Monday 18th November 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Is Pope Francis Bypassing The German Bishops?

July 13, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


Pope Francis writes a letter to the “people of God” in Germany as the Amazon Synod warms up for its October meeting. One topic of interest that Francis continues to draw attention to is the twin errors of Neo-Pelagianism and Gnosticism, both of which are concerns drawn from the work of Pope Benedict XVI.
The distinction is drawn from an emphasis on faith and rules. Too much emphasis on rules, and one falls into the trap of Pelagianism. Too much emphasis on faith, and one falls into the trap of gnosis or hidden knowledge.
It is easy for folks to put either Neo-Pelagianism or Gnosticism in the traditional roles of the right or the left, with those rules-based traditionalists squaring off against those sandaled progressive hippies with their guitars and tambourines.
Yet the disease can transition to the other side. Consider the ossified bureaucracy that seems to swarm around every Catholic charitable institution with its miasma of political leftism masquerading as Catholic. If there is anything more emblematic of the Neo-Pelagian mindset, it is the “but this is how we’ve always done it!” mentality that plagues the Church.
Similarly, we can see Gnosticism among our own tribe when we find ourselves looking for a Catholicism that becomes a museum of saints rather than a hospital for sinners. These are the folks who hush crying babies in the pews who have just as much a right to be there as we do.
I can recall a time one Sunday evening when a gentleman, dressed in suit and tie, scolded a Hispanic gentleman who showed up to Mass in paint clothes. The priest at the time overheard it, waited for the suit to leave, and calmly talked to the painter. Afterward, the priest explained to us that the painter worked two shifts to provide for his family, and that he came as he was — forced to work on a Sunday by guys like that man in the suit. It made me feel ashamed to think of how we treat Sunday as a day of rest by going to Walmart, restaurants, and so forth — relaxing at the expense of those who must work?
Francis emphasizes that the tension between rules and faith is relaxed by grace, and it is within the idea of synodality that grace and the direction of the Holy Spirit prevail. Not with a sense of uprootedness, but rather with an openness to grace.
Would that every member of the synod were actually of that spirit! Francis too seems concerned about the potentiality for the hijacking of the synod in this letter, again specifically written to the “people of God” in Germany, where the bishops have been the most insistent upon the introduction of married priests within the Western Rite. To this point, Francis levels the charge of Gnosticism, or rather that entrenchment that insists “we” have it right and “they” have it wrong. Thus the Gnosticism of the German bishops seems to be the target of Francis’ concern, that rather than synodality there is a more political element at play.
It has been mentioned before that the German bishops are frightfully concerned about the Kirchensteuer — the “church tax” that fuels the Catholic Church in Germany in lieu of donations. This tax is apportioned by the German people as they register as either Catholics, various Protestant denominations, or none of the above. As the politics and “reform” of the 1970s has produced a counterfeit Catholicism, future Catholics have rejected the counterfeit almost entirely. No small wonder why these same relics of the 1970s would continue to use the very methods that produced the crisis in the first place, if for no other reason than it is the only trick these ponies know.
Thus Francis is left trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak. Having bet on the goodwill of those who have expressed very little in exchange, Francis is trying to demonstrate that the Holy Spirit will preserve this or any other synod from error so long as men of good will and right intention participate in the experiment.
The problem, of course, is that we do live in the world. We are plagued by heresies, Neo-Pelagian and Gnostic alike. Some of those mistakes are hidden even from our own hearts. Yes, grace does supply where our intellect fails, but we should be wise enough to understand that the political religions of the postmodern era are not content to leave Catholics be. They are, in a word, totalitarian — and they have the hearts and minds of our laity, our priests, and even some of our bishops.
All the more reason to pray mightily for the Church during such times. Pope Francis, in bypassing the German bishops, is half-cautioning and half-pleading his case. If the synod goes sideways, then Francis’ radical bet of the good will of his brother bishops will fundamentally shake his notion of synodality. Alternatively, if the synod reaffirms the celibate priesthood, then Francis will reaffirm 1,600 years of tradition.
Who wins? Let’s hope the Holy Spirit does, because we have been down this road once before in the time of Martin Luther, and Christendom certainly let the Holy Spirit down that time.

A Transient Place

“I hope you hugged your kids last Tuesday.” Which isn’t the way you ever want to start a conversation that begins with, “What happened in such-and-such part of the world?” Yet there it is.
When I was a young man of the age of 12, I picked up a book from the shelf in the middle school entitled Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. While I don’t remember much of the book itself (other than that it was good enough to capture my attention), I do remember the opening chapters. Two brothers raised in Florida listen to the same pastor every Sunday, a fire and brimstone character who appends much of his fulminations with the catchphrase “Alas, Babylon!” before condemning the enemies of God to everlasting perdition.
Later in life, one brother stays home while the other becomes a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The two of them agree on a pre-established code for impending doom: the words “Alas, Babylon” in remembrance of their preacher’s doomsday predictions.
Of course, the book begins with a telegram from one brother to another with those precise words, and shortly after the telegram a nuclear war erupts. The community survives only to discover that the United States won the nuclear exchange only to be utterly reliant on Third World countries such as Brazil and Venezuela.
In moderately unrelated news, Vice President Mike Pence’s plane was abruptly turned around from an event in New Hampshire a few weeks ago. President Donald Trump abruptly stopped a bombing campaign that was 10 minutes away from starting a war with Iran a week before that. In Murmansk, we have Russian submarines catching fire and killing 14 after an American submarine (more accurately, a drone) was reportedly scuttled in the exchange. Russian President Vladimir Putin also abruptly changed his schedule at the same moment Pence was turned around.
One mentions all of these things not to alarm anyone, but to remind us that the world is a transient place. We are pilgrims in a strange land as Catholics, and for those of us who remember what it was like to grow up with a Soviet Union, it is a strange reminder that we really are still a few minutes to midnight every day — and unlike the Cold War, we live in a world that is just as tense and far more unpredictable.
“Behold, I have come as a thief in the night,” reminds Christ, “Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes ready, so that he may not go naked and people see him exposed” (Rev. 16:15).

Why You Believe

Some good news with regards to my friend who continues to struggle with alcoholism. Yes, he is in treatment and has been for the last four weeks with the Veterans Administration, with another two weeks to go.
At the moment, he is getting to the root of his dependency issues. One of the things he mentioned specifically was that core values — truly core values — are something that the psychiatrists typically target in any sort of treatment program. Not just why you believe what you believe, but why you believe the “why you believe” and so forth.
It all seems rather intense. That’s the sort of breaking down of a person that one might see in dystopian science fiction novels or Chinese internment and re-education camps. Or, in another sense, for those of us more familiar with religious forms, a confessional.
Still, I have a great deal of hope that this is going to turn out for the best. For that, I have you to thank, because I truly am convinced that your prayers have been the difference between this path and something much darker. So if you ever wonder whether prayer works? Why yes…it most certainly does.
St. Louis de Montfort and Venerable Matt Talbot, pray for us!

Write To Me!

First Teachers encourages readers to submit their thoughts, views, opinions, and insights to the author directly, either via e-mail or by mail. Please send any correspondence to Shaun Kenney c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 or by e-mail to

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

On Sunday December 1st I will celebrate the 35th anniversary of my ordination to the holy priesthood at the 11 AM Mass at Church of the Holy Family 315 E 47 Street (between 1st and 2nd Aves), NY, NY. A reception will follow in the church hall. You are cordially invited to attend

ENOUGH. I accept our stewardship of the earth, as a gift of the Lord, the divine artist and source of the gift. But "eco-side" is an insane example of removing the human person, God's greatest gift, from the plan of salvation.

Deacon Greg Kandra on Twitter

“Pope Francis called on the international community to recognize ecocide as a “crime against peace.” via @De...

I encourage you to view this video & to grow in awareness of the threats to the Deposit of Faith, the treasure house of truth in Jesus Christ. Let us all work to Guard the Deposit of Faith........:Guarding the Deposit of Faith via @YouTube

Load More...

Pope compares politicians who persecute gays, Jews to Hitler

Pope Francis denounced the persecution of gay people on Friday and compared public officials who stoke hatred and anti-gay sentiment to Hitler. Francis delivered his remarks at an international conference on criminal law at the Vatican City, Reuters reported. “It is…Continue Reading

7-year-old whose mom tried to ‘transition’ him chooses to attend school as a boy

DALLAS, Texas, November 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Seven-year-old James Younger, whose mother enrolled him in kindergarten as a “girl,” has finally been able to attend school as a boy for the first time. James’ parents’ fight over whether he should…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan on Biden communion denial: ‘I wouldn’t do it’

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2019 / 04:58 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to questions about the denial of Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday. On an Oct. 31…Continue Reading

Judge blocks Alabama law banning abortions, pro-lifers plan to appeal to Supreme Court

October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama’s ban on virtually all abortions will not take effect on November 15 as planned, thanks to a preliminary injunction issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. In May, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Alabama…Continue Reading

Biden denied communion at South Carolina church over abortion stance, report says

Democratic front-runner Joe Biden was reportedly denied communion by a priest at a South Carolina Catholic church over the weekend. Biden, a lifelong Catholic, stopped by Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence on Sunday, but was denied Holy Communion by Father Robert E. Morey,…Continue Reading

Bishops call out Fr. James Martin for questioning if Bible is right to condemn homosexuality

October 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Fr. James Martin, S.J. is coming under fire from a U.S. bishop and a cardinal after a tweet appearing to question the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Martin posted the following to his…Continue Reading

Pope Francis appoints new head of Vatican security

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2019 / 04:39 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed the second-in-command of Vatican security to head the City State’s national police force, after the resignation of the former chief Oct. 14. The pope named Oct. 15,…Continue Reading

Ecological ritual performed in Vatican gardens for pope’s tree planting ceremony

Vatican City, Oct 4, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis witnessed an indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday, during which people held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women, one of…Continue Reading

Young man stuns courtroom by forgiving brother’s murderer, urging her to seek Christ

DALLAS, Texas, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In an incredible display of human compassion, a young man whose brother was shot and killed forgave the cop who had been found guilty of his murder. Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ouellet defends priestly celibacy ahead of Amazon synod

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2019 / 11:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented a book Wednesday arguing that in the face of challenges, the Church should not grab at quick solutions, but seek to…Continue Reading

President Trump Defends Religious Freedom at UN, Announces Campaign to Protect Churches

President Donald Trump urged nations across the world to protect religious freedom Monday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Trump, the first U.S. president to highlight religious freedom at the UN, said America will set aside $25…Continue Reading

Archbishop Harry Flynn dies at 86

Minneapolis, Minn., Sep 23, 2019 / 03:40 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Harry Flynn, a former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has died. Flynn died Sunday in the St. Paul rectory where he had spent his final days…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Pope Francis proposes adding ‘ecological sin’ against ‘common home’ to catechism

VATICAN CITY, November 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis said today that he is thinking about adding the “‘ecological sin’ against our common home” to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “We have to introduce―we are thinking about it―to the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, the ‘ecological sin’ against our common home, because a duty is at stake,” Pope Francis told his hearers. The Argentinian pontiff made the remark in a…Continue Reading

Jury rules against Daleiden, pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts

SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigators have been found guilty of multiple crimes and must pay millions in damages to Planned Parenthood for the work they did in exposing organ harvesting on aborted babies. The jury of nine men and one woman released its verdict Friday afternoon after deliberating less than two days, even though the landmark civil trial

1 in 3 US bishops at fall meeting vote against calling abortion ‘pre-eminent’ issue

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — American Catholic bishops showed today that the current pontificate has divided them on fighting abortion as a social justice priority, voting 143-69 to keep the issue “pre-eminent.” This morning during the Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the bishops debated, and voted upon, a letter based on the USCCB’s document on political life, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens.” At issue was the letter’s insistence…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Pope would be leading a schism if he endorsed errors in Amazon Synod working doc

November 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of perennial Catholic teaching, suggested that Pope Francis could be leading a “schism” if he were to put his “stamp” of approval on the Amazon Synod’s controversial working document that has been criticized by top-ranking prelates, including Burke, as constituting apostasy, heresy, and “false teaching”. The Cardinal made this comment in a wide-ranging interview with Ross Douthat that was published

">Bishop Strickland . . .


News That Is Not News

By DONALD DeMARCO Back in 1973, when the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, The New York Times editorialized that the Supreme Court had brought “an end to the emotional and divisive public argument.” In retrospect, this oracular statement appears not only completely wrong-headed, but actually somewhat comical. If anything, the divisiveness of the…Continue Reading

Bernie Leads His Party To Open Borders

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Some 100 members of an American Mormon community in northern Mexico, nine of whom — women, children, toddlers — were massacred weeks ago on a lonely stretch of highway, just crossed over into Arizona. Other family members who have lived there for decades will follow. The atrocity was the work of…Continue Reading

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chair… Supports Dignity For Aborted Children Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ZENIT) — Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter on October 31, 2019, to members of the U.S. Congress in support of S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell . . . Objected To Controversial Vatican Hospital Loan

By ED CONDON VATICAN CITY (CNA) — A 50 million euro loan request to secure the purchase of a bankrupt hospital was vetoed by George Pell Cardinal Pell and financial authorities at the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly called the Vatican Bank, before it was approved by the Holy See’s central bank, APSA, where…Continue Reading

Reverence: The Ultimate Form Of “Active Participation” In The Sacred Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Over the decades since the Second Vatican Council, a lot has been said and debated concerning the concept of “active participation” in the Mass and how this should properly be defined. There has been a growing recognition and consensus that active participation is not about inventing external roles for everyone to play…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent weekly bulletin, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City offered these perceptive comments: “ ‘Secularism’ is a religion with a non-creedal creed censuring those who do not believe in unbelief. Young people in the United States who claim to have ‘No Religion’ — called ‘Nones’ — now outnumber Catholics,…Continue Reading

">Guarding The Deposit Of The Faith

Bringing An Era To An End

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Mal. 3:19-20a 2 Thess. 3:7-12 Luke 21:5-19 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells His listeners that the day would come when the Temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be left upon another. When the people asked what the sign would be to let…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

God’s Plan… Embrace Glorious Chastity

By MOST REV. JOSEPH STRICKLAND (Editor’s Note: As Bishop Strickland has been traveling, he wasn’t able to submit a column for this week’s Wanderer. Instead, we reprint here, with permission, his reflections on chastity from his Bishop’s Blog of February 14, 2019.) + + + In the year 2019, we live in a world that’s off kilter. One of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Guido Maria Conforti

By CAROLE BRESLIN Many men and women who have established religious orders had to overcome various obstacles to obtain canonical approval. In addition to finding those persons with the same heart to serve God’s people, they must acquire housing, and find funding. These may be worldly concerns, but they are still important. Founders must also consider the statutes for their…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Pignatelli

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola up to the mid-eighteenth century, the order of priests and brothers had met with phenomenal success. But despite the high respect the Jesuits received from Popes, bishops, and kings, they eventually found themselves exiled and suppressed. The same bishop who started the…Continue Reading