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La Resistance

Speaking at a conference on the Catholic Family in Limerick Ireland (see here), in the presence of the Bishop of Limerick Dr Brendan Leahy, Cardinal Burke was asked to comment on the Irish government’s referendum on aberro-sexual unions. Even though the Great Cardinal declined to answer the question directly, his indirect answers not only reaffirmed Burke’s bona fide Catholic positions, but his reply struck directly at TeamFrancis’s party platform’s “aberro-sexual policy clause”.

Here is what transpired:

When asked about his position on the Irish Government’s aberro-sexual referendum, the Great Cardinal stated that:

he would refuse Communion to pro-gay marriage Catholic legislators in the same way he did in the case of pro-choice legislators in his native United States.

Clear as the nose on Francis’s face where the Great Cardinal stands. No Bruno ‘slippery as an eel’ Forte he!

But that is not all. To add fuel to the bonfire of TeamFrancis’s vanities, cd. Burke went on to state the “Twelve Words”:

neither Catholic doctrine nor discipline is decided by the votes of bishops.

Clear! Unambiguous! Forceful!

But that was not all. The Great Cardinal went on to call out Francis, AGAIN:

He [cd. Burke] also reiterated his call to the Pontiff, made during last month’s Synod on the Family, to clarify “at this point” where the Catholic Church stands on homosexual relations and on giving Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried couples.

Not only to the casual observer, but to the army of professional Francis apologists… yes, I am looking at you Pollyanna’s, the narrative that cd. Burke doesn’t really want to “challenge” Francis and the “new religion of mercy done on the knees” can safely be put to rest.

Furthermore, the clarity was breathtaking. I cannot remember hearing such a blunt statement of Catholic Magisterial teaching, outside of the SSPX of course, since about 1968. No hide nor hare of the post VII Verrecchian “pseudosacral homopoetic prose” (see here ) can be found in the good Great Cardinals rhetoric. If anyone was still harboring the illusion that cd. Burke is not the real thing, then the Twelve Words should put that puppy to rest. Once again:

neither Catholic doctrine nor discipline is decided by the votes of bishops.

So now that we know the who and what of the Great Cardinal’s speechs, it leaves us with the question of why.

As I have pointed out in the past, the situation in the Vatican in particular and in wider Catholic Church circles, is very tense. Today’s review of the blogoshere and the news services brings us the following confirmations of this FACT.

First, over at Rorate Caeli we have New Catholic posting the translation of an interview of the Italian journalist Sandro Magister. Magister provides us with some insight into the situation on the ground in Italian Church circles (see here):

Q: I’m not a vaticanist, but the sense from the outside is that bewilderment is growing and not only from the hierarchy. What’s more, also in sectors you would certainly not define as traditionalist…

R: This is undeniable. We have leaders in prominent positions, not Lefebvrians, who are making this clear, even if they don’t express it in drastic and antagonistic terms. Not even Cardinal Burke, recently removed from his position as the ex-Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, did so, because there isn’t a prejudicially hostile tendency against the Pontiff. Certainly there are evident manifestations of uneasiness.

In other words, the resistance to Francis is much more broad based than the pro-Bergoglian narratives would suggest. And then Magister provides some insight. His first case in point is the Bishops in the U.S. of A.

Q: What about an example?
R: Take for example the Episcopate in the United States, that is, the bishops of one of the most numerous Catholic populations in the world. In recent years, that Episcopal Conference expressed a coherent and combative line in the public arena, even regarding certain decisions by Barack Obama on ethical issues. A line shared by many prominent prelates. A collective, more than the sum of singles, a management team, we could say…

Q: And so the Americans?
R: They are somewhat uneasy. The Cardinals and Archbishops, like Timothy Dolan from New York, Patrick O’ Malley from Boston, José Gomez from Los Angeles or Charles Chaput from Philadelphia, are all uneasy. This is the episcopate that Burke himself comes from and is certainly not restricted to the marginal traditional circuits, but continues to be part of one of the most solid national Churches.

And meanwhile in Italy:

Q: And also the Italian Episcopal Conference as you said before, appears to be a bit in difficulty.
R: Yes, there are many difficulties in trying to keep up with this Pope. The President, Angelo Bagnasco seems to be the one in most difficulty.

Q: Also since his successor Archbishop of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti has already been indicated. He was made a Cardinal by Bergoglio.
R: But, as far I know also Bassetti is among the Italian bishops who are uneasy.


Q: Among the Italians, the most explicit were perhaps the Milanese, Angelo Scola and the Bolognese, Carlo Caffarra.

R: Yes, they were with their interventions before and during the Synod. But it was all inevitable considering the Pope’s decision to assign the opening of the discussions to Cardinal Walter Kasper, and so this basically was the start of the hostilities .

Q: Why?
R: Because Kasper is proposing again today exactly the same theses defeated in 1993 by John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, the latter being the Prefect of the Holy Office at the time.

So the situation is just as “fluid” in Italy as in the US. Maybe even more so. In previous posts, we have discussed the trials and travails of that most unfortunate of the unfortunately unfortunate members of TeamFrancis, namely Bruno ‘slippery as an eel’ Forte. This blog has tried to point out that bishop Forte, for his efforts and creative writing initiatives, has received a rebuke at the recent Vice President election at the Italian Bishop’s Conference. (See here).

More information and analysis has appeared also on the Rorate Caeli blog in a post titled “The Great Division- Papal Intervention on Franciscans of the Immaculate reaches insanity levels: Commissioner warns Italian bishops in person.” (See here)

The gist of the post is that one Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, the Vatican Commissioner for the institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and a man currently very close to the bishop of Rome, and his Secretary and spokesman, Father Alfonso Bruno were also present at the Italian Bishop’s Conference. Not only were they present, they were on a mission. Their mission was this. Marco Tossoti picks it up from here;

The fact is this: who was walking about amid the bishops who took part of the Church meetings was Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, the Vatican Commissioner for the institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The reason for the presence of the Commissioner was not casual. According to what has been reported by sources worthy of the greatest trust, the Commissioner approached at times one, then another bishop, in order to dissuade them, shall we say, from welcoming in their diocese the Friars of the Immaculate who do not recognize themselves in the new administration of the Order, administered by the Commissioner, but above all by his Secretary and spokesman, Father Alfonso Bruno.

Now if one does not know any better, one could come away with the impression that the good Capuchin friars came to the IBC to make the bishop’s “an offer that they cannot refuse” Or at least the bishops took it that way.

But let us get back to the issue of the unfortunate Bruno Forte’s rebuke. Now how do we know this to be the case? Even the “ulta-progressive” Vaticanist Marco Polti confirms (via RC blog-see here ) what this blog has suspected all along (see here), and that is this, that with the Vice Presdential vote, the one that “brutalized ‘slippery as an eel’ Forte, the IBC gave TeamFrancis and by extension to Francis himself, a “slap upside their collective heads”.

On a funny aside, New Catholic takes a swipe at that “journo-tainer” with red brown nose and all, passing himself off as a serious opinion maker, one John Allen. New Catholic writes:

Despite John Allen’s spin to the contrary as not a big deal, the most ultra-liberal of Italian Vaticanists, Marco Politi, was right to identify it as a major message to the Vatican from Italian bishops who are honestly fed up. In an organization so marked by symbols as the Catholic Church, this symbolic message by those bishops in the Bishop of Rome’s own country, and own region, was a huge deal.

With respect to the above: Ouch!

And yes sports fans (b/t/w, the Italian term is “ultra” as was explained to me by a kind reader named Marco P.), it was a big deal.

But back to the story. NC also highlights the different circles of discontent that resisting TeamFrancis. Here is the relevant text:

There is a general feeling not only of great unease with the direction a strong cabal around the Pope wants to take the Church on moral doctrine, undoing the hard work of Benedict XVI and in particular of John Paul II – a cabal in which Abp. Forte has a strong presence – but also with the heavy-handedness of it all. As Cardinal George is to say in an interview to be released tomorrow, it seems as if there is a desperate rush to implement irreversible change that is hard to understand – George identifies it perhaps with an apocalyptic view of history. (It is not that, though: it is not so hard to understand it when one realizes that ultra-liberal clerics are in a race against time to refashion the Church.) Many bishops are feeling suffocated by the authoritarian fumes, a weight of unproclaimed persecution that is getting on the nerves not only of conservative prelates, but also of very many very moderate bishops, who form the immense majority of Italian bishops. By the way, a similar interpretation of the election of the United States Conference’s four representatives in the 2015 Synod is not off the mark: most U.S. Bishops are also understandably alarmed. Not to mention the Bishops of Poland, in complete resistance to the very notion of the possibility of communion for “remarried” divorcees – the same position of the Bishops of Ghana at the end of their Conference’s assembly this week.

So there you have it. Resistance is wide spread to the “ideology of the church of Francis”. And no better words than the twelve spoken by the Great Cardinal can be stringed together to represent the maxim for the internal Church Resistance.

Closing this post, I can not think of a better conclusion than by just stating again the Twelve Words:

neither Catholic doctrine nor discipline is decided by the votes of bishops.

The battle colors have been unfurled!