Here is the conference I gave last year on Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s contribution to the renewal of Franciscan Immaculatism.
Update (6/6/16): Here are the notes as promised. I was tasked with a forty minute oral presentation followed by ten minutes of questions on the topic with another twenty minutes on anything in dogmatic theology.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. I am very, very grateful.
I just wanted to give a brief update and then do nothing at all. I am bushed.
I presented yesterday on the Triple Way in Dionysius. Within the next few days, I will post the file of my notes for the presentation. It was challenging and I was grilled with questions but in the end my moderator, Fr. Bernard Blankenhorn, OP, told me that I passed with flying colors.
It was very reassuring to know that I had so many wonderful people praying for me. Again I am most grateful.
I am still waiting to find out my overall grade, as the second reader for my tesina has yet submitted it, but I know I have passed and have finished the degree of License in Sacred Theology.
God bless all of you.
The lightning rod of the SSPX is getting hit from various angles these days. Michael Voris thinks the Society is still schismatic, but Bishop Athanasius Schneider believes there is nothing seriously preventing the SSPX from being fully reconciled. In the middle, Bishop Morlino states there is very good reason why the Society finds itself in an ambiguous situation: they are not excommunicated but they have no ministry because they have chosen “to work outside of—and sometimes against—the hierarchical Church and its structures.”
The members of the SSPX are not being prevented from believing what they want about Vatican II and the new Mass. They remain without a ministry because their own definition their ministry is to expose the Council of Freemasons, Modernists and Jews and oppose the New Mass, which they believe is valid but evil.
Bishop Schneider thinks that both the Society and the Holy See overestimate the importance of Vatican II and regard it in isolation from the other Councils of the Church. But is not the solution he proposes a hermeneutic of continuity, and is this not what other traditionalists priests like those of the Fraternity of St. Peter have agreed to in order to have a ministry?
It seems to me the matter is not simply a question of charity and of stopping the infighting. With all due respect to Bishop Schneider, no matter how Bishop Fellay phrases himself the Holy See is very unlikely to give him a ministry to oppose the Council and the New Mass. And it is very unlikely that Bishop Fellay, a moderate in the Society, will agree to anything less.
Even if there were no doctrinal preamble to sign, in order to give a wider allowance for personal conscience, the Holy See would assure that the Society’s rules reflect the same kind of agreement made by the Ecclesia Dei communities. But the preamble helps to assure that members of the Society know clearly that their personal opinions and what they are permitted to do with the Church’s sanction are two different things.
And lets be Frank. The Holy See has every reason to believe that a mandate given to the SSPX ministry on a “as they are” basis would be considered a blessing on the Society’s mission to oppose Vatican II and the New Mass.
The other day Damian Thompson published a candid history of the Catholic blogosphere, which covers its heyday during the reign of Benedict XVI to its subsequent decline in recent years. Thompson knows a lot about this since he was on the ground floor of the Catholic digital information explosion, having been the writer for the very popular and hard-hitting blog, Holy Smoke.
As noted here before, the information democracy of the Internet has largely served the interests of the more conservative minded, both within the Church and in the secular world, because the mainstream media (secular and Catholic) has long been dominated by the left. Thompson acknowledges this, and accurately situates the new informational freedom in the context of Benedict XVI’s reform of the reform. With papal power behind doctrinal and liturgical reform as well as unrestricted access to the public through the blogosphere, a large sector of the Church, formerly marginalized, now had an opportunity to further what they saw as the true Church’s agenda.
Thompson is honest enough to say that there was also a spirit of payback working among the voices in the conservative Catholic blogosphere. He says the bitterness of some of the exposition was a way of venting, and he even confesses to having even created obviously false narratives about a bishop—basically for the sake of ridicule. He it admits it was both obsessive and fun. But it seemed to him to be justified because it was done in the service of the true faith and liturgical sanity.
After all, Pope Benedict ransomed the traditional Mass through Summorum Pontificum, and brought back from exile those who had long been treated as lepers. But since Pope Benedict’s reform agenda was met by so much episcopal opposition, Thompson conceived of himself as a man on a mission, whose job was
to record every attempt to suppress the Extraordinary Form and to make sure Rome knew about it.
Thompson never quite expresses regret for his excesses, but goes further in admitting that the antics of his commenters was far worse than his own behavior. He also admits that the “far right Catholics raging against the Jews and ‘faggots,’” were more reprehensible than the “sneering atheists” commenting on his blog.
But if this was the worst of it, it did not exclude dabbling of Catholic bloggers in conspiracy theories. In this regard Thompson only specifically mentions the accusations of the Vatican homosexual mafia whose existence was verified by the Vatileaks scandal. However, this instance is not really representative of conspiracy theory as such, since the accusations turned out to have some basis in fact. Conspiracy theory by definition deals in innuendo and plausible but unproven (and often uprovable) narratives that fit a certain selection and arrangement of facts or allegations, usually by people who have something to gain by convincing others that the man is out to get them.
The reality is that the Catholic blogosphere is a clearinghouse for conspiracy theory. The nature of the blogosphere itself contributes to this fact. What passes for a standard of evidence and an ethics of accountability on the Internet has always been woefully lacking. And those whose causes have benefitted from the destruction of the reputation of others have not been eager to be held accountable or to make a distinction between allegation and proof.
In fact, the tribes that have formed in the blogosphere do more to provide protection for their tribesmen, than hold them accountable for the honor the tribal name. The largest Catholic tribe on the Internet, and arguably the most vicious and vindictive, has been the conservative, which because of its previous marginalization has felt itself justified in claiming the status of victim.
While we can all admit that there is truth to the complaints that led to this behavior, it would be to ignore reality to define it as anything other than juvenile. But that is also part of the nature of the Internet. Perfectly responsible adults have a tendency to revert to immaturity when they sit down in front of a computer.
Thompson suggests Pope Francis has taken the wind out of the sails of the Catholic blogosphere. But is that really the case, or was the heyday of the conservative faction just too good to be true? Tribalism never succeeds in establishing the reign of light, justice and peace, and the dominance of one tribe never lasts for long. The liquidation of one faction hell bent on cleansing the world of evil is always followed by the rise and fall of a new (or old) zealotry, unless tribalism itself is repudiated.
But tribalism has not been repudiated, so in the wake of the Franciscan opposition to ideology, especially that of the right, the lefty tribesmen are back to the same old iconoclasm of the sixties and seventies. One good turn deserves another.
In this much, at least, there is little difference in the Benedictine and Franciscan papacies. Benedict had enough of the internecine wars in Rome. Francis, it seems would rather get it all out in the open. But neither pope seem to have had much stomach for the Catholic jihad or for the logic of one dominant force sticking to a weaker.
But whether or not the heyday of the conservative blogosphere is over, there remains the larger issue of the methods of modern communication, whose exponential growth will only assure greater connectivity, interaction and virtualization. The trends Thompson identifies as part of a fading conservative blogsophere will certainly continue, even if conservatives do not especially benefit from them.
I have heard some saying for years that it is only a matter of time until the government gets total control over the Internet and silences the voices of opposition, but it is not the control of big brother or some darkly imagined conspiracy of a secret society that concerns me most. It seems to me that the more frightening consequence of the information “democracy” is that the many will continue to rule in the interests of a few—that more information really means more disinformation, and more self-serving manipulation—all for a good cause, of course. What concerns me is the rise of a machine inhabited by the soul of a mob.
Let us see what happens on both sides of the spectrum at the upcoming synod. Thompson writes of the ascendance of the Facebook and Twitter monitors of ecclesiastical affairs who provide “instant scrutiny” of what goes on behind closed doors. This does not inspire me with confidence. He also notes that it is not only a question of bloggers pretending to be journalists, but now the journalists rely on the bloggers, as do the episcopal crafters of favorable narrative.
The dominant tribe must now claim, not control over the means of communication, like big brother, but control of the narrative, which is not at all the same thing because the dominant narrative is that of the loudest and cleverest mob. It is the art of cutting and pasting, of provoking some comments and suppressing others, of linking and not linking, of keeping the chamber in a constant state of echo.
In fairness to Thompson, whose honesty is to be commended, I must note that the context of his remarks is a post about Father, soon-to-be, Bishop Robert Barron. Thompson has great hope for the future of modern communication because of the selection of this orthodox theologian/communications expert/popular preacher and evangelizer. I think his hope is well placed, because Fr. Barron does not seem to be a tribal loyalist.
As every conservative Catholic knows, it is holiness of life that changes both individuals and society. In the end our present crisis is really about a lack of sanctity—a problem for which we are all in some measure personally responsible. It seems to me that Fr. Barron has a sense that communication and virtue are integrally connected. (What a novel idea.)
I pray that by the grace of his episcopacy and the sanctification of his person and ministry Bishop Barron will help to raise up new saints, because in the end only saints will be able to save the Church from the rest of us.
The following essay has been writing for this blog by one of our seminarians, Fra Josemaria M. Barbin. I agree with it in its entirely.
Some say that J. R. R. Tolkien is a black-and-white thinker who just pits the force of good against that of evil. However, his characters prove how Tolkien’s writing does not fall readily into such simple categories. The Istari (also known as wizards), for instance, reveal that in Middle-earth things are no so black-and-white. Tolkien’s wizards illustrate how one may do evil even with the best of intentions, when one is seduced by the temptation to use an evil means to a good end.
The art of living is not always simple. The circumstances of life do not make it all that easy to live up to noble standards. To do so is a true art, because in moral life, just as in art, one eventually has to formulate a solution where none has existed before. Indeed, this line between good and evil at times can be highly ambiguous, and it is often very difficult to make clear moral choices in complex situations. Our counsels are not always certain.
This is where the temptation of the Istari comes in. The syncretistic meshing of good and evil is precisely the art of cold-hearted wizardry. It is shrewd, cunning, deliberate, foresighted and worst of all: it happens frequently in the real world. The cold-hearted wizard plays not only with fire, but with souls.
In the temptation of the Istari, Tolkien explores the sometime murkiness of the dichotomy between good and evil choices, particularly with regard to the means employed in reaching a specific end. He points out time and again: “You can’t fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy” (Letter 81). By this he articulates the traditional theological maxim: bonum ex integra causa malum ex quocumque defectu, “An action is good when good in every respect; it is wrong when wrong in any respect,” according to which “a morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together” (CCC. 1755). Tinkering with the Ring is always risky business—even, and perhaps especially, for wizards.
All That Glitters is not Gold
In Letter 156, Tolkien writes that the task of the wizards in Middle-earth was principally to “train, advise, instruct, arouse the hearts and minds of those threatened by Sauron to a resistance with their own strengths; and not just to do the job for them.” Moreover, he also notes how “these ‘wizards’ were incarnated in the life-forms of Middle-earth, and so suffered the pains both of mind and body. They were also, for the same reason, thus involved in the peril of the incarnate: the possibility of ‘fall’, of sin, if you will” (Letter 181).
At this point in the same letter, Tolkien describes the nature of the “temptation of the Wizards”:
The chief form this would take with them would be impatience, leading to the desire to force others to their own good ends, and so inevitably at last to mere desire to make their own wills effective by any means. To this evil Saruman succumbed. Gandalf did not” (emphasis mine).
The wizards were exceedingly wise. They possessed knowledge of the first principles in a supreme degree. However, when it came to particular knowledge concerning ways and means, they had no natural pre-knowledge or expertise. For the ways and means to moderation are infinitely varied according to the affairs, circumstances, and especially where “other wills are concerned” (Letter 156), as Tolkien specifies. Like us, the wizards had to learn this through experience. Tolkien explained that the wizards had no more, if no less “certitudes, or freedoms, than say a living theologian.”
Since prudence, strictly understood, is concerned not with universal principles or the end, but with individual cases and particular means to be employed, it follows that the temptation of the Istari mainly consisted in a tragic flaw in the use of prudence. They knew what to do but not necessarily how to do it.
The Prudence of the Cold-Hearted Wizards
It is extremely significant how Tolkien depicts the way Saruman tries to persuade Gandalf to join him in his evil scheme:
“We can bide our time, we can keep out thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our design, only in our means” (Book II, chapter 2, “The Council of Elrond”; emphasis mine).
Saruman assures Gandalf that the “high and ultimate purpose” will remain unaltered; only the means employed will have to change. But the end does not justify the means. Tolkien once wrote that wizards “could in various ways become self-seeking” (Letter 212). Here Saruman is so deeply inured in his egotistic plot that he can no longer conceive of any choice other than one of expediency. His wisdom remained deep, but his pride outgrew it. And as Chesterton says, “Pride is a poison so very poisonous that it not only poisons the virtues; it even poisons the other vices.” Pride tainted the correct use of prudence, blinding Saruman even to the possibility of choices that do not involve pragmatism, power or self-interest. In the end, he subordinates the end to the means.
Sheer cold-hearted wizardry exchanges the highest ideals for narrow interests. The constant temptation of the Istari, “to do, or try to do, what is for them wrong (and disastrous): to force lesser wills by power” (Letters, 156), implies the secret employment of evil means with the view to coerce others, and, thus, gain some type of advantage. It is the execution of an astute plan by words calculated to deceive or circumvent the rights of another person. All this is done in the name and under the guise of the true, good and beautiful. “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention” (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The “prudence” of the cold-hearted wizards is utterly wicked, for it is cold calculation that masquerades as the virtue of prudence.
Tolkien correctly suggests that right motives are not enough: they must be coupled with right means. He also explains how the Ring is a great temptation for anyone because it is so easy to assert that one’s intention is to use it for good. Those who operate in this manner, undoubtedly spurred on by the influence of the Ring, do not take into account the corrupting power of the very evil that is being employed in the service of a “just cause.”
An act can be said to be entirely good only when all its elements—its object, circumstances, purpose and means employed—are in conformity with the standards of morality. True prudence then is wise not only in deliberation, but in decision and in direction as well. It carefully considers the correct methods to be employed for virtuous choice, and draws right conclusions about the means to be chosen for virtuous conduct. It ponders on what to do, and how to properly do it. At times, this might require a good dose of wholesome wizardry.
The Voice of Cold-Hearted Wizards
In chapter ten of The Two Towers, Saruman makes his first real appearance. Here he is characterized chiefly by his voice. Like many contemporary politicians, his main power is in his ability to deceitfully persuade. Tom Shippey calls him “the most contemporary figure of Middle-earth,” precisely because he personifies sly politicians, whose main concern is for themselves and whose real intentions are cloaked in sweet, but deceptive language. Indeed, Saruman’s voice had the power to beguile and to persuade in unperceivable ways. The sound of his voice alone
was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will (Book III, chapter 10, “The Voice of Saruman”; emphasis mine).
As they approached the tower of Orthanc, Gandalf reminded Pippin that “Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice!” Here, Tolkien, a man who passionately loved language, was not unaware of its power and sought to warn against the snares of sophistry. An explicit effort of mind and will are needed to escape its peril.
Sophists taught the skill to argue for any position, regardless of whether it was right or wrong. This was done through false but appealing arguments, quibbling, the confusion or entrapment of opponents, emotional appeal and slander, the shouting down of opponents, and the use of other rhetoric, such as the sound bite slogans used by pundits in the media today. In all this, getting at the truth was surely not part of the Sophists’ agenda. It was in fact, irrelevant to their intentions. They were not interested in the truth, but in the execution of their plan at the expense of the freedom of others. This is a clear mark of cold-hearted wizardry.
“You have become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable,” Gandalf would later tell him. This applies to the ancient Sophists as well as to the cold-hearted wizards of today.
The moral framework of the modern world becomes even more complicated when we consider the means that technology presently offers. The modern Machine is a bull-horn for the shrill and cold voice of Saruman. It is not difficult to find “Sharkeys” surfing the Internet, who disguise their cause in fair words and present facts selectively to fit their agenda. Packaged in ear-tickling verbiage, cold-hearted wizards of the virtual world attempt to persuade others to actions inconsistent with sound moral principles.
The tools of technology are themselves morally indifferent, but in the hands of the acting person they assume the moral quality of a means to an end. The tools of modern communication, not only facilitate the immediate and constant connectivity of persons around the globe, as well as a newfound information democracy, but also the lowering of the standards of journalistic integrity and of personal responsibility. We do not have more transparency as a result but less, and while the quantity of information has increased exponentially, the quality has not, nor has our ability to discern the difference been aided by the growth in technology. Tolkien was quite deliberate in equating the power to quicken a desired result through magic with the potential evil of the modern Machine.
So the wizards of the virtual world get a free pass. The free market of ideas is held to be more important than accountability. In the end, this facilitates the methods of propagandists: deliberate misrepresentation, half-truths, selective reporting, etc. All this diminishes the legitimate freedom of others. The relative protection the computer monitor provides ought not to be a pretext for minimizing accountability. Man is always personally responsible for his acts, whether off or online.
Just as wizards were prone to “err and stray” as Tolkien emphasized, as Catholics we are also vulnerable to the seductive appeal of the Ring. It is possible for us to begin with a good intention, but then to act according to the logic of the Machine. We can taint a decent motive of choice and action by not attending to the order which supernatural prudence requires.
It should be evident, then, how the voice of truth can be drowned out by subtly deceptive language. One cannot build an ivory tower out of the rubble of Isengard. Universal truth is easily sacrificed on the altar of narrow agendas, even if only in the sense that one comes to reject the universal truth that the end does not justify the means. “Proprium virtus moralis est facere electionem rectam” (S. Th., I-II, q. 65, a. 1). St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that the proper act of virtue consists in right choice, because true virtue does not stop at a good intention, but executes this good intention through morally right choices, namely, with choices that realize the initial virtuous intention. We have to know what to do and how to do it in the right way.
Gandalf as Ring-Lord: A Would-be “Benevolent” Dictator
When Frodo offered him the Ring, Gandalf rejected it and in the process defined clearly the temptation of the Istari:
No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” […] “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good” (Book I, chapter 2, “The Shadow of the Past”; emphasis mine).
Perhaps the most profound examination of the ambiguous treatment of good and evil in Tolkien could be found in Letter 246 where he hypothesizes what would have happened if Gandalf was to become Ring-Lord:
Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained ‘righteous’, but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for ‘good’, and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)” (emphasis mine).
The same letter ends with this extremely interesting note:
[The draft ends here. In the margin Tolkien wrote: “Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil, he left ‘good’ clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil”] (emphasis mine).
Gandalf’s temptation would have been much more subtle. It is unlikely that he would have been an iconoclast, scandalizing others by flaunting his hypocrisy in public. Nonetheless, he would have been a self-righteous hypocrite as Tolkien points out; for he would have claimed that his knowledge of the universal principles (which would have remained great as Tolkien specifies) allowed him to manipulate things subtly so as to modify their structure without really changing them essentially. This would have been the subtlest form of the prudence of cold-hearted wizards.
Gandalf would have certainly given his subjects what they needed and not exactly what they wanted. But no matter how benevolent his dictatorship it might have seemed to be, it would have stripped his subjects of the necessary interior condition of liberty to adhere to the good. Gandalf would have overstepped his competence as a moral force, which, based on freedom and responsibility, is meant to guide the energies of all towards the common good.
This is not to say that legitimate authority is without the power to coerce within the limits of law (divine, ecclesial and human), but that the nobility of the end does not bring a proportionate increase the power to coerce. Nor the “benevolence” of the authority, or the evil of the times authorize a power to violate basic human freedom. Gandalf was eminently good, his cause was supremely noble, and he confronted the greatest evil. He still would not touch the Ring.
Had it been otherwise, he would have “benevolently” imposed the good in a subtly despotic manner. In this way, the climate of genuine freedom would have been contaminated by the stench of the Machine. It would have been a very subtle form of coercion of the will inspired by the logic of the Ring. It would have been sheer wizardry—sheer cold-hearted wizardry.
No wonder Tolkien says that Gandalf would have been far worse than Sauron. Gandalf, the Ring-Lord, would have so integrated good with evil means (subtle coercion of the will in the name of good), that the distinction between good and evil have become confused. It would have become a case of beauty in the beast, in which the good became detestable. This is the art of sheer cold-hearted wizardry at its worst.
In reality, it is only by authentic freedom that man can turn himself towards what is good. Man’s dignity requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses of the passions nor by the mere constraint of cold-hearted wizards.
Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward towards his goal by freely choosing what is good, and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suites to his end (Gaudium et Spes, 17).
In fact, when uninhibited by disordered passions, human nature, elevated by grace enables us to judge correctly about the universal principles of right and wrong. So also, when judgement is to be made about a particular line of action, as a man is, so he judges. The licentious man judges for pleasure, the cowardly man for neglect of duty, the cold-hearted wizard for apparent good. Thus emerges the necessity to cultivate true virtue. The end does not justify the means (CCC. 1753). Or as Tolkien would say, “You can’t fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy” (Letters, 81). No good can come from the Ring. Even in the hands of a benevolent master.
All that glitters is not gold. And all that is gold does not glitter.
As Catholics we are “mortals hemmed in a hostile world” as Tolkien would say. Our Lord exhorts us to be as innocent doves and as wise as serpents (Mt. 10, 16), not as calculating as cold-hearted wizards. Evangelical “wizardry” teaches us the logic of the Cross, not that of power and domination. The Cross of Christ does not glitter: it saves. Our Lady’s mediation of divine grace does not glitter: it sanctifies. The untarnished keys of Peter do not glitter: they illumine. The wisdom of the Gospel, “source of all saving truth and moral discipline” (Dei Verbum, 7), has been a stumbling block not only to Jews and foolishness not only to Gentiles– but it been also a stumbling block and foolishness to the cold-hearted wizards of today.
Fr. Fidenzio Volpi generously assumed a position of authority within the Institute at the bequest of the Holy Father which he neither asked for or wanted. He did so under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and in the process paid the price by being pilloried in the gauntlet of the Catholic Internet, for the most part by people who did not know him and who knew nothing about the situation with which he was dealing apart from what they read from bloggers with an axe to grind.
I am personally grateful for the sacrifices he selflessly made on behalf of the Church and our Institute. It was a no win situation for him, but he never complained about it. He just continually asked us to do what the Churched asked of us, and gave us an example to follow. He was a good man, and much aligned in the manner of a true follower of Christ.
Please pray for the repose of his soul, and for the good of our Institute. There has already been enough talk and too much sabotage. Now is the time to believe like Catholics and use supernatural means to achieve what can only be a supernatural end, namely, the restoration of unity within our Institute and its perseverance.
Over the past week the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate having been in mourning the loss of Fr. Gabriel Maria Polo, who passed away following a heart attack in Cebu, Philippines. He was forty-three years old, nineteen years in religious vows and twelve years a priest of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Gabriel for a time was a missionary in Anapolis, Brazil and latter was assigned to Stoke On Trent, England. More recently he was the master of postulants and the superior of the formation house in Naga, Philippines.
I came to know Fr. Gabriel while I was assigned to the friary in Cornwall, England. He was a fine friar and priest, kind and joyful, and he was particularly good to me. I am honored to have called him a brother and a friend.
As I understand, he was interred yesterday is Cebu.
Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family.
I include here a video tribute to him, prepared by Fra Didacus as well as some photos from when he was assigned to England provided by Fr. Agnellus.
Now Fr. Gabriel has both hands free.
In my last post, I quoted Fr. Volpi response to the claim that he is no longer able to carry out the function given to him by the Holy See to govern our Institute as the Apostolic Commissioner. He effectively denied it. Since then a further claim has been made that in spite of Fr. Volpi’s attestation to the contrary, “he is unable to carry out, both physically and mentally,” his duties.
The source for this report professes to “confirm” (without providing evidence) that the “Volpi era” is effectively over. So the source pretends to both know and at the same time “respect” Fr. Volpi’s his privacy concerning personal medical status, which certainly is the business of the Capuchins and the Holy See, but not that of a blogger or the general public. Continue reading
I already have reassumed the full exercize of the functions of government and am about to resume normal work.
—Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, May 15, 2015
Fr. Volpi thanks everyone for their prayers and wishes to confirm that reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.
If there ever were a major change in the government of the Institute or any other important news, one should expect to hear it from the Holy See or the Institute itself.
I cannot stress too much what ought by now to be apparent to all, namely, that blogs are not news outlets and bloggers are not disinterested reporters or journalists. When they do “break stories” their work ought to be checked against how self-serving the stories are, and whether or not they are willing to post alternative positions.
Furthermore, just because a web site aggregates the work of many writers does not mean that it is anything more than an aggregated blog. One-sidedness is a dead give away that you have a blog and not a serious news source. Even when scholars and journalist blog, they are, believe it or not, blogging and not performing the work of a scholar or journalist.
All this being said, I still don’t see why so many Catholic bloggers have such a hard time telling the truth, instead of just pushing their agenda.
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