Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stomaching The Church Impudent


This may come as a shock to the news media, but there are a lot of Catholics who love Pope Benedict.  I am one of them.

Not to take anything away from the new pope, Francis.  This is his day in the sun, his "honeymoon" period, if you will.  The Church is celebrating the election of a new pope and it is only right that he be shown the respect and admiration Catholics offer to their popes.  

The problem is that some of the "celebrating" has gone too far.  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is being disrespected and trashed, in many cases by people who should know better.

XM Satellite Radio's own Catholic Channel has been celebrating around the clock, but I'd had enough this afternoon when one of the program hosts suggested that someone watching the pope who came back to the Catholic Church because in Pope Francis, they felt a human touch.  Just what does that mean?  That Pope Benedict was somehow less than human?

America's most embarrassing Churchman, Cardinal Mahony, recently tweeted this message:  "Moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church!  What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!"

One can almost hear him humming Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead.

Germany's Cardinal Lehmann, a man one would think had some respect for his former leader, recently praised the new pope by stating that Pope Francis might bring in Catholics who in past years "were somehow disappointed".


The soft, ignore-the-rules, left-leaning dissidents who are high-fiving each other about the new pope have had the reins of the Church since 1963.  Their "successes" include a free-fall drop in Mass attendance, an all-but-disappeared line at the confessional, huge defections in the ranks of priests and nuns and a Catholic populace with little objective idea of a basic catechism, embracing an eternally lethal pick-and-choose aesthetic.  Pope Benedict had a measly 7 years to rule the Church during this unprecedented epoch of disaster.  He dared to do what his previous three predecessors somehow forgot:  He tried to govern.

Those who knew Ratzinger were not surprised by his style, because he was not the "panzerkardinal" the leftist press portrayed.  He was gentle.  He let a lot of bad bishops serve out their terms before replacing them with prelates willing to restore the Catholic faith to their dioceses.  He reached out to the Church's most maligned (and faithful) group, traditionalists, and gave them the opportunity to worship as the Church always had.  He gave Anglicans and Episcopalians who were fed up with their own church's disintegration an easier pathway to Rome.  He reached out to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, a group whose most unforgivable crime was their distrust of Vatican II, which oddly enough, dried up vocations for the "mainstream" while their chapels exploded with new vocations.

Pope Benedict was unpopular with one group:  Fake Catholics.  Hans Kung, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the staffs of U.S. Catholic and The National Catholic Reporter hated Pope Benedict.  And now that he is gone, the media is going to ignore one very telling fact about Pope Benedict's pontificate:  No pope in modern history drew bigger crowds to his Vatican audiences than Pope Benedict.  That's right, not even the "rock star" pope, John Paul II drew crowds as large as Pope Benedict's.  Yet, to hear the current buzz in the media and among the dissenters, you'd think Benedict drove people away from the Church.  

Pope Benedict brought people INTO the Church.  And he would have done more if the people he trusted had served him well.

As I said, Pope Benedict was and is a gentle man.  He is a true Catholic.  He does not return insults and slights.  And that is precisely why the cheap-shot artists who despised him are showing us their true colors today.

Lest anyone doubt that Pope Benedict was undermined by his own curia, and by the bishops he trusted to obey him, look and listen to the "celebrations" of the new pope.  As more time passes, the insinuations against Pope Benedict will be less veiled.  The open contempt that is slowly unfolding before us is downright demonic.

Only one thing can be said to the priests and bishops who have turned on their former leader:


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Now that the new pope is in place, both the Catholic and secular press are all caught up in the hub-bub of what kind of pope Francis will be.  We are hearing a lot about his "style" and a lot of talk about "reform."

If it's really reform that they want, here are some suggestions for a papacy of reform that would actually be effective:

First and foremost, we need a pope who is going to govern the Church.  The last thing we need is to exhaust this man by parading him around all over the world through different time zones and endless "welcome" ceremonies.  Francis is now the Bishop of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff.  Christ's Church has been in a state of chaos for nearly 50 years now and we need some stabilizing.  Benedict certainly started on that path, but he ran out of steam and support.  Which brings us to the next step for reform in this papacy:

It is no secret that Pope Benedict's servants "served" him poorly.  It's no accident that he pardoned the butler who leaked the documents in the "Vatileaks" scandal.  He may have been the only faithful Catholic on the premises.  He saw what the Curia was doing to undermine the pope and he probably knew about the filth that Benedict seemed powerless to cleanse.  This is no time for cronies or the status-quo.  The Vatican needs the leaders and members of its various congregations to be men with proven records of orthodoxy and moral purity.   It would also help if they were not men of ambition willing to destroy any perceived "competition".  No doubt there are some good Cardinals who should stay (Burke and Oullet come to mind), but many others deserve a good, hard look before re-confirming.  No man is irreplaceable.

How many popes had a predecessor they could turn to for advice?  How many popes sat and wondered what their predecessor would do?  Pope Francis is in a unique position.  He is the only pope in history who can pick up the phone and find out for himself what his predecessor would do.  Pope Benedict/Ratzinger has one of the greatest minds of modern times and he also "knows where the bodies are buried" in terms of who can be trusted and who cannot.  In spite of all the talk of his alleged "stern" view of the Church, Benedict is a gentle man who displayed great sensitivity and intelligence in dealing with his enemies.  He's the best advisor any bishop or pope could ask for.  To ignore him would be foolish.

This pope may not be the theologian his predecessor was, but he is not stupid.  Pope Benedict said plainly before he took the Chair of Peter that public figures who persistently defy the teaching authority of the Church, particularly in supporting abortion (and now homosexual marriage) should be denied Communion.  Excommunications and interdicts are not mere punishments.  They are corrective measures designed to bring the wayward sheep back into the fold.  Failure to enforce Church law is the same as failure to enforce civil law:  People who obey the law are subject to the whims of the criminals who flaunt the lack of enforcement.  Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden (to name just two) are high-profile "Catholics" who support everything this pope has spoken out against as a Cardinal.  If they are permitted to receive Communion over and over again, the same old message will be sent to the rest of us:  "Yeah, that's the Church's law, but we don't REALLY mean it."

Four steps for reform. There IS a fifth step, but it's not for the pope, it's for us:  Pray for this man.  He's got the worst job on earth. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Confusion, Contradictions & Temptations

It has been less than one week since the election of the Church's new Supreme Pontiff and it is difficult to know what to make of him.

Predictably, the ever-clueless "mainstream" secular press is furious that he apparently opposes gay marriage, abortion, contraception and doesn't appear interested in ordaining women.  The Catholic press is celebrating the fact that we have a new pope--something they would do regardless of who was elected.

Other voices are expressing concern.  There is conflicting information that only time will clear up.  Among the accusations flying are that this pope obstructed Summorum Pontificum in his home archdiocese, that he is attacking the ceremonial dignity of his new office or that he is going to make the proven failure of the "New Mass" even newer, with more changes in store.

Even more disheartening is to read reports that enemies of the Church like Hans Kung are completely satisfied with the election of this pope or America's most embarrassing Cardinal tweeting in celebration that a "lowbrow" style of Mass is returning to the Vatican.  And it is almost inexcusable (if it is true) to read that a German Cardinal is already criticizing the Holy Father Emeritus.

Is it really this bad?

Let's put things in perspective.  Unless some new information comes to light, Pope Francis is a validly elected pope.  He is also an outsider to the Vatican and has a lot to learn.  If he is as humble as everyone reports, learn he will.  We have had 265 popes and, at worst estimate, 10 of them were really bad popes.  Yet even they didn't change the basic teachings of the Church, because they couldn't and neither can Francis.

If you're worried about liturgy, please don't start losing sleep yet.  Summorum Pontificum is in place and it would take an act of breathtaking chutzpah (not to mention apostasy) to reverse it.

There is, however,  one aspect of this pope that few people seem to be noticing:  His Marian devotion.  Reportedly, he prays all 15 decades of the rosary daily.  That is a VERY good sign.

Could this be the pope who will finally consecrate Russia?

According to some reports, the late Italian stigmatist, Antonio Ruffini prophesied during the pontificate of John Paul II that the next pope (Benedict) would not be the pope who consecrated Russia, but it would be the pope after him.  That would be Francis, if indeed this report is true and the prophecy is valid. 

Let's be clear:  The most important thing this pontiff must do during his pontificate is to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops of the world.  If he does, our age will be transformed into something we never dreamed of.  If he fails, we're doomed.

The mainstream Catholic press likes to write-off Fatima priest Fr. Nicholas Gruner as some kind of conspiratorial nut-job, but evidently, as a Cardinal, Bergoglio (Francis) wrote twice to Fr. Gruner.  (See the video below)

Let us give this pope a chance.  We must pray for him.  It's our duty.  Maybe, just maybe, all of these conflicting and disturbing reports are just noise sent by the Evil One to distract us.  Maybe we are supposed to suffer a few discouragements as a price for the so-badly needed consecration.  We have watched the dissenting left of the Church sin for the last seven years in their disrespect of Pope Benedict.  Are we being tempted to do the same with Pope Francis? 

We must be patient.  We must pray.  Lord, guide, direct and bless our Holy Father, Francis.  May he truly rebuild Your Church.