Tag Archives: Featured

That Amazin’ Amazon Synod!

Yep.  “Amazin'” is the only way to describe the plans afoot for the much-ballyhooed and disturbingly controversial Sinodo para a Amazonia.  Amazonia is a general term for the area encompassing the Amazon basin, which stretches over eight nations covering roughly a third of South America.  The Amazon Synod, planned for October 2019, is an ambitious attempt to address a wide variety of ecological, political, economic, and even religious challenges confronting the inhabitants of that critical–yet troubled–region of our planet.

The working document (Instrumentum Laboris in Latin) for the synod came out a few weeks ago, and it created quite a stir in what Catholic World Report describes as “certainly of the kitchen sink variety. It has all the bullet points: everything anyone could want, and more.”

The document is long. Translated from the Portuguese original, the Spanish version of The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and Integral Ecology comes in at twenty-two thousand words, give or take, footnotes included. It is articulated in three parts: of four, nine, and eight chapters, respectively, over one hundred forty-nine numbered paragraphs. The major divisions are: “The voice of Amazonia”; “Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor”; “A Prophetic Church in Amazonia: Challenges and Hopes.”

There is absolutely no doubt that Amazonia–both the region itself and more particularly its indigenous peoples–have been shamelessly and brutally exploited over the centuries.  That the Church should address such injustices seems to us here at CCM to be entirely proper.  But the working document frequently goes off in odd directions.  (So odd, in fact, that Walter Cardinal Brandmüller calls the working document for the Synod “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation.  

As William Kilpatrick says in an essay for Crisis Magazine:

The most ironic thing about this new venture into the primitive is that some of the prime movers are the leaders of the Catholic Church. Take the upcoming Amazon Synod. The working document for the Synod does makes some valid observations about the biological and climatological importance of the Amazonian region and about the exploitation of the Amazonian people. But when it comes to describing the peoples, the “Voice of the Amazon” sounds suspiciously like the voice of Rousseau—or better, the voice of Rousseau harmonized with the voice of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and elevated to the cosmic level.  Thus:

  • A fundamental aspect of the root of human sin is to detach oneself from nature… (99)
  • A cosmic dimension of experience (cosmovivencia) palpitates within the families. (75)
  • It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught these people throughout the centuries: faith in the God Father-Mother Creator; communion and harmony with the earth; solidarity with one’s companions … the living relationship with nature and “Mother Earth.” (121)

It’s a sort of 21st Century New Agey re-imagining of Rosseau’s “Noble Savage” construct.  Dwelling overlong on that romantic notion of indigenous peoples tempts one to see them as the teachers, the guardians of profound divine truths that Western civilization desperately needs to learn.  The idea that Catholicism is the legitimate guardian of the divine truths which lead people to eternal salvation has to take a bit of a back seat…at the very least it should zip its lip and listen attentively to “the ancient wisdom of the ancestors.

Another problem the synod will address is that of the priest shortage in Amazonia.  The most practical solution, according to many associated with synod preparation, is to ordain indigenous married elders, presumably using some sort of “fast track” seminary process.  Because these potential priests have wives (who themselves, one must allow, equally well-versed in the wisdom of their culture), these wives could be given some sort of official role in parish life as well…perhaps even as a sort of deaconess or something.

Something for everyone in the Instrumentum Laboris, to be sure!

Here at CCM, we’ll be watching developments closely.  I expect we’ll even have a dedicated section on our home page where our vast readership (all three dozen of you!) can easily keep abreast of each amazin’ twist and turn on the road to the Amazon Synod.

Recognize & Resist: A Strategy Worth Considering

Frustrated by the ambiguous pronouncements coming from Rome?  Worried that this never-ending parade of synods has the potential to play havoc with the true teachings of the Church?  Concerned that Pope Francis might be saying some stuff which simply doesn’t square with two thousand years of consistent Church teaching?

Yeah, us too.  Hank Igitur’s been reading a new book by Dr. Taylor Marshall which does a pretty decent job of putting this whole situation into a long-term historical perspective.  He offers a strategy for prayerfully (and charitably) dealing with this crisis.  Hank’s 100% onboard with this approach and he’s willing to explain it to you in (possibly tedious) detail!

Links Mentioned in this Video:

Infiltration-book-cover-

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Catholic Church From Within by Dr. Taylor Marshall is available at Amazon.com or through Sophia Institute Press.  The book makes a pretty darn solid case that our present crisis doesn’t have its beginning with the election of Pope Francis, the suppression of the Latin Mass in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s, or even the Vatican II!  The crisis began well over a century earlier.  Fascinating stuff!

The document Hank mentions which can help you cut through some of the confusion when it comes to getting the real deal on Church doctrine is this:  Declaration of the Truths Relating to Some of the Most Common Errors in the Life of the Church of Our Time.”  It’s only eight pages but it gives you an easy to read no-nonsense summary of authentic Church teaching, clearing up some points that might have become, umm, well–a tad murky let’s just say–over the past few years.

Read New ‘Declaration of Truths’ Affirms Key Church Teachings in the National Catholic Register.

Accusations of Heresy: One Perspective

Catholics, still reeling from the conflagration which devastated her beloved Notre Dame Cathedral, was rocked a few days later by the publication of an open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church which accused Pope Francis of heresy, and requested that the bishops “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation of a heretical pope.”

You can read the letter in its entirety at this link: https://www.documentcloud.o… It’s twenty pages, but twenty pages well worth reading regardless of your inclination to agree or disagree with its contents.

The Accusers.

Whether it’s a former papal nuncio (like Abp. Viganò), prominent on-line laymen (Michael Voris at Church Militant, et. al.), or the signers of this letter, there’s a natural tendency these days to immediately respond with an ad hominem hip shot branding the dissidents as judgemental/Pharisee-like/rigid/haters with an axe to grind.

Still and all, the signers are indeed on very thin ice. I’m not sure what the job market looks like for unemployed theologians these days, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that, as the saying goes in Hollywood, “you’ll never work in this town again!” Not only have they pulled the tail of the massive tiger that is the Pope and his loyal cardinals, they pretty much yanked it completely off! In much the same way as the signers of the Declaration of Independence put a figurative British noose around each and every of their own necks, so the signers of this letter have destroyed their standing among all those in the powerful Church hierarchy who have a vested interest in this papal agenda.

Descriptions you might see in other online articles branding these signers as petty and vengeful reactionaries are, I think, completely unjustified (as were those characterizations of Viganò’s motives months earlier). Right or wrong, it took guts to do what they did, and they believed enough in their message to be willing to take the consequences on the chin. So my recommendation for those trying to get to the bottom of this tragic turn of events is to not consider any base motivations, but rather concentrate on the message itself and the circumstances which brought it about.

Leadership Failures.

Why has it gotten to the point where regular lay people have to concern themselves with the terrifying question of whether Peter’s Successor is or is not promulgating teachings contrary to Church doctrine so egregious as to perhaps approach even the level of material (let alone formal) heresy? For that matter, why do we laity have to be subjected to the confusing and often false teachings of so-called “celebrity priests” who continually put forward ideas which stand in stark contrast to thousands of years of Judeo-Christian teachings or the progressive bishops seemingly more interested in educating us about the mortal dangers of plastics in the ocean rather than sins in our souls?

It comes down to bad leadership on the part of our priests and hierarchy. Even if it turns out that each and every one of the specifications in the open letter were simple misunderstandings and in no way heretical, each and every one of them represent a leadership failure when it comes to clearly teaching and restating the timeless dogmas of our Faith. And, in the case of throwing faithful Chinese Catholics under the bus by kowtowing to the brutal Communist overlords in Beijing, the leadership failure took on the additional aspect of burning a pinch of incense to Caesar (or Mao, in this instance).

More Leadership Failures: Amoris Laetitia and “Weaponized Ambiguity.”

This document was a disaster from the git-go. And before anyone says, “It’s perfectly clear and it’s fine. You’re seeing stuff that isn’t there when you try and read between the lines,” let me ask you why it’s now permissible to define adultery by zip code? Liberal bishops in Germany are saying “come one, come all!” When it comes to divorced & civilly remarried Catholics receiving the Eucharist, citing AL, while next door is (still) Catholic Poland, things are as they were before this document came out. Which is the true and authentic interpretation of Christ’s own words in the Gospel concerning marriage? For two thousand years, Catholics knew the answer. Now, it’s suddenly up for grabs.

This vagueness seems intentional in order to allow for the desired intent to surface without actually having to pull the trigger yourself. And yes, orthodox Catholics got upset by this. It’s no wonder that the “H-Word” started getting whispered for the first time when AL came out.

Francis is not considered to be a leading theologian, even by his supporters. And that’s fine; being a world-class theologian has never been a prerequisite for being pope, nor should it be. Having said that, it’s worth comparing the appeal to situational ethics to be found in AL with those writings of a man considered to be a rather accomplished theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Pope Francis seemed to downplay moral absolutes in AL, saying that a negative moral precept such as the one prohibiting adultery is good as a general principle, but “in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations” (par. 304)

Aquinas is a little more direct and uncompromising when he says that some human acts, “have deformity inseparably attached to them, such as fornication, adultery, and others of this sort, which can in no way be done morally.” (Quaestiones Quodlibetales, 9, q. 7, a. 2) This idea is backed up by Pope JPII in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor when he confirms “the absolute validity of negative moral precepts which oblige without exception.” (VS 76)

Call me a rigid traditionalist, but I’m going with the Big Ox on this one.

“If you adjust the lighting just so, squint through your left eye and stand on one leg, what the Pope’s writing seems OK.”

Authentic teachings on faith, doctrine and morals coming from the Chair of Peter shouldn’t be this difficult to interpret. It confuses the laity. It confuses more than a few respectable theologians and cardinals. Didn’t somebody in the New Testament say something along the lines of “Let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ be no?”

If Francis wanted a liberalization of the rules (with its inevitable clash with the words of God Himself), why didn’t he just come out and say so? Instead, he throws together AL and waits to see how various groups of bishops will interpret it. He refused to answer the Dubia, which remains a set of honest questions posed by honest men, and instead kept mum until a bunch of South American bishops came up with the liberal/heterodox interpretation he wanted. Then he declared that those guys’ interpretation of AL was the correct and “magisterial” one.

Since when do we define doctrine and promulgate Church teaching by playing this kind of game? “I’m thinking of a number between one and twenty. Can you guess what it is? If so, you win a prize!”

Yet More Leadership Failures: The Sex Abuse Crisis and the Lavender Mafia.

We’ve seen the train wreck caused by our hierarchy’s handling of the clerical sex abuse crisis. If they weren’t participating directly, they were facilitating cover ups. And if they weren’t facilitating cover ups, they were trying to simply pretend the problem didn’t exist. Once they were called on the carpet, they solemnly assured us that the problem was fixed in 2002. Well, it wasn’t.

Theodore McCarrick. Cdl. Cupich “not going down that rabbit hole.” Cdl. Wuerl “not some massive, massive crisis.” The USCCB attempting to deal with the problem last October, only to suddenly be issued a perplexing “cease & desist” command by Francis, assuring them that everything (everything!) would be fixed at the Feb ’19 “Abuse Summit.” Cupich stepping forward mere seconds after the Vatican’s dictat had been announced, and assuming the role as papal cheerleader, almost as if he had advance knowledge of what was coming from Rome.

As had been predicted by many cynics (myself among them), the much ballyhooed February “summit” completely sidestepped the underlying problem of rampant homosexuality in far too many seminaries, rectories, and chanceries throughout the Church. The discussions focused on the abuse of minors, particularly those young enough to be considered victims of pedophilia, rather than identifying very significant numbers of post-pubescent males as victims of pederasty (which has definite homosexual implications).

To his credit, Pope Francis finally acted to oust McCarrick, and Canon law has been modified to raise the age of consent (which means that a much broader group of victims can be rightly identified as vulnerable minors). And, the pontiff has given occasional lip service to the incompatibility of homosexuality with the priesthood.

And yet, the Lavender Mafia continues to rein supreme within the hierarchy. Remember the fun-filled gay cocaine party at Cdl. Francesco Coccopalmerio’s digs over at his Vatican apartment? The party was so swingin’ hot that the police had to be called in to break it up. Guess who’s still a cardinal in good standing with the Holy Father?

“Yeah, but what about those other two Popes? They did it too!”

This isn’t an overly compelling argument. Failing to address this problem of clerical sex predation decades earlier remains just that: a failure (and one epic in its tragic consequences), regardless of who was at the helm. JP2 and B16 both let us down here as well. Francis, however, is the one currently leading the Church, and his continued promotion of men sympathetic to the whole homosexualist agenda is troubling and destructive.

Bottom Line: Confirmed Heretic or Just a Really Bad Pope?

I am not a sedevacantist. Neither am I in the jury pool for judging a sitting pope’s heresy trial (Spoiler Alert: NOBODY on earth is qualified to do that. The only man capable of judging a pope is a subsequent pope. That may indeed happen at some point in the future, but there’s nothing to be done about it at present. Might as well accept that fact.)

I am, however, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and as such, I am expected to be discerning. Discerning whether or not a cleric (be he priest, pope or cardinal) is talking nonsense is NOT a matter of judging them, but of remaining true to the authentic teachings of the Church which have existed for upwards of two thousand years.

Can we as good Catholics be critical of our priests, theologians, prelates, and even our pope? You bet! (Spoiler Alert #2: I checked GoogleTranslate, and as it turns out, the term “ex cathedra” does not translate as “from an Italian airliner at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic.”) Not everything a pope says must be taken as binding on belief. In a time where the average Catholic is woefully under-catechized or mal-catechized, that subtle distinction is often lost.

Is it a sin to call the pope out when he is engaging in teaching or enacting policies which are dangerous to the Faith? No. (Spoiler Alert #3: The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, NOT the mystical body of the pope—this one or any other!) We are to remain faithful to Christ even when our shepherds are not.

 So…do I declare Pope Francis to be a heretic? I do not. It’s not in my lane. Do I consider him a bad and ineffective pope who is doing more harm than good for the Faith? Yes, definitely, much to my sorrow and consternation. Should the bishops finally come to recognize the gravity of the crisis of faith which is escalating across the Catholic Church and formally address the Holy Father and correcting him where’s he demonstrably wrong? Yes, oh yes. Do I wish that he’d repent of his heterodox teachings, cease sowing confusion and ambiguity, and return to the authentic principles which have animated the Catholic Church since her founding by Christ Himself? With all my heart.

 Our Best Response? PRAY!

Whether you consider Francis the Number One Nicest Guy In The World Today, or something considerably less, we as Catholics have an obligation to pray for him. In fact, the graver your concerns, the more earnest your prayers should be.

 

OK, They Used the “H-Word.” Now What?

Red letters on black background which say "A Question of Heresy." Below that, yellow letters saying "Pray for Holy Mother Church"

They dropped the “H-Word” a few days ago.  It’s effect has been more like an H-bomb.

A group of prominent theologians and scholars (some of them priests) have issued a letter to all the bishops of the world outlining the case that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has committed multiple acts of formal heresy.

This is a big deal.  A terrifying deal.

Accusing Christ’s Vicar on Earth of heresy is one of those things that once said, is extremely difficult to retract.  The people who have done this have effectively ended their careers.  Think of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence:  in so doing, they all but put a British noose around their own necks.  Their signatures sealed their own death warrants.

No, I am not comparing this letter to the Declaration of Independence, nor am I comparing these theologians and scholars with the Founding Fathers of the American republic, so stop what you’re thinking.  What I am saying however, is that the signers of this twenty page letter have taken a step of the utmost gravity, which will have far-reaching consequences for them…and for us.

Back during the Cold War, a group of concerned scientists came up with something that became known as (among other things) the “Doomsday Clock.”  Whenever some incident between the Americans and Soviets served to increase tensions, the minute hand on clock (which was initially set sometime after 11:30 PM-ish) moved another minute closer to midnight, the idea being that once the clock reached midnight, WWIII would start and with it, of course, nuclear Armageddon.

If there is a “Schism Clock” counting down the minutes until a major disaster strikes the Roman Catholic Church, this letter surely must have moved the minute hand a notch or two.

The letter does not read like some sort of tinfoil hat manifesto; far from it.  The people who assembled it cited a series of specific incidents, documented them thoroughly, and provided excerpts from Church Councils, Holy Scripture, and other sources to demonstrate that each incident cited violated one or more critical aspects of Catholic Church teaching/dogma.

Can this document, in and of itself, convict a Roman Pontiff of heresy?  I’m not so sure.  It’s pretty much a given that the pope, being Christ’s Vicar and direct representative on Earth, is subject to the judgement of no man…only Almighty God Himself can sit in judgement of his actions.

And yet, these incidents–most of which I remember having been thoroughly amazed at when they transpired–do seem to directly contradict established Church teaching…or at least muddy them to the point where we laity are thoroughly confused.  A group of Cardinals asked Pope Francis to provide clarification (the famous Dubia of Cardinal Burke, et. al.) on some of the most troubling portions of his document Amoris Laetitia, but rather than providing the asked -for clarity, Francis made a point of completely ignoring them.  That tactic might have been considered a brilliant maneuver in the game of Vatican politics, but it didn’t do much to calm the brewing storm in the Church.  And that storm is reaching typhoon-intensity.

Correspondent Hank Igitur, the “Traditional Roamin’ Catholic,” shares his concerns in the following video, along with a set of recommended resources for those hoping to better understand the crisis which is upon us.

 

Martyrdom, Red and White

This Paschaltide has been like no other in recent memory.  The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral burnt down under circumstances which seemed to be all to readily classified as accidental.  Whether the famed cathedral was the victim of carelessness, an industrial accident, or something more nefarious may never be known.  What is beyond doubt, however, is the act of pure religious hatred which was behind the martyrdom of hundreds of Catholics across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.  It was clearly an act of Islamic terror, and it was difficult for even the most committed globalist to play down that fact. (Oh, but didn’t they try!  “Easter worshippers?” Really???)

Those who were murdered for their faith in Christ are martyrs, witnesses to the Savior who redeemed them.  Palm fronds in hand, they are ready to intercede for us here on Earth if we ask them.

Holy Martyrs of Sri Lanka, pray for us.

Martyrdom comes in two forms.  There’s the red martyrdom, such as took place Easter Sunday 2019 (and every other day of the year) when Christians shed their blood at the hands of those at war with Christ.  There’s also white martyrdom.  This can be thought of as a bloodless martyrdom, where Christians are subjected to hatred, vitriol, persecution, threats of violence, ridicule, social ostracism, and public humiliation.

As CCM correspondent Hank Igitur shows us in the following clip, not every persecutor of Catholics is to be found outside of the Catholic faith…

 

A Sign of Spiritual Conflagration

Image of Notre Dame Cathedral burning, crowds praying, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Many things have been said over the past few days concerning the tragic fire which swept through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  One of the first impressions which hit me was that this could be considered as a type of allegory for the fire which has swept through the Faith since the tumultuous days of the Second Vatican Council.  At the time I’m posting this little article, there has been no definitive determination as to the cause of the cathedral fire.  As for the conflagration which wrecked the Roman Catholic Church herself, more than a few of you consider it a clear-cut case of spiritual arson perpetrated by the “council fathers” and fanned by the so-called “spirit of Vatican II.”

I agree with that assessment as well.

But I’m a lousy writer.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider says it much better (which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the man’s writing).

LifeSite News has a good article on this.  An excerpt:

“According to the auxiliary of Astana, it is also a call to the entire Church to do penance for the spiritual conflagration that has ripped through the Church in the past fifty years.”

““Penance and reparation must also be made for the betrayal of Christ’s explicit command to evangelize all nations without exception,” including the Jewish and Muslim people, he adds.

“God will not indefinitely and shamelessly be mocked by so many Shepherds of the Church today, through their betrayal of the Faith, their sycophantic serving of the world and their neo-pagan worship of temporal and earthly realities,” he says. “To them as well are addressed these words of Christ, ‘I tell you, unless you repent you will all likewise perish’ (Lk 13: 5).””

Read the entire article here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bishop-schneider-notre-dame-fire-sign-of-spiritual-conflagration-in-the-church

« Older Entries