Letter #50, 2018: The Silence of Francis

Sunday, September 2, 2018

“‘Do not let yourself be contaminated by this world’ does not mean isolating oneself and closing oneself to reality. No. Here too it should not be an external but interior attitude, of substance: it means to be vigilant because our way of thinking and acting is not polluted by the worldly mentality, that is, by vanity, greed, pride. In reality, a man or woman who lives in vanity, avarice, pride and at the same time believes and makes himself seen as religious and even condemns others, is a hypocrite.” —Pope Francis, today in Rome at the Sunday noon Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, commenting on the Gospel reading for today. Some observers saw this as an oblique reference to Archbishop Vigano, interpreting it as the Pope criticizing Vigano for his alleged “vanity, avarice, pride” and “hypocrisy”…

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Day #10

Today is the 10th day since the publication of Archbishop Vigano’s “Testimony”

And the reverberations from that publication continue to echo through the Church.

What follows is just a brief and partial round-up — also because I received the following email from a reader: “Mr. Moynihan: Are you getting paid by the number of words you provide? I like your stuff and admire your thoroughness, but there is so much out there about our Catholic world that I read every day. Please try to be pithy. God Bless.”

I wrote back: “No pay.”

Meaning (pithily), I am not paid whether I write 10 words or 10,000, or none. The letters I send are free. I receive no payment.

However, if anyone would like to support the emails, freely… fine.

First, something on Ukraine, then a bit on Pope Francis, Archbishop Vigano and related matters — hopefully, not too much…

Why do I keep coming back to Ukraine?

Because I think Ukraine’s future, politically, culturally, spiritually, is critically important, first for eastern Europe, and so for Europe; then for the Orthodox world, and so for the entire Christian world; and then, of course, for Russia, which straddles Europe and Asia, and was mentioned by name by “The Lady” speaking to three children in Fatima, Portugal, 101 years ago…

Also, the issue itself — the precedent of dividing Churches in accordance with the political boundaries of nation states, boundaries which tend to shift over decades and centuries — seems important for the future, of course for Orthodoxy, but also for Catholicism. What practice in these matters is most in keeping with ancient, apostolic tradition? I do not know, but still think the question very important.

A — Ukraine

B — Pope Francis and Archbishop Vigano, after 10 days

A — Ukraine

(1) The following is from a BBC report from today, September 3. (link)

Orthodox Church split fuels Russia-Ukraine tension

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko says top clerics in the Orthodox Church are now ready to grant independence to the Kiev Church, defying Moscow.

(Bellow, Kirill of Moscow is in the center, Bartholomew of Istanbul on the right)


If the Constantinople Patriarch, Bartholomew, grants Kiev autocephaly (independence) he will be recognizing its split with the Moscow Patriarchate.

On Friday [August 31] Russia’s Patriarch Kirill met Bartholomew in Istanbul. They did not resolve the Kiev Church’s status.

Russia sees Kiev as the historic cradle of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of Patriarch Kirill, is bitterly opposed to President Poroshenko.

There is a tense standoff in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government troops and Russian-backed rebels.

In a tweet on Monday Mr Poroshenko said Bartholomew’s Ecumenical Patriarchate had “decided that, without taking account of Moscow’s opinion, it can give all states the right to establish a local church.

“And first of all it is the right for Ukraine to set up a Local Congregation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

On Facebook a spokesman for the Kiev Patriarchate said the move to grant independence was going ahead.

“The Ecumenical Patriarch explained to the Russian delegation that the decision had been taken and that the relevant procedures were under way,” Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya wrote.

What is the dispute all about?

Tensions within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church mounted after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukraine won independence, and with communism discredited there was a huge revival in Christian worship.

For centuries, before the Soviet period, the Russian Orthodox Church had been identified with the Russian state, allying its interests with those of the tsar.

The Russian nationalist revival under Boris Yeltsin, then under Vladimir Putin, boosted the Church’s authority and determination to stay in charge of the Ukrainian churches.

In the early Middle Ages Christianity spread to the rest of Russia from Kievan Rus, which was the origin of the Russian state.

Today there are three Orthodox Church branches based in Kiev:

• the Kiev Patriarchate, headed by Metropolitan Filaret, which does not recognise Moscow’s authority

• the Ukrainian Orthodox Church loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate

• and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which broke away from Moscow’s control during World War Two.

The branch loyal to Kirill remains the biggest, but a formal schism could lead many of its followers to join the Kiev Patriarchate.

The Moscow Patriarchate’s position is that the Ukrainian “schismatics” should repent and return to the Russian Orthodox fold.

But there is also rivalry between Kirill’s powerful Moscow Patriarchate — which has an estimated 150 million followers — and the Ecumenical Patriarchate under Bartholomew, who is seen as first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The rivalry has been there for centuries, dating back to the Byzantine and Russian empires.

Ukraine was part of the Russian empire, but many of its worshippers looked to Constantinople (later Istanbul), rather than Moscow for spiritual guidance.

Speaking after his talks in Istanbul, Patriarch Kirill said he and Patriarch Bartholomew had discussed “all the problems on the agenda” and it was “a dialogue between two brothers”.

“There was nothing secret at the meeting, nothing that could sort of explode one’s conscience,” he said, without giving any specifics.

Their talks lasted nearly three hours.

 

Comment

The key point to note is in the last line: Kirill and Bartholomew met for three hours.

Extraordinary.

Men at loggerheads may meet for three hours, but only if they feel their conversation is leading somewhere.

If it is leading nowhere, they break off the meeting.

I deduce: important things likely were said at Friday’s long meeting that we know nothing about.

Plans were likely made, scenarios sketched, consequences extrapolated.

So, when Bartholomew’s autocephaly decision is announced, likely later this fall, it will have to be seen and interpreted partly in the light of this mysterious, drawn-out 3-hour conversation…

 

2) Then, there is this report from an American writer named Paul Goble, who always seems to have stories on these matters about half an hour before anyone else… he says the deal is “done,” that Bartholomew will grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox…

Universal Patriarch To Grant Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephaly – OpEd (link)

September 3, 2018

By Paul Goble

The Universal Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, has decided to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, according to a Greek church site, giving a major victory to Kyiv and inflicting an even larger geopolitical defeat on the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin.

Archbishop Yevstraty Zorya, the press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, citing the Greek outlet Orthodoxia.info, says that Bartholomew informed Moscow Patriarch Kirill about his decision during the latter’s recent visit to Constantinople (nv.ua/ukraine/events/varfolomej-proinformiroval-hlavu-rpts-o-svoem-reshenii-otnositelno-avtokefalii-est-osnovanija-dlja-sderzhannoho-optimizma-upk-kp-2491600.html).

Yevstraty added that the headline in the Greek source could be translated as “The Die is Cast! Ukraine is Receiving Autocephaly.”

He said that Patriarch Kirill left his meeting with Bartholemew “in not the best spirit.”

But Ukrainians are celebrating what will be a major victory for them.

A spokesman for the Universal Patriarch told Orthodoxia.info that “no one wants yet another split,” something Moscow has threatened if Constantinople proceeded. “Everyone wants unity in the Church.”

But he added the Universal Patriarchate won’t be guided in its action by “threats from anyone,” a clear rebuff to Moscow.

According to the spokesman, the Universal Patriarch took the decision about offering autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church in April and is now in the process of implementing it. And in the months since, Constantinople has signaled that it intends to meet Ukraine’s request although it has not provided a specific date.

It is important to recognize what the grant of autocephaly in Ukraine will and won’t do.

It will elevate the status of the Ukrainian church and underscore its separation from Moscow, but it won’t end the existence of the Moscow Patriarchate’s network of churches in Ukraine, although it will undoubtedly cause many of them to shift their subordination to Kyiv.

Most important, it will undermine the Moscow Patriarchate’s claim to speak for all Orthodox on the former Soviet space and cost the church itself a great deal of its income given that half of its existing congregations are in Ukraine rather than in Moscow.

And it will call into question Moscow’s claim to be the largest Orthodox church in the world.

Obviously, Moscow both religious and secular isn’t going to accept this without a fight.

But the decision of the Universal Patriarch means that Ukraine has won a major victory, one that it is likely to build on in the future and one that may serve as a model for other post-Soviet states as far as Orthodoxy is concerned.

 

Comment

This is a very political analysis, as if the issues in question are purely a matter of power.

In so far as this analysis does not seem to take into consideration any spiritual, theological or doctrinal reality, it is inadequate, and cannot provide a full way to understand what is happening in these Churches.

Yet is the type of analysis on Church matters that predominates in the media.

 

B — Pope Francis and Archbishop Vigano, after 10 days

1 — Papal homily

Pope Francis gave a homily this morning in the chapel of the Domus Santa Marta where he lives.

Most Vatican observers saw his words as relating in some way to his refusal to dignify the charges of Archbishop Vigano — that Francis knew five years ago that Cardinal McCarrick was a corrupting and sometimes abusive influence on many seminarians, but did nothing to discipline him — with any sort of response.

Here is an official Vatican News report on the homily:

Pope at Mass: ‘the truth is humble, the truth is silent’ (link)

On Monday, Pope Francis resumed the celebration of daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the Gospel of the day saying that “the truth is humble, the truth is silent.”

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Pope Francis focused his homily on Monday at Casa Santa Marta on the Gospel of the day from Luke (4:16-30) when Jesus returns to Nazareth and meets opposition in the synagogue after commenting on a passage from the prophet Isaiah. The Pope highlights Jesus’ silent composure not only in this scene but also during the passion.

No prophet is accepted….

The Pope said that when Jesus arrived at the synagogue, he aroused curiosity. Everyone wanted to see the person they had heard was working miracles in other places.

Instead of satisfying their curiosity, the Pope said, the Son of the Heavenly Father uses only “the Word of God”.

This is the attitude Jesus adopted when confronting the devil.

The Pope then said that Jesus’ humility opens the door to his first words meant to construct a bridge but instead sow doubt immediately changing the atmosphere “from peace to war”, from “amazement to fury”.

Jesus’ silence

Jesus responds with silence before those “who wanted to throw him out of the city”, the Pope said.

They were not thinking, they were shouting. Jesus stayed silent…

The Gospel passage ends with: ‘But he passed through the midst of them and went away’.

Jesus’ dignity

Pope Francis said that Jesus’ dignity shines through this “silence that triumphs over” his attackers. The same thing would happen again on Good Friday, the Pope said.

The people who were saying ‘crucify him’ had praised Jesus on Palm Sunday saying, ‘Blessed are You, Son of David’. They had changed.

Our dignity

The Pope continued saying the truth is humble and silent and is not noisy, acknowledging that what Jesus did is not easy.

However, “the dignity of the Christian is anchored in the power of God”.

Even in a family, he said, there are times when division occurs because of “discussions on politics, sports, money”.

Pope Francis recommends silence and prayer in these cases:

With people lacking good will, with people who only seek scandal, who seek only division, who seek only destruction, even within the family: silence, prayer.

Pope Francis concluded praying,

May the Lord give us the grace to discern when we should speak and when we should stay silent. This applies to every part of life: to work, at home, in society…. Thus we will be closer imitators of Jesus.

 

Comment:

(Silence.)

 

2 — Kim Davis, Lombardi, Rosica

The following detailed account relating to the Kim Davis meeting was released today by two Vatican spokesmen, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J, and Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, from Canada.

Both men in 2015 minimized reports that Pope Francis had met privately with the Kentucky clerk, though she had been invited to meet the Pope, and did meet with the Pope, on September 24, 2015, in Washington in the papal nunciature, where Archbishop Vigano was the nuncio.

MONDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2018

Background information on meeting of Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB and Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ with Archbishop Vigano on October 10, 2015 in his Vatican apartment (link)

(Thomas Rosica – Federico Lombardi) Archbishop Vigano’s latest version of what happened when he was called to Rome in October 2015 following the Kim Davis visit to the Nunciature in Washington, DC.

“The next morning, at about 6:00 a.m. in Washington — I remember it well because I had just entered the chapel at the Nunciature — I received a frantic telephone call from Cardinal Parolin, who told me “You must come immediately to Rome because the Pope is furious with you!”

I left as soon as possible and was received by the Pope at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, around 7 o’clock in the evening on October 9, at the conclusion of one of the afternoon sessions of the Second Synod on the Family.The Pope received me for almost an hour, and was very affectionate and paternal. He immediately apologized to me for troubling me with coming to Rome, and he lavished continuous praise on me for the way I had organized his visit to the USA, and for the incredible reception he received in America. He never expected such a welcome. To my great surprise, during this long meeting, the Pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!

As soon as my audience with the Pope was over, I immediately phoned Cardinal Parolin, and said to him, “The Pope was so good with me. Not a word of reproach, only praise for the success of his visit to the USA.” At which point Cardinal Parolin replied, “It’s not possible, because with me he was furious about you.”

Notes of Fr. Rosica after meeting with Fr. Lombardi and Archbishop Vigano

No mention was made in his testimony about the meeting Vigano had with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ and Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, who was assisting Fr. Lombardi with English language at the Synod of Bishops.

After meeting with Pope Francis on October 9, 2015, Archbishop Vigano summoned Fr. Lombardi and Fr. Rosica to his apartment on Saturday evening October 10.

Both of us were surprised to see that he had maintained his apartment in the old residence of Santa Marta in Vatican City.

Upon entering, we sat with Archbishop Vigano in his living room.

Vigano was clearly shaken having been summoned to Rome.

He told the two of us that he never intended to harm the Pope with his idea to have Davis at the nunciature.

Fr. Rosica asked Archbishop Vigano if the visit of Davis to the nunciature had been arranged and approved by the President of the USCCB and the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington.

He did not answer the question.

Here is the verbatim of the Archbishop’s words to us:

“Il Santo Padre nella sua paterna benevolenza mi ha ringraziato per sua vista negli USA ma mi ha detto che l’ho ingannato nel presentare questa Signora al lui alla nunziatura.” (The Holy Father in his paternal benevolence thanked me for his visit to the USA but also said that I had deceived him his bringing that woman to the nunciature.)

Vigano also told us: “Il Papa mi ha detto: tu non mi hai detto che lei aveva 4 mariti.” (The Pope told me: “You never told me that she had four husbands.”)

Vigano then expressed great concern that no media know that he had been summoned to Rome to meet with the Pope.

Fr. Lombardi had me relate to him the hundreds of angry phone calls we had received over the past week.

Vigano then said to me: “No one is to know when I am leaving on early Monday morning on a flight to the USA because I have an episcopal installation in a US Diocese.”

Fr. Rosica told him: “The media already knows your return flight.”

We showed him what we had learned from the media.

Fr. Rosica also told him: “A journalist has a tape recording of you or one of the monsignors at the nunciature who phoned Kim Davis at her hotel the evening before her meeting with the Pope.”

He was shocked at this.

I shared with him what the journalist had shared with Fr. Rosica the previous week: “The voice of this man (monsignor?) said: “A vehicle will pick you and your lawyer up at the hotel tomorrow morning and bring you to the nunciature. Change your hairstyle so people will not recognize you so quickly.”

Vigano told the two of us not to make any statements to the press without checking with the nunciature first.

We told Archbishop Vigano that no one was responding to the calls at the nunciature and that this problem related to the nunciature, and not the USCCB nor the Holy See Press Office.

When we left him, he seemed troubled and thanked us for our visit.

From Fr. Federico Lombardi today (September 2, 2018) after I shared with him these notes:

“Io ritengo affidabili i tuoi appunti”
“I consider your notes reliable”

“Osservo che il fatto che Viganò avesse parlato la sera prima dell’incontro (con Kim Davis) con il Papa e i suoi collaboratori e avesse avuto da questi un consenso non toglie che la responsabilità dell’iniziativa dell’incontro con Kim Davis e delle sue conseguenze fosse principalmente dello stesso Viganò, che lo aveva evidentemente auspicato e preparato, e che come Nunzio doveva conoscere meglio la situazione.”
“I observe that the fact that Viganò had spoken the night before the meeting (with Kim Davis) with the Pope and his collaborators and had received a consensus from them did not detract from the responsibility of the initiative of the meeting with Kim Davis and the consequences were mainly of Viganò himself, who had evidently desired and prepared them, and that as Nuncio should have known better about this situation.”

“L’incontro con Kim Davis, anche se era un incontro in ambiente a parte, era da lui stato organizzato inserendolo nel contesto dei molti e rapidi saluti del Papa alla partenza dalla nunziatura, questo non aiutava certo il Papa e i suoi collaboratori a rendersi conto del peso di tale incontro, e per questo io avevo allora insistito su questo contesto quando rispondevo alle domande che mi erano state fatte quando l’incontro era diventato pubblico.”
“The meeting with Kim Davis, even if it was a meeting in a separate space, was organized by the nuncio who inserted it in the context of the Pope’s many and quick greetings at his departure from the nunciature. This certainly did not allow the Pope and his collaborators to realize the significance of this meeting, and for this I then insisted on this context when I answered the questions that had been asked to me when the meeting had become public.”

“Inoltre Viganò ora afferma che aveva fatto il patto con Kim Davis che non parlasse dell’incontro prima che il Papa ritornasse a Roma, ma solo dopo. Mi domando se questo aspetto, che cioè l’incontro sarebbe stato reso pubblico da Kim Davis dopo il viaggio, era stato veramente discusso da Viganò con i collaboratori del Papa e come, dato che ciò avrebbe suscitato molte reazioni. A me risultava solo che l’incontro era stato previsto come riservato da parte del Papa per una persona che gli veniva presentata come degna di apprezzamento anche se discussa.”
Moreover, Viganò now affirms that he had made an agreement with Kim Davis that she did not speak of the meeting before the Pope returned to Rome, but only afterwards. I wonder if this aspect – that the meeting would have been made public by Kim Davis after the trip, had been really discussed by Viganò with the Pope’s collaborators since this would have provoked many reactions. It seems to me only that the meeting had been planned as being a private one with the Pope for a person who was presented to him as worthy of appreciation even if there was much discussion about her.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ
September 2, 2018

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The Kim Davis Meeting (September 24, 2015)

This attempt to critique Vigano’s handling of the Kim Davis meeting was seen by some Vatican reporters as a failure — the following article in the New York Times is typical. The author, Jason Horowitz, concludes by saying that the Pope’s supporters end up here corroborating Vigano’s main point: that the Pope was informed of the Davis meeting, and of who Davis was, before the meeting (even if it was only the night before).

Here is Horowitz’s article:

Defending Pope Francis, Vatican Allies May Strengthen Viganò’s Hand (link)

By Jason Horowitz

Sept. 2, 2018

ROME — Retaliating against a remarkable campaign from within the church to force the ouster of Pope Francis, the Vatican’s former spokesman issued a statement on Sunday night questioning the credibility of an archbishop who has accused Francis of covering up sexual misconduct.

But in seeking to defend the pope against the latest allegations, which relate not to abuse but to the pope’s own credibility, the former spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, seemed to confirm a key part of the archbishop’s claims. And the defense also offered a portrait of the pope and his top advisers as having been politically naïve.

In a letter released Friday, the archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò, challenged the notion, put forward by Vatican officials and the pope, that he had ambushed Francis in 2015 by setting up a private meeting at the Vatican’s Washington embassy with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who became a conservative celebrity by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Archbishop Viganò said in the letter that he had fully briefed Francis and his top advisers, all of whom he named, about Ms. Davis and her “conscientious objection” to promoting same-sex marriage. He received approval from them all, he said.

On Sunday, Father Lombardi issued a joint statement with the Rev. Thomas Rosica, who has also spoken for the Vatican in the past, making note of “the fact that Viganò had spoken the night before the meeting (with Kim Davis) with the pope and his collaborators and had received a consensus.”

Father Lombardi and Father Rosica nevertheless said Francis had felt “deceived” by Archbishop Viganò.

Contrary to the claims of the archbishop, they said, the pope was furious over the meeting, which threatened to eclipse the entire visit to the United States by derailing his message of inclusion.

Archbishop Viganò, they assert, told them the pope had said he felt deceived about Ms. Davis. But the reason apparently had less to do with her role in the fight against gay marriage than with her own marital history.

“You never told me that she had four husbands,” the pope protested, Archbishop Viganò told them, they wrote.

Archbishop Viganò, who was the Vatican’s ambassador in the United States, or papal nuncio, declined a request for comment Sunday night.

The disagreement over what Francis did or did not know about Ms. Davis emerged after a week of turmoil in the Roman Catholic Church that began when Archbishop Viganò published a letter accusing the pope of covering up sexual abuse.

The archbishop claimed that Francis had known about accusations that an American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians long before they became public, but still allowed him an influential role at the Vatican.

The claim set off a rare onslaught of attacks on a sitting pope from conservative Catholics who have chafed under Francis’ reign.

In his statement Sunday, Father Lombardi argued that whether the pope knew about the meeting with Ms. Davis beforehand or not, the blame for the fiasco that followed rested with Archbishop Viganò for having put the pope in a difficult position.

The consensus about granting the meeting with Ms. Davis, Father Lombardi writes, “did not detract from the responsibility of the initiative of the meeting with Kim Davis and the consequences were mainly of Viganò himself, who had evidently desired and prepared them, and that as nuncio should have known better about this situation.”

Father Lombardi said the meeting had been “organized by the nuncio, who inserted it in the context of the pope’s many and quick greetings at his departure from the nunciature, as the Vatican Embassy in Washington is known. This certainly did not allow the pope and his collaborators to realize the significance of this meeting.”

That significance was readily apparent — and magnified — by culture warriors and opponents of same sex-marriage in the United States. They immediately pointed to it as evidence that the pope who famously said “who am I to judge” about gays was really on their side.

After the publication of Archbishop Viganò’s letter describing the pope’s approval of the meeting with Ms. Davis, the Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian litigation group that has represented elected officials who resist same-sex marriage, applauded.

“It is now clear why some officials in the Catholic Church sought to downplay or distort the truth about the private meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis,” Mathew Staver, the group’s chairman, said in a statement released on Saturday, “because it went against their narrative in which they sought to change the church’s teaching on homosexuality.”

Supporters of Pope Francis have argued that ultraconservatives in the American hierarchy and the Vatican have endangered the church by aligning themselves with politically motivated evangelical groups in the United States. They have seen the closing of evangelical ranks around Archbishop Viganò, who championed their causes in the United States, as proof of this alliance.

The pope has entirely different goals.

In the days after the media tempest about the meeting, the Vatican sought to distance Francis from Ms. Davis and put the blame on Archbishop Viganò.

The Vatican press office asserted that the pope had never received Ms. Davis in a private audience and said the pope had probably not been briefed.

The Vatican instead highlighted Francis’ warm meeting at the Washington Embassy with a gay former student and his partner.

The pope then summoned Archbishop Viganò to Rome for what the former ambassador has said he was assured would be a serious reprimand. Instead, he claimed in his letter, “to my great surprise, during this long meeting, the pope did not mention even once the audience with Davis!”

This is the aspect of the letter that Father Lombardi, who retired in 2016, and Father Rosica took most issue with.

They say Archbishop Viganò withheld from his account their own visit to see him on Oct. 9, 2015, in his apartment in the old residence of Santa Maria in Vatican City that “both of us were surprised to see that he had maintained.” There, they say, they sat with him in his living room.

“Viganò was clearly shaken having been summoned to Rome,” they wrote. “He told the two of us that he never intended to harm the pope with his idea to have Davis at the nunciature.”

The archbishop, they said, did not answer their inquiry about whether Ms. Davis’s visit had been arranged by the president of the American bishops conference or by the Washington Archdiocese.

Speaking in Italian — “verbatim” according to Father Rosica’s notes — Archbishop Viganò said, “The Holy Father in his paternal benevolence thanked me for his visit to the U.S.A., but also said that I had deceived him” by “bringing that woman to the nunciature.” The pope complained that he had not known of her multiple marriages, the archbishop told his visitors, they said.

They say Archbishop Viganò, who was removed by Pope Francis from Washington the following year, instructed them not to make any statements to the news media without first coordinating with his office.

“When we left him, he seemed troubled and thanked us for our visit,” the statement said.

This week, an article in The New York Times quoted a Chilean abuse survivor, Juan Carlos Cruz, as recounting that Francis had told him that Archbishop Viganò sneaked Ms. Davis into the Vatican Embassy in Washington for the private meeting. The pope told him he had not known who she was or why she was a contentious figure, Mr. Cruz said.

Mr. Cruz recalled the pope saying, “I was horrified and I fired that nuncio.”

Archbishop Viganò, in the letter published on Friday by LifeSiteNews, a conservative Catholic outlet, said Mr. Cruz’s account had prompted him to set the record straight.

“One of them is lying: either Cruz or the pope?” he wrote. “What is certain is that the pope knew very well who Davis was, and he and his close collaborators had approved the private audience.”

On Sunday, the pope’s allies seemed to confirm that.

========

3) Wuerl

Protester at church yells ‘Shame on you!’ as Cardinal Wuerl addresses sex abuse scandal

By Daniel Burke, Rosa Flores and Kevin Conlon, CNN

Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT) September 3, 2018

WASHINGTON (CNN) As the embattled Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, addressed the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal on Sunday, one Catholic yelled “Shame on you!” while another turned her back on Wuerl in protest.

Wuerl, who faces accusations that he mishandled clergy sexual misconduct while he was a bishop in Pittsburgh, addressed Washington’s Annunciation Catholic Church, where the cardinal was installing a new pastor. In a short speech after the Mass, Wuerl asked the 200 or so people in the congregation to forgive his “errors in judgment” and “inadequacies.”

Wuerl also urged the parish to pray for and remain loyal to Pope Francis, as “increasingly it is clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.”

As Wuerl mentioned the Pope, Brian Garfield, who was sitting in the middle of the church, stood and yelled “Shame on you!” and quickly walked out.

Wuerl noted the interruption but continued speaking.

“Yes, my brothers and sisters, shame,” Wuerl said. “I wish I could re-do everything over these 30 years as a bishop and each time get it always right. That’s not the case. I do think together, asking for God’s mercy, pleading for God’s grace, recognizing that we can move into light, I simply ask you to keep me, keep all of those that have been abused, all of those who have suffered, all of the church in your prayers.”

Afterward, Garfield, a lifelong Catholic, told CNN that he was upset about Wuerl’s response to a damning grand jury report from Pennsylvania, which found that more than 300 Catholic priests had abused more than 1,000 children since 1947 in six dioceses, including Pittsburgh.

The grand jury report, along with a separate scandal involving the former archbishop of Washington, have rocked the Catholic Church in the United States and sparked a high-stakes power play at the Vatican, with some pushing for the Pope’s removal.

“I don’t think he is a monster but I wish he would talk less about defending himself and more about his failings,” Garfield said of Wuerl. “It’s a little galling to be lectured on transparency by people who are lying to us,” he continued. “I wish he would talk to us as a pastor and not a politician.”

Most of the congregation clapped for Wuerl when he ended his brief address, and, as they shuffled out of the church on Sunday, many shook the cardinal’s hand and offered brief sentiments of support.

“Cardinal Wuerl has spoken extensively over the past two months, conveyed his profound sadness, apologies and contrition, and addressed every issue as it has arisen in a straightforward and transparent manner,” said Edward McFadden, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington.

But Mary Challinor does not agree. As Wuerl addressed the congregation at Annunciation on Sunday, Challinor stood in the choir loft with her back to him and her arms crossed.

“I think he should resign,” Challinor told CNN. “I think he should understand that just because you didn’t mean to do something doesn’t mean that there weren’t terrible consequences for lots of people.”

(…)

The Pope has not responded to Vigano’s accusations, calling on journalists instead to determine if they are true.

Some Catholics, including the editors at America, a Jesuit magazine based in New York, have accused Vigano and other conservatives of “weaponizing” the church’s sexual abuse crisis, “shifting the focus from listening to survivors to Vatican intrigues.”

But the America editors also say the Pope should answer his former ambassador’s charges.

“Francis’ refusal to respond to the Viganò accusations may be an attempt to stay above the fray rather than dignify a venomous ideological attack,” they wrote. “Nonetheless, the pope’s refusal is an insufficient pastoral response for a church that is deeply wounded.”

CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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4) One of Ireland’s largest Catholic churches is closing

And ere is a little news note which suggests a trend…

One Of Dublin’s Largest Catholic Churches Announces It Will Celebrate Its Final Mass On October 7 (link)

Attendance has dropped significantly in recent years

By Megan Cassidy

The Church of Annunciation in Finglas has announced it will celebrate its final mass on October 7, before it is demolished and replaced with a much smaller church.

The church, which has a capacity of 3,500, is one of the largest Catholic churches in the country, but attendance had dropped significantly in recent years.

The new church will have a capacity of just 350.

The announcement was made on the church’s Facebook page today.

The post read:

‘**VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT**

‘We are now in a position to announce that the LAST MASS in the church of the Annunciation will take place on Sunday 7th October at 11am.

‘Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. All are welcome at the mass and please spread the word to those who may not be on social media.

‘Please note all other updates regarding the closure of the church and arrangements while our new church is being developed will be posted as soon as we are aware of same.

‘MANY THANKS.’

Parish priest Fr Eamann Cahill said previously that attendance was a worry.

In a statement last year he said: ““Following recent research, discussion and much analysis, the parish pastoral council, the finance committee and the parish team agreed that it would be best to replace the present church building with a new church.”

5) Disney

Finally, the American media giant Disney, famous for its “wholesome” films suitable for the entire family, is evidently planning to include homosexual content in its films.

Here is an article on the matter, which includes a request to sign a petition to Disney management to reconsider the decision.

PETITION: Tell Disney to remove LGBT agenda from new ‘family’ film (link)

According to recent reports, Disney plans to push the homosexual envelope with its upcoming Jungle Cruise film, an adaptation of the iconic theme park ride.

Filming is currently underway for the movie, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, and is aiming to release in October 2019.

Also joining the cast is British comedian Jack Whitehall, who is said to be playing a “hugely effete, very camp and very funny” gay man.

Further, the movie takes place in the 19th century, which the report calls “another significant turning point” because of the era’s historical attitudes about homosexuality. It seems that Disney plans to either rewrite history or turn it into an ideological agenda in the plot.

Pushing the homosexual agenda is nothing new for Disney, which caused controversy by adding scenes into the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake implying a supporting character was attracted to another man. The entertainment giant has also promoted homosexuality through its parks and merchandise, as well as teen, kids, and even preschool TV shows. One of the writers of the hit Frozen has even suggested she’s interested in making Elsa a lesbian in the sequel.

As conservative commentator Matt Walsh wrote, the “the injection of explicit homosexuality into a mainstream family film” is only the latest example of how “the Left’s sexual agenda will be infused into everything.”

Even in “children’s” and “family” entertainment, there are fewer and fewer places parents can turn where secular culture won’t try to undermine and transform their children’s values.

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By |2018-10-10T01:30:48+00:00Sep 18th, 2018|Categories: The Moynihan Letters|