Dale Price Explains Why I Am Worried

Saturday, September 28, AD 2013

My friend Dale Price at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings has often supplied me with blogging ideas that I have stolen borrowed.  Unfortunately he hasn’t been blogging much lately.  That was broken with a post on Pope Francis which sums up many of the reactions I have been having:






In which I exile myself from polite company and retreat to the margins of Catholic society.

This is basically how I feel. Like the person Sutherland is pointing at the end of Invasion. Essentially, the Catholic world I know has been seized by body snatchers and is about to notice that I am not lining up to board the F1 to the Promised Land.
Yes, this is about the interview. Quick summary of my reaction: some very good parts, some easily-soundbitten ammo I can expect to see all over the place, but is still explicable in terms of preaching the Gospel, and a disastrous, giant ticking nuke about to blow us back to the Church of the 1970s.
The Interview Was Candy Mountain Awesome, Charlie! Everyone agrees–it was full of candy, and joy, and joyness! You don’t believe that?

Yeah, well, I can live with that. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders.
[Just to make the inevitable scream of “That’s unclean Protestant talk!” a little easier.]
As I see it, there are three serious problems, two of which are related to how it’s being received and processed, and the third is the nuke.
Problem 1: We Are All Ultramontaines Now.

Don’t drag me into this, Americain. My Papa Pius would have cracked your skulls
as the opener for the ritual of excommunication. Then he’d have gotten mean.

Including–nay, especially!–people who have spent a generation ignoring, deriding or spinning away every encyclical, apostolic letter and motu proprio that flowed forth from the pens of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

But an interview–in America Magazine–well, my God! It’s new tablets from Sinai! And we can play historical critical whiteout with the parts we don’t like! Is it Elohist or Deuternomic? Forget it–we’ll figure it out later! Anyway–miraculously–we agree with the whole thing! (More of which later.)

A 44th Edition including The Interview! is no doubt being prepared as we speak.

As an aside, it’s good to see the Jesuits at America released from the dungeons after the long night of Benedict the Destroyer. The shackle chafe marks being no doubt hidden under the long sleeves. Some advice: sunlight and a vitamin regimen will banish the sallow complexions.

But, really, uniform praise–especially this wall-to-wall and adulatory–makes me uneasy. There’s something fundamentally off about it. In fact, the adulation being heaped on Pope Francis is general is…odd. I mean, it’s almost like he’s being given a prize for not being Benedict. That’s certainly the case on the Catholic left, which is transferring its creepy cultish adoration of Obama, the Not-Bush, to Francis, the Not-Benedict. Benedict the Rottweiler, Who Can be Safely Archived and Forgotten Like a Bad Dream In This New Age.
What the right’s deal is, I don’t know. The Pope Says We Must Re-Balance, So We Must Re-Balance. It smacks too much of a new CEO coming in, and everyone having to get with the program. At a minimum, it’s a feverish celebration that has no parallels with how it received Benedict, which was more defensive and apologetic, and less effusive in its praise.
You saw nothing in the interview heralding trouble, eh? Nothing at all?
The fact both are united in swoonery suggests that one or the other is missing something. And someone is, as we shall see in Problem 3.
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27 Responses to Dale Price Explains Why I Am Worried

  • I have to wonder if the Pope likes this confusion and swooning that he has caused in the media. Ever since that foot washing thing, it’s all been about how much public praise can be heaped on him for his humility, his understanding the poor, his turning back the clock on dogmatism and doctrine, his tolerance and kindness. It’s quite frankly cultist. But maybe I just don’t understand. 🙁

  • A few ‘points’ that hopefully could be helpful:

    1. The form of communication was an “interview” (some say a better description is really a ‘ conversation’). While not a new form of communication (Blessed John Paul and Benedict both used it with journalists) the difference is the immediacy of it. It was almost immediately published unlike the books of Francis’ predecessors

    2. No new doctrine in either faith or morals was proposed/taught ; no doctrine of either faith or morals was ‘changed’ (never mind denied)

    3 we need to keep in mind and use Benedict’s hermeneutic of continuity seeiing the continuity of substance while recognizing (and for some criticizing/complaining about) the change in emphasis/ trajectory etc

    4 while some in the Church (here I would not include America Magazine) have interpreted everything since the deat of Servant of God Paul VI as ‘discotinuity’ with Vatican II, it is not ‘helpful’ to jump to the same conclusion (especially so soon) of seeing everything discontinuous after the resignation of Pope Benedict.

    5 Some statements taken out of context-for example concerning abortion and gay marriage-were quickly picked up and misinterpreted by some forces witihin an those outside the Church. But in order to gain insight into Pope Francis take him in total context- for example his major address to the Italian doctors concerning the dignity of the unborn or Pope Francis’ excommunication of the Australian priest who among other things was a proponent of gay marriage

    6 An important read for all is George Weigel’s. Evangelical Catholic in which he speaks of the passing of the Post-Tridentine Era in which he points out both ‘progressives’. And ‘integralists’ remain rooted while a new era and new way of being Catholic is being born

  • One would have thought that “Traditionalists” would have welcomed the curbing of the power of the Roman dicasteries – Subsidiarity and all that?

    After all, the Council of Sardica in 343 provided that a bishop deposed by a provincial synod might appeal to the bishop of Rome, who might either dismiss the appeal or send the case for rehearing before a neighbouring synod; no question, there, of a rehearing at Rome.

    One of the privileges most insisted upon by the Church in France before the Revolution and valiantly defended by les rois très-chrétiens was that all ecclesiastical causes should be heard and finally determined by the clergy of France.

  • Ah, the Gallican heresy. The Church in France has usually thought that they could govern themselves better than Rome, and the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution demonstrated how well they succeeded. As for subsidiarity MPS, I do not think it means what you must think it means, at least in the instance you have raised.

  • Like all people, our new pope is a person with flaws and failings. I find it odd that a person’s humility is paraded around so proudly. I also find it odd that a person who is so humble so often ends up drawing attention to himself for his humility. I don’t know if it’s him or the people around him or the mainstream media. I suspect the MSM until proven otherwise. I think that a lot of this is culturally driven. As Americans, we have a distinct culture. Our new pope comes from Argentina and seems to be displaying aspects of that culture. I think it would be a mistake to read too much into it, either on the part of conservatives or liberals. I don’t think he’s going to be as reserved and careful as his predecessors. I think it can be understood as trying to reduce the personal space between the Church and those who need the Church’s sacraments of forgiveness.

  • Many people are “obsessed” with LIFE and the RIGHT TO LIFE. As many people are “obsessed” with the TRUTH and JUSTICE. Without TRUTH, there can be no JUSTICE. Without LIFE, there can be no free will, no FREEDOM. Without LIFE in the human body, there can be no human soul, no reason, no immortality. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, death occurs when the soul can no longer abide in a decomposing human body. Usually two days after cessation of brain waves and heart beat, the person is dead. Clinical death is a gimmick used to procure and harvest human organs. As the human body begins life with a soul, the body ends life without the soul. This is true for all of nature. In the case of the human being composed of body and soul, the soul is made in the image of God and therefore the human body takes its form from the soul in an act of free will, of consent to become a human being in the will to live. The human being comes into existence at fertilization of the human egg by the male sperm. God cooperates in procreation by creating a new individual human soul, with free ill and sovereign personhood. Those who would oppose this reality are miscarriages and idiots.
    The TRUTH is that marriage consists in the consummated marital act. Some people want equality but they refuse EQUAL JUSTICE which is predicated on the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH, so that gay militants in a court of law perjure themselves by introducing fake husbands and fake wives and demand legally acknowledged marriage without the consummated marital act.
    In the case of “in vitro fertilization” of an individual of the human species, concocted by “three parents”, “their Creator” may not freely create a rational, immortal human soul for the invention, leaving the miscreation without human rights, a slave, a subhuman made of human parts but not of God’s Divine Providence, in short, Frankenstein. In the case of the human being composed of body and soul, the soul is made in the image of God and therefore the human body takes its form from the soul in an act of free will, of consent to become a human being in the will to live. Denied his free will consent to come into existence as a three parented individual miscreation, the human monster is angry and with cause having been denied his free will consent to come into existence as a three parented miscreant. The only hope is that Frankenstein destroyed his maker, but the monster also destroyed many innocent villagers. And if only monsters, devoid of human souls survive and fill the earth, there will be nobody but God to care.
    One is too many human beings who refuse to employ their humanity, their human compassion, reason and free will. One is too many human beings addicted to pride, lust, greed, cruelty and the legion of other vices without the grace to free oneself. The pride of the scientist engaged in and even inventing a monster devoid of the human soul is despicable, but the proud scientist must know that it has been done before, even before time began, and by Lucifer.
    Now, if the American Civil Liberties Union intends to grant civil rights to a miscreant devoid of the human soul, they need to start right now, procuring the consent of the three parented “in vitro fertilized” human beings being brought into existence without human souls , without free will, without informed human consent. FREEDOM

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  • The note I made in the margins of The Interview, regarding Francis’ denunciation of denunciators was, “he does not like tattletales.”

  • What are we to do Don? I’m too much of a conservative to schism with SSPX. What can I do but trust? I am a Christian and, as such, have to trust that He knows what He is doing and that I don’t and can’t. Sure I have my concerns. Heck, I even have my quick fixes for my concerns but all I can do is trust.

    All of the back and forth is just exhausting and all for something over which we have absolutely no control whatsoever.

    I appreciate the theorizing and deep thought. I really do. I just can’t begin to guess where this is going and am afraid that too much questioning of it will lead me down a road contrary to our Faith.

  • while a new era and new way of being Catholic is being born

    I am still trying to figure out what was so wrong with the old way of being Catholic.

  • c matt wrote, “I am still trying to figure out what was so wrong with the old way of being Catholic”

    Everyone has heard the old adage, “Frederick the Great lost the battle of Jena” – a system suited to his needs and his age, slavishly adhered to by his successors, was unable to adapt to changed conditions.

  • Just a further thought on Mr. Price’s piece: I wonder if His Holiness was speaking to the loyal Catholic laity and not to the clergy in his critique of being overly focussed on perversion and abortion.

    It has certainly not been my experience that those topics are covered in homilies, teaching, or public expression by our clergy. However, practicing Catholics talk an awful lot about those subjects – particularly on the internet. So I wonder if His Holiness wasn’t speaking to his fellow priests at all. Perhaps he was saying to us “you are the faithful son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and your bitterness towards your wayward brother is keeping you from the party. Drop the bitterness and come inside. Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.”

  • “What are we to do Don?”

    Wait and watch and critique respectfully when necessary. I do not think that the “mold” of this papacy has been necessarily set yet, so such critiques may well do some good. Being a pope is something that no one can ever be adequately prepared for. Popes learn as they go along and the early stages of a papacy are frequently not a good predictor of the papacy as a whole.

  • “Perhaps he was saying to us “you are the faithful son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and your bitterness towards your wayward brother is keeping you from the party. Drop the bitterness and come inside. Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.”

    I know of no conservative Catholics who are objecting to Francis’ comments because they don’t want the “wrong type of sinners” brought back to the Church. I think there are two concerns: (1) he is not going to draw anyone back because his statements could be construed as affirming people in a life that is in fact sinful (as if the father in the Prodigal Son had sent a message to his son saying, “I still love you my son and, by the way, I really think people focus way too much on idolatry, harlotry, and drunkenness”); and (2) his words are going to be used by people like NARAL, Catholics for Choice, etc., to undermine efforts to protect life, protect marriage, and protect religious freedom.

  • With respect Mr. English, I don’t think I said that we ARE objecting to sinners coming to Christ. I’m one of them so I surely understand your point. I also understand your two points and share them.

    I was solely exploring the Pope’s words and audience and seeking to apply them. I meant no offense, only to suggest an alternative audience to the one that Mr. Price had identified.

  • I wonder if His Holiness was speaking to the loyal Catholic laity and not to the clergy in his critique of being overly focussed on perversion and abortion.

    I knew a priest once who had an excessive interest in freemasonry. He alsto had some rhetorical failures when preaching on sexual topics, though I cannot say with any certainty he paid o’er much attention to it.

    That fellow aside, I cannot say I have ever met a priest whose concerns on these matters was not integrated into a tapestry of teaching. (Bar those priests you meet who avoid sexual topics entirely).

    I realize the Pope teaches and legislates for the whole Church, but this is just not our problem.

  • You are very easily dyspepticized (new word just for you). Try, try, for God’s sakes, try a little faith. It will sustain you.

  • “I was solely exploring the Pope’s words and audience and seeking to apply them. I meant no offense, only to suggest an alternative audience to the one that Mr. Price had identified.”

    No offense taken, and you might be right about Francis’ intended audience. But, if you are right, that in itself is evidence of a serious problem. Progressive Catholics certainly thinks Francis was chastising Conservative Catholics, which is why they are lauding the interview.

  • “Try, try, for God’s sakes, try a little faith. It will sustain you.”

    I have a little faith. That’s why I can critique the Pope’s words in matters not of faith and morals.

  • The longer Francis is Pope, the more I miss Benedict. The world should bend and come to Jesus truth, not the other way around.

    I see no good coming out of these councils..only more liberalism and cuddling up to the world.

  • “he does not like tattletales.” Are we not free men?

    “Everything I have is yours already and, now that he is back, I will work on fixing him.” A repentant sinner is already fixed.

    Militant feminists, Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, Nancy Pelosi are most obsessed with abortion. Militant homosexuals are most obsessed with gay marriage.

  • I can see things developing in the minds of the faithful and priests. Last year my parish made a big deal about being involved in the ‘chain of life’ by the Planned Parenthood ‘Aboratorium’ to fight abortion. This year, barely a peep about it. Likewise, I question myself, I wonder if by protesting am I showing a judgemental, angry, and hateful face to the world that I am to help to find God. Is the Pope telling us to back off a bit on the protest and try another plan. I know that I probably won’t attend this years ‘chain of life’ because of this confusion. How many others will do likewise?

    I also fear that just as with the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ and the changes that were allowed such as the removal of most reverencial art and actions as well as most Catholic fasting and devotion, we will not replace our pro-life activities with personal evangelization. We will just not be as involved in yet another area of works for God.

  • From “If”, by Rudyard Kipling,
    “If You can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools”

    In this case, “You” is Jesus or the Holy Spirit. And, in truth, They can bear it.

  • God bless this Pope! He is reminding the faithful that being a true Catholic and Pro-Life person is more than a few narrow issues. Sadly, our Church has been shoe-horned into only highlighting those few issues to the exclusion of others.

    When your floor boards are rotting and giving way, you don’t focus on the ceiling. The Faith in the West is dying, yet I have not heard any concern from some segments of the Church. Look at the collapse of the Church in Ireland, yet no outrage! The Center-Right Catholics have focused on abortion to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, that is a flagship issue of the Pro-Life movement, but it is not the only issue. Opposing abortion does not make one Pro-Life, because being Catholic is composed of a whole range of issues and beliefs.

    My mother went bankrupt fighting her cervical cancer; I almost lost her twice, once when I was on deployment. I can’t imagine not having her at my wedding. Where is her right to life in the conservative worldview? And the millions of people engaged in ferocious battles against deadly conditions? Life is sacred from birth to natural death, and the does mean all stages in between.

    If conservatives would find a way to provide healthcare to all (definitely WITHOUT abortion funding), and would return to its historic tradition of supporting environmental conservation, it would be a perfect pro-life movement. Sadly, it has embraced militant atheist Ayn Rand anarcho-libertarianism. That is just as anti-Catholic as Marxism.

    God bless.

  • Ben, are you sure you’re not from Nebraska or some midwestern state? The reason I ask is that surely you must have access to a limitless supply of straw in order to create that kind of strawman army.

    God bless.

    I was going to let this go, but to me there is absolutely nothing more despicable than someone who spends four paragraphs completely defaming other people, lying about their motives, and misrepresenting everything they stand for, adding a trite little “God bless” as though to fully hammer home that they consider themselves to be morally superior.

    You know what Ben – if this is the attitude you wanna take, see ya.

  • My mother went bankrupt fighting her cervical cancer; I almost lost her twice, once when I was on deployment. I can’t imagine not having her at my wedding. Where is her right to life in the conservative worldview? And the millions of people engaged in ferocious battles against deadly conditions? Life is sacred from birth to natural death, and the does mean all stages in between.

    If your mother is terminally ill, it really does not matter what conception of the right to life I endorse. My regrets about your situation.

  • Looks like the pope is at it again, another interview, another eye brow raising comment.

    The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.

    He goes on to say without employment, youth have no hope. Interesting perspective for a man called to bring Jesus to the world. They are bad things, but are these the most serious of evils in the world today?

    We need to include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.

    Sigh. Where do I begin? I love you Francis, but you’re going to give me more gray hair. 🙂


If the Modern Media Had Covered Christ

Wednesday, September 25, AD 2013

25 Responses to If the Modern Media Had Covered Christ

  • In the interests of consistency Donald, you would have to say something like this:

    “t would help if the [Lord] would first stop engaging in self-inflicted wounds.It is tough being the [Son of God] 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 [Lord] 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 [Lord’s] heart is in the right place. Now he needs to get his lips to the same place.”

  • I normally do not confuse Christ with the Pope Greg. I found this to be an amusing post, hence I ran it, but the parallel it seeks to draw with Pope Francis’ woes are fairly strained. What truly scandalized the Jews was the claim of Christ to be God, the ultimate blasphemy, except that He was God. In matters of morality, as opposed to ritual purity, there was almost no division between Christ and the Pharisees, and where there was a division, divorce, Christ tended to be more severe. As far as the Romans were concerned the divisions between the Jews and Christians were quite incomprehensible as demonstrated by the reaction of Pilate.

  • I don’t confuse the two either. But if the Pope’s comments “confuse his friends” , his friends are just as if not more ignorant than his foes. I think every time a pope says things like this (remember B16’s comments at Regensburg that stoked a violent backlash that caused at least one death as well as how they twisted his condom remark that he was saying having sex with a condom was morally licit as a means of disease prevention when the context of his remarks make clear that he is speaking positively about the intention not the use of the condom itself) our side responds in a predictably Pavlovian way. We give the MSM the reaction they want. We come off as defensive and are too damned arrogant to realize it. We need to step bak and not take the bait when they do this.

    Now, I am not saying the pope’s comments are above criticism. We are not bound to agree with the way he says things like this. In fact, I think soon-to-St. John Paul II’s anti-death penalty stance caused far more confusion than anything Francis has said to date.

  • P.S/ In stead of wringing our hands over what Pope Francis said in that interview, we should seize upon the opportunity and not let the MSM drive the conversation.

  • “But if the Pope’s comments “confuse his friends” , his friends are just as if not more ignorant than his foes.”

    Total rubbish Greg. Most Catholics are like most people: they do not follow events with the magnifying glass that blog denizens do. A Pope who speaks carelessly and gives ammo for the media to twist his words is just asking for confusion among normal Catholics who get most of their information still from the mainstream media. The Catholic Church is not a Church for the elect few but rather a means of salvation for the great mass of believers. All popes speak carelessly at times, but Pope Francis seems to make a habit of it, and I hope he stops it very soon, or this will be a very long papacy indeed.

  • “P.S/ In stead of wringing our hands over what Pope Francis said in that interview, we should seize upon the opportunity and not let the MSM drive the conversation.”

    That might be a sound strategy if anyone, including the Pope, had the foggiest idea of what he was driving at often times. I confess that his meaning often seems obscure to me and subject to widely varying interpretations.

  • “Total rubbish Greg. Most Catholics are like most people: they do not follow events with the magnifying glass that blog denizens do.”

    Horse hockey Donald. Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying. That much should be obvious. The response of many on our side is what gives the media ammo. They bait and we swallow it. As dumb as they are they make us look even dumber.

    When Pope Francis starts slandering the damned few elected officials who make legitimate attempts to protect citizens entrusted to their jurisdiction, you might have something to wring your hands about. But until then….

  • “Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying.”

    Indeed? I doubt it, if all they read are stories like this:

    “But his vision of what the church should be stands out, primarily because it contrasts so sharply with many of the priorities of his immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. They were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount, an orientation that guided the selection of a generation of bishops and cardinals around the globe.

    Francis said the dogmatic and the moral teachings of the church were not all equivalent.

    “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently,” Francis said. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

    Rather, he said, the Catholic Church must be like a “field hospital after battle,” healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.

    “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars!” Francis said. “You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”

    “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he lamented. “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”


    After the results of last year’s election I would not underestimate the ability of the mainstream media to sway public opinion, especially since there is a not insignificant segment of Catholic clergy and laity in this country who would very much like the Church to go the Episcopalian route, and who have joined eagerly in touting Pope Francis as their liberal Pope.

  • Yes and you can finds quotes from his two immediate predecessors who say exactly the same thing. And many of that “generation of bishops and cardinals around the globe.” are the ones who are actually doing a great deal to distort Church teaching when it serves their ideological agenda. And I cannot see how they are not doing it knowingly, but I don’t hear much about that from the orthodox Catholic commentariat when it is their heroes in the episcopate who are doing it.

  • No one Greg ever accused Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI of soft pedaling Church doctrine on abortion or homosexuality. The criticism in the mainstream media was all the other way. Pope Francis is being touted as a liberal Pope because there is enough ambiguity in what he says that the mainstream media is able to make a plausible argument. Additionally some of what he says is simply bizarre:

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

    Most clergy I have encountered almost never talk about these issues and seem to wish they would go away. It has been a few of the Catholic laity, God love them, who chiefly have been carrying on this fight. Pope Francis is misinterpreted because it is so easy to do based on what he has said.

  • If I may interject…(I, myself, have been both confused by some of Pope Francis’ messaging and comforted by more in-depth analysis of his Holiness’ comments here and elsewhere)…I submit that DarwinCatholic’s post may put some more clarity to what he means (http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/09/25/pope-francis-excommunicates-and-laicizes-dissident-australian-priest/). While this situation calls for prayer and not celebration, I think rumors of a “pro-gay” Pope were greatly exaggerated (as seen on Fox News, no less), insofar as any change in doctrine is concerned.

    I also found this helpful…

    The Church’s teaching could not be more clear: but if every one of Pope Francis’s public speeches were like this, the Church’s teaching might well lose all of its force. As Frank Weathers notes, Pope Benedict, in an address to the bishops of Switzerland on November 9, 2006, explained why:

    I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

    If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith—a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.


    To be sure, the article doesn’t whitewash the “There That Is Not There”:

    Pope Francis, it is said (with more than a little justification), does not speak with the precision and clarity of his predecessor. And in the face of distortions by the New York Times and confusion among the faithful, precision and clarity are greatly to be desired.

  • “No one Greg ever accused Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI of soft pedaling Church doctrine on abortion or homosexuality. The criticism in the mainstream media was all the other way. Pope Francis is being touted as a liberal Pope because there is enough ambiguity in what he says that the mainstream media is able to make a plausible argument. ”

    No, they just said Benedict XVI changed a major plank of Church teaching with his condom comment which not only wasn’t anything close to what they say he said, the comment was made in an interview that was not an official statement anyway. And it was Francis, not JPII or B16, that just excommed and laicized an Aussie priesr who advocating women;s ordination. And this very same priest was also a staunch advocate of same sex marriage.

    As far as the statement you quote above, as a lawyer Donald you ought to instinctively given to reading things which much greater care than you seem to be reading this quote. For one, the pope is saying these issues are not the only issues we should insist upon. And yes, we should speak of them in context. And those who speak of these issue in the right way do in fact speak of them in context. Is not the constant refrain from the very same MSM that the Church is only about opposing abortion, contraception, and homosexuality? Secondly, he says the teaching of the Church is “clear” on these points? Who doesn’t know where the Church stands on these things? He is not saying that we should talk these at all, but not place exclusive focus on them.

    What is “bizarre” about the statement you quote is more your interpretation of it as bizarre than what he actually said. Could he have said things in a better way? Sure. Bear in mind, not only was this interview not conducted in English and there are not always exact parallels between any two languages, but Francis himself does not speak English and that also has an effect on what words he might choose when speaking a different language. The fact that the conclave elected Bergoglio despite the fact he doesn’t speak English was a bit of a surprise. I think he is gonna have to overcome his tone deafness learn to speak English.

    I think it is dangerous for the Church when we excessively allow worrying about how the MSM is going to spin what we say to control what we and how we say things.

    But as far as public statements and high profile Catholics, there is a far more serious problem. And I think you know what I am referring to. And until we address that problem, we have absolutely no moral right whatsoever to criticize anything, much less what the pope said in that interview.

  • Thanks for the heads-up about checking the comments at the original post
    Mr. McClarey. They did not disappoint. The actual comments to the
    post were also amusing– especially the faux spam from “sheephearder55″…

  • The Lord Jesus Himself and Paul his dynamic if often acerbic apostle caused uproars, confusion etc to those not taking the time to really “hear” them. It is not for nothing that the Lord “had to say” “do not think that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, I have come not to destroy but to fulfill”. (Matthew 5.17). Pau’s emphasis on Christ, His Cross and grace and the obedience of faith over observance of the Law was at one point in Church history the cause of such.confusion that a large portion of the Catholic Church followed an Augustinian monk away from communion with the Church and took a major Council of the Church to contextualize Paul’s teaching within Tradition-yet we still hear Paul almost every Lord’s Day in Holy Mass.

    Taking the time to really listen to Pope Francis yields not confusion but great peace ( see Ignatius’ discernment of spirits)

    Having said this Pope Francis’ contextualizing such issues as abortion, gay marriage and contraception within the Gospel is timely and necessary-just as necessary as emphasizing the truth of the teachings concerning these issues. After all, the Church recognizes and teaches that Her teaching on abortion, gay marriage and contraception are based on Natural Law, not Divine Revelation. The truth concerning all three issues is available to reason, faith is not ‘needed’.

    The Pope is rightly concerned that without the proper (read ‘ortodox’) contextual reading of such issues and emphases within the Church we could inadvertently reduce the whole of the Catholic Faith to ‘morality’. It is in this light that Francis’ comments on “rules” needs the read. By way of an objective witness to the same concern read George Weigel’s excellent Evangelical Catholicism in which he clearly states that a characteristic of the “dying” post Tridentine Catholicism is a focus on rules. He notes that both ” progressive” and “traditionalist” Catholics are still stuck in this dying era of Church history-one focusing on them to rid us of them while the other believing we need them at all costs

  • The words of a Pope and the Word of God are different. To equate the two is to make an idol of the Papacy. Something that flies in the face of that relationship with Christ.

    Here again I believe is how the Pope poorly words things. From the homily of his Mass today:

    “You cannot know Jesus without having problems. And I dare say, ‘But if you want to have a problem, go to the street to know Jesus – you’ll end up having not one, but many!’ But that is the way to get to know Jesus! You cannot know Jesus in first class! One gets to know Jesus in going out [into] every day [life]. You cannot get to know Jesus in peace and quiet, nor even in the library: Know Jesus.”

    Really. One cannot know Christ in first class. Its unclear his exact meaning but is he saying the rich don’t have problems. Is he saying they don’t know Christ in their lives.

    From the Navarre Bible Commentary on the Beatitudes in Luke about understanding what poverty truly is:

    “24. In the same kind of way as in verse 20, which refers to the poor in the sense of those who love poverty, seeking to please God better, so in this verse the “rich” are to be understood as those who strive to accumulate possessions heedless of whether or not they are doing so lawfully, and who seek their happiness in those possessions, as if they were their ultimate goal. But people who inherit wealth or acquire it through honest work can be really poor provided they are detached from these things and are led by that detachment to use them to help others, as God inspires them. We can find in Sacred Scriptures a number of people to whom the beatitude of the poor can be applied although they possessed considerable wealth–Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Job, for example.

    As early as St. Augustine’s time there were people who failed to understand poverty and riches properly: they reasoned as follows: The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor, the Lazaruses of this world, the hungry; all the rich are bad, like this rich man here. This sort of thinking led St. Augustine to explain the deep meaning of wealth and poverty according to the spirit of the Gospel: “Listen, poor man, to my comments on your words. When you refer to yourself as Lazarus, that holy man covered with wounds, I am afraid your pride makes you describe yourself incorrectly. Do not despise rich men who are merciful, who are humble: or, to put it briefly, do not despise poor rich men. Oh, poor man, be poor yourself; poor, that is, humble […].

    Listen to me, then. Be truly poor, be devout, be humble; if you glory in your rag- ged and ulcerous poverty, if you glory in likening yourself to that beggar lying outside the rich man’s house, then you are only noticing his poverty, and nothing else. What should I notice you ask? Read the Scriptures and you will understand what I mean. Lazarus was poor, but he to whose bosom he was brought was rich. ‘It came to pass, it is written, that the poor man died and he was brought by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.’ To where? To Abraham’s bosom, or let us say, to that mysterious place where Abraham was resting. Read […] and remember that Abraham was a very wealthy man when he was on earth: he had abundance of money, a large family, flocks, land; yet that rich man was poor, because he was humble. ‘Abraham believed God and he was reckoned righteous.’ […] He was faithful, he did good, received the commandment to offer his son in sacrifice, and he did not refuse to offer what he had received to Him from whom he had received it. He was approved in God’s sight and set before us as an example of faith” (Sermon, 14).

    To sum up: poverty does not consist in something purely external, in having or not having material goods, but in something that goes far deeper, affecting a person’s heart and soul; it consists in having a humble attitude to God, in being devout, in having total faith. If a Christian has these virtues and also has an abundance of material possessions, he should be detached from his wealth and act charitably towards others and thus be pleasing to God. On the other hand, if someone is not well-off he is not justified in God’s sight on that account, if he fails to strive to acquire those virtues in which true poverty consists.”

    In this case a small failure on the part of the words of the Pope to communicate the real truth of the Word of God. But a failure nonetheless.

  • Phillip, I sense that almost nothing this Pope could say would ‘please’ you. Perhaps the last pope who did was Pius V?

  • Keeping in your tenor, your idolatry of the Papacy would move one to be a Protestant.

    Now continuing in a truly Christian fashion. What I have been saying all along is that Francis communicates in a poor (I would even say clumsy) fashion.

    My faith is not based on the Pope or anything he says. It is not based on any of his words. It is based on the Word of God – Christ. That in fact is what the Pope is (poorly) saying in his homily and in that (as Hadely Arkes said “bizarre”) interview.

    As my faith is in the Word of God and not in the faulty words of man, I do believe when this Word of God grants infallibility to the Pope in Faith and Morals (not style or specific words). That is a truly Catholic understanding.

  • Hmmm your dialectic forcing a split between the Word of God and the words of man (here I am not speaking of Pope Francis) is a very familiar one-an Augustinian friar 496 years ago claimed pretty much the same position

  • Nope. They are the words of Francis himself. And JP II and Benedict. It is a relationship with Jesus the Christ that is the source and summit of the Christian life. From this, all else flows including the truths about faith and morals that the Pope speaks.

    You are confused (and without great peace) if you think Francis is saying otherwise.

  • Enough back and forth on who is a real Catholic, gentlemen. I do not allow that on my comment threads.

  • Donald,

    I do not doubt Botolph’s Catholicism. I am merely defending mine.

  • Horse hockey Donald. Even the most ignorant who don’t follow event know no pope would say what the media portrays him as saying

    Then why has NOT A SINGLE CATHOLIC I KNOW WHO IS NOT A BLOGGER “know” this? Bloggers generally know the MSN is rubbish on religion; other orthodox religious groups even know this, and I’ve seen them (Molly Hemmingway!) leap to defend Catholics from the mangled portrayals… but most folks are blinking, and going “what on earth is up with the Pope?”

    Perhaps they’re just more aware that being Pope doesn’t automatically mean you’re all that good, although stuff is much better defended now….

  • Then why has NOT A SINGLE CATHOLIC I KNOW WHO IS NOT A BLOGGER “know” this? Bloggers generally know the MSN is rubbish on religion; other orthodox religious groups even know this, and I’ve seen them (Molly Hemmingway!) leap to defend Catholics from the mangled portrayals… but most folks are blinking, and going “what on earth is up with the Pope?”

    I’ll bet these same Catholics thought Benedict XVI changed Church teaching with his condom comment:


    And even if you read what Benedict actually said in context (which doesn’t approve of condom use in any way) it is far far more vulnerable to being twisted in damaging way than anything Francis said in that interview. People need to get a grip. Those who are wringing their hands about this are waving the white flag of surrender to the media. Any Catholic who thinks Pope Francis said what the media said he did is an ignoramus who have problems that are beyond any the reach of rational explanation.

  • As Donald said, all popes use less than optimal words when expressing a thought. Their words will be taken out of context by the MSM. But with Pope Francis, it’s a habit, a recurring event.

    When even the most ardent papal defenders are perplexed when Pope Francis speaks, something is amiss. It seems almost weekly we see links to articles which seek to explain what Pope Francis really means, and it’s not because his thoughts highly academic or theological. Not a good sign.

    I understand and mostly agree with Pope Francis says, but I don’t agree with the way he says it. I hope no one construes from this that I am a member of SSPX. 😉

  • I’ll bet these same Catholics thought Benedict XVI changed Church teaching with his condom comment:


    You made a claim about “all Catholics” who aren’t bloggers. Pointing to another example of media malpractice does nothing to support the claim, anymore than finding a non-blogging Catholic who agreed with you would do so.


Monday, September 23, AD 2013

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. 

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63 Responses to Ditto

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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

  • Paul,

    Amen. The first Pope and all Popes.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • So yeah, there is always room for fraternal correction, and that’s a good thing. But so is self-criticism, and I don’t see a lot of that.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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…”

  • 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.

  • 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

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • Well then doubly hooray! Go fix it.

  • “…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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Father Longenecker has an excellent blog post on this topic. He points out that the Pope’s strategy makes perfect sense to a Latin American culture, but not to our post-modern, neo-pagan liberal progressive culture in North America and Western Europe.


  • Great link Paul. Father nails very well why the messaging of the Pope was so wrong in the interview.

  • BTW EZ, What do you think about the faculty at Loyola separating Christ and doctrine?

  • I don’t know what Loyola is, or anything about it. Do you have a link I can read up on it?

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • You continue to miss the point. Thus we will agree to disagree.

  • 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.

  • Agree to disagree indeed.

Bravo Pope Francis!

Saturday, September 7, AD 2013

4 Responses to Bravo Pope Francis!

Various & Sundry, 9/2/13

Monday, September 2, AD 2013

On the Obligation to Fast 

Pope Francis has declared Saturday, September 7 to be a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria. Ed Peters tackles the question of whether we are canonically obligated to fast.

In short, a Catholic who does not observe a fast on Sept 7 does not violate canon law. What such disregard for the pope’s unusual request might indicate about one’s desire to act with the Successor of Peter is another question.


Excuse me while I gather myself.


No. Seriously. I’m cool.

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

English Compositionism as Fraud and Failure

A senior lecturer at Santa Clara University takes a look at college level writing instruction and finds it wanting.

Compositionists today are laughingstocks on and off campus, notorious for babbling about “borderlands narratology” and “sustainable digitalized hyper-rhetoric” when students cannot write a coherent paragraph or even use an apostrophe correctly. I can think of no other field, academic or otherwise, in which the uninformed, “amateur” public has such a decisive advantage over guild-certified experts. A three-step program of professional reform follows: (1) dissociate composition teaching from literature teaching, (2) dissociate composition teaching from composition studies and composition theory, and (3) put writing instruction in the hands of practitioners—of whateveracademic training and political leaning—whose only job is to guide student-writers toward proficiency at the level traditionally associated with “higher” education.

And he’s just getting started.

Washington Post Writer Argues that Statutory Rape Ain’t So Bad

No. Really. That’s basically her argument.

To quote Bob Grant, “They’re sick and getting sicker.”

Prettiest Picture of the Day

Courtesy of Creative Minority Report, a wonderful image to close out the day.


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8 Responses to Various & Sundry, 9/2/13

  • OH man, for a second there I thought your “Bwahahahaha” was aimed at Ed Peters.

  • I take it college writing centers are now a disaster, just like the English department, the American history faculty, the constitutional law faculty, the Sociology department, and the divinity schools (and the student affairs apparat, while we are at it). I have an uncomplicated idea about how to fix academe: blow it up.

  • There is always the essential elimination of journal assignments from English Dept. teachers in all secondary school grades to be replaced with grammar book series. Quiz on Wednesdays, Test on Fridays. Rare allowance of the personal pronoun, “I” (except for fun, extra credit composition assignments). English teachers are neither sociologists nor psychologists.

  • In re: Bwahahahahahaha.

    When I saw this, it struck me that here was the most novel side-effect of Obama(don’t)care yet: Union busting, which in the Demo(n)crat universe is a solely Republican(‘t) enterprise.

    On second thought, though, it’s not all that surprising, since just about everything that ends with an “-ism” finally destroys what it claims to value most: In this case, “socialism” destroys “society,” both at large and in detail.

  • Not an obligation under church law but a loving response. As Fr. Z said,

    “And why not make it, voluntarily, a day of fasting and abstinence like to Good Friday?

    So, no, I don’t think we would sin by not participating in this in a concrete way. However, when the Holy Father makes an appeal like this, then we should respond.

    And I will add this: Those of you of the traditional stripe, by the first to take the initiative and help with whatever might be organized. Get out there.”

  • Apparently, they’re leaving the AFL-CIO because the AFL-CIO isn’t liberal enough.
    If you look at their statement, they want a single-payer healthcare system and shorter waiting periods for citizenship. I was a little less excited when I saw that.

  • A three-step program of professional reform follows: (1) dissociate composition teaching from literature teaching…

    I hate the fact that writing is always taught in the service of literary analysis in high school. It is killing my teen boys who are required to analyze literature while struggling to form coherent paragraphs. I would rather they could take a journalism class for a year, or a speech/debate class for a year, to get English credits. But no dice.

  • The ILWU was kicked out of the CIO (prior to its merger with the AF of L) for being too left wing. Under Lane Kirkland’s policy of “all sinners belong in the church”, it was re-admitted the the AFL-CIO. The west coast longshoremen are the second most left wing union in the USA, the UE taking the prize.


Wednesday, July 31, AD 2013





I have not been among those who have had concerns about Pope Francis.  This, however, gives me pause:

The decree installs an apostolic commissioner – in the person of the Capuchin Fidenzio Volpi – at the head of all the communities of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

And this in itself is cause for astonishment. Because the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the most flourishing religious communities born in the Catholic Church in recent decades, with male and female branches, with many young vocations, spread over several continents and with a mission in Argentina as well.

They want to be faithful to tradition, in full respect for the magisterium of the Church. So much so that in their communities they celebrate Masses both in the ancient rite and in the modern rite, as moreover do hundreds of religious communities around the world – the Benedictines of Norcia, to give just one example – applying the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of Benedict XVI.

But precisely this was contested by a core group of internal dissidents, who appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general “sentire cum Ecclesia.”

The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11:

“In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo” demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever:

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13 Responses to Troubling

  • I too was worried about this, but right after I got worried I stopped and said, I should know better when there is an implicit Good Pope Bad Pope narrative (in either direction).

    If it turns out you don’t like the proceedings, know that they were initiated under ++Benedict. Francis is just finishing the job. So whatever this is, it is bigger than a particular pontiff’s whims and fancies.

    A Franciscan Friend knows about this congregation, and although while not having read the visitation reports, tells me there were efforts being made to incorporate particular orders of Mass into the very charism of the order. He told me that was totally absurd and wrong, and was asking for deep trouble. So basically this was an intra congregational disciplinary issue.

    I know squat about religious order canon law et al, so I may have botched the paraphrasing of his explanation somewhat. But remember, ++Benedict apparently thought there a big enough concern to start this process.

  • The “core group” of dissidents (some reports say six, others nine) are a very small minority; all are from the United States and at least one has subsequently left the order. In dealing with what appears to be a local problem the Pope has seen fit to override article 2 of Summorum Pontificum in respect of all the friars world-wide. As a result, the priests of the FFI no longer have the same rights as all other priests, both regular and secular. The contemplative sisters at Lanherne in Cornwall, who decided when they set up their community that they would use only the older books, and learned to sing the entire Office from scratch, will need to find a priest from another order, or a secular priest, to celebrate Mass for them.

    This heavy-handedness with regard to those attached to the Usus Antiquior was a feature of the last decade of Paul VI’s reign, and it is why the SSPX is ‘outside’ the Church, and any number of de facto heretics are still ‘inside’ it, and likely to remain so.

  • I love the latin mass. Is it not possible that those who are so insistent on using any mass but the ordinary are acting out of ego and need to feel special or exclusionary and Pope Franceis seeing that it has become a source of friction and disunity has acted responsibly?

  • James, possible but improbable. Groups like the FSSP and ICKSP which use only the older books (including for their ordinations) are not seen as a threat since they keep the Usus Antiquior ‘corralled’. Parish priests and even bishops who mostly use the Novus Ordo but celebrate the Vetus Ordo occasionally similarly pose no real threat. But here we have a new and rapidly growing movement which celebrates in both forms but which is showing a marked tendency, as individuals and communities, to prefer the Mass and Office as it was in 1962 over the revised form, even though the latter can be done exclusively in Latin, thus preserving a lot of the traditional elements. If this is allowed to continue unchecked, and if the Old Rite is seen to be attracting young men to the priesthood (and there is growing evidence that it is) then it will over time undermine the Novus Ordo. I suspect that this might be the opening salvo in a long campaign. Pope Francis doesn’t want to further divide the Church or be a recruiting sergeant for the SSPX, but he has an authoritarian streak which was absent in Benedict, and which could be a good or a bad thing. Who is advising him? Is anyone? Merry del Val, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

  • “…undermine the Novus Ordo.” What does that mean? I’m asking with a very genuine tone. I am a member of a private facebook group of women, half of whom are not only devoted to the EF, but hate the OF. It does get tiring to listen to rants about those of us who consider ourselves faithful Catholics, and enjoy the OF. There are even a few SSPX people there that don’t believe they’re not in line with the Magisterium. That being said, I’ve never been to the EF, so I don’t know what I’m missing (apparently), but I don’t have an interest in it. I do see, however, a prevalent attitude that OF Catholics can’t be devout, and we all wear tank tops & short shorts to mass. Again, I’m not trying to be defensive. I’m just wondering what “…undermine the Novus Ordo” means. I don’t really understand the conspiracy theories about how the Vatican wants to oppress the EF.

  • Missy, I entirely agree with you. The Novus Ordo, Ordinary Form, whatever you want to call it, is the form of Mass most Catholics attend, and most priests celebrate. I have met people who would not attend an EF Mass celebrated by a priest who also celebrates the NO, or go to a church which has ever allowed a celebration of the NO, and as far as I am concerned they represent the lunatic fringe. Examined textually, the NO is obviously not the classic Roman Rite and in fact was never intended to be simply a revision of it; that does not render it invalid, nor even without certain merits.

    However, it admits a wide variety of languages, styles of celebration, and musical accompaniment that the classic Roman Rite quite simply does not (which is not to say that the latter is entirely uniform, particularly as far as music is concerned). What is more worrying is that it (the Novus Ordo) also seems to attract liturgical abuses, some of which were retrospectively authorized by the Vatican (Communion in the hand, women in the sanctuary) but some which continue despite having been formally reprobated (departure from the text, misuse of EMHC).

    The problem with the classic Roman Rite is that its continued existence challenges a lot of assumptions and prejudices. Since we now know it was never abrogated (and arguably never could have been) it stands as an objective standard against which a rite of recent manufacture must measure itself. It stands in fact as a contradiction, which is why many of the V2 generation in clerical positions oppose it so strongly.

  • Or maybe this is an example of this pope’s attempt to step in early and prevent any authoritative conflicts from building …. rather than seeing them go astray and trying to pull them back in later (as has happened to often). The fact it is an orthodox group may not be the issue ??

  • Missy – There’s a lot of confirmation bias in this. A lot of people when they hear the words “Novus Ordo” picture the three worst abuses they ever witnessed (or heard about indirectly).

    I currently attend an ordinary-form Mass. I attend it mostly for the convenience of the time and location, but also a little bit for the sacrifice. For myself, church-hopping leads to a bad way of thinking. There’s something to be said for obedience.

    If I were pope, I think I would have handled this Franciscan congregation differently. Perhaps that’s why the Holy Spirit aggressively campaigned against me becoming pope. Again, for me, it becomes an issue of obedience.

  • The last time I flat-out called something a papal mistake was when John Paul approved of altar girls. I still think I was right on that, but I feel less comfortable criticizing the Pope these days. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to having a pope that I didn’t believe was wrong in practical matters. The next years may prove to be a real test for me. But always I think about the way dissidents have handled themselves lately and I want to make sure that I never scandalize anyone the way they have.

  • Pinky, I had the misfortune to live through the papacy of Paul VI and saw not only the collapse of the liturgy but in the years 1968-1978 a Church in free-fall. The Vatican’s treatment of such loyal sons of the Church as Cardinal Mindszenty and Archbishop Lefebvre was worse than shameful. Although the truth didn’t emerge until the early years of this century, those years saw the peak of clerical sex abuse. When Paul referred to the “fumo di Satana” in 1972 he must have been acutely aware that it happened on his watch, and was ultimately his responsibility. He was a truly tragic figure, a man of great ability who was the victim of his own indecisiveness. It just shows how difficult the top job is. Pope Francis needs our prayers.

  • 1. Thanks for the post Don and link to Father Z’s analysis.
    2. Thanks for raising some interesting points of discussion, Missy.
    3. Thanks for the excellent insights shared by John Nolan and Pinky.

  • The New Revised Edition of the New American Bible had to be revised because of the horrid translations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church had to be revised because of the horrid interpretation of the Doctrine of the Faith. It seems that although Pope Francis has the authentic authority over the Franciscans of the Immaculate to direct their progress, The Latin Mass was never banned, the faithful are entitled to the TRUTH, the Last Supper was said in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, and Latin is the most accurate translation of the Holy Scripture, Pope Francis will give liberal approval of the use of the Latin Mass. No more will the faithful suffer the insult of being referred to as “a thing” as in the use of the pronouns “that” and “which” and “it”. God created them male and female. God, the Supreme Sovereign Being is a person, Jesus is a person and God, the Holy Spirit, is a person. Persons are referred to as “Him” and “Her” and “WHO”, never “that” and “which” and “it”. It is correct to say: “He placed the child in their midst”. The most horrendous consequence of calling a person by the incorrect pronoun is that the rational, immortal soul of the human being is omitted. If the dignity of the human person, body and soul, is to be acknowledged, if the unalienable rights of the sovereign person are to be acknowledged, only “he”, “she” and “who” may be used, Otherwise, “that”, “which” and “it”, reduce the human person to collateral, chattel, and animal.

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The Real Message From Pope Francis During World Youth Day Rio

Sunday, July 28, AD 2013

I suspect in the coming days, weeks, months and years much will be written about World Youth Day Rio and the message of Pope Francis. Perhaps, the crux of the message can be found streaming on the Vatican’s website late Saturday night, Bring the Gospel to the world. It hardly sounds radical and yet the Gospel message is radical; a message that rejected the decadent Roman Empire’s culture; and here we are nearly 2,000 years later and western culture is doing its best to emulate what was done in Rome circa the time of Caligula, Nero and Trajan.

In our hyperbolic media age many on the Christian right, the Christian left and the secular media in general has been spinning the message to tilt to their objective. The nature of the Secular Left is to make others think their views will inevitably conquer the world due to their intellect. The Right (both religious and non-religious) seems to think we are ever closer to completely buying into the Left’s ultimate goals. Both views are wrong. Salvation history is full of ebbs and flows.

Pope Francis in his address told the faithful, particularly sisters, priests and bishops to get out and preach the gospel. He lamented that too many of them are busy with things of the world. In a way the Holy Father was calling them out for being a bunch of “Marthas” when we really need a bunch of “Marys.”

This really resonated for me because I returned home late Saturday night after attending a Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville. The eminent Dr. Peter Kreeft gave a talk on how to lose and win “The Culture War.” In a nutshell, Dr Kreeft said too many orthodox minded faithful are putting their hopes in political movements and candidates when they should be confronting what the culture is doing to our faith and society at large.

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8 Responses to The Real Message From Pope Francis During World Youth Day Rio

  • Just a minor point, but New York and L.A. aren’t unhappy by many measures (such as suicide rates), and the number of therapists is simply a reflection of there being a lot of money in those cities combined with therapy not being considered shameful or “weak”. Many of the poor have need but not the money for therapists.

  • Anon, on the surface your point sound valid, but with increased government assistance the poor certainly have more access to therapy than in years past. However, I will relate to you something a Catholic bookstore owner once told me. She said the older clientele she has rarely bought religious oriented self help books so she learned not to stock too many. She related to me that even though they were by and large particularly well off, they spent their time in prayer rather than in therapy. They had particular prayers, saints and of course the Trinity to which they prayed. They learned this in their youth and kept with the practice. It was a particularly revealing conversation.

  • Good on you David. A great article. I am a bit concerned that Pope Francis’ messages seem to keep requiring interpretation in order to point out their orthodox core. Perhaps, this is reflective of just how much pressure there is now days to not say anything too contrary to popular and secular opinion. Maybe that’s why Jesus spoke in parables too. I guess I just wish there were more spiritually extreme Catholics out there making obviously orthodox comments like we read in the lives of the Saints and apparitions of Our Lady. Messages about the power of the Sacraments, our eternal destiny, the value of sacrifice… Maybe that’s my challenge.

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  • “Perhaps, this is reflective of just how much pressure there is now days to not say anything too contrary to popular and secular opinion.”

    I would submit he said many things that are as unpopular and anti-secular as can be. You just won’t get them through the LSM.

  • Callan Leach, you said, “I guess I just wish there were more spiritually extreme Catholics out there making obviously orthodox comments like we read in the lives of the Saints and apparitions of Our Lady. Messages about the power of the Sacraments, our eternal destiny, the value of sacrifice”

    In addition to this excellent magazine, you might consider subscribing to “Crisis Magazine, A Voice for the Catholic Laity.” http://www.crisismagazine.com

    You will discover many orthodox Catholics engaging their liberal interlocutors on a myriad of issues.

  • I’m from the Philippines and maybe the description you gave is from a decade ago. However, even if there are no malls that I know of that plays the Angelus on the loud speakers, there are masses on Sundays inside the malls and probably she heard it there, which is quite loud and may reach a few meters away. The culture of materialism is basically creeping in year on year, more people continue to become lapse Catholics. I hope that the reverence won’t be choked by the weeds or the voices of malicious rabble rousers in media and the legislature which take their cue from their foreign western counterparts.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this Dave! It was a wonderful read! It’s a very good analysis of Pope’s message. It was clear and easy to understand.

Saints of Otranto

Monday, May 13, AD 2013

Twelve years before Christopher Columbus discovered a New World, 800 men and boys of Otranto laid down their lives for Christ.  The city of Otranto, at the heel of the boot of Italy, was seized by the Turks under Gedik Ahmed Pasha, grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire.  Archbishop Stefano Argercolo de Pendinellis was murdered in his cathedral by the Turks and the garrison commander was sawn in half.  Following a massacre of most of the population the Turks offered some 800 men and boys the choice between conversion to Islam or death.  Led by an elderly tailor, Antonio Pezzulla, the men and boys chose death rather than apostacy, and were beheaded on the hill of Minvera outside the town on August 14, 1480, their families forced by the Turks to help in the executions.

Christian forces under  Alfonso of Aragon, a son of the King of Naples, retook the city in 1481, and the bodies of the martyrs were found to be uncorrupted.  The process of canonization was begun in 1529, the martyrs were beatified in 1771 and the martrys were canonized on May 12 by Pope Francis.  In his homily the Pope recalled Christians today who suffer persecution for their faith:

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8 Responses to Saints of Otranto

  • As Revelation 6:9-11 states:

    “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”

  • There’s a picture of the church in Naples where the skulls and bones of these martyrs are at wdtprs.com in the post “Pope Francis canonizes the Martyrs of Otranto, slain by Islamic invaders”.

    ” As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good. “

  • If dying for Christianity can make one a saint, then the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottomans in 1915 certainly deserve to be canonized by the Pope!

    Boghos L. Artinian MD

  • Revelation 20:4

    King James Version (KJV) (The KJV read better when it comes to the blood-curdling passages)

    4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

    Among the countless stories of Christians persecuted and killed in recent years, this one in particular affected me deeply:

    (AINA) — According to the Assyrian website ankawa.com, a 14 year old Christian Assyrian boy, Ayad Tariq, from Baqouba, Iraq was decapitated at his work place on October 21.

    Ayad Tariq was working his 12 hour shift, maintaining an electric generator, when a group of disguised Muslim insurgents walked in at the beginning of his shift shortly after 6 a.m. and asked him for his ID.

    According to another employee who witnessed the events, and who hid when he saw the insurgents approach, the insurgents questioned Ayad after seeing that his ID stated “Christian”, asking if he was truly a “Christian sinner.” Ayad replied “yes, I am Christian but I am not a sinner.” The insurgents quickly said this is a “dirty Christian sinner!” Then they proceeded to each hold one limb, shouting “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” while beheading the boy.

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  • A few hundred years later the Ottomans, these same Saracens, with the help of agents of the British Empire, were revamped into sickly Europeans, while the Russians remained a land of mindless Slavs and brutish Vikings to plague the sensibilities of the bovine Queen Victoria.

Biden Refuses to Kiss the Ring of Pope Francis

Monday, March 25, AD 2013

44 Responses to Biden Refuses to Kiss the Ring of Pope Francis

  • Banning abortion is torture, but ripping a baby baby apart isn’t ? Only a left wing bureaucrat with too much time on his hands could think with that level of enlightenment.

  • Oops I meant to post that on the other thread. But then again, that apply to Biden as well.

  • Joe Biden can kiss my . . .

  • I would say, the Pope’s ring would be effusively thankful that it was not befouled by the lying lips of Joe Biden. 🙂

  • I have to wonder if Biden held out his hand for the Pope to kiss Biden’s ring, and the Pope shook Biden’s hand instead. Awkward.

  • Biden is evidently the opposite of his boss, who is known for bowing to foreign leaders. Kissing the Pope’s ring is not a gesture of homage to an individual. It is a sign of respect for the office, not the man. Does the Veep, a professed Catholic, have no respect for the office of the papacy?

  • I’m sure Pope Francis will make no such demand. Our new Pope does not consider himself royalty. He will lead with a humble heart and win souls back to the Church.
    When did Jesus require ring-kissing? Oh,
    right, He didnt own a ring. Or red leather shoes or an ermine cape.

  • “[6] And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came to him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. [8] And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

    [11] For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. [12] For she in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. [13] Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her. [14] Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, [15] And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.”

  • St. John 12:1-8 tells us the complainant was Judas – the one who was going to betray Christ. St. John (he was there) explains that the carping was not because he cared about the poor, but because Judas was a thief.

    Judas was the prototypical liberal.

    Imagine there is no liberal.

    It’s easy if you try.

  • Well, he really shouldn’t have to. He shouldn’t have to kiss the Queen’s ring either. Early Christians didn’t offer the pinch of ash, and today we feel as the result of centuries of Chrsitian thought that it is all a matter of allegience. Whom do we obey, God or man?

  • “Whom do we obey, God or man?”

    A Catholic should show respect to the Vicar of Christ Jon. He is the successor to Peter to whom Christ granted the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Biden is a buffoon and a cretin who routinely lies when he is cornered as he did when he made up the fable of his Mom’s advice to justify his rudeness. It does not bother me however, since Biden is not worthy to kiss the ring of the Pope. Now feeling the Pope’s foot giving him a swift kick in the rump however…

  • I understand your line of reasoning, although we have come to think of Jesus as the church’s head and all of us as brothers in Christ. It is difficult to adhere to practices of the old world, especially in the church, though I of course speak as an Evangelical Protestant.

  • Biden is a buffoon and a cretin who routinely lies when he is cornered as he did when he made up the fable of his Mom’s advice to justify his rudeness.

    I think he just confounded the advice from his mother with the advice he got from Mary Kinnock.

  • If we take the remarks of Jesus to his immediate disciples seriously, we are left with the impression that no one should have any titles and that deference should be mutual in the Spirit, never enacted ritualistically.

  • “though I of course speak as an Evangelical Protestant.”

    If Biden did not claim to be a Catholic his breach of etiquette would not be worth my time to mention.

  • I see. American Catholics often do what they want and tend to be pretty individualistic in their conception of things. I’ve noticed they don’t necessarily tout the party line. They don’t go along with every pope or everthing each pope says. Some would like to send it in the direction of the Episcopal Church as an earlier blog pointed out. THese are American Catholics. I suspect European ones may be that way too, but I don’t know for sure.

  • “I think he just confounded the advice from his mother with the advice he got from Mary Kinnock.”

    OK Art, let’s see if anyone gets that comment besides you and me! 🙂

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  • Another take.
    Uncle Joe remembered that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Joey got nervous, realizing that he has been a betrayer of Truth, and not wishing to “Hang out” at the “dump” as was Judas’ reward, Joey didn’t take the chance.

  • “I would say, the Pope’s ring would be effusively thankful that it was not befouled by the lying lips of Joe Biden. ”

    In light of the shame Biden has brought upon the Church in using his political power to undermine Church teaching in the most horrible ways, his refusal to kiss the Pope’s ring is no big deal. It would only stand to reason. In fact, I think, in this light, it would add further insult to the grave harm he has done to both Church and society if he had kissed the Pope’s ring. Something I’m sure the talking heads on our side would have pointed out if Biden had placed his “lying lips” on the Pope’s ring.

  • Those of you over 40 may remember the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. One time they were roasting Frank Sinatra. And Milton Berle made the crack that, “Frank is going to see the Pope in Rome. And he’s gonna be made a cardinal so from now on we’ll only have to kiss his ring.” The underlying punch of that crack was about how Sinatra’s influence in Vegas was such that you couldn’t get work in the entertainment industry there unless Sinatra approved of you. This whole Biden episode made me think of that.

  • In light of the shame Biden has brought upon the Church in using his political power to undermine Church teaching in the most horrible ways

    You are confounding Biden with Robert Drinan. Biden’s clownishness is a source of embarrassment, not shame.

  • I’m sure her Maj. would be astounded should anyone attempt to kiss her ring – the only ring she wears is her wedding ring which is of course on her left hand, and she normally wears gloves. On being presented to the Queen you shake hands and give a slight bow (from the neck only). Ladies should curtsy. I remember Nancy Reagan refusing to do so, which prompted the general comment: “If folks don’t know how to behave, they should stay at home”.

  • Art

    I am not speaking Biden’s clownishness, which is a source of entertainment for his political opposition. Biden, as both senator and VP, has been ardently pro-abortion. You could say the same for Fr. Drinan as well.

  • He confuses the kiss’s symbol as showing respect of the man .. rather than the office. Maybe Obama would rather Joe give a High Five.

  • If I recall correctly, Senator Biden insisted on every act of deference due to his position. It’s easy to be humble about someone else’s rank.

  • Ya know “it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way”.

  • Jon misses the point in his post above. If temporal Authority comes from God, then certainly the “keys” of Saint Peter do. When a man, given authority by God to rule, commands some act that is contrary to God’s law, then, as Peter told the scribes, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” Jon wold not have lasted long with the Israelites if he refused to obey Moses, or would he John?

  • Kelso, I believe you are drawing a false parallel. And I don’t think Moses asked anyone to kiss his ring. Something tells me that had he done that, he wouldn’t have lasted as long in his assignment.

  • I have tears in my eyes from laughing so much.

    Great commentary in the article and equally great comments below. Made my day. Joe Biden is a buffoon indeed.

    Why am I not surprised by his attention seeking nonsense. And his farcical convoluted explanation for his behavior. If you are confident in your actions, believing they are right, then why do you need to explain yourself? Only a moronic bafoon would feel the need.

  • Ring or no ring, Jon, would you have obeyed Moses. The priests swung incense in the holy of holies before two stone tablets, the rod of Aaron, and the manna. Your problem, I gather, is not the pope’s ring, but the pope. You seem to want an acephalous Church, in which everyone is free to be their own pope.

  • Both Moses and most of the chosen people were punished by not living to enter the Promised Land. Nevertheless, the chosen people, unlike most contemporary Catholics, actually did whatever Moses told them.

    Moses didn’t need no stinkin’ ring.

  • As the Bible says, the sins of the father are visited down unto the fourth generation, Joe…

  • Just as well. I’d hate to see the Pope catch the stupid.

  • Claudia Johnson says:
    Monday, March 25, 2013 A.D. at 5:43pm

    Your despicable slander of the good heart of Pope Benedict and woeful ignorance of Christian symbolism are noted.

  • Mr. Biden, do as your own wisdom directs you. However, that ring is the ring of the fisherman, the vicar of Christ. The taditional kiss is a demonstration of love for the apostlic church, not a sign of submission. That is why popes kiss babies and the handicapped. They are showing the love of Christ.

  • The Pope does not need his ring to be kissed. He may know that V POTUS needs prayers.

  • I’m trying to think of some way of not insulting the VP, but he’s just such a complete tool, God forgive me. I don’t know whether to weep or laugh at this fresh act of clownery. His mother should’ve taught him to try to deserve respect rather than simply demand it. Pride goeth, etc.

  • His mother should’ve taught him to try to deserve respect rather than simply demand it. Pride goeth, etc.

    Catherine Finnegan Biden told the newspapers in 2008 that Sen. Hairplugs was a “wonderful human being”. (You know, he could “sing and dance and write verse” just like his 12 hour-a-day coal miner grandpappy taught him, not to mention produce original papers on legal topics and win moot court competitions).

    Mary Kinnock never weighed in on the subject.

  • Of course the VP didn’t kiss the Popes ring. It would send a message that he is part of the Church and beholden to its rituals and teachings. Clearly, this VP wants to be known as being Catholic only in name. Imagine that image being used against him in the future. HIs political career in the US would be over.

  • “His political career in the US would be over.”

    It already is over. Biden is simply too much of a simpleton to realize that fact.

  • No, I do not want a church where everyone is their own pope. I want a church where everyone bows to God and his word. Christ is the head of the church and that is sufficient for me. Ancient Israel wanted a king. They got one, but their request indicated their rejection of God their King.

  • The elitist liberals in the USA are disgrace to their country. They have a contempt for the truth. The founding fathers would have run them them out of town. Pope Francis has already become more relevant to the world than they could ever hope to perceiv

  • So, Jon, does Christ speak to you? Why did Jesus command us to “hear the church.” Why did He tell His apostles “He who hears you hears Me”? Why did He give men the power to forgive sins? Your own words betray you. You ARE your own pope. If not then you are a PROPHET directly inspired by God. Have you worked any miracles?

There Is Not Just One Way To Be Pope

Thursday, March 21, AD 2013

One of the things that’s been bothering me (as well as several other good bloggers I read) in the days since the election of Pope Francis is the seeming need of many to identify a single cookie-cutter model which every “good” pope most follow. I recall some of this when Benedict succeeded John Paul, but it was perhaps more muted both by a certain gravity stemming from John Paul’s very public death and funeral, and also by the fact that the although we certainly lived in a “new media” age then, it hadn’t gained the dizzying speed which social media has since provided to “reax”.

Thus it seems as if much of the coverage of the new pope boils down to, “Francis isn’t as intellectual and liturgically focused as Benedict, so he’s not as good” or else “Francis is so ‘humble’ and focused on the poor, he’s clearly a much better pope than Benedict”. Then there’s the next level of escallation in which each side tries to steal the virtues of the other: Oh yeah, well if Francis were really humble he wouldn’t insist on simplicity, which is really a subtle exercise in saying “look at me”! You say Francis cares about the poor and about simplicity? Well look how much Benedict cared about the poor and about simplicity!

I think this quickly gets silly, and more to the point it starts to act as if there is only gone right way for the pope to act. The fact is, being the shepherd of God’s flock on earth is a job large enough that there are multiple different ways of doing it that are right. (Which is not to say that every way is right, obviously, we’ve had some pretty bad popes over the centuries.)

It seems to me that John Paul II’s dense intellectualism combined with his oversize and highly charismatic personality was arguably exactly what the Church needed at the time of his pontificate — as we emerged from a time in which it seemed like the roof was coming down and everything was up for grabs. Benedict’s liturgical focus was another thing that the Church desperately needed at the time that he was chosen — and I think that his ability to write deeply yet clearly was also a huge need. If John Paul II’s struggle to incorporate Catholic teaching and a moderl philosophical understanding of the human person were something very much needed in our modern era, I at the same time suspect that Benedict’s books (both his books about the life of Christ and the many books he wrote prior to his pontificate) may actually be read more often by ordinary Catholics in the coming decades than anything that John Paul II wrote.

Similarly, I think that Francis’ intentional simplicity is something that we need to see in our pope at times. This is not to say that Benedict and John Paul were not simple. They were, though in different ways. But while not every saint needs (or should) be simple in the sort of over-the-top way that our pope’s namesake St. Francis of Assisi was, St. Francis nonetheless remains a good saint to have. That it is good that we have St. Francis as an example does not mean that every other saint is the less for not being St. Francis. (I mean, let’s be honest, St. Francis could be kind of nuts.) And similarly, admiration of Pope Francis’s qualities need not, and indeed should not, be turned into a criticism of other popes for not being like him in every way.

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10 Responses to There Is Not Just One Way To Be Pope

  • catholics are more than billion, so from that billion, others pray faithfully. What l know for sure, our Popes are chosen by God, He hears our prayers, He knows what his church need

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  • Good article, and I’ve also seen the unfortunate comparisons that are, perhaps, inevitable, but we will hopefully grow out of as the months and years go on.

    Another thing that bothers me, along the same lines, is the overwhelming notion that our whole Church will either collapse or flourish due to the style of a single pope. One of the greatest emphases of Vatican II was that the whole Church, down to the youngest Catholic in the pews, shares responsibility in the Body of Christ. History shows that the Church survives bad popes while faithful laymen and religious do their jobs, and the Church, even with holy popes, suffers because of the sins of her other members. We can’t now put our hope in even this Servant of the Servants of God if it means not being fully aware of our own very great responsibility to be evangelists with the virtues of faith, hope, and love.

    For the Church to actually change, a personal metanoia multiplied by as many Catholics as sit in the pews each Sunday will be more fruitful than one sitting on the throne of Peter. To deny this is to deny the Holy Spirit His potential in the baptized Body. We desperately need holy popes, but we just as desperately need holy Catholics, and as many of them as possible. We don’t just need more Pope Francises. We need more Jorge Bergoglios in every city of the world, washing feet; more Joseph Ratzingers to challenge Catholics to know and love orthodoxy, more Karol Wojtylas, challenging the secular world with philosophy that conforms to the Word. And we can’t wait to be served by them. We ourselves must serve.

  • Most of what’s being discussed has nothing to do with matters of doctrine or administration. Those are arguably the two most important aspects of the papacy. Doctrine is the long-run biggie, and we can rest assured that there won’t be any mistakes on that front. Administration is important for the short-term, and I’m reluctant to judge any pope’s record. With all the dioceses, seminaries, orders, Pontifical Commissions, Congregations, and things I’ve never heard of, I’m sure I’m not qualified to appraise the quality of a pope’s work.

    I should also make note of the least-apparent of the pope’s duties, pious prayer for the faithful. I believe that we are especially blessed to have Benedict and Francis keeping us in their prayers.

  • Thank you so much for writing this. Some of the blog articles I’ve read are just … awful. Focusing on what he wears or doesn’t wear… when and where he holds Mass… etc. *sigh* I am so grateful Our Father in Heaven didn’t make us all the same, nor all our Popes or Saints… that would certainly get awfully boring. Just sayin’.

  • And since we’re not the same, we live the Christian spirit differently. So what Pope Francis does as an example, we have to examine and apply to our vocation as fits. For example, his spirit of poverty called him to take public transportation when he was Archbishop. But my job really requires me to have a car, and a home, and a lot of other things. This of course does not mean I need the nicest car or home. And this spirit calls on me to make sure I really need what I purchase and without extravagance. In the end, for both of us, this spirit calls upon us to be detached from the goods of this world as we direct our lives to the other.

    The spirit of poverty he lives, as well as other examples he will show us, is one proper to a religious. The spirit I am called to live is proper to the layman.

    I think the ultimate problem that will occur when some will point to Pope Francis and say “There, you have to do that.” That will do injustice to the variety of vocations in the Church.

  • One great advantage of Francis’s papacy will be that in four years time the LCWR, Tina Beattie, the ‘nuns on the bus’ and other divers heretics will realize that they are no nearer their ideal of wimminpriests and acceptance of ‘gay’ marriage than they were under the archreactionary Benedict. And they will shut up.

  • John – I think the real advantage is that in four years, the nones on the bus, as well as the rest of my unlamented generation, will be four years closer to extinction. We’re the ones that took everything down in the 60’s; we won’t shut up for good until you get to throw dirt on top of us. Holy Mother Church simply keeps on trucking along, praise be to God. In a couple of hundred years, the whole hippiepinkokumbaya mess will be a brief footnote in the Ecclesial History text, ancd the last copy of “Sing a New Church into Being” will be returning to compost in a landfill somewhere.

    Every Catholic pope hastens the day.

  • The more a man grows in holiness, the more freedom he experiences to become whom he is called to be.

Francis Has Returned As Pope?

Wednesday, March 13, AD 2013

The signs are as unmistakable as they are stunning; Francis has returned to rebuild the Church. The first New World Pope, who happens to be the first Jesuit Pope, has taken the name of Francis. It didn’t stop there. St Francis known for his miraculous ability to communicate with God’s creatures may have sent a sign. It seems a stubborn seagull kept landing on the Sistine Chapel smoke pipe a couple of hours before Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the very modest living prelate from Argentina was chosen.

About the name Francis, could it also be for Francis Xavier the famous Jesuit missionary to the Far East? Who knows for sure but perhaps it is a very deft touch by the man from Buenos Aires. In addition, was it not a Franciscan Pope (Clement XIV) who famously suppressed the Jesuits in France in the 1700s, which many believe helped the radicals of the French Revolution in their bloody but unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Church? Another sign; perhaps a nod to reconciliation? The Conclave began on March 12, the day both St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits and St Francis Xavier, perhaps the second most famous Jesuit saint) were officially canonized in 1622.

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9 Responses to Francis Has Returned As Pope?

  • Dear Lady, please guide that evangelical into the fullness of Our Lords Body amén! A nudge!

    Very interesting post, a conservative Jesuit is like finding the prize in a catholic cereal box!

  • Not to pick but, did you say Dark Ages for particular purpose? It is generally used to slandar the Church as in “there was the greatness of Rome, then a dark age of religious superstition that remained unbroken until the Reformation ushered in an age of enlightenment.”

    The choice of Francis is interesting and I’m sure a few of the career Vatican clerics are squirming as they try to determine what it means for them. “Simplification” strikes me as an odd choice in calls to arms for the Church though.

    Catholicism is catholic because it encompasses the diverse needs of human souls. God, in His infinite wisdom made our intellects and emotional selves unique. Some need the simplicity of the simple country church and some Notre Dame. Vatican II was speaking to this need, not the corrupted view that has dominated the Church in the West for 40 years, a view that all of the grandeur of the pre-Vatican Church was discordant with Church teaching.

    Before we “herald in a new age” of “simplicity,” we had better be sure we know what that means for the Church.

  • Ioannes, great post. The beauty of God will always draw people to the Church if they allow their hearts to succumb to God’s love, truth and beauty. David, with all due respect because some anti-Catholic writer somewhere in the mists of time used a quote about the Dark Ages to attack the Church means we don’t use the word Dark Ages? The word Dark Ages was coined by the Church, or at least those monks who kept the world illuminated during that time with their scholarship. In those days, few could read and write and the Church was under attack from the Dark side via various Barbarian invasions and heretical movements and individuals.

    As far as simplification; the Holy Spirit (if we listen) is always equipping us with our needs for that time. In the era of Pope John Paul II it was communication to a world hungry for truth. In the age of Pope Benedict XVI, it was the emphasis on proper liturgy, devotions and scholarship so lacking in this secular age. Now it appears Pope Francis will use the weapon of simplicity. We might recall that St Francis used this “weapon” to rattle the consciences of the detached wealthy he encountered in Italy as well as Muslim soldiers he met in the Middle East.

    The key to the Holy Spirit’s gifts is our desire to use them. I was struck that even the secular mainstream media showed that fascinating image of that bird perched atop the Sistine chapel’s smokepipe. They showed similar images of the same seagull like bird perched on St. Francis in some of the earliest paintings in which he is depicted. Perhaps in small signs such as these we see the mind of God, if only we will listen.

  • Ioannes: “Very interesting post, a conservative Jesuit is like finding the prize in a catholic cereal box!”
    A beautiful prize.

  • Great post. The new Pope’s humility was inspiring. He will be good for evangelization generally and specifically for Latin America and for Jesuits who have been on the verge of extinction. There will be more orthodox candidates discerning vocations to the priesthood. I hope they can find enough orthodox Jesuits to teach them..

  • Unitl this election, I had just assumed some others were of the SJ order.

  • Fantastic post of yours, Dave.

    I studied in jesuit school in Brazil, full of layman communist professors. But, confirming your point, the school was much better administered when a conservative director arrived.

    I used to love jesuits, but many of them went to liberation theology, then I turned to Dominicans. I am stunned to see a conservative jesuit that dislikes liberation theology. God´s Spirit.

  • Thank you for your kind words Pedro. The Argentines love to speak of the Hand of God World Cup Soccer Goal via Diego Maradona. Well this Argentine Holy Father is the real Hand of God at work! It seems both of our lives have some parallels. We both worked with Jesuits and Dominicans, but it seems we both more recently worked with Dominicans. May God Bless both of their orders now that they are intrinsically linked with our new Holy Father!

  • God love his church so much ! the election of Pope Francis I is one of the most powerfull sign of how the holy spirit will continue working, cleaning and building the church. The Catholic Church is the guardian of the faith and the truth , the truth give and teach by Jesus him self. Yes , we as catholic we are fail in many things and I as catholic many times I am not the best example as well, what is the motivation the help me to go back on my feets and not give up even when I feil ? is the understanding, faith and mercy of God . I try to do my best day in day out , and what always help me is to remember how many times Jesus feil down carrying the cross? Yes, 3 times – how many times he back up ? 3 times- what for me Jesus is not just tell me but teaching me is : no matter how many times we mess up and feil , what really is important is to go back in our feets , move forward , ask God forgiveness and try to do our best.

    With this election Pope Francis I , I see the best of the two elements needed rigth now , a solid formation as a priest ( as all know Jesuits are known for that ) and a very prophetic Name Pope Francis I ( who all we know , Francis was call to help rebuild the church – with his simplicity and humility – what a similarity with our new Pope ).

    Let try to stay faithful to God love and be always glad of His mercy and forgiveness .

    God bless Pope Francis I and us , as one .