Letter from a longtime Vatican Watcher
Hope you are well! Thank you for the splendid commentaries you have been sending forth on the Synod. I’m not an ombudsman, but several friends have commented that your writing is the sanest and most godly that is coming from the press. I particularly appreciated your recommendation that the Church leaders go into prayer and ask Pope Emeritus Benedict to speak to them and guide them.
Here are a couple of observations of my own, for what they are worth; first on Cardinal Dolan’s interview, below on the famous letter from the 13 cardinals to Pope Francis. His upbeat frivolity and over-familiarity — “George” and “Francis, our Pope” and other first names — in a public interview is off-putting. There should be more formality (he casually names himself as the voice that suggested to Cardinal Pell to write the letter to Pope Francis). I’ve wondered for some time why Cardinal Dolan has caved on all the important issues of the Lavender Mafia and other causes. If Cardinal Dolan truly was the instigator of the now infamous letter, I can’t help wondering if even Dolan was also the fall-guy for another shadow-hand. Conspiratorial, yes; there are certainly conspiracies in history and in our own time. But my reaction is visceral — I intensely dislike this chummy-chummy, “me and my buddy Francis who appreciates whiskey” language… And the band played on.
Then there’s the ugly manifestation of the outing on the eve of the Synod, which in intention may have been like the KGB tactic of “distracting the target” —anything to keep the bishops from thinking about the task at hand. When Msgr. Krysztof Charamsa publicly announced his gay-lifestyle, I was ashamed, saddened and depressed, especially because of what it must mean not only to the Church, to have the smug censure of the world brought upon the Magisterium and mission, but also, personally, to all those who knew him and worked with him — and trusted him! A woman who worked in Rome and is now living here in the US and has become a friend knew him; we talked about it a few days ago. She said that he was talented with many languages, always polite, quiet, well-spoken, hard-working, and a bit of a loner; the only indication of his aberration was that he tended to giggle. She said that she had the impression that he was looking for the next advancement, for a higher appointment; she wondered — considering the loss of his job and of his vocation — whatever could have made him do it?
We didn’t talk much more then, because I wasn’t ready to think or engage with anybody else about it beyond the certainty that it was clearly intended to distract everyone from the Synod and to tar the CDF’s trustworthiness — as well as to slap Msgr. Scicluna, who has so strongly defended the family as husband,wife and children, even while he’s been trying to be compassionate with irregular situations in the morals and inclinations of others.
But when I did force myself to think about it the next day — calling to mind what I’ve come to know about the Lavender Mafia — I saw clearly that the “outing” was undoubtably part of this bigger manifestation of evil in the present form that is attacking the Church and the people of God.
I already knew that in the 1980s and on into the Millennium, the two cardinals who kept then-Pope John Paul II from knowing the truth about the Legion were very well-paid and rewarded for their service to the Legion’s ambitions…
There is only one explanation that makes any sense as to why a “climber” in the Vatican would call a press conference and make this highly public declaration of gay-lifestyle to the whole world: he was approached by a blackmailer/handler and shown incriminating photos or videos and told that he had two choices, both of which involved his leaving the Vatican post and the priesthood: (1) he would be fired and defrocked when the photos/videos were made public, which was what was threatened, in which case he would have no resources or recourse to carry on his lifestyle, or (2) he could fire himself through this specific announcement, timed at the very beginning of the Synod, and if he made a good show of declaring the “cause for homosexuality” then he would be assured a fine luxury home in the Canary Islands and enough cash to keep him and his boyfriend in style for a long time. Something like that.
You are not alone in what you are doing; you are helping us all to get through this dark and dangerous time. United in prayer. God bless you. Peace be with you.
Francis and Homosexuality
The magazine is beautiful but I was a little surprised (as were my friends) about the October letter to the editor re Pope Francis’ homosexual “soft side,” with no rebuttal by the magazine, which indicates to us that she’s right. We’re wondering what door we live behind that we totally missed this side of Francis. But I must say, we haven’t read in depth about him either.
Okemos, Michigan, USA
“One World religion” is of the Devil
I am a traditional Catholic. We won’t have world peace by bringing all the religions together. That will be the devil’s “one world religion.” We will have true peace only when the Pope and the bishops together consecrate Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. I pray every day for the Holy Father.
Chepachet, Rhode Island, USA
A “Top Ten” Person from 2007 Still Bearing Witness
I don’t know if you remember me, but my name is Brian Boyle, and I was chosen as #4 in the Top Ten People of 2007 in your publication. I just wanted to let you know the impact this has made on my life over the years.
My faith has always been strong. When I was on my deathbed in ICU in 2004, I can still remember being given the last rites, and seeing the intense suffering in the eyes of my parents. I speak about divine intervention because that is the only way I can explain the moment when I was envisioning that I could not go on much further, but my parents were given the strength to know what I was contemplating and were able to inspire me to keep going. It has been 11 years since then and I look at every day as a gift.
Over the years I’ve become a healthcare advocate, helping patients and their families navigate their healthcare journeys, inspiring others to live to their fullest potential while overcoming adversity. I’ve volunteered several thousand hours toward humanitarian relief efforts and blood donation, and was recognized at the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Last year I had the privilege to speak at the Pentagon to the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, and I also regularly speak at Catholic programs to a variety of ages and backgrounds.
I’m finishing up my Master’s in Health Communication at Johns Hopkins University, and in 2013, I proposed to my wife at St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis. I also do events with Catholic schools throughout the country; my first book, Iron Heart, is taught in dozens of schools, and it is a privilege to speak with students about my story and faith background.
I continue to do my best to make you proud of your decision to include me in your list. Thank you for all that you do.
“Come to Belgium!”
Our organization (vzw Artisan) has started a media campaign to invite the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to our village, Nazareth, in Belgium. An article about us appeared recently in the Belgian press. Can you inform us of any opportunities for the Pope to come to Belgium, and visit our city Nazareth in East Flanders? With best regards and greetings from Belgium.
Karel Vande Putte
Team Organization Artisan
In this modern era, we need to respond to the signs of the times, with particular reference to many stories we read about Catholic celibates ending in many troubles and scandals. It may be wise to make a study on this subject and present it with a scientific approach, to settle issues related to celibacy, which is becoming more of a myth these days.
In my research, I am presenting my own experiences as case studies of immodesty, immorality, scandals of various kinds of Catholic Church leaders, which all point to the fact that we are fully human and fully alive – rather than pretending otherwise in the context of wrong beliefs and propaganda.
This appeal, framed scientifically, could be made available to the Holy Father for further study. The synopsis of my research is that “Celibacy must be made optional for the good of all, to end sexual abuse by Catholic priests, with particular reference to the Indian sub-continent.”
J.A. Arockiasamy, Rail Nagar, India
I have a question regarding some things I’ve seen you publish.
It seems like a disproportionately high number of letters to the editor are about the Pope’s supposed failure to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Some of the people writing in seem a bit fringe. I’m wondering why you give valuable space in your magazine to those who persist in believing that St. John Paul II did not do what Our Lady asked, even though Sr. Lucia confirmed Our Lady’s acceptance of the consecration.
I’m also wondering why I saw a full-page advertisement for a conference in Washington, DC, aimed at asking the Pope to do what was already done, namely, consecrate Russia. I was particularly scandalized to see that this conference you advertised will feature a video presentation from Fr. Nicholas Gruner, who, as we all know, is not in good standing with the Church.
I enjoy your magazine very much but I’m beginning to wonder if I should support a periodical that so routinely gives voice to those within the Church who are unhelpful at best and delusional at worst. Thank you for explaining this situation to me.
Dennis Di Benedetto
On the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
An item in your August-September issue referred to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception being placed under the direction of an apostolic commissioner, and to the fact that Pope Francis required all the friars “to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite,” and that use of the extraordinary form “must be explicitly authorized by competent authorities for every religious or community that makes a request,” presumably for approval to celebrate the Mass of John XXIII.
Since then, I have seen nothing referring to this matter, and am disturbed at the apparent conflict of this ruling with Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. I hope Inside the Vatican is pursuing this matter and will report further. Thank you for your fine magazine.
Anthony S. Carroll
Garden City, New York, USA
From a Prisoner
I’m a prisoner with a wife and three kids, and the Catholic Church saved my life. As I prepared for release very soon, I was encouraged to write to local Catholic churches, which I did — but only one person responded: Deacon Ronald A. Aziere of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He has helped me to grow, and helped my wife enter RCIA and my daughter to enter Religious Education. He is a true man of God. I thank you for everything you do for us, and I ask that you send me a scholarship subscription, which I will pass on to others.
Anthony Neyland #1819213
Navasta, Texas, USA
On Social Teaching
I was fired five times in my working years, each time by a Catholic. Catholic social doctrine is not reaching the Catholic laity. In countless social encyclicals and in the ordinary apostolate of many Popes, the Church has spoken out on all issues which impact the dignity of every individual. The subjects included in social doctrine are the right to life, the right of every worker to a living wage which can support a family, the imposition of taxes, and private- and public-sector creation of jobs, among others. Knowledge of these and other teachings needs to be taught, prayed about and included in the public discourse, especially in one’s political dialog.
In an interview, Pope Francis said that the challenge of our times is for the laity to profess their faith publicly, that public discourse may be guided by the truths of the Faith.
The laity need to be informed that it is their responsibility to insert Catholic social doctrine into the nation’s dialog. Everyone should feel the urgency of this task, and become salt and light in the world so that society reflects and practices Christian values and morals.
Stamford, Connecticut, USA
“Francis Has Got to Do Better”
Referring to the recent trip to Africa and to the interview that the Pope gave to the press on the plane flight after the trip, I feel that Francis has got to do better than this in his in-flight interviews; otherwise, he should end them — they are doing far more damage than the rest of the good done on the papal trips.
When Francis has a set text, he has spoken well on chastity and marriage, in favor of Humanae Vitae, against gender ideology and ideological colonization, etc., but he is very weak speaking spontaneously — and this leads to confusion, even scandal.
Many of you have seen elements of this controversy over the Pope’s response to the question about use of condoms. I think the Pope is being caricatured by the media, and here is a prime example of that by The Guardian (article enclosed).
On this matter, the response Francis gave about condoms (detractors are now calling him “the artful dodger”) is the response of a Pope who has celebrated Humanae Vitae as prophetic, and has said that sin of any kind, including sexual sin, must be repented of to obtain the Lord’s blessing, and to enter Heaven.
So he could and should have given a much clearer and more forceful reply, in my humble opinion.
If we have to wait for all wars and social injustice to end before we can speak about sexual morality, then we will never speak about it, because Christ said the poor will always be with us, and has there ever been a time in the history of the world when there have not been wars?
Yet Christmas has always gone on, and not because it is a “charade,” but precisely because it gives hope to those who are suffering from war, disease and oppression.
Further: sexual immorality is closely linked to poverty and many evils, and therefore is itself a profound injustice, and form of corruption.
Moral corruption, as the Gospel and Catechism make clear, is not limited to financial wrongdoing, and is damaging many lives, not least in Africa.
We can and should talk about the full complement of Catholic teachings at all times, regardless of the world’s woes, and not try to marginalize certain parts of them — a fact that Francis himself makes in his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei — an encyclical that also makes the point that one can hold to “absolute truth” without becoming a dangerous fundamentalist. Anyone flustered by this latest off-the-cuff interview should go back and read that great encyclical.
That is Francis (collaborating with Benedict) at his best.
But few people know this, because they don’t study the full depth of Francis’ teachings, and Francis himself often speaks incompletely in these impromptu press conferences, thus giving ammunition to his commentators that misrepresent him, Left and Right. (Note that the Pope, in his press conference, admitted he has made mistakes, e.g., with regard to appointing certain financial “reformers,” now under indictment, so prudential errors can and do happen, even among the best of Popes.)