Words, words, words

Pope Francis waves to the faithful during his weekly audience in

The secular news media (and in a particular, and understandably, the media in the United States) have made much of Pope Francis’s letter to Catholics about the clerical abuse crisis. A favourite epithet has been ‘unprecedented’.

How quickly these people have forgotten the similar (but more elegantly worded) letter of Pope Benedict to the Irish on a like occasion!

Of course, the new Papal letter is welcome and significant. But it would have been as well to temper the praise of it with a more sober account of what, if anything, has been achieved during this pontificate. That would require reviewing the ham-fisted treatment of the Chilean crisis and other dealings with South America; the resignation of Marie Collins and the inactivity of the Vatican commission; the continuance in high office of those under suspicion or actual investigation.

That less than laudatory account would have necessitated the conclusion that the time has now come for actions and not words.

Hail, Holy Queen


Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

Dictator Pope


Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants, because he is “free from disordered attachments.” Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.

So Fr Thomas Rosica on his website ‘Salt and Light’ (aka ‘Sulphur and Brimstone’).

Critics of the present Pope have not been backward in coming forward (To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism; The Political Pope: How Pope Francis Is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning Conservatives; Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock; etc.)

But none, not even Henry Sire, has been so damningly forthright as Fr Rosica.

If anyone wants to understand the temper of this pontificate, here is the clue. It is a dictatorship careless of due process, for which scripture, tradition (and even the magisterium of recently sainted predecessors) is a mere irrelevance. There has indeed been a ‘paradigm shift’. All authority, it is being said, is now vested in one man, who is, in himself, the summation of history and the key to the future. (The very claims, as I recall, that Hermann made about Adolf.)

What Vatican I, with its carefully crafted doctrine of Infallibility, and Vatican II, with its doctrine of episcopal collegiality, sought to establish has been swept away. Papolatry rules OK!

Why little Tommy Rosica should choose to spill the beans in this way, when Francis himself is so tentative, faltering and ambiguous, is anybody’s guess. But to blame it all on Ignatius Loyola is surely a fantasy too far.


Box Office


The film about the Holy Father, made by Wim Wenders and referred to in ‘Praise to the Holiest’ (see June 2 below), has now been released in the UK and has been deservedly panned in the August 10 edition of The Catholic Herald.

This sycophantic portrayal of Francis as primarily a social activist striving to rescue the Church from religiosity, will delight Tablet readers and infuriate traditional Catholics in equal measure.  But the question is this: whose idea was it?

If, as has generally been supposed, the film was in any sense commissioned by the Vatican (or had the imprimatur of Bergoglio),  it would be invaluable evidence of the direction of this pontificate. There would be no need for further speculation nor grounds for disagreement.

What are Vaticanologists for if it is not to ferret out precisely this sort of information?

Ed Pentin and Sandro Magister, your hour has come.

False Analogy


As the absurd BoJo burka row rumbles on – more a function of the internal politics of the Conservative Party than a sensible contribution to a national debate – one comment deserves notice.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, has said that the wearing of the burka is analogous to a Christian wearing a crucifix. A moment’s reflection should have indicated to Ms Davidson that the analogy is false.


  1. The crucifix does not discriminate between women and men.
  2. The crucifix does not obscure any part of the person or personal identity.
  3. The crucifix is not mandated by any culture or sect, and so is worn purely as a matter of personal preference.
  4. Failing to wear the crucifix incurs no penalty or opprobrium.



It is true that an over-zealous bureaucracy has on occasion objected to the wearing of the crucifix, in a foolish attempt to impose political correctness. But that was precisely a manifestation of the illiberal attitudes against which Mr Johnson was arguing.