Tag Archives: Crisis in the Church

Archbishop Vigano’s Third Testimony

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God bless this man for calling out the evildoers that have attacked the Church for so long.  His appeal becomes ever more urgent with each testimony, calling a spade a spade & speaking of the Judgment of God, even more strikingly on his own soul if he were to fall silent.  I consider this man to be a hero of sorts, putting his reputation, life & good name on the line, by telling the truth & warning souls of the extent & evil of the mafia.


On the Feast of the North American Martyrs

To bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was a painful decision for me, and remains so. But I am an old man, one who knows he must soon give an accounting to the Judge for his actions and omissions, one who fears Him who can cast body and soul into hell. A Judge who, even in his infinite mercy, will render to every person salvation or damnation according to what he has deserved.  Anticipating the dreadful question from that Judge – “How could you, who had knowledge of the truth, keep silent in the midst of falsehood and depravity?” — what answer could I give?

I testified fully aware that my testimony would bring alarm and dismay to many eminent persons: churchmen, fellow bishops, colleagues with whom I had worked and prayed.  I knew many would feel wounded and betrayed. I expected that some would in their turn assail me and my motives. Most painful of all, I knew that many of the innocent faithful would be confused and disconcerted by the spectacle of a bishop’s charging colleagues and superiors with malfeasance, sexual sin, and grave neglect of duty.  Yet I believe that my continued silence would put many souls at risk, and would certainly damn my own.  Having reported multiple times to my superiors, and even to the Pope, the aberrant behavior of Theodore McCarrick, I could have publicly denounced the truths of which I was aware earlier. If I have some responsibility in this delay, I repent for that.  This delay was due to the gravity of the decision I was going to take, and to the long travail of my conscience.

I have been accused of creating confusion and division in the Church through my testimony. To those who believe such confusion and division were negligible prior to August 2018, perhaps such a claim is plausible. Most impartial observers, however, will have been aware of a longstanding excess of both, as is inevitable when the successor of Peter is negligent in exercising his principal mission, which is to confirm the brothers in the faith and in sound moral doctrine. When he then exacerbates the crisis by contradictory or perplexing statements about these doctrines, the confusion is worsened.

Therefore I spoke.  For it is the conspiracy of silence that has wrought and continues to wreak great harm in the Church — harm to so many innocent souls, to young priestly vocations, to the faithful at large.  With regard to my decision, which I have taken in conscience before God, I willingly accept every fraternal correction, advice, recommendation, and invitation to progress in my life of faith and love for Christ, the Church and the Pope.

Let me restate the key points of my testimony.

  • In November 2000 the U.S. nuncio Archbishop Montalvo informed the Holy See of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual behavior with seminarians and priests.
  • In December 2006 the new U.S. nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, informed the Holy See of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual  behavior with yet another priest.
  • In December of 2006 I myself wrote a memo to the Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone, and personally delivered it to the Substitute for General Affairs, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, calling for the pope to bring extraordinary disciplinary measures against McCarrick to forestall future crimes and scandal. This memo received no response.
  • In April 2008 an open letter to Pope Benedict by Richard Sipe was relayed by the Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Levada, to the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, containing further accusations of McCarrick’s sleeping with seminarians and priests. I received this a month later, and in May 2008 I myself delivered a second memo to the then Substitute for General Affairs, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, reporting the claims against McCarrick and calling for sanctions against him.  This second memo also received no response.
  • In 2009 or 2010 I learned from Cardinal Re, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, that Pope Benedict had ordered McCarrick to cease public ministry and begin a life of prayer and penance.  The nuncio Sambi communicated the Pope’s orders to McCarrick in a voice heard down the corridor of the nunciature.
  • In November 2011 Cardinal Ouellet, the new Prefect of Bishops, repeated to me, the new nuncio to the U.S., the Pope’s restrictions on McCarrick, and I myself communicated them to McCarrick face-to-face.
  • On June 21, 2013, toward the end of an official assembly of nuncios at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke cryptic words to me criticizing the U.S. episcopacy.
  • On June 23, 2013, I met Pope Francis face-to-face in his apartment to ask for clarification, and the Pope asked me, “il cardinale McCarrick, com’è (Cardinal McCarrick — what do you make of him)?”– which I can only interpret as a feigning of curiosity in order to discover whether or not I was an ally of McCarrick. I told him that McCarrick had sexually corrupted generations of priests and seminarians, and had been ordered by Pope Benedict to confine himself to a life of prayer and penance.
  • Instead, McCarrick continued to enjoy the special regard of Pope Francis and was given new responsibilities and missions by him.
  • McCarrick was part of a network of bishops promoting homosexuality who, exploiting their favor with Pope Francis, manipulated episcopal appointments so as to protect themselves from justice and to strengthen the homosexual network in the hierarchy and in the Church at large.
  • Pope Francis himself has either colluded in this corruption, or, knowing what he does, is gravely negligent in failing to oppose it and uproot it.

I invoked God as my witness to the truth of my claims, and none has been shown false.  Cardinal Ouellet has written to rebuke me for my temerity in breaking silence and leveling such grave accusations against my brothers and superiors, but in truth his remonstrance confirms me in my decision and, even more, serves to vindicate my claims, severally and as a whole.

  • Cardinal Ouellet concedes that he spoke with me about McCarrick’s situation prior to my leaving for Washington to begin my post as nuncio.
  • Cardinal Ouellet concedes that he communicated to me in writing the conditions and restrictions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict.
  • Cardinal Ouellet concedes that these restrictions forbade McCarrick to travel or to make public appearances.
  • Cardinal Ouellet concedes that the Congregation of Bishops, in writing, first through the nuncio Sambi and then once again through me, required McCarrick to lead a life of prayer and penance.

What does Cardinal Ouellet dispute?

  • Cardinal Ouellet disputes the possibility that Pope Francis could have taken in important information about McCarrick on a day when he met scores of nuncios and gave each only a few moments of conversation.  But this was not my testimony.  My testimony is that at a second, private meeting, I informed the Pope, answering his own question about Theodore McCarrick, then Cardinal archbishop emeritus of Washington, prominent figure of the Church in the US, telling the Pope that McCarrick had sexually corrupted his own seminarians and priests. No Pope could forget that.
  • Cardinal Ouellet disputes the existence in his archives of letters signed by Pope Benedict or Pope Francis regarding sanctions on McCarrick. But this was not my testimony.  My testimony was that he has in his archives key documents –  irrespective of provenance – incriminating McCarrick and documenting the measures taken in his regard, and other proofs on the cover-up regarding his situation. And I confirm this again.
  • Cardinal Ouellet disputes the existence in the files of his predecessor, Cardinal Re, of “audience memos” imposing on McCarrick the restrictions already mentioned.  But this was not my testimony.  My testimony is that there are other documents: for instance, a note from Card Re not ex-Audientia SS.mi, signed by either the Secretary of State or by the Substitute.
  • Cardinal Ouellet disputes that it is false to present the measures taken against McCarrick as “sanctions” decreed by Pope Benedict and canceled by Pope Francis. True. They were not technically “sanctions” but provisions, “conditions and restrictions.” To quibble whether they were sanctions or provisions or something else is pure legalism. From a pastoral point of view they are exactly the same thing.

In brief, Cardinal Ouellet concedes the important claims that I did and do make, and disputes claims I don’t make and never made.

There is one point on which I must absolutely refute what Cardinal Ouellet wrote. The Cardinal states that the Holy See was only aware of “rumors,” which were not enough to justify disciplinary measures against McCarrick. I affirm to the contrary that the Holy See was aware of a variety of concrete facts, and is in possession of documentary proof, and that the responsible persons nevertheless chose not to intervene or were prevented from doing so. Compensation by the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen to the victims of McCarrick’s sexual abuse, the letters of Fr. Ramsey, of the nuncios Montalvo in 2000 and Sambi in 2006, of Dr. Sipe in 2008, my two notes to the superiors of the Secretariat of State who described in detail the concrete allegations against McCarrick; are all these just rumors? They are official correspondence, not gossip from the sacristy. The crimes reported were very serious, including those of attempting to give sacramental absolution to accomplices in perverse acts, with subsequent sacrilegious celebration of Mass. These documents specify the identity of the perpetrators and their protectors, and the chronological sequence of the facts. They are kept in the appropriate archives; no extraordinary investigation is needed to recover them.

In the public remonstrances directed at me I have noted two omissions, two dramatic silences. The first silence regards the plight of the victims. The second regards the underlying reason why there are so many victims, namely, the corrupting influence of homosexuality in the priesthood and in the hierarchy.  As to the first, it is dismaying that, amid all the scandals and indignation, so little thought should be given to those damaged by the sexual predations of those commissioned as ministers of the gospel.  This is not a matter of settling scores or sulking over the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical careers.  It is not a matter of politics.  It is not a matter of how church historians may evaluate this or that papacy.  This is about souls.  Many souls have been and are even now imperiled of their eternal salvation.

As to the second silence, this very grave crisis cannot be properly addressed and resolved unless and until we call things by their true names. This is a crisis due to the scourge of homosexuality, in its agents, in its motives, in its resistance to reform. It is no exaggeration to say that homosexuality has become a plague in the clergy, and it can only be eradicated with spiritual weapons.  It is an enormous hypocrisy to condemn the abuse, claim to weep for the victims, and yet refuse to denounce the root cause of so much sexual abuse: homosexuality.  It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it.

Unquestionably there exist philandering clergy, and unquestionably they too damage their own souls, the souls of those whom they corrupt, and the Church at large.  But these violations of priestly celibacy are usually confined to the individuals immediately involved.  Philandering clergy usually do not recruit other philanderers, nor work to promote them, nor cover-up their misdeeds — whereas the evidence for homosexual collusion, with its deep roots that are so difficult to eradicate, is overwhelming.

It is well established that homosexual predators exploit clerical privilege to their advantage.  But to claim the crisis itself to be clericalism is pure sophistry.  It is to pretend that a means, an instrument, is in fact the main motive.

Denouncing homosexual corruption and the moral cowardice that allows it to flourish does not meet with congratulation in our times, not even in the highest spheres of the Church.  I am not surprised that in calling attention to these plagues I am charged with disloyalty to the Holy Father and with fomenting an open and scandalous rebellion.  Yet rebellion would entail urging others to topple the papacy.  I am urging no such thing.  I pray every day for Pope Francis — more than I have ever done for the other popes. I am asking, indeed earnestly begging, the Holy Father to face up to the commitments he himself made in assuming his office as successor of Peter. He took upon himself the mission of confirming his brothers and guiding all souls in following Christ, in the spiritual combat, along the way of the cross.  Let him admit his errors, repent, show his willingness to follow the mandate given to Peter and, once converted let him confirm his brothers (Lk 22:32).

In closing, I wish to repeat my appeal to my brother bishops and priests who know that my statements are true and who can so testify, or who have access to documents that can put the matter beyond doubt.  You too are faced with a choice.  You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption.  You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning.  You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on.

On the other hand, you can choose to speak.  You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.”  I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking.  I urge you to consider which choice– on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò
Arcivescovo tit. di Ulpiana
Nunzio Apostolico

19 Ottobre 2018
Feast of the North American Martyrs


Lepanto II

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What we need is a Lepanto to destroy the power of the Church’s enemies – the Modernists, apostates, freemasons & the godless infiltrators that have infiltrated the Catholic Church to destroy her.

We cannot but recall that four great Roman Pontiffs came from the Dominican ranks. Of these, the last, St. Pius V, won undying gratitude from Christianity and civil society. He joined together, after unceasing efforts, the arms of the Catholic princes, and under the patronage of the Virgin Mother of God, whom, therefore, he ordered to be saluted in future as Help to Christians, destroyed forever at Lepanto the power of the Turks.

In this is amply shown the third quality We have noted in Dominican preaching: a most zealous piety towards the Mother of God. It is said that the Pontiff knew by Divine revelation of the victory of Lepanto achieved at that very moment when through the Catholic world the pious sodalities of the Holy Rosary implored the aid of Mary in that formula initiated by the Founder of the Friar Preachers and diffused far and wide by his followers.

Loving the Blessed Virgin as a Mother, confiding chiefly in her patronage, Dominic started his battle for the Faith. The Albigenses, among other dogmas, attacked both the Divine maternity and the virginity of Mary. He, attacked by them with every insult, defending to the utmost of his strength the sanctity of these dogmas, he invoked the help of the Virgin Mother herself, frequently using these words: “Make me worthy to praise thee, Sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies.”

How pleased was the Heavenly Queen with her pious servant may be easily gathered from this, that she used his ministry to teach the Most Holy Rosary to the Church, the Spouse of her Son; that prayer which, being both vocal and mental, in the contemplation especially of the mysteries of religion, while the Lord’s Prayer is fifteen times repeated together with as many decades of the Hail Mary, is most adapted to fostering widely piety and every virtue.

Rightly, then, did Dominic order his followers, in preaching to the people, to inculcate frequently this manner of prayer, the utility of which he had experienced. He knew, on the one hand, Mary’s authority with her Son to be such that whatever graces he confers on men she has their distribution and apportionment.

On the other hand, he knew that she is of a nature so kind and merciful that, seeing that it is her custom to succor the miserable of her own accord, it is impossible she should refuse the petitions of those who pray to her. Accordingly the Church, which is wont to salute her “the Mother of Grace and the Mother of Mercy,” has so found her always, but especially in answer to the Rosary.

Fausto appetente die
Benedict XV
June 29, 1921

On the promotion of false doctrine

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Pope Pius IX’s Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, on the promotion of false doctrine, given August 10, 1863. Emphasis is mine.

To Our Beloved Sons, S. R. E. Cardinals and to Our Venerable Brothers, the Archbishops and Bishops of Italy.

Our Beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

How much cause we have to grieve over the most cruel and sacrilegious war brought upon the Catholic Church in almost all regions of the world during these turbulent times, and especially declared upon unhappy Italy before our very eyes many years ago by the Piedmontese Government and stirred up more violently day by day, each of you, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, easily understands. In the midst of our great distress, however, as long as you keep watch with us, we are deeply comforted and consoled. Although you are, indeed, most deplorably harassed by every grave injustice possible, torn away from your own flock, exiled and even cast into prison, nevertheless, with your profound virtue you have never neglected to speak and to write in ardent defense of the teachings of God, his Church, and this Apostolic See.

2. Consequently, we give thanks because you fervently rejoice to suffer insult in the name of Jesus. We extend to you merited praise in the words of our most saintly predecessor, Leo: “May you endure with all your heart the trials of your love, which you have undergone in reverence for the Catholic faith; may I accept the sufferings inflicted upon you as if I were bearing them myself. I know, however, that it is a cause of joy rather than of sorrow that with the strength of our Lord, Jesus Christ, you have persevered invincible in your evangelical and apostolic teaching . . . And when the enemies of the Christian faith were tearing you away from your respective churches, rather than being contaminated by their impiety, you preferred to endure the injustice of undergoing exile.”[1]

3. Would that we could announce the end of such terrible calamities besetting the Church! Never will there be grief enough over the corruption of morals so extensively increasing and promoted by irreligious and obscene writings, theatrical spectacles and meretricious houses established almost everywhere; by other depraved arts and monstrous portents of every error disseminated in all directions; by the abominable impurities of all vices and crimes growing constantly and the deadly virus of unbelief and indifferentism spread far and wide; by contempt for ecclesiastical authority, sacred things, and laws and by the outrageous plundering of Church possessions; by the bitter and constant abuse of consecrated Church officials, of the students of religious communities, of virgins dedicated to God; by the diabolical hatred of Christ, his Church, teaching, and of this Apostolic See. These and almost innumerable other evils perpetrated by the embittered enemies of the Catholic Church and faith, we are daily compelled to lament.

4. All these agonies seem to prolong and delay that most yearned for time when we shall see the full triumph of our most holy religion, of justice, and of truth. This triumph cannot fail us, however, even if it is not given us to know the time destined for it by almighty God. Even though our heavenly Father permits his holy Church to be afflicted and plagued by various tribulations and distresses while serving during this most miserable and earthly pilgrimage, nevertheless, because it has been founded by Christ, the Lord, upon an immovable and most firm rock, it cannot be shaken or overthrown by any force or violence. Rather, “it is strengthened, not weakened by persecutions. The Lord’s vineyard is always clothed with a richer harvest, for while each grain dies singly, it is born again manyfold.”[2]

5. That is what we see happening, beloved sons and venerable brothers, even in these most sorrowful times as a special blessing from God. For although the immaculate Spouse of Christ may be vehemently troubled at the present time by the work of the wicked, yet she is triumphing over her enemies. Yes, indeed, she is conquering her enemies and shines wonderfully bright with your unparalleled faithfulness, love, and respect towards us and this Chair of Peter, and with your outstanding constancy and that of the other venerable brothers, the bishops of the whole Catholic world. She shines with many pious works of Christian charity multiplying rapidly each day; with the light of blessed faith illuminating many regions evermore each day; with the exceptional love and devotion shown by Catholics towards the Church itself, towards us, and this Holy See; with the eminent and immortal glory of martyrdom. You know, in fact, how in Tonkin and especially in the regions of Cochin China, bishops, priests, laymen and even peaceful women themselves, and young boys and girls, emulating the martyrs with their unconquerable spirit and heroic virtue, disdained the most inhuman torture, and greatly rejoiced to pour out their lives for Christ. All these joys should be no slight consolation to us and to you in the midst of the overwhelming anguish that torments us.

6. Now, since our Apostolic Office demands we carefully and zealously defend the cause of the Church committed to us by Christ, we condemn those who attack and despise the Church itself, its sacred laws, ministers, and this Apostolic See. Hence, with this letter, once more we confirm, proclaim and condemn totally and singly that which in many consistorial allocutions and in our other Letters we have been forced to deplore, declare and condemn.[3]

7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.

8. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom “the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior.”[4] The words of Christ are clear enough: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector;”[5] “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me;”[6] “He who does not believe will be condemned;”[7] “He who does not believe is already condemned;”[8] “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”[9] The Apostle Paul says that such persons are “perverted and self-condemned;”[10] the Prince of the Apostles calls them “false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master. . . bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”[11]

9. God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation.

10. Furthermore, beloved sons and venerable brothers, we cannot be silent about another most pernicious error, an evil that is pitifully tearing apart and deeply disturbing minds, hearts, and souls. We are referring to that unbridled and damnable self-love and self-interest that drive many to seek their own advantage and profit with clearly no regard for their neighbor. We mean that thoroughly insatiable passion for power and possessions that overrides all the rules of justice and honesty and never ceases by every means possible to amass and greedily heap up wealth. Completely absorbed in the things of earth, forgetful of God, religion and their souls, they wrongly place all their happiness in procuring riches and money. Let such people recollect and meditate seriously upon the very sobering words of Christ, the Lord: “What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?”[12] Let them also reflect upon the teaching of Paul: “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that drag men down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil; it is through this craving that some have wandered away and pierced their hearts with many pangs.”[13]

11. Now, truly, we cannot conceal the fact that we are in great anguish since there are some clergy in Italy who, forgetful of their vocation, do not blush in the least to spread abroad false doctrine, even in subversive writings. They arouse the people against us and this Apostolic See; they oppose our civil rule and that of the Chair itself; they shamelessly and zealously support the wicked enemies of the Catholic Church and this same See. Deserting their bishops and us, emboldened by the approval of the Piedmontese government and its Parliament, these ecclesiastics in open contempt of ecclesiastical censure and penalty have become impudently fearless in organizing certain condemnable societies commonly known as Liberal Clerical, of Mutual Assistance, For the Emancipation of the Italian Clergy, and other associations animated by the same depraved spirit. Although deservedly forbidden to perform their holy ministry, nevertheless, like brazen intruders, they sinfully and illicitly exercise it in many churches. We, therefore, disapprove and condemn the behavior of the same ecclesiastics. At the same time, we admonish and exhort, again and again, these unfortunate men to return to their right mind and heart and take thought for their own salvation, seriously considering “that God tolerates no example of conduct more from others than from priests when He sees those, whom He ordains for the improvement of others, give example of their own depravity.”[14] Let them fervently reflect that their confused state must be repaired before the tribunal of Christ. May these pitiful churchmen heed our paternal advice and willingly render us the consolation of a repentant clergy. May they seek refuge in us day by day, begging pardon for their defection with suppliant prayer and humbly imploring absolution from ecclesiastical censure.

12. You are certainly aware, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, that every kind of impious and deceitful writing, lies, calumny, and blasphemy has been let loose from hell. No pain has been spared to transfer schools to non-Catholic teachers and to appropriate churches for non-Catholic worship. With a multiple of other, surely diabolical treacheries, arts, and undertakings, the enemies of God employ every effort to destroy completely-if that were possible — the Catholic Church, seduce and corruupt the people, especially guileless youth, and uproot our holy faith and religion from the souls of all.

13. We are fully confident that you, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, strengthened by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, will continue steadfast in your outstanding episcopal zeal. With one mind and heart and with redoubled dedication, may you persist in defending the House of Israel, may you fight the good fight for the faith and defend from the snares of the enemy the faithful entrusted to your care. Admonish and exhort them to be strong in our sacred faith, without which it is impossible to please God. Urge them to persevere firmly established in our divine religion, which alone is true and eternal and prepares for salvation and even, to a very great extent, preserves and prospers civil society.

14. Through the parish priests chiefly and other ecclesiastics known for integrity of life, gravity of morals, and constant adherence to sound doctrine, may you teach unremittingly and accurately: at one time preaching the divine word, at another instructing the people in the mysteries of our august religion, its doctrine, precepts, and discipline. You, above all, know that many evils generally arise from ignorance of divine matters essential for salvation. Hence, you will understand that it behooves you to use every care and diligence that so detrimental a condition be prevented.

15. Before we bring our letter to its close, however, we cannot restrain from bestowing due praise upon the Italian clergy, who with the highest degree of devotion to us and this Chair of Peter and to their bishops, have certainly not strayed. Following the noble example of their bishops and bearing all hardships with utmost patience, they fulfill their duty most laudably. We put our trust in the hope, moreover, that this same clergy, with the help of divine grace and walking worthily in their vocation, will always strive to be shining examples of piety and virtue.

16. We continue, too, with fitting and public praise for the many consecrated virgins who violently driven from their monastaries, despoiled of their recompense, and reduced to beggary, have not broken faith with their Spouse. Enduring the most deplorable conditions, they pray day and night in the holy house of God where they patiently await His mercy and beseech Him for the salvation of all, even that of their enemies.

17. We rejoice, also, in praising the people of Italy who, with deep Catholic sensibilities, abhor the many impious and destructive efforts taken against the Church. With filial piety, respect and obedience, they take great pride in honoring us, this Holy See, and their bishops. Amid very serious difficulties and impeded by dangers, each day and in many ways they faithfully offer us tokens of their love and devotion, alleviating the wants of this Apostolic See, at times with money, at other times with other gifts.

18. In the midst of so many calamities and confronted with such fury against the Church, we are not despondent for “Christ is our counsel and our strength; without him we can do nothing, through him we can do all things. While confirming the preachers of the Gospel and the ministers of the sacraments, he said: ‘Lo, I am with you always, to the end of time.’”[15] We know for certain, moreover, that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church which stands and will stand immovable with Christ Jesus, our Lord, as guardian and protector, who has built the Church and who has been “yesterday and today and forever.”[16]

19. With ever more ardent zeal and humility of heart, let us, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, never stop offering our prayers and petitions to God through Jesus Christ that His Church, driven by this most turbulent tempest, may recover from such great disasters, enjoy the most blessed peace and freedom throughout the world, and gain new and more splendid triumphs over her enemies. Let us pray that the errant be flooded with the light of his divine grace, may turn back from the path of error into the way of truth and justice and, experiencing the worthy fruit of repentance, may possess perpetual love and fear of his holy name.

20. That the merciful God may more readily grant our most fervent prayers, let us invoke patronage of the immaculate and most holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Let us seek likewise the intercession of the most holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the blessed in heaven, that with their efficacious prayers before God, they may implore mercy and graces for all and powerfully avert all adversities and dangers afflicting the Church everywhere and especially in Italy.

21. Finally, as a most certain pledge of our singular benevolence toward you, we lovingly impart our heartfelt Apostolic Blessing upon you, beloved sons and venerable brothers, and upon the flock committed to your care.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, 10 August, 1863, in the eighteenth year of Our Pontificate.

A crisis not seen since the Protestant Revolution

An excellent letter from the US District Superior, covering the current Passion of the Church:


Instead of the normal monthly newsletter, Fr. Wegner discusses in depth the scandals, coverups, causes, and possible solutions to the situation in which the Church finds herself today:

Dear friend,

I write to you today with a heavy heart. Holy Mother Church, which has been assailed by crisis after crisis for the past half-century, is in the midst of a scandal so profound that some are likening it to the catastrophe that was the Protestant Reformation. The deplorable offenses to divine and natural law carried out, then covered up, by religious, priests, and bishops first came to light on a large scale over a decade ago. Believing that the Church’s authorities had taken sufficient steps to rectify this tidal wave of abuse, many Catholics now find themselves questioning their faith as new revelations emerge that, not only have known abusers been permitted to continue in active ministry, but that some of the highest authorities in the Church, including, allegedly, Pope Francis, knew about it and cooperated in a coverup.

The fallout from this crisis is both devastating and predictable. Discouraged faithful leave the Church and souls are lost. A new Pew Research poll states the following:

Catholicism has experienced a greater net loss due to religious switching than has any other religious tradition in the U.S.  Overall, 13% of all U.S. adults are former Catholics — people who say they were raised in the faith, but now identify as religious ‘nones,’ as Protestants, or with another religion. By contrast, 2% of U.S. adults are converts to Catholicism — people who now identify as Catholic after having been raised in another religion (or no religion). This means that there are 6.5 former Catholics in the U.S. for every convert to the faith.  No other religious group analyzed in the 2014 Religious Landscape Study has experienced anything close to this ratio of losses to gains via religious switching.”

Sadly, Not A New Scandal

This is not the first time that rampant immorality threatened the Church. On August 30, 1568 — 450 years ago — Pope St. Pius V issued the bull Horrendum Illud Scelus (“That Horrible Crime”) which, among other things, stripped religious and clerics of the impunity they otherwise enjoyed for committing acts “by which corrupt and obscene cities were destroyed by fire through divine condemnation[.]” Knowing that the sin of Sodom would only spread if stronger measures were not taken, Pius V decreed that “any priest or member of the clergy . . . who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefice, and having been degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, let him be immediately delivered to the secular authority[.]”

It is hard to imagine such strong medicine for grave moral ills being prescribed by Rome today, yet that is what the Church requires if she is ever to recover. In the meantime, the People of God cannot sit idly by waiting for a new Pius V to ascend to the Papal Throne with a divine mandate to secure the faithful and drive the unrepentant from the temple.

What is the Cause?

The current crisis did not happen overnight, and it did not begin with Pope Francis. Our dear founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, warned of it. He foresaw the profundity of the crisis that began during the Second Vatican Council. Way back in 1986, in his Open Letter to Confused Catholics, he predicted that the desire to change the priesthood, to modernize it, would have disastrous consequences.

“People would have us believe that the present times justify all sorts of license, that it is impossible under present day conditions to live a chaste life, that the vows of virginity for religious people are an anachronism. The experience of the last twenty years shows that the attacks made on the priesthood under the pretext of adapting it to the present time are fatal to it.

In these sad times they want free-love for the laity and marriage for the clergy. If you perceive in this apparent illogicality an implacable logic having as its objective the ruin of Christian society, you are seeing things as they are, and your assessment is correct.”

If Rome refuses to curb the doctrinal and moral crisis in Church, then the priesthood suffers and, consequently, so do the faithful. Without good priests, it is hard to have good fathers and mothers; without good fathers and mothers, families suffer; without good families, the faith is lost.

The Role of the SSPX in this Crisis

While we wait, and pray, for Rome to come back to her senses, we don’t simply sit on the sidelines. The Archbishop founded the Society of Saint Pius X with the express goal of preserving and supporting the traditional priesthood. And the priests of the Society have striven to bring the sacraments and traditional catechesis to families and fellow priests all over the world. So, we have a lot of work to do.

In order to accomplish this holy work, as always, I need your help. The need is great, and our resources are limited. As is typical every year, the summer is a slow time for donations, so I am continually challenged to find the resources necessary to support our priests and brothers. There is always some new need that crops up — a failed boiler, a leaky roof.

Right now, in addition to our usual expenses for travel and the daily needs of our priests, we have several extraordinary expenses, including our annual insurance expenses and repairs to the roof in our Brother’s Novitiate in Winona, Minnesota. Without your help, I don’t know how I will meet these extraordinary expenses.

Can you help me? You have always come through for me in the past.

Once again, I humbly ask you to prayerfully consider making a sacrificial gift to help support the SSPX.

“I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words…”

I implore you to prayerfully focus on the profound good the SSPX has accomplished and the work that is still to come. I ask you, especially, to remember to pray for the souls who are lost because of this current confusion in the Church. At a time when many priests, and even bishops, have lost their way, and have abandoned their episcopal duty, please consider what Archbishop Lefebvre said was the main reason he persisted in his work, despite all of the difficulties, including threats from those in the Vatican who wished to derail the work of the Society.

If you wish to know the real reason for my persistence, it is this:  At the hour of my death, when Our Lord asks me, ‘What have you done with your episcopate, what have you done with your episcopal and priestly grace?’ I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words, ‘You have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.’

None of the Archbishop’s work would be possible without your generosity. By helping to maintain the SSPX, by funding our practical needs, you are clearing a pathway for our priests to reach as many souls as possible. Please consider making an offering of your first fruits to this holy endeavor. A donation of $100, $50, or even $20 will make a difference.

With confidence in your prayer and support and my promise to pray for you,

I remain yours in Christ,
Father Jürgen Wegner
United States District Superior

Goodbye Good Men

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I have been reading Goodbye, Good Men so that I can begin to understand the horrible rot that has infested the Church.  What we are faced with now is just a continual exposure of the rotten filth in the Church, that began to be exposed most notably in 2002. For those who have not read the book, I found this excellent review:


The actual title of this book is Goodbye! Good Men, How Catholic Seminaries Turned Away Two Generations of Vocations From the Priesthood, and it pretty well sums up the status of the seminaries in the United States. While the rest of the world has had a 73.1 percent increase in the number of seminarians since 1978, the United States has had a decrease of 21.5 percent (July/August 2002 Laywitness magazine). Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha advanced the thesis in 1995 that this vocation crisis in America is: “artificial and contrived.” Michael Rose’s Goodbye! Good Men is an investigation into this thesis. The approach that Rose used was to interview numerous seminarians, priests, faculty members, and vocation directors. His approach was not scientific (it was not meant to be) so he opened the door to those that wish to find fault with his results. His book has been widely read by Catholic laity and clergy alike and reviewed by almost all Catholic publications as well as The Defender. As expected, the very liberal press tended to shoot the messenger rather than take an objective look at what Rose has documented.

Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), although admitting Rose’s expose is one of the most talked about Catholic books in the nation, published an unsigned denunciation of his book on 7/14/02 and refused to print a rebuttal from Michael Rose. The OSV article had a number of gross factual errors in their attempt to discredit Mr. Rose. One can only assume that OSV’s philosophies coincide with those of the seminary faculty members that have been the cause of decreases in vocations. So much for our opinion of OSV!

In contrast, Father Benedict Groeschell in his new book From Scandal to Hope, favorably recommends Goodbye! Good Men as contributing to a better understanding of the roots of the present sex abuse scandals. It even appears that Father Groeschell corroborates the factual basis of the book by writing, ”I know for a fact that much of what Rose says is true, and that good, orthodox, chaste seminarians were discriminated against in some seminaries.”

Rose’s evidence varies from secondhand stories repeated by priests and seminarians to reports from priests who have willing gone on record with their names and personal first hand accounts. He also has accounts of seminarians and priests who remain anonymous for fear of retribution. While the nature of the evidence varies (and some of it can be refuted) there is plenty with which one could go to court. This is most obvious with the recent crisis in the Church caused by the cover-up of sexual abuse by the same clerical hierarchy that have done nothing about the seminary abuses. Unfortunately, they are still not doing anything about these seminaries.

Rose’s book contains much anecdotal evidence about how, in some seminaries, orthodox men are silently removed from the seminaries by dissenting faculty members through the use of intimidation and psychological abuse. Those seminarians that accept Church teaching on human sexuality, married priests, and female priests are labeled as ‘rigid’ and ‘sexually immature’ and not permitted to advance into the priesthood. Those espousing a love of the Rosary, the Eucharist, and the Pope were often ridiculed. Unorthodox faculty members referred many orthodox seminarians to mental health professionals that not only lacked teaching in the Catholic faith, but often directly opposed it. In addressing this issue, the Catholic Medical Association made recommendations that the mental health professionals should, as far as possible, share the same cultural background as the devout, faithful, mature candidates they are to evaluate. In many seminaries this recommendation is ignored. In fact, the Pope would be rejected by some of these evaluators as being too ‘rigid’ and ‘intolerant.’

Another problem addressed by Rose is the “Gay Subculture” that permeates many seminaries such as St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore that has the nickname of the “Pink Palace.” Father Cozzens in his book The Changing Face of the Priesthood, warns of the growing gay subculture in the seminaries and the priesthood becoming a “gay profession.” Fr. Cozzens states the “straight men in a predominantly gay environment commonly experience chronic destabilization.” Compounding the challenge of studying, praying and living alongside gay seminarians, he adds, are seminary facilities that include a disproportionate number of homosexually oriented persons. The heterosexual seminarian has little choice but to leave, but he often finds himself blackballed and unable to enter another seminary.

One has to admit that the evidence and anecdotal stories that Rose provides in his book can be depressing to read. It leads one to wonder how all of this could be occurring. Rose has a chapter titled Heads in the Sand that describes how this has happened and even though complaints about doctrinal error, liturgical abuse and even misconduct are now so common as to be routine, little has changed. These seminaries are run by the same bishops that brought us the sexual abuse scandal in the United States. When the seminaries were investigated by a Vatican team the abusive seminaries put on a big show. As an example, papal encyclicals suddenly appeared as if the seminarians were being taught from them and they suddenly started having the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It reminded one seminarian of the Red Cross visiting the Nazis prison camps.

However, all is not depressing! Since the 1990s we are seeing a new breed of priests who know that Holy Mother Church still knows best. The aging so-called ‘progressives’ are finally losing out. The new generation of priests are not interested in their dated ideas and agendas such as ‘protestantizing the Church’. Rose sees more and more genuine reform in the Church, a shift away from the experimental “spirit of Vatican ll” to a practical regrounding of Catholic faith and culture. Certain pockets of the U.S. are beginning to see an increase in vocations to the priesthood and a healthy number of ordinations each year. The newest vocations in fact are often products of new or revitalized Catholic colleges such as Ave Maria, Christendom, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Thomas Aquinas College. They often come from counter-culture families that home-schooled or that are involved in the orthodox movements that place an emphasis on the dynamic faithfulness of the lay vocation. Father John Hardon’s “survival of the fittest” theory explains why orthodox dioceses have a disproportionately higher number of vocations and priests than others. It is a natural and logical process.

Rose names seminaries as well as seminarians, priests and faculty members. He conducted over 150 personal interviews, used quotes from textbooks, class notes, syllabi, and tapes of class presentations used in the seminary classes. An ample amount of relevant information from previously published sources was also referenced in his book. About one-third of the interviewees are now ordained priests. They are men who sincerely care about the well being of the seminaries. Other interviewees served at one time as seminary professors or vocation directors.

Michael Rose did an excellent job of proving Archbishop Eldon Curtiss correct when he wrote that, “It seems to me that the vocations ‘crisis’ is precipitated by people who want to change the Church’s agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teachings of the Pope and bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these ministries.” This is the crux of Goodbye! Good Men.

Archbishop Lefebvre & Assisi

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The Assisi meetings of apostate worship of false gods put the Early Church Martyrs to shame & was nothing less than the Catholic Church spitting in the face of every martyr who was ever put to death rather than deny Jesus Christ.


Answering questions from the periodical Pacte in 1987, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre stated his views about the interreligious meeting called for by John Paul II in Assisi on October 27, 1986:

Monseigneur, your latest public statement is a violent protest against the prayer meeting in Assisi…. Don’t you get the impression that you are confusing the ecumenism of Pope Wojtyla with the distorted ideology of interreligious dialogue—so much in vogue in recent years—that denies the historical uniqueness of Christian salvation?

I see only one type of ecumenism, the type promoted by the Council, which underscores respect for and collaboration with false religions, which are placed on the same footing. This is a new concept, in contradiction with Tradition, which has been imposed in this way. In place of the “missionary” Church appears the new “ecumenical” Church.

The meeting in Assisi canonizes this new Church, and that is an immense scandal. On the other hand, this initiative has a significant precedent: almost a century ago, in 1894, in Chicago, a spectacular congress of world religions was held in which some American Catholic bishops participated. If you compare their speeches then with what the Pope said to the cardinals last December about the “spirit of Assisi,” you find impressive analogies.

But a century ago Pope Leo XIII unconditionally condemned the participation of the bishops of the United States in the Chicago Congress. No, this is a scandal, a public blasphemy: think of the Catholic missionaries in Africa who saw on television the representatives of the animist religions praying in Assisi at the Pope’s invitation…. In what spirit will they be able to continue their arduous work of evangelization among the populations who follow those pagan rituals? If salvation is possible even without conversion to Christ in the Church, and while continuing to adore one’s own false gods, what sense does mission work make? All religions, after all, are equal and good….


If this pope had lived at the time of the Roman persecutions in the early centuries, maybe Christianity would have found a respectable place in the Pantheon of religions.

US District Superior’s Letter on the current crisis


Imagine hearing our corrupt hierarchy vow to laicize perverted clerics! Ha!

Dear faithful,

I write to you with a heavy heart. Over the past several months, new revelations of sexual abuse and coverups have been reported by ecclesiastical, legal, and media sources the world over. The resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick over credible allegations he abused minors and seminarians for decades was soon followed by the stunning testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò which implicates the Holy Father himself in covering-up McCarrick’s unspeakable crimes. Additionally, judicial and independent inquiries continue to turn-up further evidence that the sex-abuse crisis which rocked the Catholic Church over a decade ago is far from over.

It is against this sorrowful backdrop that I wish to reiterate that the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) takes any and all reports of illicit and illegal behavior on the part of its clergy, religious, employees and volunteers with utmost seriousness. Every report is submitted to a thoroughgoing investigation by the appropriate authorities within the Society and full cooperation is given to all law enforcement and official investigative agencies concerned, particularly when reports involve minor children. Moreover, any priest or religious of the SSPX found guilty of immorality is subject to sanctions under canon law, including removal from active ministry and laicization.

In an effort to forestall the spread of sin within its ranks, the SSPX abides by the Church’s longstanding and prudent prohibition on admitting men harboring same-sex or other unnatural sexual attractions to any of its seminaries, including St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Virginia. If, after admission to either seminary or holy orders, credible evidence is found of immoral inclinations or acts by an individual, said individual is immediately expelled from the seminary and/or the Society. And, if the evidence warrants, the matter is immediately referred to the ecclesiastical and secular authorities.

I understand that in this time of confusion and crisis, there is a temptation to look for easy answers and a simple causal chain to explain away the corruption in the Church. Be careful. While we cannot discount the adverse effect the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath has had on the Mystical Body of Christ, I fear that the roots of the sexual-abuse crisis run much deeper. For now, we must do everything we can to uphold the tenets of divine and natural law in our daily lives while working to re-spread the Gospel in a world that has forgotten that what it needs most above all is God.

I ask that you beseech the Queen of Heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of the saints, especially St. Michael the Archangel, in lending us here below the spiritual assistance we need to weather this storm. Pray, too, for the priests, religious, and seminarians of the SSPX, along with those charged with their formation. Pray that we have the wisdom and discernment to form holy clerics dedicated to serving Jesus Christ through the administration of the traditional sacramental rites and the promulgation of sound catechesis.

With blessings in the Lord,

Fr. Jurgen Wegner