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Is The Wanderer Waking Up?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 13, 2015

Almost fifty years ago (1967) Walter Matt parted ways with his cousin Alphonse Matt, Sr., editor of The Wanderer, to found The Remnant.  He did so because, with the clear-sightedness of one who wrote and thought entirely from the perspective of immemorial Catholic Tradition, he saw where the “opening to the world” and the “aggiornamento” of Vatican II would lead: to revolution and disaster in the Church.

For most of the next fifty years The Wanderer and The Remnant were editorial opponents. The Wanderer doggedly defended every papally approved or tolerated innovation in the Church — from the New Mass to ecumenism to altar girls — even accusing The Remnant and its supporters of being on “a trajectory toward schism.” That accusation prompted me to co-author an entire book in The Remnant’s defense, now in a second edition in which I bring its analysis up to date. The Remnant, on the other hand,patiently chronicled and protested the mounting legacy of deviation, decay, decline and destruction that a dwindling cadre of aged conciliar diehards, including Pope Francis, still dare to call a “renewal.”

But now, under Francis and his absurdly misnamed “Synod on the Family,” the ruinous “renewal” has reached a level of devastation that has even The Wanderer — at long last — pointing its finger at the ultimate cause of the crisis that now afflicts the ecclesial commonwealth: the See of Peter, as I first suggested thirteen years ago when the cause was already obvious.

To its credit, The Wanderer has just (November 7) front-paged a comment on the Synod by the priest-theologian Father Brian Harrison, OS, a longtime friend and colleague who, nonetheless, has been critical of certain traditionalist arguments, including some of my own (on which we have agreed to disagree).  I never thought I would see the day when statements of this sort, from Father Harrison’s article, would appear on any page, much less the front page, of that newspaper.  Quoth Father Harrison concerning paragraphs 84-86 of the Synod’s final report, which, as I have noted here, open the door to the “Kasper proposal” to admit public adulterers to Holy Communion:

  • “It looks very ominous to me. These paragraphs are vague, and full of true, but one-sidedly ‘positive’ (and therefore tendentious) comments about Catholics in that bigamous (adulterous) situation.
  • “Above all, the paragraphs manifest a deafening silence about whether these folks can be admitted to Holy Communion. By conspicuously failing to cite Pope St. John Paul II’s clear teaching in Familiaris Consortio n. 84 that they can’t receive Communion unless they live as ‘brother and sister,’ while citing the more ‘compassionate’ parts of that very same article of FC, the synod majority sends a clear message: The Church is moving towards opening a door that John Paul (and all his Predecessors) had firmly closed!
  • “When we look at the voting numbers of these three paragraphs, it is clear that they would not have received the required two-thirds majority if it were not for the dozens of ‘progressive’ cardinals and bishops with whom the Holy Father personally packed the synod by direct personal appointment — both as synod fathers and as members of the drafting committee for this report.
  • “Basically, it seems clear that the synod battle — a battle in which the soul of the Church is at stake! — has been won by Pope Francis and the party of so-called ‘mercy.’
  • The Supreme Pontiff has successfully imposed his will on the synod and will probably now claim he has a green light, after having ‘consulted’ and ‘listened to’ the world’s bishops, to bring out a follow-up document that ‘decentralizes’ this issue, i.e., that allows ‘regional’ differences as to whether divorced-and-remarrieds can receive Communion.
  • “If so, we will be facing a terribly grave situation; for that kind of ‘diversity’ on a matter which by its very nature demands uniformity throughout the Catholic world will be enough to start unraveling the whole fabric of Catholic doctrine: first in ‘morals,’ then in matters of ‘faith’ as well. (‘Faith and morals’ go together.)”

A devastatingly frank assessment of what really happened at Phony Synod 2015 and what the stakes are in its aftermath. 

Equally devastating, and also front-paged in the same article, was an assessment of the drift of this pontificate in general by the respected Vaticanist Sandro Magister, vindictively stripped of his press credentials by the Vatican Press Office back in June: “It took just a few decisions and a few judiciously administered sound bites, starting with that memorable ‘Who am I to judge?’, which has become the emblem of this pontificate, to unleash an unprecedented conflict in the Church and ignite within public opinion the unheard-of expectation for an overturning of the Catholic paradigms on key questions like divorce and homosexuality.”

The battle to restore the Church is not a turf war.  Every Catholic should welcome and praise The Wanderer’s willingness to print the truth about our situation.  Let us hope this trend continues and that more and more “conservative” voices will join those of the “traditionalists” and “Fatimites” who have been mocked and marginalized for almost half a century, even as their contentions were being vindicated more thoroughly with each passing year.

If I may be permitted a bit of asperity on this score, however, I would like to join a fellow commentator in putting the matter thus:  “Welcome to the war. It’s about time you showed up.”