Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Pope was in conflict with conservative Catholics in his Archdiocese

What was Bergoglio's conflict with the Instituto El Verbo Encarnado? That group was born in San Rafael, Mendoza, founded by Father Carlos Miguel Buela, who had come from Buenos Aires. It's a terribly right-wing order that, however, has a lot of priestly vocations (Cathcon- everything is very right wing to the very progressive Catholic who wrote this) -- everywhere, the right-wingers usually have many, many vocations. But this group is so far right that it had confrontations with almost all of the Argentine bishops, to the point that the full Bishops Conference went to see John Paul II to ask him to act on this Institute. But an Argentine layman, the former ambassador to the Holy See during the Carlos Menem administration who had a lot of contacts in the Roman Curia, and the [Vatican] Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, not only ignored the bishops' request, but in San Rafael a bishop was appointed who was a friend of the Instituto, priestly ordinations from this group were authorized in Buenos Aires, which were performed by Aguer, and José Luis Mollaghan, the only one who hadn't condemned the group, was named archbishop of Rosario. In the Bishops Conference, Bishop Estanislao Karlic and Bishop Guillermo Rodríguez Melgarejo, who was secretary of the Conference, had to resign. I don't think those of El Verbo Encarnado are celebrating Bergoglio's appointment. 

 Full story

Cathcon- if this is how the Pope dealt with a mainstream conservative group, one can guess what he thinks of traditional Catholics.

 This is a video of their apostolate

The full article also touches the relationship with Archbishop Aguer, cited also today on CathCon. Monsignor Aguer is an exemplary bishop who never feels inhibited in criticising the secularising errors of the modern world.

  Many videos here, unfortunately all, as far as I can see, in Spanish.

Of even more concern, is the Pope's attitude to power- full article here on the Pope of Surprises.

This has been noted about him. Bergoglio prefers for himself the simple title of “bishop of Rome,” and is silent about his power as head of the universal Church, in spite of the fact that this power has been confirmed very forcefully by Vatican Council II.

His autobiography states:
"When a pope or a teacher must say 'I am in charge here,' or 'I am the superior here,' it is because he has already lost authority and is seeking to attribute it to himself with words. Saying that one has the staff of command implies that one no longer has it. Having the staff of command does not mean giving orders and imposing, but serving.”

That is, it seems that Bergoglio does not want to proclaim but to exercise his supreme power as successor of Peter.

Cathcon- what he says is that he does not want to exercise it either. He has no hope of reforming the Curia on this basis.

In effect, in the discourses and homilies from the beginning of his pontificate, Bergoglio has so far avoided touching upon the questions that see the Church most set against worldly powers.

In the discourse to the diplomatic corps he remained silent about the threats to religious freedom, just as in his other statements he has avoided any reference to the critical areas of birth, death, the family.
But in his autobiographical interview, Bergoglio recalls that Benedict XVI also decided to remain silent on one occasion (Cathcon- just one occasion):

"When Benedict XVI went to Spain in 2006, everyone thought that he would criticize the government of Rodriguez Zapatero because of its divergences with the Catholic Church on various issues. Someone even asked him if he had addressed the issue of homosexual marriage with the Spanish authorities. But the pope said no, he had only spoken about positive things and the rest would come later. He wanted to suggest that first of all one must emphasize the positive things, those that unite us, and not the negative ones that serve only to divide. The priority must be given to the encounter among persons, to making the journey together. In this way, afterward it will be easier to tackle the differences."

Cathcon- a pastor leads, he does not encounter (whatever that may mean) the flock.  He strangely was not conflict averse when taking on the Instituto El Verbo Encarnado.

The Pope is, in the words of the job title used since the reign of Pope St Gregory the Great

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West (Cathcon- a title laid aside by Pope Benedict XVI- an action attracting critical comment from the Moscow Patriarchate, as this is a title they are entirely at ease with, unlike the claim to be Vicar of Christ). Primate of Italy, Servant of the Servants of God; Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City.

His calling is as prophet, priest and monarch.

Pope mistakes youthful Cardinal for a seminarian

Louis Cardinal Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and second youngest cardinal of the Catholic Church, was apparently confused by Pope Francis with a seminarian. When the 55-year-old Tagle wearing a casual sweater met with the Pope in guest house, I greeted him with this "young man". Francis passed over quickly the embarrassment of Tagle given his lack of clerical clothing, "That looks sporty! I like you, "the Pope had replied, when Tagle revealed his identity. Otherwise the Philippine Cardinal has fond memories of his stay in Rome on the occasion of the Conclave in March. A group of young people have dubbed him as "China's Pope." He was outed by other guests as cardinal in a restaurant. "The dessert I got for free," Tagle related.


Father Cantalamessa sets out modernising agenda for Pope

We must do everything possible so that the Church may never look like that complicated and cluttered castle described by Kafka, and the message may come out of it as free and joyous as when the messenger began his run. We know what the impediments are that can restrain the messenger: dividing walls, starting with those that separate the various Christian churches from one another, the excess of bureaucracy, the residue of past ceremonials, laws and disputes, now only debris.

In Revelation, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20). Sometimes, as noted by our Pope Francis, he does not knock to enter, but knocks from within to go out. To reach out to the "existential suburbs of sin, suffering, injustice, religious ignorance and indifference, and of all forms of misery."

As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins. This was the mission that was received one day by a man who prayed before the Crucifix of San Damiano: "Go, Francis, and repair my Church".
Full story

Opposition from within Argentinian church hierarchy to Pope's election says close friend

Alicia Oliveira received the surprise from her friend, Eduardo Valdes, influential man in the Buenos Aires Peronist movement. It had been 48 hours since the election of Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope Francis when Valdés told her that the President of the nation Cristina Fernandez had invited her to join the official delegation would travel to the Vatican to witness the inauguration of the Supreme Pontiff.

Oliveira accepted immediately. She shared the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt-Rome with Father Carlos Accaputo, Head of the Social Pastoral Office of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Villa Fiorito waste scavenger Sergio Sanchez, the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Julián Domínguez, and the representative of the UIA, José Ignacio de Mendiguren.

For Oliveira, the trip to Rome came to complete a cycle of her own biography. Catholic single mother of three children, former judge who was left unemployed by the civil-military dictatorship in April 1976, a member of CELS in its early days, Oliveira was always considered a close friend of the new Pope, whom she keeps calling by his first name: "Jorge".

Oliveira is known as one of the most fervent defenders of Pope Francis. Especially when the controversy over his tenure as Provincial of the Jesuit Order began to move across the world. In 1976, after being left unemployed as a judge- she was one of the few judges who dared to give effect to habeas corpus-Bergoglio started meeting her twice a week. The appointment was inevitably in the retreat house that the Jesuits own in Villa de Mayo, present municipality of Malvinas Argentinas.

"We made a meal, held a small religious ceremony, he greeted and took the opportunity to talk to people about the state of the country," Oliveira recounted in several reports. The lawyer says that the Pope came to state his own position of how the "very marked" youth of Argentina could escape.

After Bergoglio was chosen as new head of the Catholic Church, the stories of Oliveira received media coverage. In some cases, the attempt was made to contrast her testimony with the investigation, undertaken since the 90s, by the journalist Horacio Verbitsky on the kidnapping and torture of the Jesuits Francisco Jalics and Orlando Yorio (click on labels below for more details of this case, in which the Pope is accused on collaborating with the military junta).

Oliveira said she took up the defense of the Pope at the request of her children and Valdes, with whom she undertaken public service in the Chancellor's Office . Both were close to the former president of Sedronar and next head of Aeropuerstos Argentina 2000, Rafael Bielsa. In fact, during the administration of Bielsa as Chancellor, Oliveira was appointed director of Human Rights in the Palacio San Martin.

When asked about her current activity, the criminal lawyer, now retired, defines herself as an "observer". An observer, for one, who is very attentive to what happens in Buenos Aires and the Vatican.

In the two weeks that have passed since the white smoke over the Vatican, Oliveira spoke twice by phone with the brand new Pontiff who is trying to govern 1200 million adherents worldwide. "Things about friends, affectionate things. He was very angry because I said that when I was in Rome I made no effort to see him. Was crazy. Everybody wanted to go to see him and it was impossible," she tells Tiempo Argentino on the content of the conversation with Pope.

The telephone conversation also included a question about the alleged "dirty dossier" that had circulated in the Vatican in order to stop the election of Bergoglio. According to Oliveira, both agreed that if this maneuver really existed, it did not have among its sponsors the Argentine Ambassador to the Holy See, Juan Pablo Cafiero.

In another part of the interview with Time, Oliveira warns: "Let's see what happens at the next Te Deum." (this is sung in the Cathedral to celebrate Argentinian National Day- the President unlike her late husband, also President, has not been attending in recent years).  The comment sounds casual but is illustrative of the new winds of the relationship between the President's Residence and the former archbishop of Buenos Aires. This May 25 will mark ten years of the arrival in the Presidential office of Néstor Kirchner. It will be a very significant day for the government, which is preparing a major demonstration to celebrate it. "I hope the Te Deum is made in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires. I hope you have noticed that sometimes the religious vocabulary is not exactly equal to the vocabulary of politicians. They should have someone ready to explain some things" Oliveira slides in a somewhat cryptic message, which appears to have multiple recipients.
Most media made a contrast between your statements and Horacio Verbitsky's research on previous activity of Bergoglio in the case of the arrest of Jalics and Yorio (two Jesuits who were imprisoned and tortured) .

What is your opinion?

I was surprised it took so long to get them out (the journalist's notes on the performance Bergoglio as provincial of the Jesuits during the dictatorship), because in the other election (the election of Benedict XVI) the same thing happened. I noticed that later.

Verbitsky is not being faithful to the memory of Emilio Mignone, founder of CELS, and what he wrote in his famous book, Church and dictatorship?

Remove the word loyalty. I read that book, and I talked about it with Jorge ( Bergoglio) because I was in the CELS and never hid my friendship with him. The issue always generated a discussion with Emilio (Mignone). With him oJorge always discussed. And one day he held a Mass for the disappeared in the Church of the Holy Cross. We both attended . I remember we were there and I told Emilio: "Turn around and look who's among the faithful." Jorge was. Emilio said nothing. That was in the last years of the dictatorship and the beginning of democracy. I used to meet Jorge at the College of Saviour. I left the CELS and was going to see. And one day on meeting Emilio I said: "Look, I now I'm meeting George, why do not you stop fooling around and you come, and say hello and endthis story." I was so insistent, I convinced both. Emilio came with me. And we found Jorge. They greeted each other, there was a great conversation, and then we left. So to those that say there was no meeting... I witnessed that meeting.

Why do you think that Bergoglio is not coming to Argentina until December?

They said it is because of the election, right?

And what do you think of him not coming until after the election?

I do not think it right that comes before. It should not be used although it can be used ...on the one side or the other. And he can not fall into that game, in that game ... I remember within the ecclesiastical circles, in the hierarchy, there are people who do not want Jorge.

Why do they not want him?
They feel him very light, very leftist. For these groupings, which are the old story of the Church, Jorge is very light.

You mean the grouping representing the Archbishop of La Plata, Hector Aguer?

They tried to lobby for Bergoglio not to be elected Pope?

As I have understood it, although I cannot say with absolute certainty, Aguer is closely linked to (Leonardo) Sandri (the other Argentine cardinal who aspired to become Pope) and a man who was Secretary of the Religious Affairs Department with former President Menem: Esteban Caselli. They exerted their influence.
In terms of Argentinan politics, what is signified by Bergoglio and what is signified by Aguer?
I have no answer. I do not know about the political groups linked to Aguer.

And those linked to Bergoglio?

Was there or was there not an exercise of secret diplomacy, from the Vatican embassy in Argentina, to try to block the election of Bergoglio as Pope?

I know Pablo Cafiero very well- I cannot believe that Juan Pablo was involved. Look, when I discussed this Bergoglio, I have not talked about what I said or what I learned from others. No. Always, my testimonies were from things that I experienced with him directly. I did not experience that with Juampi (Cafiero) so I could not say anything about it. But his long political and human behavior, personality characteristics indicated he would not do that. That's what I can say. And when I telephoned, the Pope mentioned it and he said he thought agreed. More than that I can not tell. That does not mean that there have not been things that have not come to light.

The journalist Marcelo Longobardi said he had information from the United States and he was sure that Washington had exerted a decisive role in the appointment of Bergoglio. He cited the Cardinal of New York, Timothy Dolan. What do you think?

I do not believe Longobardi too much.

The New York Cardinal is an important man.

I do not know. I'm no expert on cardinals.

In that vein, a reading that the Church might be competing with popular and progressive movements in Latin America who take away its members, its mass base.

'These things says the comrade of La Matanza (Luis D'Elia). I think not.

I ask now about the personal relationship between President Cristina Fernandez and Pope Francisco. Is there still going to be the distance that characterized the link while Bergoglio was archbishop or will this change?

That the relationship is a bit aloof does not bother me. Do you remember what Peron said ? So that the relationship is not cluttered, they do not have to be bound closely all together. It can work well, cooperate with some distance, and assuming that the Church is one thing and the civil power is something else. Since this man was named archbishop, as far as I know, his main character has been the concern for people. We must wait. Because you have to see what Cristina does. Let's see what happens at the next Te Deum, you understand?

Do you think that the Argentina Catholic Church, as an institution, has made the necessary self-criticism of his role during the dictatorship?

I think not yet. But we must also remember that it was the whole Church who were members of the Church.
You mean those leading the Church?

Sure. In some places. The La Plata case ( Antonio Plaza), for example, that was terrible. Not only Monsignor De Nevares, not only La Rioja man (Enrique Angelelli), who was murdered, and Ponce de Leon, who was also killed. Many were victims of state terrorism.

But the Argentinian church did not have the same attitude as the Brazilian Church and the Church in Chile to the crimes of the respective dictatorships.

Certainly. Some hierarchs did not. But when he speaks of the Church I feel involved, because the Church is a community of faith and I am a member of the faith community. Church saying, I am referring to all, to be a community of faith.

Will the election of Bergoglio as Pope promote self-criticism of the role of the Church in Argentina during the dictatorship?

I hope so.


CathCon in the international news

Washing a girl's feet.....what next? Pope's gesture raises fear of women's ordination- The Times print edition-paywall

Given the Pope's active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he would be prepared to ordain women under a movement of the spirit.
How can the Pope maintain discipline if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation? He has the power to change legislation but it would be advisable to do that first.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, described as humble and sober, but with a political past- The Australian- paywall

Church's message of hope to victims of child abuse- The Australian

But Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon: "We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women."

Pope alarms traditionalists by washing women's feet- The Guardian print edition- London

Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon: "We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women … How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?"

Pope has angered conservative Catholics- Der Spiegel online- Germany

A conservative commentator from the UK, Chris Gillibrand wrote, according to the British "The Times": "One can be concerned that he might be willing to ordain women to the priesthood." Exactly what Francis has always rejected so far.

Bergoglia being elected pope is probably a great punishment from God for us all. He persecuted the orthodox priests and supported Muslims- euPortal- Czech Republic

What they write about the new pope people of his diocese? To quote a certain Antonio:
"I live in Buenos Aires. Bergoglio destroyed this archdiocese, chasing away every single orthodox priest. He disdains sacredness , and de facto banned Summorum Pontificum . He's an utter enemy of Tradition. His election is ... probably a great punishment from God for us all. " ( )

Conservative Catholics annoyed that the pope washed the feet of girls on Maundy Thursday Vakarų ekspresas- Western Express - Lithuania

One can only be concerned that he would be prepared to ordain women

Pope Francis Washes Muslim Woman’s Feet; Did He Violate Catholic Church Canon?- International Business Times

Chris Gillibrand, whose blog CathCon covers Catholic news, also disagreed with the pope’s act. “Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his Diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women,” Gillibrand wrote. “How can the Pope maintain discipline in the Church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation? [sic]”

Pope Francis leads shortened Easter Vigil- TribLive- Pittsburg

“Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women,” Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon. “How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?

'Liberal' Pope Francis worrying traditionalists after washing women's feet Bulawayo24 - South Africa

Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon: "We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women … How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?"

Also Guardian article reproduced by Awake Africa

Female factor in Francis’ foot-kissing caper sends Catholic traditionalists into a tail-spin- Free Thinker- atheist journal (they should read St Thomas Aquinas and free think again)

Under the headline Pope begins Easter with liturgical abuse Chris Gillibrand, a British commentator, wrote on his blog, CathCon:

It is a salutary thing to visit the captives, as the Bible states, but the washing of the feet of the twelve who represent the Twelve Apostles is confined to adult Christian men. One of the two girls whose feet he washed was Muslim. Given the way the action will be viewed in the Middle East, it is hardly prudent.

We will see whether it is a particular case, as Lombardi suggests, or the beginning of a journey. Given his active support for the charismatic movement in his diocese, one can only be concerned that he could be prepared to ordain women … How can the pope maintain discipline in the church if he himself does not conform himself to prevailing ecclesiastical legislation?

CathCon bloggers go "lamestream" - US Catholic

Not sure whether they had me in mind here- a story from 2010

Editor of Telegraph blogs- London

  1. Pope washes feet of Muslim girl – how can it *not* occur to carping traddies that they're playing the role of Pharisees?

  2. RT : Pope begins Easter with liturgical abuse

  1. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, not Christ himself.

Episcopal successor of Pope accused of covering up for priests accused of trafficking children

In 2009, a group of victims asked for the investigation of Bishop Mario Aurelio Poli for "covering up" crimes of trafficking, reduced to servitude and fraud in connection with an event that affected at least 64 children and young people. In August of 2009, a group of victims asked the Instructional Court 3 in Santa Rosa to prosecute the Spanish priests Antonio Martínez and Ricardo Latorre. At the same time, it called for the summoning of two bishops to make depositions in the context of a case in which were investigated, among others, the crimes of human trafficking, fraud, extortion and reduced to servitude in a religious institute called Servi Trinitatis.

It was a story that hit the front pages of almost all daily newspapers in Argentina by the rawness of the story of those who passed through the Institute. Everyone talks about psychologicval and physical abuse: "I have suffered humiliation, yelling and hitting," said, for instance, Sergio Juarez in 2009. The Servi Trinitatis complaint was made by the lawyer from the pampas, Omar Gebruers , who said publicly what nobody was ready to listen: 64 children and young people were "enslaved and 17 subjected to the crime of human trafficking." Both of the main accused were priests Antonio Martínez and Ricardo Latorre, officiating in those days in the Cathedral in Santa Rosa and the Trinitatis Servi Secular Institute, where, again according to the very serious accusation, numerous crimes were said to have been committed.

 And there appears an unpleasant surprise: Besides making allegations against the two priests, the lawsuit representing victims called for a probe of alleged " cover-up" by Mario Aurelio Poli, blessed by the hand of Pope Francis as his successor in the archbishopric of Buenos Aires. But there is more: in 2006, before the criminal complaint, a group of girls who were interned in the Cenacle in Santa Rosa sent a letter to the then Bishop Miguel Brédiceand his boss, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. According to these girls , they were never met and had only sensed "total inaction or cover-up ...". Finally ... although the priests Latorre and Martinez were eventually dismissed, suspicion never faded and complainants never failed to mention that it is an "international criminal organization" that works to attract young people and keep their goods and money .


Catholic-bashers have embellished the truth about abuse in Catholic institutions.

The publication last week of the Irish government's McAleese Report on the Magdalene laundries has proved kind of awkward for Catholic-bashers. For if McAleese's thorough, 1,000-page study is to be believed, then it would appear that those laundries were not as evil and foul as they had been depicted over the past decade. Specifically the image of the laundries promoted by the popular, much-lauded film The Magdalene Sisters – which showed them as places where women were stripped, slapped, sexually abused and more – has been called into question by McAleese. This has led even The Irish Times, which never turns down an opportunity to wring its hands over Catholic wickedness, to say: "There is no escaping the fact that the [McAleese] report jars with popular perceptions."

  Full story

Cathcon- attacks on Catholicism are often just excuses for not practicing the Faith.  By exaggerating the facts of the Magdalene laundries, an excuse could be turned into  a "valid" reason.

The alleged conservatism of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI was often used as an excuse by progressive Catholics for diminished practice.   Now the progressives have "their" Pope, they have no such excuse.

It will be interesting to see whether the respect that Pope Francis enjoys in the world will have any effect whatsoever on the long-term declines in Mass attendance in the Western and some of the developing world. There has been an almost linear decline in Mass attendance in Germany since the War.   Vatican II produced a micro-micro-blip upwards which lasted for a few months.  Only time will tell whether there is a positive Francis effect.  The Church has a 100 percent track record over her 2000 year history of producing surprises when all seems lost.