“The first gay pope”?

In January, the liberal Vatican news outlet, La Croix International, ran an article with the startling title, “The First Gay Pope”. The story was written by Robert Mickens and carried the subtitle, “The real reasons why Pope Francis is pushing Catholics to become more welcoming and less judgmental of gays and lesbians”.

Mickens justified his title by reminding readers that former US President, Bill Clinton, has been called, “the first black president”, despite the obvious fact that he is not black. Mickens goes onto explain that the title had been applied to Clinton, not because of his many initiatives aimed at helping African-Americans, but because he had been pre-judged – like a Black person would have been – over the immoral incident with Monica Lewinsky.

Thus, according to Mickens, Pope Francis could be called the ‘first gay pope’, not because he has changed the Church’s teaching on homosexuality but, rather, because of his “style” in dealing with homosexuals. As Mickens says, ” … he has — in a real sense — changed everything in terms of attitude and ethos, just by his own personal approach to gay people.” (Emphasis added)

The author then goes on to remind readers that when Bergoglio made the rhetorical question, “Who am I to judge?”, he was speaking of the case of a gay cleric, contrasting the example of the ordained sodomite with that of a “gay lobby” which is said to be one of the factions present within the Vatican. That cleric, Monsignor Battista Ricca is a good example of Bergoglio’s policy of loving the sinner and, well, kind of tolerating the sin.

Mickens ends with the veiled suggestion that this gay-friendly pope may one day be succeeded by an openly gay one, while also referencing the alleged behaviour of at least a couple of twentieth-century popes:

The United States’ “first Black president” was eventually succeeded in the White House by a real African-American. The Church, on the other hand, has been led at times — even in relatively recent history — by popes who would surely be considered homosexuals by today’s understanding of the term. But none of them ever dared to say the things the “first gay pope” has been saying these past several years. He still has a way’s to go, but many LGBTQ+ Catholics are ready to accompany him on the journey.

Robert Mickens

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would feel uncomfortable calling the pope “gay” – and I don’t even particularly like this pope. (Mickens is something of a fan – if not of Francis personally, then at least of his liberalism). Remember the fuss Paul VI made when he was accused of being a sodomite by a gay Freemason? He asked the entire Church of Italy for a day of prayer and reparation.

But there has been no such response from Bergoglio. Makes one wonder. Recall that he also didn’t personally refute claims that he doesn’t believe in hell or said that unrepentant atheists can go to heaven.

By the way, the kind of thing Mickens retweets and shares on his Twitter feed is shown below.

If I were Pope and were also a Catholic, I would be most offended if a liberal from La Croix wrote an article calling me gay. But that’s probably just the abundance of my heart speaking: ” … and a rigid man out of the rigid treasure bringeth forth that which is rigid….” (with apologies to St Luke)

Occult specialist brought in for Italian church design

NOTE: This article was updated on Feb 21, 2022, to include the link to this video from Rome Reports. In the video, you can see the architect explaining that the rough stone altar represents ‘giving oneself to the earth.”

When we see a church like the newly-completed San Giacomo Apostolo in Ferrara, Italy, our second question is usually, “Why?” (Our first question might be along the lines of, “Is this for real??”)

Designed by a secular architectural firm who tried to create something that “didn’t look like a church”, the building does have most of the essentials of a church – even though they are rather dark, distorted versions. There is an altar, baptistry, Blessed Sacrament chapel, nave, spartan Stations of the Cross, and multiple crosses, although none appear to hold a corpus.

The design is the result of a competition run by the Italian Bishops Conference, who needed a new church for the city of Ferrara. The exterior is meant to echo the finale of the local hot-air-balloon festival, in which the balloons slowly deflate. I suspect that this does not represent the hopes and dreams of the Fathers fading away after the Council, but it would make an apt metaphor.

In the words of the architect, one enters the church through a grove which seems innocent enough until one realises that groves are often associated with paganism and with the occult. They are even mentioned in the Bible in connection with the worship of false gods. Of course, this may be simply a turn of phrase, as the poplars surrounding the site were obviously planted long before this church was built. But it is an odd choice of words, seeing as the trees are lining the perimeter, rather than being grouped together, as the word “grove” suggests.

Above the altar is an oculus, (Latin for eye; in architectural terms this refers to any eye-shaped feature, such as a hole at the centre of a dome); these are quite often found in churches. This particular one is decidedly creepy, though, surrounded by cold concrete and interwoven timbers, punctuated by the immense, rough cross, and crowning the almost windowless church. The overall effect is less than inviting, and the lack of windows is, well ….. somewhat Masonic.

View of the sanctuary, topped by the oculus, with the cross suspended over it – all the charm of a Goth nightclub.
Another view of the enormous cross, which looks ready to crush the occupants, and gives little assurance that Our Lord will help us to carry ours.

To the left, you can see the way both crosses almost intersect, with another cross mounted at an angle on the far wall; the clashing, intersecting crosses found in Paul VI’s Masonic-inspired portrait come to mind – more on that here.

The cross that adorns the wall behind the sanctuary is not a Christian one: the radiating arms of the cross are of the same length, suggesting a Rosicrucian cross. Rosicrucianism is an occult movement, linked

with Freemasonry and which contains elements of Kaballah, Alchemy, Christian Mysticism and Hermeticism. Jewels surround this cross: these have no apparent Christian reference, but the architect thought they might remind the faithful of angels. At least that’s what she told the media.

The jewels, stone crosses and bizarre black statuary are the work of the occult-artist, Enzo Cucchi, who was invited by the architects to collaborate with them. The designers describe Cucchi’s black statues, which represent scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as resembling “oozing basalt.”

One of the many cement crosses, all sans corpus, represented as being ‘taped’ to the wall.
“Oozing basalt” statues and …. fireflies???

Enzo Cucci is part of an art movement known as transversalism, and was included in an art exhibition entitled S*** and Die. (Caution – there’s some mild nudity if you click on the link.) The whole thing gets even worse: a documentary film made about that exhibit was called “Seance.”

The baptismal font (right) in this unappealing chamber sits atop what looks like a bidet. Decorum prevents me from drawing a parallel with the art show mentioned above.

The stone font is actually an authentic liturgical antique: it came from an abandoned church in Bergamo. Bergamo, for the historically-minded, is the birthplace of John XXIII and was once the bishopric of the (rather evil) Cardinal Radini-Tadeschi.

Back to the occultist, Cucchi: here’s what one biographer had to say about him:

“Cucchi is the painter as seer, demon and saint, possessor and possessed, he is at once the creator and subject of his tale. He is the painter as mad visionary, participant in and witness to the nether world from which one can emerge after a ritual of fire and purification, to the realm of the sublime.”

Description of Cucchi by a devoted fan and art critic.

The painter as demon? Hardly the kind of man one would want working on a church. Unless, of course, one wanted a church reminiscent of an occult-themed safe-room.

The Archbishop of Ferrara, Gian Carlo Perega, is an interesting character. He is by no means a traditionalist, as you would expect after seeing this strange building, but he recently – and post Traditiones Custodes – set up TLM personal parish. Perhaps this was to appease, if not to protect, the rather large traditionalist base in his Archdiocese. Perego is, however, better known as a progressive who promotes the plight of migrants.

I know the sedevacantists like to have fun with churches like this one: I suppose they see it as a vindication of their position. To me, it is just sad. Sad for the people who worship there and don’t know any better. Sad for the priest who doesn’t understand his vocation. Sad for the bishop who thinks being edgy will make him popular. And very sad for the liturgical designer who thinks there are no eternal consequences for making occult motifs an integral part of a Catholic church.

Masonic elements in a California Cathedral

Christ Cathedral in Orange County, California, is another example of a modern church with Masonic overtones. The anti-Catholic theme begins outside with this contemporary take on a Masonic obelisk ….

Exterior of Christ Cathedral, California

… and continues all the way to the sanctuary and altar. The altar itself is square, unlike the rectangular design of traditional Catholic altars. It is topped by a strange crucifix with crescent-moon shapes attached to the four ends of the cross. Crescent moons are a common symbol in witchcraft and the occult.

Theologian and philosopher, Peter Kwasniewski, gives this description of the sanctuary and offers an example of Freemasonic architecture for comparison:

“The location of the altar in the center of the room, the placement and type of presiders’ chairs, the dark torches on the ground punctuating the corners, the square mensa, and the all-seeing eye below the altar table at once bring us to a blood-curdling full stop. Can it be by accident that the altar at Christ Cathedral is a carbon copy of the altar of Freemasonry? Do we have a “reasonable hope” for denial? Even a cursory look at a Masonic altar makes the visual and symbolic link inescapable.

If one ignores the superior craftsmanship and style of the following Masonic temple, one can see the exact parallel in the disposition of the chairs — the tall chair in the center flanked by lower seating on either side — and then the square altar with the freestanding candles. (There is of course a fourth candle in the church, for it would have looked too strange to retain the asymmetry of three.)

https://onepeterfive.com/dark-symbolism-christ-cathedral/
Dr Kwasniewski gave this example of a Masonic Lodge layout

One liturgical ‘expert’ who contributed to the Christ Cathedral was Brother William Woeger. Brother Woeger designed the “Crux Gemmata” – the crucifix – as well as the candlesticks, reliquary and other features. Jesus’ crown of thorns and the altar’s reliquary are studded with strange crystals, reminiscent of those used by New Agers. Below is another design by Brother Woeger, which again shows Masonic influence. Note the checked floor, another square altar, surrounded by large candlesticks and the rows of pews which face each other.

I might return to Brother Woeger in a future article.

Masonic Elements in Liturgical Design

It is difficult to deny that the infiltration has penetrated very deeply into the heart of the Church when we are confronted by elements of Masonry in the very layout of some sanctuary renovations.

A fad to be found in some Australian Churches is that of eliminating the sanctuary in its original sense and placing the altar in the midst of the people.

The traditional design, with its elevated and prominent altar, clearly delineated the “Holy of Holies” as being a place set apart for the Sacrifice, accessible only to the priest and his male assistants. In the Tridentine Mass, the Epistles, Psalms and Gospel readings took place at the altar.

The Novus Ordo Mass separated the “Liturgy of the Word” from the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” and introduced a lectern from which Scripture was to be read, facing the people.

Modernists like to emphasise this separation of the “Altar of the Word” from the “Altar of the Sacrifice,” as it means less emphasis is placed on the Mass as a Sacrifice offered by Christ to His father in expiation for our sins, and more emphasis is placed on the role of the people as recipients of God’s blessings.

This leads to the idea that we are now present at Mass to “get” more than to give.

Some liturgical designers have taken this idea a step further by bringing the sanctuary right into the midst of the congregation as an attempt to disregard the proper hierarchical structure that should be present during the Mass. In this egalitarian setting, the priest loses his preeminent place and merges with the people. Focus on the priest , as a man, actually increases in this layout and the people are forced to stare at each other.

The entire setting is very anthropocentric, which is a hallmark of Freemasonry. In some of these designs, as if to increase the disrespect shown to the Lord, the priest’s chair is situated with its back to the tabernacle.

Sts Peter and Paul, Bulimba, Queensland

The designer of the Church above, Fr Tom Elich, contrasts the philosophy behind traditional liturgical design with his modern version. He points out that in the past, Christ was acknowledged as “celebrating the liturgy”, with the priest acting ‘in persona Christi‘, whereas today:

Christ celebrates the liturgy, that is, the whole Body of Christ consisting of all the baptised.  The full, conscious and active participation of all the faithful in the liturgical celebration is their right and duty by reason of their baptism (SC 14).”

[As a noteworthy aside, the priest in question held, as a fundraiser for the Church’s renovations, a Black and White Ball. It is a small point, probably coincidental, but interesting in the context of this discussion.]

Thus, the shift in philosophy from theocentric liturgy to anthropocentric liturgy is reflected in Church design. Shown below is another example of a new Church that reflects “the assembly as celebrant” philosophy. This rather sparsely-decorated cathedral, described by visitors as a ‘barn’ or a ‘basketball court’, and complete with what looks like a floating storm cloud, is said by the designer to embody “a sublime narrative of spiritual life.”

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, New South Wales.

A third example is this chapel in Queensland. Again we see the altar and ambo have been brought into the midst of the congregants. No sanctuary, as such, exists. congregants are left with little choice but to look at each other, instead of intently gazing, unimpeded, at the Holy Sacrifice unfolding before them.

Banyo Seminary Chapel

If we compare the three churches above to the typical layout of a Masonic temple, we are at once struck by some obvious similarities.

Chairs are arranged in rows with the people facing each other. A table, known as the Table of the Book, is situated between the rows of chairs. The presiders also face into the middle. It is somewhat humorous to note that, try as we might, humans can never escape from the model of a hierarchy in their endeavours. This pattern, which God has imprinted into the human psyche, must always be respected if there is to be any semblance of order.

Floorplan of a UK Lodge