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When Truth is "Off the Record"

by Christopher A. Ferrara

L’affaire Kerry and the Vatican continues to develop new layers of intrigue. In my last column on this subject, I discussed how the undersecretary for the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Fr. Augustine DiNoia, has been frantically backpedaling from a letter he requested that his friend, Fr. Basil Cole, send to an American canon lawyer, Marc Balestrieri, on the question of whether John Kerry has excommunicated himself because of his obstinate public promotion of abortion on demand.

Fr. Cole’s letter concluded that Kerry was indeed excommunicated and was further guilty of heresy for denying an article of Catholic faith: that abortion is murder and that, in consequence, civil law can never legalize it.

Having induced Fr. Cole to write the letter, Fr. DiNoia is now running away from it, telling Catholic News Service on October 18, 2004 that it was in no way an "official" Vatican statement on the issue.

But now The New York Times is reporting (October 20, 2004) that in a conversation with Balestrieri on the telephone last week, DiNoia told Balestrieri that Fr. Cole’s letter was "‘excellent and solid’ and that it could be published." The Times further reveals that DiNoia sent Cole and email stating "I’m sorry I got you into this mess. You’re going to have people calling you."

Fr. Cole told the Times that he felt that DiNoia was "distancing himself from it [the letter] as an official" and that "There’s a distinction in Rome when something’s official and when something is off the record." So, in other words, DiNoia agreed with the contents of the letter, but wanted it to be "off the record." That is, he wanted to hide from the public what he himself had acknowledged as the truth that John Kerry is excommunicated by his own words and deeds, and that Kerry’s position on abortion is heretical.

As a theologian at Georgetown told the Times: "I think they [the Vatican] know that if they intervene in an election in that direct a manner, it’s very problematic diplomatically."

Let Kerry get Catholic votes. Let abortion on demand continue without Vatican "interference" in American politics. Let dead babies continue to be thrown into garbage pails all over this nation, without any Vatican condemnation of the "Catholic" politicians who condone this slaughter. Let the sacrilege of Kerry receiving Holy Communion go on. All that matters is that the Vatican apparatus avoid a diplomatic gaffe.

When the truth in a matter of life and death (both physical and spiritual) is kept "off the record" by Catholic prelates in the Vatican who have a duty before God to speak out, we know the Church is in crisis. This very state of affairs is, once again, what the Third Secret predicted: an apostasy that will begin at the top.