his own rebellion had provoked, the charity of once Catholic men, now informed that good works were irrelevant to their salvation, had already grown cold:

I own, and others doubtless do the same, that there is not now such earnestness in the Gospel as formerly under the monks and priests when so many foundations were made, when there was so much building and no one was so poor as not to be able to give. But now there is not a town willing to support a preacher, there is nothing but plundering and thieving among the people and no one can prevent it. Whence comes this shameful plague? (Grisar, Luther, Vol. 6, p.54)

Luther’s query to himself is perhaps the most laughable thing he ever wrote.

Second, Akin, a Protestant convert, seems to have no understanding of the disastrous effects for men and nations of the operation of the false principles animating the Protestant revolt. Luther, the greatest religious demagogue of all time, incited and then led the rebellion that would destroy the unity of the Mystical Body in what was once Christendom, producing vast political as well as religious consequences that could only have been tragic.  In and of itself, Luther’s principle of private judgment unbound by the infallible Magisterium has wreaked not only religious but sociopolitical havoc for half a millennium.

Moreover, Luther’s heretical notions of the total depravity of man, the denial of true inward regeneration by the grace of justification (as opposed to a mere external imputation of righteousness), salvation by fiducial faith alone, and the denial of free will respecting man’s cooperation in grace and his eternal salvation, contributed to the destruction of the Greco-Catholic tradition of the virtues, with ruinous results for both religion and politics. As Hartman Grisar observes in his landmark study of the heresiarch’s life and destructive work, Luther “did away with the olden doctrine of virtue, and without setting up anything positive in its place.”And, by denying any “distinction between natural and supernatural goodness, essential as it is for forming an ethical estimate of man,” Luther “practically destroys both.” (Ibid., Vol. VI, 1071-1072 [Kindle])

St. Michael, Fatima, & Pope XIII

Today is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel and this is the centennial year of Fatima, perfect time to reflect on what Pope Leo XIII said which this article from the Catholic Herald does.

An excerpt.

One expects that after having restored Friday abstinence and holy days of obligation, the bishops of England and Wales may look favourably upon requests to resume the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel, recited after “Low Mass” from the time of Pope Leo XIII to the reforms of Blessed Paul VI.

St Michael’s feast falls this Friday, hence the English custom of referring to autumn schooldays as the “Michaelmas term”. As we mark the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, there are suggestive links between Leo XIII, the St Michael prayer and Fatima for those who are anniversary-minded.

We do not have a definitive historical account of what exactly happened to Pope Leo XIII, but there is a consensus on what roughly took place in the 1880s. After offering the Holy Mass one morning, Pope Leo was making his thanksgiving by attending another Mass, the custom for high-ranking prelates at the time. At some point those observing Leo noticed that he seemed transfixed, as if seeing a vision. Visibly troubled, he made his way from the chapel to his private office, his alarmed aides following with concern.

He emerged from his office a short while later, having composed the prayer to St Michael. It was added in 1886 to the other “Leonine prayers” which the Holy Father had mandated be recited after Low Mass in 1884.

What moved Pope Leo to write the prayer? Accounts vary in the details, but the general gist is that he had a vision akin to the scene at the beginning of the Book of Job. The Devil challenged the Lord Jesus that he “could destroy the Church” if he had more time and more power. Jesus, again like the Lord God in the Book of Job, grants the Devil his request, a century in which his power will be greater. Some accounts have Pope Leo actually hearing the conversation between voices divine and diabolical.

Pope Leo, intuiting then that dreadful terrors would soon descend upon the Church and the world, wrote the prayer beseeching the protection of St Michael and mandated that it be universally recited, countless times each day in every part of the world.

What then of the connection to Fatima? Although there is no contemporary documentation, the more common accounts put the date of Leo’s vision on October 13, 1884, 33 years to the day before the final apparition at Fatima. If nothing else, that is certainly suggestive.

October 13 was the great Miracle of the Sun. Likely the most witnessed miracle in human history, it was documented by secular – and sceptical – sources and experienced by some 70,000 people. The Book of Revelation, in which St Michael battles the ancient dragon, speaks of the woman “clothed with the sun”. Again, the Miracle of the Sun in the context of the Marian apparitions and the anniversary of Pope Leo writing the St Michael prayer is more than suggestive.

When are the hundred years of the Leonine vision?

Were they from 1884 itself onward, concluding in 1984, during the special Jubilee Year of the Redemption, in which St John Paul II consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in accord with the request of Our Lady of Fatima?

Did the century of special trial refer to the entire 20th century, an era of unimagined bloodshed and persecution? That century began with Pope Leo consecrating the world to the Sacred Heart for the Jubilee of 1900, and John Paul renewing the consecration to the Immaculate Heart during the Jubilee of 2000 – before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, brought to Rome from the shrine for the occasion.

Questioning Authority, Part 2

This article from Fatima Perspectives, by one of the signers of the corrective to the Pope is a must-read to better understand this action by Catholic Bishops, theologians, scholars and priests.

An excerpt.

When I agreed to be one of the signatories of the Filial Correction (Correctio Filialis) of Pope Francis — which, to my surprise, has received rather massive worldwide publicity in the secular media — I did so with no little trepidation. It is not that I am “only a layman,” as if members of the laity have no right to speak out in defense of the Faith. The Catholic Church is not some sort of gnostic sect whose tenets are determined by an inner circle of initiates led by an Oracle of Rome, who regularly announce what the rank-and-file members of the sect must believe today as opposed to yesterday. Any lowly layman who is adequately catechized, including this one, will know, when he sees it, that a given proposition or practice is just not Catholic.  That is what the sensus catholicus of the lay faithful means.

Rather, my trepidation arises from the knowledge that this effort is really something that ought to have come from members of the upper hierarchy, above all the cardinals.  Let us suppose that instead of 62 lay people and priests (the original signatories), 62 members of the College of Cardinals had signed the Correctio. There can be little doubt that the Pope Francis juggernaut would have been stopped in its tracks, as opposition from 62 cardinals could never have been dismissed the way the actual Correctio has been by the Pope’s progressive allies, who sniff that no one of any great weight in the Church is a signatory.  (Bishop Fellay of the Society of Saint Pius X and Bishop René Henry Gracida, the Bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, have added their names as signatories.  May God bless them for that!)

Consider the following “false and heretical propositions” which, as the Correctio states, “Your Holiness has upheld, directly or indirectly, and, with what degree of awareness we do not seek to judge, both by public office and by private act [and] propagated” in the Church. The Pope has done so via Amoris Laetitia (AL), particularly Chapter 8, and his related oral and written statements in support of the propositions, all of which are documented in the Correctio:

Questioning Authority, Part 1

It is generally a good thing, and these priests and scholars who questioned the Pope may have a case (and they certainly have a right within Catholic tradition to question the Pope) as reported by the Catholic Herald.

An excerpt.

Sixty-two scholars and priests have issued a “filial correction” of Pope Francis, saying that his words and actions risk leading Catholics into false doctrines.

The signatories emphasise that they do not accuse the Pope of committing the personal sin of heresy, or the canonical crime. But they claim that the publication of Amoris Laetitia, and the Pope’s subsequent words and actions, have led to the spread of “heresies and other errors”.

Most of the document’s first signatories are academics. They include Mgr Prof Antonio Livi, formerly rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; Prof Thomas Stark, who teaches at the Benedict XVI Academy of Philosophy and Theology in Austria; and Claudio Pierantoni of the University of Chile. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, is also a signatory, as is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, former Vatican bank president.

Another signatory, Prof Stéphane Mercier of the Catholic University of Louvain, has been disciplined by the university for voicing his pro-life views.

Some of the signatories put their names to a letter addressed last year to the College of Cardinals, asking them to request that the Pope condemn certain heresies and errors.

But the new text, which was sent to the Pope a month ago, addresses him in language unprecedented in modern Catholic history: “With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.”

The signatories say that they are permitted to address the Pope because of natural law – which allows a subject to correct a superior – and by canon law, which permits the faithful to make known their views to their pastors. They also cite the example of St Paul rebuking St Peter in Galatians 2.

Amoris Laetitia, issued in April last year, has provoked diverse interpretations. Several bishops have said that it is compatible with the Church’s perennial teaching, reaffirmed several times in recent years, that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion, except possibly when they resolve to love “as brother and sister”.

However, other bishops have contradicted this teaching. The bishops of Malta said that, since avoiding sex outside marriage might be “inpossible”, Communion should not be withheld from those who felt “at peace with God”.

The scholars’ letter notes that these guidelines were published in Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Holy See. Addressing Pope Francis, the letter says: “No criticism of these guidelines was made by the Osservatore Romano, which presented them as legitimate exercises of episcopal teaching and authority. This publication was an official act of the Holy See that went uncorrected by yourself.”

The letter lists several other ways in which the Pope has encouraged error. These include his approval – in a leaked letter – of the diocesan guidelines of the Buenos Aires bishops; his silence when asked the dubia, which aimed to clarify that Church teaching on sin, grace and the sacraments was still valid; and several other actions.

The signatories say there is a dual “danger” for Catholics: they will either be led to affirm false doctrines, or they will be led to deny the Pope’s unique prerogatives as Supreme Pontiff. The signatories themselves affirm that “Your Holiness possesses the charism of infallibility, and the right of universal jurisdiction over Christ’s faithful, in the sense defined by the Church.”

But they observe that Vatican I and Vatican II both “noted that the powers of the Roman pontiff are limited in many ways”, so that some statements – for instance, the most controversial passages in Amoris Laetitia – are not infallible.

The correction, which is in Latin, identifies seven errors which Amoris Laetitia and other papal actions could perpetrate. These include: that those who have divorced and remarried can receive the Eucharist without making a firm resolution to avoid sexual relations; that God might permit or even ask someone to have sexual relations outside a valid marriage; and other connected propositions related to the Church’s teaching on marriage, grave sin and the Eucharist.

One signatory, Dr Joseph Shaw, said he “felt an obligation” to sign the letter. He cited canon law, which says the lay faithful have “the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful”

Dr Shaw commented: “This right becomes a duty when to remain silent would be to consent to what in your conscience appears clearly wrong.

“That does not mean that I think I am or the petitioners as a group are infallible; it just means that I feel I must manifest my view.”

Asked whether the letter was disloyal to Pope Francis, Dr Shaw pointed out that the Pope “has explicitly, forcefully, and repeatedly called for honest expressions of conflicting opinions. Not only did he call for parrhesia among the participants of the Synod on the Family, but he has personally thanked those who have written or said things critical of him.”