Back in May, I suggested that the Evil One seems to be stirring dissension among the ranks of those once united in the cause of so-called “traditional Catholicism” – most notably as it concerns Fatima.
Not entirely new, the discord that I had in mind was magnified by the now well-known address given by Cardinal Burke at the Roman Life Forum – a speech that contained some truths that he once rejected, but one that also promoted dangerous falsehoods that are utterly irreconcilable with Our Lady’s message.
Obviously, there is disagreement among those with a voice in traditional Catholic media as for how one should treat such things as these that are laced with more than a little leaven (poison).
Some (erstwhile) Fatima supporters, as I wrote at the time, have adopted an “Ecumenical Mindset” – pleased to celebrate points of agreement while deliberately downplaying or ignoring altogether that which is false and even deadly.
In June, with this in mind, I made note of a discernible “softening” that is taking place in certain traditional circles; one that we can only hope reverses course before it becomes a bona fide trend.
Well, it hasn’t reversed course; indeed, it has only gotten worse.
As Cornelia Ferreira pointed out in her most recent post:
…a synthesis between many traditionalists and conservatives [is] taking place in front of our eyes. A new entity has arisen: Conservative-Traditionalism.
Prominent traditionalists who have recently been collaborating with conservatives for the sake of a “common good” (the Consecration of Russia, in this case) have effectively opened the windows to errors and heretical ideas.
In response to this, one of our longtime readers and supporters, Alphonsus Jr., commented:
Name names. Who exactly are these former traditionalists who have descended to “conservative-traditionalism”? For the good of souls, we should be told exactly who they are so we can avoid them. For example, is the Remnant newspaper part of this new camp?
Though I take no pleasure in responding to his request, I have to admit that he’s right.
Up until now, both Cornelia and I have chosen to refer to such persons and their outlets in vague, general terms, but this day has been coming for some time now, and for the simple reason that Alphonsus Jr. gave – for the good of souls.
Let me repeat that – for the good of souls.
Answering the call to “name names” has nothing whatsoever to do with attacking persons; accusing them of ill-will or evil intent. Rather, it concerns pointing out the danger that is present in their approach.
The truth is the truth; the good of souls demands that it be told, and that means identifying those sources of “traditional” Catholic commentary that have been synthesized by conservatism to the point of misleading the innocent.
Alphonsus Jr. asked a question; one to which he, and I presume any number of other readers of this space, already know the answer:
Is the Remnant newspaper part of this new camp?
Perhaps the best way I can answer this question is to quote Michael Matt, who in an interview with Edward Pentin just a few weeks ago asked:
I don’t know if you identify quote-unquote as a “traditionalist” or not, but what do you think are the chances, given the situation now where things are really going from bad to worse, that some of the partisan politics and the, you know, the internecine squabbling could be set aside, and those who believe in the Church and want to defend the Church and want to do the right thing by the Church and serve Christ and everything could come together in a way moving forward; maybe obviously maintaining their autonomy, but able to see the bigger picture? Do you think there’s any hope for that in the future?
If questioned, I am fairly certain that Michael would confirm that the “internecine squabbling” to which he refers concerns that between so-called “traditionalists” and neo-conservatives who, though dedicated to the Novus Ordo, the Second Vatican Council and its very own “saints” (John XXIII and JPII chief among them) are beginning to see for themselves that things are “going from bad to worse.”
I don’t doubt for a moment that Michael genuinely believes that the Church and her faithful will be well served by “setting aside” these matters as if they are mere “squabbles” in order to “come together in a way moving forward,” but surely this sort of thinking is not only foolish, it’s dangerous.
There is no “bigger picture.” There is no “autonomy.” This is precisely the ecumenical mindset previously mentioned.
Presumably it is Michael’s sincere desire to affect a certain coming together with neo-conservatives that motivated him to anoint Cardinal’s Burke’s Roman Life Forum address a “total vindication” of Fr. Nicholas Gruner.
And this in spite of the fact that Cardinal Burke’s talk paid homage to the pontificate of John Paul II, the almighty Council, and the New Evangelization – as if these things are in perfect harmony with the message of Fatima!
As I said, this situation isn’t entirely new.
I became personally aware of the problem back in February 2016 when Michael took to Facebook to accuse me of acting like Fr. Paul Nicholson, who viciously denigrated the memory of Fr. Gruner following his death.
My crime was pointing out that Justice Antonin Scalia’s jurisprudence was not an example of the “devout traditional Catholicism” with which he was being anointed, but rather a perfect example of Americanism.
The Remnant, for its part, chose to honor the memory of Antonin Scalia by rerunning a praise piece they had published on him two years earlier wherein it was stated without any criticism whatsoever:
When he dons his robe as a Justice of the US Supreme Court, the basis of his decisions must be what the Constitution requires, and if abortion or the death penalty is permitted by the state under its law, then despite his Catholic belief it is the vox populi who are sovereign in these matters.
If one doesn’t see the danger in these sorts of things, I am afraid that nothing I write here is going to help.
Sadly, I must also report to you that the Fatima Center – the life’s work of Fr. Nicholas Gruner and a place staffed by persons I consider friends – appears to have lost its way.
On the homepage of its website one finds:
The Fatima Center rejoices at Cardinal Raymond Burke’s call for the proper consecration of Russia…
This isn’t the place to rehash all of the problems with Cardinal Burke’s “call,” but suffice it to say that he largely claimed recourse for his call to the authority of John Paul II and the utterly shameful homily that he delivered at Fatima in 1982, wherein the Polish pope dared to dictate to the Blessed Virgin the terms of her request.
For instance, he repeatedly twisted Our Lady’s words, referring no less than five times to “the consecration of the world” to her Immaculate Heart, as if this is what she had requested at Fatima; even going so far as to say of the consecration done by Pope Pius XII:
“Was not that consecration his response to the evangelical eloquence of the call of Fatima?”
It was as if JPII was telling Our Lady that she ought to be satisfied, if not by what Pius XII did, then by what her Son did:
“By the power of the redemption, the world and man have been consecrated.”
In spite of Cardinal Burke’s claim of recourse to this disgusting homily; delivered by the pope who singlehandedly bears more responsibility than any other for burying (nay, deceiving the faithful about) Our Lady’s message, the newly empowered brain trust of the Fatima Center is rejoicing?
Cardinal Burke claimed in his address (the same one that supposedly amounted to a “total vindication” of Fr. Gruner):
“The pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, may be rightly described as a tireless call to recognize the Church’s challenge to be faithful to her divinely given mission…”
It is to vomit!
Incidentally, you may be interested in knowing that Cornelia Ferreira, who has been closely allied with Fr. Gruner’s efforts for decades, sent a message to the Fatima Center shortly after Cardinal Burke’s address was published cautioning that it is not a cause for rejoicing, but rather a serious diabolical deception.
And yet the newly empowered brain trust of the Fatima Center, rather than defending the reputation of Fr. Gruner to whom Cardinal Burke owes a substantial apology, rejoices.
Back in June, I published a post calling attention to the ludicrous idea that Ronald Reagan was a disciple of Fatima – a notion put forth in an article published by Crisis Magazine.
It’s bad enough that an unsuspecting seeker of truth might encounter such garbage on the pages of Crisis Magazine and believe it, but it is far worse still that such an article should be given even a hint of credence by those who are charged with the privilege of spreading and defending the Fatima message.
In this, I was referring to a review written by Chris Ferrara (who, for those who as yet may be confused, is of no relation to Cornelia Ferreira – NB: the different spelling) entitled, “The Gipper” and Fatima, and published on the Fatima Center website.
“If only Catholic churchmen would take Fatima as seriously as ‘the Gipper’ did,” Mr. Ferrara opined, as if this would be useful in leading the Church out of the present crisis!
This is the same “Gipper” – Protestant American that he was – who said in a speech to which Mr. Ferrara linked:
“We know there will always be answers if we trust in the people, if we go to them, give them the facts, and rely on them to make the right decisions.”
Right – like that vox populi to which Antonin Scalia would have been pleased to concede had it demanded abortion rights.
Given that there is no room in this form of governance for the Social Kingship of Christ, I’d say that our churchmen-of-the-Council, Francis chief among them and Cardinal Burke included, already take Fatima about as seriously as Ronald Reagan did.
Lest anyone think that Mr. Ferrara’s commentary is harmless, I will repeat what I suggested back in June:
Imagine a sincere seeker of truth being moved, in this centenary year of the Fatima apparitions, to explore the topic more deeply; even going so far as to look beyond the confines of the Holy See and the neo-conservative shills who simply parrot the Vatican’s “official” position (Crisis Magazine among them).
What better place for that person to go than the website of the Fatima Center. Right?
Not so fast…
There he will find a highly positive exposition on the Crisis Magazine article, offered without any qualifications or warnings whatsoever, written by a man who has a reputation for being a staunch supporter of the Fatima message.
In other words, the poor ill-informed seeker of truth concerning Fatima will find himself just a convenient click away from the pages of Crisis Magazine (hyperlinked by Mr. Ferrara for the reader’s convenience) – and given the wonderful things he just read about their article, why wouldn’t he click – where, if he investigates further, he will soon find himself once again victimized by such deception and misinformation as:
“According to Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima children, Pope St. John Paul the Great accomplished this [the consecration of Russia] on March 25, 1984. The Soviet Union folded a few years later.” (Crisis Magazine article proposing that the conversion of Russia is already taking place!)
If that’s not bad enough, the poor seeker may decide to explore still other articles written by Mr. Ferrara, where in addition to many good things he will find even more praise for Cardinal Burke and his “leaven” loaded Roman Life Forum presentation.
As regular readers of this space know, in her inaugural article for akaCatholic, Cornelia Ferreira masterfully set the record straight on the dangers associated with Cardinal Burke’s presentation.
What hasn’t been made known until now, however, is that she initially proposed to pen that article for Catholic Family News. Her proposal, however, was rejected in favor of publishing (in the June edition) an article that reported on Cardinal Burke’s talk in a positive light without any warnings or corrections.
As I’ve noted in this space a number of times, even the SSPX is showing a lack of zeal of late; most notably in its kid glove treatment of Francis and his assorted blasphemies and heresies.
They too have chosen to refrain from criticizing the dangers present in Cardinal Burke’s “consecration call” speech; choosing instead to republish the shoddy report produced by LifeSite News.
Even Bishop Richard Williamson saw fit to praise “the brave Cardinal Burke who is entering the fray on behalf of Our Lady of Fatima” without any mention of his attachment to precisely those things that Our Lady came to warn us about.
So, what exactly is at stake in all of this?
Simply put, the presumably good intentions of individual persons aside, the entire message of Our Lady of Fatima is at stake!
Either we are squarely focused on disseminating and protecting the full and complete message of Fatima as best we know it, and that includes pointing to the crisis of faith about which Our Lady warned, or we are not.
If indeed we are, half-truths and confusing or deceptive treatments of Fatima can only be exposed and condemned wherever they are discovered.
My friends, with the deaths of Fr. Gruner and John Vennari, and the emergence of those “conservative-traditionalists” of whom Cornelia Ferreira wrote, there are fewer and fewer commentators left who are willing to speak the truth plainly and pay the consequences; whatever they may be.
Having “named names,” I have little doubt that I’ll be denounced by some for convening the so-called “circular firing squad.” Others may even try to use this post as a marketing tool for the advancement of their own “franchise.”
I also have little doubt that I’ll probably lose supporters along the way as well; making it even more difficult still to keep this effort going.
Even so, akaCatholic and its contributors – yours truly, Fr. Jose Miguel Marques Campo, Randy Engel, Cornelia Ferreira, Dr. Peter Chojnowski, our other contributors and our many fine commentators – will not compromise.
The news, however, is not all bad.
Just a couple of days ago, I received an unexpected note of encouragement from a “full communion” bishop who reads the blog, saying, “Keep up the good work.”
His Excellency went on to say, “You have so many good things to say. Just try to approach it diplomatically.”
It is my hope that I have done so in this post.
If you believe that I have, please offer your support so that all of us may do more of the same in the weeks, months and, God willing, years ahead.