“The Church is now in a full-blown civil war over doctrine” screams the headline from the U.K. Catholic Herald. The body of doctrine being fought over is not limited to the hot-button issues surrounding Amoris Laetitia, either. Those issues certainly remain a casus belli — for Cardinal Coccopalmerio has just added his own contribution by way of a 51-page booklet published by the Vatican Press, the curious presser for whose publication was described as “Kafkaesque” by The Tablet’s Christopher Lamb. But in addition to the increasing scandal and division surrounding Amoris, the civil war mentioned by the Catholic Herald’s Dan Hitchens now includes a new front, one formerly thought to have been tightly secured: the male-only sacramental priesthood of Jesus Christ.
The recent promotion of women priests comes not from the National Catholic Reporter or some other organ of progressivist lay opinion, but from La Civiltà Cattolica, every page of which is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State. That once great publication has always been a Jesuit production, and it has changed over the years in sync with the evolution of the Society of Jesus, whose Father Antonio Spadaro is its current editor. La Civiltà’s Rev. Giancarlo Pani, S.J., authored the piece dismissing all tradition and the authoritative teaching of Pope John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on Holy Orders. His reasoning? Not exactly rock solid theological criteria: the “developments that the presence of woman in the family and society has undergone in the 21st century.”
Besides La Civiltà Cattolica Jesuits — the Company traditionally conceived as the papal shock troops — the vanguard of the progressivist side in this civil war includes a group of cardinals who thought it good to issue a very unusual vote of confidence for the Roman Pontiff and his Magisterium.
On the other side is that dark and sinister character, the subject of recent conspiracy theories, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. Mild mannered Midwestern churchman and canonist by day; by night, he turns malevolent co-conspirator with surly Steve Bannon and despotic Donald Trump, or so we are led to believe. It seems that the Washington Post’s Emma-Kate Symons thinks that Cardinal Burke is playing Saruman to Trump’s Sauron, with Bannon being a sort of orc go-between. (Weren’t traditionalists supposed to have a monopoly on nutty conspiracy theories?) This is truly rich fantasy writing worthy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, but its factual claims have been concisely debunked by Christian Browne, writing for OnePeterFive.
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