Anonymity and Personal Responsibility​

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But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment (Mat 12:36).

Obviously, there are some legitimate reasons for bloggers and those on social media to utilize anonymity and pseudonymity, which for brevity’s sake I will not rehearse here.  No one seriously disputes their use under every circumstance.  So let us get to the heart of the issue, which is the demand of justice.

Justice is not optional under any set of circumstances, though weighing the competing interests at hand may not always be easy, and men of good will may disagree over their solutions.  There are legitimate reasons to protect the identities of whistleblowers, who otherwise might suffer from the unjust use of power.   On the other hand, every man has a right to his good name and to have his accuser take personal responsibility for his potentially life-harming assertions. Continue reading

SSPX: Accept Them as They Are?

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.

Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, OFM Cap., R.I.P.

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.

Fr. Gabriel Maria Polo, RIP

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.

Of a Phantom Confirmation and a Double-Barreled Question

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

Wishful Blogging

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 journalists 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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Shades of 50 Shades of Grey

Aside

Report: outbreak of debilitated judgment, commonly diagnosed as Missing Conclusion Syndrome, frequently occurring in Catholic journalists, but more often in clerics and academics. Also known as the “Do Not Judge” fallacy.  Reduced to its elemental components it looks something like this:
Watching pornography is a mortal sin.
But, 50 Shades of gray is pornography.
Therefore, it depends on stuff; maybe if you have a bad intention; just be careful.
Response: avoid exposure and do the math.

Internet False Prophet

Over the last year or so I have been receiving regular emails from adjuncts of thewarningsecondcoming.com, the front for the self-styled seer, Maria Divine Mercy. I assume the messages I am receiving are from robots, since I never get a response to my pleas to stop sending me emails.

I believe the phenomenon of the virtual visionary is another symptom of the sickness of the Catholic Internet. There are always those who will be easily duped by scams. All an unscrupulous chiseler has to do is promise something too good to be true, or propose an arch-villain to explain every woe, or fix a doomsday on the calendar, and those who suffer will empty their pockets to have their empty cup filled with snake oil.

But this. This is almost too much to believe except that I have learned not to be surprised by anything. We are largely blind to the fact the increase in the amount of information we have access to only requires us to have new much larger sewers and leach fields installed to process all the discharge. Continue reading