The Pope’s meeting in February 2019 should focus on the Archbishop Vigano allegations and not on child sexual abuse

The Church is once again embroiled in a sexual abuse crisis which seemingly never goes away. Multiple recent events have combined to make it appear that a recalcitrant Catholic Church has still not gotten the message. The Pennsylvania grand jury report gives the impression that child sexual abuse in the U. S. Catholic Church is still in full swing and that the Church’s response has been inadequate at best. [1] Grand juries in other states are reportedly conducting investigations as well. [2] Following CardinalMcCarrick’s resignation in July, [3] the letter of Archbishop Vigano amplified and expanded the controversy, by making detailed allegations that the hierarchy including the Pope protected McCarrick, and by asserting that there are homosexual networks of clergy within the Church which are actively attempting to undermine the Church’s doctrine and teaching. [4] Adding fuel to the fire is the recent resignation of Bishop Bransfield of West Virginia and the Pope’s authorization of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by that bishop. [5] On September 19th, the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced new initiatives taken to address sexual abuse by bishops.[6] All of this has become mixed into one big swirling pot of trouble, with the Pope initially refusing to respond to questions about the Vigano letter, [7] but later deciding to hold a meeting in February with the presidents of the worldwide bishops conferences to discuss sex abuse prevention. [8] On October 6th, the Pope ordered a new study “of all the documentation contained in the Vatican archives in order to ‘ascertain all therelevant facts’ surrounding the ex-cardinal.” [9] On October 12th, the Pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Wuerl, named by Archbishop Vigano as participating in the cover-up of abuse by bishops and by the Pennsylvania grand jury report for the same. [10]

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Gaudete et Exsultate and the Heresy of “Rules”

Anyone who has had occasion to use the 1962 Roman Missal might have found the following words, attributed to Pope St. Pius X, on a page inserted just before the Ordinary of the Mass:

“The Holy Mass is a prayer in itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.” [1]

Judging by these reverent words, that Pope must have harbored a “punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy.” [2] And yet, such punctilious concern for the liturgy is one of many behaviors normally thought of as orthodox which are now marked by the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate as warning signs of heresy.

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Virginia is NOT a gun-friendly state

One of the most important ongoing fights against progressives is the battle to protect the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Although the 2008 Heller case was initiated over the issue of possessing firearms for the purpose of self-defense in the home, it was especially reassuring to see that Justice Scalia in the majority opinion went to great lengths explicating the foundational justifications for and meaning of the Second Amendment. [1] However, the Heller case did not address the scope of legitimate actions that can be taken in self-defense. This is an important topic – after all, what good is it to possess a firearm if the laws in your state do not strongly support its use in self-defense?

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Amoris Laetitia – The Accelerating Crisis

An article caught my attention not long ago, wherein the author posits that Amoris Laetitia was “really written to ‘normalize’ homosexuality.” [1] This is particularly interesting to me, since I recently wrote an analysis of some of the Pope’s statements on homosexuality [2], concluding that the Pope has effectively kept silent on his intentions for dealing with homosexuality in the Church, and that we have yet to clearly see the direction he is heading with respect to solving the problem of homosexuality within the Church, an issue he was first asked about in 2013. [3]

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Progressive Intolerance and the Threat to Free Speech

Intolerance from those in our country who oppose what they call offensive or hate speech is becoming increasingly commonplace. We who value our freedom of speech should regard this trend with the greatest concern, because it reflects an underlying motive to deny some of our most important freedoms, those which are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Such intolerance came into sharp focus in the reaction to the white nationalist protesters following the August 2017 Charlottesville tragedy. For example, a column by Rob Hedelt appearing in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star in the aftermath of the of the Charlottesville events inaccurately attributed the loss of life that day to the actions of the white nationalist protesters. [1] Not only was this attribution inaccurate, it was stated in the most vitriolic of terms, with words such as “vermin” and “disgusting bile” describing the protesters and their message.

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“Who Am I To Judge?” – Revisited

Although the Pope uttered these words in 2013, they continue to reverberate throughout the Catholic world several years later. I believe that, despite the wide and varied response, the actual intent of the Pope’s comment has still not been well understood, and that therefore, a detailed look at the actual words remains in order. Although the Pope expressed himself here in an informal manner, without the time to consider carefully every word, what he said (and what he did not say) matters, and matters a very great deal.

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