Brussels cardinal tells thriving young community of priests they have “too many Frenchmen,” shuts them down. They appeal to Rome, Pope Francis throws their case out.

It’s called cracking down on . . . persecutors of the church? defiers of the Ten Commandments? deniers of the Real Presence in the Eucharist?

Nope. The target is  a growing community of priests who pack worshipers in at Sunday masses.

Pope Francis’s personal intervention to dissolve a small but flourishing community of priests in Belgium has deep divisions seething below the surface of the Church.

Catholics in Belgium, an ecclesial desert where the practice of Islam is overtaking Christian church attendance, are angry about the pope’s shutting down a top level Vatican court case in which the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostles was fighting for its life.

The group, established by the former Archbishop of Brussels Andre Leonard in 2013, had grown to six priests, with one about to be ordained and 22 more junior seminarians, an impressive achievement in a nation were applicants to train for the priesthood are rare.

The community was filling the churches in the two parishes it staffed in Brussels, at a time when fewer than 10 per cent of Belgian Catholics attend Mass and less than half the children born to Catholic parents are baptised.

The new archbishop, like Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich, is a protege of Francis, who elevated and cardinalized him. The new man in Brussels is additionally under the wing of Cardinal Danneels, who tried to convince the Belgian king to endorse abortion. Quite a crew, operating apparently under the same “new paradigm” embraced by Cupich. I’d call it runaway pragmatism.

Reeling from the new archbishop’s “ruthless crackdown,” because, as the cracking-down cardinal said, it had “too many French members,” the new community appealed to Rome. Francis himself ordered a squelching of their case, deciding the matter before it had been heard by the relevant Vatican court.

It was not a first for him as regards a successful religious community that did or does not fit into the paradigm. One other,

the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a growing international order with about 200 priests and 300 brothers, was placed under the direct control of a Vatican commissioner and its members barred from saying the traditional Latin Mass . . . . In 2015, the Vatican closed the Franciscans’ seminary outside Rome.

Church politics ain’t beanbag, you might say, but Francis and his minions seem to be carving out new dimensions for it.

via Pope Francis’s Belgium intervention sparks backlash

Francis claims the Baptized cannot lose their Status as Children of God

Strikes a VERY positive note here in typically folksy style.

The mark of Baptism is never lost! Francis told  his May 9 audience of pilgrims and faithful from all over the world].

“Father, but if a person becomes a brigand, of the most famous, who kills people, who commits injustices, doesn’t the mark go away?”

No. To his own shame that son of God [a baptized person] does those things, but the mark doesn’t go away. And he continues to be a son of God who goes against God, but God never disowns His children.

Have you understood this last thing? God never disowns His children. Shall we repeat it all together? “God never disowns His children.”

A bit louder, as I’m deaf and I didn’t understand: [They repeat louder] “God never disowns His children.” There, that’s fine

When Jesus says, “Depart from me, ye cursed,” he’s not disowning them? Or was that line added by some 1st-century sourpus?

Sometimes I wonder, where did the young Jesuit Bergoglio study theology?

via  Novus Ordo Watch

Another poll: Democrats’ generic ballot lead now down to … one point

Once you start sliding . . . 

Yesterday CNN found the Democratic advantage on the generic ballot down to three points. Today Reuters finds it down to one.

Given the feelgood spectacle this morning of Trump and Pence greeting American hostages on their return home from North Korea, it’s quite possible that a poll next week will show the GOP even — or ahead! — on the generic ballot.

On Christmas Day 2017, they trailed by 13 points on average.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

On the other hand:

The RCP [Real Clear Politics] generic-ballot average today is Dems by 6.1 points, which is another way of saying that even with CNN and Reuters baked in, the balance of polling still shows a comfortable blue advantage in November.