Steve Jalsevac

Three candidates for Pope who are on few people's lists

Steve Jalsevac

I realize this is a dangerous article:  recommending three cardinals who might be the best selections to replace Pope Benedict XVI.

It's called throwing the dice in some circles. Really, how can anyone know who the cardinals will elect? And even then, do any of us know enough about all of them to make a good judgment on who the Holy Spirit might choose for that heavy cross -- err, role?

But still, I’d like to have a go at it just to know I tried, and if one of these are indeed picked, it would be rather exciting.

These three, except for Burke, are likely on very few persons’ lists. But that makes it all the more interesting.

1.  Cardinal Raymond Burke, 64 - Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

OK, regular readers of could easily guess that this incredibly faithful, fearless, yet humble and holy former Archbishop of St. Louis would be one of our favorites. Having met Cardinal Ratzinger in person years ago, and Cardinal Burke a number of times in recent years, I have to admit there is a remarkable similarity in their personalities - both soft spoken, naturally warm and friendly, surprisingly humble, and not at all the pitbulls their critics make them out to be.

Like Ratzinger, Burke is also a man who would attempt to do what everyone knows needs to be done: to reform the Curia and many other aspects of the Church. I have not the slightest doubt that he would serve the Church and the world very well as Pope.

However, do the other cardinals see Burke in the same way? Hmm, so far I suspect he would not win a popularity contest among them, but then would even the real Jesus (Who severely challenged the religious leaders of His day) be any more popular with some of them? And of course, this selection has nothing whatever to do with popularity. Anything can happen though, especially considering the grave concerns for the future that exist at this time.

For a lot more on Cardinal Burke just enter his name in the LifeSiteNews search. Our website contains lots of articles – all good -- about him. Not that we were in any way trying to promote him. He has done and said a lot of newsworthy and positive things that were well worth reporting.

2.  Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80

“You can’t be serious?” many will say. He is 80 years old, and is not even permitted to vote – but he is eligible. Yup. All the talk is about a younger pope who can take on the very heavy tasks we know are ahead. Well, Arinze is, unlike Benedict, still in good health – as far as I know.

Here is the Wikipedia description of Arinze:

"Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, having served as prefect from 2002 to 2008. He is the current Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni (succeeding Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI) since 2005. Arinze was one of the principal advisors to Pope John Paul II, and was considered papabile before the 2005 papal conclave, which elected Benedict XVI."

The thing is, if the cardinals can’t agree on choosing any of the younger one of their brothers, it can happen, and has happened more than a few times, that they will opt for a safe, short-term papacy of an older cardinal – as they did with Cardinal Ratzinger. But more than that, they will do what the Holy Spirit leads them to do.

Arinze is also holy, humble, utterly faithful, and has shown he will do whatever has to be done. He is still a much more worthy and capable candidate than many of the other cardinals. Arinze would be certain to continue Pope Benedict’s and John Paul II’s reforms. Also look him up in the LifeSiteNews search.

Cardinal Arinze is comfortable with and liked by youth. He has a wonderful, engaging personality. See the video of his reaction to hearing in person of Benedict’s resignation announcement.

3.  Cardinal James Harvey, 63 – an American from Milwaukee and from 1998 until this past November, Prefect of the papal household under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. (Again see Wikipedia's entry here.)

This is a real longshot. Why would I mention someone who very few people have ever heard of and yet another American?

Cardinal Wuerl has just said that the Church should not elect an American. Also, Harvey was removed as Prefect of the papal household this past November following the Vatileaks scandal. He was the superior of the Pope’s butler who stole and passed on to Italian media large amounts of very confidential documents from the Papal apartment. It is said that Harvey was removed for badly failing the pope over this situation.

The scenario for Harvey’s dismissal sounds reasonable. Still, it is more than curious that Harvey was so very quickly made a cardinal by Benedict at a time when he knew he would soon be resigning the papacy.  Benedict would have clearly understood that his former, supposedly negligent prefect would not only be voting for his replacement, but would also be eligible to become pope himself. Hmm.

Until last fall, I had never heard of James Harvey. Then, on our visit to Rome this past November, I got an earful about the exceptional qualities of this man and how faithful he has been to both Popes John Paul II and Benedict. Amongst the Cardinals, Harvey has a high level knowledge of the workings of the Vatican and its Curia and an intimate understanding of the minds and goals of the last two popes and what they endured.

If faithful reform (as opposed to what all the "progressive" dissidents and media are calling for) of the Vatican and the Church in general is seen as an urgent need at this time, it just might be that Benedict knew Harvey was well-suited for the calling – and is relatively young for a cardinal, with lots of energy and years ahead. And solid, faithful.

So there, I’ve had some fun. To be sure, this is all just pure guesswork and speculation and probably off by a country mile. God likely has a very different choice than any of these three in His mind for the next papacy. Rather than us spending much time on speculating or promoting one or the other He wants Catholics to above all just pray a great deal for the new pope.

However, related to the issues of greatest concern to LifeSiteNews readers, I am sure these three would be among the best who would valiantly work to restore a Culture of Life to the world.

Whatever the outcome, which no one can know, the next few weeks or month or so will surely be fascinating. The world is going through great change these days and the Catholic Church will continue to play a major role in the drama - with whomever is elected as its new “Rock,” who will be Peter.

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Mugging by Catholic bloggers

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.

There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.

Critics who obviously know very little about us, how we function, and our editorial decision-making penned very harsh judgments about our motives and other aspects of our work.

Here are just a few samples of what was what posted on the Facebook pages of various well-known and prolific Catholic writers:

  • “Two sentences that make me turn on my bullshit detector: ones that start, ‘Guess what Pope Francis just did?’ and ones that start, ‘According to LifeSiteNews . . . ‘”
  • “lying assholes who attack the Church”
  • “lazy, biased, and stupid reporting”
  • “no respect for LSN as a whole”
  • “an organization with a bad reputation”
  • “no news sense and no conscience”
  • hang your “head in shame for attempting to bring division in the Church through inaccurate and dishonest reporting”
  • “anti-Catholic bias”
  • “They have a distorted view of reality, and no conscience when it comes to reporting lies in order to advance the agenda.”
  • “sleazier than the National Enquirer”
  • “They don't actually do any reporting. They rewrite a lot of other people's reporting without checking facts or giving attribution.”
  • “The narcissism and pride is epic.”

Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.

LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith. 

Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments.

However, a natural response is: “Where is the Christianity in any of these comments?” It boggles the mind that anyone would publicly exhibit such a total lack of charity for all the world to see and think that they are thus exhibiting love of God or properly defending the Church or Pope Francis.

We often encourage our readers to be very respectful in any communications they make in response to our reports. We recognize that condemnatory, hostile, and disrespectful communications will always cause harm and hardly ever help advance the cause of life and family.

Why the scandal of such ad-hominem attacks are permitted by well-known Catholic websites is a puzzle. LifeSiteNews is only one of many victims who have been targeted and at times harmed by these all-too-frequent, very uncharitable, and careless blog postings over the years. 

Productive dialogue is impossible without mutual respect. Still, we never close the door to future communications if circumstances change. Many of us on the LifeSiteNews team have gone through major life conversions, so we understand the importance of forgiveness and charity.

One of our team did attempt to reach out and dialogue. Unfortunately, all attempts to respond to the criticism charitably, humbly, and privately, resulted in further, public attacks against the professionalism and integrity of LifeSiteNews, and on the personal character of LifeSiteNews personnel.

At LifeSiteNews we welcome feedback and reasoned, respectful criticism. When readers feel we are not doing the job, or are not doing it well, we take it seriously. We try to respond with charity, humility, and clarity.

The feedback we’ve received over the years has varied wildly from being told we are “doing the work of Satan” to the more usual one that we are doing God’s work. We‘ve been told more times than we can count, in emails and personal encounters with readers, that our reports are among the most reliable, trustworthy, and professionally written on the Internet on the issues that we cover. That is truly our aim. We pray and work every day to arrive at that lofty goal. And with your support, your prayers, and your constructive advice, I’m sure we can maintain our current high level of reporting while always striving to improve it even more.

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Thank Canada's Archbishop Richard Smith; watch excellent EWTN coverage of Ottawa march Sat.

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith’s strong, blunt criticism of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s outrageous announcement that pro-life candidates will no longer be permitted to run for the Liberal Party is a welcome change from the usual silence of Canada’s bishops on almost all such developments.

I really hope many pro-life Canadians thank Archbishop Smith for speaking out and encourage him to continue to publicly hold Canadian Catholic politicians accountable for their anti-life and anti-family pronouncements, votes and other actions.

Here is the archbishop’s contact information:

Most Rev. Richard SMITH
Archbishop of Edmonton
8421-101 Avenue

Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1

Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
Web Site
Message entry page

And PLEASE, don’t criticize him for not doing all that you think that he should have said and done about Trudeau. This was a positive step. Congratulations, gratitude and encouragement is what you should convey.

Hopefully, more bishops will start to publicly hold to account Canada’s Catholic politicians who have very badly betrayed the people of Canada by leading, as have Justin and many other Canadian Catholic politicians, the advancement of the culture of death in Canada. It has been a sordid, terrible record so far, probably worse than in any other nation in the world.

The archbishop proclaimed that Justin’s announcement of his pathetic policy just before the Marches for Life to be "slap" in the face for all those who would be participating in the various marches across Canada. How true that is and I hope Canadians do not conveniently forget this travesty when the next federal election finally comes around.

Voters have a strong tendency to forget these things, much to the benefit of the worst politicians. Hopefully, there will be more strong statements from Canadian bishops around election time in order to refresh memories.

By the way, the EWTN coverage of the National March for Life in Ottawa was really outstanding this year. If you missed it, I strongly recommend that you tune into the replay tomorrow (Saturday) from 1 to 5:30 p.m.

I wasn’t able to make it to the March this year, having just come back from 10 days in Rome and now preparing for Washington next week, but I did catch some of the EWTN coverage and was thoroughly impressed.  If you can’t get EWTN on your cable network I believe the program can still be viewed via the EWTN website. 

Give it a go.  It is a wonderful way to experience the march and a lot of the interviews were great. LifeSiteNews team members John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac were among those interviewed.

And I must also mention that Sun News gave the Ottawa March for Life excellent, fair coverage. See a list of their video reports here.

Unfortunately, there was one begrudging report in the National Post, "Activists entrench on abortion", by what appeared to be a feminist writer, Meghan Hurley, consistently refering to "anti-abortionists", that had a pro-abortion edge to it. There was also a the predicatable accompanying photo of just a small portion of the massive crowd with emphasis on a large cross in the middle.

The article and the text under the photo presented the ridiculously far too low estimated number of persons present as only 6,000 to 8,000 persons. I don't understand why the Post would allow such obvious inaccuracy and poor reporting to be published as a supposed professional news report on the march.

To anyone who was there, the report really undermined the credibility of the Post. Any reasonably seasoned reporter who was at the event would have easily seen that the number was likely far closer to the march organizers' offical count of 23,000. the RCMP count has always been way off the mark as well and it has always been noticed that both the RCMP and Ottawa police are not not remotely enthused about having to cover the march every year. The pathetic police response to the Femen protesters this year really gave evidence to their atttitude towards the pro-life event - no matter how many Members of Parliament, Senators and Catholic bishops and cardinals are present.  

However, we do have to give the Post credit for publishing a lot of excellent commentaries on the Justin Trudeau statement that no pro-life candidates would be allowed to run for the Liberal Party while he is the leader.

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Legatus Summit blew us away

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

John-Henry Westen, Jon Fidero and I just came back from attending the annual Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida that took place this past Thursday to Saturday. It was an astonishing event, in that every speaker was rock solid and of the highest quality from the pro-life and pro-family perspective.

For those of us from LifeSiteNews and many others who heard John Smeaton's talk titled, "Bishops are the first ones called to be untiring preachers of the Gospel of Life", his was the highlight of the conference. Smeaton's current-state-of-the-world speech was high calibre, very well prepared and revealed his thorough knowledge of developments in England, Ireland and much of the world that in the end give cause for alarm, but also for hope. I overheard a few Legatus members state that they were shaken by what Smeaton revealed.

Smeaton's presentation was about far more than just the subject of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians. It is a 13-page masterpiece overview of a world in major crisis regarding the value of human life and what must be done about this crisis. I have personally known this incredible man for several years and can vouch for his competence and the truth of all that he said in his talk.

Smeaton's talk is MUST READING for all good people in order to understand just where we are at at this alarming time in history. He was notably passionate while giving his erudite presentation because he knew he had to be. He knows what is at stake now regardless of the contradictory claims by some that abortion will soon be ended.

This particular audience was one that might be able to do something about the reality of the looming monsters that we are about to face unless strong actions are quickly taken, especially by the leadership of the Catholic Church. There is no way to overemphasize or exaggerate the gravity of the situation. PLEASE read Smeaton's full talk that is linked to at the bottom of the article and then pass it around far and wide. Thank Legatus for allowing John Smeaton this special opportunity to present his prophetic message for the world at such an opportune gathering.

But back to the rest of the conference. The many members of this Catholic Christian business leaders’ organization, founded by Domino's Pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan, that we met during our stay blew us away. It is rare to attend such an event where most people really get it about the culture war that has been raging in the world. We also found everyone we met to be especially warm and gracious personalities and very open to engage in conversation about the difficult subjects that LifeSiteNews covers, no doubt largely because of their personal commitment to live their Catholic faith in all that they do.

Legatus members want to learn more and do whatever they can to help evangelize the world with Christian principles and the saving truths of the Christian faith. We saw that this personally means a lot to these high level business CEOs and their families. We found them to have much higher principles than we normally associate with persons in top business leadership positions.

After having now attended our second Legatus Summit as exhibitors and sponsors, I would strongly recommend membership in Legatus to any Catholic business leader who meets its membership qualifications. Husbands AND wives are strongly encouraged to attend together to emphasize the importance of the married couple and their family as the foundation of society. Legatus is clearly not a typical men-only business organization.

The personal growth experiences and exceptional fellowship opportunities that it offers can only enrich the lives of its members and their families.  Legatus also provides a real benefit to the rest of us who are not business leaders in that these specially gifted men and women are being guided by their Legatus formation to take on larger roles than many of us are capable of to make this a better world. There was a lot of stress on the essential role of the laity, partnering with their bishops, in the evangelizing mission of the Church.

Hats off to Tom Monaghan and his team of leaders and also to the membership of Legatus for incorporating into their business life a high calling to life, family and faith, without which they realize all their other successes would be seriously lacking full satisfaction and meaning. Legatus helps them to open and keep their eyes on God’s rewarding expectations of them. That is a win-win for everyone.

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