The Red House Report

Adam Lebor

an article originally published on the 9th May 2009

The paper is aged and fragile, the typewritten letters slowly fading. But US Military Intelligence report EW-Pa 128 is as chilling now as the day it was written in November 1944.
The document, also known as the Red House Report, is a detailed account of a secret meeting at the Maison Rouge Hotel in Strasbourg on August 10, 1944. There, Nazi officials ordered an elite group of German industrialists to plan for Germany’s post-war recovery, prepare for the Nazis’ return to power and work for a ‘strong German empire’. In other words: the Fourth Reich.
The three-page, closely typed report, marked ‘Secret’, copied to British officials and sent by air pouch to Cordell Hull, the US Secretary of State, detailed how the industrialists were to work with the Nazi Party to rebuild Germany’s economy by sending money through Switzerland.
They would set up a network of secret front companies abroad. They would wait until conditions were right. And then they would take over Germany again.
The industrialists included representatives of Volkswagen, Krupp and Messerschmitt. Officials from the Navy and Ministry of Armaments were also at the meeting and, with incredible foresight, they decided together that the Fourth German Reich, unlike its predecessor, would be an economic rather than a military empire – but not just German.
The Red House Report, which was unearthed from US intelligence files, was the inspiration for my thriller The Budapest Protocol.
The book opens in 1944 as the Red Army advances on the besieged city, then jumps to the present day, during the election campaign for the first president of Europe. The European Union superstate is revealed as a front for a sinister conspiracy, one rooted in the last days of the Second World War.
But as I researched and wrote the novel, I realised that some of the Red House Report had become fact.
Nazi Germany did export massive amounts of capital through neutral countries. German businesses did set up a network of front companies abroad. The German economy did soon recover after 1945.
The Third Reich was defeated militarily, but powerful Nazi-era bankers, industrialists and civil servants, reborn as democrats, soon prospered in the new West Germany. There they worked for a new cause: European economic and political integration.
Is it possible that the Fourth Reich those Nazi industrialists foresaw has, in some part at least, come to pass?
The Red House Report was written by a French spy who was at the meeting in Strasbourg in 1944 – and it paints an extraordinary picture.
The industrialists gathered at the Maison Rouge Hotel waited expectantly as SS Obergruppenfuhrer Dr Scheid began the meeting. Scheid held one of the highest ranks in the SS, equivalent to Lieutenant General. He cut an imposing figure in his tailored grey-green uniform and high, peaked cap with silver braiding. Guards were posted outside and the room had been searched for microphones.
There was a sharp intake of breath as he began to speak. German industry must realise that the war cannot be won, he declared. ‘It must take steps in preparation for a post-war commercial campaign.’ Such defeatist talk was treasonous – enough to earn a visit to the Gestapo’s cellars, followed by a one-way trip to a concentration camp.
But Scheid had been given special licence to speak the truth – the future of the Reich was at stake. He ordered the industrialists to ‘make contacts and alliances with foreign firms, but this must be done individually and without attracting any suspicion’.
The industrialists were to borrow substantial sums from foreign countries after the war.
They were especially to exploit the finances of those German firms that had already been used as fronts for economic penetration abroad, said Scheid, citing the American partners of the steel giant Krupp as well as Zeiss, Leica and the Hamburg-America Line shipping company.
But as most of the industrialists left the meeting, a handful were beckoned into another smaller gathering, presided over by Dr Bosse of the Armaments Ministry. There were secrets to be shared with the elite of the elite.
Bosse explained how, even though the Nazi Party had informed the industrialists that the war was lost, resistance against the Allies would continue until a guarantee of German unity could be obtained. He then laid out the secret three-stage strategy for the Fourth Reich.
In stage one, the industrialists were to ‘prepare themselves to finance the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go underground as a Maquis’, using the term for the French resistance.
Stage two would see the government allocating large sums to German industrialists to establish a ‘secure post-war foundation in foreign countries’, while ‘existing financial reserves must be placed at the disposal of the party so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat’.
In stage three, German businesses would set up a ‘sleeper’ network of agents abroad through front companies, which were to be covers for military research and intelligence, until the Nazis returned to power.
‘The existence of these is to be known only by very few people in each industry and by chiefs of the Nazi Party,’ Bosse announced.
‘Each office will have a liaison agent with the party. As soon as the party becomes strong enough to re-establish its control over Germany, the industrialists will be paid for their effort and co-operation by concessions and orders.’
The exported funds were to be channelled through two banks in Zurich, or via agencies in Switzerland which bought property in Switzerland for German concerns, for a five per cent commission.
The Nazis had been covertly sending funds through neutral countries for years.
Swiss banks, in particular the Swiss National Bank, accepted gold looted from the treasuries of Nazi-occupied countries. They accepted assets and property titles taken from Jewish businessmen in Germany and occupied countries, and supplied the foreign currency that the Nazis needed to buy vital war materials.
Swiss economic collaboration with the Nazis had been closely monitored by Allied intelligence.
The Red House Report’s author notes: ‘Previously, exports of capital by German industrialists to neutral countries had to be accomplished rather surreptitiously and by means of special influence.
‘Now the Nazi Party stands behind the industrialists and urges them to save themselves by getting funds outside Germany and at the same time advance the party’s plans for its post-war operations.’
The order to export foreign capital was technically illegal in Nazi Germany, but by the summer of 1944 the law did not matter.
More than two months after D-Day, the Nazis were being squeezed by the Allies from the west and the Soviets from the east. Hitler had been badly wounded in an assassination attempt. The Nazi leadership was nervous, fractious and quarrelling.
During the war years the SS had built up a gigantic economic empire, based on plunder and murder, and they planned to keep it.
A meeting such as that at the Maison Rouge would need the protection of the SS, according to Dr Adam Tooze of Cambridge University, author of Wages of Destruction: The Making And Breaking Of The Nazi Economy.
He says: ‘By 1944 any discussion of post-war planning was banned. It was extremely dangerous to do that in public. But the SS was thinking in the long-term. If you are trying to establish a workable coalition after the war, the only safe place to do it is under the auspices of the apparatus of terror.’
Shrewd SS leaders such as Otto Ohlendorf were already thinking ahead.
As commander of Einsatzgruppe D, which operated on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1942, Ohlendorf was responsible for the murder of 90,000 men, women and children.
A highly educated, intelligent lawyer and economist, Ohlendorf showed great concern for the psychological welfare of his extermination squad’s gunmen: he ordered that several of them should fire simultaneously at their victims, so as to avoid any feelings of personal responsibility.
By the winter of 1943 he was transferred to the Ministry of Economics. Ohlendorf’s ostensible job was focusing on export trade, but his real priority was preserving the SS’s massive pan-European economic empire after Germany’s defeat.
Ohlendorf, who was later hanged at Nuremberg, took particular interest in the work of a German economist called Ludwig Erhard. Erhard had written a lengthy manuscript on the transition to a post-war economy after Germany’s defeat. This was dangerous, especially as his name had been mentioned in connection with resistance groups.
But Ohlendorf, who was also chief of the SD, the Nazi domestic security service, protected Erhard as he agreed with his views on stabilising the post-war German economy. Ohlendorf himself was protected by Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the SS.
Ohlendorf and Erhard feared a bout of hyper-inflation, such as the one that had destroyed the German economy in the Twenties. Such a catastrophe would render the SS’s economic empire almost worthless.
The two men agreed that the post-war priority was rapid monetary stabilisation through a stable currency unit, but they realised this would have to be enforced by a friendly occupying power, as no post-war German state would have enough legitimacy to introduce a currency that would have any value.
That unit would become the Deutschmark, which was introduced in 1948. It was an astonishing success and it kick-started the German economy. With a stable currency, Germany was once again an attractive trading partner.
The German industrial conglomerates could rapidly rebuild their economic empires across Europe.
War had been extraordinarily profitable for the German economy. By 1948 – despite six years of conflict, Allied bombing and post-war reparations payments – the capital stock of assets such as equipment and buildings was larger than in 1936, thanks mainly to the armaments boom.
Erhard pondered how German industry could expand its reach across the shattered European continent. The answer was through supranationalism – the voluntary surrender of national sovereignty to an international body.
Germany and France were the drivers behind the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Union. The ECSC was the first supranational organisation, established in April 1951 by six European states. It created a common market for coal and steel which it regulated. This set a vital precedent for the steady erosion of national sovereignty, a process that continues today.
But before the common market could be set up, the Nazi industrialists had to be pardoned, and Nazi bankers and officials reintegrated. In 1957, John J. McCloy, the American High Commissioner for Germany, issued an amnesty for industrialists convicted of war crimes.
The two most powerful Nazi industrialists, Alfried Krupp of Krupp Industries and Friedrich Flick, whose Flick Group eventually owned a 40 per cent stake in Daimler-Benz, were released from prison after serving barely three years.
Krupp and Flick had been central figures in the Nazi economy. Their companies used slave labourers like cattle, to be worked to death.
The Krupp company soon became one of Europe’s leading industrial combines.
The Flick Group also quickly built up a new pan-European business empire. Friedrich Flick remained unrepentant about his wartime record and refused to pay a single Deutschmark in compensation until his death in July 1972 at the age of 90, when he left a fortune of more than $1billion, the equivalent of £400million at the time.
‘For many leading industrial figures close to the Nazi regime, Europe became a cover for pursuing German national interests after the defeat of Hitler,’ says historian Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, an adviser to Jewish former slave labourers.
‘The continuity of the economy of Germany and the economies of post-war Europe is striking. Some of the leading figures in the Nazi economy became leading builders of the European Union.’
Numerous household names had exploited slave and forced labourers including BMW, Siemens and Volkswagen, which produced munitions and the V1 rocket.
Slave labour was an integral part of the Nazi war machine. Many concentration camps were attached to dedicated factories where company officials worked hand-in-hand with the SS officers overseeing the camps.
Like Krupp and Flick, Hermann Abs, post-war Germany’s most powerful banker, had prospered in the Third Reich. Dapper, elegant and diplomatic, Abs joined the board of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, in 1937. As the Nazi empire expanded, Deutsche Bank enthusiastically ‘Aryanised’ Austrian and Czechoslovak banks that were owned by Jews.
By 1942, Abs held 40 directorships, a quarter of which were in countries occupied by the Nazis. Many of these Aryanised companies used slave labour and by 1943 Deutsche Bank’s wealth had quadrupled.
Abs also sat on the supervisory board of I.G. Farben, as Deutsche Bank’s representative. I.G. Farben was one of Nazi Germany’s most powerful companies, formed out of a union of BASF, Bayer, Hoechst and subsidiaries in the Twenties.
It was so deeply entwined with the SS and the Nazis that it ran its own slave labour camp at Auschwitz, known as Auschwitz III, where tens of thousands of Jews and other prisoners died producing artificial rubber.
When they could work no longer, or were verbraucht (used up) in the Nazis’ chilling term, they were moved to Birkenau. There they were gassed using Zyklon B, the patent for which was owned by I.G. Farben.
But like all good businessmen, I.G. Farben’s bosses hedged their bets.
During the war the company had financed Ludwig Erhard’s research. After the war, 24 I.G. Farben executives were indicted for war crimes over Auschwitz III – but only twelve of the 24 were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one-and-a-half to eight years. I.G. Farben got away with mass murder.
Abs was one of the most important figures in Germany’s post-war reconstruction. It was largely thanks to him that, just as the Red House Report exhorted, a ‘strong German empire’ was indeed rebuilt, one which formed the basis of today’s European Union.
Abs was put in charge of allocating Marshall Aid – reconstruction funds – to German industry. By 1948 he was effectively managing Germany’s economic recovery.
Crucially, Abs was also a member of the European League for Economic Co-operation, an elite intellectual pressure group set up in 1946. The league was dedicated to the establishment of a common market, the precursor of the European Union.
Its members included industrialists and financiers and it developed policies that are strikingly familiar today – on monetary integration and common transport, energy and welfare systems.
When Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of West Germany, took power in 1949, Abs was his most important financial adviser.
Behind the scenes Abs was working hard for Deutsche Bank to be allowed to reconstitute itself after decentralisation. In 1957 he succeeded and he returned to his former employer.
That same year the six members of the ECSC signed the Treaty of Rome, which set up the European Economic Community. The treaty further liberalised trade and established increasingly powerful supranational institutions including the European Parliament and European Commission.
Like Abs, Ludwig Erhard flourished in post-war Germany. Adenauer made Erhard Germany’s first post-war economics minister. In 1963 Erhard succeeded Adenauer as Chancellor for three years.
But the German economic miracle – so vital to the idea of a new Europe – was built on mass murder. The number of slave and forced labourers who died while employed by German companies in the Nazi era was 2,700,000.
Some sporadic compensation payments were made but German industry agreed a conclusive, global settlement only in 2000, with a £3billion compensation fund. There was no admission of legal liability and the individual compensation was paltry.
A slave labourer would receive 15,000 Deutschmarks (about £5,000), a forced labourer 5,000 (about £1,600). Any claimant accepting the deal had to undertake not to launch any further legal action.
To put this sum of money into perspective, in 2001 Volkswagen alone made profits of £1.8billion.
Next month, 27 European Union member states vote in the biggest transnational election in history. Europe now enjoys peace and stability. Germany is a democracy, once again home to a substantial Jewish community. The Holocaust is seared into national memory.
But the Red House Report is a bridge from a sunny present to a dark past. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, once said: ‘In 50 years’ time nobody will think of nation states.’
For now, the nation state endures. But these three typewritten pages are a reminder that today’s drive towards a European federal state is inexorably tangled up with the plans of the SS and German industrialists for a Fourth Reich – an economic rather than military imperium.

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Pope Francis is Wrong About the Death Penalty. Here’s Why.

This article by Steve Skojec from his site One Peter Five.  It details the reasons for the death penalty in Catholic teaching.  Please read it carefully.

In light of today’s news that the pope has “changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church about the death penalty, saying it can never be sanctioned”, we are reprinting this as a reference point for concerned Catholics. – SS, 8/2/2018

When the first version of this column was originally published in March, 2015, it was occasioned by comments made by Pope Francis to the effect that the Death Penalty is never justified. Since then, it has become necessary to revise and update it, due to additional comments on the topic from the pope. Of particular note, these appeared in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (83), which states: “the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.

You can read the rest here:  https://onepeterfive.com/pope-francis-wrong-death-penalty-heres/

Winter Approaches

The spiritual equivalent of the approaching demographic winter in Europe and the world has surely taken a firm hold in Ireland. A recent report (April 03 2018) in the Irish Examiner on the state of the Catholic Church in Ireland paints a very grim picture of the future for the Faithful in this country. Contrast this with the visit of the last (and first) papal visit in 1979. Thirty eight years of continuing secularisation has brought about a huge change of attitudes in Ireland towards the Church and the Faith and coupled with an abandonment of the traditional catechism has resulted in a largely clueless laity who are antagonistic towards the Catholic Faith.
“On the ground, a survey of archdioceses and dioceses around the country shows an ageing priesthood, with human resources stretched. It has meant parishes relying more on the laity, particularly the volunteering parish councils, while a small but growing number of serving priests are from overseas. Senior figures within the Catholic Church are warning that the ageing profile of priests and the lack of new ordinations could mean a further reduction in its footprint around the country.
A survey of archdioceses and dioceses highlights the changing face of the Catholic Church in Ireland. It found that human resources are being stretched, that a small but growing number of parishes are without a resident priest, and that there is an increased role for deacons and for priests coming to serve from overseas. At least half of the 25 archdioceses and dioceses around the country have seen an aggregate fall in the number of priests serving within them in the past five years, while almost half have parishes which have had to reduce the number of Mass services they can offer. A handful of dioceses and archdioceses have parishes which do not have a resident priest or share a priest with another parish — with warnings that this could increase unless there is a rise in the number of people who can serve.”
The various dioceses are struggling and there are a few notable attempts to combat the incontrovertible decline. None of these however would appear to be particularly Catholic. For instance the report states that the Archdiocese of Armagh established a seminary in 2012, based in Dundalk, Co Louth — The Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. The 17 seminarians who are studying there are part of Neocatechumenal Way communities throughout the world and will be ordained as priests of the Archdiocese of Armagh. The Neocatechumenal way is a pseudo Catholic organisation which teaches Lutheran doctrines and has closed liturgies which have split parishes around the world. Indeed they have been ejected from many dioceses internationally because of their cult like behaviour and heterodox teaching. This cuckoo in the nest is seen as a good thing by the preeminent See in the country!

 

The diocese of Limerick has taken another direction. In 2016 it held a Synod. “The Synod was a three-day gathering of 400 delegates — 300 lay and 60% female — in Limerick after an 18-month listening process that engaged with over 5,000 people across the diocese. Some 97 proposals across six themes that covered the biggest issues for the Church were agreed.” A synod historically has been held from time to time in various dioceses in order to correct abuses or organise the diocese more efficiently. It involves the clergy and Bishop and few lay people. This was thus a far cry from a true synod and the results (see the pastoral plan here http://www.synod2016.com/sy/assets/File/2016/LimerickDiocesePastoralPlan2016.pdf) were predictable. The calls for lay leadership in liturgical and other areas, the reduction of parishes to social outlets for community organisers and the pushing of ‘green’ and other fashionable issues are to the fore. Under the heading “Liturgy and Life” the plan calls for training to be provided for lay volunteers to lead liturgies when priests are absent. I cannot see how all of this will not end up with the balkanisation of the diocese and its further distancing from the Catholic Faith.
As regards clergy from other countries serving in Irish dioceses are concerned a recent incident comes to mind. During the so called ‘Same sex marriage referendum’ a priest of Nigerian nationality, Fr. Joseph Okere, while serving as curate in St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, preached a homily in which he stated that the Marriage referendum was the Devil’s work. It made the newspapers and was swiftly apologised for by Fr. Okere’s superior…Bishop Francis Duffy! As one member of his diocese wrote in a letter to him,
“The priest didn’t say anything that was untrue (if the report was accurate) and he was speaking in the Cathedral of the diocese. So why did you feel the need to apologise? You would appear to have internalised the commands of the Church’s oppressors.
The report states that one person walked out because he did not like what was being preached, “I am a Catholic and gay and I have never felt unwanted, but this was like something you would have heard 30 years ago. The Church just has to stop this – enough is enough.” I’m assuming that this individual (who didn’t mind being named) means by “gay” that he is a practicing homosexual. He was given the truth by a genuinely charitable priest and you apologise for that charity. I can understand why the Independent and the Longford LGBT “community” wants the Church to succumb to the secular zeitgeist but why are you doing it’s bidding?”
The report paints a picture all too familiar to most traditional Catholics but the large mass of the country’s baptised seem to be blithely unaware of the broad road they are travelling and its inevitable end. Perhaps they simply don’t care?

Minimalism: the present-day sickness of Catholicism

Roberto de Mattei

January 17, 2018

In Italy recently, two videos have been circulating online which give pause for thought. The first replicates the words of Don Fredo Olivero, Rector of the Church of San Rocco in Turin, uttered during Midnight Mass. “Do you know why I’m not going to say the Creed? Because I don’t believe it!” Amidst the laughter of the faithful, the priest continues: “As if anyone understands it – but as for myself after many years I’ve  realized that it was something I didn’t understand and couldn’t accept.  Let’s sing something else that presents the essential things of the faith.” The priest then substituted the Creed with the song “Dolce Sentire” from the film “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”.

The Creed sums up the articles of the Catholic Faith. To deny merely one of these articles constitutes heresy. To deny the Creed, in block, constitutes an act of public apostasy. Further, to deny it during Holy Mass, constitutes an intolerable scandal. The removal, suspension a divinis and excommunication of the priest should have been immediate. Yet none of this occurred.

While the media was spreading this incredible news, the lone voice of ecclesiastical reaction came from the other end of Italy, in Sicily, where Don Salvatore Priola, parish-priest and rector of the Marian Sanctuary of Altavilla Milicia, expressed his indignation in a homily against the priest from Piedmont, urging his faithful, and every baptized person, to react publically in the face of such a scandal. A video reports his impassioned words: “Brothers and sisters – he said – when you hear a priest saying things that are against the Catholic Faith, you must have the courage to stand up and tell the priest – even during the Mass: this is not allowed! It’s time to stand up when you hear things that are against our Creed. Even if a bishop says them even if a priest says them. Stand up and say: Father, Your Grace, this is not allowed. Because we have the Gospel: Because we are all under the Gospel, from the Pope down. We are all under the Gospel.

The two opposing homilies call for some reflections. If a priest goes as far as repudiating the Catholic Creed, without incurring sanctions by the ecclesiastical authorities, we find ourselves indeed faced with a situation of crisis in the Church of unparalleled gravity. Even more since the case of Don Frido Olivero is not isolated. Thousands of priests in the world think the same way and act accordingly.

What appears to be something out of the ordinary though, and which consequently merits the total appreciation of true Catholics, is the Sicilian priest’s invitation to stand up in Church and admonish a priest publically, even a bishop, who is giving scandal. This public correction is not only legitimate, but at times a duty.

This is a point that ought to be emphasized. The true cause of the present crisis is not so much in the arrogance of those who have lost the faith, but in the weakness of those, who, conserving it, choose to be silent, rather than defend it publically. This minimalism constitutes our present-day spiritual and moral sickness. For many Catholics, we should not oppose errors, as it is enough “to behave well”, or resistance should be limited to the defense of the negative, moral absolutes, that is to those norms that prohibit always and in every case, specific behaviors against the Divine and moral law. This is sacrosanct, but we must remember that there are not only negative precepts which tell us what we can never do, there are also positive precepts which tell us what we must do; what works and attitudes that are pleasing to God and through which we are able to love our neighbor.

While the negative precepts (thou shalt not kill, steal or commit impure acts) are formulated in concrete terms seeing as they prohibit a specific action always and everywhere, without exceptions, the positive precepts (prayer, sacrifice, love of the Cross) are not specific, as they cannot establish what we must do in every circumstance, yet they are also obligatory, according to the situation. The modernists  are improperly spreading “situation ethics” from the positive precepts to the negative ones, in the name of God’s love, forgetting that loving means observing the moral law, as Jesus said: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me”. (John 14, 21).

The conservatives for their part, often attest positions of minimalistic morality, forgetting that a Catholic must love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark. 12, 28-30). For this St.Thomas Aquinas explains that we are all bound not only to the good, but to the greater good, not at the level of action, but in that of love (Mat. 19, 12). The first moral truth is love. Man must love God above all creatures, and love creatures according to the order established by God. There are negative acts that can never be carried out, under any circumstance. Yet there are positive acts, which, in determinate circumstances are mandatory to carry out. This moral duty does not have its foundation in a negative precept, but in the love of God.

Precepts then have a lower limit: what one cannot do, but they do not have a higher limit since loving God and neighbor have no boundaries and we are perfect in the measure of our love. John Paul II explains it in no. 52 of Veritatis Splendor. “The fact that only the negative commandments oblige always and under all circumstances does not mean that in the moral life prohibitions are more important than the obligation to do good indicated by the positive commandments. The reason is this: the commandment of love of God and neighbour does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken. Furthermore, what must be done in any given situation depends on the circumstances, not all of which can be foreseen.”

We must oppose the theory of the “lesser evil” with that of the “greater good”. At the level of action, the good cannot be determined a priori, since the actions we might carry out are many, uncertain and indeterminate. However, if the greater good presents itself as clear in our conscience, well defined and as such that we can act upon it hic et nunc, negligence is culpable: we have the moral obligation to act on it.

The precept of fraternal correction is among the positive moral precepts. One is not always obliged to do it, and one cannot demand it a duty from others, but each one of us must feel bound to react, faced with public negations of the Catholic Truth.  Those who truly love God have to follow the example of Eusebius, the layman, subsequently made a bishop, who, in 423, rose up in public against Nestorius who had denied the Divine Maternity.

Don Salvatore Priola’s exhortation to stand up when we hear things said against the Catholic Faith, is an invitation to manifest our maximalism in loving God and not hide our light under a bushel, but put it in a lamp-stand, [in this way] illuminating the darkness of our times with our example.

This article first appeared on the website Rorate Caeli


Translation:  Contributor Francesca Romana

A Cry of the Heart

The following letter was written by Fr. Thomas G Weinandy OFM Cap to our sovereign pontiff Pope Francis last summer.  It was published only after Fr. Weinandy received no reply.  In my opinion it encapsulates the current crisis with regard to the present pontificate.

Fr.Weinandy’s note of explanation:

At the end of this past May I was in Rome to attend a meeting of the International Theological Commission, of which I am a member.  I stayed at Domus Sanctae Marthae.  Since I arrived early, I spent most of the Sunday afternoon prior to the meeting on Monday in Saint Peter’s praying in the Eucharistic Chapel.  I was praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.  I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.  I was also pondering whether or not I should write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety.  On the following Wednesday afternoon, at the conclusion of my meeting, I went again to St. Peter’s and prayed in the same manner.  That night I could not get to sleep, which is very unusual for me.  It was due to all that was on my mind pertaining to the Church and Pope Francis.  At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time.  When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign.  This is what the sign must be.  Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.  During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

The next morning I did all of the above and by the time I met my seminarian friend for lunch what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind.  However, towards the end of the meal an archbishop appeared between two parked cars right in front of our table (we were sitting outside).  I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop.  We recognized one another immediately.  What made his appearance even more unusual was that because of his recent personal circumstances I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese.  (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.)  We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing.  I then introduced him to my seminarian friend.  He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation.  He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book.  Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

In the light of Jesus fulfilling my demanding “sign,” I want to make two comments.  First, I decided to write Pope Francis a letter, which I intended then to publish unless he adequately addressed the issues I raised.  Almost two months after having received my letter, I did receive an acknowledgement from Vatican Secretariat of State informing me that the letter had been received.  This was simply an acknowledgement and not a response to my concerns.  Second, I find it significant that not only did the Lord fulfill my demand for a sign, but also did so in, what I believe, a very significant manner.  He accomplished it through an archbishop.  By utilizing an archbishop, I believe, that Jesus’ fulfillment of my request took on an apostolic mandate.


Fr.Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis:

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office.  You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church.  All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth.  The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate.  The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.  This fosters within the faithful a growing unease.  It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace.  Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia.”  I need not share my own concerns about its content.  Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.  The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching.  In “Amoris Laetitia,” your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.  As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means.  To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.  The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.  Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.  Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.   This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.  Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions.  Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.  Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.  Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology.  But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.  Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth.  What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.  What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.  This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.  As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the “sensus fidelium,” are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity.  But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite.  Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion.  Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern.  You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church.  You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think.  But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?  Why is this?  Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.  Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises.  Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?”   The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.  Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness.  In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so.  May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

15 Cloisters Dissolved: What Remains of the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate?

 

(Rome) How far has the destruction of the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate progressed? This is the updating of a chapter that is like a dark shadow on the pontificate of Pope Francis.
In 1969 two Fathers Minor, Stefano Maria Manelli and Gabriele Maria Pellettieri, asked the Father General of the Order, after a thorough study of Fontes Franciscani, to be allowed to start a “new experience of Franciscan life” back to its original rigor. In 1970 an abandoned monastery of the Order was made ​​available to them where they gathered more men over time, and with the establishment of a female branch, women also joined. In 1990, the Community was canonically recognized as a separate order.
The Peculiarity of the Young Order
The Order represented an anomaly of Catholic orders until July 2013. While the old religious orders steeped in tradition suffer decline and waste away, the young Franciscan Order saw a veritable blooming of vocations.

Its peculiarity was that the founders did not turn to liberal openings after the Council, but returned to the rigor of the Franciscan ideal. The sensibility which unfolded there led to a return to the traditional rite under Pope Benedict XVI. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate were thus the only new rite order, which moved to the traditional form of the Roman Rite and the rigor of its life, attracted many young people, while other orders starved.
The particularity which defined this Order as community of the old rite, is that it did not belong to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, but the Roman Congregation for Religious, which is otherwise only concerned with the new rite.
Another peculiarity distinguished the young, blossoming order from the Ecclesia Dei- communities. Besides the charism of the order, the Franciscan ideal of Marian devotion, love for tradition and the traditional rite, there was a missionary zeal.
While the Ecclesia Dei communities are enclosed in garden preserves, where in some dioceses they are tolerated more than accepted, the Franciscans of the Immaculate had the freedom of new rite communities to openly develop their apostolates freely and to be especially active in mission.
With its turn to the old rite, the first difficulties began with the diocesan bishops. Of the three known friaries established in German-speaking countries, only Kitzbühel (Archdiocese of Salzburg) established in 2002, was successful. The two other, more recent attempts (diocese of Bolzano-Brixen, and Linz Diocese) were rejected.
The Reversal Upon the Election of Pope Francis
The young religious order enjoyed papal benevolence under Benedict XVI., which suddenly changed under Francis. In July 2013, just four months after his election, the Religious Congregation completely overturned the order’s leadership with papal approval. The Order was placed under provisional administration. The Commissar, Capuchin Father, Fidenzio Volpi, who was no friend of the traditional rite, began a veritable destruction. Father Volpi, who died in June 2015, was replaced by the Salesian and canon lawyer, Sabino Ardito. The destruction of the Order has continued nevertheless, unabated.
Reasons for radical intervention in the blossoming religious were still not known. Behind closed doors the Commissioner and the head of the religious congregation confirmed that which observers had suspected from the start: The reason was the aforementioned feature of the Order. A new rite order, which had moved to the traditional rite, attracted numerous vocations of young people and aroused growing attention from other new rite orders, which began to be interested in this “success story”, could not be.
The decree by which the provisional government was established, only contained a detailed determination. But it revealed the thrust of the action: Despite anything to the contrary that had been issued by Benedict XVI. with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, it was determined that no priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate be allowed to celebrate the traditional rite any longer. Anyone who wished to celebrate the old rite had to make a private application, which had to be approved by the Commissioner. More contempt for the traditional rite could not be demonstrated.
Under Pope Benedict XVI. it had not been possible for hostile forces to take action against the order. With the election of Pope Francis, who commented disparagingly in June 2013 about traditional circles, the situation had changed in one fell swoop.
Because of his power, Pope Francis prevented that the leadership of the order could turn to the Apostolic Signatura against the actions of the Congregation of Religious. The order had no legal recourse. It had to endure.
No Benevolent Father
Since the beginning of the act of dismemberment, 14 monasteries were dissolved by the commissioners. Currently, even the dissolution of the monastery of Florence is being prepared, which was a center of the order before the provisional administration. It will be the 15th Monastery closure since the beginning of the provisional administration. The commissioners have proven to be employed against the order not as benevolent fathers, as Cardinal De Paolis was, whom Benedict XVI. placed at the top of the Legion of Christ in 2010 when the order had fallen into a spiral by uncovering of the double life of its founder.
The commissioners of the Franciscans of the Immaculate were employed, rather more like liquidators. Three and a half years after his establishment at the Legion of Christ, Cardinal De Paolis ended his administration with the election new leadership for the order. There is no end of the apostolic administration for Franciscans of the Immaculate. The poignant question now arises, what will then be left of the former order?
Alfonso Bruno and His Campaign
With the death of the first Commissioner, at least, the influence of Father Alfonso Bruno seems to have declined. Alfonso Bruno was the Media Representative of the order’s earlier leadership. He is considered the real brains behind the rebellion against the founders and the charism of the order. Officially, he does not seem to be among the five brothers, who had turned to the Congregation of Religious with a letter to complain against the exclusive use of the traditional rite in the order. In the concern for pastoral care, the order had actually remained biritual. Yet the letter was the incentive to intervene by the Congregation of Religious.
Commissioner Volpi appointed Alfonso Bruno Secretary General and was influenced by him. Otherwise, the Commissioner had mad false claims against Founder Stefano Maria Manelli, for he was convicted of defamation in a state court judgment. The execution of punishment was kept from him only by his unexpected death. The new Commissioner, Ardito, did not make the same mistake obviously. While Volpi was the sole Commissioner, Father Ardito has employed a Jesuit and Capuchin as assistants besides. He thus has dispensed with a General Secretary and sent Alfonso Bruno in September 2015 to be the head of a religious house in Messina, Sicily. However, he is set to continue his campaign against the former Superior General, Father Manelli, who was deposed in 2013. He is, according to rumors, behind a blog which is called “The Truth about the Provisional Administration of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate” and is only overflowing with malicious articles.
Abolition of the Fourth Marian Vow
Meanwhile, the first vows were conducted without the typical consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Brazil and the Philippines. It was replaced by a simple expression of willingness to go on mission. The consecration to Mary is a fourth vow a characteristic of the order. In addition to the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, which is common to all religious communities, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate make a fourth Marian vow which precedes the others.
The abolition of the consecration to Mary is the second concrete imposition upon the charism of the order. “It raises the question: Was this consecration the problem? And if not: Why do you force upon the order such a change of its original charism,” wrote Libertà e Persona.
The canon lawyer continues to debate whether the Decree of the Congregation of Religious of July 2013 is at all lawful or not. Opinions vary. The same applies to specific interventions such as the abolition of Consecration to Mary. Some canonists think that such an intervention could be resolved legally only by the General Chapter of the order. Again, opinions differ. Since Pope Francis forbade the courts to hear the discussions of the canonists, whatever conclusions they reach, for now, have no actual impact.
Forbidden Reestablishment
Since the provisional administration, numerous brothers have wanted to leave the Order. They want to maintain the lifestyle to which they have committed themselves through their vows. The planned start-up of an old rite order was banned by the Congregation of Religious. It’s another indication that it is opposed to tradition and the traditional rite. Commissioner Volpi threatened the bishops not to allow Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, leaving their order. At the same time he presented accused those “entrusted” to him, of wanting to overthrow Pope Francis.
The brothers want to remain faithful to their consecration to Mary, the full devotion to the Immaculate. Its abolition represents a serious encroachment on the identity of the order. It is a cause of uncertainty and anger that there is no recognizable connection between the abolition and the introduction of the provisional administration.
According to credible sources this intervention is to be extended to the female branch and thus also to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate to place them in a moral dilemma, who have vowed loyalty to a particular charism that has been accepted and confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1998. The media always finds new horror stories to publish about the Order. Comparable hate campaigns had appeared in the German language are endured by the Opus Dei, the Engelwerk that Auerbacher SSND and also includes The Work. Monastery walls seem to inspire outlandish fantasies not only for journalists.
With the cloister in Florence, 15 convents have been closed. The provisional administration is leaving a veritable trail of destruction.
60 brothers have officially asked to be released from their vows to leave the order. Since Rome fears the establishment of a new order, the applications are not being accepted. The majority of them have been blocked for almost three years. As this path has proved a dead end, more brothers have given up an application.
Papal Centralism
With a Rescript ex audientia from April 4, 2016, which was made ​​public only last May 11th, Pope Francis has revoked the previously self-evident right in church history of the right of diocesan bishops to recognize new religious communities. On June 1st received the approval by the Holy See. With the Rescript, Francis noted that the establishment of an order by a diocesan bishop without the consent of Rome is null and void.
The centralization ordained by Francis is the exact opposite of the other “decentralization” represented by him for the Church is as it carried out concerning the nullity of marriage, where the diocesan Bishop alone can decide today, or aiming for the admission of remarried divorcees to Communion.
Bishops close to Francis confirm, as the progressive magazine Il Regno reports, that although much of collegiality and synodality is talk, that the concentration of power in the hands of the Pope had never been so great in Church history.
Libertà e Persona presented the question in this context: “Is a federation of the Congregation for Religious preparing a common formation for all religious orders with their different charisms? Is a leveling of all charisms into a sort of syncretism of religious life what is desired? ”
Giuseppe Nardi

Open Letter to Pope Francis From a Former Member of the Roman Curia

The following letter originally appeared in a German language magazine called ‘Focus’.  It neatly describes the pontificate of Pope Francis thus far.  With thanks to One Peter Five.

Holy Father,

On the occasion of your Christmas Allocution in 2014, you called on your curial employees to make first an examination of conscience. Indeed, Advent is an occasion to reflect upon the promises of God and what He expects from us. You claimed that your employees had to be an example for the whole Church, and you then listed a several “illnesses” from which, in your view, the Curia is now suffering. At the time, I had considered this statement to be rather harsh – yes, even unjust – against so many in the Vatican whom I know personally – while you were talking, instead, as if you knew the Vatican, but either only from the outside or only from above. Nevertheless, this speech of yours has actually inspired me to write this letter to you. Following your own example, I shall omit to speak about all the good that you are doing and are speaking and I shall thus only list those aspects of your exercise of the papal office which seem to me to be problematic:

1. An emotional and anti-intellectual attitude of yours which is often tangible and which has difficulties in dealing with theories and doctrines

The alternative to the Teaching Church is the Arbitrary Church, and not the Merciful Church. Among not a few of your own chosen employees and close counselors, there is to be found a true lack of competence, both in teaching and in theology; these men often have behind them a career within the Church’s government or in a university’s administration, and they think rather all too often in pragmatic and political terms. You, as the Supreme Teacher of the Church, thus have to make clearer the primacy of the Faith – for your own sake, and for the sake of all Catholics. Faith without doctrine does not exist.

2. Authoritarianism

You are distancing yourself from the wisdom which is preserved in the Church’s traditional discipline, in Canon Law, and also in the historical practices of the Curia. Together with your disdain for (supposedly) theoretical teaching, this propensity leads to an authoritarianism of which even the founder of your Order of Jesuits, St. Ignatius himself, would not approve. Do you really accept those admonitory voices who say what you, personally, do not immediately see nor understand? What would happen if you were now to know my own name? It would be helpful to act in a less authoritarian way in order to change the current climate of fear.

3. A populism of change

Today, it is popular to call for change. However, especially the Successor of Peter has to remind himself and others of that which changes only slowly, and even more so of that which does not change at all. Do you really believe that the approval which you receive from the opinion-makers in the realm of politics and of the media is a good sign? Christ did not promise or prophesy to Peter popularity in the media and status in a star cult (John 21:18). A great many of your statements awaken wrong expectations and give the harmful impression that the teaching and discipline of the Church could and should be adapted to the changing opinions of the majority. The Apostle Paul is here of another opinion (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:14)

4. Your own conduct is seen as a critique of how your (often canonized) predecessors have lived, talked, and acted

I cannot recognize how this attitude comports with the humility which you have so many times invoked and demanded. Such humility is indeed needed, especially when it is about continuing the tradition which goes back to the Apostle Peter. Your conduct implicitly proposes the idea that you intend to re-invent somehow the Petrine Office. Instead of preserving faithfully the heritage of your predecessors, you want to acquire it [the heritage] in a quite creative way. But, did Saint John not say: “He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)?

5. Pastoralism

Only recently, you said that you especially like those parts of the papacy where you can act like a pastor. Of course, neither a pope nor a pastor should raise any doubts as to whether the Church is following the teaching of Christ in everything she currently does (Pastoral Care, Sacraments, Liturgy, Catechesis, Theology, Caritas); finally, everything depends upon the revealed Faith as it comes to us in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and which is thus binding upon the consciences of the faithful. We cannot even live the Faith and pass it on to others, if we do not know it. Without a good theory, we are – in the long run – not able to act in a good manner. Without teaching in the field of pastoral care, we shall only have emotional and largely adventitious successes.

6. Exaggerated display of the simplicity of your own way of life

Of course, you want to set an example – but is it better for you yourself to take care of all kinds of daily chores? In ascetical questions, the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing (Mt 6:3); otherwise, the whole thing appears somehow to be insincere. If you really want to drive cars that are ecological, you have to invest, by the way, much more, or to ask someone to give you as a gift the more expensive technology that is thus needed: for. ecology has its price.

7. A particularism which often subjugates the goals and purposes of the Universal Church under the viewpoints of only a part of the Church

This attitude appears nearly comical with regard to a pope. Additionally, our world is now much more interconnected, more mobile, and more proximate than ever. Especially today, it is a treasure that the Catholic Church is throughout the whole world always the same. It corresponds to the global life realities that Catholics in all countries live, pray, and think in a similar vein (and with each other together).

8. An urge for constant spontaneity

A lack of professionalism is not a sign for the working of the Holy Ghost. Expressions like “to breed like rabbits,” or “Who am I to judge…?” might possibly impress some kinds of people, but, in reality, they lead to grave misunderstandings. Constantly, others have to explain what you really meant to say. To act without a plan and outside of the protocol has its time and place – but it should not become the standard. You owe this respect to your employees (in Rome and in the whole world). The measure of spontaneity is much smaller among popes than among pastors.

9. Lack of clarity about the interconnectedness of religious, political, and economic freedom

Many of your statements indicate that the state should rule more, control more, and be responsible for more areas, especially in the economic and social field. We in Europe are used to very strong states. However, history has proven wrong the idea that the state can take care of everything. The Church has to defend non-governmental institutions which can provide things that the state could not provide (in that way). Against the tendency to expect everything from the state, the Church has to help people to take care of their own lives. The welfare state can also become too powerful, and with it, too paternalistic, authoritarian, and illiberal.

10. Meta-Clericalism

On the one hand, you show very little interest in the clergy, on the other hand, you criticize a clericalism which is more of a phantom than something that is real. One cannot compensate for this lack of interest with a good intention or with statements in front of smaller groups. The bishops and priests have to know again that the pope stands behind them when they defend the Gospels “in season and out of season,” even if it is done in a way that does not personally please the pope. It is not good that some think that the pope sees many things quite differently from the Catechism, and that others then imitate him in order to make a career under this pontificate. As a pope, you of necessity have to serve the continuity and Tradition of the Church – even non-Catholic Christians are of this opinion. It may well be better for you to cut back on your innovations and provocations; we anyway already have many people who do that. Your Magisterium, as such, is already in itself the ultimate provocation and innovation – after all, you are the Representative of Christ and the supreme teacher of our supernatural Faith. “Grace, Mercy, and Peace” are coming “from God, the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in Truth and Love” (2 John 1:3); and they only come together in a complete package. If, during this coming Year of Mercy, you are now preparing yourself for Christmas, please take this occasion as an incentive to find out for yourself what you have yourself neglected in the recent past. Let yourself be helped by your own employees who will only learn from you if you are willing to learn something from them. Like me, many others have difficulties with the way you sometimes talk and act. But that can be fixed, if it becomes clear that you listen to what others have to tell you. Unfortunately, I know that you are not yet capable of dealing well with such criticism – that is why I do not put my name on this letter. I want to protect my superiors against your wrath, especially the priests and bishops with whom I have worked for many years in Rome and from whom I have learned so much. You might want to work on taking away such fears – from me and from others – or, even better, to make such letters as this one superfluous, namely, by learning something from others.

In this spirit, may you have a blessed and contemplative Season of Advent!

A Chaplain of Your Holiness