Antonio Socci: We are watching the leaders of the Church work against her‘

Thanks to Church Militant for alerting us to this interview with Antonio Socci in which he highlights the grave dangers and uncertainty facing the Church today:

Antonio Socci

Antonio Socci’s latest book is entitled  Il dio mercato, la Chiesa e l’Anticristo  (The Market As God, the Church, and the Antichrist). It is a passionate and wide-ranging analysis of the present situation of the Church, a situation that is now beyond the limits of sustainability, given the Bergoglian direction and the side-by-side presence of two popes who, although showing each other ceremonial courtesy, say opposing things. 

How should we understand what is happening? And what should we expect to happen next? We have spoken about all this with the author.  

Antonio Socciyour new book opens with a quotation from Joseph Roth:  

The Antichrist has come; clothed in such a way that we, who have become accustomed to waiting for him for years, do not recognize him. He already dwells in our midst, within ourselves. And the heavy burden of his ignoble wings weighs upon us. […] For a long time he has been spreading poison in the innocent souls of our children. But we do not notice!  

After this, you propose a sentence from Noam Chomsky:  

They believe themselves to be the masters of humanity, and unfortunately they are becoming them: the democratic political system has stopped resisting them, paving the way for the unconditional dictatorship of strong economic and financial powers, which now dictate the conditions of our public life. 

So, is the Antichrist already here, and does he have the face of the notorious strong powers? 

Joseph Roth wrote his novel The Antichrist in 1934, at the time of totalitarianism, and he speaks of the Antichrist as an icy poison that infects everyone, corrupting souls and even language itself, which has now lost contact with reality itself and confuses black and white, true and false. “The ideal subject of the totalitarian regime,” wrote Hannah Arendt, “is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but the man for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

Today it seems that we find ourselves in just this situation. It was not by chance that Benedict XVI spoke of the “dictatorship of relativism.” In recent years this dictatorship has become more suffocating than ever. It seems that the light has been extinguished (above all the light of the Church), and it not only seems that the question of the Truth has been swept away (it is even considered inappropriate to recall that Truth exists and that good and evil and the order of creation exist), but it also seems that the evidence is no longer even recognized

It seems we are witnessing the fulfillment of the “prophecy” of Chesterton, who foresaw a time in which it would be considered the end of the world just to affirm that two plus two makes four or that the leaves are green in summer. This ideological climate — in the world and in the Church — obviously has not been created by accident but because the economic, political, and media powers of this world have strongly pushed in this direction. These powers have further desired that the Church no longer speak of the “claim of truth” inherent in the Gospel, and at the same time they have imposed “one right way of thinking” that dogmatically dominates and does not admit any questions or critical discussion.

You know better than me that certain texts of Pope Francis seem like they were written by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Pontifical Academies now regularly invite speakers who are proponents of the New World Order. With this pontificate, the Catholic Church has embraced globalism, immigrationist ideology, political correctness, and the new dogmas imposed by the dictatorship of relativism. But why is this happening? In your opinion, what is in the mind and heart of the Pope and other Catholic proponents of these positions? 

First of all, I would like to recall that in May 2013 at the Lateran, Benedict XVI explained that a Pope cannot and must not use the Chair of Peter to affirm his personal ideas and opinions, but only and always the teaching of the Church, because the Pope is not superior to the Word of God but rather its servant. There should be nothing more to add to this. 

But I imagine that at this point somebody could object to me that Bergoglio has not actually gone outside the Petrine mandate and that he only seeks a pastoral application of the faith that is adapted to the times. But it is clear above all else that the so-called “pastoral revolution” is actually demolishing doctrine itself, thus it is a cunning fiction. 

But you asked me why, and what is in the mind and heart of the present leadership. I will try to respond to this. Naturally no one can judge the intentions of individual consciences. And yet it must be said that when a person acts in good faith he is willing to take into account the dubia [doubts] of those around him, to question himself, and above all to recognize denials of reality. 

In this case it could also be assumed — at the beginning — that the “pastoral” idea of “approaching” the world in order to bring people to the Church was pursued in good faith, but this (equivocal) idea was quickly proven to be unsuccessful during the post-conciliar years — above all in Latin America — and so from the beginning it was clearly a bad path. The bankrupt results of the 1960s and 1970s have been confirmed in the past seven years, but no one has had second thoughts: in fact, it has been proclaimed that the revolution must be carried forward to its completion. 

Well, to err is human, but to persevere in error is diabolical. When we add to these bankrupt results the now-evident ideological submission of the Church to the powers of this world (that are definitely anti-Catholic), and when we also see the iron fist coming down on those people, both religious and lay, who want to remain faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church, I would say that we are watching the leaders of the Church work against the Church. 

There is one question that is very close to your heart and that you have studied thoroughly: the resignation of Benedict XVI. Why did Ratzinger step aside? Is it possible that he did not have any idea what would happen next? Or did he know very well and desire that certain processes already underway would reach extreme consequences in order to better oppose them? 

Also in this case, no one can pretend to know the personal thoughts of Benedict XVI. Certainly Pope Bergoglio was not elected by him, but by a College of Cardinals that clearly had no knowledge of the candidate during a conclave and pre-conclave of which there are many details that still need to be clarified. 

But, as far as what concerns the resignation and his choice to be “Pope Emeritus,” I believe that, based on the documents in hand, it is now clear that Benedict XVI did not intend to resign — or totally resign — the Petrine munus

As Archbishop Ganswein explained in his famous conference at the Gregorian University:

Both before and after his resignation, Benedict understood and understands his task to be a participation in such a “Petrine ministry.” He left the papal throne, and yet, with the step taken on February 11, 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry at all.

There is another passage from Archbishop Ganswein that I would like to highlight

He has not abandoned the office of Peter, a thing which would be completely impossible for him following his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005. 

To me, these seem to be explosive words (and they have never been denied by Pope Benedict). The closest collaborator of Benedict XVI explains to us that for Joseph Ratzinger “the acceptance of the office” of Peter is “irrevocable” and to abandon it is “totally impossible.” Although the Vatican continues to pretend that everything is clear, we the Christian people are allowed to ask questions about what really happened in February 2013 and what is the place of Benedict XVI in the Church today.

In the face of today’s soft totalitarian materialism, the Church ought to stand up in the breach as the last defense of mankind. Instead, she often appears eager to rush to the aid of the dominant powers. What is that all about? Ignorance? The usual old sense of inferiority with respect to the world? Or a pure and simple lack of faith? 

I would distinguish — as the saints have taught us — the Church from the men of the Church. The Church remains the Spouse of Christ, desiring to please God; whereas a good part of the men of the Church show themselves to be very desirous of receiving the applause of the world, that is, of the powers of this world. The thought of God’s judgment does not even seem to cross their minds. 

As you will recall, Paul VI confided his anguish about this situation to his friend Jean Guitton:

There is a great disturbance in this moment in the world and in the Church, and what is in question is the Faith. It often happens now that I repeat to myself the mysterious phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of Saint Luke: “When the Son of Man returns, will he still find faith on the earth?”

And then he continued: 

What strikes me when I consider the Catholic world is that at times within Catholicism a non-Catholic type of thought seems to predominate, and it may happen that in the near future this non-Catholic thought within Catholicism will predominate. But it will never represent the thought of the Church. It is necessary that a little flock continues to exist, no matter how tiny it may be.

And what advice do you want to give to the “little flock”? 

Continually be converted and remain faithful and united: faithful to Christ, faithful to the Church, faithful to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, faithful to the papacy, faithful to what the Church has always and everywhere taught from Saint Peter to Benedict XVI. Bear witness to the truth as Jesus asks of us in the Gospel (that is, heroically), and pray for the repentance of Bergoglio, that he may retrace his steps, correct himself, and not direct the destruction of the Church any further. Finally, pray to Jesus Christ asking him to visibly give a Catholic Pope back to His Church and grant us that he will be able to bear witness for the salvation of the world.

Edited by Aldo Maria Valli 

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino 

Originally published at Aldo Maria Valli’s website.

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The Prisoner of the Vatican

By George Neumayr at The American Spectator:

In one of his last speeches before abdicating in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI decried the liberalism that had seeped into the Church after Vatican II. To this liberalism, he traced “so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized.” But he then proceeded to hand the Church to the very liberals responsible for these problems and to a successor set upon liberalizing the Church even more.

Not long after assuming power, Jorge Bergoglio took a veiled swipe at his predecessor. He told an interviewer that Vatican II had encouraged openness to “modern culture” but that “very little was done in that direction,” a shortcoming he promised to correct: “I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

To accelerate his liberal revolution in the Church, however, Pope Francis had to make sure that his predecessor was under control. He accomplished that by having Benedict live on the Vatican grounds — an arrangement designed to muzzle him that has amounted to turning Benedict into the prisoner of the Vatican.

The deviousness of keeping Benedict confined to Vatican grounds was seen again this last week after it came out that his secretary, no doubt acting on orders from above, put pressure on Benedict to remove his name from a book on clerical celibacy that he had co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah. The secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has served as a kind of jailor, shuttling back and forth between Benedict and Pope Francis. He is said to spend half the day with Benedict and the other half with Francis.

Cardinal Sarah has provided ample documentation proving that Benedict agreed to their co-authored text arguing against loosening the prohibition on married priests. But because media coverage of the book presented it as a polemic against Pope Francis’s upcoming plans to authorize married priests in the Amazon region of Latin America, Gänswein freaked out and bullied Benedict into taking his name off it. It is too bad that Sarah didn’t pull a Viganò and call Gänswein on his dishonest scheming. But out of docility to the pope, he has now gone along with this sham.

It is obvious that this fiasco foreshadows the pope’s authorization of married priests. Otherwise, why would the pope have worried about this co-authored text that merely recapitulates a position both Sarah and Benedict have taken for years? The upshot of the confusing back-and-forth about the book is that Benedict remains a prisoner of the Vatican while the new pope continues to wipe out Benedict’s semi-restorationist legacy.

It has to be said that the passivity of Benedict has made it easy for Gänswein and Pope Francis to control him—a problem that pre-dates his abdication, as Archbishop Carlo Viganò has pointed out in a recent letter. According to Viganò, Gänswein has been manipulating Benedict all along.

“It is time to reveal the control that has been abusively and systematically exercised by Abp. Gänswein towards the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, ever since the beginning of his pontificate,” Viganò writes. “Gänswein has habitually filtered information, assuming the right to judge for himself how much or how little to tell the Holy Father.”

In selecting Gänswein to serve as Benedict’s minder, Pope Francis chose shrewdly. Gänswein has been on the side of the bad guys from the beginning. All the Vatican PR about the two popes “being in continuity,” which Gänswein has been at pains to promote, is bogus. They are not and never were in real continuity. Recall the time the Vatican tried to get Benedict to praise a series of booklets on Pope Francis. The Vatican published a statement from Benedict that made it sound like he was enthusiastic about the series. But then it came out that he had criticized some of the authors of the booklets, because they were his old critics! Benedict was appalled that the Vatican chose contributors from a group of theologians who had formerly smeared him. Gänswein’s job is to nip such problems of miscommunication in the bud and make it seem as if the two popes are two peas in a pod.

Pope Francis and his minions are clearly exploiting the weakness of Benedict too, as in this recent book controversy, where they quickly smacked him down for what they saw as a rebellion against the liberalizing spirit of the Amazon synod. The prisoner of the Vatican had wandered away from this cell, as it were, and they didn’t like it. Panicky papal sycophants told the press last week that it was time for the Church to adopt “rules for ex-popes,” which would curtail their free speech. Never mind that this proposal was coming from the very theological liberals who demanded a right to dissent from Church teaching under the pontificate of Benedict XVI. They were forever going on about the “lack of free speech in the Church.” Now they favor suppressing the free speech of retired popes.

No one is more intolerant than a “tolerant liberal” who rises to the top of an institution, and then immediately denies to others what he once claimed for himself. That is the phenomenon we are witnessing in the Church. Pope Francis and his followers rose to power on the “right to dissent” and now maintain power by denying that right to others.

If the conservative opposition had more Viganòs in it, Pope Francis’s revolution could be blocked. Unfortunately, the candor and courage of Viganò is in short supply within the episcopate. Someone like Sarah, who has been humiliated multiple times (Pope Francis in 2016 sacked twenty-seven members from his department, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments), is loath to rock the boat too much. Francis’s surrogates have no such bashfulness. They bided their time, conducting a long march to the papacy, and “now have the wind at our backs,” as German Cardinal Walter Kasper put it.

Benedict’s resignation paved the way for the very church he feared — one that would trade the teachings of the Church for the spirit of the age — and paved the way for the very pope who embodies that spirit. Francis personifies the “hermeneutic of politics” that Benedict said had corrupted the post-Vatican II Church. Francis is the kind of heterodox, highly political Jesuit Benedict used to censure when he served under Pope John Paul II as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Benedict’s retirement has not been a happy one. He has watched much of the conservative progress from his papacy disappear and be replaced by heterodox flirtations of one kind or another. At the beginning of his pontificate, he had warned of a “dictatorship of relativism.” He now ends his life living as a kind of prisoner under a pope who embraces that relativism.

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Join Fr Z in prayer to the martyred nuns of Nowogródek

I am moved to post this.

It is as if I was dragged for some reason back to my keyboard tonight, after having tried to turn in. A couple of clicks – you know how one thing leads to another – and suddenly I was staring at exactly what I knew I was supposed to be looking at, something I had not know about.

A striking image of nuns being martyred at the hands of soldiers by an open grave.

Blessed M. Stella and her Ten Companions, the The Martyrs of Nowogródek, in Nazi occupied Poland in 1943.  Now Belarus.  They were beatified by St. Pope John Paul II in 2000.  They were Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Their story is powerful. Wiki HERE, more HERE. These sisters had heard that Jews in the village had been taken to be killed. They prayed and offered themselves to God in exchange. The Jews were sent to work camps. The Gestapo then went for the local priest. Again the sisters prayed, saying, “There is a greater need for a priest on this earth than for us. We pray that God will take us in his place, if sacrifice of life is needed.”

Their prayers were answered.

How very small I felt as I read that.

One of the sisters survived, at the command of her superior, in lay guise.   She found her sister’s grave and marked a tree.  Years later she was free to tell her story. HERE

I just learned that there is a house of those sisters not too far to the south of me, in Des Plaines, IL (Chicago).  They look at bit modernized, alas.   Alas, they are LCWR members.  I hope that they will be blessed with some young vocations who have traditional religious aspirations and longevity.

Why, I wonder, was I dragged to learn of these beautiful martyrs tonight, of all nights, the Martyrs of Nowogródek?

I will, tonight at least, ask these blessed sisters to intercede before God for that #UniteTheClans idea that Michael Matt had some time ago, and which I fully endorsed and desire, even as I see an attack on myself on Twitter from one of the very people I pray will relent.

My day began by writing on that initiative.  So, I suppose I should round out my day with that same thought, but hand it over, for tonight, to the Eleven Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek.  I am minded of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne martyred in 1794.  “Mother, permission to die?”  The Terror ended right after their martyrdom.

During his sermon for the beatification of the Eleven, John Paul II said: “Where did these women find the strength to give themselves in exchange for the lives of imprisoned residents of Nowogródek? From where did they draw the courage to accept calmly the death sentence that was so cruel and unjust?” HERE

Our battle for the Church in these troubled time, The Present Crisis, has to be fought on many levels.

What might not be wrought through the intercession of these Eleven Sisters?

The artwork for the Beatification image painted by Jerzy Kumala (1998).

O most blessed Trinity, we praise and thank you for the example of Blessed Mary Stella and Her Ten Companions, Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who by imitating Jesus Christ, offered themselves as a sacrifice of love.
God of mercy and compassion, through the merits of their martyrdom and by their intercession, grant us the grace we humbly ask…(insert intention here)…so that like them, we may witness with our lives to the presence of the Kingdom of God’s love and extend it to the human family throughout the world. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Blessed Martyred Sisters of Nowogródek, pray for us.
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Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A.

Image result for John the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God

Readings: Isaiah 49: 3,5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34

Probably many or maybe even most of us like to have someone travel with us when we make a long journey. It helps to lighten the burden of all the time, energy and stress entailed in getting from point A to point B, whether we travel by car, bus, train or plane.

Our spiritual journey too is enhanced with the help of others. God and the Church untiringly provide many to assist us along the journey through life, and that could be a sermon in itself.

An important “scriptural traveling companion” for the seasons of Advent and Christmas is the prophet Isaiah. The same prophet continues to walk with us in what we call Ordinary Time, the season we have entered upon once again after our great Advent, Christmas and Epiphany celebrations in our sacred liturgy.

What we recounted and hopefully experienced in the liturgy during those weeks was not just things that took place some two thousand years ago, but a living and active involvement of our God in our daily lives. Meeting our God “in the midst of the pots and pans,” as the Spanish Carmelite and mystic Saint Teresa of Avila (who lived from 1515 to 1582) expressed it, wonderfully describes our spiritual journey as well. Another Carmelite mystic, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1614 – 1691), a cook at his Paris monastery, used to pray, “Lord of all pots and pans and things, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.”

In other words, God meets us where we are, not on cloud nine, but in the very throws of our daily struggles and setbacks, our joys and sorrows, progress and growth in faith, hope and love. Again, Brother Lawrence advises, “Make it your study, before taking up any task, to look to God, be it only for a moment.” Brother Lawrence felt that, “everyone is capable of such familiar conversation with God, some more, some less. God knows what we can do. Let us begin, then.” I hope you have read his book, “The Practice of the Presence of God.” It has inspired me for decades.

On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time we hear the prophet Isaiah speaking important words concerning the mission of the Servant-Messiah. The Servant of God is to be light to the nations and the means of universal salvation. Isaiah’s words serve as a fitting introduction to the Good News of the saving mission of our Lord Jesus Christ that we ponder in the Gospel text of this Sunday.

The prophet Isaiah, writing in the eighth century before the birth of Christ, proclaims that God will be honored and glorified in the work of the Servant, who comes for Jew and Gentile alike. Just as the all-embracing love of God was the hope of the people of the old covenant, so too the Servant-Messiah Jesus comes not to offer redemption to just a few, but to all who are willing to hear, convert to God and there find the path of life.

In the second reading for Mass this Sunday, Saint Paul addresses the believers at Corinth. It seems Paul spent about two years there enlivening the faith of the people. After his departure, though, the fervor of the believers began to wane and it was necessary to bolster their faith and encourage the community there. As an “apostle of Jesus Christ,” Saint Paul sees himself primarily as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, now risen from the dead and ascended into heaven.

Saint Paul addresses his hearers as “the Church of God at Corinth,” as well as “God’s assembly,” but perhaps most surprising Saint Paul calls them, a “community of saints,” that is, a people who by a special call from God have been led from the world of sin to a life consecrated as God’s very own people, united with God, because they have been “sanctified in Christ,” as Saint Paul expresses it.

We believe this honor is not reserved to the people of old of Corinth, but extended to all, including us, part of the great community of those who “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (see Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11).

The secret of Saint Paul’s apostolate and proclamation of the resurrection of Christ is not a theoretical, but an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is the guiding principle for all of Saint Paul’s actions and words and should be the inspiration of our thoughts, words and deeds as well. Like Saint Paul, we are meant to truly know Christ as the center of our lives. In Christ to go to the Father, where we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of life in God’s presence, what we call heaven, Paradise, or eternal life.

The Gospel assigned for this Sunday presents John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, as he has come to be known, looking intently at Jesus and declaring, “Behold the Lamb of God.” John says this to an unnamed audience, presumably a group of his own followers, some of whom in fact begin to follow Jesus thereafter.

This important expression, “the Lamb of God,” indicates one who is both leader and victim. The lamb-leader is chosen by God for a specific mission and will especially lead his followers to become God’s very own. The mission of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is to take away, that is, undo the sins of the world. Put in other words, the estrangement from God that people experience as the result of original sin has the possibility of being reversed to union with God, by the sacrifice of the Lamb who gives his life for the sheep.

The witness of Saint John the Baptist is an important one for the revelation to the nations of who Jesus Christ is. The Prophet-Baptizer John is very clear that Jesus ranks ahead of John, for Jesus was before John. In fact from all eternity Jesus was with God and in time born in the flesh. Jesus takes precedence over John, then, and over all humankind, because Jesus is God’s only-begotten Son and the redeemer of the human race.

At the beginning of what we call “Ordinary Time” in the liturgical calendar, which is not to be confused with “uneventful time,” we are invited to greatly rejoice in the tremendous gifts our God has bestowed upon us. We think here especially of the gift of Jesus Christ our Lord, born in time, yet God from all eternity. Jesus remains with us and we remain with him.

In communion with the Holy Trinity we partake of God’s very life in a very special way in the Eucharist, when we receive in faith and eat the very Body and Blood of Christ.

Last Sunday we commemorated the Baptism of the Lord and pondered on the fact of Jesus as the one upon whom the Spirit of God had descended in a singular way. In this same Jesus Christ we are baptized in the fire of the Holy Spirit. We believe the very Son of God was made visible to the nations. This is God’s chosen and beloved one, on whom God’s favor rests, the Messiah.

Let us go out to meet our God who is always extending love and life to us.

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Card. Sarah has met with Benedict XVI as the haters stir “incessant, nauseating, dishonest controversy” #BOOKGATE

The new book, From The Depths Of Our Hearts, has really freaked out some people on the left, including the papalotrous.

US Pre-Order Soon HERE for 12 March 2020 release! – FRENCH HERE

On my flight home the other day, I wrote:

I suspect the reaction of the papalotrous is partly due to their opposition not only to celibacy for priests but their opposition to any sort of sexual control. I can’t shake the suspicion that they think that if priestly celibacy isn’t taken down, then it will be much harder to force a change to the CCC on homosexuality. They have to break the nuptial connection of priest and Church in order to weaken the ends of marriage between one man and one woman. Communion for unrepentant adulterers was a step in the right direction when it comes to the nuptial character of Christ and the Church and the Eucharist. Now they have to bust the priesthood down too.


Here is something that had to happen.

(CP&S: Cardinal Sarah sent out three messages via Twitter in French. These can be viewed on Fr Z’s site in addition to this English translation)

Rendering of the three tweets together:

Because of the incessant, nauseating and dishonest controversies that haven’t stopped since the beginning of the week concerning the book ‘From The Depths Of Our Hearts’, this evening I met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

With Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI we have been able to certify how there is no misunderstanding between us. I came out very happy, full of peace and of courage from this beautiful meeting.

I call upon you to read and to meditate on “From The Depths Of Our Hearts”. I warmly thank my editor, Nicolas Diat, as well as the publisher Fayard, for the precision, probity, seriousness, and professionalism which they have shown. Have a really good read!

So, Card. Sarah met with Benedict.  It seems that Benedict wasn’t deceived.

However, those who hate the content of this book, such as the papalotrous Austen Ivereigh wrote today:

Austen Ivereigh@austeni

Benedict’s secretary has expressly & repeatedly asked for B not to be billed as co-author and insists B did not co-write intro and conclusion. Yet @mabrumley @IgnatiusPress just ignore him. A Catholic publisher dismissing a 92yo former pope’s wishes and requests?








And ultra-lefty partisan for RNS, David Gibson, writes:

David Gibson@GibsonWrites

Another question is whether Ignatius Press has legal rights to Benedict’s text. The emeritus pope assigned all those right to the Vatican and apparently neither Benedict nor the Vatican signed a contract.

Okay. Gibson is supposed to be a journalist and not merely a commentator. If he is going to get legalistic, I wonder if he did any research into the question of whether or not it is a violation of the laws of the Vatican City State to slap someone.

In most places that could be assault. I suppose charges could be set aside in true cases of self-defense, of course. That’s a question worth asking. Did I miss coverage of that question?

There is soooo much speculation from these haters of the content of the Sarah/Benedict book, we may as well join them in wild speculation.

More on the Sarah-Benedict meeting over at LifeSiteNews

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Saint Anthony of the Desert, pray for us!

Saint Anthony of the Desert not only engaged in fierce battles against the devil through prayer and fasting, but they mocked, sneered and abused him. For his triumphs over the devil God promised that he would make his name known everywhere.


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Abp Viganò denounces Benedict’s secretary for ‘abusive and systematic control’ of Pope Emeritus

ROME, January 16, 2020, LifeSiteNews:

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the genesis of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s new book with Benedict XVI on priestly celibacy, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has released a testimony denouncing Archbishop Georg Gänswein for what he calls his “abusive and systematic control” of the pope emeritus.

“It is time to reveal the abusive and systematic control exercised by Archbishop Georg Gänswein over the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI since the beginning of his pontificate,” Archbishop Viganò writes in the one-page testimony released on January 16 (see official English text below).

LifeSite has reached out to Archbishop Gänswein, and will update readers if he responds.

Archbishop Viganò’s testimony follows several days of fierce backlash against the pope emeritus and the cardinal, portraying them as opposed to Pope Francis and undermining his widely anticipated apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod. It also comes after the Archbishop Gänswein openly contradicted Cardinal Sarah’s official account of the genesis of the book, claiming instead that Benedict “did not approve a project for a co-authored book and he had not seen or authorized the cover.”

In the new testimony, Archbishop Viganò asserts that “Gänswein habitually filtered information, arrogating to himself the right to judge how opportune or not it was to send it to the Holy Father.”

Archbishop Gänswein, who currently serves as personal secretary to Benedict XVI and as prefect of the papal household in the current pontificate, has worked alongside the pope emeritus for over two decades. In 1996, Gänswein joined the staff of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in 2003, he replaced Josef Clemens as Ratzinger’s secretary.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, Gänswein was appointed his principal private secretary. In 2012, he replaced Cardinal James Michael Harvey as prefect of the papal household. In this post, the German prelate oversaw the majority of Pope Benedict XVI’s public and private events, correspondence, visitors, and apostolic journeys.

In his January 16 statement, Archbishop Viganò offers two personal experiences he had of Gänswein’s alleged “control” of Benedict, the first as a high-level official in the Vatican Secretariat of State and the second as apostolic nuncio to the United States.

He says what has moved him to take this step is Archbishop Gänswein’s “sensational and slanderous insinuation” against Cardinal Robert Sarah following the release of the new co-authored book, titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church.

In comments to the ANSA news agency on Tuesday, Archbishop Gänswein said he has “acted on instructions from the pope emeritus and asked Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the book’s publisher and request that they remove Benedict XVI’s name as co-author of the book, and remove his signature from the introduction and conclusion.”

“The pope emeritus knew that the cardinal was preparing a book and he sent him a text on the priesthood authorizing him to use it as he wished,” Gänswein continued. But contrary to an official statement released by Cardinal Sarah earlier on Tuesday, the German prelate claimed that Benedict “did not approve a project for a co-authored book, and he had not seen or authorized the cover.”

“It is a misunderstanding that does not raise questions about Cardinal Sarah’s good faith,” he said.

Just a short time after, Cardinal Sarah openly said he stood by his official statement, affirming that it “remains my one and only version of the course of events.”

Ignatius Press, which is publishing the book in English, has stood by the co-authorship and cover.

Here below is the official English text of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony.

* * *

Testimony by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

It is time to reveal the abusive and systematic control exercised by Archbishop Georg Gänswein over the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI since the beginning of his Pontificate.

Gänswein habitually filtered information, arrogating to himself the right to judge how opportune or not it was to send it to the Holy Father.

I can testify that, when Pope Benedict summoned me in audience on April 4, 2011, a few days after I had sent him my first letter (that was later illegally published during Vatileaks), I said to the Pontiff: “I will not speak to you about the situation of corruption in the management of the Papal Villas, since I assume that you have already taken note of the memo on the matter, which I delivered to your secretary for you, in view of this audience.”

The Holy Father, in all simplicity and innocence, and without showing any surprise, said to me: “No, I didn’t see anything.”

I also testify to another event that shows how Monsignor Gänswein controlled information for the Holy Father and conditioned his freedom of action. On the occasion of the canonization of Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha, having requested in writing to the then-prefect of the papal household, Archbishop James M. Harvey, to be received in audience by the Pope, and having received no response, I went to the same Prefect on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, asking him why I had received no response to my request for an audience.

I remember perfectly the circumstance, because Archbishop Harvey suggested that I attend the general audience the next day, so that I could at least greet the Holy Father personally, with the other bishops who were present. Archbishop Harvey answered me with the following words: “Gänswein said to me: ‘Archbishop Viganò is the last person who can approach Pope Benedict!’”

He then added that, at the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI, indicating Gänswein to him with his index finger, exclaimed: “Gestapo! Gestapo!”

This unscrupulous attitude was revealed from the very beginning of his pontificate, also in the determination with which Gänswein managed to distance from the pope his precious assistant and secretary, Ingrid Stampa, whom then-cardinal Ratzinger had wanted at his side for well over a decade after the death of his sister Maria Ratzinger.

Furthermore, it is known that to escape this total control exercised over his person by Gänswein, Pope Benedict often went to visit his previous special secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, inviting Ingrid Stampa to these familial gatherings.

I am issuing this statement following what Archbishop Gänswein asserted in recent days to the ANSA news agency, contradicting what Pope Benedict himself had written in his correspondence with Cardinal Sarah. This statement is a sensational and slanderous insinuation against the most eminent Cardinal Robert Sarah, which he swiftly denied.

Translation by Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews.



More on the Sarah/Benedict XVI book fiasco from LifeSiteNews:

ROME, January 15, 2020 LifeSiteNews:

A Vatican-based journalist has alleged that Pope Francis was “furious” over Pope Benedict’s contribution to a book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah defending priestly celibacy, demanding that Benedict retract his name from the work.

Antonio Socci, an Italian Catholic journalist best known for his coverage of Church news, has reported on social media that Pope Francis was infuriated by the texts in Des Profondeurs de nos coeurs (From the Depths of Our Hearts) supporting priestly celibacy.

“The day before yesterday … the end of the world broke out in the Vatican because Bergoglio was furious,” Socci wrote this Tuesday.

“In fact, that very authoritative pronouncement of Benedict XVI prevents him from taking a pickaxe to ecclesiastical celibacy as he had planned to do in the next post-synodal exhortation,” he continued.

“Thus, [Pope Francis] personally called Archbishop Gänswein, the secretary of Benedict XVI as well as the prefect of Bergoglio’s pontifical household, and ― furious ― ordered him to remove the name of Benedict XVI from the cover of the book …”

“Bergoglio demanded a full and total retraction,” Socci wrote.

“For this reason the first filtered news spoke of sources ‘close to Benedict XVI’ who said that Benedict had neither co-authored a book with Sarah nor approved the cover, that is, his signature on the book,” he continued.

“This, however, was not true, and Benedict XVI could not bring himself to bear false witness implying that Cardinal Sarah had involved him without his consent. Nor had Pope Benedict the least intention of retracting what he had written in defence of celibacy in that volume.”

Socci noted that at the outbreak of the scandal Cardinal Sarah had published his correspondence with the Pope Emeritus that demonstrated that the book was the work of them both and that the book had Benedict’s consent. The Pope Emeritus’ instructions to publishers to downplay his authorship in future editions of the work, however, was allegedly to protect Archbishop Gänswein.

“….Benedict also found it necessary to shelter his secretary from South American ‘vendettas’, given that he had received a peremptory order from Bergoglio,” Socci wrote.

“Thus this compromise solution was adopted: on the cover of future editions of the book the author will be Cardinal Sarah ‘with the contribution of Benedict XVI,” he continued.

“The text in the book, in any case, will remain the same.”

Socci said that this “messy compromise” means that Pope Francis’s “court” are able to tell the media that the Pope Emeritus has retracted his signature from the book, “even though this is not true” and his name still appears on the agreed-upon parts of the work.

“A most ugly story of clerical power that in the end points to a gagging of Benedict XVI,” he remarked.

“However, there remains the underlying question: if Bergoglio, in his exhortation bashes celibacy, with the ordination of ‘viri probati’, which is in fact in direct conflict with the doctrine of the Church recently reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XVI,” Socci stated.

“Thus he assumes responsibility for a most serious breach with heavy consequences.”

The American publisher of the English translation of the work, Ignatius Press, has affirmed the co-authorship of the work. The company’s founder and editor-in-chief, a former student of Joseph Ratzinger, told LifeSiteNews on Monday that claims Benedict had not co-authored the book were “fake news.”

“I just got a call from Cardinal Sarah. He confirms that Pope Benedict is co-author with him,” said Fr. Joseph Fessio.

Ignatius press confirmed Tuesday that it will continue to list the two prelates as co-authors.

According to an official letter written to the bishops of the world, but leaked to LifeSiteNews, Pope Francis wants to publish a final document on the Amazon Synod by early February. One of the most controversial topics of the synod, the possibility of ordaining married aboriginal men in the Amazon to the priesthood, is expected to be addressed in this post-synodal exhortation.

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Vatican: Bishops, Get Ready! The Amazon Fake-Synod Bomb is Coming Up! (Confidential Letter)

“…with the guidance of the Holy Spirit…”

From Rorate Caeli:

Vatican City, 13 January 2020

Your Eminence, Your Grace, Your Excellency:

The Holy Father is preparing a new Apostolic Exhortation to present the New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology as developed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit during the Synod on the Amazon in October last year.

The draft is currently being reviewed and corrected and then needs to be translated. Pope Francis hopes to promulgate it by the end of this month or in early February.

The Exhortation is keenly awaited and will attract great interest and many different responses. Accordingly, as was previously done with Laudato si’ (2015), Amoris Laetitia (2016), Gaudete et Exsultate (2018) and Christus Vivit (2019), the Holy Father would like the local Ordinaries to receive the text directly, before it is published and before the world press starts to comment on it, and join him in presenting the Exhortation and making it accessible to the faithful, to fellow believers and all people of good will, and to the media, the academic world, and others in positions of authority and influence.

With the hope of preparing well, some suggestions are being offered in this first letter. The purpose is not to generate publicity or attract attention. Rather, it is quietly to support you the Ordinary, in communion with Pope Francis, as you prepare to receive the Exhortation and pass it on to the People of God in your jurisdiction. Accordingly, with greatest freedom, please make use of the suggestions insofar as they seem helpful.

A useful way of preparing would be read some of the relevant earlier documents referenced below. In another 10 days or so, you will receive a second letter with further suggestions.

When the day of promulgation draws near, you will receive the Exhortation by email under embargo. On the day itself, there will be a celebratory and communications event in the same Synod Hall where the deliberations took place in October.

You may also want to begin planning a press briefing or a press conference or other event as soon as convenient after the publication of the Exhortation. For example, you may find it opportune to have the Exhortation presented by yourself along with an indigenous spokesperson if relevant in your area, an experienced pastoral leader (ordained or religious, layman or laywoman), an expert on climate or ecology, and a youth involved in peer ministry.

Please keep this letter confidential and share it only with those directly involved in the Diocesan preparation for publication of the Exhortation, not with others or with the media. Please do respect these guidelines. At the same time, please be forgiving if you receive more than one copy of this letter – it seems better to risk duplication rather than fail to reach some dioceses because of poor internet connectivity.

With the sincere hope that this letter has been helpful, let us join in sincere prayer to Our Father of all mercies to bless Pope Francis and all the Bishops in promulgating the Exhortation, and to dispose the People of God in the Amazon and throughout the world to receive it with faith and hope, intelligently and effectively.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, OFM

General Rapporteur of the Synod

President of the Pan Amazonic Church Network (REPAM)

The resources suggested are the following:

The whole “confidential” letter was leaked to LifeSiteNews, which made it available in PDF.

Since the bishops of the rest of the world are not in the Amazon, this bombastic letter makes clear that the Pope’s decisions based on the fake-Synod (whose members were handpicked by him to give him the results that he wanted) will apply to the whole world. 

Including, most likely, the raison-d’être of the fake-Synod, the priestly ordination of married men.

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How it happened that Archbishop Gänswein called me on the phone

Father Georg Gänswein escorts Barrack Obama to meet Bergoglio, March 27, 2014 A. D.

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo at From Rome:

The world has seen two of the most outrageous usurpations of office in the history of humanity, and in the short space of six years, from 2007 to 2013. I speak of the unconstitutional election of a self-proclaimed Kenyan citizen to the Presidency of the United States of America, in violation of the natural born citizen clause (Article II, section 1, clause 5) and of the uncanonical election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff on March 13, 2013 in violation of canon 359 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and Pope John Paul II’s law on papal elections, Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 37, which both forbid the election of a Roman Pontiff when a legal sede vacante has not occurred. (A sede vacante occures with the natural death of the Pope, or his resignation of munus in accord with Canon 332 §2). — For all my reports on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict and why that act did not cause him to lose the Papal Office, see my Index to the Renunciation of Pope Benedict.

It was a poignant moment, then, for the triumph of criminality over law, when Barrack Obama came to the Vatican to meet with Cardinal Bergoglio on Marcy 27, 2014. And in the midst was Father George, Gänswein, at Obama’s right hand (Photo care of the White House).

But the plans of men cannot be hidden from God, nor can they be hidden for long from God’s faithful, moved as they are by the Spirit of Truth who reveals hidden secrets.

Inspired by this Spirit many a faithful Catholic has voiced concerns, criticisms, objections and warnings over the strange happenings of February 2013, when Benedict issued a declaration in the Consistory of Feb. 11th, of that year — called to canonize the Martyrs of Otranto, slaughtered en masse by the forces of the Turks in the 16th century — which was publicized as a renunciation of the papacy, though it was nothing of the kind.

Present on that day, was also George Gänswein, now titular Archbishop of Urbs Salvia.

Mons. Gänswein has been seen as the faithful and devoted personal secretary to Joseph Ratzinger for more than 35 years. Ratzinger spotted him taking coffee at the German Collegium in the Vatican back in the 80’s and asked if he would like to be his secretary, since he needed someone fluent in German and Italian.  Mons. Gänswein holds a doctorate in Canon Law.

For these reasons I have long confided in Gänswein to speak the truth, even if, after his talk at the Gregorian University in 2016, when he clearly said that Benedict XVI still occupied the petrine office and still shared the petrine munus and ministry, I shook my head, because it seems a totally insane thing to say, since at the time, I still operated under the fake news put out that day, that Benedict had resigned the papacy.

But in the Last 18 months, with intense research and investigation, I have come to agree with Gänswein on those same points, because the effect of renouncing the petrine ministry alone, is that Benedict retains the petrine munus and office, and hence, in virtue of these, also the petrine ministry and power of governance, whether he thinks he has or not, and whether anyone else thinks he has, or not.

My Two Letters to Archbishop Gänswein

So, in November, filled with this sense of trust and confidence in the Archbishop, whose personal motto is Testimonium perhibere veritati — To bear witness to the truth — I wrote him a personal letter, in Italian, on the 25th, the English translation of which, I will post here:

I am writing you to request a personal meeting with you so as to put to rest a common doubt, which many Catholics have, who love His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

This doubt regards whether He, in saying minstero in his act of Feb. 11, 2013, had the intention to say muneri.

This doubt lingers because, as much as I know, His Holiness has never been asked in public if he had this intention or not.

Many are of the opinion, that in renouncing the ministry, Pope Benedict’s intention was to retain the munus, because He thinks the munus is the grace and the vocation which he received for always.

Others are of the opinion that in renouncing the ministery, His intention was to renounce the papacy, but not having understood that the ministerium is not the munus on account of the error in the German translation of the Code of Canon Law, in canon 145 §1, He made a substantial error in the renunciation (cf. Canons 126 and 188), because Canon 332 §2 constrains the man who is the pope, in renouncing, to renounce the petrine munus.  Since as Pope He did not concede to himself as Ratzinger a derogation by reason of canon 38, the renunciation remains vitiated. This is what they think.

For these reasons, and because I have written extensively on this topic at and, I think a meeting with your Excellency will help all understand better what has happened.

I am not a journalist I am a consecrated person observing the Rule of Saint Francis, which obliges me in its second precept to uphold the Papacy.

Desiring only to know the truth, and dwelling at Rome, only 10 minutes from the Vatican, I am free at any moment to meet you wherever you like,


Having received no response, I posted another letter to the Archbishop on January 9, at the Vatican Post Office. That letter got a phone response. Here is my English translation of that letter, the original of which was also in Italian:

Your Excellency!

I wish you best wishes on the Seventh Anniversary of your Episcopal Consecration at the hands of Pope Benedict! And I thank you for all that you do for the Holy Father!

I am writing for several reasons:

First, to remind you of my request for a personal meeting with your Excellency to understand better if the Holy Father had intended to renounce the petrine munus or whether he has ever said that he wanted to renounce the petrine munus, as I requested of you in my letter of Nov. 25th.

I make this request for the good of the Church, because I understand that the true pastoral care of the faithful, which save souls, is that which is established on the truth, not on hearsay.

I am also writing you to inform you, that on Dec. 19, I founded The League of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI.  Catholics all over the world are already signed up, by means of 7 blogs which are spreading the invitation. For an Italian explanation see

For an English version see:

Where you can find all the blogs listed who are participating in the English, Italian, Spanish and French speaking worlds.

I founded this League for the reasons described in the announcements and to share with other the grace the Lord gave me the day Pope John Paul II was shot in the Piazza S. Petro years ago, to pray daily for the Holy Father.

Lastly, having had the care of my own mother in her last years of life (she passed away on Nov. 2, 2018, from cortical dementia, her name is Doris) I learned well that the elderly need proper nutrition. I recommend a diet which is rich in protein. In the Bavarian State TV documentary the images of the Holy Father seem to show that he has lost a lot of weight recently, and so I am worried for his health. Also, seeing that my maternal grandfather was a barber, I cannot omit to say that if the Holy Father needs the services of a barber, I am willing to make a donation to pay the barber’s salary.

Sincerely in Saint Francis,

In both letters, at the end, I included contact information. My email and phone number. Little did I think I would ever get a response to my second letter. But I did, and it came by telephone at 10:43 A.M. on the morning of Saturday, January 11, 2020.

Archbishop Gänswein drops me a call

Though I missed the call, the Archbishop was kind enough to leave a message on my voice mail. Since my report here at The From Rome Blog, which is hosted on a website in the USA, is nevertheless readable in the European Union, I cannot share with you the recording of the call, nor give you a transcription of its contents, because that is prevented by privacy laws. However, I can describe in my own words, what I understood by the message left, so that everyone, especially the Cardinals and Bishops, understand how wrong it is to trust in anyone who claims to represent Pope Benedict, and how they need now to go to him in person and ask the most important questions.

I was trained in music as a youth, and so I have a keen ear to musical tones. Everyone’s voice has its own tone, and whether they speak in public or in private, on the phone or before an audience, it is the same tone. For that reason I can say the voice is that of the Archbishop. The voice also identifies itself as such.

My Italian contacts tell me it is clearly the voice of a German, but one which has spoken Italian for quite some time. I think the voice is suffering a little of the influenza that is hitting everyone at Rome right now. So I urge all to pray for the Archbishop’s health of body and soul.

However, sadly, the first thing the voice does is to attempt to gaslight me.

Gaslighting is a trick of mental persuasion usually used by tyrants or manipulators or even pedophiles, whereby the one in the position of power dictates to the one who is a subject how they should view reality. It is usually accompanied by insults or deprecatives which make the person inclined to doubt their own grasp on reality. If the Archbishop knew anything about me, he would know that that trick only works with weak minds who are seeking affirmation from power, which is not me in the least. The comment made also tried to characterize the entirely of my letter in such a light, which is really hard to justify even if you think Benedict is still the pope, because my letter was about much more than that.

To me, the gaslighting was totally uncalled for, and even cruel. I remain shocked that the voice of an Archbishop would be so uncharitable.

The second thing the voice does is to denounce my work of investigating the Renunciation. It says I am wrong and mistaken. This is a remarkable comment, since anyone who viewed the URLs in my letters would know that I am very thorough and back up everything I say with facts. I do not interpret facts, I let them speak for themselves. It then demands that I stop my work investigating the Renunciation.

Since I fear God alone, I can assure you that such a demand will have the opposite effect.

The third thing the voice does, as far as I understand it, is to demand that I and everyone in the League stop praying for Pope Benedict. The voice demands that I pray for Pope Francis. It seems to deny that Benedict is a pope or the pope.

And what is most remarkable, is what is not said by the voice. The voice does not say that it is acting at the bequest of Pope Benedict.

The voice is clearly of a man who is acting out of terror, rashness, imprudence. You can hear the anger and terror. There is even one grammatical mistake in the Italian used. From the logs at my blog, I can safely say that the Archbishop looked at, at least, 5 posts before the phone call came in. He was surfing to my blog using a VPN masking itself as being in the EU not the Vatican. (This is a standard practice at the Vatican now, after the computer raids made by the Vatican Gendarmerie in September). There were no background noises. A slam down of a phone handle can be heard terminating the call.

I could say a thousand things about this phone call. But I will conclude by saying, that in my own judgement, it is a lot easier to answer 2 questions than to threaten someone over the phone. I won’t get into the fact that the voice used a burner phone to make the call, that is, a phone which leaves no trace as to which number was used to make the call. What on earth is an Archbishop doing with such a phone? Such things are used by drug dealers and mafiosi!

In the future, I recommend that if you want to write Pope Benedict, do not send your mail to the Archbishop. I myself now consider that Benedict is clearly imprisoned., and that the Archbishop should be considered a prison warden, more than a personal secretary. The purpose of the imprisonment is this: His captors do not want him to meet with the public or with Cardinals in private, where he is free to express himself, PRECISELY because they do not want him to be asked those 2 questions.

I know why. And I think you can guess too. Others, better than I, have already guessed it too:

Giuseppe Pellegrino@Giusepp20826941

Antonio Socci with Aldo Maria Valli:

As far as what concerns the resignation and his choice to be “Pope Emeritus,” I believe that, based on the documents in hand, it is now clear that Benedict XVI did not intend to resign – or totally resign – the Petrine munus.

20 people are talking about this


And that means, that Benedict is still the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, because the essential act required by canon 332 §2, is a renunciation of the petrine munus.

Please share this article with all Cardinals and Archbishops and Bishops. I think it presents sufficient evidence that they should be concerned about the integrity of information regarding what he did and what it meant, on Feb. 11, 2013.

I will conclude this report by sharing a Video of the Archbishop, June 14, 2017, in which he says clearly the opposite of what he said on the phone to me: I am here principally to share with everyone the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI. (0:17 in the video, in Italian)

POST SCRIPT: Journalists who are in Rome or who come in person to Rome are welcome to hear the recording of the phone call, in my presence. Just leave your contact information in a comment  below. — I have transmitted a copy of the phone call to my private attorney in the USA, so in case anything happens to me, there is legal evidence of the fact.


* In this Article, I have used the English word, “question”, in the sense of a problem which is asked to be responded to, because, as you can see there are no question marks in my letters to the Archbishop.



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+Schneider: ‘One might say that the intervention of Cardinal Sarah has provoked the anger of hell.’

ROME, January 14, 2019, LifeSiteNews:

Bishop Athanasius Schneider is speaking out in strong support of Cardinal Robert Sarah for his new book with Benedict XVI defending priestly celibacy, calling his actions “heroic.”

News of the forthcoming volume, titled “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” was announced on Sunday, receiving a wave of praise but also considerable backlash.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 14 (see full text below), the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan argues that the “slander and lies” directed against the Guinean cardinal only prove that the new volume on priestly celibacy is both “timely” and “necessary.”

Bishop Schneider writes: “One might say that the intervention of Cardinal Sarah has provoked, so to speak, the anger of hell.”

Cardinal Sarah, he says, has “given voice” to numerous bishops, priests and laity, who have been “stifled” by “influential groups” that are lauded by the world but may rightly be numbered among the “enemies of the Catholic Faith.”

In his statement, Bishop Schneider also notes, with regret, the “abandonment” Cardinal Sarah has suffered in recent days, “even by those persons who unambiguously and without human respect should have supported him and his intervention.”

The bishop also maintains that Cardinal Sarah has “proven” by the new book that he is a “true help” to Pope Francis and the Church, and he expresses his hope that the Pope may “effectively and fruitfully” consider the cardinal’s contribution.

He concludes his statement of support, assuring Cardinal Sarah that the “little ones” are grateful to him and close to him in prayer.

In recent months, Bishop Schneider has offered his own forceful defense of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church. In his own new book, “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age,” His Excellency addresses those who advocate ordaining viri probati (i.e. sexually active married men), saying: “If you knew what the Catholic priesthood really is, you would never for any reason whatsoever advocate weakening or abolishing the apostolic tradition of priestly celibacy.”

Here below is the full statement of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in support of Cardinal Sarah and his new book “From the Depths of Our Hearts.”

The book is now available for pre-order from Ignatius Press.

* * *

In Support of Cardinal Sarah and his new book “From the Depths of Our Hearts”

From the depths of the heart, one must thank His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah for his heroic gesture in having written the book “From the Depths of Our Hearts” (original in French: “Des profondeurs de nos coeurs”), and above all for its theologically and pastorally extremely clear and apt content.

With his intervention, Cardinal Robert Sarah has given voice to many bishops, priests and simple faithful throughout the world, whose voice had been stifled by those administrative structures and influential groups within the life of the Church, which are applauded by the powerful worldwide network of the enemies of the Catholic Faith — the Faith of all times.

Some of the enemies of the true, Catholic and Apostolic Faith launched a lightning-fast attack against Cardinal Sarah by means of slanders and lies. This proves that Cardinal Sarah’s intervention was both highly necessary and very timely. One might say that the intervention of Cardinal Sarah has provoked, so to speak, the anger of hell. One might also compare the announcement of Cardinal Sarah’s new volume (and its specific content) with the shock-reaction that Herodes, the High priests, the Scribes and the whole of Jerusalem exhibited at the announcement by the Magi of the birth of the New King of Israel.

The Lord also asks from His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah the sacrifice of having unfortunately and enigmatically been abandoned even by those persons who unambiguously and without human respect should have supported him and his intervention.

One can say with deep conviction that Our Lord, the Church of all times, the Popes of all times, and all the true Catholics of our time, especially the “little ones” in the Church, are grateful to His Eminence and are close to him!

One can wish that Our Holy Father Pope Francis will be grateful for the intervention of Cardinal Robert Sarah, which he made out of authentic love for the Church. One may also wish that Pope Francis will effectively and fruitfully consider the contribution of Cardinal Sarah, since he has so often encouraged free speech and the practice of an Apostolic parresia.

By his intervention, Cardinal Robert Sarah has only fulfilled his grave duty and proven to have been a true help to the Pope and, in this manner, to the entire Church. One can believe that in doing so, he was moved neither by praise nor by threats (nec laudibus, nec timore), thus bearing witness to the symbolism of the red color of the cardinals’ vestments and of their title “Eminence.”

The “little ones” in the Church are surely grateful and pray for His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah.

January 14, 2020

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Mary in Astana



Vatican correspondent, Ed Pentin, unpacks the Benedict XVI-Cardinal Sarah book fiasco

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The firestorm over ‘From the Depths of Our Hearts’

A firestorm seems to have broken out over Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict’s joint book defending priestly celibacy. This has led to the Cardinal publishing the following reply to attacks on him and his integrity:

Translation from Bree Dail.


Cardinal Sarah also published three letters signed by Benedict XVI ( Transcript).

In his first September 20 letter Benedict says that he was asked by Sarah to write a text on celibacy. He says that he has started to write reflections on the priesthood, promising to transmit a text with particular emphasis on celibacy, and allowing Sarah to use this text.

The second October 12 letter conveys Benedict’s text and, again, allows Sarah to use it.

The third November 25 letter approves and praises a manuscript sent by Sarah. Benedict XVI thanks for the elaboration done on his contribution,

“For my part, the text can be published in the form you have in mind.”



Here is CNA’s report on yet another unholy fracas at the Vatican:

VATICAN CITY — Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, said Tuesday the former pontiff was not informed he would be presented as co-author of a new book on priestly celibacy and that Pope Benedict XVI has asked for his name and photo to be removed from the cover.

According to the German-language news agency KNA, Archbishop Gänswein said Jan. 14 that he had called Cardinal Robert Sarah that morning, at Pope Benedict XVI’s request, to ask the book’s publisher to remove the signature of the pope emeritus from the introduction and conclusion, because he had not co-authored them.

Archbishop Gänswein said that the chapter in the main part of the book is, however, “100 percent Pope Benedict XVI,” according to KNA. “It was a misunderstanding – without questioning Cardinal Sarah’s good intentions,” Archbishop Gänswein said.

The book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” is to be released in the United States in February, and will consist of chapters written individually by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah, as well as an introduction and conclusion reportedly credited jointly to them in the French edition, although the text has not yet been published. Its French release is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Archbishop Gänswein said that Pope Benedict XVI wrote the text on priestly celibacy included in the book during the summer of 2019, that he freely gave it to Cardinal Sarah at his request, and that he knew it would appear in a book. He said the pope emeritus was not informed of the plan for the actual form and layout, according to KNA.

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Vatican’s liturgy office, sent a tweet in the early afternoon in Rome Jan. 14 saying future editions of the book will list him alone as author with a contribution by Pope Benedict XVI, “however, the full text remains absolutely unchanged.”

Approximately two hours prior, Cardinal Sarah had tweeted a communique claiming Pope Benedict XVI was sent a “complete manuscript” of the book on November 19, comprised of the cover, the common introduction and conclusion, and their individual texts.

In the same statement Cardinal Sarah said Pope Benedict XVI sent a message November 25 agreeing for the manuscript to be published in the form proposed.

The previous day, on January 13, Cardinal Sarah tweeted a series of letters from Pope Benedict XVI, that seemed to affirm that the pope emeritus wrote the chapter attributed to him and authorized its publication. The letters also seemed to indicate that Cardinal Sarah had edited the text provided by Pope Benedict XVI, with the pope emeritus’ full approval.

In the book, Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah argue that priestly celibacy is not merely an optional feature of Church life today, but an ontological necessity for the priesthood.

Pope Benedict XVI’s chapter in the book examines the history of the priesthood in the Old and New Testaments, saying that a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood is crucial in answering contemporary questions about the priesthood.

(Sources: CNA, Fr Z’s Blog and Gloria TV)


Ignatius Press to keep Benedict XVI listed as coauthor of new celibacy book

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REPORT: Record 3,000 Christian Sites in Europe Vandalized in 2019

This picture taken on October 19, 2016, in Saint-Denis, northern Paris, shows statutes at the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, which is France's royal necropolis, the final resting place of the kings and queens of France. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

ROME — Christian sites in Europe suffered a record number of attacks in the year 2019, with some 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments vandalized, looted, or defaced.

Reports compiling the anti-Christian acts during the year document a range of profanation including arson, defecation, desecration, looting, mockery, Satanism, theft, urination, and vandalism.

“Sadly, 2019 was punctuated by increasing incidents of desecration and vandalism of churches around Europe, along with the 2019 fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, which captured worldwide attention,” the director of The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, Ellen Fantini, told Breitbart News on Saturday.

“In most instances the perpetrators of these acts were unidentified, but the Observatory has documented that churches and other symbols of Christianity in Europe are targets for many groups — from Islamists to radical feminists, LGBT activists to anarchists and self-proclaimed Satanists,” Ms. Fantini said.

In all, some 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments were vandalized, looted or defaced in Europe during 2019, making it a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege.

The greatest number of acts of violence against Christian sites have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments “are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day,” according to reports citing government statistics.

Germany is not far behind, with attacks against Christian churches happening at an average rate of two per day. Meanwhile, attacks on Christian churches and symbols regularly occurred in 2019 in Belgium, the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, and Spain as well.

While the violence overwhelmingly involves Roman Catholic sites and symbols, in Germany, Protestant churches have also been targeted.

Police and mainstream media almost always censor information about the identities and ethnic backgrounds of the perpetrators, so it is difficult to get a clear idea as to who is committing the crimes and the motives behind them — especially when they are religiously driven.

In France and Germany, the sharp rise in anti-Christian attacks has coincided with the recent mass immigration from the Muslim world, yet the lack of official statistics makes it impossible to know precisely how many attacks can be attributed to Islamic anti-Christian hostility.

“European governments and politicians, with a few exceptions, seem reluctant to address this problem,” Ms. Fantini told Breitbart.

Fantini said she agrees with former UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that “the UK and other Western governments have not grappled with the issue perhaps because of a misguided political correctness or an instinctive reluctance to talk about religion.”

In 2019, only nine European states reported hate crime data relating to Christians to the OSCE for their hate crime report, Fantini noted, which is fewer than the number of states that report hate crimes with an anti-Muslim or antisemitic bias.

According to Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, we are “witnessing the convergence of laicism – conceived as secularism, which relegates the faithful only to the private sphere and where every religious denomination is banal or stigmatized – with the overwhelming emergence of Islam, which attacks the infidels and those who reject the Koran.

“On one hand, we are mocked by the media that discredit the action of the Church, in particular regarding sexual abuse, and on the other, there is the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism. These are two joint realities,” he said.


CP&S comment: This shocking report demonstrates what many have seen coming ever since the Protestant revolution split Christendom apart, thus weakening the defences of the only Church Christ founded and that proclaims the fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church. This is the sorry outcome we are now witnessing today: uncontrolled vandalism with desecration of our Catholic patrimony, and a growing persecution and intolerance towards all Christianity here in its very “cradle” which is Europe. Are we going to sit back and let these enemies of Christ destroy what is left of our Christian heritage? Why is this horror taking place totally ignored by the secular media? Why is the Vatican under Francis silent on the matter?

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Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah coauthor book on celibacy, opposing the ordination of married men

Pope Francis pays a pre-Christmas visit to Pope Benedict XVI on Dec. 21, 2018, in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where the retired pope lives. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Gerard O’Connell, Vatican correspondent at America Magazine:

In a move that has stunned many in Rome and is sure to give rise to serious questions far beyond the theme of the book, the emeritus pope Benedict XVI, who will be 93 in April, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, have coauthored a book defending celibacy for priests of the Latin Rite church and expressing their total opposition to the ordination of married men, which was one of the recommendations approved by last October’s Synod for the Pan-Amazonian region. They perceive this opening to the ordination of married men as a great danger to the church.

The authors present themselves “as bishops” in “filial obedience to Pope Francis” who “seek the truth” in “a spirit of love of the unity of the church,” far from “the ideologies that divide” and far from “political maneuvers or power games or ideological manipulations.”

They said it is not possible “to keep quiet” after “the strange synod of the media.”

“We cannot remain silent,” they said, quoting St. Augustine.

They call on the church “not to be impressed” by “the bad advocacies, the diabolical lies, the erroneous ways by which they wished to devalue priestly celibacy” in the media reporting of that synod. The authors claim that “in past months” they came to see that “the strange mediatic synod had prevailed over the real synod,” and this gave rise to their decision to write this text together. “We exchanged ideas and concerns. We prayed and we meditated in silence. Each of our meetings consoled us and calmed us mutually,” they said.

The 175-page book, written in French, is entitled Des profoundeurs de nos couers (From the depths of our hearts) and will be published in France on Jan. 15. Le Figaro, France’s oldest and second most-read daily, broke the news on Jan. 13 and presented some brief excerpts from the book together with background articles by its Vatican expert, Jean Marie Guenois, who sent an announcement of the work to more than 40 journalists from different countries. News of the book’s imminent publication has taken the Vatican by surprise, and it is not yet known whether the authors had informed Pope Francis in advance of their project. One Vatican source (who asked for anonymity) told America he was very surprised because he knows that Benedict XVI is no longer physically able to write.

Another source (who also asked not be identified) said that he had visited the emeritus pope in recent months and noted that while Benedict’s mind is clear it is nonetheless difficult for him to engage in a conversation that lasts longer than 15 minutes. These sources wondered how this book came to be written.

Benedict XVI, who as pope often underlined “the great significance of priestly celibacy” while at the same time opening the door to the entry of hundreds of married Anglican priests into the Roman Catholic Church, writes in the book that “celibacy is indispensable so that our journey to God continues being the basis of our life.”

The book offers a “structured advocacy” justifying priestly celibacy, Mr. Guenois said, and it also sends “a message of support” to priests whom the authors say find their “consecrated celibacy” being ever more called into question. The authors dedicate the book “in homage to the priests of the entire world.”

The book comes on the eve of the publication of Pope Francis’ exhortation following the Amazonian synod, which is expected to be released by mid-February. It is already being perceived as a way of putting pressure on Pope Francis not to open the door, even in a very limited way, to the ordination of mature married men to the priesthood for communities in isolated areas (such as in parts of Amazonia) who are without the Eucharist.

Pope Francis stated categorically in January 2019, in an airborne press conference, that he believes celibacy is “a gift for the church” and that he will not introduce optional celibacy. He said that he only saw the possibility of ordination of married men as an extreme measure to provide the Eucharist to people in remote areas who would otherwise remain without it for long periods.

It is particularly striking that this new book is coauthored by Benedict XVI. When he resigned from the papacy almost seven years ago in February 2013, he publicly committed himself to remaining totally silent from then onwards but has not done so.

Even before the book was published, Vatican officials and cardinals told America that Benedict’s interventions, especially on important issues, raises serious questions regarding the role of an emeritus pope; they expressed concern that such interventions risk undermining the present pope.

Cardinal Sarah, who has distanced himself from Pope Francis on a number of issues, participated fully in the synod and in an address to the synod fathers expressed his firm opposition to any opening to the ordination of married men, as he does in this book.

In Le Figaro, Mr. Guenois wrote that Cardinal Sarah and Benedict XVI share “a great spiritual friendship.” He said that the cardinal frequently visits the emeritus pope and that they began exchanging views in a fuller way at the beginning of 2019.

For some time, he said, Benedict was concerned about the crisis in the priesthood. After his participation during the synod, Cardinal Sarah shared his views on this and other questions with Benedict, and it seems encouraged the pope emeritus to write this book with him.

Benedict addresses the issue head-on in his chapter in the brief book, which is composed of a joint introduction and conclusion penned by Benedict and Sarah, and then a chapter apiece in between. Benedict’s chapter is dense with biblical references and he explains in scholarly terms what he says is the “necessary” foundation for the celibate priesthood that dates from the times of the apostles.

“The priesthood of Jesus Christ causes us to enter into a life that consists of becoming one with him and renouncing all that belongs only to us,” he writes. “For priests, this is the foundation of the necessity of celibacy but also of liturgical prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the renunciation of material goods.”

Marriage, he writes, requires man to give himself totally to his family. “Since serving the Lord likewise requires the total gift of a man, it does not seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously. Thus, the ability to renounce marriage so as to place oneself totally at the Lord’s disposition became a criterion for priestly ministry.”

The joint conclusion of the book makes the case even stronger, acknowledging the crisis of the Catholic priesthood that it says has been “wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the constant questioning of their consecrated celibacy.”

See also today’s BBC headline: Retired Pope Benedict warns Francis against relaxing priestly celibacy rules









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Vatican Take-Over of Convent Fails Again

From Gloria TV:

An attempt to capture the Marradi Dominican Convent, Italy, by some Vatican officials, failed in the morning of January 10, reports.

The Vatican wants to evict the two elderly sisters and one novice and close down the place.

However, the nuns refused to open the doors. The local population came out in their defence, among them former Marradi mayor, Paolo Bassetti, a cousin of Perugia Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the president of the Italian Bishops.

The Vatican emissaries left without having achieved anything.

The worry is that the Vatican aims at taking out one of the sisters who is considered more fragile, hoping that afterwards it will be easier to remove the other two.

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Reflection for the Baptism of the Lord.


Image result for baptism of christ painting


Scripture Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38, Matthew 3:13-17

With today’s liturgical celebration of the Baptism of the Lord the beautiful Christmas season draws to a close. Yes, we monks keep the Manger Scene in church and Christmas decorations up until now, still singing Christmas carols and keeping a festive mood, long after the secular society has ceased, probably as early as December 26th. A pity, when there is still so much to celebrate between Christmas and the Baptism of the Lord! Only the day after the Lord’s baptism do we return to Ordinary Time in the Church’s calendar.

At his Baptism, Jesus’ public ministry begins, with the hidden life at Nazareth for the most part left behind. On this feast the emphasis is on Jesus entering the Jordan River, receiving baptism from John the Baptist and the proclamation of who Jesus of Nazareth is. The work of John the Baptist, baptizing in water only, comes to an end, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire now comes to the fore in the person of Jesus Christ.

While King and Messiah, Jesus is at the same time and always is, servant of all. Endowed with the Holy Spirit, the saving mission of Jesus is realized through meekness and peace. The Lord does not bring oppression, but a reign of justice on earth, a reign that is symbolized in opening the eyes of the blind and bringing freedom to prisoners. God’s covenant and promises of old to our ancestors in the faith are now embodied in Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all people. In a word, Christ is the light of the nations.

In the second lesson at Mass from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter mentions Jesus’ baptism as his  Messianic anointing with the Spirit of God. As God’s Anointed One, Jesus “went about doing good works and healing all who were in the grip of the devil, and God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

It is true that Jesus had God’s Spirit from all eternity and that his being anointed cannot be pinpointed to any particular moment of his life on earth. Nonetheless, the baptism in the River Jordan can be considered as the moment when Jesus’ Messiahship, thus far hidden, is revealed and manifest to the nations, beginning in Israel. The Baptism of Jesus can be called the starting point of his Messianic career or vocation, the beginning of a new stage in the history of salvation.

The Gospels tell us that at the Baptism of Jesus the skies opened, a way of indicating that God is “coming down,” in a tangible way. God’s Holy Spirit is intimately involved in this reality and a the voice from heaven confirms the divine presence in what is taking place, that is, salvation by God, which is what the name, Jesus, literally means. The new and final era in salvation history begins with Jesus, and a new people are and will be until the end of time, born in Christ.

As the Church Year unfolds in the following Sundays of Ordinary Time, we will hear and ponder the words and works of the Spirit-filled Son of God, Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus calls us to faith in himself, which will grow out of continual conversion and turning of self over to God. Thereby we enter God’s Kingdom.

God declares to us whenever we hear Sacred Scripture, the Bible, especially the Gospels, who is the Savior whom God has sent. We pray that we might be more and more be filled with a deep appreciation of the inexhaustible love of God lavished upon us in Jesus Christ.

As we read and hear the Gospels in the coming days, weeks and months, as we ponder Scripture in the solitude of the monastic cell, prayer corner at home or in church, we should be contemplating the presence and person of Jesus of Nazareth, proclaimed as God’s “beloved Son,” in whom God the Father is “well pleased,” as the Gospel today describes it. God’s pleasure also includes our being redeemed in the blood of Christ and being led to eternal life.

We should freely and joyfully (“May God protect me from gloomy saints,” as Saint Teresa of Avila said) commit ourselves to Jesus Christ totally and find our deepest joy and delight in the person and saving power of the Lord.

The grace we received at baptism as children or when we were older, is constantly going to work in our spiritual lives, enlivened by the sacraments we receive throughout our lives, especially the Eucharist and Penance or Confession. Our own baptism, which we should be thinking about on this day of recounting the Lord’s baptism, should make hope in God a reality, who asks us to share the best part of ourselves with the world family of Jesus’ followers, but also with those not of our faith or of no faith.

We end the Christmas season by commemorating the Baptism of Jesus and our own rebirth at baptism. We are enjoying now and for eternity what the prophets and people of old long to see. The eyes of faith open up this possibility.

May the Lord help us in this year already underway, to conform our thoughts, desires, words and actions to the ways of God. May we grow to full maturity as the Lord’s disciples, in good times and bad, in joy and in sorrow, as life unfolds each day.

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