Thursday, 14 March 2019

Fred's Fantasies

A commentary on Frederic Martel's “In the Closet of the Vatican”.

Nicolas J Bellord

A bombshell?

This book was supposed to be a 'bombshell' but in reality it will have no more effect than a damp squib. Everyone knows there are homosexuals and homosexual networks or lobbies in the Vatican; all that this book does is to give an exaggerated view of the problem dictated by an LGBT agenda. That agenda is that the Vatican is 80% homosexual and that therefore the Catholic Church should drop its supposed hypocritical stance on the evil of sodomy and say there is nothing wrong with it.

Martel tells us that he does not like the use of the titles that are common in the Vatican e.g. Your Eminence etc. Further he does not like the use of capital letters so 'Holy See' becomes 'holy see', Pope becomes 'pope' etc. He is not consistent in this as 'France' still gets a capital letter. So to concur with his hatred of formality and respect lets refer to him as Fred but keep the capital letter.

Probably the most important areas in the book are the interviews with named Cardinals as opposed to many more interviews with unnamed Cardinal of doubtful credibility.

Cardinal Burke

His first victim is Cardinal Burke (chapter 2) who fortunately escapes being interviewed as he never turns up being detained by Pope Francis for longer than expected. However Fred does go to he abortive meeting and tell us why the Cardinal must be a homosexual by observing what he sees in the Cardinal's apartment. He asks the Cardinal's assistant whether he can use the bathroom so that he can inspect that. He then enumerates various pointers which are supposed to indicate the Cardinal's hidden sexuality:

  1. His apartment is luxurious and spartan.
  2. His dining table is not a genuine antique but repro.
  3. On a chest of drawers is a Bible open on a lectern. This surely indicates a rigid Promothean Neo-Pelagianism in Fred's eyes.
  4. On the table, an arrangement of dried pine cones, braided and glued together – the ornamental art of elderly dandies. Dandy must be a code word for queer.
  5. In the bathroom: luxury soaps, with their subtle perfumes, are arranged in the Japanese style
  6. the little towels folded on medium-sized ones, which are in turn arranged on large ones, and the large ones on very large.
  7. The toilet paper is new, and set in a protective cover that guarantees its immaculate purity.

For Fred all these items point to homosexuality. But Fred really goes to town on the Cardinal's wardrobe which contains a red hat amongst other regalia. That is the sum total of the case against Cardinal Burke.

Fred did manage to get interviews with two other Cardinals – Mueller and Kasper – amongst other Cardinals but these two are of supreme importance. Since publication both Mueller and Kasper have said that the interviews were obtained on false pretences.

Archbishop Vigano

But before we get to those interviews Fred brings up the allegations made by Archbishop Vigano. In particular it has been said that Fred confirms that the Archbishop told Pope Francis about McCarrick's sleeping with seminarians under his tutelage. In fact he only implies this when he writes “When the pope dismissed the allegations, his entourage indicated to me that Francis ‘was initially informed by Viganò that Cardinal McCarrick had had homosexual relations with over-age seminarians, which was not enough in his eyes to condemn him’.” Throughout this book this kind of assertion is made on no quoted evidence – no name is given, no source is cited etc. However what he is doing is to accuse Pope Francis of saying that an Archbishop inviting over-age seminarians under his tutelage to sleep with him is not something he would condemn. Of course this reflects the LGBT agenda i.e. sodomy between consenting adults is acceptable; although of course to what extent the seminarians were giving proper consent is questionable. Fred only condemns the abuse of minors. The view of Pope Francis is not the same; unfortunately he has said that sins below the belt are of no great consequence so he may well believe that McCarrick was not to be condemned when minors were not involved.

Of course Fred makes much of the “Who am I judge” remark by Pope Francis and by ignoring the context of that remark reinforces his view that the Pope views sodomy very lightly.

Pope Francis in Buenos Aires

Fred moves on to Pope Francis in chapter 4 and his time in Buenos Aires. He talks about Liberation Theology but not with any insight. He is more interested in accusing clerics of closet homosexual activity and Bergoglio's attitude to this. He says Bergoglio was soft on civil unions but very much against same-sex marriage but only as a result of pressure from Rome.

The Synod on the Family

Cardinal Baldisseri is the hero and the claim is made that he was promoting an attack on the Church's doctrine on sexuality at the behest of the Pope, first through allowing communion for the divorced and remarried but eventually in the hope of permitting sodomy, all inspired by the theology of Cardinal Walter Kasper. We are told that 80% of the clergy in the Vatican are homosexuals. Fred also admits that over 80% of the abuse cases involving young people are homosexual in nature. He seems to miss the irony of referring to 80% in each case.
Fred claims that the Pope's programme is:
The Church needed to distinguish, in a new and fundamental way, between the crimes of paedophilia – abuse and aggression directed at minors under the age of 15; acts without consent or within the context of a situation of authority (catechism, confession, seminaries etc.) – and legal homosexual practices between consenting adults.
I wonder what he thinks of the Pope's proposal to raise the age of consent from 15 to 16 whilst many in the LGBT movement would like to see it reduced.
Fred thinks that the Pope's programme was defeated at the first session of the Synod but the 'Sly and cunning' Pope fights back. Fast forward to the dubia and the four Cardinals – Burke, Caffara, Bradmuller and Meisner who must be homosexual because they are so opposed to sodomy. For Fred the dubia are not the questions raised by the four Cardinals but the Cardinals themselves and their entourage: “The ‘dubia’ have a style of their own: apparent humility and extravagant vanity; obsequious explosions of laughter from their handsome young companions and book burnings; sacristy hangers-on, liturgy queens, well-combed choirboys with their straight partings from the Jesuit schools and the Inquisition; a tortuous and, indeed, torturous language and medieval positions on sexual morality. And on top of that, what a lack of enthusiasm for the fair sex! Such misogyny! Such divine gaiety, such virile rigidity – or vice versa. ‘The Lady doth protest too much, methinks.’ Fully informed about the ‘homophilia’ of some of these ‘dubia’ and the paradoxes of his opponents’ lives – these paragons of moral intransigence and rigidity – the pope is deeply revolted by such a level of duplicity.
Does Fred believe that such language will be taken seriously?
Cardinals Mueller and Kasper
Fred turns to Cardinal Mueller writing about the Cardinal's apartment: “The apartment is classical, and ugly in a rather un-Catholic way. That’s a trait shared by dozens of cardinals’ apartments I have visited: this demi-mondain semi-luxury, this mixture of genres that don’t match, the ersatz, and the superficial rather than depth. It is, in a word, what I will call ‘middlebrow’! That’s the term they use in the United States for things that are neither elitist nor working-class: it’s the culture of the middle, the culture of between-the-two; the culture that is bang in the centre. A large, opulent, fake art-deco clock that has stopped working; an over-styled baroque chest of drawers; a fireman table all mixed up together. It’s the culture of moleskin notebooks, spuriously modelled on those of Bruce Chatwin and Hemingway, apocryphal legends. That style without style, ‘bland’ and dull, is common to Müller, Burke, Stafford, Farina, Etchegaray, Herranz, Martino, Ruini, Dziwisz, Re, Sandoval and many cardinals in search of ‘self-aggrandizement’ that I have visited.”

One supposes that Fred's own apartment must be in such perfect good taste that it rivals that of Huysmans's des Esseintes or Proust's Baron de Charlus both partly modelled on the real apartment of Count Robert de Montesquiou as described by Mallarme.
Visiting Cardinal Mueller at 9a.m. he finds him in a tee-shirt, trousers and slippers although he calls them flip-flops further on. Without any justification he repeatedly claims that this is Mueller's nightwear or his underwear presumably with the aim of belittling the Cardinal. All he gets from Mueller is a statement of his loyalty to the Pope.
The Chapter concludes with an interview with Cardinal Kasper who of course is a hero for Fred so the tone is quite different. They spend their time going through the people in the Vatican to discuss whether they are homosexuals or not. Really? Word must have got about that Fred was somebody to be wary of. Cardinal Kasper has since commented that the interview was obtained by false pretences.
Pope Paul VI and The Maritain Code.
The next part of the book is about Pope Paul VI and we have a chapter entitled 'The Maritain Code' which has as much credibility as 'The Da Vinci Code'. The theory is that Jacques Maritain was against sodomy and tried to persuade Andre Gide not to indulge in it. He was therefore extremely homophobic and therefore a repressed homosexual or what Fred calls a homophile which for Fred is a homosexual who has not yet succumbed to sodomy. Anyone who either knew Maritain or read and admired what he wrote must be a homophile. As a very influential theologian Maritain was known to Pope Paul VI and many others and this is how we get to 80% of the clergy in the Vatican.
Fred explains:
In order to understand the very particular sociology of Catholicism, and particularly that of the Vatican on my subject, we must therefore rely on what I choose here to call the ‘Maritain code’. Sublimated, if not repressed, homosexuality is often translated into the choice of celibacy and chastity, and, even more often, into an internalized homophobia. And yet most popes, cardinals and bishops who are over the age of 60 today grew up in the atmosphere and the way of thinking of the ‘Maritain code’.
Why stop at 80%? Why not 100%? The whole of the next chapter is designed to show that a chaste Loving Friendship is a phony concept and is nothing but repressed homosexuality.
Fred mentions Jean Cocteau who came out as a homosexual and wrote a book called his White Book describing his homosexuality. Fred hands out copies of this book to many of the people he interviews.
Pope John Paul II and Marcial Maciel
Part III is about John Paul II. The friends and disciples of Jacques Maritain were homophiliac under Paul VI. They now become homosexual. The idea that John Paul II was homosexual is so ludicrous that Fred thinks that it is best to pretend that he was just surrounded by a ring of lust.
There is a diversion about Cardinal Sodano and particularly his activities in Chile. How reliable Fred's account is is questionable and really not much reliance can be put on it. Moving on to The Legion of Christ Fred describes Marcial Maciel as 'diabolical' – the majority of his behaviour was homosexual.
The language Fred uses about homosexuality is often curious mentioning for example 'moral abyss'. He deplores the homosexual abuse by Maciel. But then how does he see homosexuality? Is sodomy only wrong when there is also hypocrisy i.e. not coming out and covering it up? If the Church were to stop condemning sodomy would all practising homosexuals in the Church come out and lead happy fulfilled lives in faithful same-sex unions blessed by the Church? Does he believe that all sexual abuse is really about power; power or in the case of the clergy 'clericalism' is what is wrong not sodomy itself? He attributes a quote to Oscar Wilde on this which most commentators say Wilde never uttered: “Everything in human life is really about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” Unfortunately this seems to be a view shared by Pope Francis.
Fred sees certain behaviour as truly evil; discussing Maciel he writes “the predator's wicked actions”. But he wants the ban on sodomy to be lifted; what limits would he impose on their behaviour? What would he still see as 'wicked'? In chapter 11 he approves of prostitution as it is legal.
Fred concludes this chapter on Maciel and the Legion of Christ with a passage that has some element of truth although the answers to his questions are fairly obvious.
Once one starts equating paedophilia with homosexuality – as many cardinals have given the impression of doing, the differences blur. If everything is mixed up together, sexual abuse and sin, paedophilia, homosexuality, prostitution, and the crime differs only in its extent, not in its nature, who is to be punished? Here is where the priests get lost: What is up, what is down? Where are Good, Evil, Nature and Culture? What rules apply to me, and which to others? Can Marcial Maciel be excommunicated for his sexual crimes if, a bit like him, one is also stuck in a sexual lie, and oneself ‘intrinsically disordered’? To denounce abuse is to expose oneself to no good end and, who knows, perhaps run the risk of being denounced likewise. Here we are at the heart of the secret of the Maciel case and all the paedophile crimes that have been uncovered, and that continue to be exposed, in the Vatican and among the Catholic clergy: an army of supporters, countless excuses and endless silences.
There follow chapters on “The Swiss Guard” and “The Crusade against Gays” all entirely predictable. However in  Chapter 14 - “The Pope's Diplomacy”. Fred meets a wary Monsignor Ricca of “Who am I to judge” fame who arranges for him to stay at the hotel for Vatican diplomats: Domus Internationalis Paulus VI. There follows a long complaint about how spartan it is! He gives Ricca a copy of Cocteau's White Book and we discover that there are parts of the Domus which are less spartan! From here on Fred descends into schoolboy silliness with all sorts of innuendos as he fantasizes about more homosexual scandal. Naturally Vatican diplomats are just sex tourists. The Pantheon is an example of Italian Catholic 'cultural appropriation'!
Some have suggested that Fred was encouraged to write this book by close members of Pope Francis's entourage and the involvement of Mgr Ricca suggests there may be something in that idea although if it is true then it is difficult to see what they expected to achieve.
There is a long attack on Cardinal Robert Sarah accusing him of exaggerating the sales of his books. He is of course surrounded by homosexuals even if he is unaware of them. Such is the innuendo. The attack is really nasty – how Fred really hates the Church and any orthodox member thereof is amazing. In respect of Cardinal Sarah, one of whose characteristics is to say very little, the venom shown by Fred is diabolic.
Several chapters follow ending up with the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI). The reputations of several Cardinals are attacked. Finally Pope Francis gets praise for clearing many out of the CEI and restraining its anti-gay programme but: “For want of heterosexual candidates, he has been forced to surround himself with cardinals that he knows to be gay. He no longer has the illusion that he can change the existing state of affairs.”
A predictable chapter on Seminarians has no mention of McCarrick!
All of that part III of the book consisting of ten chapters is supposed to have been about Pope John Paul II. In the event there is very little about him other than he followed an orthodox line. His only defect according to Fred was being surrounded by homosexuals – the Ring of Lust.
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI is described as naïve and fragile because he is a fan of Saint-Exupery's “The Little Prince”. Further “Benedict XVI often lies” - not a shred of evidence or a single example is given for that extraordinary statement. Later Fred refers to him as 'our Queenie'. Need one say more about the nastiness of this book?
When attacking Cardinal Bertone, who has read Maritain, Fred writes: “This kind of gossip was typical of homosexual life before ‘gay liberation’.” So in Fred's brave new world there will be no gossip! What irony!
Under another chapter heading “The Dissidents”, we meet Timothy Radcliffe O.P: ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or heterosexual: the essential thing is to love,’ Strangely Fred does not mention Radcliffe's question “We must ask what it [sodomy] means, and how far it is Eucharistic”. There follows a passage on James Allison and how liberation theology morphed into 'gay theology' and eventually became 'queer theology'.
After “Vatileaks” (a conspiracy by homosexuals!) we come to “The Abdication”. Cuba comes under the spotlight: “Roberto Veiga warns me.Black masses on Sundays, orgies, cases of paedophilia and prostitution: the Cuban Church is very compromised.’” What I find curious is that Fred puts all this down to the presence of homosexuals. He then claims that it was the sight of all this corruption when Benedict XVI visited Cuba that led to his abdication.
Lastly we have the “Epilogue” in which Fred says he is going to redefine love. A good deal of drivel follows and we are none the wiser. At the end Fred writes:

Finally, this book relies on a very large number of written sources, footnotes and a wide-ranging bibliography containing over a thousand references references to books and articles. Since the format of this book does not allow us to cite them here, interested researchers and readers will find, free online, in a document of 300 pages, all of these sources as well as three unpublished chapters (my journey to the real Sodom in Israel-Palestine-Jordan; a part about Brazil; and a text on the art and culture of the Vatican). All quotations are also given here with their references as well as 23 fragments from Rimbaud, ‘the Poet’ in this book. To go further: see the site ;”
I have visited that site but could find none of this.
The problem with this tedious and silly book is that it is over 500 pages. Few will read it. The world at large will not read but accept the notion that there are many homosexuals in the Vatican. But we knew that already that so my view is that the book will have little effect except for convincing those who hate the Church that it is utterly corrupt.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Cardinal Burke in Cleveland to offer Solemn Mass - 8 December 2018

His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, is scheduled to offer a Solemn Pontifical Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Saturday, 8 December 2018, 10:00 AM

Immaculate Conception Church
4109 Superior Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44103

Additional information here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Monday, 1 October 2018

Solemn Mass for Blessed Karl in Washington, DC, 20 October 2018

Solemn Mass for Blessed Karl
Saturday, 20 October 2018
1:00 PM

Saint Mary Mother of God Church
727 5th Street NW, Washington, DC

Rev. Fr. Vincent De Rosa, Pastor
Saint Mary Mother of God Church

Guest of Honor:
Archduke Michael de Habsbourg-Lorraine,
Great-Grandson of Blessed Karl

Special Guests:

  • Princess Maria-Anna Galitzine, grand-daughter of Blessed Karl, and her husband Prince Piotr Galitzine
  • Princes Dimitri and Ioann Galitzine, great-grandsons of Blessed Karl, and Prince Dimitri's wife Princess Alexandra
  • Raymond de Souza, international Catholic apologist
  • Paul D. Van Wie, Kaiser-Karl-Archive of North America
  • Suzanne Pearson, Delegate, Emperor Karl League of Prayer U.S.A. and Canada
  • Jordan Hainsey, Webmaster, Emperor Karl League of Prayer U.S.A. and Canada

Music by Musikanten, Saint Mary’s Schola, and Saint Benet’s Schola

Following Mass will be veneration of a First Class Relic of Blessed Karl and a reception with a presentation on Blessed Karl in the lower lever in the parish building south of the church.

Metro: Exit at Gallery Place/Chinatown or Judiciary Square.

For additional information visit the Emperor Karl League of Prayer website.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Catholic Identity Conference 2018

Clergy & religious participants at Catholic Identity Conference 2017
Photo source.

Catholic Identity Conference 2018 will be held in Weirton, West Virginia, 2-4 November.  In addition to daily Traditional Latin Mass and opportunities for confession, this year's conference will feature an array of speakers from various backgrounds: professors, authors, lawyers, journalists, and clergy.

Featured speakers include priests from the Society of Saint Pius X, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, and the Institute of the Good Shepherd.

The conference will begin with a High Mass offered by Fr. Gregory Penderfraft, FSSP, for All Souls Day.  The opening talk will be delivered by Chorbishop Anthony Spinosa, Rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, and Professor Roberto De Mattei will deliver the keynote address at the Saturday evening dinner.

The Catholic Identity Conference continues to be a unique forum for a broad spectrum of Traditional Catholic viewpoints.

Here is the complete list of speakers who will discuss current issues in the Church:

  • Chorbishop Anthony Spinosa - Rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, Ohio;
  • Dr. John Rao - Author, Associate Professor of History at St. John's University, New York City, and Director of The Roman Forum;
  • Matt Gaspers - Associate Editor, Catholic Family News;
  • Mike Church - Host of The Mike Church Show;
  • Fr. Hugues Beaugrand, IBP - Traditional Latin Mass chaplain Hollister and Pismo Beach, California;
  • Diane Montagna - Rome Correspondent, LifeSiteNews, official English language translator of the Archbishop Vigano Testimony;
  • Fr. Jonathan Loop, SSPX - Principal of Immaculate Conception Academy, Post Falls, Idaho;
  • Michael Matt - Editor of The Remnant;
  • Roberto De Mattei - Historian, Author, President of the Lepanto Foundation, Rome, Italy;
  • Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP - Pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania;
  • Peter Baklinski - LifeSiteNews Journalist, Senior Staff Member;
  • Elizabeth Yore - International Child Protection Attorney;
  • Christopher Ferrara - Author, President of American Catholic Lawyers Association, Inc.; and
  • Joining by pre-recorded message, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC -  Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan.

For additional information and to register, visit the Catholic Identity Conference website.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

V is for... Vigano

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano

With a hat tip to Fr. John Hunwicke and The Remnant, we gladly pass along this suggestion.

Fr. Hunwicke writes:

A distinguished brother priest has sent me a picture of Churchill giving his "V for Victory" sign, together with a suggestion that V stands both for Victory and for Vigano.
This simple gesture could be used at Papal Public Audiences, Diocesan synods, Deanery meetings; whenever a speaker (or homilist) says something implicitly critical of Archbishop Vigano ...

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Write to the Apostolic Nuncio

"Separating the Wuerls from the Men"
(Photo: Opening Mass at the Knights of Columbus 131st annual Supreme Convention, San Antonio, Texas, 6 August 2013.
Caption: Rorate Caeli.)

In the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal, the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the Testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, some may be interested in writing to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, DC, to express their concern and request action.  Addresses and suggested points to mention in your letter are provided below.

Be sure to mention that you realize the problem goes much deeper than sexual deviancy in the hierarchy and clergy, and that it includes theological and liturgical deviancy as well.  See here and here.

You may want to request some or all of these points:

  • The removal of Donald Wuerl as Archbishop of Washington, DC, and his expulsion from the College of Cardinals;
  • The removal of Blaise Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago, and his expulsion from the College of Cardinals;
  • The removal of Joseph Tobin as Archbishop of Newark, and his expulsion from the College of Cardinals;
  • The removal of Robert McElory as Bishop of San Diego;
  • The release of the 300 page report prepared under Pope Benedict XVI detailing sodomite infiltration of the Vatican and the Church; and
  • The resignation of Jorge Bergoglio.

Be sure to copy Donald Wuerl, Blaise Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and Robert McElroy.  Their addresses are included below.

Finally, it is recommended that you inform the Nuncio that you will pray for him, the Pope, bishops, priests, and the Church, as well as the victims.  You are encouraged to offer reparation to Almighty God, as well.

Most Reverend Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Donald Wuerl
Archdiocese of Washington
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260

Blaise Cupich
Archdiocese of Chicago
835 North Rush Street 
Chicago, IL 60611-2030

Joseph Tobin
Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue
Newark, NJ 07104

Robert McElroy
Diocese of San Diego
P.O. Box 85728
San Diego, CA 92186-5728

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Novena of Reparation

The Last Judgement
Stefan Lochner, c. 1435

A Traditional Latin Mass Novena of Reparation for the heinous sins detailed in the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report will be offered at Saint Titus Church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Diocese of Pittsburgh, on nine consecutive Fridays at 7 PM, beginning on 31 August and concluding on 26 October 2018.

The novena, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Woodlawn Council 2161 Traditional Latin Mass Guild, will consist of praying the Holy Rosary, opportunity for confession, Low Mass, and praying either the Litany of the Precious Blood or Litany of the Sacred Heart after Mass.

The intentions of the Novena of Reparation are:

Reparation for the Heinous Sins Detailed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report;
For the Spiritual & Physical Well-being of the Victims; and
For God’s Justice.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, left, mentioned more than 200 times in the report,
with former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, right.

Additional information can be found here.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

2018 Traditional Ordinations

Image Source

Based on published reports and conversations with superiors, the following Traditional Catholic orders will ordain 44 new priests this summer.

The break down is as follows:

Society of Saint Pius X:   16

Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter:   16

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest:   8

Institute of the Good Shepherd:  4

Hear our lowly prayers, Lord, we beseech Thee, and safeguard for ever Thy devoted servants: that no trouble may hinder them from carrying out Thy ministry with willing service.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.  R. Amen.

(This post was updated to correct the number of priestly ordinations for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.)

Friday, 8 June 2018

The Knights of Malta – A Sorry Tale.

On the 2nd and 3rd May 2018 there was a meeting of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) to either re-elect their interim Grand Master or to elect an entirely new Grand Master. In the event the interim Grand Master was elected for life. It was held in the context of a major crisis in the Order which to a certain degree can be traced back to England and disputes at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth. That Hospital was founded in 1856 by Cardinal Wiseman and staffed by Sisters of the Order of Mercy returning from assisting Florence Nightingale in the Crimea. Cardinal Wiseman put the Hospital under the protection of the Order of Malta who built their Conventual Church next to the Hospital then in Great Ormond Street. The Hospital moved in 1899 to St John's Wood and the Church was re-erected stone by stone there.

It was in the 1980s when the Sisters of Mercy decided to leave the Hospital that matters began to go wrong. The management found the Catholic connection irksome and by a subterfuge managed to deceive the Charity Commission into removing all trace of the Catholic connection from the constitution and those Knights on the board of the Hospital whom the management described as 'somnolent' allowed this to happen – one claiming that he did not know what was meant by 'a Catholic Hospital'. Cardinal Hume, on being appraised of the situation, managed to have the situation corrected and wanted to promote the Hospital as a centre of Catholic medical excellence. Unfortunately he died soon thereafter and again a worldly secular mindset predominated. Protests began to be made about policies permitting gender re-assignment, contraception and abortion. The Order of Malta began to take action to get the Hospital back on track as regards Catholic teaching. Unfortunately Cardinal Hume's successor Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor was asleep on the job and eventually when a new Board had been appointed with the assistance of the Grand Priory with the aim of adhering to Catholic teaching, Cardinal Cormac decided to sack the entire board and put his own men in who promptly eviscerated the Code of Ethics.

An unfortunate incident then arose concerning child protection procedures. A knight was appointed by the Archdiocese of Westminster as child protection officer. He endeavoured to find out what his duties were but both the Hospital and the Archdiocese fobbed him off . Suspicions arose about someone who had been helping out at Masses organised by both the Order and the Hospital Chaplain. He was doing duties normally performed by a sacristan, but without having been appointed to such a position. He was found to be training a young boy to participate as a reader or server in the Church, without the knowledge and consent of the Order. As the boy would also have been serving at masses celebrated by the Hospital Chaplain it was decided to bring the matter up with the Chaplain the following Sunday meaning there was a delay of a week before reporting the matter. This was a gift to the Hospital who saw a wonderful opportunity to make a mountain out of this molehill and eventually get rid of the Knights once and for all. The Knights engaged Baroness Cumberlege to inquire into what had happened and she after criticising all concerned: the Knights, the Hospital and the Archdiocese concluded:

Fortunately, the safeguarding limitations did not lead to an incident of actual harm before the proper procedures were activated. However, in our view all parties need to review their handling of the episode and improve their procedures and practice in line with the recommendations of this Inquiry.”

The Chairman of the Hospital Board, Lord Guthrie, himself a member of the Knights of Malta, had refused to co-operate in anyway with Baroness Cumberlege's inquiry and was subsequently reprimanded by the Order for his failure so to do. However this did not deter the Hospital from removing all mention of the Knights from their constitution and the Archdiocese took the draconian step of suspending the Order of Malta from using their Conventual Church until further notice.

Before this last episode Fra Matthew Festing had been elected Grand Master of the whole Order of Malta and was therefore based in Rome. This preliminary skirmish in England with the religious Knights of the Grand Priory on one side and other Knights who either were ignorant or careless of Catholic teaching on the other set the scene for a much greater battle in Rome between the Grand Master and Baron Albrecht von Boeselager first as Grand Hospitaller, a position he had occupied for twenty-five years, and secondly as Grand Chancellor. Indeed Boeselager had been appealed to some years earlier by those concerned at what was happening at the Hospital in London but he refused to assist.

The question that arose in Rome was whether the Order through its subsidiary Malteser International (MI) was distributing condoms as part of its work in Burma, Kenya and South Sudan. In May 2015 the Grand Master, having consulted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) instituted an inquiry into the matter which reported in January 2016.

To know what all this was about we have to go back to the founding of MI in 2005. It grew out of the work of the Order organised from Germany. There were already projects in hand such as an HIV and AIDS project in Thailand started in 2003. In 2004 similar projects started in Kenya and Burma.

It seems that MI had in place an unpublished policy on contraceptives totally at odds with the teaching of the Church and they had been distributing contraceptives in accordance with this policy for several years. Further this policy had never been communicated by Boeselager, as Grand Hospitaller, to the Grand Master or the Sovereign Council of the Order. In 2004 there was a Reproductive Health (RH) project in Myanmar and Thailand which continued right through to 2015. The use of the term 'Reproductive Health' should have rung alarm bells. Anyone familiar with the Aid Industry would know that 'Reproductive Health' is a highly controversial title as it usually includes the promotion of contraception and abortion.

It is notable that the U.S. “Country Reports on Human-Rights Practices” for 2017 were released at the end of April 2018 , and they now feature statistics on “coercion in population control” instead of “reproductive rights.” Some of the motivation driving aid agencies is not so much a humanitarian concern but rather a neo-Malthusian policy of population control. The problem was that MI did not take account of what the ethics of donors were and thus they got into bed with people they should have never had anything to do with. Apparently no real concern arose in MI.

It was not that they did not have policies to guide them. It was just that the policies had little relation to the teachings of the Church. In 2010 MI was advertising a post in Myanmar for someone to carry out ' counselling on correct and consistent use of Condoms'. It was not that they were just distributing condoms in order to limit the spread of AIDS where there have been some dodgy views from certain theologians but they were distributing condoms to all and sundry by the tens of thousands. For example they claimed to have seen a strong need for birth spacing methods which included not only condoms but contraceptive pills some of which were abortifacient and they claimed this was in line with their Bioethics policy. A further problem arose because they were distributing condoms on behalf of organisations such as Pathfinder International, one of the leading USA advocates of population control by contraception and abortion historically very close to the eugenics movement.

Indeed it was this association with Pathfinder International that came to the attention of the Federal Association of the Order of Malta in the USA in October 2013 who raised questions. This led to the Secretary General of MI ordering a review of their compliance with Catholic teaching. Boeselager as Grand Hospitaller said this review must be done confidentially to MI as it could give rise to misunderstandings. In the end this led to two documents Basic Principles on Birth Spacing and Reproductive Health and Catalogue of exclusion criteria in relation to Institutional Donors in 2015. Both documents were woefully inadequate despite having input from MI's Spiritual Director, Bishop Marc Stenger, and other theologians with heterodox views not difficult to find in Germany.

At a meeting of MI in October 2014 in Hong Kong contraception was openly discussed to the amazement of some of those attending the meeting who later reported their concerns to the Grand Master Matthew Festing. His response was to set up a Commission of Inquiry in May 2015.

The Commission particularly analysed the two documents produced by MI in 2015. Bishop Stenger in his preface to Basic Principles on Birth Spacing and Reproductive Health wrote “decision-making cannot rely only on theoretical premises” but also on concrete situations. This sounds like the idea that doctrine can be ignored in favour of discerning concrete situations which is reminiscent of the controversy over Amoris Laeititia with the idea that the 'pastoral' does not have to follow the 'doctrinal'. The text of the policy says “a balance needs to be struck between the values-oriented identity of the organisation, the needs in the field and the trends and policies of the international community”. A clear invitation to compromise with evil.

The Grand Master's Commission of Inquiry reported in January 2016. The report was then sent to Cardinal Mueller, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in order to check that the Commission's interpretation of Catholic doctrine was correct. Cardinal Mueller replied on 12th March 2016 saying that 'this Ministry has found no doctrinal problem in the above-mentioned report' and he concludes by quoting a note issued by the CDF in December 2010: “In the battle against AIDS, the Catholic faithful and the agencies of the Catholic Church should be close to those affected, should care for the sick and should encourage all people to live abstinence before and fidelity within marriage. In this regard it is also important to condemn any behaviour which cheapens sexuality because, as the Pope (Benedict XVI) says, such behaviour is the reason why so many people no longer see in sexuality an expression of their love”.

An Austrian Catholic News website at about that time reported an interview between a Knight and Cardinal Burke who had been appointed Patron of the Order of Malta by Pope Francis. The report read:

The responsibility of the Grand Chancellor [von Boeselager] was evident since the appearance of the investigation report. The Grand Master therefore informed Cardinal Burke that he had asked the Grand Chancellor to resign, but that he had refused. During the following months, the Grand Master told the Cardinal of his further attempts to convince the Grand Chancellor of his responsibility to resign. As he is the Cardinal Patron responsible for the spiritual constitution of the Order, [Cardinal] Burke encouraged the Grand Master in this sense so that the scandal surrounding the distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients would not progress unimpeded, leading to further moral confusion and aberrations within the Order.”

On 10th November 2016 Cardinal Burke met with Pope Francis and in the same interview reported by Cardinal Burke is reported as saying of this meeting with Pope Francis:

Pope Francis expressed profound concern and dismay about the practice of distributing contraceptives by any work of the Order. He urged me [Burke] to collaborate diligently with the Grand Master to make certain that all such practices cease and that those in highest authority who had approved of them be appropriately disciplined.”

On 1st December 2016 Pope Francis wrote to Cardinal Burke referring to the meeting of 10th November. The key paragraph in that letter reads:

'Furthermore, the Order must ensure that the methods and means it uses in its initiatives and healthcare works are not contrary to moral law. If in the past there has been a problem of this nature, I hope that it can be completely resolved. I would be very disappointed if, as you told me some of the high Officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraception and have not yet intervened to end such things. I have no doubts that by following the principle of Paul and “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4, 15) the matter can be discussed with these Officers and the necessary rectification obtained.'

Note that whilst the Pope recommended discussion he does not preclude further action if that discussion does not lead to matters being put right. Discussion did not work, Boeselager was invited to resign and refused. On legal advice the Grand Master suspended Boeselager and established a disciplinary commission which was to investigate his behaviour. This meant he could no longer continue as Grand Chancellor.

There was then a complete volte-face by the Pope who on 24th January 2017 requested and received the resignation of the Grand Master. What caused this volte-face? It would appear that Boeselager got in touch with Cardinal Parolin the Secretary of State to complain about his treatment. Cardinal Parolin is very close to Pope Francis and has spoken of a 'paradigm shift' in the Church. That paradigm shift is seen as reinterpreting moral absolutes as ‘ideals’. It is already there in Amoris Laetitia in regard to adultery; the appointment of Chiodi and others to the ‘reconstructed’ Pontifical Academy for Life presages the targeting of the exception-less norm against contraception. Did Parolin see the promulgation under Boeselager of the faulty policies followed by MI as being in line with his 'paradigm shift'? Those policies which called for a balance between the teaching of the Church and worldly concerns in a relativist and consequentialist manner probably recommended themselves to Parolin and he convinced Pope Francis likewise so the Grand Master, Fra Matthew Festing, was made to resign and Boeselager was reinstituted as Grand Chancellor and the commission of inquiry into his behaviour cancelled.

According to a recent article in The Tablet Baron Boeselager has claimed that he 'himself has never publicly defended the use of condoms and says that the order has always followed the Church’s teaching' and the implication is that as soon as the matter came to a head two projects were shut down and a third was continued until some other organisation could take it over as otherwise the beneficiaries would be deprived of healthcare! The point is however that Boeselager was Grand Hospitaller for twenty-five years and had oversight of Malteser International. Whatever he did or did not know about their activities he should have known that the condoms issue was a key problem in the aid world and he should have made the necessary inquiries and insured that the Church's teaching was followed.

More relevant is the fact that Boeselager took legal proceedings against who were reporting all this and he obtained an interlocutory injunction to shut them up. When the matter came before three judges of the District Court of Hamburg, asked for the injunction to be lifted. Baron Boeselager either by himself or through his lawyers asserted “Until the end of November 2013, the Applicant [Boeselager] had no knowledge of the distribution of condoms and, thereafter, immediate counter-measures were taken ...

In the Judgement the Court held: “On the basis of these principles, the reporting in paragraph 1.1 does give the compelling impression that the Applicant had indeed been aware that aid operations were being used to distribute condoms within the UNHCR rescue packages”.

The judges go on to discuss the impression made by the article:

The Court is persuaded that the contested passage in paragraph 1 of the interim injunction does give the compelling impression that the Applicant knew that condoms had been distributed in relief operations by Malteser International using the UNHCR aid packages. …
It is the use of the words "similar activities" that leads the reader to understand that the Applicant initiated the above-mentioned relief operations, in full knowledge of all the circumstances described. Finally, the contested meaning necessarily follows from the context of the reporting: the entire third paragraph of the article deals critically with various aspects of the work of the Applicant as Hospitaller and seeks to prove the initially-contended thesis, namely that a small circle from the German-speaking sphere wanted to preserve the benefits to the Order of exclusivity and sovereignty, but also wanted to see a weakening of what, in their opinion, was too narrow an adherence to Catholic doctrine and of loyalty to the Pope. The Court considers that an impartial reader could, indeed, thereby be led to believe that the Applicant himself was indeed responsible in respect of all the afore-mentioned charges against him, which necessarily also entails his having full knowledge of all the relevant circumstances.
In its judgment, the Court in these proceedings finds that the impression given is true as a matter of fact.”

Thus the court lifted the injunction on that part of the article and awarded costs against Boeselager as they did not believe his version of what had happened. And yet the Boeselager party is now in the ascendant in the Order of Malta. This sorry tale of the Knights has yet to finish.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Commemoration of Summorum Pontificum - Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, 28 April 2018

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC

The Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy is pleased to announce The Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, will be the celebrant of the pontifical Solemn Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite commemorating the 10th anniversary of the issue by Pope Benedict XVI of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum to be held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, Saturday, 28 April 2018, 1:00 PM.

Everyone is welcome.  For additional information, visit The Paulus Institute website.

UPDATE: For a brief report, photos, and video of the Mass, visit The RemnantRorate Caeli and One Peter Five.

The Nave of the Basilica during the Solemn Pontifical Mass.
Photo by Steve Skojec via One Peter Five.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Understanding Pope Francis

Image result for pope francis

By Nicolas Bellord

The Problem

Ever since his inauguration Pope Francis has been an enigma to me and doubtless to many others.  There is substantial confusion in the Church which nobody can deny.  So what can we make of him?  There is no point in going over the various events that have led to this; they are well enough known to any intelligent Catholic who follows the events of this papacy however much they may be the subject of disagreement as to their importance and significance.

So what can we make of Pope Francis?  What driving force makes him speak and act often in flat contradiction between what he says and what he does?

The Filial Correction of 16th July 2017 has a long section on the influence of Martin Luther beginning:

'We feel compelled by conscience to advert to Your Holiness’s unprecedented sympathy for Martin Luther, and to the affinity between Luther’s ideas on law, justification, and marriage, and those taught or favoured by Your Holiness in Amoris Laetitia and elsewhere.'[1]

This is well documented in the Filial Correction. However, although this is an aspect of Pope Francis it does not explain everything.

Prior to that Austen Ivereigh, the Pope's biographer, and fervent admirer, had claimed that Pope Francis was a follower of the thoughts of President Peron of Argentina writing:

As a young Jesuit he learned leadership lessons from St. Ignatius and the German philosopher priest Father Romano Guardini, as well as from the Argentine master, General Juan Domingo Perón, whose classic 1952 manual of political strategy, Conducción Política, is a good guide to how Francis operates even today.[2]

When Ivereigh wrote this is in December 2016 I thought he had lost his marbles.  How could he possibly suggest that a Pope follows the political theories of a very controversial South American Dictator?  I may now have to eat my words.

The Four Principles

An indication of how Pope Francis thinks is his frequent mention of four principles namely:

1. time is greater than space;
2. unity prevails over conflict
3. realities are more important than ideas
4. the whole is greater than the part.

These principles are mentioned by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium and in Amoris Laetitia.  Two questions arise:

1.     Are these principles invented by Pope Francis or what is their provenance?

2.     What do they mean?  For example 'time is greater than space' has no obvious meaning.

The first extensive discussion of these principles,  that I was aware of, was by Sandro Magister on his Espresso blog entitled The Four Hooks On Which Bergoglio Hangs His Thought 19th May 2016.[3]  As to provenance he wrote:

'It is a whole lifetime that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been inspired by these four criteria, and mainly by the first. The Argentine Jesuit Diego Fares, in commenting on “Amoris Laetitia” in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” extensively cites notes from a conversation with the provincial of the Society of Jesus in Argentina at the time, dated 1978, all “on the domain of room for action and on the sense of time.” '

The 'latest issue' must have been that of 14th May 2016 wherein Father Fares S.J wrote an article entitled «AMORIS LAETITIA» E IL RINNOVAMENTO DEL LINGUAGGIO ECCLESIALE (Amoris Laetitia and the renewal of church language).  Unfortunately, you have to pay €15 to read the article so I have not read it and therefore do not know whether he finds any provenance for the principles prior to Pope Francis. 

Sandro Magister then reproduced an article by Fr. Giovanni Scalese which tries to see whether any sense can be made in applying  the four principles to theology: “The four postulates of Pope Francis”.  The article does not deal with provenance but with the meaning of the principles or postulates.  Scalese uses the word 'postulate' as he feels each of the four principles is  a  “proposition devoid of evidence and not demonstrated but all the same admitted as true in that it is necessary for founding a procedure or demonstration.” 

In Evangelli  Gaudium 221, the pope writes that the four principles “derive from the pillars of the Church’s social doctrine.” Scalese says he cannot find any such principles in that doctrine.  Scalese says Pope Francis has talked of these principles as far back as 1974 according to the Argentine Jesuit Juan Carlos Scannone.  

Pope Francis gives a kind of explanation of the first principle time is greater than space in Evangelli  Gaudium no 223.  As usual his explanation is long and confusing.  What I think he is saying is that at any given moment in time there is a situation or view of things (space) but that one should wait for the situation to evolve or be changed by time.  In giving a preference to this evolution time is seen to be greater than a particular moment or space.  Time governs spaces, illumines them and makes them links in a constantly expanding chain, with no possibility of return.[4]    

This would seem to tie in with Pope Francis's constant refrain that one should not stick with some rigid doctrinal view but there should be a process of discernment to discover a different view.  In the notorious paragraph 3 of Amoris Laetitia where Pope Francis suggests that  doctrine could be defined locally at national Bishops' conference level he justifies this with a reference to Christ's discussion of the role of the Holy Ghost: It will be for him, the truth-giving Spirit, when he comes, to guide you into all truth.  John (16:13) Pope Francis seems to think that this can be a new and changed truth. 

Mgr Ronald Knox, in a footnote to his translation, comments: 

The teaching office of the Holy Spirit does not consist in imparting to the Church the knowledge of hitherto unknown doctrines, in addition to the deposit of faith, but in making our knowledge of doctrines already revealed fuller and more precise. 

This principle has more recently been considered by Professor Gerhard Hover in an essay of January 2018 entitled: “Time is greater than space”: Moral-theological reflections on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia*   In his discussion of the principle he says that it is to be found in the writings of St Bonaventure.  Hover's essay is difficult to follow but as far as I can make out he says that Bonaventure thinks Aristotle's view of time as a sequence of contingent events in history is incomplete.  There is a view of time which sees it as a gradual revelation of truth.  However he acknowledges that that revelation ceased with Christ.  As St Augustine wrote in his Confessions:

See: XI vii(9) “You call us, therefore, to understand the Word, God who is with you (John 1:1). That word is spoken eternally, and by it all things are uttered eternally.  It is not the case that what was being said comes to an end, and something else is then said, so that everything is uttered in a succession with a conclusion, but everything is said in the simultaneity of eternity.”

Unfortunately Hover then goes on with some illogical non-sequiturs to suggest that subsequent to Christ revealed truth can change so that no action can be intrinsically evil as what is evil can become good. 

Scalese concludes his discussion of the first principle: I cannot help but perceive at the foundation of the first postulate some threads of idealistic philosophy, like historicism, the primacy of becoming over being, the origin of being from action (“esse sequitur operari”), etc.   
Scalese tries to understand the other three principles or postulates  in the context of Catholic doctrine but without being able to shed much clarity on their relevance or their origin other than in Pope Francis.  He concludes by saying:

That Christian doctrine runs the risk of becoming ideology cannot be denied. But the same risk is run by any other principle, including the four postulates of “Evangelii Gaudium”; with the difference that these are the result of human reflection, while Catholic doctrine is founded on divine revelation.
May that not happen today which happened to Marx, who, while he taxed with ideology the thinkers who had preceded him, did not realize that he was elaborating one of the most ruinous ideologies of history.  

The Provenance of the Four Principles and Theology of the People

It is now suggested that their origin is not with Pope Francis; indeed the provenance is astounding.  That origin is revealed in an article entitled “El papa Francisco y la teología del pueblo” (“Pope Francis and the theology of the people”) by Juan Carlos Scannone S.I. (presumably S.I in Spanish is S.J in English) dated 12th October 2014[5].  It is a long article about “Theology of the People (TP)” which he distinguishes from liberalism on one side and Marxist liberation theology on the other.  Father Scannone is described as one of the Jesuits closest to Pope Francis.  He describes TP as elaborated in South America and in particular taken up in Argentina at the time of the military dictatorship when Peronism was proscribed as was the Peronist worker movement.

One would need to analyse this article carefully but TP seems to be a watered down version of Liberation Theology (LT).  Class warfare is not to be the determining hermeneutic but it is still to be taken account of as a result of structural sin  of which there is much mention.  He claims that TP had the approval of St John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger.  He sees  Evangelli  Gaudium as being based on TP.   Generally he sees Pope Francis as applying TP to the Church as a whole.

Whatever one thinks of TP and its relevance to the world outside Latin America it seems to be a very narrow theology dealing with political issues peculiar to Latin America; there is nothing about salvation for example.  It claims to be free of Marxism and Hegelism but I remain unconvinced.


Caudillos Rosas and Quiroga

 However leaving aside those issues the most remarkable passage in Scannone's article states the origin of the four principles:

Según se dice, están tomadas de la carta de Juan Manuel de Rosas (gobernador de Buenos Aires) a Facundo Quiroga (gobernador de La Rioja en la Argentina) sobre la organización nacional argentina, escrita desde la hacienda de Figueroa en San Antonio de Areco (20 de diciembre, 1834), donde Rosas no las explicita, aunque las tenga en cuenta implícitamente.

Which translated reads:  It is said that, that these [four principles] are taken from the  letter from Juan Manuel de Rosas (governor of Buenos Aires) to Facundo Quiroga (governor of La Rioja in Argentina) about national Argentine organisation, written from the hacienda of Figueroa in San Antonio de Areco (20th December 1834)[6], where Rosas did not make them explicit, although he took them into account implicitly.

Reading this letter [7] the principles do not appear explicitly and it is difficult to find them referred to implicitly.  The transcription of the letter covers 16 pages and  one suspects that the original in long hand covered many more pages.  The letter sets out General Rosas's ideas on how to create a federal state of Argentina on the model of the United States.  At the time Rosas and Quiroga were caudillos or military leaders in the thick of the constant violence assailing Argentina and its provinces.

Juan Facundo Quiroga                                                                  General Rosas in 1835

Rosas as political thinker: Unity prevails over conflict?

Rosas wanted to unite the country to stop the fighting between the states or provinces which he refers to as 'pueblos' or 'peoples'.  One of his ideas was that each province should decide on its own constitution and there should be no imposition of a constitution from the centre.  Each state should first get its act together so that it can send deputies to the centre to set up a federal system.  Time and time alone would enable this to happen in the shadow of peace and tranquillity.  Time is greater than space? He sees the establishment of stability in each state as more important than trying to create a federal state where all the states would be governed by the federal state in a unitary manner as was proposed by his opponents the Unitarians.  In a way this would seem to be the opposite of the principle that the whole is greater than the part.  Rosas wanted to wait to see how each state developed rather than imposing some theory from the top. Realities are more important than ideas?  One can see a reflection of Pope Francis's constant refrain of the importance of starting processes rather than trying to cobble something together out of the present position or 'space'.  In the end when federation is achieved the whole is greater than the part?

It may be that there are other writings of Rosas which support the principles.  For example on a Peronist website (with the motto “Peron conquers time”!) there is an article proposing Rosas as a great political thinker[8].   In 1873 Rosas told Quesada that making a Constitution "was my ambition, but I spent my life and my energy without being able to make it"; "because a Constitution should not be the product of a dreamy book but the exact reflection of the situation in a country." "I always repelled the farce of pompous laws on paper that could not be put into practice."  which could support the principle  Realities are more important than ideas.  However even if you accept that Rosas was a great political thinker promoting constitutions and democracy  his extreme dictatorial actions do not conform to his thoughts.

Rosas as Dictator

Within two months of the above letter Quiroga had been assassinated.  Rosas continued to lead a life which could be described as colourful to say the least.  Wikipedia has an excellent article recounting his life and it is well worth reading.[9]  Briefly he was born in 1793 and quickly amassed a fortune.  

Some quotes from Wikipedia in italics: 

….In December 1829, Rosas became governor of the province of Buenos Aires and established a dictatorship backed by state terrorism.  Prior to this letter he had been involved in the desert war which to-day would probably be described as genocide of the indigenous people. …..In the desert war of 1833 to 1834 the government gave Rosas command of an army with orders to subdue the Indian tribes in the coveted territory. Rosas was generous to those Indians who surrendered, rewarding them with animals and goods. Although he personally disliked killing Indians, he relentlessly hunted down those who refused to yield.

     Rosas (mounted on dark horse) leading the war against Indians in the Desert Campaign, 1833

 ….  Rosas established a totalitarian regime, in which the government sought to dictate every aspect of public and private life..... Rosas was himself a slave-owner, and helped revive the slave trade.  [Although he was involved in the abolition of the slave trade in 1839].... Despite doing little to promote their interests, he remained popular among blacks and gauchos.  He employed blacks, patronized their festivities and attended their candombles. The gauchos admired his leadership and willingness to fraternize with them to some extent....

Rosas in gaucho costume (smelling of the sheep?)

And so on and so on until his downfall in 1852 when he was welcomed by the British and became a very contented tenant-farmer at Swathling, near Southampton until his death in 1877 and burial in Southampton. 

The Legacy of Rosas

General Rosas has ever been a major influence on Argentinian politics right through the  20th century and into the 21st.  Argentinian President Menem had his body repatriated in 1989. Menem (and his fellow Peronist presidential successors Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) have honoured Rosas on banknotes, postage stamps and monuments, causing mixed reactions among the public.  Rosas remains a controversial figure among Argentines, who "have long been fascinated and outraged" by him.

Two strands to Pope Francis – Theology of the People and Dictatorship

So, if Austen Ivereigh is correct that Pope Francis is an admirer and follower of Peron, has Pope Francis also taken the much more dictatorial General Rosas as inspiration?

So we have two strands to understanding Pope Francis.  That elaborated by Father Scannone S.J to the effect that Evangelli  Gaudium is based on Theology of the People – a watered down version of Liberation Theology without Marx and Hegel.  However, it is a version of the Catholic Faith that is questionable at the least and still owes much to Hegel and historicism.  It  strikes me as more of a political program where peoples in a group are redeemed rather than individuals acting on their own based on a skewed interpretation of paragraph 9 of Lumen Gentium.  Join the right political movement and you will be saved.  If it is the group that is saved the moral  behaviour of individuals is of no great concern.

We then have the four principles.  It seems a hopeless task to make any sense of attempted theology based on these principles but if Father Scannone is right that the four principles derive from an interpretation of the writings of General Rosas then it is legitimate to ask whether Pope Francis's admiration for Peron extends to admiration of General Rosas.  That is the second strand.  Is the day to day utterly ruthless behaviour of Pope Francis modelled on that of two Argentinian dictators  where he believes that any means are justified to promote the  Theology of the People as an end?  Perhaps he sees himself as a new liberator from Latin America out to reform the euro-centric Vatican with a new political theology and the use of whatever political means he needs to effect  an end that justifies those means?  Perhaps the title “ The Dictator Pope” is not far from the truth.  I have yet to read the book!

[1]   Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis pages 12ff at
[4]    One could equally argue that as time is measured by a movement in space outside of which there is no time then time cannot exceed space and space is therefore greater than time!
[6]    Cf. E. Barba, Correspondencia entre Rosas, Quiroga y López, Buenos Aires, Hyspamérica, 1984, 94.

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