Category Archives: Ecclesiology

4 Ways the “Team Bergoglio” Revelations undo Francis’ papacy

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)

Editorial — Rome, Dec. 7, 2014:  The scandalous and shocking revelations regarding the manipulation of the electoral process during the recent conclave, which elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff, have cut and the very heart of confidence in the papacy of Pope Francis.  While this blog, From Rome, has refrained for 2 weeks from editorializing on the news, in this post, on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, it seems proper to draw out the moral and political consequences of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s revelations for the Catholic World.

As we recalled yesterday:

The Church according to the oft declared teaching of Pope Francis, himself, should not be a place where the powerful silence the weak or hide behind their offices like aristocratic princes, concerning whom no action can be questioned and nothing untoward be imputed, regardless of whether it is true.  For this reason, the “Team Bergoglio” story, whose history has been chronicled here at this blog (see here), represents one of the greatest challenges to the integrity, transparency and honesty of the Bergoglian papacy, if not its very validity in law.

Yet, as that chronicle details, the revelations and denials and the alterations of the narrative published by Dr. Ivereigh, for the reasons Ivereigh gave on his twitter feeds and in recent reports, belie that image.

First of all, because the foundation of popular confidence in any modern government is the fulfilled expectation of fairness in the highest levels of government.  Catholics the world-over, especially those from the more influential, affluent West, who keep the Vatican supplied with funds in the form of alms, have a deep conviction that the selection of the Pope should follow the rules and seek a candidate in an honest manner.  A short-cut of those rules, by a cleverly manipulated maneuver destroys that confidence.  The point is not so much whether such things happened in the past: the whole tenor of ecclesiastical politics since Vatican II has been to break with the traditions of the past, in the name of greater conformity of the Gospel. A return to the carnal machinations of medieval times, thus, will only redound to a loss of respect and confidence in the Papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio.

The disgust at such politic-ing prior to the Conclave was most eloquently expressed by one anonymous commentator, days ago, when he wrote:

A former member of a religious order with American and European members told me that everyone was instructed not to caucus before the order’s elections, and the Americans dutifully complied. Oddly enough, even though the Americans were a majority, the leadership elected was always European. After he left, another former priest who was French confided that the Europeans ALWAYS caucused.

Thus, if the papal law on elections of the Roman Pontiff, known by its Latin title, Universi Dominic Gregis (UDG), specifies that there is to be no vote canvassing of any kind in n. 81 of that document, the advantage had by those who do canvass for votes, is immeasurable, so long as every penalty which could arise from such a high-crime can be avoided.

And it is just that, which every “Team Bergoglio” apologist who has come out of the wood-work in recent days, has advocated:  total impunity for violation of the rules of the Conclave.

This impunity would arise, if UDG 81 imposed a penalty which had no effect as regards the general ecclesiastical law expressed in canon 171, which would otherwise nullify elections in which those penalized by UDG 81 with excommunication participated under the conditions it details.  For if the rules when violated infer upon the guilty no canonical effect, then there are the greatest motives to violate the Conclave rules by all means possible and necessary to get your candidate elected.  Something equivalent, in a perverse sense, to the addage, the victor takes all.

Rules will always be observed by the conscientious; therefore, a just and orderly society must punish severely those who do not follow the rules, for otherwise, the criminal will be advantaged by the mere existence of rules not enforced. And this is diametrically opposed to end for which rules and laws are promulgated.

Second, the discrepancies in the carefully worded denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s claims makes it appear that the claims are true.  This is simple logic.  What Dr. Ivereigh recounts in his book on Pope Francis, The Great Reformer: the Making of a Radical Pope, is given in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact manner, without any intention or motive to make Cardinal Bergoglio appear to be anything other than he is.  It is for that reason a book to be valued for all future historians who wish to know Bergoglio the man.  And for that reason, the testimony of Dr. Ivereigh has a high probity to it.  This probity is the higher in the case of the “Team Bergoglio” allegations, because, as this blog has demonstrated, Dr. Ivereigh was present in Rome for the Conclave in 2013, both before and afterwards, and during that time he confessed to have met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the alleged head of “Team Bergoglio”.  Even the Cardinal himself, as reported here at the From Rome blog, admits to having lead the effort to get Bergoglio elected, and to have had confidence in that effort as of March 12, 2014.

Thus the claim by the English Cardinal, issued by his spokeswoman, Maggie Doherty, in the form of a letter to the editor, in the Nov. 25 Monday edition of the Telegraph newspaper is beyond belief for its form and content.  In it, Doherty declares that the English Cardinal did not obtain the assent of Cardinal Bergoglio to campaign for him.  Who is there, in the entire world, who thinks that Cardinals of the Roman Church, renowned for their sense of propriety and good-manners, would ever canvass for votes prior to asking the prospective candidate for his consent? Why would a Cardinal spend so much time organizing such an effort, if the candidate himself had not expressed formal explicit consent?  And why would any Cardinals cooperate with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor in such a campaign, if he had told them that Cardinal Bergoglio had not given his consent.  There were no restrictions on movement during the Conclave: any Cardinal could have confirmed with Cardinal Bergoglio his views on such a matter.  If Cardinal Bergoglio did not give his assent by word or sign, the campaign would never have gotten off the ground. For these reasons the denial given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, if it is not entirely false, must be wholly misleading:  consent must have been given, those asking for such a consent and those giving it, therefore, must either be those denied for having done so, or intermediaries which they chose for this purpose, so as to provide a plausible deniability to the affair.

The carefully worded denial, issued by means of unofficial channels by Fr. Frederico Lombardi leads to the same conclusion.  That denial, in our own unofficial English translation from the Italian, declared in Fr. Lombard’s name:

I can declare that all of the four Cardinals, just named, explicitly deny this description of the facts, both as much as regards the request of prior consent on the part of Cardinal Bergoglio, and as much as regards the conduction of a campaign for his election, and (that) they desire to be known that they are stupefied and opposed to what has been published.

For it is morally impossible that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor by himself could have conducted such a campaign, as he and the Pope both admitted to (reported in the Wall Street Journal article from August 6, 2013) without the assistance of other Cardinals.  And as the English Cardinal admitted in his interview with the Catholic Herald last year, he was recognized by the newly elected Pope for having been chiefly responsible.  The claims, therefore, by his former secretary, who admitted publicly to having had meet with his former boss, “the other day”, in his March 12, 2013 BBC appearance, that he did organize it in company with other Cardinals cannot be dismissed.  Especially since another report, by journalists of the Wall Street Journal, published in August of 2013, expressly names Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and another alleged member of “Team Bergoglio”, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, USA, as having attended a dinner for the express purpose of discussing candidates for the Papal Throne in the days prior to the Conclave’s opening on March 12th.  Thus, one arrives as the same conclusion as before:  the denial given by Fr. Lombardi must be discounted as either entirely false, or wholly misleading.  The manner in which it was given, though a blog, rather than in the presence of journalists accredited to the Vatican, makes it appear also, as being given to squelch further inquiry, rather than to truthfully put a false controversy to an end. Finally, no denials have been issued regarding other alleged members of “Team Bergoglio”: Cardinals O’Malley and Santos Abril y Castello.

Third, since the very nature of the Catholic Church is a society internally bound together by the mutual and voluntary commitment of it members, the consequences of grave and substantial doubt, as has been raised by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal will be the diminishing of and/or unraveling of such unity of moral commitment.  This is because, before God, Catholics believe deeply that they are not obliged to obey a superior who does not hold his office legitimately, in accord with the fundamental rules of the Church, known as Canon Law.  This is especially true, when a superior commands something which subjects believe or recognize as incoherent with the Catholic Faith.  The revelations of Dr. Ivereigh add to this, since the whole purpose of his book is to show that the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenas Aires has spent his entire ecclesiastical career promoting a concept of faith which is completely at odds with that which has been taught by the Catholic Church for 2000 years:  a non-dogmatic pratical approach, which would promise salvation to all without any —or at least much less — necessary discipleship to Christ Jesus as teacher of truth, doctrine or morals.

Fourth, since as much as the Catholic faithful, especially clergy and religious come to believe that the results of the 2013 Conclave are invalidated by the machinations of “Team Bergoglio”, expressly penalized with excommunication by UDG 81, the more opportunity will arise for outright rebellion and schism in the Church against the rule of Pope Francis.  For if he is not validly elected, and if the members of “Team Bergoglio” are excommunicated, then Catholics must refuse communion with them all.

For all these reasons, we believe that the truth of the “Team Bergoglio” affair needs to be revealed and a most severe punishment needs to be leveled; and all doubt as to the validity of Pope Francis’ election must be removed.  And there seems no way to do that, in a manner that would be acceptable to all, unless as UDG n. 5 lays out, the College of Cardinals is convened in special consistory, into which Pope Francis enters with the humility necessary to abdicate if necessary.  For there is no greater love, than to lay down one’s papacy for the sake of the salvation of the consciences of the weak little lambs in Christ’s Fold.

For a complete list of our coverage on Team Bergoglio and a list of reports from major news outlets the world over on it, see here.

Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

AustenPresentsBook
(Screen shot, of Dr. Ivereigh’s twitter timeline: Nov. 21, 2014 A. D.)

Rome, Nov. 27, 2014:  Last Friday, His Holiness Pope Francis had the occasion to receive from Dr. Austen Ivereigh, a copy of his new book, the Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope which unbeknownst to both men, would within a week be the cause of great consternation for them both.

As John Bingham, a reporter for the Telegraph, in the UK, reported the next day, Dr. Ivereigh’s book contained the stunning revelation that certain supporters of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio — whom he names, “Team Bergoglio”— canvassed for his support in the days prior to the Conclave of 2013.

The Curious denial of Ivereigh

A key fact alleged in the book, namely, that Cardinal Bergoglio expressly consented to the work of Team Bergoglio, was denied in a letter published on the Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, by Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.  The text of that letter reads:

Denial

As I surmised, yesterday, here at the From Rome blog, in my article entitled, If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, the version of events reportedly asserted in Ivereigh’s book, presents the opportunity of a grave canonical challenge to the validity of Pope Francis’ election to the office of Roman Pontiff.

Maggie Doherty’s statement is remarkable for several reasons.

The first of which, is that Dr. Ivereigh is, himself, a former secretary to Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, a close confident as any Cardinal could have, someone who would be de officio familiar and friendly with all the friends and colleagues of the Cardinal the world over, seeing that it would have been his duty to interact and communicate daily with each and every one of them.  From such experience, Dr. Ivereigh could have legitimately acquired a vast network of contacts from which he could have first hand information of all which regarded the events prior to the Conclave of 2013; information which could be freely offered him, since the Apostolic Constitution regarding the elections of the Roman Pontiff (Universi Dominici Gregis), penalizes only the divulging of information regarding affairs which occurred in or during the conclave itself.

The second of which, I mentioned yesterday, is that if there were no adverse consequences of the facts presented in Dr. Ivereigh’s book, the Great Reformer, then there would be no need for Maggie Doherty to issue a denial, let alone in the form of a letter to the editor!

The third remarkable aspect of her letter is that it speaks only of Cardinal Bergoglio, and denies only that he was approached or consented to the canvassing of votes.  This denial makes it appear that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was acting, in divulging it, to protect the reputation of the Pope, perhaps, even on the request of the Vatican Secretary of State.

The fourth remarkable aspect is that she denied only the activities of Cardinals, and said nothing regarding the activities of Bishops or priests or others who may have been involved.

The fifth remarkable aspect is that Maggie Doherty says, “What occurred during the Conclave … is bound by secrecy”.  This is grammatically and canonically not correct.  All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution are bound to keep secrecy. (Cardinals promise this in n. 12; all participating are bound to secrecy in n. 47; there is an entire Chapter, the fourth, on it; and in n. 47).  And in n. 58 of that document, the penalty of excommunication is imposed for its violation. But if the Pope permits, this secrecy can be broken. So it is not the events that are bound, but the persons.  Her statement is remarkable in this respect, because it speaks of an undue haste in its composition, without the counsel, at least, of an expert in canon law to review it. (This argues for the possibility that she wrote the letter at the personal request of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, which we shall now see, Ivereigh would confirm).

The Thicket into which Ivereigh fell on that account

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, hours after the publication of Doherty’s letter to the editor — and after the publication of my own questioning blog post (If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, which drew out and explicated the canonical problem resulting from the reported claims of his book) —  retracted what he said on his Twitter Feed, at 3 AM on Nov. 25, writing in reference to the print edition of his book, already on sale in the USA/UK:

“They secured his assent” (p. 355) shd have read “They believed he wd not oppose his election”. Will amend in future eds.

Which is Twitter abbreviated speak, I surmise and explicate, for:

Where I wrote, “They secured his assent” on p. 355, it should have read, “They believe he would not oppose his own election.”  I will amend this in future editions of my book, The Great Reformer.

In another tweet, Dr. Ivereigh included the image of Doherty’s letter, with the message:

+CMOC clarifies in today’s Daily Telegraph letters page

Which lets us know that Doherty acted at the express direction of the Cardinal; somewhat reluctantly admitted, with the positive spin therein, by Dr. Ivereigh.  All this within the first week of the books publication!

All this, so far, by way of introduction. Now, I will cut to the chase, as it were:

Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

What Ivereigh has, nevertheless, alleged and yet not denied, and what Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has not yet denied, as far as I know, is that votes were canvassed.

And paragraph 81 of John Paul II’s law, Universi Domini Gregis, makes that an excommunicatable offense.  Yesterday, I erred, when I said “certain” form of canvassing was prohibited. Today, looking at the Latin original of the law, it appears rather than all forms of vote canvassing are prohibited.

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

 This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when with a foreswearing, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

Now, the problem which arises for Pope Francis, from this, I have pointed out in my blog post yesterday, namely, that an election in which those who might fall under excommunication for violation of this law, expressed in n. 81, might be contested as to its validity.  This on account of the general norm of Canon Law (canon 171,  § 2), which expressly declares invalid the elections of those who obtained the required number only in virtue of votes of those who were  excommunicated at the time of the election (cf. 171, § 1, 3°).

Such excommunication could be by special or general declaration, of a superior or by a law.  Thus, the papal Law on Elections.

The sticky wicket, as it were, is that the common objection one hears to such formerly hypothetical discussions is that paragraph n. 35, of the Apostolic Constitution withstands this interpretation.

Let’s quote that here, for the importance that it is due.  The text of this paragraph was slightly altered by Pope Benedict XVI, in his decree, Normals nonnullas, just a month before the conclave of 2013.  The modified text reads:

No. 35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of Nos. 40 and 75 of this Constitution.”

(The small addition of the citation to n. 75, is all that was made.)

Any objection on the basis of paragraph 35, which would counter the claim of an invalid election on account of excommunicated voters, seems very probable at first inspection, but fails the test of a strict reading of papal law.

Because, if paragraph 35 excused doubt of the validity of an election in which excommunicated Cardinal electors participated, as a similar provision in the law of Pope Pius XII did do, then, there would have been no need for Pope John Paul II in his own law, which abrogated all the terms of previous papal laws specifically regarding Papal Elections, to state in n. 78 (see yesterdays report for text) the necessity of indulging an election, in which simony was involved, with validity, to remove all such doubts arising from a general norm of canon law or a specific penalty regarding simony. And thus, if there is a general norm or specific penalty which invalidates elections for other reasons, then one must presume it remains in force (cf. Canons 20 & 21).

Moreso, because paragraph 35 does not regard specifically the validity of elections, only the right of the Cardinals to vote  But Canon 171, § 2 does not deny the right of excommunicated electors to vote, only the validity of elections in which they participate. These are 2 separate things; and according to the norms of canonical interpretation, the distinction must be recognized as that which was intended by the legislator.² This interpretation seems more probable, because of Canon 164, which applies the entire section of canons regarding elections to all ecclesiastical elections,³ and because of the norm of canonical interpretation, that laws which do not expressly or directly conflict, are not to be understood as doing so. Thus, the failure to explicitly include the words “or excommunication” in paragraph 35 of UDG, lends to the credence that it does not abrogate Canon 171, § 1, 3°, the validity of the election in which such voters participating, being apparently annulled in some such cases, consequently, in virtue of Canon 171, §2.

Thus, the allegations of Ivereigh + the terms of Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 81 = a Radical problem for the legitimacy of Cardinal Bergoglio’s claim to the Papacy.

_________________________________

FOOTNOTES

¹ And this without any apparent reference to Canon 171.  For just as it seems incredible that Pope John Paul II in UDC would allow the mad (Canon 171, § 1, 1°) or the schismatic (4°) to vote; hence, similarly, neither those mentioned in 3°, the excommunicated. Thus, it seems more probable that paragraph 35 in UDC is reaffirms the right of the Cardinals not to fall under of Canon 171, § 1, 2° by any claim that might arise during the Conclave from other Cardinals’ accusations.

² However, I remain in the opinion, regarding these matters, as one who is a mere student of Canon Law, not an expert, and certainly not as one whose opinion on how to read it, is anything probative of itself.

³ Including Conclaves: cf. the commentary contained in Codice di Diritto Canonico, a cura di Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Colletti a San Pietro 2004, p. 163.

(Updated Nov. 29 15:15 Rome time)

If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?

Denial

London, Nov. 25, 2014 — A remarkable letter to the editor, if ever there was one. A denial, which draws more attention, than the matter would otherwise merit.  In today’s Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, denies a key fact in the reporting by Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who just published a book exposing a concerted effort among Cardinals of the Roman Church to canvass for votes on behalf of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the days prior to the Conclave of March 2013, which elected the latter as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.  The on-line edition of the Telegraph has a short story about this, by John Bingham, which opens thus:

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, helped to orchestrate a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis, a new biography claims.

The Election of Pope Francis has seen a great deal more publicity than any in modern times, especially concerning the remarkable novelty of revelations coming from Cardinals themselves — remarkable, since according to papal law, to make such revelations is punished by automatic excommunication!

The papal law is Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Feats of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 1996 A.D..  The key paragraphs regarding this excommunication are as follows:

  1. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
  2. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.

However, today’s denial regards another requirement of the papal law, regarding Conclaves: the express prohibition of canvassing for votes prior to the commencement of the Conclave.  John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution of 1996 makes that a high-crime, punishable by automatic excommunication.

  1. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
  2. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
  3. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

The Reason for the Press-Secretary’s Denial is now manifest

If Maggie Doherty had not gone to the lengths of issuing a denial in such language, I would never have taken notice.  But now that she has, having consulted the papal law on Conclaves, it appears manifest why she has.  If Austen Ivereigh’s book contains verifiable evidence that any of the Cardinals who voted for Jorge Mario Bergoglio canvassed for votes in the manner forbidden, especially if he tacitly consented to this, then by that very fact (ipso facto) they fell under the penalty of excommunication in the same moment they agreed to do such and/or did such. And, if Bergoglio tacitly agreed (that is, had knowledge, and consented without opposing what they were doing), then he, too, would have been excommunicated prior to the Conclave.

Does this mean that the Papal election was invalid?

But if what  Austen Ivereigh alleges, did happen, would the election of Pope Francis be null and void?  The grounds for this are entirely different from those alleged in Antonio Socci’s best-selling book in Italy, Non è Francesco, (He is not Francis: i.e. he should not be called Pope Francis), which is based on the fact that on March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected by 5 votes, when the papal law only allows 4. Or the challenge now being brought in the Petition to the College of Cardinals, which regards 3 canonical questions which arise from the violations of the penalties imposed by the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Trent, and Pope Paul IV.

Let us take a look at the papal law, again.  It is very important to note, what Pope John Paul II says in the previous paragraph, n. 78:

78. If — God forbid — in the election of the Roman Pontiff the crime of simony were to be perpetrated, I decree and declare that all those guilty thereof shall incur excommunication latae sententiae. At the same time I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision, in order that — as was already established by my Predecessors — the validity of the election of the Roman Pontiff may not for this reason be challenged.(23)

Paragraph 78, regards the buying or selling of votes; which does not seem what Ivereigh has alleged; for when votes are bought and sold, then the validity of the election which would otherwise be worthy of doubt or challenge, is, according to Pope John Paul II’s law, free from ever being so challenged (which he does with the words: “I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision”). Simony is the crime of buying or selling spiritual things, in this case, of votes, with the promise of monies paid in advance.

However, as regards, however, the excommunications leveled for canvassing, Pope John Paul II does not remove the nullity or invalidity of the election.

This leaves the question, whether the election of Pope Francis could be challenged now?

It seems at least possible, since it is not a question of the invalidity of an election on the basis of the fact that Cardinals were excommunicated on account of vote canvassing, but on account of a certain sort of coercion of the process to elect the Pope, which process must guarantee the liberty of the Cardinals to chose a Pope in a manner free from the deceits and maneuvers of worldly politics.

This doubt of the validity of the election is what seems to be implied by the Press-Secretary’s denial.  Because, if it were only a question of a Cardinal’s excommunication for violating secrecy or canvasing votes, he could easily appeal to Pope Francis to be pardoned and the excommunication lifted.  Indeed, what victorious candidate, now Pope, would not pardon the Cardinals who helped him get elected, if they did canvass for votes?  Thus, it certainly seems to the thoughtful reader, that there may be some more urgent reason for the denial. …  Cui prodest?

Addendum of Nov. 26, 3PM GT

I had a look at the general norms in the 1983 Code of Canon law regarding canonical elections and found some confirmatory information.  There in Canon 171, there are these stunning requirements for a valid election:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

1/ a person incapable of a human act;
2/ a person who lacks active voice;
3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

The importance of this Canon, I opine, is thus:  if what Ivereigh alleges in his book, is true, and the manner of canvassing votes is that penalized with automatic excommunication, then the Cardinals who did this, and Cardinal Bergoglio — if he expressly consented, as Ivereigh’s print edition says he did — would be excommunicated prior to the begining of the Conclave; and the election would be null and void, on the grounds that the 32 votes Bergolio received in the first round of voting (as reports allege, which votes are presumably nearly or mostly those who participated in the vote canvassing) would be null and void, coming as they did from excommunicated electors. That would make the 78 votes which Cardinal Bergoglio got in the final 5th vote, to be insufficient to elect him. (I am no canonist, so this is my opinion, though I have studied the tract on Canonical Censures at a Pontifical Instititute at Rome).

Postscript

Having carefully read the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, of Pope John Paul II, and that modification of Pope Benedict XVI, Normas nonnullas, I find it very curious that neither specifies explicitly who is eligible to be elected Pope. Even the 1983 code is silent. This is a serious deficiency, since the Bull of Pope Paul IV does specify this, and thus, if this matter is not included specifically in modern legislation, the terms of Pope Paul IV’s, Cum ex apostolatus officio, seem to remain in force. (If any canonists know, please leave a comment below, Thanks!).

FOLLOW UP REPORTS:

Nov. 27, 2014: Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for Pope Francis

Catholics petition the College of Cardinals to judge validity of Pope Francis

imagesEditor’s note:  Here at the From Rome Blog, I have stated that it is not my interest to cover news articles.  Yet, being born and raised in the United States, I have a great appreciation for the right of citizens, subjects and the faithful, to make known to their superiors what they believe is for the common good of the society they belong to.  This is a natural right in every human society, from the family to the State, and even in the Church.  For that reason, I consider it a duty, as the editor of the From Rome Blog, and as a member of the Diocese of Rome, to make known to my fellow Catholics the existence of this petition. I also believe, that I have a grave duty to make known to the princes of the Church of Rome, our Cardinals, who are the chief members of the clergy of my Diocese, the existence of this petition.

Here is the link to the petition, where you can see how many have signed it, as of the present, and read something more about the motives and purpose of the petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis

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Note: I previously published the text of the petition on this blog, but from my stats, it seems that many are confusing my blog post for the petition. The link contains the petition. This post is only reporting its existence.

Tactics of Manipulation used by Modernists against Catholics

2004-passion-of-the-christ-7I do not claim to be an expert. I am sure that there are many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laymen who have better knowledge of such things than myself. But in my nearly 30 years of personal experience in Ecclesiastical institutions or as a religious/hermit, I have noticed some patterns of deception and manipulation, which I believe in conscience I am obliged to name, explicate, so that Catholic Faithful at Rome and around the world might take guard against them.

“Manipulation”, in the dark sense of the word, is a way of misleading, maneuvering, deforming, altering, etc., the mind, actions or even words or reactions of another, to serve one’s own goals.  When the victim is a faithful Catholic and the perpetrator is a modernist, you have a very evil and wicked malice at work.  Yet, to those who know anything of the history of the Church during the last 100 years or more, the Modernists have honed to perfection many methods of manipulating Catholics to serve their own abominable conspiracy to overthrow the true Church of Christ, from within, using the very institutions and offices of the Church, established by Christ and by ecclesiastical tradition, against Her.

Having studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, I was trained in the methods of participant observation, which is a way of learning about a subculture’s mores, rules, ethics, behaviors, by sharing or keeping company with them.  I never consciously used this method, but now, after many years of fighting against Modernists, I will take a moment to step back and analyze and categorize some of the methods of manipulation I have seen or learned first hand against faithful clergy, religious and laity.

 The Church, being the perfect society founded by the Incarnate Word of God, enjoys an order of society which enables Her to achieve the end which God have Her, the honor and glory of God through the worship of God and the salvation of Souls.  This being the case, the Modernists, who believe in no God, but only in the god of personal sentiments, thus have an upward battle if they are to use the very things of the Church to overthrow the Church from within.

Alas, however, since many modernists have been members of the clergy, and this throughout the last 180 years or so, they have had the ability to use all the forms of clerical and moral corruption, known beforehand, to their end.  They have also had the assistance of the general moral degradation which has been promoted by the Free Masons in the West (and not only in the West), which has led many a Catholic to be disposed to be easily deceived about what constitutes Christian virtue and ecclesiological justice and honesty.

In former ages, we read of the heroic and saintly Bishops who did not hesitate to threaten unfaithful Catholics, Kings, Dukes, Princes, Mayors, Scholars, even the Pope, with excommunication if they did not stop from their pubic sins or injustices.  There are cases, where immoral bishops, were taken outside of the town walls and hung from a tree by the Catholic faithful, to rid the local church of their vile depravities.  There are cases where laymen shot corrupt priests dead for the crimes they perpetrated against children or families.

In the modern age, with all our institutions of civil and ecclesiastical justice, we are apt to look down upon the Catholics of former ages, who understood that in some cases, waiting for lengthy procedures would only endanger the public good the more. They understood that after some point, the depravity of a man could be such that he merited no longer the customary due process accorded to the merely suspected of a crime. They also understood that obedience to an evil command did not absolve from the sin of collaboration or participation in the evil commanded.  Former ages enjoyed a sense of personal honor and manliness that is rarely admired and even more rarely tolerated in modern times.  Indeed, corrupt and evil men have all kinds of words to lambast such honorable men.

The decline of morals in the West did not begin with the Age of the Enlightenment, yet, Rationalists of that age started a trend which has been greatly exploited by Modernists (even though Modernists are sentimentalists not rationalists): that trend is the use of deprecatory language to subvert the sentiments of Catholics away from admiration of virtue, especially away from admiration of heroic virtue.

You can see that effect palpably in the common and vulgar opinions some men, even clergymen, have of the Saints of old.  The most striking example I know of personally, is the comment made by a priest, now deceased, who remarked to me one day, after he read a very short life of Saint Francis of Assisi, that if anyone did such penances today, he should certainly be locked up in a mental asylum. To which I replied, with not a little shock, “Do you mean that just today, or is Saint Francis any less suspect for having done them long ago”. He replied that he was no less suspect, and added, “I have great difficulty understanding why such a man was ever made a saint”.  (This priest, by the way, died of being too overweight by about 200 pounds.)

 Ah, what has happened to that age of chivalry and honesty, where even a sloucher or glutton admitted that the diligent and abstemious man was virtuous? Is modern man so ignorant, as to not understand, that it is one thing to be virtuous, another to admire virtue; and that if you are not at least the first kind of man, that you can at least save your honor by being the second?

God forbid, however — as the Modernists think and consider the matter — that there even exist in the Church the second kind of man, the man who actually admires the heroic virtue of the Saints of old!

And here we have the first tactic in the tool box of manipulations, used by Modernists:

1. Denigrate what is best, and make it the enemy of all the rest.

You see, if the Modernists are to prevail in the Church, they must put into practice some of the general tactics of the fallen angels, because the Church, being principally a spiritual society, Her strength lies principally in spiritual things.  Now there is nothing more principally spiritual in a believer than his virtue, and the prince of all virtue is the virtue to the heroic degree.  Consequently, to shut out all possibility of this most spiritual enemy of Modernism, the first and prime spiritual goal is to ostracize and exile heroic virtue.  And this is done chiefly by denigration.

Denigration of what is best is the first tactic to employ, because when the best is no longer seen as the best, the soul and the society no longer strives to reach the proper goal by the only methods which can attain that goal. Giving up the only tools to arrive at that goal, one guarantees in the very first instance, that the Catholic side of the battle will not and will never win; and that the battle will continue interminably, without victory for the Catholic party.

This denigration has gone on for many generations now: Rationalists did this by debunking the lives of the Saints, debunking the authenticity and authority and veracity of Scripture; by debunking the normalcy and authority of Tradition; by debunking the sanity of heroic virtue, by recourse to modern false sciences of psychology and psychiatry as the “true” authorities on human behavior.  This could not be done without despising and denigrating Scholastic Theology and Philosophy.

The result of such a campaign of denigration, is a Catechism of Denigration, induction to which is common place in Catholic Seminaries today, throughout the whole world; and especially so in the Pontifical Universities at Rome, where the majority of professors believe education means debunking every historical, theological, moral, ethical, religious, liturgical ideal which a seminarian might bring with him to Rome.

Simultaneous, to this work of denigration, is the work of substitution.  After railing against the ideals which the Church has from Christ, the Apostles or from the Holy Spirit in the Saints, it is necessary but easy to suggest and laud the ideals and criteria which prevail in modern times, and this, in the name of being “acceptable”, “up to date”, “normal”, “middle of the road”, etc.. Thus to virtue, we have sound & healthy psychology; to faith in scripture, the critical historical method of rationalistic interpretation; to Christian charity, social justice work; to preaching, neutralizing rhetorics; to worship of God, worship of self or of man; to Tradition, the modernist reading of Vatican II (holding that it is obligatory and dogmatic just like, nay, better than Vatican I) etc..

2. Identify and root out the “non-compliant”, “intransigent”, “rigorists”, those who take the Faith “too seriously”.

The work of denigration provides the best context for the second method or tool of manipulation: identifying those who have such virtue as to resist or oppose the denigration of the best. Social cohesion and the insistence that one not be divisive, not jeopardize approval of superiors who hold the keys to the formation process, are powerful emotional threats used to cajole acquiescence to the program of denigration.  If this fails, then one moves easily to accusing the resistant of being “rigorists”, “ideologues”, “intransigent”, simply because they resist the process of denigration.  Few, in such an emotionally charged atmosphere as the Seminary or Pontifical University where denigration has replace formation and information, have the spiritual balance to notice that it is precisely in this personal attack of those who resist, that there becomes manifest the actual ideals of the denigrators; ideals which are contrary or opposite of those which Catholics should hold. Many, beholden to a “follow the group”, “don’t rock the boat”, ethic, easily succumb to such an attack, those who don’t, thus, are then easily isolated and separated from the group, when the attacks move from opposing ideals of the Faith, to denigrating those who show loyalty to them.  With all the filters Modernists now have in society and in ecclesiastical institutions today, it will be few vocations who show such fortitude and resistance, it is thus easy then to divide them from the group and from others in the group who would give moral support.

This separation is a necessary part of the re-education program of the Modernists.  Insistence on attending certain Pontifical Universities is a sure sign that re-education is the goal.  It is not that re-education is the necessity, but a seminarian or religious has to be very knowledgeable and virtuous beforehand, to survive without being scathed.  Such a man is a rare breed today, though.

One effective tool in this work of weeding out the virtuous, is the system of falsification of formation and formators.  In seminaries the Modernists most capable of appearing Catholics and most knowledgeable in how to flip a Catholic to a Modernist, or at least to a complaint do-nothing, are placed in the roles of Confessors, Spiritual Directors, and Vocation Directors, Rectors, or other formators.  This is important so that not only the gate-keepers but the counselors of the victims conscience are compromised, so that if he seeks help and guidance, he is guaranteed to get  advice that will do him in; either by advising compliance, silence, or excesses which will guarantee expulsion or exclusion, or serving as pretexts for such.  Indeed, a common tactic, is to propose friendship and sympathy for the victim, with the condition that he compromise in something, which will only prologue his ordeal and wear down his resistance.

These two tactics, Denigration and Identification/Segregation regard individuals. Now, let us consider the cases of groups.

3. Disfavor initiatives aimed at promoting the Faith in a non-compromised manner

In regard to groups, distinct but similar tactics must be employed.  In the age following the diffusion of the errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism, many a person has come to accept in principle that obedience to a superior is never wrong, even when a superior commands to be done that which is wrong.  A whole host of excuses is given, but to the group which is poorly formed in the Faith and immeshed in the errors of the present age, the power of the accusation of disobedience to a superiors commands or disfavor in regard to superior’s wishes is never to be discounted. How many holy initiatives, works of the Holy Spirit’s suggestions, have come to naught since Vatican II simply because someone whispered, “The Bishop won’t like that”, or “the current Pope does not favor that”, etc..!

Mind you, the Catholic Faith aims to please God alone; when a superior’s wishes diverge from what God has revealed to be pleasing to Himself, either in scripture, or throughout the course of the ages in the Saints’ and their works, then the faithful should have the common sense to ignore his wishes, no? You’d think so; but, alas, this sense of integrity is rare today.  Only when Catholics by long years of good works come to understand the profound connection between them and the  Faith which comes from Christ, do they have any interior conviction to question such an evil suggestion as, “the Bishop won’t like that” holy proposal.

The errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism have become so widespread, that many Catholics no longer hold their pastors or Bishops’ to be their shepherds, they now consider them to be their “heads” and “hearts” proper! Content with the satisfaction of their daily lives and common pleasures, and rarely prepared by modern culture to have a sense of personal dignity which is founded in loyalty to Christ first and foremost, few initiatives, even holy initiatives, of Catholics, whether laymen or clergy or religious, withstand a concerted or long process of Modernist manipulation tactics.  The fortitude is simply lacking; the clarity of judgement too poor; the heroic virtue, not something they have every prayed the Lord to give them.

4. Accuse of Disobedience, especially after unreasonable or unlawful requests

Accusations of disobedience are a grave matter, since the Code of Canon Law especially identifies these as a grounds for imposing censures or penalties.  Most Catholics when accused, do not have the clarity of mind or knowledge of the faith to distinguish a just command which should be obeyed, from an unjust or unreasonable one which should not or could be ignored.  The mere stigma of not doing what a superior has commanded, is so strong in modern times (despite the false exaltation of liberty) that nearly no group escapes from such an accusation.  What results is disintegration, internal divisions, which render the group non-effective in its holy proposals, or so divided, as to dissolve; in any event, the mere accusation when leveled is sufficient to guarantee that a group be exterminated from the life of the Church, if the Bishop should so wish, or even, to obtain complete acquiescence to the Modernist agenda in the Church as the penance necessary to remove the stigma.  This is why a reasonable or just request, refused, need not be the basis of the accusation.

Now let me adjoin some commentary on the so-called negotiations which have been required of Catholic groups since the Council, which have “dared” to resist the Modernist reformulation of the Faith.

5. Require negotiations for reconciliation

I have always wondered just why some groups are required “to be reconciled” so as to obtain favor or approval from superiors, where it is rather the superiors who have been known for years, decades, even their entirely priestly lives, for deviations from the Faith or right ecclesiastic practices.

The reason may be, that the opportunities to be had from negotiating the reconciliation of such groups provides a powerful social-psychological force for demanding and obtaining compliance.  Social-physchology is the study of how groups behave and interact in such wise as to influence the behavior of individuals and individuals of groups. The mere announcement of an offer of reconciliation makes the imposition of the requirement of negotiations all the more noteworthy, the object of much emotion and speculations.  The hope that persecution and justice will be granted, is combined with the natural desire of the victim to exit the suffering imposed so unjustly.  It is a powerful magnetic force, therefore, to propose to the abused a negotiation with the abuser to stop the abuse.  It also sets up the context where any discussion of the injustice or abuse appears not to be useful to obtain the needed reconciliation.

For this reason, I ask, just why is it that some groups, and not all groups or all Catholics, are required to accept by written signature the legitimacy, authority, or doctrines of the Second Vatican Council?  If the Fathers of the Council had the liberty to choose to sign or not to sign, and if the  Council did not in any anathema or canon obliged its acceptance or the acceptance of any of its pastoral proposals, why is it then that such written acceptance is required?

I believe the reason is, that such a written document, can serve very ably in coercing and guaranteeing compliance, and in shutting off the ways of escaping from further abuse, when the malice or perfidy of one party might later become evident.  After all, that is the reason for every peace treaty between disputants, is it not, to guarantee compliance of the weaker party?

Thus, if the Modernists simply falsely accuse their opponents of being schismatics, or in danger of schism, as has frequently and recently been done by some Bishops, it becomes very easy to propose reconciliation as a condition for being pardoned of the false charges.

In truth, Catholics need not compromise, reconcile or negotiate with Modernists; they need only to refuse false obedience and false acceptance when and wherever it is offered. Rather, it is Catholics who should preach and demand repentance of the Modernists, their resignations and their removal from office, howsoever high it be.

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Just hours after the publication of this Article, Pope Francis directed AB Parolin, his Secretary of State, to publish a Rescript in which he claims the right, in Art. 5, thereof, to depose any bishop for any reason after a fraternal dialogue.

Cf. http:// press.vatican.va / content / salastampa / it / bollettino / pubblico / 2014 / 11 / 05 / 0821 / 01739.html

To use the link, simply remove the spaces before and after the / symbols.

Bergoglio’s Past Catches up with him, with a vengeance

I have intently watched the Papacy of Pope Francis, from the first day of his election as Roman Pontiff.  Though I am a resident in Rome, I did not go to St. Peter’s square to see who would be elected, since I had a chest cold, and did not want to make it worse.

But, I confess to be one of the many who were enthused by his election, especially of his name selection, “Francis”, after the saintly founder of my Order, St. Francis of Assisi.  So much was my confidence, that I am among the first to write him a letter, which he received on the first day of his Petrine ministry, and which one of his secretaries confirmed by calling me — Though I never got a response to my request.

With the loud and clamorous and scandalous happenings at Synod 14, I became more certain that if there were anything about his background which was untoward, that some journalist would reveal it.  Indeed, from the first day of his election, the media have been exceedingly supportive of Bergoglio, and thus there have been almost no reports about his background, childhood, family, upbringing.

Today, on October 14, Sandro Magister, one of the leading Vaticanistas (that is, journalist who reports on Vatican affairs), published a very telling exposé of Pope Francis, with specific reference to the kind of pastoral practice he promoted at Buenas Aires as Archbishop.  You can read the official English translation of that article, here.

The really damning evidence is referred to in this paragraph of Magister’s report (Bold Facing and Coloring not in the original):

On communion for the divorced and remarried, it is already known how the pope thinks. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authorized the “curas villeros,” the priests sent to the peripheries, to give communion to all, although four fifths of the couples were not even married. And as pope, by telephone or letter he is not afraid of encouraging some of the faithful who have remarried to receive communion without worrying about it, right away, even without those “penitential paths under the guidance of the diocesan bishop” projected by some at the synod, and without issuing any denials when the news of his actions comes out.

The entire affair is outrageously sacrilegious and offensive.  Because to put Our Lord, Who is truly, really, and substantially present in the Sacrament, into the hands or mouth of someone in mortal sin, is to crucify Him anew.  And to order such a thing done, is a horrendous monstrosity.

But, I am particularly troubled that Magister seems to have indicated, in the text I have highlighted in red, that this was done with the omission of any encouragement to attend confession, nay, with the apparent implication that omitting confession was encouraged.

This is particularly grievous, because such a doctrine and teaching such a practice was condemned by the infallible and Ecumenical Council of Trent, in its 13th session, and XI canon, which is found here, the text of which is:

CANON XI.-lf any one saith, that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist; let him be anathema. And for fear lest so great a sacrament may be received unworthily, and so unto death and condemnation, this holy Synod ordains and declares, that sacramental confession, when a confessor may be had, is of necessity to be made beforehand, by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, how contrite even soever they may think themselves. But if any one shall presume to teach, preach, or obstinately to assert, or even in public disputation to defend the contrary, he shall be thereupon excommunicated.

I do not see how Bergoglio as Archbishop could habitually conduct such a practice in his Archdiocese if he did not teach or preach to his clergy at least, that such a practice was licit, allowed, or proper, all of which would have put him under the pain of excommunication from the day he first began to teach such an omission of penance before reception of communion by public sinners.

Obviously this needs to be investigated and the testimony of the faithful in the Archdiocese needs to be heard.

Also, experts in canon law need to be questioned, whether this excommunication imposed by Trent is latae sententiae or ferendae, that is, whether one falls immediately under this punishment when committing the act condemned, or whether the Pope would have to impose it.

This is important, because in the decree of Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, an Archbishop who was under the sentence of excommunication could not be validly named a Cardinal, and such a Cardinal could not be validly elected Pope (cf. in particular, n. 2, especially in its final paragraph; n. 6).

It is another, thornier question, whether a Pope saying that communion can be given to impenitent public sinners, without the requirement of confessing their sins and repenting, would be excommunicated by the excommunication handed down in Trent, Session 34, Canon XI.  If he has counseled this even over the telephone, then he would, according to the norms of canon law, certainly be subject to suspicion for its violation.  But the canon established by Trent regards discipline, the mere practice is not heretical, but makes one suspect of heresy, because if one were to do such, either he does not believe in the dogma of transubstantiation or he does not believe in the ecclesiological and theological necessity of faith and penance as prerequisites to receive a Sacrament, any of which is heretical.

 

The Prophecies of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

“I saw again the new and odd-looking Church which they were trying to build. There was nothing holy about it… People were kneading bread in the crypt below… but it would not rise, nor did they receive the body of Our Lord, but only bread. Those who were in error, through no fault of their own, and who piously and ardently longed for the Body of Jesus were spiritually consoled, but not by their communion. Then, my Guide [Jesus] said: ‘THIS IS BABEL.’ [The Mass in many languages].”

“I saw deplorable things: they were gambling, drinking, and talking in church; they were also courting women. All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still godly, and only a few had sound views on things. I also saw Jews standing under the porch of the Church. All these things caused me much distress.”

“The Church is in great danger. We must pray so that the Pope may not leave Rome; countless evils would result if he did. They are now demanding something from him. The Protestant doctrine and that of the schismatic Greeks are to spread everywhere. I now see that in this place (Rome) the (Catholic) Church is being so cleverly undermined, that there hardly remain a hundred or so priests who have not been deceived. They all work for destruction, even the clergy. A great devastation is now near at hand.”

“Among the strangest things that I saw, were long processions of bishops. Their thoughts and utterances were made known to me through images issuing from their mouths. Their faults towards religion were shown by external deformities. A few had only a body, with a dark cloud of fog instead of a head. Others had only a head, their bodies and hearts were like thick vapors. Some were lame, others were paralytics; others were asleep or staggering.

“I saw what I believe to be nearly all the bishops of the world, but only a small number were perfectly sound. I saw a number of people looking quickly right and left, that is, in the direction of the world.

“Then, I saw that everything that pertained to Protestantism was gradually gaining the upper hand, and the Catholic religion fell into complete decadence. Most priests were lured by the glittering but false knowledge of young school-teachers, and they all contributed to the work of the destruction.

“In those days, Faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only, in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected from disasters and wars.”

“I see many excommunicated ecclesiastics who do not seem to be concerned about it, nor even aware of it. Yet, they are (ispso facto) excommunicated whenever they cooperate [sic] enterprises, enter into associations, and embrace opinions on which an anathema has been cast. It can be seen thereby that God ratifies the decrees, orders, and interdictions issued by the Head of the Church, and that He keeps them in force even though men show no concern for them, reject them, or laugh them to scorn.”

Source: The Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich – Carl E. Schmoeger

Cardinal Giuseppe Siri of Genoa: Words of Advice for Today

200px-Giuseppe_Siri,_1958_(2)“The pastoral care is not an art of making compromises or of ceding ground: it is the art of caring for souls in the truth.  When this is given them, everyone arrives at understanding what is said:  even, and above all, those who have deformed or criticized it.  The language of a good shepherd is the opposite of that which some theologians of the moment say it is.  I do not believe in their schismatic proposals.  Those who use their ecclesiastical functions to subvert the Church count for something, in reality, only before the eyes of the world because the  Church, which they are intent upon destroying in the name of « Church of the Future Humanity », still exists.  Then, there are so many signs, above all in Europe, that indicate that the demolishers of the Church, have had their day.”

(Quoted from the Italian text of the Cardinal’s book of reflections, entitled, “Renovatio”, vol. VI, published in 1970.:  English translation is by “From Rome” Blog.)

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For further study:

A short Biography of Cardinal Siri at Wikipedia, in Italian

A Critique of the Siri Hypothesis by Wikipedia (in Italian), gives important testimonies from those who knew the Cardinal, that he admitted being offered the candidacy in 1958, but refused it before any votes were taken in favor of it; and later repented to have failed his historic moment of duty for the Church.

A Website on Cardinal Siri by Devotees at Genoa, Italy

A Short Treatise on Order and Disorder: Introduction

If we could sum up under one heading the manifold evils of the present age, we might do it well by remarking that ours is an age in which disorder reigns and in which far too many are forgetful of the proper order which should prevail, in themselves, in their personal relationships, in the relations with state and Church, within the Church, and most importantly with God, His Holy Angels, and the Saints.

It seems that everyone, regardless of which camp they claim to belong to, is acting disorderly and is refusing implicitly or explicitly the Catholic notion of order and the corresponding moral duty to preserve order, observe order, and act according to order in all things, both in our own minds and hearts, and in our external acts.

Being the sons of Adam, if we are not baptized, or reborn as the sons of God, if baptized, though still suffering predominantly from the effects of Adam’s sonship if we have not seriously sought to sanctify ourselves, we are apt to see better the faults of others, than our own.

In recent years there has been a calamitous outcry against the disorder which is spreading in the modern world, whether in the State or in the Church.  From the imposition of marxist or socialist economics in the United States, to the advancing of the homosexual revolution by the forced imposition of their perverse creed, from the scandals in the Church regarding the abuse of children by priests and religious, and the worse dishonestly of Bishops, Cardinals, and even Popes, in not doing anything about it, or in denying the problem, or even in denying their own responsibility when documents show that they knew of the problem in time enough to have limited it more than they did:  the whole world is aghast at the perversion of order, the falling away from order, and the disorder which abounds on every side.

The advent of blogging has increased the disorder, because the mere liberty of expression and the facility of expression which reigns on blogs, seduces many a weak soul into believing that just because he can say something, he ought to; or just because an issue merits discussion, any discussion of it is meritorious.

The height of recent hypocrisy in this matter, in the Church, has been the intemperate criticism of church leaders for their own intemperate speech; as if the fact that my superior has sinned gives me the right to commit the same sin.  Such obtuseness makes many a blogger so adverse to the self-recognition of his own hypocritical behavior, that not even the most gentle of comments is permitted and any attempt at fraternal correction rebuffed.

Blathering on a blog is no more useful and no less sinful, than blathering at the local diner or pub. But alas, the facility of some towards literacy is just a strong occasion of sin for them, as the facility of some for loquacity.

For this reason, following in the footsteps of my Seraphic Father, St. Francis, who commanded all of his sons to preach in season and out, about vice and virtue, punishment and glory, I take this occasion of the Solemn Celebration of his own glorification in Heaven 787 years ago, so begin a small Series of Articles on the notion of Order and Disorder.

I do this to gently remind Catholics the world over of the importance of retaining and returning to a right notion of Order and to putting this notion into practice in everything they do.  It is my hope that by means of this series of reflection, at least you who read this blog, might benefit in your own pilgrimage to Heaven.

A Short Treatise on Order and Disorder:  An Introduction

St. Francis of Assisi is known the world over for his spirit of faithfulness to the Gospel, his humility and love and devotion to Christ, his care and concern for all God’s creatures, especially poor sinners and unbelievers, to whom he wished to recall to the Gospel or make them know the wonderful good news thereof.

St. Francis is normally presented as a model of holiness or fidelity, but if we look more deeply into his life, he is a marvelous example of order and fidelity to the order which God has established in creation and in the Church.

But to understand better why the observance of order leads to holiness of life and glorification in Heaven, it is good to begin with an introduction to the theology of Order.

1. Order is a Divine Perfection.

According to St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (1217-1274 A. D.), who with St. Thomas is one of the two primary Doctors of the Church, there are three species of order.  You can find these listed in his Commentary on the First Book of Sentences of Master Peter Lombard, d. 20, a. 1, q. 1, p. 372, which God willing, I will be publishing next spring in book format, in the United States of America (but also distributed worldwide by mail).

St. Bonaventure, being a great Scholastic theologian, explains the essential basis of order, thus.  There are three species or kinds of order:

A.  Order according to position:  where one is the superior, another the inferior; but this is in two manners:  either according to place, or according to dignity.  This species of order does not exist in God.

 B. Order according to antecedence:  where one is the prior, another the posterior; but this is in two manners:  either because the first precedes the second according to duration or time, or because it is prior according to its ‘being understood’ or according to the understanding of its nature.  This species does not exist in God.

 C. Order according to origin, or according to an emanation, and this is of  one producing to one produced.  This species exists in God, because there is the order of a Beginning to a Begun, or of One producing to One produced (i. e. the Father to the Son).  This divine species of order is the first species of order, because it implicates in itself the other two species:  thus, in created things every producer is superior in dignity or prior in time or in being understood.

2. Order in its relations with the transcendentals of being:  the one, the true, the good and the beautiful.

The transcendentals of being are appropriatable to the Persons of the Trinity because they express full and pure perfections.  Thus, to the Father, one can appropriate “the Good”, to the Son, “the True”, to the Holy Spirit, “the Beautiful”, and to God, “the One”.

Thus, one finds, among the names for the transcendentals, an order between the Good and the True, between ‘the Good and the True’ and the Beautiful.

Perfection according to knowledge is the perfect understanding of the Good; such perfect understanding in God is the Son, Who emanates from the Father as the Eternal Word, the Perfect Likeness and, hence, Knowledge of the Father, Who is “the Good”.

Perfection according to the will is the perfect willing of the Good according to the True; such a perfection of will in God is the Holy Spirit, Who emanates from the Father and Son, from the Father through the Son, as the perfect Love or Nexus of them Both.

3.  The Eternal Word as the Exemplar of Order.

Since He is the middle Person in the Trinity, He is, hence, the exemplification of the essential relation of order in the Trinity, since all the intra-trinitarian relations refer to Him; thus, the order between the Divine Persons is completed in the Logos, the Perfect Expression or Image of the Father, and the occasional Principle of the Love Emanating as the Holy Spirit, both from the Father unto the Son, and from the Son unto the Father; because, the precondition for understanding every act of love is that there be two other Persons; and He is the Second Person.

Conclusion

The order which is found in creation, or in our own being, body and soul, or in human society, or in the Church, in Heaven, in Purgatory and on Earth, is a reflection of that Order which is found first in God, and which is exemplified in its highest manner the Eternal Word.  By observing the right order in all human affairs, we do the will of Jesus Christ for us.  Indeed, if we examine the Gospels and the words of Our Lord and Master, we find that on every page He is teaching us about how to observe the right Divine Order for all things, and how, by returning to the right order, we can be saved and have eternal life.

Order then is a perfection; coming from God, and founding creation; but also a perfection which if we embrace and observe, can transform us in holiness of life and transport us to the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is, therefore, very useful and valuable for each of us to observe order, whether in thought, will, word, or action.

May Christ Jesus, our Eternal Master, by His Omnipotent Spirit, grant us the grace to humbly confess our sins and return to the right order of life!

(In the next installment, I will discuss the perfection of order in created things and the two kinds of society, natural and moral).

Dogma’s Terrible or Radiant Tomorrow

A Book Review of Enrico Maria Radaelli’s book, Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? del Dogma. 261 pp., Edizione Pro Manuscripto, Aurea Domus, 2013. Italian. 35€ (to acquire seen End of Article)

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Introduction

To those in the English-speaking world, the name Enrico Maria Radaelli is not a familiar one.  Therefore, some introduction is necessary.

One of the most famous Italian philosophers of the last century was Romano Amerio.  Born in Lugano, Italy on January 17, 1905, he graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the Università Cattolica di Milano in 1927, and again in Classical Philology in 1934.  He taught Latin and Greek and Philosophy from 1928 to 1970 in the Cantonal High-school of Lugano.

AmerioHis intellectual acumen and loyalty to the faith was such, that he was a consultor for Msgr. Angelo Giuseppe Jelmini, Apostolic Administrator of Lugano, Switzerland, from 1935-1968 A.D..*

Amerio, was a Catholic intellectual with a mind ennobled by the faith.  His criticism of the events of the Council was founded, not upon his personal sentiments, but upon his adhesion to the Magisterium of Bl. Pope Pius IX (Quanta Cura) who condemned masonic-liberalism, of Pope St. Pius X (Lamentabile Sane Exitu), who condemned modernism, and of Venerable Pope Pius XII (Human Generis), who condemned neo-modernism.

Cast aside by the progressivist movement in Italian ecclesiastical circles during the pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, he was “rehabilitated” as a thinker of note, during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, by no less than the widely influential but very liberal, Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, in 2007.

His most famous book, is easily recognized by many in the English-speaking world was  Iota unum (1985), the subtitle of which in Italian translates, A Study in the variations in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century.  In it, by means of a philosophical analysis of the relations between Truth and Life, Amerio strongly criticized the destabilizing changes introduced into ecclesial life by the means adopted to implement the reforms advocated by the documents of the Vatican Council.

When, at the close of his life, Amerio, by then half-blind, sought someone to help him publish the sequal to Iota unum, Stat Veritas (which was published only postumously in 1996), he sought the assitance of Enrico Radaelli.

Enrico Maria Radaelli, the author

Dr. Enrico M. RadaelliLike Amerio, Radaelli is a philosopher in the tradition of St. Thomas, though the latter has devoted his studies in particular to the relations between Truth and Beauty.  Professor of Aestetic Philosophy, and Director of the Dept. of Æstetic Philosophy at the Associazione Internazionale “Sensus communis” (Rome), he collaborated in the chair dedicated to the Philosophy of the Conscience:  Antonio Livi, at the Pontifical Lateran University.  He is the editor of the Opera Omnia of Romano Amerio, and has published several articles in L’Osservatore Romano on the relations of Beauty and Sacred Art. (for a complete list of his publications, see his website).

Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? di Dogma, the Book

Radaelli’s book is prefaced by the English Philosopher Roger Scruton, and by commendatory letters from the Most. Rev. Mario Oliveri, Bishop of Albenga, Italy, Alessandro Gnocchi, Mario Palmaro, and Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, one of the most prestigious Roman theologians of the last 40 years.

You can read Gherardini’s introduction to Radaelli’s book, in an unofficial English translation at http://centreleonardboyle.com/Radaelli.html

Having myself labored for the last decade on an English translation of Bonaventure’s Commentaries on the Sentences of Lombard, I found Radaelli’s book to be a delightful and yet, extremely profound meditation on the nature of Holy Mother Church.

Though a philosopher, Radaelli has recaptured, in my opinion, the ethos of the theology of the High Middle Ages, by his philosophical analysis of what the Church is and must be.

For Radaelli it is not insignificant, but absolutely essential, to Her Nature, to be a spouse, and Her relationship with Her Creator and Redeemer, Christ Jesus, characterizes every aspect of Her being, whether that of the primum esse (the first act, in which essence and existence conjoin) or that of secundum esse (the second act, in which all that is implicit in the first act, is manifested).

As the immaculate Spouse of Him who is the one Master of All, Radaelli argues throughout that it is the inherent and perennial quality of Holy Mother Church to speak in dogmatic language, and that this constitutes the fundament of the beauty of that form of language which is proper to Her.

The scope of the book is to seek an approach to the problem of the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council which would go to the roots of its novelty and explain in principle the necessary consequences of the effects its implementation.

He calls his approach a metaphysical one, or more exactly an estetical one, in the metaphysical sense.  In this analysis, he begins and returns, in a cyclical movement from the transcendentals of being, the good, the true and the beautiful; remarking that the modern habit among intellectuals of glossing over the third transcendental of being, has had a profoundly negative effect on their ability to appreciate the first two.

For Radaelli, as for any philosopher or theologian in the Scholastic tradition, there is no divorcing of the consideration of the transcendentals of being, without dire consequences in the development of human thought, action, or societal organization.

It is for this reason, that the beauty of the Church’s own proper and obligatory manner of speaking, must be a dogmatic one.  Form for Radaelli is the both the language of substance and the substance of language; and hence the form of language both reflects and molds the substance of those who employ it.

From this profound metaphysical principle, Radaelli draws out the deleterious effects which necessarily must follow, if the Church would abandon Her unique, perennial and exclusive devotion to dogmatic language.  And having expounded upon this, he applies his considerations to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, considering them in the light of the effect of the implementation of the reforms as that implementation was enacted and conceived by those who formed their minds and judgements upon an a-critical reading of the documents.

Finally, Radaelli closes his book with an impassioned admonition to the Sacred Hierarchy: if the Church does not return to speaking dogmatically, She will in short time cease to exist in the hearts and minds of men. The “wooden” language of the Council, as Radaelli characterizes it, is one deprived of beauty, and hence of vivifying, truth. A dead thing, which when implemented, must necessarily include some destructive effect in the Church, founded by and wed to Life Himself.

In my opinion, with Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? del Dogma, Radaelli has made the most significant contribution to Ecclesiology in the 21st century, and has mapped out intellectually, the road to resolve all the conflict which the implementation of the Second Vatican Council has been the occasion for engendering in the Church universal.  Radaelli has made an eloquent argument which can serve well both theologians and members of the Hierarchy and Roman Curia in their work of reconciling faith and reason, and ecclesiastical discipline with faith.

The book is a delightful read; uniquely coherent to its own principles, in that it is printed in a form equated to the golden dimension of proportions, famously employed by artists and architects of the ancient world, and rediscovered in the Renaissance. While reading its pages you will taste and hear intellectually the conviviality of faith and reason and how beautiful indeed is their marriage in the mind of one of Italy’s pre-eminent Thomistic philosophers.

Finally, The book is served by a very useful index of persons and places, and a list of Radaelli’s other published works.

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To acquire a copy of this book: Goto Hoepli Bookstore, Coletti Bookstore, or Ebay Italy

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* Many thanks to Enrico Raedelli, for his help in correcting the historical error, found in the online biography, regarding Amerio’s participation at the Council. He was not a peritus, but was a consultor to Msgr. Jelmini. Also, he was never officially condemned, and so “rehabilitated” is only used above, in the sense of being un-blacklisted by the liberal, ecclesiastical press.

Finally, I am honored, that Raedelli, on his own initiative, posted an Italian translation of this review at his own website. You may click here to read it. Thank you, Doctor!