PopeWatch: Crusaders Not Wanted



On February 27, 2014 the Pope met with the Congregation for Bishops.  The Pope discussed the type of Bishops he is looking for:

“Since faith comes from proclamation we need kerygmatic bishops. … Men who are guardians of doctrine, not so as as to measure how far the world is from doctrinal truth, but in order to fascinate the world … with the beauty of love, with the freedom offered by the Gospel. The Church does not need apologists for her causes or crusaders for her battles, but humble and trusting sowers of the truth, who know that it is always given to them anew and trust in its power. Men who are patient men as they know that the weeds will never fill the field”.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch respectfully disagrees with Pope Francis.  The Church most definitely needs Crusaders for her battles, and the fact that so many bishops are unwilling to speak out fearlessly for the Truth is a prime reason why, since Vatican II, so much of the Church has been transformed from the Church militant to the Church mushy.

Traditionally the mitre placed on the head of a Bishop was a reminder that he was to be a crusader.  As the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica noted:

“It is only after the service of consecration and the mass are finished that the consecrating prelate asperses and blesses the mitre and places on the head of the newly consecrated bishop, according to the prayer which accompanies the act, ” the helmet of protection and salvation,” the two horns of which represent ” the horns of the Old and New Testaments,” a terror to ” the enemies of truth,” and also the horns of ” divine brightness and truth ” which God set on the brow of Moses on Mount Sinai.”



A bishop must be many things, but speaking out fearlessly in defense of the Gospels and the Church must assuredly be high on his list of duties.


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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. I have to agree (respectfully) with your assessment. There are some battles worth fighting, and perhaps Pope Francis already knows this, but he is not signing up to any particular fight during his pontificate. The pope’s message certainly is attractive: the Gospel as a wellspring of living water. “Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then sang Israel this song: Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it.” (Num. 21:16-17). It is not the wrong message, it just seems like the wrong day for that message.
    His address to the Congregation of Bishops is certainly consistent with what the pope has said before. He wants a non-judgmental priesthood. He said elsewhere that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, meaning he wants all penitents to welcome reconciliation rather than fear it. (I am not endorsing or disparaging the imagery he used here, his words just seem alien to me from my experience.) In Evangelii Gaudium, he has denounced exclusion in many contexts several times. A sampling:
    “When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing.” (35)
    “There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” (47)
    “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.” [The relevant context here is that economic transactions are opportunities – either wasted or seized upon – to preach the Good News.] (53)
    “Jesus did not tell the apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. He said: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).” (113)
    Chapter Three, Part IV of Evangelii Gaudium is titled ‘Evangelization and the deeper understanding of the kerygma’ and is probably worth a re-read here. This is a passage from that part: “In catechesis too, we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal. The kerygma is trinitarian.” (164)
    And he wants a laity that preaches the Gospel through inclusion and assistance to the needy: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” Again, not disagree with Pope Francis, but there is a place for righteous anger alongside the compassion.

  2. The Sacrament of Confirmation, the slap on the face as a soldier of Christ, for Christ, has been overturned or abolished to conform to the behavior of some since Vatican II. Getting in bed with atheism and sodomy makes of a person an atheist and a sodomite.

  3. I wonder what Francis’ ideal Church looks like? When he says things like this, what is he seeking to produce?

  4. We need Crusaders able and willing to fight against the rising tide of secularism and socialism. The Bishop must comfort his flock and defend it against the wolves. Sadly the wolves now wear Episcopal garments.

  5. “Getting in bed with atheism and sodomy makes of a person an atheist and a sodomite.”

    “Qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent.”

    I don’t know. Maybe Pope Francis has better (obviously than I) remembered St. Matthew.

    Matt. 7:6:
    “Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you.”

  6. “in order to fascinate the world … with the beauty of love” This is good Augustinian doctrine; only a delight in heavenly things (the delectatio coelestis victrix) can overcome the hold of sin on fallen human nature. Like Aristotle, St Augustine believed that “reason moves nothing” [Λόγοσ ούδέν κινεί]

  7. Paul, imagine if the Pope had said the Church needs shepherds “who are patient men as they know that the wolves will never eat all of the sheep.” !!!

    Here is a beautiful, indeed fascinating, statue of St. Michael the Archangel defending us in battle. Is this, or is this not, love?

  8. Penguines Fan

    Kerygmatic comes from κηρύσσω meaning to herald, announce or proclaim.

    The content of the original apostolic proclamation or kerygma [κήρυγμα], drawn by the NT scholar, C H Dodd, from St Peter’s speeches in Acts was
    1. The Age of Fulfilment has dawned, the “latter days” foretold by the prophets.
    2. This has taken place through the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
    3. By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic head of the new Israel.
    4. The Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory.
    5. The Messianic Age will reach its consummation in the return of Christ.
    6. An appeal is made for repentance with the offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and salvation.

    In Acts 17:18 some thought St Paul was “a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and Resurrection.” They thought Resurrection [ανάστασις] was the name of a deity. No one listening to our modern preachers would be likely to make that mistake, for Jesus is not mentioned all that often and His resurrection hardly figures at all.

    If that is Pope Francis’s model for Christian preaching, who could argue with that?

  9. I think Pope Francis is hoping that, when people who have sinned and know themselves as far from the Church, are received with mercy and hospitality, that they will be able to convert from the errors of their ways in the light that Christ shines on them. If they are excluded from this light, they will perish in their guilt and despair. Now this assumes self-knowledge on the part of the sinner, a willingness to confess his and her sins, and a firm purpose of amendment. These are the conditions for a good confession. I am sure Francis doesn’t mean for us or for the bishops to simply tolerate and overlook egregious bad and scandalous behavior. The fire of Christ, when one comes close to Him, burns away one’s sin. But a person has to be willing to accept the fire of that holiness. This is not at all an easy thing to do. Francis only wants us to facilitate this moment.

  10. I guess a simple description might be, we here on earth make up the Church Militant and we join Christ in defeating evil – that is our crusade. Another analogy I always liked is that we are pilgrims on pilgrimage to Heaven. Jesus gave us a few, but perhaps the Good Shepherd is most prominent. My thought is that there are different approaches or ways of looking at things. While the OT is replete with fighting battles, the NT is very different. We see Jesus fighting the battle in a very different way. Surely He did not mince words and was Truth itself, and I think Francis is encouraging his perception of how Jesus fought the battle. He did not take up the kind of arms his disciples expected, but he did lift up his arms. Having the world see the beauty of love and knowing the freedom if offers will take courageous witness that I think the Pope is trying to foster. I do not think the message is, go light on teaching.

  11. I myself sort of like the ‘in your face’, ‘out on the front lines’ with the Faith that many here associate with the Crusader [perhaps I would use the term ‘culture warrior’ lol] However, since the election of Pope Francis we have been getting a distinct modus operandi for the Church that at first puzzled me. It is true I did not automatically jump and criticize or condemn his approach as many have, however I was still puzzled. “What does Pope Francis really want form us?” As asked above “What does the Church Pope Francis is working towards look like?”

    It came together for me recently when I realized that his doctoral work [which, yes was not completed-a Jesuit is under authority. a. he didn’t just quit it had to be a discernment process; b) what or where else did his superiors sense they needed him? -whatever it brought him down the road to where he is today]. His doctoral work was on Hans Urs von Balthasar. Put succinctly the quote from Saint Augustine which Michael Paterson-Seymour has given us puts it well: “in order to fascinate the world….with the beauty of love”

    Plato had shown hundreds of years before Augustine that there are certain transcendentals, deep structures of life which reflect the Divine: Unity, Truth and Goodness. When these are perceived Beauty is experienced. Augustine, well trained in neo-platonism understood and spoke of each of these transcendentals in his writings. Perhaps the most famous is:

    “Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you! In my unloveliness I plnged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You; yet if they had not been in You they would not have been at all. You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance upon me; I drew in breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more. you touched me and I burned for Your peace”. [Confessions of Saint Augustine]

    Von Balthasar has created something very similar to the Summa of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a 16 volume work. In Volumes 1-7: The Glory of the Lord, a work on theological aesthetics based on the contemplation of the good, the beautiful and the true. In this work he wrote: “Before the beautiful, no not really before the beautiful but within the beautiful-the person quivers. He not only finds the beautiful moving-rather, he experiences himself as being moved and possessed by it”

    It is here, I believe that we find the key or at least a fundamental key to understanding Pope Francis’ vision of Church. He is not alone. Blessed John Paul named him a Cardinal in 1988 and certainly had his writing in mind as he entitled one of his major encyclicals: Veritatis Splendor [the Splendor of the Truth]. Certainly Pope Benedict has been deeply influenced by his writing, especially in Liturgy.

    What then is this ‘program’? It is a direct response to the crisis of modernism. It takes the whole of Catholicism: teaching (truth) holiness (goodness) and beauty and seeks to ‘attract’ or perhaps better stated, seeks to ‘re-enchant’ a world very much dis-enchanted.

    All you culture warriors like me, are not being asked to ‘water down’ anything etc. We are being asked to allow people to see the fundamental Catholic Church centered in the glorified Risen Christ. The Church, like the moon to the sun, can only reflect His light and be an instrument, a ‘sacrament’ of salvation for the world

  12. I cannot find this quote of St. Augustine (‘Like Aristotle, St Augustine believed that “reason moves nothing”.’) in my review of his works. Is there a citation for this work? After all, there are more than 100 extant works of Augustine.

  13. Steve Phoenix

    When I saw your question, I realized that I too could not come up with a direct source. In investigating, it is a direct quote of Pope Francis. I misread Michael Seymour-Paterson’s statement to read that it was indeed a quote of Augustine. I do agree with him that it is thoroughly Augustinian etc [and the rest of my post remains as is]

  14. Good enough (re. “Reason moves nothing.”): it sounds more like PF than like what I know of Augustine. But there is ALWAYS more to know about Augustine, no matter how much one has read him. Thank you, Botolph.

  15. Botolph, one observation I would make is that Augustine speaks to finding beauty outside himself, by turning inward, then upward, and so on out. But our culture has decided definitively to turn inward only, towards the consequence-free sexual satisfaction of the individual, and stopping there, and making that the cultus. Indeed, it is the source and summit of our national being when we have gone so far as a nation to redefine marriage away from the needs of children who may be the consequence of sex.

    We are faced with the very old problem of Narcissus who has fallen in love with his own reflection in the pool.

    In what brand-new, never-before-seen way will we present the freshness and fragrance of the Gospels to Narcissus? How do we get people to tear themselves away from their own reflections, curating their own desires, and come hither to Christ? Do we set out some scantily clad parables? Do we promise a night on the town with a bevy of bosomy beatitudes?

    Sex sells. It sells well. What beautiful thing can Christians sell so well? Eternal life? Immortality? Heaven? I dare say Heaven used to sell well. (Or, escaping the torments of Hell.) Love? God’s love? You mean the Sky Guy? In a culture that has come to believe there is a right to marry “who you love”, which is to say, “whoever provides you with the greatest sexual satisfaction so far”?

    It’s easier to sell sex than to sell the satisfaction of Christian love, because Christ requires sacrifice: the ability to deny your self to wear his light yoke, his easy burden. It’s an acquired taste. It was an acquired thirst for Augustine.

  16. Tamsin,

    We offer the world both the Splendor and beauty of the Mystery, the Face of Jesus Christ and the opportunity to encounter Him in word, Sacrament and community. Since to see Christ is to see the Father I believe that only His Countenance can deliver us from our narcissism. It is only in and through Him that the mystery and meaning of our own lives are revealed. This in turn will lead to “the Law of the Gift”, that fulfillment comes only through giving of oneself

  17. Tasmin wrote, “It’s easier to sell sex than to sell the satisfaction of Christian love, because Christ requires sacrifice: the ability to deny your self to wear his light yoke, his easy burden. It’s an acquired taste. It was an acquired thirst for Augustine”

    There is much truth in that. However, I am sure St Augustine would have insisted it was an infused taste, rather than an acquired one. Thus, he says, “For they hear these things and do them to whom it is given; but they do them not, whether they hear or do not hear, to whom it is not given. Because, “To you,” said He, “it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” [Matt. xiii. 11] Of these, the one refers to the mercy, the other to the judgment of Him to whom our soul cries, “I will sing of mercy and judgment unto Thee, O Lord.” [Ps. CI. 1]” and again, “And, therefore, they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, [Isa. vi. 10] He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” [John xii. 37 ff.]” [Praescientia et praeparatio beneficiorum Dei]

  18. Steve Phoenix & Botolph
    My reply of yesterday seems to have gone missing, so here it is.
    I infer St Augustine’s agreement with Aristotle from many places in his writings. Note the following translations are mine, which is why I cite the originals.

    Perhaps, this appears most clearly from the following passage in On John’s Gospel 26.4 “If it be allowable to the poet [Vergil, Eclogues 2.65] to say “his own pleasure draws each man,” not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight, how much more ought we to say that a man is drawn to Christ, who delights in the truth, who delights in happiness who delights in justice, who delights in eternal life and all this is Christ?” [Porro si poëtae dicere licuit, Trahit sua quemque voluptas; non necessitas, sed voluptas; non obligatio, sed delectatio; quanto fortius nos dicere debemus, trahi hominem ad Christum, qui delectatur veritate, delectatur beatitudine, delectatur justitiâ, delectatur sempiternâ vitâ, quod totum Christus est?’]

    Also, On Epistle to Galatians 49 “Whatever most delights us, it is necessary that we should act in that way.” [Quod enim amplius nos delectat, secundum id operemur necesse est] where he contrasts the delight in feminine beauty with the delight in chastity

    Then, in On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26: “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.” [Nolunt homines tacere quod iustum est, sive quia latet an iustum sit sive quia non delectat… Ut autem innotescat quod latebat et suave fiat quod non delectabat, gratiae Dei est”]

    For St Augustine, the whole paradox of grace and free will is explained by this: free will consists in doing what we want to do. Grace does not, and has no need, to interfere with our power of choice; rather, it affects what we want to do; free will requires freedom of choice, but not freedom to determine our own likes and dislikes.

  19. Apologetics and defending the Catholic faith are dirty words for so many in the hierarchy today,

    “dialoging” with muslim jihadists, atheists and secular humanists is all good though, just never EVER mention that the Catholic faith is the true religion from God 🙁

    Only the Second Coming can save us now, Nothing else.

  20. MPS and Botolph, thank you for your observations.

    The delectatio coelestris victrix, the victorious love of heavenly things is wholly God’s gift, which alone overcomes the delectatio terrena or love of worldly things.

    However, while we sit back and relax and await the gift of the love of heavenly things, the infusion of thirst for God, the love of worldly things results in the births of babies who 1. Should not be aborted, 2. Should be fed, and 3. Should be loved. I am too impatient to think it tolerable to say nothing while we wait for God to give each man the gift of the love of heavenly things, while babies are being born. Taking care of babies is hard work! Women are not animals to be trusted to “do the right thing” and so be dismissed from consideration as we pursue the pastoral care of men! What about the concubines who came and went from Augustine’s life until he found out that his will was insufficient to break the chains his will had forged?

    Tolle lege

    “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” No further would I read, nor did I need; for instantly, as the sentence ended—by a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart—all the gloom of doubt vanished away.

  21. Tasmin

    God is not a cosmic minister of health, law, police, or economics. Every reason given for the commandments that bases itself on human needs of any kind, whether intellectual, ethical, social, national—voids the commandments of every religious meaning. If they are a means to benefit man or society, then he who performs them does not serve God but himself or society. He does not serve God but uses God for his own benefit and to meet his own needs.

    “Not the God of the philosophes,” says Pascal, “but the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” It is not for a God who is the provider of human needs that a man will take “the fire and the knife” in hand and go uncomplainingly “to the place of which God spoke to him” and sacrifice his only son, thereby relinquishing both his human aspirations and all hope for the future.

  22. MPS, I appreciate your contributions very much. Perhaps I’m not following your intent here.

    God is not a cosmic minister of health, law, police, or economics. Every reason given for the commandments that bases itself on human needs of any kind, whether intellectual, ethical, social, national—voids the commandments of every religious meaning.

    I would not call God a cosmic minister either, but I would say God wants me to know him and love him and serve him, in this life and the next. So, how does he do that without giving reasons based on human needs of any kind?

    28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

    Close enough for me, for now. I’m avoiding the internet for Lent; thus I’ll be back next Sunday to check in on further commentary. I’ve been reading Augustine’s Confessions to find out how he was attracted to the Church.

  23. “God is not a cosmic minister of health, law, police, or economics. Every reason given for the commandments that bases itself on human needs of any kind, whether intellectual, ethical, social, national—voids the commandments of every religious meaning.”
    God keeps the Co-mmandments. God the Father, God, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit keep the Co-mmandments. This why the Ten Co-mmandment are called Co-mmandments. Jesus Christ keeps the Ten Commandments. WHY? because God made man sacred to Himself…”for you are men sacred to me.”
    “It is not for a God who is the provider of human needs that a man will take “the fire and the knife” in hand and go uncomplainingly “to the place of which God spoke to him” and sacrifice his only son, thereby relinquishing both his human aspirations and all hope for the future.”
    Notwithstanding the terrible test put to Abraham. God promised Abraham to be the father of many nations. In those nations, God wanted no human sacrifice. There, God instructed Abraham in the ending of human sacrifice. Later, God instructed the Israelites to drive out other nations before them because these nations practiced infanticide and human sacrifice.

  24. Mary De Voe wrote, “God wanted no human sacrifice. There, God instructed Abraham in the ending of human sacrifice.”

    This is how the Fathers interpret ““They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind” [Jer 19:5] “’which I commanded not’- this refers to the sacrifice of the son of Mesha, the king of Moab (2 Kings 3:27); ‘nor spake it’; this refers to the daughter of Jephthah (Judges 11:31); ‘neither came it into My mind’; this refers to the sacrifice of Isaac, the son of Abraham.”

  25. Tasmin wrote, “I would say God wants me to know him and love him and serve him, in this life and the next. So, how does he do that without giving reasons based on human needs of any kind?”

    “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” [Lev 11:44-45]

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