Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Bad Breath of Corruption

So tightly did things appear to be controlled, so lacking in clarity during the Synod, I had a dream that chained and dressed in their blue-grey habits emaciated and pale from their months in prison would be brought into the Synod Hall singing Nebucco a coffle of Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate. They were an example of justice in the Church to anyone who might have the temerity to go against the predetermined plan. Their crime after all these months has not been disclosed, either to the the Church at large or to them themselves. Their suffering appear to be that they have simply 'displeased'. The refusal to disclose the 'how' and 'who' of the Friars offense is one of the looming injustices of the Church today.

Justice and Truth cannot be separated, they are objective realities and there is a connection between Justice and Truth, and Transparency. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done, and it must be done honestly and by men who are themselves Just. The Holy Father recently in an address to representatives of the International Association of Criminal Law said 'The corrupt person is a person who takes the “short-cuts of opportunism” that lead him to think of himself as a “winner” who insults and persecutes whoever contradicts him. “Corruption is a greater evil than sin”, and more than “be forgiven, must be cured”.  For myself I had always thought corruption was the result of sinful men who like the 'unjust judge had neither fear of God, nor regard for men' Lk 18:2.

Canonists like Suarez liked to define the Church as a 'just society', I presume he presumed that its leaders believed in the Just God who they would eventually face on the Last Day, and that they prized honesty and forthrightness before everything. If that was so then, it is far from the impression given nowadays. The world simply sees the Church and Churchmen as dishonest and therefore untruthful, we are mistrusted in small things, like finances or telling the truth about ourselves, and consequently untrustworthy in the big things, like speaking of God and Salvation, of Sin and Virtue. Cardinal Kasper's denial of the Pentin interview, seems to have been ignored by the Holy See, there has been no suggestion that any action will be taken against him, or even any excuse, that he has for example, 'gone senile' and is receiving medical or psychological help. It's just ignored, shrugged off, as if such an exalted Cardinal's very public fault, lying, is just part of the cut and thrust of Church life. And yet we follow a Master who said, "Let your 'yes' mean yes and your 'no' mean no!" Yet, he lied and threatened a journalists career and good name: he bore false witness and broke a commandment.

Blind-justiceThroughout the world the Church is seen as lacking integrity, covering up sins, denying and adding to the sufferings of victims of its institution from Dublin to Sydney, from Los Angeles to Poltz. Millions of pounds are spent on protecting the very fragile and as far as the world is concerned already tarnished reputations of some not very nice but very powerful  men.

The removal of Cardinal Burke, 'the Incorruptible', as one Italian journalist has described him, does little for the Church which in so many ways is being seen as really very corrupt. The Pope described corruption as 'bad breath', well the smell of bad breath is very much to the fore. The Synod highlighted the power of the wealthy German bishops, guarding their share of Church tax and using it to bully or buy the support of other bishops, whilst their Churches though economically wealthy are spiritually amongst the poorest in the world. At the same time as their attempted manipulation of the Synod it was revealed that the German car manufacture Porsche was able to buy its way into the Vatican to use the Sistine Chapel for corporate entertainment. Then of course this isn't just a German problem, during the canonisation of the two Popes there was that party arranged by the powerful Immacolata Chaouqui, the woman who tweeted against Pope Benedict, for certain wealthy invited guests on the Vatican roof with Mgr Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda distributing Holy Communion from a whiskey tumbler. Maybe it is not corruption but it sure has the foul breath of it. Then again its interesting to see so many of the favourites of those who once favoured Marcel Maciel are now in strategic positions, even one or two of his personal favourites are now back in favour and influence.

It has been put forward that there has been clamp-down on corruption, some notable dismissals like the 'Bishop of Bling', Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Yes, but the expenditure of Cdl Reinhard Marx has gone unnoted, there has been no investigation but he is spending 51 million euros for the beautification of the Archdiocesan Campus and not an eyebrow is raised in the Holy See. In Italy the reputation of the Bishop Albenga-Imperia, Bishop Mario Oliveri is being trashed. In part it appears he has welcomed some FFIs and also because some of his priests have been 'moon-lighting as barmen, stealing parish funds and getting tattooed'. I don't know if his response might be, 'Who am I to judge' but their behaviour seems no worst than members of the Papal circle, lifts and Swiss army officers come to mind or some of the clergy of the diocese of Rome who reputed spend time in cities gay enclaves. Indeed, who will investigate Rome where so much seems to be swept under the carpet. Remember the 'Vatileaks', what has happened to that? What about the diocese of Linz or the Archdiocese of Vienna where according to reports from We are the Church type groups, a considerable number of the clergy are living in either homosexual or heterosexual relationships.

The impression that is given is that Justice in the Church is itself corrupted, indeed, that it is actually about settling scores and has nothing to do with truthfulness which was once considered a Christian virtue. Rather than being consoled by accounts of these investigations I become increasingly alarmed, it seems as if some religious orders or diocese that seem to produce fruit and are orthodox are subject to investigation whilst others which are barren and often highly unorthodox carry on in their own sweet way, especially if the have powerful or wealthy friends at court. The problem is that Justice appears to used as a robber baron or some New World dictator might use it, as a means of intimidation and threat, not to bring the Salvific Light of Christ to bear on dark and hidden corners. It is as if some are above the Law and others crushed by it.


Annie said...

Great post, Father, thank you.

gemoftheocean said...

Terrific summation of the situation now. I PRAY that Francis will resign. That day can't come soon enough for me. In his own way, he is as dangerous to the papacy as any Medici.

If he has a long pontificate, it will take DECADES to recover from his devastation.

For some of us, the church is our best hope, and it doesn't help with the ship being rudderless, or worse, the captain in charge is essentially leaving the ship open to pirate raids.

We faithful, MUST rally around good and faithful priests. We faithful must stick together in courage in speaking the truth.

Thank you, Fr. Blake, for remaining brave and speaking the truth. You are much loved.

Lepanto said...

The only important factor in Margaret Thatcher's attitude to people was apparently the answer to one question: 'Is he one of us?'. Much was to be excused if the answer were 'Yes' and nothing if it were 'No'. We seem to be living under the same sort of regime.

Православный физик said...

I'm with you gem, I'm praying for a short, a very short pontificate (aka early retirement)

It all started with the ditching of the moezetta and went down hill from there.

If he can place himself above Liturgical law, why not everything else? Kyrie eleison.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Enough of these disrespectful comments about Our Holy Father, praying for misfortune for anyone is unChristian - in all things we pray for God's Holy Will to be done - have some of you given up believing in that? If so we will broken like a dry twig.

Pray for the good estate of the Pope and of Our Holy Mother the Church, especially if you find it difficult - pray!

Anselm said...

Thank you Father for this post. Never a truer word was spoken concerning the defective notion of justice in the Church today. How sad it is that injustice happens on a daily basis in God's Holy Church.Let us pray for the sanctification of the clergy.

gemoftheocean said...

We didn't pray for his misfortune, only him resigning!!!! Or come to his senses. Either way.

Sadie Vacantist said...

It was the Anglo-Saxons who launched this disaster not the Germans or the French or Paul VI. The 'anglos' imposed their political models on Europe post-1945 and V2 was just one of many outcomes of this project. The most tangible being the "exorbitant advantage" accorded the dollar by the post-war settlements. It's no coincidence that it is the French who have been the fiercest critics of these developments in both the secular and religious spheres.

groovsmyth said...

Well, Father, if you thought their comments were intense, I doubt you would think highly of my imprecatory prayer.

May Francis lead the Church as Christ Himself would... and if he cannot, may God call him home quickly.

Many saints declare that they would rather die than commit one venial sin with full consent of the will. Why would our supreme pontiff want to continue in that shepherding role if he poses a threat to damaging the Bride of Christ?

If he is focused on Eternity as we all should be, *going home* shouldn't be problematic.

Jacobi said...

Yes Father, the Catholic Church is acquiring a bad reputation.

The attempt to manipulate the Synod has not helped. Yes, a German lobby (and others) is exerting pressure for “divorce”. Also, the homosexual “lobby” within the Church is active. The fact that these issues have been mixed up, is unfortunate. But the combination is not new, see, Paul 1 Corinthians 6 v 9 : 10.

We are in need of clear leadership. The issue of judgement and explanation, an important part of the Church’s teaching function, is becoming crucial.

Please God these matters will be re-asserted in line with established and unalterable Church teaching, not only at the coming second session of the Synod itself, but during the intervening months.

NBW said...

The larger problem is all of the bishops that have moved beyond Jesus. They need to resign or be removed before they further damage the church. Pray and fast for them!

Thank you for your posts, Father. They have been insightful and helpful.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Sadie that is just tedious, and isn't relevant.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Why tedious? It was brief and to the point. Wars in the Middle East have dominated headlines since 1991. Pat Buchanan (White house aide to several presidents) has demonstrated a clear link between these wars and WWII. Just as the USA clashed with Germany and then the Soviets during the cold war now it clashes with Islam. You either submit to the American way or you fight it as Islam is doing. The Catholic Church was co-opted into this struggle in 1965 and at the vanguard were the conquered and submissive Germans of which Kapser is a remnant. My point is totally relevant.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Just that you have made it before and body bit.

Just another mad Catholic said...

I just don't understand the likes of Kasper or Francis one bit

I struggle to Love the Holy Father, YES I pray for him at my Rosary and morning offering butI just don't see how I can give him the Fatherly affection that I gave Benedict.

With Cardinal Burke gone from the Curia, and rumors that Mullier is to follow him (not to mention that the rumor mill says that the bishop who inserted the homosexual paragraphs will replace him at the CDF) I struggle to have any hope at all about the future of the Church with Francis at the head.

How on earth can Pope Francis look at himself in the mirror each morning? FR Z brought to attention reports that he told his priests to give Holy Communion to those in 'irregular situations' in buenos aires, How can this Pope (who alledgedly makes an hour of adoration each day) look his Lord in the face when he is (at the very least) complicit in untold sacrilages ?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Just.. don't believe rumours, observe signs and see fruit, rumours are often just lies

Unknown said...

God bless Cardinals Pell, Burke, Mueller, and others, that stood up at the Synod. May others also find the courage to speak out. The corruption of the Catholic Church is part of a wider corruption of the West in general and we must all find the courage to speak up for what is right and true in our daily lives or the next decade will unquestionably see us living through The End of the World as we Know it.

Sadie Vacantist said...

True - I have made the point before but the critiques of Pope Francis and German theologians are made here ad nauseum by contributors and without challenge.

Anglo-Saxons want their cake and eat it. They present themselves as the good guys in 1945 and 1965 then line up against this Argentinian. Yet, the post-war Council is no different from any other initiative from the period, complete with similar and unattended consequences.

What is baffling about the Holy Father is that he cannot make the connection. His own country stands on an economic precipice whilst the vultures of Wall St. prepare their next move.

John Fisher said...

Yes Father you are right. It is not kissing babies or selfies or being a nice guy as Pope Francis seems to think! the Pope is arbitrary and random. He will loose the loyalty and trust of Catholics as others have throughout the history of the Church. Time is not in the favour of Kaspar, Mahoney and others. Give it 10 years.
My prayer to God is that he will deliver us in a way that he decides. Some Popes have died peacefully in their beds, others killed by falling ceilings. I saw a quote on another blog. God gives us sufficient Grace for today but he does not guarantee us tomorrow.

Unknown said...

I'm sure I read, from a reliable source, that Francis took action against the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate because members themselves complained that the order was drifting away from what they signed up to. Granted, what happened was totally overboard. Nevertheless, Francis did give a reason for his actions.268

GOR said...

Yes Father, it is difficult not to conclude that there is an agenda at work here. I can’t believe the Holy Father is part of it. However, it strains credulity to believe he is not aware of it.

For some years I was convinced about the truth of the allegations against Maciel and argued the point on blogs, based on the credibility of the accusers. I could not understand how St. John Paul II was not aware of it and did not act. Reportedly, he refused to hear about it and Cardinal Ratzinger, as he was then, didn’t want to go against him. It was a black mark against both of them – “Justice delayed…”

I have a similar feeling about the treatment of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters. How can Pope Francis not see the injustice that is being done and the innocent being victimized? How can he allow it to continue – and appear to endorse it - as he apparently endorsed Kasper?

Where is the mercy and love he continually preaches about? Does he, like St. John Paul II, have a blind spot about this?

It’s hard not to be cynical and say: “Follow the money!”. The Legionaries have it, the Franciscans don’t.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gor, I hope you are right about the present Pope, lieutenants can do a lot of damage,

I think you misrepresent Ratzinger's position on Maciel and his power during the long declining years of JPII, You must remember that there were at least two powerful forces at work during those years: Ratzinger who opposed Maciel and Sodano, the Sec of State who was very much a supporter, the other important player was the now Stanisław Cdl Dziwisz, JPII's trusted seceretary, who again was very much a supporter of Maciel. The vidence suggests that both these men received Maciel's largesse and evidence Ratzinger always refused it.

I am convinced that Pope Benedict determined to retire, at somepoint, in order to avoid the mess that happened during JPII's incapacity.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes a total of six members, 6, complained

mike said...

"There is amongst the passions and anger of the intellect and this anger is in accordance with nature. Without anger a man cannot attain purity. He has to feel anger with all that is sewn in him by the enemy. When Job felt this anger he reviled his enemies calling them "dishonourable men of no repute, lacking everything good, whom I would not consider fit to live with the dogs that guard my flocks". Job 30:1 to 4... Septuagint. On my part I ask is it any wonder it is find a lot of trust for the Hierarchy and many of us are finding are own way, seeking to avoid being lost? By the way the opening quote is from a desert father St Isaiah the Solitary around 431. a friend of St Makarios the great of Egypt.

Jacobi said...

By any objective standards, the treatment of the FFI is bad.

This Order, with a strong tendency towards continuity in liturgy, towards using a form of the liturgy of the Mass which is accepted as co- equal at least with the many official and non-official forms of the Novus Ordo, a form which according to Quo Primum, is set as the normal form of Mass of the Western Church, has been publicly, and consistently, badly treated.

This is frankly, one of the great scandals of the 21st Century Church. It is still somewhat obscured, but sooner or later it will emerge, publicly and questions will have to be publicly answered.

Thomas Travers said...

Our leaders in faith deserve our respect and prayers. There is no reason to doubt that they are other than faithful and holy men. Each generation of leaders has its own problems to grapple with, and unique challenges to correctly apply the teachings of Our Lord in the world in which we find ourselves. The Synod on the Family was an attempt to consider the correct response to contemporary issues, and it was good that such an attempt was made.
Regrettably an impression is sometimes created that the Church is corrupt, partial in its dealings, unduly influenced by representatives of wealthy countries or companies, controlled by a sinister inner cabal, and in various ways an institution in which we cannot have confidence. This was certainly the impression that members of the faithful had in the 16th century and it led to the division of Christendom. Mindful of that outcome we should try and present a united front and do what we can to spread the faith among young Catholics who find it easy to justify not going to Mass because of things they may hear or read about the Church that tend to its discredit.
If the Church is compelled to hire out facilities to a car company then that is surely evidence of the parlous financial position of the Church. It appears that Church in the USA has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps even billions, by way of settling child abuse claims and a number of dioceses became bankrupt. In Ireland a number of religious orders had to transfer property to the Irish government to finance a compensation fund for victims of abuse. This has led to the downsizing of their capacity to pursue their objectives and they are short of money.
In Germany the Church is able to levy a tax on members’ income which assures it of a consistent level of funding, though it appears some Catholics, disgusted by clerical scandals, no longer register as Catholics and so no longer pay the tax. Inevitably those who fund the Church’s central operations expect to have a voice at top table.
Unfortunately the Church has tied itself in a knot because it is an amalgam of source of teaching about the faith plus human organisation and the problems it has organisationally are no different from those of other global organisations. In recent times this has led to a conflict in the minds of the faithful between the desire to be taught and prepared for salvation by the Church and repugnance at the unedifying (but human) spectacle that presents when any large organisation, seemingly unassailable, loses its footing (consider the British banks, Tesco, the main political parties). The only solution in the longer term is to find a way to segregate the Church’s salvific function from the necessary bureaucracy and administration. In diocesan terms it would be akin to having a ‘bishop spiritual’ who is leader and father in faith, a man of undoubted prayer and spirituality untainted by worldly matters; and a ‘bishop temporal’ who is concerned with funding, administering schools, maintaining church buildings, paying the bills, making sure the books balance etc. If the best candidates for the role of ‘bishop temporal’ could only be found among laity with relevant organisational experience then an alternative title to ‘bishop’ could be found.

Liam Ronan said...

I believe it is time for my soul's sake and for tranquillity of mind to withdraw from the fray and devote my time to more prayer and spiritual reading.

I believe I'd asked you once before Father Blake, but at the risk of being tediously repetitious...what good solid orthodox Catholic books would you recommend to take into the cave with me?

God bless us all. Remember He chose us out of all time to live our lives precisely at this moment in Church and world history. That is both a sobering and humbling thought.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Liam, take the classics, those written by the obviously holy and devout, read what the saints of the West and East have written, read the tried and the trusted and the true.

...and maybe a little Ratzinger

M. Prodigal said...

As Cardinal Bergoglio, the present pope knew the FFI. The cardinal was noted for being very unfavorable towards those leaning traditional. The FFI moved across the diocesan line just out of his reach and he has not forgotten that. If you notice, many of the very faithful and traditional leading high prelates are being replaced. The bishop of Rome is a modernist Jesuit and that is just a fact. Those who wish to embrace all the teachings and traditions of the Church in this era are going to find it a dark time. But time passes...

Deacon Augustine said...

GOR, you said: "I can’t believe the Holy Father is part of it."

Why can't you believe it?

Thomas Travers, you said: "Our leaders in faith deserve our respect and prayers. There is no reason to doubt that they are other than faithful and holy men."

Our leaders in faith definitely deserve our prayers, but isn't respect something that must be earned rather than being taken for granted?You may have no reason to doubt the fidelity and holiness of certain people, but if somebody's words and actions clearly give cause for doubt, then perhaps we might need to question the use of the word "reason".

Faith, like obedience is not meant to be blind, unless perhaps we are talking about divine persons.

J said...

Thanks for you excellent post, Fr. Blake.

GOR said...

Deacon Augustine: perhaps I should have said: “I don’t want to believe Pope Francis is part of it…”

I find it hard to reconcile the Holy Father’s insistence on love, mercy and forgiveness with what is happening to the Franciscan Fathers and Sisters. Similarly, I found it hard to reconcile St. John Paul II’s refusal to even listen to the accusations against Fr. Maciel - when it was apparent to so many that there was merit in them.

And Fr. Blake: I don’t discount what then Cdl. Ratzinger was up against in the Curia as regards Maciel. Cdls. Sodano, Rode and others had been ‘bought off’ by Maciel and - to his credit - Ratzinger refused to be bought.

Yes, he wasted no time, once Pope, to address the scandal. But the original accusers had tried for 20 years to have their case heard and I felt he should have taken it up sooner. As close as he was to St. John Paul II, surely he could have persuaded him to investigate?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think that by the time the revelations became credible JPII was really not capable of either making judgments or running the Church, and that a biumvirate existed Sodano running the Secretariat of state and Ratzinger running Doctrine. Ratzinger having the better arguments but Sodano having the power with Dziwisz running the Pope.

torchofthefaith said...

It is interesting that attempts to access Edward Pentin's website - including his response to the statement by Cardinal Kasper - are being blocked with a big red ''x'' by anti-virus software.

Just saying.

Hope said...

Great article and comments.

I was offended by the painting of the blind Lady Justice with one breast exposed. Ponder Saint Paul's words not to cause scandal to others how we eat; can be equally applicable in this case. Scandalizing others like myself, reflects badly on you. Sorry, but I had to say it.

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