Showing posts with label Obituaries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obituaries. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2022

On the Death of Rodney Stark, "Defender of History Against Centuries of anti-Catholic Lies"

The sociologist of religion Rodney Stark became one of the strongest and most unconventional defenders of the Church, and thus of the history of the West, against a large number of anti-Catholic falsifications of history that were deliberately disseminated.

The American sociologist of religion and outstanding apologist for the role of the Catholic Church in Western history passed away a month ago, shortly after his 88th birthday. On this occasion, we publish an interview with him that he granted to the Italian monthly Tempi in 2016 for the publication of his book "Bearing False Witness" ("Bearing False Witness "), the accusation of "non-Catholics" against the "illustrious fanatics," who pass off certain lies about the Church as history. Here is the post from 2016:

This is how Rodney Stark defended the Church against historical falsification

Paradoxically, the man who is perhaps the most effective living apologist for the role of the Roman Church in Western history is not even a Catholic. On the contrary, as he himself explains in his most recent book, he “grew up in the splendor of the Reformation” and “like all Lutherans” was “enlightened about the perversion of Catholics” every Sunday in the service. If Rodney Stark chose to write Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History, it was not out of a partisan impulse to fly a flag defend that was never his.

"I wrote this book to defend history."

The Crusades in a New Light

The sociologist of religion and professor at Baylor University, a Baptist university in Texas, where he directs the Department of Religious Studies, is the author of dozens of titles that are successful in many countries around the world [only a few of which have been translated into German: Der Sieg des Abendlandes. Christianity and Capitalist Freedom and God's Warriors. The Crusades in a New Light ], is highly praised and dedicated to the "neglected history" that shows how it was despised Christianity that brought about the liberty, progress, and prosperity of our civilization. In Bearing False Witness' he has collected the ten 'anti-Catholic myths' that he has encountered most frequently in the course of his countless studies. Ten lies and false accusations which, according to Stark, "had and have too far-reaching consequences in popular thought to be left to isolated refutation."

  • --Anti-Semitism, theologically motivated by the charge of deicide;

  • --the existence of "enlightened" gospels hushed up and falsified by narrow-minded clergy;

  • --the extermination of the pagans after the Christian "conquest" of Rome;

  • --the "dark ages" of the Middle Ages, finally broken through by the rational revolution of the Enlightenment;

  • --the Crusades as the first bloody act of European colonialism;

  • --the crimes of the Spanish Inquisition and the witch hunts;

  • --the case of Galileo as proof of the Church's anti-science;
  • the justification of slavery;

  • --the support of dictatorships against democracy;

  • --the social and civilized superiority of the Protestant Reformation.

By naming names and quoting dozens of times, Stark in the book dissects in turn what he calls "illustrious fanatics" and fellow scholars who, rather than behaving as such, "eagerly" embraced anti-Catholic shenanigans, being "so convinced of the depravity and stupidity of the Roman Catholic Church that they need seek no further confirmation," let alone evidence, although some of them must have recognized that so many of these stories came "out of nowhere." 

See e.g., there is the legend that Christopher Columbus discovered America while trying to prove by seafaring that the earth is round and not flat, as the Spanish cardinals who opposed his project supposedly “still” believed. A pure fairy tale invented in 1828 by writer Washington Irving, best known for inventing the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Nonetheless, it "remained in textbooks and popular culture for decades, even after scientists uncovered its fraudulent origins" (in Austria and West Germany it could still be heard in schools in 2009).

The Pope who is no longer supposed to be Catholic

The animosity of the “illustrious fanatics” towards the Church, according to Stark, goes back a long way.

“The Reformation and the religious wars that followed produced bitter hatreds and false accusations that have persisted through the centuries. Too much of this remains in the collective memory of Protestant countries. In contrast, I am not aware of any comparable vicious anti-Protestant myths in Catholic countries. 

And if in ancient Rome, according to E. Mary Smallwood's thesis taken up in the book, the alleged "exclusivity" of Jews and Christians led to unpopularity and persecution, in past centuries "the antagonism of polytheism to monotheism, which anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity has been replaced by a secular antagonism against all religions, which contain traditional teachings and a claim to truth". Hence the demand that the Pope should stop being Catholic in every respect.

According to Stark, "Voltaire and his colleagues invented the Dark Ages in order to proclaim that they were ridding civilization of religious backwardness."


In reality, however, there never was an obscurantist Middle Ages. On the contrary:

“The most important key to the rise of Western civilization has been the devotion of so many brilliant minds to the pursuit of knowledge. Not after illumination. Not after enlightenment. Not for wisdom. For knowledge!”

The Victory of the Occident

For Stark, it makes perfect sense that many of these "brilliant minds" were medieval Christians, because, "Christianity is a theological religion (founded in thinking about God) that is not concerned solely with the scientific endeavors to explain the world agrees but also gave birth to science: Science did not develop elsewhere because religions, which viewed the universe as an impenetrable mystery, made any scientific endeavor seem absurd". However, over time, Voltaire's and Enlightenment views were "converted by some intellectuals who rejected all religions and by many others who mistakenly believed."

There's a reason why "even popular encyclopedias today acknowledge that the Dark Ages were a myth." This means that, at least in the case of this myth, historical science has triumphed over ideology. It happens all the time, but no one notices. In order to debunk the ten anti-Catholic falsifications of history, Stark draws on the "prevailing opinions among qualified experts". It is a pity that these "only ever write for each other and do not make an effort to share their knowledge with the general public", while conversely, the "illustrious fanatics" continue to enjoy amazing credibility, at least in the media. Even if their dishonest theses have already been refuted and they themselves have admitted their hostility to the Church. This is the case reconstructed in the book by John Cornwell, the famous author of "Hitler's Pope " (German edition: " Pius XII - The Pope who has been silent "), a milestone in propaganda against Pius XII, which has been refuted many times and yet has been reprinted by the press or used in other texts, all errors included. The fact is, bitterly, that "the press always likes scandals and bad news."

And: “The media is really biased towards religion”.

If it is true that the "illustrious fanatics" are fomenting an "'informed' anti-Catholicism" that enjoys undeserved media coverage, then how can truth triumph in the clash of ideas? Stark has no doubts:

"Why should I trust 'my' experts more than those with anti-Catholic views? Quite simply: because my opinion is based on the consensus of authoritative and qualified historians, whom I quote carefully, while the anti-Catholic nonsense has no qualified advocates."

Stark's books are very well received by experts and find an exceptionally positive response among readers. Obviously, they will not find their way into the mainstreamThis would require a rethink. He wants to contribute to this rethinking with his books.

It certainly requires courage to defend the theses of “Bearing False Witness”In the very first chapter, the author endeavors to refute the notion that "the persecution of the Jews was justified for centuries in the name of God." A prejudice so ingrained in the collective imagination that even Catholics hardly seem to question it. The Baylor University professoron the other hand, on the basis of historical documents and non-preconceived "papist" positions, states that he found long ago that in reality "Christians who blamed the Jews for the crucifixion also tended to accept secular forms of anti-Semitism,’ from which it follows that hatred of Jews is by no means a Catholic ‘invention’. On the contrary, according to Stark, "what I learned later, in a next step, was the broad extent to which the Church had protected the Jews from violence".

Views like Obama's will be discredited

Even when it comes to current events, Stark has little trouble defying the mainstream. In his book, he writes that the first armed offensives by Catholic civilization (not the Church) against other religions and heresies took place in the 11th century when Christian supremacy was threatened by the spread of Islam. However, it is wrong to conclude that something similar is happening in the West today. 

“The 'Clash of Civilizations' is not the rotten fruit of our 'Islamophobia'. I don't believe that the Christian West is about to become intolerant. Rather, I believe that the non-Christian West is becoming intolerant.”

Also included in the book is a polemical reference to Barack Obama, who in 2015 helped propagate the anti-Catholic reading of the Crusades (Stark's main theme) by declaring that not all religious violence in history has come from Islam and that Christians also "have done terrible deeds in the name of Christ." Stark's comment is dry:

"If terrorism continues, and it will, views like Obama's will be discredited: I am sure we will see a resurgence of support for Christian action."

 And what does Stark, who is not Catholic, not Baptist and no longer Lutheran, believe in?

"I lost my Lutheran faith when I was in my twenties and remained a non-believer until my sixties, but was never an atheist until, after years of writing about religion, I concluded that Christianity was the most plausible explanation for it life offers.”

Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image : Youtube (Screenshot)

Trans: Tancred


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Death of a Pope Whisperer

German-born Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Pope Francis' governor in Brazil, died yesterday at the age of 88.

(Brasilia) The Archdiocese of São Paulo announced the death of Cardinal Cláudio Hummes at the age of 87. Cardinal Hummes was Pope Francis' lieutenant in Brazil and one of the major promoters of the Amazon Synod, which, along with the Synod on the Family, was the largest project of the current pontificate to date. Overall, Hummes was one of the most influential voices for the progressive paradigm shift under Francis. The pope called him a "very, very good friend".

Odilo Cardinal Scherer, the incumbent Archbishop of São Paulo yesterday issued a "Message of Sorrow and Hope" announcing that the burial will take place in São Paulo Cathedral:

"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, (...) today, after a long illness that he endured with patience and trust in God."

It was Hummes who, as Francis himself said, said immediately after his election in 2013: "Don't forget the poor". It was he who recommended that the newly elected man call himself Francis. The long history will only be briefly outlined.

Hummes' rise

Archbishop Hummes with Lula da Silva 1989

Pope Benedict XVI had appointed the Archbishop of São Paulo to the Roman Curia despite his progressive attitudeThis was a frequently practiced but not always successful attempt to remove critics of a pontificate from their dioceses and at the same time integrate them in Rome. John Paul II had failed with Cardinal Walter Kasper, Benedict XVI failed with Cardinal Hummes.

Cláudio Hummes, born in 1934 as Auri Alfonso Hummes in Montenegro in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, was of German descent and grew up in an area in southern Brazil dominated by German immigrants. His ancestors emigrated from the Hunsrück to Brazil in 1857. Perhaps that is why it was so easy for him to help forge a progressive German-Brazilian axis.

He studied with the Jesuits, but entered the Franciscan order in 1952, where he received the religious name, Claudio. His intelligence enabled him to continue his studies at the Antonianum, the pontifical college of the Franciscan order in Rome. In 1958 he was ordained a priest and in 1965 he was an adviser to the Brazilian Bishops' Conference on ecumenical questions.

In 1975 he was appointed bishop by Paul VI. and the episcopal consecration by his confrere Archbishop Aloisio Lorscheider OFM, one of the signatories of the catacomb pact. In the same year, he became bishop of Santo André. At the time, Hummes had been in close contact with the political left for years, particularly with future Brazilian head of state and government Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

At the same time, however, he had the only partially accurate reputation of not being a representative of Marxist liberation theology, which was particularly rampant in Brazil. Therefore, John Paul II appointed him Lorscheider's successor as Archbishop of Fortaleza and in 1998 Archbishop of São Paulo, one of the largest dioceses in the world. He was created a cardinal in 2001.

The integration attempt by Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Scherer's message

Benedict XVI appointed Hummes to the Roman Curia as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in 2006, an appointment that caused a scandal even before Hummes arrived in Rome. The newly appointed prefect of clergy spoke out in an interview in Brazil for the abolition of Priestly Celibacy.  The scandal was perfect. The Holy See, severely offended, intervened and Hummes backtracked. He corrected his statement and was able to take up his post as Prefect in Rome.

The Brazilian cardinal had revealed two things to the whole world: Hummes was not a Marxist, but a progressive with no reservations about the Marxists. And he knew how to act, if necessary to hide his feelings.

Nevertheless, his time in Rome was not to last long. Externally he kept a low profile but sabotaged the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The final straw came in 2010 with Hummes' boycott of the appointment of St. John Mary Vianney as Patron Saint of Priests.

Behind the scenes, the progressive spectrum was up in arms against Benedict XVI's intention to make the priest of Ars the role model for the next generation of priests. According to the outraged, this is a step backward into “pre-conciliar” times and is directed “against” the Second Vatican Council. Hummes as the responsible cardinal prefect at the Curia played a central role in the rebellion against Benedict XVISince this was intriguing and Benedict XVI. was a very lenient regent, Vianney's appointment failed. However, the German Pope showed in his reaction that he could – if only rarely – take decisive steps. He fired the Brazilian that same year and before the end of Hummes' term. Benedict XVI thus shared his poor opinion of Hummes' tenure to the world.

Cardinal Hummes returned to Brazil at the age of 76 and had become Benedict's implacable opponent on a personal level as well. At the beginning of 2014 he would have turned 80 and resigned as a papal elector. The end of his influence. But Benedict XVI. surprisingly announced his resignation in February 2013 and offered the progressive Fronde the unexpected opportunity to turn things around at the "last moment".

Hummes, the Pope Whisperer

Hummes became a key figure in the March 2013 conclave. He was the one who supported the archbishop of Buenos Aires in the pre-conclave and, according to his own statements, supported Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the conclave "when things became a little more dangerous".

The crucial concern of the Sankt Gallen secret group and the Bergoglio team was that their Argentine candidate could withdraw his candidacy, as he did in 2005. Cardinal Kasper had obtained Bergoglio's promise that this would not be the case a second time. But Hummes had the task not to leave Bergoglio's side in the Sistine Chapel. When he showed himself to the world as the new pope, the "pope maker" Hummes also stood next to him on the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica. It was he, as Francis later said several times, who had whispered to him to take the name Francis.

When Francis showed himself to the world as the newly elected Pope in 2013, Cardinal Hummes stood with him on the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica.

The close bond between Francis and Hummes was still evident in the election year when the new pope gave the Brazilian the satisfaction of vengeance. On September 21, 2013Francis Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, with whom Benedict XVI. had replaced Hummes as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy just three years previously.

As late as February 2014, the first anniversary of Benedict XVI's announcement of his resignation, Hummes' joy was evident. The mood among Catholics had been "depressed and sad" during Benedict's reign around the world. People would have “hung their heads”. But with the resignation of the German Pope, so much has changed in one fell swoop “in such a quick and beautiful way”. With the election of Francis, the loss of trust of the people under Benedict XVI. vanished, because "now people have trust again".

In July 2014, in the changing climate of the new pontificate, Hummes gave the Brazilian newspaper Zero Hora a deeper insight into the intellectual world of a “popemaker”, in which “gay marriage”, the abolition of celibacy and women’s priesthood do not pose problems, but play an essential role.

Humme's most important project: the Amazon Synod

This explains why the revolutionary Austrian missionary Bishop Erwin Kräutler found in Hummes the decisive companion for the project "Amazon workshop" with the main goal of eliminating "forced celibacy". It was Hummes who opened the door to Santa Marta and the Amazon SynodHummes and Kräutler then also controlled the umbrella organization REPAM, which was founded especially for the synod: Kräutler as chairman for Brazil, Hummes as overall chairman.

It was Hummes who, before the Amazon Synod, alternately announced in cryptic tones that the synod “may become historic” and openly declared that the synod would “decide on married priests” . After all, the Amazon Synod "is not convened to repeat what the Church is already saying, but to move forward," Hummes said in the summer of 2018.

The major goal of the Brazilian purple wearer was the abolition of “forced celibacy”, as he had contemptuously called priestly celibacy back in 2010. Other solutions were out of the question for him. He vigorously rejected such a proposal in the late summer of 2016, when the proposal was made at a conference to solve the problem of the shortage of priests in the Amazon jungle by asking each missionary order to send two priests. Hummes had an allergic reaction: " No, no, the Pope doesn't want that ". He certainly didn't want it.

Everything was prepared by the Amazon Synod to overturn priestly celibacy. Hummes wrote a letter to all in January 2020 announcing Francis' post-synodal exhortation and urging it to be "accepted." It was generally expected that the letter would contain a softening of priestly celibacy. At a secret meeting in June 2019, the leaders of the synod had already found a name for the new ordained ministry: It should be “ Presbyter". Austria's bishops declared three months before the start of the synod – prematurely – that they would “ implement ” the resolutions for the Amazon in Austria. In Austria? It really didn't need more signals to grasp the deeper agenda of the Amazon Synod.

Hummes with Francis at the "Witches' Dance in the Vatican"

The Synod of “Indigenists, Modernists, Anti-Natalists and Ecologists” took place as planned. On the margins of the synod, Hummes celebrated a new edition of the catacomb synod of 1965, October 4, what became known as the “witches’ dance in the Vatican due to the scandalous introduction of the Pachamama which took place there.

But then everything turned out differently.

Benedict XVI published in early 2020, together with Cardinal Robert Sarah, then still Prefect of the Congregation for Worship, a plea for the priesthood and priestly celibacy. Outbursts of anger erupted in Santa Marta, but the surprise turnaround on celibacy was perfect. The subject was dropped at the last minute.

Hummes, Francis and Brazil's Socialists

Francis' conspicuous commitment to Lula da Silva also goes back to Hummes. The pope supported the “Free Lula” campaign when the former president was put in prison on suspicion of corruption, sent messages of solidarity to his prison cell, and was outraged by an alleged “white-glove coup d’état” when Lula’s socialists were about to lose their elections in 2018.

Monsignor Hummes with Socialist leader Lula da Silva (right) during strikes in 1979: the dream of reconciling socialism and Christianity

After the unexpected defeat on the celibacy issue, things had calmed down around Cardinal Hummes, at least on an international level. In Brazil he worked to the end on the project of a "Church with Amazonian roots". The post-synodal letter Querida Amazonia did not bring about the abolition of celibacy that he and the West hoped for, but it was a Bergoglian instrument that, given the “right” conditions and the necessary backing, offers a lot of leeway – also in the future. In the end, Hummes eagerly supported the establishment of the Conferencia Eclesial de la Amazonia as a parallel church structure. Katholisches.Info wrote on July 10, 2020 about the “ revolution through the back door” :

“The creation of completely new institutions opens the way to shedding the most 'obstructive' considerations possible and to being able to strive for the targeted goals more consistently and directly. (...) The new facility is a seamless continuation of the revolutionary agenda that some saw as shelved, or at least wanted to see. The new institution has been commissioned to submit "an important paper" to the Vatican on the question of how "married men in areas without priests" could be ordained. 

Since then it has been established that the objectives have not changed and continue to be: creation of a new Amazonian rite, abolition of celibacy, admission of married men to the priesthood, admission of women to the sacrament of Holy Orders as deaconesses – for the time being – and other progressive burdens of the past.”


Cardinal Hummes became chairman of the new parallel structure.

Hummes supported the unprecedented attack by 152 Brazilian bishops on President Jair Bolsonaro in the summer of 2020. The "Church with an Amazonian face" is too important to Santa Marta for such a frontal attack against a friendly, democratically elected legitimate government by parts of the episcopate to be launched single-handedly. Cardinal Hummes, Francis' personal friend, vouched for this.

May God have mercy on his soul.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image : MiL/ (Screenshots)

Trans: Tancred


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Leading Member of Sankt Gallen Mafia Dies — Godfried Cardinal Daneels Goes to His Judgement

Gay Patriarch

Pope praises Danneels as an "avid shepherd".

Vatican City ( On the death of the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Pope Francis has expressed his "deepest sympathy" to the Catholic Church of Belgium. In a letter of condolence to the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, published by the Vatican on Thursday, the Pope acknowledges Danneels as an "avid shepherd.” He had "served with great commitment not only to his diocese but also to the entire world Church.” Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels from 1979 to 2010, died on Thursday at the age of 85 in Brussels.