PopeWatch: Maradiaga

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Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga is the coordinator of the “gang of eight” cardinals that Pope Francis has designated to spearhead the reforms he seeks to implement within the Church.  Some wags have referred to him as Vice Pope.  He gave a, well the diplomatic term to use would be “interesting”, speech at a conference in Dallas on October 25.  Go here to read the speech.  PopeWatch was going to fisk this speech, but learned that two superlative fisks have already been undertaken.

First up is the fisk of Father Longenecker.  PopeWatch would note that Father Longenecker is not a firebrand, but is rather a judicious commentator.  You can get a taste of the fisk from this section:


The first read through sounds like the old “Spirit of Vatican II” stuff warmed up. It’s all about reaching out in mercy and no condemnation to show people what the love of Christ really looks like. Okay, but as many commentators have observed, in the American Church the liberal mainstream have been doing that steadily for the last fifty years and all we have to show for it are plummeting vocations, religious evacuating their orders en masse, churches built in a brutal modernist style, a wholesale abandonment of the rich teachings and traditions of the faith, widespread disregard for the moral teachings of Catholicism, the priest sex abuse scandal, financial abuse and a church in crisis.

So we want more of the same? This is the definition of insanity isn’t it? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

I understand that in Central and South America many Catholics associated with “the right” were also associated with right wing political figures. Those who loved the Latin Mass and church traditions and disciplines were also at the table with the moneyed aristocracy and the right wing dictators. I can understand the egalitarian talk of Cardinal Maradiaga therefore, and I acknowledge the truth of what he says about the church being “the pilgrim people of God” and the need to “get back to Jesus” and the need for the compassionate face of Christ to be seen in the church. I accept and agree with his proposal that the new evangelization is ultimately about meeting Christ through the shining examples of authentic Christians.

I don’t have much of a problem with what he affirms, but I am concerned about what he denies. Maybe the Cardinal needs to remember the life changing aphorism by F.D.Maurice that  a man is right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies. Whenever I hear a pastor say “The truth is X but not Y” I’m suspicious because usually the truth is both-and.

Go here to read every insightful world.

The second fisk is from Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings.  The fisk has just begun but it begins with a bang:

2. Vatican II The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue. Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person.

Well, that certainly is….
I mean you have to agree….
Looked at one way….
Holy hopping snot. I can’t make sense of it, at least not without a friend employing some herbal assistance.

“No, dude, it totally makes sense. You see, the Church and modernism are like oil and water, but if you have, like, God’s totally ultimate hand mixer, you could make a kind of oil and water vinaigrette without, you know, vinegar. Just like that water-burning car the oil companies are hiding from us, man. Hey? Where are the Cheetos?”
Okay, still no help.  Oooof. Well, let’s see what Vatican I says:

3. If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema. As StrongBad might say, “I’m no theologist, but I think ‘anathema’ is bad.” And, if I may be so cheeky, let me point out what modernism meant to the Saint who decided to brain it: Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself.  Soooo…Vatican II was an armistice with the enemies of the cross of Christ? Who were just poor ol’ misled social justice crusa–er, collaborators trying to make the world a better place? No no no. NO. Modernism is better thought of as an attempted palace coup against God Himself, staged within the Church herself. Sure, all revolutions cloak themselves in good motives, in terms of justice. That doesn’t justify them, much less their tactics.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch longs for the day when the speeches of cardinals were snooze fests.

More to explorer

Ignorance, Sheer Ignorance

  The Left is becoming a stronghold of ignorant yahoos:   Just outside downtown Dunn, N.C., a historic antebellum-style house honors Maj.

Fifty Years

Hattip to commenter Dale Price.  My motto has always been:  “Slay all the Lunies, and let God sort ’em out!”

Deep State? What Deep State?

Surprise!:     Who would have thought that, this deep into the Russia collusion probe, we’d be learning about yet another dossier


  1. Fr. Longenecker makes sense.
    Forgetting our duty to personal holiness to sanctification is placing the cart ahead of the horses.

    I was reading a story on Pope Francis’ polling questions. NBC offered the story and unsurprisingly the thread was washed with “about time the Church listens to the laity.”

    Popewatch has been a difficult read for me, however I see it as vital. Revisiting the errors of misunderstanding VII is not a step forward in the new evangelization.

    Thank you for Popewatch.

  2. Cardinal Maradiaga needs a history lesson as does, I think the Pope. The most obvious lessons can be learned from the Cristeros movement in Mexico where the left (communist) decided the Church was a threat and proceeded to kill Layity and Religious unless of course you bought their line and taught if from the pulpit. And of course there were the Vendee of southern France who instead of knuckling under to Robespierre and his modernity, decided to fight to save their Church and way of life. Those who gave us the slogan “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”, massacred at least 400,000 Catholics. If they want to know what crisis the modern familiy face today I suggest they read up on what the Christians faced in Rome under Nero.

  3. The idea behind going out to the highways and hedgerows was to bring people inside the house and into the feast, and not to move the party out of doors, right?

    A lot of this liberal happy-talk sounds to me like folks wanting to move the party because that’s easier than making the people out on the highways and lurking in the hedgerows come in.

  4. In order to understand your main point Donald (piece from Dyseptic Mutterings and pictures lead me to this question) the main problem in the Church today is Vatican II itself?

  5. Mistaking laxity for mercy. It is not loving to leave people in darkness if we know where the light switch is- but with this current diabolical disorientation leaders and laity seem to be fumbling

  6. “In order to understand your main point Donald (piece from Dyseptic Mutterings and pictures lead me to this question) the main problem in the Church today is Vatican II itself?”

    The main problem as ever in the Church is us. The Church is both a divine and a human institution. The divine portion works perfectly. The human portion works about as well as anything else we humans attempt to manage.

  7. It was not only in Central and South America that Catholicism was presented as a sort of civic religion, of the kind decried by Maurice Blondel: “A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

    With a social teaching limited, in the words of the (Anglican) hymn, to

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    God made them high and lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

  8. The most comforting words recently heard came from Sydney’s Cardinal Pell (also a member of Pope Francis’s Gang of 8): “You don’t have to accept every jot and tittle of it (Vatican II.)”

  9. Thank you for the clarification, Donald. I agree with your statement about the Church being a Divine and human institution and that it is the human dimension that works “about as well as anything else we humans attempt to manage”

    In other contexts I have frequently commented that it has taken us two thousand years to get to this point! There has never been a “golden age” of the Church from which we hae fallen, nor a “golden age” to which we have finally arrived.

    Every era of the Church has it’s grace and sinfulness, strengths and weaknesses, light and shadows. Every Ecumenical Council has its own strength and weaknesses, light and shadows. Every successor of Peter has to struggle in his own life-as do we- in the spiritual battle between grace and sin; each pope has his strengths and weaknesses; each pope’s period in his ministry of office has its light and shadows.

  10. In order to understand your main point Donald (piece from Dyseptic Mutterings and pictures lead me to this question) the main problem in the Church today is Vatican II itself?

    I wouldn’t say that, though denying that the ambiguity of the documents is a problem is whistling past the graveyard.

    No, in the excerpted section, I was expressing my (continuing) consternation with Cardinal Maradiaga’s argument that Vatican II was a truce with modernism.

    This is a rather shocking assertion, is it not?

  11. In other words, Cardinal Maradiaga’s presentation is an emblematic example of what then Cardinal Ratzinger called turning Vatican II into a “superdogma”:

    “The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living
    Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero.
    The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately
    chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat
    it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the
    importance of all the rest.”


  12. Dale, thanks for your two responses. The greatly clarified your own post, and I would say I agree that there are elements in the Council documents that need real strenuous exegesis. While always taking Vatican II as an authentic and authoritative General (Ecumenical) Council of the Church, I have also seen it within the much larger history andd Tradition of the Church. It is the Council of and for our age, not the Second Coming

  13. Doctrinally I see little to be concerned with in this …. whereas geo-politically the hairs on my neck rise up a bit. Few here, including me, are comfortable with the economic lesson the Cardinal delivers …. but until I am more sure of consequences … let us be respectful and patient. Pope Watch has felt too much like what would have been penned in letters to the media complaining on matters heard immediately after VII was initiated … whereas we ended up having little if no issues with VII doctrinally … the issues where more in how many responded to what they thought they heard. Maybe that is what you are trying to prevent … or maybe that is what you are engaging in?

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