Troubling Consequenses of Notre Dame

From the air it looked like a giant burning cross.

What was striking in the fire’s aftermath is that whenever a commentator brought up the dramatic rise in attacks on churches in France they were quickly silenced by the government and the press.

Churches in France are being vandalized, ransacked, and desecrated (and burned) at the rate of about three per day and local police rarely conduct investigations.

In light of my understanding of St. Hildegard’s prophetic visions of the last days, the fire was a clear sign from God that the persecutions of the Church as described in her vision of the Grey Wolf are commencing.

The Church, says Hildegard, a Doctor of the Church, will be punished for having committed three sins: fornication, rapine (theft or plunder), and murder (see St. Hildegard’s Scivias, Book III, Vision 11, Chapter 13).†

The case for the first two isn’t difficult to make; rampant homosexuality among the clergy, the sex abuse of children, and the cover-ups of such evils by the highest of Church authorities. Also, money laundering and other crimes within the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican Bank) are well documented and constitute rapine of the laity and general public. But what about murder?

I think today’s Church bears the guilt of homicide in the eyes of God in three ways:

The silence of church authorities on contraception. Throughout Church history contraception was an established canonical crime bearing the same culpability as that of murder and remained so until the twentieth-century revisions of the Church’s laws. But it was never contradicted. The teaching was reaffirmed by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical on marriage, Casti Connubii (1930):

“Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious” (54).

Secondly, the refusal of bishops to excommunicate those catholic politicians from their dioceses on account of their support for abortion rights. When asked about excommunicating Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing into law the practice of infanticide, New York Cardinal Dolan [like most of them] appealed to the noxious “seamless garment” argument in his refusal to sanction governor Cuomo for his support for infanticide:

“I am obliged to challenge our political leaders, to urge them to re-examine their priorities, and to respect and protect the unborn baby in the womb as strongly and passionately as we should the undocumented immigrant, the single mom worrying how she will feed her family, our dying grandparents, or the poor struggling to make it.”

Thirdly, why is former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Viganò in hiding if it’s not for fear of being assassinated by order of church authorities? A former head of the Vatican bank feared the same thing:

“Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, from 2009 to 2012, President of the Vatican Bank, during the papacy of Benedict XVI, recounted that being around the Vatican, he had literally seen all kinds of things, even people disposed to killing…” (link)

From a recent interview:

“When you say the Vatican Curia was making you lose your faith,” interjected his interviewer before Gotti Tedeschi, interrupting, said: “And my life!” (link)

Also looking at it as a possible sign, but from a different perspective, author William Kilpatrick notes an obvious consequence of the fire:

“Whether or not the French leadership takes the fire at Notre Dame as a sign from heaven, Muslims almost certainly will. They will see it as a sign from Allah—a sign that Islam is destined to triumph over France and all of Europe. Some Muslims will, no doubt, feel that they have a duty to hasten the process along. As a result, we can expect the attacks on Christian churches to continue and even to escalate.” (link)

In a recent speech, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi took credit for the bombings in Sri Lanka which killed hundreds of Christians, announcing that this will be their new modus operandi:

“Expelled from the territories initially conquered in Syria and Iraq, al-Baghdadi has proclaimed a new ‘war of attrition,’ in Arabic ‘istinzaf,’ against the ‘crusaders,’ with no more armies in the field but with guerrilla acts, assaults, murders, attacks, carried out by militants deployed and concealed everywhere, even in Europe, to judge by the numerous ‘foreign fighters’ who went back to France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, [and France] etc. after having fought in Syria and Iraq among the ranks of the defeated Islamic State.” (link)


†Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, trans., Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias (The Abbey of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc.: Paulist Press, 1990).

Lessons from Psalm 51 for the Summit

“…A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”

Psalm 51 was the result of a sex crime. It should have been the theme of the summit of bishops in Rome. The abuse, it’s cover-up, and the pain it has caused cannot be undone. More transparency, apologizing to the victims and their families, offers of compensation, are all the right things to do, but won’t undo the damage.

Only a renewed spirit on the part of the clergy as a result of repentance, contrition, and humility will solve the abuse crisis:

“For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn” (vss. 18-19).

It is interesting that David’s self-reflection on his transgressions, specifically adultery and murder, do not include a mention of either one. The gravity of killing someone’s husband so you can take his wife was less of a crime against Uriah and Bathsheba than a grievous disobedience of God’s law. God sent the prophet Nathan to David charging, Continue reading “Lessons from Psalm 51 for the Summit”

Pope Benedict’s ‘Year of the Priest’ Warning to the Curia

Many have commented that the depth of frustration and anger over the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report as well as Archbishop Vignano’s testimony is because they prove that the response by Church authorities to the first clergy abuse crisis in 2002 was inadequate and insincere.

The current crisis, however, is not the second but the third major series of revelations of abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. In Pope Benedict’s 2010 (‘Year of the Priest’) Christmas address to the Curia, he laments the new round of abuse reports, primarily from western Europe, and recalls a vision given to St. Hildegard: Continue reading “Pope Benedict’s ‘Year of the Priest’ Warning to the Curia”