Friday 23rd August 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Pope Benedict: Hammer Of Heretics

April 18, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


Pope Benedict XVI (emeritus) has issued what some have termed a post-papal encyclical identifying the rot at core inside the Catholic Church — and it is worth reading in full.
One of the key highlights thus far? The source of the disease. Pope Francis, who not only signed off on the document but whom Benedict explicitly praised, has argued that the disease lies within a certain pernicious form of clericalism. What is clericalism, one might ask? No one is quite sure . . . but we are all very certain that it is very bad and we should all throw rocks at it this very moment.
Alternatively, Benedict offers a rather simple answer that — once his vision of a smaller, more faithful Catholicism proves true — should stand the test of time. Namely, that the world simply forgot God.
There are other bold lines in this letter that are worth noting, specifically the lens through which the Second Vatican Council was interpreted by certain theologians attempting to build a morality based purely on Sacred Scripture. In the end, Catholic natural law was quite nearly replaced by a form of relative judgments. Benedict explains this as an effort to replace morality with intention. Without the natural law to ground anyone, all acts are perceived through conditions. The very idea of an intrinsically evil act (or an intrinsically good one?) was very nearly wiped out.
Two things happened. First, the leader of this effort — the German theologian Franz Bockle — had sworn to fight any encyclical that determined that some acts truly were intrinsically evil. He died, and Pope John Paul II published Veritatis Splendor some months later, and the world was given insight into a new category of goods.
For those of you not acquainted with Catholic moral theology, most goods are broken down into two sorts: basic goods which require no further grounding, and instrumental goods which lead us to some other basic good (money or medicine in the pursuit of health, for instance).
Benedict mentions specifically that there are certain goods which can never be subject to a trade-off. “Martyrdom is a basic category of Christian existence,” Benedict writes. “The fact that martyrdom is no longer morally necessary in the theory advocated by Bockle and many others shows that the very essence of Christianity is at stake here.”
Benedict introduces a third category: Great Goods. What are these great goods, one might ask? The Catholic Faith — and not merely in the sense of some idealistic thing hovering in the clouds, but the Catholic faith both as a society and as an individual.
Yet this “great good” cannot be protected so long as basic goods can be pursued for illegitimate ends. Benedict mentions a reform of canon law that is oriented to the protection of “great goods” such as human persons and the Deposit of Faith. Yet once again Benedict imposes this consistent theme that humanity has forgotten God and expected freedom in return, and yet instead is coming to discover that by forgetting God we have put an end to human freedom.
Thus the great crisis of theology in the West, specifically in Western Europe and North America. Benedict mentions by name two national sources of this moral decay that Pope John Paul II fought in both Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae — specifically Germany and the United States of America. Benedict notes that in certain seminaries, his books would have to be read in secret — seminarians reading books by Cardinal Ratzinger were considered unsuitable for the priesthood! One almost sees Benedict’s eyes peering over his glasses toward the American cardinals under McCarrick with a long pause….
At this rate, it is worth mentioning the reason why Pope Benedict felt compelled to write this document — unique in its own way because unlike us asking what Pope John Paul II might have thought, we get to see precisely what Pope Benedict XVI would have thought by virtue of the fact that he is still with us on Earth!
Of course, the thorn piercing the heart of Jesus Christ at this moment must be the sexual abuse crisis, perpetrated by priests and bishops and protected (and outrageously enough, promoted) by bishops and cardinals. Pope Francis points to clericalism as the clerics who were involved either in the crime or the cover-up and continue to promote themselves into positions of power. Pope Benedict reminds us all that we forgot God — and in doing so, all things became permissible. Which one is clericalism and which one is holiness, I will let the reader decide.
Pope Benedict ends with a warning of sorts. It is a temptation of the Devil, he writes, to see the Catholic Church as all bad, and in this is an implicit criticism towards those of us who point to the moral rot and leave things there. Benedict cites the Book of Job specifically as the Devil insists that humanity — and indeed, the Church itself — are nothing but corruption and death.
Benedict practically begs us to remember that, though there is evil and there are weeds, there is also the Holy Mother Church which is indestructible. Good men and women continue to serve God, become seminarians and religious, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and so forth.
In this, we are a “Church of Martyrs” in the words of Benedict, with Christ serving as the first martyr for the great good of the Catholic Faith. Amidst the corruption, there is a Living Church that serves a Living God. That is a powerful reminder that we have sorely missed over the last few years. One hopes and prays that Pope Francis takes encouragement and chooses to find his own voice amidst the corruption of Western clericalism…which seems like shorthand for replacing human cunning for God’s wisdom.

+ + +

My son and daughter — Matthew and Caroline — made their Confirmation this week. Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond brought 58 other young men and women into the Catholic Faith, with my oldest son Jonathan and youngest son James attending to His Excellency.
If you ever wonder about where the Church is heading, go find a younger person on fire for Christ and the Catholic Faith.

+ + +

Pope Benedict’s document reminds me of the days when one would read that Pope John Paul II would publish a new encyclical, and the rest of us would wait weeks before getting a copy of either Veritatis Splendor or Evangelium Vitae from Paulist Press — digesting every word.
Such was the mood of younger Catholics in the 1990s. They were good times as well, long before Twitter and social media, when my friends were hungry for truth and found it in a Pope who was unafraid to say as such. Those were good days.

+ + +

For those of you who continue to pray for my friend who is struggling with alcoholism, I cannot thank you enough. He has yet to call a priest; he has yet to call the Veterans Administration. But he is once again gainfully employed and has been dry these last few weeks. All of this I attribute to your prayers, so please continue to remember him in your daily rosary — it means a lot to me, and it will mean even more to him when we all go home and he finds out how many friends he really had!
St. Louis de Montfort, pray for us!

+ + +

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

Public Service Announcement:

The devil exists as a personal reality, not as a symbolic reality.

Jesus was not tempted in the desert by a symbol.

Load More...

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- After a recent survey found that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe Church teaching about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholic commenters are stressing the importance of better…Continue Reading

Apple News bans LifeSite without warning: says it ‘shows intolerance’

July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish our news on their Apple News platform. Today, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris released her own Medicare-for-all proposal today. Just like the proposal handed down by pro-abortion presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Harris’s plan would force Americans to fund abortions. Harris confirms her plan will cover abortions in an…Continue Reading

Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) ― Do only half of America’s Catholics know what their Church teaches about Holy Communion? In a recent report called “What Americans Know About Religion,” the Pew Research Center suggested that Catholics are divided…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Businessman Michael Lindell, Creator of MyPillow, May Run Against Pro-Abortion Ilhan Omar

Michael Lindell is a pro-life businessman and the creator of MyPillow, a successful invention and company in its own right. Lindell was responsible for helping to fund production of the popular movie “Unplanned,” but now he’s turning his attention to…Continue Reading

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…Continue Reading

Teacher sues Catholic school for firing her over pro-abortion posts on social media

BERKELEY COUNTY, South Carolina, July 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former teacher filed a wrongful termination suit against a South Carolina Catholic school that fired her for championing legal abortion on social media in violation of long-settled, well-known Catholic doctrine.…Continue Reading

Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-made Climate Change Doesn’t Exist In Practice”

A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as…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 . . .

U.S. Catholic bishops hire a new spokeswoman — one month after another stirred controversy with her pro-Trump tweets

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ organization announced Thursday that it had replaced its public affairs director — a woman who triggered debate last month with tweets enthusiastically backing President Trump and striking out at Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Thursday that church and politics veteran Chieko Noguchi is its new head of public affairs, a position that speaks for the Catholic Church…Continue Reading

Thousands of Aussies protest bill to decriminalize abortion in New South Wales

SYDNEY, Australia, August 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As the winter night fell in Sydney, thousands amassed in the heart of the city, protesting a radical proposed new law permitting abortion on demand until birth. The rally began in Martin Place, a pedestrian mall in the center of Sydney’s business district, at 6 PM and lasted until 9 PM. Thousands of protestors marched from Martin Place to the front of New South Wales Pa

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal of sex abuse conviction

Melbourne, Australia, Aug 20, 2019 / 06:31 pm (CNA).- The conviction of Cardinal George Pell has been upheld by the Court of Appeals in Victoria. After an appellate panel announced its decision at a court proceeding Aug. 21, the cardinal was returned to prison. “By majority (2 to 1), the Court of Appeals has dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for the commission of sexual offences. He will continue to serve his sentence…Continue Reading

‘Unplanned’ actress establishes scholarship for pregnant women

Columbus, Ohio, Aug 18, 2019 / 04:55 pm (CNA).- Ashley Bratcher, lead actress in the pro-life movie “Unplanned,” has helped establish a scholarship for women pursing an education during an unexpected pregnancy. “Women can pursue their careers, live out their dreams, and have richer, more fulfilling lives while balancing motherhood. Sometimes, it just takes a little help,” Bratcher said in a recent press release from Heartbeat International. “I wanted to be a part of empowering…Continue Reading

Trump rule to nix Obama order forcing religious contractors to hire LGBT workers

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would permit government contractors to make employment decisions that are consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs, without fear of sanction by the federal government. If adopted, the rule would reverse an Obama-era executive order that restricted religious federal contractors’ ability to consider employees’ adherence to their faith on matters of sexuality and gender. In 2014, former President Ba


Cardinal Pell . . . “Amazon Or No Amazon, The Church Cannot Allow Any Confusion”

By ED CONDON MELBOURNE (CNA) — George Cardinal Pell has written a letter to supporters saying he is “disturbed” by the preparations for the forthcoming synod on the Amazon. The text of the two-page, handwritten letter — images of which were shared with Catholic News Agency and confirmed by sources close to Pell — has…Continue Reading

China’s High-Tech Tyranny

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate,, distributed this column.) + + + There are passages in the State Department’s latest reports on human rights and religious freedom in the People’s Republic of China that read as if they ought to be in some futuristic…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Pulling Back The Veil Between Heaven And Earth

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints, by Joan Carroll Cruz (TAN Books, 330 pages, Paperback and Kindle). Available at This book deals with miracles involving the Eucharist and saintly figures. The text ranges from miracles occurring in the eighth century to those occurring in more…Continue Reading

Diocese of Scranton . . . Launches Investigation Into National Shrine Rector Rossi

By ED CONDON WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The Diocese of Scranton has begun an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. “Bishop Joseph Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, has commenced the process of launching a…Continue Reading

China’s Human Rights Sham

By JOHN J. METZLER PARIS — It’s never polite to question the deteriorating human rights situation in China, but let’s do it anyway. The hidden and systematic repression of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang province and the high-profile crackdown on pro-demonstrators in Hong Kong, many of them Christian, are both rooted in the…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Are you looking for some solid Catholic books for your high school religious education program, books that have been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Then you should get copies of the five-volume Catholicism Series. The topics covered include the Creed and Apologetics (Catholicism & Reason), the Commandments and Sacraments (Catholicism &…Continue Reading

What’s At Stake… In The Purge At The John Paul II Institute

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is president of Human Life International. Fr. Boquet’s commentary below on the John Paul II Institute first appeared at on August 12 and is reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved.) + + + Essence Of Battle Is Ideological In the past few weeks, a long-brewing skirmish over the…Continue Reading

Enter Through The Narrow Gate

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 66:18-21 Heb. 12:5-7, 11-13 Luke 13:22-30 In the first reading today we hear something that would seem unthinkable to the Jewish people who heard these words when Isaiah spoke them seven hundred years before our Lord came into the world. For generations after that these words must…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Materialism Cannot Save Your Soul

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Some call it cafeteria Catholic. It manifests itself as a demand to take one thing Christ handed down in the Church while rejecting others likewise handed down. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Lord and it is thus the source and summit of our faith. The sight of the faithful going forward at…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent discussion in this column of Communism and socialism, and the sway that these collectivist ideologies hold over many Democrat politicians today, D.M. of Virginia sent along an excerpt from Whittaker Chambers’ 1952 book Witness that accurately describes the nature of Communism and its impact on the world over the past century, when its practitioners caused…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Stanislaus Papczynski

By CAROLE BRESLIN New orders of religious are frequently born from existing orders. The discalced Carmelites were born via St. Teresa of Avila, who was inspired to live a more strict observance of religious life: more seclusion, simpler meals, and more prayer time. St. Teresa of Calcutta belonged to a religious order in India, but desired to serve the poorest…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Mariam Baouardy

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Bible, there are numerous references to Galilee with about 80 in just the New Testament. Galilee is an area in northern Israel and it includes the city of Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, and the site of the Sermon on the Mount. In John 1:46. Nathaniel responds to Philip, who told him of Jesus, “Can anything good…Continue Reading