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This month's edition of Catholic Family News contains the articles listed below. Only a few of these are reprinted on this website. To read all of the articles contained in this month's edition, choose one of our subscription options, each of which comes with access to the E-Edition of the paper so you can start reading these articles now.

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April 2019 Contents

The Church Façade and the Degeneracy of the Clergy (Brian M. McCall)

A Clear Signal of What to Expect

Following the seemingly daily revelations of decades of sexual debauchery that included the abuse of minors, beginning with those involving now-laicized Theodore McCarrick last June, the Pope finally intervened and took action. The nature of that action, however, was quite bizarre. The U.S. bishops were planning to discuss the crisis at their meeting last November until Pope Francis shut down their plans and forbade them from doing anything. To avoid a public relations nightmare, the Pope claimed his reason was that the bishops should wait for a major summit he had called for February, which was first announced by the Vatican last September.

Contemplate this for a moment: The Church is faced with the most significant challenge to her moral authority and the Pope says it would be unhelpful to talk about the problem before he stages an event to talk about the problem. To a rational and moral person, this is nonsensical, but it makes tremendous sense in light of the long history of cover-up and refusal to discuss the problem within the ranks of the hierarchy. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Second Vatican Council: A Story Now Being Written — Part I (Roberto de Mattei)

Editor’s Note: The following is the transcript of a speech recently given by Professor Roberto de Mattei, founder and president of the Lepanto Foundation, in Seville, Spain (Mar. 2, 2019). Professor de Mattei was in Seville to address a conference organized by Adelante la Fe, a Spanish-language Catholic news media apostolate. The remainder of his speech will be published next month.


Exactly seventy years ago, on 25 January 1959, Pope John XXIII announced to the world the news of the next council of the Church, Vatican II.

Pius XII had been dead for only three months. His Magisterium was opposed with clarity to the principal systems of thought and life of the modern world. Pope Pacelli had firmly condemned both communist materialism and also the relativism and hedonism of the liberal world. The suggestions of these two ideologies were, however, penetrating into the interior of the Catholic Church itself and expressed themselves in a confused desire for doctrinal and pastoral renewal. In the three years which transpired between the announcement of the Council and its opening in Rome on 11 October 1962, the party of theologians who embraced the inheritance of modernism organized itself effectively, while the Roman Curia did not show concern for the event, thinking that it would be over in a few months with a new Syllabus of condemnation of modern errors. But things would go very differently. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Popes Speak: Veterum Sapientia (Pope John XXIII)

Editor’s Note: We conclude our liturgical series this month, in preparation for our conference next month, with a lesser known text from Pope John XXIII. Issued less than eight months prior to the opening of Vatican II, Veterum Sapientia offers a stark contrast to the revolutionary spirit which quickly seized control of the Council after its opening on Oct. 11, 1962. The fact that it was issued by the same Pope who rehabilitated several Modernists (e.g., Congar, Daniélou, de Lubac, Küng, Rahner) and convened the disastrous Council is a tragic irony.

In his Apostolic Constitution, which addresses the use of Latin in the Church – not only for the liturgy, but also in the classroom (particularly for seminarians) – John XXIII praises the Latin language for its “singular clarity and impressiveness of expression,” emphasizing that “the Church’s language must be not only universal but also immutable,” due to the universality and immutability of the divine Deposit of Faith itself. He explains how Latin provides both of these essential characteristics in a unique way and, therefore, why it must be maintained as the language of the Church – again, not only for the Holy Mass and administration of the sacraments, but equally so for seminary studies and even as a means of communication among the clergy (i.e., clerics should be able to communicate with one another in Latin, both verbally and in writing).

Furthermore, Pope John warns that bishops and superiors-general of religious orders must “be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See’s will in this regard or interprets it falsely.” It is astounding to see how quickly his “decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations” were cast aside after his death on June 3, 1963. Thus, it can accurately be said that Veterum Sapientia marks the final attempt to ‘hold the line’ prior to Pope Paul VI’s promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium (Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) on Dec. 4, 1963, which opened the floodgates for liturgical novelty—resulting, ultimately, in Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Missae. Click here to read Veterum Sapientia

*2019 CFN Conference Prep* Sacrosanctum Concilium: A Lawyer Examines the Loopholes (Christopher A. Ferrara)

What’s In a Name?

Editor’s Note: In preparation for our conference next month, we are pleased to reprint the following lengthy excerpt of a classic article by longtime CFN contributor and friend, Christopher Ferrara, who will be addressing this year’s CFN Conference. In this article, which first appeared in The Latin Mass Magazine several years ago, Mr. Ferrara meticulously analyzes Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), the document which he says ultimately “constitutes a ‘blank check’ for liturgical reform, with the amount to be filled in depending entirely upon who is wielding the pen.” The proofs for this claim are amply demonstrated throughout the article, which is one of the most thorough critiques of Sacrosanctum Concilium we have ever encountered. Click here to read the article online

Catholic Resistance On Display in Rome (Matt Gaspers)

Two days prior to the start of the Vatican summit on the “Protection of Minors in the Church” (Feb. 21-24, 2019), an international coalition of lay people known as Acies Ordinata held a public demonstration in Piazza San Silvestro in the center of Rome. Approximately 100 faithful Catholics stood in formation and prayed silently “to profess publicly our Catholic faith, but also to break down the wall of silence: the sepulchral silence of the Pastors of the Church in the face of an unprecedented doctrinal and moral crisis,” according to the coalition’s website.

The event was planned as a means of raising awareness about the real roots of the abuse crisis in the Church. “The summit of the presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of the world,” the coalition’s website explains, “is an historic occasion to confront not only the theme of the sexual abuse of minors but also the theme of moral corruption, which includes every violation of divine and natural law, beginning with the terrible plague of homosexuality.” Providentially, as this writer and Archbishop Viganò noted online, the four-day summit coincided with the feast of St. Peter Damian (Feb. 21, post-conciliar calendar; Feb. 23, traditional Roman calendar), author of the Book of Gomorrah and the Church's most zealous champion against clerical sodomy. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*The Philosopher’s Corner* Philosophy and Worldviews (Fr. Paul Robinson, SSPX)

Philosophy is a work of simplification. It is an attempt by the human mind to capture the whole of reality, or at least large swathes of it, by means of the most universal concepts. Thomistic metaphysics, for instance, seeks to find a proper concept of “being” that will apply to everything that exists, while Thomistic cosmology encapsulates the specific nature of material beings in the notions of “matter” and “form”.

This work of trying to achieve a maximal assimilation of the mind to reality is important to Catholics. For one thing, they know that the reality they are trying to understand most deeply is God’s reality. For another, they realize that God has made humans in His image, by conferring a rational power upon them, for the purpose of knowing Him and His reality: by knowing, we do that which our human nature is made to do, by God. For a third thing, Catholics understand that the profound understanding of natural reality provided by philosophy is the most powerful means they have of understanding supernatural reality. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

Pope Francis: Cause or Symptom? (Christopher A. Ferrara)

At this point in what can only be called the Bergoglian Debacle, it is time to take a wider view of our situation, looking beyond Francis to the arc of the entire turbulent and destructive epoch following the Second Vatican Council, during which we have witnessed a pervasive collapse of faith and discipline in the Church unlike anything she has seen in all her prior history, not even during the Arian crisis of the fourth century.

To understand how we arrived at our present situation, it is necessary to show that the Bergoglian pontificate is only the final logical outcome of a destructive process of ecclesial liberalization for which Vatican II is endlessly cited as authority. As participants in that process, neither John Paul II nor even Benedict XVI, despite their relative conservatism, can be considered guardians of orthodoxy by any historical standard of Catholicism as exemplified by such great and fiercely traditional Popes as Saint Pius X, who would be horrified by what passes for “conservative” Catholicism today. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Tragic Tale of Timothy Cardinal Dolan (Jesse Russell)

In his justly famous Poetics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a character who commits an “error in judgment” springing from his hamartia or tragic flaw, a trait which causes the character’s success for the rising action of the play, but, finally and ironically, causes the character’s downfall.

In our weary, anxious, and melancholy age, which due to its farcical character has now been dubbed “pseudo-modern” by British literary theorist Alan Kirby, it is indeed difficult to find an Oedipus, Orestes, Achilles, or any other figure who could justly be called a hero.

Nevertheless, in our absurd era in which the attainment of a heroic ideal is as rare as “a snowbird in hell,” it is still possible to find tragic heroes, that is, men and women whose admirable qualities propel them to success but ultimately cause an “error in judgement”—usually due to the cardinal sin of pride—and bring about the tragic hero’s downfall. Click here to continue reading online

*Lessons in Catholic Education* Gender Theory: Roots and Consequences (Fr. David Sherry, SSPX)

In 1913, the Irish patriot and schoolmaster Pádraig Pearse wrote a memorable pamphlet. “Education,” he asserted, “is as much concerned with souls as religion is.  Religion is a Way of Life. And education is a preparation of the soul to live its life here and hereafter; to live it nobly and fully.” The system of education imposed by the English, which attempted to kill the souls of the children, he called “The Murder Machine”. The Murder Machine has been alive and well for some time, seeking to stifle first the life of grace and afterwards even the intellect and will. The latest manifestation of it to appear in school is the so-called “gender theory.” It says that a person’s “gender” (that he or she is male, female or one of any other ‘gender’) has nothing to do with what everyone used to refer to as sex (either male or female); rather, it is a subjective choice for each individual. Thus, young children are being taught that they are neither boys nor girls, but that they can choose to become whichever they want. This theory, freely taught even in some “Catholic” schools, is very dangerous and should be scrutinized. The real roots of it are found in pride, and also in false ideas. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Life of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, SSPX)

Editor’s Note: This month we read about the elevation of Father Lefebvre to the episcopacy and his installation in Dakar. We see the continued development of the virtues of fidelity to doctrine coupled with a deep humility. This combination of virtues was epitomized in his chosen episcopal motto, Credidimus in Caritate (“We have believed in charity”). The deep charity of the Archbishop was rooted in a deep love of truth, a love of the Faith. This deep love would be put to the test when it seemed that the whole Church turned against the Faith which he held so dearly. – Brian M. McCall, Editor-in-Chief


Happy were they who understood how Marcel Lefebvre combined the most attentive, fatherly love with the greatest doctrinal firmness. Fecit Illud caritas: what brought this about was charity, a charity that was obeyed in all things. Dear former friends of Fr. Lefebvre, far from being impropriety or a lack of charity, the imperturbable faithfulness of your father to the “truth of the Church”—with all that it entails—was the sign of a greater love and a deeper charity. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Abortionist as Serial Killer: Interview with Producer of Gosnell Film — Part II (Susan Vennari)

An Unexpected Story

One of the things that stands out clearly in the film Gosnell is the contrast between those who did their duties of state and those who did not. I found in my interview with Ann McElhinney, who produced Gosnell with her husband, Phelim McAleer, that I was talking with someone who was very clear about her responsibility to report what she had learned, notwithstanding her previous personal views on pro-life activists. I asked how they had come upon the story in the first place.

“We came across this story [this way].  …  My husband happened to be in Philadelphia for a few days—my husband is a veteran journalist: covers war in Northern Ireland, that sort of thing; worked for the Financial Times—he’s the kind of guy who, when he has a few days off, instead of going to the pub, he is always ferreting out stories. … So he was in Philadelphia and heard about this court case that had been talked about locally in Philadelphia, kind of a bit of a story, and he went along to this really large courtroom because they expected so many media to turn up.

“He went in… there were three Mennonite women at the back—I just cherish the picture of the story, they were like really witnessing, praying. There was basically nobody else there. He heard this unbelievable testimony from the witnesses who were there in the clinic when this stuff was going on.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition

*Roman Catechism Series* I Believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord: Second Article of the Creed (Matthew Plese)

The Core of Christianity is the Person of Jesus Christ

The Roman Catechism begins this article with a concise and essential statement: “For this Article is the most firm basis of our salvation and redemption.” To believe in Jesus Christ and Who He really is – namely, “the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16) – is one of the unmistakable marks of a Christian. To deny the nature and role of Christ is to deny Christianity entirely, for it is not possible to profess to be a Christian and at the same time deny the role of the Christ Himself.

Unfortunately, in the modern era man has become inclined to portray the Lord in his own image. He is portrayed to some as a liberator, to others as a merciful Savior who would never condemn anyone for any reason, and to others as a wise teacher no different than Plato and Socrates of old. But what do we as Christians know of Jesus Christ? Who was He really? To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition

The Ecumenical Council and Christian Reunion — Part I (Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton)

Editor’s Introduction: One of the important projects of Catholic Family News’ long-time editor John Vennari (R.I.P.) was to make more widely known the writings of Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton (Jan. 16, 1906–July 7, 1969). Msgr. Fenton was a professor of fundamental dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of America and editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review from 1943 until 1963. His published articles (many of which John reprinted in this paper over the years), written in the decades leading up to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), are an invaluable historical record of the battle that already was raging within the Church between defenders of Tradition and the Modernists and Neo-Modernists long before the Council’s first session opened.

Msgr. Fenton clearly refutes the errors and ambiguities that would eventually be tolerated and promoted at Vatican II. John Vennari saw how relevant Fenton’s work was to our time in which these false ideas are so pervasive that we tend to forget how novel they are. Catholic Family News is thus pleased to honor the memory of both Msgr. Fenton and John Vennari (whose second anniversary of passing from this life occurs this month) by continuing to reprint articles by Msgr. Fenton, content which John did not have time to publish before his death (Apr. 4, 2017). To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition

Saint Peter Damian: A Role Model for the Bishops — Part II (Randy Engel)

Editor’s Note: This month, we conclude this newly updated two-part feature by longtime CFN contributor and friend, Randy Engel, author of the multi-volume work, The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church (all volumes available at In this second half, Randy covers the crucial Instruction Religiosorum institutio published by the Vatican in 1961, recalls the history of the Sankt Polten Seminary Scandal, and announces the formation of the new League of Saint Peter Damian. CFN strongly encourages all readers to join the League as a means of promoting the life and legacy of this little-known but sorely needed Doctor of the Church. St. Peter Damian, pray for us!


In Memory of John Vennari (1958-2017)

A Blueprint for Conquering Clerical Sodomy

The existence of the dual vices of sodomy and pederasty in the 11th-century Church amongst monks, clerics and prelates as described by St. Peter Damian in the Book of Gomorrah is not unlike the current situation in the Church today.

So why are Church authorities frantically “searching for answers” to the wholesale, homosexual colonization of the Catholic Church and the sexual abuse of minors (mainly adolescent boys) when clearly tradition (in the form of the writings of the great medieval Saint Peter Damian) has already laid out a viable blueprint for restoring moral sanity to the papacy, the Catholic hierarchy, the priesthood, and religious life?

Let’s take a closer look at the blueprint laid down by Peter Damian, which was generally followed by the Catholic Church up until the early 20th century, the very century that was to witness the rise of the Homosexual Collective in secular society and in the Catholic Church. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition