Thursday, February 8, 2024



From La Croix:

Some 20 Catholic bishops focused on a completely different issue -- "Gender ideology, science, and the nature of divine revelation." Participants at the September 26-28 gathering were not just any prelates. La Croix has learned that, among the 21 Catholic officials, there were nine cardinals, mainly from Asia.

They included Cardinals Virgilio Do Carmo da Silva (Timor-Leste), Oswald Gracias (India), William Goh (Singapore) and Patrick D'Rozario (Bangladesh). Among the European cardinals there were Willem Eijk (Netherlands), Angelo Bagnasco (Italy), and Dominik Duka (Czech Republic). Also joining them were a number of African and American prelates, including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco, USA).

The "princes of the Church" do not really know each other

Many of the churchmen who were at the secret gathering in Prague then traveled to Rome to take part in the Synod assembly on the future of the Church, which was held all October at the Vatican. The secret meeting in the Czech capital came as there is  a growing sense that the Church is nearing the "end of the reign", given Pope Francis' age and increasing health difficulties.

But the so-called "princes of the Church" who will sooner or later be called to elect Francis' successor don't really really know each other. Only 25 of the 130 who are still under the age of 80 and have a right to vote in a conclave live in Rome. The others are spread all over the world and have few opportunities to meet and reflect together on the future of the Catholic Church and its governance.

"Meetings like these (in Prague) exist, but it should not be interpreted as a preparation for the conclave," insisted  an important conservative Church figure who lives in Rome.

The meeting had mostly been kept secret up until now, despite the fact that Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja (Nigeria) posted about it on September 29 on his Facebook page.

The program of the Prague meeting is not even listed on the website of the "Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture". The conservative American think-tank, which was set up in 2012 in Texas, footed the bill for conference and the participants' expenses. It also invited speakers who regularly intervene on gender and sexuality. Notable among them was Robert Gahl, a priest of Opus Dei and professor at Harvard. He gave a talk titled: "Gender ideology and incarnation: healing the anthropological heresy."

The day before, the cardinals and bishops listened to Cardinal Eijk of Utrecht give a talk titled "A journey from lesbian identity and gender studies to wife, mother, and daughter of God." The Dutch cardinal warned that "gender theory" constituted "a threat to the family and the proclamation of the Christian faith".

The influence of the late Cardinal George Pell

This was not the first such meeting the Austin Institute organized. It also sponsored one at the the end of 2022, during which the late Australian Cardinal George Pell presented Prison Journal, the memoir of his year in jail for sexual abuse of a minor (of which he was subsequently acquitted). During that conference the cardinal did not refrain from sharply criticizing Francis' pontificate.

Despite Pell's death at the beginning of 2023, the late cardinal remains a point of reference in conservative Catholic circles. In fact, the Rev. Robert Sirico, a former Pentecostal pastor turned Catholic priest who founded the neo-liberal Acton Institute, gave talk on Pell's theological legacy at the Prague gathering.  

The speakers at last September's meeting that La Croix contacted refused to answer questions by phone. But the Austin Institute's president, Mark Regnerus, confirmed that the institute initiated and sponsored the event. It was a "broad invitation and a free discussion", he said in an email. "An intellectual retreat, in short," he added. But he refused to comment on where the institute obtained the funds to pay for the three-day conference (and "training") or how it decided which prelates to invite.

Read more  at La Croix

1 comment:

TJM said...

The Cardinals need to go to the Vatican and tell him he must resign to prevent a schism. Then banish him to a monastery to pray to the Lord to undo the damage he has done to the faithful. His chief sycophant can join him in solitude