The Suffering Pope?

The following article is from Antonio Socci by way of  Christopher Ferrara.


On February 11th the anniversary of the “renunciation” of the papacy by Benedict XVI was remembered. On February 28 it will be a year since the end of his pontificate. But in recent days what happened in the Vatican a year ago is ever more mysterious. And what is the true nature of the “retirement” of Benedict XVI?


In previous cases, in fact, popes who resign have always returned to their status as cardinal or religious: five months after he abdicated, the famous Celestine V, elected in 1294, returned to being the hermit Peter of Morrone. Continue reading “The Suffering Pope?”

Pope Francis Must Resign

Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.


I’ve added an update at the end of the article. Please note the significance: Abp. Vigano issued this Testimony on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

When I arose this morning at 3 a.m., a reader had texted me the link to the testimony of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò,  the former apostolic nuncio to the United States which has been made public thanks to Lifesite News and writer Diane Mantagna’s translation. Please refer to the Lifesite News article for the complete story. That link is HERE.

Archbishop Viganò stated that “The main reason why I am revealing this news now is because of the tragic situation of the Church, which can be repaired only by the full truth, just as she has been gravely injured by the abuses and coverups. I do this to stop the suffering of the victims and to prevent new victims, and to protect the Church: only the truth can make her free.” Viganò said the second reason he chose to write his testimony is “to discharge my conscience before God of my responsibilities as bishop of the universal Church. I am an old man and I want to present myself to God with clean conscience.”

I have taken the liberty of emphasizing pertinent sections as it is lengthy.


His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana Apostolic Nuncio

In this tragic moment for the Church in various parts of the world — the United States, Chile, Honduras, Australia, etc. — bishops have a very grave responsibility. I am thinking in particular of the United States of America, where I was sent as Apostolic Nuncio by Pope Benedict XVI on October 19, 2011, the memorial feast of the First North American Martyrs. The Bishops of the United States are called, and I with them, to follow the example of these first martyrs who brought the Gospel to the lands of America, to be credible witnesses of the immeasurable love of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Bishops and priests, abusing their authority, have committed horrendous crimes to the detriment of their faithful, minors, innocent victims, and young men eager to offer their lives to the Church, or by their silence have not prevented that such crimes continue to be perpetrated.

To restore the beauty of holiness to the face of the Bride of Christ, which is terribly disfigured by so many abominable crimes, and if we truly want to free the Church from the fetid swamp into which she has fallen, we must have the courage to tear down the culture of secrecy and publicly confess the truths we have kept hidden. We must tear down the conspiracy of silence with which bishops and priests have protected themselves at the expense of their faithful, a conspiracy of silence that in the eyes of the world risks making the Church look like a sect, a conspiracy of silence not so dissimilar from the one that prevails in the mafia. “Whatever you have said in the dark … shall be proclaimed from the housetops” (Lk. 12:3).
Continue reading “Pope Francis Must Resign”

The Judas Pope

On Maundy Thursday, Pope Francis confirmed his devotion to St. Judas by confiding to his marxist friend Eugenio Scalfari that there is no Hell.  As faithful Catholics all over the world were beginning  the holiest time of the year, the Triduum, Here are his words to Scalfari, the ancient atheist who is the Humble Pope’s® dear friend:

“Those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

Pope Francis, who claims he is  “by the will of Christ Himself – the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful”; and that he enjoys, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”, thus effectively betrayed Christ Himself and two thousand years of Catholic teaching.

“Son of perdition”
Some of the more perceptive commenters have noted the coincidence (?) – the Passion of Christ began with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas on Maundy Thursday and now this unfortunate Pope, another “son of perdition”, sows confusion among the faithful on, of all days, Maundy Thursday. The Church, Mystical Body of Christ is thus betrayed by her earthly Shepherd, beginning the deepest stage of the Passion of the Church. Note Christ’s words in this regard:

“Holy Father, keep them in Thy name whom Thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are.  While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name. Those whom Thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled.  (John 17,12)

All over the world, forces are aligning for this momentous battle and we will discuss this in more detail soon, God willing. But to get us prepared, please  review this particular post; for it gives some indispensable background for what is to follow.

† . † . †

April 16, 2016
The Judas Complex and Pope Francis

Odd, isn’t it that Pope Francis has such a tender spot for Judas the betrayer of Christ?  In Monday’s (April  11, 2016) homily at Msgr. Ricca’s residence, Pope Francis opined, “It hurts when I read that small passage from the Gospel of Matthew, when Judas, who has repented, goes to the priests and says: ‘I have sinned’ and wants to give … and gives them the coins. ‘Who cares! – they say to him: it’s none of our business!’ They closed their hearts before this poor, repentant man, who did not know what to do. And he went and hanged himself.” (Vatican Radio) [Note: Pope Francis really did call Judas a “poor, repentant man” !]

Continue reading “The Judas Pope”

Fatima and the Suffering Church, 2018

Continuing our reposts, the following is from 2014, but has some relevance for today, now that 100 years has passed.

Curiouser and curiouser …. have you noticed how little by little, items get leaked about Fatima; items which don’t answer any questions, but rather point out how incomplete our understanding is? We are approaching the centenary of Fatima’s series of revelations which began in 1917, certainly an eventful century! Seems that the more the Vatican stifles her message, the more the Blessed Virgin allows to emerge…

And now, Antonio Socci, the Italian author who wrote the blockbuster The Fourth Secret of Fatima, has written an article bringing forth a bit more information. It is from a recently released biography of Sister Lucia by the nuns of her convent in Coimbra. The book, entitled, “Un caminho sob o olhar de Maria” (“A Path Under the Gaze of Mary”), is not yet available in English.

I’ve seen several translations of Socci’s article, none of which were very good, but now Christopher Ferrara has written about it at Fatima Perspectives, including a good translation. Here is a bit from his article, the whole article can be accessed here:

“In the apparition of July 13, the Madonna had entrusted to the children a message for the whole world. It was the great prophecy concerning the coming decades if humanity did not turn to God.

In fact, it would all be realized: the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the spread of communism in the world, the bloody persecutions of the Church and, finally, the tragic Second World War.

There was also a third part of the Secret that had to be revealed — said the Madonna — in 1960. Arriving at that date, John XXIII hid the whole thing, so terrible were its contents.

He thus provoked a jumble of hypotheses. In 2000, John Paul made known the text of the Third Secret that contains the famous vision of the “Bishop dressed in white,” with the Pope who traverses a destroyed city, the many dead bodies, and then the martyrdom of the Holy Father, of bishops, priests and faithful. …

Socci goes on to relate that it was Pope Benedict himself who in 2010, confirmed that Fatima is far from over,

But a resounding explicit confirmation came from Benedict XVI himself, who, during an unexpected pilgrimage to Fatima on May 13, 2010, affirmed: “He deceives himself who thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded.”

He added: “there are indicated future realities of the Church which little by little are manifesting themselves… and therefore it is the sufferings of the Church which are announced.

But could such prophecies be found in that text [of the vision]?

These two phrases of the Pope in that discourse at Fatima prompt reflection:

“Man has the power to unleash a cycle of death and terror, but he is not able to stop it.”

And then: “The faith in vast regions of the earth risks being extinguished, like a flame without fuel.”

From these words of Pope Benedict one discerns, therefore, that there is truly something else in the Third Secret and that it is dramatic for the world and the Church. Perhaps it is precisely due to that visit by the Pope that this book was released, from which another precious little piece of the truth filters out.

The volume in fact draws from the letters of Sister Lúcia and from the unpublished diary “My Way.” Impressive among things previously unpublished, is the account of how Sister Lúcia overcame the terror that prevented her from writing down the Third Secret.

The Unpublished Account

At around 4 p.m. on January 3, 1944, in the chapel of the convent, before the Tabernacle, Lúcia asked Jesus to make known His will: “I then felt a friendly hand, maternal and affectionate, touch my shoulder.”

And the Mother of God said to her: “be at peace, and write what I have commanded you, but not, however, that which has been given to you to understand its meaning,” intending to allude to the meaning of the vision which the Virgin herself had revealed.

Immediately afterward, said Sister Lúcia,

” the point of a lance like a flame … touches the axis of the earth”

“I felt my spirit inundated by a mystery of light that is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of a lance like a flame that is detached, touches the axis of the earth, and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, the clouds, exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them, in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted. It is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my racing heart, in my spirit a soft voice said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven.” (Antonio Socci)

From this came the strength to write the Third Secret. …

Socci rightly points out that Pope Benedict’s remarks in 2010 reopened the dialogue and now, in 2014, with this biography, once more the subject is brought before us. But once again, it is obvious that there are restraining forces silencing those who would speak fully about the complete message of the Virgin.

In his conclusion, Socci notes that the Blessed Virgin promised us at Fatima that, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” And then he adds,

“To this hoped for “triumph” Pope Benedict made reference in 2010:

“May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the Apparitions (2017) hasten the prophesied triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”

Does this mean that today, in 2014, we have already entered into the terrible trial? In fact, if you read the news…

Antonio Socci
From Il Libero, August 17, 2014

For my part, I believe that Pope Leo XIII’s prophecy about satan being set loose for 100 years began sometime between the death of our last saintly Pope, Pius X in 1914 and the warnings of the Mother of God at Fatima in 1917. It is possible that within this timeframe, the evil was turned loose and the Church was given a period of grace in which to obey the warnings of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But although the Church did some things, it never wholeheartedly gave the response asked for by the Virgin.

There was no concerted effort to proclaim a year of penance in reparation, the First Saturdays of Reparation Our Lady asked for were never established  by the hierarchy.  Instead, Sister Lúcia was silenced and in 1960 the rejection of Fatima was completed by Pope John XXIII which is why Sister Lúcia foretold that, “It will be clearer then.”

Ever since Pope John XXIII’s  fateful decision to disobey the Mother of Jesus,  we have been being chastised in earnest, both by wars and by spiritual disaster in the Church. What could be worse that the loss of millions of souls through the ongoing apostasy of the Faith? The genocide of Christians, the slaughter of innocents through abortion, the continuous drums of war, all this is a huge and rapidly accelerating chastisement which will soon be joined by the very forces of nature causing the instantaneous obliteration of entire nations.

And the answer to all this lies in our own hearts and minds. We are called to renew our daily sacrifices, the humble silent ones no one knows about save us and God. Offer our sacrifices to our thorn-crowned King through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, united with His suffering in all the holy tabernacles of the world in reparation for this faithless generation which everywhere and always blasphemes, outrages and insults Him, especially and particularly for the Pope and hierarchy, that they and all poor sinners may be saved, through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Please continue to pray daily for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the upcoming Synod of Bishops called for by this unholiest of Holy Fathers.

NOTE:  We might consider that in the case of the King of France, when the 100 years passed, no one noted the correlation between the King being stripped of his powers and the date of the request of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – that was not evident until years later. But an irreversible chain of events had been set into motion. Now Pope Francis has been very, very clear on just one thing: that the changes he is making are irreversible. 

The reason for this repost right now is to help readers to understand that a deadline has passed. In the earlier instance, passing the deadline resulted in: the horrific Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, the destruction of the French monarchy, a further step in the destruction of Christendom which resulted from Luther’s revolt and lastly, the leap in power of the occult forces which appear to be all but  fully in control now.

Which leads to the inevitable question – what “irreversible” chain of events has now been set in motion?

Think on it and please, pray the Rosary for the love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the salvation of souls!

† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

† . St. Joseph, protect our families, protect our priests.

. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved.


Pope Francis and Fatima

In the past year, we have more than doubled our subscribers, and many who are new to ReturntoFatima are not aware of our  extensive archive of older posts on Fatima and prophecy. Today we begin a series of reposts.

At present, we will not update these posts but simply offer them for those who have asked for them as reference.

The following post was originally posted June 13, 2014, I believe.  As always, thank you so much for reading!

The following is an updated repost regarding Pope Francis disdain for Fatima.

† . † . †

At Fatima, Our Lord Jesus Christ sent us His Beloved Mother to offer us His mercy yet again, if we heed the call to penance and reparation to her Immaculate Heart, which is the means He gives to us to save ourselves and other sinners from the wrath of His justice.

In her apparitions at Fatima and the ones following, when Sister Lucia was at her convent, Our Lady showed her Immaculate Heart and requested specific reparations be made; among them were the First Saturdays of Reparation and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by the Pope and the Bishops. Our Lord Jesus Christ also appeared to Lucia to request compliance with Our Lady’s wishes. The apparition of 13 June, 1929 was the most significant of the apparitions and in it, Our Blessed Mother formally requested the Consecration of Russia.

That apparition  deserves a post of its own and I am working on it, but for right now, suffice to say that the Virgin Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ requested acts of reparation and obedience, both private, – as in our rosaries and offerings of sacrifice and penance in our daily duties – and public, – as in the First Saturdays of reparation and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope and Bishops.

Never at any time has any Pope since Fatima propagated the acts of reparation needed. An encyclical or Moto Proprio enjoining the First Saturdays of Reparation would have helped so much. As would the simple compliance of Consecrating Russia properly. The Popes instead made “entrustments” and consecrated the world and so on; apparently dancing around the edges of the issue while dodging the actual obedience required.

And all the while, God’s wrath is building. And His signs increase as well. In the midst of the horrible apocalyptic blast at Hiroshima, devout Catholics were spared, totally untouched by the radiation. In Pope Francis’ own domain, in Buenos Aires a beautiful Eucharistic miracle was given, but went unheeded by this Pope who evidently has a tin ear for the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Vatican II was a severe chastisement for the Church and its work of destroying the Church is coming to a climax shortly. The Vatican II wrecking crew have so thoroughly done their jobs that few Catholics today have any inkling of the true faith. Therefore, they are not that distressed in the unfortunate utterances of Pope Francis and his gaffe of the day routine. Even traditional Catholics did not object at Pope Begoglio’s awful consecration of his reign to Our Lady of Fatima. If sincere, he should have gone to Fatima and humbled himself and personally consecrated his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, humbly vowing to be obedient to her demands, all of them!

Since this post was originally written, we have had yet another “entrustment” of the world, which is becoming insulting. To understand how insulting these continued false consecrations, or entrustments of the world are, I offer an example.

This example illustrates a passive aggressive response to a request. A mother asks her son to go to the store to get milk for baking. The son does not want to go, but the mother presses him. He brings back chocolate milk, which is not what she asked for. She tells him she must have milk for the recipe and he replies, ‘It is milk, just better.’ She patiently explains that she needs milk, just milk and sends him again. And again, but each time, he always brings back a milk product but not the milk she asked for. He could just as easily brought her the milk the first time and in fact has gone to much more trouble, even suffering the brunt of her anger, but he persists in his stiff-necked refusal.

It is clearly not what Our Blessed Mother asked for and we are reaching a time when the fulness of God’s wrath will break over us. It would be profitable for you to take a few moments and consider the state of the Church and of society in general at the time of the initial Fatima apparitions. Then consider the state of the Church and the world today. Only a moral imbecile could fail to note the descent into hell that we see on all sides and the disgusting corruption in the Church today.

Motto of the Bishop of Rome: ¡Hagan lío! That is, "Raise Hell!"
Motto of the Bishop of Rome: ¡Hagan lío!
That is, “Make a mess!

Pope Francis is such a perfect example of this degradation. He is the quintessential Modernist Pope. He will put the finishing touches on the demolition of the Faith and liturgy that have been occurring slowly but surely over these years. Do not be surprised at the end of clerical celibacy, the rapid ascent of women to high posts in the Church, the further destruction of the papacy and the imposition of even more widespread restrictions on the true Mass. Acceptance of divorce and remarriage also. In other words, I expect the full protestantizing of the Church to bring us towards the one world religion so long expected. To understand the changes which are in store, you really must read Attila Guimarães books, Animus Delendi and In the Murky Waters of Vatican II. Actually, if you only had to read one thing, I would recommend Animus Delendi, especially the part where Guimarães details the plans laid out by Hans Kung for the Church of the Future. It is all there, everything that the Progressive Conciliar Church intends for us.

The remedy for all this is the same as it ever has been; we must redouble our daily acts of immolation to the will of Our Suffering Savior. A helpful work for this purpose is Sister Josefa Menedez’ book, ‘The Way of Divine Love”. It is available from Amazon as a Kindle edition and from TAN in paperback. I have both and highly recommend them. I also recommend Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In addition to renewing your consecration on all her feast days, it’s a good idea to renew the preparatory program each year, to coincide with a major feast such as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The essential tools are Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s brown scapular and her Rosary. If at all possible, avoid attending the NO Mass. No matter how reverently it is said, the Novus Ordo was born of a proud and disobedient urge from Vatican II. How many times, in how many ways must Our Lord tell us and show us how offensive pride and disobedience are? We must scrutinize our actions always to avoid those two perils to our soul.


Please, Pray the Rosary and live your Consecration!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved.



The Pope of Islamic Peace


The Pope of Islamic peace

Strange as it may seem, in spite of all the violence and destruction wrought by the relentless islamicization of the West and even of recent violent attacks, we see the Bishop of Rome continuing to defy logic. Note the Vatican’s logo for the Pope’s latest adventure  into  Egypt.

And so we’ll have yet another photo-op assuring persecuted Christians that despite what they are experiencing, islam is really a religion of peace. Sandro Magister’s column yesterday (see here)  is well worth reading.  Citing data from the Pew Research Center, Magister concludes that the population of Egypt is, in fact thoroughly radicalized. Some figures from his article are relevant to this latest papal trek into fantasyland:


The Peace of Allah

♦  75 percent of the Egyptian population maintains that sharia – meaning the system of law derived from the Quran and the Sunnah – is the revealed word of God.
♦  74 percent want sharia to be the law of the state.
♦  74 percent want sharia to be applied not only to Muslims, but also to non-Muslims.
♦  95 want religious judges to decide in disputes over family and property.
♦  70 percent are in favor of corporal punishment for crimes like theft.
♦  81 percent are in favor of stoning for those who commit adultery.
♦  86 percent are in favor of the death penalty for those who leave Islam.
(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

To Magister’s data, we add one citation of our own, which was just offered by a reader: From the secular site The Religion of, the following figures of Islamic attacks on Christians in Egypt in just this month, April:  48 killed, 130 injured for the love of Allah.

It is our position that islam is part and parcel of the “errors of Russia” and that it is supported by the very person, Vladimir Putin, whom useful idiots in the west trumpet as a “Christian leader”. We will post more soon on the Putin-islam connection but for now…

We re-post some excerpts from our article from 2015, Islam and the Errors of Russia:

†  †  †

As the muslim invasion of Europe and America continues towards the islamification of the West, let’s look at the reality of islam in the light of the Fatima prophecy of the Errors of Russia.

The Goal of Islam: Global Domination via Jihad
The Goal of Islam: Global Domination via Jihad

A question was asked of me recently, “Where does islam fit in with the ‘errors of Russia’ “? If, by the errors of Russia, we understand a totalitarian, soul-destroying regime, then, islam fits the bill quite nicely. In fact, Islam and Marxism (dialectical materialism) have much in common.

“Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam… Those who accept Bolshevism become impervious to scientific evidence, and commit intellectual suicide. Even if all the doctrines of Bolshevism were true, this would still be the case, since no unbiased examination of them is tolerated…Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism [Islam] rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.” [Jules Monnerot in “Sociology and Psychology of Communism” quoted by Dr. Andrew Bostom]

In his essay, Dr. Bostom quotes Monnerot to the effect that both Communism and Islam share two major characteristics, conversion and subversion. Both demand total submission and both work tirelessly, undeterred by any adversity, in order to subvert whatever culture impedes the progress of their anti-Christian goal.

Continue reading “The Pope of Islamic Peace”

The Judas Complex and Pope Francis

Odd, isn’t it that Pope Francis has such a tender spot for Judas the betrayer of Christ?  In Monday’s (11/4/2016) homily at Msgr. Ricca’s residence, Pope Francis opined, “It hurts when I read that small passage from the Gospel of Matthew, when Judas, who has repented, goes to the priests and says: ‘I have sinned’ and wants to give … and gives them the coins. ‘Who cares! – they say to him: it’s none of our business!’ They closed their hearts before this poor, repentant man, who did not know what to do. And he went and hanged himself.” (Vatican Radio) [Note: Pope Francis really did call Judas a “poor, repentant man” !]

“…none of them is lost, but the son of perdition…”

To Francis, Judas “repented”, even though Judas never acknowledged his sin to Jesus Christ, who is the One whom he offended. For Francis, Judas’s worldly regret expressed to the “doctors of the law” was sufficient, ignoring Jesus entirely. Odd that this Vicar of Christ seems not to understand that the victim of every sin is Jesus Christ and reparation must be to Him.

So, Pope Francis teaches us, Judas was “this poor, repentant man”. Thus, once again Pope Francis is greater in mercy than Our Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed to His Father, shortly before Judas betrayed Him, “While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name. Those whom Thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled. (John 17, 12)

Thinking on this strange Pope’s even stranger affinity for Judas recalled to mind Father Malachi Martin’s writing about the Judas Complex among the Modernist Churchmen who infest the Church. His 1990 book, “The Keys of This Blood”,  has a final portion titled “Coda, the Protocol of Salvation” which contains a fascinating analysis of the precise situation in which we find ourselves today, under a pope who asserts himself as more merciful and practical than Jesus Christ, whom he insists he represents. Indeed, as he himself reminds us, he is  “by the will of Christ Himself – the supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful”. And that he enjoys, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”.

The term “Coda”  refers to something that ends a work, its completion, and not only refers to the end of the book, but also the completion of the modernist revolution in the Church. In the first chapter of Coda, Fr. Martin explains the Judas Complex, that is, the compromise engaged in by the worldly, pragmatic Judas, who was certain that he was destined to steer Jesus away from His impractical insistence on the spiritual at the expense of the “real concerns of those living in the real world”. Martin writes that initially, Judas was certain that he could, by a “decent compromise, ensure Jesus’ success in the world by compacting with the world’s leaders.”

Continue reading “The Judas Complex and Pope Francis”

True or False Pope?

Often, traditional Catholics focus so strongly on the errors besetting the progressive and conservative Catholics that we may overlook or underestimate the dangers of the sedevacantist threat. Although most of us would rather not discuss it, sedevacantism is an ever-increasing danger to Catholics, not only to traditionals, but also to the awakening mass of conservatives. Up until now, I have dodged discussions over sedevacantism and simply urged others to avoid it like the plague it is. I’m aware of my limitations and when pushed for more information, usually refer inquirers to Dr. Robert Siscoe, John Vennari or John Salza, i.e., someone who can assist them.

That is why I was happy to see that John Salza and Robert Siscoe have written a solid, thoroughly documented refutation of sedevacantism. At 700 pages, it is not exactly a quick read. And for me, will require a lot of work and a great deal of time to get through it. I will not be able to purchase it until after the first of the year, but for now, will share with you some excerpts from a recent interview by Catholic Family News which demonstrates the value of the book, and shows us the scope of the threat posed by sedevacantism. For a full interview and more information on the book, please see:  “TRUE OR FALSE POPE? Refuting Sedevacantism and other Modern Errors”.

A few quotes:

“Siscoe/Salza: The book was originally intended to be a refutation of Sedevacantism alone, but it developed into much more. It addresses and answers virtually all of the difficult questions that are on the minds of Traditional Catholics, and even the conservative Catholics, today. Something else worth noting is that as the book developed systematically, it logically led to the refutation of other errors that depart from Tradition to the Right. In the post-Vatican II era, Traditional Catholics have been fighting against the errors of Modernism and Liberalism that have infected the Church. But, as usually happens, the reaction to these errors of the Left has caused some to overreact in the opposite direction. With the human condition as it is, such a pendulum swing is entirely to be expected. We address a number of these overreactions to the Right, which can be just as dangerous as the errors to the Left – especially for Traditional Catholics, since the errors on the Right appear to be nothing but a refutation of a Liberal error on the Left. The result is that the Traditional Catholics’ sensus fidelium, which is flashing with lights and sirens in response to the errors on the Left, is less likely to alert them to the errors of excess on the Right. The solution to the errors in either direction is a firm adherence to Tradition, which, as St. Vincent of Lerins said, “can never be led astray by any lying novelty” – that is, by a lying novelty on the Right or on the Left.”

Continue reading “True or False Pope?”

Pope Francis Dialogues with Congress

Today we present the transcript of the speech that Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ and leader on earth of the Holy Roman Catholic Church before both houses of the Congress of the United States of America, as reported by CQ-Roll Call. No comments for now,  May God have mercy on us all.

"I wish to dialogue with all of you and I would like to do so through the storytelling of your people."
“I wish to dialogue with all of you and I would like to do so through the storytelling of your people.”


Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, honorable members of the Congress, dear friends, I am most grateful for the invitation to address this joint session of Congress in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I would like to think that the reason for this is that I, too, am a son of this great continent from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility. Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your one responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country by your legislative activity to grow as a nation.

You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.

A political society endures when it seeks as a vocation to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always best to take of the (inaudible) people.

To this you have been invited, called and convicted by those who elect you. Yours is a walk which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of people to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus, to the threshold of dignity of the human being.

Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work. You are asked to protect by means of the law the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human life.

Today, I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here together with the representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest days work, to bring home the daily bread, to save money, and one step at a time to build a better life for their families.

These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They…

They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create initiations to have a helping hand to those who are in need. I would like to end the dialogue with the many elderly persons who store a house of wisdom forged by experience and who seek in many ways especially — to bore on their work (ph), share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active. They keep working to build up this land.

I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations — who are not led astray by factide (ph) proposals, face difficult decisions, often, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many others. I wish to dialogue with all of you and I would like to do so through the storytelling of your people. My visit takes place at the time when men and women of good will are marking their universities (ph) of several great Americans. The complexity of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women for all there are many differences and imitations are enabled by hard work and self- sacrifice, some of the cost of their lives, to build a better future.

They shared fundamental values which endure forever in the spirit of the American people, a people with a great spirit, which can lead to many crisis, conflicts while always finding their resources to move forward and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing an imperfect reality. And from the memory, we are inspired, even amidst the conflict and in the here and now of each day, to draw a plan our deepest who draw uncertainty (ph).

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Doris Day and Thomas Madison.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty who labored tirelessly that this nation under God might have a new birth of freedom. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity (ph) and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of and deeply worried by the disturbing and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities committed even in the name of God and of religion.

We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.

But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against — the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization, which would divide it into these two camps.

We know that in the attempt to defeat of enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of (inaudible) and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you as people reject.

Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice.

We are asked to summon the courage and intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effect of unjust structures and actions are all (inaudible).

Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together as one in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generosity with the common law.

The challenges facing us today call for our a renewal of that speed of cooperation which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity, and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pull our resources and talents as a result to support one another with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today as in the past the voice of faith continues to be heard for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery born of great injustices which can overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Politics is instead an expression of our compelling need to live as one. In order to build as one, the greatest common good that of a community that sacrifices particular interests in order to share in justice and peace (ph), it’s good, it’s interests, it’s social life. I don’t know and underestimate the difficult that this involves but I encourage you in this effort.

Here, I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago, as part of the campaign to fulfill his dream of full civil and political rights for African-Americans.

That dream continues to inspire us all and I am happy that America continues to be for many, a land of dreams…

… dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment; dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of the people (ph).

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent are now fearful of foreigners because most of us…

… because most of us were once foreigners.

I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descendants from immigrants.

Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but we know that it’s very difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.

Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appears to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past.

We must resolve now to live as nobly as — and as justly as possible as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity in a constant effort to do our best. I’m confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This present us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunity. If it’s not what we want for our own children…

… we must not be taken aback by the numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays, to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the golden rule, do unto others as you…

… do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security. If we want life, let us give life. If we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.

The golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.

I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred. Every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty.

Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention of the severance (ph) of Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice, and for the cause for the oppressed was inspired by the gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints, how she marched progress has amazed in this area and so many parts of the world.

How much has been done in this first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty. I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done and in times of crisis and economic hardships, through plenty of global solidarity must not be lost. In this time, I would encourage to keep in name, all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to given hope the fight against poverty and hunger must we fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in this world (ph).

I know that many Americans today as in the past are working to deal with this problem. It goes without saying that parts of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology, and the harnessing of in the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive, and sustainable.

Business (ph) is a noble vocation directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity from the area in which it operates, especially if it assists the creation of jobs as an essential job of its purpose to the common good.

This common good also includes the Earth. A central theme of the encyclical which I recently (inaudible) with all people about our common home. We need a conversation which includes everyone since the environmental challenge we are undergoing and it’s human roots concern and effect us all.

In all that to see, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference, I’m sure.

And I have no doubt that the United States, and this Congress, have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature.

We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology, to devise intelligent ways of developing and limiting our power, and to put technology at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

A century ago, at the beginning of the great war, which Pope Benedict XV termed a pointless slaughter, another notable American was born, the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography, Merton wrote, “I came into the world, free by nature, in the image of God. I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.”

Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions. From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to bear graciousness and help all men and women in any way possible, to do the same.

When countries which have been at all — resume the path of the dialogue, a dialogue which have been interrupted to the most legitimate of reasons, new opportunities open up for all.

Deeds that require and require us, courage and daring, which is not the same as responsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interest of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spread of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader is always open to initiate progress rather than possessing space (ph).

Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being determined to minimize in the long term to end the many hard conflict to help our world.

Here, we have to ask ourselves, why are deadly weapons meaningful to those plan to inflict total suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer as we all know is simply for money.

Money, that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood in the face of the shameful and culpable silence. It is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms drive.

Three sons and one daughter of this land for individuals of all dreams. Lincoln, Liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty and plurality and honest questions; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God. Four representatives of American peoples.

I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the world meeting of families. It is my wish that to hope and visit, and see that the family, should be a reoccurring thing. How essential the family has been to the building of this country.

And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement, yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems.

We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to dream of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks, I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America.


Bre Payton at the Federalist gave a fair review of the speech from a secular standpoint.

Remember, these kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. May God Have mercy on us all!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, intercede for us and for the Church!

One Pope

In an earlier post, “The Suffering Pope”, I spoke of the never before seen situation of two men exercising the office of Pope. Benedict XVI is still retaining the title of Pope “Emeritus” and various theologians and church experts have referred to the “indelible mark” of the papacy. That seemed reasonable to me, as well as very confusing about how the office could be divided between two persons, each claiming to exercise a portion of the office. I am no more knowledgable than my readers, most of us are learning this as we go and looking to those wiser than we are for guidance.

Sandro Magister has recently reposted Professor Roberto de Mattei’s latest article on the complex subject of the true nature of the papacy. Dr. de Mattei has clarified this confusing situation. The entire article is worth reading at Magister’s site:

ONE AND ONE ALONE IS POPE by Roberto de Mattei

Among the multiple and multifaceted statements of Pope Francis in recent days there is one that deserves to be evaluated in its entire scope.

During the press conference held on August 18, 2014 on board the plane that was bringing him back to Italy after his voyage to Korea, the pope said among other things:

 “I think that a Pope emeritus should not be an exception; after so many centuries, this is our first Pope emeritus. […] Seventy years ago bishops emeritus were an exception; they didn’t exist. Today bishops emeritus are an institution. I think that a ‘Pope emeritus’ has already become an institution. Why? Because our span of life increases and at a certain age we no longer have the ability to govern well because our body is weary; our health may be good but we don’t have the ability to deal with all the problems of a government like that of the Church. I believe that Pope Benedict XVI took this step which de facto instituted Popes emeriti. I repeat, perhaps some theologian will tell you that it isn’t right, but that’s what I think. Time will tell if it is right or wrong, we shall see. You can ask me: ‘What if one day you don’t feel prepared to go on?’. I would do the same, I would do the same! I will pray hard over it, but I would do the same thing. [Benedict] opened a door which is institutional, not exceptional.”

The institutionalization of the figure of pope emeritus would therefore seem to be a fait accompli.

Some Catholic writers, like Antonio Socci, Vittorio Messori, and Fr. Ariel Levi di Gualdo, have stressed the problem raised by this unprecedented situation, which seems to accredit the existence of a pontifical “diarchy.” A revolutionary break with the theological and juridical tradition of the Church par adoxically made precisely by the pope of the “hermeneutic of reform in continuity.”

It is no coincidence that the “school of Bologna,” which has always distinguished itself by its opposition to Benedict XVI, greeted with satisfaction his resignation from the pontificate, not only because it removed an unwelcome pope from the scene, but precisely because of that “reform of the papacy” which he is seen as having inaugurated with the decision to take the title of pope emeritus.

The “continuist” hermeneutic of Benedict XVI has thus been overturned with a gesture of strong discontinuity, historical and theological.

The historical discontinuity arises from the rarity of the abdication of a pope, in two thousand years of Church history. But the theological discontinuity consists precisely in the intention to institutionalize the figure of pope emeritus. ***

The first who hastened to provide a theoretical justification for the innovation were above all authors in the progressive vein. Like Fr. Stefano Violi, a professor of canon law at the theological faculty of Emilia Romagna, with the essay “The resignation of Benedict XVI between history, law, and conscience” (“Rivista teologica di Lugano”, XVIII, 2, 2013, pp. 155-166). And like Valerio Gigliotti, a professor of European law at the University of Torino, with the concluding chapter of his book “La tiara deposta. La rinuncia al papato nella storia del diritto e della Chiesa [Tiara down: The resignation of the papacy in the history of law and of the Church]” (Leo S. Olschki, Florence, 2013, pp. 387-432).

According to Violi, in the “Declaratio” with which he announced his abdication on February 11, 2013, Benedict XVI distinguishes the Petrine ministry, “munus,” with an eminently spiritual essence, from its administration or exercise.

“His powers,” Violi writes, “seem to him insufficient for the administration of the ‘munus,’ not for the ‘munus’ itself.” Proof of the spiritual essence of the “munus” is taken as having been expressed in the following words of the “Declaratio” of Benedict XVI:

“I am well aware that this ministry (munus), due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out (exequendum) not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.”

In this passage, according to Violi, Benedict XVI distinguishes not only between “munus” and “executio muneris,” but also between an administrative-ministerial “executio,” carried out in actions and words (“agendo et loquendo”), and an “executio” that is expressed with prayer and suffering (“orando et patiendo”). Benedict XVI is seen as having were announced the active exercise of the ministry, but not the office, the “munus” of the papacy: “The object of the irrevocable resignation is in fact the ‘executio muneris’ through action and word (‘agendo et loquendo’), not the ‘munus’ entrusted to him once and for all.”

Gigliotti also maintains that Benedict XVI, in ceasing to be supreme pontiff, has taken on a new juridical and personal status.

The split between the traditional attribute of “potestas” and the new one of “servitium,” between the juridical and spiritual dimensions of the papacy, is claimed to have opened the way “to a new mystical dimension of service to the people of God in communion and charity.” The “plenitudo potestatis” would be left behind for a “plenitudo caritatis” of the pope emeritus: a third status “with respect both to the condition prior to elevation to the see of Peter and to that of the supreme leadership of the Church: it is the ‘third embodiment of the pope,’ that of operative continuity in the service of the Church through the contemplative way.” * * *

In my judgment, the admirers of Benedict XVI must resist the temptation to endorse these ideas in order to turn them to their advantage.

Among Catholics of conservative orientation, in fact, some are already beginning to murmur that, in the case of a worsening of the religious crisis under way, the existence of two popes would make it possible to oppose pope emeritus Benedict XVI to pope in earnest Francis.

This is a position different from that of the sedevacantists, but it is characterized by the same theological weakness.

In times of crisis one must not look to men, who are frail and fleeting creatures, but to the unshakable institutions and principles of the Church. The papacy, in which the Catholic Church is concentrated in many ways, is founded on a theology whose pillars must be recovered. There is above all one point that must not be ignored. The common doctrine of the Church has always distinguished between the power of orders and the power of jurisdiction. The former is received through the sacraments, the latter by divine mission, in the case of the pope, or by canonical mission in the case of the bishops and priests. The power of jurisdiction stems directly from Peter, who received it immediately from Jesus Christ; all others in the Church receive it from Christ through his vicar, “ut sit unitas in corpore apostolico” (St. Thomas Aquinas, “Ad Gentes” IV c. 7).

The pope is therefore not a superbishop, nor is he the endpoint of a sacramental line that goes from the ordinary priest, through the bishop, up to the supreme pontiff. The episcopate constitutes the sacramental fullness of orders, and therefore no higher character than that of bishop can be imparted. As bishop, the pope is equal to all the other bishops.

What sets the pope above every other bishop is the divine mission that has been handed down from Peter to each of his successors, not by heredity but through an election legitimately carried out and freely accepted. In fact, the one who rises to the pontifical see could be an ordinary priest, or even a layman, who would be consecrated bishop after his election but is pope not from the moment of episcopal consecration, but in the act in which he accepts the pontificate.

The primacy of the pope is not sacramental, but juridical. It consists in the full power to feed, support, and govern the whole Church, meaning the supreme, ordinary, immediate, universal jurisdiction independent of all other earthly authority (art. 3 of the dogmatic constitution of Vatican Council I “Pastor Aeternus”).

In a word, the pope is the one who has the supreme power of jurisdiction, the “plenitudo potestatis,” because he governs the Church. And this is why the successor of Peter is first pope and then bishop of Rome. He is bishop of Rome in that he is pope, and not pope in that he is bishop of Rome.

The pope ordinarily leaves his office with death, but his power of jurisdiction is not indelible and inalienable. In the supreme governance of the Church there in fact exist the “exceptional cases” that theologians have studied, like heresy, physical and moral infirmity, resignation (cf. my article “Vicar of Christ. The primacy of Peter between normality and exception,” Fede e Cultura, Verona, 2013, pp. 106-138).

* * *

The case of resignation was examined above all after the abdication of the pontificate by Celestine V, pope from August 29 to December 13 of 1294. On that occasion a theological debate was opened between those who maintained that the resignation was invalid and those who upheld its juridical and theological foundation.

Among the many voices that were raised to reiterate the common doctrine of the Church must be remembered those of Giles of Viterbo (1243-1316), author of the concise treatise “De renunciatione papae,” and of his disciple Augustine Trionfi of Viterbo, who left us an imposing “Summa de potestate ecclesiastica,” which deals with the problem of the resignation (q. IV) and removal of the pope (q. V). Both Augustinians, but pupils of Thomas Aquinas, they are remembered as fully orthodox authors, among the most fervent supporters of the pontiff’s primacy of jurisdiction against the claims of the king of France and of the emperor of Germany at the time.

In the footsteps of the Angelic Doctor (Summa Theologica, 2-2ae, q. 39, a. 3), they illustrate the distinction between “potestas ordinis” and “potestas iurisdictionis.” The first, which stems from the sacrament of orders, presents an indelible character and is not subject to resignation. The second has a juridical nature and, not bearing the imprint of the indelible character proper to sacred orders, is subject to loss in the case of heresy, resignation, or removal. Giles reiterates the difference between “cessio” and “depositio,” the supreme pontiff not being subject to the second of these except in the case of grave and persistent heresy. The decisive proof of the fact that the “potestas papalis” does not impart an indelible character is the fact that “if this were not so, there could be no apostolic succession as long as a heretical pope remained alive” (Gigliotti, p. 250).

This doctrine, which has also been the common practice of the Church for twenty centuries, can be considered one of divine law, and as such unchangeable.

Vatican Council II did not explicitly reject the concept of “potestas,” but set it aside, replacing it with an equivocal new concept, that of “munus.” Art. 21 of “Lumen Gentium” then seems to teach that episcopal consecration confers not only the fullness of orders, but also the office of teaching and governing, whereas in the whole history of the Church the act of episcopal consecration has been distinguished from that of appointment, or of the conferral of the canonical mission.

This ambiguity is consistent with the ecclesiology of the theologians of the Council and postcouncil (Congar, Ratzinger, de Lubac, Balthasar, Rahner, Schillebeeckx…) who presumed to reduce the mission of the Church to a sacramental function, scaling down his juridical aspects.

The theologian Joseph Ratzinger, for example, although not sharing Hans Küng’s conception of a charismatic and de-institutionalized Church, distanced himself from tradition when he saw in the primacy of Peter the fullness of the apostolic ministry, linking the ministerial character to the sacramental (J.Auer-J. Ratzinger, “La Chiesa universale sacramento di salvezza”, Cittadella, Assisi, 1988).

* * *

This sacramental and non-juridical conception of the Church is emerging today in the figure of pope emeritus.

If the pope who resigns from the pontificate retains the title of emeritus, that means that to some extent he remains pope. It is clear, in fact, that in the definition the noun prevails over the adjective. But why is he still pope after the abdication? The only explanation possible is that the pontifical election has imparted an indelible character, which he does not lose with the resignation. The abdication would presuppose in this case the cessation of the exercise of power, but not the disappearance of the pontifical character. This indelible character attributed the pope could be explained in its turn only by an ecclesiological vision that would subordinate the juridical dimension of the pontificate to the sacramental.

It is possible that Benedict XVI shares this position, presented by Violi and Gigliotti in their essays, but the eventuality that he may have made the notion of the sacramental nature of the papacy his own does not mean that it is true. There does not exist, except in the imagination of some theologians, a spiritual papacy distinct from the juridical papacy. If the pope is, by definition, the one who governs the Church, in resigning governance he resigns from the papacy. The papacy is not a spiritual or sacramental condition, but an “office,” or indeed an institution.

The tradition and practice of the Church clearly affirm that there is one and only one pope, and his power is indivisible in its unity. Bringing into doubt the monarchical principle that rules the Church would mean subjecting the Mystical Body to an intolerable laceration. What distinguishes the Catholic Church from every other church or religion is precisely the existence of a unifying principle embodied in a person and directly instituted by God.

The distinction between governance and the exercise of governance, inapplicable to the pontifical office, could if anything be applied to understand the difference between Jesus Christ, who governs the Church invisibly, and his vicar, who exercises visible governance by divine delegation.

The Church has only one head and founder, Jesus Christ. The pope is the vicar of Jesus Christ, Man-God, but unlike the founder of the Church, who is perfect in his two human and divine natures, the Roman pontiff is a solely human person, devoid of the characteristics of the divinity.

Today we tend to divinize, to absolutize, what is human in the Church, ecclesiastical persons, and instead to humanize, to relativize, what is divine in the Church: its faith, its sacraments, its tradition. This error gives rise to grave consequences also on the psychological and spiritual level.

The pope is a human creature, although he is imbued with a divine mission. Impeccability has not been attributed to him, and infallibility is a charism that can be exercised only under precise conditions. He can err from the political point of view, from the pastoral point of view, and even from the doctrinal point of view, when he does not express himself “ex cathedra” and when he does not present the perennial and unchangeable magisterium of the Church. This does not change the fact that the pope must be given the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a man, and that one should nurture an authentic devotion to his person, as the saints have always done.

One may debate the intentions of Benedict XVI and his ecclesiology, but what is certain is that there can be only one pope at a time and that this pope, in the absence of proof to the contrary, is Francis, legitimately elected on March 13, 2013.

Pope Francis can be criticized, even severely, with due respect, but he must be considered the supreme pontiff until his death or until his eventual loss of the pontificate.

Benedict XVI has renounced not a part of the pontificate, but the whole papacy, and Francis is not a part-time pope, but entirely the pope.

How he exercises his power is, naturally, another discussion. But even in this case theology and the “sensus fidei” offer us instruments for resolving all the theological and canonical problems that may arise in the future.

The bolded parts were added by me, the ellipses were in Magister’s post. Thus, if I understand rightly, what we have is not a papal diarchy, but another disorientation which comes from the false ecclesiology of Vatican II. As Mattei points out, “Benedict XVI has renounced not a part of the pontificate, but the whole papacy, and Francis is not a part-time pope, but entirely the pope.” Here, Professor de Mattei is stating clearly that this attempt by Pope Benedict to institute an entirely post-Vatican II understanding of the papacy in the office of Pope Emeritus is not to be and there is only one Pope, Francis.

And so the spiritual chastisement under Pope Francis continues apace, can the material one be far behind?

Therefore, all the more reason to pray, pray pray for our poor Church.