The following tweet, thought to emanate from the Holy Spirit, was recently received by Archbishop Pio Vito Pinto, at the Holy Roman Rota:

‘Urgent! This is what we think now. Ignore all previous instructions. Await further developments.’


Noisw have I got this straight?

Cardinal Schoenborn believes that Amoris Laetitia is ‘obviously’ a magisterial document and that as such it trumps all previous statements of the magisterium, which must now be ‘read in its light’.

Are we, in consequence, to conclude that development of doctrine – once thought to be a process of centuries of reflection and reception –  can, in these enlightened times, be achieved in a matter of forty years or less?

Familiaris Consortio (1981) and Veritatis Splendor (1993) ‘read in the light of’ Amoris Laetitia (2016) are surely quite different documents. That being the case, the best advice a confessor can give (if the penitent is less than fifty years old) is to hang on in there in the hopeful expectation of another encyclical or another Pope.



The following excerpt, from a recently uncovered papyrus in the Vatican Library, appears to be the original version of the text which has come down to us as the first few verses of the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to Mark.

10 Francis then left that place and went into the region of Italy and across the Tiber. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some cardinals came and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’
3 ‘What did John Paul command you?’ he replied.
4 They said, ‘John Paul would not permit a man to divorce his wife nor to receive Holy Communion if he had done so.’
5 ‘It was because he was not so merciful as I that John Paul wrote you this law,’ Francis replied.
6 ‘But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.
7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. But if the experiment does not work, he can always try again. That’s only natural. For it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone.’
8 When they were in the house again, the cardinals asked Francis about this.  He answered, ‘I have no intention of clarifying this matter any further.
9 And if you continue to press me I shall have your red hats for Christmas decorations.’

Sankt Gallen Gruppe

Mem516px-coa_abbey_saint_gall-svgorandum to all members*

There has been some concern expressed about the recent submission of dubia, and the possibility of further action against Bergoglio if they are not answered. I am writing to allay these anxieties. Our Programme is on course and will not be shaken by the rumblings of Burke.

Others of you have been concerned that our protégé is not always entirely on message.

I am obliged to remind you that when we made him our candidate we were aware that he was erratic and unpardonably garrulous. But that, I submit, is all to the good. As long as he holds to the general drift of the Great Reform, a little deviation is quite desirable. When the pattern then emerges from the blizzard of words it will seem less contrived, less of a put-up job.

So let the man be himself. Thoughtless comments on airplanes, rambling interviews with Italian newspapers, and those awful daily outpourings at Santa Marta do the Cause no harm. They simply confuse people – which cannot be a bad thing.

The last thing we need at the present juncture is clarity – Burke sees that. As long as confessors and spiritual advisers are confused about what the Church teaches, they will inevitably side with the zeitgeist; go with the flow. And that is precisely what we want.

*This encrypted email was fortuitously intercepted by teenage hackers in Macedonia. Its origin is unknown. Sources close to Cardinal Danneels have denied all knowledge of the Memorandum.

…and statistics

“This has, for sure, been the worst decade for living standards certainly since the last war and probably since the 1920s,”
said Paul Johnson, director of the IFS. [BBC, 25 November 2016]

Whilst Fr Hunwicke was exercising his erudition on an Oxford shopping spree in search of spetsofai, melitzanosalata and other household essentials, I spent ‘Black Friday’ in Bluewater, Kent assessing the accuracy of the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

Needless to say, the shoeless children of indigent hop-pickers were queuing with their ration cards for handouts of boiled potatoes and spam fritters. The food hall of Marks and Spencer was predictably deserted. The ragged and dejected populace was milling angrily outside outlets like Gant, Burberry and Levi Strauss. And the vast car-parks were deserted of their Audis, Volkswagens and Toyotas.

Naturally, I blamed it on Brexit.

Anglican Attitudes


Dear Frank,

I have, of course, been following the Four Cardinals incident with interest. I am sure you are wise not to rise to the provocation.

For what it is worth my own experience in the Anglican Communion with the GAFCON crowd (who are rigid pharisees of the same stripe) is that if you simply ignore them nothing much happens. They threaten schism and alternative structures and all sorts of hullaballoo, but in the end they are still there. They just can’t bring themselves to do the deed.

I am with you all the way. Ambiguity is the name of the game. It’s no use nowadays going around telling people what to do. Don’t these intransigents see that? You have to walk with people. Pastoral patience is what we need. I don’t know what Jesus thought he would achieve by that thunderous outburst at Mark 10:12; but he certainly wouldn’t get away with it now!

So keep up the good work – we will make an Anglican of you yet.

Mercy and Peace,

Your friend,





After the shock retirement of Benedict XVI – the first in a thousand years – Pope Francis has announced an equally astounding move. He has decided to be cryogenically preserved.

The Pope will be frozen and dispatched to a special Pontifical Preservation Centre in Southern California where he will await the resurrection of the body (not at the last day, but at a time decided by scientists, and a specially convened consistory of cardinals).

He will then resume his role as patriarch of a thoroughly modern Church, where the Spirit of Vatican II has eliminated all rigidity and cant; where, unembarrassed and unencumbered by the past, people will live the vision of Mercy and Love set out by St Walter of Tubingen, the great theologian and pastor of the early twenty-first century.

A Vatican spokesperson has told reporters that the Holy Father has every confidence in the technology involved.  ‘We reckon he has at least a fifty-fifty chance, which has got to be better than the alternative. He expects to be known as Pope Francis II, and will be the only Pope in history to succeed himself. We have seen the future and it works.’