Mother and Teacher of all nations—such is the Catholic Church in the mind of her Founder, Jesus Christ; to hold the world in an embrace of love, that men, in every age, should find in her their own completeness in a higher order of living, and their ultimate salvation. She is ‘the pillar and ground of the truth.’ To her was entrusted by her holy Founder the twofold task of giving life to her children and of teaching them and guiding them—both as individuals and as nations—with maternal care. Great is their dignity, a dignity which she has always guarded most zealously and held in the highest esteem.” —Pope John XXIII, at the very opening of his great social encyclical Mater et Magistra of May 15, 1961. The words express the Pope’s deep conviction of the great dignity of every human life, and the need to protect, teach and care for each human being, and of the special mission of the Church, from the beginning until the end of time, to be the great advocate and teacher of this protection for the life of all human beings. The fact that this encyclical appeared just a year before the beginning of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) suggests that this was a central concern of the Pope in calling the Council — that the Church would become more prepared and effective in carrying out this worldwide mission…

    Letter #109, 2022, Thursday, September 1: Mother and teacher    

    Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War on September 1, 1939, 83 years ago.

    My uncle (from whom I received my name), Fr. Robert Moynihan, OFM (1924-1980), fought as a U.S. Marine in that war, as a gunner on the U.S.S. Hornet, and it changed him. He entered a Franciscan seminary after the war, was a missionary in Bolivia, and studied at the Canisianum in Innsbruck, where I visited him in the 1970s, and was able to talk at length with him about the world and the Church. He was a deep influence on my life.

    That great war, begun 83 years ago today, also changed the world.

    It divided Europe into two parts, West and East (the “Iron Curtain”). It led to the creation of dozens of “new nations” worldwide, as de-colonialization ended Europe’s various empires. It spawned, first in San Francisco, then in New York, the United Nations, as a hope to end such global wars. It produced also the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people. Then, as a 5th and final “after-effect” of the world war, it produced… the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

    The Council sought, without altering any doctrine, to enable the Church, the “mother and teacher” (“mater et magister“) of humanity, to more effectively preach Christ, and focus the world — just a few years after that most terrible of wars — on the lofty truths of the faith, on the dignity of the human soul, and on the final destiny of each soul: to live in eternity with a holy and loving personal God. Has the Council succeeded in doing what it aimed to do? Each of us can judge as seems right based on the evidence each knows and believes. The matter seems still to be a subject of lively debate…


    Mater et magistra is the name of the famous encyclical written by Pope John XXIII on the topic of “Christianity and Social Progress,” and promulgated on May 15, 1961.

    The title means “mother and teacher,” referring to the role of the Church.     

    It describes a necessity to work towards authentic community in order to promote human dignity.

    Mater et magistra was written in observance of the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII‘s 1891 social encyclical Rerum novarum. It also refers to the social teaching of Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931) and of Pope Pius XII in a radio broadcast given June 1, 1941, after World War II was already raging.

    The Second Vatican Council opened in the fall of 1962, a little more than a year after Mater et magistra was promulgated in May of 1961.

    So the 1961 encyclical Mater et magistra was, in some way, the prologue to the Council, setting forth the themes that were in the thought of Pope John XXIII when he summoned the Council.

    #1: Archbishop Paglia Accepts the Legitimacy of Italian Abortion Law (link)

    AUGUST 30, 2022 — FSSPX.NEWS

    Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, affirmed, during the Agorà – Summer broadcast, on the third Italian television channel, Rai 3, that the Italian law on abortion is a “pillar of social life.”

    During the broadcast, presenter Giorgia Rombolà asked Archbishop Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life since August 17, 2016, after serving as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, what he thought of the abortion law, reintroduced into the political debate as the elections approach.

    The answer was clear: “I think that Law 194 is now a pillar of our social life.” (Law 194 is Italy’s abortion law, a law that has allowed the murder of more than 6 million children since it came into effect.)

    Remaining somewhat hesitant and incredulous, the presenter insists, and asks if they were talking about Law 194. The prelate insists: “Yes, absolutely, absolutely!” He adds: “there is a part that is not being addressed, it is the right to motherhood, to see our country grow in the face of the drama of an imbalance of generations.”

    Following these statements, the Italian association Pro Vida & Famiglia published a press release signed by its spokesperson, Jacopo Coghe, in which he expressed his “astonishment” at the Archbishop’s remarks.

    “The just intention of promoting an open, secular, and shared debate on abortion and birth, encouraging the application of Law 194 equally with the context of prevention and social protection of maternity, cannot deny the intrinsic inequity of Law 194.

    “This is why we were surprised by the words of Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who declared yesterday, live on RAI, that Law 194 on abortion is ‘a pillar of our social life.’ We do not understand how a law that takes away defenseless and innocent human lives can be a ‘pillar’ of society.”

    On August 29, the Academy spokesperson protested this reaction. He explained that Msgr. Paglia was only noting “that it is practically impossible to abolish Law 194 as a now structural element of the legislation in this matter.”

    But this reaction underlines the correctness of the pro-life association’s response, and only pushes the prelate it wants to defend a little further.

    Indeed, following St. Thomas Aquinas, theology teaches that a bad law is no law at all. For a true law must be made for the common good. Now, a crime such as abortion is contrary to the common good. This is why we can oppose such a law until it is withdrawn. It is therefore impossible that that which is not a law can be a “structural element of legislation.”

    For such an affirmation would recognize the legitimacy of such a law. And it is useless to resort to subterfuge: according to the spokesperson, the expression “pillar of society” is not a value judgment on the law. To recognize legitimacy is to endorse that law as good, because only a good law can be considered law.

    This statement and the exchange that followed show how far the Pontifical Academy for Life has gone astray and deviated from Catholic doctrine on such an essential subject as abortion.

    #2: Criticism of Vatican’s life czar on abortion ‘specious’ and ‘offensive,’ spokesman says (link)

    By Crux Staff

    Aug 29, 2022

    ROME – Responding to criticism about a recent TV interview in which he called legalized abortion a “pillar” of the Italian system, a top Vatican official for human life insisted Monday that he was referring to political realities, not moral doctrine, and reiterated his strong opposition to abortion.

    A spokesman for Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, insisted that in the interview with an Italian television outlet, the veteran prelate did not offer “a judgment on the [moral] value of the law, but rather an observation that it’s practically impossible to abolish it since by now it’s a structural element of [Italian] legislation.”

    The measure that legalized abortion in Italy, known as legge 194, dates to 1978, and was upheld by a large majority in a poplar referendum in 1981. Since then, a motto of Italian politics has been la legge 194 non si tocca, roughly meaning it’s not to be touched.

    For example, Italy has national elections scheduled for next month, but neither the leading right-wing nor left-wing parties have proposed revisiting the abortion law.

    Nevertheless, Paglia has come under fire repeatedly since taking the helm at the Academy for Life in 2016, most recently for the publication of a set of essays from a conference last year in which some theologians appeared to suggest that the ban on birth control could be set aside in particular cases.

    Given that background, Paglia’s latest comments on the abortion law triggered criticism in the conservative Italian press, some of which his spokesman described as “specious and offensive.”

    Suggesting that the 77-year-old Paglia is weak on abortion, the spokesman said, ignores the fact that in the same interview he called for a more aggressive application of provisions of the abortion law that call for support for mothers.

    “That the law can be, indeed must be, improved in the direction of a fuller defense of the unborn child is more than to be hoped, with attention to avoiding the risk of making the situation worse, which unfortunately has happened in some cases,” the spokesman said.

    The statement insisted that criticism of Paglia’s interview overlooks his “defense and promotion of life in every age, from conception to death, and in every situation (how many times is it humiliated with children, women, prisoners, those condemned to death, immigrants and the elderly?)”

    In any event, the spokesman said, to question Paglia’s opposition to abortion overlooks the fact that in late May he took part in a ceremony organized by Italy’s largest pro-life movement in which he blessed a statue of Mary with Jesus in her womb.


    #3: The Vatican Is Wasting Its Authority (link)

    By Michael Brendan Dougherty

    August 31, 2022

    National Review

    Under Francis, the Church is trying to use the extraordinary authority granted to the Apostles and to Peter to question the Church’s own divine mission.

    You may not have noticed, but the Vatican under Pope Francis is busy destroying the Catholic Church’s own claims to divine authority to instruct man about matters of faith and morals — its claim to be Mater and Magister, mother and teacher.

    To take the latest example, look to the recent televised interview of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, in which he said that the law that liberalized abortion in Italy was “now a pillar of our social life.” When pressed on whether it was up for debate, Paglia said, “But no, absolutely not, absolutely not.”

    An Italian commentator Thomas Scandroglio said, “We have hit rock bottom. We are at a point of no return, at ground zero of morality, faith, reasonableness and consistency. We have the president of an academy founded to protect life protecting a law that destroys life.”

    This is an image of the Church in auto-demolition mode. With Rome having taken revenge on Benedict’s detested liturgical restoration, it’s not a surprise to see Rome now taking further actions against John Paul II and Paul VI’s legacy in moral theology.

    It’s not controversial to notice that, officially, the Catholic Church’s position on sexual morality and matters of human reproduction is at odds with the zeitgeist [the “spirit of the age”]. In fact, it might be more appropriate to say it is at odds with the prevailing norms of human civilization. The Church is against abortion and euthanasia. It’s against divorce, and premarital sex. It’s against in vitro fertilization. And, most controversially, in 1968 of all years, the Church reiterated its opposition to artificial contraception in a document called “Humanae Vitae” (“Of human life”). This was a position that had been common among confessional Christians until the Anglican Church abandoned it at Lambeth in 1930.

    All of these positions flow, logically, from the Church’s other moral and theological commitments: that our reproductive capacity is good; that children deserve to be raised by their parents in committed families; that all human acts, including sex, have a non-self-referential purpose. Under John Paul II, the Church reaffirmed that all these teachings flow from the moral law, and that they are entailed in the very order of creation, in a document called Veritatis Splendor (“The splendor of truth”).

    These are not mere ideals that are proposed by the Church, and conformity to them is not a matter of individual conscience or some supererogatory feat reserved only to the most special saints. These moral laws are binding on everyone at all times, in all places, in any psychological, social, or cultural condition.

    Those two documents, Humanae Vitae (1968) and Veritatis Splendor (1993), were seen by conservative Catholics as vindication of the Church’s perennial moral teachings, its theological commitments about the moral law, and the sufficiency of God’s grace to assist Christians in obeying it.

    And to consolidate this understanding of morality and theology in the Church, the Vatican founded the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL) in 1994 as a kind of ongoing think-tank dedicated to doing research on new biomedical issues and technologies and to promoting the protection of human life in biomedical fields.

    But the Church’s internal critics of Humane Vitae and Veritatis Splendor did not go away.

    And under Pope Francis, they have captured momentum and the institutions of influence, even at the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    Pope Francis ended all the lifetime terms of the members of the Academy in 2016, making the new terms five-year renewable appointments. He dropped a requirement that members sign a document promising to defend life in accordance with Church teaching. Earlier this year, the PAL published a book — a summary of a seminar — in which Church teaching was often repudiated. The introduction, written by Archbishop Paglia, presented it as an authentic development of Christian doctrine and as a “paradigm shift.” The first claim is made dubious by the credibility of the latter one.

    The theology that the critics promoted recast the laws of God as mere “ideals” that the Church proposes. By doing so, they largely make a hash of the Church’s teaching on sin, repentance, and actual grace. For if these are all ideals, and the Church is just accompanying people from where they are now, closer to the ideal later, then so long as one’s individual conscience approves of an act, all those actions formerly understood as sins are recast as approximations of the ideal. This radical rewrite of Christian morality already gained purchase in Pope Francis’ encyclical Amoris Laetitia (March 19, 2016), which tried to find a way to allow remarried Catholics back to Holy Communion. In the months ahead, it is rumored, this relativizing understanding of conscience will be applied even more fully to the matters of contraception in another encyclical being prepared by members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    So long as an active conscience is detected, who can say there is really sin? By such an understanding, the prophet Nathan could have excused King David as merely imperfectly approximating the idea for marriage when he sent the husband of Bathsheba to the front lines to die.

    Under Francis, the Church is trying to swallow its own tail, to use the extraordinary authority granted to the Apostles and to Peter to question the Church’s own divine mission. If even the Catholic Church can no longer tell us what’s right and wrong, to hell with it.

    [End Dougherty article]

    #4: Viganò Comments on Msgr. Paglia’s Incredible Statements Regarding Abortion. (link)

    August 28, 2022

    By Marco Tosatti

    Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, we receive and gladly publish this comment from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to the unbelievable words spoken by Msgr. Paglia regarding Law 194. It is astonishing that the reigning Pontiff, so quick to cut off curial and noncurial heads, did not notice. Happy reading.


Regarding the scandalous declarations of

Vincenzo Paglia on Law 194

By Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

August 27, 2022

    The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Vincenzo Paglia, in the course of an interview given to Italian television channel RaiTre on August 26 (here), referred to the infamous Law 194 legalizing abortion as “a pillar of our social life,” scandalizing millions of Italian Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium and are still mindful of the fiery words of John Paul II against that horrible crime, which in Italy alone has sacrificed over six million innocent children on the altar of selfishness and liberal antichristic ideology.

    The just indignation of the ecclesial body in response to the statements of the President of an Academy founded by John Paul II precisely in order to oppose abortion is accompanied by the applause of the advocates of “reproductive health” and the “interruption of pregnancy,” who are always ready to accuse the Church of interference when she speaks with the voice of Christ, but yet offer praise as soon as her worst exponents prostitute themselves to the aligned thought of the world and adopt the dishuman principles of neomalthusianism as their own.

    As Shepherd and Successor of the Apostles, I am unable not to condemn with the greatest force Paglia’s scandalous words, which contradict the Gospel and the teaching of the Roman Pontiffs.

    The New World Order, the United Nations, the WHO, the European Union, the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Club, and all the organizations which follow the Agenda 2030 consider the barbaric killing of the innocent child in the mother’s womb as a right, as a “pillar of social life.” It is emblematic and revealing that the sect of apostates who infest the Catholic Hierarchy and have occupied its highest levels find themselves aligned with the ideological positions of the enemies of Christ, not only on issues that are seemingly unconnected – like the psychopandemic narrative and green ideology – but also in the denial of the very foundations of the Natural Law, including respect for life from conception to natural death.

    It is disconcerting that no one among my brothers in the Episcopate, and least of all among the members of the College of Cardinals, dares to raise his voice to condemn Paglia’s delusional words and call for his immediate resignation from the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    May the faithful, admonished by good priests, move themselves far away from these wolves in sheep’s clothing and pray to the Lord asking him to intervene to save His Church, occupied by a Sanhedrin of corrupted and perverted men who continue to crucify Jesus Christ in His Mystical Body.

    + Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

    27 August 2022

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