Is The Wanderer Waking Up?

Is The Wanderer Waking Up?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
Fatima Perspectives
November 13, 2015

Almost fifty years ago (1967) Walter Matt parted ways with his cousin Alphonse Matt, Sr., editor of The Wanderer, to found The Remnant. He did so because, with the clear-sightedness of one who wrote and thought entirely from the perspective of immemorial Catholic Tradition, he saw where the “opening to the world” and the “aggiornamento” of Vatican II would lead: to revolution and disaster in the Church.

For most of the next fifty years The Wanderer and The Remnant were editorial opponents. The Wanderer doggedly defended every papally approved or tolerated innovation in the Church — from the New Mass to ecumenism to altar girls — even accusing The Remnant and its supporters of being on “a trajectory toward schism.” That accusation prompted me to co-author an entire book in The Remnant’s defense, now in a second edition in which I bring its analysis up to date. The Remnant, on the other hand,patiently chronicled and protested the mounting legacy of deviation, decay, decline and destruction that a dwindling cadre of aged conciliar diehards, including Pope Francis, still dare to call a “renewal.”

But now, under Francis and his absurdly misnamed “Synod on the Family,” the ruinous “renewal” has reached a level of devastation that has even The Wanderer — at long last — pointing its finger at the ultimate cause of the crisis that now afflicts the ecclesial commonwealth: the See of Peter, as I first suggested thirteen years ago when the cause was already obvious.

To its credit, The Wanderer has just (November 7) front-paged a comment on the Synod by the priest-theologian Father Brian Harrison, OS, a longtime friend and colleague who, nonetheless, has been critical of certain traditionalist arguments, including some of my own (on which we have agreed to disagree). I never thought I would see the day when statements of this sort, from Father Harrison’s article, would appear on any page, much less the front page, of that newspaper. Quoth Father Harrison concerning paragraphs 84-86 of the Synod’s final report, which, as I have noted here, open the door to the “Kasper proposal” to admit public adulterers to Holy Communion:

“It looks very ominous to me. These paragraphs are vague, and full of true, but one-sidedly ‘positive’ (and therefore tendentious) comments about Catholics in that bigamous (adulterous) situation.

“Above all, the paragraphs manifest a deafening silence about whether these folks can be admitted to Holy Communion. By conspicuously failing to cite Pope St. John Paul II’s clear teaching in Familiaris Consortio n. 84 that they can’t receive Communion unless they live as ‘brother and sister,’ while citing the more ‘compassionate’ parts of that very same article of FC, the synod majority sends a clear message: The Church is moving towards opening a door that John Paul (and all his Predecessors) had firmly closed!

“When we look at the voting numbers of these three paragraphs, it is clear that they would not have received the required two-thirds majority if it were not for the dozens of ‘progressive’ cardinals and bishops with whom the Holy Father personally packed the synod by direct personal appointment — both as synod fathers and as members of the drafting committee for this report.

“Basically, it seems clear that the synod battle — a battle in which the soul of the Church is at stake! — has been won by Pope Francis and the party of so-called ‘mercy.’

“The Supreme Pontiff has successfully imposed his will on the synod and will probably now claim he has a green light, after having ‘consulted’ and ‘listened to’ the world’s bishops, to bring out a follow-up document that ‘decentralizes’ this issue, i.e., that allows ‘regional’ differences as to whether divorced-and-remarrieds can receive Communion.

“If so, we will be facing a terribly grave situation; for that kind of ‘diversity’ on a matter which by its very nature demands uniformity throughout the Catholic world will be enough to start unraveling the whole fabric of Catholic doctrine: first in ‘morals,’ then in matters of ‘faith’ as well. (‘Faith and morals’ go together.)”

A devastatingly frank assessment of what really happened at Phony Synod 2015 and what the stakes are in its aftermath.

Equally devastating, and also front-paged in the same article, was an assessment of the drift of this pontificate in general by the respected Vaticanist Sandro Magister, vindictively stripped of his press credentials by the Vatican Press Office back in June: “It took just a few decisions and a few judiciously administered sound bites, starting with that memorable ‘Who am I to judge?’, which has become the emblem of this pontificate, to unleash an unprecedented conflict in the Church and ignite within public opinion the unheard-of expectation for an overturning of the Catholic paradigms on key questions like divorce and homosexuality.”

The battle to restore the Church is not a turf war. Every Catholic should welcome and praise The Wanderer’s willingness to print the truth about our situation. Let us hope this trend continues and that more and more “conservative” voices will join those of the “traditionalists” and “Fatimites” who have been mocked and marginalized for almost half a century, even as their contentions were being vindicated more thoroughly with each passing year.

If I may be permitted a bit of asperity on this score, however, I would like to join a fellow commentator in putting the matter thus: “Welcome to the war. It’s about time you showed up.”

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2 comments on “Is The Wanderer Waking Up?

  1. [Another sign that The Wanderer is waking up? From via via :]

    Dangerous Step Pope Might Take: “Nightmare Scenario”?

    November 19, 2015

    (Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on November 16 and LifeSiteNews … Phil Lawler is the editor of Catholic World News [CWN], the first English-language Catholic news service operating on the Internet. CWN provides daily headline news coverage for the Catholic Culture site, where Lawler also offers regular analysis and commentary. Earlier, he served as editor of Catholic World Report.)

    + + +

    Sometime soon — we know not when — Pope Francis will issue a document concluding the work of the Synod on the Family. One question looms over all others: Will the Pope endorse the Kasper proposal?

    Fr. Raymond de Souza predicts that he will. “He has steadily prepared the Church for just that,” he writes in the Catholic Herald. “It would be foolish to ignore the signs.”
    Throughout the course of the October discussions, Pope Francis dropped hints of his interest in the Kasper proposal, and as the meeting concluded he issued what appeared to be an angry denunciation of bishops who were not open to new ideas. More telling, Fr. de Souza writes, is the fact that since the synod ended, friends of the Pontiff have been predicting that he will give the Kasper proposal his stamp of approval.

    Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica claimed that the Pope had told him as much, and although the Vatican press office quickly reminded us that Scalfari is not reliable, it seems probable that the Holy Father said something to give the Italian journalist that impression.

    Unlike Scalfari, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, the editor of Civilta Cattolica, is regarded as quite reliable. In fact the commentaries published in Civilta are reviewed by the Secretariat of State in advance of publication, so that they are perceived as accurate indications of “official” thinking at the Vatican.

    Fr. Spadaro has stopped just short of an outright declaration that the Pope will embrace the Kasper proposal, emphasizing a “new openness” to the question of pastoral care for divorced and remarried Catholics.

    In his analysis, Fr. Spadaro compares the pastoral work of the Church with the functioning of a GPS system:

    “If one makes a mistake or encounters an unexpected problem, the GPS does not say to go back to the starting point and make the trip all over again, but proposes an alternative route. Analogously, every time we deviate through sin, God does not ask us to go back to the starting point, but reorients us toward himself by tracing a new pathway.”

    In an insightful response that appears in Chiesa, an American theologian, Fr. Robert Imbelli, remarks that, yes, a GPS recalibrates directions. “But it does not change the destination. Otherwise it would lead those depending on it astray.”

    Fr. Imbelli goes on to note the irony in Fr. Spadaro’s imagery, because for Italians “GPS” are the initials of Giovanni Paolo Secondo — St. John Paul II, whose teaching in Familiaris Consortio was directly opposed to the intent of the Kasper proposal. The synod’s final statement quotes Familiaris Consortio, and Pope Francis has cited it as well. But both the synod document and the Pope’s statements have conspicuously omitted this passage:

    “However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

    If Fr. de Souza’s unhappy prediction is accurate, and the Pope does open a path to Communion for Catholics who are divorced and remarried, informed observers believe that he will avoid a direct contradiction of his Predecessor by adopting the “internal forum” solution suggested by the German-speaking bishops in their report to the synod.

    The “internal forum” ordinarily refers to the confessional, and the solution offered by the German bishops was for Catholics who are divorced and remarried to meet with their confessors, discuss the circumstances of their failed marriages and new unions, and, after doing appropriate penance, return to Communion.

    The details of this proposal are vague — perhaps, one is tempted to say, deliberately vague. Under what circumstances would a confessor be authorized to tell penitent divorced/remarried Catholics that they might again receive the Eucharist? Would the decision be left entirely to the individual priest’s discretion?

    There are other practical problems with the proposal. The “internal forum” solution requires a meeting with a confessor, and anyone familiar with the normal life of the Church today knows that most Catholics rarely, if ever, find their way into a confessional. Yet at the same time, if it is theoretically possible that a divorced/remarried Catholic may have obtained a confessor’s permission to receive the Eucharist, few Catholic priests would dare to question such a person if he presented himself for Communion.

    So in practice, if the “internal forum” proposal is adopted, a divorced/remarried Catholic may be tempted to receive Communion — at risk to his soul — without taking any steps down a “penitential path,” because no one will question him.

    In this way, a nightmare scenario could easily develop. The divorced/remarried individual pretends that he has consulted with a confessor. His pastor, probably knowing that this is unlikely, nevertheless pretends that the canonical requirements have been satisfied. Everyone involved is living a lie!

    These difficulties arise because marriage is not just one more field in which the faithful may or may not live up to their moral obligations. Marriage is a public act. An individual either is, or is not, married. In an annulment case, canon lawyer Ed Peters reminds us, “the tribunal asks a single fundamental question: are the two people before it, who appear to be married, really married?” This is a question of fact, and from the answer to that question there flow some inescapable conclusions.

    During the synod there was a great deal of talk about showing compassion for Catholics in irregular marriage, and few people would disagree that the Church should — as Pope Benedict XVI emphasized so strongly — find ways to help people in that situation. But when the question arises as to whether those people are validly married, Peters insists, “Compassion has nothing to do with it.” This is a question of fact.

    Marriage tribunals are set up to test facts, hearing testimony (if at all possible) from both parties. The “internal forum” proposal would encourage a priest to make a judgment after hearing just one side of what is invariably a complicated story.

    But could a pastor, theoretically, hear both sides of the story? Could there be some sort of “internal forum,” similar to the confessional, but different in that both partners would be involved? Here we encounter another complication. In most divorce cases, one partner does not want to be involved. Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist who heads the Institute for Marital Healing, has an important perspective on the matter:

    “Over the past forty years, I have never worked with a Catholic marriage in which both spouses wanted a divorce. In the majority of marriages under stress, one spouse remains happy with the marriage, believes the conflicts can be resolved and is loyal to the sacramental bond.”

    But wait: If one partner wants to work out the problems in the marriage rather than abandoning the marriage, shouldn’t the Church show compassion for that spouse? Shouldn’t pastoral energies be devoted to saving marriages, rather than picking up the pieces afterward?

    Dr. Fitzgibbons cites the disturbing results of a national survey of divorced men and women, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, which found “the honest response that only one in three divorced spouses claimed that both they and their ex-spouses worked hard enough to try to save their marriage.” Pastors and confessors might work wonders by using the “internal forum” solution prior to marital breakdowns, helping dueling spouses recognize how they are endangering their marriages, their lives, and their souls — before they abandon a sacred commitment.

    And haven’t we neglected another important consideration? We have been speaking about the spouses, the partners involved in a marriage (or divorce). But a marriage creates a family, and a family includes children; they too are interested parties in any marriage case. In an excellent article in America magazine (!), several authors — all survivor-victims of the divorce wars — write that the “internal forum” proposal “would dismiss the needs of children in order to satisfy the desires of adults.”

    The authors of the America essay note that some public statements by Pope Francis “seem to suggest that children are harmed by the current practice of excluding their divorced and remarried parents from receiving Communion.” They continue, in plain language: “This notion is mistaken.”

  2. “Sometime soon — we know not when — Pope Francis will issue a document concluding the work of the Synod on the Family. One question looms over all others: Will the Pope endorse the Kasper proposal? Fr. Raymond de Souza predicts that he will. “He has steadily prepared the Church for just that,” he writes in the Catholic Herald. “It would be foolish to ignore the signs.”

    If Bergoglio does “allow” Communion for adulterers every priest and bishop must disobey this heresy and sacrilege.
    Of course all won’t, but every trad and or “conservative” priest or bishop should.

    The best way to nullify abominations that go against Catholic dogma from a heretical bishop of Rome is to ignore his heresies. Or better yet depose him. I don’t see the latter happening but hopefully there will be enough bishops and priests that carry out the former.

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