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Friday, November 19, 2021

Headline Browsing and Some Interesting Articles for Serious Catholics

I usually start my day (after prayer time) by visiting various Catholic news sites and clicking on links sent to me via email. Here's a selection that piqued my interest yesterday:

The Vatican Mafia Under John Paul II by Roberto de Mattei 

This is apparently part II of a series with part III to come. It's a fascinating account of behind the scenes machinations that make the Borgias look like pikers. I'm sure my readers have no illusions about politics in the Church. They're real and they are nothing new. Just think of Joan of Arc's bogus political trial. Here are a few paragraphs from de Mattei's article:

Don. Marini [a priest friend of de Mattei] who had left the Secretariat of State [at the Vatican] in 1978, was not a traditionalist but, like Card. Benelli, had a strong pro-life sensibility and detested the progressive wing of the Curia, which Casaroli personified. He therefore decided to enter the field discreetly.

Even though he knew that not all of our ideas coincided, he asked for my help in making known the existence of a real “Mafia” that controlled power under the pontificate of John Paul II. When he used the word “Mafia,” Don Marini always made it a point not to confuse the Holy Church, divine and unfailing, with the men of the Church who serve or betray her. These were the “mafiosi” to whom he referred, many years before the “Mafia of St. Gallen” was mentioned.
According to Don Marini, to understand what was happening in the Vatican, it was necessary to go back to the death of Paul VI, August 6, 1978, when two strong regional groups or “clans” were vying for power in the City of the Popes. Don Marini defined them as the Lombardy-Piedmontese “family” and the Romagna “family” (attributing to the word “family” the meaning with which the Mafia indicates the “cosche,” clans or Mafia groups that control a territory).....
At the death of Paul VI, the two “families” made a “pact of steel” for the control of the Vatican.
“Every morning at nine o’clock,” Don Marini explained,
the political group that runs the Vatican, composed of these characters, meets and prepares its reports for the Pope. But the real decisions have already been taken by an occult ‘directorate’ that effectively controls all the information, kept in inaccessible archives and appropriately filtered in order to guide the choices and propose appointments under apparently obvious pretexts.

At the head of this directorate was Monsignor Achille Silvestrini, the same person who, twenty years later, we will find again as the “grey eminence” of the “St. Gallen Mafia” whose history Julia Meloni has reconstructed in her book The St. Gallen Mafia.

Well, isn't that interesting. I plan to get Meloni's book. And consider that the Vatican isn't the only political arm in the Church. Remember how McCarrick, Wuerl, Cupich, and a host of others have played politics in the Church here in America. 

It happens. It's evil! But don't let evil men drive you out of Holy Mother Church. As a friend of Ann Roche Muggeridge said to her once: "Don't let the bastards drive you out." Nope...but it's time to expose them. They are the false shepherds called out by Ezekiel's "woes."  

A Beginning by the Bishops, Not the End by Stephen White

I can't say I agree with White's assessment, but stand by my opinion expressed yesterday that the meeting was a big NOTHING. I don't see the Eucharistic document as a "beginning" at all...just one more watered down expression of a Church teaching that bishops refuse to take seriously. White doesn't mention canon 915 and, although I haven't read the document yet, I expect that it doesn't either. But what's the point of the canon at all, if the bishops refuse to use it or to discipline Catholics committing grave, public scandal which is exactly what Catholic pro-abortion politicians do? 

White quotes the pope's statement about the Eucharist being "medicine for sinners" not a "prize for the perfect." But what if the "medicine" is poison? That's exactly what the Eucharist is for those who receive it sacrilegiously. Do the bishops care about those individuals who out of ignorance or malice endanger their souls by sacrilege? White goes on to say:

But the biggest reason the document sailed through with virtually no controversy is that the document largely avoided the neuralgic questions surrounding Communion for pro-abortion politicians.

Exactly! I had to look up neuralgic which the Cambridge dictionary defines as "involving short, severe pains felt suddenly along a nerve, especially in the neck or head." Isn't that exactly what the bishops should be doing? Aren't we called to "admonish the sinner" and "instruct the ignorant" rather than "avoid" the hard truth. Don't these scandalous Catholics need to experience pain in their consciences, their intellects and wills, in order to be less stiff necked and rebellious to God's law? Isn't that what we all need?

It's an interesting article and I would love to be proved wrong -- to believe that the Eucharistic document with a two-year program of teaching ending in a Eucharistic conference in Indianapolis in 2024 makes a real difference. But I have my doubts. The bishops themselves have no problem giving faithful Catholics neuralgia by their failure to defend the faith effectively and with zeal. Meanwhile, they coddle the scandalous in their sins endangering their souls. Sad to say, most of our bishops act more like corporate CEOs than shepherds.

Last article: Are Priests Guilty Until Proven Innocent? by Eric Sammons about Fr. James Jackson's arrest for child pornography.

Sammons brings up an interesting point that was new to me:

...the case has some odd elements. Jackson only recently arrived in Rhode Island, and yet was supposedly found in possession of child porn soon after by Rhode Island authorities. He spent years in Colorado with no suspicion of wrong-doing, but was immediately found doing horrific things once he arrived in Rhode Island? Not impossible, but odd nonetheless.

What makes me pause more is the nature of the charges against Jackson. There is no victim or witness coming forward; all the evidence consists of alleged files on his alleged computer. As someone who worked in the software field for more than 15 years, I know that planting files on someone’s computer—particularly an older priest’s parish computer—is child’s play. This could be done by a disgruntled parishioner, someone who has a vendetta against the FSSP, or even by a law enforcement official (I hope no one is so naive in 2021 as to think law enforcement officials are unaffected by the Fall).

Sammons doesn't argue that Fr. Jackson is innocent. Like Mike Parrott at Restoring the Faith, he simply affords the priest the assumption of innocence until the facts and the evidence are in. But in the meantime, Fr. Jackson has the right to fairness. Those who have convicted him in the court of public opinion are guilty of rash judgment and calumny since they don't know the truth of the matter. 

And that's it for my Friday article roundup. Have a holy, penitential Friday and a great weekend! 


Fred Martinez said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Mary Ann. Out of curiosity, what various Catholic news sites do you look at? I'm wondering if I'm missing any. Fred Martinez, Catholic Monitor

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Hi Fred,

Some of my go-to sites are canon212, LifeSiteNews, Crisis Magazine, The Remnant, Catholic Family News, 1 Peter 5, and The catholic Thing. I also get a lot of emails with articles that catch my eye and posts from friends on Facebook often lead me to good articles.

One of the advantages of old age is having more time to read. Although my favorite reading is still picture books with my grandkids and chapter books with the older kids. I read a few chapters of Pride and Prejudice with one granddaughter who was having a hard time wading through it.

knldgskr said...

A. R. Muggeridge wasn't the only one to use that motto. As you walked into Wernher von Braun's office at Cape Canaveral you saw a sign over the door, "Don't let the bastards grind you down."
God bless

Fred Martinez said...

Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann. I love Mary Fabyan Windeatt's so-called children's books better than almost all other books.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Me too, Fred. Another thing we have in common.

Aqua said...

Well, since you're doing reading recommends ... allow me to share one of my wife's new favorites - The Bird In The Tree, book 1 from the Eliot Family Trilogy, by Elizabeth Goudge - an English author who died in 1985, this book was written in 1940.

My wife is an avid reader, but also a very particular reader. When she find a good author it is almost as if she found all the good things they promise us at the proverbial end of the rainbow. This particular book she not only loved, but it hit her in an emotional, gut level way that very few books are capable of, part of the reason being the premise mirrors her actual experience in life and so there is much to identify with. She found herself in an emotional state (if you know what I mean) at various places throughout the story. Great style, wise observations, moral framework - the book (the trilogy, the author) is one many have never heard of but is well worth a try in the current literary desert. It is what I might call an "important book", but again that is only based on second hand information - but wifey is pretty reliable I'd say.

And that's my two cents on that.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Thanks Aqua, Think I'll try it. Just looking at the options. Sounds like it might make a good gift for granddaughters.