PopeWatch: Marks of the Church

Thursday, March 2, AD 2017



Lifesite News has a cry from the heart as to what Pope Francis has done to the Church:

What liberal prelates like McCarrick, Murphy-O’Connor, and Danneels knew about Bergoglio’s capacity to “make the Church over again” has only slowly and confusedly become evident to faithful Catholics over the last four years, but especially in the last year. Based on a mistaken notion of papal infallibility, many Catholics have defended Pope Francis to the point of absurdity. But sober-minded Catholics who know the traditional teachings, history, and practices, are alarmed at the clear fact that many of the Holy Father’s actions and statements are at odds with what has gone before.

In Bergoglio’s four years as Pope Francis the four marks that set the Catholic Church apart from every other religion on the face of the earth, namely that she is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, have become obscured and even undermined.

The oneness or unity of the Church in her submission to Christ as head, in her doctrinal integrity, and in her confession of one faith has been obscured and undermined in various ways under Francis’ pontificate:

  • He has called for a “decentralized” Church, and allowed individual bishops’ groups to determine for their own “regional” churches what is moral and right. In this way, it is supposedly permissible for adulterers to receive Holy Communion in Germany while across the border in Poland it is gravely sinful.
  • His ambiguous speeches and especially his papal writings have turned cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop, and lay-faithful against lay-faithful.
  • He has refused to answer Church leaders earnestly begging for clarity on points of contention.
  • He has allowed Catholic doctrine to be minimized in the name of religious “dialogue” with other Christian denominations with a history of hostility towards Catholic doctrine on marriage, the Eucharist, and the papacy. Under his leadership, the Vatican has even hailed Luther, the founder of Protestantism, as a “witness to the gospel.”

The holiness and sacred reality of the Church as the bride of Christ has been obscured and undermined in various ways under Francis’ pontificate:

The Catholicity or universal mission of the Church to ceaselessly toil for the salvation of souls has been obscured and undermined in various ways under Francis’ pontificate:

The apostolicity of the Church where the deposit of faith is authentically handed down from the apostles through their successors the bishops and cardinals has been obscured and undermined in various ways under Francis’ pontificate:


Go here to read the rest.  Lincoln during the Civil War made a comment that is relevant to our situation in the Church:  

To state the question more directly, are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?
Too many Catholics assume that the Pope and the Church are identical.  They are not, as the current pontificate demonstrates each day.

25 Responses to PopeWatch: Marks of the Church

  • In a burst of brilliant light, the Archangel Gabriel flew in to St. Peter’s basilica with a scroll in his hand. It read; “Until further notice, the pontificate is limited to a four year term.”

    Term limits. 😥 Pope Francis’ term is nearing completion. 😕

  • Ooh no.

    I was sleep texting again.

  • Pope Chastisement has caused many in the Church to decide if they are for Christ, or not. He has woken many Catholics up to the assault on their faith. Sides have been drawn. Yes now means yes, and no means no. Unfortunately, most of this reaction has been among the laity. With few exceptions, the clergy have not spoken as clearly or have acknowledged the assault. I will continue to pray for the clergy.

  • With few exceptions, the clergy have not spoken as clearly or have acknowledged the assault. I will continue to pray for the clergy.

    Among the clergy I’m acquainted with, Francis has gone down the memory hole and as little reference to him as possible is made. (There remains a photo in the hallway outside the nave). He doesn’t teach, he doesn’t sanctify, and his ‘governing’ consists of playing institutional politics.

  • He is not my pope.

    Only prayer and fasting drives out certain demons. We are not praying enough.

    With the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit, The Church will survive. “May the Divine Assistance be always with us. Amen.”

  • Hailing Luther as a “witness to the Gospel” nothing but the TRUTH, did Luther adhere to the Gospel: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church.”?
    The Catholic Church, every church and The Vatican, belong to all people, every generation and all future generations, in part and in whole, in joint and common tenancy. The Catholic Church is held in trust for all generations, past, present and future. For this reason, the Church may not be taxed. The Church is a DONATION to all people, a free will donation by Jesus Christ to every nation in every generation for Jesus is outside of time. Jesus Christ instituted the Church and her Sacraments and only Jesus Christ’s Truth must be obeyed and followed to be a Christian and a Catholic.
    Renting out Jesus Christ’s Church is not within the authentic authority of Pope Francis… money grubbing. Francis cannot profane what is Holy. Francis cannot give the children’s food to the dogs.
    God forces no one to heaven or into Christ’s Church. There is no mercy, nor grace, unless desired and all conditions must be met. Grace and mercy cannot abide in a dead soul no more than life can abide in a dead body. God must resurrect a dead soul to grace and mercy when the soul appeals to God for grace and mercy. Francis has nothing to do with granting mercy and grace unless God grants and allows grace and mercy.

  • Mary De Voe.

    The commonality between Luther and Francis is disconcerting.

    Oh well. We can only change ourselves through the Grace of God, and until those we care for help themselves all we can do is pray.
    Praying for the Pope to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit v. the thief who steals the gifts.

  • Pingback: Canon212 Update: Don’t Be Afraid to Say It. Francis Should Step Down! – The Stumbling Block
  • Maybe the laity needs to write to Pope Francis along the theme of “Mit Brennender Sorge” (context intentional)

  • Matthew 23:9

    And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

  • Once again, we see the familiar fallacy of trying to define Catholics by their tenets or the Church by her teaching.

    When he was still an Anglican, Mgr Ronald Knox asked himself a simple question: “Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines?” He realised that we do not have to concern ourselves with the theological arguments at all; the short answer is that the “Catholics” had the bishop of Rome in their party and the Nestorians did not.

    As he says, “if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith?” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith” ; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome.”

    It is a real test, not a vicious circle and one that is is remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  • “As he says, “if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith?” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith” ; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome.””

    Because past popes have almost universally been ardent defenders of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Alas, that cannot be said with a straight face of the current Pope.

  • Good summary of the evidence against this dreadful man. Hopefully, more folks will become aware of his devilish efforts to undermine the Church. Since Pope Francis is being permitted to do this by God we must believe that some good will ultimately come from it. For example, this could be a way of separating the wheat from the chaff in the Church. Mysterious are the ways of the Lord.

  • Philip Nachazel:
    “The commonality between Luther and Francis is disconcerting.”
    Luther built his church on the evil being done by evil men in the Church. Francis is building his church on the evil he is creating.

    Matthew 23:9
    “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”
    “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, WHO is in heaven.” WHO denotes the sovereign Persons of the Trinity.
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: The Catholic Faith is a gift from God . Religion is man’s response to the gift of Faith from God. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, Christ WHO is the TRUTH. So, the Catholic Faith is an exposition of the TRUTH, as Jesus Christ is the Revelation of God, God WHO is in heaven.

  • Mary De Voe.

    Good distinction.
    The common ground between the two men is obvious. A subversion of Holy Catholic Church. Even if PF doesn’t intend to hurt the Church, he is by his opinions.
    Good intentions and where they can lead is…well, not nice.

  • Philip Nachazel: Well said. Well noted.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote: “Because past popes have almost universally been ardent defenders of the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

    Well, by Knox’s definition, that is a tautology: “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”

    That popes have been singular in their views can be seen in the debate over heretical baptism, which St Stephen alone defended. As Bl John Henry Newman says, “Pope Stephen took this side then in a memorable controversy, and maintained it against almost the whole Christian world. It was a signal instance of the triumph, under Divine Providence, of a high, generous expediency over a conception of Christian doctrine, which logically indeed seemed unanswerable. One must grant indeed, as I have said, that he based his decision upon Tradition, not on expediency, but why was such a Tradition in the first instance begun? The reason of the Tradition has to be explained; and, if Stephen is not to have the credit of the large and wise views which occasioned his conduct, that credit belongs to the Popes who went before him. These he had on his side certainly, but whom had he besides them? The Apostolical Canons say, “Those who are baptized by heretics cannot be believers.” The Synods of Iconium and Synnada declare that “those who came from the heretics were to be washed and purified from the filth of their old impure leaven.” Clement of Alexandria, that “Wisdom pronounces that strange waters do not belong to her.” Firmilian, that “we recognize one only Church of God, and account baptism to belong only to the Holy Church.” “It seemed good from the beginning,” says St. Basil, “wholly to annul the baptism of heretics.” Tertullian says, “We have not the same baptism with heretics; since they have it not rightly; without, they have it not at all.” “Then may there be one baptism,” says St. Cyprian, “when there is one faith. We and heretics cannot have a common baptism, since we have not the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost in common. Heretics in their baptism are polluted by their profane water.” St. Cyril says, “None but heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not baptism.” St. Athanasius asks, “Is not the rite administered by the Arians, altogether empty and unprofitable? He that is sprinkled by them is rather polluted than redeemed.” Optatus says, “The stained baptism cannot wash a man, the polluted cannot cleanse.” “The baptism of traitors.” says St. Ambrose, “does not heal, does not cleanse, but defiles.”
    Expedience is an argument which grows in cogency with the course of years; a hundred and fifty years after St. Stephen, the ecclesiastical conclusion which he had upheld was accepted generally by the School of Theologians, in an adhesion to it on the part of St. Augustine.”
    The piety and learning of all these Fathers counted for nothing; they did not have the bishop of Rome in their party.

  • “Well, by Knox’s definition, that is a tautology”

    Yes, and even a cursory study of history establishes that he is wrong.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “Even a cursory study of history establishes that he is wrong.”

    I would suggest the lesson of history is the reverse: “And in fact there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other.”

  • Popes Honorius, Liberius and John XXII beg to differ.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “Popes Honorius, Liberius and John XXII beg to differ.”

    On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Orthodox anathematize the “Three Wicked Hierarchs,” Liberius, Honorius and Nicholas (who defied the Council of Chalcedon by tampering with the Creed). But, in the West, no one broke communion with any of them.

    As Bl John Henry Newman observes of many of the schisms in the early Church, “[T]here was, in various parts of the world, both among the educated and the uneducated, an indignant rising against this innovation, as it was conceived, of their rulers. Montanus and his sect in the East, represent the feelings of the multitude at Rome, the school of Tertullian, Novatian, and the author of the Elenchus, able and learned men, stood out in behalf of what they considered the Old Theology, terminating their course in the Novatian schism; while the learned Donatist Bishops and the mad Circumcelliones illustrate a like sentiment, and a like temper, in Africa.” All these movements were protests in favour of tradition and against what they perceived as innovation.

    The story is the same for the Assyrian Church of the East after Ephesus, the Armenians, Copts and Ethiopians after Chalcedon, with this difference that they continue their distinctive witness down to the present day.

    According to Protestant historians like Milman, “The Church came to think otherwise, and thus they found themselves de-Catholicized in the long run.” But which Church? “The Church” fixes the date of Easter, “the Church” decides that heretics need not be rebaptized, “the Church” decides that the Incarnate combined two Natures in one Person. It beggars belief that the early pontiffs just happened to find themselves on the winning side in every controversy; the only definition that holds water is that “the Church” means the church in communion with the bishop of Rome and I defy anyone to propose any other the tits the facts.

  • Bl John Henry Newman notes, “of a Council Perrone says, “Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma.” Præl. Theol. t. 2, p. 492. Thus, if a Council has condemned a work of Origen or Theodoret, it did not in so condemning go beyond the work itself; it did not touch the persons of either.”

    Again, “As to the condemnation of propositions all she tells us is, that the thesis condemned when taken as a whole, or, again, when viewed in its context, is heretical, or blasphemous, or impious, or whatever like epithet she affixes to it. We have only to trust her so far as to allow ourselves to be warned against the thesis, or the work containing it. Theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success; but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter”

    Thus St Robert Bellarmine was able to maintain that Honorius himself never held the doctrine condemned by the Council. Given that the matter was never agitated in his lifetime, it is impossible to say what explanation he might have offered. The reason is obvious enough; in condemning the Monothelite heresy, the Council was pronouncing on a question of faith and morals, but whether or not Honorius held that opinion is not.

  • The condemnation of Pope Honorius was noted in the Roman Breviary under the feast day of Pope Leo II until the Eighteenth Century. Efforts by apologists like Saint Bellarmine to pooh pooh the fact of his condemnation do them little credit.


  • It beggars belief

    Christianity in a nutshell.

    And speaking of Honorius: more relevant now than ever.

    Honorius was pressured to react to a popular heresy Monothelitism, which held that Jesus Christ possessed only one will naturally. But the Church teaches that Jesus Christ has two inseparable but distinct wills or two distinct operations naturally. However, the Church also teaches there is only one will and one operation in Christ morally. In other words, there is no opposition between the two wills and two operations in Christ.

    Although Honorius believed the Church’s true teaching, he wanted to avoid trouble in the Church and offending the Monothelitites, one of whom was the Emperor Heraclius. Similar to today, bishops wanted clarification, but Honorius counseled silence.
    About 40 years after Honorius died, however, the Sixth General Church Council condemned the fact that Honorius had remained silent. Pope Leo II, the successor to Pope Agatho, accepted this condemnation with some qualification.


    Honorius’s decision was condemned—not because he actively preached falsehood or heresy—but because he “neglected” teaching the truth. As Pope Leo II pointed out, even during the silence of Honorius, the apostolic tradition and teaching remained untouched and “immaculate.”