The 2022 Year in Review: A Civil War in the Catholic Church and a Shooting War in Europe Reveal an Unprecedented Ideological Confrontation

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The 2022 Year in Review: A Civil War in the Catholic Church and a Shooting War in Europe Reveal an Unprecedented Ideological Confrontation
The 2022 Year in Review: A Civil War in the Catholic Church and a Shooting War in Europe Reveal an Unprecedented Ideological Confrontation

The Cold War earned its name because the superpowers, apart from a few proxy wars around the world, never began a direct conflict with each other. But at the time, the ideological confrontation between communism and anti-communism seemed certain to lead to war in Europe, as it did in Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, however, many in the West were euphoric at the prospect of a “new world order” in which ideological conflict would disappear. Democracy and liberalism had seemed to triumph in what American political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously called “the end of history.” The pontificate of John Paul II likewise spread a shallow, boundless optimism in humanity and the future of a post-Vatican II Catholicism united around a charismatic leader promising to “dialogue” with the world. On the surface, the nineties seemed to vindicate that argument.

However, the divisions between left and right, liberal and anti-liberal, and Catholic left vs. Orthodox Catholic continued stronger than ever. The Revolutionary process, as defined in Revolution and Counter-Revolution by the great Brazilian professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, advanced faster and farther than ever. In politics, liberals advocated deviant forms of marriage, gender ideology, unrestricted abortion, racial conflict and a globalism that would put an end to borders and national identity. In the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, progressives are fighting to impose the acceptance of homosexuality, transgenderism, unrestricted migrants, a pantheistic ecumenism, radical ecology, abortion and even idol worship in the case of Pachamama, all while persecuting traditionalist Catholics.

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While these irreconcilable divisions remained mostly below the surface over the past half century, tensions have exploded. Brexit and the elections of Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro revealed a stunning discontent with the liberal world order dominant since the French Revolution. The rapid growth of conservatism and traditionalism in the Catholic Church has provoked a furious response from Pope Francis and his progressivist allies. Revolutionaries in both politics and the Church are furious that such a large number of people are unwilling to move forward on the path of “progress.”

In 2022, these internal conflicts exploded into open warfare. The Catholic left led by Pope Francis no longer tries to feign fidelity to Catholic doctrine on faith and morals. They are waging a revolution inside the Church that is most clearly seen in the German Synodal Path. The Catholic left is forcing Catholics to make a choice: either you accept this revolution and reject traditional Catholicism, or you are an enemy of Pope Francis and Vatican II.

In the political realm, Vladimir Putin launched the bloodiest war on European soil since World War II. Putin has taken advantage of the discontent with woke liberal globalism to present his ideology—a mix of Russian nationalism with a heavy dose of anti-Western hatred and sympathy for communism—as the only alternative. Liberals, in turn, reinforce this false dilemma. The only alternative to Putinism, they claim, is pro-LGBT liberalism.

Both conflicts show that the Revolutionary process, as described by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, is experiencing a profound crisis. Never has there been so much resistance to Revolution than now. It can no longer persuade souls as it did in decades and centuries past and therefore is resorting to force. The process is trying to reach its final goal: destroy the Catholic Church and Western Christian civilization and replace them with tribalism, ecology, and Satanism.

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At the same time, the message of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 is more relevant than ever. Her warnings about wars and persecutions of the Church are happening before our eyes. Her prophecies about the “errors of Russia,” whether through socialism, liberalism or Putinism, are beyond dispute. The reactions to the Revolution that are appearing all across the world are a sign that God is acting in history, preparing souls for the great chastisement that is to come, but also for the great pardon and great victory promised by Our Lady.

The German Synodal Path

The so-called German Synodal Path (Der Synodale Weg) was established in 2019. Although ostensibly created to be a consultative body of laity and clergy, it has become an Estates General for the Catholic Church. It is moving full-speed ahead to change Catholic doctrine on sexuality, the family, female clergy and many others.

Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin, Ireland, declared in a sermon that, thanks to Pope Francis and the German Synodal Path, “radical change is coming in the Church.” “We need to open up a new chapter in the history of the Catholic Church in Ireland…Pope Francis is offering us a way of being Church, the synodal pathway, of walking together more closely and being a Church that is hope-filled, despite many challenges.”1

The push for revolution is coming from the highest levels of the German Church. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and former President of the German Bishops Conference, declared that “there is no future for Christianity without a renewed Church.” The same Cardinal called for an end to priestly celibacy2 and the acceptance of homosexuality among Catholics at a Mass celebrating “20 years of Queer worship and pastoral care.”3 Cardinal Marx even declared that Catholics can doubt Catholic teachings on morals. “The Catechism is not set in stone. One may doubt what it says,” he said.4

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In February, the German Synodal Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve a text that endorses the ordination of women and a reversal of the Catholic Church’s teachings against homosexuality and contraception.5 Marc Frings, the general secretary of the Central Committee of German Catholics—an organization that is a co-sponsor of the Synodal Path—declared that a change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality is “urgently required,”6 while the president of the same organization, Irme Stetter-Karp, called for greater abortion access.7 In addition, the Synodal Path called for bishops to be elected with direct participation of the laity, which would make the Catholic Church in Germany no different from any other Protestant sect.8 The former president of the same organization, Thomas Sternbert, said that the real goal of the Synodal Path is to put “pressure” on the Church to change her teachings, admitting that it has advanced “much more successfully than I thought.”9

Such heresy coming out of the Synodal Path has provoked reactions from Catholics in Germany and around the world. In January, over 6,000 German Catholics signed a document titled “New Beginning: A Manifesto for Reform,” which attacked the Synod for its heretical positions.10 In April, more than 70 bishops from around the world, including four cardinals, signed a “fraternal open letter” to the bishops of Germany warning of “our growing concern about the nature of the entire German ‘Synodal Path.’” The bishops, 52 from the United States, claimed that the Synodal Path is creating confusion and may even lead to a schism. “Failing to listen to the Holy Spirit and the Gospel, the Synodal Path’s actions undermine the credibility of Church authority, including that of Pope Francis; Christian anthropology and sexual morality; and the reliability of Scripture,” they wrote.11 Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, Colorado, wrote his own personal critique in which he claimed that the Synodal Path “challenges, and in some instances repudiates, the deposit of faith.”12

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Many other prelates have come out forcefully against the Synodal Path. Cardinal Gerhard Müller denounced the Synodal Path in numerous interviews and articles. Cardinal Raymond Burke stated that it is up to Pope Francis to correct heretical bishops. “If they do not renounce their errors and correct themselves, then he would have to remove them from office.”13 Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sir Lanka, said he “cannot accept” the German Synodal Path. Even Cardinal Walter Kasper, a noted progressive, called the Synodal Path an “attempted coup” and that it risks “breaking its own neck.”14

The response from Rome could be summarized as tepid opposition mixed with tacit approval. In July, the Vatican issued a statement declaring that “the ‘Synodal Path’ in Germany does not have the power to compel bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance and new orientations of doctrine and morals.” The German bishops must “clarify” this as it would not be permissible “to introduce new official structures or doctrines in dioceses” without the approval of the Universal Church.15 Yet when the German bishops met with Pope Francis and Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin for their ad limina visit in November, they expressed no opposition to the Synodal Path. In a joint statement published after the meeting, Cardinal Parolin even said that a “moratorium” on the Synodal Way was proposed but rejected. No public condemnation of the Synodal Path was published, nor did Pope Francis or Cardinal Parolin express any public displeasure with its many public and notorious heresies against Catholic morals.

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At a press conference following the ad limina visit, the President of the German Bishops Conference, Bishop George Bätzing, spoke a line that seemed to summarize the purpose of the Synodal Path. The German Church wants to remain Catholic; he said, “but we want to be Catholic in a different way.”16

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

After a massive military buildup on the Ukrainian border last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24 with nearly 200,000 troops, launching the largest war on European soil since World War II. Many Western observers believed that Ukraine’s military would crumble under the weight of the vaunted Russian juggernaut, just as it did in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea and sent unmarked troops into the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.

For years, the Russian government through its many media outlets and “woke” Western liberals spread the same propaganda promoting a false dilemma. The world must choose sides between a supposedly “Christian” and “conservative” Vladimir Putin at the head of a resurgent Russian nation and a “degenerate,” post-Christian Western world. Many Catholics and conservatives in the West had swallowed this false dilemma and looked sympathetically to Putin as their champion. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it seemed that years of preparation—both with a military buildup and in winning over Western conservatives—would bear fruit with the total annexation of Ukraine into the Russian Federation.

To the great surprise of many, the Ukrainian people rallied and halted the Russian advance at the gates of Kyiv. Billions of dollars worth of American and European weapons poured into Ukraine, particularly Javelin anti-tank missiles and heavy artillery, which played a crucial role in halting the Russians. In April, the Russians retreated and regrouped to focus on reinforcing their hold on Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. Starting in May, the Ukrainians launched a series of counter-attacks that retook thousands of square miles of territory.

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How to explain this sudden and unexpected resistance among the Ukrainians? For one thing, Ukraine has always had a decisive role in Slavic history. Russia is a cultural offshoot of the ninth-century Kievian Rus and was a center of Slavic culture for centuries. In the twentieth century, Ukraine gave major support to the White army against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. With its millions of Greek and Latin Rite Catholics, Ukraine was also a center of resistance to Russian persecution, both under the Tsars and under communism. The religious question is very present on both sides. Putin regularly refers to the pseudo-mystical concept of Russkiy mir (Russian world) as a justification for military expansion. He also desires to make Moscow into a “Third Rome” by uniting all the Slavic peoples’ Eastern Orthodox churches into one unified Russian Orthodox church under the authority of the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow. Many Russians see the war as a decisive battle against the Antichrist.17 With its millions of Catholics faithful to the Pope, Ukraine has always been a thorn in the side of the Russian Orthodox church and the Tsars. Most importantly, Our Lady of Fatima referred to the “errors of Russia” and predicted that “Russia will be converted,” giving the present war special religious significance.

Whatever historical, ethnic, linguistic, or religious links there are between Russia and Ukraine, most observers—including many Westerners sympathetic to Putin—saw that the Russian invasion was an unjust and immoral aggression. The war created a humanitarian disaster in Eastern Europe, with at least seven million Ukrainian refugees flooded into neighboring countries and over ten million displaced internally. Russian airstrikes deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure such as electricity generators and water plants, leaving millions of Ukrainians in the cold without water as winter sets in. In the eastern and southern regions conquered by Russia, churches not affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, such as the Ukrainian Catholic Church, are persecuted.18 Russian atrocities such as the Bucha massacre, as well as widespread cases of theft, rape, and murder against civilians across occupied Ukraine, turned an otherwise indifferent Western public opinion against Putin.

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The Russo-Ukrainian war is a tragedy but also a paradigm shift in politics, economics and society worldwide. Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock—one of the most powerful asset management firms in the world and a symbol of Wall Street and international finance—wrote a letter to company shareholders in which he declared that “the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades.”19 Western governments heavily sanctioned Russia following the invasion, leading to a complete withdrawal of Western corporations from that country. Russian gas, which supplied 40% of Europe’s gas imports in 2017, was reduced and finally cut entirely over the summer. Europe is suffering a terrible energy crisis that will take years or even decades to remedy.

Russia has worked to ally itself with socialist, communist and other dictatorial regimes in developing countries, spreading propaganda that portrays the “global North” (Europe, North America, and Australia) as the oppressor and exploiter of the “global South” (Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia). Communist or terrorist regimes such as China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran have all sided with Putin or abstained from condemning his invasion, but so too have many other Asian, African and Latin American countries. Through the Ukrainian war, Putin is helping to fulfill a long-held dream of the international left to inflame global hatred against Western civilization, the fruit of Christianity.

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For his part, Pope Francis has condemned the violence in Ukraine but abstained from condemning Putin or the Russians by name. One reason is that he has long prioritized ecumenical “dialogue” with the Russian Orthodox church. Just as the war began in February, the Russian ambassador to the Holy See confirmed that Pope Francis was planning to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. The Ukrainian Catholic bishops issued strong statements to rally Ukrainians to defend their country. Pope Francis, however, has often spoken in terms that implied mutual culpability from both sides for the war. In March, he called the invasion “armed aggression,” but a few weeks later said that “there is no such thing as a just war: they do not exist!” 20 He repeated this blanket condemnation a week later on the return trip from Malta, when he said that “every war stems from an injustice—always—because that is the pattern of wars” and dismissed efforts to distinguish between just and unjust wars or even that any country should be prepared to defend itself.21 Unexpectedly, on March 25, Pope Francis consecrated Russia in Rome in union with the bishops around the world.

Pope Francis and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, expressed their desire to have a Papal visit with Putin numerous times. In May, he repeated this desire while echoing a Russian talking point by making a blanket accusation against NATO, accusing the defensive military alliance of “barking at Russia’s door,” which prompted Putin to “react badly and unleash the conflict.”22 Even the Wall Street Journal was scandalized by Francis’ pro-Russian sympathies, saying it sends a “terrible moral signal” to dictators.23 Although the Ukrainian bishops and government have issued invitations for Pope Francis to visit the country, Pope Francis has ruled out a trip to Kyiv unless it includes a stop in Moscow.24

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With the evident failure of his military to take Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has sent mixed messages about using nuclear weapons. In February, he put his country’s nuclear forces on high alert and, in September, vowed that Russia would use “all available means” to defend its territory, a clear reference to nuclear weapons in defense of its newly annexed territories in eastern Ukraine.25 In October, Putin said that Russia has no intention to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, adding that “there is no point in that, neither political nor military.”26 Yet in December, he said that Russia might change its nuclear doctrine to include the possibility of launching a pre-emptive strike.27 Whatever happens, the threat of nuclear war—which would likely trigger World War III—remains a real possibility, placing a Damocles sword over Europe and a powerful tool in the Russian psychological warfare arsenal.

LGBT Revolution in the Church

The LGBT revolution in the Catholic Church, led by Pope Francis, made a great leap forward in 2022. In January, he wrote a hand-written letter to Sister Jeannine Gramick, the co-founder of New Ways Ministry and one of the movement’s most important leaders to normalize homosexuality in the Church. “I am thinking of your 50 years of ministry, which were 50 years with this ‘style of God,’ 50 years of closeness, of compassion and of tenderness…Thank you, Sister Jeannine, for all your closeness, compassion and tenderness,” he wrote.28 In May, Father James Martin, S.J.—who is perhaps the most notorious promotor of homosexual acceptance in the Church—sent a letter with questions about practicing LGBT Catholics to Pope Francis, who responded in a note saying that “God is Father and he does not disown any of his children.”29 In August, Pope Francis praised Father Martin for promoting “the culture of encounter…continue in this way, being close, compassionate, and full of tenderness.”30 As if that weren’t enough, Francis met with Father Martin in person at the Vatican for 45 minutes in November. “It was a warm, inspiring and encouraging meeting that I’ll never forget,” Father Martin tweeted.31

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Meanwhile, the bishops of Flanders in Belgium became the first in the world to establish a liturgical service to bless same-sex “unions.” Led by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, Archbishop of Brussels, they published a document titled “Being Pastorally Close to Homosexual Persons,” which allows homosexual couples to “express before God how they are committed to one another.”32 Although it directly contradicts the Vatican’s directive last year against such blessings, the director of the Flemish Bishops LGBT outreach project, Willy Bombeek, said that this work is “in the spirit of our Pope.”33 When the same Belgian bishops made their ad limina visit to Pope Francis in November, no mention was made of the controversy, which many saw as tacit approval. Yet clergy who preach the Church’s traditional doctrine on homosexual sin are ruthlessly persecuted. In Ireland, Bishop Ray Browne of Kerry silenced and removed one of his priests, Father Sean Sheehy, for giving a sermon against homosexuality and abortion. The bishop went on Irish radio to issue a public apology for the “deep upset and hurt” caused by the priest. “The views expressed do not represent the Catholic position,” he said.34

Pope Francis Promotes Indigenism in Canada

One of Pope Francis’ most important trips this year was to Canada. Last year, the Canadian left launched a media uproar against the Catholic Church regarding alleged crimes committed against the Canadian Indians by religious schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church. Although the accusations of “mass graves” and rampant abuse of children are mostly baseless, the affair served as a valuable opportunity to push the same indigenous theology that was on full display in 2019 in Rome at the Pan-Amazon Synod.

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Francis called his July trip to Canada a “penitential pilgrimage.”35 The Church, he said, had “contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities.” He also called the attempts to assimilate the Indians into Western civilization a “disastrous error.”36 Vatican spokesman Andrea Tornielli wrote that Pope Francis’ main message is a “request for forgiveness for the disasters wrought by the colonial mentality that sought to eradicate traditional cultures” that had “imposed their own cultural models.”37 “With shame and unambiguously,” he declared, “I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples.”38 Echoing the Pachamama ceremony in the Vatican during the Pan-Amazon Synod, Pope Francis in Canada also participated in an Indian “smudging” ceremony, a syncretistic “blessing” rooted in pre-Christian Indian paganism.39

Vatican Ostpolitik with China

Since 2018, the Vatican established a secret two-year agreement with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that gives the latter the power to select bishops in exchange for nominal yet largely symbolic recognition of the Vatican’s authority over the Chinese Catholic Church. The agreement was renewed in 2020 and came up for renewal again this year. After four years, many observers recognized that the agreement gave nothing to the Catholic Church and served to boost the CCP’s goal to “Sinicize” all foreign institutions. Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that “we shall lead all religions to adapt to our socialist society.”40

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In an interview with the Spectator, Cardinal George Pell said, “I don’t think we’ve gained anything” with the agreement.41 Yet the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, vowed to continue working together with the CCP. “We are trying to resume the dialogue concretely, with meetings that we hope will occur soon,” the cardinal said. However, he acknowledged the need to “make clarifications or review some points.”42

Meanwhile, Cardinal Joseph Zen, former Archbishop of Hong Kong, was arrested in May by the Chinese government for supporting the Hong Kong street protest movement against the CCP. His trial began in September, and in November was found guilty of having violated it under a Beijing-imposed National Security Law.43 Although Cardinal Zen was only fined and did not face jail time, his case represents a giant leap forward of the CCP dictatorship over the territory and a willingness to persecute the Catholic Church directly.

Shockingly, the Vatican has remained mostly silent on Cardinal Zen’s arrest and trial. At his regular public audience on May 22, Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for Catholics in China without mentioning Cardinal Zen or his arrest. Although Cardinal Zen has said that Vatican officials had “good intentions,” he called the new Ostpolitik with China “unwise” and a “betrayal.” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg attacked Cardinal Zen as “controversial in mainland China” and said that he is making life difficult for underground Church members. On the return plane trip from Kazakhstan, Pope Francis addressed the issue of China, saying that “there is a dialogue commission that is going well” and that he disagrees with qualifying China as “undemocratic.” “Cardinal Zen,” he said, “is going to trial these days, I think. And he says what he feels, and you can see that there are limitations there… With China, we need the patience of dialogue.’44 On October 22, the Vatican announced the renewal of its secret accord with Beijing. Although only six new Catholic bishops have been installed after four years under the agreement, and more than thirty Chinese dioceses currently have no bishop, Pope Francis said that “the agreement is going well.”

Pope Francis’s War on Traditional Catholicism

Unlike Communist China, Pope Francis has had nothing but harsh condemnation for Catholics faithful to the Traditional Mass. In 2022 he continued his strong attacks against traditionalists. In a speech to seminarians in February, Pope Francis said that Catholics should not “cultivate nostalgia for the past and close ourselves to the newness of the Spirit.”45 He ordered all traditionalist priests to concelebrate a Novus Order Chrism Mass with the local bishop. In May, he denounced “the temptation to liturgical formalism,” which is a “banner of division” that comes from the “devil, the deceiver.”46

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His language became even starker at an event on June 1. “I consider it dangerous—that instead of drawing from the roots in order to move forward—meaning fine traditions—we ‘step back,’ not going up or down, but backward…those people call themselves guardians of traditions, but of dead traditions.”47 Two weeks later, in an interview with La Civiltà Cattolica, he attacked traditionalist groups in the Church—especially in the United States—that seek a “restoration” and who want to “gag the [Second Vatican] Council.”48 He again attacked traditionalism during his trip to Canada, where he said, “work against healing and reconciliation…Someone once said that tradition is the living memory of believers. Traditionalism, instead, is the dead life of our believers. Tradition is the life of those who have gone before us and who go on. Traditionalism is their dead memory.”49 Yet even the New York Times, in an article about the Latin Mass in the United States, was forced to admit that it is “experiencing a revival in the United States” and is “thriving” despite Pope Francis’s objections.50

The United States: Abortion, the Catholic Left, and a divided country

The pro-life cause in the United States had the biggest victory in fifty years when the Supreme Court, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization issued on June 24 (the Feast of the Sacred Heart), overrode the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that imposed legal abortion on the country. Now, each state is free to regulate abortion as it sees fit. A large number of conservative states, such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, completely banned abortion, while leftist states, such as California and New York, made themselves into “abortion sanctuaries.” At the same time, five state-level plebiscites to restrict or expand abortion access were won by the pro-abortion side by large margins, illustrating the deep division in the country over the issue.

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With a pro-abortion Catholic President, the issue of Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians became even hotter this year. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the home city of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announced that she could no longer present herself for Communion in his diocese. In response, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., announced that he would never deny Communion to anyone in his archdiocese. In June, Nancy Pelosi traveled to Rome, where she received Holy Communion at a Mass in the Vatican in the presence of Pope Francis, a clear show of support for the pro-abortion “Catholic.” At the August consistory, Pope Francis elevated Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, California—perhaps the leading cleric of the Catholic left and biggest opponent of denying Communion to pro-abortion “Catholics”—to the cardinalate.

In November, the United States had its mid-term elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Although the Republicans were favored to win large majorities, they won only a very small 3-seat majority and even lost a seat in the Senate. Reasons for this include poor candidates and the inability of many Republican candidates to give a positive message other than the accusations of election fraud in the 2020 election. However, an important reason is that the country is divided by two equally motivated blocks, one conservative and one leftist, polarized like never before.

European Politics

France held its presidential election in April. In the first round, centrist President Emmanuel Macron won the highest share of the vote but lost ground to populist parties on the right and left compared to 2017. In the second round, he ran against the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, winning 58.5% to her 41.5%, which was the highest-ever score for a right-wing candidate. The election represented a growing discontent with the French political establishment and a growing fear over Islamic immigration and cultural disintegration.

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Italy also held an election in which the conservative, anti-immigration Giorgia Meloni and her party, Brothers of Italy, won a large majority, making her the Prime Minister. She was elected by the same wave of discontent in Italy against massive immigration from Muslim countries and unhappiness with the political establishment.

The United Kingdom suffered a crisis when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to resign on July 7 due to scandals. His successor, Liz Truss, launched an economic reform program that was highly unpopular, leading to her resignation a mere 49 days later and making her tenure the shortest in British history. The centrist and uninspiring Conservative MP Rishi Sunak succeeded her. If anything, the crisis displayed great political discontent in the UK, just like in the rest of Europe and the world.

But perhaps the most symbolic event of the year in Europe was the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Her death occasioned an outpouring of grief from all over the United Kingdom and all over the world. More than 250,000 people waited for as long as 13 hours in “the queue” to see her lying in state in Westminster Hall. Her passing was the end of an era and an occasion of nostalgia for a lost world of tradition, honor, and stability, which are sorely lacking in our world today.


This year, 2022, can be characterized by an immense and universal chaos. Institutions are crumbling, trust is disappearing, and the family is collapsing. Politics are polarized and dysfunctional. Doctrinal chaos has taken over the Catholic Church. Chaos has also entered minds, as seen in the spread of gender theory and the war on male and female. Together with chaos, this year saw a rise in violence. The War in Ukraine is the bloodiest in Europe since World War II and shows no signs of ending anytime soon. Massive protests erupted worldwide, in China, Iran, Brazil, and many others. Criminality has exploded across the Western world. There is also a rise in institutional violence within the Catholic Church, as progressives led by Pope Francis are waging war on traditionalists and orthodox morality.

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With the chaos and violence has come an immense suffering. Whether physical, economic, or moral, it spares no one. With this suffering comes a temptation to despair, seen in the sharp rise in the use of drugs and deaths by suicide.

Yet, at the same time, there are flashes of hope. While small, the number of conversions to the Catholic Faith is rising. Many non-Catholics are entering the Church, and many fallen-away Catholics are returning home. But perhaps most interesting is that a greater number of converts are embracing a “reactionary” Catholicism. Many are converting directly to the Traditional Latin Mass. They are questioning the liberal and socialist paradigm of the modern world and looking for deeper causes of the crisis. More and more are open to monarchy and the Social Reign of Christ as the response to our dying civilization. There is a small but growing interest in tradition, orthodoxy, and counter-revolutionary ideas in general, especially among the youth. In a world of absolute relativism, shallow materialism and moral degeneracy, young people are looking for rules, certainties, hierarchy, moral law, and infallibility, all of which can be found in the Catholic Church. And more people than ever, both Catholic and non-Catholic, see the crisis in religious terms.

In short, the events of 2022 make the message of Our Lady of Fatima more relevant than ever. Her warnings of the “errors of Russia” and her predictions about “wars and persecutions of the Church” are being fulfilled before our eyes. It is impossible to deny that humanity today is experiencing one of the worst crises in history. But it is always in the worst of crises when God gives the greatest graces. Our Lady of Fatima appeared at the height of World War I when humanity seemed to be on the verge of self-annihilation. Like 1917, the world today is living through a terrible and justly merited chastisement. Yet faithful Catholics must redouble their confidence in that prophetic declaration of the Mother of God, “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

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