Sunday, March 18, 2018


Vatican releases full Benedict letter, revealing concern over Francis theology series

An image showing a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI to Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, is seen in this photo released by the Vatican March 12. On March 14 the Vatican admitted that it blurred the last lines in the image of the letter. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 
Rome — The Vatican has released the full text of a letter written by retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis, days after admitting that an earlier photo sent to the media of the document was altered to obscure a portion of its contents.

While a March 17 statement from the Secretariat for Communication says the original choice to withhold some of the letter's content was made for reasons of privacy, the full text makes clear that Benedict had expressed concern about a new book series examining Francis' theology.

At the end of the letter, previously withheld from the media, the retired pope says he wants to note his "surprise" that one of 11 volumes in "The Theology of Pope Francis" series had been authored by noted German theologian Fr. Peter Hünermann.

Benedict claims that during his 2005-13 papacy Hünermann "led anti-papal initiatives." He also says criticisms the theologian made of Pope John Paul II's 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor "attacked in a virulent way the magisterial authority of the Pope especially on questions of moral theology."
Revelation of Benedict's concern about the theology series comes following days of speculation about what the former pontiff had written about his successor.

Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican secretariat, first announced at a March 12 Rome launch for the theology series that Benedict had written a letter about Francis at Vigano's request.

But images of the letter subsequently sent by the Vatican to the media obscured two lines at the bottom of the letter's first page. And the second page of the letter was covered by copies of the books in the theology series, leaving seen only Benedict's small signature.

While Vigano read aloud from the letter at the launch, he did not read the portion criticizing the choice of Hünermann.

The Secretariat said in its statement March 17 that "the portion that was considered appropriate and relative to the initiative was read aloud ... leaving aside some notes related to the contributors to the series."

"The choice was motivated by confidentiality and not by any intent of censorship," the statement continues. "To dispel any doubt, it was decided to make the letter known in its entirety."
Earlier in the letter, as made known to the media March 12, Benedict praises the publishing of the theology series, calling the initiative "helpful to see the interior continuity" between his and Francis' papacies, "even with all the differences in style and temperament."

Hünermann, who wrote the book in the series on Francis' anthropology, is a retired professor of dogmatic theology at Germany's University of Tübingen.

The days-long saga about Benedict's letter has led many analysts to question why Vigano decided to involve the former pontiff in the book project.

"Joseph Ratzinger has always said what he thought very frankly," tweeted Massimo Faggioli, an Italian church historian and theologian at Villanova University. "The problem was asking him to say it when there was no need ... to do so."

Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent.


It is so very very peculiar. Why is the Vatican so concerned to shore up Pope Francis' academic qualifications in the first place? Who is raising the concerns in the second place? And why was Pope Benedict's letter wrongly used to do this in the third place?

Is there a behind the scenes attempt to correct the pope? And in high places? And is the section of Pope Benedict's letter removed by the Vatican a critique in any way of the current papal Magisterium which is so highly endorsed by two authors who are so opposed to Pope Benedict and St. John Paul II?

I happen to believe, contrary to what Andrea Tornielli writes below from La Stampa, that Pope Benedict, in a letter marked personal and confidential, is showing his complete disdain to Msgr. Vigano for even suggesting that Pope Benedict write an endorsement of the 11 volumes. There appears to me to be an ironic sarcasm when Pope Benedict writes that it is wrong to say that Pope Francis having pastoral skills has no academic credentials and Pope Benedict who has academic credentials has no pastoral skills.

The thing Pope Benedict sarcastically is saying is that he, Pope Benedict, has pastoral skills and his academic skills are in no way questioned. It is Pope Francis academic skills that are questioned here!

And then there is this: Pope Francis very, very peculiar apology to his native Argentina for His Holiness' offensive gestures which you can puzzle about HERE. Is this in any connected to all this Vatican fake apologia for His Holiness?

This is from the Vatican Insider of LaStampa's newspaper, a secular Italian paper and Andrea Tornielli normally very supportive of the current Vatican direction:

Benedict’s letter, here is the original 

with the omitted passages 

First, there was the news of the omitted paragraph
that had neither been published nor read out, in
which Ratzinger criticized the choice of a theologian
among the authors of the series. Then, the publication
of the integral letter by the Holy See 
Pubblicato il 17/03/2018
Ultima modifica il 17/03/2018 alle ore 19:06

At one point today, Benedict XVI’s letter that was read by the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, Dario Edoardo Viganò during the presentation of the series of 11 volumes on the theology of Francis, seemed like an unexplained mystery. Yet now it finally came to a conclusion. The text of the original letter written by the Pope emeritus contained in fact a further paragraph which was neither published nor read during the press conference on Monday 12 March. Vatican expert Sandro Magister broke the news, which Vatican Insider also confirmed after carrying out a verification. 

The complete original letter in the hands of the Prefect of Communication has not been disclosed, while the rough draft is in the computer of the monastery where Ratzinger lives after having renounced to the pontificate. It was found that the omitted lines contained the Pope emeritus’ criticism on the choice of entrusting the drafting of one of the small volumes to Peter Hünermann, a German theologian who was strongly critical of Pope Wojtyla and his successor Benedict XVI.

Ratzinger’s negative judgments on the choice of commentators on the “Theology of Francis” however, were supposed to remain confidential as the envelope of the letter sent to Viganò reads ’confidential/personal’. The question that crossed everyone’s mind at that point was: did Benedict XVI’s entourage consent to the disclosure of the first two paragraphs? And, where they warned about this decision?  
The answer arrived in the late afternoon of Saturday 17 March 2018, with the publication of the integral letter by the Holy See in agreement with the entourage of Benedict XVI. It is plausible now to think that the Pope emeritus’s collaborators had been warned on the decision to disclose part of the text. 

The full letter was published accompanied by a note from the Press Office of the Holy See, which reads:  

“On the occasion of the presentation of the series “The Theology of Pope Francis”, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, which took place on 12 March last, a letter was made public by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. There followed much controversy about an alleged censorial manipulation of the photo distributed as accompanying photo. What was read out from the letter, which was confidential, was considered appropriate and related to the sole initiative, and in particular to what the Pope Emeritus says about the philosophical and theological formation of the present Pontiff and the inner union between the two pontificates, leaving out some notes regarding contributors to the series. The choice was motivated by confidentiality and not by any intention of censorship. To dispel any doubt, it was decided to make the letter public in its entirety. 

Here is the paragraph of the letter that was not yet known:  

“Only in the margin I would like to mark my surprise at the fact that among the authors there is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate  
had been shown for having led anti-papal initiatives. He played a major role in the release of the “Kölner Erklärung”, which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis splendor”, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope especially on issues of moral theology. The “Europäische Theologengesellschaft”, which he founded, he initially conceived as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians”. 

The letter ends as follows: “I am sure you will have understanding for my refusal and I greet you cordially”.  

The controversy over the omitted texts of the letter of the Pope emeritus risks transforming into a boomerang the original effect it intended to have with the disclosure of the published parts. Although the fact remains that Ratzinger wrote those clear and hard sentences against the double “foolish prejudice” of those who consider Pope Francis too practical and not particularly strong in theology, and of those who consider Pope Ratzinger too theoretical. Stressing also the “inner continuity” of the two pontificates. A text that, also in the light of what has followed – namely the distancing from the editorial choice – looks even more by Benedict XVI.  

Friday, March 16, 2018


St. Patrick's Day Mass, 8 AM EDST

St. Patrick's Day Mass at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA



Many people in and outside the Catholic Church believe that celibacy is the culprit causing the homosexual sexual abuse of teenage boys in the Catholic Church.

However the Church of England with married clergy , male and female, is engulfed in clergy homosexual abuse of minors too, putting to rest the old celibacy canard.

However what the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who by the way would do well to trim his wild hair and beard, has to say about the authorities in the Anglican Church certainly has parallels in the Catholic Church in terms of winks and nods towards immoral homosexual acts destructive of their victims.

What is implied in William's remarks is a complete ignorance of the damage done to victims or that the authorities at the time, wanting to be like Pope Francis in his remark, "who am I to judge?" actually thought the abuse in fact was consensual, between older and younger homosexuals. In other words, as indicated by his lack of remarks about victims, there was no concern for them, only the immoral priests and making them feel good. It is the typical liberal or progressive approach to presumed injustices, a bleeding heart for the perpetrator.

 Thus the homosexual acting out was normal in a society repenting of repressive attitudes toward homosexual acts:

Williams: church's old views on gay clergy led to desire not to judge sexual activities

Former archbishop tells child sexual abuse inquiry ‘there was perhaps overcompensation’ for repressive views
Rowan Williams
 Rowan Williams: ‘I think there has been a sea change in climate’ Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA

The Church of England may have “overcompensated” for earlier repressive attitudes to gay clergy with a reluctance to deal rigorously with priests who sexually abused children, Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, has said.
Giving evidence to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, Williams said an “awkwardness” about the church’s views on homosexuality 30 or 40 years ago may have led to a desire not to be “judgmental about people’s sexual activities”.
In recent years, “more and more people [are] coming out of the closet. The question of clergy sexuality has been more openly discussed. The change in climate has been quite striking … I think there has been a sea change.”
He went on: “At a time when people were beginning to feel awkward about traditional closeted attitudes, there was perhaps an overcompensation, [people] saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to be to be judgmental about people’s sexual activities … We must therefore give people a second chance and understand the pressures,’ and so on.”
He suggested that “a rather paradoxical consequence of the traditional view of homosexuality within the church [is that] you want to overcompensate a bit for it.”
The inquiry is holding three weeks of hearings on how the C of E handled cases and allegations of clerical sexual abuse, taking the diocese of Chichester as a case study. It earlier heard the diocese was “engulfed” with allegations in the first decade of this century and that at least 15 priests had been jailed for sex crimes.
Among them was Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes, who was sent to prisonin October 2015. An independent review commissioned by the C of E concluded that there had been collusion by senior figures to protect the church. 
The current bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, told the inquiry on Wednesday that the diocese was described to him as a “basket case” when he was appointed in 2010. He said: “It is clear to me there had been a historic bias in the diocese in favour of adults in positions of power and authority. This has led to an unwillingness to take allegations of sexual abuse made by children or by adults sufficiently seriously.
“It reflects a wider social attitude of deference, a culture of deferring unduly to those in power and a culture of deference and defensiveness … We are still going through the process of culture change, and for many people, I’m sorry to say, the requirement to take a DBS [police] check is interpreted as ‘Are you accusing me of abusing children?’”
He depicted the diocese at the time he took up his post as dysfunctional, with competing centres of power and a lack of professional administration.
Williams, archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012, told the hearing there was a “mindset” in the diocese in which the authority of ordained ministry was seen as beyond criticism.
Chichester also had a reputation of being a diocese with a high degree of opposition to the ordination of women. The voices of those belonging to the Anglo-Catholic and conservative evangelical wings of the church were “firmest and loudest”.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


In Savannah, we are in what is called the "Season of Saint Patrick." The secular press is calling it that and it is true. Lent always takes a backseat to the drinking, gluttony and partying of the Season of  Saint Patrick. Sigh!

Thus Passion Sunday on March 18th, the Octave of the Solemnity of Saint Patrick in the Season of Saint Patrick is Savannah is ironic. Will we or won't we return to the Season of Passiontide that begins on March 18th? Time will tell.

In my OF parish, our statues have been covered this week in anticipation of Passiontide which the OF Roman Missal gives a nod, but they aren't sure why. We are allowed to cover cruxifix and statues, but we don't have the EF's Gospel for the First Sunday of Passiontide to have a reason to do so.

The OF Roman Missal also has two proper prefaces for the Passiontide two weeks. But no reason it given and it isn't called passiontide. Sad and Sigh!

Do you know the reason? It is from St. John's Gospel for the First Sunday of Passiontide:

 "They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple."


Traditional Propers for Passion Sunday
Vestments:  Violet
Psalm 42: 1,2

Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art my God and my strength. -- (Ps. 42. 3). Send forth Thy light, and Thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. . . . -- Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause . . .
COLLECT - We beseech Thee, O almighty God, look mercifully upon Thy family: that, by Thy bounty, it may be governed in body, and by Thy keeping be guarded in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee . . .
Hebrews 9: 11-15

Brethren, Christ being come, as High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation: neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen and the ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleaning of the flesh: how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who, by the Holy Ghost, offered Himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore He is the Mediator of the new Testament: that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 142: 9, 10

Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies: teach me to do Thy will. V.: (Ps. 17, 48, 49). Thou art my deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations: Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.
Psalm 128: 1, 4

Often have they fought against me from my youth. V.: Let Israel now say: often have they fought against me from my youth. V.: But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. V.: They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord who is just will cut the necks of sinners.
John 8: 46-59
At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered and said to Him: Do not we say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honor My Father, and you have dishonored Me. But I seek not My own glory: there is One that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep My word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets: and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing: it is My Father that glorifieth Me, of whom you say that He is your God, and you have not known Him: but I know Him: and if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old: and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
Psalm 118: 17, 107

I will confess to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: render to Thy servant: I shall live and keep Thy words: enliven me according to Thy word, O Lord.
SECRET - May these gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, both loose us from the bonds of our wickedness, and win for us the gifts of Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .
. .
PREFACE (Preface of the Holy Cross) -It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross; that whence death came, thence also life might arise again, and that he, who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise: 
I Corinthians 11: 24, 25
This is My Body which shall be delivered for you: this chalice is the new Testament in My Blood, saith the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.
POST COMMUNION - Remain with us, O Lord, our God, and defend with Thy continual support those whom Thou hast renewed by Thy Mysteries. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .


This is from this morning's Vatican Insider of LaStampa's Italian secular newspaper, but quite pro-Bergolio. How does this article strike you? I find it peculiar and seems to denigrate Pope Francis in an unwitting way. No?

A Pope’s profile according to 

Ratzinger: neither a great scholar 

nor a great diplomat, but a man of God

The words spoken by the then Archbishop of Munich
during a trip to Ecuador: one must see someone
“who prays, who believes, who incarnates holiness”
Benedict XVI

Pubblicato il 15/03/2018
Ultima modifica il 15/03/2018 alle ore 12:19
“The Pope must not be a great scholar nor a great diplomat, but simply a man of God. And the “first quality” to be a Pope is no different from that needed to be a priest: it is not “intellectual superiority” or “organizational skills” but “a trace of holiness”.  

In the days inflamed by the debate over Benedict XVI’ letter in which he denied the “foolish prejudice” that has him as a “theorist”, while his successor on the other side “lacks” theological formation, it is worth recovering some forgotten pearls of Joseph Ratzinger’s magisterium, which give us back his authentic thought, so distant from certain clichés - to which he himself has been reduced, both by certain progressive fringes and by certain so-called “ratzingerians”.  

The re-reading of some pages of the XII volume of Ratzinger’s Opera Omnia, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in 2013, entitled “Announcers of the Word and servants of your joy” is enlightening. It is a speech given in September 1978 by the then Cardinal Archbishop of Munich and Freising at a meeting with some priests in Ecuador, where the future Pope was present as papal legate for the National Marian Congress of Guayaquil. Right there in Ecuador, Ratzinger would have learned the news of Pope Luciani’s death. 

The cardinal recalled, referring to the conclave that had taken place in August and that had led to the extremely rapid designation of John Paul I, ”Before the election of the Pope, it was remarkable that anyone you would talk to whether, religious or lay, believers or non-believers, Catholics or non-Catholics, they all emphasized the same thing: choose above all, a man of God”.  

The Pope - continued Ratzinger, tracing a profile based on the simple tradition of the Church - must not be a genius, must not be a great diplomat or a great scholar, but must be a man of God: a man that shows he prays, who believes; a man who embodies holiness”.  

What is valid for the Pope - future Benedict XVI continued, re-proposing the fundamental elements of tradition - applies fundamentally to every priestThe first quality expected of him is not organizational skills or intellectual superiority, but a trace of holiness”.  

Ratzinger observed that “in the long run this ministry can only be carried out if it is deeply rooted in God, only if one lives in a constant relationship with the Lord. For this reason, prayer, even contemplative prayer, is important”.  

In a previous and just as significant passage of that same speech, the then Archbishop of Munich proposed some reflections destined to reflect on his own biography and on his being “Pope Emeritus”. Speaking about priesthood, he said, “Nor can it be a temporary job: the greatness of priestly work lies in the fact that it offers, at any age, a specific opportunity. The priest will never be an “old piece”... Every age has its own specific importance: the fervor of young people is just as important as the maturity of the elderly. Precisely the wisdom, calm and suffering of the latter are a real contribution, which shows how the work of the priest is always meaningful and able to engage man to the end”.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


UPDATE: It appears Vatican Radio has removed its original story on Pope Benedict's praise of Pope Francis from its webpage. Interesting, no?

I was the first in blogdom to state that the endorsement of Pope Benedict of the current papacy struck me as fishy. And fishy it is. It is also fake news!

Another Vatican scandal as reported by the Associated Press:

Vatican doctors photo of Benedict's praise for Francis


The Vatican's communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis' five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict's doctrine-minded papacy.

In the part of the letter that is legible in the photo, Benedict praised a new volume of books on the theology of Francis as evidence of the "foolish prejudice" of his critics. The book project, Benedict wrote, "helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament."

The Vatican admitted to The Associated Press on Wednesday that it blurred the two final lines of the first page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn't actually read the books in question. He wrote that he cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested by Vigano because he has other projects to do.

A Vatican spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, didn't explain why the Holy See blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict's tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.

The missing content significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media. Those quotes suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment. The doctoring of the photo is significant because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are otherwise closed to independent media.


Say what you will about Bishop Barron, he's a great teacher and easy to listen to. This is a long video but well worth the listen:


The cask contains the bones of the first pope, St. Peter, held by the 265th successor to St. Peter. Cool, no?

I Believe in one God,
The Father almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. 



Nun dies during court proceeding over property battle with LA Archdiocese, Katy Perry

One of the nuns involved in a legal battle with the Los Angeles Archdiocese and singer Katy Perry over the sale of a Los Feliz property died Friday in court. (KABC)