News from Tradition

Mother Angelica dies

Mother Angelica, the Poor Clare nun who founded Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), died on Easter Sunday after years of declining health following a severe stroke towards the end of 2001. Although in the minds of most traditional Catholics, EWTN has become synonymous with the mainstream Novus Ordo Catholic media, it should be noted that Mother Angelica herself had begun to embrace more and more of traditional Catholicism. EWTN began to take on its clearly Novus Ordo identity soon after Mother Angelica relinquished direct control over the network.

In 1993, following a “living” Stations of the Cross, performed in the presence of Pope John Paul II during World Youth Day in Denver, in which a woman portrayed our Lord, Mother Angelica broadcast her famous rebuke of the state of affairs of the Church. Among much else, she said: “They have changed our churches. They have closed them. And now we’re not even allowed to kneel when that awesome Presence comes down into that one little Host. I’m tired of your witchcraft. I’m tired. I’m tired of being pushed in corners. I’m tired of your inclusive language that refused to admit the Son of God is a man. I’m tired of your tricks. I’m tired of your deceits...I’m so tired of your liberal Church....This is not an accident. We’ve swallowed this for thirty years. And I’m tired of it...I’m a Roman Catholic... You spread your errors to children, and our children don’t even know the Eucharist anymore, they don’t understand that it is the Blessed Sacrament, that it’s the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Your catechisms are so watered down. I don’t like your Church. You have nothing to offer. You do nothing but destroy.

Soon after this broadcast, Mother Angelica returned to the traditional habit of the Poor Clares and to her monastery. She also famously critiqued a pastoral letter regarding the Eucharist written by Cardinal Mahony (then the Archbishop of Los Angeles), in which she cited the heresy rampant in the document, and for which she gained much opprobrium from many bishops in the United States.

Clearly, by God’s grace, Mother Angelica had come to see the reality of the supposed “springtime” in the Church ushered in by Vatican II and had the courage to speak out, even though she still embraced the documents of Vatican II. May she rest in peace.

New Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

Pope Francis has appointed French Archbishop Christophe Pierre as the new Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador) to the United States. He replaces the Italian Archbishop Carlo Viganò, who turned 75 in January and had represented the Vatican in Washington since 2011.

The Apostolic Nunciature is a relatively recent position for the US, since formal diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the United States were established only in 1984. Previous to this, the pope was represented in the United States by an Apostolic Delegate. While the Apostolic Nuncio is an ambassador of the Vatican, his role in the United States is mostly confined to ecclesiastical affairs, particularly with the choosing of candidates who are to be named bishops and being the channel by which American bishops communicate with the Holy See.

Archbishop Pierre is only the second French-speaking prelate to represent the Pope in the United States. The only other was the Belgian Archbishop Jean Jadot, who was Apostolic Delegate from 1973 until 1980. It was Jadot who was largely responsible for helping to shape the rather progressive nature of the American episcopate during the waning years of the pontificate of Paul VI.

Cardinal Kasper gives another Interview

On April 22, retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper gave yet another interview to a German newspaper. This interview concerned itself with the intended reforms of Pope Francis and also the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and comes across as the Cardinal taking a “victory lap.” Always haughty in tone, Kasper jubilantly praises the pope for his “humane” approach to the Gospel and for trying to make the Church more “obviously merciful.”

In the interview, it is possible to see the Cardinal stating quite succinctly what Pope Francis intended when he wrote Paragraph 3 of Amoris Laetitia. Kasper states: The door is open [with regard to the admittance of “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments]…There is also some freedom for the individual bishops and bishops’ conferences… Not all Catholics think the way we Germans think… Here [in Germany] something can be permissible which is forbidden in Africa. Therefore, the pope gives freedom for different situations and future developments. Simply put, according to Kasper, mortal sin has now become geographical! This is, unfortunately, not just an “open door” to those living in adulterous civil marriages to receive Holy Communion, but an invitation to each Conference of Bishops to define faith and morals based upon their country’s “culture.” Thus we have the error of collegiality born in Vatican II coming to its full stature and inviting wholesale confusion amongst an already bewildered faithful.

With this understanding of the papacy in relation to the various episcopal conferences, Francis is seemingly setting up a structure which is more in line with the Anglican Communion. Needless to say, this structure has not served the Anglicans well at all, since their “communion” is disintegrating at an alarming pace.

1 Paragraph 3 reads in part: Since “time is greater than space,” I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs.

Euthanasia Deaths are on the Rise

It should come as no surprise that the number of deaths from euthanasia are on the rise in the two countries which have led the way in legalizing assisted suicide: The Netherlands and Belgium. Aside from the obvious attack on the moral law, the most worrying aspect of this rise is the fact that people are being pressured into ending their lives so that their organs can be “harvested” and used to “save” the lives of others.

Over the past number of years, we have been alerted to the current practice of taking the organs from patients declared “brain dead” while they are clinically alive, so that these patients are actually murdered on the operating table. Many families are often pressured to allow this to happen by rather unscrupulous medical professionals, but a new low has been reached when the patient himself is being subjected to pressure to end his life. Additionally, there are some who advocate that the person choosing euthanasia should be able to donate his organs while still clinically alive.

On a much happier note, Abigail Kopf, the fourteen-year-old who was shot in the head by a crazed gunman in February and subsequently declared brain dead by her doctors, began to walk with assistance in her rehabilitation hospital. She is a keen example of why we all must be very wary of medical professionals who rather quickly declare patients “brain dead,” especially when a desire may be there to use the patients’ organs for transplants.

Preacher of the Papal Household praises Martin Luther

The Preacher of the Papal Household, Capuchin Franciscan Father Raniero Cantalamessa, used his Good Friday sermon in St. Peter’s Basilica to, among other things, praise the heretic Martin Luther. Cantalamessa stated: But all of this means nothing if one does not first understand what the term “righteousness of God” actually means. When you hear talk of the righteousness of God and misunderstand this, then there is a risk to be put off by it, rather than feel encouraged. In other words, the righteousness of God is the act by which those people who believe in his son, are justified and made pleasing to him. It is not a matter of making “justification” but “to making the righteous.” To Luther comes the merit of having brought this truth to light again after the Christian message had lost the sense of it for centuries. That is essentially what Christianity owes the Reformation whose fifth centenary will soon take place. About this discovery, the Reformer later wrote: “I felt even reborn entirely and as I had entered through open gates of paradise itself.”

Given the Vatican’s continued efforts to “celebrate” the 500th anniversary of Luther’s rebellion and heresies, which have caused the loss of many souls, Fr. Cantalamessa’s comments should come as no surprise. Over and above everything else, what is most distressing in Cantalamessa’s text is the continuing implication that it was not until Vatican II that the Church “finally got it right” and corrected some 1900 years of errors! This sermon is not the first time Fr. Cantalamessa has made use of this high profile opportunity to praise Protestantism at the expense of Catholic doctrine. He did so on Good Friday of 2013 when he stated: We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger [i.e., the missionary]: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.

Fr. Cantalamessa was appointed Preacher of the Papal Household by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and is a member of the Catholic Delegation for the Dialogue with the Pentecostal Churches.