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Now the Cardinals Speak Out?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
October 24, 2016

As the perennial Eucharistic discipline of the Church respecting the impossibility of admitting public adulterers in “second marriages” begins to fragment for the first time in 2,000 years, and the mortal sin of sacrilegious Communion is now being viewed as still a mortal sin in some places but “mercy” in others, the cardinals have finally begun to speak out in public.

If only they were speaking about this situation.  Unfortunately, no. As Fox News reports, what has caused them to find voices of outraged opposition is the Vatican’s decision to allow a McDonald’s to occupy a space “just underneath an apartment complex where several cardinals live — and within sight of St. Peter's Square.”

Fox notes that in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia denounced the plan as “a controversial, perverse decision to say the least,” which is “by no means respectful of the architectural traditions of one of the most characteristic squares which look onto the colonnade of Saint Peter’s.”

Fox further notes that Sgreccia, “who doesn’t actually live in the affected apartment complex looking down on the restaurant, was speaking on behalf of the seven cardinals who do reside in the 5,800-square-foot site. One cardinal was so enraged that he even wrote a letter to Pope Francis urging an intervention into the commercial project.”

Now of course the decision to allow a McDonald’s to situate itself in sight of Saint Peter’s Square in an historic building is an outrage. I am familiar with the square in question, which abuts Saint Peter’s, and the presence of a McDonald’s there would be obscene. Nothing represents the “disposable culture” Francis constantly denounces more than McDonald’s, or the greedy mega-capitalists who exploit the poor — in this case by feeding them junk food that contributes to the development of chronic diseases while paying substandard wages to impoverished employees who serve up this mass-produced garbage, which generates mountains of non-biodegradable waste. 

But the furious cardinals ought not to hold their breath waiting for Francis to honor his professed principles by halting this absurd project — not when there is monthly rent of € 30,000 in the offing.  The same was true when Francis permitted Porsche to hire out the Sistine Chapel for a private concert — the first time any Pope has permitted that sacred space to be used for a corporate event. Cold cash talks; empty rhetoric walks. 

But why has not a single cardinal publicly denounced as “a controversial, perverse decision to say the least” the Pope’s go-ahead to “regionalize sin” and undermine the universal discipline of the Church respecting the admission of divorced and “remarried” persons to Holy Communion?  Where are the “enraged” letters to Francis from these cardinals “urging an intervention” to stop the destruction of the Church’s moral integrity and prevent both sacrilege and grave harm, very possibly eternal harm, to countless souls?

As Roberto de Mattei has put it: “Roman prelates will roar when they see their own residences threatened, but lose their voices when faced with events that shake the faith and Catholic morals, such as the exhortation Amoris Laetitia and the embrace of Luther on October 31 in Lund.”  

Why? Because Roman prelates simply don’t care about “events that shake the faith and Catholic morals.” They don’t care because, as the McDonald’s contretemps demonstrates, “where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also (Matt. 6:21).”  It appears their hearts are not in the Faith, even if their minds believe it as a set of propositions.  Their hearts, rather, would appear to be lodged in their Roman digs.  These they will defend with great passion while observing a cold and politic silence concerning the apostasy that “begins at the top,” as Cardinal Ciappi warned in light of the Third Secret of Fatima.

Such is the crisis the Church endures today — the crisis of which the Madonna warned us nearly a century ago in the text we have yet to see.