Inside the Vatican magazine January-February 2022

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by Robert Moynihan

A Future Without God? A group of very wealthy, powerful and well-organized men and women have been proposing a “Great Reset” as a way forward into a better future for humanity, with no mention of Christ. But Christ is the true “Great Reset”

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against ... the spiritual forces of evil.” —St. Paul, Ephesians 6:12 December 17, 2021 Not content to counsel its employees to remove the mention of Christ from references to His own Nativity, the European Union this past Christmas season also suggested avoiding use of names that smack too much of a particular religion, like Christianity (are “Mary” and “Joseph” now verboten?) We are not surprised by such things any more, but let us step back a moment and take a larger view: what used to be synonymous with “Christendom” — the entire continent of Europe, and many regions colonized by Europeans — is now striving to be officially godless. The rest of the world seems to be hurrying to follow suit. There is an axiom of physics: Nature abhors a vacuum, a void. So do human beings. What is now stepping in to fill the void once occupied by God? We are told by the most powerful people in the world (represented by attendees at the World Economic Forum, the WEF) that it is “The Great Reset” — one of whose more famous mottos is, “You will own nothing and... you will be happy!” That mode of life worked for St. Francis of Assisi for one reason: he possessed something far, far beyond what this world has to offer: he possessed God. The Great Reset, however, proposes a future — a political system, a Church, a society — without God. And a future without God is a future of slavery — to material things, to our passions and addictions, to those who hold the reins of power. It is the antithesis of the Kingdom of Christ, which was announced with the words of prophecy, “He has come to set the captives free.” “Faith and freedom are intrinsically linked,” proclaims Georgian poet Dato Magradze, the poet-laureate of the nation of Georgia and author of its post-Soviet national anthem, whose collected works were presented at the Vatican in November. “New ideologies,” he says, “want to ensure that human beings no longer have that fundamental freedom of choice of being able to be good or bad. It makes it so that we no longer have the necessary experience to distinguish good from evil, beauty from ugliness. Our free will is annihilated by our societies.” In this time of lockdowns, vaccination mandates, “green passes,” forced acceptance of transsexualism and transhumanism, all foisted upon us in the midst of governmental dishonesty around the globe, Magradze’s words take on a prophetic significance. “What I want to recall … is that God created the human person, while the state created the citizen, sometimes forgetting his sacred dimension,” he said. “To compensate for this lack, the main mission of poetry is to save the human in the citizen.”

Poetry, music, all beauty re-creates before our eyes and in our imagination a vision of the Divine. But we must return not only to beauty, truth, and goodness, but also to prayer. And so on December 16, on an unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon, a miscellaneous group of Catholic faithful gathered in the small Virginia town of Front Royal to say the rosary — joined by people in their homes via the internet — as the first in what is set to become a rosary campaign for the soul of the world, a campaign that spreads around the globe. It was done in 1916, in Poland, when the collective prayer of the Poles turned back a foreign invasion. It was done in 1964, in Brazil, to stem the rising tide of communism in that country. It can happen again, if enough Christians entreat Heaven with prayer and sacrifice. Pope Benedict, as Fr. Ratzinger, speaking to a German radio audience in 1969, spoke of the future and of the Church in that future: “The future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith. It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, declaring false and obsolete, tyrannical and legalistic, all that makes demands upon men, that hurts them and compels them to sacrifice themselves. To put this more positively: The future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality.” He continued: “And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.” Bringing the Light of Christ to us inhabitants of a darkened world — and making us into saints — has, of course, always been the mission of the Catholic Church, of the Vatican, and of this magazine. As we embark on our 30th year of publishing with this issue, we once again “set out into the deep” with a new initiative – Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church. This issue of the magazine contains a special 8-page pull-out newsletter titled Communiqué which explains why we started this new initiative, and what it encompasses. It was launched in October with a three-day retreat and luncheon event that was well-attended and well-received; I hope you enjoy reading all about it, and I ask you to keep Unitas, and all of us here at ITV, in your prayers. m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Year 30, #1

LEAD STORY ITVS’s TOP TEN PEOPLE OF 2021: Ten Who Refuse to Let the Darkness Prevail . . . . . . . . . .12 John Stinson: Keeping the flame alive in the Middle East . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Blessing Okoedion: New slaves of an opulent society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Fr. Mike Schmitz: Hearts and minds shaped by something eternal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Monica Smit: “It’s our duty as Catholics to act” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Dr. Robert Malone: Inventor of vaccine technology is now a vocal critic of its use . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 Year 30, #1

Cardinal Bechara Boutros Raï: Pulling Lebanon from the brink of disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18


Pamela Acker: Saying “no” to vaccines dependent on abortion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Robert Moynihan ASSOCIATE EDITOR: George “Pat” Morse (+ 2013) ASSISTANT EDITOR: Christina Deardurff CULTURE EDITOR: Lucy Gordan CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Giuseppe Rusconi WRITERS: Anna Artymiak, Alberto Carosa, William A. Doino, Jr., David Quinn, Andrew Rabel, Vladimiro Redzioch, Serena Sartini, Father Vincent Twomey PHOTOS: Grzegorz Galazka LAYOUT: Giuseppe Sabatelli ILLUSTRATIONS: Stefano Navarrini CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: Deborah B. Tomlinson ADVERTISING: Cynthia Sauer Tel. +1.202.864.4261

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v INSIDE THE VATICAN (ISSN 1068-8579, 1 yr subscription: $ 49.95; 2 yrs, $94.95; 3 yrs, $129.95), provides a comprehensive, independent report on Vatican affairs published bimonthly (6 times per year) with occasional special supplements. Inside the Vatican is published by Urbi et Orbi Communications, PO Box 57, New Hope, Kentucky, 40052, USA, pursuant to a License Agreement with Robert Moynihan, the owner of the Copyright. Inside the Vatican, Inc., maintains editorial offices in Rome, Italy. Periodicals Postage PAID at New Hope, Kentucky, USA and additional mailing offices. Copyright 2022 Robert Moynihan


Aurelio Porfiri: “I do not wish to continue singing silly songs” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Andrezj Duda: LGBT indoctrination of children is “neo-Bolshevism” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Pierre-André Udressy: “It is essential to defend freedom with conviction” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 NEWS China/Despite persecution, Chinese Church ordains priests by UCA News/ITV staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 China/A unique solution for the Chinese Church? An interview with Martin Mosebach by Priscilla Smith McCaffrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Vatican/New contemporary art gallery opens by Devin Watkins (Vatican News)/ITV staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Vatican/First woman named to number-two position in Vatican City State by CNA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Vatican/A miracle clears Pope John Paul I for beatification by Vatican News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 LITURGY Interview/ Peter Kwasniewski chronicles the worldwide reaction to Traditionis Custodes by Christina Deardurff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Book/Excerpts from Kwasniewski’s From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 MAGISTERIUM/Message of Pope Francis to people with disabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 SPECIAL INSERT COMMUNIQUÉ: A Newsletter of Urbi et Orbi Communications Urbi et Orbi launches a new initative: Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 CULTURE Footsteps on the Way/Pilgrimage Toward the Face of Christ by ITV staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Commentary/”You are Peter” rings with new and urgent resonance by Dr. Gavin Ashenden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Review/Only God Wins: A review of The St. Gallen Mafia by Julia Melo by Darrick Taylor, Ph.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Analysis/ Is Covaxin the answer? by Tad Wòjcik. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Saints for Our Time/Pope St. Martin I A homily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Education/The Kingship of Christ and JPII’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae by Timothy O’Donnell, Ph.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Latin/Fides Quaerens Intellectum: Christianity and the intellectual life by John Byron Kuhner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Scripture/Let us trust the Evangelists! by Anthony Esolen, Ph.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 URBI ET ORBI: CATHOLICISM AND ORTHODOXY Icon/The First Seven Steps of Mary by Robert Wiesner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 East-West Watch/Synodality and the Orthodox by Peter Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 News from the East/Orthodox involvement in Catholic Synod; Russian Patriarch condemns communism and “social justice” ideology; Hilarion criticizes pro-abortion Catholics by Matthew Trojacek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 FEATURES Art/Celebrating Dante by Lucy Gordan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 60 Lord of the World/”Percy’s heart made its choice” by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 Vatican Watch/A day-by-day chronicle of Vatican events: September-November 2021 by Matthew Trojacek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 People/First Hmong priest; Foucauld to be canonized; Francis names Sachs; bishop released by Matthew Trojacek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 Food for Thought/Love makes the world go ‘round by Mother Martha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70

WISDOM & WONDER from Peter Kreeft



one-of-a-kind study on Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, by a great philosopher and teacher. If Jesus Christ is wisdom incarnate, and Mary loved Him more than anyone else, then it holds that Mary is the greatest philosopher, the greatest wisdom-lover. With precision and humor, Kreeft unpacks the thought and spirit of Mary as we know her through Scripture and Church teaching, and offers a heartfelt crash course in the basics of philosophy—methodology, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, cosmology, ethics, and more—all through the lens of the Mother of God. Kreeft fans will find another fine example of his freshness, creativity, depth, and readability. Above all, those who are curious about the mother of Jesus, whether new to Christian faith or simply hoping to discover it anew, will find themselves swept up in the tide of Mary's wise love for God. GPELP . . . Sewn Softcover, $18.95

"A book about two handmaids: the handmaid of theology and the handmaid of the Lord. Kreeft deftly reframes both, arguing that Mary's fiat fulfills the project of philosophy, which is not theoretical, but personal. Amidst saccharine Marian reflections and dry analytical tomes, this surprising book stands out like a bright star." — Abigail Favale, Ph.D., Dean, College of Humanities George Fox University "This meditation on Mary, Seat of Wisdom, wisely points to her as the model of philosophers. Kreeft shows her to be a living and comprehensive lesson in the greatest truths of philosophy, and the best antidote to modern philosophy and the inhuman culture built upon it." — Michael Augros, Ph.D., Author, Who Designed the Designer?

◆ WISDOM AND WONDER How Peter Kreeft Shaped the Next Generation of Catholics Edited by Brandon Vogt ew figures have impacted the rising generation of Catholics more than Peter Kreeft, the widely respected philosophy professor and prolific bestselling author. Through his writings and lectures, Kreeft has shaped the minds and hearts of thousands of young apologists, evangelists, teachers, parents, and scholars. This collection of eighteen essays, mainly by millennial Catholic leaders and converts to the Catholic faith, celebrates Kreeft’s significant legacy and impact, his most important books, and the many ways he has imparted to others those two seminal gifts: wisdom and wonder. Among the contributors are Brandon Vogt, Trent Horn, Tyler Blanski, Dr. Douglas Beaumont, JonMarc Grodi, Jackie Angel, Matthew Warner, Rachel Bulman, Fr. Blake Britton, and many others.


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“These wonderful essays witness to the extraordinary influence of one of the great teachers of the Catholic faith today. In their intelligence, wit, and faith, these young disciples of Kreeft show that they have sat attentively at the master’s feet. They make people want to read the works of the man who so inspired them.” — Bishop Robert Barron, Founder, Word on Fire Ministries “University professor, philosopher, apologist, prolific author, Peter Kreeft is our generation's C.S. Lewis, and more. He has brought countless souls to Christ and the Catholic Church. These essays, by a diverse group of authors, reflect the broad range of Kreeft's influence. What better way to honor one of the greatest minds in American Catholic history?” — Scott Hahn, Ph.D., Author, Rome Sweet Home P.O. Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522

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Italy: Journey to the Face of Christ May 28 - June 7, 2022 From the ancient rooms where St. Peter lived for seven years, to the bishop’s residence in Assisi; from the treasure trove of art and faith at the Vatican Museum, to the Benedictine monastery of Norcia; we will encounter some of the “living stones” of our Church, as we journey toward the Face of Christ – both spiritually and physically in the form of the miraculous Face of Manoppello. Visit us online to learn more!

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Classic IRELAND: Saints & Scholars – July 16 - 27, 2022

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Our Signature Pilgrimages (intimate, limited to 15 pilgrims) are impossible to mass-produce. Like the products of an artisan, they are works of painstaking preparation that reflect our unswerving commitment to create something of great and unique beauty.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR INSIDE THE VATICAN welcomes letters but cannot reply to all. Each is read and considered carefully. Printed letters may be edited for clarity. You may email us at



We get requests like these everyday.

I have been a big fan of Dr. Moynihan for several years now. I just finished Finding Viganò. I was very impressed by his ability to take this very important story which most Catholics have simply ignored. I am looking forward to reading Vol II. Enclosed find a small contribution to his work. Dr. Patrick Metress Annandale, Virginia

Dear Friends: I’ve just received your latest issue, and even a cursory perusal reveals your usual incisive and relevant articles and stellar photography. I also noticed, however, that it was marked “last issue” of my subscription. If possible, may I request another year’s extension? In this prison—deep in rural Georgia—there is no Catholic ministry, ergo, no sacraments; Inside the Vatican is therefore a vital part of my communion with the Church—second, of course, to prayer, in which I always include you and your staff. I appreciate your kindness. With love in Christ, Richard J. T. Clark, T.O.M.

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PRAY FOR FRANCIS Please cancel my subscription. In my conscience, I cannot support a magazine that criticizes our Holy Father Francisco. I am sorry to take this decision, but instead of attacking our Holy Father you should pray for him. God bless you and forgive you. Carlos Arias Switzerland

PRAYER REQUEST I am a priest who is suffering, and I request a 54-day rosary novena for my intentions. But any prayers and sacrifices would be greatly appreciated. May Our Lady reward you generously for this. Anonymous

LITURGY REPORT [Re: Moynihan Letter #131: Diane] It seems Diane Montagna has direct documentary knowledge, meaning her reporting is likely true – and appalling. While scandalous sexual and financial behavior in the Vatican has happened for centuries, behavior regarding the liturgical life of the Church that is deliberately deceitful, perhaps up to misleading the Pope himself, is not just scandalous but evil. It seems to me that this shocking activity is part and parcel of the effort of soon-to-age-out men who are desperate to enact the “reforms” they believe should happen as a result of Vatican II. Picking up on where the Extraordinary Form is apparently most

popular — the US, France, and England — I would suggest that Ms. Montagna’s reporting (perhaps in the form you present it) be sent to each individual bishop in those three countries. Why? Create a reaction which makes Traditionis Custodes dead on arrival. Recall the motu proprio issued by Pope St. John XXIII requiring that all seminary education be conducted in Latin. The document was completely ignored. While I am loath to cite the spiteful bishops around the world who refused to ever act on Summorum Pontificum, this new situation is far worse. Charles Cornelio Bravo, Robert! Powerful and blows the roof off! I’m thinking that Diane might want to rent out a room next to Viganò and wear sunglasses…God bless you both with angelic protection. Marti Mccullough Perhaps the Pope's advisors are the demons incarnate! Sadly Satan's Freemason friends and their ilk are feverishly using everything they can to destroy the faith of the people and the Church. In the end, Christ wins. In the meantime.....we are at an all-time low! Francis seems to have lost control of the Curia, or is it that they have wrested it away from him? Lorraine I am a final (6th) year seminarian training for the diocesan priesthood.... My planned ordination is next July. I want to thank you for your balanced journalism – always seeking the truth in love, never speaking harshly, even when there is error. This is a model for us all, and how authentic journalism should be. Your letters, and especially your presentation of the prophetic thought of Archbishop Viganò, have been a great help in these times. I’m sure it is a slim chance but my conscience urges me to be bold – is there

any way you could ask Archbishop Viganò what he suggests for a seminarian in my situation? I have fallen in love with the Traditional Latin Mass in recent years, partly because it is more prayerful, but also because I believe the Sacred Liturgy is the primary organ of theological memory in the Church, and the Old Rite expresses the fullness of our Faith more coherently. Until Traditionis Custodes, my hope was to be ordained and celebrate the Old Rite privately regularly and (respectfully) introduce it into parish life in order to help stimulate and foster a love of Tradition. The Motu Proprio has clearly put an end to that avenue. I had initially thought of joining the FSSP or ICKSP but I suspect Rome may try to suppress them to some extent. It seems the path of tradition is narrowing – either stay on the diocesan route and hope to get “permission” from the Bishop and Rome at some point, or switch to the SSPX. I never would have dreamed of the SSPX until all this, but my mind has been opened and, in light of the crisis and studying Church history, I’m starting to see things differently. I don't believe they are the schismatic rebels which many have accused them of being, and I suspect we will be praising Archbishop Lefebvre one day for preserving the Sacred Liturgy by the actions he took. But I am still cautious and there are questions. I wonder if you could ask Archbishop Viganò what his advice would be for someone in my situation. I know there are other men with similar questions. If this is possible — and I fully understand if not — please thank the Archbishop for his bold and prophetic witness. Most recently I'm struck by his suggestion of the need for an alliance and manifesto against the globalist threat, or even a creedal expression which counters the grave errors we are facing. I also observe that Our Blessed Mother always comes to our rescue to counter heresy. I suspect that understanding and turning to her as Co-Redemptrix may be very powerful and a direct antidote to the gathering stormcloud of “transhumanist” errors. This is because Mary as CoRedemptrix exemplifies the essential dignity of humanity, called to participate in sacrificial love for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. May she continue to

guide and protect Archbishop Viganò, your work, and all those bearing witness to Truth in these times. (Name withheld)

UPROOT CORRUPTION Please do what you can to get the synod of bishops to uproot corruption at the highest levels. Thank you.

FEEDING THE SHEEP [Re: Moynihan Letter #120: From the Devil] “Second, it is not clear from these remarks whose fault it is that there is no such dialogue, whose fault it is that communications between Pope Francis and his conservative critics seem to have broken down completely. Has Francis sought to open such a dialogue and been rejected? Have his conservative critics sought for such a dialogue and been rejected? Can anyone shed light on what is the answer to this question?” Two millennia ago, on the shore of a lake, the Risen Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. The Lord's response to Peter's affirmations was “Feed my sheep.” The primary role of the papal office is to preserve the faith by feeding the believers with the Truth. Using the formal framework of “Dubia,” four cardinals respectfully asked Pope Francis to resolve ambiguity in doctrine relating to his encyclical Amoris Laetitia and apparent conflicts with Veritatis Splendor. The sheep had asked to be fed. Two of the four cardinals have since died, awaiting the papal response. Those with eyes to see, let them see. Robert Bennett

American food American owner

JPII’S RUSSIA CONSECRATION VALID? [Re: Moynihan Letter #159: Schneider Tape #9] “That the papal consecration of Russia to Mary in union with the bishops as specifically requested at Fatima has not been properly carried out is generally admitted by most Catholics. That Pope John Paul II himself admitted the fact is not as well known... “Going back to John Paul's 1984 consecration, though others would later come back in the coming years and assert that this consecration fulfilled Our Lady's request, it seems that the pope himself doubted it at the time it was made. “The consecration of March 1984 was done in front of 250,000 pilgrims. Again, the pope consecrated ‘the world’ and hinted at Russia, as we have seen above. But moments after the consecration, John Paul II added some unscripted, off-thecuff remarks, in which he implored Our Lady of Fatima to ‘enlighten especially the peoples of which You Yourself are awaiting our consecration and confiding.’ These statements appeared on the cover of the March 26th 1984 edition of L'Osservatore Romano. (from Cathy Fernandes

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Thank you for sharing! I have been a Fatima Believer since the ‘50s and as I remember, Our Lady requested that Russia be consecrated by the Pope and all the Bishops of the world (in place, no traveling). The actual ceremony would be short. When done properly there would be an immediate “one-eighty” turn in the world from evil (e.g., Padre Pio and Fr. Luigi Villa revealed over 100 persons in power as members of P-2 Masonic Lodge in Rome) to good. The whole world would know! The request of Our Lady was made in 1929; the prevention of its completion was at the hands of the traitors. I believe a coup took down dear, true Benedict XVI. Time will tell and maybe the three Cardinals who researched for the Pope in 2012 will speak up if still alive. I believe, in the long run, Russia is not the enemy. Sandy Acosta

ZOLLI ON HANUKKAH [Re: Moynihan Letter #151: Zolli on Hanukkah] Thank you for this. I pray that “all manner of things are well” for you in

the midst of this present darkness with undiminished hope in our future Light. Mother Miriam Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope Beloit, Kansas, USA

REFUSING SACRAMENTS TO THE UNVACCINATED I think this barring of the unvaccinated “unclean” from the church is just disgusting. Episcopalian churches in my area were doing this, and it shocked me as un-Christian. To see a Catholic diocese doing this makes me boiling mad. Jesus Christ never ejected anyone from coming to listen to Him or follow Him. He accepted the poor, the sick, the so-called unclean, everyone — so how can a bishop who claims to follow Christ practice such discrimination? I think we need to ask Bishop Heiner Koch that proverbial question: “What would Jesus do?” The cowardice of prelates in accepting lockdowns and refusing to give the sacraments was extremely shocking and scandalous, and this discrimination against the unvaccinated seems to be

another manifestation of the same. Valeria

INTENTIONAL DECEPTION [Re: Moynihan Letter #167: The Nathanson Files, Tape #2: Intentional Deception] Great feature. Reminds me of Edward Bernays' techniques. Cigarettes were named torches of freedom to link smoking with women's rights. You do great work, Dr. M! Joel Peddle

AGENDA 2030: THE ENDGAME You are just the messenger, and after reading the recent letters that you forwarded, each will draw their own conclusions. You, Archbishop Viganò and others are letting us know the hour is late. If you view world events as one picture instead of separate events, we can see what the prophets of old, the visionaries throughout the ages and most importantly, Jesus, warned about.

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PARTICIPATE IN OUR LITURGY SURVEY! We invite you to contribute to our farreaching assessment of the availability and attendance of all the different liturgical rites of the Church. We’ll publish our results in a special “Liturgy” issue of Inside the Vatican magazine, and later, in a more scholarly “white paper” on the liturgy around the world today. contribute your voice today! I read about this Build Back Better “Great Reset,” in comments from UN Asst. Secretary Robert Muller back in 2010. He talked about reducing the world population, saving the planet and how mankind was the problem. He also talked about the need to eliminate structured religion, “fundamentalism,” and make way for a universal spirituality. Anyone can look it up. They've been planning this for years, and the Green Pass is just one tool in their toxic tool box. Agenda 2030 is the end game. For those who doubt, do your own homework. However, we're not left without resources. Prayer is very powerful. Why else would they want to close the doors to the churches or eliminate organized religion? Forewarned is forearmed, and like Bishop Schneider said in your interviews, their plans for a transhumanist world of control will succeed for a short time, but only for a time, because God will not allow it to continue. There is always an open door toward freedom and peace, but we have to choose. I think many souls will be saved because He is so patient with us. Linda Smith Florida, USA

ABORTION’S TOLL One aspect of abortion has puzzled me: the absence of any mention of the loss of the life of not only that baby, of course, but also the lives of his or her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. That baby is only the tip of an upside-down triangle whose numbers would grow exponentially as the years went by. God sits above the entire spectrum of time, and sees everybody and all of their potential descendants. Every time a baby is aborted, all of its descendants vanish with one procedure. Frank W. Russell

NO JOY IN SECULARISM Secular Dogma aims at one thing: There can be no morality which is Christian! The war we are fighting is against Christianity — not only its truth, but the society it produces, including marriage between one man and one woman. Secularism demands the abolition of this tradition – without any proof of its being a good idea! No, we just must do it.

This kind of forced secularism is based on “separation” between Church and State (while the State grows and grows, taking over every phase of human life). Thus there is a hollowingout of society (because the State does not create joy), which ruins lives and creates deception and fear. Everybody eventually gets forced to comply or else. Joy gets locked up. The whole thing is a power grab with secular cement in everybody’s shoes. So we all die and nobody gets to go to Heaven – that’s the plan. The Devil gets to think too that he “beat” Jesus and can now show off all the lost souls with cement in their hearts and minds. But then, the Blessed Mother will show her Son all the millions and millions of red roses of Guadalupe who never converted to secular atheism. These souls have stayed true! None of them are weighed down with spiritual cement, so they can be released into Heaven and attend the Wedding Feast with joy. Amen! Tom Greerty JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN


TOP TEN PEOPLE 2021 The world can be a dark place, yet these are people who refuse to let the darkness prevail

t’s been two years since Covid first came to international attention, and countless aspects of life have never been the same since. Yet, one thing that has remained constant is the determination of individuals to follow the Spirit’s call to transcend their own comfort, their own desires, their own interests, and brave sometimes severe difficulties in service to their brothers and sisters in the human family. It is the call echoed by Pope Francis: “The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed in abundance so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity.” “Go out,” he says, “...become the Word in body as well as in spirit.”




And so we highlight here 10 people — admittedly, just a tiny few among the many, many faithful and selfless souls around the world — to underscore not only the need and the challenge of following the Gospel command to “love your neighbor,” but also to hold them up as a beacon of encouragement. We are all called to live lives of service and we all find it daunting at times; but the Lord sustains us and gives us hope. These are men and women who bring us some of that hope. The world can be a dark place, yet these are people who refuse to let the darkness prevail. They are Inside the Vatican’s Top Ten of 2021.

John Stinson

Keeping the flAme Alive in the middle eASt One man continues the struggle to help persecuted Christians in Afghanistan


n October 7, 2001, the United States government launched Operation Enduring Freedom, beginning airstrikes in Afghanistan in preparation for invasion and toppling of the Taliban regime. On March 20, 2003, U.S. forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, a surprise invasion of Iraq. On August 30, 2021, 20 years after 2001, the last U.S. military forces left Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, 15 days after the Taliban retook most of it on August 15. U.S. forces are still present in Iraq. Throughout these years of warfare and bloodshed, the small Christian communities in Iraq and Afghanistan, targeted by jihadists, insufficiently protected by U.S. and allied forces, and largely ignored by Western media, struggled for survival. That Christian communities still exist in the Muslim-majority Middle East after nearly 1,400 years of intermittent persecution is a testament to their resilience and tenacity — but most of all, to their unshakeable faith. Here we highlight one man, John Stinson, as a nod to all those who have worked for the survival of Middle Eastern Christians and their communities. On active duty in Baghdad’s Green Zone, Lt. Col. Stinson saw firsthand the chaos that the U.S. invasion wrought upon religious minorities in Iraq. Before the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, an estimated 1.5 million Christians lived in the country, many of them members of the Chaldean Catholic Church or the Assyrian Church of the East. These communities date back to the churches established in Mesopotamia in the first century by the Apostles Thomas and Thaddeus, and their disciples Addai and Mari; their Eastern Aramaic language is closely related to the one that Christ himself spoke. In the years following 2003, however, Iraqi Christians could no longer rely on the protection of Hussein’s ruling Baath Party, and they were increasingly attacked by Islamist militias. Stinson helped some Iraqi Christian families re-establish themselves in the United States, but the situation went from bad to worse with the appearance of the jihadist Islamic State (ISIS). In early 2014, ISIS overran large areas of northern Iraq and Syria, including the cities

of Mosul and Tikrit, home to tens of thousands of Christians. The scope of the resulting ethnic cleansing and genocide is still unclear, but several recent studies estimate the Christian population in Iraq at less than 200,000 — nearly a 90% reduction since the U.S. invasion. The Archbishop of Irbil, in northern Iraq, spoke in 2019 of a “final, existential struggle” between jihadists and Iraqi Christians. Following his retirement, Stinson worked as a liaison to the State Department in Afghanistan, coordinating joint operations between the U.S. diplomatic service and the military. During the hurried evacuation of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July and August of 2021, he was focused on “making sure all of my people were able to get to safety.” He worked around the clock, making calls and checking flight lists. But once again, he could only stand by and watch as communication broke down over the last several days and thousands of atrisk people were left to their fate. “I had a plane waiting on the tarmac with 200 people,” he told Inside the Vatican. “I put in a call to the people who were supposed to clear the flight path with the governments of the other countries [that the plane would be flying over]. And they wouldn’t give me the clearance.” Christians in Afghanistan, long persecuted, are now going back underground. In 2019, a few courageous Christians had professed their faith publicly on their national identity cards. Now, the Taliban are using these names to identify and target the entire Christian community, thought to number between 10,000 and 20,000. Stinson is still in touch with some of them and, following his resignation in protest from his official post, continues trying to find ways to help them. Despite the colossal failures of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the accounts of men like Stinson give hope that there are still men and women of good will on the front lines of the struggle to save those of Christ’s flock under direct attack. And if enough people begin, first to pay attention and then to act, perhaps not all is yet lost for Christians in the Middle East.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Blessing okoedion

“New slAves of AN opuleNt society” A young woman escaped from human trafficking to help others like herself


“There are some who, when we approach them, immen 2013, a young woman trained as a computer technidiately tell us, ‘I want to quit this job. I was not told about cian was promised a job in Spain by a nice woman from this, I just need somebody to help me.’ Then we rescue her church in her home village in Nigeria. them immediately.” In 2017, she wrote an autobiography Blessing Okoedion, the young computer technician, with Italian journalist Anna Cozzi, called The Courage of believed her. Freedom. She left her village with high hopes and the blessing of In 2018, she was one of 10 people honored for her her parents, to find a new life and a career in Europe — efforts in fighting human trafficking by the U.S. State the dream of countless young Africans. But when she Department at the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report arrived, she saw the dream quickly dissolve, replaced by launch ceremony in Washington, D.C. The report is an the dawning realization that the career for which she had annual assessment of foreign governbeen recruited was not as a computer tech ments’ anti-trafficking efforts. in Spain, but as a prostitute in Italy. She also began accompanying trafBlessing was told that she would have ficking victims who want to return to to pay for her rent, food, and heat with her Nigerian society through the Italy-based earnings, and she was threatened with organization Slaves No More, an initiaharm, even death, if she were to escape tive of the Pontifical Academy of Sciand inform on her captors. Most African ences and the Pontifical Academy of women like her who were working the Social Sciences. Italian streets were too frightened to resist, Now 31, she works tirelessly at raisafraid of both the African “juju curse” of ing awareness to make the young women not paying back their debts, and of the of her country less vulnerable to traffickmadams who controlled them. ing but, says Blessing, factors like poverBut Blessing was different: within four ty, idleness, and materialism in Nigeria days she had managed to find a police stamake that difficult. tion and ask for help. The police took her “Will the creation of awareness resolve to a shelter, Casa Ruth, run by a group of The community of Casa Ruth founded the problem of idleness? Will the crenuns who rescue and rehabilitate immiby Sr. Rita Geretta where Okoedion ation of awareness satisfy the hunger? grant women forced into sex slavery. was welcomed in 2014 Will the creation of awareness remove Again, Blessing was different: she not the pressure that poverty brings? only escaped from the life she had been lured into, but “Unfortunately we are living in a society where the poor vowed to do what she could to help other young women are being humiliated by the rich; in the process of trying like her, on the streets – and to help thwart the criminals to get revenge, we try to acquire riches by any means who lured young African women into the hellish life from without looking at the implications. which she had narrowly escaped. “It is my hope that young people, me included, will “Women die out there all the time,” she said. “They just become more aware of the risk of becoming the new get rid of the bodies and no one looks back. There is no slaves of an opulent society where with money everything one there to protect the women, and the longer they stay, can be bought and sold, even a boy or a child for pornogthe more fear sets into their bones.” raphy and prostitution, begging and organ transplant, child In 2014, Blessing started helping Casa Ruth, founded labor and false marriages. As young people we too have a by Sr. Rita Geretta more than 22 years ago, rescue women role to play, to offer our contribution to stop human traftrafficked to Italy from Africa, explaining in a 2018 interficking so that every human being, mainly youth, can view, “From there, we start building confidence, then enjoy the gift of freedom and dignity as given to us by many of them start to open up, tell us everything, their God the Creator.”m fears, everything. Then we start counseling,” she says. 14



Fr. Mike schmitz

HeArts And Minds sHAped By soMetHing eternAl A Catholic priest’s 2021 Bible podcast debuts at #1


Change Your Life” and “Can Someone Be Denied ven before it was launched in January 2021, Fr. Holy Communion?” Mike Schmitz’s “The Bible in a Year (with Fr. And viewers responded. His enduring popularity Mike Schmitz)” became the #1-ranked podcast overon YouTube, and as a speaker at Catholic events, led all on Apple Podcasts. That’s quite a feat for anyone, Ascension to propose a new idea: “The Bible in a let alone a Catholic priest whose message is the traYear (with Fr. Mike Schmitz).” The series of 365 ditional, orthodox Christianity of two millennia. daily Bible readings, reflections and prayer last 20-25 Fr. Mike, 47, is a youthful, handsome, athletic, allminutes, and when completed, daily viewers will American guy. His primary position is as chaplain to have read the entire Bible along with Fr. Mike in one the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota at year. The podcast debuted on January 1, 2021 in the Duluth, and he knows how to connect naturally and number one spot on Apple Podcasts, Apple’s popular sincerely with young people. Thence comes his streaming service and video hosting platform, and incredible appeal to the “YouTube generation” of even in December, as the series neared the end of its podcast watchers who are flocking to his 365 daily year-long run, it remained in episodes of Bible passages and the top 25. commentary. Fr. Mike explains why he But Fr. Mike was not altook on the project: “One of ways consumed with zeal for the primary reasons why I the Faith. As a youth, he was in wanted to create this podcast fact indifferent to it; “I would was because my own mind was do whatever I could to avoid being filled with a lot of chaotgoing to Mass,” he says. But ic voices. Some were wise, he had “an encounter with many were merely distracting. Christ through confession” I think that a lot of people are that changed him. He began to tired of those same distracting realize that he needed Jesus, Fr. Mike Schmitz’ new podcast hits #1 on iTunes, toppling NPR, NBC, iHeart Radio and more and temporary voices. And and it led him down the road of they want what I want: to allow our hearts and minds asking what God wanted of him. to be shaped by something eternal — God’s eternal Though he made a detour through the movie busiWord.” ness (he made the final round of auditions for the part In October Fr. Mike was voted one of the “Top of Robin in the 1995 movie Batman Forever), the Five Podcast Influencers of the Year” in the People’s road eventually took him to ordination in 2003 for the Choice Podcast Awards. And this is his most basic Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, where he later became message: “The number one thing that every human the director of youth ministry for the diocese. In fact, being has to do is to become a person of prayer,” he his unique talent for reaching youth — conveying the explains. unvarnished truths of the Catholic faith while “speak“You might not know what God wants you to do ing their language” — was so effective that Ascennext week, next year, next decade, but you do know sion Press’s video arm, Ascension Presents, asked what He wants you to do now. him in 2015 to start making brief, youth-oriented “He wants you to pray, He wants you to obey the YouTube video talks on Catholic topics. commandments, and He wants you to love your His videos, always based on traditional Catholic neighbor. teaching, have covered topics ranging from “The “I can’t let what I don’t know that God wants me Secret about Sex and Holiness” and “Why Watching to do become the excuse for not doing what I do MMA [Mixed Martial Arts] Strips Human Dignity” know that He wants me to do.”m to “Why St. Thérèse and her ‘Little Way’ Will JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Monica smit

“It’s Our duty As CAthOlICs tO ACt” One Australian Catholic stands up to the government


onica Smit can wax eloquent about the beauty of her native Australia, but she hastens to add, “Beauty is nothing without freedom.” Monica, 34, has in fact devoted herself for the past two years to that very ideal: freedom. She is the now-famous Catholic Australian who was arrested in 2021 after breaking the severe lockdown restrictions in her home state of Victoria: she drove her car more than 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) from her home, against the emergency rules enacted by the state’s health authority. Three unmarked police cars followed her and stopped her car, arresting Monica and taking her to jail. She had the presence of mind to livestream the arrest, which went “viral” on social media and the internet. “If I had merely recorded it, they would have destroyed my phone,” she explains. Monica, who founded the antilockdown advocacy group Reignite Democracy Australia in 2020, was charged with multiple counts of “incitement” — and not incitement of others to commit a crime or even disobey Covid restrictions, but simply incitement to “opposition” of those restrictions. In other words, she was charged for articulating reasons for people to disagree with the government’s Covid policies—at the time, among the most draconian in the world. Vaccine mandates were in place for large sectors of society, businesses were shut down (as always, excepting fast food and liquor stores) and travel from one’s home was severely restricted to just a few reasons of necessity. People were made depressed, lonely and fearful – all without rational justification. “It was like a concentration camp in your own home,” says Monica. The judge in her case imposed unreasonable bail conditions, including the removal of the online content posted by her and Reignite Democracy Australia, a nightly curfew beginning at 7 pm, and even the shutting down of her bank accounts. She had already decided not to let herself and her group be muzzled; she refused to sign the bail conditions; she was remanded to prison for 22 days, in solitary confinement.



A mainstay of her ability to accept prison time was prayer. Monica, raised in a Catholic family of five children, did not always practice her faith. “From age 18 to about 26, I tried the world instead of the Faith to see if it was better than being a Catholic; turns out it wasn’t,” she says. After that, Monica realized that she needed a purpose in her life. “I was young, single, I was in a position to do something for people, I just didn’t know what it would be.” Then along came Covid, and seemingly overnight, a series of burdensome restrictions was put in place in Victoria. And as she educated herself about the actual health issues surrounding Covid, she came to realize that the new Covid vaccine which was touted by the government as the only answer to the pandemic was really no answer at all. About the vaccine’s efficacy, and especially its safety, she says, “The government lies to us.” “I really think that we are the petri dish for the world,” she explains. “The world powers who want to take over control of everyone’s lives – they are trying it out first in Australia. We are an island, we are all very spread out, and of course we started as a penal colony…” She revealed that the Premier of Victoria state, Daniel Andrews, has proposed new legislation, called “permanent pandemic legislation,” which eliminates citizens’ rights even more dramatically than previous emergency measures. This legislation says that “they can detain pretty much anyone they want, for any reason, and there is no penalty if they get it wrong, there is no punishment for law enforcement to come into your home, they do not need a search warrant, there is no appeal process, there is no right to silence as a detainee, they can force test you and they can inject you with anything they want while they are in there. This is on paper. This is in black and white,” she says. “It’s our duty as Catholics to act. If you cannot act, you can pray. Catholic action is 100% necessary.”m


Dr. Robert Malone

InvenToR of CovID vaCCIne TeChnology, now voCal CRITIC of ITs applICaTIon The respected virologist crusades for the truth


efore the year 2021, not many people had heard of Dr. Robert Malone beyond a few experts in virology. Today, Dr. Malone is one of the leading voices critical of the official Covid responses not only in the U.S., but also worldwide. A highly respected, 40-year veteran in his field, he speaks with unique authority: he was the original inventor of the mRNA vaccine and its technology in the late 1980s when he worked at the Salk Institute. Dr. Malone’s name has become known to the larger world outside of science since he started to raise his voice of concern in June of 2021. For example, on June 21 he published a text on Twitter, stating: “But it is also increasingly clear that there are some risks associated with these vaccines. Various governments have attempted to deny that this is the case. But they are wrong. Vaccination-associated coagulation is a risk. Cardiotoxicity is a risk. Those are proven, and discussed in official USG communications, as well as communications from a variety of other governments. Based on what I have seen, I believe that other toxicity risks will become more apparent. These include menstrual irregularities, development of thrombocytopenia, cerebrovascular effects, and reactivation of latent viruses such as clinical shingles.” In an August Washington Times article co-authored with Peter Navarro, Dr. Malone once more pointed out some of the potential side effects of the mRNA vaccine, which include the actual enhancement of disease. The two authors wrote: “Unknown side effects which virologists fear may emerge, to include existential reproductive risks, additional autoimmune conditions, and various forms of disease enhancement, i.e., the vaccines can make people more vulnerable to reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 or reactivation of latent viral infections and associated diseases such as shingles.” Both men also warned that the vaccine could turn out to be “leaky” and have little durability. “While good at preventing severe disease and death, they only reduce, not eliminate, the risk of infection, replication, and transmission,” they wrote. Dr. Malone is now very active among the good physicians struggling worldwide to stem the tide of unreason and propaganda that seems to permeate official Covid responses everywhere.

Dr. Malone personally told me that studies have shown that lockdowns do not work, yet have serious side effects like damage to people’s mental health and also to the economy, among others. He also insists that masks have only a 10% chance of reducing the transmission of the virus. Finally, Dr. Malone opposes the idea of vaccine mandates. There is a “fundamental principle in the logic that people have freedom to choose and particularly over their own body in medical procedures. And what we’re talking about is mandating individuals to receive a medical intervention with an unlicensed medical product,” the great physician and expert told me. He also argues that mass vaccination in the midst of a pandemic promotes the mutation of the coronavirus, which is exactly what we seem to be witnessing now, with the Delta and now the Omicron variants appearing. In his increasing activism, Dr. Malone became the president of the International Covid Alliance which has so far issued two important statements: one against the suppression of potentially lifesaving early treatment of Covid patients, and another adamantly opposing the idea of inflicting this experimental vaccine on children, who have a very low risk of being gravely affected by the virus itself; however, “Children risk severe, adverse events from receiving the vaccine. Permanent physical damage to the brain, heart, immune and reproductive system associated with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-based genetic vaccines has been demonstrated in children.” Recently, Dr. Malone endorsed Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s call to form an international anti-globalist alliance, sharing the archbishop’s concern about the current deterioration of Western democracies and human liberties. With these interventions, Dr. Malone shows himself to be, in his heart, a man who cares deeply for people’s – and especially children’s — wellbeing. Himself a husband and father, he and his beloved wife, collaborator, and companion Jill run a horse farm where they breed beautiful Lusitano horses, which originate in Portugal. Let us keep Robert and Jill in our prayers. They work tirelessly for the true “common good” of mankind. –Maike Hickson JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Cardinal bechara boutros raï

Pulling lebAnon from the brink of disAster An 80-year-old cardinal fights for his country Finally on September 10, 2021, a new government n the July 18, 2021 feast of St. Charbel, a 19th-centuheaded by Najib Mikati, the country’s richest man and a ry monk and mystic dear to the Lebanese, the Patripast prime minister, was formed — 13 months after the arch of the Maronite Catholic Church, centered in resignation of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Lebanon, entrusted his suffering country to the beloved Cardinal Raï has maintained throughout that to pave the saint. way for a lasting solution, Lebanon must declare and pur“St. Charbel will not let Lebanon collapse,” said Carsue a policy of “active neutrality” in international matters. dinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi (Latinized as Raï), 80, Such a policy would help protect the country in the asking the saint’s intercession for “the miracle of our salinternational tug-of-war between the West, Israel, Syria, vation from total ruin.” Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among others. At that moment, it looked to all the world like there was “Lebanon’s neutrality is the guarantee of its unity and no one else to appeal to but the powits historical position, especially in ers of Heaven. The country had this phase full of geographic and been without a fully functioning constitutional changes. It is its government for almost a year. strength and guarantee of its stabiliAlready in the throes of skyrocketty,” Cardinal Raï wrote on the webing unemployment, inflation and a site of the Maronite Patriarchate in hemorrhage of young talent from 2020. the country, a massively destructive Cardinal Raï argued that a comAugust 2020 explosion at its port in mitment to neutrality would enBeirut left the country on the brink hance Lebanon’s economic recovery of collapse. by creating an environment that is In the wake of the blast, key govstable and secure, which he said ernment officials resigned and left a would lead to economic confidence, void in leadership. The unemployFebruary of 2021. Cardinal Raï greeted the crowd of Lebanese rallied at Bkerke, the seat of the Maronite investment, and tourism in Lebanon ment, lack of infrastructure, and Catholic Church north of Beirut — a return to its place as “Switzergovernmental chaos continued to land of the Middle East,” as it was once called. lead to increasing poverty and hunger. A component of neutrality is the restoration of It has fallen in large part to the Church, in this unique Lebanon’s territorial and economic sovereignty and the Arab country with a third of its citizens Christians, to sealing of its borders to block smuggling routes for guns, somehow help steer Lebanon out of looming disaster. human trafficking and illegal immigration. Lebanon’s approximately equal populations of Christians, “A neutral Lebanon is able to contribute to the stability Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims have historically lived of the region as well, defend the rights of the Arab peoples together in what Pope John Paul II once called “a message and the cause of peace, and play a role in weaving healthy of freedom and example of pluralism for East and West.” and secure relations between the countries of the Middle But now, even that social tolerance is threatened. East and Europe, by virtue of its location on the shore of And Cardinal Raï, though not a young man, has taken the Mediterranean,” he said. up the challenge. As Patriarch of the Maronite Church In February of 2021, thousands of Lebanese rallied at since 2011 (Pope Benedict made him a cardinal in 2012), Bkerke, the seat of the Maronite Catholic Church north of he has continually spoken out for the suffering, exhausted Beirut. Opening with Lebanon’s national anthem, folLebanese and relentlessly admonished the country’s politilowed by a Marian hymn, “Under Your Protection, We cians, whom he said were not even moving “to solve simTake Refuge, O Mary” (in Arabic), Cardinal Raï, speaking ple daily issues such as waste removal, electricity, food, from a window of the patriarchate, greeted the crowd, and medicine.” “Long live Lebanon, united and unified, actively and posHe referred to them as “pawns on the chessboard of the itively neutral, sovereign and independent, free and strong, Middle East and of the great powers,” and urged them to advocating coexistence and tolerance.”m resolve their differences and act.





pamela Acker

SAying “no” to vACCineS dependent on Abortion A Catholic researcher seeks to dispel the confusion


iss Pamela Acker is a medical researcher with a master’s degree in biology, a former vaccine researcher, a science teacher, and a devout Catholic who looks at health from the perspective of man as a created being. Modern Westerners are used to accepting the prevalent atheistic-evolutionary model of nature without realizing some of its consequences. But consequences there are – including a worldview, shared by contemporary academics and popular culture, that as the product of random, impersonal forces, nature is infinitely malleable. Natural characteristics and processes are no longer the reference points for what is good for man – physically and psychologically – and what we can do to the human body is only limited by our ingenuity. This view is completely foreign to a worldview that recognizes nature as created immediately and intentionally by an all-knowing God, and the human body as an integral part of the person – not merely “a transport for the brain.” Miss Acker applies this reasoning to Miss Pamela Acker's book Vaccination: A Catholic the subject of vaccines, including Covid Perspective, published in vaccines, in her book, Vaccination: A 2020 and currently being Catholic Perspective published in 2020 updated for a re-release in early 2022 and currently being updated for a rerelease in early 2021 by the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation. “We underestimate the fact that the human body is designed to keep itself healthy and repel pathogens,” she says. “That isn’t to say that medicine has nothing to offer us, but we need to understand its limits, and that includes re-thinking vaccines. Taking a vaccine is just not the same as having a healthy immune system.” In fact, she says, the current vaccines will never produce the coveted “herd immunity” that is supposedly the golden ticket to “eradication” of the Covid virus. “The Covid vaccines on the market started out with a claimed efficacy of over 90%, which was already debatable; after 6 months, their reported efficacy has plummeted to 50% for Pfizer, 64% for Moderna, and a whopping 3% for J&J.” She is even more incredulous over the newest recommendation for children age 5 and over to receive the Covid vaccine: “With a small sample size (2200 children), no

tracking of who had natural immunity and who didn’t, and a follow-up period of only one month, there’s just not enough data to make any research-based claims about safety or efficacy in children.” But Miss Acker in particular raises the alarm about the morally-problematic origins of many vaccines: the HEK293 cell line that was originally derived from a female baby aborted in the 1970s. “HEK” stands for “human embryonic kidney” and “293” indicates it was the 293rd experiment by researcher Frank Graham. While it’s possible that not all his experiments were done on fetal tissue, there is evidence in the scientific literature that he produced other fetal cell lines that aren’t used commercially. “One of the points that the researchers try to obfuscate is just how many abortions were involved in vaccine development. It wasn’t just the babies that were used to produce the successful cell lines - there were many other babies whose tissue was harvested the same way.” But the moral problem doesn’t end there. “There’s also the problem of trafficking human tissue,” Acker says. “This is an ongoing moral issue. It’s not confined to the past.” Most importantly, kidney cells die quickly, so they must be harvested from a living organism. “It’s clear that the unborn baby was alive when the kidney was cut out of her body,” she says. “We need to understand how evil the origin of these cell lines really is.” Miss Acker often speaks of the “appropriation of evil,” and cautions that when one knowingly benefits from someone else’s evil action, even after the fact, “that affects your character internally in a more profound way than people realize.” She herself sacrificed a Ph.D. opportunity at Catholic University of America for refusing to participate in aborted fetal tissue research, instead choosing to graduate with a master’s degree and return to her previous career. “No one can require us to compromise with evil. It’s important that people know they have a right to refuse to participate. And that refusal is so important if we want to really end aborted fetal tissue research.”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Aurelio Porfiri

“I dId not wIsh to ContInue sIngIng sIlly songs” A musician rediscovers the patrimony of the Church — and suffers for it


and weakened by the shock waves which it had endured n the beginning of his career, Italian Aurelio Porfiri, in those years, thanks to the holes which had been opened 53, never imagined that his work as a choir director, in the Church by Vatican II.” musician and composer would bring him ostracization The tradition of the Church that has been continuously and contempt. enriched over the centuries has always interested Mr. PorHe was, after all, simply seeking to enhance the liturfiri, but, he says, “I thought that it was possible to reform gical experience of Catholics with music — to bring them the Novus Ordo in a more traditional way, and I worked closer to God. Then, on his own, he gradually rediscovfor that. Lately I could see that this effort is almost pointered the Catholic Church’s centuries-long musical patriless because it seems to me, and I hope I am wrong, that mony. those that should be more conBut, he says in a book of cerned with the dignity of the dialogs with journalist Aldo liturgy are not. I don’t foresee that Maria Valli on the state of the there will be a mass movement Church, Uprooted, “after this distoward the traditional Mass, but covery I became discouraged by what I observe is that there is a priests who were opposed to the mass movement away from the fact that I had rediscovered my new Mass.” liturgical and musical roots and The 2020 Covid lockdowns in did not wish to continue singing Rome, where Mr. Porfiri lives and the silly songs which they threw works, inspired him to create an at us in church.” online forum for discussion of the More than 200 of Aurelio PorChurch and other related topics he firi’s musical compositions are Macao, China: Maestro Aurelio Porfiri directs his Mass in found compelling. “I had the idea published in Italy, China, USA, honor of Matteo Ricci, 16th-c. Jesuit missionary to China of using modern technology and Germany and France. He has the power of social media during our lockdown... I published more than 60 books and is a contributor to sevthought it could be fun to have a platform in which to talk eral major Catholic blogs and magazines, and is the about things I am interested in and now basically I am founder of the publishing company Chorabooks. And lest streaming three programs a week, usually two in Italian and any accuse him of having a purely “European” cultural one in English.” They are available on his YouTube channel sensibility, let them note that he lived and worked for “Ritorno a Itaca” as well as on his Facebook page. seven years in Macau, China. Some of the topics dealt with by Mr. Porfiri and his “I always remember,” he recounts, “how (in a choir at guests, sometimes in a one-on-one interview format and my parish) I sang a piece in four-part harmony; I felt sometimes as a panel discussion, are as diverse as geopolmyself lifted off the ground, and I asked myself: ‘But why itics, the rosary, religious freedom, Catholic identity, has this music been forbidden to us in favor of cheap imisaints, beauty and truth, and even UFOs. His guests have tations?’ included renowned authors, scientists, artists and reli“I believed (and I still believe) that it is wrong for the gious. people of God to be deprived of the treasures of the But he never strays entirely from his first love, the Church in favor of musical pieces of the second order. beauty of the liturgy and the music that enhances it: And because I have said this, I have been treated as a “They are tightly linked,” he says, “and they share the plague victim, condemned to isolation and social death as same goal: the glory of God and sanctification of the a result.” faithful.” Eventually, Mr. Porfiri continues, his awareness of a To hear a sample of Mr. Porfiri’s compositions, go to deeper problem began to grow: “I understood — I don’t YouTube and look for LEVABO OCULOS MEOS, Music know if you have the same impression — that the by Aurelio Porfiri.m Catholicism in which I grew up was already polluted, sick




andrzej Duda

DuDa: LGBT inDocTrinaTion of chiLDren is “neo-BoLshevism” Poland’s president has become a target for his opposition to the “LGBT ideology” The president said that during Poland’s Communist era, he president of Poland is a socially conservative regimes ensured survival by indoctrinating the youngest Catholic man who believes in the preservation of the generation. history, culture and traditional faith of his nation. For that “That was Bolshevism. It was the ideologizing of chilhe has a bull’s eye painted on his back, and it’s in the sights dren,” he said. “Today, there are also attempts to push an of just about every progressive journalist and social activist ideology on us and our children, but different. It’s totally and government official in the Western world. new, but it is also neo-Bolshevism.” Andrzej Duda, 49, is a lawyer and former faculty memEarlier that week, Duda signed a declaration that includber of Administration and Law at Poland’s Jagiellonian Unied language on “protecting children from LGBT ideology” versity, where he obtained his doctorate in law. In the early with a ban on “propagating 2000s, he began a political career LGBT ideology in public instituthat included membership in the tions.” European Parliament and culmiIn September of 2021, the nated in his election as president European Union stepped into the of his country in 2015. He was fray and warned Polish regions reelected to a second term in 2020. that they would lose funding Domestically, his approval ratgrants from the E.U. if they perings have been very high — topsisted in declaring themselves ping 72% in 2018 — but his “LGBT ideology-free” – and at pointed opposition to what he least three of them caved in to the terms the “LGBT ideology” has E.U.’s threats, rescinding their marked him as an enemy to much declarations. of the progressive intelligentsia Poland, August 2019: a fearless young man alone faces a But President Duda has been outside, as well as inside, the pro-LGBT demonstration in Płock with a crucifix careful to draw a distinction country. The flashpoint for opposbetween promoting the “LGBT ideology” and protecting ing sides of the LGBT agenda is the resolution, passed by the personal rights of homosexual people. more than 100 towns and even entire regions in Poland in He told LTR Television in Octoßber 2021: “We have 2021, to remain “LGBT ideology-free.” never had any kind of persecution. There has been persecuPress around the world, and in particular the West, tion of people with sexual preferences, for example, in Euroreported on this phenomenon, often calling President Duda pean Union countries, but not in Poland. In Poland, they a “right-wing” politician and portraying the “anti-LGBT were not persecuted and there has never been a law against ideology” movement as a “dangerous” incitement to possisuch people. We have tolerance and have always had it...this ble violence against homosexuals, encouraged by President is a person’s private matter and a personal preference.” Duda’s outspokenness. The E.U. sought to impose its will on Poland again in He also drew harsh criticism for his statement that October, this time with its European Court of Justice claim“The Polish constitution should include an entry saying ing that E.U. law takes precedence over Polish law. Presithat it is forbidden to adopt a child by a person who lives dent Duda’s government is not buying it. in a single-sex relationship.” Rather, as throughout his presidency, he expresses the The BBC accused President Duda of creating a “hostile conviction that Poles “have the right to govern here and atmosphere” for homosexuals. Reuters quoted critics who decide what kind of Poland we should have.” say he has embraced “a politics of bigotry to cling to Despite pressure from the E.U. to ramp up pro-homopower.” sexual sex education in schools, “Parents are responsible During his reelection campaign in 2020, he told a crowd for the sexual education of their children,” Duda told a in the town of Brzeg that his parents’ generation did not gathering of supporters in 2020. “It is not possible for any struggle to cast off Communism only to now accept “an institutions to interfere in the way parents raise their chilideology” that he thinks “is even more destructive to the dren.”m human being.”





Pierre-André Udressy

“For me, it iS eSSentiAl to deFend Freedom with conviction” A Swiss Guard quits rather than accept forced vaccination


Vatican Swiss Guard, Pierre-André Udressy, resigned the post he had waited ten years for in October 2021, along with two other Swiss Guards. They had no other choice, in their minds, because the Vatican was requiring them to receive the Pfizer Covid vaccine against their wills in order to keep their jobs. (Three other Swiss Guards of like mind did not resign but were instead fired.) Mr. Udressy, 24, did not go quietly. A French-speaker from the Swiss Canton of Valais and a guardsman since only last year, he instead wrote an open letter “in response to Vatican authorities” – including Pope Francis himself, who, he was told, personally ordered the mandating of the vaccine for every member of the Guard. After initial resistance, most eventually accepted vaccination “to be able to go out, go to the restaurant. Not for medical reasons. For false freedoms,” said Udressy. The letter contains 11 points, the first of which is: “In fact, this is the very principle of the vaccine: the prevention of a disease by preparing it to acquire immunity, taking into account the risks and benefits. ‘Doubt is the beginning of knowledge.’” The letter goes on to cite medical experts who refute claims of the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing transmission of the virus. (Mr. Udressy notes that he himself already had a confirmed case of Covid the previous December, and so his natural immunity was already more effective, according to experts, than any immunity conferred by the vaccine.) “So we are told,” he writes, “that we would have collective immunity, after vaccination coverage of 75% of the population, ‘except that this is not science. For the same microbe, contagiousness differs from one strain to another... In reality, the very idea, apparently very logical, that the more a population is vaccinated, the less the virus circulates, is not entirely correct,’ said Dr. Didier Raoult, of the IHU of Marseille, one of the leading infectious disease scientists.” “Also, during this year,” he further notes, “I would like to point out, all members of the Swiss Guard who tested positive for COVID-19 had been vaccinated, at most a few



months earlier.” Mr. Udressy underlines that “The frequency of fatal accidents after vaccination is ‘underestimated,’ according to the Director of the University of Heidelberg, Peter Schirmacher, who adds: ‘The vaccine is the cause of death in 30-40% of autopsies of recently vaccinated people.’” Therefore, Mr. Udressy maintained, after a logical risk-versus-benefit analysis, he was perfectly within his right to refuse the vaccine. (All other types of Vatican employees, he said, were given the choice of frequent testing as an alternative to the vaccine.) The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith itself had issued a December 21, 2020 statement which Mr. Udressy quoted: “It is evident to the practical reason that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary. “ “Does it have no significance, even juridical, in the Vatican?” he asked. But the coup de grace, for Mr. Udressy, came in the context of abortion, and the use of aborted babies’ tissue in the development of the very vaccines — those of questionable safety and effectiveness — the Vatican sought to force on every Swiss Guard. “The doctors and fathers have a responsibility to use alternative vaccines (if any) (cf. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 74),” he said, quoting that Pope: “exerting any pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems are available. They should invoke, if necessary, conscientious objection to the use of vaccines produced by cellular strains of human fetal abortion origin.” “Now the Vatican,” Mr. Udressy continues, “the institution of the Church, has chosen the Pfizer vaccine, tested on abortive cell lines. “What are we to think? It even imposes the vaccine on all its employees, although as a sovereign state, it would have the ability to choose products not contaminated by abortion, which do exist. “As a Catholic who follows the Magisterium, do I have a duty to fight against the vaccination choices of Vatican City? If you read the documents cited, you have to answer yes.”m


DeSpite More perSeCUtion, ChinA orDAinS prieStS in the AUtUMn of 2021, ChineSe CAtholiCS hArveSteD MUCh-AwAiteD SpiritUAl frUitS: prieStly orDinAtionS n BY UCANEWS/ITV STAFF


n October 28 Bishop Paul Pei Junmin of the Archdiocese of Shenyang ordained Paul Li Hongdong as a priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral Church in Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning, the northernmost coastal province of China. Bishop Pei shared his life story and priestly journey under difficult circumstances and urged the new priest “not to be afraid to choose and follow Jesus.” Bishop Joseph Shen Bin of Haimen Diocese in east-central China ordained Joseph Liu Xingfeng as a new priest on October 1. Fr. Liu follows two of his three siblings into religious life. Ordinations also took place in the Diocese of Wanxian in Chongqing administrative province, and the Yunnan province of China welcomed two new priests from the Jingpo ethnic group, a subset of the Kachin people found in Myanmar, western China and northeast India. The earliest documented presence of Christianity was Nestorian missioners who came to the then Chinese capital of Chang’an (Xi’an), welcomed by the Tang dynasty emperor in 635 AD. The first Catholic mission to China was led by Franciscan friar Giovanni da Montecorvino, who arrived in present-day Beijing in 1293. Officially, mainland China has 6 million Catholics, but the Holy Spirit Study Centre of Hong Kong Diocese estimates that China has some 12 million Catholics, including “unregistered” Catholics who reject the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. In 2018, the Vatican signed a provisional agreement with China, initially for two years, to end discord over bishop appointments. The deal, which was not made public, was renewed for another two years in 2020.m

A UniqUe SolUtion for the ChUrCh in ChinA? n BY PRISCILLA SMITH MCCAFFREY


artin Mosebach, now 70, is an award-winning German Catholic novelist and essayist who has traveled repeatedly in China and has a great love of religious tradition and culture. Author Priscilla Smith McCaffrey asked Mr. Mosebach for his thoughts on the state of the Catholic Church in China.

Martin Mosebach: My few and short trips to China and visits with some of the congregations in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Bejing posed more questions than answers—only someone deeply knowledgeable would be able to give a satisfactory answer. Shanghai is probably one of the more prominent sites of the Catholic Church in China, which is only, or mostly, represented by the “Patriotic Church.” There, I assisted a celebration of the Ancient Mass singing the Ordinarium in a somewhat dilapidated neo-Gothic church in the former French Convention.

The priest wore a kind of Chinese, traditionally-stylized priest’s garment of white silk. After Mass, I gave a lecture on “Heresy of Formlessness” to approximately thirty parish members. During Mass, many prayed the Rosary. It was a solemn, intensive atmosphere. Later, the priest showed me his Missale, wherein the pro Papa nostro had been deleted by the Authorities whilst he assured me: “This is the place where we pray for the Pope since we know that we cannot stay Catholic without him.” Most of the bishops and priests kept it that way, notwithstanding the fact that some of them were Communists, though probably few. In the Shanghai cathedral, again neoGothic, the Chinese translation of the Latin Ordinarium was displayed on huge electronic screens. The Shanghai diocese, by the way, is suffering from the fact that [in 2012] the INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022


Apostolic librAry GAllery beArs Witness to beAuty n BY DEVIN WATKINS (VATICAN NEWS)/ITV STAFF


ope Francis inaugurated a new contemporary art gallery at the Vatican’s Apostolic Library November 5, which was financed by the heirs of the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian. In a speech at the event, the Pope reflected on the theme of beauty and how the Church must bear witness to its importance in culture. “Beauty,” he said, “is not a fleeting illusion of an appearance or of an ornament; rather, it is born from the root of goodness, truth, and justice, which are its synonyms.” He added that the human person needs both bread and culture, “which touches the soul, and which brings the human being to our most profound dignity.” The Pope also viewed a site-specific exhibition by Italian artist Pietro Ruffo.

The exhibit, titled “Everyone: Humanity on its way,” recalls the Pope’s encyclical Fratelli tutti, and turns part of the space into “a lush tropical forest.” It offers a journey through historic artifacts from the Library, including charts and a 6-meter-long 17th century map of the Nile made by Evliya Çelebi, concluding with “utopian and allegorical

maps” created by Mr. Ruffo. The exhibit, explains Don Giacomo Cardinali who oversees the new space, explores “non-geographical cartography.” “Throughout the history of humanity,” he says, “people have used the representative power of the map not only to describe the objectivity of the Earth, but also our own interiority, ideals, journeys, discoveries, and convictions.” In his speech, the Pope noted that humanity needs “new maps” in order to discover fraternity, social friendship, and the common good. “A closed-off mindset is sterile and full of uncertainty,” said the Pope. “We need a new beauty which is not the usual reflection of the power of a select few but is a courageous mosaic of the diversity of all people.”m

newly-consecrated bishop announced directly after his inauguration ceremony he would leave the Patriotic Association, the result being that he was punished with a house-arrest still going on today. So the diocese is without leadership at present. In Bejing, in the center of political power, the underground church prevails, surprisingly enough. Here we cannot say it is catacomb-like, but rather has huge neo-Gothic churches frequented by plenty of people. It might be compared with the situation during the Roman Empire, when there existed longer periods of less acrimonious persecutions and with official parish structures and building activities. But since everything, as a rule, in China is [subject to scrutiny or perhaps] forbidden, the Chinese State may interfere anytime and destroy everything in an instant. Do some of the lay people believe it is possible to be a good patriot as well as a faithful Christian? MM: We enjoyed a friendly contact with a musician, now Catholic, and her family; very cultivated people in the

sense of being rooted in the ancient Chinese culture—but simultaneously fervent patriots who only wished to see an agreement between the Chinese state and the Church. Many people, not at all Communist, are of a firm belief that Mao, and no less Chiang Kai-Sheck by the way, led China out of its colonial disgrace and misery. Impressive to most is also the unprecedented economic surge over the last decades. The young have little memory of the past poverty, which gave way to a prosperity of the many, comparable to the West’s. In such social circles it is appealing to be a pious Catholic and simultaneously part of the Chinese Patriotic Church. They do not see this as problematic? MM: In itself it is a contradiction and gives you an uneasy feeling they cannot really grasp. Let’s keep their history in mind: since the age of colonialism, any influence by a strange power—even the Pope’s—has been regarded as intolerable. We can come up with no suggestion as to how to escape this situation—great creativity is needed.

Probably there is a unique solution... MM: In our imaginations one way might be considered: the erection of a Chinese patriarchate, promoted by the Holy See, might present a legitimate tradeoff, at least a chance of working. Does the Church in China follow cultural leads from the Church in the West? MM: An important point to make is that the schismatic — or better said, not quite schismatic — Patriotic Church gives the impression of not being heretical! Rather, they seem to live up to better doctrinal standards than most of the Western countries with respect to faith, sacraments, and theology. That’s actually a stunning declaration. I have a Chinese traditionalist acquaintance who points out that the rift between supporters of old and new liturgy is a result of Western history and politics. Perhaps the Church in the West has much to learn from the faithful of the East? MM: The situation of the Catholic Church in China has to be compared with



(MOSEBACH CONT’D) the one in the Soviet Union. Their faith and liturgy were truly orthodox whilst the high clergy was full of KGB agents. But this mere fact enabled the Church to survive, and after the downfall of the Soviet system made it possible for the Church to be transformed and enter a new fruitful era. It ought to be mentioned, though, that a detestable bishop could denounce his parish to the secret police.

And what do the troops on the ground say? Is there any freedom to even speculate? MM: What Cardinal Zen would say to the propositions above, I cannot tell. You may imagine that I wouldn’t dare to contradict this great and admirable man. Cardinal Zen, in his heart, of course refers to the great fighters who were prepared to go to prison for twenty or thirty

years in order to testify to the papacy. You can only love these people, and find their submission tragically heroic in the face of the papacy of today. To put it briefly, my guess is that the Church of China is far more complex than, say, the Egyptian Coptic Church. I can say no more to this subject.m (Original interview on:

PoPe frAncis nAMes frAnciscAn sister rAffAellA Petrini to nuMBer two Position in VAticAn city stAte


ope Francis on November 4 appointed Franciscan Sister Raffaella Petrini to the second-ranking position in the government of the Vatican City State. Petrini is the first woman and non-clergy member to be secretary general of the Vatican’s governorate. The appointment makes her one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican, alongside Sister Alessandra Smerilli, “ad interim” secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Sister Natalie Becquart, an undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. Petrini replaced Bishop Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, who was promoted to president, effective October 1. (CNA)

A MirAcle cleArs PoPe John PAul i for BeAtificAtion A young girl’s MirAculous heAling is AttriButed to the “sMiling PoPe’s” intercession n BY VATICAN NEWS


ope Francis authorized on October 13 Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and his dicastery to promulgate the decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Albino Luciani or Pope John Paul I. The miracle was the healing of an eleven-year-old girl at the end of her life with “severe acute inflammatory encephalopathy, a malignant refractory epileptic illness and septic shock,” characterized by numerous daily seizures and a septic state of bronchopneumonia. The initiative to invoke the Pope had been taken by the local parish priest. So for Pope John Paul I, who hailed from the northern Italian region of Veneto, the way to beatification has been cleared. Born on October 17, 1912 in Forno di Canale (today Canale d’Agordo), in the

province of Belluno, and died on September 28, 1978 in the Vatican, Albino Luciani was Pope for only 34 days, one of the shortest pontificates in history. He was the son of a socialist worker who had worked for a long time as an emigrant in Switzerland. In a letter written to Luciani granting him permission to enter the seminary, his father wrote: “I hope that when you become a priest, you will be on the side of the poor, because Christ was on their side,” words Luciani would put into practice all his life.

Albino Luciani was ordained priest in 1935 and in 1958, immediately after the election of John XXIII, was appointed bishop of Vittorio Veneto. Luciani participated in the entire Second Vatican Council and applied its directives with enthusiasm. A pastor close to his people, he spent a lot of time in the confessional. During the years the lawfulness of the contraceptive pill was being discussed, he listened to many young families and repeatedly expressed himself in favor of an opening of the Church on its use. But in 1968, when Pope Paul VI released his encyclical Humanae Vitae, declaring the contraceptive pill morally illicit, Luciani faithfully promoted the document. Pope Paul VI appointed him the Patriarch of Venice in 1969 and made him a cardinal in 1973.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



A new Book chronicles the worldwide reAction to traditionis custodes From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War looks At the new suppression of liturgicAl trAdition froM MAny perspectives n BY CHRISTINA DEARDURFF


uthor, educator, musician and liturgy scholar Peter Kwasniewski, an American, is not one to pull punches. Nor does From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War, his new book of collected reactions to Pope Francis’s 2021 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes. The book is an anthology of 70 essays written by 47 authors from quite diverse backgrounds, nations and callings — even an atheist – within a two-month window following the promulgation of the papal document in July 2021. Dr. Kwasniewski calls it the result of “a worldwide passionate and articulate response” to

Traditionis Custodes, which suppresses the use of the Traditional Latin Mass (“TLM”) — what Pope Benedict XVI had previously designated as the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass in his own 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. In that document, Benedict liberalized the regulation of the TLM and, as it were, welcomed it back into the fabric of the Church’s liturgical life in a way that it had not enjoyed since its veritable wholecloth replacement with the Novus Ordo (what Benedict called the “Ordinary Form”) in 1966. Francis’ motu proprio reverses all that. Inside the Vatican spoke with Kwasniewski about his book, published by Angelico Press, and what might be coming next on the Church’s liturgical horizon.m Peter Kwasniewski and his new book From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War. The book collected reactions to Pope Francis’s July 16, 2021 motu proprio Traditionis Custodes

“the MAsk hAs fAllen” An interview with Peter KwasniewsKi, editor of From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War


nside the Vatican: Tell us what this book is all about, and how the idea came to you. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski: The motu proprio Traditionis Custodes and its accompanying letter prompted a worldwide flood of articulate and passionate responses, showing that the question of the Church’s relationship to her tradition—her duty to her own heritage and to the faithful who are sustained by it—is of vital importance for a broad segment of the faithful, even those who are not self-professed “trads.” As I scrambled to keep up with the reactions, the conviction grew in me that the best essays, articles, interviews, lectures, etc. should be gathered into a single volume for convenience and “for the record.” Already early in September Angelico Press approved the concept and I got down to work, selecting, collat-



ing, editing, annotating, and, of course, contacting authors and publishers for permission. It was what I like to call a “grad school project”: I was working on it night and day, so that it could be available as soon as possible. What will the reader find in the book? Kwasniewski: We set basically a two-month window: materials written in the period of two months after July 16, 2021. Most of the content was published already at dozens of different websites, but there are several substantial pieces, especially by Dr. Joseph Shaw, that appear in print for the first time (having been given as talks), a number of translations that also appear only in this anthology, and finally a number of fresh translations of articles that had been poorly served in their initial appearances.

The cover of the September-October issue of Inside the Vatican with a dossier on the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes of July 16, 2021. Beneath, Pope Benedict XVI, who never hid his sympathy for the pre-Vatican II liturgical tradition of the Church

The final result was rather ambitious: 70 entries by 47 authors, including five cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Müller, Sarah, and Zen), three archbishops (Aguer, Gullickson, and Viganò), two bishops (Mutsaerts and Schneider), eight priests, two religious, and 27 laymen, from 12 countries. Their opinions range widely across the conservative and traditionalist spectrum (and there’s even a famous French atheist, Michel Onfray), but the common denominator is that all the contributors see Traditionis Custodes as an unwise, unjust, irreligious, and damaging move. What have you learned since you started to put this book together? Kwasniewski: For one thing, I’ve learned that it’s very hard to make an anthology! There are many good writers today, and sometimes I stared at a certain piece and wished I could include it, but had to keep an eye on the total length (at,400 pages, it’s still a big book!). It was important to me to avoid redundancy or newsy journalism or military pep talks. I was going for incisive commentary, deep analysis, searching critiques — the kind of thing that will not grow quickly outdated but have a resonance and relevance for years to come. As a result, some authors were disappointed they weren’t included. Also, I’ve discovered how fussy authors can be about appearing in print alongside other authors. Can you be more specific? Kwasniewski: Let’s just say that Archbishop Viganò is a third rail for a lot of people today, and that he’s treated as an untouchable leper — someone you wouldn’t touch with a 10-cubit pole. I find this attitude terribly disappointing; to my mind, it undercuts the credentials of the ones who exude it. For goodness’ sake, this is an anthology of nearly 50 authors: not everyone speaks for everyone else; indeed, no two people speak for one another exactly. And the objections to the title of the book were even more laughable, in my opinion. Nearly every author in the book uses the metaphor of peace and war, and yet some of them pretended to be astonished at the title, as if it’s not a pithy description of a state of affairs transparently obvious to everyone.

Have you had reactions from the Vatican itself or its officials? Kwasniewski: Certainly not. They always remain silent about unpleasant things, but I’m sure they’ve noticed it. At this point there is so much incoherence in the “application” of the motu proprio — the Pope has contradicted himself on multiple occasions since July 16, the Vicariate of Rome has gone beyond the motu proprio as well as departing from its provisions, the bishops in different countries and dioceses are issuing contrary prescriptions and proscriptions — that I imagine they are very busy just dealing with radioactive fallout. From American Church officials? Kwasniewski: Again, nothing. The recent meeting in Baltimore of the USCCB (in November) tells us that members of the “Universally Supine Conventicle of Craven Bureaucrats” are too busy making plans for the eventual closure of the churches in their dioceses to concern themselves with robust arguments on behalf of tradition or against its denigrators. With a few exceptions, they seem to be content consigning the most faithful and dynamic portion of their flocks to carefully controlled ghettoes or to the SSPX (Society of St. Pius X). Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the US bishops, in view of still further evidence of the loss of faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, have been discussing how they might “better catechize the people on the Real Presence,” when meanwhile there’s a worldwide campaign against an ancient form of the Mass whose texts and ceremonies so profoundly express, eloquently emphasize, and effectively reinforce faith in that Real Presence? How has the public received the book so far? Kwasniewski: Extremely well. The laity and lower clergy are buying it, because it’s so comprehensive, galvanizing, and useful in the efforts we are making and must make to oppose this motu proprio and all that it stands for. As many of the articles show, TC isn’t just about “the Latin Mass.” It’s about an entire modern mentality, a system of rupture with the past, an attitude of negation toward the traditional Faith of the Church across the centuries. It enshrines a certain ideology that JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN


INTERVIEW “ThE mask has fallEN” is, in fact, in its death throes, but still controls the levers of power. So yes, there’s obviously quite a bit of urgent interest in TC and, for that reason, the anthology meets a serious need. Any unexpected reactions? Kwasniewski: Two cardinals included in the book noisily distanced themselves from it, saying they were deceived, they never agreed, etc. I could publish evidence to the contrary. The fault lines are clear: there are those who wish to be considered “in” with the reigning party; and there is a tiny minority who will uphold the truth no matter what happens to them. Do you think the TLM is in danger of being eradicated, or will that never happen? Kwasniewski: Unquestionably the Latin Mass is here to stay. If the progressives couldn’t stamp it out in

the 1970s, when there were far fewer traditionalists and the Church’s hierarchy, especially the Pope, could still expect and often receive prompt assent to decrees, however absurd, then there’s not even a remote chance of the now dinosaurian nostalgics and their ambitious hangers-on getting away with it in the 2020s. Will the traditional movement be stronger as a result? Kwasniewski: In my 25+ years of writing on these subjects, I’ve never witnessed such an intense reaction and resolve as I see now. It’s not merely that attendance has been steadily climbing at TLMs since Covid hit, and again since July 16. It’s also that TC was like a sudden warning signal. So many priests and laymen have contacted me to say that they are learning how to say or serve or sing for the old Mass, adding it quietly to their parish or personal schedule, ramping it up, spreading it, doing it secretly — whatever it takes to outwit and outlast our enemies. No doubt about it: TC will backfire with historic thunder. 28


Many journalists talk about how small the traditional movement is. They say it is numerically insignificant. What’s your impression? Kwasniewski: Interesting, isn’t it, that a “tiny movement” deserved such a heavy hammer? In reality, it’s not so small, and that’s why the hammer “had” to fall. The movement for Catholic tradition embraces not only hundreds of thousands of laity and thousands of priests (I’m counting diocesan, Ecclesia Dei, and SSPX clergy), but also difficult-to-estimate numbers of conservative sympathizers and curious Christians on the margins. The internet has brought our oftrepeated concerns over liturgy, doctrine, and morals in front of huge audiences. For example, the first episode of The Mass of the Ages has been viewed on YouTube over a million times now. Statistics show that traditional Catholics are having much larger families and many more priestly and religious vocations (proportionally speaking). This alone shows the diabolic nature of TC, which attacks the primary locus of Catholic demographic growth in the Western world. “By their fruits you will know them.” This is true on both sides. In this situation, do you have any reasons for hope? Kwasniewski: Yes, for sure. Pope Francis has done us an immense service: he has exposed the absolute impossibility of reconciling Catholicism as it has always been believed, understood, and lived, with a certain kind of post-Vatican II “We Are the World” project. (How much of that project is already contained within the Council, and in what way, is a topic for another time.) These days very little effort is invested in elaborate pretenses that everything is really fine, everything can be reconciled, everything is still Catholic. A certain openness has descended on us that comes as a freeing and healing balm. We can finally see what things are like in the light of day and call it as it is. Painful, no doubt, but absolutely necessary, like an addict having to admit his addiction before he can want help or look for it. The Church on earth has been sick for a long time, but the sickness has been hidden under artfully contrived cosmetics. The mask has fallen (one might anachronistically say), and we are staring reality in the face. This, to my mind, is immensely helpful, since we can better assess just what needs to be done — and start doing it (or keep doing it) energetically.m

ExcErpts from pEtEr KwasniEwsKi’s booK From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’s War “THE CRUDEST FORM OF CLERICALISM” The reason for a Church government (as leaders, rather than sacrificial priests) is found in the community of faithful for which such government exists. Government exists per se for the protection of society and its way of life, so that society may achieve the ends for which human communities are formed; government is not the creator of society. So too, the pope and bishops are mandated to guard and pass on the tradition that has been handed down to them (2 Thess. 2:15), and are not to repudiate or abrogate it, or concoct their own novel version. The Church’s tradition, both belief and practice, is not theirs, with which they may do as they wish. The Church’s tradition belongs to the whole faithful. Of this tradition, the bishops (including the pope) are the guardians and servants. They can never be the creators nor the owners of the Church’s doctrine, practice or liturgical life, but are charged with protecting and promulgating the common religious inheritance of the whole faithful. For popes and bishops to behave as if the Church’s tradition is their belonging, with which they may do as they please, with the rest of the faithful just having to accept it, marks the crudest form of clericalism. Sebastian Morello, “Revolution and Repudiation: Governance Gone Awry” “WHOEVER


Obedience — and this is an error that finds its deepest roots even in the pre-conciliar Church, it must be said — is not an end. It is a means of sanctification. Therefore, it is not an absolute value, but rather an instrumental one. It is a positive value, very positive, if it is ordered towards God. But if one obeys Satan, or his servants, or error, or apostasy, then obedience is no longer a good, but rather a deliberate participation in evil. Exactly like peace. Peace — the divinity of today’s subversion — is not an end, but rather an instrument of the good and the just, if it is aimed at creating a good and just society. If it is ordered towards creating or favoring a society that is Satanic, malignant, erroneous, and subversive, then “peace” becomes the instrument of hell. We must be “pleasing not to men, but to God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thess 2:4). Exactly! Therefore, whoever obeys men while being aware of facilitating evil and obstructing the Good, whoever they may be — including the ecclesiastical hierarchy, including the pope — in reality becomes an accomplice of evil, of lies, and of error. Who-

ever obeys in these conditions disobeys God. “Because no slave is greater than his master” (Mt 10:24)... [T]he first concern ought to be to always follow and defend the Truth, not the cloying, obsequious, and scrupulous groveling which is the spoiled fruit of a misunderstood Tridentinism. Massimo Viglione, “They Will Throw You Out of the Synagogues” “DIVIDING CATHOLICS AT THE DEEPEST POSSIBLE LEVEL” For a religion predicated on tradition, the suppression of tradition makes no sense unless the goal is to change that religion fundamentally. By “unity,” the pope means universal acceptance of that project. He is demanding that all Catholics view uncritically changes that have obviously weakened the faith. If they don’t, they are “divisive.” The pope, of course, embodies the very division that he claims to deplore. He is dividing Catholics at the deepest possible level — from Catholic tradition itself. A “unity” rooted in heterodoxy is a sham. As the modernist Church stumbles from scandal to scandal, he dares to hold it up as the model of Catholicism to which all must aspire. His latest act of ecclesiastical tyranny is nothing more than an attempt to extract from the most faithful Catholics a pledge of allegiance to that crumbling Church. The spectacle of a pope disloyal to Catholic tradition issuing loyalty litmus tests is an outrageous one. By disregarding the authority of past popes, Francis erases his own. He is not solving crises but creating them so that his modernist revolution can be fulfilled. In the past, orthodox Catholics defended the pope from enemies of the faith. Now they must defend the faith from a pope who has shown himself repeatedly to be their enemy. George Neumayr, “The Upside-Down Church” “TRADITION STANDS ABOVE THE POPE” Pope Francis prohibits Masses in the old rite in parish churches; he requires priests to obtain permission to celebrate the old Mass; he even requires priests that have not yet celebrated in the old rite to obtain this permission not from their bishop, but from the Vatican; and he requires an examination of conscience of participants in the old Mass. But Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum reasons on a totally different level. Pope Benedict did not “allow” the “old Mass,” and he granted no privilege to celebrate it. In a JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN


INTERVIEW “ThE mask has fallEN” word, he did not take a disciplinary measure that a successor can retract. What was new and surprising about Summorum Pontificum was that it declares that the celebration of the old Mass does not need any permission. It had never been forbidden because it never could be forbidden. One could conclude that here we find a fixed, insuperable limit to the authority of a pope. Tradition stands above the pope. The old Mass, rooted deep in the first Christian millennium, is as a matter of principle beyond the pope’s authority to prohibit. Many provisions of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio can be set aside or modified, but this magisterial decision cannot be so easily done away with. Pope Francis does not attempt to do so—he ignores it. It still stands after July 16, 2021, recognizing the authority of tradition that every priest has the moral right to celebrate the never forbidden old rite. Martin Mosebach, “Mass and Memory” “THE ANCIENT MASS WILL BE ABLE TO REACH MORE AND MORE PEOPLE” The ancient Mass is not theologically inert. It exerts a centripetal force on the Catholics attending it, drawing them back to the center of orthodoxy. Catholics attending it reveal to researchers that they accept the hard teachings, on divorce and sexuality, as well as on the Real Presence, to far greater extent than do those who attend the reformed Mass. Those attached to the Old Mass often experience this, in themselves and in others. This Mass has the power to draw in nonbelievers and the lapsed, as well as to inspire the fervent. In a time when the moral authority of the Church is at a low ebb, and people will not accept the truth of things just because the Pope or Bishops say so, it is a valuable spiritual means of drawing people into the truths entrusted to the Church by Christ.... The movement for the Traditional Mass will bounce back. Things will not be the same again, however, because after such a series of policy reversals papal prestige will be seriously weakened. In the future, the fate of the New and Old Masses will not be determined by the fancies of the reigning Pope, but on the basis of their pastoral and theological merits, worked out in practice, locally. This may be a bit chaotic, but the ancient Mass will be able to reach more and more people.... We will see its power to draw people in, not to a private experience which they happen to prefer, but to the center of the Church’s spirituality and teaching. Joseph Shaw, “Is the Missal of Paul VI the Unum Necessarium?” 30


“ALL THEY REALLY ASK IS TO PRAY IN PEACE” To oppose the evil “integralists” of the Society of Saint Pius X or the disciples of Abbé Barthe to the good trads of certain Ecclesia Dei communities is a dialectical vision of the life of the Church already denounced in his day by Jean Madiran: “The terms ‘integralists’ and ‘integralism’ were born and spread as polemical sobriquets” (L’intégrisme: Histoire d’une histoire [in English the term “fundamentalists” tends to be used]). They live by the same faith, receive the same sacraments, are confronted with the same difficulties in the education of their children, and often attend the same places for Mass. This is undoubtedly what too many observers forget: the crisis of the Church persists, and is even growing. Generally speaking, participants in the traditional Mass are only looking to pray in a ceremony that is not a “self-celebration of the community” (J. Ratzinger) but a true liturgy, transcendent and leading them to God. The priorities of these lay people could be enumerated as follows: first the faith and the sacraments, then the hierarchy, then canon law. They love and respect the priests who preach to them the Catholic faith in its integrity. Such priests remind them that the Mass is a sacrifice, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Immaculate Conception, that hell exists and is not empty, etc. How many parishes preach these truths? Too few! The priority in most homilies is rather the obligation to get vaccinated or to welcome migrants. Traditionalist laymen are, of course, not much concerned with the concelebration of priests and generally have little interest in the Acts of the Second Vatican Council, a dated pensum of 800 pages. They have no intention, however, of “returning in due course to the Roman rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.” They know what they have left and why. All they really ask is to pray in peace and to live, quietly, in the faith of their fathers. What harm is there in that? Jean-Pierre Maugendre, “Traditionis Custodes: Divide and Conquer?” “HYPER-PAPALISM IS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE LITURGICAL REFORM” I think this hyper-papalism is itself a consequence of the liturgical reform. The old Mass, a product of many centuries of organic development and slow reform, provided a deep spiritual connection for Catholics to the lives of saints going back ages. The Mass itself was the center of Catholic faith, devotion, and mystery. Having severed the connection to what the Eastern Church calls “holy tradition,” the search

for that tie to the divine has brought about a mystification of the papacy. Catholic media and apologists have gotten into the habit of treating the bishop of Rome’s thoughts, attitudes, predispositions, and initiatives as if they were the main show of the Catholic faith—the primary theater of God’s will for the world today. They point to the curia— which we know from history and current gossip to be a den of the most vicious politicking—and presume that this is where the magic happens. Well, not in Catholicism, I’m afraid. Michael Brendan Dougherty, “Where Is Peter?” “THEY DO NOT LEGISLATE LITURGY PER SE” Recall a fact that seems astonishing to us today, but would have surprised no one for most of the Church’s history: the liturgy of the Western or Latin-rite Church existed in its many varieties for 1,500 years — for fully fifteen centuries — before any pope wielded papal authority to codify or define a liturgical book. In response to the Protestant Revolt, St. Pius V took the grave step of establishing a definitive edition or editio typica of a rite that had been used for century after century as an authoritative custom. So far from “creating his own missal” (as some people ignorantly continue to say), Pius V took the most conservative action possible in the circumstances: he acted precisely to conserve tradition in the face of a massive heretical onslaught with its innumerable innovations…. The Pope, or others in the hierarchy, can legislate for the liturgy, in the sense of the conditions surrounding it, the printed editions of it, the qualifications of ministers for it, etc., but they do not legislate liturgy per se. Fullness of power means power to do anything that can (lawfully) be done, not power to do whatever the wielder of it wants. If the statement “the pope can change the liturgy as he pleases” is accepted without qualification, then tradition means essentially nothing. And this is not a Catholic view (and never has been), but a nominalistic and voluntaristic one. Peter Kwasniewski, “The Pope’s Boundedness to Tradition” “TRADITIONIS CUSTODES...CALLS INTO QUESTION THE CHURCH’S OWN SELF-UNDERSTANDING” This is not to say that those who prefer the New Mass call into question the Church’s defined (and thus irrevocable) Eucharistic doctrines; but it is to say that those who ideologically oppose the traditional Mass do tend to call into question the Church’s defined doctrines. What the new rite

expresses obscurely, the old rite expresses limpidly and unmistakably, which is why no one who rejects the dogmas of Trent can feel at home in the old Mass. It must be stamped out if the revolution is to succeed. Those who may prefer the new forms, all the while continuing to adhere to the perennial Catholic religion (unlike the committed neo-modernists), need to understand that the war against the traditional Mass is also a war against the Catholic faith itself…. The pressing problem in the Church today, then, is not: Do traditionalists accept Vatican II, but rather: Do the antitraditionalists accept everything that came before Vatican II?[1] The common lot of people attending Latin Masses today do “accept Vatican II,” inasmuch as it was legitimately convened and concluded by legitimate popes; yet they are not willing to let “accepting Vatican II” be a pretext or an occasion for rejecting or neglecting what came before Vatican II. And this is the real reason for the rage of the anti-traditionalists…. Traditionis Custodes, therefore, does not merely call into question Pope Benedict XVI’s entire theological legacy, but — what is far more serious — calls into question the Church’s own self-understanding. If the premises of Traditionis Custodes are true, then Catholicism loses the inner coherence and historical continuity which are a consequence of the principle of non-contradiction and which are essential to the plausibility of the Church’s claims to be the authorized teacher of divine revelation. [1] One of the tragic ironies of Traditionis Custodes is that Pope Francis, in his quest for unity, focuses on supposed breaches in unity caused by those attached to the traditional Mass but passes over in complete silence the very real disunity coming from the growing schism in Germany, the diversity of pastoral practices occasioned by his own Amoris Laetitia, the scandal of celebrity priests and even some bishops who promote LGBT ideology in rejection of Church teaching, etc. Pope Francis has tolerated or even actively abetted these offenses against unity, something everybody knows, even if many bishops are afraid to acknowledge this publicly. Even if some caustic traditionalists occasionally fall into faults against charity which are unfortunately encouraged by social media, it is not a bad tone which undermines the unity of the Church, but error, since all Catholics are bound to be united in the profession of the same (immutable) faith. To the extent that doctrinal error goes unchecked, to that extent the unity of the Church is undermined. A Catholic Priest, “The ‘Hermeneutic of Rupture’ Cancels Pope Benedict—and the Council”m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



“you arE my frIEnDs” (John 15:14)

ExcErpts from thE mEssagE of thE holy fathEr for thE IntErnatIonal Day of pErsons wIth DIsabIlItIEs, DEcEmbEr 3, 2021 DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS! s we celebrate your International Day, I would like to speak directly to all of you who live with any condition of disability, to tell you that the Church loves you and needs each of you for the fulfilment of her mission at the service of the Gospel. **** Our vocation arises from our friendship with the Lord. He has chosen us to bear much fruit, fruit that will remain (cf. John15:16). As the true vine, he wants every branch, in union with him, to bear fruit. Yes, Jesus wants us to attain “the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 1). The Gospel is also for you! Its message is addressed to everyone; it is a word of consolation and, at the same time, a summons to conversion. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the universal call to holiness, teaches that “all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity… In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ… They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor” (Lumen Gentium, 40). ***** I know that some of you live in situations that are not easy. I would like to speak personally to each of you, and I ask that, if necessary, your family members or those closest to you read my words to you, or convey my appeal. I ask you to pray. The Lord listens attentively to the prayers of those who trust in him. No one should say: “I don’t know how to pray,” because, as the Apostle says, “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weak-




ness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26). In the Gospels, Jesus always listens to those who turn to him, however haltingly, even with a small sign (cf. Luke 8:44) or a cry for help (cf. Mark 10:47). Prayer is a mission, a mission accessible to everyone, and I would like to entrust that mission in a particular way to you. There is no one so frail that he or she cannot pray, worship the Lord, give glory to his holy Name and intercede for the salvation of the world. In the sight of the Almighty, we come to realize that we are all equal. Dear brothers and sisters, today your prayers are more urgently needed than ever before. Saint Teresa of Avila wrote that “at times of difficulty, God’s friends need to be strong in order to support those who are weak.”[1] This time of pandemic has clearly shown us that we are all weak and vulnerable: “We have realized that we are all on the same boat, fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed; all of us are called to row together.”[2] The primary way to do so is precisely by praying. This is something each of us can do; and even if, like Moses, we will have need of support (cf. Exodus 17:10), we are confident the Lord will hear our plea. ***** To all of you I send my prayerful greetings and good wishes. May the Lord bless you, and may Our Lady watch over you always. Rome, Saint John Lateran, 20 November 2021 FRANCIS [1]Autobiography, 15, 5. [2]Extraordinary Moment of Prayer during the Pandemic, 27 March 2020.m

Winter 2022

Issue 2

Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church DEAR FRIENDS,


any years ago, in conversations with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, we were encouraged to work for the unity of Christians throughout the world, without any compromise of the truths of the faith. We accepted that task, and everything we have done, the travels, the writing, the speaking, since the early 1990s, has been motivated by a desire to carry out that mission — not only for unity between Catholics and Orthodox, but also for unity within our own Catholic Church. The past two years, marked by the coming of the COVID virus and global lockdowns, have been filled with challenges, setbacks, difficulties, but also with victories for the cause of freedom and truth due to spiritual and moral heroism. For those of us committed to the hope of the promise — that sorrowing mankind could be redeemed and given abundant life through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ — it has given space for reflection, for looking back upon “what we have done, and what we have left undone,” and for looking forward to the future — at times with dismay and disquiet at the “brave new world” that seems to be coming into being, but mostly with the determination to continue our work of bringing the message of Christ, and of the Church, to our troubled world. During this period, we began a profound process of discernment of what our work is, and what it should be. After 18 months of reaching out to those within our universal Church as well as our Orthodox brothers and sisters, it became clear we must continue, and build upon the work of almost 30

years of Urbi et Orbi Communications and Inside the Vatican magazine. Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church was launched on the Feast of St. Francis: October 4, 2021. You will read more about this initiative in the following pages. In our world today, we hear much talk about the “Great Reset,” but as Christians we know that the only true “reset” comes through Christ, and that the transcendence of this fallen world cannot come through “transhumanism,” but through His grace and resurrection. Come with us now inside the pages of this Communiqué, and see how we are working to “rebuild His Church.” In Christ,

Editor, Inside the Vatican magazine Founder and President, Urbi et Orbi Communications

TABLE of CONTENTS Beginning a New Initiative.......…..2 Reflection...........................................4 News..............................................…5 Profiles...............................................6 Pilgrimages.......................................7 Digital Platforms..............................8

URBI ET ORBI COMMUNICATIONS u 14 W. MAIN ST., FRONT ROYAL, VA 22630 +1.202.536.4555 u 1

Unitas: Come, rebuild my Church Urbi et Orbi COmmUniCatiOns laUnChes a new initiative fOr Unity

Left, Unitas Retreat participants at the San Damiano Retreat Center; right, at Rappahannock Cellars winery with founder John Delmare


a private server, a complex process that will allow us to n October 3-5, 2021, at the San Damiano Spiritual operate independently of large digital platforms that have Life Center in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, we increasingly turned towards censorship of dissenting held a three-day retreat during which we launched voices. We will also be continuing our Symposia and Virour new initiative: Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church. After more than a year of reflection and introspection, this tual Events, such as our Writer’s Chats and Virtual Pilgrimages. In these, we feature inspiring personal reflecmeeting was a chance for us to reveal the three pillars of tions coupled with fascinating virtual tours, uniting our our work over the next 5 years, which will build on the worldwide pilgrims and helping them draw closer to the almost 30 years of work of Urbi et Orbi Communications: Divine. To foster Unity of each soul with God we will estabTo further Unity between Catholics and Orthodox lish, in 2022, a Unitas Center in the Washington, D.C. we will continue the work of the Urbi et Orbi Foundation, area, to be followed by other, similar centers in Europe. established nine years ago to work for unity between These will be spaces for prayer, liturgy, scholarship, and Catholics and Orthodox. This work includes our support seeking God together, where, in the words of Pope Emerfor Lebanese Christians, Maronite Catholic and Orthodox itus Benedict, “Christian life can assert itself in its own alike, through our Friends of Lebanon project, which way.” They will also be “focal points of faith,” where we brings these suffering people relief in the form of “shortwill host conferences and roundtable discussions to take term help,” like food and water purifiers, and “long-term on key issues within our Church, as well as concerts and hope,” like scholarships and pracother cultural events. tical assistance. We are coordinatTo promote Unity within the ing with several Orthodox partners Catholic Church, we will deepen on this project. We also will conour coverage of key issues in the tinue sponsoring Scholarships Catholic Church, in Inside the Vatican magazine and other digital and Exchange Programs between and print publications. Through the Vatican and the Orthodox our Shine the Light project, we Churches, as we have for many will support objective research into years, and other cultural and spirand reporting on abuse and finanitual exchanges, such as concerts cial corruption in the Church, as of sacred music. We will begin to well as highlighting heroic examhold meetings of the Women’s ples of holiness, charity, and joy. In Council of the Heart, an interna2022, we will be transitioning to tional consortium of Catholic and Robert Moynihan with Gen. and Mrs. John Wakelin hosting all of our online content on Orthodox women. Finally, we will 2

Left, Dr. Tim O’Donnell, Christendom College president, leads a tour of Christ the King Chapel, under construction; right, retreatants relax on our porch

on the second day of the retreat — an auspicious sign as Francis was the one whom God told to “come and rebuild” the Church of San Damiano in Assisi, which was “falling down.” The Transitus, a beautiful prayer service read for us by three Franciscan Tertiaries who attended the retreat, depicts the joyful final hours of the saint’s life as he goes to meet “Sister Death.” After a long and fruitful evening of conversations, we held our Unitas luncheon after Mass on the second day. The luncheon was highlighted by a talk from Dr. Robert Moynihan and testimonies from several of our long-time supporters and collaborators. Following the luncheon, we enjoyed a wine tasting at Rappahannock Cellars, a winery owned and operated by a local Catholic family, whose owner gave us a beautiful glimpse into his personal journey of faith. The final day began with Mass and then a visit to Christendom College where the president, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, spoke about the Kingship of Christ as he led a tour of their newly-built Gothic chapel, which is nearing completion. Contemplating this extraordinary monument to faith was the perfect way to wrap up three days of encounters, testimonies, and, above all, unity. In the same spirit, with Francis as our model, we are excited to begin this new journey of Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church in 2022. Deborah Tomlinson and Craig Richardson We would love for you to join us!l

continue translating and publishing books by leading Catholic and Orthodox authors. In preparation for expanding our work with Unitas, we have established a parallel international non-profit organization in Switzerland to facilitate the implementation of our projects worldwide. This, coupled with our move to a new private server to host our digital content, creates a solid base for our work in a world that is unpredictable and constantly changing. We have met with Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict multiple times and discussed this work with them. We discussed working for unity on multiple occasions with St. John Paul II as well. All of these popes have recognized the importance of unity, and of an organization like Urbi et Orbi Communications, which will continue working towards unity without compromising our deep Catholic faith. UNITAS LUNCHEON AND RETREAT The launch event was a success on both a spiritual and an interpersonal level. All who attended brought unique perspectives, and all were grateful to be there for this launch and wanted to support the continuation of this vital work. On the first night, after the arrival of our guests, we had a Mass and dinner followed by a reading of the Transitus of St. Francis (thanks to Dr. Rodney Allen for the inspiration!). The Feast of St. Francis fell



St. Charbel, a Saint of Unity ST. CHARBEL MAKHLOUF (1828-1898), a Lebanese monk, hermit, miracleworker and mystic, is one of the most popular saints of the East, and the first Eastern saint canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. His wisdom and intense love of God were the fruits of a life of prayer, penance and deep silence. The holy hermit is also revered widely by the Orthodox; in Russia alone, thousands have reported healings due to his intercession.

This “Saint of Unity” is beloved of not only Catholics and Orthodox but also Druse and Muslims. In fact, around 10% of the many miracles attributed to him are among the unbaptized. “St. Charbel has no geographic or confessional limits. Nothing is impossible for [his intercession] and when people ask [for something], he answers,” said Fr. Louis Matar, coordinator of the Shrine of St. Charbel in Annaya, Lebanon.

“EvEry pErson is a torch of Light” WoRds of encouRagement fRom st. chaRbel


very person is a torch of light; our Lord created him to illumine the world. Every person is a lamp made by our Lord to shine and give light. Whoever gets a lamp, receives it to illuminate the darkness. The lamp was made to illumine the darkness. But these lamps are preoccupied with their outer frame: they are coloring their lampshades, painting them, decorating them and embellishing them. These shades that our Lord had made thin and transparent to protect the light, have become thick and hard, and they are blocking the light, and so the world has become immersed in darkness. These lamps that our Lord had made to carry the light and illumine the world, have become works of art that are decorated, embellished and colored but unable to give light. What is the use of a lamp that cannot light the dark? A lamp cannot be seen in darkness unless it lights up. No matter how beautiful a lamp is, its light is more beautiful than it. The world is drowning in darkness and this while you are the light of the world. Your glass should regain its thinness and transparency so that you may light up the world, and achieve the objective for which God has created you. God made every creature to fulfill the purpose of its existence. Observe the creatures of this earth; each one is performing its duty with utmost precision and integrity, and no creature is miserable. The most miserable creature on the face of the earth is happier than the sinner. At the day of reckoning, the sinner will not so much worry about 4

the harsh reckoning as much as he will feel ashamed before the greatness of God’s love, that love which created the universe and gave life. Love is the only treasure that you amass in this world, and which remains with you through to the next world. All your treasures, money, glories and achievements that you think you have owned in this world and believe are yours, will remain in this world; even your own bones are not yours. Only love will go with you to the next world, and whoever gets to stand before the Lord devoid of love will die of shame, and that will be the moment of his real death, not when he departed from this world. Man dies if he does not turn into love, for God is love, and only love is eternal. Let love reign over your hearts and humility guide your minds. Pray and repent. Pray to Jesus Christ and He will hear you; open your hearts to Him, He will enter them and peace will come into them. But pray with all your heart. Do not mumble words that come from your lips while your hearts are with another lord. Our Lord knows what is in your hearts and He wants your hearts. Do not tire yourselves looking for the truth outside of Christ. There is no truth outside of Christ. Christ is the truth, and when you know Christ you will know the truth and become free; and Christ wants you free. Do not be afraid, be strong and be sure and confident that Christ has defeated the world.l



rbi et Orbi Communications’ Inside the Vatican magazine is now conducting a survey of worldwide Catholics on liturgies they attend and their availability, including the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), in their areas. Since the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes suppressing the TLM was issued by Pope Francis in July of 2021, bishops’ reactions have ranged from closing down TLM liturgies to retaining the status quo. Our survey is aimed at clarifying the situation, including liturgical data from dioceses themselves. The resulting information will be aggregated, interpreted and presented in an upcoming issue of Inside the Vatican magazine, as well as in a “white paper” on the state of the liturgy. The survey can be accessed at, and we invite every Catholic to take a few minutes to answer the survey questions.

LITURGY AUTHORITY PETER KWASNIEWSKI, ANGLICAN BISHOP CONVERT GAVIN ASHENDEN ON WRITER’S CHAT Peter Kwasniewski, author of the new From Benedict’s Peace to Francis’ War doesn’t often pull punches. He loves the riches of the Traditional Mass, and defends the right of the faithful to worship in this rite. He joins our Writer’s Chat interview on Zoom January 21 at 1:00 EST. Our Writer’s Chat guest in February will be Gavin Ashenden, a former Anglican Archbishop and Honorary Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth of England, now a Catholic convert and layman. After a distinguished academic and clerical career, he was appointed Chaplain to the Queen in 2008; he resigned in 2017. In December 2019, Dr. Ashenden was received into the Catholic Church by the Bishop of Shrewsbury.

Register at to join us for Writer’s Chat with Peter Kwasniewski on January 21 and with Dr. Gavin Ashenden on February 18, both at 1:00 pm EST.



etropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, was received in a private audience with Pope Francis on October 2, 2021 at the Vatican. At the end of the meeting, he presented Francis with a gift of the Russian translation of the Holy Father’s 2019 book La preghiera (“Prayer”), entitled Moltiva, with a preface by Russian Patriarch Kirill. This translation was supported by a grant from Urbi et Orbi Communications, acknowledged on the book’s title page. We will be funding more such translations in 2022 as part of our Unitas project. Commenting in a Vatican News interview, Metropolitan Hilarion said, “The experience of prayer is something that unites all Christians. And the lessons that Pope Francis imparts to his flock are of value to Russian readers.”



uring an October visit to the U.S., His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, met with U.S. President Joseph Biden and other political leaders, followed by an Ecumenical Reception and a visit to the Bible Museum in Washington, D.C. to bless the Permanent Exhibition on Orthodox Christian Cultural Heritage. In remarks made during his visit, he said the 21st century should become “the century of the restoration of unity.”l

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People: Our Most Valuable Asset Tony Assaf A proud son of Lebanon, Tony first came to Rome as a young man studying in the Maronite Catholic seminary. Several years after leaving the seminary, he met a young American woman who was working for Inside the Vatican magazine, who later became his wife. In subsequent years, Tony would collaborate with Inside the Vatican as a writer and as a guide on our pilgrimages in Italy. Following the catastrophic explosion in the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, Tony urged Urbi et Orbi Communications to get involved with raising funds for people who had lost their homes and fam-

ily members. Through collaboration with Tony and his brother, Georges, more than $24,000 was sent directly to affected families in Lebanon in 2020 and the first half of 2021. At the launch event for “Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church” in October 2021, Tony spoke movingly about the effect of this project on families in Lebanon. “This is one of the only projects going directly to help people on the ground,” he said. Tony is an expert on all things Roman and he is excited for pilgrimage travel to begin again in Italy and in Lebanon as we turn the page to 2022.

Aya Naimeh Urbi et Orbi Communications began working with Aya in 2020, when we were seeking a way to aid people who had been affected by the Beirut Port explosion. A native of Beirut and an Orthodox Christian, Aya has worked for many years in her local community through an organization she founded to help students pursue high school and university educations. After the blast, Aya went into the streets with other volunteers and began handing out food and water to people who had lost their homes. She soon began attending our monthly online “Friends of Lebanon” meetings, where she spoke eloquently about the massive challenges the people of the country — which is one of the last in the Middle East with

a significant Christian population — were facing. Though Lebanon is struggling with enormous challenges, Aya has stayed steadfast in her commitment to helping the Lebanese people. “We have a big sense of community in Lebanon,” she told us. “Here, it’s normal for people to live for years with their parents and grandparents under one roof. People don’t want to leave — they’re happy to live and work alongside their loved ones. They leave because they are forced to, after they have exhausted any possibility of supporting their family while staying in Lebanon. If there were a way to support their families, they would stay, regardless of the circumstances.”l

JOIN US!... BE THE HANDS THAT HELP BRING UNITAS TO THE CHURCH! Visit email us at or call +1.202.536.4555 to see how you can join us. 6


With Inside the vatican in the“Heart of the Church”


ince we began Inside the Vatican pilgrimages in 2008, we have hosted more than 50 pilgrimages... and each one has been unique! That is because our pilgrims experience beautiful personal encounters while journeying to destinations like Rome and some of the most important holy places in the christian world. These total-immersion experiences, in small groups to keep them special, are not only informative but also transformative. Our focus is not solely on the stones of the basilicas and shrines we visit, but also on the “living stones” which are the souls of the people we encounter, and even of ourselves, the pilgrims.

LOOk fOR NEw uS PILGRIMAGES TO vIRGINIA, wIScONSIN ANd fLORIdA! 2022 PILGRIMAGES May 28 - June 7, 2022 ItALy: JouRnEy towARdS thE FAcE oF chRISt from the site of St. Paul’s beheading to the shrine of the miraculous face of Manoppello, journey with us toward the face of christ. July 16 - 27, 2022 Ireland: Saints & Scholars In 433 St. Patrick lit a paschal fire whose sparks were never to die. follow the flame along the path of Irish monks, scholars, and pilgrims. August 10 - 19, 2022 England: Mary’s dowry Pilgrimage along country lanes to discover an England of mystics and mysticism with Our Lady at the heart. october 5 - 15, 2022 Italy: Annual ItV Mag Pilgrimage – Fall in Rome Join us during the colorful days of fall to holy sites in Rome, Lanciano, Manoppello, and Assisi. october 23 - 28, 2022 uS: Shenandoah Valley Experience Experience the roots of American catholicism as we explore the historic Shenandoah valley in virginia at the peak of autumn foliage. 2023 PILGRIMAGES April 3 - 13, 2023 Italy: Easter 2023 Be near the heart of the church at the most solemn, sacred and ultimately joyous time of the year! April 14 - 22, 2023 Italy: Miracles of Mercy At every turn as we pilgrimage, we encounter evi-


dence of God’s healing and comforting action in this world. See the miracles experienced by Italian saints. June 3 - 13, 2023 Italy: Journey toward the Face of christ June 18 - 26, 2023 England: In the Footsteps of Saints thomas More and John henry newman A unique opportunity to journey to England to follow in the footsteps of these great saints, from St. Thomas More’s cell in the Tower of London to Oxford, where St. John henry Newman lived and taught. July 22 - August 2, 2023 Ireland: Saints & Scholars August 9 - 18, 2023 England: Mary’s dowry october 4 - 14, 2023 Italy: Annual ItV Magazine Pilgrimage – Inside the Vatican Magazine 30th Anniversary october 16 - 24, 2023 Italy: women Saints through the centuries walk through the centuries with the women saints whose lives gave great witness in doing their work well, according to their call. Late Fall 2023 uS: Shenandoah Valley Experience –Inside the Vatican Magazine 30th Anniversary. “To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendor and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.” – Pope Benedict XvI


Digital Platforms

urbi et orbi Communications’ Digital Platforms Bringing the “heart of the ChurCh” to a gloBal auDienCe


irtual pilgrimages, roundtable discussions, Vatican news and commentary and spiritual reflection are all just a click away with Urbi et Orbi Communications’ digital platforms on the internet. Virtually anyone, anywhere can access our three websites –;; and They each have a different focus but all three are chock-full of opportunities for you to grow in your faith, your knowledge and your experience of the Church’s great pilgrimage destinations, its saints and its scholars and its present-day mission. We post our original video content – virtual pilgrimages, talks, interviews and events – on our YouTube channels: Urbi et Orbi Communications and Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages. Visit our channels and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our great content. We will be traveling to Quito,

Ecuador at the beginning of 2022 to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Good Success, and you will be able to follow our journey through videos posted on these channels. You can find Urbi et Orbi Communications, Inside the Vatican magazine, Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages and Robert Moynihan on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too! Receive Inside the Vatican founder and editor-inchief Robert Moynihan’s widely-read and highlyrespected email bulletin, The Moynihan Letters. Visit to subscribe. Did you know that you can also read Inside the Vatican on your digital device? Each issue of Inside the Vatican magazine is available to subscribers in digital form online. Visit to find us! We all belong to the visible Body of Christ on earth, the Catholic Church. Urbi et Orbi Communications is committed to keeping us all connected!l

Save the Date URBI ET ORBI COMMUNICATIONS will hold the inaugural international dinner for Unitas: Come, Rebuild My Church on May 13, 2022 in beautiful Washington, D.C. Join us for an inspiring and revitalizing evening and learn how you can be part of our new Unitas initiative, working to bring unity to the Catholic Church, between Catholics and the Orthodox, and between each soul and God. CALL US at +1.202.536.4555, email us at, or go to for more information or to reserve a place at this historic dinner!



Journeying toward the faCe of Christ Pilgrimage destinations in the heart of the ChurCh n BY CHRISTINA DEARDURFF


istory tells us that at the time of St. Paul’s martyrdom in the first century, Roman law prevented any Roman citizen from being put to death through the ignominious method of crucifixion. Tradition tells us that St. Paul, a Roman citizen, was therefore beheaded instead, while chained to a marble column in Rome – and his severed head bounced three times before coming to rest. The spots where St. Paul’s head is said to have bounced are the locations of three separate springs of water, called afterward “Tre Fontane”—“Three Fountains.” One of Rome’s earliest churches, Chiesa del Martirio di San Paolo alle Tre Fontane, or Church of the Martyrdom of St. Paul of the Three Fountains, stands at the site. It was built in the 16th century, but the original church was built in the 5th century—just a few hundred years after his death. Visitors to the Tre Fontane were once able to take bottles of the water issuing from the fountains; due to pollution, that is no longer possible. But what is possible, with a little luck and experience, is gaining access to the marble column; a select few are given the rare opportunity to venerate this holy relic of the “Apostle to the Gentiles,” to whom Christ once spoke those heart-piercing words, “Quo vadis?” Nearby is the home of St. Pudens, mentioned in the Bible by St. Paul; the first papal residence, it housed St. Peter himself for seven years. Visitors who know the “gatekeeper” can access the oldest part of the building, dating to the first century. Another awe-inspiring destination not too far from Rome is the tiny town of Manoppello, and the incredible, perhaps supernatural, portrait of a Man – some say He is the Man of Sorrows – which resides there in a small church. His face appears on a “canvas” made of byssus, a material woven from the beards of sea mussels – and its origin is inexplicable in purely human terms. Pilgrims to the Shrine of Manoppello

stare in wonder at this visible sign and find in the Man’s eyes a look of love and mercy that draws them closer to Him. Then there is Assisi, the charming town which was the home of St. Francis, “Il Poverello.” Not only is it the site of a beautiful shrine and churches dedicated to both St. Francis and his dear friend St. Clare, but it is also the resting place of Blessed Carlo Acutis. Carlo is the 21st-century teenager (he died in 2006) who catalogued the world’s Eucharistic miracles online. Pope Francis beatified him just last year. Perhaps most naturally spectacular is Norcia – ancient, lovely Norcia, with its breathtaking views of the adjacent Sybilline Mountains, its vestiges of firstcentury Roman architecture, its 16th-century churches and buildings, and of course, the enduring presence of St. Benedict, its famous native son. The Benedictine ideals that informed all subsequent monasticism in the Western Church were nurtured here. They remain alive in Norcia, at the Benedictine monastery that was re-founded by the American priest Cassian Folsom in 1998. It was built again nearby after a devastating 2016 earthquake destroyed the Church of St. Benedict and much of the monastery in the city center. Fr. Cassian, though retired from his role as Prior of the monastery, still gives spiritual talks to visitors and speaks about St. Benedict and the Benedictine life to which he is dedicated. Few pilgrims to Norcia leave unmoved after hearing his testimony of faith. These holy and beautiful places and the people associated with them – whom we call the “living stones” of the Church – are all part of Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages’ upcoming “Journey Toward the Face of Christ” pilgrimage May 28June7, 2022. Setting out on pilgrimage is a time-honored and sacred tradition. Like the pilgrims of old, we invite you to join us on this journey of spiritual renewal – a “Journey Toward the Face of Christ.”m

JOIN US! Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages’ “JOURNEY TOWARD THE FACE OF CHRIST” Classic pilgrimage – Our pilgrimages fill up fast. Make your reservation today! INSIDETHEVATICANPILGRIMAGES.COM – PILGRIMAGE@INSIDETHEVATICAN.COM +1.202.536.4555 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



“stripped of both Wings” A former AnglicAn chAplAin to the Queen of englAnd tAlks About his entry into the cAtholic church — And the demise of AnglicAnism n BY DR. GAVIN ASHENDEN*

Gavin Ashenden, a former Anglican bishop, is blessed by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England, during Ashenden's reception into the Catholic faith on December 19, 2019. Ashenden, a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, said Prince Philip, who died April 9, 2021, was a man deeply interested in God. (CNS photo/Simon Caldwell) Rifght, Ashenden meeting with Pope Francis

*Dr. Gavin Ashenden is a former Anglican Archbishop and Honorary Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth of England, now a Catholic convert and layman. After a distinguished academic and clerical career, he was appointed Chaplain to the Queen in 2008; he resigned in 2017. In December 2019, Dr. Ashenden was received into the Catholic Church by the Bishop of Shrewsbury, England.


moment sometimes comes when we suddenly see things entirely differently. Philosophers often call this “the moment of disclosure.” More popularly we talk about the moment that the penny drops. One of those moments came for me when, after a vote in the Church of England’s General Synod, the progressives refused to make any space for those who wanted to practice the faith as it had been received, as my Bishop expostulated with despair as we left the assembly: “That,” he said, “is the end of the 500-year ecumenical experiment that was Anglicanism.” I thought he was perhaps a bit overwrought, but as I thought it through I began to realise the force of his observation. What he meant was that in the civil war between puritans, Anglo-Catholics and progressives, the progressives had just landed a knockout blow that would reconfigure the Church forever. The Church of England is a confusing entity. It looks like one Church, but it isn’t; it was a conceptual compromise from its inception. To put it simplest, the Church inherited Catholic buildings and ecclesial structures but dressed and prayed as Protestants. Over the years the pendulum of power swung backwards and forwards between Puritans



and Sacramentalists, but in the 20th century, the Church began to buckle under the assault of secular culture, led first by Darwin, Durkheim, Marx and Freud, and secondly, it crumpled under the assault of 19th-century German theological revisionism. But it was the feminism of the second half of the 20th century that did more harm. A state Church is particularly vulnerable to cultural change. If the society it serves begins to reject Christian values or culture, it is faced with a dreadful dilemma. Either it has to go along with the repudiation, sprinkling putative blessing on the sub- or anti-Christian direction in which society goes; or else it has to take a moral stand and call society to return to Christian values; in other words, to repent. There have been moments when repentance was tried. Wesley called for it over personal sin and corporate disbelief in the 18th century; Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect, over slavery in the 19th century; Bishop George Bell, over the carpet-bombing of German cities and the slaughter of civilians in the 20th century. But the feminism of the second half of the 20th century brought not only women priests, but acted as a Trojan horse for a variety of secular utopian values: relativism, equality of outcome, the triumph of the subjective over the objective, the campaign to cleanse the womb of unwanted infants, repudiation of patriarchy and “toxic masculinity.” Though attractive in secular terms, they all undermined aspects of the integrity of Divine Revelation. And so began an increasing process of preferencing a spiritual agenda for fixing things on earth rather than carrying souls to heaven; the Gaia of ecological apocalypticism

Women priests, now quite common in the Anglican Church

and the prioritising of anti-racism became greater priorities than personal repentance and the rebirth of the soul. But the two connected but distinctive movements that set out to change the apostolic DNA of the Church of England were the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, and then the ratification of homosexual relationships and marriage. Both the ordination of women and the affirmation of gay identities and relationships were prominent secular goals. But neither the feminism that lay behind the first, nor the disordered sexual turmoil that lay behind the second, were consistent with Scripture or tradition. So either this was a new revelation that the Church and world had been waiting for… or it was something else. Feminism began to express itself in an ever louder antipathy to masculinity. The war of the sexes became more aggressive. The promotion of greater sympathy for homosexuality turned into a strident and aggressive threat to silence voices that questioned its legitimacy. Where was the Church of England in these culture wars? Like so many Protestant groups, it was heavily invested in the values of progress and personal, social and political self-improvement. Two old heresies reappeared to give a platform to this new thinking. Arianism emerged as feminists complimented Jesus on his restricted but worthy acceptance of women, but castigated him for being a man of his time, blind to the improvements that it took the 21st century to discover. This was not the Logos that stood on the threshold of time and space as the Pauline cosmic Christ, but a historical figure limited by his particular culture. And Pelagianism laid the foundation for an unrealisable ambition to improve the lot of people by a renewed political and social energy for removing injustice and inequality. As the Church shifted the weight of its energies from evangelism and the Bible to social justice and activism, the more traditional faithful at either end of the Puritan and Catholic spectrum began to leave. It was a vote in General Synod, where both these constituencies asked to have their theological and spiritual integrities recognised and protected, that caused the colleague I mentioned earlier such dismay. Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics had begged their fellow Anglicans to respect their beliefs and not impose women priests and bishops on them. The liberal majority refused, and refused with a jubilant satisfaction. As I left that particular Synod I had an experience which acted as an interpretative lens for so much of what was happening in the wider Church. I found myself waiting at a bus stop, where next to me there appeared a well-known feminist activist priest. (She was soon to become a bishop herself, and was distinctive for two things: a love and promotion of nudism, and her discreet lesbian housemate.) I said something about what a terrible and bruising time we had in

Synod. “Well, you know why we did what we did, of course?” she almost spat back at me. “No, I don’t think I do,” I replied. “We took revenge on you all. We punished you for every slight and disrespect any of you have ever shown to a woman.” I was astonished, both by her vehemence and by what she had said. Without stopping to argue about her assumption of widespread misogyny, I replied, “But you have invoked a spirit of revenge. That is a spirit that is deeply opposed to the Holy Spirit. Have you any idea of the havoc that the invocation of such a spirit will wreak in the Church?” She looked at me blankly. We were talking two different languages, and living in two different worlds. So yes, the 500-year ecumenical experiment that had been the Church of England had ended. The awkward and precarious balance between Puritans, Anglo-Catholics and the devotees of the zeitgeist, was over. The power grab had been effective and the internecine struggle had ended with the purge of the Puritans and the Anglo-Catholics. The Puritans had provided a vigorous and evangelistic congregationalism to the Anglican mix; and the Sacramentalists had injected a degree of Catholic piety and spirituality, borrowed from the Mother Church — an inclination for holiness and the Eucharist. It was they who had brought both depth of prayer and the width of new blood by conversion. Stripped of both wings of the Church, what was left was a shallow, politicised and de-energised centre, incapable of either spiritual renewal, repentance or conversion. The Puritans fled into the wider evangelical world, and the Anglo-Catholics took a grateful refuge in the Catholic Church’s Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, erected for those faithful coming from Anglicanism. Over 10 percent of the Roman Catholic parish clergy are now ex-Anglicans. Meanwhile, the victory for the progressives looks increasingly pyrrhic. The demographics look bad. Only 1.9% attend church. Between 2009 and 2019, baptisms, weddings and funerals fell by between 30-40%. And 33% of the Anglican faithful are over 70. As conservative Anglicans mobilize across the world, the lack of anything equivalent to the Catholic Magisterium leaves them prey to schism and sectarian conflict. Those many of us who have turned to the Catholic Church have done so because the turbulence of our day has caused us to look at the claims of the Reformation afresh — and found them wanting. On re-examination, many of us re-read the Fathers of the first five centuries and found there not Luther, Calvin Zwingli or Erastian settlements, but instead the Catholic Church and the Magisterium. The promise of Jesus to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” rings with a new and urgent resonance.m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



only God wins A review of JuliA Meloni’s new book The ST. Gallen Mafia: expoSinG The SecreT reforMiST Group WiThin The church n BY DR. DARRICK TAYLOR

attempts to end mandatory clerical celibacy. Meloni makes clear the links between these synods and attempts to alter the Church’s faith, for anyone who is not familiar with these events. Moreover, she connects the event of Francis’ papacy to the activities of these cardinals prior to his election, en love futility. They must, in the first part entitled “War.” if the annals of tedious VatShe details how the group used ican politics are any indidiscussions of “decentralization” cation. Julia Meloni’s The St. Gallen and “collegiality” as a coded way of Mafia: Exposing the Secret Rearticulating liberal theological deformist Group Within the Church mands. Most especially, she estab(Tan Books, 2021), amply demonlishes the ties between Martini and strates this thesis. For the uninitiatFrancis with great clarity. In her ed, the title refers to a group of cartelling, not only the ideas but also the dinals — Gottfried Daneels of words of Francis match almost Belgium, Walter Kasper of exactly those of Martini, using interGermany, Carlo Maria views and speeches of both men to Martini and Achille Silgreat effect. Another takeaway from Left, Julia Meloni, author of this part of the book is how much vestrini of Italy, and CorTHE ST. GALLEN MAFIA: mac Murphy-O’Connor opposition to Ratzinger galvanized EXPOSING THE SECRET REFORMIST of Britain — who for years GROUP WITHIN THE CHURCH, this group, and how personal it was Tan Books, 2021 to them. One gets the sense that men tried to secure the election of a Pope who would forward like Kasper, who feuded with Ratzinger for decades, their designs to “update” the wanted to triumph over Ratzinger, who as head of the Church. These cardinals met at the former monastery of CDF so often shot him down. Sankt Gallen in Switzerland in the latter years of John Meloni documents these ideological and personal Paul II’s pontificate, to oppose the “conservative” drift conflicts using sources in several languages, and under his CDF chief, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In includes details I was not aware of. For example, though Pope Francis, they appear to have their man. When givhe later denied it, she unearthed a blog post by Austen ing a talk on the publication of his biography in 2013, Ivereigh, claiming the group had sought Bergoglio’s Daneels spoke of their group as a “mafia,” and the name permission to push him as a candidate in the 2013 constuck. Some even took credit for Francis’ election, clave. I did not know of the rumor that some bishops though they quickly walked this back, not wishing to appealed to Ratzinger during the Synod on the Family to reveal the nature of their group. intervene, nor that Silvestrini was close to John Paul II. Those who have followed the papacy of Francis I had also forgotten that Francis had quashed an closely will find much that is familiar in the book, espeinvestigation of Murphy-O’Connor for covering up sexcially in the second half entitled “Time.” These chapters ual abuse shortly after becoming Pope. detail the main events of Francis’ pontificate: the reapMeloni’s book provides a readable narrative of the pearance of a disgraced Cardinal Daneels (for covering triumph of the most powerful faction in the Church up sexual abuse) on the balcony the day Francis was today. For this alone, she is to be commended. elected, the role of Walter Kasper in the Synod on the I do have a few criticisms. The book’s subtitle notFamily in 2014, the furor over Amoris Laetitia that folwithstanding, there is nothing terribly secret about “the lowed it in 2015 (and since), the Synod on Youth of mafia.” All her sources are publicly available, many on 2018, and the Amazonian Synod in 2019, which saw the internet, even though members of the group are “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.” –Psalm 49:11-12



In the center below, Pope Benedict XVI with Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and around them, from the upper left, other members of the “St. Gallen Mafia”: Gottfried Daneels of Belgium, Walter Kasper of Germany, Achille Silvestrini of Italy and Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Great Britain

careful not to broach their intentions too loudly and then only to friendly audiences. As her book amply demonstrates, they have been pushing liberal theological ideas since the 1960s. Even then, the “new answers” Cardinal Martini wanted the Church to give on sexual questions aren’t even that new: what the “mafia” wants the Church to be, from what I can tell, is a sort of Christian philanthropic organization espousing a pagan sexual morality, not unlike what the Emperor Julian (331-363) attempted in the late Roman Empire. In their modern guise, their ideas descend from liberal Protestant and Catholic modernist theologies that are more than a century old. Moreover, despite the book’s sometimes ominous tone, it demonstrates that this group can be opposed successfully: the refusal to adopt the Kasper proposal at the 2014 Synod, and the publication of Benedict’s book on celibacy, which thwarted the Amazonian Synod, are two examples. But it takes bishops and Church leaders willing to do this. The success of the group depends on manipulating ordinary Catholics’ sense of obedience and loyalty, which they know are stronger than any attachment to orthodoxy. This is why supporters of Francis spend so much time accusing his critics of disloyalty; loyalty to the Pope and to the institutional Church are practically the only thing most Catholics clearly understand about their faith, and the only things, in practice, all share in common. It is psychologically very difficult for a faithful Catholic to criticize the Pope, and having one like Francis provides cover for the progressives seeking the cooperation of the laity in changing the Church. I say this because, after reading Meloni’s book, one might come away with the impression that this group and its acolytes comprise some sort of omnicompetent organization, like villains in a James Bond film. I doubt this very much. None of them, save for Kasper, are possessed of any great intellect, and their attempts to manipulate the perceptions of the faithful are sometimes comically inept. (I am thinking of the press rollout for the publication of Francis’ collected works, which included a fabricated quotation by Ratzinger.) It is true they have attempted for many years to alter the Church’s official

beliefs, and the “mafia” has been quite successful at seizing and controlling institutions. But taking advantage of the charity and goodwill of the ordinary faithful, not to mention two Popes, is no evidence of competence or strength. Their rhetoric about “patience” and playing the long game belies the precariousness of their position. Their most animated supporters are frustrated by what they see as their lack of progress. They know their work can be undone in the future; the experience of two “conservative” Popes following Vatican II has taught them as much. Faithful Catholics are in a terrible state, having to balance loyalty to the papacy with maintaining the immutable elements of the faith that these cardinals want to alter. In that regard, The St. Gallen Mafia provides some hope. They have no doubt caused much damage and may do so for some time. But Meloni’s book demonstrates the essentially political character of the St. Gallen Mafia: its main concern is with gaining merely human, institutional power over its perceived opponents. They apparently believe that by manipulating public opinion in and outside the Church, by seizing the Church’s bureaucracy and putting their erroneous ideas into Church documents, their achievements will be “irreversible.” Despite appearances, such efforts are doomed to failure. Human power can defeat one’s enemies, but it can never guarantee the permanent success of one’s designs; in human history, no one ever “wins” in that sense. The machinations of the St. Gallen Group and its supporters have nothing to do with the power of God, which alone can establish the Church in perpetuity. Human power may destroy much that is good, but it cannot erase what is eternal. In the end, only God wins, and the only question is whether we will be on His side, or not. Dr. Darrick Taylor is an adjunct professor of history at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. An adult convert to Catholicism, he earned his PhD at the University of Kansas, and produces a podcast called Controversies in Church History. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



is “covaxin” The answer? Tempering hopes for an eThical covid vaccine n BY TAD WÓJCIK


ifeSiteNews published an article on October 18, 2021, on Covaxin, a vaccine (a bona fide inactivated virus vaccine, not an mRNA neologism) developed by Bharat Biotech in India. It could potentially prove a breakthrough in many Catholics’ long wait for a vaccine that would satisfy the dual concerns of ethical unimpeachability and reasonable medical safety. This is because, in addition to being a standard, true-blue vaccine (cultured in cell lines derived from monkey tissue), Covaxin also has — as yet — no known connection to cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue. (Links to the original Lifesite article and to other supporting information available upon request. Write to: The World Health Organization, of course, was slow to grant Covaxin its Emergency Use Listing (EUL); the WHO finally did so on November 3, 2021. EUL is important since countries’ health authorities (like the Centers for Disease Control) have based their recommendations for government travel restrictions on a vaccine’s EUL status. (Prior to the approval, people in India vaccinated with Covaxin were unable to travel to regions with vaccine pass requirements.) Additionally, Covaxin apparently is projected to hold out better against virus variants like the omicron variant. So the news about Covaxin seems very good, but we should be cautious. The Charlotte Lozier Institute, a respected Catholic prolife bioethics advocacy group, has maintained and updated a chart with evaluations of the ethicality of all COVID vaccines being developed, including production and testing. In all three of Charlotte Lozier’s categories, Covaxin has continued to be considered “clean” throughout its development and release timeline in 2021. However, the chart was last updated in June



of 2021; there does not appear to be more news about the makeup of Covaxin. But Catholics and pro-lifers have been hoping for a seeming godsend like Covaxin ever since the first “vaccines” came out just after the U.S. presidential election last year… to no avail. Novavax, for a time a candidate on both the medically palatable (since it too is an “old-fashioned” vaccine) and ethically clean counts, soon proved a nonstarter, since it was in fact revealed that testing involved cell lines from aborted children’s tissue. So the release of a totally ethically clean and widely available COVID vaccine that, handily, does not come with bundled health risks may prove a chimera. In other words, we just can’t trust that the manufacturer has disclosed all that was involved in Covaxin’s development and, especially, testing. Complete information is difficult to find, and it could turn out to be another Novavax. Or Inovio. Or Sanofi-GSK. In any case, such a longed-for vaccine does not appear to be looked favorably upon by the globalist cabal: Pfizer and Moderna get the big-money deals throughout the world, with the blessings of the United States and WHO, while other vaccine manufacturers have more trouble peddling their products. Having lodged themselves in the market first through gumption and funding, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson are unlikely to let other vaccines, prolife or not, just roll into their claimed territory. José Trasancos of Children of God for Life, another Catholic bioethics group, commented in August 2021 that truly ethical vaccines are probably not coming and that we should be ready to deal with the consequences. He may be right. So, should we still hold out hope for an available, ethical, pro-life vaccine? Is Covaxin the answer? Some of us might say that, as welcome a development as that might be, it would facilitate the elites’ avowed agenda of vaccine mandates for mandating’s sake, so we shouldn’t bank on it.

For many like me, a young, healthy man, the vaccines would be superfluous anyway from a health standpoint, and acceding to mandates means caving in to a wholly other type of unethical behavior of those in charge. But there are at-risk (elderly and sickly) people who may truly benefit from receiving a vaccine, and they shouldn’t have to tread the thin line between Church approval of “passive remote” cooperation and complicated arguments of moral theology to feel comfortable being inoculated. We pray that safe and unalloyedly pro-life vaccines eventually arrive for those they may benefit, hopefully supplanting all others. We may find that Covaxin is the answer to that prayer. But we may find that Covaxin is a mirage like the others before it. Or that Covaxin is in fact pristine but never becomes available in countries (like the U.S.) where Big Pharma is well entrenched. In that case, we should be prepared to weather the increasingly uncomfortable, restrictive circumstances that the powers that be are creating for the unrepentant unvaccinated — like not being able to travel or even losing a job. Doing so will prove an entirely appropriate witness in such times – the witness of “white martyrs.” As a final thought, let’s recall that the vaccine’s ethics should be the primary issue for us who dissent regarding the vaccines, mandates and the whole megillah. It is not primarily about adverse side effects (though in the context of large-scale implementation, efficacy and safety issues present a whole new set of ethical questions, as Archbishop Viganò pointed out in

his October 26, 2021, open letter). It is not primarily about protecting our Constitutional or human freedoms — though that is a legitimate concern. In fact, it is about human life — and the moral imperative to defend it with, as the Church once called for, “maximum determination.” The truth is that we should never have been caught in this situation. The Church, not too long ago, had the moral authority that would have brought the medical-industrial complex to its knees had it attempted to force the whole world to cooperate, even passively and remotely, in abortion and its insidious residue. (And let it be known that in most cases, these “abortions” were almost certainly in fact regular-old infanticide, with the baby removed from mother first by C-section or induced delivery and then dissected alive.) That we are now in such a discombobulated, confused, and hideously miasmatic quagmire of practical and theological controversy is the sign of a world and a Church utterly swamped by diabolism. Covaxin won’t save us therefrom. Tad Wójcik is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Linguistics and a minor in Philosophy. This is an updated version of an article that first appeared on The article is reprinted here with the kind permission of Crisis Editor-in-Chief Eric Sammons.m



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House of God St. Mary’s Catholic Church hymn Holy Sacri昀ce of the Mass sacred Host precious Blood Transubstantiation priest Bishop Smith The Holy Father Our Father in Heaven “…God and His love” Our Lord Jesus Christ husband & wife live-in lovers permissiveness evangelization faithfulness dissent orthodoxy Magisterium purity of heart sin & salvation Real Presence

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worship space St. Mary’s Catholic Community song liturgical festivities bread wine [huh?] celebrant Bishop Bob The bishop of Rome Our parent in heaven “…God and God’s love” the Christ 昀gure partners partners accompaniment encounter rigidity nuance Pelagianism synodality hand sanitizer health & safety social distancing

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sAinTs For TodAy

pope st. MArtin i, the lAst of the MArtyred popes “All who live religiously in Christ Jesus will be perseCuted” This is what Saint Pope MarBRETHREN IN CHRIST OUR RISEN LORD! tin I realized as he accepted the s we gather with joyful duties of the shepherd of Christ’s hearts at the altar of God, to Church in the year 649 AD. This worship Him in the Holy was the time of severe ChristologSacrifice of the Mass of All Time, ical heresies, particularly Monothe Holy Church celebrates today thelitism, favored by the Byzanthe feast of Saint Martin I, Pope tine Emperor at Constantinople. and Martyr of the early 7th century. Pope Martin knew that this theHe is in fact known in history as the ological position denying human exiled, alone, abandoned, and will in Christ was all wrong and starving Pope who gave his life in impossible, as Our Lord would not martyrdom defending the truth of be a true man. And our faith dogthe Christian faith. St. Martin I is matically proclaimed Jesus Christ the last Pope venerated as a martyr as true God and true man. As a in Church history — and we need to brave shepherd of Christ’s flock, look at his life and suffering for the Pope Martin stood up to the faith, for it teaches us important Emperor knowing what price he lessons for our Catholic life today. would have to pay. He rememThe importance of this feast day bered St. Paul’s words: “If we deny is signified by the readings of the Him he will deny us.” Word of God that focus on the Pope Martin was abducted by theme of shepherds’ power and A homily emissaries of the Byzantine Emauthority in the Church — as by Fr. ThomAs shepAnzyk peror, brought to Constantinople, desired by Our Lord. And in the on The sAinT ’ s FeAsT dAy , and humiliated. Yet he bravely first reading, it is Saint Peter — the endured all suffering and refused first Pope, who received from november 12 accept heresy, defending the to Christ the keys of the kingdom — (TridenTine cAlendAr) truth at the price of his life. He was who exhorts those who will be imprisoned, publicly flogged, maltreated, condemned chosen to be Pastors in Christ’s Church, to “feed the for treason, and exiled to distant parts of the Empire. flock of God which is among you.” There Pope Martin I died—naked, starving, forHow we need to pray for our shepherds, because the gotten, and alone – far from Rome, in the year 655 crisis of the Church in our times, the weakening of faith AD, a hero of the fight for the truth of our Christian among millions of Catholics, stem precisely from the Faith. failure of our shepherds to fulfill that mandate of Christ, Brethren, today, on this feast day of Saint Pope and as taught by Saint Peter in his First Letter and by Christ Martyr Martin I, we must pray for the shepherds of the in the Gospel. As it is often repeated today: the crisis of Church that the Holy Spirit may fill them with courage the Church is the crisis of the Shepherds. to preach Christ Crucified and Risen, without fearing And so we need to look at Saint Martin the Martyr to the world or seeking its approval. Just like Our Lord discover how a true shepherd serves the flock of Christ and His Cross, the Catholic Church must always be a with courage and devotion, and to pray for our shepsign of contradiction. On this feast day of a great Pope herds today, that they may imitate this saint pope in carand martyr, we cry out: “St. Martin I — pray for us!” ing for God’s people. The feast of a martyr reminds us Amen. of this striking truth of our Christian religion — it does —Fr. Thomas Shepanzyk not promise the faithful a sweet and easy life; on the conis the Parochial Vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish trary, it promises inevitable tribulations, rejection by the in Front Royal, Virginia, USA world and even persecution.





The Kingship of ChrisT And John pAul ii’s Ex CordE ECClEsiaE n BY TIMOTHY O’DONNELL *

An aerial view of Chistendom College, showing the Shenandoah River as it flows by the campus. Above, the college library, and, below, student residences


n an era that can truly be described as another Dark Ages, it becomes ever clearer the need to loudly proclaim the Kingship of Christ in our culture. There is perhaps no place more important to take on this task than in the field of higher education, where a weaponized secularism is training the next generation not for pursuing the true, the good, and the beautiful, but rather the relative, the sinful, and the ugly. Thirty years ago, Pope St. John Paul II wrote a roadmap for Catholic universities to follow in our modern times. This document, Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Colleges and Universities, “Out of the Heart of the Church” (“Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” August 15, 1990) is more important than ever to look at, with its beauty and power providing all Catholic universities with a guide that can bring the Kingship of Christ back into our culture.



Dr. O’Donnell says students at Christendom may be sure their education is orthodox and in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Below, the college also has a wide variety of outdoor and sporting activities

In this document, John Paul II provided the fundamental solution to the major problems that are afflicting Catholic higher education in this country. During the 1960s, many Catholic colleges felt an acute sense of inferiority to their secular counterparts and began to follow secular models of educaThe college logo has three main tion. The root of this problem, I symbols: the magisterium of the Holy See, prayer, and the light of believe, was a crisis of faith the faith. Below, a page from the which led many of the Catholic college website: intellectual elite to become in creasingly antagonistic to the magna traditio of Catholic higher education. Often educators act as if an open mind is the highest perfection. In fact, an open mind lacks perfection, for it is still searching. As Christians we do not have open minds but rather discerning minds. Our minds are deeply committed to the truth of Jesus Christ. We judge, therefore, all proposed truth within the context of the

Below, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, President, Christendom College, author of this article. Bottom, at the beginning of every academic year, the entire faculty takes an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium and makes a Profession of Faith in the presence of the Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop, currently Michael Burbidge

truth which He has revealed to us. As Cardinal John Henry Newman once said, the education of the young should provide them with a “habit of mind which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation and wisdom.” A discerning mind using principles of sound reason will not be “open” nor claim that everything is good and everything is worthwhile. The university exists for one specific purpose — to help form and shape the minds of its students in their search for the acquisition of truth. In this noble effort, the cultivation of an appreciation of the good and the beautiful is also crucial, for as John Paul II stated in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Catholic university’s goal is “to help students think rigorously, to act rightly and to serve the cause of humanity better.” A Catholic university’s specific task is consecrated to this goal of using the light of faith and sound reason in the service of truth. In uniting these two orders, which characterize so much of what is best in the Catholic tradition, epitomized in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and many other Fathers and Doctors of the Church, there is an openness to the fullness of reality, which, sadly, is oftentimes lacking in the secular model of the university. The Catholic university is further distinguished from its secular counterpart by its “free search for the whole truth about nature, man, and God.” The Catholic university is open to the whole truth; because of this, it should embrace a “universal humanism” which always examines things in their “essential connection with the supreme truth who is God.” Within the Catholic university, there should never be found a truncated view of reality. Rather, there should be an openness to the fullness of truth, wherever it may be found, whether that truth bears on God, man, or the created order. The free pursuit of truth has always been viewed as a most noble undertaking. Freedom, however, is not an absolute right that lives in isolation; rather, it is related intimately to the true and the good. As a matter of fact, it is only in freedom’s relation to the true and the good that authentic freedom can be guaranteed and nurtured. This Catholic vision, with its deep philosophical and theological foundations, is not simply a “perspective” or a “view” that is to be made present as one among many different perspectives. Rather, it is a fundamental grounding vision that gives meaning, direction and purpose to all that we do. John Paul made it clear that he was not satisfied with a university in a particular “religious tradition” but only

with one which has an explicit Catholic identity. To this end, a Catholic university must have at least four of the following “essential characteristics.” First, the Holy Father says there must be a Christian inspiration which is found not only in the individuals who make up the college or university, but throughout the university community as such. Secondly, in the light of the truths of the Catholic Faith, there must be an ongoing reflection upon the growing body of human knowledge to which the university seeks to add its own unique contribution in the field of research and writing. Third, within the university there must be “fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church.” It is here, particularly within theological discourse, that the necessity of adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium as an authoritative font of truth is emphasized by the Pope. Fourth, there must be a commitment on the part of the institution to serve the entire people of God and the entire human family of mankind “in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.” That transcendent goal is none other than God, who beckons all men to eternal happiness in the beatific vision. Here again, in all four points the importance of faith is seen. It is central and vital to the integrity of the Catholic university. All Catholics should be deeply grateful for the inspired guidance of John Paul II in this document and for Rome’s insistence that it be fully implemented in every institution of higher learning that bears the name “Catholic.” Thirty years later, the need for Ex Corde Ecclesiae rings truer than ever. Catholic universities have only further descended into secularism, confirming the concerns John Paul himself saw at the time of his writing. Despite this, there is still hope for Catholic universities, and for education as a whole. At Christendom College, the words of Ex Corde Ecclesiae guide every educational decision made, resulting in thousands of alumni who are now going into the culture and working to restore all things in Christ. This is proof that the model does work and can be implemented in our modern times. Christ is still King. If we can bring Him back into our classrooms again, the proclamation “Viva Cristo Rey” will ring out ever clearer from the next generation and those that follow after them, restoring our culture in the Kingship of Christ. *President, Christendom College JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Fides Quaerens intellectum “Faith seeking understanding” — Christianity and the intelleCtual liFe n BY JOHN BYRON KUHNER


enri De Lubac described the Church in 1978, just as the pontificate of Paul VI was concluding, as “on the cutting edge of an evangelical renewal” now that it was “stripped of the awkward trappings of a bygone era.” In most of the thinking that has defined the Church of the Vatican II era, these are presented as causally connected phenomena: strip away what is outdated; Gospel renewal occurs. Return to Jesus; get better results. How does this work when it comes to the intellectual life? There is a kind of 1960s vision of Jesus as an antiintellectual, someone who wouldn’t have time for books and schools and things like that because he was too busy healing the sick and playing the guitar for poor people. I’m sure that this must be at least partially correct. I can say from decades of experience with the intellectual life that it is not sufficient in itself, and to excess it is harmful to people. So do we have some guidelines for the intellect as part of the Christian life? First of all, we should not go too far in casting Jesus as an anti-intellectual social worker and entertainer. He took the time to learn the Scriptures, a formidable intellectual task all by itself. It also meant learning Hebrew in addition to the Aramaic that would have been more familiar to him. The dominance that Greek was to have amongst his followers at least suggests a knowledge of Greek as well. All of this would have required intellectual effort. Even more revealing, the social title by which he is most commonly referred to is rabbi, “teacher.” He called the people who followed him mathetai, “learners” (Latin discipuli). The Christian life is presented fundamentally not as a hospital or a mutual aid society but as a school. What is more, from earliest Christian sources such as the letters of St. Paul, we find a rich intellectual engagement: discussions of history, morality, the Law, the Prophets, the implications of Jesus’s acts. 52


Right from its earliest sources, Christianity shows itself as a theological enterprise, an attempt not only to do what God desires but also to understand it. Fides quaerens intellectum, said St. Anselm: “Faith seeking understanding.” The Evangelist John reports that Jesus characterizes action without knowledge as the part of a slave, but Christians were not slaves: Iam non dicam vos servos: quia servus nescit quid faciat dominus eius. Vos autem dixi amicos (“I will no longer call you slaves, for a slave does not know what his master does. I have called you ‘friends.’” (John 15:15). Perhaps the best source of Church wisdom on this topic is the papal encyclical Studiorum Ducem (available on the Vatican website only in Latin and Italian, but English translations can be found on the internet easily enough). Written by Pius XI, Achille Ratti, himself a librarian and a deeply learned man, the encyclical recommends the study of St. Thomas Aquinas (whose feast day we celebrate at the end of January) to all the faithful. Pius establishes an important first principle: prius vita quam doctrina, a maxim itself ascribed to Aquinas. “Life comes before learning.” The intellectual life is secondary. But life should lead us further: Vita enim ducit ad scientiam veritatis. “For life leads to knowledge of the truth.” How does this happen? The Pope explains: Idem vero, cum in cognoscendis iis quae sunt supra naturam, studii plurimum collocaverit, ex hoc ipso ad perfecte vivendum non parum se sentiet excitari: neque enim solivaga aut ieiuna, sed valde actuosa dicenda est tantarum rerum scientia, quarum pulchritudo totum hominem ad se rapiat atque convertat. “The man who will give much effort to understanding supernatural things will feel himself being roused

The late Fr. Reginald Foster (1939-2020; he died on Christmas Day last year at the age of 81). For decades, “Fr. Reggie” (as he was called) was one of the the principal papal Latinists, and a much-loved Latin teacher in Rome

sufficiently by this activity to living perfectly; for the knowledge of such sublime things, whose beauty converts the whole human being and ravishes him to itself, far from being solitary or sterile, must be called practical.” The intellectual life, in other words, is here to set us aflame for God; to fill us with a vision of what is beautiful and true, and sustain the other activities of our lives. It should be inspiring, in a word. And indeed it can be. And so what you have is an intellectual life sustaining an active, moral life, and vice versa — alternating like rest and wakefulness. It is a wise system. While writing my biography of Fr. Reginald Foster, the papal Latinist, I was able to speak to him at length about the role that Studiorum Ducem played in his life. He said: “Studiorum Ducem is one of the greatest things the Church has ever produced, because it understands the role of morality when it comes to one’s studies, and it understands the importance of an intellectual life when it comes to keeping your vocation. You must have a contemplative life to keep your vocation, you see. And the whole tradition of the Church supports that. But we’ve thrown out the whole tradition of the Church. And as soon as we did that, we

had priests leaving. All these people who left, they attacked me saying, ‘Foster and his Latin, what does that have to do with being a priest blah blah blah.’ Well, look at the results!” Foster found that the intellectual life brought to him by Latin — the millennia of beautiful writings, meditations, prayers, hymns, inscriptions, works of art, and so forth, gathered up by Holy Mother Church — was a continual source of nourishment for his Christian life. And he suspected that people who left the faith often left because they had first abandoned that source of nourishment. And so one must be careful when it comes to the Vatican II spirit of getting rid of the “awkward trappings of a bygone era.” It’s true that Jesus probably never frescoed anything. But that’s not really the standard by which we should judge Fra Angelico or Michelangelo. And similarly Jesus didn’t write an autobiography like the Confessions, or a 40-part motet like Thomas Tallis’s Spem in Alium. But they have a role in sustaining the religious life of the faithful. If you want evidence of this, simply try to take them away, and see how Christianity fares without them.m

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let us trust the evAngelists! A brilliAnt defense of MAry’s Magnificat As truly spoken by MAry n BY PROF. ANTHONY ESOLEN M. Grellet, Mary Visits Elizabeth, Basilica of the Rosary in Lourdes, from 1903


ometimes I think that the annotations in Catholic Bibles published from about 1960 to 2000 are, as Flannery O’Connor said of a Jesuit priest in her story The Enduring Chill, “a subtle blend of asceticism and corruption.” The asceticism and the corruption are related to one another: an almost prudish caution in believing anything beyond the powers of nature; and the corruption that sets in when you adopt a long habit of preaching what you believe only with severe and ultimately annihilating reservations. It is commonly said that Mary’s song of joy and praise, the Magnificat (Lk. 1:46-55), is indebted to Hannah’s song of triumph, after she who had been barren finally conceives and bears a son (1 Sam. 2:1-10). I don’t doubt it. If you are composing a poem, you turn to old poems you know well. Great poets do so. Virgil can hardly take a breath in his Aeneid without looking toward Greece and Homer. The psalmists and the prophets do so. Why is the language of the psalms so similar from poem to poem? It’s not just that we often have the same poet. We also have other poets influenced by earlier poets, writing in an established form, and sharing much of the same vocabulary. Now then, there are two things someone might say about Mary’s Magnificat. One is that Luke the evangelist was echoing the song of Hannah. The other is that Mary was echoing the song of Hannah, and that Luke rendered her Semitic poem into Greek prose. If we say the first, we are subtly suggesting that Mary did not say those things to Elizabeth, not exactly. We might extenuate our doubts, thus: Mary said something to Elizabeth that praised God for his salvific work, and Luke was embellishing it by — something or other; because what Luke then is supposed to have done does not make psychological or linguistic sense. Before I explain what I mean, I must say that the similarities between Hannah’s song and the Magnificat are not all that great. “My heart is established in the Lord,” Hannah begins, according to the Greek Septuagint translation, the



text that Luke must have read, and Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” The form is similar, but the verbs are different — more about that, soon. Elsewhere we have Hannah saying, “They that were full of bread are brought low, and they who were hungry have forsaken the land,” a strange thing to say, and not in accord with the Hebrew we have, which says that the hungry have ceased to be hungry. Mary, however, says that God “has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” Hannah says that the Lord “brings low, and lifts up” (Greek tapeinoi kai anypsoi), and Mary says that the Lord “has lifted up the lowly” (hypsosen tapeinous). That is very close but far from identical, and both the ideas and the words are commonplaces. Hannah says that God has raised up the needy to “inherit the throne of glory,” while Mary says that God has “cast down the mighty from [their] thrones.” When it comes to strong verbal echoes, that is about it. I beg my readers now to think about their fourth language, if they can speak or read four. Suppose you are a native speaker of German, your second language is English, your third is Russian, and you have a stumblingaround competency in reading Old Church Slavonic. Someone asks you to compose a poem in Old Church Slavonic. You laugh. You cannot do it. You cannot even begin. One in a hundred million, a John Milton, could do it, but we do not base our guesses about human behavior upon the rarest of exceptions. Now suppose that the same person says, “After you’ve composed the poem in Old Church Slavonic, kindly translate it into modern German prose, and throw the poem away.” Here you stop laughing. You call the nearest hospital and ask them to send along the men in white jackets, because your friend has lost his mind. Luke was obviously a native speaker of Greek. We may guess and suppose he might have spoken Latin also, and since he traveled with many Jews, some of them from

Palestine, we may suppose that he could understand some Aramaic, and therefore he might have had — might, but it is a stretch — some tenuous knowledge of the ancient sacred language of poems in the Old Testament, the poetic Hebrew which is more ancient and more difficult than the Hebrew of the historical books. Why would Luke compose a poem in Hebrew, or even in Aramaic, only to translate it into Greek? What would be the point? And Hebrew poetry does not even work as Greek poetry or Latin poetry does. It is a wholly different kind of musical instrument. There are, however, telltales in the Magnificat that show that its poet must have been a speaker of Aramaic who spoke Hebrew poems and prayers and treasured them in her heart, and not a Greek who had only the Septuagint’s prose to guide him. Most important is the form of the poem, a form peculiar to the Semitic; each of Mary’s verses places three or sometimes two words as mighty blocks of meaning, against three or sometimes two words of the same sort on the other side of a pause, to complete the line, thus (I mark the word “and” with the & sign, because in Hebrew it is a mere consonant attached to the following word, and does not count in the meter): He-has-filled the-hungry with-good-things & the-rich he-has-sent-away empty. Or thus: He-has-cast-down the-mighty from-their-thrones

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& he-has-lifted-up the-lowly. Or thus: as-he-spoke to-our-fathers, to-Abraham & to-his-seed forever. But my favorite of the telltales is the strange word magnifies. It is a typically Semitic word that happens not to appear in Hannah’s song. Hebrew verbs have as many as seven voices, one of which is the so-called hiphil or causative. The Hebrew verb gadal means to be great; if you put it in the causative voice, it becomes higdil, to make great, or, in other words, to magnify. Now, why on earth would Luke rack his brains to come up with a Hebrew verb only so that he could translate it into a Greek verb, megalynein, that is not even particularly common? Think instead of the obvious thing that a human being would do, if the events that Luke describes happened as he says. A miraculous thing has happened to Mary, the greatest of all miracles. She composes a small poem about it, and she commits it to heart. When the evangelist visits her, she tells him about it and she recites the poem, explaining what it means. He follows her along, dutifully. The form of the Semitic poem is thus preserved glimmering beneath the veil of Greek prose, because Luke is scrupulous, and what we get is Mary and not Luke. So then, let our souls magnify the Lord, and let us trust the evangelists!m

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The Message of the Icon




ne of the great joys of parenthood is watching a child develop a number of basic human skills; among the most popular would be the very first steps a child takes. The transition from crawling to walking is a major milestone, marking a tremendous leap forward in the human ability to explore and interact with the world. An icon rarely seen depicts the very first steps taken by Mary, accomplishing the journey from maidservant to Mother Anna in seven toddling paces, an achievement in keeping with the sacred number seven found so often in Scripture. The Protoevangelium informs us that this occurred when Mary was only six months of age, well before the usual time for the feat. Although the Protoevangelium would strangely indicate that Anna did not allow Mary to practice her walking skills until she was taken to the Temple, obviously the child came by some proficiency, since she scampered up the Temple steps into the Holy of Holies! The icon depicted is a mosaic from the Church of Saint Saviour in Istanbul, commonly known as the Chora Church. The name “Chora” indicates that the area once fell well outside the city walls of Constantinople in the western countryside. A monastery was founded in the area in the 4th century and the church was originally a part of the monastic establishment. When the city grew, the monastery was finally included within the walls, offering it protection from marauders who were prone to ravage the area. Evidently the monks fell into hard times in the next centuries, since history records virtually nothing of the monastery until the early 1300’s; at that time, a wealthy benefactor undertook a project to renovate and decorate the church, producing in the effort one of the most spectacular examples of Byzantine art to be found anywhere. Fresco and mosaic work cover

virtually the entire interior; this particular icon is found in the inner narthex, just at the entrance to the main church. The area is dedicated largely to the history of Saints Joachim and Anna, offering depictions of the couple at various stages of life. Less than a century and a half after the spectacular restoration of the church, the Moslems captured the city of Constantinople in 1453. They immediately turned the church at Chora into a mosque, along with its big sister, the mighty Hagia Sofia. The mosaics and fresco work were covered in a layer of plaster, since Moslems do not allow images of human figures in their places of worship. Fortunately, the images were merely covered over; many of the images in Hagia Sofia were actually destroyed! After a secular government took power in Turkey after the First World War, the mosque fell into disuse. In 1948, it was decided to restore the church and open it to tourists as a museum, thus allowing the beautiful artwork to be seen once more. The museum was opened in 1958 upon completion of the restoration work. Although some of the icons were damaged, the great majority were restored to something close to their original glory. Unfortunately, the government of Turkey decided in 2019 to once more return both the church at Chora and Hagia Sofia to service as mosques. The art work has been covered by heavy curtains; it remains to be seen whether a permanent destruction is contemplated. A fresco of the scene also exists in a church on Mount Athos, but few other examples are found from earlier times. Occasionally an iconographer will produce a modern rendition, but the pattern remains rare and elusive. Fortunately, through the photographic arts, the iconography of the church at Chora will still be available to future generations.m

“INSIDE THE VATICAN PILGRIMAGES made a special pilgrimage to Russia, as well as to Rome, to take part in the 100th anniversary of the murder of Tsar Nicholas, his wife and five children in 1918. Contact us at for information about joining us for upcoming special pilgrimages like this one.” page 56 t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555




s is well-known, Pope Francis has decided that the next Synod of Bishops will be held in October 2023 and will be devoted to the theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” According to the schedule released by the Vatican, the Synod is preceded by a diocesan phase followed by a continental phase. The objective of the diocesan phase is “to consult the People of God… so that the synodal process is carried out through listening to all of the baptized….” The diocesan phase was officially opened last October. Such a vast and sweeping preparation process has never occurred before a Synod or Council in the history of the Church. The Church is therefore sailing into uncharted waters. Furthermore, there is uncertainty as to the nature of a “Synodal Church.” For the Catholic Church, the word “synodality” is relatively new. The word “synodality” is not found in any of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The first pope to use the word in official documents was Pope John Paul II, who used it in six documents. In Pastores Gregis (Oct. 2003), he referred to “the Eastern Churches’ ancient practice of synodality.” In a 1998 address to the Congregation of the Oriental Churches, the Pope stated that “the synodality of the Bishops around their Patriarch, which distinguishes the Eastern Churches, is a very ancient way of living episcopal collegiality….” The word was therefore used to describe the ecclesiology of the Eastern Churches. Since 2006, the official Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches has been focusing on the relationship between synodality and primacy. In the Commission’s Chieti document (2016), synodality is defined as follows: “The term comes from the word ‘council’ (synodos in Greek, concilium in Latin), which primarily denotes a gathering of bish-

ops, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for common deliberation and action in caring for the Church. Broadly, it refers to the active participation of all the faithful in the life and mission of the Church.” According to the Commission’s Ravenna document (2007), primacy (the authority of the “first” bishop) and synodality are mutually interdependent and exist together. Pope Francis in his first year as Pope also focused on the Eastern Churches when using the word synodality. In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Nov. 24, 2013), he stated that “in the dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, we Catholics have the opportunity to learn more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality.” Pope Francis in his address on the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops in 2015 made it clear that he endorses the broad definition of synodality. According to him, a synodal church consists of “the faithful people, the college of bishops, the Bishop of Rome: all listening to each other, and all listening to the Holy Spirit….” In my opinion, Pope Francis desires a Church in which the Pope, as primate, consults with the rest of the Church, including the bishops and the People of God, in making certain important decisions. This is an exercise of synodality. As stated by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in an address in December 2019, the Catholic Church can learn more from the Orthodox about synodality, and the Orthodox can learn more from the Catholic Church about primacy. Hopefully, the preparation process for the 2023 Synod of Bishops will involve an opportunity for the Orthodox to provide their input so that the Catholic Church can learn more from the Orthodox experience of synodality.m t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555

page 57


NEWS from the EAST


POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH NEWLY-ELECTED ARMENIAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH Pope Francis on September 24 met with the newlyelected patriarch of the Armenian Catholic Church. Patriarch Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian was elected as the 21st Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics during the Eastern Catholic Church’s synod in Rome this September. The 74-year-old succeeds Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, who died last May at the age of 86. The Armenian Catholic Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris [of its own right] and in full communion with the Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope. (CNA)

message encouraging Latin Rite Catholics in Russia to witness to the Gospel. “My wish is that this commemoration will stimulate the entire Catholic community in the Russian Federation to be an evangelical seed which, with joy and humility, offers a clear vision of the Kingdom of God,” the Pope wrote in the message published October 10. (CNA)

BETHLEHEM’S CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY UNDERGOES EXTENSIVE RESTORATION Millions of dollars have been raised, including several millions from American Christians, for extensive restoration work at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, noted the news outlet Orthodox Christianity on October 12. Though unfortunately divided beECUMENICAL PATRIARCH AND tween several Christian groups, like POPE ATTEND THE many sites in the Holy Land, the main INAUGURATION CEREMONY basilica of the Church, under which is OF THE CHAIR OF ECOLOGY the Grotto of the Nativity marking the AND ENVIRONMENT AT THE exact spot of Christ’s birth, belongs to UNIVERSITY OF THE LATERAN the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, together with Pope Francis, attended on The original Nativity Church was Pope Francis with Raphaël Bedros XXI October 7 the founding ceremony of the built in the 330s. About 200 years later, Minassian, the newly elected patriarch of the UNESCO Chair of Ecology and Enviit was destroyed by fire during the Armenian Catholic Church ronment, which bears their name, at the Samaritan revolts, and today’s structure Pontifical University of the Lateran. was then completed around 565. It has not undergone extenIn his address, Patriarch Bartholomew stated: sive restoration since 1480. (OrthoChristian) “[T]oday, we are setting into motion a groundbreaking academic program, which will foster conversation and colCATHOLIC SYNOD—EASTERN ORTHODOX laboration, while generating information and education. In SHOULD BE INVOLVED “AT ALL LEVELS” 1989, when the first environmental encyclical of the EcuOn October 21, the Catholic German website Die Tagesmenical Patriarchate was issued, people were only beginning post posted a very important interview with Cardinal Kurt to become aware of the challenge of climate change and polKoch, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Prolution. Yet today, three decades later, unfortunately, politimoting Christian Unity. cians and corporations are still reluctant or resistant to pursue In the interview, the Cardinal discussed the next Catholic policies and practices to stop or curb the problem. This is Synod of Bishops which is scheduled for October 2023 and precisely why we need universities and schools to sow the which will deal with the subject “For a Synodal Church: necessary seeds for motivating the appropriate response and Communion, Participation, and Mission.” In connection with necessary transformation. Education, in all its levels, is a the Synod, Pope Francis has established a two-year period powerful vehicle for addressing the lack of progress in our of preparation. communities and even in our churches throughout the From the Cardinal’s interview, it is clear that it is desirworld.”(Ecupatria) able that the “ecumenical partners,” and especially the Orthodox, be involved in providing their input into the POPE FRANCIS ENCOURAGES CATHOLICS IN preparation process “at all levels.” Thus, the Cardinal stated: RUSSIA TO WITNESS TO THE GOSPEL “The basic principle of ecumenical dialogues is the exAs the Soviet Union was disintegrating 30 years ago, change of gifts, in which we can learn from the other ChrisPope Saint John Paul II appointed apostolic administrators tian churches, and indeed in the conviction that the specific for the pastoral care of Latin Rite Catholics in Moscow and gifts of the Holy Spirit are given not only to these churches Siberia. Pope Francis has marked the 30th anniversary of the but to all of Christianity. Pope Francis gave a concrete exestablishment of these Apostolic Administrations with a ample in his apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium. He emphapage 58 t Urbi et Orbi Foundation is a project of Urbi et Orbi Communications t 202-536-4555

sized that in conversation with the Orthodox Churches we Catholics have the enriching opportunity ‘to learn a little more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and its experience of synodality’ (No. 246). “And in the opposite sense, one can see in the deepening and strengthening of synodality an important ecumenical contribution of the Catholic Church to the recognition of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome by other churches as well.” (Peter Anderson) PATRIARCH KIRILL CONDEMNS COMMUNISM AND AGGRESSIVE SOCIAL JUSTICE IDEOLOGY The reality of the “communist paradise on earth” is brutal persecution and social ghettos, says the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill addressed the issue in his new interview with Forbes France on October 24. Asked about altruism as “a third way between hyper-materialistic capitalism and revolutionary Marxism,” the Patriarch stated firmly: “The desire for self-enrichment as the highest goal of life, as well as self-satisfied social egoism, are repugnant to the Christian worldview.” Moreover, the quasi-religiosity ascribed to both capitalism and Marxism is equally unacceptable. For all its talk of creating a paradise on earth, communism and aggressive social justice lead to something quite different, Patriarch Kirill continued: “We, who have passed the era of communism, know well that the idea of social justice, turned into an aggressive ideology, destroys everything around itself. Hundreds of thousands lawlessly executed for their faith, the creation of a social ghetto for hostile classes—this is the reality of the ‘communist paradise on earth.’” However, the “capitalist Gospel” of accumulation of wealth and goods at any cost is “no less dangerous,” the Patriarch says. Any activity, including economic, must be organized on a solid moral basis, which for Christians has always been Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church, he emphasized, though “this is resisted by

powerful forces that are ready to use any means to prevent the domination of Divine ideas in the minds of our contemporaries.” (OrthoChristian) METROPOLITAN HILARION—ONE CANNOT CALL ONESELF A CATHOLIC AND CALL FOR THE VIOLATION OF CHRISTIAN MORALITY Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), chairman of the Department of External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, on his weekly television program Church and the World on October 30 was asked for his opinion why the administration of “Catholic Biden” was so insistent on repealing the “heartbeat law” in Texas. He answered: “When they talk about the Catholic Biden, I always want to ask the question: what, in fact, is Biden’s Catholicism? The Catholic Church is against abortion, and Mr. Biden is for it. Does he do it as a Catholic or as the president of the United States? Does he do this proceeding from the dictates of his conscience or proceeding from the political situation? A person cannot call himself a Catholic, and at the same time violate and call for violation of the fundamental norms of Christian morality. “The Roman Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, opposes abortion as such. If in one of the American states there is still a law that somehow protects the rights of unborn babies, then the Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, only welcomes the preservation of this law. But the American administration is now trying to fit all the states under one standard, which is guided by liberal norms. “According to liberal norms, the life of an unborn baby is worthless and does not need protection, the most important thing is to respect the rights of women. In other words, it is said that a woman has the right to dispose of her body, she has the right to decide on an abortion and no one should interfere with her in this. All the legislation of Western countries is moving in this direction.” (Peter Anderson)m

The Christian Churches, the communities of the disciples of Christ, were intended to be united as one; Pope John Paul II proclaimed, “The Church must breathe with Her two lungs!” Unfortunately, the Churches are not united. This is a great scandal, an impediment to the witness of the Church. Since unity was desired by Christ Himself, we must work to end this disunity and accomplish the will of the Lord.

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page 59

Of Books, Art and People

Celebrating Dante’s Vision at rome’s Scuderie n BY LUCY GORDAN


Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), The Abyss of Hell

n until January 9 at Delacroix, Rodin, Cezanne, the Quirinal’s Scudvon Stuck, Balla, Dix, erie to celebrate the Taslitsky, and Kiefer. 7th centenary of Dante Except for the introducAlighieri’s death is the tory excerpt from Inferno, blockbuster exhibition Inthe 1911 silent movie, and ferno (Hell). Devised by the first room, the works of French art historian Jean art are all displayed in Clair, and curated by him chronological order. All rewith his Italian wife and count the persistence of fellow art historian Laura Hell’s iconography, the Bossi, it’s the first art exworld of the damned, alhibit ever dedicated to the though in different media first canticle of Dante’s and styles, from the Middle Divina Commedia (1320). Ages to the present day. An odd coincidence, since On display in the first over the centuries Inferno room is the exhibition’s has inspired artists and writers far more than the somma most spectacular work: a 7-meter tall colossal plaster cast poeta’s subsequent canticles. of Auguste Rodin’s monumental Gates of Hell (1:1 scale Through its 232 works of art on loan from over 80 fusion model). On loan from the Musée Rodin in Paris, major museums and prestigious public and private colthe press release reports that this cast was “made in 1989 lections in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, through the fusion of one of the last bronze specimens of Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Rodin’s work.” Inspired by Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Kingdom, and the Vatican, “it aims to highlight the deParadise at the Baptistery in Florence, Michelangelo’s finitive allegorical meaning of Dante’s great theological fresco The Last Judgment, Delacroix’s The Barque of fresco,” said Clair. That is to say: to Dante, Balzac’s collection La Comédie Rodin's Gates of Hell show humanity a path of liberation humaine and Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs from the miseries and horrors of “the du mal, it was commissioned in 1880. little threshing floor that so incites our Rodin worked on and off on this prosavagery” (Paradise XII, 151), toject for 37 years on the ground floor of wards a condition of happiness and the Hôtel Biron (today the Musée salvation as Dante states in Inferno’s Rodin), leaving it unfinished at his last verse: “E quindi uscimmo a death in 1917. That year a model was rivedere le stelle.” (“So we leave to used to make the three bronze casts, see the stars once more.”) now in Paris, Philadelphia and Tokyo. A large number of loans come from Subsequently the Musée Rodin donatFlorence’s Uffizi Galleries, the Musée ed some of the Gates of Paradise d’Orsay in Paris, London’s Royal bronzes to a number of places which Academy, the Bibliothèque Nationale include: The Kunsthaus in Zürich, the de France, Valladolid’s Museo NaIris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for cional de Escultura, and Lisbon’s Visual Arts at Stanford University, The Museu National de Arte Antiga. The Plateau in Seoul in South Korea, and most famous artists represented are the Museum Soumaya in Mexico City. Beato Angelico, Botticelli, Bosch, It should be noted that most of the Brueghel the Elder, Goya, Manet, Gates of Paradise individual figures 60 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022

didn’t originate in Dante. low poet Virgil. Descending, “Rodin’s sculptures,“ rethey pass through nine rings ports Wikipedia, “aren’t ilof Hell, each ring representlustrations of scenes from ing a different category of Inferno. Rather Rodin ‘reinsins. The first five rings are vented’ Dante’s hell to infor people who couldn’t clude figures who personicontrol their desires: lust, fied his own conception. gluttony, greed, anger, and Dante’s Adam and Eve, for revenge. Also the unbapexample, are in Paradise, tized dwell here. Rings 6 Taslitsky's The Little Camp at Buchenwald thought to have been resand 7 are for heretics and cued from eternal damnation by Christ on Holy Saturday the violent: murderers, suicides, blasphemers, and in the ‘Harrowing of Hell.’” sodomites. Witches, thieves, astrologers, seducers, alThe rest of Inferno is divided into three sections. The chemists and corrupt politicians dwell in Rings 8 and 9. first, on the Scuderie’s first floor, are works of art directThe other masterpieces in the first section include: ly inspired by Dante’s text. The second and third sections The Last Judgment by Fra Angelico, The Temptations of are on the second floor. On display in the second section Saint Anthony Abbot by Brueghel the Elder, and the maare works of art depicting the Hell created by man. Hidjestic 3-meter canvas Virgil and Dante in the Ninth Cirden by a wall from section two, so it comes as a surprise, cle of Hell by Gustave Doré, the famous illustrator of the is “Redemption”: a room entitled Riveder le stelle, from Bible. the last verse of Dante’s Inferno. I was surprised to discover that the Bible has no deThus the first section covers the origins of Hell as the scription of Hell other than the “furnace of fire” in the kingdom of Lucifer, the Final Judgment that condemns Gospel of St. Matthew. Dante’s Hell is a product of his the damned to dwell eternally in Hell after their death on imagination combined with ancient Greek and Roman earth, the landscape of the infernal cone, the multiform myths. Another interesting discovery was that Dante denature of the Devil and the scribes meeting Muhamtemptations with which he mad in Hell’s ninth ring tries to attract us. Its itiner(Dante and many of his ary begins with illuminacontemporaries regarded tions of Hell in medieval Islam as an offshoot of manuscripts, followed by Christianity). 15th-century canvases of the The second section is damned being tortured by dedicated to the 20th centufire and brimstone, conical ry. “This makes Inferno maps of Hell, 16th-century timely because the century prints of Inferno episodes by we’re living in has become Federico Zaccari and GioHell,” explained Clair in an vanni Stradano, then several interview with The Art portraits of Dante, and large Newspaper. 19th-century canvasses deIt nevertheless opens Doré's Virgil and Dante in the Ninth Ring of Hell picting Paolo and Francesca with a link to Dante: a Da Rimini and Dante with Virgil. Neapolitan puppet theater (1920) with wooden pupi The star of the exhibition is The Abyss of Hell (1481from Palermo and Catania on loan from the Antonio 88), a painting on parchment by Sandro Botticelli (1445Pasqualino International Puppet Museum in Palermo. 1510). It was on loan from the Vatican Apostolic Library The pupi represent characters from Dante’s Inferno: only for the exhibition’s first two weeks, because of its several skeletons, devils, malagigi (epic heroes), a fragility; it was then substituted by a modern facsimile. snake, dragon, killer whale and the sorceress Alcina. The Abyss of Hell is a chart of Hell as described by Most of the rest of the section illustrates man-made Dante. Dante pictured Hell as an abyss, a giant cave secular versions of Hell: the devastation of war, totalileading to the center of the earth. The cave was created tarianism, the anguish of imprisonment, alienating and when God threw Lucifer out of Heaven. Lucifer is stuck deleterious work on assembly lines or in pollutionin the center, caught in ice. In Inferno, Dante describes causing factories, never-ending cities which transform his journey in Hell in the company of his friend and felfarmland and forests into cement, leading to the extincJANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN 61

Of Books, Art and People tion of flora and fauna, the darkness of recorded “ and were not to be regarded madness in insane asylums with no as entirely reliable quotations): “The hope of cure, the nightmare of extermiChurch still believes in evil, but the nation in particular by the Nazis, and phantasmagoria of Hell and its devils… Islamic terrorism. seems childish and outdated,” then Only one of its paintings has a direct adding: “You aren’t sent to Hell; you go religious connection: Franz von Stuck’s there because you choose to be there. Lucifer, the exhibition’s logo, is almost Hell means lacking faith and wanting to entirely black except for the devil’s be distant from God… God did not crefiercely-penetrating glazed eyes and a ate Hell; we did.” tiny streak of light. It’s unclear whether Like Dante’s Divine Comedy, the the streak will close leaving the observer Scuderie’s final section is dedicated to permanently in Hell’s total darkness and redemption: “to raise our gaze upwards” desperation with Lucifer, or whether it towards “the infinite, the absolute, will widen, offering the observer reGod.” This final section includes paintdemption. Although the section’s other ings of the starry sky by Anselm Kiefer The ominous painting by German artist Franz Stuck (1863-1928 — his name artworks don’t have visibly religious and ends with photographs taken by became Franz von Stuck in 1905 when he subjects, they illustrate the several asNASA’s telescope “Ultra Deep Field.” was knighted), entitled Lucifer pects of contemporary Hell. The splendid catalogue, published (1890, oil on canvas) Pope Francis has spoken relatively by Electa in Italian and English editions little on this subject. He reportedly did say in an 2018 in(50 euros), contains many essays, splendid photographs, terview with Eugenio Scalfari, the declaredly agnostic a checklist of every artwork, and an anthology of exfounder of the important Italian daily newspaper La Recerpts about hell from writings by Goethe, Leopardi, pubblica, that “we must not abandon the idea of Hell,” Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Verne, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, and he then added (always according to Scalfari; the VatJames Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Malaparte, Thomas ican Press Office later said the Pope’s words “were not Mann, Solzhenitsyn, and Calvino, among others.m

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“Percy’s heart made its choice” MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO, MONSIGNOR ROBERT HUGH BENSON FORESAW THE RISE OF SECULAR HUMANISM, THE CONTRACTION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND THE COMING OF THE ANTICHRIST... n BY ITV STAFF Editor’s Note: The passage below is from the novel Lord of the World, written by the English Catholic convert Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson (the son of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1907. He attempts a vision of the world more than a century in the future — in the early 21st century… our own time… predicting the

LORD OF THE WORLD BY ROBERT HUGH BENSON (1907) BOOK II-THE ENCOUNTER. CHAPTER III (Note: The hero of the story, a young English priest named Fr. Percy Franklin, has come to Rome to report directly to the Pope on what he has seen in England: the emergence of a popular political figure who seems entirely humanistic, and so to have one of the characteristics of... the anti-Christ. Percy has just met the “Papa Angelicus” who is now 89, and has been Pope for nine years. Percy has briefed the Pope, and proposed to him the creation of a new Order of the Cross. Percy is now staying in Rome...) There was not, after all, a great deal of news. It was a kind of lull after storm. Felsenburgh was still in retirement; he had refused the offers made to him by France and Italy, as that of England; and, although nothing definite was announced, it seemed that he was confining himself at present to an unofficial attitude. Meanwhile the Parliaments of Europe were busy in the preliminary stages of code-revision. Nothing would be done, it was understood, until the autumn sessions. Life in Rome was very strange. The city had now become not only the centre of faith but, in a sense, a microcosm of it. It was divided into four huge quarters—Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Teutonic and Eastern—besides Trastevere, which was occupied almost entirely by Papal offices, seminaries, and schools. Anglo-Saxondom occupied the southwestern quarter, now entirely covered with houses, including the Aventine, the Celian and Testaccio. The Latins inhabited old Rome, between the Course and the river; the Teutons the northeastern quarter, bounded on the south by St. Laurence’s Street; and the Easterns the remaining quarter, of which the centre was the Lateran. In this manner the true Romans were scarcely conscious of intrusion; they possessed a multitude of their own churches, they were allowed to revel in narrow, dark streets and hold their markets; and it was here that Percy usually walked, in a passion of historical retrospect. But the other quarters were strange enough, too. It was curious to see how a progeny of Gothic 64


rise of Communism, the fall of faith in many places, the advance of technology (he foresees helicopters) and so forth, up until... the Second Coming of the Lord, with which his vision ends. For this reason, and also because Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have repeatedly cited Benson’s book, saying its clarification of the danger of a type of humanitarianism without God is a true danger that we do face, we are printing selections from it in ITV, now and in the months ahead.

churches, served by northern priests, had grown up naturally in the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic districts, and how the wide, grey streets, the neat pavements, the severe houses, showed how the northerns had not yet realised the requirements of southern life. The Easterns, on the other hand, resembled the Latins; their streets were as narrow and dark, their smells as overwhelming, their churches as dirty and as homely, and their colours even more brilliant. Outside the walls the confusion was indescribable. If the city represented a carved miniature of the world, the suburbs represented the same model broken into a thousand pieces, tumbled in a bag and shot out at random. So far as the eye could see, on all sides from the roof of the Vatican, there stretched an endless plain of houseroofs, broken by spires, towers, domes and chimneys, under which lived human beings of every race beneath the sun. Here were the great manufactories, the monster buildings of the new world, the stations, the schools, the offices, all under secular dominion, yet surrounded by six millions of souls who lived here for love of religion. It was these who had despaired of modern life, tired out with change and effort, who had fled from the new system for refuge to the Church, but who could not obtain leave to live in the city itself. New houses were continually springing up in all directions. A gigantic compass, fixed by one leg in Rome, and with a span of five miles, would, if twirled, revolve through packed streets through its entire circle. Beyond that too houses stretched into the indefinite distance. But Percy did not realise the significance of all that he saw, until the occasion of the Pope’s name-day towards the end of August. It was yet cool and early, when he followed his patron, whom he was to serve as chaplain, along the broad passages of the Vatican towards the room where the Pope and Cardinals were to assemble. Through a window, as he looked out into the Piazza, the crowd was yet more dense, if that were possible, than it had been an hour before. The huge oval square was cobbled with heads, through which ran a broad road, kept by papal troops for the passage of the carriages; and up the broad ribbon, white in the eastern light, came monstrous vehicles, a blaze of gilding and colour and cream tint; slow cheers swelled up and died, and through all came the rush and

God as seen by William Blake as the Architect of the world in Ancient of Days, held in the British Museum, London

patter of wheels over the stones, like the sound of a tide-swept pebbly beach. As they waited in an ante-chamber, halted by the pressure in front and behind—a pack of scarlet and white and purple—he looked out again, and realised what he had known only intellectually before, that here before his eyes was the royalty of the old world assembled—and he began to perceive its significance. Round the steps of the basilica spread a great fan of coaches, each yoked to eight horses—the white of France and Spain, the black of Germany, Italy and Russia, and the cream-coloured of England. Those stood out in the near half-circle, and beyond was the sweep of the lesser powers: Greece, Norway, Sweden, Roumania and the Balkan States. One, the Turk, was alone wanting, he reminded himself. The emblems of some were visible—eagles, lions, leopards—guarding the royal crown above the roof of each. From the foot of the steps to the head ran a broad scarlet carpet, lined with soldiers. Percy leaned against the shutter, and began to meditate. Here was all that was left of Royalty. He had seen their palaces before, here and there in the various quarters, with standards flying, and scarlet-liveried men lounging on the steps. He had raised his hat a dozen times as a landau thundered past him up the Course; he had even seen the lilies of France and the leopards of England pass together in the solemn parade of the Pincian Hill. He had read in the papers every now and again during the last five years that family after family had made its way to Rome, after papal recognition had been granted; he had been told by the Cardinal on the previous evening that William of England, with his Consort, had landed at Ostia in the morning and that the tale of the Powers was complete. But he had never before realised the stupendous, overwhelming fact of the assembly of the world’s royalty under the shadow of Peter’s Throne, nor the appalling danger that its presence constituted in the midst of a democratic world. That world, he knew, affected to laugh at the folly and the childishness of it all—at the desperate playacting of Divine Right on the part of fallen and despised families; but the same world, he knew very well, had not yet lost quite all its sentiment; and if that sentiment should happen to become resentful—The pressure relaxed; Percy slipped out of the recess, and followed in the slow-moving stream. Half-an-hour later he was in his place among the ecclesiastics, as the papal procession came out through the glimmering dusk of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament into the nave of the enormous church; but even before he had entered the chapel he heard the quiet roar of recognition and the cry of the trumpets that greeted the Supreme Pontiff as he came out, a hundred yards ahead, borne on the sedia gestatoria, with the fans going behind him. When Percy himself came out, five minutes later, walking in his quaternion, and saw the sight that was waiting, he remembered with a sudden throb at his heart that other sight he had seen in London in a summer dawn three months before….

Far ahead, seeming to cleave its way through the surging heads, like the poop of an ancient ship, moved the canopy beneath which sat the Lord of the world, and between him and the priest, as if it were the wake of that same ship, swayed the gorgeous procession—Protonotaries Apostolic, Generals of Religious Orders and the rest—making its way along with white, gold, scarlet and silver foam between the living banks on either side. Overhead hung the splendid barrel of the roof, and far in front the haven of God’s altar reared its monstrous pillars, beneath which burned the seven yellow stars that were the harbour lights of sanctity. It was an astonishing sight, but too vast and bewildering to do anything but oppress the observers with a consciousness of their own futility. The enormous enclosed air, the giant statues, the dim and distant roofs, the indescribable concert of sound—of the movement of feet, the murmur of ten thousand voices, the peal of organs like the crying of gnats, the thin celestial music—the faint suggestive smell of incense and men and bruised bay and myrtle—and, supreme above all, the vibrant atmosphere of human emotion, shot with supernatural aspiration, as the Hope of the World, the holder of Divine Vice-Royalty, passed on his way to stand between God and man—this affected the priest as the action of a drug that at once lulls and stimulates, that blinds while it gives new vision, that deafens while it opens stopped ears, that exalts while it plunges into new gulfs of consciousness. Here, then, was the other formulated answer to the problem of life. The two Cities of Augustine lay for him to choose. The one was that of a world self-originated, self-organised and self-sufficient, interpreted by such men as Marx and Herve, socialists, materialists, and, in the end, hedonists, summed up at last in Felsenburgh. The other lay displayed in the sight he saw before him, telling of a Creator and of a creation, of a Divine purpose, a redemption, and a world transcendent and eternal from which all sprang and to which all moved. One of the two, John and Julian, was the Vicar, and the other the Ape, of God… And Percy’s heart in one more spasm of conviction made its choice…. But the summit was not yet reached. As Percy came at last out from the nave beneath the dome, on his way to the tribune beyond the papal throne, he became aware of a new element. A great space was cleared about the altar and confession, extending, as he could see at least on his side, to the point that marked the entrance to the transepts; at this point ran rails straight across from side to side, continuing the lines of the nave. Beyond this red-hung barrier lay a gradual slope of faces, white and motionless; a glimmer of steel bounded it, and above, a third of the distance down the transept, rose in solemn serried array a line of canopies. These were of scarlet, like cardinalitial baldachini, but upon the upright surface of each burned gigantic coats supported by beasts and topped by crowns. Under each was a figure or two— no more—in splendid isolation, and through the interspaces between the thrones showed again a misty slope of faces. (To be continued) m INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022


VATICAN WATCH By Matthew Trojacek with CNA Reports - Grzegorz Galazka and CNA photos

SEPTEMBER THURSDAY 16 WILL THE SWISS GUARD ALLOW WOMEN SOLDIERS IN THE FUTURE? As the Pontifical Swiss Guard continues with plans to overhaul its Vatican barracks, there have been reports that the new design could accommodate women guards, prompting questions about whether the 515-year-old army could be poised to make a significant change to its admission requirements. “First of all, let me say that the reactions of the Swiss press to my statements have been excessive,” Jean-Pierre Roth, president of the charitable foundation funding the Swiss Guard’s new building, told CNA via email. Roth told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger earlier in September that “from the beginning, it was important to us that the new building provide space for women.” The roughly $60 million building project includes plans to expand the living quarters for guardsmen, some of whom currently sleep in shared rooms or in housing outside the Vatican. The new barracks will allow each guard to have a private room with a private bathroom. Roth explained that the building foundation is “planning barracks meeting the needs of the Swiss Guard in the coming decades. Who knows whether females will be integrated in the Guard in the future?” “The decision belongs to the Holy Father. Our Foundation has no information about a possible decision,” he said. (CNA) WEDNESDAY 22 CENTRAL EUROPE TRIP WAS ABOUT HONORING ROOTS, MOVING FORWARD, POPE SAYS A living faith draws strength from remembering the past while continuing to grow in love of God and service to others, Pope Francis said. The Pope said he saw that kind of faith on display September 12-15 as he visited Hungary and Slovakia. Reviewing the trip September 22, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience that the roots of identity and faith must be “conserved—not like museum exhibits, not ideologized and exploited out of interests of prestige and power [or] to consolidate a closed identity”—but as reminders of what God has done and as inspiration for growing closer to God and to other people. (CNS) THURSDAY 23 POPE FRANCIS TO BISHOPS: THE SAINTS SPREAD THE GOSPEL, NOT A “SOCIAL PROGRAM” Pope Francis invited Europe’s bishops not just to worry about secularization and a growing lack of faith, but to do some66 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022

thing about it by introducing people to the joy of an encounter with Jesus. “So many people are induced to feel only material needs, and not a need for God,” the Pope said at a September 23 Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. “Certainly, we are ‘preoccupied’ by this, but are we really ‘occupied’ with responding to it?” “It is easy, but ultimately pointless, to judge those who do not believe or to list the reasons for secularization,” he underlined. “The word of God challenges us to look to ourselves. Do we feel concern and compassion for those who have not had the joy of encountering Jesus or who have lost that joy? Are we comfortable because deep down our lives go on as usual, or are we troubled by seeing so many of our brothers and sisters far from the joy of Jesus?” (CNA) WEDNESDAY 29 POPE FRANCIS: “MY INTUITIONS, MY PERCEPTIONS AND MY SPIRITUALITY” COME FROM VATICAN II Pope Francis has reflected on the importance of the Second Vatican Council and the influence of its teachings on his life and spirituality. In a new book preface, published September 28, the Pope said that for him and other young Jesuit priests in Latin America, Vatican II “had entered into our way of being Christians and of being Church and, in the course of my life, my intuitions, my perceptions, and my spirituality were naturally generated by the suggestions of the doctrine of Vatican II.” “There was not so much need to cite the texts of the Council,” he said. Pope Francis commented on the Council in a preface to the book Fraternity—Sign of the Times: The Social Magisterium of Pope Francis. The Italian-language book was written by Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny and Italian theologian Father Christian Barone and was published on September 30 by the Vatican publishing house. (CNA)

OCTOBER MONDAY 4 POPE FRANCIS, FAITH LEADERS ISSUE CARBON EMISSIONS APPEAL AHEAD OF UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE Pope Francis and religious leaders from across the world appealed for countries to “achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.” They made the appeal on October 4 in a joint message signed in the Vatican’s Hall of Benediction, which was decorated with plants to mark the occasion. “The world is called to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, with wealthier countries taking the lead in reducing their own emissions and in financing emission

Opposite, Pope Francis with Alok Sharma, president of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and Italy’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio. Bottom, the historic Fatebenefratelli Hospital, which sits on Rome’s Tiber Island

reductions from poorer nations,” they said in the 2,000-word appeal signed by almost 40 faith leaders. Pope Francis presented the signed text to Alok Sharma, president of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) and Italy’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio. (CNA) WEDNESDAY 20 THE VATICAN STRENGTHENS TIES WITH THE WORLD’S OLDEST CHRISTIAN NATION The signing of a memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation between Armenia and the Holy See on October 11 was the culmination of a week in which contacts between the world’s oldest Christian nation and the Vatican intensified both on a religious and pastoral level. The signing of the memorandum occurred during the Armenian President Armen Sarkissian’s visit to the Vatican, which included a meeting with Pope Francis and a bilateral meeting with the Vatican Secretariat of State. Armenian religious leaders also took part in meetings at the Vatican. Catholicos Karekin II, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenia’s national church), had an audience on October 16 with Pope Francis, who visited Armenia in 2016. The Catholicos brought with him Arman Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia and author of reports denouncing the loss of Christian heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh. (CNA) FRIDAY 22 VATICAN STEPS IN TO HELP FAILING CATHOLIC HOSPITAL IN ROME The Vatican has stepped in to help a nearly bankrupt Catholic hospital in Rome run by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God. The historic Fatebenefratelli Hospital, which sits on Rome’s Tiber Island, has been in dire financial straits since 2013, with hundreds of millions of euros in debt pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy. In June, the hospital was all but sold to the San Donato Group, one of the largest private hospital groups in Italy, which had signed an agreement with the hospital’s creditors. Now, in a statement on October 21, the Vatican thanked the leadership of the San Donato Group, while saying that Church authorities had started a “recovery plan” to keep the hospital under management by the Catholic religious order. (CNA) TUESDAY 26 VATICAN CONFERENCE CONVENES EXPERTS TO STUDY EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY A Vatican conference will gather both Christian and nonChristian historians and experts to delve deep into the history of the Church in the first centuries of Christianity. Speaking to journalists at the Vatican press office October 26, Norbertine Father Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, said the conference program was inspired by Pope Francis, who urged him “to work

with scholars from all scientific backgrounds, from the most varied cultural sensibilities and from the most diverse historiographical methods.” “Pope Francis insisted on the need for the committee to promote a fruitful collaboration in the scientific field, not only with Catholic academic institutions, but as well as with all historians and specialists in auxiliary sciences of history who are ready to work together in the search for the truth, taking into account only their scientific expertise,” Father Ardura said. The October 27-29 conference, titled “Inquiry into the History of the First Centuries of the Church,” convened scholars from across Europe as well as India, Iraq, China and the United States to focus particularly on the first two centuries of Christianity. (CNS)

NOVEMBER THURSDAY 11 POPE FRANCIS FIELDS VATICAN SOCCER TEAM IN FRIENDLY MATCH AGAINST “ROMA” MINORITY Pope Francis will field a soccer team from the Vatican in a friendly match against a team of Roma people (in the past called “gypsies”) later this month. The soccer match, intended to counter racism and discrimination, was to be played on November 21, in the town of Formello, 45 minutes north of Italy’s capital. The match was also to raise funds for a Roma inclusion project organized by the Diocese of Rome. The Pope’s team has been named “Fratelli Tutti,” after his 2020 encyclical, and includes members of the Swiss Guard, Vatican employees and their children, priests working in the Roman Curia, three young immigrants, and a young man with Down syndrome. The team of the Roma (or Romani) minority has been assembled by the World Roma Organization, which has its headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia, and runs inclusive sporting events with special attention to minorities and people with disabilities. (CNA) MONDAY 15 POPE FRANCIS ASKS SECULAR FRANCISCANS TO TAKE ST. FRANCIS’ PATH OF CONVERSION Pope Francis urged Secular Franciscans on November 15 to embrace the “path of conversion” taken by St. Francis of Assisi. The Pope spoke to participants in the general chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order after making his fifth visit to Assisi since his election in 2013. Addressing members of the order originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, he reflected on the 13th century saint’s transformation from a gilded youth to a humble friar nicknamed “Il Poverello” (“The Poor Man”). “This holiness, to which you are called as Secular Franciscans… involves the conversion of the heart, attracted, conquered and transformed by the One who is the only Holy One, who is ‘the good, every good, the supreme good,’” he said, quoting from St. Francis’ writings. (CNA)n JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



BY MATTHEW TROJACEK with G. Galazka, CNA and CNS photos

POPE FRANCIS NAMES MASTER n FIRST HMONG PRIEST OF CEREMONIES FOR VATICAN ORDAINED IN VIETNAM PAPAL LITURGIES Catholics in a northern VietPope Francis on October 11 appointed namese diocese expect a new Hmong ethnic priest Monsignor Diego Giovanni Ravelli the to carry out evangelizaVatican’s next lead master of ceremonies tion effectively among ethfor papal liturgies, replacing Monsignor nic groups. Bishop Peter Guido Marini, who held the Nguyen Van Vien, apostolic administrapost for 14 years. tor of Hung Hoa, ordained Hmong man Ravelli was also named head of the Pope’s Sistine Chapel Joseph Ma A Ca and 10 others at Son Choir. Loc Cathedral in Son Tay, a A 56-year-old priest from northern Italy, Ravelli is one of town near Hanoi, on Ocseveral papal masters of ceremonies at the Vatican. He also tober 13. served in the office of papal almoner for 15 years before being promoted Local Catholics includto manager of the office in 2013. ing the new priests’ famiHe replaced Monsignor Guido Marini, who on August 29 was promoted ly members were not preto bishop of Tortona, a diocese in northern Italy close to Genoa. The sent at the ordination due to social disbishop-elect had been in charge of papal liturgies since his appointment tancing measures to contain Covid-19. as master of ceremonies by Benedict XVI in 2007. (CNA) Dominican Sister Mary Cu Thi Quynh Hoa, the first nun from the Hmong ethnic swelling, leaving him unable to eat and sleep for days. group, said: “We are full of the joys of spring about his priestIn a statement, Handan Diocese paid tribute to Bishop Yang: ly ordination and gratefully thank God for granting us the first “For 72 years, Monsignor Yang has demonstrated strong faithHmong priest since Catholicism was introduced to our ancesfulness to the Lord, kindness to all, a life of simplicity and retors over a century ago.” (UCANews) lentless dedication to his flock. Now that he has completed his journey, we request clergy, religious, and faithful to pray for n CHINESE BISHOP WHO BRAVED CULTURAL eternal rest of his departed soul.” (UCANews) REVOLUTION DIES AT 99 Retired Catholic Bishop Stephen Xiangtai Yang of Handan n RETIRED POPE BENEDICT HINTS AT HIS Diocese in Hebei province in northern China, who was perseDEATH IN CONDOLENCE MESSAGE cuted and forced to spend years in labor camps Retired Pope Benedict XVI has hinted at his death during the Cultural Revolution, has died at the in a condolence message for a former colleague age of 99. who was a professor in Regensburg, Germany. He died from complications from old-age dis“Now he has arrived in the hereafter, where I eases on October 13, according to a notice from am sure many friends are already waiting for the state-controlled Bishops’ Conference of the him. I hope that I will soon be able to join Catholic Church in China (BCCCC). them,” the 94-year-old Pope Emeritus wrote in a The prelate was admitted to a local hospital after his health letter published by the Upper Austrian Cistercian Abbey of deteriorated. He had respiratory problems and inflammatory Wilhering on the death of Father Gerhard Winkler. CHARLES DE FOUCAULD AND 6 OTHERS TO BE The German Catholic news agency KNA CANONIZED NEXT MAY 15 reported that in the letter The Vatican on November 9 announced that the canonizadated October 2, the retion of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and six others will tired Pope also emphatake place in Rome on May 15, 2022. sized that Father Winkler, The date of the canonization had been delayed due to the who died at the end of uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foucauld’s postuSeptember at the age of 91, was “closest to him” among all lator told CNA in October. his colleagues and friends. The May 15 ceremony will be the Catholic Church’s first At the end of September, retired Pope canonization Mass since the start of the coronavirus outBenedict’s private secretary, Archbishop break. It will take place two years and seven months after Georg Gänswein, said the former head the most recent canonization, that of Saint John Henry of the Church was “stable in Newman and four others in October 2019. weakness,” adding: “He is Blessed Charles de Foucauld was a dissolute French solphysically very unstable dier who became a Trappist monk and Catholic missionat 94, but he has a clear ary to Muslims in Algeria. Known as Brother Charles of head. And he has not lost Jesus, he was killed in 1916 at the age of 58. (CNA) his sense of humor.” 68 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022

“The retired Pope, who has been living in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens since his resignation in 2013, is still able to do everything he wants, but needs help with some things,” Archbishop Gänswein added. (UCANews) n POPE FRANCIS THANKS GOD FOR “PROFOUND PERSONAL BOND” WITH ORTHODOX LEADER Pope Francis sent a letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I expressing gratitude for the “profound personal bond” between them. “It is with gratitude to God that I reflect on our own profound personal bond, from the time of the inauguration of my papal ministry, when you honored me with your presence in Rome,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter on October 22. “Over time, this bond has become a fraternal friendship nurtured in many meetings not only in Rome, but also at the Phanar, in Jerusalem, Assisi, Cairo, Lesvos, Bari, and Budapest.” Pope Francis sent the letter to the 81year-old Orthodox leader to mark the 30th anniversary of his election as Ecumenical Patriarch. (CNA) n POPE FRANCIS NAMES JEFFREY SACHS TO PONTIFICAL ACADEMY Pope Francis on October 25 appointed the economist Jeffrey Sachs to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The Holy See press office said that the Pope had named Sachs as an “ordinary member” of the academy founded in 1994 by Pope Saint John Paul II to promote the study and progress of the social sciences. Sachs, the director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York, has been a frequent visitor to the Vatican in recent years. The 66-year-old was a featured speaker in at least six Vatican conferences in 2019-2020, lecturing on topics from education to ethics. (CNA)

“I am overwhelmed by this honor. It is the result of a scientific struggle demanding hard work, patience and wisdom,” Father Lon told UCA News. He now becomes the university’s first professor after being appointed its first rector. (UCANews) CHINA RELEASES “KIDNAPPED” VATICAN-APPROVED BISHOP A Vatican-approved Chinese bishop who was allegedly kidnapped by authorities more than two weeks previously has returned to his diocese. Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Yongjia (Wenzhou) Diocese in Zhejiang province in eastern China has resurfaced on November 12, with church officials and the faithful offering thanksgiving prayers for his return. It is still unknown when the 58-year-old bishop was released following his arrest on October 25. The

ST. PETER’S SQUARE HOSTS CARDIOLOGY MOBILE CLINIC FOR POOR The Office of Papal Charities and Rome’s San Carlo di Nancy Hospital are teaming up to offer the poor cardiology checkups at a mobile medical unit placed in St. Peter’s Square. The initiative is called “The roads of the heart, a journey for prevention.” The goal of the joint initiative is to provide life-saving cardiology checkups for those who do not have easy access to them, especially the poor living in the surrounding areas. The outreach is also providing a solidarity of presence for those who often feel alone and abandoned. The initiative has been dubbed, “The Roads of the Heart” and is coordinated by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who heads the Office of Papal Charities, the Vatican’s charitable office that operates on behalf of the Pope, and medical doctors from the San Carlo di Nancy Hospital in Rome. The mobile clinic has been placed next to the left colonnade where free heart and general medical consultations are carried out. It aims to raise awareness on good practices in daily life and the importance of regular check-ups. Cardiovascular diseases are in fact the main cause of death in Italy, and the percentages increases significantly for those living on the street, especially when compounded by other health challenges.

n CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY IN INDONESIA GETS ITS FIRST PROFESSOR The Indonesian government has named a priest as the first professor of a new Catholic university in East Nusa Tenggara province. Father Yohanes Servatius Lon, 62, rector of Saint Paul Catholic University of Indonesia on the Catholic-majority island of Flores, was awarded the professorship in religious and cultural science on October 25 from the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry.

authorities reportedly said the bishop was taken for “tourism.” Bishop Shao, ordained with a papal mandate as a coadjutor bishop in 2011, had been arrested six times prior to his latest arrest. He fell out with the government as his appointment was not approved by the state-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) and Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). Pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported in 2018 that Bishop Shao was arrested five times and subjected to isolation and indoctrination in Communist ideology. Following his arrest in May 2017, he was detained for seven months. (UCANews).m JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 INSIDE THE VATICAN



Stefano Navarrini illustration



umerous (at least 11) early Christian martyrs were named Valentine, which derives from the Latin valens meaning strong, worthy and powerful. The Valentines honored in Western Christianity on February 14th are two: Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae), or maybe three. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Rome’s saint is celebrated on July 6 and Terni’s on July 30. Valentine of Rome was a priest or a physician in Rome, who, after being interrogated by the Emperor Claudius II in person, was martyred for curing his fellow Christians and for performing weddings for Christian soldiers (married men could avoid conscription). He was buried on the Via Flaminia in 269. Pope Gelasius I added him to the calendar of saints in 469. His relics were first kept in his namesake church and catacombs, near the site of his martyrdom, which remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until they were transferred to Rome’s Church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV (128892). His flower-crowned skull is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Other of his relics are found at St. Antón’s Church in Madrid; at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, a gift in 1837 of Pope Gregory XVI (r. 1831-46); one of the saint’s shoulder blades in Prague’s Church of Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad, a gift of nativeson Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (r. 1346-78), apparently from his large collection of relics; in the parish church of St. Mary’s Assumption in Chelmno, Poland; in Mytilene on the Greek Island of Lesbos; and in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Savona, Italy. Instead, Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamma (now Terni in Umbria). He is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian in 273. Like Valentine of Rome, he was buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location. His relics are in his namesake basilica in Terni, although his head may be preserved in the Abbey of New Minster, in Winchester, England. The Catholic Encyclopedia lists a third St. Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies. He was martyred in Africa, but nothing more is known of him. Since the Late Middle Ages, probably first mentioned in the Parliament of Fowls by Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340-1400), a

dream vision portraying a parliament for birds to choose their mates, the February 14 celebration has been associated with love. According to Saints Preserve Us! by Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers, this may be because of the mid-February pagan fertility feast Lupercalia, and/or from the medieval belief that birds choose their mates on that date. Besides Chaucer, some other early literary references to St. Valentine’s Day include a 15th-century rondeau by Charles, Duke of Orléans, to his wife; Ophelia’s in Hamlet; a poem by John Donne; and Edmund Spenser’s epic The Faerie Queen (1590). The custom of sending handwritten notes expressing love dates to 18th century England, but it may stem from an ancient Roman legend. Rome’s Saint Valentine is said to have restored sight to the blind daughter Julia of his jailer/judge Asterius and sent her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell the night before his execution by decapitation. According to Bede’s Martyrology, compiled in the 8th century, Julia, Asterius, and 46 members of their household then converted to Christianity. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have been replaced by mass-produced greeting cards. Recent statistics (2015) report that in the UK around half the population spends £1.9 billion on cards, flowers (customarily red roses), chocolates (a custom introduced by the British chocolate company Cadbury in 1868), and jewelry. In the United States the average Valentine’s spending has increased every year from $108 a person in 2010 to $131 in 2013. In addition to Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, Valentine’s Day, although not a public holiday in any country, is celebrated around the world, in Latin America, Bangladesh, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, India (only half-heartedly), Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Philippines, Rumania, Singapore (the biggest spenders of all), Slovenia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan, and, until recently, in Afghanistan, although it’s banned in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Beside lovers, Valentine is also the patron saint of Terni, of course, of epileptics, of the blind, and of beekeepers. In addition to chocolate, also peppercorns, honey and strawberries are popular ingredients worldwide in St. Valentine Day’s recipes, but I found no particular dish.m


From left: the skull of St. Valentine of Rome in Santa Maria in Cosmedin; St. Valentine of Rome's shrine in Dublin; a page from Geoffrey Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls; and a page from a French medieval manuscript showing St. Valentine of Terni building his basilica 70 INSIDE THE VATICAN JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022

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Classic USA: California Missions March 16 - 24, 2020 • Visit eight missions in eight days and seven nights • Attend the Return of the Swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph • Spend 2 nights in San Diego’s Little Italy to include St. Patrick’s Day • Celebrate ITV magazine’s 27th Anniversary with 2 special dinners as we journey up the coastline • Spend 2 nights in the center of historic Santa Barbara with only a 5 minute walk to the beach • Enjoy wine tasting and lunch at one of the most beautiful vineyards with French Courtyards and stone barrelaging caves • Discuss the Church today with Dr. Robert Moynihan and why the Church is more important than ever • Spiritual encounters along the way

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