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A Look Ahead at 2018

Most years, right around Christmas, or maybe a little after, I get a little intuition about what the coming year will hold. It’s always been a fairly accurate feeling, if only because it’s rarely very specific. “This will be a prosperous year,” I might think, or “This year is really going to be a tough one.”

The key to this process of discernment is the studied pursuit of doing absolutely nothing for as long as possible. Key ingredients are things like sleeping in, watching too many movies, playing mindless games, eating last night’s leftovers for breakfast, spending the day in my pajamas covered in chip crumbs, and so on. Last month, as I took my Christmas break, I noticed the feeling beginning to coalesce. Usually, it’s a pretty clear positive or negative.

This time, it was different.

“2018,” I started telling people, “is going to be weird. It’s going to be a year of defying expectations. Of things not going at all the way we think they will.” Sensing the concern some people had upon hearing this, I attempted to reassure them: “I’m not saying it’s going to be bad,” I said. “Just that it’s going to be surprising.”

The fact is, I do NOT claim to be a prophet, though I am a fairly good intuiter of things. What I can say is that I take in a lot of information pretty much all the time, and I’ve gotten good at reading the lay of the land, so to speak. You might compare me golfer reading the break on a putting green: what looks like magic is actually science.

What do I think 2018 has in store, then? Please note that the following is not comprehensive. And taking into account my sense that it’s going to be a wild, unpredictable year, in fact, it’s not even probable that it will be very accurate. Caveat lector, but some of the handwriting on the wall appears to be in permanent marker.

The world has been changing rather drastically in the past few years. New, unexpected, and even unthinkable political possibilities (ie., Trump, Brexit) have become realities in various parts of the world where the status quo seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be on rails. I pay far less attention to politics these days than I ever have, but there’s no way to avoid spillover into areas that affect every one of us, however non-political we may be determined to be. For example, the continued hijra in Europe, and the way the ignorati in political power there are just determined to be dhimmis will undoubtedly continue to dominate much of the news cycle. Tensions in the Asia-Pacific region will also likely continue to play a dominating role in global geopolitics. I expect the non-stop jawing about Russia/America collusion to die down somewhat even as new fronts are explored in the as-yet-bloodless revolution against the new American President. So too will continue the purge against powerful men in entertainment and politics through the sudden and overwhelming force of the #MeToo campaign. (I do not doubt, for the record, that many of the targets are moral monsters who deserve to be driven out like demons, but I sense a deeper opportunism beneath the aggregated whole, and I wonder what new horrors will fill the vacuum.)

The larger zeitgeist battle being waged is the escalating War Against Sanity. This is the term I am using to describe the usurpation of reason and the rebellion against the laws of rational thought in pursuit of various ideological agendas. From a continued push to argue things like the notion that biological sex/age/identity is irrelevant (and that people can be trans-anything) and the increased acceptance of gender-bending sexualization of children (who apparently don’t get to claim #MeToo) to the seemingly endless arguments that what the Catholic Church has always believed and taught can be turned on its ear because the magic man in Rome says so, it will become increasingly difficult to have a rational debate with anyone about anything because logic as we know it has been beaten mercilessly, discarded, and left for dead. Language is meaningless, nobody is willing to concede anything, and the fact that we could ever have real discourse at all seems a relic of a bygone era we might as well erase from our memories, just for good measure.

All of this deconstruction of our ability to think clearly and know actual truths is very relevant, for obvious reasons, to what we may expect from the Vatican in the coming year.

This is the year, I think, that the Amoris Laetitia debate, per se, will likely begin to recede from its position of total dominance in Church discourse. People on all sides are growing tired of discussing it, since it seems all angles have been explored and exhausted, and with no answer to the dubia and no formal correction seemingly on the way, we have been reduced to trench warfare, neither side gaining ground, neither side losing it, yet both knowing that to retreat would be catastrophic. So shots will continue to be fired, the occasional body will languish in the fetid ground of no man’s land between, and nothing will move very much one way or the other.

But what will move forward are the monsters that AL has unleashed. What has come into stark relief is the truth that AL was always intended to be a theological Pandora’s Box. As Josef Seifert so sagely predicted, if AL “claims a totally objective divine will for us to commit, in certain situations, acts that are intrinsically wrong, and have always been considered such by the Church,” then the alarming developments we have seen thus far “refer only to the peak of an iceberg, to the weak beginning of an avalanche, or to the first few buildings destroyed by a moral theological atomic bomb that threatens to tear down the whole moral edifice of the 10 commandments and of Catholic Moral Teaching.”

So, as we have just seen in the case of Fr. Chiodi of the Pontifical Academy for Life, this is precisely what is now happening. Last June, I had warned that we were seeing signs of a move on the part of the Vatican to re-interpret Humanae Vitae according to the moral framework created by Amoris Laeitita. “They’re coming for Humanae Vitae,” I said, “and its proscriptions against contraception, and they’re not going to stop until they get what they want.” People scoffed. Denials were issued that there was any such plan afoot.

And then this happened.

Fr. Chiodi dedicated the second part of his lecture to the relationship between Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia. While he acknowledged that Humanae Vitaeoccupies “a very important place” in the “historical development” of the Church’s magisterium on marriage, he said the encyclical has become more of a “symbolic issue, criticized or rejected by those who were disappointed with its conclusions, or considered as a true pillar of Catholic moral doctrine on sexuality by others.”

The Italian priest attributed the encyclical’s increasing importance to its insertion in John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, n. 29-34, but especially, he said, “to the fact that Veritatis Splendor n. 80 includes contraception among the ‘intrinsically evil’ acts.”

But from a pastoral point of view, he said the “urgency of the issue” of contraception “seems gradually to be diminishing.”

Fr. Chiodi then did those in attendance the favor of crystalizing his insinuations with unmistakable clarity:

There are circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception. In these cases, a technological intervention does not negate the responsibility of the generating relationship. The insistence of the Church’s Magisterium on natural methods cannot be interpreted, in my opinion, as a norm which is an end in itself, nor as a mere conformity with biological laws, because the norm points to an anthropology, to the good of marital responsibility. [emphasis added]

And there it is.

This is a priest who, again, was appointed to the new Pontifical Academy for Life after Pope Francis gutted it of its former members. His lecture was organized by the Argentine Jesuit Father Humberto Miguel Yanez — Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University and a good friend of Pope Francis. As Diane Montagna reported in her piece about Chiodi’s talk, the signs were already there:

Father Chiodi’s December 14 lecture is not his first attempt to justify contraception, nor to use arguments that critics say are condemned in Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Earlier this year, both he and Father Yanez also took part in the presentation at the Gregorian of a new book entitled Amoris Laetitia: A Turning Point for Moral Theology, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, in which it is argued that Amoris Laetitia represents a paradigm shift for all moral theology and especially in interpreting Humanae Vitae. [emphasis added]

Similarly, the Vatican is beginning a shift in its position on euthanasia, as certain events seem to indicate. And despite recent statements seemingly to the contrary, as reported by Dorothy Cummings McClean at LifeSiteNews just before Christmas, some Italian pro-life leaders are pointing the finger at the pope himself for helping along the passage of a new Italian euthanasia law:

Critics say the resistance of Catholic politicians to the bill was weakened after Pope Francis’ November speech to the Pontifical Academy for Life, in which he indicated that people may refuse life-prolonging medical treatment but failed to note that administration of nutrition and hydration are basic humanitarian care rather than medical treatment. According to Italy’s La Repubblica, and The New York Times, many of the bill’s supporters, and many Catholics, saw Francis’s speech as a “green light” to the new law.

“The words of Pope Francis on the end of life, on November 16 at the Pontifical Academy for Life, were interpreted by all as an ‘open door’ to the form of euthanasia that is the living will,” wrote Roberto di Mattei, Catholic historian and head of Italy’s Lepanto Foundation.

The Pope’s words on the topic were necessary, wrote Corrado Augias in La Repubblica, “to overthrow the last resistance of some Catholics and–probably–to convince at least a group of them to give their consent to [the pro-euthanasia law].”

Right-to-die advocate Marco Cappato, a member of Italy’s far-left “Radical Party” praised Francis immediately after his Academy for Life address for placing the wishes of the sick person at the center of the controversy about medical care for the terminally ill. Francis, he thought, was on the side of the bill.

And so things will continue. This pope who ever says one thing while manipulating events toward a different end. A cabal of advisors and surrogates empowered to spread the messages of the revolution through the Church, changing practice by altering perception while leaving doctrine untouched — the latter tactic making it possible for the useful idiots to keep saying that the pope has done nothing unorthodox.

Other agenda pieces likely to dominate the headlines this year include a married priesthood — with a trial run in Latin America — and more pushes in the direction of female deacons. At some point down the road, whether this year or beyond, we can also expect to see the arguments of Amoris Laetitia applied more directly to homosexual relationships. There’s simply no reason for them not to be, with the moral barriers smashed open, and too many power-players in Rome or with influence over the pope who want to see movement on this issue. (No sooner did I hit “publish” than I received this story in my inbox.)

But as I said, I also think this will be a year of surprises. Of unexpected twists and turns. Critical reaction to this papacy continues to snowball, as even Catholics who see opposition to the pope as distasteful find themselves forced to decide between traditional morality and Church teaching and the machinations of this papacy. When Phil Lawler’s book hits shelves next month, it will have come as the result of just such a decision — long debated and hard won — and will be the third of its kind in the past year, as Francis’ indiscretions are no longer able to be sufficiently contained in the space provided by articles and blog posts, instead necessitating dedicated volumes of their own. Even now the Vatican search continues for the true identity of the author of the most explosive of the three — The Dictator Pope — amidst a somewhat lighthearted but nevertheless spirited campaign of misdirection now in its infancy on social media, under the hashtag “#IAmMarcantonioColonna“.

Meanwhile, as convenient but dispensable papal defenders like Stephen Walford, Emmett O’Reagan, Austen Ivereigh, and Massimo Faggioli continue to be taken less and less seriously in their attempts the defend the indefensible in whatever ersatz Catholic media will have them, will the Vatican be forced to find new champions of their agenda? It’s a program so transparently un-Catholic that the only professional theologian among the current crop flatly admitted, “There is no possible coexistence between an ‘ordinary form of Catholic theology’ and an ‘extraordinary form of Catholic theology’,” because “some of most active promoters of the Old Mass” hold “theological views that are not Catholic anymore.”  (In other words — the Catholicism of the past 2,000 years is dead and buried, along with its immutable and divinely revealed truths. Viva la revolución!)

This kind of crazy can only end in heartbreak for the people who believe it.

So yes, I think 2018 is the beginning of the end for Francis and Friends. They’ll ram through as much as they possibly can — remember, we’ve been warned by his closest friends that if the pope thinks he’s running out of road, he’ll speed things up — but there’s only so much time left on the clock. What I am less confident about is how it will end or what we’ll get after. I do not see that we have an episcopacy with the courage to confront the man while he is alive, so we may have to settle for a posthumous settling of accounts. (As surely as Catholicism is true, this papacy will eventually be condemned. Honorius was an amateur in comparison.) But we have to be realistic: we have a curia with an increasingly Franciscan flavor — and I don’t mean the Seraphic Father — and we’ve already heard loud whispering that the Bergoglian electors plagued with buyer’s remorse think it’d be a good idea to replace the Argentinian Apocalypse with a more subdued version in the shape of someone like Cardinal Parolin. If the Holy Spirit ever needed to be at work in a conclave, it’s the next one. As one wise bishop said to me much earlier in this papacy, “We must pray for a holy pope. We must pray for a traditional pope.”

As for you and me, this is the year to watch our fuel reserves and slow the burn. I ended 2017 in a borderline catatonic state. Two weeks of doing nothing felt like just the appetizer for getting my brain — and my soul — back together. I am trying to make some personal commitments for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health and well-being this year. I have  to work less. I need to pray more. I’ve got to find hobbies and distractions that let my mind recover from the onslaught. I’ve got to exercise a whole bunch and make fewer visits to the Bourbon Fairy. (I don’t know if the Bourbon Fairy is real, but I want to believe!) The stress of the past few years, both work and family related, have pushed me to a level of unhealthiness I’m not comfortable with, and that’s got to change. I turned 40 last November, and the road to wellness isn’t going to get easier from here on out if I don’t start now.

And based on what I’ve been seeing from many of you in the comments and in emails, you’re feeling it too. I’d say angst among the faithful is at an all-time high, and a lot of you have reached the “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” stage. That has its purpose, but it’s not a sustainable place to be, so I hope you’ll join me in seeking out healthier habits this year. We need a long game. We need to outlast the disaster. We need to live to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In closing, I’d like to ask you all for a renewed effort of prayer. Please pray for me and for the other writers and everyone involved in this work. The amount of spiritual opposition we face is staggering at times, and I can only imagine how much worse off we’d be if we didn’t have a literal army of you out there backing us up, storming heaven on our behalf. And though there are fewer of us, we’ll pray for you, too. I say it every year at this time, but the benefits of our 1P5 community are an untapped treasure, and we need to ensure we don’t take it for granted.

Thanks for sticking with us this far. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. The “God of Surprises” no doubt has much in store for us in 2018.

107 thoughts on “A Look Ahead at 2018”

  1. Good advice Steve. I do hope your prophetic skills come to bear and however it may be that there will be a change of management [or the better] at the Vatican. Perhaps my expectations for the new year are more dire because I perceive a spreading acceptance of accommodation in the guise of mercy if only as you note many are fatigued, stressed out. Those who aren’t which includes lots of clergy are complacent and will follow whichever way the wind from the Vatican blows. Neither am I a prophet. My perception is reasoned on the heterodoxy that has overtaken us. There simply aren’t many Bishop Schneider’s or Prof Josef Seifert’s. Historically when things go monumentally awry faith wise God intervenes. How fr off is anyone’s guess. This one is unprecedented, far more sweeping affecting all sans exception Catholic doctrine and entrenched resembling the apostasies of the Old Testament.

  2. Sound assessment.

    The squirming around in the same sleepingbag with liberal Protestantism will continue.

    Most Bishops will remain silent.

    A group of Bishops will coalesce under the leadership of Schneider.

    Burke and Brandmueller are the wild cards in the deck. Burke to be the wild card {singular} by the end of the year.

  3. “changing practice by altering perception while leaving doctrine untouched”

    I am copying this to paste in every single online discussion I will have about the problems of Amoris and literally almost everything else put forward by this pontificate. Thanks for putting into concise form what I have so long tried (and failed) to put into adequate words.

    • Plainly put: This is the Protestant method employed to destroy morality. The heretics don’t care about doctrine. It is PRACTICE that matters to the heretics. They have outflanked even the good leaders in the Church.

      I imagine many others agree with me when I say I am very skeptical about the integrity of our silent Bishops, too.

      The value of a thing is unknown until it’s owner has to fight to keep it.

      Right now our Bishops, except for very few, are indicating through the cacophony of their silence that the thing called Catholic morality isn’t worth much.

      • Dear Rod,
        “The value of a thing is unknown until it’s owner has to fight to keep it.” is really a great line.
        It will apply to all of us as well at one point of time or another. Fact is: one would not fight for a thing which one holds no value. Let the leaders of the Church think about it. And let people in the Western Civilization think about it, as long as they are still allowed to think.

        • ” And let people in the Western Civilization think about it, as long as they are still allowed to think.”

          This is what is at stake. For 500 years now we and the Protestants have lived off the bounty of Christendom. Now that larder is diminished, and the Protestants have finally got their wish; a reduced and emasculated Catholic Church. We shall see how much they like it. Europe leads the way.

          • One of the lowest points in Benedictine history was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As a result of the French Revolution and the work of Napoleon, Benedictine life on the Continent had been almost wiped out. Before the Revolution there were about 1500 Benedictine abbeys in Europe. Afterwards there were about thirty, much reduced in size and relaxed in observance. In France there were no masculine Benedictine houses at all. Renewal came because a young seminarian, Prosper Guéranger. Today Dom is a Servant of God.
            I think we’re living thru another Francis option or Benedict effect.

          • Dear Sincere Convert, I picked up this brochure at the Abbaye Solesmes last summer when we spent three days there praying the Officium Divinum with the convent. Maybe you can partake on this prayer for the course of Dom Prosper Guéranger?

            Prière pour demander la béatification de dom Prosper Guéranger

            Dieu notre Père, ton serviteur dom Prosper Guéranger, Abbé de Solesmes, attentif à l’Espirit Saint, a permis à une multitude de fidèles de redécouvrir le sens de la liturgie, source du véritable esprit chrétien.
            Que son dévouement à la sainte Église et son amour filial envers la Vierge Immaculée, puisés dans le mystère du Verbe Incarné, soient une lumière pour les chrétiens de notre temps.
            Daigne, Seigneur, nous accorder la faveur que nous te demandons par son intercession, afin que sa sainteté soit reconnue de tous et que l’Église nous permette au plus tôt de l’invoquer comme l’un de tes bienheureux et de tes saints.
            Par Jésus, le Christ, notre Seigneur. Amen.

          • “A Prayer to ask for the beatification of Dom Prosper Guéranger

            God the Father, your servant Dom Prosper Guéranger, Abbot of Solesmes, attentive to the Holy Spirit, has allowed a multitude of faithful to rediscover the meaning of the liturgy, source of the true Christian spirit.

            May his devotion to the Holy Church and his filial love for the Immaculate Virgin, drawn from the mystery of the Incarnate Word, be a light for the Christians of our time.

            Deign, Lord, to grant us the favor that we ask of you by his intercession, so that his holiness is recognized by all and that the Church allows us to call him as one of your blessed and your saints at the earliest.

            Through Jesus, Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

          • Dear Sean, Thank you so much for the elegant translation. I can read and understand the prayer. But I cannot render such a beautiful translation like yours. Thank you very much!

          • It’s just Google translate, and for the benefit of people who are monolingual. Make it straightforward, so everyone can be blessed. Thanks for your kind words.

          • Dear Rod, I live in Germany, and you don’t need to tell me how desolate the situation here is. However, I am with a group of stanch Catholics who are also very much aware of the present situation of the Church as well as the true face of Islam. So we are fighting. As one of my co-fighters said: I fight so that my grandchildren will not need to tell me in the future: “You have known it, and you did not do anything…” No, we fight NOW for their FUTURE, in all aspects.

          • God’s blessings on you.

            My heart breaks worst for those in your situation.

            Curious: Do you have a TLM parish?

          • Yes indeed, Rod, we have been attending a TLM for over a year now. We have a Institut-Christ-König about 70km from us. The Priest – Kanonikus – celebrate 3 Masses on all Sundays and Feast Days on three locations so that we need only to drive 26km. AND he is available for confession before ALL Masses. On one occasion I thanked him for this dedication and he said: “Oh, it’s a pleasure!”.
            Besides that, we “attend” daily Mass at Specifically with Fribourg in der Schweiz. FSSP. It is in the same time zone as we so it is easy. Either at 9 am or 6:30 pm. It is lovely. Check it out. There are Masses in Florida and Mexica as well so it should be easier for you in Idaho – timezone-weis.
            I just finished the book “Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness” by Prof. Peter Kwasniewski. It is not an easy read but absolutely exhilarating. I am now going on to Martin Mosebach’s “Häresie der Formlosigkeit”.

            By the way, I really like your explanation about the Protestant Church because I really don’t understand much about what they actually “believe”. And I really admire your stand FOR the Catholic Faith. It is just admirable. One could say, blessed be he who had seen all these and still believe….”.

            God’s blessing on you too!

          • That is really wonderful!! A relief to be honest.

            We, too have a wonderful TLM parish, FSSP.

            My drive is a bit longer, almost 140 KM. But it is worth it!!

          • Steve Skojec said: “The larger zeitgeist battle being waged is the escalating War Against Sanity. This is the term I am using to describe the usurpation of reason and the rebellion against the laws of rational thought in pursuit of various ideological agendas.”

            Legris said: ” And let people in the Western Civilization think about it, as long as they are still allowed to think.”

            Certainly the time when people will not be allowed to think is close at hand. The War Against Sanity is being pursued in a goal-oriented fashion and with great finesse.


          • From the article:

            “Until about 10 years ago, universities by and large concentrated on
            their primary functions of teaching students, sponsoring research, and
            hiring and supporting academics.”

            Ah, the good old days.

          • Off topic, but you mentioned somewhere earlier that you write novels. Where can I find out more about them? Do you have a website?

          • I have a blog:
            You’re in luck, because I’m publishing my most politically incorrect novel ever in a couple of months, “Heaven’s Irregulars.” Let’s just say Pope Francis would not approve. 🙂

          • As a protestant, I do not wish for a ‘reduced & emasculated Catholic Church’. In fact, I would love to see a vibrant & Holy Spirit filled Catholic church. It pains me to see the Body of Christ struggling – pls know that I (and other ‘separated brethren’) are praying for you!

    • That War on Sanity.
      That unmoored feeling you get when you know you are near irrational-land.
      Yawing, in nautical terms.
      To drift wildly without anchor.

    • No Teachings are changed … they are simply ignored.

      – AL declares that there ARE circumstances where an “intrinsic evil” is permissible while allowing full Communion with The Church. Period. Full Stop.
      – Marriage seems to be the most sympathetic target, followed up by contraception…. Gay relations to follow, then anyone’s guess
      – In all cases we will be “assured” that it is only for the most dire circumstances, whereas Institutional memory of such “restriction” will vaporize within one generation.

      – Where the reliance upon “conscience” has always been the last resort in proving our love for Christ (following His Word; John 14:23), conscience has NOW become the first and primary criteria …. it is now; how will “My Will” be served, and how could a loving “God’s Will” be different from mine. Completely. Upside. Down.

      Souls are at risk. Indeed, Society is at risk.

    • It’s exactly what “Good” John XXIII did.. all was the same on the outside, but the palace had been captured, and the consequences and changes began with his protege, the next Pope.

  4. That news about the German Catholic bishop wanting gay marriage is beyond the pale.
    These church leaders have swallowed the poisoned KOOL AID of Cdls.Tobin, Dolan and Fr Martin S.J.. These three have wrecked total havoc.
    Dom Guéranger is credited with reviving the Benedictine Order in France, and the implementation of the Tridentine Mass in France, though he is also regarded as the grandfather of the Liturgical Movement, which led to further reform of the Mass of the Roman Rite beyond its Tridentine form. The cause for his canonization is currently being studied by the Holy See, which has approved the title for him of Servant of God. Notice that Dolan, Tobin and Martin want nothing to do with LATIN MASS.
    Servant of God Dom would not approve of Amoris Laetitia (which is a front or excuse for accepting James Martin’s gay marriage agenda). Can someone tell me that I’m wrong? If Father Martin gets his way the church will be marrying bigamists and dogs . I think Martin’s been gagged for now.

  5. Interesting stuff, Steve. I have a couple of thoughts to build upon what you’ve said:
    1. The “#METOO” movement is going to lead to a lot of unfortunate consequences. I read an article last week by a writer in the New York Times or Vox or the National Enquirier (what’s the difference?) who said that the entire edifice needs to collapse and if innocent males fall victim in the maelstrom, the author says that she is “willing to pay that price”. Yeah, except the cost to her is perhaps a few men get knocked out of her way on the road to wherever she wants to go. It’s like the congressmen who vote to go to war and talk about paying the price….from their million dollar condos and private planes. Sure, uh huh.

    What’s even worse is the fact that there’s no expectation of moral behavior from any of the accusers. I haven’t heard that Lauer–creep that he apparently was/is–was accused of rape. But several women slept with him out of fear of losing their jobs. Was NBC was the only employer on earth? Yes, it may have been difficult to say no to him and possibly lose a job but so what: they still could have said no. I think it says something that some of these people weighed their careers versus morality and chose their careers. If it was my daughter, I would have went to NBC and tried to kill Lauer but if she also admitted that she acquiesced, I would be very disappointed in her, too. Such is the world we inhabit. And if some people were willing to betray their morals to keep a job, what would make me think that they might not falsely accuse somebody to further their careers, too? The mystery of iniquity indeed.

    2. The Church: ugh. How many more cardinals until Francis has tipped the supposed majority? How many people will not lose their faith this year but just stop attending Mass? What new controversy will Francis stir up and when will he tell us, exactly, what good he hopes to accomplish by making a mess of the Church? He has divided the Church in a way I didn’t think possible. The three types of people who dissent from the Church (apostate Catholics who never attend mass; cold Catholics who attend C&E; lukewarm who attend most Sundays, some Holy Days) used to just accept that they didn’t do what the Church instructed but kept quiet while the completely faithful practiced the faith. Now the three dissenters feel they have a cudgel to pound the faithful, courtesy of Francis. And to what end? Has he brought a single soul back? How many has he lost? How many aren’t bothering to discern vocations because of him?

    The only way 2018 isn’t more of the same is via Divine Intervention.

    3. Personal: I have to tell you, my only option is NO and I’m pretty disheartened by
    those with whom I’m getting to know as I’ve been invited into a more
    active role within the parish: People who talk about the Church changing doctrine on homosexuality, on divorce, on female ordinations and a parish priest that nods and says “I agree”.

    Frankly, if the
    Church starts denying doctrine, dogma and worse the words of Christ as
    passed down in the Gospels, I cannot see myself staying. I wouldn’t deny
    the faith or the truth, ever, but if the Church does then how can I
    stay and consider the sacraments valid? How can I stay and have them
    attempt to impart false teachings on my children?

    • To #3.

      Historically, your dilemma has caused the migration of many to new lands.

      Long before I was a Catholic, I moved because of the desire for opportunity and the fact that I didn’t want to raise my children in the area I was in. Millions upon millions do.

      Maybe now it’s your turn for faith?

      Find a good FSSP parish where you can make a living.

      It’s a thought.

      God’s blessings.

      • And a good one, too, but FSSP is going to go along with the Church unless I’m missing something. I cannot see them (FSSP or ICX) receiving a pass to dissent on Church teaching if SSPX cannot. It seems to me that FSSP is about the rubrics and the mass, not the doctrine. In otherwords, if the Pope declares that SSM is valid tomorrow, FSSP will start performing Latin rite SSMs….that’s the vibe I’ve gotten.

        • We’ll see, but the heretics are more concerned with allowing bad practice than they are in officially changing doctrine.

          We’ll survive.

        • What you have said about the FSSP has no basis in fact. You say you don’t think FSSP or ICX will get a pass on dissent – no, because they do not dissent, they are Catholic. They go about their mission, quietly, faithfully and are true shepherds of their flocks. Dissent is NOT required. Dissent is not a factor at all.

          In this milieux I can tell you straight that no FSSP priest is going to abandon his faith because his local bishop tells him to. Heck, in Calgary when the swine flu (or whatever was the scare du jour) was going around the bishop forbad Holy Communion on the tongue because of fear of contagion. The parish priest said no and kept going. Nothing happened.

          • Okay, Barbara, that’s fine but the FSSP is not combating VII and that is factual. If they were, the Church would stamp them out. And if this current crop does in, fact, attempt to change doctrine, dogma or the gospels and the FSSP resists then they’ll go the same way as SSPX as they (FSSP) draw their authority form being in communion with Rome. I’ve heard an FSSP priest attack SSPX, primarily on the grounds that they profane the Eucharist because they give communion to people who weren’t validly married (because the SSPX cannot licitly perform the sacrament). So….how, then, is FSSP going to lay down it’s own dogma/doctrines and remain in communion with a hypothetically changed Catholic Church? From whence will they then draw their authority for performing the sacraments?

          • From what I’ve seen from my local FSSP parish (not entirely local, but more local than it is for many), these priests will not go along with that. Our priests teach only the true faith according to the old catechisms. They reject modernism. I’ve heard the parochial vicar personally say “I’m a trad” and trash the new catechism, trash modernism, and trash Vatican II. He said it in more reserved terms with me. My brother, who is being received into the church under this priests tutelage (Deo Gratias) said he pulled no punches when they were speaking privately. Some FSSP priests may squirm and try to find a way to “make it work” but the majority? They’re as solid as the SSPX is. And if push comes to shove, they’ll push right back I think. I have no personal connection to the ICKSP so I can’t really say anything there. Not all diocesan priests will follow along with a bishop asking them to bless homosexual unions, even if the bishop orders it. If that becomes “official” practice, all hell will break loose. And the next step would be women’s ordination…

          • Sorry for the tardy reply: I do not disagree with you but a well deserved point of pride for the FSSP seems to be communion with Rome and valid sacraments, ordinations, etc. If Rome goes full on schismatic or heretical and FSSP balks then they (FSSP) forfeit their primary claim to legitimacy as opposed to SSPX in that they would, presumably, remove themselves from communion with the Church.

        • There are no Latin Rite SSMs! The Traditional orders do not compose new liturgies. They only use the books in force p to1962!

  6. I also have to ask about a scenario based on the conspiracy theory (a theory to which I do not subscribe but holdout may be true) that says Francis is not actually a pope, that his election was not valid. Does the hair on the back of your neck stand-up, even a little, with regard to the “Prophecy of the Popes” if the following unfolds in order:
    1. Pope Benedict XVI dies;
    2. Francis is either removed or dies;
    3. Parolin (almost literally Petrus Romanus) is elected pope at the conclave.

    If that happens, I have to admit that I’m gonna be a bit weary. Not that I believe either the conspiracy theory nor the prophecy but…come on…it would be weird.

    • With all the weird stuff that’s been going on the last few years, I no longer think conspiracy theories sound so crazy any more. Unless they involve Reptilians or the Illuminati.

    • Just the other day I went back and read Steve’s 2016 article on St. Malachy’s prophecy. In the comments “Alex” linked to this very good post that makes the best case I’ve read for the prophecy’s authenticity, at least for it being a 12th century document:

      One thing I haven’t heard anyone mention is how Malachy’s prophecy makes sense out of the vision of the slain pope from the third secret of Fatima. Malachy’s prophecy says the city of seven hills will be destroyed at the end of the reign of Petrus Romanus, and sister Lucy saw the pope walking through a half-destroyed city. There is the question of what is so singular about a pope being killed that it called for such a singular prophecy; after all, plenty of popes have been killed, and there was a time when that was even something of a tradition. Malachy’s prophecy answers that question perfectly: the slain pope is worth a prophecy BECAUSE HE IS THE LAST POPE.

      A few points to consider:

      If Francis is the last pope, then he will doubtlessly be called Peter the Roman after the fact, thus fulfilling the prophecy. I think that’s the right way to think about the name.

      ISIS has repeatedly stated that they intend to sack vatican city by 2020.

      The prophecy says Peter the Roman will feed his sheep through many tribulations: look up a picture of the pectoral cross Francis has been wearing since he was a bishop.

      Lastly, maybe one reason that the book of revelations is addressed to the seven churches is because, in the last days, there won’t be a pope. Make sense?

      • The 3rd Secret of Fatima, as we know it for sure, says the Pope is killed by bullets and ARROWS. This is weird enough because nobody uses bows and arrows in the times being.
        But it all makes sense in a symbolic way since the Bible says that Ishmael, the ancestor of the arabs was an archer.

          • It’s on the internet. I didn’t know it, either, until I read an essay by Chris Ferrara. He found out, when he was researching, some jihad websites that actually promote stockpiling bows and arrows. When Chris saw that it all made sense to him. Because until then, he couldn’t understand why the 3rd Secret speaks of a pope being shot by bullets AND by bows and arrows. (I couldn’t understand it either, given the comparatively primitive technology). The Muslim fanatics are now stockpiling those very weapons. So it is not symbolic at all. It is REAL BOWS and ARROWS.

        • Actually, Jacque, because of the restrictive gun laws in Europe, ISIS and other terrorist organizations have widely encouraged their adherents to obtains archery equipment–and it’s been reported in some places that they (embedded terrorists) have been doing just that.

  7. I’m glad you are not a prophet, Steve. I don’t think you’d want to know what is coming! You would be in a coma!

    It’s really weird that I read the filth that is happening and think: I can’t take this anymore! And yet, I come back for more! I think I am turning into a sucker for punishment. But, in all seriousness, the rampant speed at which things are going is a clear sign of diabolical activity.

    The world woke up to find itself on the end of a Divine Chastisement!

    • I’m afraid, Mark, that’s exactly right. What scares me most is that the Chastisement is that there is nobody teaching Truth, that we’re truly in the wilderness, groping for Christ without an earthly guide. And that’s very scary. If I’m trying my damnedest to follow and uphold Church teaching but that teaching is a perversion, a lie that is punishing mankind for its wickedness than I’m no more on my way to salvation than the heathen doing every wicked thing short of murder.

      • But there are Bishops and priests teaching truth. We know who they are because Steve puts up posts of their teaching. From Cardinal Burke, through Bishop Schneider, to the priests who write and comment here, down to my FSSP pastor, and the other Traditional priests who post their sermons on-line for all to hear.

        There are just not many, I agree. But they are out there slugging away. Let’s just be thankful for them.

      • Well said Brian, but this is undoubtedly the reason
        why we must entrust ourselves in these terribly dark times to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
        Personally I see all these events as very Fatima related because the Consecration of Russia has still NOT been done.
        I believe the late exorcist priest Fr. Amorth amongst others said it would be done late.
        I think the best thing we can do is to be praying and promoting the Holy Rosary and wearing and being enroled in the Brown Cloth Carmelite Scapular
        and having that COMPLETE child like trust in Her Immaculate Heart that She will bring us to Jesus and bring us safely through all this.

  8. “The key to this process of discernment is the studied pursuit of doing
    absolutely nothing for as long as possible. Key ingredients are things
    like sleeping in, watching too many movies, playing mindless games,
    eating last night’s leftovers for breakfast, spending the day in my
    pajamas covered in chip crumbs, and so on.”

    I like this method.

    “And based on what I’ve been seeing from many of you in the comments and
    in emails, you’re feeling it too. I’d say angst among the faithful is at
    an all-time high, and a lot of you have reached the “mad as hell and
    not going to take it anymore” stage.”

    That was true for me before the New Year, but now I have very little angst. I feel like we’ve turned a corner, even though, as you say, things will escalate. Truly, I think Satan’s time is up.

    • I feel this as well, louiseyvette! As ‘wound up’ as I was before swinging into Christmas mode, somehow I am becoming more centered, much more ‘peaceful’. I am only praying that it lasts, because I am as sure as I’m typing on my keyboard that Satan will whip into overdrive this year……but……..he won’t make it.

  9. Funny that all of the whining EWTN addicts posting in here don’t mention feeding the hungry, clothing the poor or housing the homeless. You all seem to be fixated on driving two hours for a latin mass and 9000 ejaculations a day to Mother Ramona to earn your indulgences. Jello brains who can’t think for them selves without getting “Mother’s” permission in 2018 are so sad.

    • lol, I doubt many here are fan’s of EWTN since Mother Angelica left. As for the social Gospel that is well known, it is the rest of the Gospel you do not like at all. We know why too.

    • I’m with you on this one, Daniel.

      It’s all about the Seven (New and Updated) Corporal Works of Mercy:

      1. Accommodating the unrepentant abortionist.
      2. Giving a platform to the eugenicist.
      3. Welcoming the “he who was a she and is now a…”……whatever.
      4. Fully integrating the divorced and remarried.
      5. Agitating for mass immigration, especially of non-Christian peoples.
      6. Caring for Mother Earth.
      7. Remaking the Church in the image of Fallen Man.

      The Church of Loyola, Liguori and even Kolbe is really showing its age and frankly, just not that relevant anymore.

      And as for the Spiritual Works of Mercy? Bor-rrrrring.

      L’église est morte, vive l’église nouvelle!

    • Not sure where you are coming from but no one has to mention, constantly, any works of Mercy being performed. It’s a GIVEN that these are done, but not talked about. Driving two hours to a Latin Mass is also a work of Mercy – Mercy to the family who needs the Holy Mass and Confession, and Holy Communion to be saved. As for the “ejaculations” per day – every single Saint recommends this, and yes, sometimes as many as there are heartbeats, or breaths. Ya got a problem with that?

  10. Good thoughts Steve. Here’s my take. Pope Francis is the apotheosis of Vatican II which had the goal of making the Catholic Church Protestant. This is now largely accomplished except for maybe 5% who are Orthodox Catholics. Accordingly, the Church has been in de facto schism for a long time. Most Catholics love this arrangement; it is so nice, so permissive, it makes them feel like Jesus always loves them and all they have to do is bask in it. So no, the situation in the Protestant Catholic Church will only remain the same as the trend towards total immoral sexual permissiveness continues. If Pope Francis dies another like him will be elected baring a miracle.

    My big hope is that we have a true de jure schism with a few Cardinals and Bishops joining SSPX, FFSP and the sedevacantists and together formally denounce the Vatican II (Protestant) Catholic Church and elect there own Pope, This is the honest thing to do. Hopefully, progress towards this end will be made in 2018.

    • Hi Michael

      “denounce the Vatican II (Protestant) Catholic Church and elect there own Pope. This is the honest thing to do”

      They might be a temptation for some to do that but in doing so you create a self’-imaged Pope one of your own imagined Image, which is contrary to the will and promise of God; as in the on-going line of succession

      “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it”

      Recently I have visited and participated on several sites on them you see good intent as in the (Manifestation of Truth) but also on many sites Right and Left we see self-interest (Agendas) On the Right: an extreme conservative wind wanting to blow our boat back to the becalming out-of-date swamp of pre-1962. On the Left: an extreme liberal wind wanting to blow our boat into rapids where faith and morals are thrown overboard”.

      But we can go forward in UNITY OF PURPOSE by hoisting a third sail one of Humility, the true (only) sail that the Holy Spirit blows upon, bringing arrogance to its knees and folly does not have to be appeased.
      Please consider continuing in the link

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • You are very kind Kevin. I appreciate that. The question is can the current faux Catholic Church be saved? I am suggested that it cannot barring a miracle. The Church now, instead of saving people, is confirming them in their sinning ways and sending them to hell. On that basis how can maintaining the current format of the Catholic Church be anything but tragic.

        • Thank you Michael for your comment

          To some degree we receive what we deserve as it could be said that we have already been
          given a miracle, as our Lord Himself has given us (The Church) that is those who serve the Truth; the means to confront evil within our Church.

          The elite within the Church have committed Blasphemy and this blasphemy is applicable to
          both Conservatives and Liberals within the Church. And the miracle is that our Lord Himself has placed before these men of power, the elite within the church, who in their own hubris ensnared themselves, by crystalizing their hypocrisy before God and the whole church, in such a way that cannot be misunderstood by all.
          In endorsing a communiqué that incorporates the direct Word (Will) of God and then
          using that communiqué, they shamelessly made God in their image, a self-serving
          image of Clericalism.

          Because of this willful act our most fundamental belief that God’s Word is Inviolate, has been breached by those who profess to defend that belief, their accumulated silence on this matter compounds their guilt before God and mankind.

          What is the reason for this silence?

          The reason for the silence on this issue is that both fractions have conspired (Conservative/Liberals)
          to maintain the status quo, the serving of the Truth is the last thing on their minds and because of this, they collude with this blasphemy and in doing so all credibility is lost in their manifest hypocrisy before the laity and our Father in Heaven.

          It could be said the authority comes with Truth and those who serve it but it cannot be piecemeal, as in serving one’s own agenda. The laity also cannot hide from this blasphemy as to do is to collude with it, in effect you become a hypocrite also.

          The Church needs to reline itself with the serving of the Truth

          On that basis how can maintaining the current format of the Catholic Church be anything but tragic

          Credibility needs to be restored Michael

          kevin your brother
          In Christ

          • Thanks Kevin. Being a Catholic means believing in Christ and his teaching. If the Church teaches otherwise it is in schism and we must leave. There is no question in my mind about this. We cannot subject ourselves or our families to the scandal of heretical teaching. The management of the Church, Pope, Bishops, Priests, are not the Church. Christ is the Church and all who obey Him.

        • The Church is indefectible. Therefore the Church cannot be killing souls. However the Church is being led by men who desire to do this and in fact are doing this. There needs to be a distinction there. But we also need to see that there are not 2 Catholic Churches. There is one. Bad men are leading it, but this is still the Church.

          The Church is not in the hands of the bishops, or even this pope, and certainly not in the hands of your average priest or lowly lay man. The Church is in the hands of Christ… and so to separate from the Church in any sort of formal schism, even for good reason, would be to leave the hands of Christ. Without a definitive, authoritative, and certain sign that Francis is not pope (and that may take a great majority of the bishops in union to determine that) then no one can break off and elect their own pope. This is what happened in the great Western Schism. Saints were on both sides, but do we want to reproduce that huge mess? I think (and this is only my speculation) that this may be one of the reasons Cardinals Burke, Brandmueller, and whoever else they can gather (if any) have not yet issued a formal correction.

          No, a schism is not the answer, at least not one initiated by those in the “right” here. If Francis rejects the Catholic Church in some overt way (by joining some inter-denominational organization or something perhaps?) then a new pope can be elected… or maybe if all the bishops arrayed together make evident the dogmatic fact that Francis has lost the papacy, perhaps then. But we are not at either of those places.

          The state of the Church is tragic, yes, and it’s sickening to watch (like watching your mother get beaten by your abusive drunk stepfather), but we need to keep our heads and stay far from schism. Our Lord desired us to be one. It was His final prayer before going to His Passion. Let’s not be responsible for breaking the church, nor should we hope for it. We must pray for an orthodox, traditional pope. And we may pray Psalm 108:8 “Let his days be short; let another his bishopric take.”

          • Thanks Jafin. If one is true to Christ he cannot subject himself or his family to heresy and the scandal of Pope Francis teaching. If Francis teaching get down to the parish level we must leave and join up with SSPX or the sedevacantists.

          • Christ is not the Church. The Church is all those who believe in him. And the church is present particularly in each bishop individually, especially in the Successor of St. Peter. Without the bishops there is no church. This is Catholic ecclesiology. If there was only 1 bishop on earth, there the Catholic Church would be. If there were 5 billion Catholics but no bishops, the Church would not be there.

            We cannot cut ourselves off from the hierarchy… not entirely. It is one thing to be in schism… it is another to protect yourself and your family from heresy. It is for this that the SSPX came into existence, and they are definitively not in schism. If you need to go to the SSPX then go to the SSPX. There is no fault in that. It is becoming more and more difficult to find Catholic teaching outside of them… but the Church is still present in every diocese.

            Remember the Church, as an entity, CANNOT teach error. It is men within and leading her that teach error.

          • Thanks Jafin. Well, the Church can teach error and does. Pope Francis is our prime example. My personal belief is that the Church is Christ and those folks who do what he says. From a practical point of view how is one to judge whether our Pope is the Pope. There is a question in many peoples mind that Pope Francis is illegitimate as Benedict was forced to resign. I do not put my faith in the management of the Church which seems largely corrupt, more interested in earthly values than heavenly. If all the clergy were to disappear the Church would still exist.
            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35. Conclusion: Christ is the Church and those who obey him.

  11. “The larger zeitgeist battle being waged is the escalating War Against Sanity.”
    This. So much this. I’ve gotten this, too, but haven’t identified it as well as you do in the paragraph.

    “As for you and me, this is the year to watch our fuel reserves and slow the burn.”

    Keep your powder dry, folks.

  12. I will keep you and your colleagues in my prayers. One of my nephews and God-child also celebrated his 40th Birthday this past November.I have to say that is the only similarities you share, unfortunately for him.

  13. Today we see a headline that starts to make sense of everything Jorge Bergoglio has been up to for several years now: “Pope Francis provides circus tickets for over 2000 of Rome’s poor” (Vatican News) Perhaps this is also what he has been treating us to, but without the tickets!

  14. The Church is midst of being crucified. It is the Body of Christ in history, and the world hates Him still.

    I think that all of us can hope that the Church’s last breaths are upon us, and that a definitive resurrection will follow shortly thereafter.

    The Gates of Hell did not prevail against Our Lord; they merely appeared to do so; so too with the Church. The moment when Satan most thought he had “killed God” turned on its head, on the third day.

    We must join our lives ever more closely to that of Mary, Our Mother, whose soul a sword pierced. We must join our lives ever more closely to Her Son, whose life she was joined to, as He hung dying from the Cross.

    “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

    We are at that point.

    Soon we will breathe our last. Let it be faithfully so, with Our Beloved Lord.

    God Bless!

  15. Ha! Both my husband and I get year end spiritual hints (he’s a Native American so that’s his excuse). They’re weirdly accurate. Last year for example we didn’t want to put away the Christmas stuff, the impression being some of us wouldn’t see another Christmas. Major apocalypse? No, but unfortunately a sister died unexpectedly. This year, one word, “clean”. Have no idea what it means. Also sort of a vision-before we were on the beach at night watching the sea churn waves of biblical proportions now we’re inland in the beachgrass where it’s quiet and there’s an fantastically bright moon. Seems compatible with the Stevie-senses.

  16. Thanks, Steve, for stating your positions on this pontificate, without using any form of verbal attack. We certainly need to respect the pope in his position, but wrong is wrong even if everyone says it’s right (I believe Ven. Bishop Sheen said something to that effect). Personally, I’m praying for a short papacy. I used to think that Francis would follow Benedict’s lead and perhaps abdicate as well in a few years, but now I don’t think so because Francis is much like the “careerist” bishops he apparently condemned early in his reign (ie the removal of the title “Monsignor” so priests won’t be so puffed up). He does whatever he wants and doesn’t seem to care about “accompaniment” when dealing with those orthodox bishops and cardinals who think differently from them. He simply removes them from their post. I’m sincerely praying that some of those wonderful “JP2 priests” will soon become bishops and then cardinals and renew the church, hopefully in our lifetime.

  17. I enjoyed this article very much. It made me recall an attempt in my diocese many years ago to introduce Logic as a course in one of our high schools. I remember that at the time I laughed and opined that it was cruel to teach our young people Logic because it would render them permanently instead of just temporarily unable to discuss anything of any importance with anybody – including their parents. A PHD was persuaded to teach the course. He gave up very soon. Logic is for Mr. Spok; the cool kids and their parents want nothing to do with it. I am so glad I am old!

  18. Steve: I pray twice daily for you and all engaged in like work– remembering and re-affirming the whole 2000 years of Christianity, not just the past century of creeping modernism.

  19. This pope who ever says one thing while manipulating events toward a different end. A cabal of advisors and surrogates empowered to spread the messages of the revolution through the Church.


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