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Christopher A. Ferrara

Here is what the certified kooks at the Pontifical Council for Culture are defending as an image validly representative of the Vatican's approach to "women's issues”:  a vulgarized, semi-pornographic depiction of Venus in bondage by “Man Ray,” an American fashion photographer and “modern artist” from the Sixties.

Cardinal Ravasi, the vaunted “intellectual” appointed as head of the Council by Pope Francis, refuses to remove the sexually aberrant image from the Vatican website, despite admittedly receiving complaints from the faithful.

During what I have called the Benedictine Respite, the traditionalist movement achieved a long overdue measure of justice from the Roman Pontiff. Benedict XVI liberated the Latin Mass from its forty-year-long false imprisonment, lifted the always dubious “excommunications” of the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), and ordered critical corrections to defects in the vernacular translations of the Novus Ordo Missae that traditionalists had long protested—first and foremost what Msgr. Klaus Gamber (with the future Pope’s approval) rightly called the “truly scandalous” alteration of Our Lord’s words during the first Mass from “for many” to “for all.”

It was Pope Benedict himself who noted with dismay the furious resentment he had provoked within the Church merely by doing justice to the SSPX. As he wrote in his letter to the world’s bishops explaining why he had lifted the excommunications:

(Translated by C. Flemming)

Este artículo es mi visión sobre el impacto que ha tenido el escándalo causado por la reciente conferencia de prensa en el avión que transportaba a Francisco de Manila a Roma. El titular, absolutamente predecible, rezaba: "El Papa Francisco: los Católicos No Tienen que Criar como Conejos." Que se abstengan los objetores de molestarme a mí o a este periódico, hablando de una "mala traducción" o de "todo el contexto" de las palabras del Papa, o con minucias como que "el Papa no dijo criar cono conejos, sino ser como conejos". He visto la entrevista entera en italiano, la he comparado con la transcripción proporcionada por la revista America, y puedo confirmar que el Papa dijo lo que dijo, y que su  "contexto" no sólo no disminuye, sino que empeora el escándalo que ha causado, una vez más por hablar de manera improvisada.

This article is my take on the impact of the latest scandal caused by the latest papal press conference at the back of an airplane: the one during the flight from Manila to Rome, reported around the world under the eminently predictable headline: “Pope Francis: Catholics Don’t Have to Breed Like Rabbits.” Objectors need not pester me or this newspaper with complaints about “bad translation” or the “whole context” of the Pope’s remarks, nor with such quibbles as “the Pope said be like rabbits, not breed like rabbits.” I have watched the entire interview in Italian and compared it with the transcript provided by America magazine and can confirm that the Pope said what he is reported to have said and that its “context” does not diminish but rather only exacerbates the scandal he has caused—yet again—by speaking off-the-cuff.

That is, the scandal caused by Francis telling us what he really thinks, which is supposed to be the great benefit of his insistence on “speaking from the heart” rather than relying on prepared texts like his overly inhibited predecessor.

Bergoglianism now veers into madness. The same Pope who saw fit to use a press conference to condemn as a reckless tempter of God a Catholic mother of eight has just received in a private audience at his residence a woman attempting to become a man through a sex-change operation and her purported “fiancée.” (One account refers to a “wife,” but the “marriage” apparently is awaiting completion of “Diego’s” “gender-reassignment” procedures.)

The Rise of Know-Nothing “Catholic” Journalism

As events make clearer by the day, Pope Francis is attempting to do at the level of the universal Church what he did as rector of the Jesuits in Argentina: impose his idiosyncratic Latin American vision of the Faith, combining dogma-free popular piety with radical progressivism—the latter undermining the former as we see with the mass defections from the Church in Argentina and throughout Latin America.

Only this explains a Pope who tells the common people to be on guard against the deceptions of the Devil at the same time he affirms atheists, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, divorced and “remarried” Catholics and even hypothetical “gay persons” who “seek God” in their respective spiritual conditions as if there were neither a Devil to deceive them nor a Hell to punish sin. Only this explains how one and the same Pope can declare in a homily that “every Christian is called in every circumstance to live a life that is coherent with the faith he or she professes” while arguing that public adulterers should be allowed to be godparents and that their admission to Holy Communion, without renouncing their adulterous relations, is a subject worthy of serious discussion in the Church—exactly contrary to the explicit teaching of John Paul II in a landmark encyclical on marriage and family only 33 years ago.

The “Francis effect” appears to be driving Mark Shea over the edge as he doggedly stays the neo-Catholic course of defending the indefensible no matter how indefensible it becomes. Given a Pope who has just cooperated with the Abortion President to sell out the oppressed Catholics of Cuba, with thanks from both Obama and Cuba’s communist dictator, and who approved a synodal document calling for appreciation of the “positive elements” in concubinage and “valuing” the “orientation” and the “gifts and qualities” of “homosexual persons,” Shea is now faced with a growing army of messengers that have to be shot, including a few cardinals and bishops.

Pope FrancisThe title Man of the Year, bestowed by the mass media on a gender-neutral “Person of the Year,” reflects the impact a public figure has had on world events during the year preceding. Thus it was quite understandable, even predictable, that Time, the world’s leading news magazine, and The Advocate, the world’s most prominent homosexualist publication, would both name Pope Francis “Person of the Year” for 2013. 

Back in November, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter concerning the Year of Consecrated Life he had called for, which began on November 30. At this point in the Bergoglian pontificate it should come as no surprise that this Apostolic Letter on consecrated life says nothing of any substance about consecrated life, but that it does advance the ideology of Bergoglianism, whose essence, as set forth in Evangelii Gaudium, is derogation of “structures which give us a false sense of security… rules which make us harsh judges… habits which make us feel safe” in favor of “the promptings of the Holy Spirit who helps us together to read the signs of the times…” (Evangelii Gaudium, nn. 14, 49). In other words, a form of illuminism quite alien to the Catholic notion of ecclesiastical tradition as the incommutable, organically developed and handed-down embodiment of apostolic tradition—in fact, the real result of the “promptings of the Holy Spirit” throughout the history of the Church.

For nearly two years now Pope Francis has conducted a para-Magisterium in the form of interviews given to left wing, anti-Catholic newspapers. The most notorious of these (“There is no Catholic God…” etc.) was given to the militant atheist Eugenio Scalfari and published in La Repubblica.

The same interview was also posted on the Vatican website as one of the Pope’s speeches, removed from the site, posted again in multiple language versions and then removed again. Defying all efforts by neo-Catholic apologists to explain away the many appalling statements Scalfari attributed to Francis, the Pope has had the interview republished definitively in book form by the Vatican publishing house, along with other interviews and conversations with journalists, Scalfari included.