January 2017 Print

Church and World

Pope Francis creates 17 New Cardinals

On Sunday October 9, 2016, Pope Francis had announced that he would create 17 new cardinals in a consistory which would be held on November 19, 2016. Of the 17, only 13 are under the age of 80 years and thus are eligible to vote in the next conclave to elect a successor to Pope Francis. The new cardinals are:

Archbishop Mario Zenari, Italy

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Central African Republic

Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, Spain

Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha, Brazil

Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, U.S.A. 

Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario, Bangladesh

Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Venezuela

Archbishop Jozef De Kesel, Belgium

Archbishop Maurice Piat, Mauritius

Archbishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, U.S.A.

Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, Mexico

Archbishop John Ribat, Papua Nuova Guinea

Archbishop Mons. Joseph William Tobin U.S.A.

Archbishop Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Archbishop Renato Corti, Archbishop Emeritus of Novara Italy

Archbishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai, Bishop Emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek Lesotho

Father Ernest Simoni, presbytery of the Archdiocese of Shkodrë-Pult, Scutari, Albania.

The three Americans on the list are all rather interesting in their own right. Archbishop Farrell was named Prefect of the Congregation for Laity, Family, and Life a few weeks before the announcement of the consistory. All Prefects in the Roman Curia are Cardinals, so Farrell being given the “red hat” was to be expected. The other two Archbishops named present a clear message about the particular direction Pope Francis intends to take the Church.

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago was one of Pope Francis’s first episcopal appointments for the United States. He has a long record of favoring the same “reforms” that Pope Francis seems intent upon forcing upon the Church, particularly regarding immigration, the environment, and, most worrying, the Sacrament of Marriage and the reception of Holy Communion by those in adulterous civil marriages. Even though the Archbishop of Chicago has traditionally been raised to the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis’s desire to make the College more international has often led to the omission of naming some archbishops from traditionally cardinatial Sees from the College of Cardinals. It seems the Holy Father’s desire to have likeminded bishops given the “red hat” outweighs his desire to internationalize the College.

Archbishop Joseph Tobin, a member of the Redemptorist Order, is the current Archbishop of Newark, NJ. At the time of his elevation to the College of Cardinals, he was the Archbishop of Indianapolis and previously he was secretary to the Congregation of Religious. In that role he was very instrumental in making sure that the apostolic visitation of all the American Orders of Women Religious became a “non-issue” and facilitated allowing those orders which have all but abandoned traditional religious life (and in some cases have abandoned the Catholic faith—at least in practice) to continue as they are. Tobin’s appointment to the Archdiocese of Newark was announced on November 7, 2016. His elevation to the College of Cardinals is even more interesting since neither Newark nor Indianapolis has ever had one of its archbishops given the “red hat.” Here again we see that Pope Francis is seeking to remake the College of Cardinals by naming bishops who are “on the same page” as he is regarding the nature of the Church. In addition, Tobin is said to have a personality very similar to that of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. It will be very interesting to see how these two Cardinal Archbishops interact with each other since only the Hudson River separates their archdioceses.

Noticeably absent from the list is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. This is the second time Chaput has been passed over even though Philadelphia has a long tradition of its archbishops being made a Cardinal. Although no great lover of the Traditional Mass and a very strong proponent of Religious Liberty (American style), Archbishop Chaput has made it clear that he will not go along with many of the more radical ideas which Pope Francis has put forward over the past three years. This may well be the reason he continues to be passed over in favor of bishops more amenable to Pope Francis’s revolution.

King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa of Rwanda dies

King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the last Catholic king of Rwanda, died at the age of 80 on October 16, 2016. He came to the throne of Rwanda in 1959 and ruled until the abolition of the monarchy in 1961, when he was forced into exile. He eventually came to reside in the United States where he lately worked to raise money to assist the orphans and refugees of Rwanda who were suffering from the results of the tribal warfare which gripped Rwanda for so many years.

The following message was posted on the king’s website: “It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that His Majesty King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, the last King of Rwanda, died early this morning.  He was a devout and dedicated believer and the last anointed African Roman Catholic king to reign over a full country.  Funeral details, the heir to the Royal throne of Rwanda, and related details are being discussed and will be announced in good order.  His Majesty, born as Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa in 1936, took the regnal name of Kigeli V upon his rise to the throne.”

In charity, it is proper to pray for the repose of his soul, but his death is also an opportunity to reflect on the great missionary activity in Africa which brought about the conversion of large sections of that vast continent to Our Lord and His Holy Church. It was through the efforts, aided by Divine grace, of bishops and priests like Archbishop Lefebvre that so many souls were won for our Lord Jesus Christ. In a time when we are faced with a secular world which calls us to make all civilizations of equal value, it is good to remember that it was God’s holy Church which for many decades kept peace amongst the various warring African tribes by giving to the native peoples a Faith which transcended natural human ties. Without the Faith, fallen human nature once again takes over and results in the kind of tribal warfare and genocide which the people of Rwanda experienced in the latter 20th century.

King Kigeli V Ndahindurwa

Norcia’s Basilica of St. Benedict Destroyed

Readers will recall that last August’s earthquake in central Italy caused damage to the interior of the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia (the city of St. Benedict’s birth). The Benedictine monks had hoped to collect sufficient funds to repair the damage caused by the quake—sadly, this was not meant to be. On Sunday, October 30, 2016, another earthquake struck the region, with its epicenter being the town of Norcia itself. The 6.6 magnitude quake completely destroyed the beautiful edifice along with many other buildings in the town. Thankfully, none of the monks were physically injured, but one can only imagine their spiritual pain in seeing the destruction of the place where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered and the Divine Office chanted.

The earthquake was extremely powerful and tremors were felt in Rome itself. Although it is often imprudent to connect natural disasters with other events of a purely human making, it is interesting to note that the Basilica was completely destroyed on the same day that Pope Francis left for Lund, Sweden in order to take part in a joint prayer service with Lutherans to “celebrate” the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt which shook the foundations of the Faith of so many in Europe and later spread its errors to the whole world. Remembering that it was St. Benedict (the Father of Western Monasticism) and the monks of the Order he founded that saved the Faith and Western Civilization following the collapse of the Roman Empire by preserving the spiritual and intellectual treasures of the West, it is no small irony that the basilica in his honor was destroyed on the same day the pope traveled to “celebrate” the event that was the “beginning of the end” of the Catholic Europe. One may rightly ask if it was indeed irony, or something infinitely more telling . . .


Saint Father Jacques Hamel?

The French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered in the sanctuary of his parish church in July of 2016 has had his cause for canonization opened by Pope Francis, waiving the traditional five-year waiting period after a candidate’s death. This action by the Holy Father was announced by the Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, at a special Mass held in the church Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where Father Hamel was killed. The Mass followed the ceremony of purification of the profaned church. It was fairly certain that Pope Francis would take this action since he called the French priest a martyr numerous times in a sermon he gave some weeks before approving the opening of the process of canonization.

With the current “ecumania” that has gripped the Church since Vatican II, it should come as no surprise that His Excellency, Archbishop Lebrun, invited the Muslim residents of the town to attend the ceremony and Mass. It was not immediately reported whether any did attend, but the continual attempt by bishops and even the pope himself to portray Islam as a “religion of peace” and those who perpetrate violence as extremists in the Muslim community staggers the imagination. Aside from the obvious syncretism that this fawning over Islam creates in the minds of Catholics, it also has not served to deter further attacks on Catholics (or the other Christians of the Middle East and Europe). Raymond Cardinal Burke is one notable exception to this fawning (and one can only hope that there are others). In an interview with Il Giornale (an Italian newspaper) he stated: “It is clear that Muslims have as their ultimate goal conquest and power over the world. . . . Islam, through sharia, their law, will rule the world and permit violence against infidels, such as Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith.” Relatively strong words from Cardinal Burke, but readers of this column know well that for his trouble, His Eminence has been effectively sidelined by Pope Francis.

One should also note that for a person to be a true martyr, they have to be killed in hatred of the Faith (odium fidei) and also freely chose to embrace their death for Christ. While there is no doubt Fr. Hamel was murdered in odium fidei, the question of whether he freely embraced his death as a martyr must be proved before he can be declared a martyr saint.


Father Gabriele Amorth, RIP

Father Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome, died in September of 2016 at the age of 91. Father Amorth stated that he performed upwards of 70,000 exorcisms over the 30 years he held his position in Rome. Over the years, some of his statements caused a sensation in the secular press because they were critical of some current fads such as yoga and the Harry Potter series of books, saying that they could open doors to satanic activity. Father Amorth also made it clear that modern society’s fascination with the occult, witchcraft, and spiritualism were also opening more people to possession by evil spirits, and noted that he believed that both Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were both possessed and that many Nazi leaders were actively involved in Satanism. His statements were not limited to just critiques of various things in the secular culture, however. He also made it very clear that he believed that the devil had infested Rome and that the consequences of this could be seen in cardinals who don’t believe in Christ, bishops connected with demons, and the sexual abuse scandal.

At the same time news of Father Amorth was being reported, bishops in both the United States and the United Kingdom were noting the significant rise in cases of satanic possession and the urgent need for more priests to take up the apostolate of exorcism. Although every priest is able to perform the ritual of exorcism by virtue of his sacred ordination, the Church mandates that no priest should perform an exorcism without the permission of his bishop or legitimate superior.