Tuesday 12 December 2017

The Heretical Pope Fallacy

Below is an extract from my latest article on La Stampa:

One of the most prevalent themes currently being circulated in some extreme quarters of Catholicism revolves around the manner in which a heretical pope could be removed from the papacy. This discussion has mostly stemmed from the belief that either Pope Francis has already committed heresy at various points throughout the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, or that he has been openly promoting an heretical interpretation of this document, and thus needs to be formally “corrected”. One area which has been greatly neglected in this debate is whether or not a pope actually can fall into formal heresy or teach false doctrines by way of the authentic papal Magisterium. As we shall see, according to the Fathers of the First Vatican Council, the idea of an heretical pope was definitively ruled out through the formal dogmatization of St. Robert Bellarmine’s ideas on the indefectibility of the Church.

During the post-Tridentine period, the topic of an heretical pope was widely discussed by some of the greatest minds in the Church, including the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine, Suárez, St. John of Thomas, among various others. In light of the concerns about the papacy which had arisen during the Reformation, the attempt to address such apocalyptic fears seemed all too urgent. The idea of a future novelty arising in a formally heretical pope had coalesced from the papal antichrist theories handed down from the legacy of the Joachite movement. According to certain strains of Joachite thought, the sea-beast and land-beast of the Apocalypse foretold the arrival of two separate contemporary antichrist figures referred to as the antichristus magnus (the Great Antichrist) and the antichristus mysticus (the mystical Antichrist). In this view, the antichristus magnus would be a tyrannical temporal ruler, while the antichristus mysticus or False Prophet would be a pseudo-pope who would lead the Church into open heresy.

The Joachite dual-antichrist theory was immensely popular during the Middle Ages, and the anxieties that were raised over the possibility of a pope being equated with the False Prophet of the Apocalypse proved to be an extremely difficult concept to dispel, and ultimately culminated in the papal antichrist theories disseminated by the Protestant Reformers. In an attempt to address these fears, various scenarios were mooted by Catholic theologians during the Counter Reformation concerning the possibility of a Roman Pontiff falling into formal heresy. Given that such a nefarious figure would essentially fulfill the role of the False Prophet/antichristus mysticus expected in Joachite prophecy, the specter of an heretical pope has become deeply embedded in the subconscious of popular Catholic piety. A type of papaphobia which occasionally resurfaces in times of perceived crisis within the Church, and tends to instinctively lurch its proponents towards schism...

(See here for the full article)

Saturday 25 November 2017

Update on the Status of the Writings of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi

Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri, of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie
(12 February 1943 – 26 July 2017)

Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi OSJ has recently publically announced that he has attempted to take a civil action against me, dating back to 11th April, 2017, which he issued shortly after I originally published a letter I had received from the late Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri, of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie. This was made in an attempt to force me to take down my earlier blog post (here) in relation to this letter, in order to suppress the following important information. Archbishop Pichierri sadly passed over into the Lord's care on July 26th, 2017 (please pray for the happy repose of his soul). Just over a month before his death, Archbishop Pichierri had sent a note to Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney on 11th June, 2017, confirming that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta properly belongs with that detailed in his third communication of 2012:

Dear Attorney Eric L. Hearn,

I received your letter of May 22, 2017 in which you refer my attention to the article that Mr. Emmett O’Regan posted on the internet in relation to Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi. 
On May 3, 2017 the Archiepiscopal Curia and I welcomed Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi who explained to me the specifics contained within Emmet’s letter. In this regard, I desire to indicate that that which I am to share with you about the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is all contained already in the Communcation n.3 which I hereby attach. Therefore Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s work of research and diffusion undertaken in relation to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is properly understood in light of this declaration [Communication] of mine to which, to this day, I have made no additions, as there have not been any new developments to the Cause of Beatification and Canonization that are underway at the Holy See. 
Moreover since Fr. Joseph is not canonically affiliated with this archdiocese, I am convinced that his good reputation, which I have never called into question, will be best reaffirmed by his legitimate Superior.
I assure you of my prayers in your esteemed work, and I extend to you my warm greetings.  

Giovan Basttista Pichierri

There are a number of things which can be gleaned from the Archbishop's letter to Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney. Shortly after I posted Archbishop Pichierri's letter to me here on this blog, Fr. Iannuzzi sent me a threatening legal notice in an attempt to force me to take down my blog post and suppress this information. At around the same time, he demanded to have an audience with Archbishop Pichierri and his Curia, which was granted on 3th May, 2017. During this audience, Fr. Iannuzzi explained the exact specifics of my letter, and while we do not know exactly how Archbishop Pichierri responded in this meeting, we can be assured that the outcome was not a happy one for Fr. Iannuzzi. The fact that Fr. Iannuzzi chose to resort to communicating to the Archdiocese of Trani through the medium of a civil attorney shortly afterwards strongly suggests that he did not get what he was pushing for during the course of his audience (which obviously was for the Archbishop to refute the fact that he had violated the moratorium). Also the very fact that he attempted to use a civil attorney to intervene in an affair which is solely to do with ecclesiastical law, seems quite a desperate reaction, and against St. Paul's instructions in Sacred Scripture:

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers. (1Cor 6:1-8)

Given the fact this matter involves the breach of an ecclesiastical moratorium and the lack of imprimatur, imprimi potest and nihil obstat in the books of a member of a religious institute, it pertains solely to obedience, and as such, should be settled by Fr. Iannuzzi's legitimate religious Superior, not in a civil court of law. This is why Archbishop Pichierri stated that it is up to Fr. Iannuzzi's legitimate Superior to reaffirm his good reputation, and not him. Since Fr. Iannuzzi is incardinated in a different diocese (as to where seems to be kept secret), Archbishop Pichierri did not have canonical jurisdiction over him, and as such could not resolve the dispute himself.

In order to provide context, Fr. Iannuzzi has also helpfully posted (some of) the contents of his attorney's letter of demand to Archbishop Pichierri, which informed him of his threat to sue me for libel:

“Mr. O'Regan's conduct in posting the Defamatory Posting to the internet is actionable as such under civil law... Moreover, as it is apparent that the Defamatory Posting was made with actual legal malice, Fr. Iannuzzi will have the right to seek an award of punitive damages... In addition to the civil nature of the wrong committed by Mr. O'Regan, Mr. O'Regan has also committed a violation of Code of Canon Law 220, which expressly forbids illegitimately harming the good reputation which Fr. Iannuzzi possesses. That same Cannon Law provision requires that Mr. O'Regan take corrective action to restore the harm which he has unlawfully perpetrated in a calumnious and detractive manner against Fr. Iannuzzi (CIC, canon 1390, §2), which he has, thus far, refused to do.  Mr. O'Regan, as a putative Catholic, is required to abide by that Cannon Law prohibition…

The falsity of Mr. O'Regan's Defamatory Posting is pointed out by the fact that nowhere in your March 30, 2017 letter did you confirm or support the aspersions that Mr. O'Regan has accused Fr. Iannuzzi of, including breaching the moratorium imposed by you.  Indeed, all you, Archbishop Pichierri, confirm in your letter is that Fr. Iannuzzi does not speak for and is not a member of the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV.  Of course, Fr. Iannuzzi never represented himself as speaking for or otherwise offering an official position of either the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV and, as such, the confirmation which you provided in the March 30, 2017, letter does not suggest any impropriety on Fr. Iannuzzi's part…”

The number of ellipses in the above fragment of Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney's letter to Archbishop Pichierri is worth noting, as we don't get the full picture of what was being demanded here.
However we should note first of all that Archbishop Pichierri did not only say that "Fr. Iannuzzi does not speak for and is not a member of the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV", but explicitly said that Fr. Iannuzzi does not have authorization of any kind "in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion". This was in direct reply to my question about whether he had received permission to publish the abridged collection of Luisa's writings in his doctoral thesis:

Trani, March 30, 2017 Prot. 128/17 / C2
Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan,

Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan, I received your e-mail of 21 February 2017 which informed me of your study and the response made on the publications of the priest Joseph Iannuzzi. Point out that this priest does not belong to this Archdiocese and did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion. Right now the Archdiocese and the Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV" are engaged in the typical edition processing and critical writings of the Servant of God on the basis of which it will be possible to complete the necessary translations in other languages ​​and additional theological research to be conducted. In any event, all of the official study activities at this time are agreed and coordinated in harmony with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the postulation. I assure you full availability for any further clarification, I greet you cordially and a Happy Easter.

Giovan Battista Pichierri

You can find the official text of the letter here.

While we can't establish all the ins and outs, it appears that he was making some form of legal demand that Archbishop Pichierri restore his "good name" by confirming that he did not breach the moratorium. Instead, the Archbishop directed his attorney to communication n. 3, and said that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa's writings corresponded to the contents found there.

In his third communication, the Archbishop stated that he had placed the moratorium on the writings of Luisa Piccarreta because they were being interpreted in some quarters in a way that is inconsistent with the doctrine and Magisterium of the Church:

I still observe with sorrow that “the doctrine of the Divine Will has not always been presented in a correct and respectful way, according to the doctrine and the Magisterium of the Church, putting remarks in the mouth of Luisa that are not even implicitly found in her writings. This provokes a trauma in consciences and even confusion and rejection among the people and by some Priests and Bishops” (Letter of March 9, 2006)...

...The Congregation subsequently has communicated to me that “before proceeding any further, an examination of the writings of the Servant of God will be done, in order to clarify difficulties of a theological nature.”... (Para 3)

So in order to correct this unfortunate state of affairs, the Archbishop placed a moratorium to suspend the publications of any of Luisa's writings, and restricted the study of her writings throughout other dioceses to be delegated exclusively through the official Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV", which Fr. Iannuzzi is not part of, and as such is not an approved speaker:

Likewise, I recall what I have already communicated: “Neither the Archdiocese nor the Association nor the Secretariat has delegated any person, group or other association, in any way, to represent them outside of their legitimate locations, to spread knowledge about the life, thought and writings of the Servant of God or to make any decision in their names. From the moment that the Diocesan Inquiry was begun, the Archdiocese has never officially designated any Theologian or Censor for the writings of Luisa. Likewise, it has never nominated any official translator of the writings from Italian into any other language” (Communication of April 23, 2007)...

“As I have already expressed at the conclusion of the diocesan phase of the Cause, it is my desire, after having heard the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to present a typical and critical edition of the writings in order to provide the faithful with a trustworthy text of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta. So I repeat, the said writings are exclusively the property of the Archdiocese” (Letter to Bishops of October 14, 2006). To accomplish this demanding work that requires a certain kind of competence, I shall avail myself of a team of experts chosen in agreement with the Postulation.

Nevertheless, I must mention the growing and unchecked flood of transcriptions, translations and publications both through print and the internet. At any rate, “seeing the delicacy of the current phase of the proceedings, any and every publication of the writings is absolutely forbidden at this time. Anyone who acts against this is disobedient and greatly harms the cause of the Servant of God.” (Communication of May 30, 2008). All effort must be invested in avoiding all “leaks” of publications of any kind.
(See here for the full official English translation of communication n. 3)

This stands in immediate contrast with Fr. Iannuzzi's claims to have a direct mandate from Archbishop Pichierri to speak, study and write about about the life and writings of Luisa Piccarreta.
However, Fr. Iannuzzi is twisting the meaning of this letter to mean that the Archbishop had "cleared the air", and that he had actually endorsed his diffusion of her writing. I think this is an outlandish claim, which if true, would make the Archbishop completely contradict himself when he had confirmed to me just a few months previously that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa's works were not authorized by him in any way.

The relevant facts are as follows:

(1) Archbishop Pichierri told me that Fr. Iannuzzi "did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion".

(2) He stated in his letter to the attorney that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa Piccarreta's works corresponds to that in communication n. 3, issued in 2012.

(3) Communication n. 3 explicitly states "the said writings are exclusively the property of the Archdiocese..." and that "any and every publication of the writings is absolutely forbidden at this time. Anyone who acts against this is disobedient and greatly harms the cause of the Servant of God.” (Communication of May 30, 2008). All effort must be invested in avoiding all “leaks” of publications of any kind."

When I had asked Archbishop Pichierri about the status of two books which contained the writings of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, which were published after the moratorium was set in place, he confirmed that Fr. Iannuzzi did not have permission of any kind to publish the writings of Luisa.  Fr. Iannuzzi had published an abridged collection of Luisa's writings in 2013 after obtaining his doctoral thesis. But given the fact that the Archbishop had placed a moratorium on "any and every" publication of Luisa's writings until the publication of a future critical edition, Fr. Iannuzzi would have required the Archbishop's permission before doing so. Given that Fr. Iannuzzi did not have this permission, I could only be left to conclude that he had violated the moratorium in issuing this abridged version of the collected works of Luisa Piccarreta. However, Fr. Iannuzzi is insisting that he has not breached the moratorium, since he was granted the authority to publish these writings by the Gregorian Pontifical University, and thus did not require any permission from the Archdiocese of Trani.

I would very much like this claim to be validated by Fr. Iannuzzi's religious Superior or responsible ordinary. If his ordinary or Superior can establish that it is true that some form of loophole has been exploited to allow Fr. Iannuzzi to publish these writings without either permission from the Archdiocese of Trani, imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat, despite a moratorium remaining in place, I will happily retract my claim, and offer Fr. Iannuzzi a full and complete apology. But I don't think this is the case, and will present the reasons why this is so below.

First, the print edition of Fr. Iannuzzi's doctoral thesis containing an abridged version of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta disappeared from availability on Amazon around the exact same time as Archbishop Pichierri received the letter from Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney on 22nd May, 2017. As of the time of writing, it is still unavailable (see here). Although the fact that it is still available on Kindle suggests that Fr. Iannuzzi has either exploited some loophole pertaining to electronic editions, which isn't covered in the moratorium, or simply hasn't fully complied with whatever instruction was given to him to take the print edition out of circulation, which would have been given by either the Archbishop or his Superior. It is quite unlikely that either Fr. Iannuzzi or his publisher St. Andrew's Productions would suddenly have decided to pull one of their most popular works from availability on Amazon for no apparent reason, which just so happened to coincide with the timing of the letter issued by Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney landing on the Archbishop's desk. Perhaps his publisher can help to clarify this matter further.

Second, any permission given from the Gregorian Pontifical University for Fr. Iannuzzi to publish his doctoral thesis The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, would not have overridden the requirement for obtaining an nihil obstat, imprimi potest and imprimatur for this work. He would have needed to obtain these in addition to receiving permission from the Gregorian Pontifical University to publish. As owner of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta, the imprimatur would have had to be issued by the Archbishop of Trani. While obtaining imprimatur is not nowadays always expected for members of the laity to publish a writing, members of religious institutes are absolutely required to obtain imprimi potest from their religious superior, precisely because of the huge respect that a clerical collar or religious habit commands among the lay faithful. Indeed, Fr. Iannuzzi's status as a priest of good standing is the main reason why his works have become so hugely influential.  Because of the air of authority that emanates with the status of clergy and religious, members of religious institutes are required to have the additional safeguard of obtaining an imprimi potest (Latin "it can be printed"), from the major superior of their religious order as part of exercising their vow of obedience, which is made in addition to the requirement of imprimatur. As CIC Can. 832 stipulates:

"Members of religious institutes also need permission of their major superior according to the norm of the constitutions in order to publish writings dealing with questions of religion or morals."

This Canon is further expanded upon in the CDF document "Instruction on some aspects of the use of the instruments of social communications in promoting the doctrine of the Faith":

§3. Along with the local Ordinary, religious superiors have the responsibility of granting permission for the publication of writings dealing with questions of religion or morals by members of their institutes (cf. can. 824 e 832).
§4. All superiors, especially those who are Ordinaries (cf. can. 134, §1), are obliged to take care that within their institutes ecclesiastical discipline is followed also as regards the instruments of social communication. If abuses emerge, they are to insist upon its application.
§5. Religious superiors, especially those whose institutes are dedicated precisely to the apostolate of the press and the social communications media, should see to it that their members faithfully follow the pertinent norms of canon law. They should give special attention to publishing houses, book stores, etc. associated with the institute, to encourage their being faithful and effective vehicles for the Church and her magisterium.
§6. Religious superiors should cooperate with diocesan Bishops (cf. can. 678, §3); it may be that such cooperation is even formalized through written agreements (cf. can. 681, par§1-2).

17. Permission of the religious superior

§1. The religious superior, who in accordance with can. 832 is competent to grant his own religious members permission to publish writings dealing with questions of religion or morals, should not proceed to do so until he has the prior judgement of at least one censor he considers reliable and is satisfied that the work does not contain anything which might be harmful to the doctrine of the faith or morals.
§2. The superior can require that his permission precede that of the local Ordinary and that explicit mention of the fact be made in the publication...

Once the nihil obstat is obtained from the appointed censor, the religious superior is then free to grant the imprimi potest if he deems it prudent to do so, and the imprimi potest is then stipulated in the front matter of the book alongside the nihil obstat and the name of the censor who granted it. After this, the imprimatur is then granted from the local ordinary of either the location of the author's residence, or the location in which the book is to be published, so that the lay faithful can be assured that the book is quite likely to be free of any potential harm to faith or morals. Of course, these measures don't always guarantee that any given book with imprimatur is absolutely free of any doctrinal errors, it is a measure which makes it all the more unlikely, and gives the faithful some peace of mind that they aren't likely to be led astray by the given contents.

So for Fr. Iannuzzi's works not to have nihil obstat, imprimi potest, or imprimatur to be stipulated on his various books is quite anomalous indeed, and needs to be explained by his religious Superior, who should have issued imprimi potest before publication, and should have been in contact with the local ordinary issuing imprimatur, as stipulated in par. 16:§6 of the above instruction from the CDF. Indeed, the requirement of imprimi potest can even come above that of imprimatur for members of religious institutes (see par. 17 §2 of the above CDF instruction).

As to why Fr. Iannuzzi's various books lack nihil obstat, imprimi potest and imprimatur, it is quite evident that either they haven't been granted because of the presence of serious doctrinal errors, or they were not even sought because the author knew that they would not be granted for precisely the same reason. Given his clerical and academic status, vow of obedience, Canon Law and the above CDF instruction, these writings should never have been published without the express permission of his religious Superior.

As to what doctrinal errors would have impeded Fr. Iannuzzi's works from obtaining nihil obstat, imprimi potest or imprimatur, both myself and English author Stephen Walford have written extensively on the various theological errors in Fr. Iannuzzi's works, which are essentially millenarian in nature, and as such is condemned by the Magisterium:

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (CCC 676)

Stephen Walford provides an excellent summary of Fr. Iannuzzi's various theological errors in the epilogue of his book Communion of Saints: The Unity of Divine Love in the Mystical Body of Christ, which he was able to present to Pope Francis in person, during his 45 minute private audience with the Holy Father at the Santa Marta residence on 27th July, 2017 (see below).

I have written about Fr. Iannuzzi's theological errors in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, my CTS booklet The End of the World: What Catholics Believe, as well as throughout this blog over the course of the past several years, both in the main posts, and in the comments section. As myself and Stephen Walford have taken great lengths to point out, Fr. Iannuzzi is one of the worst offenders there is for espousing doctrinal errors in matters related to eschatology, with his advancement of his theory of "spiritual millenarianism". Fr. Iannuzzi uses his millenarian eschatology to promote condemned "seers" such as Vassula Ryden and Gianna Talone Sullivan. Indeed, he offered himself forward to the theological commission at Emmitsburg in order to defend the millenarian doctrine that was being espoused in Talone Sullivan's apparitions, which were condemned as false by the Church. His close affiliation with Vassula Ryden may explain his attempted litigation against me, since this was a tactic she routinely employed to silence any of her critics, such as Maria Laura Pio. Vassula Ryden was issued with a notification from the CDF in 1995, and was condemned for espousing a millenarian doctrine almost identical with Fr. Iannuzzi's:

"These alleged revelations predict an imminent period when the Antichrist will prevail in the Church. In millenarian style, it is prophesied that God is going to make a final, glorious intervention which will initiate on earth, even before Christ's definitive coming, an era of peace and universal prosperity." (Cardinal Ratzinger, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification, 6th October, 1995)

As recently as May this year, Fr. Iannuzzi was arguing that Vassula Ryden’s messages are “Church approved”, because her book contains the “imprimatur” of Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa and the "nihil obstat" of Bishop Felix Toppo - two of her known supporters. Fr. Iannuzzi argues and that this was an “act of the magisterium” and thus requires the same level of “religious assent” that we are obliged to give to the ordinary papal Magisterium (see here). This outrageous claim helps us to perceive the extent to which Fr. Iannuzzi is capable of twisting the facts to suit his own dangerous agendas.

According to par. 11 of the CDF instruction on social communications cited above, only the local ordinary of the author or the ordinary of the location in which the book is being published is authorized to give imprimatur:

"11. The competent authority for granting approval or permission
§1. According to the norm of can. 824, the competent authority for granting approval or permission is either the proper local Ordinary of the author or the Ordinary of the place in which the work is to be published.
§2. If permission is denied by one local Ordinary, recourse may be had to the other competent Ordinary. There is the obligation, nonetheless, to make the fact of the prior refusal of permission known. The second Ordinary is not to grant permission without having learned from the first Ordinary his reasons for denying it (cf. can. 65, §1)."

As such, there are only two viable options for an author to gain imprimatur, which has to be granted within the proper canonical jurisdictions, with the appointment of an impartial censor being made by the competent authority. So the Archbishop of Lipa definitely wasn’t the competent ecclesiastical authority for granting imprimatur to Vassula Ryden’s book. Moreover, a naturally predisposed censor cannot be deliberately chosen by someone outside of the competent authority, since this method obviously undermines the goal of the entire process. Also, the magisterium of a bishop isn’t the same as the papal magisterium, so doesn’t require the universal submission of the will and intellect. I believe Archbishop Arguelles was deliberately targeted for granting “imprimatur” by Vassula Ryden's circle of advisors because he was already a known vocal supporter, and did not fully understand that he was not the competent authority to grant imprimatur to her writings. Indeed, Archbishop Arguelles’ approval of the previously condemned apparitions of “Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of all Grace” at Lipa in 2015 was declared “null and void” by the CDF in December 2015, since it had already been decided the papal authority of Pope Pius XII. The Archbishop was then forced to resign in February this year as a direct result (see here). So he undoubtedly suffered from poor judgement in matters related to private revelations.

This “imprimatur” sought by Ryden in 2005 seems to be a concerted effort to undermine the CDF notification on her writings issued in 1995, which also condemns the same type of millenarianism proposed by Fr. Iannuzzi concerning the “era of peace”. Targeting bishops already predisposed towards favouring her writings for granting “imprimatur” and "nihil obstat", instead of being appointed an impartial censor from the competent authority, is a deliberate "stacking the deck" tactic designed to rehabilitate a series of writings which were already condemned for their millenarian-style doctrinal errors.

Fr. Iannuzzi was promoting Vassula Ryden as recently as September 2017, during a conference in Melbourne, Australia, where he once again argued that her writings are “Church approved” because they bore invalidly obtained "imprimatur" and "nihil obstat" (see here).
Given the fact that I run a blog on Catholic eschatology and take the time to try to respond to the comments on it, I can see that Fr. Iannuzzi's ideas have filtered out very widely into American society and beyond. Fr. Iannuzzi's millenarian eschatology is central to false prophets such as Maria Divine Mercy, and his ideas on a future "spiritual millennium" was widely disseminated through Dr. Kelly Bowring's various books, which are Catholic bestsellers in America. He has a large number of followers who are absolutely dedicated to him, given his priestly and academic status, and is in effect the de facto leader of a millenarian cult. He provides the “Divine Will Movement” (a separate entity from the official Association of Luisa Piccarreta PFDV) with its primary intellectual foundations in his books.

In a nutshell, Fr. Iannuzzi attempts to argue for a ressourcement to the Chiliasm of the Early Church, only instead of a physical Coming of Christ, he states that there will be an invisible “intermediate” Coming of Christ in the Spirit, who will the slay the Antichrist and bind Satan for a “thousand years”, which he equates with the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. According to Fr. Iannuzzi, we must reject the amilliennial eschatology of St. Augustine of Hippo, which has been accepted as the established model by the Catholic Church for the past 1,600 years, and as such, is part of the universal sensus fidelium.

Luisa Piccarreta is so important to Fr. Iannuzzi because she provides the key to how there will be a complete cessation of evil on earth, since everybody in the world will live according to the “Divine Will” for the duration of the Millennium of Rev 20. He suggests that there will be a total transformation of society, basically a return to Eden on earth, which is in direct contrast to clear Magisterial teaching that evil must remain in the world until the Second Coming of Christ (e.g. Guadium et spes 37; CCC 671). Obviously human freewill is a major obstacle to the theory that there could be total universal peace on earth for a thousand years, so Fr. Iannuzzi tries to explain this by asserting that everyone in the world will be granted the gift of "living in the Divine Will" (which the way Fr. Iannuzzi puts it, is really just the heresies of quietism or monothelitism).

Fr. Iannuzzi attempts to confine the meaning of the word millenarianism to apply only to ancient Chiliasm, and ignores the fact that CCC 676 clearly uses the word in the broader academic sense as defined by Norman Cohn in his vastly influential work The Pursuit of the Millennium (given the fact that the secular forms of millenarianism in systems such as Marxism and Nazism are singled out for particular condemnation). So he thinks that if he posits a “spiritual” middle Coming of Christ, instead of a physical return to rule with the resurrected saints in an earthly millennial paradise, then he can evade the charge of millenarianism.

In his book Antichrist and the End Times, Fr. Iannuzzi follows Joachim de Fiore in asserting that another “Gog” Antichrist will arise at the end of the “age of the Spirit”, when Satan is unbound again, and the forces of Satan surrounds the camp of the saints. It is only after this we have the physical coming of Our Lord, which according to Fr. Iannuzzi's schema is really a "Third Coming", instead of just one Second Coming at the end of time. This contradicts St. Robert Bellarmine, who forcefully argues for just one Antichrist, who appears at the very end of the world, after the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles (de Controversiis Book 3:IX). Fr. Iannuzzi’s ideas have proven popular among Catholics in America in particular, given the pervasiveness of premillennialism in wider society. I suspect that the moratorium was placed on Luisa Piccarreta’s writings precisely because of the way he and others were distorting her words to give a millenarian sense.

Archbishop Pichierri was convinced Luisa's writings can be interpreted in a manner consistent with Church doctrine and the Magisterium, which is why their publication was suspended until a future critical edition can be issued by the Archdiocese of Trani. Fr. Iannuzzi was too impatient for this, and thought that he could issue an abridged version of the entirety of her works through publishing his doctoral thesis, in order to support his wider millenarian theories presented in his other books. According to the Divine Will Movement, the writings of Luisa Piccarreta are viewed as essential for obtaining the gift of Living in the Divine Will, which is why Fr. Iannuzzi appears to have been so impatient, and decided to publish them himself in an abridged form. This appears to have been taken to provide a rallying-point to his followers, so they might adhere to them as if they are some form of gnostic text essential for attaining salvation. He also probably knows full well that his interpretation of her writings will be totally ruled out in the future critical edition of her writings, since it is almost inconceivable that he hasn't been corrected on his bizarre millennialist eschatology by anyone with any authority in the Church. 

Archbishop Pichierri was absolutely convinced that the writings of Luisa Piccarreta are free of any doctrinal errors, but ruled that there should be a complete suspension of the publication of her writings in order to allow for a future critical edition, which will offer detailed theological commentary on how her material can be interpreted in a way that is consistent with Church doctrine and the Magisterium. Some highly esteemed American theologians such as Fr. John Hardon and Fr. William Most, had argued that the concept of "living in the Divine Will" as postulated by Luisa herself was just basically one and the same as the heresy of quietism. But since the Archbishop was convinced that such notions were being imputed into Luisa's writings by others, and were not actually found in the texts themselves, we should trust him in his word, and patiently await the future critical edition to see how her writings do actually align with the perennial teachings of the Church. It is quite probable that the previous writings of Luisa have been poorly translated into English to give her words a sense that isn't found in the original local Italian dialect they were written. As someone who can translate the Bible from its original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, I can fully appreciate that some translators can easily impute an interpretation of their own into any given text, if they are employing eisegesis instead of exegesis.

In any case, the postulators of Luisa Piccarreta have been instructed to leave her writings to the side for determining her Cause, as they cannot be used to call her personal sanctity into question (much as is the case with Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich).

In his various books, Fr. Iannuzzi uses the concept of "living in the Divine Will" to explain how humanity will be able to live in perfect peace and harmony during a future "era of peace" which he equates with the Millennium of Rev 20, in a theory which is basically a thinly-veiled version of the eschatology of the Calabrian Abbot Joachim de Fiore, whose works were condemned as heretical by several popes. So it is quite likely that Fr. Iannuzzi's various books, such as The Splendor of Creation, do not bear imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat precisely because of these various theological errors. For a priest of his standing and academic training not to have imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat on these books, which are in themselves highly controversial and creating huge division among Catholics, is a quite serious matter, and prompts us to ask why this has been allowed to occur unchecked by the Church hierarchy? This matter urgently needs to be addressed not only by Fr. Iannuzzi's religious Superior, but also by the bishops of the various dioceses in which his ideas are being widely disseminated into American society and beyond.

Thursday 9 November 2017

The Indefectibility of the Church

La Stampa has published my response to the criticisms of my previous article on the legitimacy of the Filial Correction on Vatican Insider (see here). This article was composed chiefly in response to claims by Christopher Ferrara on The Remnant, and Fr. Brian Harrison and others on Life Site News that I was positing an "infallible" ordinary papal Magisterium, which is simply untrue.

Saturday 21 October 2017

La Palma and the "Burning Mountain" of Revelation

As regular readers of this blog will be fully aware, one of the major hypotheses I forward in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, is that the "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea in Rev 8:8 foretells a volcanic lateral collapse in the Canary Islands. Since the first edition of my book was published in 2011, I have specifically pointed to the threat posed by the volcano Cumbre Vieja in La Palma (see here for an earlier post on this subject dating back to 2011). It thus seems to be beyond coincidence that Cumbre Vieja has recently saw a surge of seismic activity, beginning on 7th October, 2017 - the Feast of the Holy Rosary, just over a week after the expiration date of the 40 day "Sign of Jonah" period, which began with the Great American Solar Eclipse on 21st August, 2017.

The fact that Cumbre Vieja now appears to be showing signs of a possible imminent eruption has rattled a fair number of people familiar with my work, and there are even serious concerns among many others who are unfamiliar with this particular theory. So I thought I should take some time here to explain why I don't think we need to resort to an alarmist interpretation of this hypothesis just yet, as according to the timescale I present in the book, there are many other events which have to occur before this cataclysm will eventually take place. This is the primary reason why I tried to avoid linking this specific threat with the conditional chastisement at the end of the 40-day "Sign of Jonah" period, since I believe that there is still some time left before the true threat from Cumbre Vieja comes into play. Instead, I suspect that the true threat at this particular moment in time stemmed from North Korean nuclear crisis, which peaked within the timeframe associated with the 40 days from the Great American Solar Eclipse, and quickly eased off again after 30th September, 2017, when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that a "back-channel" of communication had been opened in order to ease diplomatic tensions. Hopefully this period saw the peak in the level of heated rhetoric between America and North Korea, as the only options beyond this current nuclear impasse are too terrible to contemplate.

I will try to outline some of the reasoning behind the chronology concerning the Cumbre Vieja event below, after we give a brief overview of the current ongoing activity in the Canary Islands. A short extract from the Daily Express helps to summarize these recent events:

LA PALMA volcano’s red-hot magma has risen after its recent flurry of earthquakes causing the ground on the Canary Islands to “significantly” rise above ground level, experts said.
Volcano experts discovered the ground in the area surrounding local hotel Teneguia Princess hotel has risen by about 1cm to the south and 3.5cm upwards over the past year, according to GPS sensors regulating ground deformation. The shocking results from the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) come after the archipelago was rocked by two separate seismic swarms in the area surrounding the deadly Cumbre Vieja. 
One of the world's leading experts in volcanology, Professor Takeshi Sagiya, from the Nagoya University, described the GPS data as ”significant". He said the recorded change in height looked significant compared with the changes in the last year. Volcano experts discovered the ground in the area surrounding local hotel Teneguia Princess hotel has risen by about 1cm to the south and 3.5cm upwards over the past year, according to GPS sensors regulating ground deformation. The shocking results from the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) come after the archipelago was rocked by two separate seismic swarms in the area surrounding the deadly Cumbre Vieja. 
One of the world's leading experts in volcanology, Professor Takeshi Sagiya, from the Nagoya University, described the GPS data as ”significant". He said the recorded change in height looked significant compared with the changes in the last year.
(Read the full article here)

Many prominent geophysicists believe that when this lateral collapse does eventually unfold, it will generate a mega-tsunami that will devastate the East Coast of the Americas. An event which I argue in the book will bring about the collapse of the United States as a superpower, and ensure the rise of the Antichrist to global dominance.

In the first edition of my book, I had argued that the mountain being thrown into the sea mentioned in Rev 8:8 occurs as a direct consequence of the eschatological earthquake in Jerusalem, based on several key passages found in Scripture. The burning mountain being thrown into the sea indicates the judgement which is meted out on the eschatological world empire "Babylon", symbolised by the angel casting a millstone into the sea in Rev 18:21:

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more"...
(Rev 18:21)

The Apocalypse itself closely associates the judgement of Babylon with the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake in Jerusalem:

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.  The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. (Rev 16:17-20)

The Greek phrase καὶ πᾶσα νῆσος ἔφυγεν rendered here as "every island fled away" can also be translated as "the whole island disappeared" (the word pasa can mean either "every" or "whole"), which better fits with the other material related to the judgement of Babylon found in the Apocalypse. If this passage is related to the "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea, then we can see how the description of the disappearance of an entire island could be explained by a large-scale volcanic eruption, which would be possible if it was equivalent on the Explosivity Index to that at Krakatoa in 1883, or Thera (Santorini), circa 1600BC (see my earlier post The Santorini Eruption and the Apocalyptic Plagues of Exodus).

The above connection between the eschatological earthquake and the millstone judgement being wrought upon Babylon is further implied by related material found in the Old Testament. In the Book of Ezekiel, the eschatological earthquake is similarly connected to the casting down of mountains, and is set within a section of material bearing the immediate context of the gathering of the armies of the world for the battle of Armageddon:

"Thus says the Lord God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur." (Ezek 38:17-22)

The splitting apart of the "great city" during the eschatological earthquake in Rev 16:17-20 alludes to  material found in the Book of Zechariah:

Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
(Zech 14:1-8)

This description of light appearing during the evening and living waters flowing out of Jerusalem after the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake recapitulates an earlier passage in Zechariah. A block of material which has been explicitly identified with the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man by several Early Church Fathers, including St. John Chrysostom and St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo." (Zech 12:10-11)

"On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness." (Zech 13:1)

According to the Early Church Fathers, this portion of the Book of Zechariah was directly related to the conversion of the Jews at the end of the age during the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man. The Catechism teaches that the conversion of the Jews must take place before the Second Coming of Christ.

The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (CCC 674)

So if the timing of the eschatological earthquake directly coincides with the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man over Jerusalem, and the judgement of Babylon is only carried out after this event, as is indicated by Rev 16:17-20; then we can only be left to conclude that the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles must begin some time before the Cumbre Vieja event, and it will only take place when this commission is completed.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1Thes 5:1-3)

According to St. Paul in chapter 11 of his epistle to the Romans, the fullness of the Gentiles must be brought in before the conversion of the Jews - an event which the Early Church Fathers believed would be accompanied by the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man and the eschatological earthquake in Jerusalem.

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Rom 11:25-27)
It is only after the inclusion of the fullness of the Gentiles that the conversion of the Jews takes place, coinciding with the eschatological earthquake - which itself causes the "burning mountain" of Revelation to be cast into the sea, bringing about the destruction of the eschatological world empire. And the fullness of the Gentiles can only be brought into the Church after the period of the unbinding of Satan, when the Gospel can once again be spread throughout the world. As St. Augustine noted, the binding of Satan is purely concerned with the spread of the Gospel, and once the period of the loosening of the Devil is over, Satan would once again be restrained in order to allow for the spread of the Gospel to bring about the restoration of the Church.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed...

The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed. For it is not said that he should not seduce any man, but that he should not seduce the nations— meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists— till the thousand years should be fulfilled,— i.e., either what remains of the sixth day which consists of a thousand years, or all the years which are to elapse till the end of the world.
(City of God XX:7)

But the binding of the devil is his being prevented from the exercise of his whole power to seduce men, either by violently forcing or fraudulently deceiving them into taking part with him. If he were during so long a period permitted to assail the weakness of men, very many persons, such as God would not wish to expose to such temptation, would have their faith overthrown, or would be prevented from believing; and that this might not happen, he is bound...

Now the devil was thus bound not only when the Church began to be more and more widely extended among the nations beyond Judea, but is now and shall be bound till the end of the world, when he is to be loosed...

...in these days there shall be no lack either of those who fall away from, or of those who attach themselves to the Church; but there shall be such resoluteness, both in parents to seek baptism for their little ones, and in those who shall then first believe, that they shall conquer that strong one, even though unbound,— that is, shall both vigilantly comprehend, and patiently bear up against him, though employing such wiles and putting forth such force as he never before used; and thus they shall be snatched from him even though unbound. And yet the verse of the Gospel will not be untrue, Who enters into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one? For in accordance with this true saying that order is observed— the strong one first bound, and then his goods spoiled; for the Church is so increased by the weak and strong from all nations far and near, that by its most robust faith in things divinely predicted and accomplished, it shall be able to spoil the goods of even the unbound devil. For as we must own that, when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold, Matthew 24:12 and that those who have not been written in the book of life shall in large numbers yield to the severe and unprecedented persecutions and stratagems of the devil now loosed, so we cannot but think that not only those whom that time shall find sound in the faith, but also some who till then shall be without, shall become firm in the faith they have hitherto rejected and mighty to conquer the devil even though unbound, God's grace aiding them to understand the Scriptures, in which, among other things, there is foretold that very end which they themselves see to be arriving. And if this shall be so, his binding is to be spoken of as preceding, that there might follow a spoiling of him both bound and loosed; for it is of this it is said, Who shall enter into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one?
(City of God XX:8)

As I argue at some length in both my book and throughout this blog, the period of the unbinding of Satan almost certainly began at the beginning of the 20th century, and this understanding of the Millennium of Rev 20 is the primary thrust behind the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII. So we are only just now reaching the end of the period of the loosening of Satan, which in all likelihood will only be fully completed around the year 2020, when there will be yet another alignment of all seven classical planets - which I argue is symbolised by the seven stars held in the hands of Christ in Rev 1, representing the "keys to Death and Hades":

In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Rev 1:16-18)

So it is rare alignments of all seven classical planets which mark the opening and closing of the abyss at the end of the thousand years via the "keys of Death and Hades", which is also closely connected to the seven burning mountains which stand at the entrance to Hades in the Book of Enoch (see here for an earlier post which delves into this topic in more detail).

The bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles can only begin once the ability of Satan to blind the minds of unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel has once again been broken, which will occur at the end of the period of greater power allotted to him.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2Cor 4:3-4)

It is worth noting that the rector of Walsingham Shrine has recently revealed that there are plans to re-dedicate England as the Dowry of Mary in the year 2020, which is an immensely prophetic gesture on behalf of the English hierarchy (see here). There are many prophecies which point to the significance of the conversion of England to Catholicism, and according to the original secrets of La Salette, it is through the conversion of this nation that leads to the restoration of the Church throughout the world:

France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.
(Our Lady of La Salette to Maximin Giraud)

So if we are only just now coming through the other side of the period of Satan's unbinding, it stands to reason that the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles still lies some time in the future, and will only begin to take place around our own time. The Gospel must be proclaimed throughout the world after this period of the cooling of the Faith, which is the produce of the general lawlessness brought about during the unbinding of Satan:

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:12-14)

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. (Rev 14:6)

It is only once there is another falling away from the faith after the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the whole world during the restoration of the Church that we will see the destruction of the eschatological world power referred to as the "harlot of Babylon". Throughout the Bible, the epithet "harlot" is used to denounce the treachery of the nations of Israel and Judah, and indicates a covenantal relationship with God. So the "Babylon" of Revelation is undoubtedly a Christian nation which eventually turns its back on God, and pays the ultimate price as a result. 

And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
(Luke 12:47-48)

As Sr. Lucia stated, the greater level of accountability incurred after the restoration of the Church is why the chastisement is so severe when the world once again rejects God:

"...in the plans of Divine Providence, God always, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies. Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then as we say in our imperfect manner of speaking, He offers us with ‘certain fear’ the last means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother. It is with ‘certain fear’ because if you despise and repulse this ultimate means, we will not have any more forgiveness from Heaven, because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the sin against the Holy Ghost. This sin consists of openly rejecting, with full knowledge and consent, the salvation which He offers. Let us remember that Jesus Christ is a very good Son and that He does not permit that we offend and despise His Most Holy Mother. We have recorded through many centuries of Church history the obvious testimony which demonstrates by the terrible chastisements which have befallen those who have attacked the honor of His Most Holy Mother, how Our Lord Jesus Christ has always defended the honor of His Mother." (Sr. Lucia to Fr. Fuentes)

It seems that yet another wide-scale falling away from the Faith after the period of the restoration of the Church is inevitable, and when this happens, judgement will swiftly follow. As Our Lady of La Salette told Melanie Calvat:

After all these calamities have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them. They will convert, and do penance for their sins. A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign many years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance. The world, glad to be lacking nothing, will fall again into disorder, will give up God, and will return to its criminal passions.

So the combined evidence suggests that the judgement meted out on the eschatological world power "Babylon" will only take place after the restoration of the Church, and occurs as a direct result of the greater responsibly that has been heaped on that nation. It seems in all likelihood that America is destined to become a great Catholic nation, and once it turns its back on God after experiencing this mass conversion, it can expect its folly to be met with disastrous consequences. We can only be left to conclude that these recent rumblings at La Palma serve as a forewarning of the fate that lies in store for America once it rejects Christ after being brought into the sheepfold. The fact that this seismic activity at La Palma occurred so soon on the back of the "40 days of repentance" beginning with the Great American Solar Eclipse is certainly beyond coincidence - especially in light of the plethora of other significant events which unfolded during this time period. It seems that God is signalling that He wishes to give America a second chance, just as he extended towards the Israelites after the idolatry of the Golden Calf. Even though Moses smashed the first set of tablets containing the Decalogue as a result (an event I show in the book is symbolised in the events of 9/11), he interceded for the Israelites during a forty day period of repentance, before eventually bestowing the second set of the tables of the Law, and the nation of Israel entered into a full covenantal relationship with God. Could this offer of a second chance and a covenantal relationship with America be what was really signalled by all of these recent events? Either way, it seems that this recent activity centring around Cumbre Vieja is merely a warning of a fate which lies in store in the future, rather than an immediately imminent event.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Can a Pope Teach Heresy in his Ordinary Magiserium?

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matt 16:18-19)

In the wake of the publication of the Filial Correction on 24th September, 2017, many Catholics have been left in a state of deep confusion as to whether a validly elected Roman Pontiff can teach heresy as part of his Ordinary Magisterium. The Ordinary Magisterium is found in the day to day teachings of the Holy Father, issued through various encyclicals, apostolic constitutions, apostolic exhortations, etc., and although this particular exercise of the papal office is fallible in nature, and certain deficiencies may be present, all Catholics are bound to give their religious assent (the submission of will and intellect) to whatever is contained in the Ordinary Magisterium. This is distinct from the more binding assent of faith which is required for infallible pronouncements such as dogmas, or the contents of Sacred Scripture. As the Catechism states, there is a special Divine assistance given which protects the pope from teaching any errors which contradict faith or morals in the Ordinary Magisterium itself - a charism which is to be considered quite separately from the doctrine of papal infallibility, which is only very rarely exercised through ex cathedra pronouncements, or through the solemn definitions of ecumenical councils, etc. As the Catechism states:

Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. (CCC 892)

One must therefore take into account the proper character of every exercise of the Magisterium, considering the extent to which its authority is engaged. It is also to be borne in mind that all acts of the Magisterium derive from the same source, that is, from Christ who desires that His People walk in the entire truth. For this same reason, magisterial decisions in matters of discipline, even if they are not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, are not without divine assistance and call for the adherence of the faithful. (Donum Veritatis 17)

So while there may be certain deficiencies present in the Ordinary Magisterium, the faithful are still required to submit their will and intellect to its higher prudential judgment by giving religious assent, and such deficiencies can never fall into error in matters of faith and morals through the promise of Divine assistance accorded to even these non-infallible pronouncements. As Lumen Gentium 25 states:

This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

In the CDF document Donum Veritatis, a special dispensation is given for trained theologians to withhold their religious assent from certain aspects of the Ordinary Magisterium they perceive to be potentially problematic, so that they can bring their findings and objections before the Magisterium for study and reflection. However, Donum Veritatis states that such non-assent should always be conducted privately, so as not to lead the faithful into confusion, and any dissenting theologians are instructed to avoid presenting their objections before the mass media:

"In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the "mass media", but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth."
(Donum Veritatis 30)

So since the authors of the Filial Correction have turned directly to the mass media in order to present their dissent to Amoris Laetitia (which is part of the Ordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis), this action was made in direct contravention of the guidelines for dissenting theologians outlaid in Donum Veritatis, and should therefore be considered illicit.

In banding together to form a "parallel-magisterium" which aims to "correct" the Ordinary Magisterium of Pope Francis, the authors of the Filial Correction have brought about a great source of confusion and harm to the faithful.

As to the "parallel magisterium", it can cause great spiritual harm by opposing itself to the Magisterium of the Pastors. Indeed, when dissent succeeds in extending its influence to the point of shaping; a common opinion, it tends to become the rule of conduct. This cannot but seriously trouble the People of God and lead to contempt for true authority. (Donum Veritatis 34)

Polling public opinion to determine the proper thing to think or do, opposing the Magisterium by exerting the pressure of public opinion, making the excuse of a "consensus" among theologians, maintaining that the theologian is the prophetical spokesman of a "base" or autonomous community which would be the source of all truth, all this indicates a grave loss of the sense of truth and of the sense of the Church. The Church "is like a sacrament, a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men". Consequently, to pursue concord and communion is to enhance the force of her witness and credibility. To succumb to the temptation of dissent, on the other hand, is to allow the "leaven of infidelity to the Holy Spirit" to start to work. (Donum Veritatis 39-40)

This false accusation railed against Pope Francis, claiming that he is teaching  or promoting heresy in part of his Ordinary Magisterium is in effect a denial of the one of the essential truths behind the teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, who is granted Divine assistance which prevents him from erring in matters of faith and morals, even when teaching non-infallibly. If we are to reject this essential truth, then the entire edifice of Catholic theology comes crashing to the ground. Once broken down to its constitute parts, this false accusation amounts to nothing less than a charge of formal heresy against the Pope himself, and cannot be recognized as anything other than an attempt to precipitate some form of schism within the Church, renting apart the seamless garment of Christ.

Lest we forget: "The First See is judged by no one." (Canon 1404)