Pat Archbold has a post that I completely agree with in reference to Pope Francis:


During the last 6 months, the Catholic media has witnessed a virtual  straw-man genocide calling out anyone among the ranks who speaks in assertive  tones or questions the prudence of a papal statement.

I have witnessed so many hyphenated theological-sounding pejoratives used to  describe well-meaning faithful Catholics who seek only the salvation of souls  that I shudder. I have seen my fellow travelers accused by prominent Catholic  commentators of being relentlessly critical, refusing to see progress in the  Church, of hating the sinner along with the sin, of wanting to bring back a  Church that will never be again, and being reflexively against the pope.

It seems to me that we have arrived at the point where mere disagreement on  tactics is viewed as akin to treason. 

I have been accused of many of these things and it disheartens me more than  I can say.

So I wish to clear a few things up. Surely I don’t speak for all the  accused, but I think that enough are similar to me to warrant comment.

First, I am not reflexively against the Pope because I suspect he is more  ‘liberal’ than me.  This is not true, I like the Pope and have defended  him.  I think that some of his outreach and man-of-the-people pope-ulism  has been wonderful.  I don’t care where he lives or that he washed a  woman’s feet or any such nonsense.  He is the Pope, he is fully Catholic  and totally ‘a man of the Church,’ of this I have no doubt. 

So it is that I have defended the Pope from wild misrepresentations of the  media.  Yet, at the same time I cannot help but wonder why this continues  to happen.  If off-the-cuff remarks are continually misinterpreted, both  purposefully and not, in ways that either contradict Church teaching or minimize  the importance of critical issues, at some point there needs to be recognition  of this reality. 

The bottom line is that many people, even most people, will only hear the  misinterpretation and the real message ‘either do I condemn thee: go, and sin  no more‘ is lost.  At some point it is not sufficient to  merely criticize the media and the method should be re-examined.

When I read the interview the Pope gave there was much to be admired in  it.  But I found some parts to be worrisome.  I understand what the  Pope is trying to do by emphasizing the pastoral before the doctrinal.   Truly, I get it.  But I wonder how, in its essence, that is any different  that what the Church has tried to do over the past 45 years?  As somebody  who grew up in a post-Vatican II Church, I can assure you that the emphasis has  not been dogma.  In my experience, it has been all pastoral, all the  time. 

Go here to National Catholic Register to read the whole thing.  I have three problems in regard to what I perceive to be a rocky start to Pope Francis’ papacy:

1.  The media spin that we have a Pope who is going to do away with the teaching of the Church in regard to abortion, contraception and homosexuality.  The Pope has not said this but that is the universal spin, and the Pope has been careless enough in his statements to allow a cherry picking media to make a plausible case, to the scandal of many of the faithful and the rejoicing of those who hate the Church.

2.  The Pope often seems to forget that he is the Pope and acts as if he is in a Jesuit bull session.  Every word that a Pope says is going to be put under a microscope, but Pope Francis does not appear to care.

3.  The Pope police among bloggers at Saint Blogs who love to play the-more-loyal-than-thou-to-the-pope game.  To these bozos any word of criticism of a pope is lese majesty and a signal to gather faggots for a verbal auto de fe.  With some of these guys I truly think that if a pope suggested that we should all paint our bottoms yellow their only question would be “What shade?”  This type of infallibility-down-to-sneezing by a pope does neither the Pope nor the Church any favors.

I hope that what we have seen of Pope Francis and his dealings with the media will iron out in time.  However, what some of us see as a bug, the Pope may cherish as a feature.  If that is correct, that is a big problem and ignoring it will not make the problem go away.


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. To all those Catholics who can’t tolerate any criticism of the Pope’s communication style, remember, its not about the Pope, but about the message that Christ has come to save. Its not first about the teachings on marriage or abortion or poverty or immigration or even Papal pronouncements. Its about the fact of having a relationship with Christ.

    If they truly accepted the Pope’s words, criticism of the Pope wouldn’t bother them so much.

  2. Ditto indeed! You will take a lot of flack for this but your courage for speaking out is awesome. My heartfelt thanks.

  3. Friday, I was in a taxi taking me home when the driver told me the Pope came out for abortion and gays. That’s how it came across in the NY Post and in his mind . . . (sigh)

    The night before, in a saloon, I told a colleague that (my opinion) jesuits are not catholic. He, despite the fact he hasn’t been inside a Church in 25 years, was quite upset.

  4. The Young Turks? I consider them to be typical young dufuses.

    As I have had a chance to reflect on it, I think Pope Francis needs to have someone read him the riot act about his comments. I started to attend only the Traditional Latin Mass at Christmastime last year and it is the only place – aside from the brief time I spent in the Arlington, Virginia diocese in early 1994 – I have heard a priest talk in person about the dangers of abortion, homosexuality and contraception.

    Pastoral? I’m tired of pastoral and I don’t want to hear it anymore. I want doctrine and dogma for my sons, as it was never taught to me as a child and I never heard about as an adult until I looked it up myself. There is right and there is wrong in this world.

    My wife and I feared a pontiff from Latin America. My wife is from Colombia. In college she listened to Jesuits tell her that birth control was okay – among other things.

    And who gets busted? Not the Jesuits. Not the parish priests who have an army of Toms, Dicks and Harriets who hand out communion like Halloween candy out of glass containers. No, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who celebrate the TLM.

  5. I especially love the ludicrous argument that Francis is engaged in some type of intellectual jujitsu against the MSM, and that his statements cutting the legs out from under those in this country fighting for life, marriage and religious freedom are just part of his grand strategy that will eventually leave the MSM floored and faithful Catholics cheering his name.

  6. My reaction to the media reports was strongly negative. My reaction to the interview was strongly positive.

    I worry about the misrepresentations misleading the ignorant and needlessly upsetting the faithful.

    I don’t agree though that His Holiness needs to tone it down or reign it in. He is saying something incredibly important about forming and maintaining a relationship with God.

    What is missing is a single resource of translations and explanation, with references and links – a Concordia if you will.

    The Vatican Web site and the Web site of every diocese should point to that. If they do that, we’ll be fine.

  7. The thing that bugs me a bit about Archibald’s approach is that he seems to accept that claim that Francis’s approach is that we need “more pastoral” and “less dogmatic”. I don’t think that that is Francis’s contention. Indeed, I think that Francis recognizes and is trying to deal with the same problem Archibald calls out:

    In that time we have witnessed the complete failure of the Church to engage the western mind and heart. So much so that Europe, and increasingly the Americas, has become so secularized to be again considered mission territory.

    Francis isn’t calling for a more pastoral approach so much as a more missionary one — which seems appropriate in that our modern world is about as life-affirming as Clovis and his Franks pre-conversion.

  8. I think our side, be it within the Church or secular politics, worries way too much about the effect the MSM’s misrepresentations are going to have. Even the most ignorant among us knows no pope would say what the media portrays the pope as saying.

    The media is effective in making our side look defensive and scared. It isn’t like our side’s response isn’t predictable, Pavlovianly predictable. One of these days we’ll wake up and not let them bait us. It won’t be today I’m afraid.

  9. I had one conversation with a friend who would not suffer any sort of questioning etc of the Pope in which I reminded my friend that the Pope is not like the Dahli Lama, a reincarnation of the Buddha. On the other hand, I have been concerned, to say the least, with the seeming ever increasing critism from more conservative and traditionalist Catholics-beginning with his not wearing red shoes

    While the secular world and media ( purposefully?) misrepresent Pope Francis’ words, not recognizind or admitting the continuity in his ” positions” with Church teaching, should we not be able to expect the same recognition of continuity from fellow Catholics?

    My greatest concern is the apparent blindness in recognizing that cafeteria style Catholicism is not just a liberal Catholic problem

  10. “I don’t agree though that His Holiness needs to tone it down or reign it in. He is saying something incredibly important about forming and maintaining a relationship with God.”

    I don’t think most people are saying that. They are saying that he is communicating it poorly.

    “The thing that bugs me a bit about Archibald’s approach is that he seems to accept that claim that Francis’s approach is that we need ‘more pastoral’ and ‘less dogmatic’.”

    He is not saying that, he is saying againa that it is poorly communicated.

    From the 24 rules of leadership:

    “I prefer written information to oral. Writing encourages discipline.”

    From the Pope’s recent visit to Cagliari:

    “Intended principally as a pilgrimage to the isle’s patroness, Our Lady of Bonaria – from whom Jorge Bergoglio’s hometown of Buenos Aires takes its name – the Pope threw aside his prepared arrival text to castigate a world that he said had become ‘idolaters of this money god.’

    Handing his prepared text to the city’s archbishop to be circulated in print, Francis explained going off-script by saying ‘I just preferred to say what was in my heart on seeing you all here.'”

    I remember the Pope saying the same thing about the Global economy. To which an economist with the Acton Society in Rome replied that greed had always been around but not recession. That there were technical factors that the Pope did not understand in the Global recession. I suspect the same is true about unemployment in Cagliari. But his off the cuff comments don’t take that into effect.

  11. We live in a world that believes in “MY Way” not “Thy Way.” (Could never stand that song.) Even among most Christians the main focus of daily living, attitudinally and in time spent, has little to do with pursuing the Kingdom of God and Salvation, but rather with accommodating the World. As much as many may even like the niceties of Christianity, go to Church and do charitable acts, we’ve come to see obedience, the kind that Jesus always talked about, as moronically distasteful. It’s MY WILL which fits the bill for Cafeteria Catholicism.
    Over the past century we’ve witnessed non-believers, then Protestants, and then Catholics (and Catholic clergy) steadily remove from their plates healthy foods about marriage/divorce, contraception, sexuality, the real presence and so on. So I agree that Pope Francis rightly sees much of the “Christian” world as missionary territory. Whatever it is we “Orthodox” are doing or not doing is obviously not working right now. The world knows what we teach, but simply does not want to buy it. Some never will, but our preaching and our witness must become more effective. We have not done a good job explaining many issues, and in fairness, often untried by our pastors, and I think Pope Francis might have found a way to get at least discussion back on our menus.

  12. I can’t remember exactly but there is a scene in the movie Ghandi where there is great praise by many for the poverty of Ghandi. The simplicity of how he lived and how he was completely detached, depending on others for his needs.

    At one point, a poor worker comes up to Ghandi and says “You don’t know how much your poverty costs us.” The point being that is cost poor workers a great deal from their work to keep Ghandi in his poverty.

    This Pope is a great missionary. I think we need to tell him how much his missionary effort costs us in ours.

  13. After years of study and thinking about it, I think the pope needs to do the following:
    -Make one public appearance per month and give a formal speech from a prepared text – that is it.
    -spend the rest of his time reordering the vatican administration, bringing the Secretariat of State down to the same level of all other departments and not over any other department (as it was under Pius XII)
    -call a group of theologians together to finally figure out what, if anything, new was taught at Vatican II. If something is new, define and promolgate it clearly and publically for all the church to know. Throw the rest of Vatican II down the memory hole as ambiguous garbage to be viewed as a historical curiosity.
    If nothing new was taught at Vatican II, throw the whole thing down the memory hole.
    -Encourage the use of the Traditional Mass- by saying it publically once per month in St Peter’s. Encourage all priests and bishops to say the TLM whenever and wherever they want.
    -Call a commission together to study modern errors like abortion, contraception, same sex marriage, homosexuality, modernism etc. Issue an updated syllabus of modern errors for 2014. Promolgate it in the highest possible way and then start to clean house.
    -reconcile with the SSPX, by granting them jurisdiction as they are not needing to sign any doctrinal statements. This will pervent a break within the society.
    -Begin excommunicating dissenters and do it publically and consistently.
    -Revoke communion in the hand as a gift to the Church on the feast of Corpus Christi.
    -Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with all the bishops of the world as Our Lady of Fatima requested.
    If the Holy Father did these things, the church and the world would be far better off, and then virtue might be restored to the social order.

  14. My husband is in a managerial position. Over the past 10 years at his company, he has had 8 different Directors to report to (due to company takeovers) Yes 8.

    Some Directors were great- inspirational, motivational and strong- talked with staff- relatable- they would “walk the floor”. Times were good under their leadership- and results showed.

    Others would sit in their offices, only to be seen when it suited them. Scripted and pompous. Needless to say, staff morale would drop. As did results.

    The success of the business would be affected positively or negatively under each leadership style.

    The lesson my husband took, was in order to be a good leader, you need to “walk the floor”. Be one of them. He uses this approach. And results show.

    In the appointment of Pope Francis, a Jesuit, the Holy Spirit was sending a clear message- the Church needs a leader that can relate to us, get down on our level, inspire, motivate and look at the bigger picture. And the bigger picture, here, is to bring people back to the Faith. And to make existing Catholics re-energized and aware that our Faith is about God and eachother.

    To not get caught up in semantics. We are all human, not polished and perfect. We are not God. We dont need scripts. We need to use our hearts in order to relate to one another.

    I’m half way through my chemo treatment, and what I’m learning is that there is too much script to offer support, but no real genuineness to do so. And it leaves me feeling abandoned, resentful, closed. I feel myself at this point, wounded.

    But in my current state, I get that God is seeing us cry out, wounded- and the only way he can bring us back to Him, is by bringing us to our knees, with real genuineness- unscripted.

    The Faithful and Non-Faithful will be drawn to God, because Pope Francis is “walking the floor”, unscripted and from the heart.

    The MSM is paying attention. And I do believe Pope Francis, apparent, liberal dialogue makes him approachable, and our Faith approachable. And many people will open their hearts, that have been closed, because of this approach. And give it time, the dogma (the understanding of Catholic Dogma), will be heard once the heart is open to hear it.

    You can’t just scare people into obedience. We all have free will. You have to make people understand it and then they will freely follow.

    The past approach of relaying Dogma, obviously hasn’t worked. Abortion is higher than ever, SSM is now key political agendas, Contraception is rampant, violence is prolific.

    The Church saw it needed to change its approach.

    So approach is paramount at this time in the Churches history. Exercise patience with our Pope, that he knows what he is doing. Dont be discouraged. And Pray for him. He is a good Pope, trying to lead Mother Church in this wounded world.

  15. Even the first Pope needed to be corrected:

    11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12 for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. 13 And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

    Galatians 2:11-14

  16. Reproving popes when they are wrong is a very long Catholic tradition indeed:

    ”Peter can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” Dominic turned and looked straight at the Pope, and said, “No, and neither can he any longer say, ‘Rise and walk.’”

    Supposed comment by Saint Dominic during a tour of the papal treasury conducted by Pope Innocent III.

  17. I’m not the largest fan of the interview, but I really think we need to be a bit more reflective and self-critical. We waged a culture war in America, and we lost. We didn’t just lose, but that secular culture for all intents and purposes IS CATHOLIC CULTURE in America.

    We don’t have to agree with everything the Holy Father says about how to regain it. BUt I do think we should do a bit more listening as to why we have failed as badly as we have.

  18. Rod La Rocque – you know as well as I do that the present Holy Father does not view liturgy has Pope Benedict did. It has been suggested that Cardinal Bergoglio was turned off by the SSPX and Bishop Williamson, who had set up shop near his diocese. Williamson turned me off, too.

    As for the consecration of Russia – God, how many times I have read this on traditionalist Catholic sites – Pope John Paul II did this and it met with Sister Lucia’s approval. Many “trads” will never accept this, however.

    Ez – I am sure Pope Francis relates to a certain segment of people. He does not relate to me. John Paul II and Benedict related to me. John Paul II was aware of the Church the world over, be it Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America or Asia. John Paul II and Benedict could communicate in more than just their native languages and Italian. Cardinal Bergoglio comes from a country that had Axis sympathies in WWII and provided refuge to Eichmann. Argentina had the world’s seventh largest economy in the year 1900 and has usually been a basket case since Peron took power and nearly bankrupted the country. Yes, there is terrible poverty in Argentina – and it is Argentina’s fault that it is poor.

    The Holy Father is in need of prayers from all of us. I stated before that when he dies not speak off the cuff he is very insightful and deep. The Holy Father has a decidedly Latin American view of the Church and the world.

    And what is that? for more than a century, Latin American “intellectuals” have usually blamed the United States of America for all of their problems. When the US wants to engage, the “intellectuals” accuse the US of interfering. When the US minds its own business, these same “intellectuals” blame the US of ignoring them. This mindset exists from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego.

    The Church in Latin America has often struggled. The move for independence in Latin America was led by men who were not favorably disposed to the Catholic Church. Frequently, caudillos (Spanish for tinpot dictators) have targeted and blamed the Church for whatever is wrong in society. Often the clergy in Latin America came from Spain and Portugal. Not anymore. Thus, there is a clergy shortage. In Guatemala and Brazil, evangelicals have converted countless former Catholics. There has been bone deep gut wrenching poverty in a continent that should be among the wealthiest in the world.

    The rampant antagonistic secularism in North America and Europe, abortion, homosexualism and Muslim extremist terrorism are not the problems the Church in Latin America faces. Pope Francis is evidence of this, and these problems are every bit as serious as the material poverty of Latin America.

  19. “We waged a culture war in America, and we lost. We didn’t just lose, but that secular culture for all intents and purposes IS CATHOLIC CULTURE in America.”

    As others pointed out, we lost the cultural war because we sought to be more pastoral and less dogmatic. More of the same medicine will not cure things.

    Again, listening to the message that we must have a relationship with Christ is key. I agree absolutely (and this has been something rejected by many in the Church in their drive to be relevant.) But much of the rest of the interview’s tone is flawed.

    Corrections must flow. They are of the Spirit also.

  20. I guess I’m not too quick to just pin the blame on others. Yeah, a lot of the “pastoral” stuff really did lead to an emptying of the pews. And I’m not saying we need to become “less” dogmatic. But I think it is possible a lot of the heroes might not have done things the right way.

    We all own part of the responsibility for the collapse of our cultlure. ALL OF US. Whatever one thinks of the Pope’s interview, I think its an opportunity to reflect on that fact. That and Catholicism (especially here in America) has not come to terms sufficiently with the incredible wounds from the abuse scandals.

  21. Penguins Fan- the Pope, is the Pope for all Catholics, not just American Catholics.

    Look at the bigger picture from the Popes point of view- the worlds population is 7 billion, 1.2billion of those are Catholic. There are 68million registered Catholics in the USA. Im sure many dont practise (too busy worrying what Miley Cyrus is up to).

    Making the US, the fourth largest Catholic Population. Brazil – a LATIN AMERICAN country, as well as Mexico, a LATIN AMERICAN country have Catholic population bigger than US. The Phillipines larger.

    So, if Nancy Pelosi doesn’t follow her Faith properly, it’s not Pope Francis fault. Machievlian style political ambition is nothing new. Stop giving her airtime.

    Did Catholics listen to JPJII under his leadership, or were they busy popping The Pill and leading Reagan style materially rich, spiritually sick lives? The Church in America is now financially paying through the teeth for the blind eyes that many Church leaders took in relation to Sexual Abuse. Wake up.

    Under PJPII, whom I love, Europe got ignored. He was powerless against stopping the Pill. He defended it, but could not stop it. Also, because PJPII ignored Europe, Christianity is now a minority in Europe. Europe! The Middle Eastern Catholics are scared. For example, Lebanon who used to be 65% of population, only a few decades ago, is now only 25%. Middle Eastern people are listening to him, even though he can’t speak Arabic, the western world is listening, even though he preaches in Italian. Even the intellectually and spiritually bankrupt MSM is listening. His management style, Pastoral, is working. The world is listening. He is clever. My point initially.

    In Argentina, as Bishop, the Pope engaged with Roman Catholics, as well as Eastern Catholics, he understands each have different spiritual traditions all leading to God. He would let the Maronite priest do the Homily at the mass he was performimg. As Pope he has led a world day of prayer for Syria, been outspoken about Egypt and many Catholic, and Christian Minorities. He does not just think in terms of his Latin American heritage. Only. Otherwise wouldn’t you think he would be leaning towards Liberation Theology, which he isn’t.

    And if our current Pope isn’t stimulating intellectually enough for you, it’s probably because the past two Popes did a good job to get you up to speed. And perhaps, this Pope is trying to encourage people like you who “know-it-all” about your Faith to help inspire others to the Faith and knowledge you have. Stop relying on the Pope to be your personal spiritual director, your defender, your alms giver, your politically activist, your cultural saviour. It’s not ALL his job.

    Much of the past is not appropriate for the state of the Church today. IT DOES NOT WORK. Hindsight teaches us that. Pope Benedict knew that.

    He’s being judged before he begun. History will tell all. Stop being negative.

  22. “Did Catholics listen to JPJII under his leadership, or were they busy popping The Pill and leading Reagan style materially rich, spiritually sick lives?”

    Thing were much better under President Reagan and Pope John Paul II. With Margaret Thatcher they won the Cold War. And America prospered because of the Free Enterprise policies of President Reagan that embraced individual responsibility and accountability instead of the sickening, disgusting, putrid, rotted false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price that is marketed from pulpit and podium alike for our pastoral needs.

    Dogma, doctrine, straight unmitigated, unvarnished Gospel truth – sin brings hell and souls are going to it, and repentance requires conversion and emendation of life. I am sick and tired of the “Jesus luvs you – peace and flowers” nonsense that sends people to hell. People need to be told the truth: Jesus loves us so much that He gave His very life so that if we repent we go to Heaven. That means NO abortion, NO homosexual behavior, NO adultery, NO fornication. It means loving God with all one’s being and one’s neighbor as one’s self. It means self-sacrifice and obedience, not this mumbo-jumbo fecal matter that is passed off as some sort of pastoral wisdom of the ages. As John the Baptist said, Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

  23. Paul W Primavera- yes I’m sick of the Truth not being told. The Devil is running rampant. Jesus is truly the Light of The World. I share your frustrations. I wish we had this loud speaker that could shout out your frustrations, shared by many, to the world.

    Pope Francis is telling the truth. But look at it this way, its like a rebellious teenager (the world is). And today, its the rebellious teenager almost in danger of falling over the cliff of no return. How do you get that teenager to listen. Do you tell him what he should do or not do? And risk him going closer and closer to the edge blocking his ears, screaming profanities, and ignoring you. Or maybe, do you tell him you love him. You don’t judge him. You’ll help him get to the TRUTH.

    The Church got lazy. The negative things that the Church faces is because it lacked love (many went to other Christian denominations). But, what the Church has is the Truth.

    I think the Pope is telling it. He’s easing his way in. It’s coming out.

  24. Ez, when I was a rebellious teenager, my father liberally administered corporal punishment. He didn’t stand for any disrespect towards him or especially towards Mom. When I went to Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Illinois, the rebellion was beat out of me. But it crept back in because I have a built-in forgetter. So when I ended up in a 12 step program some years later, my mentor (i.e., sponsor) told me that if I didn’t grab hold of some humility, I would die of a needle in my veins or a bottle in my hand. After my 4th and 5th step moral inventory he had the unmitigated gall to send me to his priest, telling me to make a good Confession, or I should just go back out to drink and drug again. That’s how it was given to me. And happily it worked (except for a few detours in the road along the way). I don’t know of any other way it has ever worked with any success. Oh, and my penance with on my 8th step amends list – both priest and sponsor made certain of that.

    Our society is drunk and it needs that kind of tough love – the love that says: Get sober or die. Sadly, people are dying of sin, for the wages of sin are death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. We’ve had the “there, there, now, it’s OK” BS. That kind of stuff would have sent me back out onto another possibly fatal blackout binge of self-indulgence. And guess what is happening to our society? We’re on that binge and the drug is sexual license without responsibility or accountability. It’s no different than heroin, cocaine or alcohol. Pope Francis wants the Church to heal people? Well first he’s gotta get them to stop binging on their drug – sex – the symptoms of which are rampant abortion, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc.

  25. Paul- you didn’t know that the tough love stance worked till you were older and wiser, and through a difficult road. God Bless you, you got through it. As a teenager, you completely rebelled against it. My husband came from similar corporeal punishment background. And my dad was tough, but more in decisions. Im still rebelling (haha). But, I think you don’t learn till you make mistakes. Humans are stubborn. And if you are mature in your faith, you will know not to make them. but if you don’t know otherwise, tough love will only make you rebel.

    I don’t know the answer. I’m raising three daughters!

    I’ve turned alot of people away in my life because of my approach. Even when I was right. They took my approach as direct, and missed the point. It doesn’t work. You gotta work with people.

    I think the Pope is trying to fix the image of the Church. That’s important. Reputation is one of the most important things we have. From there, lets see…

    In the meantime, head his message and shake things up, engage with people to get their trust, then engage the Dogma.

    I’ve been lighting a candle to “The Light of The World”, by William Holman Hunt. It says it all.

  26. “We all own part of the responsibility for the collapse of our cultlure. ALL OF US.”

    Not really. That is a false form of self-criticism.

    “I think the Pope is trying to fix the image of the Church.”

    And as so many of us have been saying, he’s doing it poorly. Very poorly.

  27. Here is a perfect example of why the dichotomy between a relationship with Christ and teaching his dogma is false and leads to a true deterioration of culture. Loyola in LA is trying to get rid of abortion coverage in its health plan. Faculty members are fight back. The faculty position sums up the problem perfectly:

    ““LMU can either be a great American Catholic university in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions or it can be an institution that demands obedience to and conformity with Catholic doctrine; it cannot be both,” stated a letter written by a group of faculty to the school’s president…”

  28. Excellent point, Philip. The first Pope, having been correct by St. Paul, wrote in 1st Peter chapter 1:

    13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


    What part about “Discipline yourselves…Like obedient children…” and “Be ye holy” do these “Katholicks” NOT understand? “Without holiness no man shall see God.” Hebrews 12:14.

  29. Hooray! Lets pat ourselves on the back hiding behind our keyboards, trashing the Catholic Church, whilst I help Pope Francis pull the large knife out of his back.

    Anyone up for his job? Any takers

  30. “Hooray! Lets pat ourselves on the back hiding behind our keyboards, trashing the Catholic Church, whilst I help Pope Francis pull the large knife out of his back. ”

    We are in fact helping the Church. We point out how the false dichotomy (as evidenced by what is going on at Loyola) “trashes” the Church. This in the true spirit of the love of Christ to correct our bretheren. Even if he be our spiritual Father.

  31. It would help EZ if the Pope would first stop engaging in self-inflicted wounds. It is tough being the Pope currently, I understand that. He accepted the job, and he needs to remember that every single word he says is going to echo around the globe. It helps the Pope not at all to attempt to put a smiley face on this and not to understand that he is causing confusion to his friends and celebration to his foes:


    The Pope’s heart is definitely in the right place. Now he needs to get his lips to the same place.

  32. “…whilst I help Pope Francis pull the large knife out of his back. Anyone up for his job? Any takers?”

    First, I do not think that any one here is trying to put a knife in Pope Francis back, and indeed, neither did St. Paul put a knife in St. Peter’s back when he corrected him on the issue of the Judaizers.

    Second, I do not think that anyone here is assuming an arrogance to usurp Pope Francis’ job, and indeed, neither did St. Paul assume such an arrogance when he corrected St. Peter.

    We should pray for the Bishop of Rome, and all our Bishops, Priests and Deacons. But just as error cannot be excused in ourselves, so also can error not be excused even in a Bishop. That statement should NOT be misconstrued to constitute a denigration of the Bishop of Rome. He deserves our respect. But what Donald McClarey wrote above about Pope Innocent III and St. Dominic applies:

    ”Peter can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” Dominic turned and looked straight at the Pope, and said, “No, and neither can he any longer say, ‘Rise and walk.’”

    It’s the Gospel of Repentance and Conversion, Holiness and Righteousness, not the gospel of feel-good social justice, peace at any price, and flowers in every field.

  33. More from the Loyola controversy:

    “Dropping abortion coverage over the university’s respect-for-life concerns, it continues, would violate social-justice principles, impose economic burdens on women and their families, particularly ‘the lowest paid women on campus, who are also mostly likely women of color.’ It also alleged that the decision would violate employees’ ‘freedom of conscience’ and harm the university’s ability to recruit a diverse faculty. The letter appealed to the 1967 Land O’Lakes statement that argued the participation of non-Catholics in the Catholic university community was ‘most desirable, and indeed, even necessary, to bring authentic universality itself.’

    The letter says the ‘most troubling aspect’ of the decision to remove abortion coverage is ‘[t]he evident lack of a consistent or well-articulated vision for the university and its Catholic mission.'”


    I have no doubt about the sincerety of the faculty member’s and their love for Christ. But it is disorded absent the Truth. Surely you can condemn the efforts (not the sinner but the sin) of those at Loyola who seek to ensure that abortion is covered under the cover of a false “social justice” and woman’s rights.

    What is more sad (and which I am sure you will agree with) is that when a consistent vision of the Catholic mission of the university is presented (protect innocent human life) then the faculty cannot stand in agreement.

    Such is what happens when love for Christ is divorced from the Truth.

  34. “Such is what happens when love for Christ is divorced from the Truth.”

    A the risk of reaching to the choir: Love of Christ divorced from the Truth is NOT love of Christ at all, for Christ IS Truth.

    Rather, any love divorced from Truth is self-love that makes God in man’s image instead of man having been made in God’s image.

    One other thing: all this social justice nonsense that Loyola and other “progressive” Catholics advocate (exactly what are they progressing towards?) is unmitigated arrogance. It assumes that man by his own efforts can create the Kingdom of God on Earth and it divorces the actual material blessings God may grant from His command that we be holy even as He is holy. God’s Kingdom comes only from God, not by man-made efforts and we do not deserve ANY material blessings. And when God’s Kingdom comes, if we are not in a state of grace, then it will go very badly for us.

  35. Ditto. See how even written things not well worded can fail to communicate. That should read “…when “love” for Christ is divorced from the Truth.” For the Truth and Christ are one and any love for the one is necessarily to other.

    The “love” I refer to is that false love of many, including some at Loyola, who call upon their relationship with Christ to justify what is not truly of Christ. But still they see it as “love” because they have been given a false vision of that Love that truly saves.

    I unfortunately have seen this false love in many. Some through no fault of their own. Particularly among evangelicals.

  36. Philip, we have been in violent agreement. That’s why I wrote that I suspected that I was preaching to the choir. I really think that the message to the Church at Laodicea in Asia Minor in Revelation chapter 3applies to us today:

    15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

  37. His lips are in the right place. They’re below his nose and above his chin.

    But seriously, a little criticism this is not. It’s been going on on this blog for months. Corrected over one interview? No he’s been corrected over so many many petty things.

    I was educated in an Opus Dei school and my daughter attends the same school- and I consider myself conservative. But the obsession with semantics and tactic is puzzling.

    Just tonight, I had dinner with a freind of mine. Her brother, who wanted nothing to do with his Catholic Faith, has been drawn back to the Faith as a result of Pope Francis. In fact many will be drawn back to the same Church that was under PJPII and Pope Benedict. Nothing’s changed here. Just the Vicar of Christ who preaches the same message.

  38. I have a friend also who is an atheist but has begun going to Mass with his wife because he believes that the Bishop of Rome is bringing the Church into the 21st century by obviating the rules on no homosexual behavior and no abortion. It’s great he’s going to Mass, but at most Roman parishes what he’ll get is a watered-down, feel-good “Jesus luvs you, I’m OK, You’re OK” nonsense. And what will be the final state of his soul?

    The truth is that sin murders and Jesus talked a whole lot more about the dangers of hell than the promise of heaven.

    We have enough apostate and heretical Episcopalian parishes without adding Roman ones to their number.

  39. Divine revelation and objective truth are immutable.

    ” . . . bringing the Church into the 21st century . . . ”

    True story: a high-level officer in my outfit was retriing. At the meeting wherein he announced, somebody asked, “What are you going to do?” He said, “I will work to bring the Catholic Church into the 20th century” He became a high-profile co-conspirator in that gay catholic gang.

    ” . . . bringing the Church into the 21st century . . . ” They used to call that “modernism”, a heresy.

    I don’t know what Jesus said to her to convert Mary Magdalene. I’m fairly certain that it had little in common with some of the things said/written by recent popes.

  40. He didn’t say homosexuality is ok.
    He didn’t say abortion is ok.
    He has not contradicted Catholic Teaching.

    He said don’t ostracise those that sin. You are not their judge. God is their judge.

    You don’t know why someone turned gay. You don’t know what upbringing he had. He can go to Church if he does not act out his homosexuality. He infact, needs God more than ever because of his sinful inclination.

    The Church is firm on Dogma and the truth. But you’re not gonna win people over shoving Dogma down their throat, when they don’t even know the first thing about the “why’s” and “how’s” of the Dogma.

    You know alot of people fell away from the Church because of this judgemental attitude of many. Not all have the privilege of having good religious formation as children. To know the Truth. And some that do, reject it because it becomes too harsh. The Love is lost. I know many in both camps, as do you I’m sure.

    Mary Magdalen fell at Jesus feet because she saw the forgiving healing power of Jesus. And saw the error in her ways. Jesus told her to go away and sin no more, AFTER she came to Him. AFTER she witnessed His love for others. AFTER she had followed Him around Witnessing His miracles.

    She didn’t have remorse for her sins because she was going to be stoned to death by her earthly “judges”. Something attracted her to His teaching in the first place.

    Look, I don’t know, it’s like the chicken and the egg. What comes first? Jesus Love, or the Judgement of God. It’s a hard one. But one size fits all, doesn’t work.

  41. Thanks Paul, I read the article. I still don’t agree with it. Pope Benedict and PJPII both wrote alot about the Dogma. Perhaps it wasn’t communicated to the laity properly, and the decline in Christian Culture in the Western World began many decades ago. So you can’t say that focusing on Dogma makes a difference. Pope Benedict, who was the defender of the Faith under PJPII, tried.

    Decline in Christianity in Western culture is a result of many factors- feminism, political climate, modern technology, and in general, the humanistic idea that man thought himself to be better than God. When you don’t struggle and life becomes easier, human nature generally looses the need for God. As in the case of the US and Europe.

    It’s really each Christians responsibility to evangelise. The Pope is meant to encourage his Bishops, Priests, Deacons to encourage the laity to live by example. I just don’t think he wants us telling the person sitting on the plane next to us, directly, that being homosexual is wrong. He wants us to engage them and not directly judge them. That’s how people listen and have a change of heart and are drawn to the Faith. The only way to defeat the Devil is through Love and Humility.

    Essentially, he is first fixing the reputation of the Church, tarnished by years of sexual abuse, scandal and bad press. He went to the press directly on purpose. I just want to see his next move. You can’t dismiss Him till he has actually contradicted Catholic Doctrine. The Cardinals, guided by Holy Spirit, in their wisdom decided he was best person for the job now for a reason. Maybe, and don’t take this the wrong way, The United States of America is too far gone to listen- it needs a dose of Gods Humility. Please don’t take this as anti-American, but America needs to recognise God first. Forget, trying to win the homosexuals and pro-choicers over. They need to get back to basics. Acknowledging God.

  42. “Forget, trying to win the homosexuals and pro-choicers over. They need to get back to basics. Acknowledging God.”

    On this we agree. And this is what Pope Francis is trying to say. Primacy is on Jesus as a person who we have a relationship with. From this all else flows.

    What I and others have been saying is that he has done so in a muddled way.

  43. The Pope’s message is a reminder to conservative-minded Catholics that being Pro-Life is more than just opposition to abortion; the Catholic Faith teahces that life is sacred from birth to natural death. Meaning, all of those stages in between. Sadly, I believe some on the “Right” have ignored those humans outside of the womb, while Left-wingers have obviously waged war on those humans inside of the womb.

    Additionally, the Holy Father is having to contend with the images and stereotypes of the Catholic Church that arose, especially during the horrendous sex abuse crisis (as we can well see, the effects of which still reverberate and haunt the Church’s hierarchy.)

    If no ne has noticed, the Catholic Faith in Ireland is in crisis modem with Mass attendance collapsing a countless Irish people abandoning the Church. We are in crisis. God bless.

  44. The beautiful thing about Pope Francis is that he is returning the Church to kinder language; becmoing less like the Pharisees in a sense. Those on the Far Left will be mortified that his profound words of Christian charity will actually NOT lead to an alteration of Church doctrine. These ideologues misinterpret the Holy Father’s generosity at their own behest, and eventually their own dismay.

  45. “The Pope’s message is a reminder to conservative-minded Catholics that being Pro-Life is more than just opposition to abortion…”

    Some, but not most. We just disagree with the practical applications of some, including the USCCB, in regards to poverty, immigration etc.

  46. “The Pope’s message is a reminder to conservative-minded Catholics that being Pro-Life is more than just opposition to abortion…”

    True. Euthanasia is as important an issue as abortion. But government funded health care cannot be equivocated with either abortion nor euthanasia, nor can Capital Punishment (an authority that God gave the State in St. Paul’s words in Romans 13:1-7), nor can blessing illegal immigration, nor can all the other social justice boondoggles that appeal to most Latin American clerics (not to mention to the USCCB as well).

    The primary moral issues of the day are abortion, homosexual behavior, adultery, fornication. Telling people in the west, “There, there, God loves you,” only confirms them in their sin because once they hear that, they think it’s permission to carry on in sexual filth because God will never send them to hell – He loves them! Doing what John the Baptist did – “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” – is what’s needed in the US, Canada and Europe. We have had too much of this self-esteem, narcissist nonsense. None of us deserve God’s love. Not one. We all deserve the fires of hell. And the sooner we get to Confession and then fall prostrate at the Blessed Sacrament, the better.

  47. I like what I know of our pope. I respect his office; but words matter.
    …”And when Francis was asked about the Vatican’s alleged “gay lobby,” the Pope replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesn’t have a problem with homosexuality itself, telling reporters “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” (NPR)

    Was he is speaking of homosexuals who “lobby” for their cause in the vatican?? There is no question that such “lobbying” is an issue, to be judged as contrary to Catholic teaching. But it is the “good faith part” that bothered me. “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?”
    I refer you to the work of bible scholar Fr. William Most: Basic Scripture “Chapter 11: The Books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy”
    Father says about Levitcus: “The most remarkable commands in the book are in chapter 4, which, deals with the concept of sheggagah, involuntary sin. Today people are apt to say: If a person acts in good faith, that is all right, do not bother. But Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, takes a different attitude.” After giving several examples from Scripture and also patristic teaching Father Most continues: “ In the picture of the last judgment in Matthew 15:44, those on the left plead ignorance – their plea is rejected. In 1 Cor 15:9 St. Paul calls himself the least of the apostles for persecuting the Church – which he did in ignorance, thinking he was zealous for God. In 1 Cor 4:4 Paul says: “I have nothing on my conscience, but that does not mean that I am innocent.” He means he may have committed sins without realizing it.”
    Nor can we think that we form our own paradigms of truth when we form our conscience. instead we form our conscience to truth that pre-exists our own intellects.
    It is a spiritual work of mercy to instruct the ignorant ( also to admonish the sinner) We know the physical and medical peril to be suffered by people who live the gay lifestyle— we can not shrug our shoulders and ask with wide eyes: “who am I to judge”.
    The Lord does not call us to apathy, or to “get along”. I understand love is more winning than judgment in the public arena, but I question whether failing to speak truth is loving.

  48. Phillip- thanks, I read it. From what I understand at Loyola, the Abortion Coverage was a result if “beauracratic Incompetence”, an oversight…could be some bad apple Jesuits opposing the change- so what?

    A decade and a half ago in a Catholic girls school, that my friend attended, they were teaching student that condom use was part of safe sex and teaching students how to use them. Shouldn’t the bishops have investigated? And another Catholic girls school religion teacher was part of a gay pride match. It’s nothing new, now that Pope Francis is head.

  49. You missed the point. The point was (as referenced in a comment above) is the faculty seeking to distance itself from the doctrine of the Church. This is part of what we have been discussing.

  50. I get your point. A bad bunch of Catholics wanting to distance themselves from the Church Teaching- Jesuits- bad Jesuits. The Pope is a Jesuit. He should reprimand them. He hasn’t. He’s bad. I get it. Abortion coverage was on the coverage for that Loyola as far back as 98 though.

    My point is that why was a Catholic school run by nuns teaching girls how to put a condom on a cucumber as part of sex ed, not considered distancing themselves from Church Teaching. The Church Teaches abstinence, not safe sex and condom use. Under PJPII stuff like this went on in Catholic institutions too.

    The rot has been there for a while.

  51. EZ – the bishops have long ignored the encyclical Ex Corde Ecclisiae, which called on them to ensure that Catholic colleges and universities hired theologians who were teaching true Catholic theology. That encyclical was a dead letter.

    Pope Francis’ worldview is limited on purpose and his off the cuff remarks do not serve the Church well.

    Conservative minded Catholics do not need to be reminded that “pro-life” means more than ending abortion.

    Benedict XVI knew of the situation of the Church in the First World and the necessity to rebuild. Summorum Pontificum and the Anglican Ordinariate were major achievements. The First World has the media/entertainment monolith that feeds sin through its works to the Third World and it needs to be confronted. Pastoral doesn’t work in confronting sin.

    So called “progressive” Catholics love it when they think Francis needles traditional and conservative Catholics. Well, we were around before this Papacy and we will be around after it, picking up the pieces of the wreckage of modernism and rebuilding Catholic culture.

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