Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

His Eminence Cardinal Rodrigues M.
Being up-to-date on all things Catholic as they characteristically are, the good people over at Rorate Caeli recently published an excerpt from a presentation by Cardinal Oscar Rodrigues Maradiaga delivered in January 20, 2015 at Santa Clara University for the Markulla Center for Applied Ethics entitled The Church of Mercy with Pope Francis. Having read the full text of the essay from which the presentation was drawn - several times, in fact - it seems hard to overstate the importance of the message it contains. Never before, in my recollection, has a cardinal - particularly such an influential one (Rodriguez Maradiaga is co-ordinator of the "C9" Council of Cardinals, established by Pope Francis to facilitate a reform of the Curia) - spoken so plainly as to the direction Pope Francis wants to take the Catholic Church.

The portion quoted by Rorate Caeli is undoubtedly important, as it removes all doubt that Pope Francis wants to change the Church in a fundamental, essential and permanent way. But the real meat of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga's essay - the part which explains what kind of change the Pope wants - is found a few paragraphs later, where he presents his analysis of the universal calamity which has followed in the wake of Vatican II and what he - and, more importantly, what Pope Francis - sees as the remedy: a fundamental change in the faith and spirituality of the Church. I quote:
Spirituality is not a science nor one more praxis in the Church. It is the "nourishment" of the pastoral, the theology and the community, whatever their "model" is. When this was forgotten by the process of ecclesial renovation, this caused "schizophrenia" in some Christians, which is one of the causes of many failures. In a short time, they progressed in all of the levels of the renovation. They changed many pastoral, theological, and disciplinary categories. The image and the mission of the Church changed. Likewise, its concept that related faith with history and society changed; therefore the social and political options became more important. In this context, there was no mystical renovation and it remained "traditional," consistent with another vision of the faith and of the mission, and inconsistent with the new ecclesial experiences. In this context, a spirituality does not motivate, it becomes irrelevant. It ends up being perceived as a useless appendix and ends up being abandoned, since a mystic that does not nourish the human experience stops having meaning; a spirituality that is foreign to the ecclesial model that is being lived leads to the crisis of the Christian "schizophrenia." Many abandonments of the ecclesial life, and even of the faith, are rooted there. The only answer is not in abandoning all mystic or reversing the renovation of the institutions or options (due to fear of a collapse of the Christian values), but in deeply renovating the faith and spirituality starting from love to reach mercy. That is what the Pope wants.
Make sure you understand what Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga is saying here. If necessary, re-read the paragraph. If you feel only slightly nauseated, you might have missed the point. Re-read it. If, on the other hand, you find yourself looking around for the horse that just kicked you in the guts, you're good to go.

To his credit, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga clearly understands that the 'Spirit of Vatican II' and its fruits are at odds with traditional Catholic mysticism, faith and spirituality. To continue to deny it at this stage, therefore, is an exercise in futility. In fact, he argues that this discrepancy is to blame for the abysmal plummet in church attendance and religious vocations. This, too, cannot be denied. Finally, he identifies the three options for overcoming this discrepancy:
  1. abandon mysticism and spirituality altogether;
  2. reverse the pastoral directives of the 'Spirit of Vatican II'; or
  3. fundamentally alter Catholic faith and spirituality so as to better jibe with the 'Spirit of Vatican II'.

If there was ever any doubt as to which option the Pope has selected, let it be henceforth abandoned. If you consider yourself a traditional Catholic, your faith and spirituality have just been declared "inconsistent with the new ecclesial experience," in a word, "irrelevant," and you, being ultimately responsible for the failure of Vatican II, persona non grata.

The days of being able to give the benefit of the doubt are over. The only ones who can't see the writing on the wall are the ones who are afraid to look.


  1. Very interesting. So, the ecclesial renovation resulted in people abandoning the ecclesial life. Maradiaga diagnoses spiritual dissonance, for which we need a spiritual renovation.

    Like a rising tide, the Holy Spirit will lift the Barque of Peter off the shoals of Sin where it has been foundering, and the wind of Mercy will blow us out to sea. Or will each man be the captain of his own ship?

    Which “social and political options” do you think he refers to, that became “more important” after the ecclesial renovation? He seems to be deeply involved in social and political options, in Honduras, and with Caritas. He seems to approve their importance.

  2. Scary yes.


    At least Maradiaga has abandoned the happy-clappy "new springtime" is just around the corner banter.

    Furthermore, he at least provides proposals. And once you provide proposals, those proposals can be assesses using objective assessment criteria, like the RadCat in this article. And once that becomes the "thing" to use a popular '60 expression, the neo-modernists are toast.

    It would also appear that others of his ilk are providing similar proposals. Here I am thinking of the lecture given by card. Marx in Berkly that appeared in the Jesuit magazine Amerika.

    Furthermore, I think that this is exactly the " first step" that has been missing in Church discussions from the time of the revolution of 1968. In other words, now we know where we stand, and more importantly, where "they" stand.

    On an aside, if I am reading the Maradiaga message correctly, the subtext is that neo-moderists can't hide the VII disaster any longer, so they are now trying to spin it.

    And their remedy is "more cowbell".


  3. Oh, the panglossianism is still there:

    "If man's void was filled with God's mercy and mercy could be experienced in the Church, nobody would abandon their parish, temples would be packed with faithful, seminaries would be filled with young men that would leave the field of daily worries to devote themselves to serve God and console their brothers."

    The New Springtime is just around the proverbial corner, you see - if only the Church would stop preventing the flow of God's mercy, as she has done so consistently until now.

    But, you are correct: Maradiaga is clearly in the "hermeneutic of rupture" camp (putting to rest the notion that Pope Benedict was referring exclusively to the SSPX with that particular phrase), and this is a step in the right direction - at least as far as coming to terms with the fruits of Vatican II are concerned. Maradiaga is no longer praising the Emperor's New Clothes. But instead of looking for the swindlers who fabricated the deception, he's proposing that we all strip naked as an exercise in humility.

  4. Here is the one I like:

    "Spirituality is not a science nor one more praxis in the Church. It is the "nourishment" of the pastoral, the theology and the community, whatever their "model" is. When this was forgotten by the process of ecclesial renovation, this caused "schizophrenia" in some Christians, which is one of the causes of many failures."

    What he is saying is that the neo-mods had to destroy the church in order to save it from a mental disorder.

    As to the "spirituality", it would appear that he is referring to the sort of spirituality practiced by his forefathers, the pre-Columbian ones.


  5. He believes the "schizophrenia" came about precisely because Vatican II didn't go far enough, i.e. set its sights on "modernizing" traditional Catholic faith and spirituality. The root cause of the many ills of the Church post-Vatican II, as he sees it, is that our traditional Catholic faith just doesn't jibe with our "new ecclesial experience." So, if they can completely destroy, I mean, "deeply renovate" that part - the only thing left of genuine Catholicism - everything will come up roses. This is what Maradiaga has in mind when he says that Pope Francis wants to "take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible."

    The "doctrinal development" here is easily foreseeable: Those on the 'peripheries' are the "very flesh of Christ" (quote from Pope Francis); thus, when we show them 'mercy' (i.e. when we stop objecting to their sin and accept them without distinction), we enjoy the "the supreme experience of incarnation" (quote from Maradiaga), i.e. we see Christ in our neighbor, and our neighbor sees Christ in us, and we all enter a mystical union with God which, apparently, surpasses even the Eucharist in spiritual significance. It's the spiritual component of the socialist economic dream being cooked up by Marx. Put the two together, and you have the 'errors of Russia' on steroids.

  6. First as a Radical Catholic thanks for a pleasant dose of reality. I like many Catholic believe what our a Lord and Savior taught and that is not to conform to this world. I believe the Pope said it correctly when he stated that Satan is more active in the 21 Century than at any other time.

    Last night I was listening to one of Bishop Fulton Sheen's television shows which was aptly about Satan and he pointed out that it would be discord in the Church that will be the cause of societal decay.

    I have no problem saying I an a Catholic and Vatican II, well let's just say there are problems Houston. I started my blog if I may post the link, to address these issues as well as the secular attacks. Thank you again for taking the time to research and write about these issues so we can get informed and defend the faith.
    May God continue to bless you. Thanks again

  7. Yes, you are absolutely correct.

    It is very important to recognize the latest fads of the "Nouvelle Théologie" practitioners. It is also important to identify these novelties, since they are not new but rather old heresies in a new wrapper.

    However, what I think is even more important is to be cognizant of the fact that theirs is a dying "ideology". It has gotten to the point where they are providing "their spin" of their own demise without being asked the question. Here is an example. At the Stanford speech given by Marx, he made the following claim:

    "Cardinal Marx said that students ask him about how to bring the people back to the church and how to fill our churches. “But the question might be,” he said, “How can we bring the Gospel—the most important enlightenment in the history of mankind—into the future of society? It is not only for us, it is not our Gospel, but to bring into society.”

    If we look into the Mardiaga text, we find the same theme.

    " In this context, there was no mystical renovation and it remained "traditional," consistent with another vision of the faith and of the mission, and inconsistent with the new ecclesial experiences"

    In the above he spins, as you rightly observe, that the cause for the destruction of the Catholic Church is that "the patient was not bled long enough". And they will by hook or by crook finish the job.

    This is an obvious fallacy, and the easiest way to demonstrate this this false premise on which this argument rests is by highlighting that other sect tried all those novelities that this crowd is proposing, and the results were even worse than those of the Ionnian/Pauline papal line "half measures".

    And I am patiently awaiting before those questions start to be asked.

    It's only a question of time.


  8. The analogy of "bleeding the patient" is an excellent one. In fact, I wish it had occurred to me at the time of writing, as it depicts perfectly what it going on here.

    The article I published some time back from Markus Günther (Church in Crisis: Diaspora Germany) was the first instance I have noticed in the German mainstream press of someone pointing out the obvious error to which you refer:

    "For the Evangelical church in Germany has done nearly everything which is being demanded from the Catholic Church in order to become more relevant to the times: women priests, the elimination of celibacy, liberality in moral theology, the complete acceptance of homosexuals and the divorced. If these were the real reasons for the malaise of Christendom, the Protestants should be far better off than the Catholics. But that simply isn't the case."

    As far as I can tell, it hasn't caught on in any noticeable way across the Atlantic, but as you said, it's only a matter of time.

    One wonders if the sense of urgency stems at least partly from the desire to push through these reforms before the Anglicans and Episcopalians collapse entirely under the weight of their own heresy. And, though entirely speculative, one can hope that there a connection here with the apparently renewed interest shown by relatively conservative bishops and cardinals in the work of the SSPX: the meeting with Cardinal Müller in Rome in September 2014, the visitation of Cardinal Brandmüller of the seminary in Bavaria, Germany in December 2014, and the upcoming visitations of Bishop Athanasius Schneider of the seminaries in Flavigny, France in January 2015 and Winona in February 2015, surely express something more momentous than passing curiosity.

  9. The analogy of the half measure of bleeding the patient is the appropriate one.

    As to the article you published, I have that in my line-up for future posts but it is very relevant. Another article of this type appeared regarding the Anglican Church. The headline was that Anglicans desperately need to find new pew sitters or they will collapse.

    As to motivation of the justification for the "bleeding therapy", what you need to keep in mind is that different prelates have different "failure" that they need to justify.

    W/r/t the Germans, they are desperately looking for a new funding model. The Kirchensteuer is collapsing fast. They can't change their strategy to a collection plate model since they have been driving the normal families away for decades. They call it "trying to be relevant".

    W/r/t Francis, he is desperately trying to "through the seamless garment" over his failure in Argentina and his fellow neo-modernist failure across the Continent. He had to get rid of Bishop Livieres since the laters seminary had 230+ seminarians when Bergoglios had <30. S.A. is losing pew sitters by the droves. And even the leftist Church circles are admitting that it is because of the lax morality and the liberation theology that is driving the normal people to the Pentacostals. I find it laughable and very self serving that Francis is no a "no-conversion" kick at present. Who in there right minds would want to convert to the Church of Francis. The only ones that would convert at teh ones that he would abuse.

    And we can go on and on.

    But back to the original question, I think the sense of urgency is driven by the internal problem of the respective Catholic Churches. If you notice, this "Holy Spirit" kick that Maradiaga and Francis are on is nothing more than what you highlighted in your Vital Immanence post. The leftists are just looking for the "Magic Words" that can attract anybody that they can.

    As to the Catholic Bishops friendliness to the SSPX, I think this is the true work of the Holy Spirit. These prelates have always looked at teh SSPX with a kind gaze. They did not say anything since they did not want to be seen as traiters by their fellow bishops. I don't blame them. I would rather have a Muller stay silent and become the head of the CDF than openly support the SSPX and still be the Bishop of Regensburg.

    Anyways, you are correct when you write that this is more than a passing curiosity. The reason is that the Catholic hierarchy is being forced by Francis to choose sides. And the old divisions are falling by the wayside.

    My personal wish is for a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by card. Muller, with Bishop Fellay as deacan and Fr. Z as subdeacon.

    It's not that crazy ;)



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