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Monday, September 3, 2018

The Great Clarifier Clarifying (What “ideology” exactly, Holiness?)

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There are a lot of things about what is happening now to be glad about. These mostly involve things that are now becoming more widely known and understood by believing Catholics that had previously been obscure. Taken together they are creating what could be termed “paradigmatic” changes – shifts of whole ways of thinking, a framework or paradigm for understanding the issues becoming clear.


It is these frameworks or narratives more than anything which have been manipulated by these powerful men. The point of manipulating people’s minds, as Orwell taught us, is not to replace this or that old idea with a new one, but to make it impossible for the old ideas to be there in the first place, to erase the mental space for old ideas. Like coming out of the Matrix, these things have before now been close to impossible to describe; Catholics had to be shown, and Francis Bergoglio, the Great Clarifier, and all his friends are fulfilling their God-given task better than expected.

Deflection: “Ideology” – what it is and isn’t.
“It’s all about the Culture Wars.”

In the last couple of days we have seen responses from prominent churchmen of the Bergoglian clique, claiming that Vigano’s attempt to expose their misdeeds is based on “ideology”. On August 27th, we heard from the archdiocese of Newark, under Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who expressed his “shock, sadness and consternation” at the Vigano document, which he said, “cannot be understood as contributing to the healing of survivors of sexual abuse.”

“The factual errors, innuendo and fearful ideology of the ‘testimony’ serve to strengthen our conviction to move ahead resolutely in protecting the young and vulnerable from any sort of abuse, while guaranteeing a safe and respectful environment where all are welcome and breaking down the structures and cultures that enable abuse.

“Together with Pope Francis, we are confident that scrutiny of the claims of the former nuncio will help to establish the truth.”

(By the way, and speaking of innuendo, you wouldn’t like to clarify which specific claims of Vigano’s are “factual errors” – and show us some documentation – would you, Eminence?)

This has been a theme of the Bergoglian pontificate too. Francis has repeatedly excoriated certain always-unnamed prelates for adhering to “ideologies.” Speaking in Colombia in January this year, he did it again, blasting “ever-present temptations of making the Gospel an ideology, ecclesial functionalism and clericalism.” Because he had, as usual, declined to define his terms, we have had a difficult time making people understand what this means. (Though Catholic World Report’s Eduardo Echeverria makes some useful points here.) But this week we are able more easily to clarify; Vigano recounted what the pope means by it.

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What exactly is this “ideology”? It seems that it amounts to nothing more than a willingness to confess a supernatural faith, and to say that divine realities – the actual existence of God in the way the Church has always described Him – imposes a grave obligation to conform one’s life, including in public action, to His preferences instead of our own.

“American bishops must not be ideologised.” At their very first meeting, Archbishop Vigano said these were the words of the newly elected pope when Vigano had identified himself as the nuncio to the United States.

Vigano recounts the follow-up meeting he had with the pope:

“I began the conversation, asking the Pope what he intended to say to me with the words he had addressed to me when I greeted him the previous Friday. And the Pope, in a very different, friendly, almost affectionate tone, said to me: Yes, the Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia, (the Pope did not give me the name of the Archbishop) [Charles Chaput] they must be shepherds; and they must not be left-wing — and he added, raising both arms — and when I say left-wing I mean homosexual.’ Of course, the logic of the correlation between being left-wing and being homosexual escaped me, but I added nothing else.”

(All emphases in the original.)

So, it is clarified at last; don’t be “ideological” means don’t be “right wing.” He also clarified that “left wing” means “homosexual,” but we have certainly been able to discern the pope’s personal preference between these two in his curial appointments. Many of the men he has put into place around him are those same prelates Vigano named in his document as part of what the pope would presumably describe as a “left wing” ideological cabal. They have certainly not troubled to hide their effort to push for the abolition of the Church’s doctrine on homosexuality.

Spin and narrative frameworking

And now the narrative spinners have swung into action, in this case the indefatigable obfuscator John Allen at Crux, has announced that the official theme will be, “It’s all just the American Culture Wars.”

Summing it all up, what’s clear is that so far, supportive episcopal comments about Viganò, with the exception of Schneider, have come entirely from the United States, while the relatively few bishops or groups of bishops elsewhere who’ve spoken have all backed the pope.

We’ll have to see if that pattern holds, but it does raise a question about how Catholic leaders in other parts of the world might view this - whether some are tempted to think it’s just another chapter in the American culture wars.

This is how these men in Rome, their journalistic propagandists and the members of their episcopal troupe around the Catholic world, regard the struggle to restore some semblance of moral sanity to secular laws: nothing more than political manoeuvring, “ideology.” This is why we have seen little or nothing from the Francis-cabal about “gay marriage” laws, euthanasia, abortion, etc. These are all merely artefacts of the “ideological” Culture Wars. Nothing to do with “the Gospel” or “the Spirit”.

My own take on the John Allen piece is that it’s just a list of the usual suspects. It does little more than tell us what we already knew: the episcopates of Latin America and Spain are as corrupt a pack of homosexual-enabling Modernists as the Bergoglians themselves[1], and in exactly the same way, and are mostly signalling their desire to be let into the cool kids club.

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If John Allen wanted to convince me there is no support for Vigano outside a tiny rump of ideological “right wing” US bishops, he should have spread his net a bit wider. He names CELAM – the conference of Latin American bishops, of which Bergoglio is acknowledged to be the undisputed king – Maradiaga, a self-proclaimed Marxist, Bergoglio’s C9 mob enforcer who is under grave suspicion himself of financial wrongdoing and the subject of scorn by his own seminarians fed up with predation by homosexuals in his “pink palace” in Honduras; and Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, who is understood to be playing his own, long game with an eye to the Big Chair.

“Ideology” = the Catholic religion

When Raymond Arroyo on EWTN on August 30 asked what he thought of the pope’s comment about “ideology,” Fr. Gerald Murray said, “I found it puzzling because archbishop Chaput was one of the most outstanding bishops in the United States and he was recognized as such when he was moved from Denver to Philadelphia under the previous Pope. To say that his defense of Catholic doctrine is ideology… I’d really like to say to the Pope…‘What do you mean Holy Father? Ideologies are human creations; the doctrine of the faith comes from God.” 

And right here Fr. Murray has put his finger directly on the meaning. The Catholic Faith itself, the idea that doctrine comes directly from God, is regarded by these men as an “ideology.” This is how these godless men, whose “religious” beliefs seem to amount to little more than a vague, greeting-card Deism, describe the Catholic idea that a real God has real preferences about how we behave[2]. And given the climate of the times, that He most especially has real preferences about what we ought to do or not do with our reproductive body parts. That’s the crux of the so-called Culture War; it is in essence merely a rejection of the godless, chaotic and now manifestly destructive Sexual Revolution.

The idea that this effort to re-establish moral sanity in law is “ideology” can only come from an un-Catholic, unspiritual mind that sees the world and all human endeavour exclusively in terms of politics and material concerns, an observation already widely made about Pope Francis. It cannot be surprising that the godless men who have repeatedly demonstrated their rejection of Catholic moral teaching should condemn as ideologues the likes of Vigano and his defenders among the eipscopate who want to defend it.

A pope for the godless

It is also the reason Bergoglio himself has been so warmly received by the godless among the laity, both in and out of the Church. It is not merely that he tells them that God approves their debauchery, their contraception, their divorces, their cohabitation, even their attempts to “change gender,” but that he fundamentally shares their godless assumptions about the nature of reality. There is in him no indication at all that he believes in the Living God. His ideas are founded upon godless principles indistinguishable from those of the godless non-Catholics of the modern godless world. From the beginning he has made it clear that he is their pope, not ours.

So once again, the words and actions of the Bergoglians have helped us to understand something important. The divide in the Church is not between “conservatives” and “liberals” but between believers and godless materialists. Those lining up cleanly on either side of the Vigano event are those who have chosen between these two sides.

This is the nature of the divide in the Church that Traditionalists have been aware of for some decades and have been trying to tell the “conservatives.” This is the divide that just this week is finally being frankly described as a “civil war.” This is the true nature of the de facto schism that “good” bishops have largely tried to hide, paper over or ignore for 50 years.

15 years ago, in many conversations with my colleagues in the pro-life movement and at LifeSite, we discussed how the “sides are lining up.” It was one of the most obvious working principles of what we did. Grasping the existence of this de facto schism in the Church was what made it possible to make sense of all the phenomena we were observing and reporting on. Without this key, the apparently contradictory behaviour of bishops and popes only generates confusion. But we have never found Bergoglio confusing. Indeed, he has been refreshingly forthright. The confusion only comes when one pays attention to what he says alone, instead of watching what he does. The man uses words the way a squid uses ink.

It’s going to take a long time for the putrescence that has been building up and poisoning the Body of Christ all these decades to finish draining. We’ve got years to go yet, but at least now we have finally started. I pray with all my might that the action of Vigano, the findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, and the disgust, rage and horror being expressed by the laity towards the bishops who sat quietly and allowed it all to fester, is just the beginning. McCarrick and his enablers was only one very large, stinking, suppurating abscess that has been lanced and is draining, but there are many, many more to go.


[1] This was more than amply demonstrated by the sacking of prominent Catholic philosopher Joseph Seifert from his Dietrich von Hildebrand Chair at the International Academy of Philosophy by Archbishop Javier Martínez Fernández, of Granada, Spain.

[2] Unless it’s to tell us not to use air conditioning or plastic straws.

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Last modified on Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Hilary White

Our Italy correspondent is known throughout the English-speaking world as a champion of family and cultural issues. First introduced by our allies and friends at the incomparable, Miss White lives in Norcia, Italy.