Is the Vatican scrubbing “controversial” papal statements from its website?

[Is the Vatican scrubbing “controversial” papal statements from its website?]

“Down the memory hole” – George Orwell, 1984.

1. [Hat-tip to Canon212] Why Are Pius XI Documents Missing from Vatican Website?

Steve Skojec
October 19, 2016

It appears that Pope Pius XI’s documents are missing from the Vatican website where they were once stored. We walk you through just one of the missing documents, the link for which is still available through Google.

Since the (somewhat impromptu) video below was made earlier today, we did some more digging, and it appears that the documents of other popes are still there going back to Pope Clement XII. Pius XI is the one missing page in the list.

Pope Pius XI was a staunch opponent of the kind of ecumenism the Vatican now favors. He also wrote about the Social Kingship of Christ. Could this be why, or is this just an IT error?

A snapshot of the Pius XI page on 10/17/16 shows that it did exist. Here’s the video of what we saw when we went looking:

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UPDATE – 10/20/2016: It appears that the works of Pope Pius XI have returned to the Vatican Website. Whatever the reason for their temporary absence, we’re glad to have them back.

2. [Hat-tip to PewSitter] Vatican website erases John Paul II exhortations on marriage


Five translations of Saint Pope John Paul II’s often-quoted instruction to tribunal judges was removed from the Vatican’s website some time last year. It is now only available in Italian.

Each year, the Pope gives an address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota and these are instructions to the world’s canon lawyers from THE legislator, the Pope. In 1987, Saint Pope John Paul II gave an address that cautioned against misusing the grounds for nullity of marriage – particularly “on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness” (Canon 1095).

I posted a YouTube video on the Mary’s Advocates channel, showing how the Vatican’s website used to have a page showing all of Saint Pope John Paul’s addresses to the Roman Rota (in up to six different languages). That webpage was removed some time last year, which I demonstrate in my video by using a public webpage archiving tool, “way back time machine.”

Marriage became increasingly unstable after the sexual revolution. With the onset of no-fault divorce, the civil courts no longer expected a party to uphold promises made in marriage. From a Catholic’s perspective, a civil divorce is nothing more than a separation decree and only a church decree of invalidity of marriage frees both parties to enter a new marriage. An annulment is the loose term used for a decree of invalidity of a marriage.

Mary’s Advocates is a non-profit educational organization that I founded over ten years ago and we work to reduce unilateral no-fault divorce and achieve, instead, just and fair separation plans.

Unilateral no-fault divorce is unfair because no distinction is made between a party that is reneging on his marital promises and the party that is counting on the other to uphold those promises. If a party really was incapable of marriage because of a serious psychic anomaly, this fact should be relevant to a fair and just separation plan for custody, property split, and support. The Church has an interest in these matters, which is further explained on the Mary’s Advocate’s website.

In Saint Pope John Paul II’s 1987 address to the tribunal, he cautioned against the “scandal of seeing the value of Christian marriage being practically destroyed by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity of marriage in cases of the failure of marriage.” He taught, “By preventing the ecclesiastical tribunal from becoming an easy way out for the dissolution of marriages that have failed, […] it also brings about an increased commitment in the use of resources for pastoral care of people after marriage.” He cites Familiaris Consortio’s instruction for helping married couples in day-to-day married life, long before anyone is thinking about divorce.

In my research, I found that in the active tribunals that cover half the population of the United States in 2012, they granted annulment (on average) in 98.7 percent of the cases judged.

In the summer of 2015, Pope Francis made some newsworthy changes to the annulment process, making them less expensive and faster. However, the grounds for annulment themselves were technically not changed. Sometime after that, the English translation of Saint Pope John Paul’s 1987 speech the Roman Rota appears to be missing from the Vatican’s website, along with the list of all of his speeches in multiple languages.

In June of 2016, Pope Francis’s comment that “the vast majority of marriages are invalid” led to critiques from many canonists. For example, see Fr. Gerald Murray on EWTN.

Bai Macfarlane is the founder of Mary’s Advocates.

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4 comments on “Is the Vatican scrubbing “controversial” papal statements from its website?

  1. From Pius XI’s Writings Return to Vatican Website, but Not JPII’s Exhortations on Marriage

    Steve Skojec
    October 21, 2016

    The sad thing is that in an age where we have a Vatican that can’t be trusted — and a complicit Catholic media helping them to edit inconvenient statements out of papal speeches in real time — occurrences such as these automatically take on the suspicion of being anything but an accident.

    I am reminded time and again by even my most suspicious friends who have dealt with the Vatican directly of the first rule in such cases: Never ascribe to malice what can be equally easily attributed to incompetence when it comes to the Vatican and the Internet.

    Nevertheless, an entire missing page is a bit easier to believe is an accident than the surreptitious removal of easily accessible translations.

      Just sayin’ … AGAIN.

      Skojec could be right 9 out of 9 1/2 times and I can still find whatever he posts on other sites. Big deal.

      Like Louie Verrocchio said:

      “Mess with one of us, deal with all of us.
      Michael Matt, Chris Ferrara, and John Vennari are family (and two of the three paesani!) These are not just sincere, committed Catholics; they are gentlemen of the first order.”


      I’ve been privileged to know John and his family for quite some time. He and his wife and magnificent children did not deserve Skojec’s insulting, self-serving snark.


      Yes, he apologized. But he can not be said to have repaired the stupid damage he did.

      I’m not Italian but when something like that stunt occurs, I’m like Michael Corleone.

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