If there were a single image that summarizes the whole of 2021, it is the big American C-17 airplane taking off from the Kabul Airport runway surrounded by hundreds of Afghan civilians. In a pathetic attempt to escape the Taliban with their lives, some managed to grab hold of the airplane and take off into the sky, only to fall thousands of feet to their deaths. After twenty years and over $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan, the United States of America—the most powerful country in the world—was defeated and humiliated before the whole world by a few thousand savages with AK-47s.
This powerful image caused many to compare Kabul and Saigon in April 1975, when thousands of desperate Vietnamese risked death to escape the communist armies of North Vietnam.
Like the fall of South Vietnam, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban did not happen because the United States was defeated on the battlefield. On the contrary, the United States never lost a battle in both wars. It did not happen because of lack of money. Indeed, a few months later, President Joe Biden and the Democrats just passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and are seeking trillions more. Nor did it happen out of military necessity. The United States has had troops in a non-combat role for decades in many countries, including South Korea, Germany, Japan and Iraq. The American military leadership had long warned that a complete and unilateral withdrawal would cause the Afghan government to collapse.
Rather, the United States withdrew because of the obsession of the Biden government to withdraw at any price, even if it meant wasting twenty years of blood and treasure and causing serious and permanent harm to American prestige throughout the world. It was, in effect, an act of diplomatic and military suicide.
The withdrawal was especially symbolic because it happened less than one month before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Back then, the United States reacted with resolve to punish the Islamic terrorists responsible for killing nearly 3,000 people on U.S. soil. There was a grace of bellicosity and unity that the terrorists did not expect.
This time, the American government, and to a certain extent American public opinion, showed an indifference, even apathy, to its own self-destruction. Although polls showed that most Americans saw the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan as the right one, the vast majority were opposed to the way the Biden government implemented it.1
Nevertheless, the fall of Afghanistan was an event that, in many ways, symbolizes the state of Western civilization. The institutions of what remains of the Christian West are not so much dying as self-destructing. Like a virus that destroys the cell that it infects, the radical left has hijacked these institutions and turned them into weapons of the culture war, destroying them in the process. It has infiltrated, polarized and fractured every institution in every field, from politics and economics to culture and even the Catholic Church herself.
This universal self-destruction is not an accident but the inevitable consequence of the process of Revolution as defined by the great Brazilian Catholic writer and activist Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. Ever since the anarchical yearnings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Revolutionaries have dreamed of a utopia in which civilization, order, law, morality and property would disappear, to be replaced by a tribal, primitive, naturalistic egalitarian society in which religion, family and country disappear. It is the final destination of liberalism, progressivism, socialism and communism.
At the same time, the reaction against this self-destructive process of Revolution has never been greater. Large numbers of people across the West have been crystallized by the radical advances of “wokism.” In response, more and more people are rejecting the totems of liberalism and looking to tradition—especially traditional Catholicism—for answers. It is undeniable that the right is growing everywhere, while the left, although radical, is losing popular support. Surprisingly, this tendency is most apparent in the younger generations.
“Synodality” and the Self-Demolition of the Catholic Church
The clearest example of this self-destructive tendency in the world today is what is happening inside the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is not only sowing confusion but fostering divisions and even schism with his words and actions.
Since 2019, the so-called Synodal Way—a new type of Church governing structure in Germany—has been seeking to make the Catholic Church more egalitarian and “democratic.” The Synod is a parliamentary assembly of clergy and laity that, in Germany, is trying to change the Church’s teachings on sexual morality, the priesthood, the role of women and the hierarchical nature of the Church.
In May, the Catholic Church in Germany and the German Lutheran Church participated in an ecumenical “intercommunion” ceremony in Frankfurt, in which Catholics were invited to take part in an “Evangelical Supper” with Protestants who were similarly invited to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass. Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference, said the month before that “anyone who is Protestant and attends Communion can receive Communion” at the ecumenical event. “We want to take steps towards unity,” he said, adding that “whoever believes in conscience what is celebrated in the other denomination will also be able to approach [the altar] and won’t be rejected.” He said the practice is already “maintained up and down the country” and is actually “nothing new.”2
Bishop Bätzing also affirmed his support for the possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood, saying that the theological arguments against it “are no longer accepted.”3
Open heresy and sacrilege in the German Church thanks to the Synodal Path are leading to what many have long feared: a schism in the Catholic Church. In March, as the radical goals of the Synod became more apparent, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, said that the Synodal Way will lead to a “de facto schism.” He said: “My worry is that we are very close to the point of no return with this Synodal Way—when bishops and people will be promoting positions at variance with the universal magisterium and the Church’s discipline, e.g., the ordination of women, intercommunion etc.”4
Pope Francis, however, has remained silent in the face of this open promotion of heresy in the Church. He has also made it clear that he wants to implement “synodality” more fully in the Church. On September 7, the Vatican released the 22-page preparatory document for the Synod on Synodality titled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” which began in October and will culminate in a Synod of Bishops in 2023.5
Even radical progressives see the Synodal Path as a path to schism. On September 23, Cardinal Walter Casper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that the Synodal Path proposed by the German bishops is an effort to “reinvent the Church,” that some of the Synod’s statements contradict the “sacramental understanding of the Church and the episcopate” and that “many wonder whether all this is still entirely Catholic.”6
Curiously, after adopting several statements that challenge Church doctrine, Bishop George Bätzing abruptly closed the German Synod on October 2, claiming that the meeting lacked a quorum. A few weeks later, Cardinal Kasper again criticized the German Synodal Path. He claimed that the Synod “has made itself a farce of a synod” for pushing aside the views of a minority of bishops who objected to proposals for dramatic changes in Church teaching and discipline.7 That a leading progressivist cleric like Cardinal Kasper objected to the Synod is a sign of deep divisions and obstacles in the German Church on the proposed documents that contradict traditional Church teachings.
LGBT Revolution in the Church
Pope Francis has spent his entire pontificate undermining the traditional teachings of the Church on homosexuality. He has supported homosexual activists, met with open homosexuals, and explicitly supported movements that seek to normalize homosexual sin in society. Catholic bishops, priests and laymen who promote sodomy are promoted or allowed to continue their ministry, while those who oppose it are silenced or persecuted.
On January 25, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, one of Pope Francis’s closest advisors, together with nine other bishops, signed a document titled “God Is On Your Side: A Statement from Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth,” which condemns “bullying” of LGBT youth.8
In February, Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz gave an interview in which he said that homosexual “couples” cannot be expected to live chastely, and the Church must recognize this reality. He called for the Church to change its position on homosexual sin and recognize homosexual “couples” as a legitimate form of marriage. “Quite a few people who have homosexual attractions belong to the Church and are truly pious in the best sense of the word,” he said. Other German bishops who have called for the Church’s position to change include Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, Bishop Heinrich Timmerervers of Dresden-Meißen, and Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference.9
So it was with great surprise and even shock that on March 15, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) responded to the German bishops with an “Explanatory Note” against homosexual “marriage.” The CDF explained that “the Church does not have, and cannot have the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex” and that “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage.”10
It is difficult to believe that Pope Francis approved the release of that document in good faith. In October 2020, he appeared in the film “Francesco”—produced by a Ukrainian homosexual—in which he endorsed civil unions for homosexual “couples.” “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family,” he said. “They are children of God and have a right to a family…What we have to create is a civil union law. That way, they are legally covered.”11
Immediately after the Vatican published the “Explanatory Note,” progressivist bishops across the world erupted in protest. Bishop Johann Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, expressed his “intellectual and moral incomprehension” at the document and called it “a shame for my Church.”12 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said that the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “does not preclude blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations.” “If it is really the request for God’s blessing for a life path that two people, in whatever situation, are trying to walk,” he explained, “then they will not be denied this blessing.”13 Bishop Paul Dempsey of Achonry, Ireland, said that the Vatican document was “deeply offensive” and that many people in homosexual relationships have “enriched the life of the Church and continue to do so in parishes across the world.”14
Many other bishops around the world also condemned the document.
The real-world effects of the Vatican’s “Explanatory Note” were not to stop the acceptance of homosexual sin and other heresies in the Church but to give them a new impetus. On May 10, approximately 100 German Catholic parishes participated in a blessing ceremony for same-sex “couples” in defiance of the Vatican. Retired German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller called the May 10 blessings “an enormous scandal, a terrifying sign of heresy, schism and the collapse of the Church.”15
In May, a scandal erupted in the Catholic school system of Ontario, Canada, when a Catholic school district voted to fly the rainbow flag outside Catholic schools during “Pride Month” in order “to ensure that students in the LBGTQ+ community are supported.”16 Many parents objected and protested against the school district. Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, issued a statement in which he said he preferred the cross as the best symbol of inclusion but did not condemn the rainbow flag and instead called for dialogue.17
In Italy, the Italian government tried to pass a bill against “homophobia.” Italy is the last major European country without such a law, and Italian homosexual groups have been trying to pass one for years. The so-called Zan bill (named after Alessandro Zan, the openly homosexual legislator who introduced it) passed the Italian lower chamber last year and needs only to pass the Italian Senate. If passed, the bill would be used as a weapon to punish and silence Christians who disagree with homosexuality and gender ideology. A coalition of conservative and Catholic groups fought to block the bill from becoming law.
Surprisingly, on June 22, Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Paul Gallagher, invoking the Vatican’s right under the 1929 Lateran Treaty, sent a diplomatic note to the Italian government expressing concerns over the bill. The nota verbale opposed the bill as a threat to the freedom of the Church to teach the truth on gender, marriage and family. The following day, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi responded, saying that Italy “is a lay state, a lay state, so it’s not a confessional state” and that the Italian parliament “is free” to pass laws as it sees fit.18
A week later, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, complained that it was a “mistake” for the Vatican to raise any concern at all about the pending Italian legislation. Archbishop Paglia, who caused controversy when he had painted a homoerotic mural in his cathedral in Terni, added that he believes “homophobia” is an “obvious” problem and “that it must be fought is even more obvious.”19 But pressure against the bill from pro-family organizations in Italy such as Pro Vita & Famiglia was strong, and on October 27, it failed in the Senate, 154 to 131.20
Pope Francis personally intervened to support notorious pro-LGBT activists this year. On June 28, during “Pride Month,” he sent a handwritten letter to notorious pro-homosexual activist and Jesuit priest Father James Martin. He is known for his book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. Pope Francis thanked him “for your pastoral zeal and your capacity to be close to people, with that closeness that Jesus had and which reflects the closeness of God.” He praised Father Martin for “trying to imitate this style of God. You’re a priest for everyone. I pray for you so that you continue this way, being close, compassionate and with a lot of tenderness.”21
In August, Pope Francis sent a letter to Michael O’Loughlin, the openly homosexual national correspondent for the Jesuit magazine America. O’Loughlin wrote about the letter in an article in The New York Times titled, “Pope Francis Sent Me a Letter. It Gives Me Hope as a Gay Catholic.” In his letter, Pope Francis praised O’Loughlin “for shining a light on the lives and bearing witness to the many priests, religious sisters and laypeople, who opted to accompany, support and help their brothers and sisters who were sick from HIV and AIDS at great risk to their profession and reputation.”22
Pope Francis sent two more letters to New Ways Ministry, a pro-LGBT dissident Catholic group in the United States co-founded by Sister Jeannine Gramick and the late Father Robert Nugent. In 1999, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemned both Sister Gramick and Father Nugent for their “grave doctrinal error” on sexual morality and forbade them from ministering to homosexuals. In his two letters sent in May and June, Pope Francis praised Sister Gramick and the work of New Ways Ministry. “I know how much she has suffered,” the Pope wrote. “She is a valiant woman who makes her decisions in prayer.”23
Sexual Abuse Report in France
In 2018, the Bishops’ Conference of France established the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) to study the history of sexual abuse in the French Church. On October 5, the commission published a 2,500-page report in which it calculated that more than 300,000 minors were abused by 3,000 clergy or lay church workers since 1950. It estimated that 80% of the victims were boys, strongly suggesting homosexuality and pederasty.
The sheer number of alleged perpetrators and victims provoked a media uproar against the Catholic Church and the French bishops. “Thousands of paedophiles in French Church,” said one BBC News headline.24 Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, expressed his “shame and horror” at the findings. “My wish today is to ask forgiveness from each of you,” he told a news conference.25 In his October 7 general audience, Pope Francis said: “To the victims, I wish to express my sadness and my pain for the traumas they have endured and my shame, our shame, my shame that for so long the Church has been incapable of putting this at the center of its concerns, assuring them of my prayers,” he continued. “I pray, and let us all pray together: ‘To God the glory, to us the shame’: this is a moment of shame.”26
In an interview with Franceinfo on October 6, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort was asked if the seal of Confession took precedence over the laws of the French republic. “The seal of confession imposes itself on us, and in this, it is stronger than the laws of the Republic,” he said. The French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, then “invited” the archbishop for discussions at the ministry headquarters in Paris on October 12, provoking much anger and fear among French Catholics about the integrity of the Sacraments. The Catholic Code of Canon Law imposes the penalty of automatic excommunication for any priest who breaks the seal of Confession.
In a statement published after the meeting, Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort backpedaled on the seal of Confession and “asked pardon” for those who were “shocked” by his words. Adopting the false dilemma between the well-being of children and the integrity of the Sacrament of Confession, he wrote that the report on sexual abuse of minors requires the Church to “reconcile the nature of confession with the necessity of protecting children” and that the bishops and Catholic faithful should work for the protection of children “in close collaboration with the French authorities,” leaving open the possibility that the Church might compromise on the Sacrament.27 Gérald Darmanin, on his part, told the French National Assembly in a speech after the meeting that he praises “the courage of the French Church” but that “there is no law superior to the laws of the National Assembly and of the Senate and no law above those of the Republic.”28
Soon after the report was published, some observers expressed doubts about the accuracy of the findings. Eight representatives of the prestigious Académie Catholique de France published a 15-page critique of the report, in which they claimed that it lacked “scientific rigor.” The commission only did an in-depth study of 1,600 cases and 10,000 incidents, extrapolating the total number from those cases. Even the commission’s authors admit that the final number might be off by 50,000. The critique also points out that most of the cases are impossible to prove or disprove due to the distance of time and that most of the alleged perpetrators are long dead.
Moreover, the “recommendations” of the CIASE report seem to favor a progressivist restructuring of the Church as a solution. “The disproportionate assessment of this scourge feeds the narrative of a ‘systemic’ character and lays the groundwork for proposals to bring down the Church-institution,” they said. The CIASE report also calls for the Church to weaken the seal of Confession to allow for reporting of confessed crimes to the French state.29
Indigenist Revolution in Canada
When Pope Francis hosted the Pan-Amazon Synod at the Vatican in October 2019, it was the point of departure for a social, economic and religious revolution to bring an “Amazonian face” to the Universal Church. That is, to use the indigenous question to attack Western civilization and bring tribalism, poverty, socialism and egalitarianism to the West using religious arguments and a pseudo-sympathy for the Indians of the Americas. In the words of the Brazilian Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, a notorious Indigenist activist, this “trans-communist” revolution would succeed where Soviet-style communism failed.
This Indigenist Revolution took a great leap forward this year in Canada. In June, the media published sensational reports that several Indian cemeteries were “discovered” that contained the remains of thousands of indigenous children. These children were enrolled in schools established by the Canadian government in the nineteenth century and run by churches, including the Catholic Church. These media reports accused the Church of having abused and even killed these children, portraying the schools as concentration camps and the cemeteries as “mass graves.”30
The Canadian bishops immediately expressed “deepest sorrow” for the “mass graves.” Pope Francis expressed shock and called for “healing” following the discovery. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded an apology from the Catholic Church. At a press conference, he said: “As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position that the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years.” He also threatened court action to obtain Church records.31 On June 29, Trudeau revealed that he spoke with Pope Francis. “I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to impress upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil,” he said.32 In October, Pope Francis agreed to travel to Canada in 2022 to make “a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation.”
Amidst the media uproar, the Canadian Catholic Church suffered a wave of arson and vandalism. Dozens of Churches, many on Indian reservations, were burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances. Many dozens more had their windows broken, statues smashed and doors spray-painted with Satanic or anti-Catholic slogans. Most if not all of these attacks were made not by Indians but by radical leftist terrorists. Indigenous leaders in Canada pleaded with the perpetrators not to burn down their churches. “Burning down churches is not in solidarity with us indigenous people. As I said, we do not destroy people’s places of worship,” one Indigenous leader said.33
Immediately, many observers began to see the political agenda behind the propaganda about the Residential Schools. In fact, the media are deliberately ignoring the facts to push a leftist narrative. A report by Dr. Scott Hamilton of the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada, showed some cases of abuse of children in the Residential School system. However, most of the problems and abuses were not the fault of the Catholic Church but the Canadian department of Indian Affairs, mostly due to lack of funding and government neglect. The cemeteries were not “mass graves” but ordinary cemeteries where the teachers and other administrators were also buried alongside children at a time when young children had a much higher mortality rate.
Most importantly, the timing of the media uproar illustrates the bad faith of the media and groups that are accusing the Church. The abuses and problems with the Indian Residential Schools were already studied and well-known in Canada for decades. Nothing new was discovered, yet the media erupted in a very well-coordinated campaign of hatred against the Catholic Church and the Residential Schools. Prime Minister Trudeau, a radical supporter of abortion “rights,” participated in this street theater when he posed with a teddy bear kneeling on the ground in one of these cemeteries.34
The reason for the sudden media uproar is not because of the tragic but exaggerated existence of some abuses of Indigenous children in Canada’s Residential Schools. Revolutionaries reject the very notion of assimilation, preferring that the Indians in Canada (and across the Americas) remain poor, undeveloped and separated from mainstream Western society. The issue is to promote the Indigenist Revolution promised by the Pan-Amazon Synod. That is, first to denigrate, humiliate and dismantle Western civilization and to promote a new social, economic and cultural model for the West based on pre-Christian Indigenous primitivism and paganism. This media uproar in Canada is the first big step towards accomplishing the dream of Pope Francis of a Church and society with an “Amazonian face.”
Pyrrhic Victory of Joe Biden and the Abortion Debate in the United States
The election of Joe Biden and his inauguration ceremony on January 20 marked a major turning point in world politics in 2021. Many saw Biden’s victory as a repudiation of “Trumpism,” or rather, of the end of the conservative reaction in the United States that Trump represented. Many saw in Biden the rise of the Catholic left to power. In fact, the conservative movement in the United States is stronger than ever. Joe Biden is easily the weakest president in over a century. The pro-life movement is causing serious problems for the Revolution in the United States.
Other than the presidency, the 2020 election was a disaster for the Democrats. Polls said they would win more than 15 seats in the House of Representatives, but instead, they lost twelve seats and nearly lost their majority. The Democrats won three seats in the Senate but failed to win a majority without the Vice President’s vote. The Democrats also failed at the state level. They could not flip control from the Republicans of a single state legislature and even lost two to the Republicans. In the words of The New York Times, the “Blue Wave crashed in statehouses across the country.”35
Although Joe Biden presented himself as a centrist who would bring “unity” to the country, the Democrats have embarked on a race to the far left. They have pushed a radical and communist “woke” platform of the abolition of the police, “critical race theory,” nationalization of health care, unrestricted illegal immigration, gender theory and the elimination of restrictions on the “right” to abortion. Joe Biden has done nothing to stop this radical march to the far left. As a consequence, his approval rating has dropped from 56% in January to 44.7% in October, the largest and fastest drop in approval of any American president since World War II.36
Joe Biden, the second Catholic President of the United States, has made his Catholic Faith an important part of his public image. His January 20 inauguration ceremony was full of influential leaders of the American Catholic left. He has appointed a large number of Catholic leftists to his government. Biden’s inaugural speech even paraphrased the slogan of the “cry of the poor” and the “cry of the earth” of ex-Franciscan friar and liberation theologian Leonardo Boff. Many observers have said that Biden represents the Catholic left in power in the United States.
What Does It Mean to Be Catholic? The President, the Cardinal, and Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians
This conflict between Biden’s Faith and his support for abortion provoked a massive reaction among the predominately-Catholic pro-life movement. Many Catholics were outraged that Joe Biden, a public sinner and supporter of abortion, continues to receive Holy Communion without sanction from the bishops.
Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), although favorable to many of Biden’s leftist positions on migrants and healthcare, was forced to issue a statement critical of his support for abortion. “It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations…This executive order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching,” he wrote.37
This led to months of unprecedented debate and even polemic within the American episcopate. Some clerics, such as Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Tobin of Newark, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Ky., attacked Archbishop Gomez for criticizing Biden’s pro-abortion positions. Bishop McElroy said Catholics should be “proud collaborators”38 of the Biden administration and that it was “destructive” to deny Biden Holy Communion.
Pope Francis intervened in the debate several times. On his flight back to Rome from Slovakia on September 15, Pope Francis said that “abortion is murder” but noted that “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone.” “What must a pastor do?” the Pope asked. He answered: “Be a pastor; don’t go condemning.”39 President Biden visited with Pope Francis in the Vatican on October 29. “We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion,” he told reporters.40
Other American bishops, including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Tex., and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kans., have written pastoral letters and spoken out strongly against pro-abortion Catholic politicians, although stopping short of calling for denying him Communion. Archbishop Naumann, in an interview, said, “Obviously, the president doesn’t believe what we believe about the sacredness of human life, or he wouldn’t be taking the actions that he is…And yet, he continues to receive the Eucharist. We can’t judge his heart. But we consider the action itself a grave moral evil.”41
Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Catholic public officials who promote abortion are apostates and likely heretics as well. “The reception of Holy Communion by those who publicly and obstinately violate the moral law in its most fundamental precepts is a particularly grave form of sacrilege… Clearly, no priest or Bishop can grant permission to a person who is in public and obstinate grave sin to receive Holy Communion.”42
At their June plenary session, the bishops voted to draft a document on “Eucharistic Coherence,” which was approved and published at their November meeting. The document repeated some of the doctrines of the Church regarding sin and worthiness to receive Holy Communion but did not address the issue of denial of Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians such as Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi. The New York Times article claimed that the “The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States backed away from a direct conflict with President Biden.”43 Although the USCCB avoided taking any firm position towards pro-abortion Catholics, the intense pressure from pro-life Catholics to act is certain to remain and even increase.
Protests against the Covid Health Pass
Many governments worldwide, but especially in Europe, imposed health passes in 2021 to segregate and punish people who have not taken the Covid-19 vaccine. In France, as many as a quarter of a million people protested every weekend for more than two months after that country introduced its health pass for restaurants and other public places.44
Many tens of thousands protested and even rioted in Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and the UK as those governments imposed vaccine requirements for work or to shop in stores.45 In November, the Austrian government imposed the first lockdown in the world for unvaccinated people, sparking huge protests in Vienna.46 Many hundreds of thousands more have protested similar mandates in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Australia, Northern Ireland and elsewhere. When President Biden imposed an employer mandate for the vaccine, thousands of Americans protested from New York to California.
A statement published in October 2020 by the TFPs and sister organizations from around the world described the Covid-19 pandemic as a tool in the hands of the Revolution to destroy what remains of Western Christian civilization. In 2021, the vaccine mandates have not fulfilled their purpose to get the whole population vaccinated. Rather, they have backfired, causing anger, division, resentment, polarization, social conflict and even threatened civil war.47
A great shift to the right in public opinion across the world
The election of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, the Brexit vote and the rise of right-wing movements and parties across the Western world over the last ten years have shocked and angered left-wing commentators. When Donald Trump lost reelection in 2020, many assumed that this shift rightward would cease. On the contrary, this tendency is continuing and even accelerating. At no time in modern history, perhaps, has the Western world experienced such a massive movement in public opinion towards the right.
In May, a French think tank called Fondation pour L’Innovation Politique published a major study of four European countries, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy. They found that across all four countries, public opinion has shifted profoundly to the right on economic issues, immigration and Islam. The segment of the population most likely to identify as right-wing is the young (18-34).48
In France, the rise of the right-wing journalist Éric Zemmour and his decision to run for president in 2022 represents the massive rightward shift of that country. An article in Le Figaro in October described this move to the right titled, “Six months before the presidential election, French society is more right-wing than ever.”49 Just in the last four years, the number of Frenchmen who identify as right-wing rose from 33% to 37%, while those identifying as leftist dropped from 25% to 20%. Most of this change is due to concern over crime, immigration and Islam.
This great shift to the right has also occurred in the Catholic Church. Traditional Latin Masses have grown dramatically over the past few decades, especially (and paradoxically) under Pope Francis. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, attendance at many Latin Masses doubled or even tripled. A Crisis Magazine survey estimates that attendance at Traditional Masses in the United States increased 71% since January 2019.50 This shift towards tradition is especially noteworthy because it is mostly a phenomenon of young Catholics born long after the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae. The conservative trend is also happening in the clergy. A 2021 report by the Survey of American Catholic Priests showed that, over the last twenty years, American priests are significantly more traditional and orthodox than priests from the seventies and eighties. “Catholic priests ordained since the year 2000 tend to be the most conservative,” it said.51
Pope Francis’ response to this has been to persecute the Traditional Mass. On July 16, he published an apostolic letter Traditionis Custodes which imposed restrictions on the celebration of the traditional liturgy.52 The accompanying letter explained that the reasons for restricting the use of the Tridentine Rite were because of a “rejection not only of the liturgical reform but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the ‘true Church.’”53
Some bishops around the world began to place restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine Rite, but most, especially in North America and Europe, were obliged to maintain the status quo. Although Pope Francis has tried to impede the growth of the traditionalist movement in the Church, it is unlikely that he will stop what appears to be clearly a grace among the Catholic faithful.
Our Lady of Fatima and the events
With the Revolution destroying institutions in every field, threatening internal and external wars, persecutions and the most radical forms of socialism, revolution and even Satanism, the message of Our Lady of Fatima is more relevant than ever. The “errors of Russia,” as Our Lady warned, are like a cancer, reaching their final stage of metastasis. Socialism, communism, Gender Theory, sodomy, blasphemy, Satanism and bloody persecution of the Church are threatening to destroy the nations of the world.
Russia herself, along with Communist China, are threatening wars with the West. As 2021 draws to a close, the Russians are building up nearly 200,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, while China is also building up its forces in preparation for an invasion of Taiwan. Any future war by Russia or China is likely to involve the United States and possibly other great powers in Europe and Asia.
A war between the United States and Russia or China would not be simply a conflict between great powers like that of the nineteenth century. Rather, it is a conflict of models: between Revolutionary liberalism and “democracy” on the one side, represented by the United States, and authoritarian nationalism represented by Russia and China. The conservative reaction in the West is, at its roots, a general weariness and even rejection of the dominant model in the West: that of liberal democracy. As liberal democracy leads society to disintegration and destruction through mass immigration and gender theory, people are looking for new models and ideologies.
Neither liberal democracy nor authoritarian nationalism is the solution to the crisis. Rather, we must return to the Father’s House, that is, a return to the Catholic Church and the principles of Christian civilization. In his book, Return to Order, John Horvat describes this order as an organic Christian society, which flourished in medieval Europe and whose remnants can still be found today in the West.
Amidst the suffering, chaos, corruption and confusion of our times, many Catholics are tempted to despair and seek political solutions outside the Church. On the contrary, the great crisis of our times is a result of, above all, a religious one, and the solution can only be found in the traditional Magisterium of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
We must also have unlimited confidence in Our Lady and her promises at Fatima. The chaos, wars and sufferings of our times were foreseen more than a century ago in a prophetic apparition of the Mother of God in Portugal. Only by heeding her message and holding on to her mantle can we hope to navigate the apocalyptic times that are coming.