It is reported that Pope Benedict XVI died this morning, December 31, 2022, on the Feast of Pope Saint Sylvester.
Réquiem ætérnam dona ei Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen.
You may recall that Sylvester is the papal name taken by the last-ever Pope in the novel Lord of the World, by Robert Hugh Benson; this Pope celebrates Mass as Our Lord returns to slay the antichrist.
I find the coincidence chilling indeed.
Who knows when the next conclave may be held? Short of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, I don’t know how this situation has a chance of resolution until a post-death-of-Bergoglio conclave. God have mercy on Pope Benedict, and on us.
Whatever happened that has yet to come to light, Summorum Pontificum was a great act of justice and charity. We should not forget this.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
St. joseph, pray for us!
St. Peter, pray for us!
Gregem tuum, Pastor ætérne, placátus inténde: et per beátum Silvéstrum Summum Pontíficem perpétua protectióne custódi; quem totíus Ecclésiæ præstitísti esse pastórem.
Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum, Fílium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum. ℟. Amen.
Or perhaps he is saying what he intends to say exactly.
All Catholics should be praying for Pope Benedict XVI amid reports of his failing health, and the tremendous weight of the office of which he will one day have to render an account to the Savior Whose Vicar he is.
The great mystery of his actions nearly ten years ago, and to this day, will one day be revealed to all, at least on the Last Day. Abdication effectively made? Substantial error? Coercion? Stratagem to protect the deposit of faith? Acting on Heavenly orders? Cowardice? God knows the answer to these questions, of course. Not that we cannot observe what we see and use our brains where necessary, but these topics are well-hashed out and can be covered another day.
What I wanted to highlight are the words of Bergoglio today regarding Pope Benedict. To do that, I want to share with you the scripture passage I immediately thought of when I read it:
47The chief priests therefore, and the Pharisees, gathered a council, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles? 48If we let him alone so, all will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. 49But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. 50Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. 52And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. 53From that day therefore they devised to put him to death.
John 11: 47-53
Now to today’s quote:
I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick.
Again, asking for prayers for Pope Benedict XVI “who sustains the Church in his silence.”
I think it highly likely that Pope Benedict has indeed sustained the Church, and yet sustains it while he lives, in his silence.
I think the prayer request of Bergoglio is awfully reminiscent of the prophecy of Caiphas in John 11. And to continue our theme I note the recent, remarkable post by Ann Barnhardt about Caiphas being one of “two” High Priests, along with Annas, when he uttered those words.
While one certainly can be accused of being Captain Obvious by noting we are in dangerous times, I think they’re about to get a lot more dangerous. After all, Fatima is still on our dance card.
Pray for the pope, the Church, and each other. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Grant, O Lord! that we may now celebrate this the Day of thy Birth, which today’s Solemnity brings round to us. This Day is like thyself—it is the friend of mankind. It comes to us in its regular course, visiting us each year. It grows old with the old; it is young and fresh with little children. We remember when we were young, how it came and passed away; and here it is again, faithful as ever in its welcome visit. It knows that nature could not do without it; here again like to thee, it comes in search of our fallen race. The whole earth thirsts after thy Birth-Day, O Jesus! It stands, as it were, between the past and the future, commanding all ages, as Thou dost. It is one, and yet it multiplies itself, as Thou dost. And since we behold thy past Birth-Day in this present Feast, make the two resemble each other in this also—that as thy Birth-Day brought Peace between heaven and earth, when the infinitely High God descended to this low earth; so may this solemnity signify and give us Peace … And truly, if every day of the year be rich in thy gifts, how much more ought not this to overflow with them?
A very merry, and a very blessed, Christmas to you all! Christ Our Savior is born!
A repost tradition, from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by the late, great Myles Connelly. In this depraved age, yet in this still-beautiful time, while God yet offers us His Mercy, we are all travelers in the strange, cold, dead world of modernity. Followers of Him Who is all the world:
There would be tea brewing on the stove in the kitchen. The coals would show red with thin blue flames where one of the stove covers had been tilted. Then, there would be a candle, perhaps two, for there could only be candles on Christmas Eve. They would be burned down pretty low now, it being after eleven o’clock when he would reach home. About ten minutes past eleven, he always reached home. His stamping the snow off his shoes on the steps outside would be the signal for the handful of tea to be dropped into the pot. There would be candles in the next room, too, the dining room they called it. And then beyond that, another candle or two. Always candles on Christmas Eve. Not many candles. A few candles, but good candles special for the vigil. They would spear the dark with steady yellow flames, and make long, rich shadows on the walls and on the pictures on the walls. The ceiling would be lighted without shadows.
There were never shadows like these Christmas Eve candle shadows. They gave mystery to the house, and a soft strangeness that you never found on any other night.
The Boy would throw his hat and coat on the chair by the kitchen stove. Then, he would go on through the dining room, as they called it, into the other room. She would meet him, as she got up from the floor where she would be setting out the presents before the tiny crib. Her knees would be stiff, he knew, and her poor body tired, but she would get up with her white face happy in spite of its whiteness, and her always bright eyes brighter, and she would turn to him for a glance of appreciative pleasure. He knew she would look for that, though she had made the house clean, had washed and mended the old lace curtains, had scrubbed the floors–hadn’t he noticed the kitchen floor, white with the grain showing?– had swept and dusted not so much for his pleasure this night, but because God was coming. But she would look to see if he were happy. He would scowl. It was defensive, or perverse. But he would scowl, and while he scowled he would notice how white her hair showed on the side that caught the light of the candles.
“My poor boy is tired,” she would say.
Then he could hold the scowl no longer. He would say:
“Ma, the crib is beautiful.”
Then he would get down on his knees beside it. There would be a little red sanctuary lamp on the floor before it, with the white wick floating in oil. At twelve o’clock the lamp would be lighted. If you should happen into the room–the parlor they called it– in the early hours when the candles would be out, you would see only this, the red lamp with its tiny light flickering. It would cast a spell over you, this unsteady small light showing red on the floor beneath you. You would stand there and look at it, unstirring, unthinking, for minutes.
So, the Boy would get down on his knees beside the crib. It would be the same little crib they had last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. There would be the little imitation thatch shed, open in front. Outside, would be three shepherds with two sheep, kneeling. Inside, would be St. Joseph with his brown cloak and white beard and our Mother with her blue dress. In back would be the ox and the ass, the ox with his head low. And in the center, on a few wisps of hay– real hay that the peddler fed his horse–would be the tiny figure of Him who was all the world.
He would kneel there, before the shed that was not a foot high, and move the figures about a bit. He always liked to have the ox and ass close to the crib. Then, he would study the presents, laid out before the crib as tenderly as the Wise Men must have laid out their gifts. They would still be in their boxes. He would not touch them, not until daybreak. Then, they would all stop for a swift minute on their way out to Mass.
Afterward, after Mass and Communion, they, with their glass of water drunk but not yet with breakfast, would strew the floor with red strings and wrapping paper and boxes. How much colorful rubbish a few little things could make! For there were but a few things before the crib: a fountain pen, a tie, two books, a box of handkerchiefs… He could recognize everything from their boxes, thin square boxes for handkerchiefs, long boxes for gloves and ties. . . . But he knew, anyway. He and his mother had conspired together for the family. He had his gifts, too. But they would not be put out until he was safely in bed….
Then, she would call from the kitchen. He had better hurry. It was getting close on midnight. So he would have his cup of tea, and a slice of brown-crusted white bread that had come from the oven that afternoon. And maybe a piece of the fruit cake, the rich, dark fruit cake heavy with spice and raisins that was always in the house on Christmas Eve. She would have her cup of tea with the cream– for they would use the cream tonight– showing brown gold on top. But she would have only tea for it was the vigil of Christmas.
That would be beautiful. He would tell her all that had happened at work. How old Nelson was worried because his little girl was ill, and it was Christmas Eve. How the yardmaster who cursed constantly was quiet today, and swore only when he was mad. How Big Mike had gone down to St. Mary’s to confession with him, and how the church was crowded. Everything, everything. . . .
And then he would empty his pockets of all his money, including the gold piece the firm had given him for Christmas. That would be his supreme moment– to give over every dollar, every cent. He had been doing that so long now but it never, for some strange reason, failed to make him gulp with happiness. Hadn’t they bought the piano together, his mother and he, the upright piano with the green covering that came with it? Hadn’t thy bought the new heavy rug for the parlor, the two of them, conspiring this way? Weren’t they saving now to buy the house?– the house out of town a little distance, the house with a garden, quiet, but near the church.
How happily she would look at him. How proudly. And he would drain his teacup so that he could hold the cup high and hide his eyes, his moist eyes. . . .
That would be beautiful, beautiful.
“Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve,” she would say, as always she had said.
And the Boy would pray.
The Pullman porter gave a quick turn to the Young Man’s chair. The Young Man who had been dozing sat up abruptly.
“Grand Central, suh.”
The porter was holding his overcoat.
The Young Man was dazed.
Wasn’t there tea brewing, and a red fire showing where the stove corner had been tilted? And across from him. . . .
Across from him was a row of Pullman chairs. Empty, of course. Who else but a harried reporter would be traveling thus into New York at eleven o’clock on Christmas Eve?
The porter took his tip and was gone. The Young Man made his way hazily out into the station.
And there were candles, one or two that spotted the room with yellow flames and threw long shadows. . . .
“Reservation?” asked the room clerk in the hotel.
The Young Man nodded and wrote his name. A tall bald-headed man in a dinner jacket staggered across the heavily ornate hotel lobby. Two gaudy young women tittered.
Candles, a few candles. . . .
A thin, small, ageless bellboy, in blue uniform and silver braid, appeared mechanically. He took his bags and led the way to the elevator.
And she was there, rising from the crib on the floor. How white her hair showed where it caught the light of the candles. . . .
“The heat on, sir?” The bellboy was turning the valve on the radiator. The steam began to pound through the pipes.
The Young Man moved to the window. Twenty stories below him the city was stirring out of its newly laid cover of snow. Even in the dark, the roofs were white, the cornices and window ledges were white. Far, far down, the streets were white, white spotted with black, streaked with black.
“Looks like a white Christmas.”
The bellboy spoke impatiently. The Young Man gave him his tip. He banged the door as he left.
The Young Man turned back to the window.
It was the same little crib with its imitation thatch, and the few wisps of hay– real hay the peddler fed his horse. . . .
The Young Man looked down. Everywhere there were lights, ragged lights, pointed lights, clustered lights, solitary lights, white, red, yellow lights. But the Young Man did not see. He drew the shade and turned from the window.
And there was St. Joseph in his brown cloak and our Lady in her blue dress and the tiny figure of Him who was all the world. . . .
The Young Man still had on his overcoat. Under the mirror of the dresser was a collar button of a former guest which the maid, in her cleaning, had missed. He fixed his eyes on it but did not see. He was without heart and his mind whirred. Where, he was asking himself dazedly, where in this world’s maze of people and places, where in this wilderness of stars and philosophies, where is Home?
Hadn’t they bought the piano together, and the rug….
The Young Man threw himself on the bed.
“Dear Jesus! Dear Mother of God!”
His sobbing filled his cell in the mountain of earth and steel, glass and stone.
“Dear Mother of God!”
And she would say, “Pray for those poor souls who have no home on Christmas Eve…”
It is therefore evident that the Roman Sanhedrin – whose work baffles even the most cautious interpreters of Vatican affairs – has a purpose of persecuting the good and promoting evildoers. The case of the “cancellation” of Father Pavone is the umpteenth demonstration that this purpose is being carried out with ferocious obstinacy, both in order to feed a climate of terror among the clergy so as to constrain them into servile and fearful obedience and also to create disorientation and scandal among the faithful and others who still look to the Church as a moral point of reference. All of this is happening at the same time that the Jesuit priest Marko Ivan Rupnik, on whom a sentence is pending for very serious canonical crimes that carry with them the punishment of excommunication latæ sententiæ, has his canonical penalty remitted by his Jesuit confrere and companion who lives in Santa Marta; and while the Roman Curia is infested with unpresentable characters who are notoriously corrupt and heretical sodomites and fornicators. Bergoglian acolytes are distinguished in this manner: the graver their crimes, the more prestigious the positions they hold.
In the face of this violation of the most elementary principles of justice and governmental prudence, as well as the blatant determination of the highest levels of the Hierarchy to act contra mentem legis, it is necessary that the Cardinals and Bishops understand the very serious consequences of their complicit silence, and that they courageously raise their voices in defense of the healthy part of the ecclesial body. This duty is imposed by respect for the Catholic Truth which has been violated, the honor of Holy Mother Church who has been humiliated by her own Prelates, and the eternal salvation of souls which has been endangered by the words and action of evil shepherds who are usurping an authority that does not belong to them but rather to Christ the King and High Priest, the Head of the Mystical Body.
If serving the Church and defending the life of innocent creatures in this time of apostasy constitutes a crime worthy of dismissal from the clerical state, while promoting abortion and gender ideology and violating consecrated virgins is not deemed liable to excommunication, then Father Pavone ought to consider this shameful Vatican decision to be a source of pride, recalling Our Savior’s words: Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every manner of evil against you falsely because of Me (Mt 5:11). And whoever has inculpated themselves as an accomplice of this persecution against the good ought to tremble at the thought of the judgement which awaits them. Deus non irridetur – God is not mocked (Gal 6:7).
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop December 22, 2022