Monday, July 13, 2020

In Loving Memory

It is with profound sorrow that I am now able to announce the death of my friend, Darold Johnston.

Two weeks ago I asked for prayers on Facebook, hoping to get Darold into the emergency room.  After two days trying to persuade him that his shortness of breath was life threatening, he finally agreed to let me call 911 for emergency transport.  He had been suffering from coronary artery disease since his stroke two years ago.  Darold never wanted to go back to the hospital, but returned there once, several months ago due to a UTI.

Darold wanted to rest before I called, and he laid back on the bed.  I went into the other room to pray the rosary while he rested, when I checked on him again, he hadn't moved.  I tried to wake him, checked his pulse, but there was no response.  I called 911 and they were at the house in minutes.  He could not be revived.  He was pronounced dead.

He never wanted to go into a nursing home, and remained in his beloved house - never alone - except for an hour or two, when I went to Mass and the store.

Darold did not want a public funeral, therefore internment will be private.  He also asked that no announcement be made until after final arrangements have been completed.  This has been a difficult promise to keep.

Darold died on 30 June, 2020.  He is preceded in death by his older brother Richard, who died while still a toddler.  His father Richard, and his mother Agnes - with whom we lived after his dad passed away, caring for her until her death.  Please remember Darold in your prayers and Masses.  His favorite charity was Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis.  Darold was especially generous to many charities, such as St. Jude's, Animal no kill shelters, Wounded Warriors, as well as the Catholic Church.  Thank you.

Darold was my best friend.

He who is a friend is always a friend, and a brother is born for the time of stress.
Proverbs 17:17 (NAB)

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Novena to the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel

O most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel,
fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, conceived without sin,
Mediatrix of men before God,
Refuge of all our hopes,
assist those most in need of thy mercy.
O Star of the Sea, help those most in need of thy mercy,
and show them you are their Maternal refuge.
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor your servant in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee,
And for those who do not have recourse to thee,
especially those most in need of thy mercy.

Sweet Mother I place this cause in your hands. Amen.

O Compassionate Mother,
You are the open-wide fount who wash away the faults of men.
All you help, rejecting none:
Extend your hand to the Dead,
Who in pain languish continually, O Mary!

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Prayers to Our Lady, Joy of All Who Sorrow

O All-Holy Lady Theotokos,
More exalted than the Cherubim and more honorable than the Seraphim,
O Divinely-Chosen Maiden, Joy of All the Sorrowful,
Grant consolation also to us, who are in sorrow:
For without you we have no other refuge or help.

Lauding thy mercies and wonders, O Theotokos, we all praise thee as our steadfast intercessor, and bowing down with compunction before thee who doth pray for us, we implore thee to lift up thy hands to thy Son, that always in this life, and after our death, His mercy may continually be upon us who cry out to thee: 

Rejoice, our unashamed hope in life and after our repose! 
Rejoice, thou who doth grant a peaceful end of this life to those who honour thee! 
Rejoice, our hope and defence on the Day of Judgment! 
Rejoice, supplication of the just Judge! 
Rejoice, deliverance from everlasting torment! 
Rejoice, hope of eternal salvation! 
Rejoice, key to the Kingdom of Christ! Rejoice, portal of Paradise! 
Rejoice, bridge leading to the heavens! 
Rejoice, refuge and good intercessor for all repentant sinners! 
Rejoice, joy of the angels! Rejoice, glory and consolation of all the righteous! 

O Most-holy Mother of God, Joy of all the Sorrowful
Grant thy mercy to us sinners.
Thy Son now sits on the throne of the Eternal Kingdom,
And all our troubles thou seest; thou knowest them as they occur.
Thou hast always prayed to Christ God for the faithful,
And hast relieved much pain and misery of the sorrowful.
O Holy Virgin, never cease, to the end of time,
To pray for the salvation of our race.
God hast made thee even more glorious than the Seraphim:
O hasten to us, O Joy of all the Sorrowful!
O All-hymned Mother, crushed by thy sorrow at the Cross of thy Son and God, accept our tears and expressions of sorrow, and save from every sorrow, affliction, and eternal death all those who hope in thine ineffable kindheartedness and cry out to God: Alleluia!
O All-hymned Mother, crushed by thy sorrow at the Cross of thy Son and God, accept our tears and expressions of sorrow, and save from every sorrow, affliction, and eternal death all those who hope in thine ineffable kindheartedness and cry out to God: Alleluia!
O All-hymned Mother, crushed by thy sorrow at the Cross of thy Son and God, accept our tears and expressions of sorrow, and save from every sorrow, affliction, and eternal death all those who hope in thine ineffable kindheartedness and cry out to God: Alleluia! 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Thoughts on the death of a loved one.

As a Catholic, when a friend or relative dies, my greatest concern is always the salvation of their soul.

These days, in time of pandemic, many are blocked from receiving the sacraments, afraid to go to the emergency room or the doctor, and if elderly, most afraid of going to a nursing home.  It is so important for us to pray for those isolated and detained.  Caring for them as best one can, making them comfortable, and as I said - praying unceasingly.  Forgetting one's self as much as possible - within reason - and treating the sick with that same patient love as we would want ourselves.

I was reading online that many die at home because they shy away from calling 911 due to COVID-19:
TUESDAY, June 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Since the coronavirus pandemic arrived on U.S. shores in March, the number of calls to emergency medical services has fallen by more than 26% compared to the last two years, a new study finds.
At the same time, the number of EMS calls to homes where people have died has doubled, researchers say. - Source
I know that is true.

Of course, some are known to avoid emergency services because they convince themselves they will get better.  Deep down, I suspect they just do not want to leave home, and if they sense they may be in their last days, they would prefer to die at home.  Sometimes it is just denial.

For the survivor, beyond the existential sense of powerlessness, the 'sudden' death of a loved one comes as a complete shock.  Even when death may be expected - it is always a surprise of sorts. Suddenly bewildered, one doesn't believe it, or one tries to revive the loved one.  Years ago, in the case of response to my mother's death, I insisted she was still alive, thinking she had simply lost consciousness.  The hospice nurse had to do all sorts of things, such as holding a mirror to her lips, to prove to me she was no longer breathing.    When death happens at home - that's when you call 911 - in disbelief.  They pretty much take it from there.

Everything changes - instantly - for the deceased and for the one who survives him.  As a Catholic, the ever present eschatological concern erupts in one's heart - with deepest concern for the soul of the deceased.  If you were very close, every breath becomes a prayer for the repose of his soul.  Perhaps, similar to "Esther, seized with mortal anguish, (who) fled to the Lord", the survivor flees to the Divine Mercy  offering every possible suffrage.  For friends, whose friendship developed to become a "friendship of virtue ... based on contemplation of the good, the true, and the beautiful" their "parting is such sweet sorrow" - albeit in a state of painful grief.  It occurs to me, such is their friendship, it may be likened to Jonathan's love for David:  "And in his love for David, Jonathan renewed his oath to him, because he loved him as he loved himself." - 1 Samuel 20:17  Hence, the grief, hence the incessant prayer.

It is very good to think of the last things, to pray for a happy death, to prepare for death, and to ardently pray for a happy death for those we love.  Lately I've been reading St. Catherine of Genoa, whose Treatise on Purgatory is very consoling.  It is good to look upon death as God coming to get us, to take us home.  It is our ultimate return to the Father, in and through the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ ...  A merciful God openly reveals his plan to the soul of the deceased, who has now stepped into eternity.  I am convinced that the promises of Christ become especially efficacious at the moment of death, how else could a soul 'choose' to enter the state of purgation we know as purgatory?  At least that is my hope, my confidence - wherein amid sorrow, I find peace.

This is the section of St. Catherine's Treatise I found so consoling - how good it is to be in the Charity of God.

Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure 
The souls who are in Purgatory cannot, as I understand, choose but be there, and this is by God's ordinance who therein has done justly. They cannot turn their thoughts back to themselves, nor can they say, "Such sins I have committed for which I deserve to be here " nor, "I would that I had not committed them for then I would go now to Paradise", nor, "That one will leave sooner than I", nor, "I will leave sooner than he". They can have neither of themselves nor of others any memory, whether of good or evil, whence they would have greater pain than they suffer ordinarily. So happy are they to be within God's ordinance, and that He should do all which pleases Him, as it pleases Him that in their greatest pain they cannot think of themselves. They see only the working of the divine goodness, which leads man to itself mercifully, so that he no longer sees aught of the pain or good which may befall him. Nor would these souls be in pure charity if they could see that pain or good. They cannot see that they are in pain because of their sins; that sight they cannot hold in their minds because in it there would be an active imperfection, which cannot be where no actual sin can be.
Only once, as they pass from this life, do they see the cause of the Purgatory they endure; never again do they see it for in another sight of it there would be self. Being then in charity from which they cannot now depart by any actual fault, they can no longer will nor desire save with the pure will of pure charity. Being in that fire of Purgatory, they are within the divine ordinance, which is pure charity, and in nothing can they depart thence for they are deprived of the power to sin as of the power to merit. - S. Catherine of Genoa
While I was editing this, a dear friend sent me a story about loss and grief, a grandson who lost the grandmother who raised him after his parents split up.  Days after her death, the young man received a package in the mail, with a note from his grandmother:

"‘Right now you probably feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and it’s going to come crashing down. But keep going. We all have a purpose in life. And one of the reasons you are here was to bring some happiness into mine.’” - Humans of New York

Eternal rest grant unto them , O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
 May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

“A brother is a better defense than a strong city, 
and a friend is like the bars of a castle.”
Proverbs 18:19 (NAB)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A Nun I Know Died.

She once asked me not to write about her.

I should update the blog.

I spend too much time on FB.

Doing what?  Engaging in discussions about stuff I used to post about on the blog.  Mystics, locutions, monks, anti-papist Catholics, deluded prelates, but not a lot about other stuff.  A little bit of politics, but I hold back, since it seems everyone I know is pro-Trump.

I've written about how the riots and protests, as well as the vandalism of monuments reminds me of the events in Mexico in the 1920's, the Cristeros, as well the violence of Republican Spain.  I also see similarities to the Paris Commune, especially in Seattle.  It takes a lot of research to write about this stuff, and I don't have the energy.

Lots of people seem to be seeing prophecies fulfilled these days.  I'm not qualified to contradict them.

So there.  That's an update.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My bad - I just checked comments today and posted those in moderation.

I'm not ignoring you - thanks for commenting.  I used to get email alerts to comments, but no longer do.  That's why I miss them.

Whatcha gonna do? The Supreme Court rules.

The court legislates that gay, lesbian, transgender persons are protected from employment discrimination.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court. 
The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 
“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the court. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” - AP
The USCCB responds.

Because it doesn't bode well for religious freedom.
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, the President of the USCCB, has said he is “deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law.” He described the Court’s action as “an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.” - VN
What can I say?  I accept Church teaching on sexuality and marriage.  I accept the teaching homosexual persons are called to chastity.  I accept Catholic teaching on marriage.  I have always sympathized with same sex attracted men and women who work for the Church, especially in roles of influence, who choose to break with Catholic teaching and enter into same sex marriage, and are terminated.  I know first hand the Church does not discriminate against gay people - many have been and remain employed in parishes and chanceries, in good standing.  If they deviate from employment  policy, they can be terminated.  Yet for the most part, few are terminated on the basis of sexual inclination.  Admittance to religious life and Holy Orders is another matter.

I have been saddened over the years, when I learned of older men and women, who have been long time companions, now living chastely and celibately, dismissed from parish social and liturgical functions simply because they continue to live together - albeit as brothers or sisters.  In some cases, legal civil marriage had been contracted, against Catholic teaching, in that case these people were told not to function as lector, EMHC, or even sing in the choir.  That is an important distinction since their state in life contradicts Catholic teaching.  If you want to practice the Catholic faith, you have to keep the Commandments.  If you don't, or for some reason believe you can't, you can still go to Mass, but not receive Communion.  Catholics know this stuff.  It's similar to those who are divorced and remarried, yet live as brother and sister.

The Supreme Court is not supreme over Catholic teaching.

It's going to get complicated.  Archbishop Gomez' comments are an understatement.  The Church will be challenged by priests like Fr. Martin, SJ, along with other LGBTQ advocates in religious life and among activist laity.

Why?  What is it in Catholic teaching that so many, including Catholics, object to?  For one, the very idea that there is just and unjust discrimination.  Second, the teaching that the homosexual inclination itself is objectively disordered.  That is the stumbling block.  Culture has so embraced LGBTQ equality, it is almost impossible (even for those of us who have lived our lives, striving to live faithfully in accord with Catholic teaching),  to recall what the Catholic Church actually teaches on this issue.  Likewise, those who promote the teaching, Courage members, Joe Sciambra, and clergy, are very often marginalized and routinely condemned as homophobic.  All my life I battled these misunderstandings, I have tried to adjust my POV, and I have tried to be accepting and tolerant - but there is no way I can betray my conscience.

That said, I'll reprint here what will be the major stumbling block for those who wish to change employment requirements for LGBTQ persons in Catholic institutions, especially schools and parishes.  (Healthcare and chancery work, maybe not so much.)  The language of the CDF documents and the Catechism are what LGBTQ advocates and their families, object to the most.  Granted, the time will come when there most likely will be some modification of language, but the fundamental teaching cannot change.  There may even be concessions regarding employment, but employees can't change Catholic teaching or practice.

Some Considerations of the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons.
11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.
12. Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.
13. Including “homosexual orientation” among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action or preferential treatment in hiring practices. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homo-sexuality (cf. no. 10) which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality. A person's homosexuality would be invoked in opposition to alleged discrimination, and thus the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of basic human rights. 

14. The “sexual orientation” of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual's sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise.
Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be “either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing” (cf. no. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to “manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws” (cf. no. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that “any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination” (cf. no. 9).
In addition, there is a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law.
15. Since in the assessment of proposed legislation uppermost concern should be given to the responsibility to defend and promote family life (cf. no. 17), strict attention should be paid to the single provisions of proposed measures. How would they affect adoption or foster care? Would they protect homosexual acts, public or private? Do they confer equivalent family status on homosexual unions, for example, in respect to public housing or by entitling the homosexual partner to the privileges of employment which could include such things as “family” participation in the health benefits given to employees (cf. no. 9)?
16. Finally, where a matter of the common good is concerned, it is inappropriate for Church authorities to endorse or remain neutral toward adverse legislation even if it grants exceptions to Church organizations and institutions. The Church has the responsibility to promote family life and the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values, not simply to protect herself from the application of harmful laws (cf. no. 17). - Source
Paragraph #13 - #16 is obviously out of date, since legislation and civil court rulings have already been established, and legal protections along with civil liberties are in place.  Equal access to housing, employment, healthcare, etc., are more or less guaranteed.  Nevertheless, the Church will have to address this very soon - like yesterday - pearl clutching won't be enough.  The bishops and the proper dicasteries will have to address this new reality. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.

Pray.  Pray without ceasing.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Trinity Sunday

 "O my God, You are in me and I am in You."
O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness. - Elizabeth of the Trinity
 Infinite Solitude.  "The complete Trinity dwells in us."

Immensity wherein I lose myself.

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude!

In 1925, Trinity Sunday fell on June 7. 
That Sunday, Matt Talbot collapsed and died from heart failure. 
He was on his way to Mass.
Prayers for all of my friends,
especially those I have alienated.
Pray for me.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Urban Warfare

It's supposed to get worse tonight.

I used to live in a condo in the area that was burned last night.  The Governor and mayor have evidence out of state agitators-organizers are behind this.  The protest has moved away from being about George Floyd and turned into an attack against civil society.  What the want is destruction.  Tonight is supposed to be worse. 

The fires last night were only 2 miles from my house. 

I don't know what else to say.  I don't like the politics against leadership and how they are handling this.  No one was ready for this.  No one expected this.  There are so many poor people now displaced by fires, now unable to get food and supplies.  They lost income because of COVID - now this. 

Someone online made a joke about looting a Dollar Store - but poor people really buy their supplies in stores like that.  It makes me sad, because we are so privileged we don't realize the plight of the poor in our own cities.  It breaks my heart.

Friday, May 29, 2020

St. Paul VI

It was a wonderful consolation this morning when I realized today is the feast day of Pope Paul VI.

I am so grateful for his canonization, which is a confirmation of his sanctity and an affirmation of the good he accomplished as Pope.  It seems to me to also affirm Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of Mass.  Whenever one is tempted to doubt the efficacy of the Ordinary Form of Mass, Divine Providence has given us a sign in the canonization of Pope Paul VI, that Christ remains faithful to the Church, and his promises (to remain with us always) never fails.  Christ is faithful - even when we may not be.  He remains faithful, even when some depart, because they do not accept post-Conciliar papal authority, the Missal of Paul VI, and so on.

St. Paul VI, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Minneapolis Burning

It's all over the news, so I haven't posted about it here.  It feels like a war.  It's scary.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Fatima - the repellent stuff.

Why people consider it passe.

I had a discussion with a friend who has never been attracted to Fatima and the devotion.  He has a ton of questions - which comprise his objections, more or less.  I like skeptics and academics who are also devout Catholics.  No one is obliged to believe private revelations, even though several Popes have endorsed Fatima, and the prophecies and miracle have been validated.  Fatima has its share of eccentrics, and due to all the bad interpretations of the secrets and message, the authentic message is eclipsed and ignored.  My friend asked why the devotion is still credible?

I responded that it is credible - but the extreme side has exaggerated the message and distorted the secret, while they sensationalized the warnings from the Blessed Virgin. Essentially the message of Fatima is similar to that of the revelations to S. Margaret Mary and the request for the King of France to consecrate the nation. He did, but it was late, which led to secularization - I simplified the narrative.

Our Lord appeared to Lucia telling her how important the consecration to the IHM was to him and for the peace of the world - which has been entrusted to the Virgin. He told her the consecration will take place, but it will be late - citing the French failure. Over the decades, esp. approaching 1960, many Catholics were anxious for the Holy Father to reveal the 3rd part of the secret.  This apparently was even more important for them than the request for 1st Saturday devotion and the consecration to  Russia. Of course, Pius XII did so in a round about way, but it wasn't in union with all the bishops, etc..

As we know, JPII did it, and only much later revealed the 3rd part of the secret.  The JPII consecration was as OL asked, collegial, including a sort in pectore reference to Russia.  Sr. Lucia said it was done and accepted by heaven, albeit late.  Obviously the errors of Russia had meanwhile spread and we have seen the effects of that, albeit nuclear war was avoided.

Nevertheless, these people continue to claim the consecration wasn't done, or at least not accomplished exactly as OL requested - in this, they have veered off track.  In reference to an earlier post on Frere Michel's early work, I continued:

I had no idea how far Frere Michel's position Fatima (the secret and consecration, etc.) had evolved nor his association with Gruner.  The Gruner position is that the Virgin warned of a bad council, the Novus Ordo, and bad popes. Lucia never, ever said anything about that. She participated in the NO Mass and sacramental life.

Long story short, the bare bones of Fatima is credible - substantiated by every Pope since Pius XII, verified by Sr. Lucia herself, as well as a stunning miracle, several prophecies fulfilled, resulting in numerous conversions and so on. Because the effects of the 'errors of Russia' are still at play, the world remains in conflict. However, extrapolating the pandemic and antivax theories as part of the message is a stretch.   I seriously think Cardinal Burke has been misled by all the right wing propaganda - including QAnon crap.  The misinformation just can't be flushed out of the culture, or strands of popular-piety at this time.   Anyway - these people have done more harm to the Church and the devotion by their conspiracy theories, which in many instances have been actual lies, repeated so often, they are no longer differentiated from the original narrative. 

Cardinal Burke ... the Coronavirus as chastisement.

To my amazement, later in the day I received an alert,  LifeSite published a talk by John Henry Westen, going even further than Cardinal Burke's address Wednesday, using Fatima to discredit Pope Francis.  An excerpt:

Thursday, May 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In these times of Coronavirus it has become for me clear that we are living in the end times, at least as that pertains to the chastisement predicted by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Today the greatest deprivation of all time has taken place. For the first time in history the greater part of Catholic humanity has been deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
[...] In these times, the confusion is most grave as it is comes from the Pope himself who is supposed to be the chief guardian of the truths of the faith. Pope Francis has caused dreadful confusion with public statements to the press distorting Church teaching about contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality and transgenderism.
[...] It is worth noting that just before this virus broke out, the Pope allowed for idolatry in the Vatican Gardens. The Pachamama idolatry that took place there also included prostration before a statue of the Pachamama. The statue was later processed into St. Peter’s Basilica where the Pope and several Cardinals said prayers before it. This act was condemned by many Cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity all over the world. - Westen

LifeSite, Westen, Burke, Vigano and Schneider are acting as a parallel Magisterium.  The Rome Life Forum is not a synod - they are not in charge.  In fact they are leading a movement in opposition to the Pope.  It's unbelievable.  Westen clams the greater part of humanity has been deprived of Mass.  Later he concedes Mass is continued to be celebrated, but compares it to how priests would function under extreme persecution.  So many claims and subsequent links to Fatima are a misrepresentation of fact, based upon hybrid private revelations and subjective interpretations.

Fatima, Anticommunism and McCarthyism were linked in the popular consciousness of the 1950's.  Unfortunately, the Fatima movement has often been used for ideological and political purposes.

I leave it here for now.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Who or What is Influencing Cardinal Burke and Others Regarding Fatima?

The ghost of Fr. Gruner?

Venerable Cardinal Burke, in an address to the virtual Rome Life Forum, 'connected the errors of communist Russia with the current corona crisis', calling for the consecration of Russia as per Our Lady's requests at Fatima.

I have to wonder who is influencing Cardinal Burke. In his address, his call to put into practice the message of Fatima, along with the First Saturday devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is wonderful - it is good advice. However, it appears he believes the Consecration of Russia was either incomplete or not accepted by Heaven. That implies that St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, the CDF and Sr. Lucia herself, were not telling the truth. JPII made the consecration, which Sr. Lucia explicitly stated had finally been accomplished, and that Heaven accepted it. I do not understand the Cardinal's contradiction of the Holy See?

Reading the footnotes, I noted Burke appears to rely upon the writings of Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth about Fatima, Volume Three. Frere Michel speculated and wrote about the secret before the third part was revealed - he spoke about it publicly, sharing his insights based upon those who knew Sr. Lucia, as well as his personal intellectual deduction. He is now a Carthusian, Dom François Marie Velut, O. Carth., formerly Prior of Grande Chartreuse, therefore I have no idea what his thought about Fatima is today. 

When I understood he became a Carthusian, my respect for his theories was automatic, and admittedly, influenced my understanding of Fatima.  Until the actual secret was revealed, and having read the accounts of Sr. Lucia herself.  That said, many writers have expanded on the theories set forth by Frere Michel, many of which contradict Sr. Lucia's own testimony.  The idea that the secret was not revealed in its entirety, and that the consecration was inadequate., contradicts the Holy See and Sr. Lucia.

Fatima Crusaders.

The never ending conspiracy theories infecting Fatima, spoils the authenticity of the message for many, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Many Catholics consider it a sort of right-wing-nut obsession. If the Cardinal would have only emphasized the requests of Our Lady as directed to the faithful, it would have been much better. The association of the virus with the Secret of Fatima strikes me as conjecture.

The 3 volumes on Fatima, written by Frere Michel (Velut) are definitely an important work.  Fr. Gruner and the Fatima Crusader seemed to have based their entire apostolate on Frere Michel's scholarship.  Fr. Kramer's book 'The Devil's Final Battle' is very much based upon Frere Michel's research and public addresses.  Unfortunately, it appears that Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Vigano have been influenced by all of them.  I say that because it contradicts what the Holy See has revealed, and what Sr. Lucia stated before her death, in letters and books, verified by the Carmel in Coimbra, Portugal.

I hate to link to some sites because they deal in misinformation and conspiracy theories.  Nevertheless I will link to provide the reader with the opportunity of reading an address on the secret by Frere Michel in 1985.  Obviously pre-dating the revelation of the actual secret by 15 years.  Likewise I will link to the Cardinal Burke address.

What Cardinal Burke said.

In a powerful address during the virtual Rome Life Forum hosted by Voice of the Family (read full talk below), the Cardinal connected the errors of communist Russia with the current crisis, highlighting the prominent role that the atheist communist regime of China has played in it.
“The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more needed today than ever,” he said.
“When we witness how the evil of atheistic materialism, which has its roots in Russia, directs in a radical way the government of the People’s Republic of China, we recognize that the great evil of communism must be healed at its roots through the consecration of Russia, as Our Lady has directed.”
“Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, in accord with her explicit instruction, remains urgent.” - LifeSiteNews

The source: Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité.*

What was the major concern of Fatima Crusaders?  The third part of the secret - perhaps even more so than the consecration of Russia.  Lucia said it was accomplished and accepted by heaven, Crusaders say it wasn't.  They also believe there is more to the third part of the secret.  They extrapolate these novelties from Frere Michel's research.  What follows is an excerpt from Frere Michel's 1985 address.  (Contradicting F. Michel's insistence that the secret be made public, I'll cite something Sr. Lucia always said about the hidden part: Sr. Lucia always insisted, "The part necessary for the people to know was already known since 1917.")

3. As long as this Secret is not revealed, the peace of the world will remain tragically threatened. I will explain myself. We believe strongly, that as long as Russia is not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as God requires it to be, Russia will not be converted. And as long as she will not be converted, liberated from its atheistic and persecuting Bolshevism and from the grip of satanic forces which enslave it, the risk of a nuclear apocalypse will remain a terrible threat for the world. God has willed that the peace of the world depends, in our Century, on the ardent filial obedience of the Pope and of the bishops to the commands of His Most Holy Mother who appeared at Fatima. Now, this act of faith, of confident docility towards the Immaculate Mediatrix, through which our pastors shall carry out the consecration of Russia, presupposes also, and I shall even say first of all, the acceptance and the public disclosure of the Secret. It is a lesson of history: Since 1960, the deliberate, contemptuous concealment of the Secret of Our Lady has gone hand in hand with the stubborn refusal to precisely carry out with exactitude, Her other requests. On the other hand, the publication of the Third Secret will be the clear sign that the Church has officially recognized the Divine authenticity and importance of the Fatima Message in its entirety. One of the major obstacles to the consecration of Russia shall in that case be set aside! 
4. Finally and especially, for the welfare of the Church. While the Church, without a doubt, is going through the most serious crisis in her history, while heresies of all sorts are taught and propagated, poisoning everywhere the people of God, while her “self-destruction” continues without letup since 1960, and when the “smoke of satan” has penetrated into the holy place, to use some expressions of Paul VI, it would be a very great pity and certainly even criminal to continue to neglect, to disregard, to despise the salutary words of the Virgin Mary – concerning precisely this ‘crisis of faith’ that we are undergoing. Since the Queen of Heaven as early as 1917 had foretold the danger and since She had certainly indicated the real causes of it, and moreover, since She had proposed the effective remedies, is it not a terrible shame that these remedies intended to be publicly made known in 1960 have yet to be revealed to us? Is it not scandalous that for 25 years, millions of souls have been suffering in this “diabolical disorientation” and have been running the risk of being lost eternally without the pastors of the Church deigning to accept the extraordinary aid that Heaven is offering them? - This article was originally given as a talk by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité at the Vatican Symposium on Fatima sponsored by the “International Fatima Rosary Crusade” on November 24, 1985. 

I can only hope Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Vigano will stop the the conspiracy theories and contradictory information regarding Fatima.

*Ed. note:  Frere Michel remains a reputable source, so long is that his speculative/deductive work is checked against what has been revealed by Sr. Lucia and the Holy See.  I want to share is own incredulity regarding false secrets revealed early on after the 1960 reading:

"Basing oneself on this reliable data, one can discard a whole series of false secrets that have been successively published for 25 years. I cite them all in my work and I demonstrate, for example, that the most famous of them, the “Secret” circulated in 1963 by the German magazine Neues Europa, and which has been ceaselessly reprinted in innumerable magazines, is a fake.2 There are in this text, several monstrous errors which prove this sufficiently. Moreover, although it is a matter, we are told, of simple “extracts” of the real Secret, these “extracts” are already at least four times too long to fit on the sheet of paper on which Lucy wrote down the whole of the Third Secret." -ibid

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Trump's supporters.

THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. Sadly, our Lamestream Media is TOTALLY CORRUPT! - Trump tweet

I'm sure everyone has seen reports on this story - the lockdown protests.  Some of the behavior exhibited by protesters, has been threatening and intimidating.  In Michigan some have shown up with guns and militia gear.  In Minnesota the Governor's residence was littered today.  President Trump calls them 'good people' and no doubt some of them are.  Yet he praises the worst behavior and stirs up more anger, dismissing journalists he sees as reporting 'fake news' as 'not essential.'  Trump admits on Twitter that his supporters, especially the 'orange shirts'  online, are his best campaign people.  (Wish I had the actual tweet.)  They are free and they are being used by Trump. 

He thrives on social media propaganda - that's clearly his strategy - he stirs up his supporters.  He publishes numerous tweets per day, using inflammatory language similar to right-wing, radio talk-how hosts.  He tries to silence MSM and replace it with unverifiable claims on social media, supported by his base, who organize on social media.  Fox and friends is his network.  Nothing new, I know.  I also know it's free speech.  But social media is his machine, and he is using people he would otherwise despise.  As Howard Stern affirmed, “The people Trump despises most, love him the most.”
Stern went on to say that Trump would be “disgusted” by the MAGA crew. “Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there is any people who look like you,” he said. “I’m talking to you in the audience.” - Source
(My apologies to friends and others of good will, who support Trump.)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Conspiracy thinking in America.

“Nonsense is nonsense but the history of nonsense is scholarship.” - Saul Lieberman*

In an Atlantic piece, The Conspiracy Theorists Are Winning, by Jeffrey Goldberg, the author explores the growing influence of conspiracy theories in American politics.  Goldberg writes:
I had spent years in the Middle East listening to complicated nonsense, and I was familiar with the long and dismal history of Russian conspiracy-mongering. It was always a relief to know that in the United States, conspiracism was usually—not always, but usually—a marginal phenomenon. Men like Alex Jones were more often than not a source of bemusement, not a cause for fear. Healthy societies develop antibodies to protect themselves from fantastical thinking, and America, democratic, free, and transparent, was a healthy society. I was wrong, of course. - Goldberg
I've been running into more and more young people - at the store and elsewhere, who are convinced MSM does nothing but fake news. They place their trust in Trump and what the White House tells the country. I have started to wonder if the disinformation campaign coming from the White House is a deliberate propaganda machine, as was that operated by Goebbels in Nazi Germany? Trump loves conspiracy theories, as Goldberg notes:
"Trump does not defend our democracy from the ruinous consequences of conspiracy thinking. Instead, he embraces such thinking. A conspiracy theory—birtherism—was his pathway to power, and, in office, he warns of the threat of the “deep state” with the ferocity of a QAnon disciple. He has even begun to question the official coronavirus death toll, which he sees as evidence of a dark plot against him. How is he different from Alex Jones, from the conspiracy manufacturers of Russia and the Middle East?

He lives in the White House. That is one main difference." - Goldberg
Conspiracy theory as propaganda.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist myself ... For a longtime now, I've attributed the blame-game played by the administration, pretty much to Trump alone, with some help from his staff of course. It just seemed like ordinary dissimulation tactics - political double-speak. Until now. It strikes me as a deliberate strategy - and not just dumb mistakes. I hate giving Trump credit for intelligence - but there seems to be a growing, recognizable effect happening across the country. After Kushner's remark a few days ago about pushing back the election, I wouldn't be surprised if the the administration attempts to do just that.
Trump does not defend our democracy from the ruinous consequences of conspiracy thinking. Instead, he embraces such thinking. - Godlberg
My apologies to my Catholic friends who support Trump, but the "consequences of conspiracy thinking" is indeed ruinous. Catholics need to be aware of this more than anyone else, since many can find themselves influenced by Catholic private revelation and 'locutions from heaven'. Many times private revelation, and or the interpretation of the message, goes hand in hand with conspiracy theories.

The apparition circuit has often acted as a sort of conduit for conspiracy theories. Especially today, with the opposition to Pope Francis and the Ordinary Form of Mass, not to mention the recent letter from Archbishop Vigano. Vigano and his followers are pointing the finger at a left-wing, Socialist, Masonic conspiracy aimed at a Global takeover - a New World Order. They frequently refer to OL of Fatima to defend their position, suggesting previous Popes ignored Our Lady's directives. In doing so, they risk making themselves cooperators in the right-wing populist movement.

*The Lieberman quote is taken from Goldberg's article.  I find it especially interesting in reference to some of the Catholic conspiratorial thinking.  Even scholars can sometimes convey an impression of acceptance of the intentions of the purveyor of misinformation, while attempting to refute the more fantastical interpretations of an event, or message.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Hermit of Loreto

An elderly Tom Zimmer sitting outside the Holy House.

Tom Zimmer

I'm sharing this story because I met Tom Zimmer, many years ago. I only realized after reading this story that he has died. He was an eccentric, and was known to receive Communion several times a day - since throughout the day, he attended every Mass he could.  Tom also knew about and pretty much followed nearly every apparition ever reported. He had a huge devotion to The Mother of All Nations, and Our Lady of the Roses - Bayside and San Damiano. Needless to say, I was skeptical about his spirituality. He took copious notes, his writing similar in style to that of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.  His printing extremely small, filling every space on a sheet of paper. He did this in a spirit of poverty. Though he could be a bit critical of the post-VII Church, he was devoted to the Ordinary Form and faithful to Catholic teaching in every way.

I met him in Garabandal, then later, at San Damiano, and then again in Rome. He was tall and very thin, and had thick black hair when I met him.  He looked gaunt and seemed to be fasting all the time.  Without boasting, he told me he originated the Pieta prayer book, but never accepted payment. His spiritual life was devotional, many rosaries, chaplets, litanies and novenas. He prayed without ceasing. He was an authentic soul, a genuine pilgrim, and a very gentle man - albeit eccentric. I do finally believe that he was a very holy man as well. The Capuchins seem to think so as well.

I'm genuinely sorry, if not ashamed, that I dismissed him as crazy or naive, just because his spirituality/devotion was expressed in response to reputed apparitions and locutions from Heaven, and his prayer seemed to be centered around so many devotions of popular piety.  Eccentrics, fools for Christ, however one describes men or women like Tom, they cling to Christ and Our Lady, and persevere to the end. Thank God for men like Tom who contradict the proud, the self-righteous, and the rigid.

(Edit note:) The claims he made about Trump are interesting, that's all.  If he made such a statement it isn't a testimony to Trump's personal holiness.  Indeed, he could be a bad man and yet under his watch, the U.S. could well return 'back to God' as Tom put it.  That said, as far as promonitions and locutions go, remember what St. John of the Cross said regarding them:

"[...] Souls are misled by imparting to God's locutions and revelations a literal interpretation, and interpretation according to the outer rind.  As has been explained, God's chief objective in conferring these revelations is to express and impart the elusive, spiritual meaning contained in the words.  This spiritual meaning is richer and more plentiful than the literal meaning and transcends those limits."[...] "Anyone bound to the letter, locution, form, or apprehensible figure cannot avoid serious error and will later become confused for having been led by the literal sense and not having allowed for the spiritual meaning which is divested of the literal sense.  ('The letter kills, the spirit gives life' - 2 Cor. 3:6)" - Read St. John of the Cross, The Ascent, Bk II, Chapter 18 and 19

The Story about Zimmer:

[I] spoke with Fr. Giuseppe Santarelli, who has been in Loreto for decades and would surely know more.
 I knew Fr. Santarelli to be one of the more erudite and learned friars in Loreto. He works as the director of the “Congregazione Universale della Santa Casa” which promotes devotion to the Holy House and publishes a magazine, among other things. So I popped in and introduced myself.
I immediately sensed that Fr. Santarelli, not much taller than five feet, was a kindly gentleman. I told him that I was there to inquire about an American “penitent” who lived in Loreto back in the 1990s and prayed frequently in the Holy House. 
Fr. Santarelli cut me off, “Ah sì, Thomas Zimmer si chiamava... certo che mi ricordo...” (“Ah yes, Thomas Zimmer was his name, of course I remember him...”). He went on to say that everyone in Loreto knew of him. 
I told him about the “premonition” Tom had made about Donald Trump and that a video of an American priest discussing it had just gone viral on the internet. Fr. Santarelli just smiled and added that he did not know anything about that, but that him making such a prophecy was perfectly in character. I asked him what he knew about Thomas.

He said Tom was in Loreto for about ten years, he was very pious and devoted, he went to Mass every opportunity he could, he was constantly in prayer, he spoke fluent Italian and possibly other languages, and the friars held him in high regard. The only issue that any friars may have had with him is that he received Communion more than twice daily, and they asked him to refrain from doing so. He said that he knew Tom had gone back to the US before he died. He didn’t recall exactly, but he thought somewhere around 2008.
He said that the basilica had received word of his death and they had a record of it. He took me into another room where there were some archives and pulled out a ledger or two, but could not find the document he was looking for. 
He then said that he had a photo of Tom, and he pulled out a hardbound book from a different shelf. It was a type of album. In it, Tom Zimmer can be seen frail and hunched over leaning on a cane sitting in front of the Holy House. He let me take a picture of it. - Tom Zimmer, Hermit of Loreto

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A glimmer of hope.

Amazing Grace, Honoré Sharrer

I was surprised by an artist today.

Actually, an old schoolmate contacted me on FB.  I remembered her from art class.  We weren't friends, but I recall her student work and admired her technique.  She was rather aloof, she said 'withdrawn' due to PTSD at the time.  Most likely only diagnosed until later in life.  She apologized for ignoring me, but I never perceived her solitary concentration on her work as anything more than an 'artist at work'.  She was especially talented and her work was very detailed. 

Later in the day, I received an email from an auction house for a fine art sale.  I came upon an intriguing work by a female artist I was unfamiliar with, Honoré Sharrer.  The one piece I saw reminded me of my own work.  I had never heard of her before.  I especially liked her work, thinking to myself, 'I need to go back to painting.'

I noted on FB: "I need to start painting again - this has been a very long, difficult year - I can't wait for things to get better. I have to work through them."

It seems to me time is short - I need to work on my project.  No matter how much my thoughts reproach me.  Some days it is very difficult.  Purifying trials are necessary for humility - I think any artist, like the saint, needs to be plunged into nothingness, as it were ... to experience a sense of their own powerlessness.  To no longer seek to please men ... to be liberated from the opinion of men.

Yet there remains a sense of purpose within, an irresistible attraction.

I hope.

Pope Francis asks Our Lady of Fatima for an end to the pandemic.

“In our prayers we ask God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for peace for the world, the end of the pandemic, the spirit of penance and our conversion,” Francis said at the end of his weekly Wednesday general audience. - Crux

It is good to keep in mind that the authentic interpretation of the message of Fatima rests with the Church.  For many decades, many sources have used private interpretations of the message and secret of Fatima to advance their own agenda - especially in opposition to the Popes and Vatican II.  Not a few are recognized by their inclination to sensationalize the message with conspiracy-theories concerning apostasy and chastisement fears.  It is perhaps the chief reason so many people dismiss the Fatima devotion, including the message and associations promoting it, due to a sort of  'right-wing cult' effect.  

Fatima is not over by any means. St. John Paul II declared the message is as relevant in our time as it was in 1917. Pope Benedict XVI also intimated as much. In the texts connected with the CDF's interpretation of the third secret, he said something to the effect, "though it seems these things have been fulfilled..." likewise, while at Fatima, the Holy Father said it was a mistake to believe the 'mission' of Fatima was complete.

What we add to these sayings, how we personally interpret the texts and visions is mere speculation - often based or reinforced by dubious revelations or sayings attributed to the Pope himself - as was done with what St. John Paul II was alleged to have said at Fulda regarding the third secret.

Many sensationalize the messages and apparitions in and through private interpretation and speculation. To overlay private revelations and prophecy onto Scripture is often misleading and can be a source of greater confusion. Though the imagery may appear to fit and events seem to coincide, we cannot of ourselves determine the meaning. That is always the responsibility of the Holy See.

As any good Carmelite, and much like her holy mother in religion, St. Teresa of Jesus, Sr. Lucia was and is 'a daughter of the Church' - she submitted her writings to the discernment of the Holy See. The Holy See has faithfully documented the message, as well as interpreted Sr. Lucia's account here: The Message of Fatima.

Today Pope Francis invokes Our Lady of Fatima, praying for an end to the pandemic through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Pope Francis of course, entrusted himself to Our Lady of Fatima at the beginning of his pontificate.  In 2017 he visited Fatima and canonized the two seers, Jacinta and Francisco.  

Ignore the Fatimists, do not listen to the cult surrounding the false prophets who deform and misrepresent Our Lady's message from heaven.

Remember, the Holy Father, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is indeed at the center of the message and secret of Fatima; the Mother of God directs us always to Christ, and does not act outside the Church - the Holy Father is Christ's vicar entrusted to guide the Church by Christ himself. Our Lady is Mother of the Church. She cannot and will not go against the Church.

"Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother. Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus." - Pope Francis

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Archbishop Vigano’s Appeal Was Sharply Criticised by German Bishops

Thank God someone is responding to Vigano's growing fanaticism.

Vigano has so gone off the rails - if his followers-supporters do not recognize this fact, then they too are on the road to perdition - to use their private-revelation-style terminology.

Archbishop Vigano and his followers are pointing the finger at a left-wing, Socialist, Masonic conspiracy aimed at a Global takeover - a New World Order. The Vigano letter has a 'pernicious' tone, if you will.  It seemed to me it isn't that far off from referencing the dandy of conspiratorial, fabricated tropes: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In fact, surfing with the remote, I happened upon an Evangelical-type religious talk show, wherein  the quests were in process of discussing just that - and not in an objective way.

I'm grateful the German Bishops have rejected the COVID-19 conspiracy, laid out by Vigano.  Vigano has recently demonstrated his ability to spread disinformation and confusion, relying upon conspiracy theories and 'secrets' which are without credence, except in the right wing circles he seems to be accepted by.  Don't fall for their conspiracy theories - religious or secular in origin. Especially be wary of religious leaders who rely on dubious private revelation, old conspiratorial tropes sparking fear and distrust.  This stuff only leads to scapegoating cultural groups of people.

German Bishops Response

The German Bishops recently admitted they “made themselves complicit” in Nazi crimes in and through their support of "soldiers and the regime", albeit rejecting any agreement with Hitler's racist ideology. (Story here.)  Fortunately, their position on the Vigano statement demonstrates their eagerness not to make the same mistake in this crisis. 

Vigano’s appeal was sharply criticised on Facebook by the vicar general of Essen, Fr Klaus Pfeffer. “I am simply speechless as to what is being spread here about the Church and Christianity: crude conspiracy theories without facts or proof together with a right-wing populist militant rhetoric which sounds very frightening.”
His bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, recalled on Facebook at the weekend, that the Church could contribute to overcoming the pandemic by “practising solidarity as a clear sign of its commitment to the common good and to social justice."
That was exactly the opposite of the position taken by “the populists and other conspiracy theoreticians” and it was the Church’s duty clearly to contradict such theories “irrespective of who formulates them”, Overbeck said.
In an official statement Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg said he fully agreed with the statement by the conference president Bätzing.
Bishop Gebhard Fürstof Rottenburg-Stuttgart tweeted: “Whosoever reinterprets the efforts of politicians to save human lives from the pandemic into a dubious world conspiracy, is playing with fire.” - Source

Friday, May 08, 2020

Conspiracy Theories spreading in time of pandemic

Political-religious confusion fueling the proliferation.

It's almost impossible to keep up - unless you're on FB and Twitter.  Or, listen to the radio.

I don't listen to the radio, not even Catholic radio - which appears to be just as tainted by conspiracy theories and fake news as talk shows by political pundits.

I was reading Kevin Symonds' second installment concerning Taylor Marshall's book Infiltration.  A radio show was mentioned in the footnotes as a reference for the claim that Cardinal Baggio was a Freemason.  I don't even know who Fr. Charles Murr, Jesse Romero and Terry Barber are.  I didn't listen to the program, but the Baggio claims have been around a long time.  The Holy See has never, to my knowledge, confirmed these claims.  It very much echoes the Necedah/Bayside/San Damiano 'revelations' -  I realized that I'm wasting my time with these issues.  I'm not an academic, so no one cares what I think.

I'm just amazed at how these tropes have survived over the decades.  I have no doubt Masons have influenced such stories, to discredit the Catholic Church and create division, and so on.  (I came across a statement on another blog whose editor republished the first article by Symonds, stating: "Well, Paul VI knew he was a Freemason. Can we retire the New Mass now?"  That's pretty much the point of the conspiracy theories and attacks against Pope Francis, from Lefebvrist circles and others.)

Conspiracy theory in the making.

Nevertheless, it seems more likely the authors of the many conspiracy theories, including naming names of clergy who may or may not be members of a Masonic Lodge, could very well be Masons themselves, or members a political movement out to discredit the Church.  The political connections of clerical figures has always incited intrigue and suspicion, throughout history.  A modern day example is clearly the Vigano conspiracy against Pope Francis.  Vigano's recent 'Open Letter' claimed Cardinal Sarah as a signatory, although Sarah denied it, explaining:
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, tweeted: “I share on a personal basis some of the questions or concerns raised with regard to restrictions on fundamental freedoms, but I have not signed this petition.” 
“A cardinal prefect of the Roman Curia must observe a certain reserve in political matters, Sarah wrote in another tweet, “so I explicitly asked this morning the authors of the petition titled ‘for the Church and for the world’ not to mention me.” - CNA
This is conspiracy theory in the making, how it gets played out will be interesting. Oddly enough, it is the second time in recent months that poor Cardinal Sarah has come under suspicion for dissembling facts.

Having said all of that, I think I should try to let this stuff go - especially now when more and more people insist upon clinging to whatever narrative they find security in.  I often think of the deceptions which were able to mislead 'even the elect - if that were possible'.  Thinking here of St. Therese and St. JPII.

The Leo Taxil, Diana Vaughn story.

Therese and her community had been deceived by the conversion story of Diana Vaughan, an impostor whose true persona was the anti-Catholic con-artist Leo Taxil... The realization of which led to Therese writing in her memoirs, "I was unable to believe there were really impious people who had no faith... [but] Jesus made me feel that there were really souls who have no faith, and who, through the abuse of grace, lost this precious treasure, the source of the only real and pure joy."
Leo Taxil of course was a contemporary of St. Therese of Lisieux, who for a time had been taken in by his scam. Taxil had stunned European society with his conversion from Free-Masonry to Catholicism, and subsequent pamphlets detailing the evil Satanic sect within Masonry. (Read more.) Later he invented a persona named Dianah Vaughan, whom he claimed also converted, with startling details of the diabolic cult. Taxil, an anti-clerical free-thinker from the start, delighted in deceiving and mocking the Catholic Church; the Lisieux Carmel and as I mentioned, St. Therese just happened to be amongst those duped. Yet it did not disturb her peace, rather it lead her to an even deeper understanding of her vocation.
Needless to say, the deception neither did harm to the Carmel or the Catholic Church, although in a way, it demonstrates to some extent how even the elect can be fooled - if possible, and only for a time. One thinks of the founder of the Legion, Marcel Maciel, and his double life; an elaborate pretense which fooled even the Pope. Unlike Taxil, it doesn't appear that Maciel was attempting to mock or destroy the Church, nor did he ever declare himself an enemy of the Church; despite that, his motivation and actions remain somewhat unexplainable.

Sr. Lucia of Fatima once wrote, diabolic delusion has swept the world, and we have witnessed over and over again how many can be easily deceived and seduced. We need to be prayerfully vigilant.
“Holy Spirit, inspire me.Love of God consume me.Along the true road, lead me.Mary, my good mother, look down upon me.With Jesus, bless me.From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me.”- St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD