January 25-27, 2001
volume 13, no. 15

Inside Assisi

by Christopher Ferrara

        The respected and traditional writer Chris Ferrara, acting as The Remnant Correspondent, was in Assisi credentialed to cover the 'inter-faith' summit Thursday. These are courtesy of The Remnant and editor Michael J. Matt. For more you can see Michael writes that "Since there was so much speculation and rumor (together with a lot of hard-to-take facts) surrounding the first Assisi day of ecumenical prayer back in 1986, we decided that it was the duty of the Traditional Catholic press to have our own reporter be physically present for the repeat performance that is taking place in Assisi this week. We have, therefore, put our columnist Chris Ferrara on assignment in Assisi and Rome throughout the week. We’ll have several dispatches posted here on our site, and then Mr. Ferrara will provide full coverage and commentary on the event in the next issue of The Remnant." Below are the reports he filed.

  • First dispatch on Assisi
  • Second dispatch on Assisi

    ASSISI – (January 24, 2002) Immediately upon my arrival in the fascinating hillside town of Assisi, I took full advantage of the Vatican press credential, which my Italian contact (who must remain anonymous) was able to obtain for me.

    In the run-up to this event we were told repeatedly that in order to avoid “syncretism”, the “Representatives of the Various Religions” would be dispatched to “different places designated at Assisi” to pray in their own ways during one segment of this event. What they didn’t tell us, and what I have just learned today, is that “the different places designated at Assisi” are actually rooms within the Sacred Convent [monastery] of Saint Francis of Assisi attached to the Basilica.

    When I inquired of a friar about the exact location of the rooms within the monastery he was, in a very Italian way, quite cagey about it. But he did reveal that each of the rooms was being prepared for the peculiar worship of each “religion,” and that various articles were being brought into the rooms for that purpose.

    At the official press office at Borgo San Pietro here in Assisi I received an official package of material, including a more detailed program booklet prepared by the Prefect for the Pontifical Household. Here was set forth the precise arrangement for the use of St. Francis’ monastery by “Representatives of the Various Religions.” I quote it here verbatim from the Italian (translation mine):

    The Holy Father invites the Representatives to conduct themselves to various places for prayer.

1. The Lower Basilica:                   Christians.

2. In the Sacred Convent:               Room A                Islam

                                                            Room B                Buddhism

                                                            Room C                Sikhismo

                                                            Room D                Traditional African Religions

                                                            Room E                Hinduism

                                                            Room F                Tenriko

                                                            Room G                Shintoism

                                                            Room H                Judaism

                                                            Room I                  Zoroastrianism, Jainism and Confucianism

    I was determined to find out where these secret rooms were located, and soon discovered that they were not so secret after all. One of convent staffers led me to “Room A” which is actually a famous little underground chapel named after Friar Elia—a magnificent example of the use of the medieval groin vault. In a room immediately adjacent to the chapel the Muslims will be praying within a few hours of this dispatch. Here and in the other rooms given over to this sacrilege, the Crucifixes and anything else that might offend the Imams or the muftis or whoever they are, will be removed. What can one say?

    I also located “Room B,” a rather large hall off the convent cloister, designated by a placard, which states: “Buddhism.” Out came my disposable camera, and I snapped I picture of the placard. I found and photographed in short order the placards designating rooms D, E and F, where the animists, the Hindus and the practitioners of Tenriko will conduct their ceremonies, in the very places where monks prayed for the conversion of people such as these. (In case the reader is wondering, Tenriko is a kind of Japanese designer religion, invented in the 19th century, which, according to a German reporter here, translates into something like “the way to wisdom and health”) Yes, in the very monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi they have set up and proudly identified a Jewish room, a Buddhist room, a Hindu room, a Shintoist room and so forth. The arrangement is no different from that in the local East-West Retreat Center in Piazza San Rufino here in Assisi, which proudly advertises under the slogan “Altars for all religions,” and provides pictures of the worship rooms one can have at the Center.

    We must never forget that in Mortalium animos, Pope Pius XI condemned the following notion, which was being promoted by the nascent “ecumenical movement” of the 1920s:

    "For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attem1pt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion."(Mortalium Animos, 2.).
    Yes, Pius XI was condemning something other than what I am now witnessing. He was condemning something vastly less scandalous than the Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi 2002. Such an event in one of the Church’s most famous sacred places—not a mere convention in some secular locale—would not have occurred to Pius XI in his worst nightmare.

    We are in the presence of something as fearsome as it is mysterious. We need to anchor ourselves more firmly than ever in the wisdom of Pius XI and the perennial Magisterium, lest we too be carried away in the winds of scandal now sweeping over the Church. We are witness to a crisis vastly worse than that which led Saint Francis to build his monastery, which this day is being defiled at the insistence of a Pope who cares not what his predecessor condemned.

    Gary L. Morella adds these comments:

    What ever happened to the First Commandment? This is a question that needs to be asked in light of what's being going on at Assisi per excerpts from a report of an attending Catholic correspondent below.

    Deuteronomy 5:6. "I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

    Deuteronomy 5:7. "Thou shalt not have strange gods in My sight."

    Deuteronomy 5:8. "Thou shalt not make to thy self a graven thing, nor the likeness of any things, that are in Heaven above, or that are in the earth beneath, or that abide in the waters under the earth."

    Deuteronomy 5:9. "Thou shalt not adore them, and thou shalt not serve them. For I am the Lord thy God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation, to them that hate Me."

    Deuteronomy 5:10. "And shewing mercy unto many thousands, to them that love Me, and keep My commandments."

      (The First Commandment taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible translation of the Vulgate.)

    And, we add Our Lord's words in Mark 7: 7-8 quoting Isaias 29: 13: "This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men."

ASSISI-ROME (January 25, 2002) I ended my first dispatch from Assisi with a recollection of Pius XI’s condemnation of “that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.” I recalled also the warning of Pius XI that “not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.”

    Suffice it to say that the things I have just witnessed in Assisi all form part of an obstinate campaign by the current Vatican apparatus to demonstrate the truth of precisely that proposition Pius XI condemned as a threat to the Catholic faith. The conclusion is inescapable: the Pope invited all the religions of the world to participate in the Day of Prayer for Peace in the World because he believes that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy.

    And now let me report to you some of the things you will not be told by EWTN and other such neo-Catholic organs of post-conciliar correctness, which are intent upon maintaining the absurd fiction that all of the Pope’s unheard-of novelties are perfectly in line with Catholic Tradition. To paraphrase Pope Saint Gregory the Great: Better that scandal ensues than that the truth be hidden. (Of course, this particular truth is not being hidden by anyone but the members of the neo-Catholic press.)

    The Pope knew full well that the various religions were all to be given places in the Sacred Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi to pray to their assorted gods and conduct assorted pagan rituals, during what I will call the Event. The Pope approved of this arrangement because he thinks that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy. That includes Voodoo, which was given the use of Room D in the Convent.

    The representative of Voodoo (which is spelled Vodou by its native practitioners), had this to say to the Vicar of Christ during his address in the lower piazza of the Basilica of Saint Francis: “As a leader of the traditional Vodou religion, I believe that peace is not possible as long as there are rifts, divisions and antagonisms between people.” That was about the level of profundity which characterized the Event as a whole. This witch doctor, invited to Assisi by the Pope, also said: “The invitation to take part in the Prayer for Peace at Assisi is a great honour for me, and it is an honour for all the followers of Avelekete Vodou whose high priest I am.

    The high priest of Avelekete Vodou gave the Pope, and all the Catholic faithful, his prescription for world peace, which includes “asking forgiveness of the protecting spirits of regions affected by violence” and “carrying out sacrifices of reparation and purification, and thus restoring peace.” That would involve slitting the throats of chickens, goats, doves, and pigeons and draining their blood from the carotid artery according to a precise ritual prescription. The animal blood is also used for Vodou healing and death rituals. (I presume no animal sacrifice as such was allowed in the Convent.) In Haiti, by the way, many practitioners of Vodou consider themselves Catholics, even though they worship spirits, perform animal sacrifices and have frequent recourse to witch doctors, like the one who addressed the Supreme Pontiff. But this particular witch doctor is a “pure” African Vodouist, who calls himself Chief Amadou Gasseto. Thanks for the advice, Chief.

    Then we heard from one Didi Talwakar, the representative of Hinduism. Talwakar was spied by the camera dozing through part of the Pope’s history-changing address on world peace. Talwakar would like the Catholic faithful to know that “divinization of human beings gives us a sense of the worth of life. Not only am I divine in essence, but also everyone else is equally divine in essence….” Talwakar went on to declare: “My divine brothers and sisters, from much above the station of life where I am, I dare to appeal to humanity, from this august forum, in the blessed presence of His Holiness the Pope…” Yes, the Pope is a holy man, but he is only one of many such holy men. Didi prefers to follow another holy man: the Revered Pandurang Shastri Athawale, who heads up something called the Swadhyaya parivari (family), which teaches “the idea of acceptance of all religious traditions” and who counsels that we “free the idea of religion from dogmatism, insularity and injunctions.” Whatever.

    It is hardly surprising that Talwakar (when she isn’t dozing) is very grateful that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “is proposing today a model of interfaith relationship… From here we can move to a coalition of world religions to safeguard a shared future blessed by God.” And which god would that be? It doesn’t matter. All gods are welcome in the “coalition” envisioned.

    If the Pope and his men have any objection to this coalition of religions—a coalition implied in the very fabric of the Event—the objection did not appear in any disclaimer attached to the text of Talwakar’s address, or in any other document pertaining to the event, or in any of the Pope’s own statements. There were, however, several useless disclaimers of “syncretism.” This is not syncretism, we were told over and over again. This is not syncretism, we were told yet again, as the followers of the various gods went to their rooms in the Convent to desecrate the place with false worship.

    EWTN and the other neo-Catholic organs, who are defrauding the faithful by censoring the horrific truth about the Event, did not show the pictures of the sacrileges which then took place in those rooms. You will see the truth in The Remnant. You will see the Muslims bowing to the east and praying to Allah in a room only a few feet from where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated (but you will not hear, as I did, the sickening sound of their alien chants echoing in the halls of one of the world’s most sacred Catholic places). You will see the Buddhists worshiping at their altar in a cell once reserved to Franciscan monks, and a Jainist minister burning wood chips in his sacred urn in another cell. And you will see the rabbis reading their scriptures, as they stroll about in Room H as if it were a local synagogue. You will see, in short, the abomination which the neo-Catholic establishment wishes to hide, even as the world revels in the spectacle.

    They came to Assisi from the Vatican in a “peace train” [even Fox News reported that the Pope’s train from the Vatican to Assisi was the “peace train”] consisting of seven cars: one for the Pope, one for the cardinals and bishops, one for the Orthodox, one for the Jews and Muslims, one for the Protestant “ecclesial communities, one for the Buddhists, the Tenrikyoists, the Shintoists, the Confucianists and the Jainists, and, bringing up the rear, a caboose filled with Hindus, Zoroastrians and Sikhs.

    Il Tempo reports that they served coffee and candies during the trip from the Vatican in the peace train. The coffee was served in gold cups. The Pope passed on the coffee, but had a lemon candy. How lovely for them all.

    I will write again when I find the words to express the depth of this newest and most profound of scandals in the post-conciliar Church. My final dispatch will include more details of the Event, and an interesting encounter on my own train ride from Assisi back to Rome, from where I write today.

[Editor's Note: Bolded words added for emphasis]

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Friday-Saturday-Sunday, January 25-27, 2002
volume 13, no. 15
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