A new and unexpected conflict has developed in Rome. This time, however, it is not about marriage and the family, nor, for example, about that vexed question as to whether or not unrepentant and obstinate adulterers may, after all, receive the Sacraments. The contentious issue is now a much more gustatory – and unmistakably profane, yet still very revealing – matter of polite taste: the decision to allow the establishment of a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant at the Piazza della Città Leonina not far away from the St. Peter’s Basilica, just at the border of Vatican City. The Vatican’s decision to rent out a part of its own building to an international food chain from the U.S. seems simultaneously representative of and out of character for the current papacy. So which is it?
As several outlets have already reported, a number of cardinals (among them Cardinals Gianfranco Ravasi, Giuseppe Versaldi and Gilberto Agustoni) have raised objections to this plan. Some of these prelates live in the building where the proposed franchise will be built, and are now confronted with having to pay for some of the necessary renovations, as well as having to endure the restaurant’s characteristic permeating odor in their upper-story homes. These cardinals have now publicly and privately (e.g., in a letter to Pope Francis) resisted the establishment of this crass incongruity.
Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, spoke on Saturday with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica and offered several objections to the Vatican’s perplexing decision. First, he raised the concern that the food offered by McDonald’s “does not, according to nutritionists and medical experts, guarantee the good health of the consumers”; additionally, “the quality of the food [at McDonald’s] is miles away from the traditional Roman cuisine.” As a cultured man himself, he then added: “I would never eat McDonald’s meals.”
Locals are also concerned about this new development, and have announced an “anti-McDonald’s protest,” according to a Swiss source. “We are very worried, and we shall protest on every level,” said Moreno Prosperi, the President of the Organization for the Protection of the District Borgo. He added: “That the fast-food restaurant is only 50 meters away from the entrance to the Vatican is a contradiction to the principles which Pope Francis [putatively] defends.” [emphasis added]
Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, however — the Vatican cardinal responsible for the accepting the McDonald’s contract –defends his apparently now-irrevocable decision. According to the German website Katholisch.de, “[Calcagno] cannot see anything negative with it. Everything went according to the laws and regulations.” He also said that “there is no scandal. There exist only advantages for the Vatican.” The restaurant is scheduled to be open for business in the spring of 2017, and for its part, the Vatican will receive 30,000 euros per month in compensation for renting the space out on the ground floor.
Somehow, under the current reign of one of the most environmentally sensitive and ardent critics of consumer capitalism in all of its squalid or inhuman hedonistic forms – Pope Francis himself – one of the largest globalist food chains in the world is now being welcomed to set up a conspicuous restaurant at the very border of the Seat of Peter. This is a symbolic event. Symbolic because it shows in a more concrete fashion what we have witnessed more ambiguously since March of 2013: that the public words of Pope Francis are often directly opposed by his actions. He is a pope of contradictions — a figure whom it is impossible, therefore, to ever fully trust.
We do not have to elaborate for our readers that McDonald’s represents the exact sort of corporate institution Francis openly fights against with his “green” environmental talk: a massive, multinational capitalist enterprise that mass produces unhealthy food, pays low wages, and is supported by a globalist chain of production that is neither sustainable nor local. How does this fit with the message of Laudato Si, or the countless speeches Francis has given condemning such enterprises? (It is not our purpose here to critique the economic or business model in question; only to highlight the obvious incongruities between this model and the ideology of the pope.)
This discrepancy between the Holy Father’s words and his subsequent deeds is glaring. Thus far, Pope Francis has not publicly responded to the various reservations and objections to this commercial project by both his cardinals and others; he also has not yet taken any action in order to correct this apparent aesthetic and cultural incongruity, which, under the sovereignty of his office, remains his ultimate responsibility.
It is difficult not to be reminded here of various politicians, perhaps most notably the American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, notorious for her own frequent self-contradictions. She claims, for example, that she will relentlessly fight ISIS and even accuses Qatar, the Gulf Monarchy, of financing the Islamic state. And yet, she and her husband have received large donations for the Clinton Foundation from that same wealthy little country in the Persian Gulf. She was captured on video opposing same-sex “marriage” in 2002 and 2010, but in 2013 she unequivocally stated that she supports such unions and denies that her position was ever different. She claims she is not in favor of trans-national treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but, then, a recent leak shows just the opposite. As Patrick Buchanan wrote:
How could the moderators [of the second Presidential Debate] have ignored that other leak of last week, of Clinton’s speech to Brazilian bankers where she confessed she “dreams” of a “hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.”
What is it that causes this kind of loose dealing and paltering with the truth – shall we not call it a form of dishonor? – among both secular and religious leaders?
Returning to Francis, recall his stated desire for an open debate at the two Synods on Marriage and the Family. And yet, machinations to undermine just such a debate became immediately clear. Before the 2014 Synod even began, hundreds of copies of the so-called “Five Cardinals Book” (which opposed the “Kasper proposal”) were unaccountably found missing — believed stolen — from the Vatican postboxes of the synod fathers, at the alleged orders of Cardinal Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. So many crucial Synod positions were then disproportionately filled by Pope Francis with “Kasperite” prelates that, at the end of the first synod, the polite and fair-minded journalist, Edward Pentin, wrote an entire book about The Rigging of a Vatican Synod. Do we remember how, after two years of agonizing synod discussions — including the noteworthy opposition of 13 prominent cardinals — Pope Francis then effectively established the sliding possibility for the “remarried” divorcees to receive the Sacraments, even though the majority of the Synod Fathers were then against it?
We may also remember well how Pope Francis removed Cardinal Raymond Burke from his prominent position in the Curia after the first Synod of Bishops in 2014. In an historic move, he took him away from his prominent and prestigious position at the Vatican in order to make him the Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. When he was talking with Burke about his own decision, Pope Francis claimed that Burke “thanked me much, in good terms and accepted it, so it seemed to me that he liked it.” Burke himself, however, said at the time, as follows, about his being removed from his position as the Head of the Apostolic Signatura: “I very much have enjoyed [this position] and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it.”
It is not always self-contradiction that causes problems for Pope Francis’ credibility. Sometimes, it instead his insistent contradiction of obvious realities. Perhaps the most profound example of this can be found in his continual support for the largely young male and mostly Muslim immigrants flowing into Europe. Just a few days ago, Pope Francis again condemned those who oppose these large-scale immigrations of non-Christian groups. He said on 13 October in the question and answer session with Lutherans visiting from Germany (and unfortunately, we still do not have an official Vatican translation of his words):
“It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee….”
These words were spoken in the face of an increasing danger for German women who fittingly desire to move freely throughout their own country without the great risk of their being assaulted or molested by foreigners. (Here I also speak with the knowledge of my own German relatives and friends – one of whom told me that her local Catholic bishop, who is very much in favor of immigration, has now resorted to having thick security windows installed in his own private residence.) Instead of helping to protect German women from Muslim-male attacks, however, Pope Francis rebukes these women for asking for additional and reliable protection – doing so under the guise of his concept of Mercy! Does this not sound unsettlingly like Hillary Clinton’s own pretense that she is a fighter for the dignity of women while at the same time protecting her husband from the consequences of his varied and multiple assaults on women? Again and again, we must ask the question:
Are the words and actions of those who lead us in consistent accord with one another? If not, why not?
Some may bristle at the comparison between purely political and ecclesiastical figures, but it is impossible not to observe a certain connection and pattern: namely, that we have a pope who inordinately (and often unjustly) politicizes the papacy in public while also adopting certain methods of operation that are much more coarsely political than they are honorably ecclesiastical.
We are thus faced with a situation — both in the Church and in the world of secular affairs — where we have leaders who have deeply damaged our trust. We have lost the sense that there is truth in the words of such individuals. We have lost the important perception that “they say what they mean and mean what they say” and that they will also act accordingly, keeping the bond of their words and standing “on their word of honor.” As my husband recently pointed out, in light of the eloquent witness of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (d. 1892) – honor is now needed perhaps more than ever in the Church and in our political leadership. On our part – as the simple faithful and as morally responsible citizens – our courage is also needed more than ever (to quote once more Cardinal Manning).
One magnanimous prelate of the Church recently and earnestly told me: “We are living in a world dictatorship.” Just how this form of tyranny – which combines an alluring veneer of pseudo-order and an actual anarchy – is working itself out, I do not know and cannot adequately understand. But its fraud and despotic presence are impossible not to perceive, and the taste imparted is repellent and foul.
Dr. Maike Hickson, born and raised in Germany, studied History and French Literature at the University of Hannover and lived for several years in Switzerland where she wrote her doctoral dissertation. She is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.
Her articles have appeared in American and European journals such as Catholicism.org, LifeSiteNews, The Wanderer, Culture Wars, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Apropos, and Zeit-Fragen.
Isn’t this the modus operandi of Leftists? Hillary Clinton has internalised Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals which include lying to get whatever you want.
The Pope is a shrewd Leftist. Anyone observing this papacy can see the machinations coming from the very top…manipulation, rage, duplicity…
The Vatican will receive 30,000 euros per month in compensation for renting the space out on the ground floor.
One might at first think, Filthy Lucre, but has one first considered that McDonald’s serves their meals to all who arrive at their counter just like the Catholic Church now serves all who arrive at its Lord’s Supper Table and so now a certain ecumenical aspect will exist in the Vatican Common Ground of a Church-State with no distinctions.
This is a win-win and Italy must get used to this American cultural imperialism just like it got used to the plebiscite that removed the House of Savoia from Italy when American-Army-Occupied Italy was encouraged to vote (and we can be certain there were no rigged elections) for its citizens to embrace the blessings of american style democracy.
What, those troops, and those tanks? Pay no attention. Just vote for whatever you want; makes no difference to us…..
So you’re saying that McDonalds is the Novus Ordo of restaurants?
Heh…What a strange world this is, isn’t it?
The location of the new MacDonalds is perfect for the cafeteria Catholics.
And don’t forget: “HAVE IT YOUR WAY!”
That’s burger king. mc Donald is I’m lovin it
Oh, that’s right. How about: “YOU DESERVE A BREAK TODAY” for the illicitly married who ask you-know-what.
McD’s would be a great place to hold the reception for the two people who are celebrating whatever it is they are celebrating. It’s not associated with marriage or wedding. They should find a new word for their celebration … Then of course, they have plenty of money and would like something more extravagant. It will always be two people, too well paying jobs, so why not go all out? Pleasure. Big reception. Lobster, Steak, Champagne from France with waiters delivering it on little silver trays. Refill till you bust. Or fall over. Have a pleasure day.
Yes, but it is not as if Christ Has not warned us of the days to come.
These are the signs of the times we are living in.
To deny the Sanctity of the marital act, is to deny The Divinity of The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, rendering onto Caesar, that which, from The Beginning, Has Always belonged to God.
God, The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Love, Is The Author Of Love, of Life, and of Marriage; let no one deceive you.
Wow, just wow.
I’m glad I don’t read 1P5 while driving, or I’d be in the ditch…
At least the product is consistent.
I know it sounds a bit strange at first but the truth is big business and lefties get along very well.
Yeah, somehow this is indicative of the modernist church of ‘whats happenin now’ church that used to be the Roman Catholic Church. Didn’t they rent out the Sistine Chapel too? Are now wealthy people often welcomed even if they hold positions contrary to Church teaching? Isn’t a statue of the apostate luther just welcomed along with a lot of blue scarf wearing protestants? I had to chuckle about the rancid smell of McD’s cooking permeating the apartments of cardinals. That was bad of me I suppose. Yes, 30,000 Euro or 30 pieces of silver: whatever.
It must have been the Hamburgler who stole all those copies of 5 Cardinals!!!!
Why do I think I know whose mug is under the mask?
A disaster of a Pontificate that converts no one to Christ because it is based on ego, pride and political correctness.
What next? The Vatican Starbucks? With the Mc Vatican, it’s a case of “Laudato, No, No, No, No, No” with PF wagging his finger.
What is unclean here? Food for the body or food for the soul? I say open an entire food court of American restaurant franchises and do the right thing with Catholic teaching and doctrine. The Bishops are objecting to the wrong thing here. Eating out at McDonalds won’t be what sends people to hell.
Perfect symbolism for cafeteria fast-food unhealthy Catholicism.
Should have been Burger King where Catholics can “have it your way”.
Well said, Dr. Hickson. I myself like the able comparison you make between Hillary Clinton and Pope Francis. They are both leftists and they both use leftist tactics. Sad but true.
There is no seeming paradox in this news. Bergoglio, a freemason, is a bringer of any type of chaos/disorder to stable systems.
So far we have had magisterial chaos, sacramental chaos, liturgical chaos, moral chaos, ecumenism (ecumenical chaos is a tautology), immigration chaos (this is a big one for him because it does a lot of damage quickly and irreversibly, which is why he never lets up about it), etc.
So when he sees a piece of real estate which is largely uniform in its modesty, what better way to disorder the scene than by planting a massive and garish temple of mammon right next to St Peter’s bones? I bet he lets them build it in the usual livery of yellow and red too, with neon lights shining on St Peter’s Square. Bergoglio’s a piece of work alright.
McDonald’s and Pope Francis–an unholy symmetry
—cheap food vs. cheap grace.
—fast food vs fast annulments.
—lack of healthy ingredients vs lack of true doctrine.
—money making opportunity vs money making opportunity.
—splashy signage vs. flashy humility.
—renting a corner vs. renting out the Sistine Chapel
—Capitalistic vs. Capitalistic
The big difference? McDonald’s is honest about their business. Pope Francis, not so much.
Don’t forget the big red nose on the spokesman.
And lots of “pink slime”
Yes, now that you mention it.
Another big difference. McDonalds is successful and ever expanding. Pope Francis’ Church, at least in Europe, is dying on its feet. Mass attendance in Belgium is down to 3%. In fact, given their depraved clergy, it’s amazing that it is as high as 3%.
Truth begets truth; error begets error.
Lukewarmness is error disguised as though it were truth:
“Page 117, of the pope’s book, On Heaven and Earth, in regards to same-sex unions
“If there is a union of a PRIVATE NATURE, THERE IS NEITHER A THIRD PARTY NOR IS SOCIETY AFFECTED. Now, if this union is given the category of marriage and they are given adoption rights, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and female mother that can help them shape their identity.”- Jorge Mario Bergoglio
One you deny the Sanctity of the marital act, which is Life-affirming and Life-sustaining, and can only be consummated between a man and woman, united in marriage as husband and wife, anything can become permissible, including the destruction of an innocent son or daughter residing in their mother’s womb.
Approval of same-sex sexual unions is approval of same-sex sexual acts, and thus a denial of the Sanctity of the marital act.
Prior to being elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, by condoning same-sex sexual acts in relationships that he referred to as private, did not include children, and were not called marriage, and thus denying that God Is The Author of Love, of Life, and of Marriage, denied The Divinity of The Blessed Trinity.
There Is only One Spirit Of Perfect Love Between The Father And The Son, Who Proceeds From Both The Father And The Son, In The Ordered Communion Of Perfect Love, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity.
At least we have proof that a few Cardinals are capable of speaking out in protest about anything at all. I had hoped it would be against the systematic destruction of the Church, but I guess I’ll settle for them protesting over having to smell hamburgers in their house.
Egotistical selfish beings. No concern for the Catholic faith or the souls of those they should be caring for – only for themselves. I hope the smell from this new establishment overwhelms their nasal passages just as their constant silence on the heresies & blasphemies of this regime overwhelms us.
Is that the same Cardinal Ravasi who, on the occasion of President Putin’s visit to the Vatican to see Pope Francis in November 2013, was (over)heard to remark, as he and some others stood near a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, “We will destroy Fatima.”?
As reported, you are correct. It has also been recorded that he is high up in Freemasonry, which would explain his antipathy towards Fatima. Their day is coming to an end. May 13 next may spring some surprises for them.
If I remember correctly, Pope Benedict ominously predicted that the Church must get small to survive. I think Francis misheard him …and thought he said small minded. Pope Francis has succeeded in making the Truth which should be all encompassing, very small and almost miniscule. A very small minded man doing a lousy job of inspiring the faithful.
Great article! As one Argentinian was reported to have said:”If you try to understand Bergoglio, you will lose your mind”.
This Pope is capable of contradicting himself in the same speech. Like the time he declared that working in the arms industry was not suitable for a Christian – then blamed the WW2 allies for not bombing the railway to Auschwitz. Who, but overwhelmingly Christian American and British arms workers were going to make the bombs and warplanes? Or the time he spoke against the death penalty – and then declared that life imprisonment was equivalent to a death sentence. If you deny the possibility of life imprisonment, the case against the death penalty collapses.
I love the German bishop installing security windows. The Church Tax levied on the German church goers is wonderful for paying for all those little essentials. Is he paying for anti-rape patrols to protect his female faithful? After all, the mass sexual assault on women last New Year’s Eve happened right outside Cologne Cathedral.
It’s perfect. the perfect symbol of this pontificate. I ‘ve said from the start that Pope Francis should go down in history as Papa Banderuola: Pope Weathervane. Don’t like something he’s said or done? Wait 24 hours. He’ll say or do exactly the opposite tomorrow.
The reference to the person Trump appropriately now dubs “Crooked” (i.e. Clinton’s wife) is on the mark. Does anyone reading this doubt for a nanosecond that Francis would fulsomely welcome this completely corrupt woman to visit the Vatican? That he would refrain from pronouncing the slightest word of criticism of her support for the slaughter of children in and barely out of the womb? That he might even agree to issuing a joint communiqué condemning those who criticize open borders and importation of hoards of “refugees” of the Mohammedan variety?
Goes great with McPope, McChurch, McFaith, McMercy, and McMarriage.