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More reasons to hope for a step change in the Vatican’s episcopal appointments policy

The bishops’ conferences could soon be beginning to look very different

By on Wednesday, 22 December 2010

According to the US columnist John Allen, Pope Benedict XVI will soon have named 21 of the 25 most senior officials in the Church (Photo: PA)

According to the US columnist John Allen, Pope Benedict XVI will soon have named 21 of the 25 most senior officials in the Church (Photo: PA)

My last blog, about the appointment of Archbishop Antonio Mennini as papal nuncio to the UK, speculated – admittedly with not too much to go on – about whether or not we can now expect more attention to be paid to the appointment of English, Welsh and Scottish bishops more in tune with, shall we say, the papal agenda – that is, who can be relied on to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. Edward Pentin’s latest blog (posted just after mine) talks of Archbishop Mennini as being someone who, according to one of his informants, “comes to the position with tremendous ecclesiastical and political skill and this makes it a really strong appointment”: “He has,” it seems, “a reputation of someone who’s going places.”
That in itself may be significant. There has been a history of sending men here who haven’t much of a history and are, frankly, winding down towards retirement. Now we’re being sent someone who has had some fairly tough assignments and who is on his way up: maybe he’s being sent here to do a particular job; and maybe the fact that we’re being sent someone who’s being described as a “Vatican insider” indicates that this country has become more of a priority for the powers that be in Rome than it has been in the past.
There are changes going on in Rome. As John Allen (always highly informative) has pointed out, “Benedict will [soon] have named 21 of the 25 most senior officials of the Roman Curia (a list that includes the secretary of state, prefects of nine congregations, presidents of 12 pontifical councils, and heads of three canonical courts). Benedict’s ‘new Curia’ has therefore come into focus – and since personnel is policy, these appointments say much about where he’s taking the Church.”
Most obviously, these men all share the Pope’s understanding of Catholic orthodoxy. That includes  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (who appointed  Archbishop Mennini as nuncio to this country). It also includes Cardinal Marc Ouellet, currently carrying out, so it is said, a shake-up at the Congregation for Bishops. That is also an appointment which is relevant to the future of the Church here.
Cardinal Ouellet has been on the editorial board of Communio; he has encouraged a return to Eucharistic adoration and Gregorian chant; he’s against secularisation and relativism; his stand on abortion has been robust (so robust that one “pro-choice” columnist said he wanted the cardinal to die of a long and painful illness). In other words, he’s 100 per cent the Pope’s man: and I’m hoping that that means he’s going to keep a very beady eye on episcopal appointments to this country.
For, and this is my last reason for hope, it’s now clear that the Pope has become very conscious of the special needs of the Church here, both North and South of the border. He has recently spoken of his “unforgettable journey to the United Kingdom”. And even before he arrived, episcopal appointments had begun to be made which give reasons for hope that there has already been a step change. I understand that Bishop Mark Davies, formerly co-adjutor and since October diocesan bishop of Shrewsbury, represents the kind of appointment I am talking about: and such appointments may now become the norm rather than the exception. There are quite a few episcopal retirements coming up. Both in Scotland and in England and Wales, the bishops’ conferences could soon be beginning to look very different.

  • Disgusted convert

    Is there not a saying that when one is in a hole one should stop diggng? Yet Benedict tries ever harder to create a Vatican (very different from the Church at large which can and does have very different ideas) that will respond to every cilck of his fingers, while desperatey trying to bury the full reality of the endless cases of priestly abuse. If Benedict was genuinely interested in a reform of the Church, as opposed to moving the chairs in the Vatican, his first act should be the complete opening of all Vatican files on abuse and its cover-up by priests, bishops and the rest – and while doing so, sack Cardinal Law, ex-Boston and now comfortably sitting in the Vatican so that the victims of his infamous reign contiue to suffer while he hides away.

  • EditorCT

    The simple fact that the new nuncio is the choice of Cardinal (Fatima is dead) Bertone, is all we need to know. It'll be business as usual. Don't watch this space.

    I must add that I would dearly – very dearly – love to be proved wrong. It just doesn't happen that often…

  • R. Martin d.

    From this side of the pond looking east, it appears to me in light of our Holy Father's visit to Britian, Cardinal Newman declared Blessed, and the Anglican Ordinate, that there is something wonderful afoot in the kingdom. Could it be the return to the True Faith, and to their devoted roots, of the British people? A potential wind of fresh, spring air to fill the sails of our Holy Mother Church as she respreads and fufills the Good News of Jesus Christ to Europe and the world…all from the cliffs of Dover! May God Bless Great Britian. Shall we start to pray that your Good Prince William's heart be touched by the Truth of the Catholic Church through the intercession of St. Thomas Moore, or is that over the top?

  • W Oddie

    Cardinal Bertone never said anything of the kind: all he said is that the third secret has now been finally revealed and there is nothing else to come. That's perfectly reasonable, and is almost certainly the case. If you want to go along with those who claim that we were deliberately deceived by the CDF (which means by the present Pope as well as by Cardinal Bertone), be my guest. But don't expect to be taken seriously; and don't start claiming that this is some kind of test of orthodoxy. It just isn't. “Fatima is dead”, indeed. That's just cynical disinformation.

  • W Oddie

    No, it's an excellent idea.

  • EditorCT

    W. Oddie,

    With respect, like an awful lot of modern Catholics, you are not well informed at all about Fatima. I recommend to you the following articles

    Remember, the well known Italian journalist, Antonio Socci, set out to prove wrong, the “Fatimists” as he called those of us who claim the Third Secret has not been fully revealed, and instead concluded that the “Fatimists” are right. And he wrote a book entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima to present the evidence.
    I don't want to burden you with too much reading, as Christmas Eve creeps upon us, but if you Google his name and/or the name of his book, you'll find articles a-plenty on the subject.

    It is quite commonplace to hear Catholics argue that Fatima is either a private revelation or “not dogma” as you say. I could write screeds on this but, panic not, I won't. Suffice to say that it is a very brave man
    indeed, who ignores Our Lady's stated wishes and, in further private visits to Sr Lucia, the wishes of Our Lord Himself.

    Fatima is the single most important event in our times. Our Lady promised that there would be a period of world peace after her wish has been carried out that Russia be consecrated by name – are you seriously telling me, as Cardinal Bertone has tried to tell me, that we are now enjoying the promised period of world
    peace? Seriously? So, when are you booking your sun-filled trip to Iraq then – don't forget to send me a postcard. I might just organise a wee trip myself, say in Afghanistan on a hill walking tour.

    Study Fatima closely, W.Oddie. It will entirely change your perspective. That's why God sent His Mother to that place in 1917 – to change our perspective; to change our behaviour; to warn us about the diabolical disorientation to come in the Church and the world, now in full steam, with no sign of abating. Global warming? Some think that right now we're suffering some of the promised/threatened chastisement – not global warming, but global warning!

    It's not good enough to say it's not “dogma” – it's the Mother of God speaking to us, speaking – obviously – for her Son.

    Cardinal Bertone has tried to bury Fatima as, indeed, has Cardinal Ratzinger. Are they telling us that the Church beatified two little liars? Were Francisco and Jacinta lying? That's the obvious conclusion if you believe what they said at their disgraceful press conference in 2000.

    As reputable Italian journalist, Socci concluded, there's something very dark going on here, with Bertone right at the centre. Bertone's book, telling outright whoppers about Fatima in an attempt to bury it, has been exposed by respected Fatima scholars. Check it out.

    Then think again about relying on his recommendation for papal nuncios or anything else. I wouldn't believe him if he told me there was going to be more snow in Scotland.

  • signum_magnum

    .I do so hope Sir that you are right. If the faithful are fed they will attend the banquet, but for too many years we have had indifferent leadership from most of the Bishop's of England & Wales that one has to wonder are they really Roman Catholic?

    An orthodox Nuncio promulgating the teachings and doctrine of our Faith would indeed be a blessing from Almighty God.

  • Buntles

    With regard to Fatima, Our Blessed Lady told the children that…'more souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason'….

    This was one of the points I made when writing to Rome to complain about the sacrilegious special Masses being held in Soho for unrepentant (i.e. practising) homosexuals. After all, what is homosexuality about, if not 'sins of the flesh'?

    No wonder I wasn't even afforded the courtesy of a reply, if 'Fatima is dead'.

  • Kevin

    Cardinal Ratzinger himself said that the interpretation of the Fatima message in the 2000 Vatican document 'The Message of Fatima' was not binding on the faithful. The full version of Christopher Ferrara's book 'The Secret Still Hidden' is available here:- http://www.secretstillhidden.c… I defy anyone who has given this book a fair reading to refute its contents.

  • Louise

    I have read Socci's book about the message of Fatima and the way it has been passed over and ignored by subsequent popes. Rather; a myth is circulated to say it has been done. The pope has to consecrate Russia specifically to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in the way Our Lady asked in unison with all the bishops of the world at the same time.
    In 1689 the French king was asked to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart through St. Margaret Mary, (a wonderful saint) and he refused to do it.
    Exactly 100 years later they suffered the revolution and the attempt to destroy the Catholic faith in wholesale slaughter of the of bishops, priests and nuns and the monarchy..King Louis XV1 was beheaded.
    I agree with the comment on global warning and fear that it is going to be very late when the Pope does at last do as Our Lady asked at Fatima. We may if we are lucky have 7 years left!
    God have mercy on us.

  • Daphne McLeodProecclesia

    I have learnt over the years not to put any trust in princes (of the Church) William so I say only time will tell if the new Nuncio is going to be any help to our sad country. When we have bishops who insist that the Truths of the faith are effectively taught in Catholic schools, parishes and seminaries then we will know we have a good Nuncio at last.and we will see the Church in this country on the road to recovery.

  • ROSARY15

    W. Oddie.
    The Pope as Cardinal Ratzinger stated categorically as to what was released by the Vatican in 2000 was not binding on the faithful. Please ask yourself, why he would say that?
    To continue with his emancipation of true catholic charity which has to be rooted in truth, in May of this year at Fatima the Holy Father himself finally put an end to the falsehood that is promoted from certain quarters (The same people that led us to believe that the Tridentine Mass of all time was abrogated). The Holy Father for the whole world to hear stated “Whoever thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is over; IS DECEIVED.” And please remember if you are deceived and promote the deception you yourself become a deceiver.
    Now as to the Consecration of Russia let us take a look at the words of Our Holy Mother at Fatima to the children On July 13th 1917 after showing the children a vision of Hell, Our Lady explained: “You have seen Hell~ where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart.
    “If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end.
    “But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius X1. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.
    “To forestall this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
    “If they heed My requests, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to the world.
    “In Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved etc….. (The Third Secret)
    “Do not tell this to anyone. To Francisco yes, you may tell it.”
    As you see from the words of Our Lady in bold above; the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Consecration of Russia goes hand in hand, they are inseparable! One will not happen without the other.
    Now look at the statement of Pope Benedict at Fatima in May regarding Our Lady’s Triumph. He declared “ May these seven years that divide us from the centennial of the apparitions bring forth soon the FORESEEN TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.
    The Holy Father is plainly telling us Our Lady still awaits the Consecration of Russia, and The Third Secret of Fatima is still in Chains.

  • Torkay

    Your reasoning is a bit too glib for my taste. What does “going places” mean? That this new Nuncio is a strong defender of the orthodox, traditional faith – or that he's merely ambitious? Please define your terms. And as for Cardinal Ouellet being a board member of Communio, that does not exactly earn him high marks on the orthodoxy litmus test. Finally, your esteem for Bertone is, at best, thoroughly misplaced, as several respondents have pointed out. I hope your optimism is justified, but your article fails to provide said justification. It sounds more like wishful thinking.

  • Anthony

    “when we have bishops who insist that the Truths of the Faith are effectively taught in Catholic schools, parishes and seminaries…”

    Amen to that, Daphne.

  • Anthony

    “It just doesn't happen that often… “

    Hubris, Madam?

  • Anthony

    Dear Disgusted,

    Are you really a convert to the Catholic faith (i.e. as opposed to the failed so-called Spirit of Vatican II “ecumenical” re-brand) as you appear to claim, or merely a fifth columnist hiding behind self-interested professions of disgust? If the latter, your opening rhetorical gambit somewhat blows the cover off the rather fishy (albeit predictable) odour of what follows. If you are indeed the former, you appear to have swallowed the spinning of the Fourth Estate hook, line and sinker.

    Either way, may I, like the Holy Father on Radio 4's Today “Thought for the Day”, extend to you his Christmas message of peace, love and goodwill.

  • EditorCT

    Hugh who?

  • EditorCT

    It would be nothing short of astonishing if you DIDN'T like what the Pope said on Radio 4 – it was all very basic Christian teaching. Beautifully put. There wasn't a specific “Catholic” bit, so nothig for anyone to complain about. St Peter eat your heart out!

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Unfortunately, Fatima has become the global equivalent of the “Who really shot President Kennedy” conspiracy theories–especially since the key players (Sir Lucia, Pope JPII) are conveniently deceased. Forget what Jesus said about the binding and loosing thing, all that is now lacking is the appearance of a new apparition to provide a celestial chastisement to the Church, the Pope and the CDF for leading the flock astray regarding Fatima.

  • Susan

    Hear, hear Daphne.

    Also, William, “Fatima is dead”?? Eh?? Has Our Lady changed her mind?

  • Susan

    Louise: ” We may if we are lucky have 7 years left”.

    Why 7?

  • EditorCT

    Neither Sister Lucia nor Pope John Paul II were deceased in 2000 when Cardinals Bertone and Ratzinger held their disastrous press conference – disastrous for their own credibility, that is, because their attempts to bury the Fatima message has blown right up in their faces. Scholar after scholar has demolished every word of that press conference, and try as they certainly did, they could not get Sr Lucia to support their claims.

    No need to talk about conspiracy theories – all the facts are there for the taking. The Vatican doesn't want to upset the Russians. End of. Nothing conspiratorial about it – simple human respect, no less, is making popes and cardinals choose diplomacy for fear of offending the Russians over obedience for fear of offending Our Lady.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    From the EWTN website, an excerpt of a published letter written by Sr Lucia on 29 August 1989:

    “On May 13, 1982, His Holiness John Paul II made the Consecration. I was asked if it was made. I responded “NO.” It was not made in union with all the bishops of the world.

    Then this same Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II wrote to all the bishops of the world asking them to unite with him. He sent for the statute of Our Lady of Fátima — the one from the little Chapel to be taken to Rome and on March 25, 1984 – publicly – with the bishops who wanted to unite with His Holiness, made the Consecration as Our Lady requested. They then asked me if it was made as Our Lady requested, and I said, “YES.” Now it was made.”

    The Communists came to power in Russia in 1917, the same year as the Fatima apparitions; within a year of the 1984 consecration, two Soviet leaders died in quick succession and a third–Gorbachev–was appointed who led that country toward the eventual collapse of the communist regime.

    Now maybe if the majority of the world's 1.1 billion baptized Catholics would heed Our Lady's message of conversion, penance, daily recitation of the rosary and attending first Saturday Masses, we could set the world on fire for the Holy Spirit.

    The seer that saw Our Lady first-hand always conformed her will to that of her bishop and the Holy Father on this matter and that standard is good enough for me.

  • ROSARY15

    I will try below to answer your question as to why 7 years.
    In the 1600s a Visitation nun St. Margaret Mary said that Jesus had requested the King of France to Consecrate France to His Sacred Heart. The Kings of France following the advice of certain individuals refused to obey this request of Our Lord.
    It was round and about 100 years later during the French Revolution that King Louis XV1 finally obeyed under the guidance of his confessor, a Eudist priest Fr. Hebert. He did it while still living at the Tuileries palace. In the spring of 1791, after signing the Civil Constitution of the Clergy a few months earlier, King Louis XVI fell ill at the Tuileries, where the royal family was living under house arrest. His illness was undoubtedly the result of the stress of the upheavals which he had tried to prevent, as well as the fact that his conscience was troubling him about signing the Catholic Church in France over to the revolutionary government, severing the ties with Rome. Louis had signed it under duress but deeply regretted his decision immediately. He was guillotined in 1793. This all took place around the centenary of the request to Consecrate France to the Sacred Heart.
    At the revelation of August 1931, in Rianjo, Spain, Jesus said to Sister Lucia of Fatima “Make it known to My ministers given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”
    This is what makes the approach of the centenary of the request of Our Lady for the Pope in union with all the bishops of the world to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary very ominous indeed.
    Which is why I believe that in May of 2010 Pope Benedict XV1 stated “May these 7 years that divide us from the centennial of the apparitions bring forth soon the FORESEEN TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.”
    I do not think we will consider the fact that both the King of France Louis XV1 and Pope Benedict XV1 share the same ascending number.
    I hope this helps.
    “The Holy Father. Pray very much for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late!” Our Lord to Sister Lucia.
    Pray the Rosary!

  • ROSARY15

    On the afternoon of March 19, 1983, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Portalupi met with Sister Lucia in order to establish precisely what Sister Lucia had to say concerning the consecration of the world that the Pope had performed on May 13, 1982. Besides the Nuncio, two other witnesses were present, Dr. Lacerda and Father Messias Coelho. Sister Lucia declared that “the Consecration of Russia has not been made as Our Lady has demanded” and she added, “I could not say so before because I did not have the permission of the Holy See.” In that same interview, Sister Lucia explained the reasons why the Holy Father's 1982 consecration did not fulfill Our Lady of Fatima's request:

    1) Russia had not clearly been indicated as the object of the consecration.

    2) Each bishop had not made a public and solemn ceremony in his own cathedral.

    On July 20, 1987, Sister Lucia stated to Enrique Romero in a subsequently published interview that the Consecration of Russia requested by Our Lady of Fatima is not yet done.

    In an interview which appeared in the September 1985 issue of Sol de Fatima, Sister Lucia was asked if the Pope fulfilled the request made by Our Lady at Tuy when he consecrated the world on March 25, 1984. Sister Lucia answered: “There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia.” The interviewer then asked, “So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?” Sister Lucia answered: “No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act.”

  • Giorgio Roversi

    Signing the petition to prevent the closure of Ushaw College would also help a much needed change in the bishops' policy in this country.
    You can sign at…/

  • Disgusted convert

    Anthony criticises my comment and immediately tries with a sneer to exclude from his view of the Church everyone who tries to retain the Spirit of Vatican II. Yes, I joined the Church in 1965 (possibly rather before William Oddie) when it was a place of hope and excitement and for a while, it really looked as if the Catholic Church would renew and reform itself. To read the superstitious nonsense on this “blog” about the wildly extravagant claims on Fatima, only goes to reinforce the extent to which the Church has declined from the great times of the Council.

    Perhaps the decline began when Paul VI removed the question of birth control from the Council to hand it to a Commission that he then ignored, probably crushed down by pressure from clerical dinosaurs like Cardinal Ottaviani. However, it is clear that one good thing came out of what might otherwise have been a disaster. It brought home the fact that one can remain comfortably within the Church while having to ignore some of the sillier aspects of Vatican teaching. That this must be the case is clear to anyone with even a modest knowledge of Church history who has only to review the crazed claims of Popes from even before the Middle Ages and Renaissance up to Pius IX's ridiculous Syllabus and afterwards.

    As to what has happened since Vatican II, instead of nitpicking about a peripheral issue of minimal importance like Fatima (and the even more absurd comments by Rosary 15 about France), people who have any real feeling for the Church should be concentrating on the essential clean-up that is needed after years and years of clerical abuse which Popes, Bishops and priests have tried so desperately to cover up. Only when that has been done fully, and not in drips and drabs, will the Church have any chance of regaining the authority it has lost. And that will take a very long time.

  • EditorCT

    Our Lady has not changed her mind, but there are those in the highest places who try to pretend that she has – that Russia need not be mentioned by name in the consecration, that the bishops needn't participate, that Sr Lucy contradicted herself. Check this out…

  • EditorCT

    You write about political events, misinterpreting – as so many Catholics have done – what Our Lady meant by “conversion of Russia” – she meant, of course, conversion to the one, true and Catholic Faith.

    EWTN is not a reliable source, nor is any other source which cites letters from Sr Lucia after 1960 when she was silenced by the Vatican.

    Here's a thoroughly reliable source.

  • Crossraguel

    The CDF attempt to draw a line under Fatima in 2000 succeeded in confirming beyond doubt that there has been and continues to exist an agenda within the Vatican to conceal elements of what we know to have been revealed. The sources cited in other responses at the very least highlight discrepancies which an unbiased academic analysis would confirm to be present.

    Clearly it falls to us as informed faithful to interrogate such discrepancies and draw conclusions accordingly. In accepting the official position of Rome, I understand entirely why you deem this to be 'perfectly reasonable', however would urge you not to overlook the flaws and inconsistencies in that position.

    I also understand that human nature and earthly considerations regularly overrule what conscience and faith direct us to do and equally I see it as 'perfectly reasonable' that humans managing a revelation which is unflattering and damaging in earthly terms may seek to bury bad news and run from the hounds. That we wish it weren’t oughtn’t detract from this conclusion.

    Accordingly there are many opinions as to the precise nature of the residual secret to be revealed and the implications for the Church and world, which will inevitably fill the vacuum left by these inconsistencies. What we can be assured of is that, as stated by Pope Benedict in May, the Fatima message has “has a permanent and ongoing significance”, which puts the statements of Cardinal Betrone, as well as Cardinals Ratzinger and Sodano, into some context.

  • Louise

    Thankyou Rosary 15 for explaining the importance of the 7 years left.
    I hadnt realised that Pope Benedict had alluded to this time scale in his sermon at Fatima.
    There is so much to learn about our Church history which is ignored in preparing Catechumens for conversion to The Faith. This is due to the fact that the laity who pass on the faith are not well informed and have not been catechised themselves.
    At school we were taught that the French revolution was about the revolt of the peasants. They didnt tell us about the destruction of the Monarchy (Catholic soveriegns) and the eradication of all Catholic religious and how the streets of Paris ran with the blood of the priests and nuns and the aristocracy. Instead the very peasants from the Vendee rose up to fight with their limited military hardware and try to defend themselves from the republican soldiers hired from Germany who held Paris.
    Great martyrs of the Vendee, gentlemen farmers, like Charette and Suzannet faught to the death to keep France Catholic. Perhaps some of us may have to suffer the same fate to keep the church Catholic and not a pick and mix version of catholism as it is now.

    The Church has always survived due to the blood of the martrys.
    Books like 'The Cross and the Guillotine', and 'The Last Crusade' by Warren H.Mitchell are available for those who dont know the true version of these revolutions and how they affected the Church in Europe.

  • Lisa

    What problem do you have with the Church's teaching on sexuality – specifically, as you say, 'birth control'? Have you ever even read Humanae Vitae? It is a prophetic text. Several friends of mine, as well as my husband and I, continue to follow and comply with the teaching of Humanae Vitae, and that alone has allowed God to shower us with blessings (and no, we do not have twenty children). Pope Paul VI did not ignore the reports of the commission, LEARN YOUR HISTORY! He put both reports together into one document, the encyclical. And by the way, the people who were pressing the Pope to state that artificial birth control was ok themselves had financial interests to say so (condoms and pills manufacturares make lots of money). The fact that many Catholics ignore Humanae Vitae is not a sign that the Church's teaching on sexuality is silly, it is a sign that many Catholics are sadly unaware of the blessings that adherence to that same teaching can bring. And can you please list any Vatican 'silly teachings' because I can't find any, and I have read my Catechism.

  • Rose

    Dear Lisa,
    Thankyou for mentioning the Churches sound texts in Humanae Vitae. Sadly the faith is on the decline and couples have co-habited before marriage since the 1960's as so called 'family planning' was practised with acceptance from the clergy in complete disregard for the churches teachings on sexuality. Those of us who have lived through times can see the devastation caused by this disobedience, broken families, abortion on demand, and loss of fertility and now sexually transmitted diseases which are absolutely rampant and in most cases incurable.

  • W Oddie

    A lot of what follows is written by people who claim to be orthodox Catholics, and who are doing so by implying that the pope (this pope of all popes) is LESS orthodox than they are. Anyone who does that simply cannot be taken seriously. That way lies Lefevbrism and any other form of extremist lunacy you care to think of. It certainly has nothing whatever to do with orthodox Catholicism. Get a grip, for heaven's sake.

  • W Oddie

    Who is supposed to have said that “Fatima is Dead”? Not me: not Cardinal Bertone. Not the Pope. NOT ANYBODY.

  • Disgusted Convert

    Dear Lisa, the answer here is blindingly simple. When Popes or clerics try to impose rules on personal sexuality, they are simply acting ultra vires. What goes on in the bedroom is no concern of priests and prelates, no matter how they might love to listen at doors and peep through keyholes. Hence their comments on personal sexual preferences have as much relevance as, say, a Papal ruling on the offside rule in soccer or, more significantly, the Papal campaign against the Copernican theory.

    I see that Lisa has not had 20 children thorugh observing Humanae Vitae's rulings but it would perhaps still do no harm for her to review the sort of teaching that was being pumped out by the Church in the years before the Council where people were constantly urged to support the principle of having large families. I think that this would be a useful case of Learning One's History.

    Lisa's comment that Paul VI put both documents together and produced Humanae Vitae is effectively saying that to put “yes” and “no” together and come out with “no” respects both views. Her irrelevant comment on the financial interests making money out of birth control makes one wonder if she has ever heard of the activities of the Vatican Bank? As to sillier examples of Papal teaching, let her just study as an example, the attitude of the Papacy towards non-Catholics in generation after generation until it finally and formally changed at the Council – and against the strong opposition of the Curia and its conservative supporters from e.g. still Fascist Spain and an Ireland secretly riddled with child abuse.

    Looking at Louise's comments in response to Lisa, I fear she mixes things up. Freedom to choose methods of birth control is hardly the real reason for broken families, abortion on demand (the exact opposite in this context!) and loss of fertility (where does this come from?), As for sexually transmitted diseases, here it is glaringly obvious that the deliberable lies about the effectiveness of contraceptives broadcast by some senior prelates have actually helped to pass on AIDS.

    I think that having made my points I had best leave this blog alone as nothing is more pointless than an endless series of emails and counter-emails when it is obvious that the proponents will never agree. At least however it has remained in the real world in which connection may I thank William Oddie for his sensible comment on the wilder fields of extremist religious absurdity that have also been appearing in this blog.

    Happy New Year to all!

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Your first paragraph is consistent with the letter produced on the EWTN website (i.e. 1982 consecration not valid).

    As to the rest of your post I will this time add a statement taken from The World Apostolate of Fatima USA website: “Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984:” “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984:” Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.” Note that this statement is taken from a letter bearing Sister Lucia's signature.

    This is a purely supernatural event (as opposed to a material event where people can make independent observations and draw conclusions); Sister Lucia consistently sought direction from her Bishop and the Holy Father regarding her revelations. Her Bishop, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (now Pope) and the then Holy Father John Paul II spoke publically on the matter. If they have mispoken, then the sin is on them and not the faithful; on the other hand, the continued attack on the Holy Father and the CDF over their interpretation of this supernatural event seems to contain an element of demonic rather than divine inspiration. Especially when the message is “Don't trust the Holy Father, don't trust the CDF, only Father G. (and his followers) know the truth.”

    This movement is in the same vein as the liberal progressives that seek to diminish the authority of the Magisterium with: “Well the Pope may say that, but all the Bishops didn't say that; well all the Bishops may have said that, but it's not in the Bible; well the Bible may say that, but Jesus didn't say that; well Jesus may have said something like that (if your translation is correct), but after all He was speaking to people less sophisticated than we are and they couldn't handle the real truth…”

    When the flock bites the hand of the shepherd, alarm bells ought to be ringing.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    Sorry this post is meant as a reply to Rosary15; ended up in the wrong spot

  • Christina

    'Extremist lunacy'? W Oddie? I am disappointed and would have expected better of you. You have just given the age-old, profoundly unintelligent reaction of intransigents who, upon finding their comfortable views very uncomfortably challenged, restore their false and prideful sense of security by calling all opponents of those views lunatics who 'simply cannot be taken seriously'.

  • Anthony

    Dear Disgusted,

    I wasn't sneering, but genuinely unsure where you were going with regard to what you had written, hence the conditional and hypothetical aspect of the responses to my own question, though I cannot deny the ironic tone of the reply given the apparent heat of your post (as it seemed to me). Nor do I have a view of the Church that “exclude(s) from… view… everyone who tries to retain the Spirit of Vatican II”. The choice of words in my parenthetical reference to Vatican II is specific and particular, and not intended as a general dismissal of the Council, the aims and intentions (as opposed to much of the interpretation and execution) of which I support.

    Incidentally, I agree there is a great deal of “superstitious nonsense” in the over-heated contributions of several responses to this blog. But let's look on the bright side: as the history of the Church illustrates, there has ever been a constituency among its adherents who are resistant to the rational understanding of revealed Truth, and the Faith endures in spite of the many sects, sub-sects and manifestations of intransigence and ignorance with which we humans persist in trammelling it. Being by definition Catholic entails certain burdens of responsibility and tolerance in respect of human frailties , wouldn't you say?

    Once again, as we are still in the season of goodwill, Happy Christmas.

  • ROSARY15

    I will resist the urge to make a caricature of your viewpoint as you have done to so many people that have posted here. I find it truly amazing and devoid of all Catholic Charity, your attempt to lump faithful Catholics who are trying to discern the truth regarding THE TRUE STORY OF FATIMA as followers of Father G. I take it you are referring to Father Gruner of the Fatima Center (When not one person has used Rev. Fr. Gruner as a reference in this debate) and try introduce some funny rhetoric to describe them as some kind of demonic cult. On the other hand I would say that these Catholics that you try to lampoon should take heart at being compared and associated with Fr. Gruner, a true and holy priest who has been a true champion of Our Lady and the Church, to the fact that he has received letters of commendation for his work from both Pope John Paul 11 and Pope Benedict XV1.
    To promote the True Story of Fatima we should at all times endeavor to work in a true sense of Catholic Charity and Truth to bring about the greater Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls, which is the supreme Law of the Church. This was one of the Key Catholic doctrines which Our Blessed Mother reinforced at Fatima. In fact as you are aware Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were prepared to lay down their very young lives to protect this truth and doctrine.
    For in the absence of truth there can be no Catholic Charity, all love, all charity must be rooted in the truth. If not, as our Holy Father has said it is false charity. Those united around a lie or half-truths are neither truthful nor charitable. To speak falsely in a lie or half-truth or in an unclear manner regardless of your intention has the potential to lead the faithful to eternal damnation. When the truth is at the centre, Our Blessed Lord is there at the centre with us.
    It is in this spirit of True Catholic Charity which has to have its subsistence in the Supreme Law of the Church; The greater Glory of God through the Salvation of Souls, that I point out the error of leading people to believe that the request of Our Lady of Fatima for the Pope in union with the Bishops of the world to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has been fulfilled. This also holds true as to leading people to believe the Third Secret has been revealed in its entirety.
    You see BW, in May of this year at Fatima the Holy Father himself finally put an end to the falsehood that is promoted from certain quarters. The Holy Father for the whole world to hear said “Whoever thinks that the prophetic mission of Fatima is over; IS DECEIVED.” And please remember if you are deceived and promote the deception you yourself become a deceiver.
    Now let us deal with your hypothetical letters of St. Lucia.
    These letters originated at a time the blue army and Fr. Fox were involved in some very suspect dealings as regards Fatima. (I will deal with this in future posts)
    Father Fox left the Blue Army in 1987 to form his own Fatima organization. Decades later, he stated that the Vatican asked him to do this. The Blue Army, as it were, passed the standard onto Father Fox regarding the falsification of the Fatima Message on the Consecration of Russia. Then in 1989-92, we were confronted with the fake letters of Sister Lucia.
    From the EWTN website you quote a letter dated 29th August 1989. (This letter was addressed to a Maria Betlem)
    From the WA of Fatima USA you quote a letter dated 8th November 1989. (This letter was addressed to a Walter Noelker)
    None of these addressees has given testimony to the authenticity of these letters.
    In fact these letters were among five letters that were brought forward. They were all proven to be fake at the time.
    These letters were in fact typed and computer generated, and contradicts what St. Lucia has consistently said and written in her own handwriting for over 60 years on the subject of the Consecration of Russia.
    What was claimed at the time to be St. Lucia’s signatures on these letters was proven to be a forgery by a leading expert.
    Sister Lucy's Mother Prioress gave an interview to the Portuguese newspaper O Jornal published on the 10th of May, 1991. The journalist, named Manuel Vilas Boas, asked a number of questions about life in the convent and in particular about Sister Lucy.
    Q: Here in this convent there is the exceptional presence of Sister Lucy, the Fatima visionary. Is she in fact an exception among the other religious?
    Mother Prioress: In our midst she is one of us. She is exactly the same. Those who do not know her, would not be able to distinguish her from the rest of the religious. She is a sister like all the others. We know who she is but we do not interfere with her life as a visionary.
    Q: Does she have any special tasks?
    Mother Prioress: We simply have to take into consideration her 84 years of age. She used to do all kinds of domestic work. Today she does not do as much because of her age. What is different about her is all the correspondence that she receives in great quantities.
    Q: Does she reply to all the letters that she receives?
    Mother Prioress: She does or does not reply however Sister Lucy decides. She does receive some help from the sisters only for translation. When Sister Lucy replies it is she who does so and she does it in her own handwriting.
    Also at that time St. Lucia’s sister Caroline on October the 11th 1990 stated that St. Lucia does not type on a computer or typewriter and that to that day St Lucia still writes letters of four pages to her (Caroline)and others in longhand.
    Again I draw your attention to my first post and the relationship of what the Pope said at Fatima on May 13th this year and the Consecration of Russia when he declared “ May these seven years that divide us from the centennial of the apparitions bring forth soon the FORESEEN TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.
    Pray the Rosary!

  • ROSARY15

    W Oddie.
    I see nothing in any of the posts below where anyone has claimed to be more orthodox than our present Holy Father or any previous Pope for that matter. It is extremely uncharitable of you to try brush aside faithful Catholics in this manner, Catholics who are only concerned as to what is happening to our beloved Faith and Mother Church. Also as a little help to explain your outburst, while all might know what it takes to constitute extremist lunacy, would you be so kind as to explain what Lefevbrism is according to your good self.
    Pray the Rosary!

  • Disgusted convert

    Although I had not intended to say any more on this blog, by chance (and presumably not through any convenient miraculous apparition or visitation) the article noted below has appeared on the BBC website today.

    So perhaps Lisa and any others who criticise the financial interests of the producers of birth control pills etc, might care to remind themselves of the Vatican Bank's unfortunate reputation for money-laundering and the fact that at the eleventh hour it has been forced to introduce rules that apply to proper banks.

  • Anthony

    Dear Disgusted,

    Before reading this reply to your latest post, may I direct you to the clarification I posted two days ago, following your response (for which I thank you) to hypothetical speculations I was casting in order to explore what sort of waters you might be swimming in. You may have already seen it, of course, in which case I would hope that you were able to consider the following observations without prejudice:

    1. You are without doubt correct that the appearance of the news item you refer to was not dependent upon the miraculous, though whether it was convenient depends to some extent upon how one interprets the manufactured nature of what is still anachronistically referred to as 'news'.

    2. It appeared on the BBC's Today, an organ which, though laudable in many respects, is not wholly immune from a tendency historically to represent things Catholic, generally, and Vatican-related particularly, somewhat carelessly to say the least. (I am aware that the Vatican press office can appear to be its own enemy in this respect.)

    3. In the BBC's defence, I recognize that this tendency is something which, in spite of its proud insistence on editorial independence, it shares with the broad swathe of western secular media across all platforms. Whether this seeming coincidence is symptomatic of complacency, the cultural mass-production of negative-stereotypes, deliberate misinformation, plain old-fashioned news-values negativity to sell the story, or merely an apparition, I leave to you to judge.

    4. The 'unfortunate reputation' you appear (unconsciously?) willing to concur with may, indeed, be largely just that, founded as it is on a veritable cultural industry of fiction (literary and cinematic), rumour, innuendo and conflicting political (and,yes, moral) interests.

    5. No unethical financial practices other than antiquated procedural ones have, in fact, been demonstrated, in spite of the continued and on-going investigation which the Vatican bank has fully cooperated with to date.

    Conclusion? As you would expect, I leave you to draw your own. As for me, it's the 'same old same old' for us Catholics, and I pray that you receive the grace to feel a little less disgusted as we go forward, hopefully together, in faith.

    Happy Epiphany,


  • Lisa

    Dear disgusted convert: large families are better than small ones, and I am happy to have more children if the Lord so decides.

    Pope Paul VI accepted recommendations from both reports. He welcomed the call for responsible parenthood, he just said that 'responsible' does not mean using condoms or artificial contraception. Artificial contraception has brought and is bringing our society to its knees. The west is not reproducing itself and do not tell me you are under the illusion that Europe will remain Christian. Europe will be a Muslim continent, it is just a matter of time, because many Christians have forgotten that children are gifts and not burdens.

    Abortion is the direct consequence of the contraceptive mentality. I have heard many women say 'I will not have any more children'. Well, you can't say that unless you are willing to have an abortion. Even if you use condoms and the pill together, you can still get pregnant. Half of unwanted pregnancies, which end in abortion, are the result of failed contraception.

    AIDS: condoms only reduce the risk, you can still catch AIDS even if you wear a condom (this said by condom manufacturers).

    Your thinking is like the devil's thinking: 'the Church should not tell me what to do with my body, money, etc etc'. Our body is not ours, it is the Lord's.

    Jesus came to affirm the Law, not to change it – those are His words. Well, the Law said and still says that sex is God's gift to man and woman in holy marriage, open to the possibility of children. Anything else is a trivialisation of sexuality (for biblical links see J P Nelson's study on Jesus' teaching on sexual morality:

    The Church's stance on sexual morality is Jesus' stance. The Church is simply guarding Jesus' message.

    Your accusations re the Church and non Catholics – can you point out any Church documents that say we should not treat others as we would treat Jesus himself? You can't, because there aren't any. You are citing conspiracy theories.

    God bless Pope Benedict, God bless you and happy new year to you all.