Category Archives: Pope Francis

Catholic Church in Crisis: Pedophile cardinal; Pennsylvania priests abused 1k children; homoerotic church service

Mark Taylor, the Florida fireman who predicted the presidency of Donald John Trump on April 28, 2011, wrote in “All Roads Lead to Rome,” January 25, 2018:

The Spirit of God says, “The Pope and the Vatican…are not furthering my kingdom but are aiding the kingdom of darkness…. This will be the last Pope, for what I the Lord God am about to do. I will expose this Pope and all those under his command for all the corruption he and the Vatican have been involved in for centuries…. This Pope, the Vatican and all its leadership, will come crumbling down. I will pull back the veil to show how deep and dark the deception has been. You whisper in your inner chambers ‘we answer to no one. No one is above us; No one can hold us accountable.’ I the Lord God see it all and the time has come when I will now hold you accountable for your darkness. This exposure will be of such magnitude that the people will say. ‘What do we do now? Where do we go now? We want nothing to do with this. We have no religion now.’ Millions will walk away from their religion, as this will affect other religions as well.”

“The church is facing a crisis that it hasn’t faced perhaps since the Middle Ages,” said Joan Mann Thomas, chair of the parish council at St. Anselm Parish in Ross, California.

Thomas was not exaggerating.

On August 22, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, former Apostolic Nuncio (the Vatican’s ambassador) to the United States, called for the resignation of Pope Francis for protecting pedophile Cardinal and former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick.

McCarrick is but one of the triggers of the Catholic Church in crisis. The subjects of this post, the first of a series of posts on the crisis of the Catholic Church, are:

  1. Cardinal McCarrick.
  2. Pennsylvania pedophile priests.
  3. Homoerotic church service in Germany.

(1) The Pedophile Cardinal

On July 28, 2018, after shielding Cardinal McCarrick, Pope Francis “accepted” the former Archbishop of Washington, DC’s offer to resign from the College of Cardinals, and ordered the cardinal’s suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, pending “accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”

Although McCarrick’s pedophilia had been known for some time, Pope Francis  covered up for McCarrick, ignored the sanctions that Pope Benedict XVI had imposed on McCarrick, and even made McCarrick a trusted counselor in U.S. clerical appointments, including the promotion of far-Left bishops such as Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark to the College of Cardinals. (The Remnant)

Accusations of 88-year-old Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse include:

  • Fondling an 11-year-old boy over 40 years ago when McCarrick was a priest in Manhattan, New York. The victim, now a mature man, says the sexually abusive relationship continued for two more decades. (NY Post)
  • Groping and having sex with seminarians: Six priests of the Archdiocese of Newark said that when then-Archbishop of Newark McCarrick visited the seminary, he “would often place his hand on seminarians while talking with them, or on their thighs while seated near them.” One of the priests said McCarrick “had a type: tall, slim, intelligent – but no smokers” and that McCarrick would invite young men to stay at his house on the shore or spend the night in the cathedral rectory in central Newark. Another priest, who was an aide to New York Cardinal Terence Cooke in the early 1970s, said McCarrick’s “reputation” was already well-established by that time, and that a classmate of McCarrick, the dean of a theology school, knew about the rumors and spoke about them with the other faculty and theologians very openly.” So well-known was McCarrick’s reputation that when he was a “standing joke” that when McCarrick visited the seminary, they had to “hide the handsome ones” before he arrived. Another priest, who worked in close proximity to then-Archbishop McCarrick in the chancery, said “Priests would tell me ‘he’s sleeping with them’ all the time, but I couldn’t believe it – they seemed like perfectly normal guys.” Seminarians and priests from ordination classes spanning 30 years during the terms of McCarrick and his successor, Archbishop John Myers, said there was an active homosexual subculture of priest and seminarians within Newark’s Immaculate Conception Seminary. (Catholic News Agency)

Despite McCarrick’s well-known reputation of groping and “sleeping with” seminarians, the Vatican promoted him to the cardinalate and to archbishop of Washington, DC, in 2001.

On August 31, 2018, Catholic News Service, the news agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, published a 2006 letter from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, which confirms that the Vatican had received information in 2000 about the sexual misconduct of McCarrick. Sandri’s letter lends credibility to accusations of a cover-up of McCarrick’s deeds at the highest echelons of the Roman Catholic Church. (New York Post)

Two other cardinals have also be accused of sexual misconduct: Australian Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers; and Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who is accused by former seminarians in 2013 of sexual misconduct. Two years after the first revelations came out, Francis accepted O’Brien’s resignation after the Vatican’s top abuse prosecutor conducted a full investigation.

(2) Pennsylvania Pedophile Priests and the Bishops Who Enabled Them

In 2016, Pennsylvania’s 40th Statewide Grand Jury began an investigation into allegations of child sex crimes by Catholic priests across the dioceses of Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton and Greensburg. The six dioceses account for 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

In June 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that large portions of the grand jury’s report would be released to the public. But about two dozen current and former clergy named in the report succeeded in blocking its release, claiming it would violate their rights to due process and reputation. On July 27, Pa. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor ordered an interim report be released, with identifying information about those clergy petitioners redacted. (Penn Live)

On August 14, 2018, the 1,356-page, redacted version of the long-awaited grand jury report was released. You can read the report here. Below is a summary of the grand jury’s findings:

  • The grand jury heard the testimony of dozens of witnesses, and subpoenaed and reviewed half a million pages of internal diocesan documents.
  • The grand jury found “credible allegations” against over 300 predator priests, and identified more than 1,000 child victims from the church’s own records. “We believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands.
  • Most of the victims were boys; but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were pre-pubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. Some were made to masturbate their assailants, or were groped by them. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.
  • Secrecy: In every diocese, abuse complaints were kept locked up in a “secret archive” because the church’s Code of Canon Law specifically requires the diocese to maintain such an archive.

Every diocese adopted the same strategy on pedophile priests:

  1. Use evasive euphemisms to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents, e.g., “inappropriate contact” and “boundary issues” instead of  “rape”.
  2. Don’t conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel, but assign fellow clergy members to ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.
  3. Send priests for “evaluation” at church-run, wholly-inadequate psychiatric treatment centers where experts “diagnose” whether the priest was a pedophile based largely on the priest’s “self-reports,” but ignore whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.
  4. When a priest does have to be removed, don’t say why. Instead, tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion,” or say nothing at all.
  5. Even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses.
  6. If a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, instead of removing him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a pedophile.
  7. Above all, don’t tell the police. Although child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is a crime, don’t treat it as a crime. Instead, handle it “in house” as a personnel matter.

Some especially egregious cases:

  • In the Diocese of Allentown, confronted about an abuse complaint, a priest admitted, “Please help me. I sexually molested a boy.” But the diocese concluded that “the experience will not necessarily be a horrendous trauma” for the victim, and that the boy’s family should just be given “an opportunity to ventilate.” The priest was left in unrestricted ministry for several more years.
  • In the Diocese of Erie, despite a priest’s admission to assaulting at least a dozen young boys, the bishop wrote to thank him for “all that you have done for God’s people…. The Lord, who sees in private, will reward.”
  • Another priest confessed to anal and oral rape of at least 15 boys, as young as seven years old. The bishop later met with the abuser to commend him as “a person of candor and sincerity,” and to compliment him “for the progress he has made” in controlling his “addiction.” When the abuser was finally removed from the priesthood years later, the bishop ordered the parish not to say why.
  • Another priest, grooming his middle school students for oral sex, taught them how Mary had to “bite off the cord” and “lick” Jesus clean after he was born. The diocese finally removed him from ministry after 15 years and numerous additional reports of abuse.
  • One priest raped a seven-year -old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils out.
  • Another priest made a nine-year -old give him oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water “to purify him.”
  • One boy drank some “juice” at his priest’s house, and woke up the next morning bleeding from his rectum, unable to remember anything from the night before.
  • Another priest, who finally decided to quit after years of child abuse complaints, asked for, and received, a letter of reference for his next job — at Walt Disney World.

Although, because of the church’s coverup, almost every instance of abuse the grand jury found is too old to be prosecuted and many of the priests are dead, “presentments” — written notices that a crime occurred — have been issued against two priests in the Greensburg and Erie dioceses, respectively, who sexually assaulted children within the last decade. There may be more indictments in the future because the grand jury is continuing its investigation.

It is noteworthy that the Catholic Church neither denies nor disputes the veracity of the grand jury report. See the official responses by the Vatican and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Exorcist Fr. Gary Thomas calls the Church’s pedophile priests scandal “demonic” and predicts worse is yet to come.

(3) Priest hosts homoerotic service in church

LifeSiteNews reports, July 23, 2018, that a newly ordained priest, Fr. Fabian Ploneczka, 33, of the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese, celebrated his first Mass on Sunday at his home church of St. Moritz in Augsburg, featuring a homoerotic dance.

According to the Augsburger Allgemeine, the worship service included the premiere of a ballet entitled “Jeremiah: Passion of the Prophet”, featuring ballet dancer Clemens Fröhlich of Munich and a narrated libretto written by Ploneczka himself. Observers said the dancer performed dressed only in tight, skin-colored underpants.

According to an account in Kath.net:

The whole church became a dance floor, even the altar area. There the dancer took the Gospel in his hand, stepped almost naked to the ambo, and lolled suggestively in front of the altar.

A young man, naked to his waist, interrupted the service by shouting that everyone should undress. Some of the attendees, among whom were children, left early. Worshipers told kath.net the service in a consecrated church was clearly homophile and homoerotic.

Afterwards, Fr. Thomas Steiger of Tübingen, a pastor and radio personality, gave a talk on the “eroticism of the faith,” speaking of “a sensual love for Jesus.”

This series on Catholic Church in Crisis will continue tomorrow.

~Eowyn

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Why is Vatican secretary of state at 2018 Bilderberg Conference?

The secretive and elitist Bilderberg group are meeting (June 7-10) as we speak at the NH Lingotto hotel in Turin, Italy.
According to RT’s Adrian Salbuchi, Bilderberg is a key group within the Global Power Network — organizations, clubs, lobbies and groups sharing common economic, financial, social and (geo)political objectives in the Globalist Agenda. The Network includes the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (long-term geopolitical planners), its London-based sister entity Royal Institute of International Affairs (aka “Chatham House”), RAND Corp., CSIS, the American Enterprise Institute (strategic affairs specialists), Tavistock Institute in London (mass psychology research), the Carnegie Endowment, and the Trilateral Commission “umbrella” entity (founded in 1973 by Rockefeller / Morgan / Rothschild interests, geared to coordinating the Americas, Europe and the East). These think-tanks in turn interact with consultancies like Kissinger Associates, The Carlyle Group (specializing in oil strategies and having the Bush, Bin Laden and Baker families as key shareholders), and Trilateralist Claus Schwab’s World Economic Forum.
The Bilderberg group is neither an organization nor a lobby: Its only activity is its annual conference, described on its official website as:

Since its inaugural meeting in 1954, Bilderberg has been an annual forum for informal discussions, designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America. Every year, between 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to take part in the meeting. About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields. The meeting is a forum for informal discussions about megatrends and major issues facing the world. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed. Thanks to the private nature of the meeting, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.

Note that “religion” is not among the groups represented at the annual Bilderberg meetings.
So it is most curious that the attendants at this year’s Bilderberg conference include the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin — as indicated in the meeting’s list of participants. The Vatican is the papal government of the Catholic Church.
No other religious group was invited — no Protestant or Muslim or Buddhist or . . . . Nor, to my knowledge, has an official of a religious group ever been a participant at Bilderberg meetings.

Norvos Ordo Watch points out that as the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin is Pope Francis’ right-hand man, second only to Francis in terms of importance and influence in the Vatican.
This is the first time, as far as we know, that an official of the Catholic Church has been invited to participate in a Bilderberg meeting. In a post covering this news story, Leo Zagami writes that “some say [Parolin] will deliver a secret message written by Pope Francis to his minions”.
This year’s Bilderberg Conference includes these U.S. participants:

  1. Altman, Roger C. (USA), Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore
  2. Baker, James H. (USA), Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  3. Burns, William J. (USA), President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  4. Burwell, Sylvia M. (USA), President, American University
  5. Cohen, Jared (USA), Founder and CEO, Jigsaw at Alphabet Inc.
  6. Cook, Charles (USA), Political Analyst, The Cook Political Report
  7. Fallows, James (USA), Writer and Journalist
  8. Ferguson, Jr., Roger W. (USA), President and CEO, TIAA
  9. Ferguson, Niall (USA), Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  10. Fischer, Stanley (USA), Former Vice-Chairman, Federal Reserve; Former Governor, Bank of Israel
  11. Goldstein, Rebecca (USA), Visiting Professor, New York University
  12. Hickenlooper, John (USA), Governor of Colorado
  13. Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investments LLC
  14. Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners
  15. Horowitz, Michael C. (USA), Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  16. Hwang, Tim (USA), Director, Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative
  17. Jacobs, Kenneth M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Lazard
  18. Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies
  19. Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.
  20. Kleinfeld, Klaus (USA), CEO, NEOM
  21. Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University
  22. Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR
  23. Kravis, Marie-Josée (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; President, American Friends of Bilderberg
  24. Makan, Divesh (USA), CEO, ICONIQ Capital
  25. Mead, Walter Russell (USA), Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute
  26. Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP
  27. Moyo, Dambisa F. (USA), Global Economist and Author
  28. Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates
  29. Neven, Hartmut (USA), Director of Engineering, Google Inc.
  30. Noonan, Peggy (USA), Author and Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
  31. Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute
  32. ring, Benjamin (USA), Co-Founder and Managing Director, Center for the Future of Work
  33. Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Treasury Secretary
  34. Sadjadpour, Karim (USA), Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  35. Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy
  36. Summers, Lawrence H. (USA), Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University
  37. Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital
  38. Turpin, Matthew (USA), Director for China, National Security Council

H/t FOTM‘s stlonginus
See also:

Update (June 10):

This video by Truthstream Media says this year’s Bilderberg is a harbinger of war:

H/t FOTM‘s Stovepipe
~Eowyn

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Website sells belts, wallets and shoes made from human skin

Are we in Hell yet?

There’s a UK website called Human Leather which offers belts, wallets and shoes made from human skin for sale:

  • Belts go for approximately $15,750 each.
  • A wallet costs approximately $14,000.
  • A pair of shoes costs about $27,000.

Below is the website’s URL and, in case it’s taken down, its archived link (as proof the website indeed existed):

When I first went on Human Leather‘s website several months ago (that’s how long it took for me to finally bring myself to post about this horror), the website did not enable copying its text. So I took a screenshot of the page:

When you click the “About Us” link, you get a 404 Error message.
This is a screenshot of its “History” page:

A woman named Kris Costa claims on her Facebook page that Sid Gautum is the owner of Human Leather.

Posted by Kris Costa on Saturday, December 9, 2017

According to a Daily Mail article on June 10, 2016, Sid Gautum, 36, is a “millionaire cosmetic surgeon” in the UK.
Gautum was in the news because a £1million mansion he owned on a tree-lined avenue in Penarth, South Wales, had collapsed during construction work to create a “super-basement”. He had bought the house in 2014 for £800,000, and wanted to add extra rooms (a neighbor said 10 extra rooms) to the property.

There is a Sid Gautum on Twitter @SidGautam, who describes himself as a “General Practitioner, Skin Specialist and Founder of Dermaskin Clinics” in Cardiff, Bristol, and Manchester, UK.
From his Twitter pic, he appears to be the same cosmetic surgeon Sid Gautum in the Daily Mail article:

@SidGautum has a website called DermaSkin, an “advanced facial aesthetics” clinic offering anti-wrinkle treatment, dermal fillers, teeth whitening, laser skin resurfacing and laser tattoo removal. Gautum is the clinic’s founder and senior medical director. Here’s his LinkedIn page.
Did you know that poor Nepalese women sell their skin?
Gopal Sherma reports for Reuters, March 10, 2017:

Nepal said it will investigate a report claiming poor women are being trafficked and duped into selling their skin to be used for penis and breast enlargements in the global cosmetic surgery market.
An investigation by the Indian news website Youth Ki Awaaz (Voice of the Youth) said Nepali women were selling 20 square inches (130 square cm) of skin tissue from their backs for $150 to be used in plastic surgery. […]
The report, by Indian journalist Soma Basu, said the Nepali women were trafficked to brothels in Indian cities such as Mumbai and then later duped into selling their skin. Some victims said they were drugged and their skin removed.
The skin tissue, said the report, is sold onto pathology laboratories in India where it is processed and exported to companies in the United States which manufacture skin and tissue derivative products for the global plastic surgery market.

The Nepal-Indian connection of human skin trade is noteworthy in light of the last name of the owner of Human Leather.
I ran a search for Sid Gautum’s last name, but found nothing. Gautum probably is a variation on Gautam — a surname found in Nepal and India (Wikipedia). The name is taken from the name of Gautam Buddha and is the 1033rd most common surname in the world, ranking 22nd in Nepal, 298th in India, and 4,821 in England (Forebears). Gautam is also a last name of the Hindu elite caste of Brahmins.
Speaking of shoes made from human “leather,” there’s a peculiar fascination with red shoes among the debauched elite.
On March 12, 2010, Tony Podesta (brother of John Podesta and a Democratic Party lobbyist of “spirit cooking” fame) celebrated his 65th birthday with a party at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. As reported by Huffington Post, the party was billed as a “Red Shoe Affair” — guests were asked to wear red shoes. Podesta has a “thing” for red shoes. In 1993, the Associated Press reported that he wore red hightops with a tuxedo to a (Bill Clinton) pre-inaugural fundraiser.

Award-winning author and free-lance investigative journalist Liz Crokin maintains Tony Podesta’s red shoes signify he’s a pedophile because the Illuminati uses “The Wizard of Oz” movie to brainwash child sex slaves. Dorothy in the movie wore red shoes. Crokin said:

“Tony Podesta is obsessed with his red shoes. There is symbolism for red shoes in the occult and it’s also tied to satanic ritualistic abuse and the trafficking of children. The Illuminati, the elites, they use ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to mind control child slaves. They use certain films to program children and part of the programming is having them watch these films and they also sexually abuse them and they physically abuse them because the abuse splits their personality and creates different personalities, so then they are able to program them and control them and they virtually become MK-Ultra programming. This is a known thing. They use ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to mind control these child sex abuse victims. Well, what does Dorthy wear in ‘The Wizard of Oz’? Red shoes!”

Do you remember my post of June 12, 2017, “George Soros’ son, Alex, is a ‘spirit cooker’?
Alex Soros, too, has a penchant for red shoes. In July 2013, he posted to Instagram this pic of himself in red shoes:

Some see the Pope’s red shoes as sinister. You should know that:

  1. In the past, popes were garbed in red, instead of white. Pope St. Pius V (1566 – 1572) changed the papal garments to white because he continued to wear the white color of his Dominican order. From then, white became the papal color. The red shoes are a remnant of the former red color of the papal garments.
  2. Not all popes wear red shoes: Pope John Paul II wore ordinary brown shoes; Pope Francis wears simple black shoes. (Wikipedia)

H/t Voat
See also:

~Eowyn

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Vatican threatens to excommunicate priest for criticizing Pope Francis

About two weeks ago, I posted about Cardinal Gerhard Müller sounding the alarm that there is a “pervading sense of fear” in Pope Francis’ Curia — the administrative body of the Holy See in Vatican City, Rome. Müller had served five years as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until this July, when Pope Francis decided not to renew his term for reasons Müller said had never been explained to him.
Müller wasn’t exaggerating or being a false alarmist. Nearly two years ago, I’d posted about the sorry situation of the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, wherein critics are censored and threatened with excommunication.

Pope Francis hides the Crucifix meeting Israeli rabbis


Alessandro Maria Minutella, 44, is a priest in Sicily nationally known for his open criticism of Pope Francis’ controversial Amoris Laetitia “apostalic exhortation” and what Minutella calls “the false Church of modernism”.
Because of his outspoken defense of the traditional Catholic faith, Minutella was officially removed from his parish and forbidden to celebrate Mass, administer the Sacraments, or preach. He was ordered to remain silent for nine months, which he obeyed, although he was attacked and vilified by the Italian media, especially by the satirical TV show, The Hyenas.
After observing silence for 9 months, Minutella was threatened by the Curia that he would receive a “double excommunication” (whatever that means) if he did not make two public acts of fidelity to Pope Francis on social networks. Never mind the fact that pedophile and openly homosexual priests are not excommunicated. (See Pope Francis’ Vatican: a cesspool of pedophiles and homosexuals“)
On November 9, 2017, sitting at a desk with a statue of St. Michael the Archangel, Alessandro Minutella recorded this video as his impassioned response, which was broadcast on Radio Domina Nostra.

Some excerpts of Minutella’s speech:

“Since when on last June 26, 2017, my bishop, Corrado Lorefice, removed me from my role as parish priest, with immediate execution, I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye to my parishioners and substantially was suspended . . . even though they continue to say ‘This is not a suspension! This is not a suspension!,’ when in fact it substantially is.”

Note: Corrado Lorefice was appointed Archbishop of Palermo, Sicily, by Pope Francis in October 2015. In June 2017 Lorefice donated a chapel to serve as a synagogue for the Jewish community of Naples. He has written favorably about the neo-Marxist liberation theology.
Minutella continues:

“Last March, I was obliged to remain silent on all social networks . . . for having spoken the truth on the false church. I have known moral persecution and have been practically reduced to being an exile” — his priesthood “unjustly scorned” and his reputation “ruined” and “derided”.

Minutella vows that he will continue “to raise my voice in defense of the Catholic faith which today is being jeopardized like never before,” and decries Pope Francis’ so-called “Church of Mercy” that “runs to all the Italian ports to welcome the poor immigrants, but then brings to the guillotine those who don’t adhere to its single line of thought of dictatorial nature. These people are not afraid of me who can easily be eliminated — I have no bodyguards and no defense . . . . Holy mother Church has been occupied, because we are speaking of a true invasion,” which Minutella calls a “heretical deception . . . that reevaluates Martin Luther to the point of considering him a holy reformer”.

Note: Pope Francis had declared 2016 to be a “Holy Year of Mercy”.

On the demand that he must make a public fidelity to Pope Francis on social networks or be “doubly excommunicated,” Minutella explains that in the past, he had expressed his “respect” for the pope’s “intellect” and “will,” but he cannot declare a public fidelity to “the Roman pontiff” because to do so is to go against his soul as “no one is above the Gospel”.
Using apocalyptic language, Minutella all but calls Pope Francis the False Prophet of the end days. He calls on Catholics to “all stand up” in “resistance until the end” because the battle is not “between the progressives who are in government and the ones who are suspended and excommunicated for being faithful to the Magisterium. This is the battle between the woman dressed in the sun and the infernal dragon that has launched its most subtle attack on the Church.”
Full transcript (in English) of Minutella here.
See also:

~Eowyn

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Christian leaders trash President Trump and his supporters

File this under “No good deed goes unpunished”.
On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty by enabling religious groups to speak freely on politics without losing their tax exempt status. In the words of the executive order:

“All executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech. In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective, where speech of similar character has, consistent with law, not ordinarily been treated as participation or intervention in a political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office by the Department of the Treasury. As used in this section, the term “adverse action” means the imposition of any tax or tax penalty; the delay or denial of tax-exempt status; the disallowance of tax deductions for contributions made to entities exempted from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of title 26, United States Code; or any other action that makes unavailable or denies any tax deduction, exemption, credit, or benefit.

This is how Pope Francis’ close advisers and a Protestant minister reward President Trump for his religious liberty executive order.

(1) Pope Francis’ Advisers

In a recent article in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, the contents of which are vetted by the Vatican in advance of publication, two close advisers to Jesuit Pope Francis lashed out at American conservatives and the political alliance between conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protestants which elected Donald Trump to the White House.
As reported by Catholic World News on July 13, 2017, the article is co-authored by:

  1. Father Antonio Spadaro, the editor of Civilta Cattolica, who is a regular adviser to Pope Francis.
  2. Marcelo Figueroa, a Presbyterian pastor who was recruited by Pope Francis to launch an Argentinean edition of L’Osservatore Roman, the Vatican’s daily newspaper.


Spadaro and Figueroa maintain that American conservative leaders, including Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, have been heavily influenced by fundamentalist Protestant thought — an influence that shows itself in a noxious Manichean worldview that “divides reality between Good and absolute Evil” and encourages confrontation.
The two close advisers to Pope Francis write that many American Catholics have been drawn into that Manicheanism, and that their alliance with Evangelical Protestants as “values voters” is worrisome because these Catholics are a departure from Pope Francis’s “ecumenism”:

“Clearly there is an enormous difference between these concepts and the ecumenism employed by Pope Francis with various Christian bodies and other religious confessions. Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church.”

(2) Protestant Pastor William Barber

On July 10, 2017 in the White House, a group of evangelical leaders laid hands on and prayed over President Trump, asking God to give him guidance, wisdom and protection.

That sent Rev. William Barber II, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC, and president of North Carolina NAACP. into a spitting rage.

Rev. William Barber II


Abbie Bennett reports for The News & Observer that on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Saturday morning, July 15, Barber called the evangelicals’ prayer for the President “theological malpractice”:

“It is a form of theological malpractice that borders on heresy when you can p-r-a-y for a president and others when they are p-r-e-y, preying on the most vulnerable, you’re violating the most sacred principles of religion.”

Next day, in a news release, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) Robin Hayes said:

“In the strongest possible terms, the NCGOP condemns the hateful actions of Dr. Rev. Barber, who cast tens of millions of people, of all faiths, who pray for the president, as sinners in a nationally broadcasted interview. As a pastor in North Carolina, Rev. Dr. Barber has crossed the line this time. Using his role as a supposed faith-based leader to falsely drive citizens away from praying for the good of our nation and our nation’s president, is absolutely grotesque. The idea that it is a sin to pray for any individual, much less the commander-in-chief of our country, goes against any religious teaching that I have ever heard of. Rev. Dr. Barber is spreading a repulsive lie, and he should apologize immediately.”

During the 2016 presidential election, neither the Vatican nor Rev. William Barber had a problem with Hillary Clinton, who is so pro-abort that she favors the legalization of late-term or partial-birth abortion (i.e., up to the 9th month). In contrast, President Trump has been true to his campaign promise, having defunded International Planned Parenthood, as well as signed a law restoring states’ right to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S.
“Reverend” Barber and Pope Francis’ close advisers “Father” Spadaro and “Pastor” Figueroa, are no more Christian than the devil himself.
~Eowyn

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St. Thomas Aquinas disapproved of illegal immigration and expected all immigrants to assimilate

January 28 was the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose nickname was “the dumb Sicilian ox,” because he was stout in body and slow in manner.
But the mind of St. Thomas was nothing but slow. Not only was he a superb theologian, but — without exaggeration — Aquinas is one of the greatest minds in human history. Just read a piece of his writings, and you’ll see how he reasoned with step-by-step unassailable logic.
That is why the Catholic Church not only honors him as a Doctor of the Church, but considers Thomas to be the Church’s greatest theologian and philosopher. The Church should remember that as so many of its clerics in the United States (and Pope Francis too) weigh in — on the wrong side — on the issue of illegal immigration. See “U.S. bishops oppose President Trump on border wall and illegal immigrants”.
Here are some quotes from St. Thomas on the subject of immigration, which show that St. Thomas respected a country’s laws governing immigration and so would gravely disapprove of illegal “immigrants,” much less their brazen demands for special treatment in the U.S. today.
Even in the case of legal immigrants, St. Thomas expected them to fully assimilate themselves into the country’s culture. So prudent and concerned was he for the wellbeing for the host country that he recommended that even legal immigrants be granted citizenship only after 2 or 3 generations:

“Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts.”
“…when any foreigners wished to be admitted entirely to their fellowship and mode of worship. With regard to these a certain order was observed. For they were not at once admitted to citizenship: just as it was law with some nations that no one was deemed a citizen except after two or three generations, as the Philosopher says (Polit. iii, 1).”
“The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.

Read more about St. Thomas Aquinas on the subject of immigration, here.
Below is joandarc’s original post on St. Thomas, which she published several years ago.
~Eowyn
St. Thomas Aquinas
Today, January 28th, we celebrate one of the most illustrious and influential Saints of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas.
Thomas Aquinas is by far, the spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and divine revelation, being one of the greatest teachers of the Catholic Church, which is why he is named a Doctor of the Church and the Angelic Doctor.
Thomas was born in or about 1225, the youngest of four sons, in the castle of Rocca Secca, to Landulf, a knight, and to Theodora, his mother of Norman descent. At the age of five, his parents took him to the Benedictine Monastery at Monte Cassino, hoping that he would join this Order and rise to the position of abbot. In 1239, he went to the University of Naples in Italy, to study the arts and sciences, and it was through this experience that he became interested in Aristotle.
In or about 1243, Thomas joined the Dominicans, which was against his family’s desires. In fact, his mother ordered that his brothers capture Thomas. Accordingly, they did so and he actually remained at his home, wherein his family hoped to change his mind. You might say that he was put under “house arrest” because of his defiance. While he was imprisoned, he studied the Sentences of Peter Lombard and learned by heart a great portion of the Bible.
After two years, his family gave up and allowed Thomas to go back to his Order of the Dominicans. Thomas then went to Cologne, finishing his studies under St. Albert the Great. Thomas, being reserved and a humble man, was not very well liked by his colleagues. He was a large man, receiving the nickname of “the dumb Sicilian ox.” However, St. Albert, his professor, said this of Thomas, “We call Brother Thomas the ‘dumb ox’; but I tell you that he will yet make his lowing heard to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Thomas’ brilliance was exceeded by his piety, and after he had been ordained a priest, he became so very close and united with God.
In or about 1252, St. Albert and Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher insisted that Thomas go to the University of Paris to teach. Four years thereafter, he became a master and received his doctors chair. His duties included lecturing and preaching.
In or about 1259 to 1268, he was made Preacher General in Italy and taught in the school of selected scholars attached to the papal court, teaching also in other towns and cities in Italy.
His writings created harmony between faith and reason, between divine revelation and natural human knowledge. But Thomas was so in-depth a thinker and lover of God, that he was able to merge the two in his writings, seeing the whole natural order as coming from God, the Creator, and seeing reason as a gift from God to be used for His honor and glory. He wrote the Summa contra Gentiles, a textbook for missionaries, a defense of natural theology against the Arabians, and the Summa theologiae, setting forth Catholic theology with faith and reason. And he wrote about the Angels of God using logic, wisdom and the Bible, which is why he is called, “the Angelic Doctor.”
In 1269, he went back to Paris, wherein St. Louis IX consulted him regularly with regard to important matters of state, as the king so respected Thomas. But the university referred an issue to him, a question upon which they were divided, whether in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar the accidents remained really or only in appearance. St. Thomas prayed fervently and with great love asked for direction from God. He wrote a treatise and laid it upon the altar before he submitted his answer publicly. Our Lord then appeared to St. Thomas saying to him, “Thou has written well of the Sacrament of My Body,” asking Thomas what He could give him as a reward. Thomas said, “I want only You, Lord, only You.” Oftentimes during Mass, especially during the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus, Thomas would cry, sobbing, being so touched of his role as a priest, and of the precious love of Jesus, knowing that he was in the Real Presence of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
In or about 1272, Thomas was called back to Italy, being appointed regent of the study house at Naples. On the Feast of St. Nicholas the following year, he was celebrating Holy Mass, wherein he received a revelation that affected him so, that he did not write or dictate anymore, leaving the magnificent work of the Summa theologiae, unfinished. Thomas told Brother Reginald, “The end of my labors is come. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.”
Pope Gregory bid Thomas, although ill, to attend the general council at Lyons for the reunion of the Greek and Latin churches and to bring with him his work, “Against the Errors of the Greeks.” He became worse during his journey and was consequently taken to the Cistercian abbey of Fossa Nuova. He was lodged in the abbot’s room and the monks attended to him. After Thomas made his last confession receiving the Holy Eucharist from the abbot, he stated these famous words:
“I am receiving thee, Price of my soul’s redemption: all my studies, my vigils and my labors have been for love of thee. I have taught much and written much of the most sacred body of Jesus Christ; I have taught and written in the faith of Jesus Christ and of the holy Roman Church, to whose judgment I offer and submit everything.” Two days later, March 7, 1274, being about 50 years of age, he died. St. Albert who was in Cologne, burst into tears in front of his community and said, “Brother Thomas Aquinas, my son in Christ, the light of the Church, is dead. God has revealed it to me.”
St. Thomas was canonized in 1323, wherein his body lies in the cathedral of Saint-Sernin. St. Pius V conferred upon him the title of Doctor of the Church, and in 1880, Leo XIII declared him the patron saint of universities, colleges and schools.
Thomas’ theological and philosophical writings fill twenty thick volumes and he was the first to comment on Aristotle, whose teaching he utilized in order to build up a complete system of Christian philosophy. Indeed, his most important work was the Summa theologiae, the most thorough and full exposition of theological teaching ever given to the world. This work was one of the three reference works used at the Council of Trent, the other two being the Bible and Pontifical Decrees.
His achievements were not just attributed to his incredible writings. When Pope Urban IV, influenced by the visions of Blessed Juliana of Liege, decided to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi, he deferred to St. Thomas to compose the liturgical office and the Mass for the day, wherein Thomas showed his remarkable expression, known for doctrinal accuracy as for their tenderness of thought. Famous hymns, Pange lingua, O salutaris and Tantum ergo, written by Thomas, are regularly sung at Benediction.
In spite of his greatness, he thought the best of others, thinking they were better than him, being extremely modest whilst he stated his opinion. He did not lose his temper in an argument and was extremely poised.
St. Thomas Aquinas has always been one of my favorite saints. Whilst I was in high school studying philosophy, I would take books home containing his writings. I was drawn to these books, so I did not go out with my friends because I would rather stay home with St. Thomas and read what he said in my cozy bedroom. In fact, though they were kidding, my friends called me a “wallflower” because of my devotion to St. Thomas. I would laugh and tell them that they did not know what they were missing, and that at some point, they might understand. . .
It is my childlike vision in my mind’s eye that sees a great celebration in Heaven today for our dear and great St. Thomas Aquinas! We love and respect you! We hope to some day be with you in Our Lord’s heaven, and maybe you can teach us there too! God be praised for this great and holy man!
With respect and love,
Joan
Sources:

  • One Hundred Saints, Bulfinch Press.
  • Saint of the Day, Edited by Leonard Foley, O.F.M.
  • Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Edited by F.L. Cross.
  • Read more about St. Thomas Aquinas on Wikipedia.
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Catholic Church: New Priests Will be Expected to Preach Global Warming

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Pope Francis 'grieves' over death of Fidel Castro who persecuted Catholics & lived in luxury while Cubans starved

On November 25, 2016, Cuba’s longtime dictator Fidel Castro finally died at the ripe old age of 90.
Reuters reports the next day:

Pope Francis said the death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was “sad news” and that he was grieving and praying for his repose.
Francis expressed his condolences in a Spanish-language message to Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro on Saturday.
The pope, who met Fidel Castro when he visited Cuba last year, said he had received the “sad news” and added: “I express to you my sentiments of grief.”

pope-francis-meets-fidel-castro
The dictionary defines “grief” as sadness, pain, or great sorrow over a loss.
Below is a glimpse of the kind of man Fidel Castro was, for whose death Pope Francis, real name Jorge Bergoglio, “grieves”:

  • Though baptized as a Catholic and educated in schools run by the Jesuits, the same religious order as Bergoglio, Castro was an avowed atheist who persecuted the Catholic church during his reign, sending priests to re-education camps and restricting the celebration of Christian holidays. Castro was reportedly excommunicated under an anti-Communist decree by Pope Pius XII in 1962.
  • Forbes magazine reports that despite the warm reception given Pope Francis last fall, the Cuban government not only continues to persecute Christians, a new report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide warns of “an unprecedented crackdown on churches across the denominational spectrum,” which has fueled a spike in reported violations of freedom of religion or belief to 2,300 cases of violations in 2016 from just 40 cases in 2011. Many of the government’s crackdowns “involved entire churches or, in the cases of arrests, dozens of victims.”
  • While pretending to be for the common people, Fidel actually lived a life of luxury and debauchery, according to a book by Castro’s longtime bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Líder Maximo. As recounted by the New York Post: “With his shaggy beard and rumpled, olive-drab fatigues, Fidel Castro presented himself to the world as a modest man of the people. At times, he claimed he made just 900 pesos ($43) a month and lived in a ‘fisherman’s hut’ somewhere on the beach. But Castro’s public image was a carefully crafted myth, more fiction than fact. While his people suffered, Fidel Castro lived in comfort — keeping everything, including his eight children, his many mistresses, even his wife, a secret . . . . Castro . . . made a personal fortune offering safe haven to drug traffickers, bedded a bevy of women over the decades, and once threatened his own brother, Raul, with execution when the brother lapsed into alcoholism in the ’90s . . . . Castro kept 20 luxurious properties throughout the Caribbean nation, including his own island, accessed via a yacht decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola . . . . [Castro’s 5 sons with his second wife] grew up in hidden luxury on an estate outside Havana. With its orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and banana trees, the estate resembled a veritable garden of Eden — especially if one compared it with the notorious ration book that all Cubans had to use to buy food. . . . Each member of the family possessed his or her own cow, ‘so as to satisfy each one’s individual taste, since the acidity and creaminess of fresh milk varies from one cow to another.'” Meanwhile, the Cuban people lived in deep poverty — of crumbling houses, food rations, and teen prostitution. Political opponents were executed by the thousands by firing squad, or sentenced to decades of hard labor.

To call Jorge Bergoglio “Pope” is a travesty.
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~Eowyn

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Editor of 'First Things' religious journal declares Pope Francis a failure

First Things is an ecumenical, conservative religious journal founded in 1990 by Richard John Neuhaus, a prominent intellectual and Lutheran minister who converted to the Catholic Church and entered the priesthood shortly after the journal’s founding.
Published by the New York-based Institute on Religion and Public Life, with a circulation of approximately 30,000 copies, the influential journal is inter-denominational and inter-religious, representing a broad intellectual tradition of Christian and Jewish critique of contemporary society.
First Thingscontributors include many well-known intellectuals and religious figures such as George Weigel, Michael Novak, William Bennett, Peter L. Berger, David Horowitz, Ralph McInerny, Cardinal Avery Dulles, and bishop Charles J. Chaput. So it is significant that the journal’s current literary editor, Matthew Schmitz, in an op/ed published in the New York Times on Sept. 28, 2016, declares Pope Francis a failure.
Schmitz arrived at the assessment using, as his yardstick, “the Francis effect” — whether Francis’ papacy has increased the number of Catholics, as measured, for example, by Mass attendance. Alas, in the United States, despite the (liberal) media’s hailing of Francis, Mass attendance not only has not increased since the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became Pope in 2013, attendance had actually decreased. And it’s not just in the U.S. but also in Italy, where the Vatican is located.
Schmitz concludes that the (seeming) popularity achieved by Francis/Bergoglio is a personal one, at the expense of the Catholic Church.
Below is Schmitz’ op/ed in its entirety.

Pope Francis hides the Crucifix meeting Israeli rabbis

Pope Francis hides the Crucifix meeting Israeli rabbis

About the above pic, see “Pope Francis is ashamed of the Cross, knows better than the Gospels“.

Has Pope Francis Failed?

By Matthew Schmitz • New York Times • September 28, 2016

When Pope Francis ascended to the chair of St. Peter in March 2013, the world looked on in wonder. Here at last was a pope in line with the times, a man who preferred spontaneous gestures to ritual forms. Francis paid his own hotel bill and eschewed the red shoes. Rather than move into the grand papal apartments, he settled in the cozy guesthouse for visitors to the Vatican. He also set a new nondogmatic tone with statements like “Who am I to judge?

Observers predicted that the new pope’s warmth, humility and charisma would prompt a “Francis effect” — bringing disaffected Catholics back to a church that would no longer seem so forbidding and cold. Three years into his papacy, the predictions continue. Last winter, Austen Ivereigh, the author of an excellent biography of Pope Francis, wrote that the pope’s softer stance on communion for the divorced and remarried “could trigger a return to parishes on a large scale.” In its early days, Francis’ Jesuit order labored to bring Protestants back into the fold of the church. Could Francis do the same for Catholics tired of headlines about child abuse and culture wars?

In a certain sense, things have changed. Perceptions of the papacy, or at least of the pope, have improved. Francis is far more popular than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Sixty-three percent of American Catholics approve of him, while only 43 percent approved of Benedict at the height of his popularity, according to a 2015 New York Times and CBS News poll. Francis has also placed a great emphasis on reaching out to disaffected Catholics.

But are Catholics actually coming back? In the United States, at least, it hasn’t happened. New survey findings from Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate suggest that there has been no Francis effect — at least, no positive one. In 2008, 23 percent of American Catholics attended Mass each week. Eight years later, weekly Mass attendance has held steady or marginally declined, at 22 percent.

Of course, the United States is only one part of a global church. But the researchers at Georgetown found that certain types of religious observance are weaker now among young Catholics than they were under Benedict. In 2008, 50 percent of millennials reported receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday, and 46 percent said they made some sacrifice beyond abstaining from meat on Fridays. This year, only 41 percent reported receiving ashes and only 36 percent said they made an extra sacrifice, according to CARA. In spite of Francis’ personal popularity, young people seem to be drifting away from the faith.

Why hasn’t the pope’s popularity reinvigorated the church? Perhaps it is too soon to judge. We probably won’t have a full measure of any Francis effect until the church is run by bishops appointed by Francis and priests who adopt his pastoral approach. This will take years or decades.

Yet something more fundamental may stand in the way of a Francis effect. Francis is a Jesuit, and like many members of Catholic religious orders, he tends to view the institutional church, with its parishes and dioceses and settled ways, as an obstacle to reform. He describes parish priests as “little monsters” who “throw stones” at poor sinners. He has given curial officials a diagnosis of “spiritual Alzheimer’s.” He scolds pro-life activists for their “obsession” with abortion. He has said that Catholics who place an emphasis on attending Mass, frequenting confession, and saying traditional prayers are “Pelagians” — people who believe, heretically, that they can be saved by their own works.

Such denunciations demoralize faithful Catholics without giving the disaffected any reason to return. Why join a church whose priests are little monsters and whose members like to throw stones? When the pope himself stresses internal spiritual states over ritual observance, there is little reason to line up for confession or wake up for Mass.

Even Francis’ most ardent fans worry that his agenda is overdue. When he was elected, Francis promised a cleanup of the Vatican’s corrupt finances. Three years on, he has started to retreat in the face of opposition, giving up an outside audit and taking powers away from his handpicked point man. Francis has also shied away from big changes on doctrinal matters. Instead of explicitly endorsing communion for the divorced and remarried couples, he has quietly urged them on with a wink and a nod.

Francis has built his popularity at the expense of the church he leads. Those who wish to see a stronger church may have to wait for a different kind of pope. Instead of trying to soften the church’s teaching, such a man would need to speak of the way hard disciplines can lead to freedom. Confronting a hostile age with the strange claims of Catholic faith may not be popular, but over time it may prove more effective. Even Christ was met with the jeers of the crowd.

-End of Schmitz’ op/ed-

See also:

~Eowyn

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The (real) Francis Effect

Pope Francis (real name Jorge Bergoglio) is fawned over by the Left, including the homosexual magazine The Advocate and the creature who calls herself Madonna.
The Advocate's Pope Francis cover
They say Bergoglio is good for the Catholic Church, calling it “The Francis Effect”.
But if the Francis Effect is measured by actual empirical indicators instead of feel-good wishful thinking — such as conservative Catholics being alienated, the number of Mass attendees and of Catholics who go to Confession — then the real Francis Effect on the Church actually has been negative.
Below is an article by Sandro Magister for an Italian website Chiesa, containing a letter from a priest on the Francis Effect in Italy. The article was translated into English by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.

Jubilee of Mercy, But With the Confessionals Empty

by Sandro Magister – Chiesa

ROME, January 9, 2016 – One thing that made the news at the end of the year was the data furnished by the prefecture of the pontifical household on attendance in 2015 at the public audiences with Pope Francis, with numbers down almost by half compared to the previous year:
At the Wednesday general audiences there was a drop from 1,199,000 visitors in 2014 to 704,100 in 2015. While for the Sunday Angelus the fall was from 3,040,000 to 1,585,000.
The official figures that ISTAT compiles every year in Italy on the daily life of a gigantic sampling of citizens, made up of almost 24,000 families, for a total of 54,000  individuals residing in 850 cities large and small.
In the most recent annual report made public, relative to 2014, the “percentage of persons over the age of 6 who go to a place of worship at least once a week” turned out to be 28.8 percent.
During the seven years of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, this same indicator was consistently above 30 percent in Italy, on average around 32-33 percent. Decisively higher than in 2014, the first full year of the pontificate of Francis and the one in which his popularity reached its peak.
The following letter takes these statistical indicators into account. But it evaluates the real “Francis effect” on religious life with the more up close and direct gaze of the pastor of souls, of the confessor. Who writes that during this pontificate he has experienced not only a further drop in the practice of sacramental confession, but also a deterioration in the “quality” of the confessions themselves. A deterioration that does not seem unrelated to the use of certain remarks of pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio that have had enormous success in the media.
The author of the letter is a churchman with a high level of scholarly specialization and with significant teaching appointments in Italy and abroad, but who also dedicates a great deal of time and energy to pastoral care.
His evaluations reflect those of a growing number of pastors, who – in a private capacity – do not fail to confide similar concerns to their respective bishops.
“Who are you to judge me?” The confessions of a confessor

Dear Magister,…
The facts are these. Since the opening of the Holy Year backed by Pope Francis and on the occasion of the Christmas festivities of 2015 – as also since Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been sitting on the throne of Peter – the number of faithful who approach the confessional has not increased, neither in ordinary time nor in festive. The trend of a progressive, rapid diminution of the frequency of sacramental reconciliation that has characterized recent decades has not stopped. On the contrary: the confessionals of my church have been largely deserted.
I have sought comfort for this bitter consideration by imagining that the basilicas connected to the Holy Year in Rome or in other cities, or the shrines and convents, have been able to attract a larger number of penitents. But a round of phone calls to some fellow priests who regularly hear confessions in these places (using the opportunity of the Christmas wishes that I extend every year) has confirmed my observation: lines of penitents that are anything but long, everywhere, even less than at the festivities of past years.
And there is also less and less news of memorable conversions of sheep lost for many years and returning to the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd through the “useless servants” of his mercy that we priests are. When this happens, very rarely, there is neither explicit nor implicit reference to the person or the word of the current pope more than there was in the past for his predecessors (how many young people came back from the World Youth Days and put into practice their resolution of frequent confession!).
Distrusting the value of the numbers, because even the salvation of one soul has an infinite value in the eyes of God, I reviewed the “quality” of the confessions I have heard and I asked – while respecting the secret of the confessional concerning the identity of the penitent – for news from a few fellow confessors of long experience. The picture that presents itself is certainly not a happy one, both concerning the awareness of sin and in reference to the awareness of the prerequisites for obtaining God’s forgiveness (in this case as well, I know that the term “forgiveness” is giving way to “mercy” and is in danger of being mothballed soon, but at what theological, spiritual, and pastoral cost?).
Two examples stand for all. One middle-aged gentleman whom I asked, with discretion and delicacy, if he had repented of a repeated series of grave sins against the seventh commandment “do not steal,” of which he had accused himself with a certain frivolity and almost joking about the circumstances, certainly not attenuating, that had accompanied them, responded to me with the words of Pope Francis: “Mercy knows no limits” and by showing surprise that I would remind him of the need for repentance and for the resolution to avoid falling back into the same sin in the future: “I did what I did. What I will do I will decide when I go from here. What I think about what I have done is a question between me and God. I am here only to have what everyone deserves at least at Christmas: to be able to receive communion at midnight!” And he concluded by paraphrasing the now archfamous expression of Pope Francis: “Who are you to judge me?”
One young lady, to whom I had proposed as an act of penance connected to the sacramental absolution of a grave sin against the fifth commandment “do not kill” that she kneel in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament exposed on the altar of a church and perform an act of material charity toward a poor person to the extent of her means, responded to me with annoyance that “no one must ask for anything in exchange for God’s mercy, because it is free,” and that she had neither the time to stop at a church to pray (she had to “run around doing Christmas shopping downtown”), nor money to give to the poor (“who don’t even need it that much, because they have more than we do”).
It is evident that a certain message, at least as received from the pope and come down to the faithful, easily lends itself to being misunderstood, mistaken, and therefore of no help in the maturation of a sure and upright conscience in the faithful concerning their sins and the conditions of their remission in the sacrament of reconciliation. With all due respect to Msgr. Dario Viganò, prefect of the secretariat for communication of the Holy See, the “zigzag course” through concepts without ever pausing to clarify any of them – which he recognizes as a gem of the “communication style of Pope Francis,” capable of “making him so irresistible” to the modern listener – presents a few spiritual and pastoral inconveniences, far from trivial if they have to do with grace and the sacraments, the treasury of the Church.
Thank you for your attention and many cordial greetings, “ad maiorem Dei gloriam.”
[Signature]


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~Eowyn

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