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Vatican Shell Game

June 30, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

The World Meeting of Families was kicked off with a song about King David’s adultery. Attendees were treated to the performance of Cohen’s Hallelujah in the Paul VI audience hall.
How does that set the tone for a Catholic event affirming the sacrament of marriage? It doesn’t. So, why have it?
Pope Francis’ comments to open the meeting held in Rome in late June sounded fine. But why titillate people beforehand with sounds and mental images of adulterous behavior, which do not prepare them well at all to receive high-sounding words about fidelity and the call to holiness? One commentator described Cohen’s lyrics as “tired, faithless, despairing and cynical.” I would stop at “not Catholic.”
What we are experiencing at times seems like a giant shell game.
The premise of the shell game suggests to a credulous observer that a single object is hidden beneath one of a number of “shells” or coverings and dares him to guess the location of the object, which is constantly moving.
Old games, new tricks. As always, “Caveat emptor”; buyer beware.
The Catholic in the pew these days continually searches with difficulty for the Catholic content underneath the various projects and promotions out of Rome. Everything has a Catholic cover, but scratch the surface, look behind the veneer, and often you do not find what should be there.
Of all the music to choose for a performance at the Vatican, why this?
As a further example of the harms beneath the cover: Take a look at the recent choice of Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego as a cardinal. Americans, bishops among them, were mocked by the Pope’s choice of someone who has said that he supports ordaining women as deacons.
And, in 2016, The San Diego Union Tribune reported that McElroy cited St. John the Evangelist in Hillcrest as an example of a parish where “LGBT worshippers ‘feel particularly welcome’.”
“That’s a very good thing,” he said. McElroy was then commenting on the Diocese of San Diego’s synod on the family, after which he encouraged priests to give Holy Communion to the divorced and “remarried” and embrace “LGBT families.”
(For more on this, see https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/san-diego-bishop-praises-pro-gay-parish-for-being-welcoming/)
Yet, now, Pope Francis effectively thumbs his nose at the American bishops who are struggling mightily under this and other acts of oppression to maintain the Catholic faith in their dioceses.
Wilton Cardinal Gregory of Washington, D.C., turns 75 this coming December, when he will submit his retirement letter, as do all bishops at that age. McElroy, currently in the small see of San Diego, a suffragan church of Los Angeles, will need a new assignment, an archdiocese more befitting his new rank. Will this be more “shell game”? That it, take over a strong and vibrant local Church and replace it with something else?
To those who claim that Francis is not the real Pope, I would reply that you have to say yes and shun conspiracy theories. Notably, at the World Meeting of Families this year, Pope Francis said, sounding Catholic and papal:
“Marriage is not a formality to be fulfilled. You don’t get married to be Catholic ‘with the label,’ to obey a rule, or because the Church says so, or to throw a party. You get married because you want to base your marriage on the love of Christ, which is as firm as a rock. We can say that when a man and a woman fall in love, God offers them a gift: marriage.
“A wonderful gift, which has in it the power of divine love: strong, enduring, faithful, able to recover after any failure or fragility.”
And also from Pope Francis: “In marriage Christ gives Himself to you, so that you have the strength to give yourselves to each other.”
He stressed: “Family is not a beautiful ideal, unattainable in reality. God guarantees His presence in marriage and family, not only on your wedding day but throughout your life. And He sustains you every day in your journey.”
When the Pope affirms your faith and teaches with the Church, listen to what he says and do what he asks. But always use the smell test. And pray for him that he will always teach solid Catholicism, just as you would pray for yourself or anyone you love.
Christ’s warning about the Pharisees in His day holds true in our own when we assess Church leaders:
“Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted’.”
Do not follow men who fail to consistently and faithfully hand on the integral teaching of Christ in faith and morals.
Our readers should beware: the biggest shell game of all began in the postconciliar era, when, in so many instances, anything old or traditional was attacked, while anything new was praised to the skies and promoted.
Perhaps that explains why a determined constituency, however small, clings so tightly to the Traditional liturgy handed down to us. Truth in labeling was effectively destroyed with the shell game begun by a few change agents, who used the Second Vatican Council as an excuse.
Too many of them and their spiritual adherents now hold power and are determined to change the Church in their image.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
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