Marco Politti’s attack on Pope Benedict

Italian journalist Marco Politti, of La Repubblica, is usually well-informed.  But he often brandishes less than a friendly quill when it comes to traditional or conservative expressions of Catholicism. 

To put it mildly, he is not a fan of this Pope.

In this piece, Politti is not reporting, he is pushing and agenda.  He is pushing it outside the narrow band of Italian readers.  Politti is helping in the call to arms against Pope Benedict.

Therefore, he fits with the slant of The Tablet.

My emphases and comments.


The Church’s new age of dissent
Marco Politi

Earlier crises in the pontificate of Benedict XVI have involved relations between the Church and other faiths. But the one precipitated by the lifting of the excommunications of four Lefebvrists has prompted Catholic bishops to express their desire for a different kind of relationship with the Vatican  [So the other crises were external and this crisis is internal.]

In spite of a letter to bishops around the world that immediately provoked professions of solidarity, Pope Benedict XVI, it seems to me, is like a solitary monarch in a curia that has lost its bearings[This is now a common talking point for liberals: The Pope is a solitary monarch.   But it is very possible that the Curia has lost his bearings.]

The storm caused by the remission of the excommunications against four Lefebvrist bishops may appear to have died down but the crisis that exploded following the chain of errors which Pope Benedict sought to explain has not. It has become a pontificate of two halves: before the break and after. The period after has brought to light questions concerning the leadership of Joseph Ratzinger, revealing at the same time a tension between the Church’s central government and important bishops from the Northern Hemisphere.  [You can guess at the subtext already.]

Reading between the lines of the bishops’ messages of solidarity to the Pope, there are requests that he change his style of government. The German hierarchy professes itself delighted that the Pope wants to enter "into dialogue with the bishops" (signalling that thus far this has not happened). The French bishops underline the necessity for the Vatican to become accustomed to an exchange that is "rich and substantial", hinting that the relationship between the Pope and the bishops should not consist simply of orders from on high. In Switzerland, the Bishop of Lugano, Pier Giacomo Grampa, expresses the hope that the humble and fraternal style of Benedict XVI’s letter should become the style adopted in the day-to-day governance of the Church.

But it is the Austrian bishops who delivered the most strongly worded message. The Church guided by one of his most faithful disciples, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, reminds the Pope that he is not the only person who is suffering and that pain has also been endured "by many local churches and people outside the Church".

The main problem in the Church today is not the existence in the Curia of an anti-Ratzinger party. There may be cardinals who are more or less enthusiastic about the direction in which the Pope is guiding the Church. Certainly the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is not considered part of the curial apparatus or "one of their own". However, in the main the heads of congregations are well aligned and follow papal instructions faithfully. Centres of opposition or dissent do not exist. [Uh huh… riiiight.] The real problem appears to be the absence of a guide inspired by a coherent strategy who can take account of the geopolitical scene and of public opinion both inside and outside the Church.  [One wonders if that is possible.  However, this begs us to ask the question: Is that the Church’s mission?  To be geoolitical?  We can admit that it is important to have a good standing in the Church.  But… isn’t this view a left-over of the era of, say, Paul VI?  Ostpolitik?]

Did it make sense to revoke the excommunications of the four Lefebvrist bishops – without obtaining any statement of faithful adherence to the Second Vatican Council – on the very day that marked the fiftieth anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s decision to call the council? [What better day?  And the Pope really did explain his reasons.  Isn’t it possible that the Pope really meant what he wrote in "making sense" of his motives?]   Did it make sense to insist on pardoning the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson in the very week dedicated to the memory of the Shoah?  [That was bad timing.  But the liberals would always be able to find some anniversary or other to toss in the Pope’s face.  They can always find something.]

Here an important detail should be remembered. The Vatican decree lifting the excommunications was published a full 48 hours after the story was first leaked to the press. Immediately afterwards Bishop Williamson’s interview with Swedish television was published in which he insisted that six million Jews did not perish in the Holocaust. There were two days in which Benedict XVI and his aides had ample opportunity to block the publication of the decree and avoid the need for the warnings, explanations and requests to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) that emanated from the secretary of state only after the catastrophe had happened. [And would that have been right?  Issue to the SSPX the letters informing them about the lifting of the excommunications and then going back on the decision?  But keeping the SSPX out of the mainstream Church is worth even such a dishonorable price.] The generosity with which the Pope in his letter avoided blaming any of his collaborators – foremost among them Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission charged with negotiating with the Lefebvrists [a President of the PCED who tried to do his job] – does not negate one fact: although he was warned by the world’s media of the impending crisis, the Pope did not consider it opportune to call a halt and review the decision. [Astonishing!  The Pope doesn’t guide his decisions after the opinions of The Tablet or Marco Politti.]

I immediately thought of the days following 12 September 2006 at Regensburg. Several hours before Benedict XVI delivered his lecture to the university, quoting the anti-Islamic words of a distant Byzantine emperor, a group of journalists (who had received a copy of the lecture under embargo at 7 a.m. that day) had already advised the Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, that the talk would cause problems with Muslims. [They would be sure to prolong the problems, too.] The journalists were from La Repubblica, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Associated Press as well as the Italian television company, Channel 5. No one can doubt that Fr Lombardi informed his superiors. Above all, it is well known in the Vatican that Cardinal Angelo Sodano warned the Pope of the risks he was taking with his lecture. Yet Benedict XVI went ahead, with the consequence that he had to express many times his regret to the representatives of Islam.  [But… the were very good things that came about as a result of the Regensburg Address.  Clearly just doing and saying the same old pointless things wasn’t bringing about any progress.  A different approach was needed.  In the case of the SSPX bishops, the excommunications in 1988 hadn’t brought about the desired medicinal effect.  Thus, to achieve the desired effect, it was time to do something else.]

The Pope’s entourage has a maxim: "Do not disturb the driver." But this is not the way to guide a community of 1.2 billion faithful. [Get the subtext?] Pope Benedict’s letter expresses a great personal sincerity but also betrays a weakness. To speak of hostility directed against the Pope especially from within Catholic circles raises some serious questions. [I wonder if they are the same questions I raise.] It suggests that either the Pope considers every criticism to be a personal attack – and this should not be the reaction of a leader who needs to understand the complexity involved in the process of government – or that there exist in the Church many people who are uneasy with the direction being taken by the Pope[Incredible.  It is not possible that the Pope is doing the right thing and that the Catholics who attack him for it are wrong? The fact is that the enemies of the Church.]

This is the first real crisis of the Pope’s leadership. In past years the crises were always outside the Church: relations with Islam, the relationship with the Jewish community impatient over moves to beatify Pius XII. But this time the crisis exploded "inside" the Church and the fact that emerges clearly is that the bishops have denounced an absence of collegiality in the government of Pope Benedict[You see Politti’s agenda, and how congenial it is to The Tablet.]

The Pope was fully aware that a majority of the members of the College of Cardinals which he convened in Rome in March 2006 were of the view that the followers of the SSPX could only return to the bosom of the Church if they expressed a "faithful adherence to Vatican II", but he chose not to take account of this. [ehem… I am sure he did take account of it.  Then he decided to do something.] In taking the decision to remit the excommunications he consulted neither heads of dicasteries of the Curia nor the bishops with a particular interest. He did not consider it important or necessary.  [Remember: When liberals says "consult" they really mean " get permission".]

When I interviewed him in November 2004, just a few months before the conclave in which he was elected Pope, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said: "It is increasingly apparent that a worldwide Church, particularly in this present situation, cannot be governed by an absolute monarch … in time a means will be found to create realistically a profound collaboration between the bishops and the Pope, because only in this way will we be able to respond to the challenges of this world."

Benedict XVI has done nothing to realise this principle. [I wonder if that is really the case.  Politti would like us to think that it is.  But is it?] The affair concerning the Lefebvrists – like the unilateral decision in 2007 to re-establish in permanent form the pre-conciliar Mass – has brought to light the heart of the crisis: the failure to implement collegiality. [The implication is that this Pope really is trying to roll back Vatican II.] Pope John Paul II also preferred an exercise of power that was strongly personal but behind his charisma he kept a close ear on world public opinion, had a profound sense of history and the ability to perform gestures that threw open new perspectives to the Catholic Church and to the whole of Christianity. There was for instance his act of penitence for the errors and the horrors committed by the Church down the centuries, the joint prayer with leaders of other world religions, the celebration of the unique ties between the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and the final proposal of a consultation with the heads of the Christian Churches to review together the exercise of papal primacy.  [So… as long as Popes rub gravel through their hair, say their sorry, and don’t do anything without considering public opinion, they are wise and good Pope.   BTW… why is it that only dead Popes are good Popes for liberals?]

Today, without these leaps forward, what remains is the naked problem of an exercise of power that is authoritarian and solitary before which the bishops around the world are increasing their demands for collegiality. The affair concerning the nomination of Fr Gerhard Maria Wagner as auxiliary Bishop of Linz becomes emblematic of this. It had never happened that a national bishops’ conference opposed a papal nomination and obliged the Pope to revoke the decision. [Wasn’t the situation in Warsaw similar?] Yet this happened in Austria. And it is a sign of an underlying tension that could easily ignite. Similarly, it had never happened that an archbishop proclaimed an excommunication, [The dust up in Brasile] later validated by the Vatican, and bishops from another country protested against the decision to the point where the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, had to criticise the excommunication. This happened with the excommunication pronounced in Brazil by Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho on the mother of a nine-year-old girl who allowed her daughter to have an abortion after she was raped and became pregnant. The violent reaction of a number of bishops in France against the excommunication created a difficulty for the Vatican.

Truly, beneath the surface of Roman power – as under a volcano – one can hear ominous rumblings. 


You can sense what is happening.  The enemies of the Pope, whom I think we can group as "rupturists", were bidding their time.  They have now become alarmed by what Pope Benedict is doing to the point that they have skulked out of the woods and have formed packs.  They have even tasted some blood and are therefore emboldened.

Of all the liberal nightmares, the old Mass is their worst.

The SSPX brings a different view of the Council to the table.

They hate Pope Benedict.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Chris says:

    “The Pope is a solitary monarch.”

    Is that meant to be an insult?

  2. Matt of South Kent says:

    The recent attacks on the good and holy Supreme Pontiff are a great sign.

    It means that Pope Benedict XVI and his allies have gotten into the brush and are actually engaging the enemies of the Roman Church. By the extent of the rupturists’ response, the Pope has actually hurt them and has rolled back their agenda.

    Remember Christ came to save most men, not all. The Roman Church can not be like other “churches”. It can not be all inclusive.

    Father Z has said the future Roman Church will be a smaller Church than it once was or could be if it betrayed the truth. Brick by brick… some of those bricks are building blocks and some are ugly cinder blocks that cover beautiful stain glass windows and maybe a few colorful legos .

    Pray for the Pope and for all priest.

  3. shadrach says:

    It’s simple, people like this just don’t want a pope. I wish they’d just leave him alone, do their own thing and let those of us who love him and believe in Peter to do our thing. They want to possess the Church and ditch Peter, when you can’t have one, you can’t have none, you can’t have one without the other. His Holiness has always understood this.

  4. mrsmontoya says:

    Satan is very busy nowadays.

    My mental image is of a pool of water with a few white rocks in it – as the pool fills with black mud, the white rocks are more and more evident against the black, making easier targets. However, Evil is not a force of nature – the mud doesn’t care about the rocks either way, and water will move around them.

    Prayers continue for our good Pope.

  5. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    “tension between the Church’s central government and important bishops from the Northern Hemisphere.”

    Actually I think some northern bishops simply have problems with the Church, full stop. It is funny how, when we’re supposed to fork over money for CAFOD, we’re told about the future of the Church in Africa. But, in the very week that Pope Benedict is IN Africa preaching to joyous crowds, the liberals tell us that northern bishops are the ones who REALLY matter. Given the state of many northern sees (Westminster anyone?) I’m not surprised that the Pope doesn’t appear to care what they think.

  6. James says:

    One thing you can say about SSPX, they don’t “hate” the Pope. Heck, you can say the same thing about the Eastern Orthodox Christians.

  7. ED says:

    The pope must be very vigilant in watching who are appointed Bishops,that should be his priority. Even some of his loyal ones aren’t doing much due i believe to the fact that the Pope is 82 and they don’t see him as their future.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    Of all the liberal nightmares, the old Mass is their worst.

    I understand why they don’t like the old Mass. But why do they fear it so much that it makes them hate the pope?

    This is not a rhetorical question? What’s the real reason for their fear? (As opposed to the fact that you may dislike the new Mass, but surely you don’t fear it.)

  9. Tom in NY says:

    Querela antiqua est papam (imperatorem, regem, procuratorem, episcopum &c.) me non consultare.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  10. Chris says:

    Henry Edwards: I understand why they don’t like the old Mass. But why do they fear it so much that it makes them hate the pope?

    This is what I’ve been trying to explain for weeks in terms of Communion in the hand, NFP, etc.

    The Traditional Latin Mass represents the traditional theology. The traditional theology is an attack on 99 percent of the world’s bishops and priests. That’s right — I said it. 99 percent.

    And the manifestation of the liberal, new theology is the novus ordo.

    So, abandon the so-called “reform of the reform,” and restore the TLM and, with it, the traditional theology, and there’s a lot of powerful prelates and priests who are out on the streets …

  11. Jason Keener says:

    If the Pope is hated by the world, he is doing something right. Let us redouble our efforts to offer prayers and sacrifices for this great Roman Pontiff, gloriously reigning.

    Viva il Papa!

  12. John Enright says:

    What can anyone expect? BXVI is a formidable weapon against Satan, and I expect that ‘ole Scratch will do anything at all to confront him, including disinformation and smear attacks such as happened in this case and in many others. Fortunately, HH is up to the task. I’ll bet on the Pope every time!

  13. @ Chris

    Except the Pope himself calls for these things you say should be dropped

  14. Tom says:

    An interesting read on this topic is a short book written by a Spanish priest, Fr. Felix Sarda in 1886, entitled “Liberalism is a Sin” (a statement of fact, not a question). Although written at the end of the 19th Century, it could have been written today. The truth never changes and liberals, it would seem, don’t either…

    Here is a link to the entire text of the book on the EWTN website:

  15. Paule says:

    We must pray that the Immaculate Virgin crush the serpent’s head. That’s the picture that I constantly have in my head…
    I am so thankful that she is there, what would we do without the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
    Thank you Jesus.
    Let us pray and fast for the Pope and offer sacrifices. The more the better.

  16. jarhead462 says:

    Right on the money, Father Z! They have always hated him…. they were spitting venom when he was chosen Pope, then they gave up a bunch of lip service when Papa visited the US, about how “pastoral” he was, and how wrong their perception of him was, blah, blah, blah!……they were just waiting for him to do something that is not in keeping with their “Churchview” so they can go ape on him………. showing their colors. Bunch of pack animals.
    Like we didn’t know.

    Semper Fi!

  17. Frank Swarbrick says:

    I am just sick and tired at the continued onslaught of negative criticism against our Holy Father. No sooner does one issue subside before another attack is made. It’s all very weird and is coming from all quarters, Liberals within the Church, anti-catholics, heads of state, Catholic Churchman, all on a world-wide scale.
    Is it not time for loyal Catholics to nail their colours to the mast? ‘R.C.’ does not just mean ‘Roman Catholic’, it can also also mean ‘Real Catholic’ but I prefer to be known as a ‘Papist Catholic’. There can be no mistake about where my allegiance stands. I would suggest that if loyal Catholics would identify themselves as ‘Papists’, this would let others know just where they stand: Where Peter is, there is the Church. Long live the Pope!
    Frank Swarbrick, Preston UK

  18. Mary W says:

    They are running scared. These progressives have been hoping for their agenda of womyn priests, contraception, homosexual “marriage”, etc. to be adopted. Fat chance. They see it slipping away and they are very angry. I “hear” the gnashing of teeth when they attack Pope Benedict.

  19. Jacques says:

    The Church is not of the world. For that reason the world hates her.
    The main ambiguousness of the council, the “opening to the world”, while letting a number of disoriented catholics leaving the Church, in the same time allowed a great lot of liberals to enter.
    Those are not so pleased now that Benedict XVI is undertaking to shut the door, in other words to redirect the Church in the road She ran for centuries and that She so unwisely turned off.
    I love this Pope much more than his predecessors and I admire much his courage.

  20. Chironomo says:

    “The Pope is a solitary monarch.”

    Is that meant to be an insult?

    It is meant to be an attempt to paint the Pope as being impotent, unable to govern and marginalized by his beurocracy. That is what they mean by isolated. In other words, what he says is really of no consequence because nobody will carry out his agenda.

  21. Luigi says:

    Politi: Benedict XVI has done nothing to realise this principle. [Episcopal collaboration with the pope]

    Luigi: Nonsense, Marco. The Holy Father never implied that the pope needed to collaborate with dissenters in the episcopacy. If nothing else, those with whom he actually can collaborate in some way is becoming ever more clear.

    Where did the liberal idea of collegiality as some quasi-democratic process come from? And don’t tell me the Council. It may have been their dream going into the Council, but it isn’t in the conciliar texts.

  22. Michael says:

    These events beg the question: are these attacks just coming from disgruntled lay Catholics or are curial officials involved in this calumny against the Holy Father? If so, what could they hope to accomplish? Even if they weaken his public image or make him an object of international scorn it does not remove him from power. It makes one think they are hoping only to hound him into ineffectiveness and possibly hasten his death hoping that the next Pope will come soon and be more agreeable.

  23. Peggy says:

    This is all so familiar, yet now global and against the Holy Father. JP2 appointed Bp. Edward Braxton to Bville, IL just before his (JP2’s) death. The local leftist priests, friends of CTA, rebelled before having met the man, impugned his character and qualifications. [I have suspected racism, but can’t prove it.] It may have been enough that the new bishop was not the one the locals ordered–one of their own. Last Lent the rebel priests signed a letter to the papal nuncio asking for his removal. Some of them did not attend the Chrism Mass; other signers must have simply lied at that Mass. Financial malfeasance charges were trumped up. The only real complaints about the bishop from his arrival were his pastoral and administrative style. The priests wanted collegiality, ie, control, which they apparently had under Abp (then Bp) W Gregory and predecessors. The priests were angry that they had to be told to wear their clericals in public. The priests claimed he was too authoritarian and not open to talking to them. Well, when a bishop is verbally ambushed by priests he’s never met, he’s probably not likely to keep an open door to them. The bishop’s found priests he can trust and relies on them. The goal is to isolate the bishop, “nobody likes him” one priest actually said in the press. How childish. I am ashamed for those priests.

    In any case, this attack on the Holy Father is like the attack on our local bishop on steroids.

  24. Chironomo says:

    It makes one think they are hoping only to hound him into ineffectiveness and possibly hasten his death hoping that the next Pope will come soon and be more agreeable.

    That is a dangerous gamble, even for a liberal! The next Pope could be cut from the same cloth as Benedict, yet without the congenial attitude. Remember…the “conservative” officials in the Church are not as outspoken as the voices of dissent. It is rather the opposite of what we experience on the web! While many of them have scorn for Summorum Pontificum, many of them are still counting their blessings that it did not go as far as it well could have… when Benedict was elevated to Pope, nobody had ANY idea what he would be like as Pope. He is far different than would have been thought from his reputation, but that description cuts both ways…

  25. Richard says:

    [Incredible. It is not possible that the Pope is doing the right thing and that the Catholics who attack him for it are wrong? The fact is that the enemies of the Church.]

    Not only is it possible, it is a fact!

  26. Luigi says:

    My question is this:

    If Williamson was a boyscout, how would liberal rage over the Holy Father’s gesture to invite to unity the SSPX have been expressed?

    The same can be said to lesser extent to reaction to SP. If you recall, much of the initial hue and cry came from the same crowd; offended Jews and liberal Catholics. In the case of SP, progressive Catholics abandoned all pretense of concern for the Jews rather quickly and plainly zeroed in on the TLM as a dreadful “turning back of the clock” on their hopes and dreams for a global Protestant organization with “Catholic” signage.

    In the present case, however, without their collaborators in the Jewsih community, screaming bloody murder would have been a trickier proposition that wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much traction so quickly. They still would have screamed, of course, I just wonder how things would have played out.

    It is just beginning to become clear to me the degree to which the progressives in the Church have cleverly / shamelessly leveraged psuedo-sympathy for the Jews as a PR tool. In the case of liberal Jews who are pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-marriage, etc. they are willing enough bedfellows, but some are simply being exploited.

  27. tertullian says:

    The focus of this article,and all other attacks on Pope Benedict, are about his successor. This is a well coordinated effort to write the ground rules for the next Pope, presumably an Italian in the minds of the Italians,and they are lining up the teams as we read these vile articles.

    There are alliances being formed, Cardinals being lobbied, promises made…negotiations hard and heavy.

  28. Daniel says:

    “One thing you can say about SSPX, they don’t “hate” the Pope. Heck, you can say the same thing about the Eastern Orthodox Christians.”

    Hatred for the Pope and Church exists within Eastern Orthodoxy. Please recall, for example, Pope John Paul II’s visit a few years ago to Greece.

    A great deal of hatred was heaped upon Pope John Paul II.

    Bells ring out across Greece to protest at papal visit

    Pope John Paul II arrives in Athens today and will kiss the ground despite fears that the traditional gesture could heighten protests against the first papal visit to Greece in almost a thousand years.

    The Pope is already likely to face demonstrations from left-wing groups, anarchists and Greek Orthodox Church hardliners who believe the head of the Catholic Church is “the arch-heretic, the horned one and the Antichrist”.

    The union of Greek clerics, which represents about 8,000 parish priests, is planning a mass bell-ringing protest during the Pope’s 24-hour stay.

    Many of Greece’s rank-and-file churchgoers are dismayed that Archbishop Christodoulos, the Greek Church’s outspoken leader, will break a tradition of hostility that has existed since the Great Schism of 1054 split Christianity into Eastern and Western branches.

    They have not forgiven the Pope for a list of “offences”, including the Great Schism, the sacking of Constantinople by Crusaders in 1204, the Holy Inquisition and, more recently, Nato’s air war against Orthodox Serbs and the Vatican’s recognition of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Orthodox monks even held an all-night vigil on Mount Olympus to pray the pontiff would not come.

  29. Daniel says:

    “So, abandon the so-called “reform of the reform,” and restore the TLM and, with it, the traditional theology…”

    I agree with you. Rome will someday do as you (and I) wish. But currently, Rome lacks interest in returning to that which worked well for nearly 2,000 years.

    The “reform of the reform” won’t work. But the “reform of the reform” is the baby of conservative Catholics who believe that sprucing the Novus Ordo will deliver us from the post-Vatican Ii crisis of faith.

    Not gonna work…not gonna work.

  30. Thaliarch says:

    Chris writes: The Traditional Latin Mass represents the traditional theology. The traditional theology is an attack on 99 percent of the world’s bishops and priests. That’s right—I said it. 99 percent.

    And the manifestation of the liberal, new theology is the novus ordo.

    Thank you for the candor of your remarks.

  31. TJM says:

    This brand of liberals has much in common with the 16th century heretics – aversion to the Roman Mass. Fortunately, time is on the side of tradition as more and more young people find themselves at home with the traditional liturgy. Tom

  32. Hiberniensis says:

    It’s all so appalling. Good Pope Benedict’s reign has been about as far from authoritarian as it could possibly be and yet that’s what they’re accusing him of. Summorum Pontificum and the revocation of the excommunications imposed absolutely NOTHING on anyone and yet they’re still murmuring. The fact is, they’ve been anxiously waiting for an opportunity to pounce ever since Cardinal Ratzinger’s name was announced from the balcony of St Peter’s.

  33. I don’t know about Politi and so cannot judge the allegation of an agenda on his part. But I agree with George Weigel on the Williamson fiasco; and neither Weigel and I are “liberals.” There are plenty of conservative, orthodox Catholics who are not in the “traditionalist” camp and do not see the TLM as the panacea for all that ails the Church. We love the renewed liturgy when rightly celebrated. We also love the actual documents of Vatican II and the Holy Spirit behind them (not some other “spirit” concocted by elements, both on the right and on the left, to caricature and distort the Council texts).

  34. EDG says:

    I think Tertullian is right – this has to do with picking the successor of BXVI. Granted, he seems in good health and I don’t think they’re going to have a chance for a while, but they’ll be ready when they do.

    The other possibility, of course, is that they see a schism in the future and they want to get their own guy lined up for anti-Pope. I think Obama and the left are trying to promote a state church in the US, and I think this is true in various other left-leaning countries (in other words, all European countries). They want to get the name, the property and the reputation, while dumping the doctrine, the morality and the independent existence of the Church vis a vis the State. And they will want to keep an appearance of the same structure. Hence, I think this goes beyond even an attempt to prepare a new Pope for the same old Church; I think they have grander visions than that.

  35. LouisianaCatholic says:

    With respect to the Eastern Orthodox, lets not put them all in the same category. There may be some who do not like the Pope, but
    some are very supportive. Just today, I read where the Moscow Patriarch came out and publicly stated his support for Pope Benedict with respect to
    the Aids/condom statement that has gotten so many secular
    liberals and cafeteria Catholics so upset.

  36. Conchúr says:

    “They hate Pope Benedict.”

    Let them hate, so long as they fear.

  37. Deacon Augustine says:

    After all these years of blah about “schism” of Catholics who do nothing more than believe what the Church has always believed, the true schism from the Catholic Faith is being drawn more and more into the light. It doesn’t matter whether they are liberal progressives or liberal neo-cons, they always put their human ideologies above God’s Truth.

    Kudos to the Holy Father and may God give him the grace to persevere through the coming storm.

  38. Ma Tucker says:

    The sword of truth cuts. This is what we are seeing I think. Praying for the Pope and the confounding of these wolves.

  39. Jim says:

    I do not favor the rack for the enemies of the Holy Father, but an occasional excommunication would not hurt.

  40. supertradmom says:

    There are attacks in the English newspapers as well. We must pray for our dear Pope.

  41. Sal says:

    Mr. Sobrino makes my point: it’s not only the
    “progressives” that are against the Pope, it’s the
    “conservative, orthodox Catholics” (his words) too.
    They do not see “TLM as a panacea for all
    that ails the Church” (his words, again). Except,
    no one is saying (or should be saying) that the TLM
    is a panacea for all that ails the Church. But what Mr.
    Sobrino fails to acknowledge is that the “actual
    documents of Vatican II” admit of various interpretations
    and for that reason there needs to be a vigorous
    discussion as to their legitimate interpretation, one
    in which the SSPX and other so-called “traditionalist”
    groups are involved. Mr. Sobrino also fails to
    acknowledge that members of the SSPX, including those
    of the faithful who belong to it, are just as worthy of
    ecumenical gestures as any other group.

    This is what is behind the revolt of the bishops, whether
    of the right or the left. It’s the propping up of
    Vatican II and the hermeneutic employed doesn’t matter
    much right now. John Paul II was clearly a “Vatican II”
    Pope, so the issue never came up. A reading of Ut unum sing
    illustrates my point. But now the Council itself is coming
    under question: its stature, its authority, the tendency
    to elevate it over everything else and since it has been
    used as an avatar to advance every conceivable sort of
    theology, whether from right or left (and that includes
    Weigel’s attempt to reconcile Catholicism with the U.S.
    Constitution), many people have a lot invested in it.

    I will be interested to see what the discussions with the
    SSPX produce; if, in fact, there is a demand for a “full”
    acknowledgement of Vatican II (whatever that even means).
    I rather doubt there will be. I think this might be part of
    Pope Benedict’s plan to downsize the Council, which even he
    said was a “pastoral Council” and a “modest effort.”

  42. RichR says:

    Outstanding analysis. Thank you Fr. Z.

    FWIW, no one here in our community is all at wriled up about things like this journalist is. It makes me think that this is something the liberals are trying o artificially create by reporting things as dire as possible.

  43. John Enright says:

    All very good points, Father. Thank you.

  44. Mark says:

    In my mind, Politti betrays his cards when he finds fault with our Pope’s “unilateral decision in 2007 to re-establish in permanent form the pre-conciliar Mass”.

    In other words, he would like the progressive Bishops to have veto power over the Traditional Mass, to ensure that it is libeled, slandered, banished, and forgotten.
    Progressive Catholics betray an increasing inability to move with the times, and an almost desperate desire to maintain the post Vatican Two status quo. To them, the Traditional Mass remains the enemy.

  45. Jacques says:

    Acknowledging of VAT II council? OK, For the SSPX the reply would be easy like is my own standing (I am not SSPX) on the issue: “I acknowledge the Vatican II council’s teachings IN THE LIGHT OF OUR CHURCH’S TRADITION”.
    That is EXACTLY what Benedict XVI recently said.
    And all the Catholics should acknowledge these teachings in that way, provided they don’t contradict in no way the Church’s Tradition.
    I no longer want to hear the hollow and silly words “in the spirit of Vat II”, they have no sense since everybody (and the liberals first) used them to forward their anti catholic agenda.

    “Pray for me that I may not flee for fear of the wolves” (Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005)
    Don’t you hear them howling and spewing their hate against the Pope and the Church?

  46. Jeremy UK says:

    I thank God daily for this Pope. His election was quick and decisive. There must have been many a Cardinal at the conclave who hardly understood how he was voting for Card Ratzinger. But we have him: a man who knows all the quirks of the enemy; knows the Vatican and its machinations inside out. Above all, I believe he is a man who can put his finger accurately and precisely on the heart of a problem. At the heart, amongst other issues, is the Mass and the Unity of the Church.

    The Old Mass stands for everything the modernists hate. It is a true measure, indeed, of how precious and essential it is for that very reason. Many of us felt this from day one of the changes, but there seemed something indefinable and even irrational in such thoughts then. Our opponents said it was nostalgia or disloyalty. It wasn’t. It didn’t die and its continued new life is a potent and glorious thing. It radiates the Faith. Its prayers and its form sing out and won’t be silenced. Its time has come again, as we prayed, with a Pope there who understands these things.

    For the modernists it really is an affront to the new post Vat-II regime they have invented. I obtained a (free) copy of the Tablet the other week. It is on another planet and utterly obsessed with the New Church, Vatican II mentioned page after dreary page. Of course they long to topple this Pope. He is a real and genuine danger to what the Church almost became and what they still push for it to become.

    We should be full of hope now, not because “we” were right all along, but because Holy Mother Church is standing up again and being counted and can now gather again those hundreds of thousands who became disheartened and fell away: who were told there was no difference between the Churches and that none of it mattered much anyway.

    The more the Pope is attacked and belittled, the better we shall know who stands for what. The (London) Times had a cartoon of the Pope wearing a condom on his head the other day – happily Card Cormack O’C wrote very strongly against it. Would they have done that for an Imam of Chief Rabbi? Of course not. We have been too supine too long, within and without the Church. Enough is enough.

    Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia. We stand by him because he is Christ’s Vicar and because he is right.

  47. teresa says:

    Thank you dear Father Z. for making the points so clear.
    The Austrian bishops are actually destroying the Church, by demolishing all the variable traditions and acting openly against the Canon Laws. No country can survive if its laws are not accepted by its citizens, and so it is with the Church: by open disobedience they are tearing the Church down. And most Austrian catholics don’t attend the mass anymore, and a lot of them say that they don’t even believe in God. But still, they pay their tax to the Church. And both liberals and conservatives are now using the Church tax to make pressure upon the Church Hierarchy in Austrian.

    What they have done to Fr. Wagner is almost against the Civil Law by spreading out rumors to press him to withdraw. It is also morally disgusting, what means they use against Fr. Wagner. I don’t know him personally, nor am I a fan of him. But the means used against him are so disgusting that I have to speak against them. And it is so ridiculous to see the La Republica celebrating such villainy and evil.

    And the SSPX brings a different version of the Council upon the table. And it is good so, I am so sick of the liberal theologians who are brain washing the people, and try to monopolize the interpretation of the Council by distorting the documents of II.Vat.

    But the German website Summorum Pontificum says rightly: it is now the era of internet, the younger generation is learning Latin and using internet. They have access to the original texts of the Council and to other documents of the Mother Church. The liberal theologians distorted the message of the Council already by manipulation in the venecular translation of the texts.

    But now the dictatorship of the liberals will soon end.

    Yes, it will.

  48. RBrown says:

    I don’t know about Politi and so cannot judge the allegation of an agenda on his part. But I agree with George Weigel on the Williamson fiasco; and neither Weigel and I are “liberals.”

    Perhaps not liberal on doctrine, but favoring vernacular versus populum celebration is a liberal position because of its relationship with the Mass as Meal garbage.

    There are plenty of conservative, orthodox Catholics who are not in the “traditionalist” camp and do not see the TLM as the panacea for all that ails the Church.

    I don’t see the TLM as a panacea for all that ails the Church.

    On the other hand, I do agree with what John XXIII said in Veterum Sapientia on the importance of Latin in the life of the Church.

    Further, I think that celebration ad orientem is proper for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, and that versus populum is proper for the celebration of a meal (cf. Protestantism).

    I also think that vernacular versus populum celebration creates the circumstances for mass that is not “rightly celebrated”.

    We love the renewed liturgy when rightly celebrated.

    Of course, the Novus Ordo is being “rightly celebrated” when it’s done in Latin ad orientem.

    We also love the actual documents of Vatican II and the Holy Spirit behind them (not some other “spirit” concocted by elements, both on the right and on the left, to caricature and distort the Council texts).
    Comment by Oswald Sobrino

    If you love the actual documents, then you know that they do not call for universal use of the vernacular and versus populum celebration.

    BTW, I looked at your blog and your supposition that Latin was once the vernacular is historically inaccurate. That is the position of progressives, which are sometimes referred to as liberals.

    Latin was not the vernacular but rather was the language of Empire. If after Vat II the Church had done what was done in the 4th century, English would have been mandated for the liturgy for all Western nations–France, Germany, Spain, etc.

  49. irishgirl says:

    What a lot of drivel-thanks, Fr Z, for ‘puncturing’ it!

    I pray every day for our Holy Father.

    ‘Remember that if the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But since you are not of the world, and that I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you’ [words of Our Lord]

    Viva il Papa!

  50. Jacques says:

    I wonder if the last Conclave that elected Benedict XVI wasn’t rigged…
    By the Holy Spirit itself, of course!

  51. I am not Spartacus says:

    Of all the liberal nightmares, the old Mass is their worst.

    Amen. They really thought they had killed and buried it. Its resurrection is driving them mad – literally. The EF Mass reveals what is truly in the heart and soul of man.

    Those who hate it – and they are legion – reveal who they are.

  52. Nancy says:

    Traditional Catholics have so often been chastised by liberal Catholics for being “proud and disobedient” because they questioned the value and rightness of some of the things that were done following VII. The idea was shut up, sit down, and too bad for you that watching your Church (your Faith!) be dismantled caused you pain – and in some cases even made you feel you were being untrue to your Faith. Now comes a Pope who is trying to right some of those wrongs, and those same liberals are howling for his blood and smearing him publicly.

    But it’s scant comfort that the wooly disguises are finally dropping off these wolves. They’ve devastated so much of the flock while they’ve been among us…

  53. R.Turner says:

    Liberals in the Church, liberals in the world = defamation of the good,
    praise and approval of all that Our Lord has despised and warned in scripture.

    Like He said “Many are called but few are chosen.” Wonder which ones He refers
    to – liberals or those in the traditions of His Church?

  54. The pope is a monarch??? When did the Catholic church become a democracy? I suspect that comment a pejorative, but if not a monarch isn’t the worst the liberals could label him.
    I find it disturbing when I read “they” and “Bishops” are attacking the Holy Father. Remember what Christ said, “If they hate me, they will hate you”, and when HE declared the church that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail”. Fellow Catholics, the church and the Vicar are under attack from the devil, the father of all lies. Focus on that when attempting to understand motives prevalent against the Church.

  55. The Pope is indeed a monarch. The High-Kings of Ireland and the Kings of England were also often elected monarchs prior to the Norman Conquest; see my surname.

  56. Gene Tullio says:

    “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church”: Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity and Founder of the One True Church.

    “We believe in dialogue and collegiality”: Modernist heresy upon which there is no basis in the Church. Let them rant. They are no match for God the Holy Ghost.

  57. Dan says:

    How often I wish that someone somewhere, somehow would be able to speak directly with Benedict and tell him that instead of back-peddling, apologizing, and allowing fear of pressure groups to consume him, that he should instead straighten up his backbone, speak clear, concise and Catholic words and march forward even stronger than before. The reason his enemies “smell blood” is because they have pinpointed his main weakness, fear, and are now going after him with both barrels blazing.

    He showed his fear of Jews, for example, by instantly revising the prayer for their conversion in the old rite Good Friday service (perhaps the single most scandalous act of his papacy), then by his unseemly obsequiousness shown toward them in the light of the Bishop Williamson matter. Finally he still shows his fear of them by still going ahead with plans to visit the Holy Land – even as the Israelis before the eyes of the entire world are murdering innocent men, women and children – and further scandalizing the faithful by going hat in hand to the synagogue.

    He has shown his fear of the Austrian clergy by backing down on the Wagner matter, instead of quietly and firmly telling the Austrians that the decision he made was final. No, when weakness is shown the jackals surrounding him become emboldened even more. The only thing they understand is power, and if the Holy Father will not use that power they will continue to walk over him with insouciance.

    Pray for Benedict. Pray that he will screw up his courage and begin to use the powers of the papacy against these relics of the 1960s. And also pray that he stop this ghastly kowtowing to the enemies of the Church, be they in Tel Aviv or Rome.

  58. ssoldie says:

    I am an old traditionalist, Love the SSPX, and it’s clergy and laity. I thank God for them and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre daily. Now, Sal & Oswald ( or any other progressives or neocons) have you ever read:”Devistated Vineyard”, von Hildebrand,”Reform Of The Roman Rite” Gamber, “Beyond Vatican II”, Barth, “The Liturgical Movement”,Bonneterre,’The Ottaviani Intervention” A group of Roman Theologians,”Reform Of The Reform’ Kocik,”What Went Wrong At Vatican II” McInerny,”Liturgical Time Bombs” Michael Davies, “The Liturgy Betrayed” Crouan,”The Problems With The NEW Mass” Coomarawamy,”The Rhine Flows Thru The Tiber” Wiltgen,”Confusion In The Pews” Martin,”Tower Of Babel” von Hildebrand,”Trogen Horse In The City Of God”,”Liturgy and Personality” von Hildebrand,”Looking Again At The question Of The Liturgy” Ratzinger,”Organic Development of the Liturgy” Reid,”The Mass” Adrian Fortescue,and any of Michael Davies books and all of Cardinal J Ratzinges????? Try em you might like em. Stimulates the mind and hopefully keeps, dementia away for a while, and educates.

  59. Sal says:


    I’m not with Sobrino. Read my post again. You’ve
    misinterpreted everything I wrote. I don’t happen to
    agree with the SSPX on everything, either. I’ve read
    some of their stuff and they can do a hatchet job
    and a pretty tendentious job, too. But I’m no Weigel
    fan. That should have been clear from my post.

  60. Liam says:

    Lest we get too casual about diminishing the dimension of the Eucharistic Liturgy that is a meal, a reminder from the 2005 Synod. John Allen recounted:

    One of the rare exceptions, these observers say, came Oct. 6, when Pope Benedict XVI intervened during the “free discussion” to make a point about the character of the Eucharist as both a sacrifice and a community meal. In roughly 15 minutes, Benedict reflected on the Jewish roots of the Last Supper, pointing out that in Jewish tradition a Passover meal is not a simple act of memory, but a way of rendering the God of the Exodus present to the assembly. The bottom line was that there is no contradiction between treating the Eucharist as meal and as a representation of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross — they are, in fact, inextricably linked. Many participants cited the remarks as a model of theological clarity, which had the effect of steering the synod away from a false dichotomy between “horizontal” and “vertical” dimensions of the Eucharist.

  61. Re says:

    It seems that the lie of Card. Ratzinger (now our pope Benedict XVI) about the third secret of Fatima uttered at Vatican on June 26, 2000 and never renounced is starting to be revenged on him and that it is even possible that he is the unhappy man dressed in white (pope) from the vision.

    I hope I am wrong but if Fatima messages are true as The Church officially confirmed the world is going to be horribly chastised for sin of the popes from Pius XI onwards (omission of the consecration performed in the specified way) and for its own abominable sins as, according to the messages, it was chastised in both World Wars not so long ago.

    When there were graces for the consecration it was not done. And now, who knows whether they are still available or are withdrawn until the chastisement begins.

    Pray The Rosary every day if you want to help yourself, our pope, The Church and the world.

  62. Re says:

    This quote is from Vatican II’s document called “Lumen Gentium” (16. paragraph): “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”.

    Mohamedans to adore God, with Catholics, by fiercely denying The Holy Trinity? Isn’t The Holy Trinity the one and only God in Whom all Catholics are exclusively bound to believe?
    This lie, which also entered Catechism of The Catholic Church (point 841), to be interpreted in the light of Tradition?

    While Vatican II is a legitimate General Council of The Church the above quote infallibly proves that its documents are not the work of The Holy Spirit but the work of the father of all lies (John 8:44), the evil spirit.

    While Benedict XVI has done many things well, for perfect God it is not sufficient:
    for all heretics and all schismatics act like Catholics in many things (but never in all things) and still they are not Catholics but heretics and schismatics and are both under condemnation (Titus 3:10-11; Ephesians 4:4).
    To please God Benedict XVI must do the right thing in everything concerning faith and morals and not just in many things.

    Besides, why doesn’t Benedict XVI retire or remove all disobedient bishops and put the good ones instead of them?
    Why doesn’t he order Latin Mass to be obligatory in every Catholic parish on Earth?
    Does our pope Benedict XVI have the authority to do these things by himself alone? Sure he has.
    “To him therefore who knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

  63. Re says:

    Of course, not obligatory only for Catholic parishes of non-Roman (Eastern) rites.

Comments are closed.