On lukewarm mediocrity, duplicitous hypocrisy, and media deflections

Fr. Rupnik’s case is now only shocking in the fact that it no longer shocks. It is the same story of past decades, just a different chapter.

(Image: Nick Fewings/Unsplsh.com)

I am dating myself with this reference, but in the old BBC sketch comedy show, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” there was a sketch in which Michael Palin plays a cheese shop proprietor and John Cleese a customer asking for various cheeses, all of which the cheese shop does not have. The list of Cleese’s cheese requests grows to include just about every known variety and the scene becomes ever more comical as it becomes apparent that this purported cheese shop has no cheese at all. At one point, however, Palin indicates that they do have some Brie but then immediately looks down and says, “Oh my, sorry, but the cat’s just eaten it.” We are never told why the shop has no cheese, but that only adds to the humor as Palin’s character attempts to continue the pretense that this is, indeed, a real cheese shop.

The entire scene highlights the fact that outward appearances, no matter how compelling, can be deceiving. A police officer, for example, may have all of the outward accouterment of his office, but if he is corrupt – taking bribes, planting evidence, lying under oath, etc. – then he is in reality no peace officer at all but an agent of injustice. Likewise for a judge who, no matter his fine robes and high bench, if he is “on the take” from the mob, is a perverter of the law and not its impartial adjudicator. You get the point. And unlike the Monty Python sketch there is no humor in it on any level. The hollowing out of the moral integrity of our most valued institutions via the path of posturing in the direction of propriety and rectitude, all the while misusing the outward trappings of office for the sake of corrupt aims, forebodes institutional collapse when it comes from those in the highest levels of authority.

And the Church, as we well know from history, is not immune from such moral evacuations through the exercise of ecclesial power in duplicitous and mendacious ways. Those in high ecclesial office can preen and posture in public, bedecked in their epicene frills, red robes, and pectoral crosses, and wax rhapsodic about the glories of the Gospel, all the while using those outward appearances to hide their various misdeeds. They can play us for fools and speak of “Roman authority” and of our need as laity to engage in a “religious submission of mind and will” to every official diktat they issue, cynically using our own obeisant piety against us. And, like corrupt Renaissance princes, they have their court sycophants and jesters in certain circles of the Catholic media ever-ready to pronounce that those of us who dare to raise our voices in protest are being sinfully disobedient to the Magisterium.

As a devout Catholic with a total commitment to moral and doctrinal orthodoxy, as well as the Magisterium that upholds it, these words of criticism do not come easily. In fact, they grate and irritate and cause deep inward anxiety owing to the cognitive dissonance induced by the clash between my devotion to the Church and my belief in her doctrines and apostolic authority, and the ongoing abuse of power we see today at the highest levels. In other words, the dissonance is caused precisely by my loyalty to the Church and not because of any insouciant disregard for her claims.

I dare say that in uttering these words I speak for many other thoroughly orthodox Catholics who today feel the same tortured anguish as they try to renegotiate their filial devotion to the Church in the light of the current confusions emanating from the Vatican. My email inbox attests to a widespread malaise among faithful Catholics who, in the face of such dissonance and confusion, routinely ask one simple question: “How do we renegotiate our faith in the face of such outrages?” And many of them tell me that this renegotiation might just lead them out the Church door never to return.

This malaise is a reality that has been building for the past several decades in the Church, and the recent revelations concerning Father Marko Ivan Rupnik are only going to make matters worse. I will not repeat the particulars of the case against him since others have done that admirably. Notably, Christopher Altieri has recently penned several scathing reports for CWR on the scandal (which you can access here, here, here, and here). My focus in this essay is on the damage done, once again, to the Church’s credibility in dealing with the sexual abuse scandal in general, with the latest case of Fr. Rupnik providing evidence of a Church that once again is good at words and outward gestures but lousy at actually doing anything of substance.

When it comes to the sexual abuse crisis it is now becoming abundantly clear that the Church’s hierarchy is often like that cheese shop without cheese. There are several Vatican dicasteries with all of the proper signage and outward trappings of a proper judiciary, but when pressed for details on how they are handling this or that case, give the ecclesiastical equivalent of, “Oh, sorry, but the cat’s just eaten it.” We now have official “policies” that pose as outward markers of seriousness but which are not, apparently, taken seriously by many in power, which seems, at this point, to be a deliberate exercise in ecclesiastical legerdemain.

And that is because the policies – e.g. vos estis – which advertise themselves as real policies with real teeth are in actual practice nothing of the sort. And in the case of vos estis in particular, which is designed to give the Vatican greater canonical authority over bishops that cover up sexual abuse or who have engaged in sexual abuse themselves, there is no guidance in the document with regard to what to do when it is that very same Vatican doing the covering up, as it seems in the case of Fr. Rupnik.

The cynicism engendered among the faithful by these ongoing ecclesial deflections has already reached a crisis level of intensity since the latest examples of episcopal doublespeak come on the heels of several decades of a slow-rolling nightmare of malfeasance. This is a nightmare whose torturous intensity is only magnified by the fact that the hits just keep on coming even after our so-called “policies” for dealing with the crisis have been put in place. When the Vatican itself can no longer be trusted with these matters, the response of the faithful is to view those policies as a monstrous deception and a lie which are a fig leaf covering for the hierarchy to hide behind.

And the cynicism is troublesome on many levels since it is not confined to the Vatican’s handling of a few sex abuse cases, but spills over into a generalized rejection of anything the Church has to say on moral matters, especially matters relating to sexuality, resulting in a far-reaching crisis of authority to which the Vatican in particular appears clueless.

This cluelessness is itself a self-cultivated ignorance and is born out of a deeply condescending clericalism that treats the laity in infantilizing ways as fools whose attention span is deemed to be short. But our attention span is not short and we have seen enough to make our adjudications. For example, in 1982 I was a seminarian at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and I knew several seminarians from the diocese of Metuchen, where Uncle Ted McCarrick was bishop, who were quite open about the well-known fact that you should never accept an invitation from McCarrick to go to his beach house. It was just common knowledge that the place was his personal, gay pleasure palace and that you should steer clear of it at all costs.

Imagine my surprise when I saw his career rocket upward. I wondered in my naivete, “How can the bishops not know about him?” But of course some of them knew, and our cynicism over the entire affair grew exponentially as we witnessed bishop after bishop, and even Cardinals, who had lived in close association with him, lying through their teeth about how ignorant they were of his shenanigans. And these bishops, who are, I think, clearly guilty of having covered up for their friend and benefactor, are now themselves promoted to high office in the Church.

Twenty years ago, back in 2002, I was a regular guest on a Fox News show as a theological commentator on the then exploding sex abuse crisis. After one segment in the New York studio, the host asked me off camera if I knew of anyone they should be investigating. I did not hesitate and told him, “Yes, look into Cardinal McCarrick.” The host leaned back in his chair, smiled, and said, “Yes, we have heard the same from many, many people, and we are looking into it, but we cannot get anyone to go on the record.”

People knew about Uncle Ted and, apparently, a lot of people in the Vatican knew about Fr. Rupnik. It is the same story, just a different chapter. But all the chapters are starting to read the same. And in that pattern is the point. Therefore, Rupnik’s case is now only shocking in the fact that it no longer shocks. Even with the added layer of an apparent Jesuit favoritism toward Fr. Rupnik from our Jesuit Pope, it no longer shocks. The cynicism of the faithful that this lack of shock expresses will not long linger, but will soon issue forth in an increased apathy for the faith in general – a faith that is already strained by the forces of secularism, indifferentism, and the realization by many, after the post-COVID lockdowns, that maybe Mass attendance is not that big of a deal after all.

Perhaps the Vatican should issue a new document on the issue of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal cover up. They could call it “De Vomitus et Regurgitatis” and direct its gaze at this Laodicean Vatican whose lukewarm mediocrity, duplicitous hypocrisy, and media deflections induce nothing but nausea among the faithful, both lay and clerical. I feel in my soul the anguish that many good priests must feel right now. I hear from many of them. How disheartening and vocation-killing it must be to have your own bishop say “no” to a simple request for something like permission to do one Mass a week ad orientem, only to find out that apparently so long as you are a Jesuit and a mediocre artist you can commit excommunicational sins of confession abuse, be reinstated after a cursory “I am sorry”, and then be invited to give a series of “reflections” at the Vatican. It does not take long for faithful priests to realize that apparently, “Who am I to judge?” is just code for “No serious sins to the Left of me, but woe unto you ‘backwardists’.”

They think that we do not notice, or that if we do notice we will soon forget about it. But we do notice, and we will not forget. And the “Oops, sorry, the cat’s just eaten it” responses will no longer suffice. We want transparency and answers. But this papacy, alas, is not known for either.

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About Larry Chapp 62 Articles
Dr. Larry Chapp is a retired professor of theology. He taught for twenty years at DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. He now owns and manages, with his wife, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. Dr. Chapp received his doctorate from Fordham University in 1994 with a specialization in the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. He can be visited online at "Gaudium et Spes 22".


  1. My serious cynicism regarding the morally vapid state of the hierarchy started about 30 years ago when a sitting bishop of a diocese in the Northeast came to see me for treatment of depression. When taking his history, he told me that he was having homosexual sex with a number of his priests. I felt like throwing up there and then. I did not. But I do remember saying to this bishop that he had every good reason to be depressed and, in fact, if he were not depressed over what he disclosed, I’d surmise that he was suffering from a serious mental illness.

    That being said, I have no intention of ever leaving my Catholic Church nor of doubting my faith whatsoever over these guys. What these scoundrels need most of all is heavy confrontation with the truth at every opportunity by lay and cleric alike. They should be confronted with their fecknessness. Instead of the faithful fawning all over the hierarchy when they’re in their presence, they ought to treat each one with a strong dose of reality and truth – just as the Scripture commands us to do with a brother who we know is sinning. There will be just as many of the faithful in hell who kept silence in the face of their brother’s sin as those who were the sinners themselves.

    Larry, a brilliant piece. Thank you

    • I share to some extent the same cynical, non-shocked angst of the orthodox but not for long. My response to the authority of Roman shenanigans tends not to malaise and definitely inclines against walk-away. Granted, the face of de statu ecclesiae adulterinae disgusts and induces retching. Nevertheless, the sad and sorry circus moves me to ignore, to write in reasoned opposition, and to jeer at its idiotic lunacy.

      I know that Christ and His Spirit dwell within the body of believers who love Him. Corrupt church authorities and immoral ministers can do nothing to kill His Life in us. God may have allowed His gifts of Faith, Hope and Love to be handled and handed onto us by fools without much worth, but the gifts remain His precious gifts which we are privileged and blessed to keep safe from smear. Sinners will die, but Christ and the Tabernacles of His Gifts still shine on the hill. No matter what. We are soldiers on the side of Christ; the corrupt, inane, hypocritical and sinful church authorities are not. Pity them, and pray.

    • Excellent analysis!
      I couldn’t agree more with what you say about the faithful ” fawning ” over priests Bishops and Cardinals. Clearly ckericalism often has it’s roots in this quite disgusting attitude of subservient behaviour even by those who have Phd:s and more. Many of whom are more intelligent than their Bishops, who nowadays give a very mediocre impression. Great careers. Only a very holy Bishop will be able to resist a feeling of disrespect in the face of such adoration which only belongs to God. Thank God there are also a few holy and bright Bishops.
      Certainly nothing will change until more lay faithful take action; correcting morally corrupt clergy. Stop the despicable adulation. Be honest and straightforward but without anger.
      As for my part the by now innumerable scandals among many Bishops and some Cardinals have, very sadly, resulted in a total loss of respect. Before my heart was filled with love and joy at the mere sight of a Bishop. There was a healthy reverence. Now, I feel like remain seated with crossed arms if I would be close to a Bishop. Not even greeting him. Unless I knew that he is a very good and faithful Bishop. And that’s terrible to feel.I have of course maintained a total love and respect for the office which will always be there.
      But my heart has grown cold for Bishops in general. With some wonderful exceptions. Thank God for them!
      None of this deters me from attending Mass daily. Reading the scriptures daily. Reading about all the great things in the Church. The history. I know that my faith must be concentrated on Christ alone. I no longer expect anything from the Bishops. I would rather expect more deceit and lies. More heterodoxy. More cynicism. More indifference. More homosexual Bishops. But I also believe that one day in a probably distant future there will be a change for the better.

      • And proclaiming the truth – even to the hierarchy – must be constant and unrelenting until we’re assured that they are on board.

  2. I cannot add anything to this comprehensive narrative of our pain and disgust. We want to be faithful to our Church, and yet, our Churchmen couldn’t care less. The agony of maintaining our Faith in all of this, we keep praying, can be redemptive. It’s our only hope.

    • Uncle Mike,
      I have already thought your thought about a number of American and foreign clerics. I think you’re entirely correct.

  3. I honestly cannot tell whether the bishops don’t understand what they look like to everyone, understand but don’t care, or simply feel crushed under the weight of it all and powerless to do anything about it. Whichever it is needs to stop yesterday.

    Larry, you did not say how the Cheese Shop sketch ends, but I remember and it wasn’t good for the cheese shop owner (or the bazookie player).

  4. Substituting “secularism and ideological colonization” (and internal protectorates!) for 16th-century Italian city-state politics, we might reflect upon Machiavelli’s concluding words in “The Prince” (Ch. XXV, A.D. 1513) where he appeals for restored leadership (if still only the Medici dynasty) to save the situation:

    “This opportunity must not, therefore, be allowed to pass, so that Italy [now the Church?] may at length find her liberator. I cannot express the love with which he would be received in all those provinces [dioceses?] which have suffered under these foreign invasions […] with what steadfast faith [not “backwardness”?], with what love, with what grateful tears. What doors would be closed against him? What people would refuse him obedience? What envy could oppose him? What Italian [or now providentially non-Western cardinalates?] would withhold allegiance? This barbarous domination stinks in the nostrils of everyone.”

    Let us at least pray that the two recent two Addresses (Cardinals Ladaria Ferrer and Quellet) to the ad limina German bishops, and the papal interview with America Magazine, mark a real turning point or at least some degree of damage control in Germania and especially at the worldwide Synod on Synodality (the abdication on sexual morality, already signaled by ringmaster Cardinals Grech and Hollerich).


  5. A time for elation, a time for nausea. A time for remedy, a time for a catharsis.
    Evil has so entrenched itself within Church and World letting it all out I suppose gives relief. Chapp’s analogy of cheese store without cheese reminds of Flannery’s antihero Hazel Motes’ Church of Christ without Christ. A dash of tragic humor.
    Deacon Peitler urges we call it out, otherwise we are as guilty as the guilty and as likely condemnable. That’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality we have to carry out. Those, especially clergy who defer to things as they are, rather than experience the discomfort are guilty for the sin of the other. God says so in scripture.
    There are ways of calling it out. There’s less drama and pain writing about it. Most difficult is honesty with those close to us, family, virtually all these days affected by the disease. We might be responded to with silence, even anger and distancing. Although if we do this with good intention for someone, with prayer, vigils, sacrifice there’s bound to be some form of good result sometimes a miracle reassessment and conversion. Grace can do that. Besides, we feel much better doing this thing.

  6. Yes, indeed. They seem not to care that we see they don’t really believe.
    God bless Holy Benedict in what may be his final days in this horror show.

  7. I find it difficult to stay in the church today and am amazed at the people who now enter our church. I no longer go to confession and talk to Jesus directly. McCarrick probably has all the money he made while a priest and meanwhile the church has to up millions to try to help ALL those abused. Now we can add to the list Fr Gigante leaving $7 million to his secret son while we the people are asked to give to Peter’s Pence and he kept all that money for himself and now the son. I also have stopped giving to Peter’s Pence for years and give instead to Catholic Relief hoping it truly is helping the poor.

    • Alice,
      As difficult as it may be, I strongly recommend that you stay in the Catholic Church until the end. The Bride of Christ is the church that was founded on Saint Peter. We need to be faithful to this.

      However, we also need to take care of ourselves spiritually. You’ll need to find a good Catholic parish with a good priest and return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

      By the way, if you leave the Church, who will be around with Christ to help right the ship?

  8. Thank you Larry Chapp, for your faithfulness in standing against the fraudulent cult now reigning in the Bishop of Rome and so many other frauds sitting in Bishops chairs in so many cities in the US and Europe and South America and Asia, simply world-wide.

    As Professor Farrow of Canada has written on these pages at CWR, Jesus (and not the Pontiff) is the Head of The Body of Christ, The Church.

    As Jesus declared, apart from Him, even Pontiffs and Bishops can do NOTHING. This case is yet another nauseating reminder that this Pontiff and so many of his Bishops seem to demonstrate that they are apart from Christ (many as we know in the US having been selected on the advice of McCarrick himself, and many still in the US and worldwide still being selected by McCarrick’s clone and protege Eminence Donald Wuerl, who despite his crimes against the Body of Christ was publicly defended and lauded by the Pontiff Francis, and has been rewarded by the same with a seat in the Congregation for Bishops, where he continues to select more McCarrick-clones to serve in the ongoing “McCarrick-Establishment”).

    The situation is that the cult of Bishops like those named above, led by the Bishop of Rome, have simply molded themselves into a cult of outlaws. No one would accuse them of respect for the authority of scripture and tradition. They are left in the ridiculous posture of expecting or wanting to be respected solely because they hold office as Bishops and Cardinals and Pontiffs.

    Which brings to mind this warning from St. Paul: “If for this world only we have hoped, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

    God convert them. God save us, God rescue us from this emptiness, and send us good shepherds, like The Good Shepherd, Your Incarnate Son, our only hope.

  9. I wonder what Mary thought and felt and prayed when she was told that one of her Son’s closest Twelve had just betrayed Him, their leader had publicly denied Him and all of them had run away and left Him in the hands of His enemies, with only one returning to stand by Him at His death. One out of Twelve. Whatever she thought and felt and prayed for the Church then at its darkest hour is what I want to think and feel and pray about the Church now.

    • Maybe, Sister, just maybe she knew Him so well (Marriage Feast of Cana) and after the Sermon on the Mount trusted it was all part of His Redemptive plan. Still I imagine the pain she experienced at the foot of the Cross unbearable for any mother. Just finished watching through the two seasons of The Chosen. Puts the Apostles in perspective to their roll in His life, their mistakes, their doubt, their challenge to keep the faith. All except John martyred in the end, could they imagine how many they rescued through 2000 years?

    • Sister Gabriela,

      What a faith informing and fulfilling reflection!

      Thank you for your great courage, clarity, charity, commitment, and sacrifice.

      And most of all for devoting your life to Christ and His bride.

      God Bless!

  10. We must be reminded that Jesus’ Secretary-Treasurer was a thief and a liar and a troublemaker among the faithful. Where human beings are involved, it always has been and always will be. The shock is that they have managed to ascend the ladder to the highest rungs of leadership AND REMAIN THERE. Thank you, CWR, for this and other articles exposing these wolves in sheep’s clothing for who they really are. You are in the spirit of the Apostle Paul who said Acts 20:28-30 (28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

  11. Thanks for writing this article!
    The words could have been my own since it reflects my own thoughts and feelings.
    The rot in the Vatican is so disgusting that I have lost all interest in visiting the Vatican except the fabulous museums.
    For me and my husband only the word ” Vatican ” used to make us feel very happy and proud. Now all we can experience is bottomless shame and downright disgust. And this is so terrible!
    We love the Church founded by Christ and the saints. We personally know so many good and faithful priests. We are blessed with receiving continuous and solid formation.
    But not all Catholics have this opportunity. If their faith is not rock solid what will happen to them? Many are struggling in their daily lives to make a living and to support their families. They want to stay faithful. But when they see that they are treated with such contempt by so many in the highest echelons of the hierarchy even by many in the Vatican I fear that many will sooner or later leave the Catholic Church. Most of them will probably not turn to other churches but just slowly drift away from the faith.
    The ckericalism demonstrated in the Vatican is so horrendous; the open arrogance and disrespect for the lay faithful is nothing but disgusting.

  12. Dr. Chapp, I was with you until your comment about the ad orientem Mass request. I’m sure that many righteous priests with no stain of sexual sin or no inter-office scandals and mismanagement, deny requests for ad orientem Masses. It’s a separate issue from sexual sin, and mention of it in your otherwise excellent, thought-provoking article leaves Catholics like me (convert from Evangelical Protestantism 2004) sighing and thinking, “Pick your fight, keep your head down, hold your weapons (in your case, words) ready, and DON’T GET SIDE-TRACKED!” Keep in mind that there were plenty of priests living a sinful sexual life back during the ad orientem/Latin Mass days. But I’m still with you on the main issue in your article.

    • Dr. Chapp’s comment that you incorrectly write about was merely an example to demonstrate the hypocrisy of church leadership in denying a legitimate request for a traditional practice while permitting all sorts of harmful things, and how frustrating such things can be. It is totally consistent with the rest of his fine article, and it has nothing to do with what you have read into it.

  13. I am re-reading Paul Johnson’s “History of Christianity” and scandals abound in the Church’s history and, not excusing the present problems, some were worse than these today. My meaning is that keeping your eye on Jesus is key and the present outrage and parishioners leaving the Church may eventually be the corrective needed.

    • The book”Calming the Storm” by Father Gerald Murray is helping me to tamp down my anger somewhat. I have a tendency to rage against the apostates and the demonic ones and Father Murray counsels a faithful and steadfast manner of just sticking to the facts of our Faith as handed down to us for millennia. Gratias.

  14. Another example of the top administrators’ elitism and arrogance. This attitude is everywhere from tech companies to politicians. Its rampant in governmental bureaucracies and private sector corporations. It is no surprise you will find it in Rome.

    What is most disgusting is the Church’s complete lack of concern for the safety of its children.

  15. Character, conduct, conscience, we expect priests and bishops to be exemplars by example. Some are not and they drag the reputation of the church down. Those without moral principles laugh for highest leadership does not take punitive action.

    Sin is endemic to all, yet Jesus Christ did not sin, so he is the perfect sacrifice. Some will not accept this truth, to their eternal peril. Worse they lead others into ways that are inappropriate, most especially for the church.

    1 Timothy 1:10 The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

    Romans 1:27 And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    We all sin in one way or another. If we commit to the Lord that this day we will not take up overwhelming sin, it is a way forward. Take only one day at a time, soon it will be a week, then a month and the urge becomes less and less. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, we can repudiate it for the day. The following day celebrate the victory and commit once again to honouring the Lord.

  16. My compliments to Prof Chapp on a very fine essay – devoid of any intellectual pomposity- and I I apologize for past complaints about his literary style.
    There seems to be a problem with these sexual ‘victims’ also besides the predators who abuse them.
    As an altar boy for 8 years I never experienced the slightest bit of sexual misbehavior. The predators know how to identify, isolate and develop their ‘victims’.
    There is one notorious cancelled priest who complains he was raped while working as an orderly in a nursing home; Supposedly by a priest and late at night even though he was a full grown man. I am sorry to say but this leaves me incredulous and suspicious that the victim was merely disgusted with his own submission. Another infamous canceled priest who rages on and on about being ordained by McCarrick finally revealed that he was sexually abused as a teen and not by a cleric. He now claims he didn’t ‘know’ about McCarrick while he was in seminary. Some people I dearly love believe his story but it seems quite incredible to me. Prof Chapp lends weight to the notoriety of the sexual prowler as being quite well known in the close knit world of seminaries.
    Then the nun who became distressed because Rupnik wanted a threesome strikes me as a pitiable example of someone woefully deficient in possession of her own mind and soul.
    Part of the problem with these corrupt clergy is the easy pickings because the victims are so unrealized in their own persons.
    It is no excuse for the slimy predators who are akin to road kill eaters but the general degeneracy is also a factor.
    And all those who look the other way are no less culpable than a McCarrick – and how many would that number? Can we name 5 good bishops in the USA? Where are the men?
    The feminization of the Church goes far beyond all the parish women who fawn upon priests almost to the point of idolatry. Anyone who condemns the apostates dominance in our Church today is derided as ‘opinionated’.

  17. Bonjour de Montréal,
    Merci pour votre excellent article !
    I came back to the fold (the Catholic Church) three years ago after 22 years with the Greek Orthodox faith so I could be closer to my catholic but sick spouse (who finally died of cancer in August; may God have mercy on her soul!). I recognized then (with the help from some great theologians who experienced the Christian East) that, even with all the scandals going on, the real Body of Christ is the Churches which are in communion with the Bishop of Rome ”and the gates of hell will not prevail” even if many wolves are inside Her. (It’s a reality that has existed since Judas!).
    To any of our catholic brothers and sisters who are thinking about leaving our church for another one, I hope you’ll listen to MICHAEL LOFTON’s ”REASON & THEOLOGY” YouTube pages or visit his web pages:
    As a former Protestant and Orthodox christian, he finally understood that a Church without a recognized leader is a lost and confused church. After many years of digging, he found out and believed that Christ instituted Rome as a divine and central Sea. It represent the essential magisterium that Orthodox (look at the deepening divisions between the slavic churches like Moscow and the Greek ones) and Protestants (how many branches does it has these days?) don’t have.
    At the same time M. LOFTON debunks most attacks against the Sea of Rome from catholic traditionalists bent on conspiracy theories, protestant thinkers (who always denigrate Catholicism) and Orthodox traditionalists (who rages particularly against the essential role of the Papecy).
    May we all ”stick around” and fight like prophets, if need be, so that the Body of Christ can pursue its divine mission in these troubled times and be the salt of the Earth.
    -Love in XC

  18. Let us keep ourselves fixed on the Eucharist as the world and the Church disintegrate around us. Our Good Shepard knows His sheep. Let us remain His faithful followers and gratefully accept persecution if it comes our way. We all must continue to pray for the expiation of the evil that has permeated the Church. Let us all pray that our Blessed Mother be there at the hour of Pope Benedict’s death to accompany him to our Savior. Let us also pray for the cardinals, bishops and priests that follow the will of the Holy Spirit in guiding the true faithful. Do not despair for the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church.

  19. My understanding is that the Church was tolerant of the death penalty up until Pope St John Paul II. Pope Francis has dispensed with it I think.
    This was a great error as there are some sinners who’s sins are so odious and where it is evident that remorse will never be forthcoming that there is really no hope of any reconciliation, remorse or rehabilitation.
    The Christian response should be to remove them from the danger they represent to others – especially children, seminarians and those in the religious life.
    Of course, this will seem abhorrent to most, but one cannot argue against the very significant advantages that might ensue. For example, if it is proven that they are beyond redemption -I.E. – they are resolute in their evil ways – then they need to be put away. Prison is not the answer!
    Doing so will protect the innocent, whether it be children, adults, religious etc.
    The certainty of a death sentence would afford them the opportunity to consider the state of their souls, with every aid being afforded them to this end, thereby giving them every opportunity to save their souls. This is absolutely a potential outcome.
    This could prove difficult to effect, however, as at this stage we must acknowledge that fact that the institutional church is absolutely lost to the agents of Satan, ie, the legions of Freemasons who control the corridors of power within the Vatican. Of course, True the Spiritual Church of Christ will prevail, so all we can do in the meantime is to make every effort to regroup as best we can.
    I’m confident there are many good Jesuits in the would who must be feeling excruciating pain at the behaviour of senior members of their order who have mighty positions up to the highest levels in the church.
    They must regroup and expel the guilty heretics who are bringing disgrace on the order. The same goes for the Franciscans and other orders who are being similarly disaffected.
    A root and branch examination need to take place at every level in our Church – religious orders, diocesan and Traditional.
    Excommunications and schisms will be an inevitable consequence with particular regard to certain diocese in German, Belgian, France and Holland who have had one foot out the door for nearly a century or so. Pope St Paul VI should have slammed the door on this bunch of mavericks in the sixties, rather than having embarked on the devastating practice of Holy Communion in the hand. I believe he had come to this realisation well before his death, but it would have been too late for him to revert to the stays quo at that point. The disrespect for the Holy Eucharist out of this abuse is the primary reason for the mess we find ourselves today.
    This same group of antichrists are still battling away with considerable success in their efforts to destroy the church. Their success is almost assured, but it will be pyrrhic, as it will only be over the small ‘c’ church!
    Apologies for the slightly garbled message, but I hope some will be able to pick up the threads of what I’m trying to get at.
    In conclusion, it’s difficult to be optimistic about Francis’ ultimate replacement, but we do have hope and prayer on our side. God have mercy!
    God bless to all

  20. Is it a coincidence that, at least at this particular appearance of the CWR front page, Guarino’s and Chapp’s pieces are next to each other? Whereas Guarino fixates on theological density and ontological change, Chapp takes a hard look at the realities of the Church today. Guarino comes off looking like a deer staring in the headlights, and Chapp knows that an 18-wheeler is behind those hi-beam headlights. Guarino, no doubt with the best of intentions, believes that focusing on the brilliance will save us. Chap understands that the mass of steel behind those blinding headlights is rolling toward us at a deadly speed. Kudos to Chapp. Theological density and ontological change mean next to nothing when it comes to actual virtuous living. Many of our bishops have sadly shown us that ontological change does nothing to create honesty, integrity and courage in men who have largely been promoted for their abilities to rise to the top in a system fraught with corruption and self-promotion, usually in environments of endless gossip and back-stabbing: the chancery and the seminary … all with the most refined manners and french cuffs. As for “theological density,” it can produce obfuscation and distraction as well as inspiration and enlightenment. It is at best a neutral quality without much meaning.

  21. More excellent insights from Dr. Chapp. A term that is used often these days to describe a form of manipulation is “gaslighting,” and the way spin doctors on behalf of the Vatican continue to claim that many things coming out of the Vatican are totally consistent with Church teaching when such are blatantly not the case is another form of “gaslighting” to manipulate people into believing that non-orthodox statements are really orthodox after all. Sadly, this form of “gaslighting” is particularly effective as evidenced by the numbers of people who defend unorthodox statements and practices while claiming that those who object are violating their obligations to be obedient to the Holy See. Dr. Chapp continues to shine the light of truth on the corruption within the Vatican, and as such, he is truly a faithful servant of the Church.

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