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Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Shadow Magisterium Goes Mainstream: Part 1

The revolution has
been going on for a long
time. This book is well
worth reading!
Editor's Note: This article appeared in the Fall issue of the Les Femmes newsletter. Due to some computer problems, the last few issues are not yet online, but if you are interested in checking out the newsletter archives visit

Back in 2000 I wrote a two-part series for the Les Femmes newsletter entitled Shadow Magisterium Foments Revolution in the Church pointing out the “grim reality” Catholics faced:
...a shadow magisterium competes...with the authentic shepherds to shape, or rather misshape, the minds and hearts of Catholics.... The revolutionaries are found amongst theologians, professors on university campuses, liturgical design consultants, seminary teachers, and employees in diocesan chanceries and parish offices. They develop curricula, organize seminars, run national organizations, work for the USCCB (U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops) and teach in Catholic schools. Some are deliberate and malicious; others are useful dupes and fellow travelers. All work to replace the Catholic faith with modernism, ... the "synthesis of all heresies."
Rereading those articles recently was sobering. 
No longer are we dealing with a “shadow” magisterium operating in the dark; the faith wreckers are now mainstream. Although there were Judas priests back in 2000: Charlie Curran, Patrick Brennan, and James Schnexnayder to name a few, they did not occupy major positions at the Vatican. Yes, the litany of bad bishops was extensive even then, but they tended to wear at least a veneer of orthodoxy as sheep’s clothing to hide their wolf-ness. Today, however, many clerics openly champion heretical positions and thumb their noses at traditional laity and clergy hoping to either sideline them or drive them out of the Church altogether. These wolves hold some of the highest positions in the Church.

Their strategies, however, remain much the same:
Under the guise of "renewal" (1) undermine belief in core tenets of the faith; (2) attack and emasculate the priesthood; and (3) reinvent the family, the seedbed of the faith. The success of the revolution is evident in the dearth of vocations, loss of belief in the Real Presence, and the sad reality that Catholics divorce, contracept, and abort to the same degree as their unbelieving neighbors.
The crisis not only continues twenty-two years later but has gone into high gear. The “renewal” has morphed into the “synodal” process which gave us Pachamama along with a bucketful of post synodal documents that are often banal at best and scandalous at worst. Amoris Laetitia following the Synod on the Family undermined Church teaching on marriage. Querida Amizonia following the Amazon Synod eviscerated missionary work and advanced idolatry and syncretism and the bizarre notion that the Church has more to learn from pagan witch doctors than the shamans can learn from the Church. Christus Vivit after the youth synod emphasized the “listening Church” and minimized sin in a bloated document filled with banalities that young people will never read.

Under the name of “synod,” the wreckovation goes on apace while the most pressing problems of modern culture continue to get short shrift. Where were the U.S. bishops during the recent election cycle with strong messages about the obligation to defend the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped, and vulnerable teens succumbing to the scourge of fentanyl flooding the country through our open border? The USCCB promoted their useless document on responsible voting while evangelicals were the ones offering voter guides that clearly identified and separated the political sheep from the political goats.

A friend of mine in the Diocese of Arlington sent his email list a message comparing the bishops’ pathetic activity with the American Family Association’s well documented analysis of candidates:
The Evangelicals have produced and advertised heavily the voter guide you open it, all you have to do is type in your address and click on "ballot" and it brings up the ballot for voters at that address....What a contrast between what help Catholics can get from Evangelicals and what we can get from our Church....While the Church says it wants a pro-life Congress, it couldn't manage to "lift a little finger" to bring that about and the pro-abortionists won despite the tens of thousands of registered parishioners in those Districts that could have shifted the results if they had been encouraged....Nevertheless, in two months all of the parishes will be renting buses so a few parishioners can go to DC to hear speeches, "march," and wave signs about the sacredness of human life ....The pro-abortion Congress and Biden Administration won't even notice.
My friend is spot on. Many bishops act like adjunct staff members of the Democrats. They promote open borders, a criminal invasion, (which keeps billions of dollars flowing to their chanceries). They give endless factually-deficient opinions about climate change, pollution, the economy and COVID about which they have no expertise at all. At the same time, they are often silent on intrinsic moral evils even promoting them. The recent Vatican press conference on the Synod on Synodality highlighted the problem. The working document came out in late October. The next week, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod Bishops, and his working group held a press conference. Vatican Journalist, Diane Montagna, asked about the scandalous artwork on the Synod website:
There were several images...contrary to the Catholic faith. One, in particular, showed people in front of a church, one with a woman dressed in a chasuble as a priest which, of course, is against the faith, another... standing in the center wearing an LGBT pride shirt. And these were praised as “works of art”...,,by the synod secretariat, on social media....There were hundreds of responses mostly negative....Is the synod listening to the Catholic faithful and how would you respond to them?
Cardinal Grech’s response was baffling!:
We are listening to everybody...without excluding anybody. It is our responsibility to take note of all voices at this particular moment of the people of God...We are a listening Church. At this moment we are not taking any position....We exclude nothing.
Really! What a shocking statement from a prince of the Church obliged to defend the truth! But it’s clear that this is the philosophy of the synod organizers. Think of St. John the evangelist who fled the bathhouse because a heretic, Cerinthus, was there. He called out warning his fellow bathers, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within!” This story comes to us in St. Iraneus’ book Against Heresies. Iraneus received it from his teacher, St. Polycarp, a disciple of John who took the truth seriously. Can we say the same about Cardinal Grech and his associates? No!

Last April, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary for the Synod of Bishops’, who coordinates all the Vatican’s synods, gave a “memorial lecture” honoring deceased priest, Fr. Robert Nugent. Nugent was an LGBT activist who, with Sr. Jeannine Gramick, created the scandalous group New Ways Ministry. In 1999 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) “permanently prohibited” the duo “from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons” judging them, “ineligible, for an undetermined period, for any office in their respective religious institutes.” Did CDF’s discipline bring about change? Not a bit! Nugent and Gramick bulldozed on. Gramick today, promotes same-sex marriage and all the evils that earned the censure. But that didn’t keep Sr. Becquart from gushing over the group and their agenda or, for that matter, Pope Francis himself. Last year he sent Gramick one of his famous handwritten letters praising her for “50 years of closeness, of compassion and of tenderness” calling her evil agenda, “the style of God.”

The National Catholic Register covered the event:
Sister Nathalie frequently alluded in her lecture to the Youth Synod as paving the way for greater acceptance of pro-homosexual communities within the Church, and spoke of a “remarkably LGBT-positive document” that came out of a pre-youth-synod meeting that she herself had helped to coordinate.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the Register tells us that:
In December, the Synod of Bishops placed New Ways Ministry videos on the Synod on Synodality’s resources page; it then removed them after it learned of Cardinal George’s 2010 statement [saying their work “only confuses the faithful” and had “no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church.”], but within 24 hours had restored the videos, apologizing that the decision had “brought pain to the entire LGBTQ community who once again felt left out.”
Vatican talking heads, who couldn’t care less about leaving out traditional Catholics or causing them pain, even exiling them from parish churches as unwanted stepchildren, once again fondled the feelings of those committed to a sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. 

It’s beyond satire! 

No wonder Cardinal Gerhard Müller called the Synod on Synodality a “hostile takeover of the Church” if it accomplishes its goals? And why wouldn’t it in view of the earlier synods and their successful assault on the Church by people like Sr. Becquart?

In a more recent head-shaker, Francis told America magazine this about abortion:
In any book of embryology it is said that shortly before one month after conception the organs and the DNA are already delineated in the tiny fetus, before the mother even becomes aware. Therefore, there is a living human being. I do not say a person, because this is debated, (my emphasis) but a living human being. And I raise two questions: Is it right to get rid of a human being to resolve a problem? Second question: Is it right to hire a “hit man” to resolve a problem?
At first sight this appears to be a defense of the little one in the womb, but consider. It is exactly this question of “personhood” that historically has been used to deny rights to “living human beings.” Judge Roger B. Taney, in the infamous Dred Scott decision, ruled that slaves were not constitutional persons with all the rights of white citizens. They were property to be bought, sold, and moved about like furniture. It took a constitutional amendment to correct that grievous error. The same personhood debate renders the baby in the womb the property of the mother and is used to deprive the medically injured of the right to life, by labeling them “brain dead vegetables” when they are still alive. Just as the redefinition of personhood allows murder of the baby in the womb; the redefinition of both personhood and death allows the murder of the already born so their organs can be harvested.

That Francis enables this travesty is hardly surprising in view of his gutting the Pontifical Academy for Life of all its champions and converting it into an Orwellian ministry of death. But confusion has marked his pontificate from the beginning. Many Catholics may have forgotten Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” when he stated that all the ambiguities of Vatican II needed to be interpreted through the lens of Sacred Tradition. Whether that’s possible is another question.

To be continued.... See Part 2. 


  1. Roger Taney was a great Chief Justice, but that is another topic. The “wolves “ now control the institutional Catholic Church from top to bottom. Expect it to get worse. Unborn child murder could not exist in this nation without the support of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (occasional denunciations equals complicity ). This is only one of the attacks on the dogmas of the Church. What is one to do? I would leave, but I believe the truly orthodox dogmas of the Church to be true. This is a sincere appeal to those who still hold and teach the Catholic Faith handed down from the Apostles for their input.

  2. Pope Francis is Machiavellian..."“Machiavellians are sly, deceptive, distrusting, and manipulative. They are characterized by cynical and misanthropic beliefs, callousness, a striving for … money, power, and status, and the use of cunning influence tactics."