Monthly Archives: December 2013

Looking Back at ‘Humani generis’ [HPR Online, 23 December 2013]

Looking Back at ‘Humani Generis’

The First Vatican Council failed to complete its work. Papal encyclical letters instead promoted teaching that was needed on philosophical and theological questions, including some from the council’s own agenda. Nine years after a violent revolution shut down the First Vatican Council, Pope Leo XIII promulgated Aeterni Patris, “On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy.” It may have seemed belated damage control after Kantianism, German Idealism and their baleful offspring.

The 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, “Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine,” should be understood in the context of the pontifical effort to reform Catholic intellectual life. James A. Weisheipl, O.P. traced the history from the vantage of 1962. (Weisheipl, 1962).

Between 1879 and 1993 Leo XIII’s encyclical Aeterni Patris addressed the reform problem. We may consider Humani Generis as a certification in the vein of Pascendi dominici gregis and Lamentabili sane exitu of 1907.

In 1994 F. Russell Hittinger explained the 1879 Leonine reform as a story not of errors (as Pope Pius IX expressed it) but of destructively one-sided positions incapable of representing the Church’s tradition and of satisfying man’s thirst for the truth. (Hittinger, 17).

The crucial word is “modernity.” In the years immediately after Aeterni Patris, the Catholic Church endeavored to respond to the intellectual challenges of the Enlightenment and Darwinian science. The Catholic Modernist Movement spanned the decade before and the first decade after the turn of the twentieth century.

Institutional Thomism was the preferred philosophy sponsored by the central teaching office of the church to engage new ideas . Why? Thomist metaphysics accepted the existence of absolute truth or certitude in contrast to the post-Enlightenment secular academy dominated by the proponents of materialism, relativism, determinism and atheism. Thomism was a sure defense against epistemological skepticism and its cousins, moral relativism and metaphysical deterioration. The Thomist system was superior to eclecticism and idealism.

Church historians and historians of theology including Hubert Jedin, Roger Aubert, Yves Congar and James Weisheipl surveyed the first Modernist Crisis. Its progress was interrupted by two world wars.

After the Second World War, another wave of intellectual ferment affected the Church in Europe, especially in France. This development confirmed the age-old adage that “the Church does its thinking in France, but is governed in Rome.”

However in Poland, Adam Stephan Cardinal Sapieha also promoted an intellectual revival. Sapieha ordained Karol Józef Wojtyła in 1946 and then sent him to Rome for advanced studies. Wojtyła earned two doctorates, one of them under the direction of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. His 1948 dissertation was entitled Doctrina de fide apud S. Joannem a Cruce.

Wojtyła disagreed with Garrigou-Lagrange on a significant point. Wojtyła refused to call God “Object” because for Wojtyła, God was “Person.” Rocco Buttiglione reported that Garrigou-Lagrange objected to Wojtyła’s philosophy on this account. The Italian edition of Wojtyła’s book included Garrigou-Lagrange’s position in the appendix. (Buttiglione, Karol Wojtyła, 35, note 22). Perhaps the seed of a much later disagreement between Wojtyła and Garrigou-Lagrange’s manualist system ripened from this initial discord.

The influential professor of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the “Angelicum”) in Rome where he taught from 1909 to 1959, and where he served as censor for the Holy Office, Garrigou-Lagrange was an enforcer of Aeterni Patris according to a precise interpretation. For him, Catholic orthodoxy and philosophical Thomism coincided. There was an identification of systematic theology with the doctrinal tradition. His interpretation left no room for historical consciousness, and it devalued historical studies as well as exegesis and biblical theology. Garrigou-Lagrange was said to have accepted Dominican commentaries on Thomas such as Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, perhaps because Thomas died young and never finished his work, as if the commentaries were the real Thomas—just as Jesuits had been accustomed to see Thomas through the trajectory of Francisco Suárez (1548-1617). (Gerald A. McCool, “Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange,” Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, 205-207).

Father Garrigou-Lagrange began his teaching career when the Modernist Crisis was in full bloom, and he ended it after the second “modernist battle” had been waged by means of Humani Generis. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange died in 1964.

French Ressourcement Theology or the “retour aux sources” was a theological undertaking from the early twentieth century through the Second Vatican Council. The movement saw the key to the revitalization of both theology and pastoral life in the church as a reappropriation of its fundamentals – in the liturgy, the Scriptures, the Early Church Fathers and the writings of others saints and doctors in whom the Catholic tradition came to especially powerful expression, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas. Thomas himself needed to be exhumed and resuscitated from decadent Scholasticism. In 1940-1941 Henri de Lubac and Jean Daniélou co-founded the collection Sources chrétiennes to make critical editions of the Church Fathers available. Daniélou himself specialized in St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Derisively called the “new theology” or “la nouvelle théologie” by its opponents, this movement found synergy with French theologians including Henri de Lubac (later a cardinal), Jean Daniélou (later a cardinal), Henri Bouillard, Yves Congar (later a cardinal), Louis Bouyer, Marie-Dominique Chenu and the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (later a cardinal-elect).  The ressourcement movement (de Lubac called “imaginary” any idea of a “new theology”) employed the ideas of philosophers and poets, especially Maurice Blondel, Pierre Rousselot, Étienne Gilson and Charles Péguy. R.R. Reno has called these Catholic thinkers “The Heroic Generation.” (Reno, “Theology After the Revolution”, 2007).

Certainly Karol Wojtyła was aware of Garrigou-Lagrange’s opposition to the nouvelle théologie. Its approach was regarded as outside the boundaries of Aeterni Patris and Humani Generis.

Henri de Lubac published his Catholicisme in 1938, and Le Surnaturel: Études historiques appeared in 1946. Garrigou-Lagrange wrote against the nouvelle théologie in 1946 and he most likely thought that more fuel was required for the fire.

Even the much older Dominican view of Jesuit theology was an unhappy one. The influence of Francisco Suárez’s “Thomism” made Jesuit “Thomism” different from that of the Dominicans. More than one brand of Thomism coexisted with dissonance. The history of the “De auxiliis” controversy between Jesuits and Dominicans in the sixteenth century seemed to be replicating itself in the perceived dispute between de Lubac on the one side and Garrigou-Lagrange and perhaps one of his French Jesuit allies from the Gregorian University, Charles Boyer, on the other side. One emphasizes “perceived” since neither party ever publicly acknowledged the other as an adversary. In 1985 de Lubac said that he did not think that he was targeted by Humani Generis. (Susan Wood, “Henri de Lubac,” Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, 331).

In 1950 Pope Pius XII promulgated Humani Generis. The encyclical named no individuals, but suspicion was widespread that its focus was the “new theology,” chief among them the “ressourcement” French Jesuits who had published. There was speculation that a Dutch Jesuit at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Sebastian Tromp (1889-1975), was the pope’s ghost author for the encyclical. (For more on Tromp, see the studies of Alexandra von Teuffenbach.)

Though he was not the only one to feel the repression, de Lubac was asked by his religious superiors not to publish or to teach (1950-1958). De Lubac in a 1985 interview with Angelo Scola in 30 Giorni said that this silence was in part his own idea.

The mood generated by Humani Generis was dark and fearful. A theologian quipped “the only safe topics today are canon law and Mariology or Josephology.” He might have added angelology! At least one theologian, ironically not a Jesuit but a Dominican, Mathieu-Maxime Gorce, O.P. left the Catholic Church and moved to Switzerland in order to publish freely. It is said that soon after succeeding Pius XII as Pope John XXIII, Angelo Roncalli made it known that he was pained by the atmosphere created by Humani Generis, complaining that he had learned of the papal document only through the newspapers.” (Ventresca, 274).

The refined presentation of “monogenism” and “polygenism” in HG # 36 is probably a reference to the writing of the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who died in 1955. In 1962 the Holy Office issued an explicit warning against the writings of Teilhard de Chardin. At stake was the idea that ancient doctrinal truths could be expressed with different or newer vocabulary. In 1962 Pope John also promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia confirming the importance of teaching theology in Latin.

During the preparatory commission meetings before the Second Vatican Council, Henri  de Lubac and Karol Wojtyła became friends. [An account by the Italian Jesuits is available at].] There is no information as to whether they corresponded before this period, but the association of de Lubac and Wojtyła in Rome is clear after 1959.

With the election of Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II in 1978, there occurred an implicit re-evaluation of French Ressourcement Theology or the “new theology.” Pope John Paul II, who had the highest esteem for de Lubac, stopped during a major address in 1980 and acknowleged the presence of de Lubac, saying “I bow my head to Father Henri de Lubac.” When Henri de Lubac became a cardinal in 1983, this elevation by itself rehabilitated his intellectual career, including by implication his spirited defense of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Ironically, at the end of his life, de Lubac even defended Thomism. One commentator described de Lubac as loyal to Augustine to the degree of missing points that Augustine so long ago had missed. (For more on de Lubac, see Rudolf Voderholzer’s Meet Henri de Lubac , 2012.)

The broader impact of Humani Generis was a freezing of systematic theology into a Thomist orthodoxy represented by the “twenty-four theses.” It was simply called “manualism.” Thomistic philosophy had created an illusion that theology could be perfectly systematized. This rationalism reduced theological speculation to servility. It became a straightjacket for theology, though this was presumably unintended by the popes. Karl Rahner and Bernard Lonergan were in the forefront of those opposing manualism or decadent Scholasticism  in their day.

In 1993 Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical which “corrected” Aeterni Patris and Humani Generis. Though the thought of St. Thomas took precedence, other avenues may be explored for the good of the Church. A genuine competition replaced the Leonine strategy of Aeterni Patris and later Humani Generis. Paragraph #29 of Splendor Veritatis stated: “Certainly the Church’s Magisterium does not intend to impose upon the faithful any particular theological system, still less a philosophical one.”

It was widely known that Pope Benedict XVI was an Augustinian.




Jean Daniélou, “Les orientations présentes de la pensée religieuse.” Études 249 (1946): 5-21 (French).

Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., “La nouvelle théologie, où va-t-elle?” Angelicum 23 (1946): 126-45 (French).

Robert Guelluy, “Les antécédants de l’encyclique Humani Generis dans les sanctions romaines de 1942: Chenu, Charlier, Draguet.”  Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 81 (1986): 421-497 (French).

Richard J. Neuhaus, F. Russell Hittinger, et al., “The Splendor of Truth: A Symposium,” First Things 40 (January 1994): 14-29 (English). Available at

Edward T. Oakes, “The Paradox of Nature and Grace: On John Milbank’s The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Debate Concerning the Supernatural,” Nova et Vetera, English Edition 4 (2006): 3, 667-696. Abstract available at nk&cd=1&gl=us

R.R. Reno, “Defending Truth,” First Things (7 July 2009). Available at


James A. Weisheipl, O.P., “The Revival of Thomism: An Historical Survey”. [Lectio occasionalis a Reverendo Patre Lectore F. Athanasio Weisheipl, O.P., D.Phil. (Oxon), facta A. D. 1962, coram professoribus et alumnis Facultatis Theologiae Studii Generalis Ordinis Praedicatorum atque Seminarii Montis Sancti Bernardi Dubuquensis.]
Available at


Marcellino D’Ambrosio, “Henri de Lubac and the Recovery of the Traditional Hermeneutic,” doctoral dissertation directed by Avery Dulles, S.J. and submitted to the Catholic University of America, 1991. Abstract available at


Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Theology of Henri de Lubac: An Overview (San Francisco 1991). (English).

Rocco Buttiglione, Il pensiero di Karol Woytła (Milan 1982). (Italian).

Romanus Cessario, A Short History of Thomism (Washington, D.C. 2005). (English).

Yves Congar, Fifty Years of Catholic Theology, edited by Bernard Lauret (Minneapolis 1988). (English).

James M. Connolly, The Voices of France (New York 1961). (English).

Paolo Dezza, Alle Origini del Neotomismo (Milan 1940). (Italian).

Étienne Gilson, Letters of Étienne Gilson to Henri de Lubac (San Francisco 1988). (English).

Henri de Lubac, Catholicisme. Les aspects sociaux du dogme (Paris 1938; reprinted 1983). (French).

Henri de Lubac, Le Drame de l’humanisme athée (Paris 1944 and revised 1998). (French). *[This is the first in a series of the collected works of Henri de Lubac edited by Georges Chantraine and Michel Sales.]

Henri de Lubac, Surnaturel. Études historiques (Paris 1946). (French).

Henri de Lubac, La pensée religieuse du Père Teilhard de Chardin (Paris 1962) (French);

The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin (New York 1968). (English).

Henri de Lubac, ed., Trois jésuites nous parlent (Paris 1980) (French); Three Jesuits Speak, translated by K. D. Whitehead (San Francisco 1987) (English).

Henri de Lubac, Augustinianism and Modern Theology (New York revised 2000). (English).

Gerald A. McCool, Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century: The Quest for a Unitary Method (Seabury 1977). (English).

Gerald A. McCool, The Neo-Thomists (Milwaukee 1994). (English).

Richard Peddicord, The Sacred Monster of Thomism: An Introduction to the Life and Legacy of Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (South Bend 2004). (English).

Robert A. Ventresca, Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pius XII (Cambridge and London, 2013). (English).

Rudolf Voderholzer, Meet Henri de Lubac: His Life and Work (San Francisco 2012). (English).

Jean-Pierre Wagner, Henri de Lubac, collection Initiations aux théologiens (Paris 2001). (French).

Chapter or Article in Book, including signed encyclopedia articles:

Robert J. Henle, “Transcendental Thomism: A Critical Assessment,” in One Hundred Years of Thomism, edited by Victor B. Brezik (Houston, 1981): 90-116 (English).

Robert J. Henle, “The American Thomistic Revival in the Philosophical Papers of R. J. Henle, S.J.: From the Writing of R. J. Henle, S.J., Professor Emeritus of Saint Louis University.” (Saint Louis 1999) (English).

Gerald A. McCool, “Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, edited by Patrick W. Cary and Joseph T. Lienhard (Peabody reprint 2005) (English).

Henri Rondet, “Nouvelle Théologie,” in Sacramentum Mundi 1: 234-236 (New York 1964) (English).

Susan Wood, “Henri de Lubac,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians, edited by Patrick W. Cary and Joseph T. Lienhard (Peabody reprint 2005) (English).


John A. Hardon, “God the Author of Nature and the Supernatural. Part Two: Creation as a Divine Fact. Section Two: Supernatural Anthropology. THESIS VII: Adam was an Individual Man, From Whom the Whole Human Race Derives Its Origin.”
Available at

Michel Fedou, “Le cardinal Henri de Lubac” (French). Available at

Joseph M. de Torre, “Thomism and the Encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’” in The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter vol. 18, n. 2 (April 1995): 21-24 (English). Available at

R.R. Reno, “Theology After the Revolution,” (review of Fergus Kerr’s Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians: from Chenu to Ratzinger), First Things (May 2007), passim. Available at


De Lubac: A Theologian Speaks. Interview with Angelo Scola. Twin Circle Publishing Company, Los Angeles, California, 1985. English translation from the Italian. Francis X. Maier, ed.

Papal Documents

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s “Allocutio ad Patres Societatis Jesu in XXIX Congregatio Generali electores” see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 338 (1946): 381-385 (Latin).

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s “Allocutio ad Patres delegatos ad Capitulum Generale Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum”see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 338 (1946): 385-389 (Latin).

For the text of Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis (1950) see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 42 (1950): 561-578 (Latin); The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 4 (1939-1958), ed. Claudia Carlen, 175-184 (Wilmington, NC: McGrath, 1981) (English); (reprint n.p.: Pieran, 1990) (English). Available at (English).

For the text of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Splendor Veritatis (1993) see Acta Apostolicae Sedis 85 (1993): 1134-1228 (Latin); and Origins (14 October 1993): 297-336 (English). Available at (English)

Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Alma, Michigan

from Letter to a Friend: ‘Vichy’

One of the ironic twists in the story of revived manualism is a similar interest in Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP.

Apparently even Garrigou-Lagrange’s devotional works are being reprinted and recommended since he is so “untainted” by liberalism and progressivism. Maybe students are being taught to adore Garrigou-Lagrange— to the detriment of Tanquerey, Marmion, Vonier, Sertillanges, von Speyer, Boylan, Leen, van Zeller, Sheen and Goodier— who were themselves presumed to be Thomists!

What the young people are not being told is the fracture in the relationship of two Thomists, Father Garrigou-Lagrange and Jacques Maritain, due to p0litics. Both of them were French at a time when the Church still “did its thinking in France.” Even so, their break was not over theology or philosophy, but over French politics.

Maritain represented the non-manualist or “back to the sources” movement in theology. He rejected Bolshevism, but after 1940 he also repudiated the Vichy government of occupied France. Garrigou-Lagrange, on the other hand, unswervingly supported Vichy, a breach which separated them for the rest of their lives. Maritain supported DeGaulle and the Free French.

Maritain’s wife and mother-in-law were Jews; he managed to take them out of Europe to the United States. During the War he taught at Princeton. Later Maritain became acquainted with intellectual Catholics such as Thomas Merton. Maritain was also an apostle of sorts. He engaged in serious  conversation such secular Jewish leftists as Saul Alinsky. See their letters edited by Bernard E. Doering.

Vichy and its politicians were complicit in the deportation and murder of thousands of Jews. Some of these French Jews made it to the safety of the Spanish border. There they were received and sheltered by the government of Francisco Franco. Franco already had a reputation in North Africa for protecting Jews well before the Spanish Civil War. While Garrigou-Lagrange was a strong supporter of Franco, there is no published evidence he knew of Franco’s particular concern for the Jews.

Manual Theology aside, any involvement with the atrocity of Vichy is unconscionable. Sir Martin Gilbert writes that Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon resisted the anti-Semitic policy of the Vichy regime, and that Jesuits were arrested in France for hiding Jews on their properties. (See Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy [London, Collins, 1986]  451.) For his efforts to save Jews during World War II Cardinal Gerlier was posthumously awarded the title Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1981. And:

Charles Maurras (1868-1952) was arrested and sentenced to prison after the War in connection with his support for Vichy and Pétain. It is said that Charles De Gaulle urged Pius XII to depose bishops in France who had been collaborationist during the Occupation and that the pope consequently demanded the resignation–-by telephone–-of a quarter of the French hierarchy. Pius XII also ordered the “quarantine” of the Austrian titular Bishop Alois Hudal in Rome (a consultant to the Holy Office along with Garrigou-Lagrange), and the layman Paul Touvier never found a lasting refuge in a Catholic institution. In the United States, Charles Coughlin “the radio priest” from Detroit was finally and permanently silenced. He and Henry Ford were the best known American anti-Semites.

Is the Dominican Garrigou-Lagrange is now a candidate for “Holocaust Studies?” Jacques Maritain wrote retrospectively  in 1946 that Garrigou told him that it was a mortal sin to have supported General De Gaulle and the Free French. (Peddicord, 99-100.)  However, since Garrigou was known for supporting legitimate ecclesiastical authority, it was likely that Garrigou would have agreed with Cardinal Gerlier against the anti-Jewish policy of Vichy. We have no clear information in terms of primary sources, but this is a strong likelihood and one not to be minimized.

Maritain himself as a Thomist has been criticized–but perhaps it was just youthful folly in his case.  John Hellman wrote:

‘Simon insisted that the role of Thomism in the inadequate Catholic response to fascism and militant racism had to be critically examined because “If Saint Thomas were alive today he would be for Pétain, Tizo, and the rest,” as the positions taken by leading Thomist of the day, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, demonstrated.’ See The Jews in the “New Middle Ages”:  Jacques Maritain’s Anti-Semitism in Its Times by John Hellman.’

Some scholars might see Garrigou-Lagrange as actually complicit in the Holocaust due to his general support for the Vichy regime, but they lack proof. We must consider Garrigou innocent, therefore, until proven guilty.

Garrigou-Lagrange died in 1964 and Maritain died in 1973. Maritain’s “Peasant of the Garonne” was a rejection of post-conciliar folly. The book was the target of intense ridicule by the liberal press and especially the National Catholic Reporter of Kansas City, Missouri.

The “new enthusiasm” for Garrigou-Lagrange is curious when so many great Thomists were writing in those years. Those names are not associated with the “repression” of  the mythical nouvelle théologie. If you meet revived enthusiasm for Garrigou in a Catholic Studies Program or anywhere else, you may well quip “I wonder what Maritain would think?!”

For more on the Vichy regime, see:


P.S. –
7.7.2009 |

Lawrence Cunningham says:

In my days in Rome as a young man I went over to the Angelicum more than once to hear the Old Lion before he retired. The distaste for him was not predicated on his strict defense of Thomism since Chenu and others were doing more interesting work. His name was in bad odor even in Rome because memories lingered over his support, first, for Action Française and, then, for Vichy. If Father deLubac lamented his influence it was because so many suffered via his influence in the Vatican dicasteries. He almost had Maritain’s works proscribed while others did see the direct influence of his intransigence (both Congar and Chenu to name only his own brethren). Few read him today and not without reason. There are many Neo-Thomisms so we must not collapse his work as being the only Neo-Thomism abroad in those days.


Further Reading:

The best works to be printed on this subject are Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton; “Vichy France and the Jews” (1981) and Robert Paxton “Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order 1940-44”. Susan Zuccotti: “The Holocaust , the French and the Jews” (1993). Richard Cohen: “The Burden of Conscience : French Jewish Leadership during the Holocaust”. (1987). Jaques Adler : “The Jews of Paris and the Final Solution”. (1987). For Belgium there are only papers: Dan Michman: “Belgium and the Holocaust” (1998).

Donald Hensrud on “Coffee”

Coffee and health: What does the research say?

What does the research say about coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?

Answer from Donald Hensrud, M.D.

Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills — from the humorous “It will stunt your growth” to the not-so-humorous claim that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it — good or bad? The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And another study found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Newer studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants. But this doesn’t mean you should disregard the old maxim “Everything in moderation.” Although coffee may not be very harmful, other beverages such as milk and juice contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, keep in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to your diet. Finally, heavy caffeine use — on the order of four to seven cups of coffee a day — can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness, particularly in susceptible individuals.

Bella Dodd and Bishop Fulton Sheen: 1952

Tom Hoopes was executive editor of the National Catholic Register from 1999-2009.

Comment by TOM MADISON on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 12:03 PM (EST):

In the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd provided detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. She stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.” Dodd gave testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s.

On Tuesday, August 5, 1952 she publicly announced that on April 7th of the same year, she was received back into the Roman Catholic Church. Not being able to secure her baptismal certificate from Italy after inquiry, she was therefore conditionally baptized by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.

Read more:

Dishonorable Disclosures by Scott Taylor

Dishonorable Disclosures

by Scott Taylor

Former Special Operations members and CIA officers are stepping forward in unprecedented numbers to declare enough is enough. I chair an organization called OPSEC – short for operation security – which is a coalition of Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, DELTA Force, Marines, and CIA operators who have emerged from the shadows to speak out against these leaks on behalf of those still in harm’s way who lack the ability to go public.

Whether fighting a war, running a business, or simply playing a game of basketball, disclosing your strategies or capabilities hinders success – and in combat it can be a lethal mistake. The youngest athletes and lowest of ranks in the military understand this but apparently some of our nation’s most senior leaders do not.

There has been an alarming rise in classified leaks from the highest levels of Government intended to drive policy – or even worse, political — agendas. Unless something is done to stop it, the success of those very missions and the safety of the Americans who undertake them will be severely threatened.

Among the worst examples of leaks and politicization was a highly partisan TV ad the Obama Administration produced on the one year anniversary of the raid in which Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden. I and others volunteered for dangerous work to protect our country and using that sacrifice for political purposes is simply offensive to those who serve no matter which candidate they support.

Unfortunately, the damage done by leaks from the Obama Administration goes from offensive to downright dishonorable. By leaking classified information about operational tactics and tradecraft and disclosing highly sensitive operations like Stuxnet and the infiltration of al Qaeda, this Administration has put the lives of our forces and our allies and the success of our operations at much greater risk.

From cozy offices in Midtown Manhattan or over drinks in Georgetown, these concerns are brushed aside as being naïve or even at odds with the principles of democracy. To those people, leaks are just a part of doing business in Washington or are actually necessary to keep government in check.

As a former Navy SEAL, I feel certain the perspective of these people would change significantly if their place of business was closer to Helmand province than Times Square or if their drink was coming out of a canteen near Ramadi rather than a tap on K street.

Risks to American lives and success of our Special Operations missions from leaks are all too real. More knowledgeable leaders like Dianne Feinstein and Bob Kerrey have said that the amount and detail of leaks over the past couple years have been unprecedented. Efforts to stop them must be unprecedented therefore as well.

Special Operations members have an ethos of staying quiet, not seeking recognition for our achievements. While we will continue to avoid acknowledgement for our successes, we will not be quiet in criticizing the leaks of politicians and policymakers anymore.

I’ve hugged the widows and children of fallen brothers and many of my peers are still active, still serving in faraway places as their families and friends pray for their safe return. I and others are speaking out to try to protect them from even one unnecessary death brought on by irresponsible leak for a selfish political or policy gain.

Politics may be the art of persuasive speaking. But when it comes to sensitive or classified information that is critical to the safety and success of our CIA and Special Operations forces, it’s time for the politicians to shut up.

Very Respectfully,

Scott Taylor

“Why They Rescued Horses, Not Jews” by Dr. Rafael Medoff

Why They Rescued Horses, Not Jews
By Dr. Rafael Medoff

Sixty years ago next week, General George S. Patton ordered U.S. to attack a German position in Hostau, Czechoslovakia, to rescue 150 innocent prisoners. The prisoners for whom Patton was willing to risk his soldiers’ lives were not, however, Jewish refugees or other innocent hostages of the Nazis. They were horses.

Patton’s rescue of the prized Lipizzaner horses might be regarded as nothing more than an oddity of history, if not for the fact that in recent years, public attention has been focused on another issue related to the propriety of diverting military resources for non-military objectives: the refusal of the Roosevelt administration to bomb the railroad lines to Auschwitz or the gas chambers and crematoria there, where an estimated 1.5-million Jews were murdered.

During the spring, summer, and autumn of 1944, Jewish organizations repeatedly asked U.S. Officials to bomb the death camps or the railways leading to them. The War Department rejected the requests, claiming it had undertaken “a study” which found that such bombing raids would require “the diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations elsewhere…”

Today, we know from the War Department’s files that no such study was ever conducted. The rejections were based on a secret War Department policy to never divert any attention or resources to helping refugees.

Ironically, the Roosevelt administration did divert resources and alter military plans on various occasions because of non-military considerations. They just wouldn’t do it to save Jews.

For example, a U.S. Air Force plan to bomb the Japanese city of Kyoto was blocked by Secretary of War Henry Stimson because of the city’s artistic treasures. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy –who was particularly adamant about not diverting U.S. Bombers to hit Auschwitz–personally intervened to divert bombers from striking the German city of Rothenburg, because of its famous medieval architecture.

In 1943, the State Department, which opposed any U.S. Government action to rescue Jews from Hitler, did establish its own rescue agency–a government commission “for the protection and salvage of artistic and historic monuments in Europe.”

The following year, FDR ordered air-drops of supplies to the Polish Home Army rebels in Warsaw, even though his advisers warned that “the [Polish Home Army] fight was a losing one,” that “large numbers of planes would be tied up for long periods of time and lost to the main strategic effort against Germany,” and that most of the supplies would be confiscated by the Germans.

And while the administration was claiming that bombing Auschwitz would necessitate “considerable diversion” of U.S. Air power, in fact in the summer and autumn of 1944, Allied plans repeatedly bombed German oil factories close to Auschwitz, some of them less than five miles from the gas chambers. How much of a “diversion” would it have required to have a few of those planes fly five more miles and drop some bombs on the gas chambers?

The reason the Allies did not take any meaningful steps to help the Jews in Europe was that they did not want to have large numbers of Jewish refugees on their hands. Roosevelt did not want to bring more refugees to America. England did not want more Jews going to Mandatory Palestine.

In March 1943, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden met with President Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and other senior U.S. Officials at the White House. When Hull raised the issue of perhaps helping the 60,000 Jews in Bulgaria, Eden replied “that the whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult and that we should move very cautiously about offering to take all Jews out of a country like Bulgaria. If we do that, then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar offers in Poland and Germany.” None of the U.S. Officials disagreed.

In a similar vein, a State Department official, later that year wrote in an internal memorandum: ‘There was always the danger that the German government might agree to turn over the United States and to Great Britain a large number of Jewish refugees. In the event of our admission of inability to take care of these people, the onus for their continued persecution would have been largely transferred from the German government to the Allied nations.”

As we reflect on the sixtieth anniversary of General Patton’s rescue of the Lipizzaner horses, perhaps it is worth recalling the bitter –and prescient– remark made by the Zionist leader Rabbi Meyer Berlin to U.S. Senator Robert Wagner, in early 1943: “If horses were being slaughtered as are the Jews of Poland, there would by now be a loud demand for organized action against such cruelty to animals. Somehow, when it concerns Jews, everybody remains silent.”

j. the Jewish newsweekly of Northern California

Friday, April 29, 2005

Nicole Winfield — “Legion of Christ Reform?”

posted without endorsement for the interest of readers            

Legion Of Christ Reform? Future Of Order Uncertain Under Pope Francis

By NICOLE WINFIELD  12/13/13 10:38 AM ET EST AP 

legion of christ reform

VATICAN CITY (AP) — First, one of the Legion of Christ’s top officials abruptly quit the troubled religious order in frustration over the slow pace of change. The priests in the cult-like movement empowered proteges and associates of the order’s disgraced founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, to vote for their next leader.

The past month has seen some setbacks the Legion’s efforts to rehabilitate itself as it moves toward electing a new leadership next month, the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment aiming to overhaul a damaged order. Yet even as the Legion prepares to present a new face, high-ranking members continue to speak nostalgically and even reverently of Maciel — a sexual predator who molested his seminarians, fathered three children and was, in the words of Vatican-appointed investigators, “devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.”

It all means that hopes are dwindling that the Vatican’s effort to radically reform the Legion has succeeded, raising the question of what Pope Francis will do with the once-powerful and wealthy order after the mandate of the papal envoy running it expires.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, took over the Legion in 2010 and appointed a Vatican cardinal to govern it after investigators determined that the congregation itself needed to be “purified” of Maciel’s influence. In reality, the Vatican knew well of Maciel’s crimes for decades but turned a blind eye, impressed instead by his ability to bring millions of dollars and thousands of seminarians into the church.

Rome’s failure to stop him marks the most egregious case of its indifference to victims of priestly sexual abuse, and has tarnished the legacy of Pope John Paul II, soon to be canonized, because he had held up the Legion as a model for the faithful.

To be sure, some progress has been made during the past three years of Vatican receivership: The order rewrote its constitutions, released statistics about sex abuse cases, and a well-respected priest recently begged forgiveness from Maciel’s victims for how he and the Legion ignored and defamed them. But if recent elections in the Legion’s consecrated lay branches are any indication, the membership itself has voted for the status quo.

That mindset has driven dozens of disillusioned priests and hundreds of seminarians and consecrated members out of the order: On Saturday, the Legion will ordain 31 new priests, half as many as were ordained just three years ago.

Last month, the Legion’s reform-minded governing counselor, the Rev. Deomar De Guedes, announced that he was not only resigning his position but was leaving the congregation altogether, a major blow coming just weeks before the Jan. 8 assembly to approve the new constitutions and elect a new superior.

In his farewell letter, De Guedes said he didn’t have the strength to carry on. But the Legion’s spokesman, the Rev. Benjamin Clariond, acknowledged that De Guedes was often the “minority” in pressing for deeper and faster reform and that this was a source of “tension” for him.

“We grant that the reform has gone slowly up to now,” Clariond said in an email. “That is because we intend to effect changes that are not just cosmetic, but that address the underlying causes of the problems … As is understandable, this takes time.”

But with the mandate of the papal delegate, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, ending after the assembly, key questions are being asked now that will pose a major test for Francis: Has the Legion truly shed the cult-like practices that French bishops recently denounced in a letter to victims of spiritual abuse? Will Francis approve the constitutions and essentially give the Legion a clean bill of health? Or will he make some provision for continued Vatican oversight after De Paolis leaves?

Francis has already said the Legion’s assembly, or General Chapter, isn’t the end of the reform process but merely a “step.”

Yet the process itself seems questionable when even the Legion’s current leader continues to speak fondly of Maciel.

In a recent interview with a Spanish-language online journal, Vida Nueva, the Rev. Sylvester Heereman said that regardless of the bad things Maciel did, “he continues to be someone to whom I owe a lot, whom I remember with a mixture of gratitude and compassion, even though I understand and respect those who personally suffered and cannot share those feelings.”

Recently, a senior member of the Legion’s consecrated lay branch, Alejandro Pinelo Leon, visited Maciel’s tomb in Cotija, Mexico on a pilgrimage of sorts: “Our founder teaches us many things and before his tomb I got emotional and thanked him for all that I learned about God from him,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Rev. Thomas Berg, an American priest who left the Legion in 2009, said such nostalgia shows that a considerable portion of the Legion membership is still unable to shake itself from Maciel’s toxic influence.

“The continual resurgence in private and public of the story-line that Macial is a ‘flawed instrument,’ but an instrument of God no less, is proof in the pudding that the purification has not gone deep enough,” he said.

Other indications include the roster of men who will elect the next superior: They include 19 existing superiors and 42 priests elected by the Legionary membership to represent them. The existing superiors include many of the top Legion priests who were close to Maciel and his successor. Electors chosen by the rank and file to represent them include Maciel proteges or still other associates. One recently was forced to explain a bizarre correspondence with a woman under his spiritual guidance.

“With so much of the old guard, so many men who Maciel put in as superiors, and younger priests formed under their influence and supervision, there is no hope of serious reform,” said Glenn Favreau, who left the Legion in 1997 before being ordained a priest and later co-founded ReGain, an online community for former Legion priests that was sued by the Legion after parts of the order’s constitutions were posted on an Internet message board.

Clariond, the Legion spokesman, defended the roster of electors as being fair and representative.

“If you consider that for 42 of the people participating this is their first General Chapter we really cannot be speaking of an ‘old guard,'” he said. “We feel confident that all views will be present, and that the work of renewal will continue on.”

But Xavier Leger, a French seminarian who left the Legion in 2006, said the Vatican’s reform was flawed from the start since the Holy See has relied almost exclusively on current Legion members for its information.

“When you are confronted with cult-like behavior,” said Leger, “the testimony of someone who is under the influence of a cult, this testimony cannot be trusted.”

According to Berg, the American priest, there was never any way the Legion could reinvent itself in such a short time.

“Such a toxic environment cannot be rehabilitated in a matter of three short years,” Berg said in an email to AP. “While the Legionaries desperately want to believe that they are nearing the completion of the reform, this is just one further indication of their inability to deal with reality.”


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