Synod 2018: Weekend Highlights, Viganò Developments
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 9, 2018 – It was an eventful weekend here in the Eternal City, with more manifestations of “diabolical disorientation” (Sister Lucia of Fatima) and the spiritual struggle taking place within the very heart of Holy Mother Church.
Saturday Night Circus
At the end of my first video report, I mentioned an event (forthcoming at the time) called the Meeting of Young People with Pope Francis and the Synod Fathers (full event video available here). This gathering took place on Saturday evening (Oct. 6) shortly after my first report was filmed. Held in the Paul VI Audience Hall, with the hideous bronze sculpture known as La Resurrezione (“The Resurrection”) as its backdrop, this World Youth Day-style event featured performances of modern dance and music as well as personal testimonies (some pre-recorded, others live) from various young people.
One positive highlight from the “Saturday Night Circus” was the testimony given by a young Iraqi Catholic refugee who was forced to flee with his family in 2014 when the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or Daesh) invaded his hometown and gave the Christian inhabitants three options: convert to Islam, pay a special tax for non-Muslims, or die.
In the midst of the evening’s frivolities (similar to a TV variety show, complete with gregarious emcee), this young man provided a sobering reminder that the bloody persecution of Christians is real and that Islam is most certainly not a religion of peace, contrary to what Pope Francis and numerous other prelates would have us believe (see, for example, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 253).
Providentially, I ended up speaking with one of the Synod Fathers after the event, His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Coutts (Archbishop of Karachi in Pakistan), and our discussion included the topic of Islam (I asked him about the situation he faces back home in a predominantly Muslim country, in light of the young Iraqi’s testimony). Cardinal Coutts graciously accepted a copy of my booklet Fatima, Islam, and Our Lady’s Coming Triumph and was pleased to hear me bring up Our Lady of Fatima.
Speaking of the Synod Fathers, I would estimate that somewhere between 75 and 100 of them were present with Pope Francis at the Saturday evening event. Among them, I spotted the following notable figures:
- Cardinal Pietro Parolin (Vatican Secretary of State)
- Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri (General Secretary, Synod of Bishops)
- Cardinal Blaise Cupich (Archbishop of Chicago)
- Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras)
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Prefect, Congregation for Bishops)
These men have something significant in common: They were all identified by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò in his now-famous testimony concerning ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an 11-page document in which Viganò stated that “Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses,” allegedly including Francis himself, “and resign along with all of them.”
Readers will no doubt recall that the Pope’s response to Archbishop Viganò’s explosive testimony was, “I will not say a single word on this.” However, he went on to make several obvious references to Viganò as the “Great Accuser” in several subsequent homilies and public remarks.
Holy See Finally Comments on McCarrick
And now, after over a month of stone silence, the Vatican has finally issued a statement (albeit brief and rather unsubstantial) on the McCarrick affair. It was released by the Holy See Press Office on Saturday afternoon (shortly before the Meeting of Young People) and reads as follows:
“After the publication of the accusations regarding the conduct of Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the Holy Father Pope Francis, aware of and concerned by the confusion that these accusations are causing in the conscience of the faithful, has established that the following be communicated:
In September 2017, the Archdiocese of New York notified the Holy See that a man had accused former Cardinal McCarrick of having abused him in the 1970s. The Holy Father ordered a thorough preliminary investigation into this, which was carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, at the conclusion of which the relative documentation was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the meantime, because grave indications emerged during the course of the investigation, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Archbishop McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, prohibiting him by order from exercising public ministry, and obliging him to lead a life of prayer and penance.
The Holy See will, in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick. Moreover, with reference to other accusations brought against Archbishop McCarrick, the Holy Father has decided that information gathered during the preliminary investigation be combined with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.
The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: ‘We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead’ (Philadelphia, 27 September 2015). Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.
The Holy Father Pope Francis renews his pressing invitation to unite forces to fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society. As previously made known, the Holy Father has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February, while the words of his recent Letter to the People of God still resonate: ‘The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within’ (20 August 2018).”
Why a canonical investigation and trial of McCarrick have yet to commence is beyond comprehension. Even the jovial Cardinal Timothy Dolan has said he is getting “a little impatient” with Rome’s inaction.
Cardinal Ouellet Fires Back at Viganò
One thing missing from the Vatican’s statement, however, is any sort of response to Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. This glaring omission was quite curious on Saturday, but it became clearer the following morning with the release a lengthy open letter addressed to Viganò by Cardinal Marc Ouellet. As Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported early Sunday morning (Oct. 7), “The prefect for the Congregation for Bishops expresses his firm disagreement with the former nuncio’s testimonies, calling his position ‘incomprehensible and extremely reprehensible’ and offers to help him ‘rediscover communion’ with the Holy Father.”
Without reprinting the entire letter (full official translation available here), I will provide a sampling of its contents along with some brief commentary:
- “With pontifical permission, and in my capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, I offer my testimony about matters concerning the Archbishop emeritus of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, and his presumed links to Pope Francis, matters that are at the center of your public accusations and your demand that the Holy Father resign.” – In other words, Francis personally approved (if not ordered) the contents of Ouellet’s letter.
- “My interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, which you criticize, is grounded in this fidelity to the living tradition, which Francis has given us another example of by recently modifying the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the question of the death penalty.” – Very interesting that Ouellet brought up both Amoris Laetitia and Francis’ recent “revision” of the Catechism concerning capital punishment, even though neither are directly relevant to the McCarrick case.
- “…the written instructions given to you by the Congregation for Bishops at the beginning of your mission in 2001 did not say anything about McCarrick, except for what I mentioned to you verbally about his situation as Bishop emeritus and certain conditions and restrictions that he had to follow on account of some rumors about his past conduct.” – We have here an admission of at lease some form of sanctions against McCarrick, in other words, confirmation of one of Viganò’s central claims.
- “I think it is unjust to reach the conclusion that there is corruption on the part of the persons entrusted with this previous discernment process, even though in the particular case some of the concerns that were raised by testimonies should have been examined more closely. The Archbishop [McCarrick] also knew how to cleverly defend himself from those concerns raised about him. Furthermore, the fact that there could be in the Vatican persons who practice or support sexual behavior that is contrary to the values of the Gospel, does not authorize us to make generalizations or to declare unworthy and complicit this or that individual, including the Holy Father himself.” – Translation: McCarrick outsmarted us (a ridiculous excuse), and there could be rampant homosexuality in the Vatican, but let’s not get carried away with “unjust generalizations”.
- “Dear brother, how much I wish that I could help you return to communion with him who is the visible guarantor of communion in the Catholic Church.” – Viganò is somehow “out of communion” (basically, in schism) for criticizing and resisting Francis? Absurd!
- “Dear Viganò, in response to your unjust and unjustified attack, I can only conclude that the accusation is a political plot that lacks any real basis that could incriminate the Pope and that profoundly harms the communion of the Church. May God allow a prompt reparation of this flagrant injustice so that Pope Francis can continue to be recognized for who he is: a true shepherd, a resolute and compassionate father, a prophetic grace for the Church and for the world.” – This is slander and papolatry, plain and simple.
The Great Battle Foretold by Our Lady
As I did with my first report, I would once again like to emphasize the larger context and spiritual significance of the things I am seeing and hearing in Rome. Simply put, we are witnessing what appears to be the final stages of the infiltration and subversion of the Church by her enemies (including Communist homosexuals), the great battle foretold by Our Lady at Fatima and elsewhere.
At Akita, for example, Our Lady told Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa, a Japanese nun, on October 13, 1973 (anniversary of the final apparition and Miracle of the Sun at Fatima):
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church. One will see cardinals opposing other cardinals and bishops confronting other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and condemned by their confreres; churches and altars will be sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will tempt many priests and religious to leave the service of the Lord.” [Emphasis added]
Open opposition within the Church between those who “accept compromises” and those who do not, especially in the realm of sexual morality, is becoming fiercer with each passing day. Cardinal Raymond Burke commented on this situation in mid-August (shortly before Viganò’s testimony appeared) during an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo. Most notably, he related the present crisis in the Church directly to the Message of Fatima and Our Lady’s warning about a coming apostasy. In answer to Arroyo’s question, “How do you uproot this?” (referring to the rampant “predatory network” of sodomite clergy around the world), His Eminence stated:
“I think that we have to recognize…Our Lady warned us at Fatima about an apostasy from the Faith. I believe that there has been a practical apostasy from the Faith with regards to all the questions involving human sexuality; principally, it starts with the idea that there can be legitimate sexual activity outside of marriage, which, of course, is false, completely false.” [Emphasis added]
Only Our Lady Can Help Us
In the midst of this great battle, there is a dire need for public prayer and reparation, which is one of the primary reasons why the Fatima Center is in Rome for the synod. On Sunday afternoon (Oct. 7), the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, I was privileged to participate in a Rosary procession that included a brief stop in St. Peter’s Square.
As noted during my second video report, many people who encountered us on the street and in the square were visibly moved by our public display of devotion. They took time to stop, capture some video and pictures with their phones, and make the Sign of the Cross. Upon seeing the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima, one Italian soldier stationed along our route actually stood at attention, saluted Our Lady, and made the Sign of the Cross as we passed by. It was a simple, peaceful, dignified event that seemed to make an impression for good on those who witnessed it.
The experience of processing with Our Lady around the Vatican reminded me of the ancient Battle of Jericho, when God commanded the Israelites through Joshua: “Go, and compass the city, armed, marching before the ark of the Lord” (Jos. 6:7). Armed with our rosaries, “the weapon for these times” (Padre Pio), we marched into spiritual battle before the Ark of the New Covenant, Our Lady Herself, “She that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array” (Cant. 6:9). The wall that we seek to destroy is not the physical one which encloses Vatican City, but rather the diabolical barrier that stands between souls and their salvation, a barrier which has embedded itself deeply within the Church’s hierarchy.
As we continue to fight this battle, let us recall the following words of John Vennari (R.I.P.) found at the end of his vital booklet, The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita, which I strongly recommend:
“Since this present struggle is essentially a supernatural battle, we must not ignore the supernatural helps given to us at Fatima in 1917. All concerned Catholics should faithfully fulfill the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, and especially pray and work toward the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This will be the key to destroying ‘the errors of Russia’ not only in Russia, but worldwide, including within the Church. For in the promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the unrepentant agents of Liberalism, Modernism, and Naturalism will all be gathered in a great ecumenical gathering with the prince of this world to receive the communal head-crushing from the heel of the Queen of Heaven.”
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!