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PopeWatch–A Papal Culture of Rebuke?

I’m very sad to keep linking to these negative articles about our Holy Father–and they aren’t crocodile tears, either–but people have to be informed of what’s happening and that respected Catholic scholars are, to put it mildly, perturbed about things.    The latest is an article by Fr. Raymond de Souza

“In that spirit, we might ask what it is that the Holy Father intends to achieve with the culture of rebuke that he has brought to the Church’s life. That it is a deliberate pastoral choice is not in dispute. The question is how the Church should receive it.

Consider only the following major examples of how the Holy Father employs the pastoral strategy of rebuke:n In an August 2013 interview with Jesuit publications, he chastised some consecrated women as being sterile spiritual “spinsters” and some pastors for being “locked up in small-minded rules.” Later would come the implication that priests make the confessional into a “torture chamber.”

In his address to the Roman Curia for Christmas 2014, he listed, in detail, 15 spiritual diseases to which those listening to him were prone.n In a January 2015 airborne news conference,

Pope Francis addressed questions of fertility by denouncing a particular woman who was expecting her eighth child, having had seven Caesarian deliveries previously. Pope Francis twice said that, upon meeting her at a Roman parish, he had chastised the woman for being irresponsible. Pope Francis gave enough information that it would be easy for her fellow parishioners to know her identity.

In the concluding address to the Synod on the Family in October 2015, the Holy Father unleashed a barrage of condemnations upon the cardinals and bishops who did not agree with him, charging them with “a facile repetition of what is obvious or has already been said”; of “burying their heads in the sand”; of “indoctrinating” the Gospel “in dead stones to be hurled at others”; of hiding “behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families”; and of giving into “conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints.”

In 2016 and 2017, the Holy Father has refused to clarify the ambiguities in Amoris Laetitia(The Joy of Love), all the while permitting his close subordinates to launch ad hominem attacks on those who seek clarification according to the Church’s tradition.n

Last month, a personal letter of Pope Francis to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, on liturgical matters was leaked to the press and then ordered to be sent to every bishops’ conference in the world. The content of the letter publicly corrected Cardinal Sarah’s efforts, and the manner appeared to be designed for maximum publicity.

One enthusiastic commentator noted that the maneuver was “unprecedented. … Certainly not since Vatican II have we seen such a public spanking of a high-ranking prelate.”

Moreover, on several occasions Pope Francis has called for open debate and frank and bold speech, in which members of the Church are not afraid to speak up and even contradict the Holy Father himself. Consequently, the culture of rebuke that Pope Francis favors has now spread throughout the Church.”

Go here for the rest of the article.   Will Pope Francis listen to any of these commentators?   One can sympathize with some of his stated goals, but shouldn’t the Catholic teaching, “The end doesn’t justify the means” be operative at all times?

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

10 Comments

  1. “St.Francis of Assisi used to say that nothing should take precedence over the work of the salvation of souls.”

    Global warming?
    Conscience roulette?
    -let the pastor and the penitent decide, not the rigidity of scripture-

    Silence in the Face of Evil Is Disastrous.

    There is an old saying, “All that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to say or do nothing!” Silence in the face of evil allows that evil to continue and even to spread. Such a terrible silence must be broken. To paraphrase one of Archbishop Sheen’s famous quotes, “We don’t need a voice that speaks when everybody else is speaking; we need a voice that speaks when everybody else is silent!” This is especially applicable to those who have positions of responsibility for guiding others. Sacred Scripture, for example, contains certain images for those in positions of leadership among God’s people. They are to be like shepherds (cf. Jn 10:1 ff) guarding their sheep, ready even to lay down their lives to protect their sheep from harm. If they remain silent, they are simply running away like hired hands! Again, they are compared to watchmen in their towers, guarding the city from attack (cf. Ez 33:1 ff). However, if they see the enemy coming but fail to sound the alarm, the city will be destroyed. Finally, St. Gregory the Great uses the image of the watchdog that guards against thieves and other intruders. But, he says, if the watchdog cannot bark, it is useless. – from Fr. Andrew Apostoli C.F.R.

    The watchdog, aka PopeWatch, has been a bitter pill to swallow for these four years.
    Not the fair commentaries mind you..but the point of even having to watch our (supposedly) guardian of the Faith par excellence, Pope Francis, raise ambiguity to a new low and rebuke without love..a mistake indeed.

    Yes…more and more prayers for his soul and his conversion.

  2. “but shouldn’t the Catholic teaching, “The end doesn’t justify the means” be operative at all times..”
    Yes, at all times in all places. I am convinced that this, more than anything, defines good from evil; and defines (I think) the Story of Salvation. The devil in his rebellion, must have thought he could enslave God by His Love of His own Creation. I know that might sound incredulous, but I believe it to be true. The end cannot justify the means.

    It is certainly key in understanding Church Teaching on contraception, widespread practice of which leads to acceptance abortion and as I am sure readers here know, a host of other evils, including I think this disunity we are seeing.

  3. You have to rebuke from time to time. What’s notable about Francis is that all of his rebukes are directed at the wrong targets.

    If the man holed up in the Vatican, spent his days in prayer and meditation, said not one blessed thing publicly, and appointed a capable administrator as Secretary of State, we’d be better off. Every time he says anything or makes a policy decision, we are worse off.

  4. Pope Francis is a thoroughly bad Pope He combines Catholic heresy and Marxist politics with a demeanor of superiority, condemnation and deceit. Nothing he says should be believed. The sooner is replaced the better. Nonetheless, we should pray for him every day that God will come to his rescue—and our’s too.

  5. How does one resolve the call from Francis for “dialog” when “rebuke” is its prime watchdog? Christ told Pilate that he “came to bring the truth” and it now appears to have been reduced to mere one-sided dialog. I recall reading somewhere about the Garden of Eden and how dialog worked there. Again, how does one dialog when rebuke and deliberate ambiguity are the norm?

  6. This is a little man propped up by effete henchmen. It will surprise many how quickly this gaggle of theological nitwits is toppled.

    It is apt to note the similarity to Harvey Weinstein, a man who controlled an entire industry with fear and intimidation, but in the end was a weak and broken man. These corrupt people rot from the inside out. It’s tough to see at first, but when the stench of their dead ideas permeate the air it’s all over.

  7. The lady with kids is especially bothersome to me– you get enough trouble having more than three, to get it from a priest!!! And then he becomes Pope, and publicly humiliates you with accusations that he knows your medical situation better than YOU do?

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