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Cardinal Cupich celebrating Mass March 25, with other conference participants including Nuncio Christophe Pierre and Cardinal Tobin.Chicago Catholic/Twitter screenshot

CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — A select group of high-ranking U.S. prelates, along with the Papal Nuncio and Vatican curial officials, secretively gathered in Chicago recently to “understand the spirit of what they call the ‘opposition’” to Pope Francis, and to promote the ideology of Vatican II.

Between March 25 and 26, as Pope Francis was praying the act of consecration of Russia and Ukraine, a conference was held at Loyola University Chicago entitled “Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the Way Forward.” 

Jointly sponsored by Boston College’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, along with Loyola University Chicago’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, and Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, the conference was conducted almost entirely under the media radar. 

Writing March 25 (in the only report of the event at the time), The Torch revealed that the event was the brainchild of Fr. Mark Massa, S.J. – the director of the Boisi Center – and Michael Sean Winters, a senior editor for the dissident National Catholic Reporter (NCR). 

The conference itself was billed as a place wherein theologians and clerics could meet and discuss, in imitation of the Common Ground event, begun in 1996 by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, known for his promotion of ecumenism and reputed homosexual tendencies.

Meeting of ‘centrist bishops,’ prominent prelates bound by moderate secrecy

Fr. Massa told The Torch of the selectively invited participants, saying that in addition to unnamed members of Catholic media, the participants included “centrist bishops … who are open to having a conversation.” 

Among the participants were a number of high-ranking prelates, including two of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisers – Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga; the Papal Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre; and prominent Vatican nun Sister Nathalie Becquart, who plays a key role in the Synod on Synodality. 

Chicago’s Cardinal Blaise Cupich also attended, along with Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishops Mitchell Rozanski, John Wester, Charles Thompson and Roberto González Nieves, as well as Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, the president of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America. 

The Pillar’s J.D. Flynn noted how “several” journalists from the NCR were in attendance, along with “liberal theologian” Massimo Faggioli, and theology professor M. Therese Lysaught, who is a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and a promoter of the abortion-tainted COVID jabs.


Adding to the secrecy surrounding the event, Chatham House Rules were in effect, by which, as Fr. Massa stated, “the quotes can be quoted but nobody can be ascribed.”

Aim to link ‘opposition to Pope Francis … to Vatican II’ 

Speaking to The Torch, Massa revealed the aim of the conference was to link “opposition” to Pope Francis to opposition of the Second Vatican Council: “We want to show that opposition to Pope Francis, not universally, but to a large extent is opposition to Vatican II. Francis is trying to cash the check that Vatican II wrote: synodality was the big thing.”

Praising the theme of synodality, Massa said that its aim and meaning was for a localized re-orientation of the Church, in which “every national church, every group of dioceses, should have a synod to talk about local things in conversation with each other.” This would eliminate the process of appealing to Rome, he added.

Speaking to the National Catholic Reporter after the conference, scandal-ridden Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga shed further light on the meeting, saying it was to “understand the spirit of what they call the ‘opposition.’” 

“We have this what they call ‘opposition’ to the Pope,” he said. “It’s trying to build walls, going backwards — looking to the old liturgy or maybe things before Vatican II.”

Maradiaga lamented how “Vatican II is unknown by many of the young generation,” adding that “it’s necessary to come back and to see that all the reforms of Pope Francis are rooted in Vatican II.”

Among the keynote speeches delivered at the conference were “Opposition to Francis Rooted in Abandonment of Vatican II as a Source of Renewal” by Faggioli; “Reclaiming the Moral and Intellectual Tradition from the Culture Wars” by Lysaught; “The Money, Media, and Networks that Oppose Pope Francis” by Fr. Massa; “Pastoral-Theological Ideas for Affective Collegiality with Pope Francis and Receiving Vatican II” by Boston College theologian Hosffman Ospino.

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PETITION UPDATE (3/7/22) - 

To his eternal shame, self-professed "Catholic" Joe Biden has done it again.

In the last 10 days, Biden directly acted to promote the evil of abortion. Twice.

And, to their shame, the bishops of the United States continue to tolerate this ongoing scandal as though it's business as usual.

But, let's not give up on our shepherds!

Please SIGN this petition and let's CONTACT our bishops again, and ask them to do the right thing (or, do something!), and excommunicate Joe Biden.

In the latest episode of this ongoing tragedy, Biden nominated abortion-friendly (and, Planned Parenthood supported) Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.

Then, as if to underline his Supreme Court pick, Biden made the following statement promoting abortion during his State of the Union address:

"The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade — standing precedent for half a century — is under attack as never before. If you want to go forward — not backwards — we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose..."

Of course, we know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

And now that Biden has left no doubt as to his intentions and actions - attempting to anchor the United States to the evil of abortion for generations to come - it is high time for the bishops to act to stop this grave scandal from continuing.

Public excommunication would be a suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of scandalously promoting abortion.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this important petition. Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Biden announces Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Stephen Breyer on Supreme Court' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-announces-ketanji-brown-jackson-to-replace-stephen-breyer-on-supreme-court/

'Pro-life groups warn about Biden’s Supreme Court nominee' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-life-groups-warn-about-bidens-supreme-court-nominee/

'These Republicans could help Biden install his far-left Supreme Court pick' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/these-republicans-could-help-biden-his-left-wing-supreme-court-pick/

'Biden reiterates support for Roe v. Wade, radical LGBT policies during State of the Union' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-again-vows-supports-for-roe-v-wade-radical-pro-lgbt-law/

'Biden says he won’t debate ‘theology’ when asked on Ash Wednesday why he supports abortion' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-says-he-wont-debate-theology-when-asked-on-ash-wednesday-why-he-supports-abortion/

____________________________________________________________________

PETITION UPDATE (9/3/21) - 

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' Heartbeat Law to go into effect, Joe Biden made the announcement that he would initiate a "whole-of-government" response against the new pro-life statute which could ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This is yet another, outright confirmation of Biden's openly pro-abortion policies, policies which have the main objective of ensuring that women will continue to be able to kill their own children without impediment.

This anti-life, anti-Catholic stance needs to be urgently addressed and condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the good of the Church, for the good of pre-born babies, for the good of the faithful, and, indeed, for his own good, Joe Biden needs to be publicly rebuked by the bishops and excommunicated until such time as he repents from his pro-abortion policies.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

Thank you!

_____________________________________________________________________________

"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

**Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

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Long-term goals of secretive Chicago meeting 

The Chicago meeting does not appear likely to be an isolated event, according to Fr. Massa, who suggested the meeting would be held either as an “annual or semi-annual event” at which “bishops and theologians can talk frankly to each other about important things that really get buried in the press.”

The goal, he stated, was to move the Catholic Church in America “away from these culture wars divided between conservatives and liberals … to a united position where it’s possible to be on a spectrum of positions and still be considered a good Catholic and not be called names by people who disagree with you.”

Such a goal appears to be behind the selective invitation of “centrist” bishops, along with members of the media noted for their deviation from Catholic tradition. 

LifeSiteNews contacted the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Archdiocese of Boston and Loyola University Chicago’s Hank Center, seeking further information about the conference, as well as the reason for general avoidance of the media. No response was received at the time of publication. 

Shedding some light on the importance and predicted outcome of the event was Faggioli, who tweeted on the conference’s opening day about “interesting days today and tomorrow for the US Catholic Church,” adding later how he was “honored” to be speaking at “this great conference.” 


Some Catholics have likened the conference to meetings of the Sankt Gallen Mafia, the secretive clerical group which is thought to have been behind Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation.

“Looks like the USA has its very own Sankt Gallen group,” wrote Deacon Nick Donnelly.

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