Jiggery-Pokery At The SCO…

Jiggery-Pokery At The SCO…

ScottishcatholicobserverlogoIn June 2013, we re-published a letter written by Martin Blackshaw, aka Athanasius, to the Scottish Catholic Observer, correcting certain errors proposed by Dr Harry Schnitker in a series of articles published in the SCO, on the history of the papacy. Click here to read that letter and blog discussion.  We were more than a little surprised that the letter was published, but hey, if that sounds like a complaint, scrub it. Credit where it’s due.  

Now, today, however, Martin writes in an email to my unworthy self: In the March 18th edition, Dr. Schnitker began another of his back page serialisations, this time on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si. Upon reading his first instalment, it became evident that he was up to his old tricks of trying to make Catholic that which is not Catholic. He has set himself up as an apologist for Pope Francis’ environmentalist screed, attempting to bend it to Church teaching by any and all means. 

It’s more than a little disappointing, therefore, not to say shocking, that  the editor, Liz Leydon, is now refusing to publish Martin’s latest corrections to Dr Schnitker’s misleading musings.  At Catholic Truth, however,  we share Mr Blackshaw’s concern that Catholic newspapers must not be permitted to publish uncorrected error, so we’re happy to allow publication of his articles here… 

Reiterating unseasonable truths

By Martin Blackshaw

I have followed with interest these past months the various articles of Dr. Harry Schnitker in the SCO. The experience, sad to say, has been neither educational nor uplifting.

The reason for this is that Dr. Schnitker is more of a revisionist than an historian. In other words, he is an apologist for the modernist/liberal mindset of these tragic times and he moulds history in this image rather than in the true image in which it was framed.

Hence it was, for example, that in his series treating of contemporary Church Councils up to and including Vatican II, he made it appear that there exists doctrinal consistency in teaching on such as ecumenism and religious liberty when in fact no such consistency exists. These two doctrines are entirely innovative, unique to Vatican II and contradictory of past magisterial teaching.

Pope Francis was more honest in this regard when he wrote of these novelties in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Nowhere in that lengthy Papal document is there a single supportive reference to pre-Vatican II magisterial teaching, because none exists.

I could provide other examples of this jiggery pokery in Dr. Schnitker’s past writings but space is short and so I must come to the point, which is that Dr. Schnitker has now begun a new series of articles examining Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical Laudato Si, and he seems to have got off to a very bad start.

First, credit where it is due. Dr. Schnitker rightly points out that this Encyclical of Pope Francis has left many Catholics bewildered and many others angry. Why? Because the mission of the Church on earth is to save souls, not the planet.

We are witnessing in our time a crisis of faith in the Church and in the world that is unprecedented in 2000 years of Christian history. God is either rejected completely today or is paid lip service for His mercy while His justice is conveniently omitted from the conversation.

The result is that people are now generally comfortable with sin, and in particular with sins that were once unmentionable. And so, while increasing numbers of souls are merrily winding their way to Hell in a handcart, the Pope writes about saving the planet.

Let us make no mistake about this, Pope Francis did not restrict himself to ecological teaching in his Encyclical, as Dr. Schnitker declares. On the contrary, the vision expressed by the Pontiff went way beyond ecology to encompass the environmentalist agenda.

And it is replete with errors. For example, the earth is not, as Pope Francis declares and Dr. Schnitker re-echoes, “our common home”. Heaven is our common home. Earth is our exile. Hence the petition we make in the prayer to Our Lady “…and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb…”

Nor is the earth our “Mother”. This turn of phrase properly belongs to the worshippers of Gaia, a pagan cult. We Catholics supernaturally have the Church and Our Lady for our Mother, not the earth. God created the earth and He sustains it by His Divine Power. Perhaps a little more trust in Him and a little less of the humanistic hand wringing over today’s extremely controversial, not to mention tax lucrative Gospel of man-made climate change would re-introduce some sanity back into this liberal world gone mad. God made the world for man, not man for the world.

I mean, does anyone actually care any longer about the salvation of immortal souls through membership of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, as the infallible dogma declares, or is it now all about happiness in this world?

Whatever happened to the Traditional Catholic teaching that we live in the world but are not of the world? Our Lord declared that He is not of this world. Consequently, if the conciliar reformers assert that the Church must embrace the world, then what becomes of its embrace of the crucified Christ?

I’ll tell you by observation what becomes of it, it weakens until there is nothing of the Cross left in the lives of Catholics. The dignity of God gives place to the dignity of the human person, divine charity grows cold and is replaced with philanthropy, religious truth gets muddled with error, zeal for souls becomes a crusade for social justice and divine mercy is preached in presumptive isolation from a necessary repentance for sin and firm purpose of amendment.

Our Lord said to His Disciples: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me first”. This is the real truth about the world, it is a fallen world in need of Redemption yet hostile to the light of Christ. It is therefore in perpetual need of missionary evangelisation, not modernist embracing.

In other words, what the Church is crying out for right now is proper supernatural leadership from its shepherds, as of old. Embracers of the world, of false religions, of trees or of anything else that is not Christ we can live without, as also their apologists.

Surely fifty years of utter devastation in the Church is evidence enough that something has gone seriously wrong since Vatican II. We need only review the unparalleled global decline in priestly and religious vocations in the decades since that reformation to realise that it has been less a “New Pentecost” than a new Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ.

The universal loss of countless tens of thousands of seminaries, religious houses, parish churches and priests is hardly consistent with the influence of the Holy Spirit, now is it? Nor is the apostasy of millions of Catholics from the faith since the Council, or of a younger generation so deprived of Catechetical formation that it can barely recount the Decalogue, consistent with an outpouring of divine grace on this new conciliar entity.

Well did Cardinal Suenens, no friend of Tradition, publicly assert that Vatican II reform is the French Revolution in the Church. This is the real apocalyptic climate change that Catholics should be beating their breasts over, a seismic shift in teaching from Divine Revelation to doctrinal relativism and moral reductionism.

In respect to the latter, Our Lord says “if you love me you will keep my Commandments”. There is no muddying of the waters about access to Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried, co-habiting couples, practicing homosexuals, etc., in that clear declaration of what constitutes true charity! His teaching was firm and unambiguous, “you are either with me or against me”. The house divided is a house of desolation.

This is the teaching Catholics need to hear again, and quickly. Sending out confused messages to those estranged from the Sacraments is not the answer to this crisis, nor is a fast track marriage annulment service.

It should be remembered that Pope John Paul II tightened the rules of annulment in response to the great U.S. scandal that saw annual annulments rise from around 700 in 1969 to more than 50,000 by the late 1980s.

Neither is there a recovery of lost grace and virtue to be had from Papal Encyclicals endorsing unqualified scientific declarations of an impending ecological or environmental apocalypse.

To quote Our Divine Saviour again: “Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on. The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment. Consider the ravens, for they sow not, neither do they reap, neither have they storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. How much are you more valuable than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit?

If then ye be not able to do so much as the least thing, why are you solicitous for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith? And seek not what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: and be not lifted up on high. For all these things do the nations of the world seek. Your Father knows that you have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Pope Francis has declared that he is open to respectful correction by  subordinates at all levels in the Church. Well I am respectfully correcting His Holiness, not by my own opinion but by the constant teaching of the Church up to the fateful Vatican II.

To this end I leave the final word to his predecessor Pope Gregory XVI, who prophetically warned thus in his Encyclical Mirari Vos of 1832: “To use the words of the Fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a “foundation may be laid of a new human institution,” and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing “may become a human Church…

And now to Martin’s second reply – this time to Dr. Schnitker’s second SCO article in the Laudato Si series (March 25). Here he expresses his admiration for one Dorothy Day, a U.S. “Catholic” Socialist activist whose cause for beatification has begun. Pope Francis likewise praised Dorothy Day along with Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton during his recent visit to America. As Martin notes, what follows will surely make a few jaws drop in shock…

[Dear Editor, SCO]

“I see that Dr. Schnitker is up to his old tricks again this week. His article begins by pulling out a one-liner about sin and fallen nature from the Pope’s Encyclical to demonstrate that it is not fundamentally about climate change and environmentalism.

The problem with this is that almost everyone else on the planet has focussed their attention on the several hundreds of other lines that are clearly environmentalist. This makes Pope Francis’ document more naturalist than supernatural, which is not what we Catholics are used to in the writings of our Popes.

The atheistic media and environmentalist anarchist groups are far more at home with Pope Francis’ doctrine than the faithful, and that is extremely worrying.

But apart from the first couple of paragraphs of Dr. Schnitker’s latest offering, what he effectively proposes to us again is his own theological interpretations and presumptions. There is very little in that lengthy piece that actually comes out of Laudato Si. This is not the correct way for Catholics to interpret Papal documents.

There is only one way to commentate on Papal writings and that is in accordance with the constant teaching of the Magisterium throughout the centuries. In the case of Laudato Si, the inconsistencies are far more numerous than the consistencies, rendering impossible any positive Catholic spin on it. So why is Dr. Schnitker attempting the impossible?

And why his introduction and adulation of Dorothy Day, the renowned American Socialist activist? This only confirms in my mind that Dr. Schnitker has a particular take on Catholicism that is not only not Traditional but is dangerous to unwary souls.

Dorothy Day fits very well with today’s Modernist liberal Catholicism, which is more interested in this world than the next. The reality about Dorothy Day is that despite her “conversion” to the faith, she remained until death committed to the Communist ideal.

I urge you to study her life a little more closely, whereupon you will discover that she consistently aired her public admiration for, and empathy with, the most brutal Communist dictators, including Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro. If her loyalty was somewhat tempered by a certain regret over the methods employed by these butchers, she nevertheless applauded their revolutionary spirit and their demonic anarchies. She also consistently praised the ideas of Karl Marx.
Indeed, at a time when Pope Pius XII was formally declaring that one cannot be at the same time Communist and Catholic, Dorothy Day was living precisely that very contradiction. Her publication, The Catholic Worker, took a decided pacifist stance on the Spanish Revolution, lamenting on the one hand the “martyrdom” of the priests and nuns at the hands of the Communist revolutionaries, while on the other recognising the legitimacy of the revolutionary uprising.

And if that is not enough to put any Catholic on their guard against this Socialist anarchist wrapped in Catholic tinsel, her opposition to the American government’s entry into the fight against the evil Hitler should clinch the case.

How anyone could believe, much less advocate, that pacifism in the face of such evil as the Nazi regime is the duty of all Catholics in accordance with the teaching of the Church is just perverse. But then she already held perverse views on the teachings of the Popes on Social Justice, going so far as to defend civil disobedience against legitimate authority in matters not pertaining to faith and morals.

In this regard the Jesuit priest Fr. Daniel Lyons S. J. called Day “an apostle of pious oversimplification.” He said that The Catholic Worker “often distorted beyond recognition the position of the Popes”. I suggest that Fr. Lyons’ critique was itself an oversimplification of Day’s erroneous position, though it could be satisfactorily applied to Dr. Schnitker’s.

Researching contributing columnists to her publication we find such names as Fr. Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk whose suspect relationship with a young nurse cast a dark shadow over his priestly celibacy. He more notoriously attempted to marry Catholicism with Eastern pagan mysticism. Then there was Fr. Daniel Berrigan S. J., who, together with other anarchists, broke into a U.S. nuclear facility damaging warheads and destroying files. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison, a sentence he evaded by going into hiding until eventually tracked down and arrested by the FBI. Then there was Ammon Hennacy, another Socialist anarchist who “converted” to Catholicism in 1952 but abandoned the faith in 1965 claiming that St. Paul had spoiled the message of Christ. He subsequently divorced his wife and remarried. For the remainder of his life he called himself “a non-church Christian”.

These are only a handful of the people Dorothy Day surrounded herself with; all Socialist political activists known to each other who demonstrated against all forms of war, refused to pay their taxes, vandalised government property and generally agitated against the established order, including the order in the Church. One of the magazines Day wrote for – Commonweal – was a dissident liberal publication that opposed Paul VI’ Humane Vitae. She later founded her own Left Wing dissenting magazine called Liberation.

You really need to read about Dorothy Day, whose only daughter described in adult life how her mother’s activism had deprived her of her presence and love in childhood. Need I point out that a mother’s first duty before God is to love and care for her children.

It is a great shame on the Church that such a person as this is being considered for beatification, and that names such as Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, a non-Catholic advocate of contraceptive population control, are also exalted by our Popes in these confusing days. This kind of scandal was unheard of prior to Vatican II, which proves yet again that a major shift in belief has taken place in our Churchmen since that Council. They are now more Left Wing Socialist than Catholic, obsessed with that new doctrine called “integral humanism” which suppresses the supernatural mission of the Church in favour of a crusade for earthly social justice. The Communists preached that doctrine long before it was adopted by our post-Vatican II visionaries, and for very good reason. It destroys the supernatural spiritual life of Catholics, turning them into humanist activists and revolutionaries. That’s why the Popes pre-Council forbid any collaboration whatsoever between Catholics and Communists.

As a senior prelate once observed in this regard: “the martyrs sacrificed their lives for the faith. Now they sacrifice the faith”. It’s painful to admit, I know, but it is a reality, as Pope Francis’ Maundy Thursday washing of the feet of non-Catholics, non-Christians and women, against Our Lord’s own example, amply demonstrates.

This change is now being noticed by some senior prelates in Rome and elsewhere, who have very publicly expressed their fears over Pope Francis’s methods, his repeated dangerous statements to the press, his praise of the most suspect of theologians and activists, and his Encyclical on the environment. Popes are not impeccable, they make mistakes and we have a duty as subordinates to respectfully correct them, as did St. Paul with St. Peter. Only dead fish flow with the current! You have my permission to pass that line on to Dr. Schnitker.

Permit me one final observation in summation of this lengthy message. When Our Lady was appearing in Fatima in 1917, imparting a divine warning to the three children of impending world chastisement by means of “the errors of Russia,” Dorothy Day was celebrating the overthrow of the Tsarist government by Bolshevik forces in Moscow. Some 50 years later she visited Moscow and was “moved” to see the names of former Communist activist colleagues, C. E . Ruthenberg, founder of the Communist Party USA, Bill Haywood, key figure in the United States IWW labour movement, and Jack Reed, American Communist journalist and author of Ten Days That Shook The World, an eyewitness account of the Bolshevik uprising, inscribed gloriously on the Kremlin wall. All three betrayed their country and sought refuge in Moscow, where, upon death, they received burials with Communist honours. Does any of this make us think of the life of a Catholic saint in waiting?”

Comments invited…  

Comments (141)

  • Therese


    If that doesn’t open your eyes then nothing will.

    I think you may have hit on something there!

    May 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm
  • Ross

    Oh everyone that comes to CTS is “misguided”, “confused” and “modernist”.

    “CWM is a Marxist leaning organisation pretending to be Catholic” No, it’s not and never has been Marxist. Marxism is of the State, Capitalism is of the Market, Catholic Worker is against both but rather rooted in the early Church, rooted in community life sharing and in the acts of the Apostles. Marxism is also revolutionary and violent, CW is pacifist.

    “you sympathise with, Stalin’s Communist hoards”. Nope, as I said, I sympathise with the devoutly Catholic Carlist Monarchists on the Nationalist side and with the Catholic Basques, especially the Catholic clergy murdered by Franco during the bombing of Guernica.

    Does Franco’s alleged presence at Spain’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary mean that it was Our Lady’s will that many young girls were gang raped to death by Franco’s Muslim army? Was it Our Lady’s will that thousands of people be executed after the war

    May 25, 2016 at 12:24 am
    • Athanasius


      Please! I asked for sourced evidence to counter what Fr. Kimball and Dr. Byrne have written about the CWM and all you do is return with more denials that the CWM is not Marxist. You also quite clearly have a very poor understanding of Marxism, its methods and goals. Check out St. Pius X’s condemnation of “The Sillon”, a so-called Catholic organisation with which one of the founder members of the CWM, Peter Maurin, had previously been associated.

      CW is not, as you say, “pascifist”. Dorothy Day is on record upholding violent revolutions that take place in the name of the oppressed masses. She is also on record as saluting some of the most violent revolutionaries the world has ever seen, and she paid special tribute to Garibaldi who robbed the Church in Italy of her Papal properties. So please, let’s hear no more about the CWM being pacifist.

      Besides that, pacifism in the face of aggression is not Catholic, it’s cowardice. Hitler was a menace to the entire world, a cruel despot who could only be stopped by force of arms and a lot of self sacrifice. The notion that the Catholic Church, that God Himself, frowns on this reaction to threatening evil is a great error. St. Pius V personally raised the Christian forces against the Ottoman Turks to preserve Chrsitian Europe. Other Popes riased Crusades to stop the Muslim hoards from desecrating the holy places in Jerusalem and puting Christians to the sword and worse. Are you more sanctified and enlightened than these great Pontiffs so as to call into question their morality and the Church’s teaching on just wars? If you insist on this blanket pacifism then that is by default what you do.

      Remember also that Our Lord was not pacifist. He took a whip and drove the money changers from the temple while violently upturning the tables holding their ill-gotten loot. Was Our Saviour wrong to act in this way? Certainly not. The serious nature of the violation called for such action.

      Pretty interesting, though, that it was a Communist tactic of the Dorothy Day era to preach pacifism while stirring violence everywhere. As far as Dorothy Day’s agenda is concerned, in addition to her false pacifism she also disobeyed lawful authorities for no justifiable reason, which is against the teaching of the Gospels. She also participated in the destruction of government property link to its nuclear weapons programme. She was an anarchist as well as a pacifist, it seems!

      Now, your claims about Muslim forces loyal to Franco raping thousands of girls is a wild one that you simply must support with sound, well sourced evidence. You must also substantiate your very grave allegation that clergy who died in the bombing of Guernica were “murdered” by Franco.

      We both know that war is an ugly business that no one in their right mind wants. Innocent people get caught up as casualties in war and people die. It’s terrible but it happens. We cannot say that these victims have been murdered, however, if the intent to murder them was absent. To do so is to unjustly accuse others of serious sin. What happened to the innocent victims of the bombing in Guernica is not the same as what the Communists did to the Catholic clergy and religious in their tens of thousands. On that score, I am pleased to note that by your Carlist sympathies we can agree at least on the evil threat that the revolutionary Marxists and their godless cause represented to Catholic Spain.

      The bottom line is that Franco, love him or loathe him, represented Catholicism for Spain while the revolutionary forces represented atheistic Marxism and a despoilation of the Church in Spain. I know whose side I would have been on. There is no middle ground when evil threatens to sap a Catholic nation of its holiness.

      Finally, your claim that the CWM is not Marxist with regard to its Social Action is wrong, as is your claim that it emulates the communal life of the early Christians. Superficially it may appear that way but closer inspection using the teaching of the Popes on Catholic Social Action as a guide very quickly betrays the real danger of the “distributist” ideology of the CWM, an ideology not from early Christianity but rather from the 20th century minds of Belloc, Chesterton and Fr. Vincent McNabb. It is a doctrine that misinterprets Church teaching, is revolutionary in nature and always leads to Marxist “Liberation theology” and action of the Leonardo Boff variety.

      May 25, 2016 at 1:47 am
      • Ross

        None of this makes any sense, you can’t criticise CWM for being pacifists because Jesus “took a whip and drove the money changers from the temple while violently upturning the tables holding their ill-gotten loot.” By quoting this passage directly you are becoming the exact same “Jesusist” and primitivist Christian you yoursellves very often attack on here.
        Like all Bible literalists you also miss out the part about how Jesus drove the animals out, there’s nothing to suggest any person was struck by Jesus. The cord seems to have been for driving the animals out.
        But worst of all, you then go on to criticise Dorothy Day, Dan Berrigan and the Catonville 9 etc… for breaking into Nuclear bases and burning draft papers and so on…
        Again, this criticism is highly inconsistent and makes no sense. Especially since such action is highly analogous to the scripture you’ve just quoted, particularly in terms of causing no harm to people while protesting against Nuclear weapons, which are more obviously a bigger affront to God than trespassing. It is also ironic that you are quoting an episode which is often held up as an example of Christ’s opposition to Capitalism and money lending.
        Even more confused is the logic which let’s you support genocidal, nihilistic Fascism and anti-semitism in Spain while attacking pacifists for not joining the struggle against the same violence and Fascism in Germany in the 1940’s. Again, none of this makes any sense.
        I could go on and on but I just don’t have the time or inclination. As for Franco’s Islamic army and the killing of Catholic clergy in the Basque region. I’ll leave you to do your own research. The onus isn’t really on me to provide evidence since such things are historical facts and are common knowledge. Personally I feel that our great saint Josemaria Escriva and Opus Dei’s position, behaviour and response to the Spanish civil was the correct one. (I know you don’t like these “modernists” either)
        Other than the endless labeling and the obvious lack of charity, I think this lack of consistency and lack any real intellectual rigour is the whole problem most Catholics have with Catholic Truth Scotland. I pray your conference will perhaps address this issue.

        May 28, 2016 at 9:50 am
      • Athanasius


        The action of Our Lord in the Temple was not, as you suggest, for the threefold reason of driving out trespassers, clearing out animals or chasing away Capitalist money lenders. Rather it was an action inspired by love of the House of God, then being treated in a blasphemous and sacrilegious manner by worldly men.

        The Scriptural words could not be any clearer on the meaning: “And he saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt. 21:13)

        Incidentally, the Catholic Church insists on a “literalist” interpretation of the Bible as the infallible and inspired word of God. If you reject such an interpretation then you are not a Catholic. The teaching of the Church is very clear and insistent in this matter. Only heretics reject it.

        The Dan Berrigan you refer to was Fr. Dan Berrigan S.J., who was imprisoned for breaking into a government nuclear facility and destroying sensitive government property. His actions did not remotely reflect his duty as a priest to sanctify souls for heaven. They were rather the actions of an anarchist fixated on the things of this world, a scandal to the Church. So much for his “pacifism”.

        As regards your remark about anti-semitism in Spain under Franco, the typically liberal card played by people like you when the argument is lost, it’s completely off-the-wall.

        You are clearly not aware that a sizeable number of those who came from abroad, particularly the U.S., to fight against Franco and his Catholic Spain were Jews. This is a matter of historical record. The large Russian contingent sent by Stalin also contained a good number of Jews. So if many Jews perished in the Spanish Civil War it was because they went to someone else’s country to overthrow a Catholic government. Anti-semitism didn’t come into it. The Spanish Civil War was sparked by virulent anti-Catholicism and that’s a fact.

        Dorothy Day was not, as you say, pacifist in this War. While lamenting the murder of clergy by the revolutionaries in her newspaper, she nevertheless upheld the right of those anti-Catholic forces to rise up in arms against perceived injustice. She was on the side of the revolutionaries and anarchists in Spain. Her life long sympathies lay with revolutionary men. Again, this is on record.

        And as for Franco not joining the fight against the Nazis, you make it sound like those who did fight the Nazis did so for the sake of the Jews. The allied forces knew about the plight of the Jews for years, yet did nothing to relieve it. The Catholic Church, the Red Cross and other non-military organisations were the ones who spent themselves to help the persecuted Jews, not the allied forces.

        Franco’s Spain, being neutral, opened up a route of escape for many wartime Jews. It is known that many thousands were given free passage through the country to safety. So what are you on about?

        Franco played Hitelr like a fiddle. He knew exactly how to keep the despot at arms length. No, Spain was preserved from the horrors of WWII because of its consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, just as Sister Lucy of Fatima said.

        Nor is your point about Josemaria Escriva a valid one. With no real sympathy from the so-called pacifists in the U.S., this priest had to remove his priestly clothes and go into hiding for years to avoid the brutality of the revolutionaries. He didn’t want to end up like the priest who was murdered, stripped naked and hung upside down in a butcher shop window with a sign pinned to him reading “Fresh Meat”, or the nuns who were raped, tied to the back of horses, set on fire and dragged burning to till they succumbed.

        No thank you, Ross, you can keep your distributist, pacifist religion and be happy in it. The rest of us will stick with true Church teaching, fixing our minds and hearts on the real revolution that needs to take place, please God, in the souls of men. This world will pass away, eternity is forever.

        May 28, 2016 at 12:51 pm
      • Ross

        Yes, yes a heretic, not a real a Catholic, new-Church, modernist, liberal, of course. A full house for the CTS bingo but not factual. This is factual https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Archive_(Francoist_Spain) Franco was about to betray the Jews to Himmler.

        May 28, 2016 at 5:42 pm
  • Athanasius


    No serious writer lends credence to what is written on Wikipedia. Come on!

    May 28, 2016 at 10:33 pm
      • Athanasius


        The Telegraph is almost as unreliable as Wikipedia. It’s also renowned for its anti-Catholic bias. Try again to find a more trustworthy and objective source.

        You seem quite determined at the moment to cast the worst possible light on the Church and the great Catholic staesmen of the 20th century. That tells me all I need to know about you and the organisation you belong to. Dorothy Day was also very anti-clerical.

        May 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm
      • Michaela


        Here’s an article in the Jewish Press – the Jews seem to think highly of Franco – and the comments about “democracy” are particularly interesting as we keep being told that it’s the best system out there:

        Recently, I was handed a flyer advertising an event billed as “A Day of Remembrance: Recognizing and Honoring Countries and Diplomats for Their Heroism During the Holocaust.” The event took place at a prominent Brooklyn synagogue under the auspices of several respected Jewish organizations. The guest speaker was Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

        The flyer went on to say that among the countries and diplomats to be honored were Spain and its consul general.

        This raises an interesting question. Spain during the Holocaust was ruled by the fascist dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, supposedly an ally of Hitler. So why would an event under Jewish auspices pay tribute to, among others, the regime of Franco as well as his consuls general throughout Nazi-occupied Europe?

        Actually, paying tribute to Franco makes a lot of sense to those who know their history.

        I am anything but a fascist, but the record must be set straight regarding both Franco’s record vis-a-vis the Jews and the Jewish volunteers who descended on Spain from various other countries to fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

        Communist tyranny is infinitely worse than fascist dictatorship. Fascism and Nazism are two entirely different things. Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922, long before Hitler did in Germany, and there were quite a number of Italian Jews active in the Fascist Party – as well as Jewish generals in the Italian Army who helped bring about Mussolini’s victory.

        Anti-Semitism was not part of Mussolini’s agenda. In the early years of his rule he was sympathetic to the Zionist movement and even hosted a cordial meeting with Chaim Weizmann.

        In fact, in the years leading up to Word War II it was not at all clear until months before the first shots were fired whether Italy would fight with Hitler or the Allies, since Italy had longstanding territorial and sphere-of-influence disputes with Germany.

        Further, despite their many contrived photo-ops, there was no love lost between Mussolini and Hitler. Having read Mein Kampf, Mussolini knew Hitler despised Italians along with other non-Germanic races. Only in 1938 did Mussolini, under intense pressure from Hitler, enact relatively minor discriminatory anti-Jewish laws, and even those went largely unenforced.

        Only very late in the war, after the Nazis had invaded northern and central Italy and reduced Mussolini to a puppet, did deportations of Jews begin, and at that time the Italian Army had already honorably capitulated to the Allies and was fighting on their side. (For a comprehensive treatment of Italian Jewry during the war years see The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival by Susan Zuccotti.)

        Now let’s turn to Spain. A great American illusion is that Jeffersonian democracy is the best form of government to bring stability and prosperity to all nations. That, of course, is simply not true. The Weimar Republic was a democracy but it produced Hitler. The present-day democracy-on-paper in Iraq is generating nothing but sectarian violence and civil war.

        Similarly, Spain in the 1930’s, while a democratic republic on paper, was in fact a country engulfed in chaos, civil unrest and competing militias. It was in significant danger of becoming the first communist state outside the Soviet Union (located in Western Europe, no less). And that is precisely what would have happened had Franco not seized power.

        Franco felt no personal affinity for either Hitler or Mussolini. Franco was a devout Catholic. Hitler despised Christianity and was in thrall to pagan Teutonic religions, while Mussolini was an atheist. Franco accepted their aid only because no one else would help him – much the way Israel accepted arms from the Soviet bloc during its War of Independence because the United States and the Western European democracies had imposed a strict arms embargo.

        During World War II, Franco maintained strict neutrality, denying Hitler military access to the Straits of Gibraltar and thereby severely hampering German naval operations in the Mediterranean. Franco not only stood up to Hitler and adamantly refused to hand over the approximately 40,000 European Jews who had sought refuge in Spain, he also provided protection for Jews in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe with Spanish passports.

        The Jewish Press recently featured an article that portrayed the Jewish volunteers who went to Spain to fight Franco in a relatively positive light. (“The Jews Who Fired the First Shot Against Fascist Tyranny,” op-ed, May 16). Frankly, I believe President Lincoln would turn over in his grave at the mere thought of his name being associated with the Stalinist Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

        May 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm
  • Athanasius


    Yours is precisely the kind of documented and objective comment that I have been asking Ross to provide. I hope he takes note of the facts in that article and reflects on his position. Thank you for this contribution.

    May 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm
    • Michaela

      Athanasius, thank you.

      I’ve been following your exchange with Ross and it struck me that the Jews would soon have plenty to say about Franco if Ross was right in what he was saying, so I thought it would be good to put the record straight using a Jewish source. I would hate to think of Franco, as a famous Catholic politician, being so callous as to hand over 6,000 Jews to Hitler’s regime so it was more like the thing when I discovered, from the Jewish Press, that Franco had actually saved many more – 40,000 Jews – from Hitler.

      May 29, 2016 at 7:05 pm
  • Athanasius


    It was a timely intervention from an indisputable source. The testimony on Franco’s record of saving Jews during WWII doesn’t get more authentic than the Jewish Press. I hope Ross has taken note of it and now realises how sub-standard were the sources he cited.

    May 29, 2016 at 9:50 pm
  • editor

    I’m very late in closing the March and April threads, so apologies for that.

    This one is now closed with thanks to all who have contributed.

    May 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm

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