The Purge Begins
“At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do.”
Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row”
the prophetic interpretations in my book Apokalypso
– Prophecies of the End of Time (AuthorHouse 2004) proved wrong
regarding the identity of the Antipope identified by St. Malachy as Gloria Olivae, “The Glory of the Olive
Tree”, they have quite prescient regarding his agenda. Benedict XVI hardly waited for the dust to
settle on his papal coronation to begin his assault on the Jesuit Order,
beginning with the forced resignation of Fr. Thomas J. Reese as editor of their
“ …the Quatrains suggest a period of schismatic, perhaps even violent
struggle between this Antipope and the Jesuits.
If we speculate that the apparent successor to John Paul II will be even
more strongly linked than he to Opus
Dei, then such a mortal combat between the
One would have to anticipate, therefore, that a new Pope who is totally committed to the Opus Dei political agenda would move swiftly and aggressively to suppress the Jesuit order. The resulting showdown between these two powerful factions would surely split the Roman Catholic Church wide open:
The bark will then become schismatic,
False liberty will be proclaimed throughout the land.
[Century VI, Quatrain 22]”
Along the same lines, in Chapter Six (p.265 in the print version) I anticipate the “Olive Tree” Antipope launching his reign with “a purge of liberal prelates who have resisted the atavistic theology of Opus Dei and its allies”. It now appears that the purge has begun in earnest.
Antipope Ratzinger has wasted no time signaling that his will be a dictatorial pontificate, as it must be, because falsehood cannot withstand rigorous intellectual scrutiny. Thus extends into theology the same abysmal trend we have suffered in political discourse: the exclusion of viewpoints even slightly to the left of center. As the window of genuine public discourse closes, we find Church and State converging on the threshold of a new totalitarianism that cynically calls itself “freedom”. The Catholic magazine Commonweal (editorial 5/20/05) has aptly characterized Fr. Reese’s dismissal as a “scandal”:
“For those who had hoped that the pastoral
challenges of his new office might broaden Benedict’s sympathies, this is a
time of indignation, disappointment, and increased apprehension. For those who
know Reese and his work, the injustice of the CDF’s action is transparent. No
intellectually honest person could possibly claim that Reese’s
Forty years after the Second Vatican Council, which did so much to enfranchise lay Catholics and to encourage their engagement with the great intellectual resources of the church, it is inexcusable that the CDF would censor a magazine as respectful and responsive to the church’s tradition as America. At a time when elites are as polarized as they are now in the American church, Reese’s dismissal will embolden those eager to purge “dissenters,” while making it nearly impossible for a reasoned critique of the agenda of church reformers to be heard by those who need most to hear it.”
message to Catholic clergy and laity couldn’t be more clear: Turn off your minds, we — the infallible
hierarchy of your Church — will tell you what to think.
must suspect that part of the reason for summarily sacking Fr. Reese was his steadfast
unwillingness to downplay the Church’s sexual abuse scandal. According to the John Jay College of
Criminal Justice in
the Legion of Christ seminary in
It now appears that Antipope Benedict has chosen one of his own kind to be his successor as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In his handling of abuse complaints as Archbishop of San Francisco, William J. Levada has been described by a victims’ advocacy group as “slow to act, harsh to victims, and committed to secrecy”. A psychologist appointed by Archbishop Levada to a panel investigating allegations of sex abuse by the local clergy characterized the panel’s work as “shameful” and an “elaborate public relations scheme” designed to reinforce a “culture of silence”. He felt compelled to resign from the panel to keep his “personal and professional integrity intact”. According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Levada has kept secret the names and locations of up to 20 diocesan priests accused of sexual abuse and has refused to suspend accused pedophiles from active ministry.
credentials as an enforcer of knee-jerk orthodoxy must also be to Ratzinger’s
liking. As head of the American bishop’s
committee on doctrine, he condemned a theologian whose book discussed the
possibility that non-Christians might achieve salvation and saw to it that the
author was banned from teaching at Catholic universities. Which reminds us of the words of Fr. Tom Reese’s
last editorial in the
“During the last couple of decades, there have been too many issues taken off the discussion table. This has been very unhealthy for the church. By some estimates, over 100 theologians have been silenced or reprimanded by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A church that cannot openly discuss issues is a church retreating into an intellectual ghetto. And the issues are many: birth control, divorce, women priests, married priests, homosexuality, the selection of bishops, the overcentralization of decision making in the Vatican, inclusive language, inculturation of the liturgy, catechetics, intercommunion and the role of the laity in church governance. There are no simple answers to these issues, and reformers must recognize that every change has both positive and negative effects. But without open discussion, church life will become more and more dysfunctional.”
Amen, Father Tom, Amen.