Church and World
Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals
In January, Pope Francis announced that on Saturday, 14 February, there would be an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals. This was fully expected since the number of cardinals under the age of 80 (and thus able to participate in a conclave to elect a new pope) had dropped to 105, which was below the unofficial number of 120 “voting” cardinals established by Pope Paul VI.
The new voting Cardinals are:
In a press conference after the announcement of the names of the new cardinals, the Holy Father’s press secretary, Father Lombardi, explained the desire of the pope that the College of Cardinals reflect the universality of the Church, hence the choice of cardinals from places with small Catholic populations such as Myanmar (formally Burma) and Tonga.
It is worth noting that two archbishops from traditionally cardinatial Sees were not named to the Sacred College: Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia and Francesco Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice. While Pope Francis’s desire to make the College of Cardinals more international could explain this omission, many have noted that both Chaput and Moraglia are among the more “conservative” bishops in the Church.
Cardinal Burke Gives Another Interview
In early January, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke gave an interview to a representative of the “New Emangelization Project.” The stated purpose of this project is “to address the Catholic ‘Man Crisis’ and the unique evangelization needs of men” and it is about this crisis that Cardinal Burke was questioned.
When asked to give his impression of the current state of men in the Church, His Eminence stated: “I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so. It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized. Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men—the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society.
Cardinal Burke then went on to say, “The goodness and importance of men became very obscured and, for all practical purposes, were not emphasized at all. This is despite the fact that it was a long tradition in the Church, especially through the devotion of St. Joseph, to stress the manly character of the man who sacrifices his life for the sake of the home, who prepares with chivalry to defend his wife and his children, and who works to provide the livelihood for the family. So much of this tradition of heralding the heroic nature of manhood has been lost in the Church today.”
His Eminence also made reference to how this “man crisis” is related to the Sacred Liturgy. He stated: “The Church becomes very feminized.… Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.
“Men are often reluctant to become active in the Church. The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out. As an example, it became politically incorrect to talk about the Knights of the Altar, an idea that is highly appealing to young men. The Knights of the Altar emphasize the idea that young men offer their chivalrous service at the altar to defend Christ in the sacred realities of the Church. This idea is not welcome in many places today. Aspects of the Church’s life that emphasized the man‑like character of devotion and sacrifice have been de-emphasized. Devotions that required time and effort were simply abandoned. Everything became so easy, and when things are easy, men don’t think it is worth the effort. There has been, and continues to be, serious liturgical abuses that turn men off.
“In many places the Mass became very priest‑centered, it was like the ‘priest show.’ This type of abuse leads to a loss of the sense of the sacred, taking the essential mystery out of the Mass. The reality of Christ Himself coming down on the altar to make present His sacrifice on Calvary gets lost. Men are drawn to the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice but tune out when the Mass becomes a ‘priest show’ or trite.
“The rampant liturgical experimentation after Vatican II, much of which was not sanctioned by Vatican II, stripped the Rite of the Mass of much of its careful articulation of the Sacred Mysteries that had been developed over centuries. The Mass seemed to become something very familiar, performed by men; the profound supernatural sense of the Sacred Mystery became obscured.
“The loss of the sacred led to a loss of participation of women and men. But I think that men were really turned off by the loss of the sacred. It seems clear that many men are not being drawn into a deeper liturgical spirituality; today, many men are not being drawn to service at the altar.
“Young men and men respond to rigor and precision and excellence. When I was trained to be a server, the training lasted for several weeks and you had to memorize the prayers at the foot of the altar. It was a rigorous and a carefully executed service. All of a sudden, in the wake of Vatican II, the celebration of the liturgy became very sloppy in many places. It became less attractive to young men, for it was slipshod… I think that this has contributed to a loss of priestly vocations. It requires a certain manly discipline to serve as an altar boy in service at the side of the priest, and most priests have their first deep experiences of the liturgy as altar boys. If we are not training young men as altar boys, giving them an experience of serving God in the liturgy, we should not be surprised that vocations have fallen dramatically.”
In speaking of the Traditional Mass (the “Extraordinary Form”) and its attraction to men in particular, Cardinal Burke said: “It is also clear that many men will respond to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the rite celebrated before the Vatican II Council reforms.
“I have been very struck by the number of young men who were attracted to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass… Men are attracted because the Extraordinary Form is very highly articulated; it demands a man’s attention to what’s happening. Even the use of a hand missal where there’s a verbal accompaniment to the action of the Mass can help a man more fully enter into the Mass.”
Near the end of the interview, His Eminence was asked what advice he would give to priests in order to draw men to the Church. He answered: “First of all, be manly yourself. In other words, cultivate your own manly qualities, because the priest is first and foremost the spiritual father; he is a man. You need to have manly qualities of selflessness, chivalry, and discipline to avoid situations improper for a priest. A priest must have the manly confidence and credibility to be a spiritual father to his flock, giving clear, firm guidance with kindness and charity.
“Secondly, I’d advise priests to give special attention to men and to look for ways to draw men into the life of the Church.”
Professor Roberto de Mattei, a Voice of Catholic Reason
Professor Roberto de Mattei is an Italian historian and a devout Catholic who may be most familiar to readers of The Angelus as the author of The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story. Of late, he has taken to writing short essays on topics of great interest to traditional Catholics, and two of his most recent deserve special attention.
The first was a piece written immediately following the murder of the “journalists” of Charlie Hebdo by Muslims. In it, Professor de Mattei reminds his readers that Islam in general, and the group who sponsored the attack in Paris in particular, are working to destroy Christian civilization and Catholicism. He writes: “The attack on the editorial staff at Charlie Hebdo was carried out to the yell of ‘Allah akbar!’ vindicating Mohammed, insulted by the caricatures, and behind the terrorists’ Kalashnikovs there is a precise vision of the world: the Muslim one.
“It is only now that Western secret services are beginning to take seriously the threats by Abdu Muhamad al Adnani published in a multi-lingual communiqué spread widely on September 21, 2014, by the on-line daily The Long War Journal. ‘We will conquer Rome, we will break its crucifixes, we will make slaves of the women, with the permission of Allah, the Exalted One,’ the spokesman of ‘the Islamic State’ declared to his followers and he didn’t simply replicate the extermination of the ‘infidels’ wherever they may be, but also indicated the procedures: ‘Place explosives in their streets. Attack their bases, irrupt into their homes. Cut off their heads. So that they don’t feel safe anywhere! If you can’t find the explosive or the ammunitions single out the American infidels, the French infidels or any of their allies: smash their craniums with a rock, kill them with a knife, run them over with your cars, hurl them into mid-air, suffocate them or poison them.’
“We have been deluded into thinking that the war in course is not that declared by Islam on the West, but a war that is being fought inside the Muslim world itself and the only way of saving ourselves is to help moderate Islam to defeat fundamentalist Islam, as was written in the Corriere della Sera on January 11th by Sergio Romano, an observer, who is even considered intelligent as well. The most repeated slogan in France is to avoid the ‘amalgam,’ that is, the identification of moderate Islam with radical Islam. However the common aim of all of Islam is the conquest of the West and of the world. Those who don’t share this objective are not moderates, but simply not good Muslims....”
De Mattei then proceeds to remind us as well that it is not only Islam which poses a threat to Christian civilization and Catholicism, but also the secular and relativistic ideas embodied in the likes of Charlie Hebdo. The Professor writes: “From its very foundation, Charlie Hebdo has been a newspaper wherein satire was placed at the service of a philosophy of libertarian life, the roots of it being imbedded in the anti-Christian ideas of the Enlightenment. The French satirical newspaper became famous because of its caricature of Mohammed, but its disgusting, blasphemous vignettes to vindicate homosexual unions should not be forgotten. The editors of Charlie Hebdo can be considered an extreme but coherent expression of the relativist culture now widespread in the entire West, in the same way as the terrorists who slaughtered them can be considered an extreme but coherent expression of the hate against the West by the entire, vast Islamic world.”
This essay concludes with Professor de Mattei reminding all of us of the only sure way to defeat Islam and the Enlightenment secular culture. He writes: “Further, there is only one truth wherein the world may find peace, which is tranquility of order: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in Whom all things must be ordered in Heaven and on earth, so that the peace of Christ is achieved through the Reign of Christ indicated as the ideal of every Christian by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas of December 11, 1925.
“Islam cannot be fought in the name of the Enlightenment and even less so by relativism. The only thing that can oppose it is the natural and Divine law, denied radically by both relativism and Islam. For this reason we are raising the Crucifix which secularism and Islamism reject and we are making of it a banner of life and action.”
The second essay concerns itself with the historical circumstances surrounding the pontificate of Pope John XXII in the 14th century. John XXII, in a number of sermons, denied that the souls of the just enjoyed the Beatific Vision before the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the world, even though this was contrary to the perennial teaching of the Church. He was immediately taken to task by churchmen and theologians of his day for making this heretical statement. It was not until the day before his death that he finally renounced his heresy, but not before he persecuted many of those who called him to repent of his errors. Professor de Mattei concludes this essay with the following:
“On December 20, 1334, Cardinal Fournier was elected Pope, taking the name of Benedict XII (1335-1342). The new Pontiff wanted to close the issue with a dogmatic definition, the constitution, Benedictus Deus of January 29, 1336, where he expresses thus: ‘We, with apostolic authority, define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints…already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment, have been, are and will be with Christ in heaven…and these souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature’ (DS 1000; Dz. 530). It was an article of faith referred to again on July 6, 1439, by the Bull Laetentur Coeli at the Council of Florence (DS, 1305; Dz. 693).
“Following these doctrinal decisions, the thesis sustained by John XXII must be considered formally heretical, even if at that time the Pope sustained that it was still not defined as dogma of faith. St. Robert Bellarmine, who dealt amply with this issue in De Romano Pontifice (Opera Omnia [Venetiis, 1599], Book IV, chap. 14, coll. 841-844), writes that John XXII supported a heretical thesis, with the intention of imposing it as the truth on the faithful, but died before he could have defined the dogma, without therefore, undermining the principle of pontifical infallibility by his behavior.
“The heterodox teaching of John XXII was certainly an act of ordinary magisterium regarding the faith of the Church, but not infallible, as it was devoid of a defining nature. If we had to apply the Instruction Donum Veritatis (May 24, 1990) to the letter, this authentic teaching, even if not infallible, would have had to be received as a teaching given by Pastors, who, through the Apostolic Succession, speak ‘with the gift of truth’ (Dei Verbum, 8), ‘endowed by the authority of Christ’ (Lumen Gentium, 25), ‘by the light of the Holy Spirit’ (ibidem). His thesis would have required the degree of adhesion called ‘offering the full submission of the will and intellect, rooted in trusting Divine assistance to the magisterium’ and thus ‘within the logic of faith under the impulse of obedience to the faith’ (Monsignor Ocariz, Osservatore Romano, December 2, 2011).
“The defenders of Catholic orthodoxy, instead of resisting the Pope’s heretical doctrines openly, would have had to bend to his ‘living magisterium,’ and Benedict XII would not have had to oppose his predecessor’s doctrine with the dogma of faith which declared that the souls of the just, after death, enjoy the Divine Essence with intuitive and direct vision. But thanks be to God, some good theologians and prelates of the time, moved by their sensus fidei, publicly refused their assent to the supreme authority. An important truth of our faith was thus able to be conserved, transmitted, and defined.”
We have, then, from the pen of a fine historian, a reminder that refusing assent to false teaching, even when it comes from the highest ecclesiastical authority, is the right and duty of every Catholic.
Pope Francis to Canonize Blessed Junipero Serra
While flying from Sri Lanka to Manila in the Philippines, Pope Francis stated his intention of canonizing Blessed Junipero Serra, the Franciscan missionary priest who founded the first nine of the twenty-one Californian missions which stretch from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north. It is known that he personally baptized thousands of native peoples whom he brought to the faith and gathered them to live around the various missions he established. Since his death in 1784 he has been recognized for his sanctity, and his grave at the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo mission has been a destination for many pilgrims.
In canonizing Blessed Junipero, Pope Francis is, once again, bypassing the normal process of canonization which would require a further miracle attributed to the Blessed. This “equipollent” canonization has long been recognized in the Church and the rules for such a canonization were established by Pope Benedict XIV (31 March 1675 – 3 May 1758). Specifically, the pope can dispense with the required miracles in the case of someone who has an ancient cultus (reputation for sanctity amongst the faithful), a general constant attestation by trustworthy historians to the virtues or martyrdom of the person, and an uninterrupted fame as a worker of miracles.
To many, the choice of Pope Francis to canonize Blessed Junipero because of his work in converting thousands to the Catholic faith came as a surprise given the Holy Father’s strong aversion to proselytism. One need only read his words proclaimed in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on 25 January 2015 to understand the surprise. Pope Francis stated: “The woman of Sychar asks Jesus about the place where God is truly worshiped. Jesus does not side with the mountain or the temple, but goes deeper. He goes to the heart of the matter, breaking down every wall of division. He speaks instead of the meaning of true worship: ‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth’ (Jn. 4:24). So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome when we put aside all polemical or apologetic approaches, and seek instead to grasp more fully what unites us, namely, our call to share in the mystery of the Father’s love revealed to us by the Son through the Holy Spirit. Christian unity—we are convinced—will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions. When the Son of Man comes, he will find us still discussing! We need to realize that, to plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonizes diversities, overcomes conflicts, reconciles differences….Our shared commitment to proclaiming the Gospel enables us to overcome proselytism and competition in all their forms. All of us are at the service of the one Gospel!”
Even the civil authorities in California have long recognized the great work of Blessed Junipero Serra, though only his humanitarian efforts. One of the two statues for California in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol is of him. It is interesting to note as well that other states have chosen Catholic religious as their representatives in Statuary Hall: Hawaii chose St. Damien of Molokai, Arizona chose Fr. Eusebio Kino, S.J., and Washington chose Mother Joseph of the Sisters of Providence.