On Postures & Posturing. By David Mills

Postures are markers–and quickly weaponized

Like a traveler ordering a cheeseburger in a highway cafeteria, I wrote somewhere, when I arrived at the Episcopal seminary to find that everyone stood for communion at the weekly Eucharist. That now strikes me as a really snotty remark.

It was a practice I’d never seen in my years as an Episcopalian. In every parish we’d ever been to, the people knelt at the altar rail, as the minister came down the line with the bread and then a lay minster with the wine. The order and the efficiency contributed to the feeling of reverence, though most people on either side of me were memorialists.

Benedict XVI celebrating Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica in 2011 (CNS)

It’s also, as I found some years later after we entered the Church, a choice that sets Catholics at each other’s throats, especially when combined with the choice of receiving communion on the hand or the tongue. The two mark differences about the Church’s life and future, a marker quickly weaponized. They make a statement for or against a vision of Catholic life.

It keeps coming up. Three years ago, the late bishop of Madison encouraged his people to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. In his Chrism Mass homily, Bishop Robert Morlino said “There is no question that Communion on the tongue is more reverent. And it doesn’t lend itself to a casual kind of behavior.” Friends reacted, some cheering, some booing.

Cardinal Robert Sarah has said the same thing, only from his prominence as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In the preface to a recent book published in Italy titled The Distribution of Communion on the Hand, Sarah wrote: “Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue.” The alternatives show an “attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God.” He suggests they discourage the crucial belief in Jesus’s real presence in the Sacrament.

My friends reacted: some cheering, some hissing.

The investment in who does what seems excessive, speaking as one who entered the Church long after the sides had climbed into the trenches for the long battle. Kneel, don’t kneel, receive communion in the hand or on the tongue, do whatever you find helpful. But don’t make a thing of it. You can be reverent or irreverent in either mode. Both can be sincere or performative. Neither will change things much.

Pope Francis gives first Communion to children during a Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Rakovski, Bulgaria, May 6, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-RAKOVSKI May 6, 2019.

That said, I’ve come to favor the traditionalist practice for myself. When we became Catholics, I took a “when in Rome” approach. This is what the Church did, so I did it. After a couple of years of Catholic life, I started receiving communion on the tongue. Though not for the best reason. Our second child went to a conservative Catholic school and did what his peers did. I wasn’t going to be outflanked on the traditional side by my son.

The piety grows on you. It came to feel not only natural but necessary, as more fitting for the Mystery. One Sunday, visiting a new church, the elderly priest celebrating that Mass asked me to hold out my hands because his hands shook too much to place the Host on my tongue. I did, but it felt wrong. I wouldn’t have gone forward had I known.

You are enacting, you are saying, something slightly different when you receive on the tongue or in the hand. Not to touch the Host, to be given it (Him) without taking it, declares more boldly what is happening. Kneeling, too, has a unique dramatic effect, different from standing.

We knelt as Episcopalians, except for the seminary Eucharist. We’ve stood for all but maybe five Masses in the nineteen years we’ve been Catholics. I’ll do whatever the parish tells me to do. But I’d like to kneel.

Standing feels to me (I don’t mean to be flippant) dramatically more like a drive-up window. We should kneel at the Eucharist — during the Eucharistic prayer as well as at the altar rail — because we are asking God for a great gift of which we know ourselves to be unworthy. We embody this by asking for it on our knees. Standing implies equality.

There is a cultural analogue for this, in a man’s dropping to his knee to propose marriage to his beloved. He does not kneel because he’s asking her forgiveness, nor because he’s begging her to accept him. He kneels at her feet because he is asking for a great gift (a woman’s life) of which he knows himself to be unworthy. It would not be right to do so while standing above her, or even sitting beside her. He should ask for such a gift, even if he knows she will grant it, from below.

There’s another argument for kneeling (preferably at an altar rail) and receiving on the tongue (preferably from a priest). It’s odd and inefficient. We don’t do this kind of thing anywhere else. Like stained glass windows create a space set aside, it points to the great gift we’re receiving, and effectively dramatizes the truth that something unique is being done here. That would help, not as an aesthetic experience, but as help in taking Jesus with me as I go back into the world.

David Mills is editor of Hour of Our Death and is finishing a book for Sophia Press titled When Catholics Die.

BULLY (Their everywhere it seems..reblogged)

New post on MiddleMeGuest Post: Stand up to workplace bulliesby KallyI have featured her article in 2019 and many of you including myself enjoy reading her posts but importantly, her work highlight an important aspect that has been lacking spotlight: Workplace Abuse.This subject is close to my heart because I have witness bullying and I have encountered bullies. My own responses are always between “fight or flight” but I have never silently endured being a pushover.One of my faithful readers and a talented passionate writer, Caz once again share her experiences in her previous workplaces in this new article below. Please go to her website here for more articles.Have you ever had to stand up to workplace bullies?The word BULLY in red with bullying words on it like attack, pick-on and bait - stand up to workplace bulliesStand up to workplace bullies — image by John Hain @ PixabayHave you ever been bullied in your workplace? Or elsewhere? Have you ever had to stand up to work workplace bullies? I have. I tried many times as a mental health student and nurse, to no avail. There was always someone more senior telling me to forget it. The managers either couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have the skills to deal with the bullies. So on it went, long after I left, the bullies kept on bullying.What is bullying?“Bullying is the behaviour of a person who hurts or frightens someone smaller or less powerful, often forcing that person to do something they do not want to do.”Cambridge Dictionary“Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.”National Centre Against BullyingBullies and harassment in the workplacePicture of globe with little people various colours all holding hands around the outside. About Bullies in the workplace around the world Bullies in the workplace around the world — PinClipart.comBullying is a serious issue in workplaces around the world, and is a risk factor for anxietydepression and suicide. It doesn’t just hurt those being bullied. Employees who witness colleagues being bullied may experience adverse health effects. The wider workplace might feel it too, through low morale, higher absenteeism and lost productivity. Further negative consequences are poor team dynamics, reduced trust, effort, and loyalty from employees. On top of that, there’s the time spent documenting, pursuing or defending claims.According to Unison, bullies, bullying and harassment are common problems affecting many members in the workplace. But both bullying and harassment are unacceptable, and the law makes it clear that all employees have the right to work in a safe environment.Your employer is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe workplace, free from bullying, intimidation and harassment. Employees are protected by a combination of employers’ policies and legislation.Bullying is behaviour from a person or people that you don’t want and makes you feel awkward, distressed or uncomfortable, including feeling:intimidated or afraidupset, offended or insulteddisrespected or put downhumiliated or laughed atExamples of bullying in the workplaceColoured image of young female holding files and two colleagues standing behind, talking about herBullies in the workplaceyou don’t receive a promotion while you deserve oneyour manager won’t allow you go on training courses that everyone else gets to attend, holding you back in some wayYou are criticised about performance, or blamed for others’ mistakesyour manager always gives you way more work than otherssomeone’s telling lies or makes up malicious and false rumours about yousomeone keeps dismissing your input or putting you down in front of others, say in meetingscolleagues or your manager never invite you to attend social eventstargeted for practical jokesbeing purposely misled about work duties, like incorrect deadlines or unclear directionscontinued denial of requests for time off without an appropriate or valid reasonBullying might:occur during face-to-face meetings, during phone calls, in emails, or even on social mediahappen just the once or on a more regular basisbe unseen by othershappen in the workplace, during breaks or at work social eventsThe above lists are by no means an exhaustive but they give an indication of the many ways bullying exists in the workplace.When bullying is harassmentWord cloud illustration in shape of hand print showing protest.Stop harassment — Image from Word cloud illustrationBy law, says Acas, it’s harassment when bullying or unwanted behaviour is about any of the following (known as ‘protected characteristics’):agedisabilitygender reassignmentpregnancy and maternityracereligion or beliefsexsexual orientationHarassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment. Or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a workplace that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.Everyone deserves to work in a setting where they feel safe, and it’s expected that the workplace will be free of bullying or harassment of any kind. Employers have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that these expectations are met. Moreover, make sure you are not the bully and don’t let anyone else be one.What to do about workplace bullyingWord cloud illustration in shape of brain with text harassment, bullying, intimidationNobody deserves to be bullied in the workplaceIf you’ve witnessed workplace bullying, you must first and foremost talk about it. This may be with the victim (e.g. asking how they are doing), or others (which may be about forming a plan for how to address it, or may be just sharing experiences),” says Professor Jeremy Dawson. He also encourages employees to report bullying in any way possible – through official channels, a line manager or another trusted colleague.Don’t be ashamed to tell people what’s going on. Bullying is serious, and you must let people know what’s going on, so they can help you. In sharing your experience, you might find out that it’s happening to other people too, as it often is.The NHS sayFive people all wearing suits, standing in a circle hold a white poster with red writing - says No to bullyingWould you report bullies in the workplace?Get advice — speak to someone about how you might deal with the problem informally, such as:an employee representative, such as a trade union officialsomeone in the firm’s human resources departmentyour manager or supervisorSome employers have specially trained staff to help with bullying and harassment problems. They’re sometimes called “harassment advisers”. If the bullying is affecting your health, visit your GP.Stay calm — Recognise that criticism or personal remarks are not connected to your abilities. They reflect the bully’s own weaknesses, and are meant to intimidate and control you. Stay calm, and do not be tempted to explain your behaviour. Ask them to explain theirs. Never get into a shouting match with the bully and walk out if you have to.Talk to the bully — The bullying may not be deliberate. If you can, talk to the person in question as they may not realise how their behaviour has affected you. Work out what to say beforehand. Describe what’s been happening and why you object to it. Stay calm and be polite. If you do not want to talk to them yourself, ask someone else to do it for you.Keep a diary — This is known as a contemporaneous record. It will be very useful if you decide to take action at a later stage.Try to talk — calmly to the person who’s bullying you and tell them that you find their behaviour unacceptable. Often, bullies retreat from people who stand up to them. If necessary have a colleague with you when you do this.Making it formalMake a formal complaint — it’s the next step if you cannot solve the problem informally. To do this, you must follow your employer’s grievance procedure. Make sure you follow policies to the letter. Because if you have to take it further, you don’t want lose a case because of a simple error.What about legal action? — Sometimes the problem continues even after you’ve followed your employer’s grievance procedure. Do something to put things right, you can consider legal action, which may mean going to an employment tribunal. Get professional advice before taking this step.Find out more about the law covering workplace bullying from GOV.UK: workplace bullying and harassment.Where to get helpIf you or someone you know is affected by bullying and harassment, contact your UNISON representative or Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.Let your manager or union or staff representative know of the problem and seek advice elsewhere:Acas helplineCitizens Advice: problems at workEquality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)Over to youWhat do you think?Clipart.comWhat do you think about workplace bullies? What, if anything, would you do or say if you were being bullied by a colleague. Would you move to another department or leave your job? I’\m really interested to hear what you think. and I’m happy to answer any questions.Related: Red Tent Living, The Bully (1). This is how being an MRA helped me survive bullies (2).I truly appreciate guest posts, if you have one that is within MiddleMe’s niche, please reach out to me via email at Kally@MiddleMe.net.And here are some of the best guest posts I have featured over the years:
Guest Post: Being Bipolar Helped My Career
Guest Post: How to stay afloat as an old person in a tech world?
Guest Post: BUS CAPTAINS OF SINGAPORE by Annabel Law Productions
Guest Post: Making Assumptions by Morgan MillsCan’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
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LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kallytayBest things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.

“The Spiritual Gift of Understanding” from the Divine Mercy site

Reflection 213: The Spiritual Gift of Understanding
Do you understand the mysteries of God?  Imagine that you were a theologian who studied the faith of our Church for many years.  Would knowledge of all the theological disciplines of our Church necessarily produce in you an authentic understanding of these mysteries that were studied?  No, it wouldn’t necessarily produce understanding.  In fact, it is entirely possible that while knowing all about God and all that has been revealed through the ages, you still might lack an authentic understanding of God and the profound mysteries of our faith.  Understanding ultimately comes as a gift from God.  It’s an infused gift which illumines and enlightens and is obtainable only by a direct and personal revelation from God.  Yes, study of the faith and attentiveness to clear articulation of this same faith disposes one to understand, but the inspired gift of Understanding is still required to penetrate and grasp all mysteries of our faith.  Understanding is a true gift of God’s Mercy (See Diary #1107).

Reflect upon your own understanding of the infinite Mercy of God.  How fully do you comprehend this Mercy?  Reflect upon all that God has revealed to us throughout history.  He has spoken definitively through Scripture and has also spoken definitively through His Church in numerous ways.  Reflect upon how fully you grasp all the articles of our faith that have been revealed through the ages.  God has spoken in a clear and public way.  Now He desires to speak those same truths to you in the depths of your soul.  If you are willing to listen, your understanding will open the floodgates of the Mercy of God.

Lord, there are so many truths that I do not fully grasp.  Your life and Your workings are glorious and mysterious all at once.  Give me the grace of Understanding so that I may penetrate the depths of Your Truth and Your Mercy.  I open myself to You, dear Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Will Catholic foster care be next? by Russell Shaw

The Supreme Court will soon hear a case called Fulton v. Philadelphia in which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia challenges the city’s action in forcing Catholic Social Services out of foster care because the Catholic agency won’t place foster children with same-sex couples.

 Russell Shaw 

(Image: us.fotolia.com)

Does the Catholic Church have a right to follow its convictions about sexual morality in its own institutions without being penalized by government? In its June decision declaring “gay” and “transgender” to be protected categories under federal law barring sex-based discrimination, the Supreme Court left that question unanswered.

But probably not for long.

Sometime next fall—the date hasn’t been announced yet—the court will hear a case called Fulton v. Philadelphia in which the Archdiocese of Philadelphia challenges the city’s action in forcing Catholic Social Services out of foster care because the Catholic agency won’t place foster children with same-sex couples.

The facts in the case are obviously different from those in the Supreme Court’s recent LGBTQ decision on job discrimination (Bostock v. Clayton County). But the clash of interests involved was clearly foreseen by Justice Neil Gorsuch in his majority opinion in Bostock. Conflicts between religious liberty and LGBTQ claims, he wrote, raise “questions for future cases” that the Supreme Court would soon face.

The heart of these conflicts is clear in the Philadelphia dispute. Catholic Social Services, an arm of the local archdiocese, has been involved in foster care since 1917, long before the city became involved. But today the city controls foster care and contracts with private agencies to recruit foster parents and place children. In 2017-2018 the Catholic agency was responsible for 120 of these youngsters.

Before the present conflict, no same-sex couple had asked Catholic Social Services to be allowed to provide foster care. But after the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on the Catholic agency’s policy, the city responded by pressuring it to drop the policy and, when that didn’t work, refused to send it children for placement, thus forcing it out of the field. The dispute landed in court, with the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling for the city—a decision the Supreme Court is being asked to reverse.

The issues in this case reach far beyond Philadelphia. In asking the Supreme Court to accept it for review, Catholic Social Services put it like this:

Here and in cities across the country, religious foster and adoption agencies have repeatedly been forced to close their doors, and many more are under threat. These questions [about the religious liberty rights of church-related agencies] are unavoidable, they raise issues of great consequence for children and families nationwide, and the problem will only continue to grow until these questions are resolved by this court.

The Supreme Court’s June decision affirming LGBTQ rights under anti-discrimination law isn’t the only one with a potential bearing on the Fulton case. No less relevant, one would think, was its ruling two weeks later supporting the Little Sisters of the Poor in refusing to pay for contraception as part of the health insurance coverage of employees in their homes for the elderly. And, significant perhaps, the Supreme Court was there reversing a decision of the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals—the same court that ruled against Catholic Social Services in the Philadelphia case.

However this dispute turns out, the larger pattern of conflict and confrontation at work here mirrors efforts—backed by most national media and the many politicians who pander to the dictates of misnamed progressivism—to advance LGBTQ interests in an ever-widening circle of settings. The Supreme Court helped set the machinery in motion in its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Then came last month’s Bostock ruling. Will Catholic foster care be next? And what comes after that?

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About Russell Shaw 207 ArticlesRussell Shaw was secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1969 to 1987. He is the author of 20 books, including Nothing to HideAmerican Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, and, most recently, Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity.

Master of Victims: Wokeness and the current war against Truth

We are now witnessing a glut of economic and political pretensions. Throw into the mix a virulently vacuous use of the term “racist,” and we begin the emotional descent into a tribalism that can only lead to chaos.

 Jack Gist 

Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, in May 2020. (Image: Koshu Kunii | Unsplash.com)

“Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance (Ignatius Press, 2004), 116.

On secular religion

That the Woke Movement has become a secular religion is obvious to some and intuited by most. The Church of Woke, in its rapid ascendency, jettisoned reason to lighten the load on its chosen vessel of Sola Fide. In a blasphemous turn, God became the flotsam in Sola Fide’s wake. Wokeness, in its institutional guise of Black Lives Matter and long entrenched in our university system, is now militantly secular. Secularism, by definition, has no basis in spiritual or religious life. As such, it spurns metaphysics because the pursuit of “such nonsense” inevitably leads to contemplation of the divine.

To who or what might the congregation of the Church of Woke, then, devoid of both reason and revelation, profess their faith?

Some of the most influential adherents of Wokeness—academics, politicians, journalists, and entrenched bureaucrats—are extremely cynical. This is evinced by the sheer amount of cognitive dissonance necessary to maintain the Orwellian Newspeak now common in the 24/7 Woke news cycle where all is politicized. A politic that has severed ties from both reason and revelation can have faith in only one thing: earthly power. If the movement can seize the lion’s share of this power (by whatever means available), they will be in a position to redeem what has hitherto proved irredeemable: human society. They intend to create a utopia worthy of Hobbes’ Leviathan. Move over Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Chairman Mao, and Pol Pot—this time it’s really going to work!

In order to achieve this ever-elusive utopia, the proponents of Wokeness must not only ignore the transcendent inherent in our founding documents, they must get rid of it. Though some, such as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden (who both claim to be Catholic), pay lip service to the transcendent in order to expand their base and establish a moral advantage, in the next sentence they might advocate abortion or defy another primary tenet of natural law. When cognitive dissonance such as this becomes the modus operandi of the Woke, it is grounded upon a deep-seated conviction that reduces the concept of “human” to a technical term. The human, stripped of essence, can then be manipulated by Woke social engineers playing the part of a Deus mortalis. These mortal gods rule with an iron fist from thrones of confusion housed in the Castle of Dissonance.

Cancelling Logos

But what about the young people, those marching through the streets in inebriated Wokeness, some waving Black Lives Matter flags in righteous anger, others trembling with tears of genuine sorrow, and still others blind with rage and bent on the destruction of Western civilization? The passion of these young people is real; you can see it in their eyes. What’s more, you can hear it in their voices, if you care to listen. And listen we must if we hope to understand how they have come to so firmly believe in such glaring falsehoods. Misguided as they are, they deserve our understanding. Shutting them out runs the risk of widening the chasm to the point where voices no longer carry and we are incapable of communication. The impossibility of communication, where Logos is not only silent but extinct, would be Hell. We cannot allow Logos, upon which all communication depends, to be cancelled.

I am trying to listen. I have been reading essays for a graduate writing class this week. One of the papers was written by a student (I’ll call the writer Karl, a White, 40-something graduate student) who, like me, grew up in the Rocky Mountain West among poor, uneducated, colorful characters. In a fictional work, Karl’s essay might be likened to a Western rendition of a Carson McCullers story. But this was not a work of fiction. It was a confessional piece, a pouring over of past sins real and imagined, a crying out for a forgiveness that can never come.

It was an essay about Karl’s journey from being born a racist to becoming a vehement antiracist. I needed to be sure I understood what Karl was attempting to convey by the use of the term “antiracism.” In an internet search for purposes of clarification, I ran across several mentions of the 2019 book titled How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi. I had never heard of Kendi before reading Karl’s paper. What I found was shocking. The premise of the New York Times bestseller is founded on an elementary logical fallacy that collapses Kendi’s argument from the get-go. Maybe this is why Karl’s essay, from a philosophical reading, made no sense.

The essay, overall, was well-written and engaging in that I never could quite figure out why Karl felt like such a miscreant for living an interesting life filled with beauty, violence, temptation, sin, joy, and sorrow. Isn’t that the stuff of human life? There were some unsavory characters in the tale who were either bigots or racists. Karl was guilty of using language that would horrify any school teacher cultivated in public university to be morally and intellectually above such filth. For the most part, however (and here I speak from personal experience), it was kid stuff. Karl had cataloged awkward moments where many youths veer off-track onto a siderail and must then ride a bullet train into the dark. In most instances, the kids return to the light at tunnel’s end and learn from their mistakes. But Karl never came out of the tunnel. I was waiting for the reveal as to why.

Maybe if I understood antiracism a bit better the essay would make sense. I resumed my search. The Guardian was clear in its take on How to Be an Antiracist:

Kendi’s argument is brilliantly simple. An idea, action or policy is either racist – that is, contributing to a history that regards and treats different races as inherently unequal – or it is antiracist, because it is trying to dismantle that history. There is nothing in between.

I have to agree that the argument is simple—as in simple-minded. Kendi wastes no time in revealing the premise of his argument as a textbook logical fallacy most first-year philosophy students would spot at a glance. The premise of the argument is based on a false dilemma, an either/or demand where other options exist. The Guardian reviewer goes on to paraphrase Kendi: “Everyone says they are not racist. Few actively self-identity as ‘antiracist.’” If someone asked me if I was a racist, I would answer, “I consider individuals according to their character.” Would such an answer garner the label of racist or antiracist? Neither? Nor?

The either/or fallacy is simple at its best, insidious at its worst. Karl, a graduate student with an undergraduate degree in philosophy (from state university far, far, away) fell for it. The question is, “How could this happen?”

Another bestseller currently adopted by corporate and government training circles, Robin DiAngelo’s 2018 best-selling White Fragility, provides further clues to Karl’s despair. Matt Taibbi, the well-known liberal writer, captures the book’s message:

White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category. […]

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

The last sentence proved to be the catalyst for my epiphany regarding Karl’s essay: Karl found a calling for incurable guilt in a college course. The turning point in Karl’s essay, the reveal I had been searching for, was hiding in plain sight. As an undergraduate, Karl had enrolled in a class titled “The Philosophy of Race.” The professor of the class convinced Karl, in the course of a single semester, that Karl was evil because Karl was White. In embracing the burden without complaint, Karl was awarded a distinguished service sticker. In accepting the prize, Karl was able to claim the title of “The Greatest Victim of All.” By burrowing to the bottom, Karl was back on top.

In a culture that peddles victimhood as moral excellence, Karl has become the ultimate martyr, a victim of Western Civilization personified in none other than Karl. The unapproachable Other that Karl can never fully fathom (the God which forgives but we can never fully understand) is for Karl human beings of a color other than White. The multitude of minority victims tortured and spit out by the monster named Western Civilization, however, have to be held at arm’s length, for Karl desires no forgiveness. If Karl was to be forgiven for the sins of Western Civilization, Karl could no longer lay claim to the title of “The Greatest Victim of All.” Nice work, Professor! Cancel Logos one student at a time!

Master or Slave? 

Nietzsche’s theory of master and slave morality posits that slaves resent their masters (no real insight here) and over the course of time these resentments gestate into hatred. The transformation comes when the hatred, like the small white circle in the black half of the standard yin yang symbol (Taiji), gains enough momentum to transfigure the slaves into masters; the white overcomes the black as the black overcomes the white in the other half of the circle in a perpetual cycle of master and slave transformation. Karl, made to believe that Karl was master, became slave to Karl’s guilt.

But there is more at play. Nietzsche’s scheme fails to take into account the empty circle placed in the center of the ancient Taiji symbol (it rarely is depicted in contemporary renditions, i.e. the Forgotten God of the Woke). The empty circle represents the Absolute. This is the metaphysics that secularists necessarily ignore, the same metaphysics that lead to the contemplation of God. To recognize or even intuit the Absolute would jeopardize human absoluteness (never mind the oxymoron).

The Absolute, for the secularist, must be brought down to earth and broken. The immortal Other then becomes a mortal human slave to the human master who broke them. These are the masters who have created morality, and the world, as they saw fit (so the story goes), the Masters of Western Civilization. The Woke, buying into the Nietzschean scheme, realize the slaves must eventually overthrow the masters. In an attempt to manipulate the process, to control the outcome and position themselves as masters-to-be, the Church of Woke molds its members into ultimate victims. In a mad dash for the pit of despair, they fail to realize that the Nietzschean project is nothing more than a hatred of the Absolute which is God, nihilism disguised as creative force. They fail to understand that the scheme is untenable and doomed to fail.

Incubators of hate

That many of the courses offered in our universities have become incubators of hate is obvious to insiders and is becoming clear to Western society at large. This brand of hatred is nothing new. It played itself out in the real-world in more than one grisly theatre in the twentieth-century. Civilization has always been a violent affair and, in a fallen world, dreams of utopia, of heaven on earth, transmogrify into nightmares of reality. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who survived the nightmare of the real, drawing on one of the greatest Christian writers ever to live, put it best:

It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true.

ThatKarl has been brainwashed by his Woke professors is clear. Woke professors are now minion. Logos in the full sense of the term has been sidelined in the unhallowed halls of the academy. It is being erased outside the academy as well. One example of this is the growing number of required corporate and government trainings based on White Fragility. These trainings can be likened to soft versions of Chinese re-education camps where an attempt is made to reprogram through social engineering that which cannot be reprogrammed: the human longing for the Absolute.

Solzhenitsyn went on to say:

But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions.

We are now witnessing a glut of economic and political pretensions. Throw into the mix a virulently vacuous use of the term “racist,” and we begin the emotional descent into a tribalism that can only lead to chaos. Chaos, when the smoke clears and the blood has been washed off the streets, has been historically replaced by totalitarian regimes. And so it begins…again.

Time to get real … again

What can be done to stave of this blasphemous madness? It is high time to get real. Real in the tradition of Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. This brand of Realism provides a stable foundation on which all humans can thrive. We must employ the wisdom of the past to recognize our sins, both mortal and venial, in an attempt to tune-in to contemporary rhythms of Logos. We must eliminate sophistry from education and return to the pursuit of the same Truth for which both Socrates and Jesus sacrificed themselves.

The basic premise that Reality exists independent of human perception might be a good place to start. But it might be a hard sell. Admitting that each individual exists inside reality and that reality is not conjured inside each individual mind would require abdicating our status as reality-gods. This might lead to the question of what, then, created reality, if not humans? Nothing? God? This is the question students must consider in depth if they seek to be educated rather than indoctrinated. It is the question on which each individual human life turns. The current system has swept the question under the rug in an attempt to create a world that has forgotten God. We are just beginning to reap the whirlwind of such a world…once more and again. Beware the Master of Victims.

About Jack Gist 2 ArticlesJack Gist is a humanities professor who has published in such journals as Crisis, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review, Academic Questions, and St. Austin Review.

Vatican II review/the Church & China+(reblogged)

Letter #16, Tuesday, July 28, 2020: Dossier Vatican II Reply #1: Prof. Anthony Esolen     This Letter contains a reply by Prof. Anthony Esolen to commenters on and critics of his recent essay on the Second Vatican Council.     In this reply, Esolen makes a dramatic proposal: that the “Last Gospel,” the beautiful verses from the beginning of the Gospel of John which speak so eloquently of Christ the Logos of God, should be added once again to the end of every Catholic Mass. It is a simple, startling, and beautiful suggestion, and we ask readers to write to us with their thoughts, after reading Esolen’s essay.     Esolen’s original essay, which has sparked a great many comments from readers, will run in an upcoming Inside the Vatican Dossier on the present debate over the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), touched off in June by a long essay published by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò (link).     Esolen’s original essayEssay #1, by Prof. Anthony Esolen, may be found here.     Essay #2, by Father Thomas Weinandy, OFM Capuchin, may be found here.     Essay #3, by Dr. John C. Cavadini, may be found here.     The entire Vatican II Dossierwill appear in the August-September issue of Inside the Vaticanwhich will go to press in a few days.     (Special Note: I myself am also working on an essay on the topic of Vatican II, held in Rome from 1962 to 1965. I have found some interesting, little-known material about how certain interests sought to influence the Council. I believe this material, once it is better known, will have to play a role in any overall assessment of that Council, today and in years to come. I hope to finish the essay in the next few days. —RM) ===============     I ask that you please consider subscribing to the print magazine because it would be very helpful to us to have your support (to subscribe, click here.) Each subscription, even if it is only $40, is a very important support for a small journal like ours. We have published for 27 years now, since 1993, but we today are confront a peculiar challenge: this difficult time of the Coronavirus, and the ceasing of most travel between the US and Europe… So please consider taking out a subscription!     Also, we are offering free Zoom Pilgrimages. We invite you to check us out! Join us as we visit Rome, Assisi and other places “virtually,” and talk with special guests. For more information, please visit our website InsideTheVaticanPilgrimages.com. Write back to this email if you have any questions.—RM. ===================     “I will here recommend one possibility, to stand as an exemplar for all the rest”     A reader wrote to us: “It is a joy to read Professor Esolen’s work, any work. And this essay on the Second Vatican Council was spot on. I must ask, should we expect (more) direction from Professor Esolen on how to “forget” Vatican II? I am curious as to how we can forget something without some event, maybe even symbolic, to make the forgetting a common understanding. Thank you for all the work you do. —Tim Harding”     Prof. Esolen responded with a beautiful reflection on the “Last Gospel,” that initial chapter of the Gospel of John which used to be read at the end of every Mass celebrated in the Latin rite, but which was eliminated after the liturgical reform which followed Vatican II. Here is Esolen’s reflection:     “My general recommendation is simple. We restore.”      By Prof. Anthony Esolen     In my last essay, I argued that Catholics should accept the documents of Vatican II as reconcilable with the perennial teachings of the Church, because what can be reconciled must be reconciled.       What can be seen as the deepening or the elaboration of an already held truth may be seen as such, and if that and rupture are the only possibilities, rupture must be rejected, regardless of the intentions of the human actors.      That is because the human actors in this case are not the lawgivers.  The Holy Spirit is, and He cannot contradict Himself.       As for the “Spirit of Vatican II,” it is a human fiction, an advertisement, or a specter, and that specter needs to be laid to rest.      The sooner we see the innovations in the aftermath of the Council as peculiar to their time, a time that has passed, I said, the better. But the next question is, “How on earth do we forget what is thrust upon our attention every time we enter a Catholic church?” It is a ponderous chain.      My general recommendation is simple. We restore.        In doing so, we necessarily reject the time-bound minimalism that was introduced into the Church and her liturgy after it had already done its baleful work in western arts and letters generally.       I have visited country churches in Sweden whose ceilings had once been covered with the bright folk art of late medieval frescoes, but were painted over in bare cold white during the Enlightenment. Sometimes you can see an odd shadow of color showing through the white from underneath, an odd survival from a time long gone; rather like an old woman in a modern Catholic church remaining in her pew after the Mass is over, to say a largely forgotten prayer in silence.      To restore is to strip away the whitewash. It is to repudiate the repudiation. It is to take those statues, hymns, altars, communion rails, prayers, and public devotions out of the basement to which they were confined, and put them back where they once were, to do their work.      I will here recommend one possibility, to stand as an exemplar for all the rest.      When you went to any high Mass in the days before Vatican II, you remained in attentive prayer after the dismissal, because you were about to hear the most world-shaking paragraph ever written.       In a handful of simple yet profoundly poetic sentences, Saint John reveals to us in unmistakable terms that God indeed, the Word through whom all things were made, the eternal Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world, who alone gives to those who accept him the power to become children of God, was made flesh and dwelt among us, and this same Word made flesh is the man whose glory John beheld.        This affirmation of the being of the Word is as far from mere admiration of Jesus as a moral teacher as is possible to conceive.       One who says that the disciples were so wonder-struck by the beauty of Jesus’ teachings that they made a divinity of him has got the matter exactly reversed.       They were not so wonder-struck.       They were often confused, troubled, even appalled.       Who wants to take up a cross? Who wants to do good for his enemies? Who wants to be chaste in thought as well as in deed?       It was only because Jesus was who he was, as was made manifest by the signs he worked, signs consummated in his Resurrection, that they put their entire trust in what he said.      Those sentences from Saint John permit us to say, in his own words and without the slightest sentimentality that God is love.       Before there was ever a human being on this earth, before the earth itself, before the sun and the other stars, before the instantaneous burst of matter into existence, God is, and God is love: the love that is the life of the Trinity, the love that we are invited to share, because heaven is no other than that life.       We do not say that love, the love that we happen to feel, is God, because our loves are frail and often misdirected and sometimes wicked: love, as desire, is the seedbed of every good and evil deed we do.       We say that God is love, and from God alone do we understand what really deserves to be called by that glorious name. (See below for the full text of Esolen’s moving essay.)

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican opened on October 11, 1962, in St. Peter’s Basilica

Imagine the power of the Last Gospel, then; imagine that it is itself set aside, formally, the focus of everyone’s attention, while the church is silent, and no one moves. It would be as if the entirety of the Mass were drawn into one sharp point, one everlasting light. — Prof. Anthony Esolen, in his reply to critics of his essay on the Second Vatican Council, in which he proposes that the “Last Gospel” be read at the end of every Catholic Mass

(By Prof. Anthony Esolen, continued)     You would have heard those first eighteen verses from Saint John at the end of every high Mass, as I said.       It was called the Last Gospel.       It might well have been called the Consummate Gospel.       You would kneel as you heard it.     Who hears it now?     Almost nobody hears it now.       You will hear those world-changing words only once a year, and only by happenstance. If you attend the final Mass for Christmas, the Mass “during the day,” you will hear it.  Otherwise never.      Obviously I cannot ask Catholic priests saying the Novus Ordo to make up their own lectionary. But suppose we think of the Last Gospel as a prayer to be heard by the congregation once Mass has concluded. After all, at many churches the people remain after the recessional hymn to pray the prayer to Saint Michael, or when the time of day warrants it, to pray the Angelus. Then nothing prevents us from hearing the Last Gospel after the recessional. Saint Michael would wish it, I think.      As I said, this act of restoration would not be solitary, nor would it be a merely verbal and formulaic thing.       Think of the restoration of the adjective “holy” to the English translation of the Mass, when the people pray to God for the benefit of “all his holy Church.”       Is that word “holy” just an adjective?       Is it not like a seed sown in the earth, to bear fruit a hundredfold?      Imagine the power of the Last Gospel, then; imagine that it is itself set aside, formally, the focus of everyone’s attention, while the church is silent, and no one moves.       It would be as if the entirety of the Mass were drawn into one sharp point, one everlasting light.     Would it bear fruit?     How could it not bear fruit?     (End, Reply by Prof. Anthony Esolen)

Letter #17, Wednesday, July 29, 2020: China     This Letter is devoted to the question of the Catholic Church in China.     The question is important because the historic “secret agreement” between the Holy See and China to regulate the relations of the Church to the Chinese Communist government — especially regarding the selection of bishops for the Church — signed on September 22, 2018, must either be re-signed and extended in September 2020, or lapse.     What will the two parties do? No one knows, but it is worth looking at some of the issues that may play a part in the decision.     I have asked my Assistant Editor, Christina Andres Deardurff, a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College, a clear-minded writer and editor who has assisted me for the past five years, to wrap up a number of stories concerning China that are presently unfolding. Christina writes with a profound understanding of the present struggles faced by Catholic families on the “peripheries” of the Church — from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to China. Christina is the mother of 10 children and the grandmother of 15.     A version of this story, with photos showing how churches in China are being asked to remove crosses from their roofs, will appear in the August-September issue of Inside the Vatican which will go to press in a few days.     It would be very helpful to all of us to have your support (to subscribe, click here.) Each subscription, even if it is only $40, is a very important support for a small journal like ours. We have published for 27 years now, since 1993, but we today are confronting a peculiar challenge: the Coronavirus, and the consequent ceasing of our pilgrimages from the US to Italy and Europe… So please consider taking out a subscription!—RM.

Photo of Chinese altar boys: Chinese acolytes pray at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing. (Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press)

China allegedly hacks into the Vatican even as it prepares to renew bishops’ agreement     By Christina Deardurff     The website BitterWinter.org, which covers religious freedom issues in China, recently reported on the Chinese Communist Party’s now-two-year-old campaign to replace religion in the lives of the Chinese people with Xi Jinping’s “Civilization Practice Stations for a New Era,” installed in converted churches, temples and “ancestral halls” all over the country.     A propaganda video shown to villagers in Jiangxi province, for example, tells of the successful transformation of Christians through education,” including the story of one unregistered Protestant church: “‘After a month’s work, the church director proactively dissolved the congregation of this religious venue. Its members were later registered and transformed,’ the film’s narrator explains, adding that ‘more and more believers are now being transformed into practitioners’ of such civilization stations.” (Link)     This is the environment in which the Roman Catholic Church is trying to operate in China, via an undisclosed agreement with the Chinese government on the naming of bishops, signed the same year that the “Civilization Practice” campaign began, 2018, and due in September to be renewed — or scrapped.     Now comes news which may very well affect the decision to sign or scrap. (For the importance of this agreement, see link).     According toUCA News (Union of Catholic Asian News), China has been caught hacking into Vatican computers (link to the original story):     By Michael Sainsbury, July 29, 2020     (UCA NEWS) — China has been accused of hacking Vatican computers as well as those in the Diocese of Hong Kong and other Catholic organizations from May.     The hacking appears to be an attempt to gain an advantage in talks between the Vatican and China, due to resume as early as this week, about a fresh deal on the appointment of bishops.         US data monitoring group Recorded Future and its Insikt Group used sophisticated data analysis tools to uncover the cyber espionage.     “From early May 2020, the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong were among several Catholic Church-related organizations that were targeted by RedDelta, a Chinese-state sponsored threat activity group tracked by Insikt Group,” the Recorded Future report stated.      “This series of suspected network intrusions also targeted the Hong Kong Study Mission to China and the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), Italy. These organizations have not been publicly reported as targets of Chinese threat activity groups prior to this campaign.”     (End, UCA NEWS report)     The UCA report explicitly mentions the Vatican agreement, as well as the Vatican’s reaction to Hong Kong’s new and draconian security laws, as areas of interest to the CCP:     “The suspected intrusion into the Vatican would offer RedDelta insight into the negotiating position of the Holy See ahead of the deal’s September 2020 renewal,” the report said.     It added that targeting of the Hong Kong Study Mission and its Catholic diocese could also “provide a valuable intelligence source for both monitoring the diocese’s relations with the Vatican and its position on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement amidst widespread protests and the recent sweeping Hong Kong national security law.”     The Vatican-China agreement stipulated, among other things, that the Chinese government would select the country’s new bishops but that final approval would belong to the Holy See.     The agreement also regularized China’s previously government-appointed bishops (those of the government-sponsored Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, as opposed to the “underground” Chinese Catholic Church, which has always maintained communion with the Holy See), allowing many of them to be recognized by the Vatican.     But according to the South China Post, the agreement has to date failed to produce results in new bishop appointments: “No new heads have been chosen for the 52 bishop-less dioceses in the two years since the agreement was signed, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, who declined to be named.”      The intention of the agreement, its architects said, was to bring unity to Catholics in China, fractured by membership in two competing versions of the Church.      The hope seemed to be that Vatican-Chinese government cooperation would lead to the eventual amalgamation of all Catholics into one Chinese Catholic Church, retaining enough Vatican affiliation to remain Catholic while still meeting the government’s requirements of Sinicization.


Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli

Cardinal Joseph Zen

    One of the agreement’s architects, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, told an interviewer June 7, “We have to see what to do after this [September 2020] deadline. I think we should probably reconfirm it for one or two years.” (link)     But Hong Kong’s retired archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken critic of the agreement, warns that the 2018 agreement has further marginalized the faithful of the Vatican-loyal “underground” church and increased pressure on Catholics to join the government’s Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association by pointing to the Vatican’s acquiescence to its demands for oversight of choice of bishops.      Cardinal Zen said of the situation in a March 2020 blog post that “during the last 20 years, because of the wrong policy of the Holy See in dealing with the Church in China, pursued by a group of people who dared even not to follow the line of the Pope, the underground community was more and more like abandoned, considered inconvenient, almost as an obstacle to unity, while in the community officially recognized by the Government the ‘opportunists’ grow more and more numerous, fearless and defiant because encouraged by people inside and around the Vatican, intoxicated by their illusions of the Ostpolitik (“Eastern policy”).” (link)     The deal, whose exact contents remain a secret, has so far resulted in five “underground” bishops being installed by the CPA.     However, Catholic clergy in China are required by law to “register” with the government, and many clergy of the “underground” church began to appeal to Rome to ask whether they should do so.     The registration also contained an affirmation of the independence, autonomy and self-administration of the Church in China — part of a campaign of “Sinicization” of all religions in order, ostensibly, to root out foreign influence in society.     In response, the Vatican issued a set of directives in September 2019, advising priests that they may, in good conscience, sign the registration and statement, but including a further recommendation to add a sentence affirming respect for authentic Catholic doctrine, if possible.     The Vatican also said that no priest should be forced to sign the statement if his interpretation of it was opposed to his conscience.     Unfortunately, examples of clergy who have been hounded and detained by the government for refusing to register have been documented, including Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of the diocese of Mindong. According to Asia News, Bishop Guo was placed under supervision of two state security officials in November of 2019 and visited daily in an attempt to force him to sign the registration. He finally escaped and went into hiding.     The majority of the diocese’s priests had also refused to sign.     Although Pope Francis has commented little on the specific issue of Hong Kong (other than to pray for China during a late May Regina Caeli address: “Dear Catholic brothers and sisters in China, I wish to assure you that the universal Church, of which you are an integral part, shares your hopes and supports you in trials”) it was noted in the world’s press that he had dropped a reference to Hong Kong, and a plea for religious freedom there, that had been included in the prepared text of his message at his Sunday public Angelus on July 5.     The omitted passage ran: “I hope therefore that all the people involved will know how to face the various problems with a spirit of far-sighted wisdom and authentic dialogue. This requires courage, humility, non-violence, and respect for the dignity and rights of all. I thus express the desire that societal freedom, and especially religious freedom, be expressed in full and true liberty, as indeed various international documents provide for it.”     The text was in the prepared version of the address handed out to journalists that morning, but the Pope simply did not speak the words, leaving them out.     “The curious omission of those sentiments led to speculation that the Pope’s message—mild as it was—was suppressed out of concern that it would provoke an angry reaction from sensitive officials in Beijing. The Vatican has been extremely careful to maintain friendly relations with the Chinese regime, and has avoided public expressions of concern about threats to religious liberty—both in Hong Kong and on the mainland,” reported Catholic News Agency.

Cardinal John Tong Hon, 80, the current interim head of the Diocese of Hong Kong

    As Cardinal Zen has said of the position of Cardinal John Tong Hon, 80, the current interim head of the Diocese of Hong Kong and on record as supporting the new security laws, it is “a tricky situation” for all concerned.       “On the one hand, it will be a lot of trouble if we don’t support the government,” Zen said. “We never know what they will do to our Church. On the other hand, [Tong] disappointed many within the Church by giving his support.”      Similarly, the Vatican is faced with the question “How do we fearlessly stand up for each one of Christ’s faithful ones, and risk provocation of a soulless communist dictatorship like China’s, and yet bring no harm, no increased persecution or vengeful destruction, to an already beleaguered people?”     Meanwhile, the credibility of the Christian West — even its very will to survive — is being called into question as Marxist-style destabilization of society proceeds apace.     Anti-Western-civilization rhetoric is now the norm; violent protest, destruction, arson and even murder occur on a weekly basis in Western countries where the creeping political and social anarchy have been preceded by moral anarchy for decades: perhaps it is no surprise that a decadent West, groaning under the strain of its own sensual and material excess, seems to be breaking apart.     And not unrelated to the issue of sensual and material excess is the history, in the past decades of China-Vatican relations, of the involvement of now-disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As has become evident, McCarrick was an orchestrator of and participant in high-level diplomatic meetings between Chinese and Vatican officials, in later years in a more unofficial capacity, but nevertheless influential. What mark, if any, did McCarrick leave on the negotiations leading to the 2018 Vatican-China agreement that Cardinal Zen spurns?     We hope to delve into this subject in a later report.     Against this backdrop, it is difficult to predict how Rome will navigate the dangerous waters of communism in a burgeoning global economic and political power like China. But it is also difficult to imagine how it can be done without prayer and sacrifice, as the spirit of atheistic communism seems to be one of those spirits of which Christ said, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.”     And so we issue a call to all Christians to pray:     —for the Church in China, that is being targeted, apparently as never before during the reign of Xi Jinping, and     —for the Chinese people, from whom the communist government is attempting to steal their souls.      Pray also for the Pope and all his counselors, and, not least, for the once-Christian West, which is losing not only its spirit, but its own will to exist. 

Letter #18, Thursday, July 30, 2020: Archbishop Viganò     The McCarrick Case     “It’s so much deeper than anyone knows.” —Michael Voris, speaking about the McCarrick case in a Church Militant article published on July 20, 2020 (link). Voris contends that “investigators Church Militant has communicated with” have “revealed to us that McCarrick had offshore accounts they believe were funded by the Kremlin to the tune of enormous sums of money — money McCarrick used for bribes in the Vatican and across the world stage.” Voris concludes: “The level of betrayal and deceit, the treachery in all of this, is brain-numbing, but there it is, all coming to light.”     “Let’s not forget that the legitimization of homosexuality is part of the agenda of the New World Order — to which the Bergoglian church adheres openly and unconditionally — not only for its destabilizing value in the social body, but also because sodomy is the principal instrument with which the Enemy intends to destroy the Catholic priesthood, corrupting the souls of the Ministers of God. For this reason, at least as far as what seems possible, the entire truth about McCarrick will never officially come to light.” Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in his July 22 interview with Italian journalist Marco Tosatti. The entire interview is published below

    Almost two years ago, at the end of August, 2018, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published his famous Testimony.     A few days later, Vatican officials stated that they would investigate the matter and release a full report on the Theodore McCarrick, (left), case.     That report has still not appeared, after two years.

    I have been able to confirm that many witnesses have in fact been questioned, and at considerable length, by the man entrusted by Pope Francis with investigating the case, the American lawyer Jeffrey Lena.          But it is not clear whether the investigation is complete, nearly complete, or still months away from completion.     According to a recent Church Militant article by Michael Voris, the McCarrick report is complete, but is still sitting on the desk of Pope Francis.     Voris writes: “James Grein — the premier victim (of McCarrick)… is suing McCarrick, the archdiocese of New York, the diocese of Metuchen and the archdiocese of Newark… Part of each of these lawsuits entails Theodore McCarrick actually being deposed by Grein attorney Mitchell Garabedian. Garabedian is the noted attorney from the original homopredator scandal cases dating back to Boston in 2002. Specifically, regarding the long-anticipated McCarrick report from Rome, Grein has been told by Pope Francis’ attorney that it’s not only done, but has been for a while.”     So a long investigation has been conducted, and it is reported that it is complete, but the investigation’s results still remain unpublished.     Amid this uncertainty, Italian journalist Marco Tosatti — an accomplished veteran reporter whom I have known since we worked together in the Vatican Press Office in the 1980s — recently conducted a lengthy interview with Archbishop Viganò.     Below is the text of that interview. It offers many insights into the various questions that remain open regarding this case. The interview is lengthy, but is a fascinating read, and quite helpful in setting forth the context in which key aspects of the tough issues facing the Church today need to be viewed.—RM

    Here is Marco Tosatti’s introduction to his interview:     Marco Tosatti:The commitment of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, [photo below], the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, to denounce the veil of silence and cover-ups in the management of abuse cases by members of the clergy, is well known. The spicy and annoyed response by the Vatican authorities – and in particular of various prelates – to the well-argued refutations of the combative prelate is also well known. In this interview, we investigate with His Excellency the developments in the case of former Cardinal McCarrick, also in light of a recent article at Church Militant entitledThe McCarrick Bombshell.[1]     But before we get into the content of this article, let’s make a brief review. From February 21 to 24, 2019, a meeting was held in Rome of all of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences on the topic of The Protection of Minors in the Church.[2] A few days earlier, on February 16, 2019, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced the dismissal from the clerical state of Theodore McCarrick, who was accused of other serious crimes, and added: The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata(i.e.,admitting of no further recourse).”[3]

    Marco Tosatti:Your Excellency, can you tell us what the news is on the McCarrick case?     Abp. C.M. Viganò: I fear that there is no news, and this is precisely the news. With the reduction of McCarrick to the lay state, it was hoped to put an end to an age-old affair that came to light with my testimony only in 2018, but everything possible has been done so that the details and results of the process did not emerge. The deception perpetrated through the strategy of proceeding administratively rather than judicially, as well as the decision of Bergoglio to authoritatively confirm the sentence [so that there was no further recourse], prevented not only McCarrick’s objective crimes from coming to light, but also the responsibility of those who for years contributed to hiding the nature and extent of the crimes he committed, protecting his accomplices and those who, with their silence, have covered up his crimes. In this way the conviction of the culprit did not clarify the obscure details. As a simple layman, Mr. McCarrick now enjoys a total freedom of movement and action, and he is still capable of intervening at every level: on the ecclesial level – even with those who covered up for him and supported him, in the Vatican and elsewhere; on the political, social and financial level, by means of the people who remained in contact with him and who received favors from him. The reduction to the lay state does not constitute in any way a medicinal punishment (this is only the necessary premise, because of the proven indignity of the offender), it does not include any form of reparative penance, nor does it render justice to the victims, but rather it grants to Mr. McCarrick the ability to continue undisturbed in his criminal activity, including sexual predation.     The administrative procedure also prevented the victims from being heard, while the testimonies gathered only recently by the lawyer Jeffrey Lena, the legal representative of the Holy See, seem to have been written under dictation: those who have suffered harassment give excuses for the delay in the publication of the Report, attributing itto the large volume of testimonies,[4] with indulgent and justifying tones that are difficult to reconcile with the extreme gravity of the crimes contested by the accused.[5] It seems that some victims, protected by a pseudonym, have lent themselves to an operation aimed at lightening the responsibility of the Holy See and validating the narrative that it maintains before public opinion. There is also the suspicion that these anonymous testimonies are pure fiction. In any case, this is a deception that must be denounced forcefully, because if the corruption of an individual prelate is a scandal, the guilty silence of the one who represents the Church is even more so. If these episodes had been verified under the Pontificate of Benedict XVI, they would have unleashed the fury of the media: their demure attitude of understanding towards Jorge Mario reveals the complicit attitude of mainstream information.     Marco Tosatti: The convocation of the summit at the Vatican was announced as the occasion of giving a firm and determined response to the clergy sexual scandals. In his introductory address,Pope Francis had declared: “In this meeting, we sense the weight of the pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, frank and in-depth manner, how to confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity. The holy People of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete.”[6] Abp. Viganò: The solemn proclamations which preceded, accompanied, and followed this meeting absolutely did not lead to any concrete practical action, as was hoped for.[7] Just as during the meeting no answer was given to the legitimate and insistent demands made by journalists to Bergoglio on August 26, 2018, after my denunciation.[8]     With regard to the content of the interventions at the summit, it seems that even the clergy sexual scandals, instead of toughening the penalties and making the interventions more incisive, have only led to almost obsessive repetition about the new “synodal” aspect of the Church, which corresponds to a precise intention to change her constitution in a democratic key. The Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich – a friend of Theodore McCarrick and the president of the Vatican summit – focused his own intervention at the summit on synodality” as a necessary passage of structural, legal and institutional reform”[9] of action only nominally intended to stem abuse.     Marco Tosatti: In what way can “synodality” help the bishops to resolve the problem of clergy abuse?     Abp. Viganò: The proposal to establish a commission of independent lay persons who would have overseen the work of the bishops, formulated during the plenary assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 2018, was blocked by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.[10] This intervention by the Vatican disavowed the proclamations of “synodality” as soon as the decisions of the Bishops’ Conferences did not coincide with what Rome wanted. However, I consider His Eminence Cardinal Ouellet to have been merely the executor of maneuvers that were imposed on him from higher up.     Marco Tosatti: Isn’t it a good thing that the Vatican is keeping decisions that involve doctrinal and moral questions to itself?     Abp. Viganò: The authority of the Roman Pontiff, which expresses itself also through the Roman Congregations, cannot obviously be delegated to merely consultative organs that do not have any jurisdiction and that are not a part of the hierarchical structure of the Church as Christ instituted it: on this point we need to be clear. However, it is significant that the “synodal path” hoped for by the highest authorities in Rome does not encounter any obstacle, except for the moments in which it risks becoming embarrassing in the media, as in the case of a special commission appointed to receive denunciations against the bishops.     This call for “synodality” is a theme that is dear to the progressive theological current that wants to strip away the hierarchical structure of the Church. In this regard, the recent articles of Massimo Fagggioli are very clarifying. He is a professor at Villanova University, where on October 11, 2013 then-Cardinal McCarrick affirmed that he had supported the election of Cardinal Bergoglio during the General Congregations prior to the Conclave that had been held just a few months earlier, and that he had spoken with a very influential Italian gentleman”[11] who had confided to him that within the span of five years the new pope would reform the Church.     It ought to arouse alarm that the same school today is giving disturbing signs of dissatisfaction with the work of Bergoglio, whose pontificate is defined as being “in crisis” by “people who feel they have been deluded”[12] – perhaps because the five years that McCarrick alluded to have not yielded the results they hoped for.     Marco Tosatti:In the addressCardinal Reinhard Marx gave about the Vatican summit, he said: “Proper legal proceedings serve to establish the truth, and form the basis for imposing a punishment which is appropriate for the relevant offence. People in the Church also need to see how this judge comes to the sentence and what the sentence is; nearly all are secret, we cannot see this. I think that in our situation it is not good. In addition, they establish trust in the organization and its leadership. Lingering doubts about the proper conduct of court proceedings only harm the reputation and the functioning of an institution. This principle also applies to the Church.”[13]     Abp. Viganò: The publication of the procedural acts should be one of the cornerstones of the operation of transparency and honesty towards the victims of abuse by members of the clergy. It appears evident to me that the words of Cardinal Marx have been disregarded, beginning with the McCarrick case, precisely through Bergoglio’s initiative.     I further recall that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the President of the United States Bishops’ Conference, was disavowed with little regard by the Vatican intervention, which replaced him at the meeting in Rome the following February with Cardinals Blase Cupich and Joseph William Tobin, who are also not exempt from suspicions on their own account. These interferences, clearly desired from on high, have created a media image that does not correspond to reality, in which Bergoglio is presented as the architect of a non-existent reform, for mere propaganda purposes. Even the request made by Francis for the resignation of the entire Chilean Episcopate is part of a facade operation that is clearly denied by the facts.     I think that the two-fold measure reserved for the American and French Bishops’ Conferences is emblematic: on the U.S. side, Bergoglian interventionism prevented an operation of transparency by authority; while on the French side, it allowed clear violations of canon and civil law, permitting the investigations of the ecclesiastical forum to be entrusted to a Masonic judge who is also in favor of euthanasia. The Jacobin spirit in pursuing French clerics accused of child molestation fails however to recognize the responsibility of the Ordinaries and religious Superiors, who are guilty of those same cover-ups that are consolidating in practice also in Rome.     Marco Tosatti: And yet we have also heard the Pontiff recall, in his final address, the words he had already spoken to the Roman Curia in 2018: “The Church will never try to cover up or underestimate any case.”     Abp. Viganò: This solemn affirmation is disavowed by the most emblematic case, the very case of Theodore McCarrick, and makes us think that other interests may have led to the decision to liquidate the matter through the administrative path, and, even more gravely, without the publication of the judicial acts.     Marco Tosatti: What are those other interests, in your opinion?     Abp. Viganò: They want to focus attention on the abuse of minors, moving it away from the clear and dutiful condemnation of the homosexual behaviors which are often the cause of these abuses. For Bergoglio and his entourage sodomy is not a sin that cries out for vengeance in the presence of God, as the Catechism teaches. Bergoglio’s words on this topic – and even more the actions and words of those who surround him – unfortunately confirm that an operation of legitimization of homosexuality is currently underway, and that prelates and theologians are carrying this discussion forward who have manifested without equivocation that they are unfaithful to Catholic teaching.     Cardinal Tobin himself – whose embarrassing messages on his cell phone speak for themselves[14] – has clearly stated that he does not agree with the condemnation of sodomy present in the Catechismrefusing to define homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered.”[15] And these statements follow Cardinal Tobin’s support for the book Building a Bridge by Father James Martin, S.J., that has the same content. Thus we find a cardinal who is a friend of McCarrick lined up in favor of the LGBT movements and the Jesuit whom Bergoglio appointed as a Consultor of the Secretariat for Communications of the Holy See, even inviting him to speak at the World Encounter of Families in Dublin in 2018 and receiving him in audience.[16]     Cardinal Cupich has expressed himself many times in favor of homosexuals, and during the Synod on Youth – to which he was sent to participate by direct appointment of the Pope without having been elected to represent the American bishops – the controversial theme of homosexual relations was inserted into the Instrumentum Laboris even though no group of young people had requested it. I recall, en passant, that Cupich was imposed on the See of Chicago by Bergoglio, against the opinion of the Nunciature.     The interests are therefore clearly those of the “gay lobby” that has infiltrated into the Church and that is literally terrified that good pastors will shed light on the influence that it exercises in the Secretariat of State, in the Congregations of the Roman Curia, in the Dioceses, and over the entire Church. The obscene, even sacrilegious homoerotic fresco that Archbishop Paglia commissioned for the cathedral of Terni[17] is an arrogant ideological manifesto that no Authority has ever censured or deplored; the excessive financial affairs of the Substitute of the Secretariat of State Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra[18] – tied to Cardinal Maradiaga (involved in the scandal of homosexual abuse by his auxiliary bishop, Juan José Pineda, without there being news of any ecclesiastical initiative against him) – and the very grave accusations de Sexto that weigh on him[19] and that I have amply denounced,[20] have not in any way interrupted his cursus honorum in the Vatican; the same holds for Bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta,[21] whom Bergoglio has promoted and, while a criminal trial is still pending, has recently reappointed as Assessor of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.[22] After the order to bring all the current accounts of the dioceses and religious congregations of the world to APSA, Zanchetta finds himself managing the finances of the Church (being able to boast in his own curriculum of having the authoritative diploma of an electrician) and being at the same time easily the object of internal and external blackmail.[23] And let’s not forget the work of Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari, Secretary of the Congregation of Bishops, Secretary of the Sacred College and vice-Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, in the name of and on behalf of those who elevated him to the highest ranks of the Roman Curia as a reward for his fidelity.     I believe it is essential to clarify once and for all the close link between sodomy and pedophilia, which is also confirmed by the statistics themselves: a link that the Vatican summit scrupulously kept silent about in order not to offend the current mentality that is widespread even among many prelates. But it would be hypocritical and culpable to condemn pedophilia in the wake of current civil legislation without equally condemning sodomy, which today’s aligned thought does not consider to be criminally relevant but which the Church identifies among the sins that cry out for vengeance in the presence of God.     But there is also another interest, of a political nature, that should not be underestimated…     Marco Tosatti: What are you referring to?     Abp. Viganò: I am speaking of the political role of McCarrick, which the latest article by Church Militant also mentions: It was McCarrick who worked out the Vatican-China accord, a mission given to him personally by Pope Francis. Francis unshackled him from Benedict-imposed restrictions just weeks after becoming pope — a fact confirmed by Abp. Viganò. Likewise, sources in China […] show that McCarrick may have been instrumental in working out the ongoing secret payments of billions of dollars from the Chinese communists to Francis’ Vatican. If that’s true (and it looks plausible given McCarrick’s communist ties and friendliness with Beijing) that could go a long way in explaining why the report remains sitting on the pope’s desk, unpublished.”     Just in the last few days the news has been divulged on Christian Todayaccording to which China has ordered Christian villagers to renounce their faith and worship the nation’s Communist Party leaders instead.”[24] In the face of this persecution of Christians – and of those Catholics faithful to the Holy See – by the communist dictatorship, the silence of Santa Marta is literally deafening, as it was a few days ago when at his Angelus message Bergoglio omitted the appeal on behalf of Hong Kong that had been given to the press.[25] The secret agreement made between the Holy See and Beijing that has been denounced publicly by Cardinal Zen, demonstrates the subjection of the Bergoglian church to the diktats of the communist dictatorship, handing over the local Hierarchy into the hands of its persecutors and keeping silent on the human rights violations perpetrated by the regime.     I recall that in the spring of 2014 I wrote to the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, asking him if the provisions taken by Benedict XVI towards McCarrick were still valid or not, following an article that appeared in the Washington Times which reported about his trip to the Central African Republic on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.[26] Cardinal Parolin never responded, but the news that is coming out in recent days seems to clarify these aspects too. The freedom of movement given to McCarrick was also known,[27] and he himself wrote in 2012I was in Doha last week and go to Ireland… and following that… I begin one of my longest trips – Beirut, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Hong Kong… before I start again in the Holy Land and Belarus.”[28] And in 2014I leave for China on Thursday the 27th… I am sure that [Secretary of State]Cardinal Parolin would see me since he is involved with my China trip.”[29]     Among other things, the cooperation of the Society of Jesus in the diplomatic moves of the Vatican with the dictatorship of Beijing – beginning with the special Chinese edition of Civiltà Cattolica – confirms the willingness of the Holy See to give an endorsement to China, just as suspicions materialize about its responsibility for the spread of the Covid virus in order to destabilize the international geo-political balance. The role of Antonio Spadaro and other Jesuits – all frequent visitors to Villanova University – is emblematic and demonstrates the red thread that links doctrinal progressivism to moral perversion and political corruption. On the other hand, these three elements – heresy, sodomy, and corruption – are so recurrent that they are almost a trademark of the deep state and of the deep church.     Speaking of the deep state, it is not surprising that the World Health Organization has made itself complicit in this operation of social engineering in order to please China, nor that President Trump has decided to withdraw the funding that has benefited it to date. What surprises and scandalizes is rather the complicit silence of the Vatican, faced with a sort of coup d’état that makes the Bergoglian church the spiritual arm of the World Government, under the aegis of communist tyranny and with the complicity of globalist parties. Italy, with its unelected government and the majority in a most serious political crisis, seems to be following the agenda and does not seem to want to review its positions towards Beijing: the constant threats of a return to the Covid emergency and to a lockdown are clearly instrumental in maintaining a power which in the presence of democratically convened elections would demonstrate its inconsistency. What is certain is that a slightly more incisive and less-aligned opposition to the mainstream narrative could be seen positively by both the electorate and the international partners of Italy.     Marco Tosatti: Let’s return to the question of the clergy scandals. On February 19, 2019, two days before the beginning of the summit presided over by Cardinal Cupich, an Open Letterwas published by Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmüller to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences: “Before the drift in process, it seems that the difficulty is reduced to that of the abuse of minors…which is, however, only part of a much greater crisis…. Sexual abuse is blamed on clericalism. But the first and primary fault of the clergy does not rest in the abuse of power but in having gone away from the truth of the Gospel… In the face of this situation, Cardinals and Bishops are silent. Will you also be silent?… Today, [our] dubia have not only not had any response [from the Holy Father] but are part of a more general crisis of the Faith. Therefore, we encourage you to raise your voice to safeguard and proclaim the integrity of the doctrine of the Church.”[30] What result came from this appeal of the eminent Prelates?     Abp. C.M. Viganò: Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller, like other Prelates, have done nothing but laudably reaffirm Catholic doctrine: the unheard of thing is that they are the ones who are considered “strange” in the ecclesial structure, while a voice is given to those personalities who for their acquaintances, their endorsements of the LGBT agenda, and in some cases even for the shadows that hang over their conduct ought to be removed from the Church and severely censured.     In April 2019, Benedict XVI published a strong intervention in Klerusblatt, which was then reprinted in Italy by Corriere della Sera[31]and was fiercely censored by Marco Politi at Il Fatto Quotidiano.[32]This article was in reality intended for the summit in Rome through the Secretariat of State, but it was boycotted, confirming the intervention of the lavender mafia” to impede the Holy Father from making his position on the subject known to the Bishops.     Marco Tosatti: Can you remind us of what this intervention of Benedict XVI consisted of?     Abp. Viganò: The focal point of the article of Ratzinger that infuriated the supporters of Bergoglio was precisely that it pointed out the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia and also between the relaxing of morality following the Council and the spreading of the plague of abuse.     Obstinately closing his eyes in the face of the evidence, the progressive Marco Politi wrote: What does the abandonment by the Church of an ethic based on natural law have to do with pedophilia? What do changes in Catholic moral theology have to do with it, what do gay cliques in seminaries have to do with it, what do porn films have to do with it, what does the relativization of values and moral judgment have to do with it?”[33] And yet it is evident that where the formation of candidates for the priesthood and religious life cancel discipline and the interior life, vices and sins multiply that degenerate even into the most grave crimes against minors, and not only that.     The cause of this change resides precisely in the “spirit of the Council,” which Benedict XVI wanted only to mention but which did not fail to be immediately grasped by those who saw the superdogma that was being questioned: Truly grotesque [sic] is the attempt by the ex-pontiff to attach to the “conciliar” spirit the position of extreme guarantism of ecclesiastical processes, aimed at the protection of the accused to the bitter end “to the point of practically excluding the condemnation of the guilty,” the essay says. Thus would it be the fault of the advocates of the Council, said more plainly the fault of the reformers, if the network of cover-up artists and pettifoggers, which in any case tried and still tries to impede the trial and condemnation of clerical predators, was revealed to have always been so overbearing and powerful?”[34]     Marco Tosatti: Do you think that Marco Politi is right?     Abp. Viganò: I believe that the answer to this rhetorical question of the Vaticanist Politi can be indisputably affirmative: there is a very strict relationship between the doctrinal crisis of the Church and the immorality of the clergy, that scandalously reaches up to the highest levels of the hierarchy. But it is also apparent that this crisis is being used by the ultra-progressive wing not only to impose a false morality together with a false doctrine, but also to irremediably discredit the Holy Church and the Papacy before the faithful and the world, through the action of its own leaders.     Marco Tosatti: Don’t you think that in the end the Report that everyone is waiting for will be published?     Abp. Viganò: If it is possible to shed light on this affair, this will happen despite the Vatican: the interests at stake are enormous and directly affect the very top of the Church, and not only for questions of a doctrinal, moral, or canonical nature, but also for political and diplomatic aspects that have seen the Holy See become the object of a coup d’état with the complicity of those who should have defended it in its sovereignty and independence. What did not succeed during the pontificate of Benedict XVI was brought to fruition after his resignation. How can we hope that the one who is indebted for his own election to McCarrick – who was one of the main proponents of the secret agreement with China – will be able to clarify a series of events that involve him personally, demonstrating the connivances with the Chinese dictatorship against Catholics faithful to the Holy See and perhaps also the responsibility of that regime for the resignation of Pope Benedict? How can we imagine that the murky events of Saint Gallen will become clear, when it was there that the conspirators organized the election of Bergoglio? And how can we believe that the Church will purify herself of the corruption and vice of her clerics and prelates, when they are the ones who have taken power and who are promoted to the highest levels in a web of complicity between heretics, perverts, and traitors?     The one who ought to investigate the scandals is heavily involved in the appointment, promotion, and protection of those who are guilty: Bergoglio has surrounded himself with compromised and thus blackmailed personalities, whom he has no qualms about getting rid of as soon as they risk compromising him in his media image.      Let’s not forget that the legitimization of homosexuality is part of the agenda of the New World Order – to which the Bergoglian church adheres openly and unconditionally – not only for its destabilizing value in the social body, but also because sodomy is the principal instrument with which the Enemy intends to destroy the Catholic priesthood, corrupting the souls of the Ministers of God.     For this reason, at least as far as what seems possible, the entire truth about McCarrick will never officially come to light.     Marco Tosatti: How can we respond to this corruption?     Abp. Viganò: Today what cannot be deferred is a joint action of those who are good – those who in my Open Letter to President Trump I defined Biblically as “the sons of Light” — in order to bring to light the complicities and crimes of those who make war on the Good so as to establish the New World Order. In this operation of truth and transparency, the role of the United States may be decisive, above all when those who should and could contribute from the Vatican practice a code of silence. As the Lord said, I tell you that if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out.”[35]     But there is a more important aspect, of a spiritual nature. We must understand that the ecclesial crisis was caused by having wanted to remove the crown from the Church’s King, Our Lord: He must return to reign not only in our hearts and families but also in civil society and most of all in the Church. Oportet illum regnare. And along with the King of Kings, Our Lady must also reign, the Queen and Mother of the Church, which has culpably disobeyed her by not consecrating Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. This is my most sincere wish, to which I ask all people of good will to unite themselves. + Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop 22 July 2020 Saint Mary Magdalene Official translation by Giuseppe Pellegrino ================ Footnotes below:

[1] https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-mccarrick-bombshell [2] http://www.vatican.va/resources/index_it.htm [3] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-02/holy-see-mccarrick-dismissed-from-clerical-state-for-abuse.html [4] https://essayforthefaithful.com/ [5] Crimes to which are added others that have recently been documented: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/lawsuit-claims-ex-cardinal-theodore-mccarrick-headed-abusive-sex-ring-names-alleged-procurer-63583 [6]http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2019/february/documents/papa-francesco_20190221_incontro-protezioneminori-apertura.html[7] Cf. ad esempio https://www.ilpost.it/2019/02/25/incontro-abusi-sessuali-vaticano/ [8]http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2018/august/documents/papa-francesco_20180826_irlanda-voloritorno.html [9]http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_card-cupich-protezioneminori_20190222_en.html [10] https://www.lastampa.it/vatican-insider/it/2018/11/13/news/le-ragioni-del-rinvio-del-voto-sulle-norme-anti-abusi-negli-usa-1.34060080 [11] https://youtu.be/b3iaBLqt8vg [12] https://international.la-croix.com/news/the-limits-of-a-pontificate-part-i/12170 [13]http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_card-marx-protezioneminori_20190223_en.html [14] https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/tobin-tarmac-tweet-raises-eyebrows [15] https://www.today.com/video/how-cardinal-joseph-tobin-found-his-calling-in-the-catholic-church-1496688707952 [16]http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/09/30/190930a.html [17] https://lanuovabq.it/it/e-paglia-ando-in-cielo-con-trans-e-gay [18]https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/06/07/news/vaticano_il_verbale_di_mos_carlino_pena_parra_mi_disse_come_procedere_su_torzi_-258667074/ [20]https://www.marcotosatti.com/2019/08/01/accuse-di-vigano-a-pena-parra-conferme-da-maracaibo-vigano-accuses-pena-parra-confirmations-from-maracaibo/ [21] http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2017/12/28/vaticano-senza-pace-soldi-sesso-e-presepe-lgbt/ [22] http://www.korazym.org/44412/lo-strano-caso-del-presunto-abusatore-zanchetta-riapparso-e-il-processo-promesso-dal-papa-a-carico-del-suo-amico/ [23]http://www.korazym.org/44412/lo-strano-caso-del-presunto-abusatore-zanchetta-riapparso-e-il-processo-promesso-dal-papa-a-carico-del-suo-amico/ [24]https://www.christiantoday.com/article/china-tells-christians-renounce-faith-in-jesus-worship-president-xi-jinping/135221.htm [25]https://www.lanuovabq.it/it/hong-kong-la-santa-sede-si-inchina-al-regime-cinese https://www.liberoquotidiano.it/news/italia/23616123/papa-francesco-socci-hong-kong-cina-angelus-passaggio-sparito.html [26] McCarrick, in his correspondence with his secretary Msgr. Figuereido, qualified himself as “an adjunct member of the foreign service.” cf.https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cardinal-theodore-edgar-mccarrick-vatican-restrictions-anthony-figueiredo-letters-report-2019-05-28/ [27] According to Catholic News Agency: “In a 2009 visit to China, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi conveyed McCarrick’s greetings to Bishop Aloysius Jin of Shanghai, a priest who was a leading Chinese Jesuit, then spent decades in prison on charges of aiding counterrevolution before his release in 1982. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop without Vatican approval in 1985, though he received Vatican recognition in 2005. The bishop said he and Cardinal McCarrick had exchanged visits “beginning when the latter was Bishop of Newark (sic).” Pelosi said she would convey the bishop’s greetings back to Cardinals McCarrick and William Keeler, then an Archbishop emeritus of Baltimore». Cf.https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/despite-mccarrick-abuse-claims-state-department-leaves-questions-unanswered-70448 [28]https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cardinal-theodore-edgar-mccarrick-vatican-restrictions-anthony-figueiredo-letters-report-2019-05-28/ [29] Ibid. [30]https://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinals-burke-brandmueller-abuse-crisis-symptom-of-turning-away-from-trut [31]https://www.corriere.it/cronache/19_aprile_11/papa-ratzinger-chiesa-scandalo-abusi-sessuali-3847450a-5b9f-11e9-ba57-a3df5eacbd16.shtml cf https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/04/10/full-text-of-benedict-xvi-the-church-and-the-scandal-of-sexual-abuse/ [32]https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2019/04/12/pedofilia-qualcosa-non-torna-nel-contromanifesto-di-papa-ratzinger/5104990/ [33] Ibid. [34] Ibid. [35] Lk 19: 39

End of these quoted Letters

Over Coming the habit of sin (reblogged from Divine Mercy Site)

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Reflection 209: Overcoming the Habit of Sin
Overcoming sin requires the Mercy of God.  Too often we attempt to overcome sin through our own effort.  This is a futile exercise in that you will never overcome your own sin through your own effort.  There is one way and one way only to rid yourself of the sin you struggle with, and that is done by turning to the transforming power of God poured out through the Mercy of the Cross of Christ.  It’s entirely possible that you have identified some habitual sin in your life, have confessed it, and then, within the next day, fell into that sin again, over and over.  This is because you have attempted to rely upon your own strength and not the power of God.  Jesus is the only means by which you can overcome your sin.  Turning to Him for the Mercy to eliminate sin from your life requires commitment and focus.  It requires total trust in Him and a complete surrender to Him.  You cannot do this on your own (See Diary #1087).
What is it that you struggle with each and every day?  Whatever your sin may be, you can overcome it, but only by relying on Mercy and the purifying power of the Cross.  This is done by fixing your eyes on Jesus and relying on Him alone.  Your responsibility is to turn to Christ.  His action is one of purification.  Do not doubt the power of our Lord and His ability to purge sin from your life.  It may “hurt” to be purified, but it is obtainable.  It requires sacrifice on your part and Mercy on His part.  Reflect upon this internal struggle you encounter and resolve, deeply, to abandon yourself to Him.  He will begin to lift this burden in your life when you do so.
Lord, I give You my sin and beg for the grace to overcome it.  I know that I am weak, but that You are strong.  Lift this heavy burden and bring purity and sanctity to my soul.  I love You my Lord and I surrender my sin to You.  Jesus, I trust in You.

The Overlooked Marian Apparitions at Zeitoun- Egypt


What is the most witnessed Marian apparition of the 20th century? Most would say Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, where approximately 70,000+ people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. However, most prolifically witnessed miracle of the Virgin Mary in the 20th century, and perhaps ever, was at Zeitoun, Egypt from 1968 to 1971.

The Holy Family in Zeitoun

Zeitoun is one of the locations where the Holy Family supposedly stopped on their flight to Egypt, fleeing King Herod’s murder of the innocents some nineteen centuries earlier. From April 2, 1968 to May 29, 1971, the Virgin Mary appeared weekly on average, especially around feast days, on top of St. Mary’s Coptic Church in Zeitoun for all to see. This was not something just witnessed in a mystical vision by a few; it was a supernatural experience perceived by massive crowds for years. In addition, this occurred in a predominantly Muslim country and at a Coptic Church, which might be why Catholics are less familiar with it. 

The Blessed Virgin Mary was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of people, including Copts, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and even secular Marxists, like the former Egyptian President Abdel Nasser. This supposedly greatly influenced him in his relations with Christians, who at the time were being targeted: red crosses painted on their houses to mark them. This was also a time of rapid expansion of Islamic fundamentalism.

Perhaps, Mary had come to mollify these tensions against Copts and other Christians in this very vulnerable time. Egypt had recently been defeated by Israel ten months earlier in the June 1967 Six-Day War. The Zeitoun years were a turning point from the ’67 war to the Camp David Accords, and finally, a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, on the one hand, and rise of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other. 

Miraculous Apparition

The miraculous nature of the apparitions drew Egypt’s full attention. Black and white photographs exist showing a brightly luminous being, the Blessed Virgin Mary, on top the Church. The apparitions would begin with a ball of light gradually materializing, and then, taking on the form of the Virgin Mary. One described Mary as “bright as a million suns.” They called her Our Lady of Light. She was accompanied by other phenomenon as well.

Large, luminous doves moved swiftly across the sky, and at times flying in formations of two, seven or twelve, and in the shape of a cross. Incense as from “millions of censors” billowed up around her with a sweet fragrance. There were mysterious flashing lights, a canopy of shooting stars, like “a shower of diamonds made of light,” as one witness recalled. Many miraculous healings occurred too, from blindness, polio, paralysis, cripples, cancer and terminal illness. There were also spiritual conversions of Muslims and others to Christianity.  

The Vatican made no official statement on its authenticity, deferring to the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic Church investigated the matter and determined it was an authentic and true phenomenon. The civil government as well concluded that something real was happening at Zeitoun. At one point, the authorities even investigated a fifteen-mile radius for electronic devices and cut all power off to the area to create a blackout, yet Mary continued to appear. 

One image of Mary at Zeitoun / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

An Initial Vision

The story begins much earlier, however, around 1920, when a Coptic Christian, Tawfik Khalil Abraham, who owned this spot of land in Zeitoun, was about to build a hotel there. Then, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited him in a dream requesting instead that he build a Coptic Church in her honor. If he did so, she promised to perform a miracle there sometime in the future.

In 1925, the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mary was completed. Then, as promised, the miracle happened years later beginning on April 2, 1968. Two Muslim garage attendants noticed a woman on the top of the Church and thought she was about to commit suicide. One of the attendants, Farouk Mohammed Atwa, yelled up to her “Lady, don’t jump!” Soon, a crowd had gathered and realized that this was no ordinary woman but the Blessed Virgin Mary herself.

The apparitions continued unabated, with Mary appearing for a few nights each week for the next three years. People from all around began to come to St. Mary’s in Zeitoun to see the miraculous apparitions. The crowds grew larger and larger. By some accounts, 250,000 at the highpoint would come nightly to watch for Mary appearing from Heaven. 

A Silent Witness

Despite the length of the apparitions and the number of witnesses, the Blessed Virgin Mary did not speak or deliver any verbal messages. She maintained an attitude of prayer bowing towards the cross and blessing the people. Mary was seen gliding slowly about the domes of the Church, sometimes standing for two to three hours in the same spot, and at times kneeling before the cross on the roof. She acknowledged the people’s presence by smiling at the crowd and blessing them with her hands.

Mary had long white and blue robes, and a veil of bluish-white light. They could see her garments moving in the warm night breeze. She had a dazzling crown on her head with a halo of bright light. Sometimes the witnesses saw her with the infant Jesus, or sometimes with the twelve-year old Jesus, and other times, with St. Joseph. Still other times, she was seen carrying a cross, or an olive branch—a symbol typically for peace and unity.

Bishop Athanasius of Beni Soueiff, sent personally from the Coptic pope, said,

“There she was, five or six meters above the dome, high in the sky, full figure, like a phosphorous statue, but not so stiff as a statue. There was movement of the body and of the clothing . . . she was very quiet, full of glory.”

One Coptic priest noted that, “there were rays [of light] coming down from her hands,” like depicted in the miraculous medal.   

Coptic Bishop Marcos said when Mary looked at the crowd, it seemed as though “she concentrated her eyes on them exactly.” Despite the number of people, it felt personal and individual. One witness, American Pearl Zaki, described being there, “Yet I think each person present, as I talked with them and understood, felt alone with her and drawn completely to her.”

A certain Coptic Christian, Dr. Khairy Malek, who witnessed the apparitions, said he could even see her teeth when she smiled at them. At one point, the crowd turned and began shouting up towards the moon. When Dr. Malek turned, he saw the Virgin Mary’s “whole face stamped on face of the moon.” Clearly, something extraordinary and profound occured in Zeitoun between 1968 to 1971. The next question is why then, and why there?

Why Zeitoun?

As mentioned, Zeitoun, Cairo was one of the traditional locations that the Holy Family had fled to escape the slaughter of the innocents under King Herod, as Gospel explains:

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (Matt. 2:13)

Nevertheless, Herod carried out his murderous intent against the infants (Matt. 2:16). Perhaps, the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing at Zeitoun was to honor the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt from Herod’s massacre of the innocent children. 

Blogger and author Emmet O’Regan has pointed out that 1968-1971 was the very same timeframe for the mass legalization of abortion. In April 1968, the very same month that Zeitoun began, the United Kingdom enacted the Abortion Act. This was the initial break in the dam inundating the world with legalized abortion. This quickly spread to the United States in loosening abortion laws in 1969, and soon thereafter, Roe v. Wade was argued in 1971, and decided on January 22, 1973. This opened the doors to the mass slaughter of the innocents worldwide. It is the beginning of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents on an apocalyptic level.

Zeitioun is very much like Blessed Virgin Mary’s dramatic and unprecedented warning at Fatima in 1917, just before the unleashing of the errors of Communism upon the world in the Russian Revolution. Yet, at Zeitoun there were no messages, no visions, and no secrets. Mary’s message was her silent presence in that time and at that location. The Blessed Virgin Mary came, again, in unprecedented fashion in Zeitoun, perhaps, to warn the world of new evils that were about to be unleashed upon it — this time with abortion. Perhaps, it was an appeal, too, against the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt.

Our Lady of Zeitoun, Pray for Us!

Maybe not coincidentally, apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary were seen there in 2000-2001, and again, in 2006, in Assiut — which is also traditionally the southernmost point that the Holy Family travelled to in their Egyptian flight. Another purported apparition, then, occurred in Warraq, Egypt in 2009, among other locations.

Was the Blessed Virgin Mary retracing the steps of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt some two millennia later? In these unprecedented revelations, the Blessed Virgin Mary came to Zeitoun as Our Lady of Light, that is, the Woman clothed with the Sun with a crown on her head, much like the great portent that appears in Heaven (Rev. 12:1).

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. 

Brian Kranick By Brian Kranick

Brian Kranick is a freelance writer focusing on all things Catholic. In addition to other studies, he has a master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Christendom College.  He has spent years working as an analyst in the Intelligence Community, and currently resides with his wife and three children in the Pacific Northwest.  He is the author of the blog: sacramentallife.com.

Jesus and Our Miseries


Jesus and Our Miseries

In her memoirs, Ways of Divine Love, Sister Josefa Menendez (1890-1923) describes one of her visions in words that challenge the way that we look at our miseries in life. Jesus had said to her, “Thy misery draws me to thee… The void and misery in thee are as magnets that attract my love to thee. Yield not to discouragement, for my mercy is honored in thy infirmity.” This saint responded to Jesus with a complete and confident surrender of her misery to the Savior.

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska received a similar message from Jesus. In making her thanksgiving for the many graces that she had received, she had said to Jesus, “Through the (religious) vows, I have given myself entirely to you; I have then nothing more that I can offer you.” Jesus replied, “My daughter, you have not offered me that which is really yours.” She did not know what He meant. She begged Jesus to reveal this to her and Jesus responded, “My daughter, give me your misery, because it is your exclusive property.” (Diary #1318)The saint recognized her misery and surrendered it to Jesus with great confidence, knowing that she will never be rejected by Him.

What? Jesus wants my miseries? Is that possible? Isn’t He repulsed by my sins, imperfections, infidelities, moral failures, and weaknesses? Before we dismiss these hopeful words of Jesus to these mystics as mere pious musings, let us recall His words to us, “I will never reject whoever comes to me for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” (Jn 6:37-38) Even St. Paul saw his own nagging weakness as a channel for God’s grace in his life, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”(2 Cor 12:9). Our miseries do not drive Jesus away but they are indeed like magnets that attract Him to us. The ongoing Incarnation, the Perfect One taking on and retaining the nature of His imperfect creatures, becoming like them in all things except sin, is the greatest testimony of God’s incessant attraction to our miseries.

In the Gospel, we see a Savior who has every good reason to reject the crowd that followed Him. He had just been rejected from His native place of Nazareth. He had just heard that Herod had beheaded His (Jesus’) beloved precursor, John the Baptist. He was trying in vain to find a place to rest when this crowd came searching for Him. But Jesus “looked at them with pity.” He noticed their deepest misery, a misery that He alone could alleviate. He could not resist the misery that He saw in them. Out of pity for them, without their even asking Him, and surely not because they were of a faithful stock, Jesus first of all “cured their sick.” He then instructed the disciples what to do, “Bring me the loaves and the fish… Tell them to sit down.” And then He fed them with bread and fish. Once they had experienced this compassionate love of Jesus for them, once their sick had been cured, and they had listened to His words and received His nourishment, we are told that “they all ate and were satisfied.”https://secureaddisplay.com/i/view/js/?Viewable=1&isMobile=0&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159734013&ccvid=887144135&pvid=1835313371https://secureaddisplay.com/i/view/js/?Viewable=0&isMobile=0&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159734013&ccvid=887144135&pvid=1835313371https://secureaddisplay.com/i/t/js/?ALU=151620200713T104956603031DBDF0FAF04F97A2272CF3D18D16A2&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159734013&ccvid=887144135&pvid=1835313371

It is this compassionate love of God offered to us in Christ Jesus, this love that incessantly wants to heal us, teach us, and feed us, that alone satisfies us here on earth. When we find our satisfaction in this love, there is nothing in this world that we cannot overcome. This is St. Paul’s message to the Romans in the Second Reading that nothing created can separate us from the (compassionate) love of God for us in Christ Jesus. We conquer all things – anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, death, angels, etc – “because nothing can separate us from this (compassionate) love of Christ.” In truth, “No creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” only because Jesus always looks at us and acts towards us with pity. He sees and knows all our miseries and lovingly condescends to
redeem and alleviate it at any cost as only He can because He knows what we are going through.

The First Reading depicts the Prophet Isaiah speaking to the Israelites returning to Jerusalem from exile. The invitation is addressed to those who are bold and humble enough to face and own up their misery, “All you who are thirsty…You who have no money.” They are invited to be nourished, “Come, receive grain, drink wine and milk.” They are invited to learn from God’s words to them, “Come to me heedfully, and listen that you may have life.”Lastly, they are restored and reconciled with God, “I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.” God fulfills this covenant in the compassionate heart of our Savior who is never repulsed by our own miseries but who bends over them to redeem it.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we react to our miseries? What do we do when our good resolutions do not last an hour before our weaknesses get the better of us? Do we pretend that they do not exist? Do we behave like the Israelites in the time of Isaiah who “spend their money on what is not bread and their wages on what fails to satisfy?” Do we let our miseries separate us from our life of worship and service to God? Are we seeking other things to take these miseries away from us and fill the void? Or rather are we constantly seeking for the healing, teaching and nourishment of Christ despite our miseries? We will find deep satisfaction when we choose to meet His compassionate gaze with an intense desire to be healed and transformed, a readiness to embrace a new life in Christ lived for God and for others and desire to be nourished by Him.

I am reminded of a statement that my dad made during my last visit back home in Nigeria. We gathered as a family everyday for Mass in our home during my stay there. After the first Mass, my dad said to me, “That was my best Mass ever.” I asked him why he said so and he jokingly answered, “It is my best Mass because there was no homily, no Offertory, and no Announcements after Holy Communion.” We did not have any of these at the Mass. I still get a kick out of my father’s statement.

What makes the Mass the most beautiful and powerful prayer we have here on earth? It surely is not about the homilies though it is important to have good homilies and liturgy. It surely is not about the amount of money given at the offertory or the good works and outreach that are announced after Holy Communion. The Mass remains a powerful and efficacious prayer because it affords us a unique access to the compassionate love of God that constantly looks at us with pity, with a great desire to heal, teach and feed us. Out of pity for us, our compassionate God heals us as we beg for forgiveness as members of a community in the Penitential rite. Out of pity for us, He teaches and moves us to give all that we have and all we are as we hear His words in the Readings and Gospel. Lastly, out of pity for us, He feeds us with His own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. There is no greater expression of God’s compassionate love for us than the Eucharist and nothing more potent to move us to conquer all things.

Let us approach the sacrament of the Eucharist like the crowd in Sunday’s Gospel. Having prepared for Mass by the healing through proper sacramental confession, let us also bring the temporal and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters to Christ as the crowd brought their own sick to Jesus. Let us be ready to make sacrifices to be at Mass as the crowd was ready to “follow Jesus on foot from their towns.” Let us come to Him heedfully, ready to learn from Him how to offer all to God through and with Christ for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. If we do not let our miseries keep us away from Him, we will receive His healing, teaching and nourishment and become really satisfied.

During the Passion of Jesus Christ, St. Peter looked into Jesus’ eyes after betraying Jesus three times and he saw only pity and compassion. He fled out into the night to cry because he did not think that he deserved that look of pity and compassion after all his boasting that he would never desert Jesus. We too do not deserve this look and we will never deserve it. But in every Eucharist, we have a privileged opportunity to enter into His compassionate heart again and become aware of His constant gaze at us even in our misery. Let us remain and look at our miseries only through the eyes of Jesus. If we continuously let Him heal us, teach us, and feed us, we will be satisfied and we will surely overcome all things in this world simply because He always looks at us and acts towards us with nothing but pity.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!https://www.facebook.com/v2.10/plugins/like.php?action=like&app_id=123517014997301&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df1f34bf16a0cfd%26domain%3Dcatholicexchange.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fcatholicexchange.com%252Ff3f9af791ea9c64%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=610&href=https%3A%2F%2Fcatholicexchange.com%2Fjesus-and-our-miseries&layout=button_count&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&share=true&show_faces=false4Fr. Nnamdi Moneme, OMV

By Fr. Nnamdi Moneme, OMV

Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations’ Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

The Cross Leads to the Greatness We Are Made For


The Cross Leads to the Greatness We Are Made For

There is a quote by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that frequently makes the rounds in social media: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” On the surface it is a summons to rise above the things of this world in order to achieve the greatness we are made for by God. The question is: How do we achieve this greatness? The answer is through the Cross.

In the West, we live in an age of comfort. This comfort is plaguing the Church at pandemic levels. It has eroded away her evangelical witness and it has led far too many Catholics to abandon the call of Christian discipleship for the things of this world. It has also led far too many in the ministerial priesthood to fail to teach, to govern, and to sanctify the People of God. Comfort acts as a cancer within the Mystical Body destroying everything it touches in the process.

The path to holiness is not an easy one. It is deeply difficult and it is impossible for us to achieve on our own. It is only through a radical surrender of our entire being to Christ that we can be transfigured into who we are meant to be for the salvation of souls and our own salvation. The means by which Christ transforms us into great saints is through the Cross. It is the only way because it is the same path He walked.

I will freely admit that I did not come to understand this central aspect of the Christian life until a few years ago after many years of intense suffering and after Our Lord quite literally placed three pieces of His True Cross in my hands when he entrusted them to me as their temporary guardian when I was 33-years-old. God was not subtle about it when He made it clear to me that I was to pick up my Cross and follow Him.https://secureaddisplay.com/i/view/js/?Viewable=1&isMobile=0&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159571195&ccvid=887139153&pvid=1835304440https://secureaddisplay.com/i/view/js/?Viewable=0&isMobile=0&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159571195&ccvid=887139153&pvid=1835304440https://secureaddisplay.com/i/t/js/?ALU=153220200721T140037720600822FAAF544D4082218137D6CBD161&AULU=31049320180502T21202597318BC65D5CB7F4E5D8F7C4C8F9527118C&cb=1596159571195&ccvid=887139153&pvid=1835304440

This should not have been difficult for me to understand. I’m a cradle Catholic, after all. The fact of the mater is, I never heard a passionate call from the priests of my childhood and young adulthood telling me to die-to-self united with Christ on the Cross. In fact, the love of God was frequently preached, but in a manner that was divorced from the Cross. “God loves us” is all I heard for decades. That’s well and good, but that statement lacks any depth without the full force of the Cross with it.

When I hear “God loves us” in a homily my immediate first thought is: “Yes, Father, but what does that mean? What does that love look like in our daily lives? What is Christ calling us to?” Through His love for us, Christ issues each one of us an invitation to walk the Way of the Cross and to be crucified on the Cross with Him because that is what love looks like. That is the love we are called to; a complete abandonment of self to God and in the service of others. It is the call to put others first, not ourselves, which is completely counter-cultural in an age of me and my wants and needs.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been working my way through Servant of God Catherine Doherty’s writings and biographies written about her. In many ways she is a woman after my own heart and a true spiritual sister. The most prevalent theme in her writing is the Cross. Multiple times throughout her life, holy men and  women prophesied to her about the role of the Cross in her life. From her infancy, her own mother said that she was born under the sign of the Cross.

When Catherine was a child, an old woman who was a pilgrim roaming in the woods of her native Russia, came to her family’s home begging for food and a place to sleep. While she was visiting she told them of the coming dangers of Communism which she had seen in a vision and to Catherine she said: “Goldilocks, you will be married twice, but your Spouse is eternal. You have been chosen by Him for His work. Do not try to escape.” She was astonished and did not understand what it meant at the time.

When Catherine was older and had lived many years in an abusive marriage, she visited a monastery with her then husband. The monk said to her: “Katya, beloved of Mary. Your sign is the cross. Don’t fight it. For He who is crucified on it waits for you and loves you. Your breasts will feed Him who is thirsty; and from your womb His children shall spring up, if you are faithful. Be faithful, child of sorrow, whose eyes shall see the eyes of God. Child, you are predestined by God to do great works for Him. You will suffer much and know Christ’s pain; but don’t be afraid. You will also know His joy. Follow where He leads. Go in His footsteps.”

Catherine suffered tremendously as she nearly starved to death during the Marxist revolution of 1917 and fled her native land. She dedicated her life to the poor and fought hard against racial injustice, suffered years of abuse from her first husband, and battled Communism in her community and for the Church. She was tirelessly dedicated to the priesthood as a spiritual mother to priests. She was betrayed by those closest to her, which led to her being voted out of Friendship House, the lay apostolate she had founded. The loss eventually allowed for Christ to lead her to begin Madonna House, an international lay apostate dedicated to Our Heavenly Mother, hospitality, and service to the poor. There is one in my area.

It is easy for us to look at the lives of the saints and those held up by the Church as holy examples with an overly-sentimental view. Far too often we dismiss the reality of the Cross in their lives. We even domesticate it in relation to Christ Himself. The hardships, betrayals, rejections, failures, afflictions, abuses, and sufferings of this life are non-negotiable if we want to become saints. It is through these experiences that we are united more closely to Christ. It is through these afflictions that we learn how to love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

If we truly from our hearts ask Christ to show us how to love as He loves, see as He sees, and to forgive as He forgives then we must be ready for suffering. We must ask Him to help us bear it well, to persevere, and to strengthen us along the way. Some souls are born under the sign of the Cross in a more overt way based on God’s own mysterious designs. Catherine was one of those women who was called into greater depths of the mystery of the Cross. Even if God doesn’t call all people to the same level, He still calls all disciples to be crucified with Him.

A true Christian disciple knows we are called to embrace the sufferings of this life and to not let them rob us of faith, hope, and charity. We are to unite our own sufferings to Christ crucified for the salvation of souls. We should be seeking to die-to-self every single day in our relationships with others and beg God for the strength to submit fully to His will over our own.

What happens when we submit to God’s will and and walk united with Him on the Way of the Cross? We change the world. The Church regains her evangelical power. It is only then that God can use us to reach others and bring them to Him.

Catherine Doherty did not run from the Cross that loomed large—larger than most of us—over he life. She fought hard through a radical surrender to Christ to remain faithful despite the devastating failures, betrayals, poverty, abandonment, and abuses she endured. She sought to be crucified with her Beloved Savior and gave herself over for the salvation of souls.

We cannot complain about the state of the world and the Church if we refuse to embrace the Cross. A comfortable Church is a dead Church. We are not made for comfort because we are made for the Cross, which is the only place we will find the greatness we have been made for by God.

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 8:34

By Constance T. Hull

Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in philosophy.  Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G.K. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers. She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. She is also published at The Federalist, Public Discourse, and blogs frequently at Swimming the Depths (www.swimmingthedepths.com).