Before we begin our news and views, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of my friends and readers here at WordPress a blessed and Happy New Year!
The death of former-pope, Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger, was announced earlier this morning by the Vatican. Benedict was pope from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. The secular mass media will be reporting on the ex-pope and his upcoming elaborate funeral for several days to come. The last we heard of Ratzinger previous to this was that he was facing German civil court proceedings for allegedly covering up for pedeophile priests in his role as archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982 (see here). Ratzinger’s legacy is that he propagated his church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.
Progressive pope Francis has had a thorny relationship with conservative prelates and priests working inside (and outside) the Vatican and occasionally chides them for being doctrinaire and resistant to his reforms. This article states, “Francis used his annual Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia to again put the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See on notice that they are by no means beyond reproach and are, in fact, particularly vulnerable to evil.” Francis warned the curia that an “elegant demon” lurks among them, but it’s clear that an elegant demon also guides Bergoglio as he dispenses the RCC’s false gospel of salvation via sacramental grace and merit, albeit with a progressive/liberal twist.
It’s sadly fascinating to see how some young neo-con Catholics are attracted to pre-conciliar, militant Roman Catholicism with its Latin mass liturgy, which few understand. Whether the mass is Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form or Traditional/Extraordinary Form/Latin, it is a blasphemous and spurious attempt to re-sacrifice Jesus Christ on Catholic altars.
This Gospel Coalition article touts J.I. Packer (d. 2020), one of the prime signatories of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together declarations, as a great Christian that we should emulate. The author of this article, Paul House, states J.I. Packer admired and attempted to imitate English Reformers William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley, but then goes on to say Packer “tried to develop fellowship with…Roman Catholics.” That’s a jaw-dropping dichotomy. Tyndale, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley opposed Roman Catholic heresy and were all burnt at the stake as their reward. Stalwart pastor and preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, severed his friendship with Packer over the issue of ecumenism. Packer “showed the way” to compromise and betrayal of the Gospel and we surely shouldn’t follow him. Shame on House and the Gospel Coalition.
Reformer Huldrych Zwingli remains in the shadows of Martin Luther and John Calvin, but I have a special interest in Zwingli and even got to visit his Grossmunster church in Zurich, Switzerland (see here). I checked my library and put a hold on “Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet” by F. Bruce Gordon, which is referred to in this article.
My deceased father carried on the centuries-old Polish tradition of offering opłatek (“sacred bread”) on Christmas Eve (known as Wigilia, “vigil”) to all of his family members while wishing each one a happy and prosperous new year. Opłatek comes in the form of small, rectangular sheets of pressed bread of the same thinness and consistency as communion wafers. Polish Americans pick up their opłatek at their local ethnic-Polish Catholic church and nowadays it’s also unsurprisingly available via Amazon. Opłatek is “blessed” by the parish priest, but not consecrated into alleged Jesus wafers. While this tradition has some sweet aspects, its roots are too deep in Polish Catholicism for me to continue it.
American Catholic conservatives are stewing because the Vatican has laicized/defrocked popular priest, Frank Pavone, with no appeal possible. Despite repeated warnings from his bishop, Pavone continued to post messages on social media supporting former-POTUS, Donald Trump. This decision wasn’t from Vatican bureaucrats, but from pope Francis. As Catholic reporters have noted, “Only the Pope, who enjoys ‘full and supreme power in the Church’ (canon 332, 1), can issue such a decision against which there is no possible appeal.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia heads the Vatican’s Academy for Life, which is pushing for full acceptance of practicing S&G-ites and the overturning of pope Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae Vitae contraception ban. You may remember that archbishop Paglia had a controversial homoerotic mural installed at his central diocesan church (see here).