Winding Up On The 4th Beast?

Disclaimer

I do NOT recognize "John-Paul 2" as "pope" nor do I recognize his creatures as "cardinals"! I confess H.H. Pope Michael.

Prakash John Mascarenhas

Text courtesy John Menezes; Wed, 15 Oct 2003

Who Will Deliver Us from the Legacy of John-Paul 2?

As the papal death-watch intensifies, humanly speaking we cannot look forward to a more conservative successor. John-Paul 2 himself has made sure of that.

-by Christopher A. Ferrara-
Remnant Columnist, New Jersey


(Editor’s Note: As we go to press with this issue of The Remnant, Christopher Ferrara is hard at work on the Terri Schiavo euthanasia case. He needs prayers because he is preparing to argue before federal district judge Richard Lazzara in Tampa that a state court order that Terri Schiavo should be starved and dehydrated to death by removal of her feeding tube should be stayed. A life hangs in the balance in this case, which is receiving world-wide media attention. The Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, has filed a brief with Judge Lazzara urging him to grant the stay. Please keep this intention in your prayers. -M.J. Matt)

As rumors of John-Paul 2’s imminent demise intensify, there is already much discussion of his legacy as Pope. In neo-Catholic circles the discussion never gets round to the current condition of the Church, for which everyone but the Pope is held responsible. Yet we hear constantly of an ill-defined papal "vision" that is uniquely John Paul’s. What are the fruits of this papal vision in the actual life of the Church?

A Liberalized and Corrupted Hierarchy

During his 25-year reign John-Paul 2 has managed to appoint the majority of the world episcopate — 2,413 of the world’s 4,369 bishops. The number of bishops rose substantially during this pontificate (about 20%), while the number of priests continued to decline — from 420,971 in 1978 to 404,208 in 1997, a decrease of about 4% in the face of a world population increase of 50% during John-Paul 2’s pontificate. (Zenit News report, January 25, 2000). Of this diminished priesthood, a majority is over age 65; and who knows how many of the remainder are homosexuals who have infiltrated the Church during the current pontificate (estimates range from 10 to 50 percent), not to mention the substantial percentage of African priests with concubines, whose trampling of the vow of chastity the Vatican ignores. 1 After 25 years of the reign of John-Paul 2, normal, healthy, chaste young men constitute a distinct minority of the Catholic priesthood. This process of clerical decay was, of course, initiated by the devastating innovations of Paul VI, but the current Pope has done nothing to reverse the process. On the contrary, John-Paul 2 is unstinting in his praise of the "reforms" of his predecessor.

As the number of bishops has increased, the good order of the Church has decreased, devolving into liturgical collapse, doctrinal defection and sexual scandal on a scale the Church has never known before. In short, John-Paul 2 has presided over the radical liberalization of the Catholic hierarchy with its attendant moral corruption. The only members of the episcopate who openly resisted this liberalization were declared excommunicated in 1988 — by John-Paul 2. The only traditionalists now to be found within the official structure of the Church are isolated priests who generally live in fear of detection and reprisal by their superiors, including priests within the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, who must voice their objections to the postconciliar regime of novelty pseudonymously in order to avoid discipline.

A Liberalized College of Cardinals

The liberalizing effect of John-Paul 2’s appointments is also evident in the College of Cardinals. Ignoring the numerical limit of 120 that he himself affirmed in Universi Dominici Gregis (1996), the Pope has swelled the number of cardinal-electors (those under 80) to 135, of which he has personally created all but five. There does not appear to be among the next conclave a single man whom Saint Pius X would view as a militant Roman Catholic. They are all more or less neutralized by the spirit of the age and committed to perpetuating "the Springtime of Vatican II." A number are openly heterodox in their pronouncements.

Aside from Congar, de Lubac and von Balthasar (who dropped dead only hours before he could claim his red hat), perhaps the most notorious example of the Pope’s stupefying investiture of heterodox cardinals is Walter Kasper, whom the Pope has made head of the very Pontifical Commission responsible for "the Promotion of Christian Unity," as well as the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. As is already well known, Kasper immediately used both positions as pulpits from which to announce that the Catholic Church no longer preaches the necessity of Protestant or Jewish conversion. In response, the Pope did absolutely nothing. Less known is Kasper’s public renunciation of the Catholic doctrine of the Apostolic Succession. The latest Kasper heresy came in an address filled with theological errors that he delivered to a Catholic-Anglican conference in late May 2003. In this address Kasper proclaimed, among other outrages, that "Jesus was well aware… that his disciples would not be one, and that they would be dispersed" and that "The unity of the Church can be accomplished only by a renewed Pentecost…" After denying the unity of the Church, Kasper declared that "unity" between Catholics and Anglicans is "not a question of apostolic succession in the sense of an historical chain of laying on of hands running back through the centuries to one of the apostles - this would be a very mechanical and individualistic vision, which, by the way, historically could hardly be proved and ascertained."

Yes, you read him rightly: Kasper denied both the nature and the historicity of the Apostolic Succession! Lest there be any doubt of his position, Kasper added: "To stand in the apostolic succession is not a matter of an individual historical chain, but of collegial membership in a collegium, which, as a whole, goes back to the apostles by sharing the same apostolic faith and the same apostolic mission…. Such acknowledgement is not a question of an uninterrupted chain, but of the uninterrupted sharing of faith and mission, and as such is a question of communion in the same faith and in the same mission."

In denying the Apostolic Succession in its correct Catholic sense and replacing it with a vague, present-day "communion of faith," the Pope’s man in the field of "Christian unity" is clearly paving the way for what he hopes will be a post-John-Paul 2 circumvention of the infallible declaration of Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae (1896) that the Anglicans broke the Apostolic Succession by adopting an invalid ordination rite. Let Kasper the Friendly Heretic convict himself: "It is beyond the scope of our present context to discuss what this means for a re-evaluation of Apostolicae Curae of Pope Leo XIII, who declared Anglican orders null and void, a decision that still stands between our Churches. Without doubt, this decision, as Cardinal Willebrands [Paul VI’s own contribution to the heterodox element of the cardinalate] had already affirmed, must be understood in our new ecumenical context in which our communion in faith and mission has considerably grown."

Kasper thus openly called for a "re-evaluation" and a "new" understanding of an infallible and thus irreformable papal pronouncement! He even had the temerity to cast doubt on the infallible definition of papal primacy at the First Vatican Council (1869/70): "[T]he historical conditionality of the dogma of the First Vatican Council (1869/70)… must be distinguished from its remaining obligatory content." The Pope has given the red hat to a man who publicly proclaims infallible dogmas to be historically conditional — precisely as Cardinal Ratzinger [yet another JP II cardinal] has done with the pre-Vatican II anti-modernist and anti-liberal pronouncements he does not like.2

Kasper’s elevation to the summit of the Catholic hierarchy ranks among the worst scandals of the past forty years. But the Pope goes on raising such characters to the rank of cardinal, filling the next conclave with men who would have been censured and stripped of their offices by St. Pius X. Among the recently named batch of 31 new cardinals, for example, we have the execrable Archbishop Keith O'Brien of Aberdeen, Scotland. Within one day of his election as cardinal, O’Brien "used a Mass of thanksgiving as an occasion to question Church teaching and discipline regarding contraception, homosexuality, and clerical celibacy. Archbishop O'Brien… said that the Church should re-examine her teaching regarding contraception. He said that he assumed a large number of Catholic priests are homosexual, and is not troubled by that fact if they maintain their vows of celibacy. But he also questioned whether the discipline of priestly celibacy is necessary, pointing out that ‘throughout the world there are married priests and in England there are a number of converts from Anglicanism who are married and who became Roman Catholic priests’" (CWNewsw.com, 10-2-03).

A Conclave that Spells Trouble

A growing number of sensible Catholics have had quite enough of the media’s line that John-Paul 2’s appointments and policies reflect a "conservative" retrenchment following Vatican II. In a lead editorial for The Washington Times, Brett Decker exposed this myth in a journalistic breakthrough for common sense: Pope John-Paul 2 appointed 31 new cardinals on Sunday. Just about every news outlet in the world is united on two certainties about these new princes of the Catholic Church: They are all conservative, and they were named by the pope as part of his supposed plan to guarantee a conservative successor. The common wisdom is wrong on both counts. Not one of the new cardinals can qualify as a conservative. But even more unexamined is that the reforms of John-Paul 2 all but guarantee that the next pontiff will be a progressive. Decker went on to observe that John-Paul 2’s reforms in the papal election procedure, combined with Paul VI’s invidious disenfranchisement of cardinals over 80, spell nothing but trouble for the Church: In 1996, John-Paul 2 lowered [the majority] requirement to a less definitive absolute majority, or 50 percent-plus-one vote [after 30 ballots]. This innovation to papal elections is significant because the requirement for a two-thirds majority was designed to protect tradition… [I]t would be unlikely that two-thirds of all cardinals would ever vote for a revolutionary. Also in the past, cardinals had to live in primitive quarters during papal conclaves, an uncomfortable situation that was intended to force speed… John-Paul 2 has built a luxury hotel to house the cardinals for the next election. It is an old Roman saying that no one is more conservative than a retired cardinal…. Upon retirement, when there are no more honors or offices left to gain, and when old men are looking mortality in the face, many cardinals appreciate anew the need to protect the institution and time-proven traditions. In 1970, Pope Paul VI razed this rampart of conservatism by prohibiting cardinals 80 years old or older from voting for pope. Decker also exposed the corollary myth that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is an "ultra-conservative." Decker noted the abundantly documented historical fact that Ratzinger "was a radical leftist theologian during the council but is now considered the most conservative of the cardinals. His Eminence has admitted that he has not moved to the right in four decades, but that the world has moved so far to the left that even a progressive of his conviction looks traditional. The same goes for all of the cardinals John-Paul 2 has appointed, except that they are even more liberal than Cardinal Ratzinger. It is this college that will pick the next pope." Truer words have never been written in The Remnant or any other traditionalist publication.

A Ruined Liturgy

The liturgy that John-Paul 2 will bequeath us is even further removed from Tradition than the episcopacy and College of Cardinals he has put in place. In recent days there have been rumors of a draft Vatican document aimed at correcting liturgical abuses that have become established practice under this Pope. On September 23 CWNews reported that "A new Vatican document on the Eucharist has been delayed by internal debate within the Roman Curia. According to Italian press reports, an early draft of the document has been set aside because of complaints that it was too ‘conservative.’" Among the abuses the document was said to condemn or discourage are altar girls, liturgical dancing and applause during Mass — all standard features of public papal liturgies. Indeed, CWN notes that "According to Il Messagero the members of the committee that prepared the text were fully aware that their disciplinary norms could apply to the liturgical celebrations within the Vatican, and the draft document could be seen as a criticism of some papal ceremonies." We know we are in the midst of the worst crisis the Church has ever endured when even a liberalized Roman Curia feels compelled to attempt a repeal of papal liturgical abuses.

The curial attempt to roll back some of the Pope’s more obnoxious liturgical innovations was short-lived, however. As reported by Catholic News Service on October 1: "Rewriting a proposed Vatican document on liturgical norms, Vatican officials have dropped all references to altar girls and are substantially revising other points in the document, a Vatican official has said. A ban against allowing ministers of other mainline Christian faiths to bless the congregation at the end of a Catholic liturgy [as John-Paul 2 has done with the Anglican "Archbishop" of Canterbury] also has been removed, an official familiar with the document told Catholic News Service."

A Failure to Recognize the Debacle

John-Paul 2 shows no sign of admitting the total debacle over which he has presided, even if he is said to be intent on reconciling traditionalists for the good of the Church. On October 3 the Pope pressed ahead with his fruitless ecumenism by having a meeting with Rowan Williams, the heretical loon who styles himself the Archbishop of Canterbury. Williams is so bereft of Christian doctrine that 350 Anglican parishes, including the one next door to his episcopal palace, refuse to allow him to participate in communion services ("Archbishop of Canterbury now barred from communion at 350 of his parishes," London, Sep. 08 CWNews.com).

Referring obliquely to the "ordination" of a practicing homosexual "bishop" by the Episcopalian wing of the "Anglican communion," the Pope declared during his meeting with Williams: "As we give thanks for the progress (!) that has already been made we must also recognize that new and serious difficulties have arisen on the path to unity." The Pope added that "These difficulties are not all of a merely disciplinary nature; some extend to essential matters of faith and morals." But that was true from the very beginning of the Catholic-Anglican "dialogue" some 40 years ago, and the divide has only grown vastly wider since then. Ignoring all reality, the Pope still sees "progress" on a "path to unity" with the decrepit Anglican Church, which today does not even acknowledge that the Fifth Commandment forbids abortion. All that the Pope will admit to is "difficulties" on the "path to unity" with a bogus church whose existence he clearly considers legitimate. He apparently does not see, or is not willing to recognize, that he has wasted 25 years in "dialogue" with a failed human organization founded by a rebellious, syphilitic king; a sinking ship filled with souls in danger of eternal hellfire. During the meeting with Williams, the Pope kissed Williams’s ring, after Williams had kissed his. To the very end, the Pope continues to debase his authority for the sake of ecumenism, falsely suggesting parity between his own valid episcopacy as Bishop of Rome and the faux episcopacies of heretical prelates who lack holy orders. In this case, the Pope dignifies an "Archbishop" who is rightly shunned as a false shepherd even by his liberal Anglican confreres.

The Real Legacy of John-Paul 2

Yes, John-Paul 2 has held the line on certain irreducible minima of Roman Catholicism, failing which he would not be the Pope. But his real legacy does not consist in this, which is only what would be expected of any Pope. Nor does John-Paul 2’s legacy consist in his real or imagined effect on world politics, for the Pope is not charged with improving international relations or promoting political "freedom." The legacy proper to a Pope is the condition in which he leaves the Church when his time on this earth is over. As things now stand, John-Paul 2’s legacy is this: a thoroughly liberalized and widely corrupted episcopacy that fails and refuses to govern the Church (except to repress elements of Catholic Tradition in the name of Vatican II); a college of cardinals composed almost entirely of men whose theological views would have horrified any Pope before 1960; a liturgy so debauched by papally-approved innovations that even the more conservative elements of the Pope’s own liberalized curia feel compelled to redress some of the damage done; a fruitless "ecumenism" and "interreligious dialogue" that have led nowhere and produced nothing, except confusion among the faithful and an ever greater departure from the Gospel by those who are separated from the one true Church. John-Paul 2’s vast program of failed innovation — we must say it for the sake of truth — is a heap of ashes that covers the entire Catholic landscape, and the Church cannot get out from under it.

Humanly speaking, the only one who can deliver us from the impending legacy of John-Paul 2 is John-Paul 2, for absent a direct intervention of the Holy Ghost we have no reason to expect that any successor emerging from the conclave he has created will reverse course. Now more than ever must Catholics storm heaven with prayers for the Pope. For John-Paul 2 is nothing if not a man given to stupendous surprises; he is yet capable of a surprise that will favor Tradition.

Notes: 1. Confronted with the burgeoning scandal of the sexual abuse of women by African priests, Fr. Bernardo Cervellera (director of Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news service) offered the astounding excuse that "the problem was limited to sub-Saharan Africa and related to negative cultural views there of women and of the value of celibacy…." Fr. Cervellera added: "These are not cases of ‘psychopathic’ violence against women, but instead a ‘cultural way of living’ that is common throughout the region…."(CNN, March 21, 2001). Reuters reported: "The Vatican is monitoring the situation…but no direct action has been taken" (Reuters, March 20, 2001).

2. In 1990, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an "Instruction on the Theologian’s Ecclesiastical Vocation." In explaining the Instruction to the press, Cardinal Ratzinger asserted that certain teachings of the Magisterium were "not considered to be the final word on the subject as such, but serve rather as a mooring in the problem, and, above all, as an _expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of temporary disposition." As examples of these "temporary dispositions," Ratzinger cited "the statements of the Popes during the last century on religious freedom, as well as the anti-modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, especially the decisions of the Biblical Commission of that time." L’Osservatore Romano, English Weekly Edition, July 2, 1990. p. 5.
Text courtesy John Menezes; Sat, 11 Oct 2003

October 10, 2003; by Gordon Thomas

John-Paul 2 has inoperable stomach cancer which recently spread to his colon. A team of palliative medical specialists is now permanently based in the Papal Apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

They administer drugs to try and ensure that he will live to carry out the three climatic events of his 25 years.

They revolve around the anniversary of his election on Wednesday (October 16). The celebrations are planned to include the beatification of Mother Theresa and presiding over the consistory, or assembly, of cardinals, including the 31 he has just created.

But increasingly the Vatican is preparing the world's 800 million Catholics for his impending death.

The Vatican will not discuss the specific details of his medical condition or confirm the cancer diagnosis. But in 1992, John-Paul 2 had major surgery to remove a large intestinal tumour which doctors diagnosed as cancerous.

Two weeks ago, there was evidence that the disease had returned. Last Wednesday, the Vatican announced that John-Paul 2's regular general audience in St Peter's Square was cancelled because he had complained of "intestinal" problems.

A colonoscopy was performed. The first indication of the gravity of the situation came shortly afterwards.

Two cardinals revealed that 83 year-old John-Paul 2 "is failing fast". The most explicit was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican.

He said that John-Paul 2 "is in a bad way". His decision to speak publicly was seen by the Curia, the structured hierarchal body which is the Holy See's civil service, as proof it could be only a short time before they must prepare for the election of a successor.

Vatican diplomats and papal nuncios were alerted to the situation by the Secretariat of State. Traditionally heads of the diplomatic corps of each nation where they are accredited, they told fellow ambassadors of the position.

In Ireland, as in other countries, they would also have discreetly briefed the government and President Mary McAleese.

Such briefings, especially those relating to John-Paul 2's ailing health, are discussed on a strictly need-to-know basis. That was why Ratzinger's public pronouncement caused alarm bells to ring among John-Paul 2's followers accross the world.

Not only was it unexpected and unprecedented, but it was quickly followed by another prelate issuing a statement.

One of the newly appointed cardinals, Archbishop Phillipe Barbarin of Lyon, France, said "John-Paul 2 is reaching the end of his road and is really in bad shape".

This weekend, candles are being lit and special prayers offered in cathedrals and churches around the world. Cardinals have been told to be ready to fly to Rome at short notice. Several are already going there this coming week, possibly to be on hand to say their farewells.

Mgr George Gainswein, Cardinal Ratzinger's secretary, said last Thursday that "John-Paul 2 can no longer walk or stand. He is falling apart more and more each day".

Yet, despite the evidence of his ever-more rapid deterioration, John-Paul 2 has continued to directly involve himself in what has been one of the pillars of his office: human rights.

On Friday, he sent a message to his Nuncio in Colombia that he wanted the local Church there to become directly involved trying to free British TV producer Mark Henderson, 31, and the six other hostages held by ELN, the country's most ruthless terror group.

The backpackers were kidnapped three weeks ago.

This weekend two priests are travelling deep into Colombia's northern jungles to meet with the kidnappers and bring with them the Pope's plea. "They will tell them that it is the Holy Father's great wish that these people be set free", a Vatican source told me.

Four of the hostages are Israelis and the Pope's intervention follows high level discussions between Ariel Sharon's government and the Vatican's "foreign minister", Mgr Jean-Luis Tauran. He has just been made a cardinal - making 135 Princes of the Church who are now eligible to vote for a new pope.

Among them is the Pope's senior private secretary, Mgr Stanislaw Dziwisz - first to become a cardinal while still serving as the Pope's closest aide. Glint-eyed, with an imperious nose and a sharp tongue, who can rebuke equally well in Polish, Italian, French and German, Dziwisz is the only non-medical person to freely come and go from the Pope's bedroom overlooking St Peter's Square.

There is a nebuliser by at his bedside to assist John-Paul 2's breathing. Trolleys dot the room laden with other medical equipment. They are in striking contrast to the prie-dieu John-Paul 2 brought with him from Krakow, along with a striking portrait of the Madonna. Both are the only visible links with his past. There are no discernible mementos, souvenirs or keepsakes.

John-Paul 2 insists on maintaining, as far as possible, his daily schedule. He awakes at 5.30 AM. Two Papal Attendants help him to dress. Then they wheel him to the apartment's private chapel.

The two blue-suited Vigili, members of the Vatican security force bow as John-Paul 2 passes. Vigili have always stood guard over John-Paul 2, even in the Papal Apartment, since that fearful day in May 1981 when an attempt was made to assassinate him in St Peter's Square.

The apartment staff, nuns and secretaries, are joined by the medical team for the early morning worship service.

Afterwards, John-Paul 2 has breakfast and begins his work schedule. In between there are periods of rest.

For a man so seriously ill, even a curtailed schedule must have an effect on his health. But he has continued to resist pleas from his doctors to slow down.

"In so many ways, it is typical of him", said Mgr. Gainswein.
See also: The Piety & Modesty of "John-Paul II"
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