Cardinal Maradiaga has accused Edward Pentin of being a “hitman” who is the “enemy of reform”. This preposterous accusation comes from one of the Pope’s closest advisers. The mind simply boggles at this kind of language, which ill befits a Prince of the Church. I use this term advisedly, because this is the Achilles’ heel of the Church, namely temporal power and its dazzling attributes, which is the glamour of Satan, that delusory glamour which we must resolutely renounce throughout our lives. One wonders what the Apostles would think of being dressed in the purple.
When the Church emerged from the catacombs after Constantine won the battle of the Milvan Bridge and the Church was no longer persecuted, there came freedom, and worse respectability. So with this freedom came terrible danger, a danger that is now convulsing the Church, namely what might be called the Imperialization of the Latin West. The pagans poured into the Church. This was a new organization, albeit sacred, wherein the future generations one could get on and climb the ladder to power and wealth.
From the moment that the Roman Church, and to a certain extent the Byzantine Church, took on the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire as a model for its working structures, there was a foothold for the Devil. In the hands of a Gregory the Great it was safe, but when popes, cardinals, and bishops became worldly and ambitious then there was more than a whiff of danger, there was darkness and a terrible thing. What was this terrible thing? It was nothing more and nothing less than the re-crucifying of Christ, not by out and out sinners such as gangsters, murderers, and heartless dictators, but by Popes, bishops, and cardinals, and by far, far too many priests infatuated with ambition, wealth, power, and sensuality.
We must reflect profoundly on the fact that the great St. John Chrysostom and the utterly gentle Robert Bellarmine thought that most bishops go to Hell. We priests are in no better state, as witnessed by that other great saint, Alphonsus Liguori, who said that most priests go to Hell. Today the great temptation among Catholics, and the mainstream Protestant churches, is the First Temptation of Christ - namely to turn stones into bread. As long as we are involved solely in the social Gospel then that is all that is needed. This Utopian style Christianity best incarnated in Liberation Theology is exactly what Christ speaks against, when Satan tempts Him to assuage his hunger by turning stones into bread. We must in our materialistic age reflect on Christ’s response Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4 ). When we become engrossed on feeding and clothing the World’s population and getting everyone jobs, noble as this effort is, it is not enough. There is only one thing that is enough, and that is that we give ourselves totally and utterly to God, holding nothing back. However because we are human most of us fail miserably, and before long there are programmes put into place that are anything but Christian. God does not ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful. Let us heed the words of St. Theophan the Recluse, one of the greatest saints in 19th Century Orthodox Russia. In his The Spiritual Life (And how to be attuned to it) which is the compilation of letters that he wrote to a young middle class woman, we read these wise words which should be a great caution to those over-enthusiastic advocates of The Social Gospel:
"The progressives have in mind all mankind or at least all of its people lumped together. The fact is, however, that “mankind” or “the people” does not exist as a person for whom you could do something right now. It consists of individual persons: By doing something for one person, we are doing it within the general mass of humanity. If each one of us did what was possible to do for whoever was standing right in front of our eyes, instead of goggling at the community of mankind, then all people, in aggregate, would at each moment be doing that which is needed by those in need, and by satisfying their needs, would establish the welfare of all mankind, which is made up of haves and have-nots, the weak and the strong. But those who keep thoughts of the welfare of mankind inattentively let slip by the opportunity to perform a particular work, they accomplish nothing towards the main purpose of life." (The Spiritual Life, and how to be attuned to it; St. Theophan The Recluse, St. Paisius Orthodox Monastery 2003)
It is Christ the true bread that we must feed on. We who are priests, bishops, cardinals and popes must conform ourselves as much as possible to Christ. If we do not, we will find ourselves falling into the everlasting fires of hell.
Constantly I have to examine myself and see how often I sin. I quite understand how St. Gertrude the Great felt when she said that she could not understand how the earth could tolerate her sinfulness. How I sympathize with the charming and warm St. Jane de Chantal who when asked, in her old age, by her mother superior what her, Jane’s soul was like. She answered “It is like looking at Hell and I avert my gaze”. Then St. Francis of Assisi, considered by so many to be the most Christ-like of all saints, what did he say? “All I can call my own are my sins; everything else is a gift from God.”
Dear Cardinal Madriaga I hope that you understand what I am saying because it is very important. After all you are son of the great St. John Bosco. You remember how he called the great order that you belong to after his beloved saint, St. Francis de Sales, and also the inspiration of St. John XXIII. All these saints were very gentle men, and Francis de Sales a Gentleman by birth. What does he say? “Do all by love, nothing by constraint”; “There is nothing so gentle as true strength, and nothing so strong as true gentleness.” Above all we priests must be men of truth. If you say such extraordinary things such as anyone who calls on the Pope to resign is committing the Sin against the Holy Spirit then you are consigning two of the greatest saints of Middle Ages to the fires of Hell, namely the luminous St. Colette of Corbie and “The Angel of The Apocalypse” St. Vincent Ferrer who begged the anti-Pope Benedict XIII to resign, and you surely know that no-one was quite sure who the real pope was. You also consign the entire Council of Constance to Hell for doing the same thing, admittedly they had the problem of three Popes. Surely you must know that Edward Pentin has nothing against you, and is both gentle and a gentleman. All he wishes to do is to find the Truth, for it is the truth, as Christ tells us, that sets us free.
So turning to all bishops, I say this: Let us admit that we priests have all gone astray. We have become too pre-occupied with the world, even worse we might suffer from spiritual pride, and spiritual envy. These sins are not seen, or experienced as the sins of the flesh are, but they are deadly, for after all Satan is a spirit and not a man. How many of us have shown the face of Christ to those entrusted to our care? Have we been his eyes, his voice, his hands, his feet? Or have we lived the comfortable life, while our parishioners have been lacking food; and worse still, lacked what we should give in abundance, namely true kindness and overflowing compassion. Have we failed to teach the laws of God especially those concerning marriage and sexual morality? Have we preached by word and example the Gospel. Have people seen in us the early Apostles and disciples preaching the good news of salvation? If they have not, then we have failed. We may not be paedophile priests, or homosexual predator priests, but we are guilty of re-crucifying Christ by other sins, one of the worst being lukewarm in carrying out of our ministries.
To those Cardinals, bishops, and priests who have failed gravely in paedophilia and homosexuality and have repented, I say do not be afraid, trust in the immense mercy of God. Go into solitude and throw yourselves into the arms of the Crucified Christ, and he who has taken all our most terrible sins away will welcome you and make you saints. For what opens the doors of heaven and the heart of the Saviour is true humility. To those of you who have covered up for bad priests, quickly accuse yourselves before your lawful superiors and do penance, for the season of Mercy will fast run its course, and God’s judgement will come down upon us.
For far too long, for well over 60 years if not more, The Church appears to have been taken over by a Marxist agenda, which has sapped it of the supernatural, and reduced it to something akin to the United Nations which is well known for its corruption. The Bride of Christ has been turned into something between a Soviet Commissar and the harlot mentioned by Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
We must join our hearts with the members of the great Orthodox Churches of the East, and in particular The Russian Orthodox Church, not because they do not have their problems, but because they are profoundly prayerful, penitential, and well aware of their utter sinfulness and dependence on God, and have not been contaminated by the wretched secularism and false humanism of the godless West. We are not here to change the world, we are here to be converted, and sanctified and we are here to cry out “LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER”
Let us return to Edward Pentin. Here we have a model journalist, of whom St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists must surely be proud. I have only spoken to Edward Pentin once and that was with regard to trying to get a dying little boy of eight to an audience with Pope Benedict at Castelgondolfo. He was very courteous, for after all that was not his job, helped us, and did not stand on his dignity as a busy journalist. It was only later when one of my closest and dearest friends told me about his friend, Edward Pentin the journalist, that I realized they were both the same man. My friend is a good priest and judge of characture, and if he holds someone in high regard then I trust him. Watching this fine journalist I am aware of a real humility coupled with true professionalism. Here there is nothing flashy; all is understated and balanced. Here indeed is a meek man. “Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the Earth.”
Amid the great clouds of spiritual and poisonous darkness that are now engulfing the church one feels that bit safer with Edward Pentin modestly walking across the world’s stage. I think particularly at this time of the much maligned Archbishop Vigano, a man rightly praised for his integrity and courage, as also for his professionalism. Then we have the massively dependable Cardinal Burke who like some great shire horse carrying the burdens of the Church on his shoulders, all in the cause of the defence of marriage and Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Then beside him we have the humble and childlike Bishop Athanasius Schnieder who valiantly champions the cause of the truth; he certainly understands the importance of truth, having been brought up under the all-seeing eye of the Soviet Union. He has known Martyrs in his time.
These good men are thankfully being joined by others: namely Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield Illinois, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma, and finally for now, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. But where are the other bishops of the Western Europe and the Anglophone world? Why are they so silent. We have only the delightfully robust and jolly Monsignor Jean Francois Lantheaume, who is a perfect witness to Archbishop Vigano’s truthfulness, integrity and honour. When one looks at the photographs of these men we see there an openness in their expressions, that thing we call transparency, and a charming candour. The camera they say does not lie, and I think that is very true in this case.
Bishops of the Catholic Church. Awake and do your duty. For Christ is coming to you on his great white horse with his vast army of white robed heavenly warriors. If you really wish to be his warriors, his latter day apostles, then he will come as your generous and magnanimous King. But if you are false shepherds, he will come with his destroying sword and he will pass judgement on you. Surely you do not want this, surely more than anything else you want to be his true knights, his faithful vassals.
We have now entered the time of Judgement. There is little time. We cannot avoid catastrophe, any more than the people Jerusalem could avoid the destruction of their city at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. For our salvation we must be punished. Can you not see that the earth itself is revolting at man’s wickedness, and will soon rise up in judgement against the utterly immense and terrible evil that is saturating the earth? God will intervene, for he will not allow his little ones to be lost. Come to your senses, and lead your flocks in the ways of gentleness, goodness and peace, and then you will truly be great warriors of Christ. Heed my words, heed them before it is too late.