The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Extra, extra! News and views for Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Here are some articles, essays, and editorials that caught our attention this past week or so.*

(Photo: sergio souza |

Our Godless Culture – “While we do not face the miseries of World War I or the brewing storms that led to World War II, a spiritual shift in axis has allowed once firm foundations for our common life to fall apart.”Christ at the Center (What We Need Now Substack)

A Parliamentary Process – “Greek Byzantine Catholic Bishop Manuel Nin stresses that Synod means, above all, journeying with Christ and warns against “Christian parliamentarianism.” Greek Catholic Bishop: Synod on Synodality Is Not Like Eastern Synods (National Catholic Register)

“Ecumenism of Blood” – “Acknowledging the number of Christians killed because of religious persecution since the turn of the century, Pope Francis has created the Commission for New Martyrs: Witnesses of the Faith.” Christians are dying for their faith all around the world. Do U.S. Catholics care? (America)

Imminent and Irreparable Harm – “A Maryland district court denied parents’ appeal to reinstate an opt-out policy in Montgomery County Public Schools on Thursday.” ‘Not a Fundamental Right’: Maryland Court Strikes Down Parents’ Request to Opt Kids Out of LGBT Curriculum (National Review)

Money Without Borders – “With no projected end to the chaos of illegal immigration, some Congressional Republicans have decided to confront the religious agencies aggravating the problem at the Mexican border — including Catholic Charities, which plays a pivotal role in that chaos…” Trying to Derail the Federal Immigration Gravy Train (Front Page Magazine)

Enchanting Project – “Over the next seven years, Dr. Bain will create an online platform that links and synergizes plainchant databases around the world. ” Dal researcher leads global project to empower scholars of medieval chant (Dal News)

Evil Insanity – “Fauci, who is now affiliated with Georgetown University, made it clear that he still supports locking down society in the name of a virus, adding that lockdowns are a great tool to forcibly ‘vaccinate’ people.” Fauci declares lockdowns were ‘absolutely justified’ and suggests they should be used again to force vaccinations (Dossier)

Western Democracy – “Cardinal Ratzinger’s prophecy about a “new oligarchy” who decide what is modern and progressive is coming to pass before our eyes.” Cardinal Ratzinger on Why Pro-lifers Are Losing Referenda Like Ohio’s Issue One (Crisis Magazine)

Death of Local Community – “Given the importance of the ownership of space for the social imagination, nothing perhaps indicates the change of Western culture more than the replacement of the seriously religious by the merely entertaining.” The Death of Church and Pub (First Things)

Emergence of Independent Schools – “For those Catholic families who have benefitted from [independent Catholic education], this growing phenomenon is enlightening the minds of children and leading their souls to God. The Rise of Independent Catholic Education (The Cardinal Newman Society)

Firmness and Rigidity – “The Pope recommended Christ as a model for avoiding what Francis so clearly regards as a capital sin: Rigidity.” Rigidity in reality: On Pope Francis’ use of the term (Catholic Culture)

Indecent Assault – “Reduxx has confirmed that a prominent trans activist known for having at least two women arrested for ‘hate speech’ was previously convicted of indecent assault on a 14-year-old boy, and was a registered sex offender.” UK: Prominent Trans Activist Known For Having Opponents Arrested Has History Of Indecent Assault On 14-Year-Old Boy (Reduxx)

(*The posting of any particular news item or essay is not an endorsement of the content and perspective of said news item or essay.)

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  1. Re: “Money Without Borders”.

    I knew that the U.S. bishops were feeding at the public trough, but I had no idea of the magnitude of the hold that the government has on them.

    A billion dollars?

    I guess we should admire them for the relatively high price they are getting for their souls. (Although it does still remain short of Jesus’ minimum standard, “the whole world.”)

    Still, it helps explain the mealiness of our Church’s stance on abortion, the trans insanity and the rest of the left’s diabolical agenda.

  2. Rigid in Reality:
    With admirable clarity, Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture breaks down Francis’ use of the ‘rigidity’ concept. Mirus notes Francis’ claim that Jesus ‘changed his mind’ in relating scripture of Matthew 15:21ff. With care, Mirus explains that he discusses Francis as A MAN, not Francis as A Magister. With all bases covered, Mirus steps up to the plate and hits a home run with brilliant lucidity.

    If only the grace of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit would be flexibly accepted, the suffocating Church could take some hopeful breaths of clean fresh air, and the visage of our leaders would reflect the radiant peace and joy of Christ Himself.

    Good job, Professor.

  3. @ A Parliamentary Process
    “The entire process, which began at the national and continental level in 2021-22, is a place where anyone can express themselves on anything, even propose issues and opinions which are usually left to the exclusive right of the Bishop of Rome” (Catholic Gk Byzantine bishop Nin).
    Eastern Christianity early on ceded authority to appoint bishops to the emperor, whereas St Anselm fought for the right of the Church, the Roman Pontiff to appoint. Eastern synodality appears a countermeasure to the authority of the Byzantine emperor. Furthermore, it is oriented in Christ, and the authority of the bishops.
    This article appeared earlier in CWR and left me with the impression of Nin’s critical bewilderment of what’s occurring in the West with the Synod on Synodality, which dramatically sidelines the bishops, handing the agenda to select hierarchy, Card Hollerich SJ, Relator, Card Grech of Malta, Secretary General of General Secretary of the Synod. It’s format is a search for consensus with a small group of mainly lay participants virtually identical to an open ended parliament. While Bishop Nin is critical of handing the decision making agenda to a group of parliamentary like participates rather than the Roman pontiff, it is Pope Francis’ who actually arranged this format. Hollerich and Grech, by all indication, are merely the implementers of Francis’ schemata.
    How then should this be evaluated if not that Pope Francis wishes to implement the progressive opinions of this narrow, select parliament as representative of what the entire Church seeks. An imposition on the Mystical Body that is neither representative of the Church nor Christ centered.

    • Correction: It was Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan 374-397 [not Anselm] who exerted influence over the Western Roman emperors and argued that the Church appoint its bishops.

    • Well, Pope Francis correctly insists that plebiscite “synodality” is not to become a “parliament.”

      And surely this is so, for if we think about aviary creatures other than the dove, we note that it is only wise owls that constitute a “parliament.” So, rather than such a convocation, on some “issues” perhaps we would be more accurate to think in terms of, what, a “murder” of crows?

      Or, perhaps a “colony” of nocturnal bats, considering the compost of “aggregated, combined and synthesized” guano found piled high in bat caves on all seven continents (the synodal Continental Assemblies!). These bottoms-up victuals for all manner of cockroaches, cave spiders, centipedes and even cave crabs–all these welcomees deprived, still, of the radiant light from above and outside the legendary Plato’s Cave.

  4. @ At Firmness and Rigidity
    Jeffrey Mirus, who holds a doctorate in intellectual history from Princeton can argue the subtleties of firmness v rigidity to no end with accuracy. Not as versed I offer a real life event when a pastor harshly dressed down a derelict who asked for some change for transportation. Kindness of giving and firmness in messaging can be compatible if both are done with the same kindness, gentleness. Christ’s initial refusal, although engineered to elicit an act of faith, also spoke to a truth. Firmness had a true purpose regarding the faith.
    Despite the intent to elicit an exceptional act of both humility and faith. Pope Francis instead reverses the rationale for firmness identifying it with rigidity in regards to the faith. As Mirus points out, Christ’s alleged change of mind from rigidity. Nevertheless, one can be kind and firm as was Christ. Francis, on the other hand, is correct in questioning that authoritarian form of firmness, an overstated inflexibility that is a self indulgent abuse.
    The issue has been his identifying that unjust inflexibility with a valid unwillingness to dismiss firmness. For example, a rigid stance on worthy access to the sacraments, in particular the Eucharist. That combined with a dual messaging of orthodoxy and heterodoxy further dilutes the difference between firmness and rigidness.

  5. “Rigidity in reality”

    We are all familiar with Pope Francis’ repeated emphasis on what he regards as the sin of “rigidity”.

    Pope Francis’ understanding of “the sin of rigidity” actually goes all the way back to Eve’s understanding of “the sin of rigidity”, in the Garden of Eden.

    Genesis 3:1 Expulsion from Eden.
    Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the :LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’” But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

  6. Great image at the head of this week’s articles…
    Surely, we recall correctly that this scene is in Armenia, the very first Christian nation-state. And, which adopted Christianity in A.D. 301, after it was first introduced (in A.D. 60-68) by the disciples Bartholomew and Thaddeus.

  7. Re #11 – Firmness and Rigidity – also not to be missed is Francis Maier’s article in The Catholic Thing today (Aug.31).

  8. For all the talk of Trump being a “fascist,” Fauci is the real thing. If he’s a practicing Catholic, his pastor and bishop should call him to account for his support for societal coercion. And Trump’s Republican rivals should hang Trump’s support for Fauci around his neck.

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