Pope Francis Correct about Inadmissibility of Death Penalty in "Context of the Gospel"


New Era World News and Intelligence

POPE FRANCIS IS BEING FALSELY ACCUSED once again.  On August 2, 2018, the pope announced a revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty. Detractors are wrongly claiming that the pope declared the death penalty has ceased to be a valid moral option.  Rather, many report, that Francis stated that the death penalty is “intrinsically evil” and anyone employing it NOW is involved in a sinful act. Life Site News, 1 Peter Five, the Lepanto Institute and other “Catholic News Agencies” continue to paint Pope Francis as a sinister or weak-minded pretender, an “Antipope” who confuses issues thereby introducing moral error and step-by-step leading the Church into apostasy. But do not worry they assure us, there is a “Papal Posse” (led by EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, the self-appointed sheriff) out to round him up and bring him to trial before he can do any more damage.

The Church does not need supposed Catholic News Agencies to identify the pope’s theological errors because the pope is not guilty of any theological errors. In fact, if such news agencies continue acting as papal judges, they might risk bringing condemnation upon their own heads. They act as though they alone are capable of guiding the flock because they alone are able to “see.”  It would be better for them if they were blind. Then they would at least have a valid excuse, but they claim to see – therefore their guilt remains:

“Jesus said to them: If you were blind, you should not have sin: but now you say: We see. (Therefore) Your sin remaineth” (John 9:41).

The Lord refers to such men as “blind guides” (Matt 23:24) and cautions his humble followers, those who hear His voice (John 10:26-27), to ignore false shepherds who are consciously or unconsciously doing the work of their father, the devil.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e45dVgWgV64

“My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish” (John 10: 27).

“Why do you not know my speech (Jesus asks)? Because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof” John 8 42-47).

Jesus speaks in ways that are impossible for false prophets to speak: He is an excuser (Matt 26:28), the devil is an accuser (Rev 12:10). The Pharisees followed and talked like the latter (Mark 2: 15-16). Therefore they failed to heed the Lord’s words, failed to grasp the centrality of Mercy (Matt 9:10-13) and then wrongly accused Jesus of teaching error (John 10:33; Matt 26:59-64). Wise men should think twice before repeating pharisaical accusations against Christ or His Vicar, especially when they should know that Jesus taught Peter that he would be falsely accused, that his accusers would come from his own house, and that the false accusers would be condemned as blind guides. To the extent they are conscious of their malady, the more they are culpable. Nonetheless, in reality (conscious or unconscious) men who falsely cry wolf, as the pharisees did regarding Jesus (Luke 11:16) and as these men are regarding His vicar, men such as these will eventually be devoured by the wolves (Matt 24-21) along with those who have had the great misfortune of listening to and believing them.

No, it is not the pope who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it is not the pope who is introducing confusion by twisting texts, employing subtle vocabulary,  introducing foreign teachings; it is not the pope who is stealthily misrepresenting the magisterium.  NO, IT IS NOT THE POPE THAT EMPLOYS THESE METHODS BUT THE ANTI-PAPAL FAKE NEWS MEDIA THAT EMPLOYS THEM TO MISLEAD THEIR UNSUSPECTING “SHEEPLE.” Those eager to trip the pope up either are unaware of, ignore, or overlook their own errors and then in the name of truth, zealously foist error on their readers, such as the errors introduced recently by Life Site News,  One Peter Five, Professor Robert de Mattei of Lepanto Institute (cited by the Remnant) and Dr. Edward Feser:

Life Site judges itself so completely competent that it even dares to call the pope a “heretic”:

“Pope Francis has shown himself to be openly heretical on a point of major importance, teaching a pure and simple novelty” (Kwasniewski Aug 2, 2018).

The only question, according to sources such as these, is if Francis is a formal heretic (a heretic that is aware that what he is teaching is contrary to Catholic doctrine and yet remains pertinacious in his error despite rebuke) or only a material heretic:

“Whether Francis is a formal heretic — and proves pertinacious in maintaining his position in spite of rebuke— is a matter to be adjudicated by the College of Cardinals” (Kwasniewski Aug 2, 2018).

Either way, according to Kwasniewski and the editorial staff at Life Site that approved his blog, Pope Francis is a heretic that must be opposed:

“No doubt exists, however, that orthodox bishops of the Catholic Church must oppose this doctrinal error and refuse to use the altered edition of the Catechism or any catechetical materials based on it.”

Like the others,  Dr. Edward Feser (whom National Review cited as “one of the best contemporary writers on philosophy) does not make necessary and proper distinctions and then proceeds to make egregious mistakes followed by false accusations:

According to Dr. Feser.

“To say, as the pope does, that the death penalty conflicts with ‘the inviolability and dignity of the person’ insinuates that the practice is intrinsically contrary to natural law. And to say, as the pope does, that ‘the light of the Gospel’ rules out capital punishment insinuates that it is intrinsically contrary to Christian morality,

If they took time to carefully analyze the news, and to properly understand the terms employed, the detractors might get it right.  As it is, they consistently get it wrong – and with condemning arrogance. As such, they might be surprised to learn that Pope Francis, like his predecessors, never stated that capital punishment is intrinsically evil nor has he contradicted his predecessors as they falsely claim.  The detractors seem more interested in fighting with a papal straw man (that they can easily knock down in front of an audience of indiscreet admirers) than they do with ascertaining the truth. If they actually possess the intellectual tools needed to critique a pope, they should be able to clarify what the pope actually said; something  they consistently seem unable to do.

Gentlemen, the pope never said that the death penalty is “intrinsically evil”; please stop misrepresenting him.

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What Exactly did the Pope Say?

According to the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, “The Supreme Pontiff Francis, in the audience granted on 11 May 2018 to the undersigned Prefect… has approved the following new draft of no. 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, arranging for it to be translated into various languages and inserted in all the editions of the aforementioned Catechism.”

Regarding the Death Penalty, para 2267 of the New Catechism should be amended to read:

Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

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Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

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Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide” (Papal Rescript “Ex Audienta  SS.MI).

Flexing his intellectual muscle, Professor Robert de Mattei President of Lepanto Institute stated that, “The lawfulness of the death penalty is a truth de fide tenenda defined by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church, in a constant and unequivocal manner.”  Then, after striking a side-chest pose, he implies that Pope Francis is a heretic:

“Whoever affirms that capital punishment is in itself an evil, falls into heresy (Remnant News).”

To defend his damning claim, he quotes Pope Innocent III (Innocent III, DS 795/425):

“The teaching of the Church was clearly expressed in a letter dated December 18, 1208, in which Innocent III condemned the Waldensian position with these words, reported by Denzinger:

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‘With regard to the secular power, we affirm that it can exercise a judgment of blood without mortal sin, provided that in carrying out the punishment it proceeds, not out of hatred, but judiciously, not in a precipitous manner, but with caution.’” (Enchiridion symbolorum,definitionum et declaratium de rebus fidei et morum, edited by Peter Hünermann S.J., n. 795).

It is surprising that an esteemed doctor of philosophy could make such a sophomoric mistake, surprising that he could fail to note the fundamental distinction between the Natural Law and the Divine Law and the fact that Francis was not speaking to leaders of the state but to faithful Catholics.  The Pope made it very clear that he was NOT speaking within the context of the Natural Law but within the context of Divine Law, (in the context of the GOSPEL). The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS of salvation, the GOOD NEWS  of MERCY not of judgement.  In the context of Gospel Love and Mercy, sinners are forgiven.

POPE INNOCENT WAS REFERRING TO ROMANS 13 REGARDING THE “BLOODY SWORD” OF JUSTICE WIELDED BY THE EMPEROR. POPE FRANCIS IS SPEAKING OF THE GOSPEL SWORD OF MERCY, THE ONE THAT JESUS TOLD PETER TO “PUT AWAY” (MATT 26:52). They are two very different swords, two very different standards of dealing with sins and crimes.

Pope Innocent was clearly speaking about the authority of the state as derived from the Natural Law as is clear from the use  of the words “judgement” and  “blood”.  Those however who fall under the Divine Law of Love are not judged, instead they plead for mercy and avoid judgment, avoid the bloody sword of justice and death:

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent NOT his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is NOT judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God(John 3: 16-18)

Natural Law follows the dictates of natural reason culminating in human wisdom and acts of natural justice; Divine Law exceeds the dictates of human reason and is guided by the dictates of supernatural reason culminating in Divine Wisdom perfected by acts of Divine Love. The former is bequeathed by the gift of FAITH in Jesus the WORD of God and in His GOSPEL; the latter in the gift of the Holy Spirit conferred in Baptism and Confirmation. Wisdom (human or Divine) is an intellectual virtue that is not perfected until it reaches its end (unity of lover and beloved) in ACTS of Love.

“For my thoughts (INTELLECT) are not your thoughts: nor your ways (ACTS) my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8).

Dr. Feser, quoted above, makes a similar mistake. He stated that Pope Francis “insinuates that the practice (the death penalty) is intrinsically contrary to natural law.” Obviously, the death penalty is NOT contrary to Natural Law (it is not even contrary to the Divine Old Law) but it is contrary to the Gospel of Mercy as Pope Francis correctly teaches. Feser is simply fighting a “straw man” of his own making!

Next, he fails to recognize that the Gospel does in deed rule out the death penalty:

“To say, as the pope does, that ‘the light of the Gospel’ rules out capital punishment insinuates that it is intrinsically contrary to Christian morality,”

Mr. Fesser, Christian morality is rooted in the GOSPEL.  Natural morality though it leads to Christian morality is not the same thing. It is the morality discovered by unaided natural reason known even to the PAGANS (Aristotle) – it is not specifically Christian.  It might be proto-Christian, but it is NOT Christian per-se, in itself, that is substantially. It is merely a human standard, not the Divine standard rooted in Love (1 John 4: 7-8).

At least Mr. Fesser is a reputable philosopher, Life Site consists mainly of untrained laymen most of whom are not even competent to be in the discussion. Thus, Life Site reported that this amendment of the Catechism is “bold” and “reckless” move and that Francis’ pontificate is “out of control.”

“In the boldest and most reckless move to date in a pontificate that was already out of control and sowing confusion on a massive scale, the Vatican has announced Pope Francis’s substitution, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of a new doctrine on capital punishment.”

It should be clear who is “reckless” and “out of control.” Francis has not altered the fact that under the Natural Law, the state retains the intrinsic power and authority to impose the death penalty.  As Vicar of Christ, however, he is pointing them to the Gospel and asking, that in its context, heads of state show mercy by not admitting the death penalty into their tribunals. If they fail to do so, judges and heads of state can still impose the death penalty without incurring moral guilt, if they do so correctly; that is, within the confines of natural justice as was always the case. However, by continuing the practice of imposing the death penalty, heads of state are reducing their judgements to the lower moral standard of natural justice.  The pope is appealing for them to raise their hearts and eyes to the realities of the higher GOSPEL STANDARD of Divine Mercy, which is at the heart of his pontificate.

In short, the pope is not a schoolboy to be spanked by a group of neophyte philosophers.  Francis is a well seasoned priest, a man who both knows the principles and has the experience necessary to apply them correctly in widely varying circumstances and in an environment such as the present one, an especial time of supernatural grace in which the King of Kings has pronounced His desire for an Hour of Mercy, an Hour of Mercy before the dread hour of vindictive justice from which no man can escape.  Just about everything that Francis speaks of must be interpreted within the context of Mercy.

“Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. … I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners].” (Jesus’ message to Saint Faustina; Diary, 1588 and 1160).

Because he is presenting the death penalty in the context of mercy, he is easily misunderstood by those who fail to recognize the context. Thus, Pope Francis never stated that the death penalty is “intrinsically evil” nor did he ever say that it is morally ILLICIT.  What Pope Francis did say is that the death penalty is “INADMISSIBLE.”  When something is inadmissible it implies that it can also at times be admissible. Inadmissible is a procedural not a substantive term – inadmissible is a legal term dealing with procedures that govern evidence, trial protocol, and sentencing etcetera. That is, it has to do with correct procedures employed in a criminal or civil case not with the substantive moral facts of the case. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, inadmissible refers to:

“That which, under the established rules of law, cannot be admitted or received: e. g., parol evidence to contradict a written contract.”

When the pope teaches that the death penalty is inadmissible, a reasonable person might be expected to ask: Where or when is it inadmisible.  The answer: In the Tribunal of Mercy (or in an Eclesial Court – the death penalty has always been inadmissible in Ecclesial Courts). The death penalty is certainly admissible in a Tribunal of Justice (a secular Criminal Court or the Court of the Eternal Judge) in which a person can be found guilty by a temporal judge and sentenced to death. or by the Eternal Judge and sentenced to hell, to what eschatological literature refers to as the “Second DEATH” (Rev. 20: 13-15).  However, the Second Death is not possible for any person judged in the Tribunal of Mercy. Such people will never taste death again! When a person refuses to avail himself of God’s Mercy, he places himself outside the Tribunal of Mercy and is handed over to death which is OUTSIDE the Kingdom of Heaven – Death is not admissible in Heaven.

“Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me…. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:34-41).

Instead of saying they were sorry, those sentenced to the Second Death in the above scripture, complained of their innocence.  Thus, instead of mercy and eternal life, they received justice and eternal death, the death penalty. Had they availed themselves of mercy they would have known life because the death penalty is inadmissible in the Tribunal of Mercy!

Detractors, please be very careful, those who clamor for the sword of justice, risk having the death penalty imposed upon themselves:

“JUDGE not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt 7:1-2)

The only reason people are sentenced to the “Second Death” is their radical refusal to ask for forgiveness, the radical refusal to say, “sorry.” If they did so, they would find themselves forgiven and inheritors of eternal life. The Lord, Himself, does NOT ADMIT the death penalty into His Tribunal of Mercy – the death penalty is INADMISSIBLE!

Pope Francis is pleading with modern men and women to save their brothers and sisters from the Second Death and showing them how to avoid it themselves.  This is something that the Mother of God also taught at Fatima. She showed Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia a momentary vision of hell to inspire them to save souls from being sentenced to is endless caverns.

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in this world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”

The death penalty is clearly “inadmissible” in a Tribunal of Mercy as Pope Francis correctly teaches.  However, the death penalty is not “intrinsically evil”, nor did Pope Francis ever say that it is.  The death penalty can surely be imposed in a Tribunal of Justice, which is exactly what those risk who clamor that sinners be subjected to justice and who falsely accuse the pope of being a wolf by misrepresenting his words.

It would be better for them to humbly admit their ignorance:

“Jesus said to them: If you were blind, you should not have sin: but now you say: We see(Therefore) Your sin remaineth” (John 9:41).

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Pope Francis - Confusing Traditionalists - Homosexuals-Homosexuality & God's Mercy


New Era World News and Global Intelligence:

EXACTLY ONE YEAR HAS PASSED since Cardinal Burke and three other “Red Hats” issued their well known clerical “dubia”, which might be interpreted as a public prosecutorial attempt to “cross-examine” the Vicar of Christ (Amoris Laetitia) whose pastoral approach to divorce and remarriage is not quite to their liking and apparently beyond their comprehension. Although two of the original dubia architects have gone to their death during this one-year period and although the former Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith (CDF) clearly indicated that there was nothing in the pope’s exhortation on divorce and remarriage that contradicted the Church’s perennial teachings about marital union, despite these things, the remaining two cardinals have not relented, have not relinquished their demand to publicly cross examine the Vicar of Christ as if somehow they, they and not the Successor of Peter, are the guarantors of the Supreme Magisterium.

Rather than continue to deflect the assault on the papacy regarding the issue of Amoris Laetitia, as we have done elsewhere, it is hoped that there is didactic value in demonstrating the ludicrous and base assertions contained in three related attacks on the reigning pontiff (homosexuality, the death penalty, and marriage) thereby lending credence to the supposition that it is not the Vicar of Christ but the prelates who are causing the confusion. The fact that the pope’s rudimentary remarks on these three topics, in the context of mercy, supposedly caused confusion among ranking churchmen raises various questions: Are their aging minds becoming too feeble to remember basic catechesis or to dull to make moral distinctions necessary for pastoral theology or are they so rooted in negativity that they are unable to see the good being proposed by the pope (Luke 6: 40-42)?  Since these men are towering “Princes of the Holy Roman Catholic Church”, questions about their intellectual ability should be readily dismissed; it is safer to presume that they are endowed with the requisite intellectual virtues. It is not they but their readers and facilitators who are either easily confused or willing purveyors of their confusing confusion, purveyors who should be clarifying the confusion rather than enhancing it.

If questions regarding intellectual ability are dismissed, as it seems they should be, other more dubious questions arise pertaining to motive, intriguing questions, which require investigation beyond the scope of this article. The purpose of this article (and two companion articles) is to explore the absurdity of what now seems to be daily base assertions, assertions that are so clearly fallacious that they tend to force the inquiring mind to pray for rational insight that explains their ongoing dogged persistence, a persistence that has the net effect of defaming this pope.  When these three issues are examined (homosexuality, the death penalty, and marriage), when it is demonstrated that any person trained in rudimentary catechesis should be able to grasp what the pope is saying, it should be clear, or at least plausible, that it is not Pope Francis who is causing confusion; rather, the confusion is being engendered by a set of dubious detractors.

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HOMOSEXUALITY

Several adherents of the extreme “Religious Right” stepped up their attacks against Pope Francis following his July 29, 2013 statement in response to a question posed by journalist Ilze Scamparini during a press conference granted to journalists on a flight back from Rio de Janeiro following World Youth Day.  A veritable fire storm broke out over the pope’s response:

“If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?”

Ilze Scamparini

Scamparini’s specific question was:

“I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private life. I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this? How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront the whole question of the gay lobby?”

Scamparini’s inquiry consists of two parts; to the first question Pope Francis replied:

I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had been alleged. We did not find anything of that. This is the response. But I wish to add something else:…If a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins. That is a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope. We have to think a great deal about that. But, returning to your question more concretely. In this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything.”

This first query involving interim Vatican Banker, Msgr. Ricca is not relevant here; we are (as is Pope Francis) interested in the second query, dealing with homosexual “tendencies” and a purported “gay lobby” (or any perverse lobby) operating at the Vatican. Before proceeding to the second part, the part dealing with the “gay lobby” and homosexual tendencies, it is important to note that the pope’s remark, “who am I to judge” was NOT made in reference to the first question, although his detractors like to make it appear as if it did.

As John Thavis astutely noted:

“Amid the media attention that inevitably followed, it’s important to note that although the pope was responding to a question about an alleged “gay lobby” in the Vatican, his comment was not specifically about gay priests.”

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“Some media have portrayed the pope as saying he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation, which would seem to call into question the Vatican’s 2005 document that ruled out ordination for men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” Based on the pope’s actual words, I think that’s a stretch.”

In fact, Pope Francis did make a judgement to conduct an investigation, as he should of. The words “who am I to judge were made in reference to the second question pertaining to a gay lobby which takes precedence over the question about gay priests.  Francis shifted emphasis from gay priests, such as Ricca, to focus on the question pertaining to a gay lobby, but he never separated the gay lobby from his response about penitent gays, which he expands in response to the second question. This is clear because at the end of his first answer, following the words ” I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find anything”,  he stated

“This is the first question. Then, you spoke about the gay lobby.”

In answer to this latter question, Francis responded:

“So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good (a gay lobby). If  (on the other hand) someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?

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“The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem.”

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https://youtu.be/UibY3viEQrg

On Return Flight from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro Pope Francis asked: ‘If a person is gay… who am I to judge?’ 

The problem is not the tendency but making a lobby of the tendency. In other words, being penitent and remaining “in the closet”, that is keeping one’s homosexuality tendency to one’s self while working on it is not a problem that deters the pope or the Church from conducting its works. What is a problem, a BIG problem, however is not being penitent, but rather being defiant, publicly defiant and forming a militant yet mondaine lobby of dilettante rebellious sophisticates to challenge the Church from the inside.  The pope clearly says that this is a problem.  This problem is obviously on his mind!

Before continuing, Francis states clearly that such a gay lobby is “NOT GOOD“.  He then states, that in contradistinction to a “bad”, defiant, publicly vocal, and rebellious gay lobby of homosexual sophisticates, a single person who is penitent and fighting homosexual urges while keeping peace in the community is not a problem, certainly not, especially when compared to the former, which he hints might exist at the Vatican:

“I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. (Nonetheless) They say there are some there.”

Msgr Ricca, however is not one of them, presumably he falls into the second grouping to which the pope addressed his now famous words:

If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?

The pope reiterates this point by quoting the Catechism followed by some more personal remarks that drive his point home :

No one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem.”

This problem has grown so acute that it has apparently penetrated the hallowed ramparts of Malta leading Pope Francis to order a purge of Freemasons from the Knights of Malta.

For a long time, many on the right have been pleading for the popes to clean house; now that the cleaning has commenced many of the supplicants ravenous for a papal crackdown, are finding themselves on the bristles tips.

In the Holy Father’s own words:

There are also cases of malicious resistance, which spring up in misguided minds and come to the fore when the devil inspires ill intentions (often cloaked in sheep’s clothing).”

 

“This last kind of resistance hides behind words of self-justification and often accusation,” he said. “It takes refuge in traditionsappearancesformalities, in the familiar, or else in a desire to make everything personal, failing to distinguish between (among) the ACT, the ACTOR and the ACTION” (please remember that Francis said this).

By using words such as traditionsappearances and formalities, it is quite clear whom the pope is referring to.  His words are similar to those of Cardinal Ratzinger when he headed the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF):

“It is necessary to be strong in faith and to resist error even when it masquerades as piety.”

The culprit is then brought into stark relief when the sacred scriptures point their light on the theme or error, piety, tradition etc:

“And what I do I will continue to do, in order to end this pretext of those who seek a pretext for being regarded as we are in the mission of which they boast. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11: 12-15).

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The Issue is Clear enough for a School Boy, Why are the Dubia Cardinals Confused?

Clearly, Pope Francis was speaking about penitent homosexuals who in humility keep their sins to themselves rather than forming lobbies of defiant and rebellious epicuren gourmands working to undermine the Church. Moreover, the distinction that he made by the words  “Who am I to judge” is so basic a mere school boy possessing elementary catechesis could make the distinction necessary to understand what the pope was saying in this supposedly confusing case.

The folks as Novus Ordo Watch (NOW) are apparently as confused as the dubia cardinals and other purveyors of dubious papal ideas.  According to them (NOW):

“For a supposed Vicar of Jesus Christ to make such a comment is beyond irresponsible and foolish, not to mention harmful and scandalous. Francis plays right into the wrong-headed but widespread idea that some people are homosexual in their identity, in their nature, as part of “who they are”. This is exactly what modern-day liberals want you to believe, that just as people are biologically either male or female, so they are also biologically either heterosexual or homosexual.”

The pope never made any mention of biological determinism.  He merely said, “The problem is not having this tendency” (or, the problem is not this tendency).  To say that he meant a biologically determined tendency is to put words into his mouth, corrupt words that vitiate his meaning. More positively, Francis’ words can be taken to mean concupiscence, urge, temptation etc. which when acted upon habitually orient a person towards sin.  This is the “tendency” he is talking about. The problem is not concupiscence, but acting on it.  A worse problem, the one pointed out by Francis, is not only acting on the tendency but also flaunting it, defending it and militantly fighting for it by forming an advocacy group such as a lobby of churchmen; this he refers to as “bad”, very bad indeed. Is anyone with a sane mind going to disagree with his analysis thus far?  What is worse (1) having a temptation to sin and fighting it, (2) having a temptation and acting on it but afterward expressing penitence and remorse as well as a resolve to fight it and keep it private while admitting error or (3) arguing that homosexuality is not morally illicit, but a natural expression to be lauded and publicly supported by high  ranking churchmen?  Now, honestly, which is worse, if you said (3) then you agree with the pope.  Why is this confusing?

An even more basic distinction is the one between judging actions and judging intentions (actor) having to do with eternal salvation. Clearly such distinctions must be made, as Francis indicates, among Act, Actor and Action. Almost every lay person is familiar with the famous dictum to “hate the sin (act) but not the sinner’ (actor) or to “judge the sin but not the sinner”. This distinction is so basic, how can any honest person miss it.  Are we to presume that the self proclaimed brilliant theologians at Novus Ordo et al, those brilliant enough to call the pope a heretic and schismatic, are we to suppose that such brilliant people are bereft of elementary school knowledge as to be unable to make such a rudimentary distinction? What in Heaven’s name is going on here?

To quote scriptures, as they do, about the necessity of judging all things does nothing to counter the pope’s remarks. He is well aware of the distinction.  Every schoolboy knows it is licit to judge acts but impossible to make judgements about eternal salvation, which belongs to God alone (Revelation 20:11-14). Thus, when scripture says to judge all things, it is referring to acts.

“But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:15).

Because they fail to distinguish among act, actor and action, they also fail at understanding the pope’s meaning. When Francis asks “who am I to judge”, he is referring to eternal damnation or intentions in the soul  (the actor-not the act) which only God knows. Because radical sedevacantists and many less radical traditionalists  fail to give the pope this much, this much that even a Catholic school boy can be presumed to know it, they not only get it all wrong, they cause scandal and disseminate confusion as do the folks at NOW:

“So, Francis asks rhetorically, “Who am I to judge?” Holy Scripture may help in answering this question: “But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor 2:15). So, who is Francis to judge? Well… obviously not the spiritual man! Thanks for making it clear, Mr. Bergoglio.”

Not so quick boys, Francis is the pope; he is not your straw man. Clearly he is referring to subjective intentions and eternity not about objective atcs. HE IS TALKING ABOUT AN INABILITY TO JUDGE SUBJECTIVE CULPABILITY (the actor) especially the moral or theological culpability of a person who manifests “good will” and “who seeks God”.  Francis is not referring to those so steeped in sin that they make a lobby out of it; these he has no problem judging; clearly their acts are, as he says, “bad”.  By referring to such perverse lobbies as “bad’ Pope Francis has made a judgement in accord with  (Jude 1:22):

“And some indeed reprove, being judged: But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.”

Clearly, the pope has no problem judging manifest corrupt actions.  But he carefully and correctly refrains from judging the eternal destiny of any man, his subjective culpability before the Throne of God. Those who need reproving, those whom he does judge as “bad’ are the scandalous non-penitents. So to argue that the pope refrains from judging and somehow approves of sin or somehow supports it, is not only puerile it is basically ridiculous, perhaps intended for the ignorant and easily persuaded or for the naysayers looking for anything to defame another, esp another whom they dislike, such as the pope who as the Vicar of Christ has many enemies.   Are you going to be dissuaded by this childish cabal meant only to confuse?

More recently (Nov 30, 2015), the pope reiterated and clarified his thoughts on this issue:

“I will repeat what I said on my first trip. I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally. One can condemn, but not for theological reasons, but for reasons of political behavior (that is for crimes) … But these are things that have nothing to do with the problem. The problem is a person that has a condition, that has good will and who seeks God, who are we to judge? And we must accompany them well…this is what the catechism says, a clear catechism.”

Ultra Right Sedevacantists have twisted the hell out of this by failing to distinguish between penitent and manifest non-penitent sinners as Pope Francis does and by failing to make a proper distinction between condemnation of acts as crimes and condemnation of persons to hell, and also failing to make clear the fact that judgement MUST PRECEDE condemnation. One cannot condemn a person until one has judged that person. Clearly, a “political judgment” (a licit condemnation) for a violation of a moral precept resulting in temporal punishment for a “crime” can be made as Francis clearly states,  but not a theological judgement leading to condemnation of a person for eternity, which only God can make.  Why is this so hard?

The pope clearly states that evil acts or “behaviors’ can be judged as bad (he even referred to the homosexual lobby as bad). However, when he speaks about an inability to judge, he is NOT speaking about Time but Eternity, not speaking of judging a person’s objective acts but the subjective guilt or innocence of a person’s soul. T sedevacantists at One Peter Five not only miss this basic distinction; they misuse the words judge and condemn:

“Amidst that super-sized word salad are some key points…and a reinforcement (rather than a corrective clarification) of Francis’ own controversial stance on this issue. Francis asserts that “One can condemn, homosexual people/behaviors but not for theological reasons…(so far ok).

But then they assert:

”Of course, this is absolutely false. Not only can we condemn sodomy, we must if we wish to exercise an authentic pastoral care and concern for souls.”

Sorry, but NO we cannot “condemn sodomy” (unless it is a crime – did they miss this?). God does not condemn sodomy; He proscribes sodomy (act) as a moral evil and condemns sodomites (actors or persons).  A human judge however, can both judge sodomy to be wrong and condemn a sodomite to prison (if such a law exists-Francis refers to this as a “political” condemnation – not a theological condemnation, which is not possible). When it comes to the pope’s statement about not being able to make a judgement, he is referring to making a judgement about a person’s intentions and eternal destiny. He is aware, as is any school boy, that acts can be judged, put persons cannot be condemned  “theologically”. Francis judges homosexuality (action) to be objectively bad, but he is unable to either condemn the homosexual  (actor) “theologically” or to make a judgement about a homosexual’s hidden intentions or the eternal destiny of their souls. No one can condemn another (to hell), only God can do this. Thus, the pope is correct, there is NO THEOLOGICAL REASON for condemning a soul.  Rather, it is the correct attitude, an attitude of love and mercy, to accompany a sincere soul seeking God on the road to perfection, a road on which they will conquer their sins and wrongful inclinations. Now who is confused, the pope or the traditionalists at One Peter Five?

In saying “Who am I to judge”, the pope is clearly referring to a person who is penitent and seeking God (see video 1:00).  Why is this hard to understand?

https://youtu.be/w1LAlefkZOc

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Francis was clearly making a distinction between judging acts and judging person’s intentions. Moreover, he was making a distinction between penitent and non-penitent sinners. To drive the point home, consider the following:

In the wake of the “Who am I to judge” affair, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a Polish priest who worked for the CDF, publicly announced that he was in a gay relationship. Following the spin given by the pope’s enemies and detractors, would you be surprised to learn that Msgr. Charamsa was relieved of his duties at the Vatican as well as his teaching posts at two of Rome’s Pontifical universities? He was relieved of his duties because he intended to remain in a sinful relationship.

In fact Msgr Charamsa wrongfully insisted that Pope Francis “revise Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, which considers same-sex relationships sinful.”

The pope had no problem judging the monsignor’s acts as wrong – they were obvious, he persisted in, boasted about, and sought to justify his sin thereby hurting himself and causing scandal; nonetheless, Francis did not and could not ‘condemn’ the churchman (that is for eternity), but he did judge his blatant actions. As far as his intentions, the msgr. made them known to all by persisting in sin and seeking to justify it, thereby making it easy to judge his ill intentions – a person who sins and repents and acts well does not provide any evidence by which to judge his intentions.  The non-penitent, who claims he has a right to sin, who forms a bold lobby thereby loudly proclaiming his intentions can be judged (but not condemned unless his corresponding acts are also crimes), in such a case, he can be politically or temporally condemned. The forgiven penitent who seeks to serve God can be both judged and condemned politically, his acts can also be judged theologically (acts of which a sincere penitent presumably has few if any, in fact, there might not be any remaining acts to judge), but he cannot be condemned theologically  – this is Francis point!

Clearly, the pope’s “Who am I to judge” remarks have been twisted, perverted and misrepresented. It is not the pope who is causing confusion, but his detractors.

If this is not enough, the pope chose to answer his detractors in his recently released book The Name of God is Mercy ” in which he states:

“On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” the pope says. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”

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“I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity,” he continues. “And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.”

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I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together,” says Francis. “You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.”

The pope clearly has no problem clarifying his statements, apparently to good-willed people not intent on perverting them. Even a schoolboy can follow the pope’s elementary thinking. How often did jesus reuse to answer his detractors?

Please ask yourself: Am I confused because I actually read what the pope said (if so please re-read with these notes in mind). Or am I confused because someone else told me about what the pope wrote? If so please ignore that person and find out for yourself.

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https://youtu.be/0RMZVLXa_HI

Part II to Follow




Tradition Family & Property (TFP) Distorting Fatima and Consecration of Russia?


(New Era World News)

THE WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA  is the sole organization commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church to propagate the authentic Message of Fatima.  Nonetheless, a self-proclaimed Catholic organization, Tradition Family and Property (TFP congruent with other Traditionalist apostolates) seems to have little problem pretending that it is the ultimate world authority on the Heaven sent message. TFP apparently believes that it, not the Catholic Church but it, should be listened to by Catholics worldwide contrary to what the apostolic line of popes and bishops teach and have taught about the Message of Fatima.

Regarding the crucial question concerning the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart as requested by the Virgin Mary  (June 13, 1929), the Vatican has clearly concluded based upon attestation of the visionary, Sister Lucia herself, based upon her testimony, the Vatican has definitively concluded that the papal consecration of March 25, 1984 was both valid and perpetually definitive.  As Pope John Paul II pronounced:

“The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations”

 According to the Vatican:

“Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished”

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In her own words:

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Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984” (Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.”

Though they do not often state it explicitly, TFP representatives and their subsidiary, “America Needs Fatima”, apparently do not believe (contrary to the official position adumbrated by the Vatican, the World Apostolate of Fatima, and Sister Lucia herself) that the papal consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 was valid:

“It is obvious (TFP pontificates) that men have not converted. There is no doubt that Our Lady’s requests have not been heeded. And given the present state of world affairs, it is unlikely that men will do this in the near future. Therefore, Fatima is more urgent than ever because it foresees a chastisement (not peace, but a chastisement) for a world that has lost all sense of order.”

TFP does not possess any sort of canonical title or even a scintilla of juridic personality, it possesses no mandate or ecclesial approbation to teach about Fatima in the name of the Church; TFP has none of these things, yet it holds a position completely antithetical to that advanced by the Church and by the WAF and is thereby causing confusion, confusion which is not of God:

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Consequently, the WAF prohibits any talk and certainly any pronouncements pertaining to a supposed need to consecrate Russia. The WAF prohibits these things because the consecration has already been accomplished by Pope John Paul II as confirmed by Sister Lucia and the Church itself. To teach anything to the contrary reeks of pride, the root cause of confusion and then of division contrary to the plan of God who wills that in all things His Church be one.

“That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21).

Thus, the WAF firmly promotes and requires obedience to properly invested ecclesial authorities so that, crowned with concord, peace, and the strength of unanimity, the world and the entire Church may accept and implement the Message of Fatima:

Faithfulness to the magisterial teaching of the Church and loyalty to the Pope and the Bishops and Pastors in communion with the Chair of Peter is an absolute requirement. Any and all discussion of things like defects in the Consecration of Russia performed by Blessed Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1984 which made it unacceptable to heaven, and any and all discussion about alleged parts of the Secret of Fatima which are purported in certain corners to have not yet been revealed is strictly prohibited.  People who promote either of these two allegation (are)… causing great confusion and deep division.”

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The World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF) Only Organization Commissioned by Church to Propagate and Implement the Message of Fatima

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The WAF, speaking with ecclesial authority, teaches that Russia has been consecrated and is subsequently being converted (as evidenced by numerous news reports), while TFP, pretending to be Catholic, is engaged in an antithetical and on-going contradictory moral crusade against Russia. TFP continues to claim that Pope John Paul II’s (1984) Papal Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary was invalid or incorrectly implemented and must therefore be repeated (correctly), while the WAF following Sister Lucia, the seer herself, and the Church all claim that the consecration was accepted by heaven.

When Sister Lucia asked Our Lord why the Holy Father had to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, why He, as King of Kings and High Priest, could not forego the papal consecration and convert Russia without the input of a pope?  Jesus responded that it is His will that His entire Church attribute the conversion of Russia to His Mother’s Immaculate Heart so that the Church would thereafter raise devotion to Her Immaculate Heart next to devotion to His Sacred Heart.  In His own words. Jesus told Lucia:

“I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration (of Russia) as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put this devotion beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”

Jesus, in obedience to the fourth commandment, wants His Mother honored – He wants her honored because He loves her. It is she who gave Him His Body, the Body that died and rose from the dead, the Body that is the Temple of the Holy Spirit and the New Israel, the Church. Thus, as Mother of His Body; she is the Mother of all the faithful, who in accordance with scripture, shall call her blessed forever. Since all prophetic scriptures are to be fulfilled, “all generations” (even this perverse generation), will call her blessed (Luke 1:48). To help assure the fulfillment of Luke 1:48 in this generation, Jesus wished to stress the intimate connection linking the conversion of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. He wants His entire Church to recognize that the conversion of Russia is the direct result of the consecration to her Immaculate Heart, thereby motivating the Church to elevate devotion to this heart by placing it along side of the Heart of Jesus.

Satan, on the other hand, is at perpetual war with this Woman (Gen 3:15); he loathes the Virgin Mary (Rev 12: 13-15). It thus behooves him to sequester, camouflage, pervert and disguise knowledge about Russia’s conversion, to dissociate her conversion from the Immaculate Heart.  He therefore distorts information about the consecration and about change underway in Russia and throughout the world, change that clearly indicates that the triumph she promised is occurring.  Her triumph and the promised conversion of Russia must be kept hidden from all the world. The legions of hell and their adepts are ceaselessly working through such clandestine apparatus as fake news, staged political events, false apparitions and diabolical chicanery to obfuscate and confuse all mankind in order to railroad or steal the promised Era of Peace.  Unfortunately (and hopefully unknown to) the TFP, in the name of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, has inadvertently taken the side of forces arrayed against the august Mother of God and the will of her Divine Son. For in addition to misrepresenting the consecration of Russia to the world, TFP also misrepresents social, economic and political facts about Russia in publication after publication. This seemingly benign apostolate (and other similarly misinformed and misinforming apostolates) thus appears to be doing the work of the devil rather than the work of the Holy Trinity.

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According to TFP Russia is not Only Mis-Consecrated or Un-Concentrated; It is also a “Sinking Ship”

In a recent article , entitled “Is that the Titanic Sinking? No? Its the Russian Economy  TFP claimed (without providing any citation):

“Bloomberg has ranked the Russian economic performance expected in 2016 as the fourth worst in the world, surpassed only by Venezuela, Brazil and Greece.

Likening the Russian economy to the Titanic, they reported that:

“The Titanic has already crashed, its bow is filling with cold water but the crew and first class passengers behave as if nothing is happening….More of the same poison will only cause Russia to suffer more as her economy sinks like the Titanic with Putin at the helm.”

But in 2016 Bloomberg actually reported:

Russia is ready to make a comeback.  This might not be entirely translatable in its stock market however, which is already up over 40% year-to-date. On Monday, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development revised its outlook for industrial production in 2016 to 1% compared to the previous 0.4%. In November, national statistics firm Rosstat said industrial production in the first 11 months of 2016 rose 0.8% from 2015 and 2.7% compared to the same month a year ago. IP also rose around 1% from October levels.”

In 2016 Bloomberg also stated:

“The ruble, which plunged to a record low in January, has stabilized as crude rebounded. It’s gained more than 13 percent against the dollar, the best performance globally this year (2016), after a 20 percent loss in 2015….“The most important thing right now is probably how the economy is adjusting to new conditions,… we see some positive signals, some of the expected shifts have began in the structure of the Russian economy. There’s a shift from non-tradable sectors to tradables, especially those oriented toward exports.”

TFP continued its false-theological driven bogus tirade

“So it is no wonder that Russia, while endowed with remarkable natural resources, fails to meet even the basic needs of her people.

Yet reliable sources, such as the Agrisek inform us that Russia is now an “grain superpower“.  It has become the largest grain exporter in the world:

“Grain flows from Russia are expected rise again this year after strong wheat output growth, with production expected to hit new records at around 70m tonnes. “[Russia’s] harvest is absolutely huge,” says Amy Reynolds, analyst at International Grains Council.

According to Bloomberg:

“Last season, Russian topped the U.S. in wheat exports for the first time in decades and is expected to extend those gains to displace the EU from the top spot this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Investors from local farmers to billionaire tycoons are pumping money into the business.”

“Russian wheat has crowded out U.S. supplies in Egypt, the world’s biggest buyer, and is gaining footholds in some other countries, such as Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia. That’s four decades after the Soviet Union turned to U.S. shipments of wheat and corn to offset shortfalls in its own harvests. Over the last decade, Russia has been the biggest single source of growth in wheat exports, vital to meeting surging global demand.”

Despite sanctions and Fake News stories to the contrary Russia’s agricultural sector is flourishing. The Japanese Times reports that “Russia is an emerging superpower in food supply. On top of that, Russia is in the process of giving resource-rich land away in a bid to “build a strong and self-sufficient Russia” as America was made strong and prosperous by homestead laws that made land available as the nation expanded westward. Russia is now doing something very similar as it expands its population eastward into its deep steppes.

According to the Financial Times, it is improved economic conditions in Russia that are driving its unexpected agricultural growth. Nevertheless, TFP must be the purveyor of Russian doom, or its allegations that Russia’s consecration has not been properly performed come to naught. Russia’s economic and food debacle and its purported inability to feed its own people, as falsely told by TFP, is as untrue as its spiritual accounts regarding the consecration of Russia: simply not true.

TFP would like everyone to believe that Communism is still alive in Russia, that it is killing the Russian economy and that therefore Russia must be consecrated again. In short, they seem to be Nationalist Neocons believing that without sacrosanct Capitalism, Russia is doomed-there can be no other way to prosperity except state-sponsored usury and unlimited private property. Damn the Russians, if they are not capitalists, they must therefore still be communists.  As was previously stated, TFP publications are full of false reports about the Russian economy:

“The stale ideas of communism were not removed, and much of the capitalist financial resources evaporated maintaining collective property. Now that the exceptional commodity bonanza is over, so is the illusion.(3)”

On the one hand, TFP cites Bloomberg (without providing any source information) for verification purposes and then, on the other, they fail to cite Bloomberg when it, contrary to the TFP script, informs the public that:

Big retailers like Sweden’s Ikea Group and France’s Leroy Merlin SA have begun pumping billions of dollars in new stores and factories….Ikea is putting $1.6 billion into new stores over the next five years or so. Leroy Merlin in September announced a 2-billion-euro plan to more than double the number of outlets in Russia over the same period. Pfizer Inc. is building a new drug factory, while Mars Inc. is expanding plants for chewing gum and pet food.”

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This is the moment for investment,” said Walter Kadnar, country head for Ikea, which last launched a new store in Russia five years ago but this fall opened a $60 million furniture factory near St. Petersburg and acquired land for a third Mega mall near the city. “I strongly believe in the potential of the Russian market long-term.”

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“The government said its annual meeting of foreign investors in September drew the most top executives in a decadeForeign direct investment surged to $8.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, more than the $5.9 billion reported for all of 2015, according to central bank data.

To further bolster Bloomberg and FT reports (misrepresented by TFP), the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has announced verifiable economic data congruent with Bloomberg and FT data. Putin recently gave his State of the Union Address in which he stated:

“We have seen a slight overall decline in the automotive industry, although trucks have shown an increase of 14.7 percentlight commercial vehicles, up 2.9 percent, and buses, up 35.1 percent. In railway engineering, there is a 21.8 percent growth, and freight cars are up 26 percentAgricultural machinery and equipment have shown very good momentum, 26.8 percent. The light industry is also demonstrating an upward trend.”

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“We have ensured macroeconomic stability, which is very important, and have maintained financial reserves. The Central Bank gold and currency reserves have not decreased, but have even grown. Whereas on January 1, 2016 they totalled $368.39 billion, now they stand at $389.4, almost 400 billion. Here, too, we can see positive dynamics.”

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Agricultural produce exports bring in more revenue today than arms exports. Only recently, we would probably have scarcely imagined such a thing possible. I have already spoken publicly about this and can say it again here today. Incidentally, as far as our arms exports go, we are still a serious contender on this market. Our exports came to $14.5 billion in 2015, and our agricultural produce exports came to $16.2 billion. This year, we expect a figure of $16.9 billion.”

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The IT industry is one of the most rapidly developing sectors, which is heartening. Russian IT companies have doubled their exports over the past five years…. Our IT exports were almost zero only recently, but they have risen to $7 billion now.”

Because they refuse to see the truth, the guardians of false information generated by TFP maestros claim that, “A key fact remains, and its effects are devastating: Vladimir Putin’s Russia has not put an end to socialist collectivism and the hens have come home to roost.

Instead of scholarly documentation to support this specious contention, the maestros stealthily provide an outdated and irrelevant link to papal encyclicals against socialism. What? News Flash: Socialism/Communism in Russia is dead.  Russia is undergoing a Christian renewal as recognized by Politico, the New York Times, Newsweek, by other members of the world press and by Pope Francis himself:

“In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith.”

Communism ended decades ago.  Russia is not the USSR but the folks at TFP would have us all believe that communism never ended in Russia. Someone wake these people up. Even Wikipedia has this one right:

Russia has an upper-middle income mixed economy with state ownership in strategic areas of the economy. Market reforms in the 1990s privatized much of Russian industry and agriculture, with notable exceptions to this privatization occurring in the energy and defense-related sectors.

A mixed economy does provide for state ownership of key sectors, as stated, but it is also characterized by extensive private ownership as well. Russia, moreover, is poised to experience a new round of economic growth. 

The improving outlook is driving appetite for Russian assets. The ruble was the second-best performer in emerging markets last quarter with a gain of 4.8 percent against the dollar. It traded little changed at 64.8225 against the dollar as of 3:36.m. in Moscow. Ruble volatility is at the lowest level since 2014, with investors seeking close to four times the government debt tendered at an auction on Wednesday.”

Bloomberg  was referring to organizations such as TFP when it recently stated:

“It’s time to bury the expectation that Russia will fall apart economically under pressure from falling oil prices and economic sanctions, and that Russians, angered by a drop in their living standards, will rise up and sweep Putin out of office. Western powers face a tough choice: Settle for a lengthy siege and ratchet up the sanctions despite the progress in Ukraine, or start looking for ways to restart dialogue with Russia, a country that just won’t go away.”

There is little or no truth in these assertions. The USSR carried out a systematic and heinous pogrom against Christians. Today Russia has rebuilt 25,000 churches and restored religious freedom to main-stream churches; it has outlawed homosexual propaganda, protected the integrity of its sacred places from desecration, introduced religious education into public schools, is campaigning for an end to abortion, is globally opposing the advance of liberalism among many other developments that were anathema in the USSR.  In short, the Communists persecuted millions of Christians and demolished thousands of Christian Churches. In Putin’s Russia and abroad, Christian churches and communities are being supported, funded, protected and rebuilt.

Russia is still in the ascendant mode and will remain in that mode until complimented and then surpassed by a resurgent Europe (a Newera projection to be discussed at a later time). Today, this is the type of cultural event occurring on Red Square at the Kremlin (see video below), the type of Marian event that Satan hates, anti-Christian globalists abhor and that radically traditionalist foundations and news agencies attempt to keep out of the news.

https://youtu.be/LhxP3fD9NYI

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Unlike this Russian choir, TFP sings an unsupported refrain against the Rus and in so doing perverts the Fatima Message esp. regarding the consecration of Russia and the promised “Era of Peace”.

Like other traditionalist groups, TFP seems to be waging a war with the Catholic episcopate. Thus, according to the Brazilian Bishop Castro de Meyer:

“There is a visceral anticlericalism in TFP: everything that comes from the clergy is prejudicially received. Basically, it holds that all priests are ignorant, not very zealous or interesting, and have other such qualities. Well, then, keeping in mind the divine Constitution of the Church which was instituted by Jesus Christ, TFP’s habitual anti-clericalism, latent, makes it an heretical sect, and therefore, as I have said, is animated by a principle contrary to the dogma established by Jesus Christ in the constitution of His Church”

TFP combines a unique blend of elitism, anti-communism, anti-modernism, mystical theology, monarchism, and avid devotion to its founder, Plinio Correa de Oliveira. Under his regime, TFP members exercised considerable influence in the Brazilian government and military. As social elitists representing traditional values and insistent on private property rights and large land-holdings, they were (and still are) rabid anti-Communists. They distinguished themselves by hiding behind ardent opposition to aberrant liberation theology thereby ignoring their Christian social responsibility to engage in much needed land reform throughout Latin America. TFP represents a throwback to medieval Feudalism, to knighthood, and social privilege; they view themselves as remnants of the noble class of landowning “aristocrats”.

Given their strict adherence to American Foreign Policy, excessive private property and Cold war anti-communist rhetoric, TFP advocates might be mistaken for Neocons. The US foreign policy initiatives fully embraced by TFP seem to make it morally complicit in war-mongering around the globe, in the destabilizing advancement of NATO to the very borders of Russia (see maps on this page), in American engagement or involvement in Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, Iraq, Syria, Yemen as well as the South Pacific and Latin America, in the building and maintaining of two thousand military bases outside of the homeland compared to Russia’s two or three, and they insist Russia is a threat to world peace.

According to John Horvat, current president of TFP, Russia “calls to mind the threats to world peace mentioned by Our Lady at Fatima.”

“From the chilling winds of a Cold War, one can see that the Russian danger that seemed so distant after the fall of the Berlin Wall is back at the gates. The warning of Our Lady at Fatima about Russian errors spreading about the earth now comes back onto the stage – and her message is ever more timely.”

The USSR is gone, and liberalism of the West is tottering, but rather than focusing on the demise of liberalism, the global spread of American militarism, and rejoicing that we are moving toward an Era of Peace, TFP will have none of it.  As expected, from the far right fringe, everything must be viewed through a negative lens, there must be a devil behind every stone, the world must be kept from knowing the truth about Fatima and the Christian renewal that is actually happening in Russia and Eastern Europe. The World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF), the only Fatima apostolate with juridic personality, the only apostolate that speaks with the voice of the Church on Fatima, the WAF tells us that Russia is being converted, but TFP people tell us Russia is about to devour us in a diabolical new wave of communism.

No wonder this group was banned by the Brazilian bishops.

As far as communism in Russia is concerned, TFP is a radical organization, which in the spirit of its founder Plinio Correa de Oliveira, refuses obedience, obedience even to the Vicar of Christ:

“Holy Father, order whatever you want, except that we should stop fighting Communism. To this, our conscience refuses obedience. On this matter, we will resist” (Plinio’s response t Pope Paul VI).

Resistance is a common term used by members of TFP, Plinio’s resistance motif resurfaced in some of his followers, including Marian Horvat, among others, who gave it a more acute twist, speaking to the “heretic” John Paul II, they said, “We resist you to your face.” 

However, the “heretic” John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI said that: 

“It is necessary to be strong in faith and to resist error even when it masquerades as piety, so that by professing truth in love, we may embrace in the love of the Lord those who have strayed (cf. Eph. 4:15).”




Tradition Family Property (TFP) Committed to Causing Confusion over Fatima


.(New Era World News)

Error on the Right: Tradition Family and Property

BOTH ULTRA-LIBERALS and ultra-conservatives have their own version of the Virgin Mary, a version they think should be adopted by the rest of the Church, a version that they spare no cost in advancing. Disobedience might be expected on the left, but it is surprising when it comes from the right as with the zealots from Tradition Family and Property (TFP) and their subsidiary, “America Needs Fatima.”

Tradition Family and Property

Tradition Family and Property (TFP) is a traditionalist community founded in 1960 by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, a Brazilian politician and intellectual activist. TFP claims to be “the world’s largest anti-communist and anti-socialist network of Catholic inspiration.” As such, it was founded to “confront the profound crisis shaking the modern world” (1), a crisis rooted in something it refers to as “Cultural Marxism”.  

Although it is to be lauded for its efforts in this area,  it seems, nonetheless, overly committed to anti-socialism and too uncritical of capitalism. According to TFP, the social-cultural problem facing the modern world is rooted in “materialism”, but when considering the social effects of materialism, TFP limits its analysis to socialism and then proceeds to an unsustainable conclusion that the American Founders (certainly not socialists) rooted the country in moral values.  

“Since materialism is the root of socialism, today’s widespread practical materialism prepares the ground for the germination of the socialist seed.

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“By agreeing to compromise on moral values, one betrays the principles contained in the legacy given to the Founding Fathers. An America of moral values is the foundation of the nation and especially the bulwark of the conservative movement.”

A review of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography in which he turns fornication and adultery (which he referred to as venery-Article 12) into virtues, as long as they are practiced according to Aristotle’s maxim of moderation, manifests a serious misunderstanding of virtue by some of the founders. If that is not enough, consider that the US Constitution is a secular document void of any mention of God, divine law, or even natural law, and it is easy to see that the Christian morality that the folks at TFP want to sustain, was not a concern of the Founding Fathers whom they applaud.

The Christian founding motif is a typical theme of the religious right coming from the Conservative Camp. Thus, it is not surprising that, under the guise of anti-Socialism, TFP has successfully forged political connections with prominent people on the political and religious right along with whom they have become advocates of a type of American Manifest Destiny associated with Neoconservatism.  

TFP is so intent on mounting a counter-revolution against Communism, and promoting renewal and advancing of Christian civilization, that it seems to get confused and conflates those goals with its Americanism. For example, one prolifer blogger recently posted the following:

“At the Arkansas March for life, I was handed a pamphlet from an organization called TFP (Tradition, Family, Property). This is apparently a paleoconservative Catholic movement. The pamphlet was explaining how we need to return to the values of historical Christendom. It listed one such value as representative government.”

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“This is how deep the “liberal mind trap goes (blogger is correctly Identifying representative government, and therefore TFP itself, with “liberalism“). Even if you are a Catholic who explicitly recognizes that authority comes from God, you’ll still probably toss a pinch of incense to republicanism without even blinking an eye. The mind trap goes so deep that even an organization which expressly wants a return to the values of the medieval past, still doesn’t even think of the fact that medieval Christendom was not democratic. (or a republican form of government).”

Nor were the main architects of the Constitution (Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison) Christian. Nonetheless, TFP leaders hold these men up as shining examples of the type of elite class that should lead America in this its hour of great need. According to a TFP publication,

“Outrage against the liberal establishment has sparked increased talk about America’s Founding Fathers. However, few remember to note, much less ponder on how they were members of the social, cultural, and political elite of their time.” 

TFP holds up the Founding Fathers as elite men to imitate without demonstrating that they realize the Fathers whom they honor were the authors of the liberalism they profess to be crusading against. Rather, they advocate the need for a similar contemporary elite. Clearly, for members of TFP, those on the political left are too decadent to lead; leadership for our times requires men and women of virtue on the right. Unfortunately, members of TFP seemingly fail to realize that the contemporary Conservative Republicans they honor, represent the liberal tradition (economically-politically) they ashew. Thus, under the guise of fighting communism, they unwittingly and at least partially promote capitalism, although John Hovart’s Book, “Return to Order” is a move in the correct direction (it would benefit by a more precise critique of finance and usury).  Nonetheless, they have focused myopically on communism.

“Let us eschew all muddled, anti-elitist thinking and rhetoric and remain faithful to America’s principled and battle-seasoned anti-communist and anti-socialist past. Should we do this, the troubles we are going through may well become America’s “finest hour.”

It might be a hard pill for TFP members to swallow, but as Cardinal Glemp, Primate of Poland, stated: “Communism is dead.” Fighting communism is not going to make America great again. TFP could use a dose of Saint Padre Pio, a Catholic who when asked to compare communism and capitalism said that

“They are both indescribably evil. In the East they deny God from the head to the belly button.  In the West, they deny Him from the belly button to the feet.”

In other words, both communism and capitalism are two sides of the same coin, viz., materialism. The East under communism was guilty of scientific or atheistic materialism (in the head) while the West was guilty of hedonistic materialism (sexual organs – belly button to feet).

Thus, TFP falls into the trap of elevating the right due to its sole critique of those on the left.  Materialism  is not limited to communism/socialism (or to “Cultural Marxism”); it is manifest in capitalism as well. If TFP continues to conduct its crusade against socialism, it might end up being guilty of advancing the very liberalism that it claims to be combatting.

Unfortunately, although TFP representatives speak admirably of Christian culture, they often seem over embroiled in the liberal economic-political program of Americanism as evidenced by their anti-papal stance, and willingness to act as moral arbiter of presidents while concomitantly taking pope’s to task on Catholic Social Teaching applied to America, among other things.

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No Problem Disagreeing with the Pope’s Judgments

With the outbreak of the Iraqi War in 1992, leaders of the TFP such as Vice President John Horvat lined up behind President Bush in full support of the invasion. Mr. Horvat wrote the following letter to President Bush:

9 March 2003

 

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

“I am writing to express the American TFP’s full support for our Armed Forces which you, as Commander-in-Chief, have sent into combat against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

 

As you have often said, the United States, as a sovereign nation, has a right to declare war when its people, territorial integrity, or interests are attacked or threatened. Our sovereignty allows us to make this decision independent of international organizations or bodies.

 

Moreover, natural law does not distinguish between defensive or offensive war. It is sufficient that the threat be real and menacing. That same law supports the right of a sovereign state to come to the aid of an oppressed people that suffers under the yoke of an unjust regime, and, depending on the circumstances, this natural law right may even oblige in charity.

 

The September 11 attacks underscored the existence of an enemy whose ideologues proclaim their goal shamelessly: the extermination of America and Western civilization.

 

Nevertheless, throughout the world a chorus of socialists, liberal clergy, radical pacifists, anarchists, and leftist non-governmental organizations dispute not only the cause for this war, but even America’s right to declare war. Such a position is unacceptable since it would leave America dishonored and defenseless before a very real threat.”

According to Mr. Horvat, Pope John Paul II must be either an “unacceptable” “socialist, liberal, radical or anarchist” because Saint John Paul was among those who not only opposed the war but counseled President Bush not to wage it.

In 1991, John Paul II opposed the Gulf War and publicly appealed to U.S. President George H. W. Bush not to wage it. In 2003, he again opposed the war in Iraq and appealed to President George W. Bush to refrain from engaging in it. According to the New York Times, the pope

“…expressed his strongest opposition yet to a potential war in Iraq today, describing it as a “defeat for humanity” and urging world leaders to try to resolve disputes with Iraq through diplomatic means.”

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“No to war!” the pope said during his annual address to scores of diplomatic emissaries to the Vatican, an exhortation that referred in part to Iraq, a country he mentioned twice.”

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“War cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option, and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations.”

The Pope continued to oppose the war even after it started in 2004.  He composed a formal address to President George W. Bush in which he stated that

“You are very familiar with the unequivocal position of the Holy See in this regard, expressed in numerous documents, through direct and indirect contacts, and in the many diplomatic efforts which have been made since you visited me, first at Castelgandolfo on 23 July 2001, and again in this Apostolic Palace on 28 May 2002.”

  • Cardinal Ratzinger also argued that “reasons sufficient for unleashing a war against Iraq did not exist,” in part because:

“Proportion between the possible positive consequences and the sure negative effect of the conflict was not guaranteed. On the contrary, it seems clear that the negative consequences will be greater than anything positive that might be obtained.”

Clearly, Pope John Paul II, then Cardinal Ratzinger and Mr. Horvat held differing views about just war. Mr. Horvat however, had no problem playing teacher to presidents while disagreeing with his own pope, the Universal Shepherd and Head of State equal to the president in diplomatic rank and exceeding him in spiritual authority, while Mr Horvat has neither diplomatic rank nor teaching authority in the Church. But that did not stop him. He even presented his teachings about Just War to the president thereby helping the president to justify his opposition to the Pope. It sounds as if Mr. Horvat was more loyal to his Country than to his Church, something TFP has been warned about by bishops in Latin America .  According to the Brazilian Bishop Castro de Meyer:

“There is a visceral anticlericalism in TFP: everything that comes from the clergy is prejudicially received. Basically, it holds that all priests are ignorant, not very zealous or interesting, and have other such qualities. Well, then, keeping in mind the divine Constitution of the Church which was instituted by Jesus Christ, TFP’s habitual anti-clericalism, latent, makes it an heretical sect, and therefore, as I have said, is animated by a principle contrary to the dogma established by Jesus Christ in the constitution of His Church”

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“Individuals become incapable of seeing objective reality, of perceiving even fundamental errors, because of this inversion of following a lay person (referring to TFP founder Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira ) instead of the legitimate Shepherds of the Holy Church.”

TFP not only had a problem with Pope John Paul II, it also has one with Pope Francis whom they also would like correct and to tutor.  In regards to the recent Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris LaetitiaTFP tellingly published this papal broadside:

“In particular, the pope has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.”

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WAR IS MORE WITH CHURCH THAN WITH WORLD AND DEVIL

Since, TFP leaders have no  problem  lecturing popes on Just War Theory and moral theology , it should not be surprising that members of TFP have boldly professed to “resist the pope to his face” so much so that at times, it seems that they have decided that the war they’re waging is a war with the Church, rather than with a fallen world.  Nor is it surprising that the name “Hovart” (Marian Hovart, the sister of John Hovart) appears on the list of literary architects behind the resistance declaration, a declaration that is an invitation to engage the “heretic Karol Wojtyla aka John Paul II in dialogue on how he had deviated from what the perennial Magisterium of the Church taught.”

Although Marian Horvat, Ph.D formed a new group “Tradition in Action” that dissociated from the TFP, both Hovarts harbor an animus toward Vatican Council II and the modern papacy, an animus that they have learned to tone down so that they can better work from within inside the Church rather than as suspect laity compromised  by association with priests that have been suspended a divinis (meaning that they are canonically prohibited from exercising ministries such as Holy Mass and the sacrament of confession). 

According to Catholic tradition, the Church Militant is involved in a threefold war against the world, the flesh and the devil; the church is not a fourth candidate on the threefold list. The Church cannot go to war with itself because any kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). That does not stop TFP however from waging war against the Church; worse, those waging the war with the Church are not even clerics or shepherds of the flock – they are laymen who have judged themselves important and competent enough to correct popes and bishops. At least that is what it seems when we read many of the documents coming forth from this camp. To those who asked Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of TFP, why contend with bishops and cardinals when there were so many evils in the world outside the Church, Plinio replied:

“If the enemy is storming the (church) walls, everyone must unite. But if it has penetrated the citadel (presumably the Vatican), then it is not enough to fight outside the walls, but also within the walls”. [1]

Because of actions flowing from this attitude, the bishops of Brazil took decisive action. At their 23rd General Assembly (April 10-19, 1985) the Brazilian Bishops drafted a formal notice regarding the TFP:

“The lack of communion of TFP (Society in Defence of Tradition, Family and Property) with the church of Brazil, with its hierarchy, and with the Holy Father is well known.”

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“Its esoteric character, religious fanaticism, the cult given to the personality of its founder and head, the abusive use of the name of Most Holy Mary, according to circulated information, cannot in any way merit the approval of the Church.”

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“We lament the difficulties flowing from a civil society which presents itself as a Catholic religious entity, without a tie to the legitimate pastors.”

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“This being the case, the Bishops of Brazil exhort Catholics not to enroll in the TFP, and not to collaborate with it.”

 

Signed by Dom Raymundo Damasceno Asas, the Secretary-General for the National Bishops of Brazil

Given these experiences of the Brazilian Bishops, it should not be surprising that TFP has been charged with all of the following:

  1. Disobedience to bishops
  2. Being a cult
  3. Singing hymns of praise to their founder and his mother that belong to Christ and His Mother
  4. The rejection of Vatican Council II, which they deem heretical
  5. Sedevacantism i.e., the belief that the popes since Vatican II are false popes – that is, the Seat of Peter has been vacant for a long time
  6. Dismissing Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis et al as heretics
  7. Gnosticism or elitism manifest in a preferential option for the rich and those who fill their ranks

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What Have Other Brazilian Bishops had to Say about TFP?

Bishop Castro De Meyer knew Dr. Plinio personally; below are excerpts from a letter penned by this Brazilian bishop.  The letter appeared in Le Sel de la Terre, [no. 28, Spring 1999], in an article entitled “Documents sur la T.F.P“.

“In this case (of TFP), I can only offer the sole advice: pray, pray much, above all the Rosary or at least the five decades of the Rosary, asking the Virgin Mother, Mediatrix of all graces, to enlighten your son and make him see that TFP is an heretical sect because, in fact, although they do not say or write it, TFP lives and behaves in accord with a principle which fundamentally undermines the truth of Christianity, that is, of the Catholic Church.”

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“In fact, it is de fide that Jesus Christ founded His Church — destined to maintain on earth the true worship of God and to lead souls toward eternal salvation — as an unequal society, composed of two classes: one which governs, teaches and sanctifies, composed of members of the clergy, and the other — the faithful — who receive the teaching, are governed and sanctified. This is a de fide dogma.”

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It is a heretical subversion to habitually follow a lay person, therefore, not a member of the Hierarchy— as the spokesman of orthodoxy. Thus, they do not look to what the Church says, what the Bishops say, rather what this or that one says…. Nor does it end there: this attitude — even if not openly avowed — actually positions the “leader” as the arbiter of orthodoxy, and is accompanied by a subtle but real mistrust of the hierarchy and of the clergy in general.”

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“Well, then, keeping in mind the divine Constitution of the Church which was instituted by Jesus Christ, TFP’s habitual anti-clericalism, latent, makes it an heretical sect, and therefore, as I have said, is animated by a principle contrary to the dogma established by Jesus Christ in the constitution of His Church.”

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“Perhaps I (once) gave it support beyond a licit point. I retracted it only when it became clear to me that my warnings were not being taken into consideration. It is It is necessary to pray, because charismatic fervor produces a certain fanaticism: individuals become incapable of seeing objective reality, of perceiving even fundamental errors, because of this inversion of following a lay person instead of the legitimate Shepherds of the Holy Church.”

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Associated with its problems with ecclesial authorities, TFP is part of the “Fatima Cabal”.  It is contributing to confusion in the Church by refusing to accept the Church’s official interpretation of the Third Secret of Fatima and the Consecration of Russia to be explored in the following article.

 

To be Continued: Disguised Error about Papal Consecration of Russia

[1] Plínio CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, “Razões e contra-razões em torno de um tema efervescente“, Catolicismo, no. 71, November 1956; ID., “Indulgentes para com o erro, severos para com a Igreja”, Catolicismo, no. 72, December 1956; ID., “Não trabalha pela concórdia senão quem luta contra o erro”, Catolicismo, no. 73, January 1957; Cunha Alvarenga (=José de Azevedo Santos), “Infiltrações comunistas em ambientes católicos”, Catolicismo, no. 61, January 1956. Along the same lines are three articles on modernism, that appeared in numbers 81, 82, 83 (Sept.-Oct.-Nov. 1957) with the titles “ O cinquantenário da Pascendi;Por orgulho repelem toda sujeição and Revivem nos modernistas o espírito e os métodos do Jansenismo

 

 




Vatican Being Vetted Part III: Pope Francis and the Role of Trinitarian Theology


New Era World News

Pope Francis and Trinitarian Theology

Continued from Part Two

POPE FRANCIS IS ADROITLY applying Trinitarian Theology in the modern context; he is demonstrating that wisdom (the truths of dogmatic theology) by itself though a good, among the highest and greatest goods, is a deficient good.  Wisdom reaches its perfection in love; wisdom is consummate in love.

Without love wisdom cannot reach its telos or end, which is communion with other human beings as the Body of Christ and union with God as sons in the Son.

God the Father in knowing Himself from eternity begot the Eternal Word born out of His infinite and eternal self-knowledge.  The Holy Trinity however is not consummate in the begetting of the Word, Divine Wisdom; the Holy Trinity is consummate in the union of Father and Son by the Love they have for each other, a love from which the Holy Spirit is spirated perfecting the Trinity and making them One. It is not wisdom ALONE, BUT WISDOM CONSUMMATE IN LOVE that is the bond of Trinitarian and therefore perfect Substantial Unity – The Holy Trinity.  The Father first knows the Son, the Son knows the Father and in reciprocal knowing, They are impelled to love each other with the fullness of Divine Love and Divine Life that we call the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Divine Love spirated from the infinite and eternal Love shared between Father and Son.

POINT: Wisdom is consummate in loving.  That is, wisdom without love is not and cannot be fecund, wisdom without love is incomplete-imperfect. Divine wisdom, the self-knowledge of God brings forth the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from, and is the “fruit” of, Divine Love the perfection of the Holy Trinity, who is Love.  All-Knowing Wisdom and Life-Giving love constitute one integral Divine being  – Wisdom and Love belong together; one without the other is deficient.  Wisdom is consummate in love; wisdom precedes love in the “order of operation”:

“For the procession of love occurs in due order as regards the procession of the Word (wisdom); since nothing can be loved by the will unless it is (first) conceived in the intellect” (Aquinas Q 27, A 3).

In human terms, this means that there must be a unity and profound cooperation between wisdom and love and among the sentient powers and operations of the human soul, passions, intellect and will. This is why the masters of mystical theology have articulated three stages on the road to spiritual perfection: the purgative (having to do with the sentient passions), the illuminative, (having to do with the acquisition of wisdom) and the unitive (having to do with growth in love by which a person is united to God.)  Notice the order of perfection: purgative-illuminative-unitive. The unitive, which depends on love, is last, the final end, the consummation of discipline of body and enlightening of intellect that ascends to union with God by way of love.

Wisdom is not the telos. Love of God that brings about union with God, the divinization of man as the Body of Christ is the telos, the end of human powers and operations assisted by Divine Grace.

Love, not wisdom, is the highest attainment of the human mind. It is an attainment of the human mind because love proceeds from the will, which as Aquinas tells us is an “INTELLECTUAL appetite.”  This is the key to understanding Pope Francis’ insistence on pastoral theology. Wisdom, one might say, represents an attainment of dogmatic theology; it is an intellectual virtue that remains incomplete unless consummated in unitive love, the love of God AND neighbor – the love that is the work of “pastoral theology.”

Those who do not like to hear that God is Love must answer to the sacred scriptures wherein Saint John clearly and explicitly informs the universal body, that “God is Love.” Moreover those who do not know love, those who do not live love, those who over-emphasize wisdom and dogma to the detriment of love, do not know God because “God is love.”

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8).

Why does Francis want his pastors to “get dirty” to mix with their sheep so they can “smell” like their flock? Why, because he wants them to discern openings for possible fuller admission into the ministries of the laity and eventual invitation to the sacraments, why because pastoral theology is the work of love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Love moreover, unlike justice, love is not interested in claiming its rights, in counting wrongs done. Love seeks to pardon and excuse, while the devil looks to condemn and accuse (Rev. 12:10). Unfortunately, he is sometimes imitated by some members of the Body of Christ whom the pope is addressing when he often times belittles condemnation and judgmentalism.

“Love (however) never fails.” (1  Cor 13:8).

Is is by love, not dogma, that priests leave the comfort of their studys, of their offices and rectories, to encounter the world and become “fishers of men.”

“‘This is what I am asking you’,” Pope Francis emphasized while looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.’

This is rudimentary; it is therefore also surprising that so many miss this primordial dictum of the faith, so many in the Church who cry for justice, demand condemnation of sinners, look forward to and predict global cataclysms and chastisements, while Jesus Christ, is Himself calling for Mercy and asking His Church to proclaim mercy – mercy before justice.  However there are those in the Church (those whom Francis is prodding to become pastors) who are content with expressing the faith by straining at the gnat of dogmatic truths and swallowing the camel of mercy and therefore erroneously cry for justice – justice – justice.

“Many publicans and sinners came, and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners? But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have MERCY and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.”

HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THIS?  THE STUDY OF DOGMA AND REFLECTION ON DIVINE LAW LEAD TO
WISDOM THAT MUST BE ACTUALIZED IN LOVE AND MERCY BECAUSE THE DIVINE LAW IS LOVE – AGAPE

As was said in a previous column, those calling for justice and predicting calamities should watch what they are pleading for, they might receive it themselves.  Was it justice or mercy that characterized the attitudes of Moses, of Peter, of Paul or of Christ Himself, when He and they interceded for members of their flock? What did the Lord say to James and John when the bellowed for the thunder of justice to be rained down upon sinners?

“And he sent messengers before his face; and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save” (Luke 9: 52-56).

No, until the “Parousia” it belongs to the state, not the Church, to administer justice and punish sinners:

“Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God’s minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”(Romans 13:1-4).

It belongs to the Church to tame severity, to put away the sword of vindictive justice and to suffer for the unjust as Christ did (Matt 26:52). This is what Our Lady at Fatima asked for: reparation prayer, prayer fructified by suffering for the sins of others borne out of charity and love for lost souls.

“I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.”

God did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:17).

A priest intercedes for his people; he implores mercy and like Christ the High Priest whom he images (persona Christi), he offers himself as a victim in their place.  This is a far cry from judgmentalism, from what Pope Francis refers to as Phariseeism, a Phariseeism that has infected some of his pastors and turned them into dogmatic theologians. A leader intercedes for his people:

“But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying: Why, O Lord, is thy indignation kindled against thy people, whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say, I beseech thee: He craftily brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains, and destroy them from the earth: let thy anger cease, and be appeased upon the wickedness of thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou sworest by thy own self, saying: I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven: and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to you seed, and you shall possess it for ever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people” (Exodus 32: 11-14).

God was “appeased” due to the intercession of Moses who chose to plead for, rather than condemn, the sinners in his flock. In this, he prefigured  the ultimate and infinite intercession of Jesus Christ the High Priest who offered Himself on the cross for sinners. Applying this lesson and example of intercessory and reparative love to modern-day lay leaders, it might be stressed that Jesus did not come to introduce a fashion show and to have medallions hung on His chest as Francis has pointed out to the Knights of Malta when reminding them of their charism of service to the poor.  They and all members of the Body of Christ are to serve in humility and simplicity, to save souls by offering themselves in Christ for them. This is love and reparation.   Reparation is not something intended solely for the priests.  Is not this what Our Lady requested at Fatima – “Communions of Reparation”. Did we somehow forget about reparation, of sacrificial self-giving for love of poor sinners who have no one to pray for them???.

Traditionalists who are big on Fatima should be stressing mercy for poor sinners and laying down their lives to win the grace of conversion for them. But, what we constantly here is an unending refrain about supposed dogmatic abuses and supposed erring formulas of papal consecration for the conversion of Russia, which is essentially none of the laity’s business anyway.  Our Lady asked the pope to conduct the consecration; it is up to the pope to decide how it should be carried out.  If Fatima connotes a battle over the consecration of Russia in your mind, you can be sure that you missed the Message of Fatima: Penance-Penance-Penance in an attitude of reparative love offered to God in union with His Passion in the Sacrifice of the Mass for the conversion of poor sinners and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

What does penance and reparation mean but mercy and love – the mercy and love from which they flow manifest in pastoral care for straying and lost sheep?

Yet,  often instead of pastoral care, instead of mercy, love and compassion bringing life to those in blighted outcast ghettos, on roaring sensual highways, and forgotten lonesome byways, etc, instead of love and mercy manifest in the daily toil of evangelization by means of pastoral care binding up the wounds of the lost and  forgotten, instead of this we often find bloated men and women who want to wear military regalia, don titles of nobility and desirous of preferred seats, men and women who spend great swathes of time talking about trying to make things like they used to be in some romantic and unrealistic nostalgic past, while the wolves pulverize the sheep economically, morally and spiritually and the best bloated nobles can do is offer “philanthropy”.  Pope Francis might be stinging a few consciences, but he is not wrong!

Philanthropy is NOT charity.  Philanthropy condescends, philanthropy is a show; it gives far too little while holding the bulk for itself. Charity, on the other hand, gets out of its royal seat on a daily basis; it embraces both poverty and the poor – it is empathetic and compassionate, not condescending and stooping; charity is humble, it gives in secret (Matt 6:6) and it gives fully of its assets saddened that it cannot give more; charity expects nothing not even an acknowledgement from men:

“A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12: 42-44).

Charity embraces those who are being served, it lives among them, eats with them, sleeps with them – charity, in short, begins to look and “smell” like the sheep it serves.

This is exactly what Francis is trying to promote. To bring it about, easy-living, worldliness, grandiosity, and vain-glory must be purged. But the enemy of Christ and of His Church is the King of Pride and Vain-glory. He surrounds himself, his followers and numerous others whom he lulls to spiritual sleep, he surrounds them with luxuries and the trappings that come with material abundance, an abundance that feeds pride and kills the soul.

“And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? (Mark 8: 34-36).

The “Way of the Cross” is antithetical to the “Way of Perdition” most manifest in the spirit of materialism that has deeply infected the Church.

“For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many (Matt 7:13).

Interestingly, in the following line of Matthew’s Gospel, immediately following the one just quoted, Jesus warns His Church that those who are on the Road to Perdition are often deceivers who hide behind a veil of good deeds:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”

Then He further reveals that their spirit can be discerned by their conduct:

“By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”

That is, the spirit is not discerned by the works they do, but by how they go about doing their works. Fruits are not works per-se, but how works are done, for the fruits are:

“Charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. (Galatians 5: 22-24).

All the fruits grow out of Charity, which makes souls joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, long-suffering, chaste etc. That is why even small gifts, such as a few coins from a poor woman, can surpass large donations given by a rich man. One is given in love, the other out of necessity, justice, vanity or some associated reason.  God regards the heart more than the gift. Francis, like Christ, is not impressed by regalia, by insignia, or material abundance and worldliness, which are often a cover for corrupt spirits. The Holy Spirit is manifest in love, joy and mercy, in those who have “crucified their flesh”.

But there are those in the Church who identify holiness with “Titles of Nobility”, with medallions and regalia that, although not bad in themselves, easily infect the soul, easily corrupt virtue by the allurement of riches leading to vain-glory and the pride of life that result in dullness and ease that flatten virility and make men useless (Matt 5:13). Francis wants humble and virile men, men full of mercy, compassion love, which is the life of the soul and the light of the world.  He therefore wants worldliness and materialism out of Malta, out of the Vatican, out of diocesan chanceries, institutes of religions life, out of deaneries and parishes; in short, he wants worldliness out of the Church.

He has asked the Knights of Malta to focus less on the outer regalia, less on worldly traditions associated with royalty; he wants them to become truly chivalrous by noble deeds of service out of love for Christ’s wounded Body on earth.  To be militant, spiritually militant, requires much more than the donning of beau monde regalia and sword followed by salutes, hand shakes, and mondaine banquets. To be militant, truly militant, requires disinterested love of neighbor, to be ready to die to self out of love for the salvation of souls and the temporal needs of others esp. those of poor sinners.  This is radical, the radical stuff of authentic Christian militancy.

Apparently the Island of Malta has been under severe material attack and has subcomb in many ways to the materialism that is infecting its prelates and noble men. The fact that it is not just lay leaders but also the Maltese bishops who are also having a bout with the Vatican is further indication of the serious problems festering on the stalwart island.

The Maltese bishops’ “Criteria for the Application of Chapter of Amoris Laetitia” has been referred to as “disastrous“.  They indicate, against the express critique of Cardinal Mueller (who will now have to work on correcting the egregious error promulgated by the Maltese Bishops), that it might prove to be “humanly impossible” for some civilly remarried couples to live chastely; nonetheless, a Catholic couple living in an objectively sinful situation may receive Holy Communion if they “are at peace with God.”

It appears that some of the English Knights of Malta are bordering on elitist traditionalism and judgmentalism, what Francis refers to a Pharisee-ism, while the bishops have seemingly abdicated their prophetic responsibility and are not judging at all – bedlam on both ends of the theological spectrum. This is the problem, a problem that foments subjectivism in the name of a false pastoral theology that leads to excessive tolerance and false charity on one hand (liberalism on the part of the episcopate) and rigorous objectivsm in the name of dogmatic theology and traditionalism leading to judgmentalism (ultra-conservatism on the part of some knights) on the other. There is an apparent and egregious struggle raging on the Island of Malta, a struggle between liberal and conservative knights and between conservative knights and liberal bishops of the State – the perfect dialectical recipe long used by secret societies to hatch discontent, division, and then subversion of both Church and State thereby compromising the works of love carried out by the authentic sons of the Church.

Focusing on the Knights, Francis is concerned that they engage in charitable work, charity the gives up its comforts to assist the uncomfortable, charity that “comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comforted“.

Thus according to Austen Ivereigh wring for CRUX

“The president of the order’s German Association, Erich Lobkowicz, has described the struggle as “a battle between all that Pope Francis stands for and a tiny clique of ultraconservative frilly old diehards in the Church – diehards that have missed the train in every conceivable respect.”

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“The reformers want to focus on the Order’s humanitarian work among the poor, downplay the ceremonial pomp, and align the order more with Francis’s vision of an evangelizing, missionary Church.”

This is how we are to understand the stance Pope Francis has taken with the Knights of Malta. The Church is not a Puritan society of the elect; the Church is the suffering Body of Christ full of sinners until the eschatological harvest (Matt 13:36-43).

Without love no one can enter the Kingdom of God, yet there are a whole host of Catholics who continue to insist that it is wisdom that is the summa bonum (the greatest good). This is an error innocently advanced by Aristotle, the pagan philosopher who with the unaided-intellect examined the human soul and concluded that wisdom is the greatest human good. Near the end of his “Ethics” he moved close to the mystery of unitive love that he called “friendship”. Nonetheless, not having the benefit of sanctifying grace and the mystery of the Cross to contemplate, he  referred to wisdom as the summum bonum, the highest intellectual attainment possible for mortal men. As we know, in the light of the Cross, Aristotle was partially correct (an astounding accomplishment for  a pagan philosopher): Wisdom participates in the greatest good, but by itself is is not the summum bonum, Wisdom consummate in love that unites mankind to God and to each other is the summum bonum, the highest attainment of the rational  spiritual soul aided by supernatural grace- it is love that unites man to God as one body, the Body of Christ – a body composed of sinners whom Christ came to save.

“The two, intellect and will, work together as an integral unity. It is the nature of the mind to know and will to love or to unite that which is known to that by which it is known. The more the known is like the knower, the more the known can be loved because “likeness is the  principle of loving” (Aquinas, Q 27, A 4). Like attracts like (Father and Son – Christ and members of His Body – man and wife) and their union is consummated by way of love, which is the “impulse and “movement that unites the one who loves to the one who is loved” (Trinitarian Humanism, p 292).

In the end there are faith (theological virtue of wisdom), hope and love, but the greatest of these is love:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:34–39).




Traditionalists for Vetting the Vatican Being Vetted Part II


New Era World News

Renewal of the Church

Continued from Part One

Pope Francis has been, and continues to be, adamant about renewal in the Catholic Church. Like his namesake, St Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father is leading a movement for restoration of holiness, of Gospel simplicity, an outpouring of love, mercy, compassion and simplicity. Realizing that the world is afloat in a sea of materialsim, ensconced under a veil of darkness, imprisoned behind a nearly impregnable wall of cunning artifice, realizing that generations have been psychologically and culturally conditioned against logic (Logos) toward aversion for the good, true and beautiful, realizing these things, the Vicar of Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit, is fully aware that this generation cannot be reached by sophisticated and lengthy appeals to reason – the “old evangelization.”

Consequently, there is another Francis that Pope Francis could just as well emphasize, the Counter Reformation Bishop, and Dr. of the Church, St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622). The walls of Geneva, the capitol of Reform Protestantism, the Protestantism that spread to the United Kingdom and to America, these walls were thought to be impregnable, but the saint persisted – not with reasoned arguments, denuciations and calls for divine justice, but with love..

“Francis became bishop of Geneva, where his patience and mildness became proverbial. He often dared to walk the streets of the city where Calvin had his headquarters 50 years earlier. In fact he dialogued with the reformed leader and scholar Theodore Beza. Though …plagued by doubts, his philosophy was “Love will shake the walls of Geneva; by love we must invade it.”

In his own words,

“It is our fault if the name of the Lord is blasphemed among the nations, and of this, God through his prophets bitterly complains. Such are the waters of contradiction, which in my opinion, renews the ardor of heretics. … I beg of you, fellow combatants, to check the flow of this water; let each one of us watch his own source and prevent it reaching the enemy; let the flow of our sinful actions surge back to their origin, and there evaporate in the heat of our Eternal Sun to deprive our enemy, as well as our people, of the spectacle of our scandals. … Breach the walls of Geneva with our ardent prayers and storm the city with mutual charity. Our front lines must wield the weapons of Love” (Oeuvres VII:100,107- 110).

Elsewhere in a similar vein he uttered the simple but profound proverbial wisdom:

More bees attracted by a (small) teaspoon of honey than by an (entire) barrel of vinegar.”

Saint Francis One venture Francis de Sales joined Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, to found the Visitation Sisters of Holy Mary.

The Visitation Sisters sole aim was:

“…the life of charity exemplified in the Virgin Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. This new order was uniquely conceived. It was established not on the traditional vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, but always and everywhere on charity: “We have no bond but the bond of love,” Francis wrote in the first Book of Profession. And, rather than focusing on stringent practices of mortification behind the walls of the monastery, as was common in religious orders of the time, these sisters would actually go out into the city, to visit and care for the sick.”

Like Francis de Sales, St. Jane de Chantal and St. Paul, Pope Francis keenly realizes that to be successful ambassadors of Christ modern evangelists must often take one, two, three even many steps backward with the view of winning souls to Christ, they must encounter the world with the “weapon of love” becoming all things to all men and women to win them to Christ.

“For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof” (1 Corinthians 9: 19-22).

In today’s context Paul might have stated to the gay oriented I became as if gay oriented, to the liberal, as if liberal, to the oppressed as if oppressed. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof”

This is not condescension but love, not an attitude of judgement, but one of mercy and compassion, the type of thing needed for successful evangelization in a very difficult situation,a situation unlike any ever seen before, a situation where the intellect has been progressively dimmed until banished and replaced by systematic conditioning via an intrusive and unprecedented communications media in conjunction with psychological manipulation hinted at by Vladimir Lenin when he told Ivan Pavlov, the Father of Classical Conditioning, that he had “saved the revolution.” What Pavlov discovered about the conditioning of animals could be applied to human beings and to entire societies in the name of the “Revolution” – this is one of the primary reasons Lenin was so interested in the “Rural Electrification Campaign” – to bring mass media into the homes of Christian peasants.

Thus, according to Lenin:

“Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country….Electrification which will provide a link between town and country, will put an end to the division between town and country, will make it possible to raise the level of culture in the countryside and to overcome, even in the most remote corners of land, backwardness, ignorance, poverty, disease, and barbarism” (Lenin “Collected Works”, vol. 30, page 335).

If the human intellect could be reduced to mere memory and imagination, sentient not rational powers of the human soul, and if freedom and toleration could open the doors to what was once forbidden until it became common place, if knowledge of alpha and beta brain tempos, of sleep states, dream patterns and hypnotic rhythms induced with light and sound waves, if images and ideas could be subtly conveyed with motion pictures paired with the proper light and sound patterns, associations could placed in the recesses of the human mind, it could by turned away from truth and toward error until light is seen as darkness and darkness as light. If all this could be done, the mind and emotions could be manipulated, reason dimmed and intellectual appeals made virtually meaningless in a culture turned against man, something John Paul II identified as the fundamental problem of the modern world:

The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation, indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person…. To this disintegration planned at times by atheistic ideologies we must oppose, rather than sterile polemics, a kind of “recapitulation” of the inviolable mystery of the person.”

The attack on the inviolable mystery on he human person is an attack on the Trinitarian mystery of man made in the image of God. Man has a mind capable of acquiring wisdom by rational acts on the intellect followed by a unique ability to love – to know and to love.  Wisdom and love the mystery of the Trintarian dimensions of human existence rooted in the rational soul is being decimated, “pulverized” not only by false ideologies but a systematic attack on the human mind. There has been nothing like this in the annals of recorded history, not even Rome in all its decadence was home to anything like this.

Understanding the unique cultural mileau in which the Church must do its work of evangelization in the modern world helps make sense of the pastoral approach conveyed by Vatican Council II. It helps to recall how the Church handled evangelization in the dark days of the Roman Empire.  In those days, it was quiet witness, the living of good lives characterized by moral and theological virtue, mercy, long-suffering, obedience to lawful authority and patience with sin which was enculturated and widely accepted as normal. For evidence, of the Church’s modis operandi in this environment it is a simple matter of turning to the Epistles and the Books of Acts.

In Acts we find the the Apostles gathered in Jerusalem discussing how best to deal with evangelization in the context of pagan culture vis a vis the more advanced Judaic culture in which the Apostles had been raised.  Though raised in  strictly religious environment, they had the percipience to recognize what the were dealing with, and the prudence to relax their rigor in order to win souls to Christ:

“So that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things, known from of old.’ It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood (Acts 15: 17-20).

Of all the 613 Mitzvah of the Traditional Jewish Law only four were applied. Only four were applied because of the effete nature of Roman culture at this time.  Saint John Bosco understood the concept well:

“The perfect is often times enemy of the good.”

To much too soon, too heavy of a load on weak shoulders can easily break them down and then they will loose heart, rebel and perhaps walk away.  As Pope Francis states, in such a situation small steps, what he refers to as “gradualism” must be taken.  In a society infected with tolerance and excessive false ideas about freedom it takes time to desensitize, time to earn trust and to build a relationship on which truths of the faith can be built one by one slowly. The idea is so far diffused that it is found even in proverbial folk wisdom:

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

What some traditionalists are crying for, the rigor they want to impose upon themselves to attain spiritual perfection is one thing, a very good thing, but to impose it on others who are no where ready is another thing,  a very foolish and dangerous thing. That is why Church discipline has become “minimalist” in the modern context.  It is not minimalist for everyone, anyone can walk the road of perfection and embrace the evangelical councils of poverty, chastity and obedience.  These are NOT COMMANDS or MITZVAHS, necessary for everyone, like the precepts or MITZVAHS imposed upon the pagan converts to Christianity, poverty, chastity and obedience are COUNCILS, which means they are voluntary. We are not living in a Christian culture; we are living in a pagan culture acerbated by advanced technology that is being used, willy nilly, to condition people – it is a very difficult state, one that requires patience and mercy.  Too much rigor will break the camel’s back; we must learn to be satisfied with the good before we can expect the perfect – gradualism!

Again, this idea surfaces in the Rule of Saint Augustine, it surfaces among men who had decided to seek perfection – even there the idea is still valid:  some are not ready to embrace the rigors of the human ascent to Golgatha. In Augustine’s memoirs we find an account of some monks complaining that others were eating and sleeping too much, lax at work, etc.  The august saint handled this challenge by counseling these brothers to thank God for their strength and ability to embrace a more prayerful and rigorous lifestyle; he counseled them to be merciful toward the others who were still weak,to pray for them and encourage them along the way rather than condemn and scorn them – a very timely lesson indeed! This is a lesson brought to Fatima by the Mother of God who conveyed Her desire for reparation prayer and sacrifice, that is prayer and sacrifice made out of love for others who are too weak or lost to do it for themselves. Denying oneself out of love for others is antithetical to condemnation and justice.

No, reparation is born out of love and mercy, which is the very message Pope Francis is trying to get through our hardened hearts and obdurate cerebra.

Pope Francis knows very well what a sin is. In a flight press conference from Azerbaijan to Rome he stated response to questions about Amoris Laetitia he stated:

“Sin is sin.”

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“Tendencies or hormonal imbalances create many problems and we have to take care not to say: “It doesn’t make any difference, let’s live it up” No, not at all.”

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“But for every case welcome it, accompany it, look into it, discern and integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today.”g

In other words, sin must be encountered with discernment, of how best to handle the situation each unique context.

The Pope Continues:

“Please, do NOT say: “The Pope blesses transsexuals!” Please! Because I can already see the newspaper headlines… No, no. Are there any doubts about what I said? I WANT TO BE CLEAR. IT IS A MORAL PROBLEM. It is a problem.”

What Pope Francis wants is not the excusing of sin but encounter with sinners, openness, dialogue, in short a merciful relationship that opens a person to receive “prevenient grace” that step by step leads to healing and eventually, if possible, to the sacraments. A too quick judgment, a simple yes or no is not relational and will not do much for healing. Pastors have to go out of their way to encounter their sheep, esp the wayward ones:

“If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray? And if it so be that he find it: Amen I say to you, he rejoiceth more for that, than for the ninety-nine that went not astray” (Matt 18:12).

Pope Francis, like Francis de Sales, John Bosco and St. Paul understood the context in which they were preaching the good news, understood the people they were shepherding because they took time to know them rather than simply condemning them.  In a cultural context in which a propaganda campaign has become institutionalized, it is clear, people acculturated to this reality cannot be encountered by mere intellect alone – more is needed. Much more is needed in the 21st century than the 16th.  In the 21st the propaganda campaign is in the very air that has become a global pestilence daily disseminated by the global media, the  near-monopoly of public schools and universities where the infection has become so great as to constitute an unprecedented cultural, moral and spiritual epidemic.  Professors who preach tolerance, acceptance, and anti-bigotry are excused by unthinking students who are unable to see past the hypocrisy coming forth from the mouth and manifest in the actions of a new generation of sociology and liberal arts professors who teach tolerance but do not practice it. They are like the Pharisees excoriated by Jesus

“All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not….Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves….Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt 23:3-28).

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I am a Professor: “Fuck YOU”  “Fuck that shit”  “You should kick the ass of  Neonazis.”

End of Part Two – Go to Part Three (available 2/8/2017)