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How a disordered generation of modernist priests worked a revolution in the clergy….. August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, different religion, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, Papa, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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……or, at least one episode in that process.  I almost said a “wicked generation,” but I chickened out. Do you think the term wicked too strong? Wicked, to me, implies willful maliciousness.  Were many of those young priests of the 60s who wanted to work a revolution in the Church knowledgeable that their revolution would be catastrophic for souls, or were they simply imbued with the spirit of the times, something that caused them to accept a lot of destructive ideas?  Many of those priests are winding down their careers after seeing the Church implode on their watch…….do they have any regrets?  From my experience…..not too much.  And to what degree did their demonstrated propensity for immoral lives (priest sex abuse scandal, sodomy, 40% left the priesthood, etc.)

Another factor to consider in the below is how many good and holy priests were drummed out of their vocation by these revolutionary forces, who almost always had episcopal backing?  If Vatican II was a coup of a small modernist minority against the majority, why did so many bishops then quite willingly, even forcefully implement the revolutionary program, rather than impose it?  Also something to keep in mind in the below, if Baltimore is at all representative, there actually was quite a bit of resistance to the massive novelties imposed after Vatican II, but consistent episcopal policy led to those resisters being ostracized, marginalized, and drummed out of active ministry if not out of the priesthood altogether.

A lot of  questions.  I found this little episode quite revealing but also quite saddening.  Such a fever came over so many souls at that time!

On February 9, 1969, parishioners of St. Anthony’s Church in Baltimore picketed their own church, carrying homemade signs declaring: “We want Monsignor Manns, Send Martel far way,” and collecting signatures to petition Cardinal Shehan to halt the forced resignation of Manns, who was their pastor. [Baltimore, once the primatial see for the entire United States, fell into disorder earlier and further than most dioceses.  Some see in this a lingering effect of Cardinal Gibbon’s Americanism.]  A week earlier, the cardinal sent Monsignor Manns a personal letter explaining the reasons why he was requesting his resignation, including the monsignor’s clash with his associate Father Martel, and the cardinal gave him ten days to respond. The Friday night before the Sunday morning protest, Monsignor Manns informed the women of the sodality about his imminent removal, and they asked him what they could do for him. A handful of women then quickly organized the small protest. At the early Sunday morning Masses at 6:00 and 7:00AM, Monsignor Manns informed the congregation that he was being replaced. After Mass, members of the sodality collected signatures in support of their pastor. [At what other time in Church history have the most faithful souls felt compelled to protest their own parishes due to injustices worked against them or faithful priests?  There were some episodes in the early Church to be sure, but this has been a constant feature of the Church since Vatican II]

The situation escalated after the 7:00 AM Mass when Father Martel approached Mrs. LeVeta Sakievich and attempted to seize her petition. When she refused, he pushed her to the ground, after which she was taken to the hospital to be treated for her injuries. Later, she pressed assault charges against Father Martel. [Just wow] Cardinal Shehan was informed about the unfolding situation, and he telephoned the monsignor. He instructed Monsignor Manns to stop the protests, and that any encouragement of the protests would be an “act of rebellion” under canon law. He also dispatched Auxiliary Bishop T. Austin Murphy to St. Anthony’s to ensure that the picketing and collection of signatures had ended. The women agreed to stop their protest, but they had already collected several hundred signatures in support of their pastor. [It’s difficult to tell from this distance of time the merits of the case.  This raises the question that has vexed so many Catholics since this time: how to respond to episcopal authority seemingly complicit in the destruction of the Church and behavior damaging to souls, when ordered under obedience by that same authority to acquiesce.  I don’t know if obedience was merited in this case but I do think, rather strongly, that the revolutionaries have always used the mantra of obedience to quell orthodox reaction, to a degree that has hurt both the Church and souls.  There is precedent in Church history for faithful who have refused authority’s demands for obedience for the good of souls and the maintenance of orthodox belief]

Five days later, Monsignor Manns met with the cardinal……By the end of the week, Monsignor Manns submitted his resignation, and it was made effective immediately, with the requirement that the beloved priest leave his former parish by March 1. [I wonder, what was the threat against him if he did not resign?  Involuntary sacking and the diocese seeking a forced laicization, denial of whatever stipend he received from the Archdiocese, etc?  IOW, the usual threats?]

The official press release of the archdiocese, as published in The Catholic Review, read:

[I]t became painfully clear that the monsignor found it impossible to carry out the Archdiocesan policy in keeping with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, particularly in the areas of liturgical renewal in the parish, lay responsibility and the proper role of associate pastors in the parish. [The revolution will brook no dissent] Monsignor Manns has served the Archdiocese well in various capacities for over forty years. It is regrettable that his resignation was attended by so much distasteful publicity.”

Even Monsignor Manns’ detractors agreed that he was an effective administrator. In his twelve years as pastor of St. Anthony’s Church, he built a new rectory and convent, remodeled and built an addition to the elementary school, and increased the parish membership from 7,500 to 12,000. The parish boasted twelve Masses every Sunday. Today, the parish school is closed, and the school building is up for sale. The parish has merged with a neighboring parish, and only two Sunday masses are scheduled, which are reduced to only one Sunday Mass during the summer months. [So typical]

Father Martel has left active ministry. [If one were to count the instances in which bishops have sided with progressive priests who later left the priesthood or were drummed out by even higher authority…….well, the number would be pretty high]

………A Catholic revolution in the priesthood was afoot in the 1960s even without the impetus of the council. [Very true.  But the Council ramped up the “dissent” by an order of magnitude and gave it a patina of ecclesiastical approval]

The forced removal of older and more traditional priests was much more pervasive than the single case of Monsignor Manns.……The following year, the senate drew up a list of a dozen pastors who did not accept all the implications of the Second Vatican Council, in particular liturgical changes and lay involvement.  [Meaning trashing the Mass, EMHCs, lay people lectors, and Ms. So and So advising divorce at the family ministry?] According the The Premier See, Cardinal Shehan requested that these pastors resign based on the senate’s recommendation. When the senate agreed to make seventy the mandatory age for retirement and sixty-five the optional age, twenty percent of pastors in Baltimore were forced to retire between 1967 and 1969, representing a titanic shift in the leadership of the archdiocese……..The old priests were out — especially those who expressed reservations about the changes occurring — and the young and more progressive priests were in. [It’s a delicious irony that now the young priests are the orthodox ones and the older ones are those bitterly clinging to their power.  Most  young priests have to hide their orthodoxy so long as these aging hippies remain]

……..One year prior, fifty-five archdiocesan priests from Baltimore signed the Statement of Dissent composed by Father Charles Curran, and the list of priests was printed in The Baltimore Sun. Without informing the cardinal, these priests publicly voiced their opposition to Humanae Vitae, yet none of them were forced to resign from their positions. Reflecting on this disparity, the 1960s marked a new era for the Catholic Church. Priests have always run afoul of the hierarchy, but perhaps for the first time, priests who upheld the traditional teachings of Catholicism were running into opposition from above and forced from their positions whereas priests who openly challenged church teachings were tolerated.

And thus the revolution is efficiently described.  Yes there were many portents and trends in this direction prior to 1962, but it was only after Vatican II that these trends became so dominant and overpowering.  Nothing describes the cataclysm that afflicted the Church during those tumultuous years more than this fact: modernist-progressives could literally get away with murder, or at least raping 11 year old boys, while those adhering to what the Church had always believed were persona non grata.  That’s a very effective policy to radically make over any body, but especially one so dependent on the public maintenance of a constant line of belief and practice like the Church.

Another interesting perspective on the same subject: fighting revolutionary ideals takes constant vigilance and enormous effort. Somewhere during the course of the 20th century, many leaders in the Church opted out of the fight. Those modernists forced  underground by St. Pius X were clearly surfacing even by the late 1920s in places like Germany, and around the world by the mid-40s.  By the time of the decisive moment, the orthodox elements were woefully out-manned, out-gunned, and out-maneuvered.

I’m trying to cap posts at 1500 1600 words, so I’ll end there.

Never withhold a grave sin during Confession! August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, priests, Sacraments, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I like this reminder, I think it’s very good.  Don’t be embarrassed to confess some sin, no matter how grave or mortifying!  In allSt_John_Bosco likelihood, the priest has no idea who you are, anyway, but even if he did, they don’t remember, and even if they did that……so what?!?  They’ve heard worse, likely from me.  That embarrassment is a subtle form of pride, in a perverse way exalting yourself as so awesome your sins are above everyone else’s.

An edifying episode from the life of St. John Bosco:

A fifteen-year-old boy in Turin, Italy was about to die. He called for Don Bosco, but the saint was not able to make it in time. Another priest heard the boy’s confession and the boy died.

When Don Bosco returned to Turin, he set out at once to see the boy.

When told that the boy was dead, he insisted that it was “just a misunderstanding.”

After a moment of prayer in the room of the dead child, Don Bosco suddenly cried out: “Charles! Rise!”

To the utter amazement of all present, the boy stirred, opened his eyes, and sat up. Seeing Don Bosco, his eyes lit up.

“Father, I should now be in Hell!” gasped the boy. “Two weeks ago I was with a bad companion who led me into sin JohnBosco (1)and at my last confession, I was afraid to tell everything… Oh, I’ve just come out of a horrible dream! I dreamt I was standing on the edge of a horrible pit of flames surrounded by a horde of devils.

They were about to throw me into the flames when a beautiful Lady appeared and stopped them. ‘There’s still hope for you, Charles,’ she told me. ‘You have not yet been judged!’

At that moment I heard you calling me. Oh, Don Bosco! What a joy to see you again! Will you please hear my confession?”

After hearing the boy’s confession, Don Bosco said to the boy, “Charles, now that the gates of Heaven lie wide open hqdefaultfor you, would you rather go there or stay here with us?”

The boy looked away for a moment and his eyes grew moist with tears. An expectant hush fell over the room. “Don Bosco,” he said at last, “I’d rather go to Heaven.”

The mourners watched in amazement as Charles leaned back on the pillows, closed his eyes, and settled once more into the stillness of death.

I love Saint stories.  That’s a very good one.

From certain angles he looks like a certain local traditional priest, doesn’t he?  Their manner is very much the same, as well!

images (8)


Fr. Carota on living in the present moment August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Papa, persecution, priests, sanctity, scandals, Society, SOD, the return, Tradition, Virtue.
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Super post from Fr. Carota:  don’t let your legitimate worries and concerns get the best of you and ruin your relationship with God and His Church (all as in original I add only comments):

Every one of us has a list of serious concerns right now, (or what we call problems).  Having problems is simply part of being human.  Believe it or not, everyone, no matter how it may appear, has problems, concerns and cares.

So there is IMMEDIATE HELP to help us deal with our problems.

  1. First, turn to God right now in prayer and trust, with blind faith, so that He will help us right now with our problems.  It may not be instantaneous, but He will show us a way to get through what we are now experiencing.
  2. Then, put these problems in perspective, so that you stop worrying and have PEACE right now.  That is what this article is about.

So the first thing to do is write down a list of everything that you are worried about right now, (use the list below as suggestions to get you personal list started).

I am worried right now about;

  • Our pope, cardinals, bishops, religious, priests,
  • Our Church,
  • Our country,
  • Our president,
  • My family,
  • My marriage,
  • Our children, grandchildren and godchildren……..
  • My Temptations,
  • My vices…..[More suggestions at Fr. Carota’s blog – you get the point]

Now take time to go over this list and write down exactly what it is that you are concerned about this problem.  Then put your worries in order, according to how serious or urgent the problem is.

Then go over this list, starting with the worst problem, with these criteria.

  • Am I absolutely sure this problem will happen?  When?
  • Do I have the resources, knowledge and intelligence to handle this problem?
  • Is there a solution I have forgotten about?
  • Who can I get to help me with this problem?
  • Am I making my problem bigger than it really is?
  • When will I begin, (not procrastinate), to deal with my problem?
  • Is this problem something I have no influence over and need to let go of?
  • When I worry about this problem, do I pray to God, Mary, the Angels, saints for help?
  • Does fear keep me from confronting my problems?
  • Are my fears realistic?
  • Have I overblown the problem?

Now you need to come up with a Godly attitude about the situation, or problem, you are so worried about.  Here is an example.  Say you are worried about your husband who has left you.  A Godly attitude will tell you to do all you can to be reconciled, but keeping in mind that you only can control your own actions, not his.

The other very very important ATTITUDE to have is reminding ourselves that we only have this moment right now.  We have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER WHAT COULD HAPPEN THE NEXT MOMENT.  Yes, we have control in the sense that we can make wise decisions right now on how we will live the next moment, but in all truth, we only have this moment.  We could die right now.  The people causing the problem could die, move, change their mind, repent, at any time too…….

Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew 6:34.

The passage that comes right before this shows how to avoid problems and to receive from God what we need.

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33.

If we are seeking to serve Christ the King first in our life, then all else will eventually fall in place for our good………

……….Please keep your list of problems and concerns.  A week, a month, a year later, review it again.  You will be very surprised that most of what you were concerned about never came to anything and that somehow or other you pass through the rest, (hopefully with prayer for God’s help, good decisions and actions and the help of good people).

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know, that in the end, God is incharge and will take care of us and bring good out of all our sufferings and problems.  We are truly in HIs loving hands……..

………Above all, pray for those who are going through difficult situations and problems.

———-End Quote———-

I note from the above that I do worry and get excited about things that I have no worldly or natural control over.  I worry about the upcoming Synod, about Pope Francis, the Kasperite gambit, the modernist revolution, etc.  I have precious little way, aside from prayer and penance, to influence any of those things.  I try to make people aware of what’s going on and, I think more importantly, to help reassure souls that action X is wrong and why matter Z is scandalous.  But that’s a very long way from solving what tends to concern me.

Some folks may not like this post. They may think it overly minimizes righteous indignation at the state of the Church and the ongoing scandals we are surrounded with.  That’s not my intent, nor do I think it is Father Carota’s, either.  I would hope that anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am not some on-the-payroll apologist or Pollyanna.  The point is that while we all get scandalized by things, don’t let  yourself get scandalized out of the Faith!  That does happen, and we may have even more abundant reasons in the future to be tempted to do just that.  Certainly be concerned and involved but use that as something that draws you closer to our Lord and a more perfect practice of virtue, not as an excuse to give up, become a rage-aholic, or God forbid, leave the Church for the sects or somewhere else.

In Narcotics Anonymous, there is a saying, which I will paraphrase as: don’t mess yourself to get revenge.  Sometimes when recovering addicts get really hurt by someone they are tempted to use again.  They go back into active addiction to hurt the one who hurt them back, but the one who really pays the price for such folly is the addict.  Likewise, many of us feel hurt and wounded by the leadership of the Church of late.  You get the point.

Turn it to something else.  Keep that fire of zeal that scandal can inspire but direct it towards becoming a Saint.

h/t reader Skeinster

Men’s Prayer Vigil outside ‘The Men’s Club’ Fri Aug 21 @ 8:30p August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, mortification, paganism, persecution, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition.
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Let’s see some more men come out!  I get at least 1000 different readers a week from the Dallas Diocese and at least 30-40% of those have to be male.  Everyone who comes out has a family and is very busy. We all are.  It’s all a matter of priority.

So come on out!  It’s a tremendous spiritual work of mercy!  To all you men who have already come, thank you, God bless you, please keep it up!

I will be praying outside  The Men’s Club, 2340 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, on FRIDAY AUG 21 @ 8:30p.  I will actually be across the street in the parking lot of the US Post Office.  This is directly across from the entrance to the inappropriately named “gentleman’s club.”  

We’ve had some good turnout.  I pray all of you are able to come back out this time.

The post office parking lot is well lit and set back some distance from the very busy roadway.  It is public land so we cannot be harassed for being there.  It’s really an ideal situation, we are basically impossible to miss by patrons leaving this sexually oriented business (SOB).  Men over 18 only.  All men are welcome.  You don’t have to be a member of a particular parish.  I will stay for at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half, depending on how many show up.

Just to be clear we have had no occasions of sin stemming from being adjacent to a strip club.  We are out in public and have experienced no scandal at all to this point.

No protesting, just prayer.  If we are approached by anyone associated with the SOB let one man interact with them while the rest provide prayer support.

This is a small way to push back against the culture of license, perversion, and death.  Maybe it’s even a way to get that canonized “smell of the sheep” we hear so much about.

PS – I think everyone who has come out has enjoyed it.  Every time is different.

Bishop-Martyr who refused to submit to islam to be beatified Aug 29 August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Holy suffering, martyrdom, persecution, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Syriac-Catholic Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké is to be beatified by Pope Francis Aug 29.  A convert from Orthodoxy, Bishop Flavien-Michel-MalkéMalke was martyred after refusing to convert to the false religion of islam in 1915, during the Armenian Genocide which was really a more general genocide by Ottoman muslims against all Christians in present-day Turkey.  From the 1870s to the early 1920s, the muslim Turks managed to kill or drive into exile nearly 10 million Christians, eliminating almost ALL Christian presence from one of our most ancient homelands.  May God have mercy on them for the evil they continue to commit, even to this day, and may all who belong to this false religion experience the grace of conversion to the Faith they so diabolically persecute (initial commentary by Robert Spencer):

Nowadays Bishop Flavien-Michel Malké’s feckless successors among the U.S. Catholic bishops bow and scrape before the children and heirs of those who killed him, silencing those who speak out about the Muslim persecution of Christians and consigning today’s new martyrs to their fate, sacrificing them on the altar of their fruitless, delusional and self-defeating quest for “dialogue” with Muslims.[It’s more than just US bishops.  This is a widespread delusion among the Church’s hierarchy today, especially in Western nations]How many Christians has that “dialogue” prevented from being persecuted or martyred? Why, absolutely none, of course. But the comfortable suburban Church continues on its comfortable suburban way, secure in its illusions and delusions. [That’s a damning indictment, but a highly accurate one] One day, however, the truth it has so assiduously endeavored to ignore, deny and suppress will dawn upon it with undeniable and terrifying reality, and maybe some of those bishops will realize how ill they served their people by enforcing and reinforcing their ignorance and complacency. [On this as well as many other matters]

“Syriac Bishop Will Be Beatified on the 100th Anniversary of His Martyrdom (832),” National Catholic Register, August 11, 2015:

…….On Saturday, Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Flavien-Michel Malké, a Syriac Catholic bishop who was killed in 1915, amid the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against its Christian minorities……..

………Bishop Malké will be beatified Aug. 29, the 100th anniversary of his martyrdom, during a liturgy celebrated by Ignatius Youssef III Younan, the Syriac patriarch of Antioch, at the convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Lebanon. It is expected that thousands of Syrians and Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State will attend the beatification.

“In these painful times experienced by Christians, especially the Syriac communities in Iraq and Syria, the news of the beatification of one of their martyrs, will surely bring encouragement and consolation to face today’s trials of appalling dimension,” read an Aug. 9 statement of the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch.

“Blessed Martyr Michael, intercede for us, and protect especially the Christians in the Orient and all the world in these hard and painful days.” [Can we say a bit more about the evil of so many followers of islam, or is that imprudent when souls already have the knife at their throat?]

Malké was born in 1858 in the village of Kalaat Mara, a village of the Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey, to a Syriac Orthodox family. He joined a monastery of that Church and was ordained a deacon, but then converted to the Syriac Catholic Church. (Both the Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholics use the West-Syrian rite.)

After his conversion, he was ordained a priest in Aleppo in 1883. He was a member of the Fraternity of St. Ephrem and served parishes in southeastern Turkey, near his home.

Ottoman persecution of Christians began in earnest with the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1897. Malké’s church and home were sacked and burned in 1895, and many of his parishioners were murdered, including his mother. In total, the massacres killed between 80,000 and 300,000 Christians……..

……He was selected to become a bishop in the 1890s, serving as a chorbishop and helping in the rebuilding of Christian villages. In 1913, he was consecrated bishop and appointed head of the Syriac Diocese of Gazireh (modern-day Cizre, 150 miles southeast of Diyarbakir).

A second round of persecution of Christians in the Ottoman Empire began in April 1915. Known as the Armenian Genocide, it targeted the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christian minorities in the empire. The Assyrian genocide (the portion of the mass killings directed against Syriac and Chaldean Christians) is also known as the Seyfo Massacre, from the Syriac word for sword.

Some 1.5 million Christians were killed, and millions more were displaced during the genocide. 

During the summer when the genocide broke out, Bishop Malké was in the Idil district, near Gazireh. In June 1915, hearing the Ottoman forces were preparing to massacre Gazireh’s people, he returned.

According to the Syriac Patriarchate, when his friends and acquaintances urged him to withdraw from Gazireh to a safer location, he replied, “Even my blood I will shed for my sheep.”

Together with four of his priests and the Chaldean bishop of Gazireh, Philippe-Jacques Abraham, he was arrested and imprisoned for two months.

Bishop Malké refused to convert to Islam, and on Aug. 29, 1915, he was martyred.

He was the last Syriac bishop of Gazireh; after his death, the diocese was suppressed, and, today, the Syriac Catholic Church has no presence in Turkey. [Because they were all killed or driven into exile]

“Even my blood I will shed for my sheep.”  It’s such an easy thing for me to say, but how many bishops have this kind of devotion to the souls in their charge today?  We hear so much about pastoral care, even to the point of changing irreformable revealed Dogma ostensibly for pastoral reasons, but this is true pastoral concern – defending the Truth and refusing to submit to a false religion even to the point of death.

Blessed Flavien-Michel Malké, pray for us, especially our bishops!


Cuba’s suffering Catholics ignored as Obama, Francis support totalitarian regime August 18, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, martyrdom, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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There is a great deal of breathless coverage in the media over the normalization of relations between the despotic, authoritarian regime and the communist government of Cuba.  Progressives are beside themselves with glee that one of their favorite countries in the world, which is coincidentally one of the few remaining one-party ruled communist states, is now going to be open for travel and trade.  The Vatican played a significant role in this process under Pope Francis, and Pope Francis is set to visit Cuba shortly.  Even Raul Castro himself has proclaimed that Pope Francis is his kind of guy.

Overlooked in all this giddy display is the plight of Cuba’s Catholics, who remain as ostracized, persecuted, and maligned by the communist party as ever.  They, and all those who oppose the Castroite regime, will be the ones who pay the largest price for this normalization in relations, which will have the primary effect of providing the money needed to keep the current regime in power for many  years into the future, just as we’ve seen occur with normalization of relations with China and Vietnam (my emphasis and comments):

Secretary of State John Kerry’s historic flag-raising at the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Friday culminates a diplomatic accomplishment for the Obama administration and Pope Francis. But the ceremony has some irony, not all that unlikePresident George W. Bush’s 2003 “Mission Accomplished” speech.

The island’s dissidents weren’t invited, and the pontiff who helped usher in the new relations might have been expected to side with Cuba’s persecuted faithful. But when asked about Cuba’s spotty record, Francis demurred. “I would say that in many countries of the world, human rights are not respected,” he said during a July in-flight news conference. “Religious liberty is not a reality in the entire world; there are many countries that do not allow it.” [But should the Church reward regimes founded on hatred of the Church and the most vile persecution of Catholics?  Should the Church be involved in diplomatic shenanigans that have the effect of helping to keep that regime in power?  In a different time, the Church had leaders that would have said unequivocally NO, we do not support this regime, we oppose it, and we support the poor suffering Catholics who groan under its heavy yoke]

……..But some in Castro’s Cuba aren’t buying it. “It is a mockery for Raul Castro tell the pope that he may return to the bosom of the church and pray again,” Berta Soler told Spanish radio. Soler is the leader of the Ladies in White, a Catholic opposition movement made up of relatives of jailed human rights activists who attend Mass and silently take to the streets while wearing white.

Soler’s skepticism might have something to do with Castro’s security goons, who continue to harass and detain the Ladies and other dissidents. Just days before Kerry’s visit, the government rounded up about 50 of Soler’s Ladies. The detentions are only “further proof of the Cuban government’s intolerance towards people who think differently,” Soler told the PanAm Post.

But Castro’s crackdown seems to be more about religious freedom than the ballot box. “Many times, we haven’t been able to get to church,” Soler told the National Review at this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum. “The few who actually do make it to church have been detained for over five hours. They have been beaten.” This might be why Soler is more than a little frustrated with her spiritual shepherd. “The European Union, the USA, Pope Francis — they have turned their backs on us,” she said.  [It’s “ostpolitik” all over again.  Recall how Cardinal Mindseintzy and other heroic Catholics were thrown under the bus in the service of Paul VI’s ill-advised and ultimately destructive detente with communist regimes in Eastern Europe.  It took a much different Pope to call those regimes out for their barbarity and inhuman behavior, a policy that many feel contributed directly to their sudden demise.  Now several Eastern European states boast the most visibly Catholic governments in the world (which may be far from ideal, yet, but the turnaround has been amazing).  Thus the fruit of cooperation with Grace and standing, at least in one area, in defense of the Faith.  Apparently Cuba’s long-suffering Catholics won’t get the benefit of the fruits of stalwart promotion of the Faith and calling a spade a spade]

………Pope Francis should at least say something about the lack of freedom in Cuba, and in so doing, minister to Cuba’s dwindling faithful. That Univision survey found that only 27% of Cubans are Catholic, and only a fraction attends Mass regularly. [Of course, because Catholics have been savagely mistreated for decades.  They have also endured a lifetime of Church-bashing communist propaganda.]

As for Raul Castro, he vows to attend “all” the pope’s planned Masses in Cuba. But because papal diplomacy hasn’t worked out too well for Cubans, Francis could exercise some spiritual leadership and deny Castro communion at Mass in the same way Castro denies freedom for the people of Cuba.

Excuse my cynicism, but barring a totally unexpected miracle, that’s not going to happen.  I hope Pope Francis might decry Cuba’s persecution of the Church but I tend to doubt that will happen, either.  If his South American trip is any indication, Pope Francis will shower lauds on the government and speak endlessly, if vaguely, about the plight of the poor.  The irony is, nothing enriches a narrow connected elite more, nor mires more people in grinding poverty, than socialism.  Papal support for socialism – excoriated by so many previous pontiffs! – is the apotheosis of preferring image and rhetoric to reality, is it not?