PopeWatch: Evangelii Gaudium

Wednesday, November 27, AD 2013




PopeWatch decides to take the Thanksgiving holidays off and the Pope releases Evangelii Gaudium!  Go here to read it.  The short take of PopeWatch is that it is a mishmash.  Much of it is merely a restatement of traditional Catholic teaching and therefore bound to be a relief for  those fearing that the Pope was going to alter Church teaching in an unorthodox manner on such issues as abortion and gay marriage.  The economic portions, all too often, read like warmed over Peronism, the disastrous and amorphous political ideology that has helped make Argentina, fated to be a very rich nation in the 19th Century, an economic basket case.  Much more next week after PopeWatch has digested the Thanksgiving turkey and examined Evangelii Gaudium in greater detail.

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25 Responses to PopeWatch: Evangelii Gaudium

  • Wake me when he publishes a wordor two about zeal for the glory of God, zeal for the salvation of souls, the forgiveness of sins . . .

    It’s as if statist governments, central planners, command economists for the past 150 or so years have not been tearing away at private enterprise and property [sigh] . . .

    And,this pope still blames the free market????

    Socialism produces the same results everywhere: In the Argentine breadbasket, the regime moves to jail “hoarders” as bread prices soar. Bloomberg: “Argentina plans to apply a law that forces holders of wheat and flour suitable for bread making to sell stock on the domestic market in a bid to contain inflation.” (Instapundit)

    David Galland interview on Argentina at Zero Hedge: It is like a textbook case in government gone mad.

    “They have stolen the retirement accounts, devalued the currency, and put capital controls in place. There are trade controls so that people can’t import necessities into the country, but instead, have to manufacture them locally, with the government giving monopolies to their friends. They have price controls, which force the local supermarkets to not raise their prices. This will ultimately lead to shortages. And, there are already shortages of certain items. They didn’t like an opposition newspaper, so they nationalized the newsprint manufacturing industry. In fact, just about every single thing that you could do to screw up a country, they have done. It is comical to see the extremes they have gone to. For example, in Argentina, if you publish an inflation statistic that differs from of the official government numbers, you could be hit with a $100,000 fine. I had never heard of this anywhere else – except maybe in communist Russia. They are really completely out of control and the country is spinning off into la-la-land. Frankly, I love living right in the midst of all of it.”

    “In the case of Argentina, and the United States as well, it is a testament to the legacy strengths of the country – minerals, an educated population, agricultural land in abundance, energy resources – that despite a history of bad governance, the economy is still remarkably robust. People living outside of the country would be forgiven, based on the media reporting, for thinking the place is a basket case – but, against all odds, it isn’t. To a large extent that is because the government’s policies have chased much of the economic activity underground.”

  • Folks,

    A friend on Facebook pointed out the following which places the translation of the economic sections of Evangelii Gaudium in question. While and the controlled version for Papal documents is invariably in Latin (and I know Latin), I cannot find on the Vatican web site the Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium, so I cannot verify what this person says (below). Yet what he writes is credible. The bottom line is this: believe nothing any Vatican translator provides. Get the original Latin and find out for yourself. If you don’t know Latin, then I am sure there are people here at TAC who do.


    Once again, translators of Papal documents put a liberal progressive spin on the translation – that is no surprise:

    “Here’s one just ONE compare ‘n’ contrast (in Evangelii Gaudium), adding some emphasis to underscore that what you’ve seen “ain’t necessarily so.”

    Official English Version

    54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

    Correct English Translation

    54. In this context, some still defend “spillover” theories which suppose that ALL economic growth, FOR WHICH A FREE MARKET IS [MOST] FAVORABLE, *BY ITSELF* brings about greater equity and social inclusion in the world.

    Note the mistranslation is both very powerful and yet very subtle, carefully guarding its semantic lines of retreat…plausible deniability, if you will. The “tell” or smoking gun is the it-can’t-be-an-accident exclusion of the phrase “by itself.” When I noticed the translator had excised it (not just “rendered it poorly”) my antennæ began to flutter violently. To my mind it changes the entire complexion of the whole section.

    This points not to, say, the USA but rather, places like China and Russia where economic growth is divorced from moral concerns and human liberties. If economic growth ALONE were the mechanism for greater justice, etc. then Russia and China would have exhibited that, and (duh) obviously they don’t. The issue is not “wealth is bad” but that “wealth WITHOUT MORAL UNDERPINNINGS is bad.””

  • Meanwhile, the damage a bad translation (if it is in fact a bad translation) continues on.

  • To continue, why is the controlled Latin version of Evangelii Gaudium NOT here?


    And why is Adhortationes Apostolicae not linked here?


    That’s not the case with Ioannes Paulus II or Benedictus XVI or any of the rest of the modern Pontiffs. But it is with Francis. Why?

    This is very odd. The Latin text is supposed to be the controlled document. In my field – nuclear power – the phrase controlled document has a special meaning. It means that it’s that one special document version that is the only authoritative version and the only version permissible for technicians, operators and engineers to use in nuclear power plant work. The Church has an analogous arrangement with using Latin for its controlled documents. So why is the Latin for Evangelii Gaudium missing?

    Could it be that the Latin says something different than the English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese versions? Could it be that some people in the Vatican with a liberal progressive agenda want to spin the facts and twist the meaning to advance their false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price? Or am I just being a right wing Neanderthal?

  • How long will people keep insisting the Francis 1 is being ‘misinterpreted’? No he is not being misinterpreted. He simply spurns simple declarative sentences, and chooses instead to spout ambiguities at every given opportunity. His purpose in doing so is to create ample wiggle room so that, when his ideas are attacked in a credible way, he can back out of any charge that sticks, and be free to confuse in another way at another time. We are not dealing with an honest man. Rather, one who indeed is ambitious for his own ends, not necessarily those of Christ’s true Church. This man needs to be put in the context of what is happening all around us. Let’s work to face reality and connect the dots.

  • I have to agree completely with Barbara. God forgive me but I honestly just don’t trust this man.

  • Barbara Jensen

    It was the ecclesiastic and statesman, Talleyrand, who famously remarked, « La parole a été donné à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée » [Speech was given to man to conceal his thoughts], although he may have had Voltaire in mind, who said « ils ne se servent de la pensée que pour autoriser leurs injustices, et emploient les paroles que pour déguiser leurs pensées » (Le Chapon et la Poularde)
    [Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts]

  • The language in which Evangelii Gaudium was written is Spanish and not Latin. All other versions, including the Latin text, are and will be translations. That an official text from Rome does not originate in Latin is no longer novel. The Catechism’s original language was French, and all first translations came from that edition. The later Latin typica text became the official text because it actually nuanced a few paragraphs and added some new material to keep up with the actual magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I am sure there will be a Latin translation soon, but there is no plot to suppress the original Latin text. Conspiracy theorists can get an extra portion of turkey today 🙂

    I do not speak, read or write Spanish ( I misjudged and had 12 years of French way back when :-)) I therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of the English translation. Even if I was fluent in Spanish I would be very reticent of making a fast judgment on the translation-unless it was of such nature as that j’joke of an interview with that Italian editor winging it based on his memory. However, having already read the economic portion of the Exhortation-which is within the context of proclaiming the Gospel to the poor ( this Exhortation is not an exercise of the social teaching of the Church)-I want to strongly affirm the meaning or sense that Paul Primavera has shared: it is not wealth that is bad in itself but ‘ wealth without moral underpinnings” ( and I would add: ‘responsibility’

    We all know, even from Scripture that translation can be tricky issue, if not a betrayal of the author. Take for example Paul’s well known economic teaching in his Letter to Timothy. According to the most common rendition, “Money is the root of all evil” Wow, This proves what I have always suspected about him. He is a radical Marxist not only interested in subverting the sacred traditions of circumcision , kosher laws and ( gasp!) breaking down the barriers Jew and Gentile, male and female, but (gasp!!) the necessary barriers between slave and free!! He must be a secret Spartacan! Paul’s whole point has been from the start, is to subvert the authority and economy of the Roman Empire! Anyone can see this! We just can’t trust him! He comes from that backwater of the Empire, Tarsus, where Cleopatra sailed into its harbor a century before Paul, to attempt to disassociate th eastern portion of the Roman Empire from Rome. See? It all is connected!

    Or is it? Paul actually wrote, “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. That changes everything doesn’t it? Although to be honest, the real statement gives little comfort for anyone overly attached to money, or anyone whose first impulse is to protect any economic system from the critique of the Gospel.

    Pope Francis, who.even in this Exhortation on transforming the Church according to the needs of Her mission to evangelize, states categorically his pro life credentials, writes that the recent world wide economic crisis was not an economic crisis but a human crisis, one based on the failure to respect the dignity of the human person. If this is perceived by some as problematic or worse, can we really have heard Evangelium Vitae? Doesn’t respect for each person from the moment of conception until natural death mean more than simply being anti abortion or anti euthanasia, as important as these themselves are?

    Pope Francis also states, “Money must serve not rule ( or have dominion)”. For a people who confess that “Jesus is Lord” and proclaim ” Jesus Christ is King” ( not Marx or Adams, Keynes or Wall Street) is this really so radical?


  • Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all. Yesterday I had Lush Bimbo on and he ranted and carried on so bad about the Pope’s latest “teaching”. I read the whole thing and it could well be “misinterpreted” as a bash on capitalism. However I just wish the Holy Father would really think about how he words everything. Did he even really write this or as was suggested above was it “interpreted” in a different way by those in different cultures. It should not be this way. Again the “confusion” created by the evil one through these “misinterpretations” is very disheartening. Diabolical, Diablo. “Prowling about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

  • @Jeanne Rohl: In my opinion, there’s been far, far too many statements and actions by this Holy Father that would support my (and many others) feeling that he means exactly what he says, at least in that moment. My concern is not only about some of the outrageous things he says, but that then the next day, say something that contradicts what he said the previous day. Not making a correction to what he had previously said, mind you, just making a new statement that happens to contradict what he’d said. Or so it seems. Part of the problem is that he’s incredibly vague. In almost everything I read of his statements, I’m left thinking “what does he mean by that?” or “who is he referring to?”

    I don’t think he’s reading someone else’s words at all. This is him. Which begs the question, many questions, actually. Does he know the Catholic Faith? Does he think dogmas and teachings were changed with Vatican II? Does he know the role of Vicar of Christ, i.e., salvation of souls, as opposed to worldly issues? I know the Popes have and should make pronouncements regarding worldly issues relating to the poor, just treatment of workers, speak out against persecution of Christians, abortion, etc., but he just strikes me as one who doesn’t give a lot of thought to what he’s saying, or he’s not very bright, God forgive me for saying that.

  • Happy Thanksgiving Jeanne,

    We know these facts: this Apostolic Exhortation was written in Spanish. Everything else is translation. The Exhortation incorporates many propositions, from the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. These are specifically referred to in the footnotes. The portion of the Exhortation referenced above on the economy ( and apparently referred to by Rush Limbaugh-I don’t listen to him, so I did not hear him- only the reports of what he said) is actually a small part of the whole Exhortation. The section actually is addressing the evangelization of the poor.

    If there is an issue of translation it will soon be rectified, we can be sure of that. However, in reading this relatively short portion of the Exhortation I did not really hear anything that struck me from the Catholic perspective. The comments of the pope might surprise an American completely committed to a particular ideology and/or economic perspective; I am sure it would surprise non Catholic readers. However, if read within the whole corpus of Catholic Social Teaching, and here I. Would reference the several encyclicals of Blessed John Paul, and the one social teaching encyclical of Pope Benedict, I simply do not find anything shocking, earthshaking etc.

    I will repeat my agreement with the comment by Paul Primivera that it’s meaning is that it is not wealth that is bad but wealth without moral underpinnings. I am sure you would agree that there is nothing shocking about that. Pope Francis puts it succinctly: ” Money should serve, not rule”. This actually is a great synthesis of the Gospel perspective on economics

    (If anyone continues wondering about Catholic Social doctrine, go to the Catechism and see what and how the Church teaches in this important area. In sum? “Thou shalt not steal”. This goes against so called progressive economics as much as against more traditional laissez faire economics)

  • In preparation for his show, Rush Limbaugh reads many newspapers and watches television shows (although MSNBC not so much if I recall properly). His understanding of what the Pope said came from the Washington Post. Rush admits he is not a Catholic (and does not appear to know the name of the document, or the document type). He said “Now, I’m not Catholic. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man.” (The man in question being Pope Francis.) He was “totally befuddled.”

    Later on in the show, he too, talked about the Pope’s words being “mistranslated.” In fact, he seems to have been quite taken by the idea that “the left” deliberately mistranslated so as to further its government-controlled economic agenda. And he noted that the Pope seems to have a history of his remarks being “mistranslated.”

  • I see nothing in the Holy Father’s words that derogate from the limitations placed on the public authorities by Pope Paul VI in his 1967 encyclical, Populorum Progressio: “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

  • Ever since this papacy began I’ve had the music from Evita on my mind.

  • This is a FYI. I received info that the Vatican site took down ( the English translation of) Evangelii Gaudium. No reason given for the action. However, as discussed above, if the translation was inaccurate, it has come to the attention of higher authorities in the Vatican and dealt with.

    If indeed the translation was faulty, the problem lies within the Curia ( used in the broadest meaning). Whether carelessness, ineptitude or the translator’s own ‘interpretation’, the fault lies in the Curia. I don’t believe anyone could argue that the Curia does not need a radical overhaul

  • The version that you can just click to and read on the website appears to be down. The PDF file, however, is still there (and I assume it is the same translation.) Since most people (computers) have Acrobat Reader, it wouldn’t slow them down much. Not sure about iPods and Smartphones, however, if they can handle a PDF file.


  • Before this pope I already was struggling to keep a good sense of trust in our Church leaders… there has been misdirection, misleading in seminary formation, naive ineptitude really. Which has led to whole parishes full of people being misled.

    The Church is not leading the culture but following it like a dog with its tail down.
    It seems like the liberal priests nuns and Catholic leaders don’t understand what they are doing. How important it is to safeguard the treasure we’ve inherited and are rapidly losing.
    After a Catholic funeral Wed I overheard this:
    ” Oh yeah we were Catholic- all the kids were baptized here. We go to the Lutheran church now. The words are almost exactly the same.” (I know which Lutheran church he meant- mega, and they have stadium seating with cup holders)

    We were in a different area and went to Mass Thanksgiving morning. I don’t have time here to describe to you how liberal and protestant the mass was.
    I want to trust Francis; I do trust God. But now it seems the liberals have voted in one of their own kind.
    I don’t think God will let it get too out of hand, but I wonder if Evangelii Gaudium feeds meat to the people who are subverting the mission of the Church. Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of “low information” Catholics out here.
    I guess our prayer could be for clarity of thought. Fulton Sheen pray for us.

  • “Someone who thinks deeply like Michael Paterson and Botolph have the intellectual underpinnings not to be flummoxed– but there are LOTS of ‘low information’ Catholics out here.”

    Quite true. The overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics know neither Sacred Scripture nor the Catechism. Most would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between Joel and Jonah, Elijah and Elisha, Eli and Samuel, let alone be able to discuss intelligently the issues raised in Evangelii Gaudium. Ignorance is the current hallmark of the majority of the population of the Roman jurisdiction. Sad. Very sad, considering the monumental intellectual legacy left to us by the depository of the Faith.

  • Anzlyne,

    While I appreciate your compliment, faith is a gift, which I am sure you have, from the comments you have made on this blog. Our Catholic Faith is a whole and a Catholic cannot pick and choose, like a supermarket, what we buy or don’ buy. We are going through two coinciding vast changes. Our Western Civilization and culture are going through a profound change. It is hard to envision how it will turn out, or even if it will have a good end.

    The Church is undergoing through a vast change ( and I would encourage you or anyone to read George Weigel’s “Evangelical Catholicism” for insights on this change) as well. The difference between the two changes is that Christ is Risen, has conquered sin and death, and has promised and given the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth to the Church. This is the Mystery of Pentecost. Christ has promised us that the Church built on Peter will not be able to be conquered by the forces of hell.

    While I am often seen as ” defending” Pope Francis on this blog. I am not a person who cannot see weaknesses or imperfections in a pope. I saw them in Blessed John Paul, soon to be a saint ( in his case his vision was so vast that he had little time nor desire to ” waste his energy” on matters in the Curia. Pope Benedict, I believe also to be a saint and brought out once and for all a true interpretation of the Council in the hermeneutic of continuity and reform as well as showing that the first and fundamental Constitution of VII was on Divine Revelation. Nonetheless, through his appointments, the papal diplomatic service in the world became ” problematic” to say the least. Misstatements caused real difficulties with Moslems and even some distancing with Judaism. The man as Cardinal and then Pope attempted to bring healing and reconciliation to the relationship with the Society of Pope Pius X, sadly to no avail. No matter how he tried he just could not stop the implosion going on in the Curia. While too early to come to a real grasp of Pope Francis’ ministry, I will be the first one to say not all has gone well. However, on the major, substantial issues, in doctrine and discipline and in his collaboration style I give him pretty high marks. Nonetheless, I recognize that while we have had ( and I believe have a ) good popes, I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of here’ll did not prevail.

    It is faith in Christ’s commitment to and union with the Church- not on the strengths and talents of individuals that keeps me Catholic. It is that same faith that keeps me at peace on a very deep level when I see strengths, weaknesses and yes even sin in the members of the Church, ordained or not.

    Hope this helps

  • Botolph writes, “I fully realize we have had bad popes-very bad popes- yet the gates of hell did not prevail.”

    Whilst that is certainly true I draw still greater comfort from the way in which the Church has not only survived, but flourished under a great many rather indifferent ones.

    From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators. The sole exception, Benedict XIV, better remembered today as Prospero Lambertini, the great canon lawyer, can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Meanwhile, we had the Church riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

    Yet it was also the Church of St Francis de Sales, St John Eudes, St Vincent de Paul, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St Louis de Montfort and countless other saints, who formed the devotional life of generations of Catholics

  • Really great discussion here! Thank You all. As I have said before, I go to the Sacrifice of the Mass. I receive the Sacraments and know that God alone will give us direction. The line about “Evita” really cracked me up. Now I will have that in my head all day! It is very hard this “defending” of the faith, with all of the sidewinders wanting to take it down. whether it is intentional or ” misinterpreted” it certainly is a challenge. As a young woman many years ago teaching CCD in the most traditional of forms, our priest at the time, God Bless His Soul, Father Tom Mannion from Ireland, whom we referred to as “Bishop Sheen”( of the Diocese of Lacrosse) after his dramatic show of “breathing hard” because I was taking up so much of his “air” by having so many children, would just roar in his Irish brogue, “Jeanne Rohl, my god woman, you’re more Catholic than the Catholic Church!” And I would just smile and say, “Thank you Father”! Boy did we have some deep deep discussions. God Bless

  • Thou shalt not steal. But, who, whom? In Venezuela, Maduro is convinced that businessmen are stealing from the poor by marking up prices. He will correct their error by imposing price controls.

    Everything in the Holy Father’s words would seem to encourage Maduro, who thinks it’s “private initiative and intermediary organizations” that have failed. He is merely appropriately restraining the “absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” Right?

    As per T. Shaw’s update on Argentina, I excerpt a Reuter’s article on Maduro’s latest efforts:
    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said a stricter wave of inspections for suspected price-gouging would begin on Saturday in an aggressive pre-election “economic offensive” aimed at taming the highest inflation in the Americas.
    “We’re not joking, we’re defending the rights of the majority, their economic freedom,” Maduro said on Friday, alleging price irregularities were found in nearly 99 percent of 1,705 businesses inspected so far this month.
    Maduro, who has staked his presidency on preserving the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, launched a theatrical – and often televised – wave of inspections this month to force companies to reduce prices.
    He says “capitalist parasites” are trying to wreck Venezuela’s economy and force him from office….
    “The inspections are continuing daily and have let us see into the under-world of capitalism,” Maduro said in his latest speech to the nation, warning of severe sanctions starting Saturday against businesses maintaining unjustifiably high prices.
    Government officials say companies have been marking up prices by as much as 1,000 percent over cost, though many retailers say they have been forced to hike prices sharply due to lack of access to foreign currency at the official rate….
    The leader of Venezuela’s main business group Fedecamaras, Jorge Roig, said this week the government’s erroneous economic policies and excessive controls risk setting up the nation for a dire 2014 of shortages and stagnation.
    Roig accused policymakers of “improvisation” in the face of growing economic distortions and insisted that businesses nationalized in the Chavez era were operating at half capacity, while only 2 percent of expropriated land was productive.
    “Mr. Jorge Roig, you have just declared economic war on the country,” Maduro retorted on Friday.

  • Tamsin

    Chavez was no friend to the Church when he was in full power. Like all other “statists” who see complete and absolute hegemony by the State, he saw the Church as a constant threat. It was really only in his terminal illness, faced with a much more powerful absolute, that he made some peace with the Church. What his successor is doing with the Church I am not as aware.

    As one of the Catholic leaders in Latin America who, while still keeping ” the preferential option for the poor”, Bergoglio worked to undo the damage the extreme aspects of Liberation Theology had worked within the Church in Latin America.

    It is important to read Pope Francis in a Catholic perspective, a perspective of faith, and not an ideological one that sees only two real choices: either socialist statism or completely unfettered financial/market forces.
    Once ‘possible’ translation issues are dealt with, the question is “How do the comments of Pope Francis continue and/or deepen earlier social/economic teachings of the Church

  • Pope Francis never saw unfettered capitalism in Argentina. Never.

    Argentina should be a wealthy country but it is a basket case because of its citizens and who they have put in power. Argentina has the world’s seventh largest economy in 1900. During WWII, Argentina had Axis sympathies and let Nazis into the country. They elected Peron who nearly destroyed the country.

    Kinda strange how Chile has made capitalism work and Argentina always shoots itself in the foot.

    Venezuela is another basket case. Keep ’em poor and dumb and they fall for class warfare – anywhere.

  • Pingback: More on Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel - BigPulpit.com

PopeWatch: Three Errors

Tuesday, November 26, AD 2013




Sandro Magister is noting that Pope Francis seems to be correcting three errors:

ROME, November 22, 2013 – In the span of a few days Pope Francis has corrected or brought about the correction of a few significant features of his public image. At least three of them.

The first concerns the conversation that he had with Eugenio Scalfari, set down in writing by this champion of atheistic thought in “la Repubblica” of October 1.

The transcript of the conversation had in effect generated widespread dismay, because of some of the statements from the mouth of Francis that sounded more congenial to the dominant secular thinking than to Catholic doctrine. Like the following:

“Each one has his idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight the evil as he understands them.”

At the same time, however, the interview was immediately confirmed by Fr. Federico Lombardi as “faithful to the thought“ of the pope and “reliable in its general sense.”

Not only that. A few hours after it was published in “la Repubblica,” the interview was reproduced in its entirety both in “L’Osservatore Romano” and on the official website of the Holy See, on a par with the other discourses and documents of the Pope.

This gave birth to the idea that Jorge Mario Bergoglio had intentionally chosen the conversational form of expression, on this as on other occasions, as a new form of his magisterium, capable of reaching the general public more effectively.

But in the following weeks the pope must also have become aware of the risk that this form entails. The risk that the magisterium of the Church might fall to the level of a mere opinion contributed to the free exchange of ideas.

This in fact led to the decision, on November 15, to remove from the website of the Holy See the text of the conversation with Scalfari.

“It was removed,” Fr. Lombardi explained, “to clarify the nature of that text. There were some misunderstandings and disagreements about its value.”

On November 21, interviewed at the Roman headquarters of the foreign press, Scalfari nonetheless revealed more details of the matter.

He said that the pope, at the end of the conversation, had consented that it should be made public. And to Scalfari’s proposal that he send him the text beforehand, he had replied: “It seems like a waste of time to me, I trust you.”

In effect, the founder of “la Repubblica” sent the text to the pope, accompanied by a letter in which he wrote among other things:

“Keep in mind that I did not include some of the things that you said to me. And that some of the things that I attribute to you you did not say. But I put them there so that the reader may understand who you are.”

Two days later – again according to what Scalfari claims – the pope’s secretary, Alfred Xuereb, telephoned to give the go-ahead for  publication. Which took place the following day.

Scalfari commented: “I am perfectly willing to think that some of the things that I wrote and attributed to him are not shared by the pope, but I also believe that he maintains that, said by a nonbeliever, they are important for him and for the activity he is carrying out.”


But even the calibrated and thoroughly studied interview with Pope Francis in “La Civiltà Cattolica” – published on September 19 by sixteen magazines of the Society of Jesus in eleven languages – has in recent days been taken into the shop of things to be corrected.

On a key point: the interpretation of Vatican Council II.

This has been made clear by a passage of the letter written by Francis himself to Archbishop Agostino Marchetto on the occasion of the presentation on November 12 of a volume in his honor, against the solemn background of the Campidoglio. A letter that the pope wanted to be read in public.

The passage is the following:

“You have demonstrated this love [of the Church] in many ways, including by correcting an error or imprecision on my part – and for this I thank you from my heart – but above all it has been manifested in all its purity in your studies of Vatican Council II. I have said this to you once, dear Archbishop Marchetto, and I want to repeat it today, that I consider you the best hermeneut of Vatican Council II.”

The definition of Marchetto as “the best hermeneut” of the Council is striking in itself. Marchetto has in fact always been the most implacable critic of that “school of Bologna” – founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Giuseppe Alberigo and today directed by Professor Alberto Melloni – which has the worldwide monopoly on the interpretation of Vatican II, in a progressive vein.

The hermeneutic of the Council upheld by Marchetto is the same as that of Benedict XVI: not of “rupture” and “new beginning,” but of “reform in the continuity of the one subject Church.” And it is this hermeneutic that Pope Francis has wanted to signify that he shares, in bestowing such high appreciation on Marchetto.

But if one rereads the succinct passage that Francis dedicates to Vatican II in the interview with “La Civiltà Cattolica,” one gets a different impression. “Yes, there are hermeneutical lines of continuity and of discontinuity,” the pope concedes. “Nonetheless,” he adds, “one thing is clear”: Vatican II was “a service to the people” consisting in “a reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture.”

In the few lines of the interview dedicated to the Council, Bergoglio defines its essence this way three times, also applying it to the reform of the liturgy.

Such a judgment of the grandiose conciliar event immediately appeared so summary to many that even the pope’s interviewer, director of “La Civiltà Cattolica” Antonio Spadaro, confessed his amazement in transcribing it from the pope’s spoken words.

Meanwhile, however, this judgment has continued to garner widespread consensus.

For example, in receiving Pope Francis at the Quirinale on a visit on November 4, the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, thanked him precisely for making “resonate the spirit of Vatican Council II as a ‘reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture,’” citing his exact words.

And praise for these same words of the pope has come – for example – from the foremost of the Italian liturgists, Andrea Grillo, a professor at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm, according to whom Francis has finally inaugurated the true and definitive “hermeneutic” of the Council, after having “immediately put in second place that diatribe over ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’ which had long prejudiced – and often completely paralyzed – any effective hermeneutic of Vatican II.”

In effect, it is no mystery that “service to the people” and a reinterpretation of the Gospel “brought up to date” are concepts dear to the progressive interpretations of the Council and in particular to the “school of Bologna,” which has repeatedly declared itself to be an enthusiast of this pope.

But evidently there is someone who has personally pointed out to pope Bergoglio that reducing the Council to such concepts is at the least “imprecise,” if not “mistaken.”

And it was precisely Marchetto who took this step. There has always been great trust between him and Bergoglio, with mutual esteem. Marchetto lives in Rome at the residence for clergy on Via della Scrofa, in room 204, next to room 203 where the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires stayed during his trips to Rome.

Pope Francis not only listened to the criticisms of his friend, he welcomed them. To the point of thanking him, in the letter he had read on November 12, for having helped him in “correcting an error or imprecision on my part.”

It is to be presumed that in the future Francis will express himself on the Council in a way different from that of the interview in “La Civiltà Cattolica.” More in line with the hermeneutic of Benedict XVI. And to the great disappointment of the “school of Bologna.”


The third correction is consistent with the two previous ones. It concerns the “progressive” tone that Pope Francis has seen stamped upon the the first three months of his pontificate.

One month ago, on October 17, Bergoglio seemed to have confirmed this profile of his once again when in the morning homily at Santa Marta he directed stinging words against Christians who turn the faith into a “moralistic ideology,” entirely made up of “prescriptions without goodness.”

But one month later, on November 18, in another morning homily the pope played a completely different tune.

He used the revolt of the Maccabees against the dominant powers of the age as the point of departure for a tremendous tongue-lashing of that “adolescent progressivism,” Catholic as well, which is disposed to submit to the “hegemonic uniformity” of the “one form of thought that is the fruit of worldliness.”

It is not true, Francis said, that “in the face of any choice whatsoever it is right to move forward regardless, rather than remain faithful to one’s traditions.” The result of negotiating over everything is that values are so emptied of meaning as to end up merely “nominal values, not real.” Even more, one ends up negotiating precisely over “the thing essential to one’s very being, fidelity to the Lord.”

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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Three Errors

  • “…reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture…”

    What we need is reinterpretaion of contemporary culture in light of the Gospel.

  • “…reinterpretation of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture…”

    What we need is reinterpretaion of contemporary culture in light of the Gospel.

    I was not scared until now.

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  • Today’s Richmond paper reprinted a Washington Post article, “Pope blasts ‘trickle-down’ economics” which had quotes from the pope’s apostolic exhortation of Tuesday. As written it was not positive about the US.
    Reporting on religion in general is usually inaccurate and the Post is the worst. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  • AT LEAST these are small steps in the right direction to correct the many malaprops of Bergoglio: but he has a long way to go to get on the Ratzinger-Wojtyla track. And he has a huge disadvantage: besides his limited theological educational background, he is a Jesuit, and most that I have met in recent years are way too full of themselves. And remember: his true self is as an self-proclaimed admirer of truly schismatic-bound late Cardinal Martini.

  • This man is just getting warmed up. He knows what he is doing and is not stupid, even though he appears that way. The verbal ambiguities and heretical statements are feelers to see how far he can push the envelope. His intentions are becoming oh so clear. Let us pray for Holy Mother Church.

  • I disagree, Barbara. I do not think Pope Francis is being deliberately heterodox. I think he believes he is being authentically Catholic. He simply brings with him all the social justice baggage of a Latin American cleric. He is not perfect. But the gates of hell will not prevail. The Holy Spirit preserved the Church from Popes who were really evil, and Pope Francis is NOT evil. I have been reading Evangelii Gaudium. I am about 1/3rd of the way through. There are some things (particularly on economics) that I disagree with (but that may be due to poor translation). Overall, it seems to be an excellent document – not perfect, but certainly better than what I could write.

  • Paul, you have every right to your opinion of this pope, as do I. We do not have to agree. Please know I will be praying for our Church and for Francis as well. The Truth never goes away, and, as time unfolds, Truth will be revealed. I ask God to bless you.

PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

Monday, November 25, AD 2013




Father Z has what he believes is an important indication that Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict in how he views Vatican II:


The 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is coming up on 4 December.  We like to celebrate these great milestones in salvation history.  So, there are great doings in Trent, in the northern area of Italy which is part of the (also) German-speaking Tirol.  As is customary, Pope Francis will send a Cardinal as his personal representative.  Who better than His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller?

When the Pope sends a Cardinal off on one of these missions, he sends him a formal letter, charging him with his task and indicating something of his own hopes for the occasion.  The anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is no exception.

In his letter to Card. Brandmüller, Pope Francis explicitly cites Pope Benedict XVI pontificate-defining address in 2005 to the Roman Curia in which he spoke about the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” (e.g., the Karl Rahner crowd and their descendants, still active today) and the “hermeneutic of reform”, or “hermeneutic of continuity”.

In this explicit reference Francis is aligning himself with Benedict and that key moment and concept underlying Benedict’s pontificate.

This comes in the wake of Francis writing to Archbishop Marchetto (refresh your memory HERE), a critic of one of the powerhouses of the ”hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”, the so-called “Bologna School” of interpretation of the Council.  Francis surely broke a lot of liberal hearts when he referred to Marchetto (who in this matter is completely aligned with Benedict) as one of the best interpreters of the Council that he knows.

The letter of Francis to Card. Brandmüller is available in the Latin original in the Bollettino.  Here is my rapid translation of the first part of the letter, which is the important part.  I scaled down some of the flowery stuff. The second part is the usual boilerplate and of less interest.

To our Venerable Brother Walter Cardinal (of the Holy Roman Church) Brandmüller Deacon of St. Julian of the Flemish

Since the 450th anniversary of the day on which the Council of Trent drew to its favorable end, it is fitting that the Church recall with readier and more attentive eagerness the most rich doctrine which came out of that Council held in the Tyrol. It is certainly not without good reason that the Church has for a long time given such great care to that Council’s decrees and canons which are to be recalled and heeded, seeing that, since extremely grave matters and questions sprang up in that period, the Council Fathers employed all their diligence so that the Catholic faith should come into clearer view and be better understood. Without a doubt as the Holy Spirit inspired and prompted them, it was the Fathers’ greatest concern not only that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be defended, but also that mankind be more brightly illuminated, in order that the saving work of the Lord could be diffused throughout the entire globe and the Gospel be spread through the whole world.

Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal” [interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).


This is a significant letter.

First, it affirms that we can indeed, and rightly, Read Francis Through Benedict.

Second, it affirms that Francis is, and rightly, reading Francis Through Benedict.

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19 Responses to PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

  • “PopeWatch also wishes that it was not necessary to rely on such ‘tea leaves’ in figuring out where Pope Francis stands.”

    YES. This.

  • Ah yes, Fr. Z. You gotta admire his relentless optimism. He’s downright determined to make Francis into what he should be. God bless him for that.

  • My impression has been that Roman Catholicism crystallized with Trent; that it continues to teach the very same things. Is this correct, anyone?

  • Jon,

    Whether we are speaking of the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council, or any of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the very same Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, meets, preserves and passes on ( teaches) the Apostolic Tradition, the Catholic Faith. Now it does so under very different Historical contexts, with very different questions, problems, or issues that the Church needed to face and or address.

    When the Council of Trent met, between 1545 and 1565 (The bishops did not meet for twenty straight years; there were periods of time the Council was not in session), the Medieval world and world view was collapsing being replaced with the Renaissance. The Scholastic way of teaching was being replaced by the Humanist ( here don’t think of secular humanism). The culture was changing from an oracular ( based on hearing/listening) to literary ( reading) thanks to the invention of the printing press, bringing profound changes in communication. Although it is a myth that the Medieval world thought that the world was flat- they knew from the ancient Greeks it was round, Europeans now discovered the New World of the Americas, and their native people’s, as well as discovering just how big Africa was by sailing around its southern tip. Although not yet well known, Copernicus, a Polish cleric in minor orders, had already theorized that the sun, not earth was the center:we moved around it, not it around us, as the ancient Greeks and common perception would have it ( This would all blow up in the very poorly handled Galileo affair in the 1600’s)

    The Church, as in every age, needed reform and renewal. In many ways it had grown too comfortable with the Medieval world view, and confused that with her identity and Tradition. It is true, that in certain aspects of Church life, things needed to change-big time. She was still teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith using the Scholastic method, with disputations and argumentation-a method used in the Universities. While several generations of Catholic humanists were calling for a Return to the Sources: Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church ( for example, Erasmus and Saint (Sir) Thomas More), the Church in general was resistant.

    Catholic Reform however was being called for and within the religious orders especially, was underway. One of those reforming orders were the Augustinian Friars and one of their number was Father Martin Luther. His first calls for reform were met with genuine acceptance, because they were Catholic. Because it was a Dominican, John Tetzel, who set Luther off in the way Tetzel was presenting indulgences for the sake of building the new ( our present day) Saint Peter’s Basilica, it was thought that it was simply an argument between two monks. That was not the case. Soon the whole of Germany then Northern Europe was on fire ( Much of what happened can be traced to cultural differences between Northern and Southern Europe).

    As we have spoken before early Luther was indeed Catholic, but soon he himself became enflamed, becoming more and more radicalized. Other Reformers, even more radical at first joined with him, but later broke with him over doctrinal matters ( the biggest issue was the Eucharist which Luther believed to be the Body and Blood of Christ-although he did not hold the full Catholic Teaching on the subject; the other Reformers believed the Eucharist to be symbolic but not really Christ’s Bodily Presence). Luther’s biggest issue was justification by grace and received/ accepted by faith. He limited the sacraments to two, basing that teaching to his acceptance of Scripture alone. Calvin first followed him, then broke with his teaching. King Henry VIII first fought Luther’s teaching, then forced the whole Church in England to break with Rome and see him as head of the Church. The King of Sweden did not like his Cardinal in Stockholm’s policies and all but literally overnight made the whole Church in what are now the Scandanavian countries, bishops and all, Lutheran.

    It was in response to this firestorm that the Council of Trent was called. Luther, and Calvin were invited to the Council, but refused to go. The Council had two fundamental tasks, answer the doctrinal “questions and positions” of the Reformers and totally reform, not the substance of the Church ( teachings, sacraments, governance) but the way things were behind done. No change in moral teaching but in the morals of her members. There were two groupings within the Council, one group wanted to present Church teaching, reform her ways, but be more irenic ( peaceful) toward the Reformers and their Reformation. Cardinal Reginald Pole was among their number as was the Father General of the Capuchins. They in no way accepted the teaching of the Reformers, but thought reconciliation with the Reformers might still be possible, and wanted the Council to work toward that goal. The other group, intensely reformist, believed that the Reformers wre in fact ” gone”, no reconciliation was possible. They wanted to present the Church’s teaching clearly in response to and in rejection of the Reformers. There was no real dispute in the Council over the teachings of the Church or the need for a deep reform of the Church. The dispute was how best to present and go about this reform. The second group prevailed.

    When the Council of Trent ended on December 4th, 1565, it was the same Catholic Church that emerged from it that had entered the Council, but it nonetheless looked very different. The Medieval Catholic Church had emerged from the Council, the Church of the early Modern Era, “the Tridentine” Catholic Church.

  • I am with Elizabeth: Fr. Z is an optimist and I hope he will be right. However: Two points: the hermeneutic of rupture obviously exists, or Benedict XVI would not have spent so much time and effort trying to remediate the problem. Just anecdotally: how many times have you spoken to a priest about a matter and gotten the “Oh,-we- dont-teach-that-doctrine-since-V2-anymore” response. Recently, I brought some very good extra Catholic books to a good priest I know and admire, for his distribution to other Catholics: when he looked at some of them (all classic works, all imprimatur, some were Pre V2 catechisms), he demurred, saying, “Oh we dont teach that since Vatican II.” My point: on the ground level, there was a rupture in teaching at V2.
    2nd point: Pope Francis is being reined in—by someone, or some group of people, after his recent rhetorical blunders. DICI, a trad publication notes: “…The interview that Pope Francis granted on October 1 at the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, this interview, which was available on the Vatican website, was taken down on November 15, at the request of the Secretariat of State. One question-and-answer had already been condemned by L’Osservatore Romano, the one in which the Pope declared that everyone had his concept of good and evil and that he had to follow his conscience.

    On the day after the publication of the interview, faced with the dismayed reactions of many Catholics, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, had explained that this was neither a Magisterial document nor an encyclical, but rather an occasion for the Supreme Pontiff to express himself “with great sincerity and simplicity” (sic). In order to justify the decision to remove it from the Vatican website, Fr. Lombardi declared: “The text is reliable on a general level, but not on the level of each individual point analyzed,” since the interview had not been recorded and no written notes were taken. Pope Francis has to stop making his personalistic comments declaratory of the Catholic Church, pure and simple. As documented before, he has a deficient theological background (certainly when compared to JP2 and BXVI). The time to get a clue has come.

  • Thanks, Botolph, for that rather thoughtful explanation of things. I don’t think cultural differences were responsible for the profound change during this era, except in part insofar as the emergence of political nationalism and some differentiation of national identity began to emerge–though not too much. Actually, the PRotestant churches would further facilitate nationalism. Thanks for explaining the Roman church today as tridentine. I wanted to know if Vatican II brought any significant alterations, but it does not seem so. Theologically, you say it is tridentine I think.
    Interestingly, the Renaissance worldview was Medieval; it was just more elaborate (see Tillyard’s the Elizabethan World Picture). C. S. Lewis drove home the point that all we have, generally speaking, are pictures, and the intellectuals of any time usually know that. People sensed the world was round and revolving around the sun and so on, but people also have other models and approaches that work better for practical purposes, and then there’s popular or common prejudices, etc.
    I think tradition is oftentimes legitimate. The difference, and what’s at stake, is the question of its role. Protestants wish to keep tradition subservient to Scripture. The apostolic era is done and the canon is closed. To place tradition on an equal footing with Scripture at this point would create serious problems.
    When christendom split at the Reformation, cultural differences emerged. Generally, cultural differences were the effect, not the cause of that split. The cause of the split was tension that built up over Scripture versus church tradition, with the south mainly siding with Rome on tradition and the north, for different reasons, siding mostly with Scripture and independent thought.
    Some people wanted political change, others were humanists, and still others were purists of the Christian faith. The English and Scandinavian revolutions were propelled by political interests more than theological per se. But note that within the political movements new churches often emerged solely over theological reasons.
    The central difference then and more so now from my perspective is this: Roman Catholicism places tradition on a par with Scriptrure while Protestantism’s only/ultimate authority remains Scripture. Do you agree?

  • Jon,

    First, let me make this point, a point often overlooked or under rated by many. Since 1545, the year the Council of Trent bega, the Catholic Church has had three Ecumenical Councils: Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II. These three Councils are intricately related ( just as the first four Councils are). Although all Councils need to be seen and interpreted within the whole Catholic Tradition, these three cannot be understood without eac other. All three are ultimately about the Mystery of the Church at the beginning of the Modern Era (Renaissance-Reformation: Trent), in response to radical aspects of the Enlightenment: Vatican I and finally in response the end of the Modern Age and the beginning of the Post Modern Era: Vatican II. Jon you are correct to call the present Church Tridentine, however within the new historical context of the beginning of the post modern era, it would be more precise to call today’s Church as post Vatican II.

    As to your questions concerning Tradition and Scripture, it is important to note that each of the three Councils just mentioned contain teaching on this subject, with a bit of development manifest in the next Council. Catholics and Protestants believe and hold to the the authority of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the full revelation of God ( see Hebrews 1.1). God had revealed Himself and His saving will in ” many and various ways through the prophets” but never fully. The fullness of Revelation is the Person of Jesus Christ, and in and through Jesus Christ.

    In turn, the Risen Christ handed on (Traditio) this full revelation to the Apostles, the Apostolic Tradition ( none of which was written down, except of course the Greek version of theHebrew Scriptures, which became through Christ, the Old Testament. Within the Apostolic generation some of that Apostolic Tradition was written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those inspired texts were accepted by the Apostolic and sub apostolic ( next generations) Church as authoritative and normative. Along with these Scriptures an authoritative summary and synthesis of the whole revelation, the word of God was also handed on: the Rule (canon) of Faith. This ancient and authoritative Rule of Faith was passed on generation after generation, to each new catechumen (convert) coming into the Church in the sacraments of Initiation. This ancient Rule of Faith, a particularly well known form of which we know as the Apostles’ Creed is authoritative and normative. It is completely drawn from the Scriptures, but it also interprets Scripture. Finally, when struggling with many texts all claiming apostolic authority or authorship (Gnostic texts etc), the early Church was able to discern the texts whether they were in continuity or faithful to the Rule of Faith.

    See, Jon, Scripture and Tradition are not totally separate sources of Revelation, the word of God. Like husband and wife the two, while distinct, are intimately one. This is the contribution of Vatican II. While maintaining the distinction of Scripture and Tradition, Vatican II emphasizes the authority of the revelation of God, the word of God, handed down by the Word of God made flesh to the Apostles who in turn handed the revelation down in the Apostollic Tradition. Two particular forms of this revelation, word, Tradition are Sacred Scripure and Sacred Tradition in the Rule of Faith and Apostolic Succession.

  • Botolph, I agree tradition was ongoing in the sense that the apostles taught and wrote and this body of teaching continued to be transmitted. I totally understand that. I just think eventually other teachings that were alien to Christianity ‘crept in’ and became part of that (T)radition. So I believe we have to unravel the true traditions from the false ones. Further, some traditions aren’t false but merely extra-biblical. These are not binding. That’s my take on tradition. In other words, not all tradition is sacred, and not everything that’s sacred is authoritative and normative. I hold to a more nuanced and complex understanding of tradition.

  • Jon,

    First let me say that I have been using Tradition with a capital T. That distinguishes it from tradition or traditions with a diminutive t. The distinction is very important for Catholics. Tradition with a capital T is the Apostolic Tradition, Revelation which as you rightly stated in your earlier post was closed at the end of the Apostolic Age. This Apostolic Tradition can only be handed down to new generations, be preserved and protected. Nothing can be added to this Tradition or subtracted from it-by anyone- not even the popes and bishops. This Apostolic Tradition is especially manifested in the Sacred Scriptures but not limited to them. I believe that is the rub for Protestants.

    Let me ask you this. Where do you find, in any of the Books of the Bible, but for the sake of argument we will stick to the NT, the list of the Canon of the Scriptures, which books made it into the New Testament? This becomes a real issue for Protestants when the Da Vinci Code or National Geographic or the History Channel start talking about some new book found or papyrus fragment discovered claiming to be some lost writing of an apostle. Or how can you, on the basis of only referring to the Books of the Bible, declare the extra books added by the Mormons or the peculiarities of. Mormon or Jehovah Witness translations of the Bible, or even the criticisms of Moslems who claim that both Jews and Christians have corrupted Scripture but the Quuran gets them right: how can “you” answer these points, criticisms and objections using only the texts of Sacred Scripture? What, then is your authority that validates the Sacred Scriptures, since no Christians believe the Scriptures were authored only by God Himself, as the Moslems do the Quuran?? Who has the ability/ authority to choose which books made it and which books did not? By what substantive criteria do “they” use to decide this- remember, there are many books with apostole’s name on the text?

    See Jon, Apostolic Tradition both contains and passes on Apostolic Succession: the Apostolic College (Peter and Apostles) is passed on down through the centuries in the Popes, the successors of Peter and the college of bishops in communion with him. In the second century the bishops, such as Saint Irenaeus, arrived at the beginnings of what we now call the Canon. First against Marcion who wanted to throw out the whole Old Testament and most of the New, because those books were too Jewish. Then which books claiming apostolic authorship and authority were authentic, based on two further criteria: agreement with the Rule of Faith and agreement with what the Church in Rome founded on Peter and Paul, believed and taught.

    Tradition is what has been handed down, authoritatively taught, celebrated ( all seven sacraments) and preserved and not added to, by the Catholic Church. Tradition is the essence, substance of the Church and cannot be changed only developed and explained. Everything else is tradition with a small t, and while venerable etc are not of the essence or substance of the Church and can be changed.

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  • The church did not decide the canon; it discerned it. Protestants believe that and trust the Holy Spirit’s role in that. So any texts introduced later on are considered bogus. Remember, we have the Spirit within which knows the truth as well as the spirit of Antichrist. If you read the gospel of Thomas, for example, you’ll sense you’re dealing with a different spirit.
    The church is always advancing theology, which in one sense can be considered development. But Protestants understand theology is subject to scriptural critique and may be scrapped at any time. We always ‘go back’ to the Bible for continual correction. So Protestants mean something different when they speka of tradition. It’s not really development, but contextualization and re-contextualization. In terms of this, what tradition looks like now can be quite different from what it looks like somewhere else in the future. The traditions in Scripture, however, must be upheld at all times.
    Viewed from one angle, the only difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism lies in terms of how tradition is defined and/or the role afforded it. Your thoughts?

  • Jon,

    How Catholics and Protestants define Tradition and the role afforded it is sadly not the only issue dividing Catholics and Protestants. While a Protestant can come to the Catholic Church and receive one doctrinal or moral truth when asked (here I am speaking of actual, genuine, authoritative teaching- not some ‘theological theory or opinion’) a Catholic cannot go to an authoritative Protestant source. How many denominations and non denominational groups are there? I am not attempting to be sarcastic here, just frustrated. Last count I heard there are well over thirty thousand denominations!

    The crux of the matter between Catholic and Protestant ” positions” is the relationship between Christ and the Church. Is the Church the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12), His visible presence in the world-or not? Is. The Church the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5) , the New Eve (Gen 2), drawn from the pierced side of the New Adam as He slept in death (Jn 19) and receiving new life from Her Spouse in the Garden of the Resurrection (Jn 20) which in turn, by the power of the Holy Spirit She is able to share with Her children in and through the Sacraments?

    Is the Church, according to Christ’s intention and the ‘ constitution’ He gave Her a visible or invisible community? If invisible why did He pray at the Last Supper that ” they may be one” (Jn 17)? If She was invisible who could tell and how could they tell that She was or was not “one”? When Christ ascended into heaven did He leave a Book or a Church? Can one really claim that the only way the Apostles left their authority to the future generations of the Church only in the Scriptures ? If so, how can the Scriptures ” assert” their authority without a Church reading, interpreting and yes, coming to conclusive and authoritative decisions concerning their meaning? Or are we truly left bereft with every person deciding his own interpretation?

    I will take this moment to again ask- why are you carrying on this kind of ” dialogue”? Are these questions that you have really leading anywhere or is this just a continuous dialogue carried on as if all we have are opinions outside the Scriptures themselves-which of course themselves are opened to endless interpretations with no hope of really arriving. at an authoritative Truth? To each response that I have written, you seem to simply give back the “Protestant” position with no real movement toward further insight into the truth-at least it comes off this way. If we aren’t getting anywhere, the point of this is……what?

  • I think it’s a matter of degree. If by authoritative you mean the ability to commmunicate the gospel message and to bring it to bear on all of life, I would say that some Protestant churches do that and others don’t. That’s about as authoritative as I would expect, given the Bible is a story that culminates in the Kingdom of God and its implications. It’s a matter of believing it and becoming a part of it by faith. This also means recognizing our bankrupcy before God and his gracious gift, i. e. Jesus Christ. Plenty of churches exist that will speak prophetically and authoritatively about that. Unfortunately, many Protestant denominations choose to adopt liberal progressivism; they capitalize on the social justice aspect to the detriment of everything else. This is a travesty. These are the churhes that are unable to speak prophetically (except when it is a social matter–and oftentimes they’re wrong on those matters).
    I know many denominations and non-denominational groups exist. This was never a problem for me. I never thought of the church in the Roman Catholic sense. I only wish these grouops accepted each others’ diversity to a greater extent. Too often, they critisize and judge each other. A loving acceptance of the diversity of Christ’s body demonstrates the unity we have in Christ. The diversity is by no means a sign that we aren’t one. Of course Christ and his body are inseparable. I do not think the church must always be visibly apparent and structurally unified across time and space.
    We can and often do misread the Bible. God’s people are guided by the Spirit who is our interpreter, and that’s an ongoing process. It is not that every person decides meaning for themselves. All authentic Christians agree on the essentials of our faith. Disagreement arises concerning various particulars.
    I think you may be framing the debate in terms that are way too black-and-white. I would like to reiterate that my positoin and the position of many Christians is more complex and nuanced, not necessarily representing the stereotypically Protestant viewpoint. You seem to say the Roman Church has truth and can speak authoritatively. Well, I would point out that otehr chruches exist, which do the same. Tradition is an element for many Christian groups, but Protestants generally define it differently from Catholics.
    I suspect, in fact, that the major difference really is the role of tradition. When a church believes in the PRotestant understanding of the role of tradition, it is interpreted in terms of Scripture. Scripture is used to make sense of everything else.
    The purpose of this dialogue, as I said before, is to gain mutual insight into each others’ positions as well as our own. I think you sense we’re at an impasse now, and that is probably the role of tradition. That seems to be what it all comes down to, even if it doesn’t look like that from where you’re standing.

  • Of course a major difference exists beyond all this, but it’s rooted in the broader problem of the role of traditiion. That difference entails justification. Is one justified by faith alone or by faith and works? My response is that we’re justified by faith alone, and that that fatih will necessarily bear fruit. So we’re justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone if that makes sense. I think the distinction is crucial. Portions of Scripture abound that hammer it in.

  • Jon,

    Actually we have come not to an impass but crossroads. The real issue is not the role and authority of Tradition (Luther’s principle of Scripture alone), or how we are saved ( Luther’s principle of “faith alone”). These are indeed important and have been answered in the Council of Trent. The real issue is the Truth. We both believe Jesus Christ is the Truth. We both believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. However beyond that agreement is harder to find.

    Let me say this. Anything I say about the Catholic Church, Her teachings, Her Sacraments, Her ‘ government’ given to us by Christ, I say in humility. I have been given the gift of faith in God, in Jesus Christ and in Hiis Holy Spirit in the Church ( communion-fellowship of the Spirit). At a very young age I believed God loved me and that I was a child of God. A bit later in life I encountered Christ Who entered my life in a very deep way and lifted me up, guiding me along life’s paths, and has led me to this point. I have come realize that the Church is not an institution ” over there”, or those people ” over there”. The Church is ” We”, “us”. All who believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and confess with their lips that God raised Him from the dead and is baptized is a member of the Church-perhaps not (yet) in full communion with the Church, but are indeed a child of God, a member of the Body of Christ and (unless in serious post-baptismal sin) a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.

    Catholics do not possess the truth, instead we are grasped by the Truth. That truth sets us free. By the grace of the Spirit we are maintained in the Truth. With Christ’s own commission we teach everything Christ has taught us in making disciples of all nations, and are empowered by the Spirit to do so.

    What I am about to sat, Jon, you will no doubt have difficulty hearing, never mind accepting. However it is this: by Christ’s own promise and the Gift of the Spirit of Truth, the Catholic Church in substance, in Her essentials, is the same Church of the Apostolic Age, the age of the Fathers, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Modern era, and now the Post-modern age. That is not a boast. We can only boast in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. However it is the truth, to which I am called to witness. “I can do no other, so help me God”

  • Thank you for your testimony! I’m glad you point out that Jesus Christ is the Truth to which the Spirit witnesses. But I sense you still need the church to be visibly and institutionally one, whereas unity in the Spirit is sufficient according to my understanding. The nature of the church is an issue that’s part of a larger one: the role of tradition. So in a sense, as I said before, Sola Scriptura is the central dividing point; our differences relate to the role of tradition. It is in relation to this that the justification issue and all others are decided. What do you think?

  • Jon,

    As I stated before, we have reached a crossroads. We are no longer ” on the (same) road together”. We are no longer really speaking with each other, but sadly, past each other. That to me is an exercise in frustration. I know Catholic doctrine and Protestant interpretations do not agree, and so do you.

    I think it is interesting to note that you keep pointing out or insisting that it is Tradition/Sola Scriptura that is the flash point, when both Catholics and Lutherans stated the fundamental issue was ” justification” Catholics and Lutherans have pondered, prayed over and worked in a constructive dialogue that led to a joint confession: we are justified by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith”. We finally got past the now centuries old argument between faith alone and faith and works. I also would point out that this is the teaching of the Council of Trent.

    Since our paths are diverging once again, I wish you well, pray that the Lord blesses you and yours. I won’t be entering into any further dialogue on Catholic/Protestant differences with you on this blog site. However I do pray that we might ” merrily meet in heaven”, as Saint Thomas More once prayed

  • Thanks, Botolph. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Jon,

    Thank you A happy Thanksgiving to you as well! God bless you

PopeWatch: Rabbi Skorka

Friday, November 22, AD 2013




The Washington Post has an interesting interview with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, an Argentinian Conservative, that is a religious not a political designation, Rabbi.   Lots of background on his relations with the Pope in Argentina.  PopeWatch found this passage especially intriguing:

Skorka said the pope’s study was filled with papers on chairs and books on the floor. (”Don’t imagine everything is ordered,” the rabbi said, laughing.) One of the books had been sent and inscribed by the dissident theologian Hans Kung. “Both of us stood one very close to the other trying to read the German dedication,” Skorka said. “Something like, ‘You already did a lot, but the world expects from you to continue doing very important things.’”

The rabbi said the pope is aware that some religious conservatives, inside and outside the church, are unsettled by his approach. Francis has said Catholic leaders have been driving people away by talking too much about divisive social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. The pope has dropped some of the more regal trappings of the papacy. He uses a Ford Focus instead of fancier cars in the Vatican fleet and wears only the most basic clothes.

“He is receiving very, very harsh criticism from people who don’t like a pope without red shoes, and a pope who speaks to people in a very simple and direct language, and a pope who will transmit to people that he is close to them, that he in some way hugs them through jokes and through simple words and through simple expressions,” Skorka said. “The criticism he is suffering from is not new for him. He already had this kind of pressures and other kind of pressures during his serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, so he knows exactly how to handle these pressures. He’s a very strong man and he will go ahead.”

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13 Responses to PopeWatch: Rabbi Skorka

  • Yes, It is a little concerning to think that the pope’s good friend would be under the impression that the concern is about the trappings, red shoes and friendliness. Give us more credit than that! The concerns are not “worldly”.
    In contrast the message from Kung does not refer to God but to the world. . “Something like, ‘You already did a lot, but the world expects from you to continue doing very important things.’”

  • It seems Kung is a troubling author to many people. I wonder why the red shoes would be so important to some.

  • It’s not the red shoes, per se, that I think some find troubling. It is what they represent. I can understand wanting to set the example of being a more simple soul, and living in a more simple way, but to some extent, that is not possible with certain offices. Recall Jimmy Carter tried to take that same approach to the presidency (drove some chevy impala or something rather than the pres limo, etc.). While the gesture can be sincere and have merit, it also has the unintended consequence of somewhat cheapening the office. Much like using non-precious materials for the chalice. We use gold to show respect for what is contained in the chalice not so much because God needs it, but because WE do to remind us of the inestimable value of what it holds. Kings wear crowns not just for themselves but also to remind others who is king.

  • any writing from Hans Kung belongs on the floor.

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  • Anzlyne.
    The world expects vs. Our Lords expectations.
    To an unchanging God might our hearts and minds be focused.
    I pray the lenses are crisp for Holy Father.

  • It seems to me that there is a great to do about small things. We must always keep in mind that it was the Holy Spirit who placed Archbishop Bergoglio on the Seat of Peter. He is showing a loving face to the world and I truly believe he is exactly the Pope we need in this time. He is a blessing to the Church and the world.

  • If, and I emphasize ” if” red shoes and other “trappings” of a Medieval and Renaissance papacy are an issue among some Catholics, then it is time to readjust our sights. Instead, we need to see the profound need for intellectual, moral and affective ongoing, lifelong conversion within the Church.

    “This is the time of fulfillment, the Reign (Rule, Kingdom) of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1.15-16). The first and fundamental conversion is for each person to come to a deep, existential. Encounter with the Risen Christ in the Church. In turn this deep encounter begins to transform the individual in mind ( intellectual conversion), will ( moral conversion) and heart (affective conversion). This deep conversion away from existential ignorance (intellect), sin ( will) and the false self ( heart) turns toward the Lord and brings us to what Fr Robert Barron describes as the ecstasy of the intellect (faith), will ( hope) and heart ( charity).

    This will come when, without compromise or equivocation we clearly proclaim Jesus Christ, the Way (will), the Truth (intellect) and the Life ( heart), in Whom the Righteousness ( Justice, Holiness) of God has been revealed apart from (distinct from yet fulfilling) the Law ( see Romans 3)

    Pope Francis has his work cut out for him. The issue at hand is not red shoes, but the total renewal of the Church. Our habitual approach has been to ” confront” our culture with the teachings of the Church on such issues as abortion. However, the culture cannot grasp such teachings if the culture has not yet been evangelized, encountering Christ in the Gospel. In the meantime, those within the Church are languishing because ‘we’ are not continually turning to Christ and unpacking (catechizing) what faith in Him means at a deep, existential level, where the Faithful (clergy, laity, religious) really live.

  • Botolph-
    Great synopsis.
    Lifelong relationship with the Risen Christ is ongoing conversion, love of neighbor, gratitude in all phases of life (sorrows & joys).
    My question is; if the culture has not yet been evangelized and persecution of Catholics becomes the norm, then one might assume that it will be OUR martyrdom that is required to remove the scales from the eyes of the indifferent?

    Fr. John Hardon (d.2000) predicted this event if men didn’t place Relationship with God first in their hearts.

  • Philip,

    In Acts 1 the Risen Lord states, “You will Ben My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria ( ancient Israel restored) even to the ends of the world (fullness of New Covenant Israel of God-the Church)”. The key is the word ” witnesses”. When living the fullness of the Christian life, our lives themselves are the witness a nd fundamental level of evangelization. Each and everyone of us are called ” to be able to give reason for our hope”(1 Peter 3). At this level, we are able to say in some form: “I was…..”, “Jesus did ( in some way acting on my behalf at an extremely deep-existential-level of my life), and finally, ” Now,……”

    Our living of the Gospel and how Christ has ” mercy-ed” me are the first levels of witness. A more involved proclamation of the Kerygma is the next level of witness: God has loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son so that we might be reconciled through Christ’s death and resurrection and living in communion with the Blessed Trinity (vertical dimension) and with one another in the communion of the Church ( horizontal dimension)-now come into ( or return to) this new life in Christ and share in our love and joy.

    Now, Philip, to your point: because of the existential ignorance, habitual sin, and hardened hearts within the larger culture, thos simply being witnesses by living the Gospel will find themselves more and.more marginalized. We already see the gross exaggerations of our faith and morals, our young are brainwashed into a secularist mind set ( living and acting as if God does not exist). This “spirit of the age” is gaining power and influence. We are all but in the age of confessors: witnesses who do not suffer death, but are persecuted in many other ways. At certain points and in certain places, the “spirit of the age” will rise up and create martyrs.

    The spirit of the age will also attack within the Church. We are already weakened by the schism between Catholic and Orthodox; we are further weakened by the fragmentation within Protestant Christianity. In many ways the divisions already reveal ” the spirit of the world” within the Church. However, there will be those who seek and in some cases teach that the Church needs to get with the times, conform with the age and cease being a “sign of contradiction”. On the other hand, this spirit of the age will reveal itself in those who are rigid, as if the Christian life is nothing more than firmness of will (pelagius), purists, who see the Church as more of a sect, for the few, rather than what it is, a community ( hospital) of mercy for sinners.

    The question is: are we ready? Am I ready?

  • We must always keep in mind that it was the Holy Spirit who placed Archbishop Bergoglio on the Seat of Peter.

    For the last time, as a matter of theology, this is simply incorrect. The selection process is guided by the Holy Spirit, but that doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit selects the Pontiff.

  • Indeed, that is the opinion of Pope Emeritus Benedict. He also points out that there have been pontiffs that the Holy Spirit could never have wanted to be Pope!

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PopeWatch: Here I Leave my Pain

Thursday, November 21, AD 2013

5 Responses to PopeWatch: Here I Leave my Pain

  • What a wonderful expression “here I leave my pain.” Simple and profound.

  • “Mercying me, He called me” These are the striking words, taken from Venerable Bede’s homily on the Feast of Saint Matthew, and found in the Liturgy of the Hours.. The Latin does not easily translate into English, but as Pope Francis himself points out, what the Lord did and continues to do is best translated as “mercy ing”.

    Here, in this word, we find what we could call, ” the mission statement” in Matthew’s Gospel for the Church ( all that the Lord teaches and does in the Gospel is mercy”). It is certainly what Pope Francis considers to be his ” mission statement”. Mercy. Mercy. Mercy

  • We come to know and believe that God is Love and he that abides in Love abides in God and God in Him ergo; Pope Francis

  • This is a very touching, moving story. The Christian tradition inspires us to embrace all people in a spirit of love, compassion, and equally as important, solidarity. I think of John Merrick and all of his happy visitors in the movie “The Elephant Man.” In a non-Christian climate, it’s quite possible such people would typically be avoided or maligned.

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PopeWatch: Down the Memory Hole

Wednesday, November 20, AD 2013

5 Responses to PopeWatch: Down the Memory Hole

  • “Why was it put up?”

    To show the Pope’s outreach and open-mindedness and tolerance and embrace of diversity of opinion.

    “Why was it taken down?”

    Because it is an embarrassment due to the unorthodoxy that appears in the Pope’s alleged remarks.

    I do not think this Pope is detail-oriented. Further, I don’t attribute any deliberate intent on his part to be unorthodox. But he just doesn’t carefully weigh his words when speaking to an atheist, a secularist, a liberal. Both JP II and B XVI were detail-oriented. True, both made mistakes from time to time. But Francis’ mistakes are more blatant and frequent, and almost always seized on by the main stream media as confirmation of imagined Church permission for the modern life style of hedonism and paganism. I cannot believe that the Pope intends that, especially given many of his other remarks about Satan.

  • I’ve been pondering this point since Sunday.

    Might it not be that His Holiness takes Luke 21 and Mark 13 literally and is simply not worrying about how what he says as Pope will be interpreted.

    I have read that he was much more closed and careful before he became pope. Perhaps he is simply trusting that God will inspire? Given the effect his words have had on fallen-away Catholics that I know – people who are far less concerned with the actual text than the general themes of mercy, welcome, and clerical service, perhaps it is my lack of faith that is making me worry too much.

  • I agree! His Holiness needs to mark his words much more carefully. As I always felt about Mary Magdalene. Jesus said,” go and sin no more.” He forgave instantly but the point was made implicitly. He didn’t jump into bed with her. and that all seemed to turn out well. She was the first at the tomb with the other women. If it was ok for Jesus to call a spade a spade then it would be well for the Holy Father to do the same. Give em and inch and they take a mile.

  • First, it is about time that this interview was taken down from the Vatican web site. At first, I thought it was simply the translation that was faulty. While this also was the case, the problem with this ” interview” goes much deeper. The Italian editor ego had the interview with Pope Francis, had no paper or computer to take notes, nor did he have any recording device. That alone should send up flags ( so that I am clear, my ‘ irritation’ is with the Curia-understood in the widest understanding of the word). Further, the man is an atheist- which means he cannot really understand the theological import of his own questions never mind the responses of the Pope.

    There is no question in my mind that the pope was experiencing the euphoria of ” the honeymoon” ( on this level, not something unique to newlyweds-it is a common phenomenon). I believe also that he wanted to communicate ” the vision” of the Church and his ministry (here I am not speaking as if this vision was not consistent with Church teaching: Pope Francis is orthodox, a son of the Church, accepting of her teaching-I am speaking of his particular emphasis). However, those within the necessary but very frequently problematic bureaucracy called the Curia, who know the lay of the land in Rome and Italy, have revealed a new level of incompetency. We have all heard by now of Pope Francis’ complaint to the editor of Osservatore Romano for publishing the interview. We can thank the new Secretary of State, a seasoned diplomat in the school of Cardinal Casaroli ( certainly a great Sec of State of the Vatican)

    Our Holy Father has slowly revealed how he will work in the future. He sees his ministry in the ancient understanding of the Petrine Ministry: Peter’s primary mission is that of being the visible sign of and instrument of unity- communion in and of the Church. This reveals why he emphasizes mercy so much. The foundation of unity is reconciliation, as Christ said, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to Myself”

    In John 21, Our Lord asked Peter if he loved Him more than even the other apostles. The Petrine Ministry must embody this love-yes even to speaking an unpopular word of the truth. However, the word he speaks is the word of the Gospel of Christ, this is the Truth, but the Truth with Love.

    Pope Francis, much like Blessed John Paul, has the head of the Congregation of the Faith, archbishop Mueller, a Benedict appointment, dealing with strictly theological issues, and giving theological foundations for approaching issues ( as we have just seen on the issue of divorce and remarriage) although a little early to get the full picture, I believe the new Secretary of State will be another key figure, certainly with the public, international face of the Church, but perhaps with even more responsibility. His taking down this crazy interview might be a sign of what is to come

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PopeWatch: Progressives

Tuesday, November 19, AD 2013



As PopeWatch has noted, Pope Francis is a complicated man.  From a sermon yesterday, November 18, 2013:

God save us from the “hegemonic uniformity ” of the “one line of thought”, “fruit of the spirit of the world that negotiates everything”, even the faith.  This was Pope Francis’ prayer during mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on a passage from the Book of Maccabees, in which the leaders of the people do not want Israel to be isolated from other nations , and so abandon their traditions to negotiate with the king.


They go to “negotiate ” and are excited about it. It is as if they said “we are progressives; let’s follow progress like everyone else does”.   As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that this is the “spirit of adolescent progressivism” according to which “any move forward and any choice is better than remaining within the routine of fidelity”. These people, therefore , negotiate “loyalty to God who is always faithful” with the king. “This is called apostasy”, “adultery.” They are, in fact, negotiating their values​​, ” negotiating the very essence of being faithful to the Lord .”
“And this is a contradiction: we do not negotiate values​​, but faithfulness. And this is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world , who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness.  And then there are the direct consequences. They accepted the habits of the pagan, then a further step: the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful, rather, each with own customs but united, but it is the hegemonic uniformity of globalization, the single line of thought . And this single line of thought is the result of worldliness . “
And after “all peoples had adapted themselves to the king’s demands, they also accepted his cult , they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath .”Step by step”, the moved along this path. And in the end “the king raised an abomination upon the altar of devastation”. “But, Father , this also happens today ! . Yes, because the worldly spirit exists even today, even today it takes us with this desire to be progressive and have one single thought . If someone was found to have the Book of the Covenant and if someone obeyed the law, the king condemned them to death : and this we have read in the newspapers in recent months . These people have negotiated the fidelity to the Lord and this people , moved by the spirit of the world , negotiated their own identity , negotiated belonging to a people, a people that God loves so much that God desires to be like Him . “

The Pope then referred to the 20th century novel, “Master of the World” that focuses on “the spirit of worldliness that leads to apostasy”. Today it is thought that “we have to be like everyone else, we have to be more normal , like everyone else, with this adolescent progressivism .” And then “what follows is history”: “the death sentences, human sacrifices”. “But you think that today there are no human sacrifice s? There are many, many ! And there are laws that protect them .”
” But what consoles us faced with the progress of this worldly spirit, the prince of this world , the path of infidelity, is that the Lord is always here, that he can not deny Himself , the Faithful One : He is always waiting for us, He loves us so much and He forgives us when we repent for a few steps, for some small steps in this spirit of worldliness, we go to him, the faithful God. With the spirit of the Church’s children, we pray to the Lord for His goodness, His faithfulness to save us from this worldly spirit that negotiates all , to protect us and let us move forward, as his people did through the desert , leading them by the hand like a father leads his child. The hand of the Lord is a sure guide”.

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17 Responses to PopeWatch: Progressives

  • The reference to Benson’s “Lord of the World” (the translation mangles the title) is intriguing. That novel still has the power to chill.

  • Thank you- great information.

    I prob should read the book- I hate to read “chilling” stuff 🙁 seems like I’ve got enough of that already

  • Written 100 years ago, it reads like it was written 100 days ago.

  • Read it last year. The antagonist is the American President who becomes world leader. He is described as coming from Vermont with a backgroud that no one really knows. Also describes a radically secular society where religion is a first an oddity and then an evil.

    Yes, it reads like it was written yesterday. (Not to give an apocalyptic meaning to Obama.)

  • “Yes, it reads like it was written yesterday. (Not to give an apocalyptic meaning to Obama.)”

    Obama is far too incompetent to be the Antichrist.

  • I agree. I wrote that as I could see someone starting a useless blog war claiming that I was referring to Obama as the Antichrist. He is liar but not the Father of Lies.

  • It sounds to me like Pope Francis’ handlers have advised him to take an equal swipe at the other end of the religious spectrum in this homily against “progressives”. But at some point, people who try this tightrope walk (Paul VI; John XXIII; or even John McCain and LIndsey Graham) are going to settle into the actual intellectual and spiritual position they are comfortable with, and based on all that is so far available to us on the Bergoglio pope, it is doubtful that he is going to end up a traditionalist.

  • Once again, I think of how God’s kingdom transcends human institutions and values. It is a comprehensive vision, but one rooted in a story that entails Creation and Fall. It is a story that finds its resolution in the cross of Christ, where God’s peace and reconiliation are brought to the world. It is the ongoing story of that kingdom which has come. What we do now and what the future holds results from God’s plan in Christ, and our understanding of progress can never be divorced from that. During the 1960’s, revolutionary thought at times separated itself from the Gospel and its narrative roots, and when that happens, disaster ensues. The Guyana tragedy bore that out.

  • Vermont, Chicago, still the same bo.

  • Thanks for posting this, Don. I’ve gotten way too busy the last couple weeks to keep up with news much at all, but I’m glad that I didn’t miss this sermon. I think you get a really interesting sense of Francis from it.

  • In reading the fuller version of Pope Francis’ words, I realize his words, very much flowing from the Book of Maccabees, has a two pronged approach. He first radically criticizes the hegemony ( dictatorship) of a so called progressive culture (Greek for the Jews at the time; aggressive secularist hegemony of Western democracies) which imposes itself on other cultures but most importantly the People of God, Israel and the Church.

    However, the other prong goes after those within the People of God- at least by birth and/or name-who in what Pope Francis calls, adolescent progressivism, seek to reject or ignore Tradition and seek to move forward, totally acccomodating themselves to the spirit of the age, ceasing to be the People of God in any substantial way.

    Along with the now well known letter to Archbishop Marchetto, this homily reveals Pope Francis’ emphasis on the hermeneutic of continuity and a rejection of the progressivist element within the Church that seeks to change doctrines of the Church in order that the Church be transformed by the culture (which we sadly see in the mainline Protestant communities). The Church as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world. For the sake of the world and it’s salvation, the Church must remain faithful as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. She must remain distinct from the culture, but not rigid. Note Francis’ gentle invitation to our adolescent progressives in the Church who have taken steps in the wrong direction to return the God Who is faithful and merciful, and return home and be reconciled in full communion with the Church

  • Many progressive-minded people imagine things are reaching a convergence, and that educated, worldly people must come down on the side of history. They view their opponents as reactionary and backward.

  • George Steele Gordon: “Intellectuals, especially in the social sciences, have a nasty habit of thinking that, ‘This is the way the world should be, therefore this is the way the world can be.’

    “Sometimes the mind just boggles.

    “The Atlantic had an article (September or October 2012) with the title ‘Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don’t Realize It).’ I am always curious when intellectuals announce that the people (who in the American constitutional system serve as the sovereign power) don’t know what’s good for them (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) or don’t even know what they want.

    “Implicit in all of these revelations, of course, is the firmest, if never directly expressed, belief of the Left: That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions. Those few, those happy few, that band of liberal intellectuals, must do that for them.”

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  • To dispel ones “confusion” about Pope Francis read Homily where the Pope explained that a society that nurtures the elderly, is a society that protects its memory and future- referring to the role of grandparents passing on the Faith. Hence the warning about progressiveness (it could have been the same Homily or the one the following day.) The generation of “progressives” (ie. baby boomers), that lost the Faith and didn’t pass it on to their children. Etc etc etc


    Reading things in context, is always a good idea, if you want to gauge the Truth of the matter. As I assume “gauging the truth”, is the intetion here.

  • Calvin Coolidge came from Vermont and became President not long afters the book referred to was published. And Coolidge was a progressive, albeit a Christian one.

PopeWatch: Sarah Palin

Monday, November 18, AD 2013



Sarah Palin and Pope Francis!  Yes, PopeWatch is shooting for a thousand hits on this post!  Last week Sarah ran afoul of what PopeWatch assumes must be a new eleventh commandment:  Thou shalt not criticize Pope Francis!  Here is the offending video:


She actually said that she was taken aback because of a few things she had heard in the media indicating that some of the stances of the Pope seem liberal, but she goes on to state that she has not studied this in detail and that she was not going to trust the media.  PopeWatch thinks that such mild comments might even pass muster with a Francis defender like Mark Shea, who, if the Pope ever decreed that all Catholics must paint their bottoms yellow, would no doubt only inquire what shade.

So far, so banal.  However, what is interesting is that Palin felt compelled to apologize the next day:

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23 Responses to PopeWatch: Sarah Palin

PopeWatch: Atheists Praying for Pope

Saturday, November 16, AD 2013



PopeWatch has always treasured the line in A Man For All Seasons where Saint Thomas More notes that the World must construe according to its wits.  Alas, looking at such constructions often leaves one assuming that the World, in general, is completely witless.  Case in point an opinion piece by Jonathan Freedland that ran in The Guardian, that rag in England that makes Karl Marx appear positively moderate by comparison:

“My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost,” he tweeted in May. A day earlier he denounced as “slave labour” the conditions endured by Bangladeshi workers killed in a building collapse. In September he said that God wanted men and women to be at the heart of the world and yet we live in a global economic order that worships “an idol called money”.

There is no denying the radicalism of this message, a frontal and sustained attack on what he calls “unbridled capitalism“, with its “throwaway” attitude to everything from unwanted food to unwanted old people. His enemies have certainly not missed it. If a man is to be judged by his opponents, note that this week Sarah Palin denounced him as “kind of liberal” while the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs has lamented that this pope lacks the “sophisticated” approach to such matters of his predecessors. Meanwhile, an Italian prosecutor has warned that Francis’s campaign against corruption could put him in the crosshairs of that country’s second most powerful institution: the mafia.

As if this weren’t enough to have Francis’s 76-year-old face on the walls of the world’s student bedrooms, he also seems set to lead a church campaign on the environment. He was photographed this week with anti-fracking activists, while his biographer, Paul Vallely, has revealed that the pope has made contact with Leonardo Boff, an eco-theologian previously shunned by Rome and sentenced to “obsequious silence” by the office formerly known as the “Inquisition”. An encyclical on care for the planet is said to be on the way.

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6 Responses to PopeWatch: Atheists Praying for Pope

  • So is the Pope wrong on any of these issues (except possibly fracking and even a photo op isn’t necessarily an endorsement).

    The wealthy are called to be stewards of what God has given them. Just as we are forbidden to use others as objects of carnal gratification neither should we regard them as profit centers.
    On another Catholic blog I saw an “economic” examination of conscience: do I treat my employees fairly? do I do a full day’s work for a full day’s pay? for everyone, do I put $$$ ahead of acting ethically? Etc.

    Where the leftoids will be terribly disappointed is that His Holiness does not have an agenda. Or his agenda is too simple: everyone needs to be treated with dignity. No calls for Bangladesh ( or any other country) to establish OSHA or raise its minimum wage.
    What is happening with Francis reminds me of ++ Oscar Romero, in both cases misrepresented by the media and lots on the left trying to hide in their shadow. Of course a lot of the Pope’s statements haven’t helped.

  • IYou know, to claim “Sarah Palin denounced him as “kind of liberal” ” is not quite correct, especially in view of her apology later. She said “that Pope Francis has made “some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me.” She didn’t specify her concerns, but she added that “unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”

    Two days later, she apologised, saying “”It was not my intention to be critical of Pope Francis,” Palin wrote Thursday on Facebook, in reference to an interview earlier this week on CNN. “I was reminding viewers that we need to do our own homework on news subjects, and I hadn’t done mine yet on the Pope’s recent comments as reported by the media.” To me, that is a good apology. No ?

    If truth be told, much of what he is reported as saying has taken me aback, I still cannot quite make up my mind on Papa Bergolio.

  • thomas Collins,

    Pope Francis is wrong on fracking. So are you. Case closed.

  • A picture was taken with the Pope holding a no fracking shirt. He also has at times exchanged his zicchetto (Catholic yalmukah) for another person’s hat, often a sports hat. The hat does not mean he is suddenly going into sports. Standing with the shirt doesn’t mean he is making a statement, or will be making one on fracking.

    As for issues concerning the environment, the Church has had a statement about the environment since Genesis: having stewardship dominion over all creatures (Genesis1), naming all the animals and caring for the Garden (Genesis2) and the saving of the animals in the ark. To be more specific, Pope Francis has said nothing official concerning the environment, but Blessed John Paul, and Benedict did on multiple occasions and in some very authoritative ways. Are they wild eyed progressive tree huggers too?

    What I am about to say does not particularly pertain to Pope Francis or any pope, bishop etc. it pertains to all of us. Catholic does not mean liberal/ progressive. Neither does it mean conservative or traditionalist. Catholic transcends all the categories. Catholic means “universal” it also means ” pertaining to the whole”. It means far more than individual, group, tribal or ideological perspectives and categories

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  • Penguins Fan,

    fracking is a massive issue in Australia, particularly since a large part of our economy relies on agriculture.

    There are families that are fighting local councils because their children are becoming ill. It’s not hard to find such info on the net.

    There are two sides to every coin before you presumptuously accuse anyone of being wrong, it’s worth investigating the health issues of fracking, not to mention the issues it poses to farming land.

PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

Friday, November 15, AD 2013




Hattip to Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings.

This is interesting:

All the below is via Rorate, and before them via Sandro Magister.  Apparently, Pope Francis sent a letter to Bishop Marchetto, a former curial official.  He has authored a book that advocates for Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of reform in continuity” entitled The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A counterpoint for the history of the Council, which I have never read but is claimed to take a fairly traditional view of the Council and criticizes the progressive interpretation and implementation of Vatican II.

Pope Francis sent Bishop Marchetto a letter that not only calls Bishop Marchetto the “best interpreter” of Vatican II (would it not be preferable had the Council had the precision of a Trent or Vatican I where there was NO interpretation, because it’s meaning was crystalline?) but also thanks the bishop for correcting the Pope on some point.  The letter is below:

Dear Abp. Marchetto,


With these lines I wish to be close to you and join myself to the act of presentation of the book “Primato pontificio ed episcopato. Dal primo millennio al Concilio ecumenico Vaticano II” [Pontifical primacy and epicopate: from the first millennium to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council”] I beg you to consider myself spiritually present [there].


The topic of the book is an homage to the love that you have for the Church, a loyal and at the same time poetic love. Loyalty and poetry are not an object of trade: they cannot be bought or sold, they simply are virtues that are rooted in a heart of a son who feels the Church to be a Mother; or, in order to be more precise, and saying it with an Ignatian familiar “tone”, as “the Holy Mother Hierarchical Church”.  


You have made this love manifest in many ways, including correcting a mistake or imprecision on my part – and for that I thank you from my heart -, but above all it is manifest in all your purity in the studies made on the Second Vatican Council. I once told you, dear Abp. Marchetto, and I wish to repeat it today, that I consider you to be the best interpreter of the Second Vatican Council.  


I know that this is a gift from God, but I also know that you made it bear fruit. I am grateful to you for all the good that you do for us with your testimony of love for the Church, and I ask the Lord that you be abundantly blessed.


I beg you please not to forget to pray for me. May Jesus bless you, and may the Virgin protect you.


Vatican, October 7, 2013
Very interesting.  And perhaps very reassuring. We certainly seem to get widely variant presentations, if you will, of who Pope Francis is and what he believes, sometimes, I must say, even from the Pope himself.  There are denunciations of Pelagian restorationists but then there is more talk of satan than we’ve heard from a Pontiff in decades.  The rhetoric and emphases vary widely depending on who the audience of the moment is.  It could be that Pope Francis is an incredibly complex man with a deep but very subtle theology, or  there are other, less flattering interpretations of this conduct.
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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity

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  • would it not be preferable had the Council had the precision of a Trent or Vatican I where there was NO interpretation, because it’s meaning was crystalline?


    I do not believe there has ever been a church council whose meaning was so crystalline that it did not require decades and even centuries of extended interpretation. For example, the interpretation of Vatican I is still a work in progress, especially to those interested in ending the East/West schism. To the rest of us, it is simply too removed from the daily experience of being a Catholic to warrant extended contemplation or interpretation. In fact, given that most everyone now agrees that papal infallibility is, and should remain, a very narrow and constrained sliver of authority, one can legitimately wonder which side of that debate actually won.


    The same goes for the other councils. It is not that they were ever crystal clear, it is simply that other forces came into play that made continued reinterpretation irrelevant. The fact that we are not currently debating with Arians (in their original form, at least) has as much or more to do with political and military issues as with what some council supposedly settled. The cementing of the rift between Protestants and Catholics (and the fact that both are almost equally irrelevant to moderns) is why Trent is no longer a hot-button topic, but I doubt it took less than half a century for the “pre-Trent” forces (or whatever you wish to call the losing side) to admit defeat, except insofar as they were already dying out by the time the council was convened.


    The reason that Vatican II is still an ongoing issue has to do not with its clarity, or lack thereof, but with the fact that outside forces have not superseded the issues it raised. When that happens, it will not make the council any clearer. It will just mean that we will move on to arguing about other topics. And as in the case of Vatican I, I suspect in decades and centuries to come, we may yet have reason to speculate about who really won.

  • I agree that no council is crystalline. At Trent it was decreed, against the Lutherans, that the mass did not necessarily have to be in the vernacular. This was interpreted by the powers that be (mainly Cardinal Boromeo) to mean that it could only be in Latin. Vatican III reiterated that the mass did not necessarily have to be in Latin–which is interpreted: Latin is forbidden.

  • “The money phrase in the last paragraph is that it could be that Pope Francis is an incredibly complex man. PopeWatch believes that Pope Francis is complex.”

    I think Pope Francis is simple and straightforward. It is we who are complex, unable to receive his words and actions without tearing them apart and analysing them to death. Pope Francis is our Papa. Perhaps if we try to be like little children we might understand him better?

  • It is fanciful to describe the teaching of Trent as “crystalline.”

    Try the notorious 3rd canon of the 24th Session – “If anyone says, that those degrees only of consanguinity and affinity, which are set down in Leviticus, can hinder matrimony from being contracted, and dissolve it when contracted; and that the Church cannot dispense in some of those degrees, or establish others that may hinder and dissolve it; let him be anathema.” In other words, some of the Levitical degrees are dispensable, but which? The Council does not say (because there was no agreement) and the theologians and canonists have produced wagon-loads of commentary on this canon alone.

    Or, to take a more far-reaching example, the Council’s teaching on grace, free-will, election and predestination was so restricted, confining itself to condemning the more egregious errors of the Reformers, that for nearly two centuries after the council, one had the disputes between the Dominicans and the Jesuits (which the Congregatio de Auxiliis failed to resolve) and the Jansenist controversy that so divided the Church in France in particular. It was still a hot topic in the 18th century, with the old ground being revisited by Berti, Cardinal Norris and the Later Augustinians. Now the controversy has revived with the Nouvelle Théologie.

  • Donald,

    You certainly stirred a lot of interest in this post. The real issue in the Marchetto letter is that Pope Francis, whom Progressives in the Church have attempted to co opt, belongs solidly in the hermeneutic of continuity and reform “camp”. Of course this will not please ultra traditionalists who for different reasons see VII as a disruption in the Tradition of the Church, breaking with what has gone before.

    As to the interpretations of the Councils, I have to agree with what the others have said. However in fairness, I believe I can clear up some misconceptions concerning Trent.
    First, in order to respond to the radical positions of the Reformers, the Council of Trent presented the Tradition of the Church, and the Liturgy, in an ahistorical way. The Reformers had ” left the reservation” so to speak. The Council Fathers wanted to make very clear the Tradition of the Church and to maintain the true Liturgy of the Church against the Reformers’ theological and ritual attacks. However beside transmitting the teaching and making sure the Catholic Mass was protected, they made both as if there had never been development of doctrine ( which is not accurate) or that the Rman Rite itself had not undergone development over the centuries. Thus, for those of us who grew up in the pre VII days, we heard ” the Church never changes”. In matters of substance this certainly is true ( hermeneutic of continuity) but certainly not in the non essential aspects of the Church. Trent left us with the impression that there was no difference between Tradition and traditions.

    Secondly, when Trent ended in 1565 the Pope, I believe it was Saint Pius V immediately set up an authoritative commission to give authoritative interpretations of the Council’s teaching and disciplinary decrees. This left little room for accidental or intentional misinterpretation. The Pope also immediately published the Roman Catechism which really was the Catechism of and a sound interpretation of Trent. When Vatican II closed in 1965 ( a purposeful connection to Trent). Pope Paul VI did not set up an authoritative commission to interpret the teachings in Vatican II or to oversee the Liturgical renewal mandated by the Council. The substantial interpretation of the Council had to wait for the Extraordinary Synod in 1985 ( twenty years later) which called for a new Catechism (Catechism of the Catholic Church) not published until 1992. So much confusion and worse could have been avoided. As to the Liturgy, the Reform of the Reform really discovered by a close reading of the Introduction to the Roman Missal 2003 is still underway ( new translations, thank God). Pope Benedict was responsible for the reassertion of the pre-Tridentine tradition of some diversity of the Latin Rite ( the Ambrosian Rite had never been touched) however he enabled what now is called the Extraordinary From of the Roman Rite to be liberally celebrated. He also established the Anglican Usage Ordinariate (the Anglican liturgical tradition was based on the Medieval English variation of the Latn Rite called the Sarum Rite) Trent had suppressed all variants of the Latin Rite that were less than 200 years at the time.

    You can see how things might have seemed simple after the Council of Trent

  • I’ve said it before and feel once again … most all critiques of our pope’s communications needs to be done through the lens of a Latino and the cultural communication styles from which they sprout. We would be in err to view it from a European bent.

  • Botolph represents “When Vatican II closed in 1965 ( a purposeful connection to Trent (???)), Paul VI did not set up an authoritative commission to interpret the teachings in Vatican II or to oversee the Liturgical renewal mandated by the Council.”

    Huh? This reveals an astonishing ignorance of the history of V2. Paul VI created the ‘Council (Consilium) for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy’ appointing Annibale Bugnini its secretary. We still do not know the deliberations of this “Consilium” and who exactly contributed to the formation of the present Novus Ordo/Mass of Paul VI: but it is a liturgy in clear conflict with the very own documents of Vatican II: Let’s just look at Sacro. Conc (On the Liturgy): no where was the Traditional Latin Mass abolished in the text of SC—yet it was later forbidden! Even by its own document, SC contradicts “The continuity of reform” of Vatican II: the liturgy is to remain normatively Latin (no. 36), Gregorian chant is the proper musical form (no. 116), and the pipe organ is the normative liturgical instrument (no. 120). Is that the way the liturgy is celebrated in your parish each Sunday? If so, they must be “radical traditionalists?” Where and who authorized substitute “canons” or Eucharistic Prayers for the Roman Canon? Where did they derive the sources or the authority for these spurious prayers? Who authorized the changes in the words of institution? That isn’t in Sacrosanctum Concilium: how did this happen? Who authorized the use of traditional Jewish-sourced Berakoth prayers in place of the Tridentine Mass offertory? Where was that authorized at V2 and where is it in the text of SC? And can a “consilium” headed by an archbishop countermand a papal bull (Quo Primum), even? Canonically of course not. These are just a few examples showing the monumental task before this Pope and his admirers before them to represent that there is a continuity with what was prior to 1962 called the Catholic Church and what went into effect after 1965. It is simply not there, to anyone who has eyes to see.

  • At the time of Trent the Protestant Reformers left and operated outside the Church. At the time of VII the protestant reformers remained in the Church and operated within her as opportunists.

    I would be surprised to find evidence that Trent actually denied development of doctrine… what they did was select and impose a uniformity.
    Any confusion of tradition and Tradition was more likely personal; it wasn’t institutionalized.

PopeWatch: Chaput

Thursday, November 14, AD 2013




Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Philadelphia Archdiocese has been unfairly depicted as a critic of Pope Francis.  This stems from an interview he had with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.  (John Allen is a good reporter but PopeWatch wonders about the judgment of any member of the hierarchy who has an interview with any representative of NCR.)  The interview may be read here.  PopeWatch fails to see how any fair minded reading of this interview could be taken as criticism of the Pope.  The bitter comments of the deranged readers of NCR are, as always, a true hoot.

Chaput in an interview with the blog of the Philadelphia Inquirer attempted to set the record straight.



Chaput, 68, made his remarks during a break in a daylong session of the semiannual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Criticism that Chaput had publicly faulted Francis as voicing tolerant views toward homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and artificial contraception, all of which the Catholic Church has long opposed, is “not fair,” he said.

“I was not criticizing the Holy Father,” Chaput said of remarks in June to the National Catholic Reporter.

“What I brought up was that I’m aware there are people who are critical of the Holy Father” for perceived liberalism on some issues, “and that it’s important that he talk to them, too.

“That is the fact,” said the archbishop. “I’ve never been critical of the Holy Father and would never speak ill of him.”

A priest of the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan order, Chaput described as “a great freshness, a great blessing for the church,” Francis’ call for greater care for the poor and openness to those who feel excluded from the church for reasons such as sexual orientation or divorce and remarriage.

As the former cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis is “the first non-European pope in a very long time,” Chaput noted, “and the way you see things from South America and the Southern Hemisphere is very different from northern Europe.”

But he cautioned against those who “want to use the pope to further their own agendas, and others [who] want to ignore the pope so they can promote their own agendas.”

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6 Responses to PopeWatch: Chaput

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  • I agree with you Donald. Archbishop Chaput was not criticizing Pope Francis in the interview with John Allen. The only thing I might slightly differ with him in the interview was his comments about the motorcade at TWYD. Pope Francis wants direct and close contact with people in Saint Peter’s Square. In other words, the motorcade in Brazil might not have been such an accident or failure as first supposed. The interview took place really early in the Pope’s ministry, so Archbishop Chaput simply would not be aware of this major shift in Francis’ policy with people.

    As for the Philly paper’s considering Chaput’s “failure” to be elected VP of the USCCB, the media, they only can understand and interpret things within a limited set of paradigms, certainly not ones based on or arising from faith. As you stated in your last comment, the media will indeed most likely seek to find a wedge between the Pope and the American bishops as a whole or as individuals

  • go ahead and criticize him. we are not the North Korean army goose stepping in front of our Dear Leader.

  • Just as with our Holy Father, it is important to read the article with Ttention to what words are in quotation marks and which words have already been parsed by the article’s author

    For example:
    order, Chaput described as “a great freshness, a great blessing for the church,” Francis’ call for greater care for the poor and openness to those who feel excluded from the church for reasons such as sexual orientation or divorce and remarriage.

    My interest is in how much the commonly perceived liberalism effects bishop and laity in understanding day to day application of church teachings. The culture kampf has certainly not ceased. A bishop Chaput’s words and Pope Francis ‘ words will be interpreted with as much as much looseness as people want if the bishop leadership here and around the world does not make it clear there is no hermeneutic of rupture

  • Why is it that we can never voice our opinions. I know exactly what Archbishop Chaput meant. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that unless you speak clearly and with authority the opposition will do everything to rationalize and twist those wordsto fit their agenda. Then again, I wanted Cardinal Burke or a hurry up and make Archbishop Chaput a Cardinal so he could be in the running! Diabolic, Diablo, Babel.

PopeWatch: Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui

Wednesday, November 13, AD 2013



PopeWatch has noticed that the closer one pays attention to the day to day operations of the Vatican the more one becomes convinced that the Roman Catholic Church is the True Faith.  Why?  Well for the same reason that a Jewish merchant converted to Catholicism in the Renaissance.  He had expressed an interest in converting to a Catholic merchant friend of his.  He announced to his friend that he was going to Rome to see the operation of the curia up close.  His friend who knew the corruption at Rome was aghast and assumed that his friend would lose all interest in converting.  Instead his friend came back and announced that he was being baptized in a month.  His friend was happy, but asked him why.  “At Rome I saw how the curia operates.  If I operated that way I would be bankrupt in a week.  The Church however has been going strong in spite of this for sixteen centuries.  It must be from God!”

An example of the loopiness that one often sees in close observation of the Vatican may be summed up in Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui.

Francesca Chaougiu

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33 Responses to PopeWatch: Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui

  • Who hired her to work for the Holy See or Vatican City?

    She looks like she is posing for a Macy’s ad for perfume or Pantene shampoo.

  • Go to the link below, roll down the page and see photo of Francesca with lover. Lovely.

  • Here’s another website on the Pope Francis’ sex kitten aide Francesca, in English:
    The article says, “So who is Francesca Chaouqui? 30 years old & childless & likes to have sex & posting videos of it on the internet. (see above).”

  • Who indeed hired this woman? Certainly, the Pope had little if any knowledge of this woman (and all her baggage) before becoming the Bishop of Rome. If and when the history is revealed, it will be discovered that she (and other appointments) was promoted from within the vast subculture commonly called the Curia. While the Curia in fact is not that large, the vast interconnecting bureaucracy and sub culture connected with it is vast. It is vast, Byzantine (almost impossible to really get to know it and how it works) and divided.

    One of the major pieces of reform and legislation of the Council of Trent was the reform of the Curia-it has been an issue for that long and longer. Of the popes of the 20th and 21st centuries, it was perhaps Pius XII who had some real control. While often seen that Vatican II was a battle between liberals and conservatives in the Church, it is more correctly understood as a battle between the Roman Curia and the international body of bishops at the Council ( both John XXIII and Paul VI led/backed the body of bishops). After the Council Pope Paul VI was both out maneuvered and crushed by the machinizations of the Curial subculture. John Paul I died within a month of a heart attack when faced with the real force in the Vatican. Pope John Paul II chose to outflank the Curia with his teaching (encyclicals, etc), pastoral creativity (World Youth Day, prep for and celebration of Millenium) and of course his pastoral missionary journeys. These were things the Curia could not do. Pope Benedict chose to continue Pope John Paul IIs trajectory, giving his own emphasis: grounding the theological interpretation of all discussion of Vatican II in the hermeneutic of continuity and reform as well as making Dei Verbum (dogmatic constitution on Divine Revelation) the true source and foundational document of all the documents of Vatican II. Pope Benedict took on single-handedly, really, the real reform needed in response to the sexual abuse crisis in the world-wide Church-a crisis completely mishandled by the Curial offices for bishops, clergy and seminaries. Pope Benedict also spent a great deal of time on choosing the major episcopal appointments (major cities throughout the world). However both age, temperament and ability prevented Benedict from dealing with the Curial crisis that began taking place toward the end of his ministry: the Curia went into a situation best described as a civil war (between themselves and against the pope) and meltdown. Pope Benedict courageously resigned that another younger man and a man chosen knowing precisely the lay of the land would be elected. Besides electing the new pipe the Conclave had the further strengthening and mission of the Church and the reform of the Curia as the key issues facing the Church.

    Pope Francis has already found some land mines. What ever forces within the Curia had as their agenda, the promotion of this young woman to the Pope’s attention is an example of the need for the reform of the Curia. The Holy Father as described himself as a bit naive in his idealism. He better get “street smart” fast in dealing with the wild forces at work in the Curia

    BTW I object to the title of a link above (pope’s sex kitten). I find it scandalous-as if the woman was an actual concubines or worse of Pope Francis

  • Pope Leo X (1513-1521) once remarked that he hated making appointments and delegated them whenever he could. “Whenever I make an appointment,” he grumbled, “I create nine malcontents and one ingrate.”

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  • This curate does sound like a byzantine bureaucracy. It sounds frightful, in fact. It makes me wonder again why the last pope retired. To my knowledge, no one really every figured it out.

  • Relax. The Curia has nothing much to do with Francesca’s appointment. Pope Francis was aware of everything about her even prior to her appointment. The Pope scolds gossip-mongers but does not say anything of Francesca’s nasty tweets about Cdl. Bertone and Pope Emeritus Benedict.
    She’s so cool, the Pope is not bothered at all with what she does. He’s a cool Pope who approves of everything. Who is he to judge?
    As she said, “I’m not worried because the Holy Father is not worried.”

  • Yeah, his stance is pretty cool. I guess everyone likes that. I think she looks really Italian and pretty attractive, and that probably raises eyebrows. I’m not sure we know why Benedict left though, and it may always remain a mystery!

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour, great quote from Pope Leo X ( not one of the papacy’s best examples himself). BTW nice to have you back

    Jon, while what I have said is accurate, I would be less than accurate or truthful to give the impression that all in the Curia have 666 on their forehead. There are some very good Curial officials who genuinely seek to serve the Church and each pope. However there are nonetheless individual Curial officials, at the higher levels, and some blocks of lower curialists which seek to maintain power and in some cases undermine popes. We all have heard of a so called ‘gay block’ but there are others. For example, at a low level under our Polish Pope but in a full blown mode under our German pope, there was a concerted effort among some Italians in the Curia to regain the papacy. That was part of the background to the Vatileaks as well as the crisis in the Vatican Bank. Only yesterday, there was a serious concern raised for the safety of Pope Francis given the reform of the Vatican Bank given how the reforms clearly disallow the Mafia from their money laundering schemes. It is this problematic (insidious?)

    Marietta, you say that the Curia has nothing much to do with the appointment of this young woman. I would really love to know your sources. For the moment I think we will just agree to disagree

  • Botolph, what you say about the bureacracy has been a part of the Protestant critique for centuries. If the Roman apparatus is that intricate and that fraught with corruption, and if power plays that kind of a role in it, then it is a church in need of reform. And reform in this sense involves reducing its complexity among otehr things. Church polity should be a simple matter. I very much sense things are amiss within the Vatican. I do think people harbor wrong motives there. I think there is a sinister ring to it all. But the Roman Catholic stance has always been that it is wrong for groups to break away and start over. That is seen as unecessarily schismatic. Yet it is a Protestant maxim that the church must reform itself through whatever means necessary, while of course avoiding schism whenever possible. Luther and Calvin left Rome wthi gravity and serious disappointment. They did not ignore centuries of Christianity. They simply did what they felt was required of them.

  • Marietta, that blog I checked out that you linked to was obnoxious. Fr. Z – a demonic infiltrator – only a complete crackpot would write that. Condemning NFP? Dale Price nailed it when he referred to people like this – tradholes.

  • Jon,

    What Donald says of the two Reformers is sad but true. While I have more “love” for Luther than Calvin, by 1520 or so the Augustinian Friar interested in and calling for a true renewal of the Catholic Church, had changed totally, throwing the baby out with the bath water, calling the pope in Rome the Antichrist. This was even more ironic because the new pope was Dutch, a real reformer who was met with opposition from forces within the Curia as well as the gang of Reformers now rallying to Martin Luther’s side

    To your point, the Church is always in need of being reformed. While at her core she is holy, the result of her intimate spousal communion with Christ in the Spirirt and manifested bt the Most Blessedvand Immaculate Virgin Mary and all the saints, She nonetheless is made up totally of sinners who are somewhere in the process of being sanctified. Each of us are at a different level, some moving toward while others sadly moving away from Christ and the core of the Church.

    The fundamental and Christ- given form and structure of the Church: Peter and the college of Apostles, proclaiming (word) and celebrating ( sacraments) and interpreting (magisterium) the Word of God remains. It is manifest in the continued college of bishops in communion with and under the leadership of the pope. The threefold (bishop, priest, deacon) hierarchical nature of the Church remains solid, as does the order of laity an consecrated religious. The reform of such non essential structures as the Curia will always be part of our task at hand. Are things worse now than at other times in history? Today cannot hold a candle to some of the nonsense an sin in “Rome” in mid 1400’s to the early 1500’s. But as bad as they were they do not hold a candle to the bad popes of the 900’s.

    As to the tyre reform of the Church it cannot be done without genuine, deep and life long conversion. Only one who recognizes and grieves over one’s own sin; only one who recognizes within oneself at least potential, the capacity for the same weaknesses, failures, sins and betrayals of Christ that we so readily recognize in others. Only one who really loves the Church cavn even begin to really seek to renew and reform the Church, Christ’s Bride, our Mother. See we really are family. Bthese are brothers and sisters botching things; just as we, perhaps differently, continue to botch things up.

  • “Yet it is a Protestant maxim that the church must reform itself through whatever means necessary, while of course avoiding schism whenever possible. Luther and Calvin left Rome wthi gravity and serious disappointment.”

    Untrue. Luther was almost hysterical in his writings of his hatred of Rome, when he wasn’t ranting against peasants or Jews, and Calvin was more than happy to think up a new religion that had only a passing resemblance to any Christianity that had come before John Calvin explained it all.

  • Donald, I think you overestimate the break not only in reality but in the minds of Luther and Calvin. Even Roman Catholic apologists have come round to the assertion that the two reformers were catholic and sought continuity. Their schism, they felt, was greatly unfortunate but entirely necessary by that time.

    Botolph, I don’t think the Roman machinery works. I certainly believe in the church, but our definitions differ. I’m also at odds with the Roman Catholic position towards Mary. I sense she has assumed a central place in their worship, which I find terribly worrisome. I think it arose early on in history though that doesn’t legitamize it for me. All sorts of new elements crept up early on, even while St. Paul was a missionary. It just strikes me as odd that people adore her. When I see her with a crown upon her head and hear her hailed as the Queen of Heaven, I think to myself that she has undergone a total transformation in the Christian imagination. I would never arrive at a conception like that based upon Scripture. Scripture doesn’t yield that picture. All we see there is the obedient servant, the peasant Jewish girl, who loved God and followed him closely: a chosen vessel for the Incarnation. I’ve said this before and I still feel the same way about it. C. S. Lewis commented insightfully on this. He said that to a Protestant it seems idolatrous to venerate Mary, while to Catholics it seems irreverent not to. But besides the fact that it doesn’t resonate with me, I find it difficult to reconcile veneration of a human being with Scripture. Anyway, veneration and worship really aren’t distinct in my mind. And it is not that Scripture is all we have to go on in life, but that all things must come under its authority. If conflict exists, we must choose the Bible. I try to do this.

  • “Even Roman Catholic apologists have come round to the assertion that the two reformers were catholic and sought continuity. Their schism, they felt, was greatly unfortunate but entirely necessary by that time.”

    Name them. If Roman Catholic apologists have written such tripe they gravely misunderstand the history of that period.

    One among endless examples that I could cite:

    “On the other hand, where the Gospel is not declared, heard, and received, there we do not acknowledge the form of the Church. Hence the churches governed by the ordinances of the pope are rather synagogues of the devil than Christian churches.”

    John Calvin, from Article 18 of The Geneva Confession

  • Jon,

    You are correct that the veneration of Mary began early in the Church. In Luke 1, we find her being referred to as “blessed” four times. There she, the Virgin of Nazareth, is called by a new name “Kecharitomene”. This is not simply a nice greeting but a new God-given name through the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel. Catholics have traditionally translated this Greek new name as “full of Grace”. Now perhaps you do not like the translation, ok, but the word is still her new name just as Sarai became Sarah.

    More to the point however remember the great difference in how Catholics (and Orthodox) worship. We Worship by way of Sacrifice. Sacrifice can never, and has never been offered to Mary, but only to the Most Blessed Trinity. There is a vast gulf between worship and veneration for Catholics. We only worship God; we only venerate the saints

    This was a bit off topic but I really wanted to respond to you, Jon. Hope it was of some assistance

  • One of the things John Calvin did — and indeed had to do–was to define the church. He had a problem with the existing structure and had to formulate an apology. He explained what he was doing. The true chruch, he said, had certain marks. So Calvin explained that wherever Scriptrue is faithfully taught, the sacraments are rightly administered, and church discipline is enforced, there you have the church.

    The Roman apologists I had in mind appeared on EWTN. I used to watch Mother Angelica and the gang and I would especially listen to Marcus Grodi and the Home to Rome series (or somethin like that). It seemed to be the consensus throughout the network, among laity and persons religious who were interviewed, that the Protestant break was not a huge rupture, and that early reformers were catholic and similar to Rome in certain respects when compared with later Protestants and sects. Of course the network hoped Protestants would get back to Luther and Calvin and thereby grow a little closer to Rome, ultimately arriving there. But their point was well-taken. Calvin was modified and misunderstood, too, to the point where Puritanism really changed what it meant to be Reformed. Calvin only reformed what he thought necessary. Of course he found more necessary things to reform than Luther. Neither had the kind of a-historical stance that more recent Protestants have possessed.

  • Thanks for that, Boltolph. But I still fail to see the distinction you assume between veneration and worship. In my mind one either worships or one doesn’t. We are worshipping beings — homo liturgicus. We are first and foremost created by God for himself, as Augustine states. So who or what we worship is more important than anything else. Idolatry is our worse problem. I really don’t know what the statues, the hymns, and the general cult that surrounds her amounts to. Perhaps I don’t totally udnertand it. I can’t say I feel drawn to it. Can you describe for me what it means to pray to her and to sing her praises and to bow before her statues? The language attached to the veneration seems more appropriate for worship. I’m thinking the line is crossed in practice regardless of the church’s position.

  • Donald, this page takes an awfully long time to load. You might want to check into that. It’s been a problem for years.

  • It loads quite swiftly for me Jon. I will pass along your comment to Tito our resident Tech mage.

  • Jon,

    I had been working on a long response but somehow deleted it on my iPad. lol perhaps the Lord was telling me to keep it shorter and simplernlol

    Ok I would agree that there was a Catholic period, in the early years of Martin Luther. It is in those early years that I sense that the Church failed in their response to Luther. However, by 1519-1520 he had begun to reject whole aspects of fundamental Catholic teaching (seven sacraments, Eucharist as sacrifice and with it the ministerial priesthood, separating faith both from reason and from morality- in his faith alone. He rejected the hierarchical nature of the Church and it’s authority in his Scripture alone. He had become a radical Reformer, not a reformer of the Church. John Calvin began where Luther stopped. I cannot find a Catholic Calvin in his writings ( although he of course did begin life as a Catholic). Perhaps neither of the Reformers went so far as two other Catholic priests turned radical Reformers as Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland and John Knox in Scotland. They continue to blow my mind, frankly

    I can never imagine a real Catholic apologist or theologian stating that while sad, the Reformation was necessary. The Reformation tore apart the Catholic Church in western Europe. It separated millions of the baptized down these almost five hundred years from full communion with the Church and from the Eucharist. The Reformation led to the persecution of Catholics in Protestant countries and persecution of Protestants in Catholic countries or regimes such as the time of Mary Tudor in Englanf ( to be honest I think all the Tudors were a plague in one form or another for the Church: Henry, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth). These religious persecutions and wars led to the rapid breakdown of the Christian culture in Europe- which we are now reaping in its harvest.

    It is true, Jon, no side in this division is free from culpability, we all have dirty (bloody) hands. At this point in time when we are all under such pressure to give up our common Christian witness, Catholics and Protestant Christians need to build on what we indeed hold on common- there are foundational common beliefs- and work to be open to the Spirit of the One Who prayed on the night before He died for us, ” Father, that all may be one, even as You and I are one”. Nonetheless, I could never say, that the Protestant Reformation was necessary for the Church

  • Well, a Protestant would say the seven sacraments were a development. We don’t have Scriptural precedent for all seven. We find two sacraments in the New Testament: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The term priest is not an accurate translation but a role foound in the O. T. The N. T. speaks of presbyteros: the bishop/elder/pastor. It was a plurality of presbyters that led the assembly, and these presbyters or elders or shepherds also existed above them ruling in districts. So we a presbyterian form of government at work there. It’s not episcopacy as you have in Rome. The sacrifice from a Pauline perspective was a once-for-all event, and we see that reiterated throughout the book of Hebrews. So we coouldn’t have a sacrifice in any sense now except for this: the sacrifice of worship and service through the priesthood of all believers. That is our spiritual offering in these times. Christ already died and rose again, and so we commemorate that. We don’t separte faith from reason and morality. It is by faith alone that we are justified, through faith in Jesus Christ. We are brought into relationship wtih God through Christ in order that the Holy Spirit might fulfill the law within us. It is what we call sanctification and it is to some extent the inevitable outworking of salvation. It is somewhat automatic in the sense that it is not a grudging duty but a spontaneous response as God works within us. Faith without works is dead and we are justified by a faith that works. If it is faith at all that we are justified by, it will work. James teaches that. We are not saved by works but by a faith that is necessarily accompanied by works. Likewise, we do not divorce faith from reason. We are not fideistic in the extreme sense. We simply recognize that faith always seeks understanding. Understanding comes to us through Scripture as we are guided by the Holy Spirit. There are still times when we fail to comprehend things and faith has to take the upper hand. It is not a simple syntheses of the two, but an uneasy relation that negotiates itself through time. The church really isn’t hierarchical. It should be elder-led, with the congregation serving according to their various gifts through the Spirit. Mutual submission is emphasized in the letters of Paul. Obviously from this standpoint, the Roman church experienced some pretty radical transformations over time. Catholics consider that OK–they cite the role of tradition. Protestants maintain we are obligated to continue in the traditions of the early chruch witnessed by Scripture while resisting serious innovation. It is difficult to see one side of the debate from the position of the other. But the Reformers felt they needed to bring the church under the authority of Scripture so that no conflict remained. Calvin and Luther differed in terms of how they went about that. As far as Eurpe goes, the ideal of a unified Christendom was shattered with the onset of the Reformation. But Protestants through the years have felt rather uninvested in the Constantinian state. In fact, many have seen it as a liability and indeed a large part of the problem. It is true that both sides persecuted the other, bloody wars ensued, and people burned ‘heretics’ at the stake. Such was the nature of the sixteenth century, a time when the best minds focused upon relgiion and interpeted all other things through a theological lens, including politics. Modernity and the enlgihtenemnt arose to coutneract that, and tried to stake out a neutral territory whcih may or may not have worked for the last few centruies. I think of Niebur’s Christ and Culture and wonder about the different viewpoints he explained. I dont’ knwo that an ultimate answer exists to that, and for a Protestant I guess one doesn’t, or at least doesn’t have to. We feel a paradox always exists, that we struggle to some degree or another as we recognize God’s kingdom is not of this world. We are a pilgrim people marching to Zion. But we worship and serve our Lord in our context and we struggle for appropriate ways to do that. Opinions differ but basic convictions are shared. The church is the visible expression that God’s kingdom has arrived. We worship God and proclaim the gospel of that kingdom, seeking to love and serve one another and the broader world around us. We endeavor to do that with creativity, but nevertheless within the parameters set by the scriptural narrative. And if we accomplish this, we live out our calling as God’s people.

  • Jon,

    I had sensed that you were a Proestant brother in Christ from one of your first posts. First let me say that you are very welcome to join in our discussions ( I am not trying to overstep into Donald’s territory here lol) I wanted to respond to you becausevI genuinely thought-and still do- that you had some real questions and were not trying to turn our conversations into debates or diatribes. This has occasionally happened and not from Protestants, which might surprise toy 🙂

    At the same time, we are discussing Catholic things, things associated with the Vatican etc. if you have a question about something I or somebody else has said, that is great. However, if you want to get into a full blown catechesis or apologetics of Catholic teaching etc this might not be the best setting- it breaks the flow of the conversation

    As to the Reformers and the Reformation, I came to a realization on this while speaking with a Lutheran pastor, who told me that the fundamental difference between Luther and the Catholic Church was that Catholics believe that the Church (One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic) is visible- in the Catholic Church down through the ages, while Luther believed that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was invisible. In the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church, while answering the question on the use of holy images (icons and statues and paintings) the fundamental question was on sacramentality. Does the visible reveal and convey the invisible? Does the Incarnation of the Son of God continue in His Body, the Church? Do the saving actions of the Incarnate Son continue in the Church today? if so how? ( the sacraments) is the sacrifice of the Cross, an event which happened once for all in any way connected with the Eucharist? Does Christ continue His bridegroom-spousal (Ephesians 5) presence in the Church today? These are just some of the substantial questions raised concerning ” sacramentality”. . The Councils since the Seventh Ecumenical Council began to unpack this profound mystery: in the Middle Ages on the sacraments but especially on the Eucharist, and, in response to the are formation, the Council of Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II

    Just something to consider, ponder and pray over. Hope it helps

  • Sorry about the typos. My iPad actually over rides my typing sometimes and I do not realize it until too late 🙁

  • If men worship Mary, Mary, ever faithful, brings our worship to God, through her Son Jesus. Mary points to Jesus. Can anyone fully comprehend the love of Mary for the Son of God? No one has the grace.

  • Thanks, Botolph. Luther retained a rather sacramental udnerstanding of Christianity. The Church of England retained a sacramentalist form. I’m guessing Eastern Orthodoxy is in this general category. Obviously the Incarnation is the greatest example of how much God values his creation. We are anything but gnostic. We value the visible world and know that God redeems it. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, as we say. What we do now matters very much — this world is important. I guess it is appropriate to say we are sacramental since we are Christian. Honestly, I have to say I don’t espouse sacramentalism though. I think the ism is for me a great difference. It implies something about the church’s sacraments that I don’t believe. It also implies something about the clergy’s role in worship that i don’t consider true. Finally, it suggests what I think is a world picture that goes beyond a proper value of matter to attribute to it a potency and signification that is not always inherent in it. Having said that, I have no problem with liturgy and a certain amount of ritual. I think that was a part of Judaism and was probably present in some aspects of early Christianity. All worship, in a sense, is liturgical, and liturgy is something very different. But again, sacramentalism as a philosophy or theological understanding would not be something I would agree with. If gnosticism negated the physical world, paganism embraced it in the wrong spirit. You might say the old pagans worshipped matter — they idolized creation. Christianity is really something quite different from both. Christians worship God and join in his creative and redemptive work, even as we are created and redeemed by him. I appreciate your amicable stance toward Protestants. You seem to harbor no ill-will, neither do you seem to have a bone to pick. I am happy to engage in discussion with you and hope that what I say makes sense. I have argued in the past that Lutherans are systematically sacramental to the point of embracing sacramentalism. I feel it is wrong for Lutheran pastors to adopt a role that dispenses spiritual benefits, whether its the ‘food and drink’ of the sacrament or some kind of rite. I always found that queer. I used to put it down to their ethnic heritage. Now I know it is deeply ingrained in Lutheran theology. It is about more than the old country. Anglicanism never bothered me because I don’t think anyone there ever took the sacramental backdrop that seriously, including the priest. It’s pageantry. I suspect the only ones who were thoroughly sacramental were the nose-bleed high worshippers that sprinlkled the population of the laity. As for Eastern Orthodoxy, I know very little. As I said, Christianity embraces creation. It is life-affirming just as Judaism was before it. But the imagery and iconocraphy within Orthodoxy strikes me as something more than that. I consider that it goes beyond the point. It stresses representation in a way I find troubling. As they so often express, we are each an image of the divine and I feel that ought to be enough. We see Christ in each person among us. God’s creation bespeaks his glory. I think that is sufficient for me. God thought it meaningful to provide us with the sacraments. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper remain. Baptism signifies our entry into the Christian life, while we remember Christ and his meaning for us in the Lord’s Supper.

  • Penguins Fan says: “Marietta, that blog I checked out that you linked to was obnoxious…”
    It’s obnoxious, is it? And Francesca is so immacolata that her after-sex photo should never have appeared on the internet, unless she herself posted it somewhere.
    Pope Francis and Francesca deserve each other.

  • Marietta, the blog you referred to is garbage. The blog owner is a lunatic. Is this where you get your Catholic information? Pope Francis is not my idea of an ideal pope, but he’s no Borgia either.

  • Jon,

    The Byzantine Catholic Churches (Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Melkite) worship the same as the Eastern Orthodox. Iconography is a major part of their worship and prayer lives. Protestants, who use the Martin Luther invented – and thus man made – notion of sola scriptura – are put off by religious art and iconography. On the other hand, the Eastern Christians see Protestantism as a form of heresy against Rome. Honestly, so do I.

    As a result of Vatican II, Bugnini cut and pasted together a new liturgy for the Western Church – one he thought would be palatable to Protestants. It has been a disaster.

    Excuse me while I take my sinful self to the Tridentine Mass – where I know I worship as my Catholic ancestors did.

  • Sola Scriptura is something I continue to believe. All it means is that Scripture is our final authority. I don’t know much about the Eastern Christians. While I have no problem with Christian art, I don’t think it’s needed as an aid to worship. I do not see Protestantism as a heresy. I think heresy is judged on terms other than schism or apostolic succession. I think it’s judged in terms of whether we conflict with Scripture in our beliefs. But I also think the church is marked by diversity and will always reflect that. We do not need to squelch that diversity in order to attain to unity. So I don’t see all this as heretical schism. Some of it is, honestly. But I think each group has to be judged against Scripture. Of course I define the church in terms different from some other Christians. I am not looking for visible continuity. I’m looking for spiritual continiutiy. I ask the question: are we doing our part now?

  • Jon wrote, “I am not looking for visible continuity. I’m looking for spiritual continiutiy.” The problem with judging the church by its teaching or Christians by their tenets is that it can easily lead to a vicious circle – “The true church is that which teaches the true faith” and “The true faith is what the true church teaches.”

    But, as Mgr Ronald Knox points out, ” if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith? ” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith “; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome. This, at least, is a test and not a tautology.

  • I think tautology is in the nature of fatih. Jesus and the N. T. writers speak like that. Look, for example, at the first epistle of John or the words of Jesus in the gospel of John. Who we are as Christians and how we come to discern that is tautological. I think Jesus’ words ofen frustrated people for that reason.

PopeWatch: Missionary Pope

Tuesday, November 12, AD 2013



Pope Francis wrote a rather long message for Mission Sunday last month.  Go here to read it.  The message was released on May 19, 2013.  Here is an analysis by Father James Schall, SJ:

This letter is rather wide ranging. It strikes me as giving more insight into what Pope Bergoglio is about than almost anything I have previously come across, except perhaps Lumen Fidei.

This Pope’s evident optimism has always puzzled me because he does have, at the same time, a pretty good grasp of the real and growing obstacles to the presence of Christianity in almost every sector of the world and its culture. Near the end of this Message, for instance, Pope Francis tells us:

I wish to say a word about those Christians, who, in various parts of the world, encounter difficulty in openly professing their faith and in enjoying the legal right to practice it in a worthy manner. They are our brothers and sisters, courageous witnesses—even more numerous than the martyrs of the early centuries—who endure with apostolic perseverance many contemporary forms of persecution. Quite a few also risk their lives to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ.

We do not hear of President Obama or other political leaders drawing “red lines” about such persecution of Catholics. Evidently, the persecution of Christians is not a public or world problem. Indeed, for all too many, Christianity, particularly Catholicism, is the world problem, best to marginalize it or, better, to eliminate it.

The Pope does not give any names of those who do the persecuting. I am not happy about this. But I understand that, if you mention persecution, especially in Islamic states, Christians are then persecuted with greater force. You are blamed for it. Very few places can be found in the world where Catholicism can be freely, openly, and legally present. The fact is that also in the so-called democracies, the prevalent mood of the public order is to reduce religion to the exclusively private sphere with no presence allowed in education, health, culture or other normal areas of human life.

The Pope seems aware of these issues but he remains relatively unconcerned about them. He has an approach to the world through worship, community, and joy that is not deterred by what in fact are huge and growing problems that can only properly be designated as persecution. Nevertheless, he even seems to think that the world could change very rapidly and unexpectedly, not unlike the effect of John Paul II as contrasted to all those experts who assumed that Marxism was here for the duration.

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Missionary Pope

  • Would like to see this latest AP spin addressed. I guess religious freedom is considered an “ideology” today, according to AP. http://news.yahoo.com/popes-rep-us-bishops-shouldnt-preach-ideology-193104802.html

  • The world Christian and especially the world Catholic has been disenfranchised of acknowledgement by the state of his sovereign personhood. The world Catholic has become, in the words of Josef Stalin,: “a statistic.” Being disenfranchised of his sovereign personhood because of his Faith is the ultimate religious discrimination.

  • I agree with Fr. James Schall S,J. That Pope Francis’ message/letter for the recently celebrated (in October) Mission Sunday as a fundamental way of understanding/interpreting the vision or thought of Pope Francis. While giving what could be seen as a typical exhortation to support the missions Ad Gentes (to the nations), it reveals the deep Gospel of Grace, of God’s love, of God’s closeness to humanity through Christ in the Spirit.

    The Pope continues, drawing all listening to/reading his message into the mystery of the mission of the Church-at all levels:the universal, the local Church (diocese), particular Eucharistic communities (parishes and religious houses, monasteries etc), and yes, even the level of the individual- that we are called to be on the road (journey of life) with humanity. This is the important and fundamental image of the Church which Francis calls “synodality” (the word ‘synod’ means ” on the road together”). The image comes from the well known story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus The story begins with disbelief and lack of hope of the two (former?-they are leaving Jerusalem, they are getting out of town, not so much because of fear, but they simply no longer believe and therefore cannot dare to hope). Yet it is precisely at this moment (kairos) that The Risen Lord, not recognizable because they did not believe; in their minds He was dead, in the grave; case closed, draws close to them right where they are. He begins to dispel their disbelief in a dialogue of salvation. He begins to break down their ideology (“we thought that He would be the One Who would restore Israel”) and allow the gift of faith which comes as a gift-grace when someone breaks open the word of God for us, to burn within their/our hearts. It is only by being really evangelized and catechized that the person desires communion with the Lord (“stay with us Lord”) and seeks the sacrament of faith, Baptism ( if not already received) and the Eucharist where, as the Lord takes, blesses and breaks the one Bread (see 1 Cor. 10) in His Body, and passes the Cup of Blessing in His Blood, they/ we rcome to recognize the Risen Lord in “the Breaking of the Bread”. The story does not stop at the Eucharist however. The two disciples themselves go and share the good news that Christ is truly Risen, that their hearts burned within their hearts as He broke open the Word for them, that their eyes were open as He broke the Bread for them.

    The Church does not have a mission, the Church IS the mission of the Son and the Spirit from the Father to the world He loves so much. All together and each of us are sent. This was understood by the Church in the commonly used name for the Eucharist, “the Mass” which comes from the Latin “Missa”: “Ite Missa Est” ( literally, “Go! Be sent forth!”

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PopeWatch: Homosexuality is Now Mandatory!

Saturday, November 9, AD 2013

9 Responses to PopeWatch: Homosexuality is Now Mandatory!

  • I remember someone on MSNBC saying, “Finally, a pope who understands it’s 2013!” Yeah, those guys before Francis always thought it was at least 2012; those first couple were WAY off.

  • This is at least still recognizable as parody– far too much humorous exaggeration has been made obsolete by people actually doing it….

  • During the occupation of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, Herods Temple was also used to facilitate the celebration of certain Roman festivals, two of which were the Hileria and the Magna Mater. These were celebrations of The Cult of Cybele and Attis whose priesthood were homosexual and orgiastic. These celbrations were held in the Courtyard of the Gentiles. Jesus walked right into one of these festivals and blew a gasket, taking a stick or whip or perhaps both and driving them out of the Temple. So it appears that Jesus had dealt with homosexuals and didn’t approve. However, if one had come to him with a contrite heart and asked forgiveness, it would’ve been given to him. So it’s up to the homosexual to make the first move toward healing; not for the Church to give in to their radical demands.

  • When Pope Benedict gave his now very famous Regenburg Address during which he quoted a Byzantine Emperor on the violence of Moslems, I remover defending him against many. So called progressive Catholics wwho thought he made a reckless and insulting comment against Islam and all Moslems. I remember reminding the livid brethren that he was making an academic address and was quoting an ancient Byzantine emperor – he was not directly making this comment himself, and certainly not making anything close to a doctrinal or even policy statement for the Church.

    In the immediate media feeding frenzy that followed, I distinctly remember how shocked both Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials were that such a hurricane developed over an indirect statement (quoting a Medieval Byzantine Emperor) at even more importantly-at a university lecture. While protective of Pope Benedict, I still could not quite get why he couldn’t understand he was no longer a university professor, and now, as pope, everything he says is now at least potentially front page news.

    On the airplane coming back from World Youth Day, which was his first real appearance on the world stage and was considered a great success, an exuberant Pope Francis decided to give a press interview on the plane returning to Rome. As a Cardinal he had stayed away from such interviews as if each media person had 666 on his or her forehead. Now however, he was experiencing a honeymoon with the Churcgh, media and the world, and against all of his past (wise?) misgivings, he jumped into the waters without looking at the water, at potential sharks, or underwater rocks that could prove injurious.

    When asked about a new Vatican appointment who as a relatively high ranking representative of the Vatican in years past had carried on in a gay relationship- but who now ( apparently) had turned his life around, worked through an affective, conversion, and now was in a new and important role in Vatican administration- Pope Francis made his now famous comment, ” if a person who is gay ( here meaning same sex attraction) is searching for the Lord in good will, who am I to judge?”. It was not a university lecture. It was a comment in the middle of a press conference, in which the pope was genuinely trying to show the Church’s care for those with same sex attraction while also attempting to defend/dodge questions about one of his first appointments.

    Both popes made accurate statements-concerning the Moslem tendency (?) to violence, and the Church’s care for people with same sex attraction ( the Church cares for those in active ‘gay lifestyles and relationships’ as well: love the sinner hate the sin- but the issue was about an ecclesiast wh had gone through affective conversion) However both popes did not/could not imagine how their words would take on a life of their own.

    This is the age in which we live -even only a few decades ago, a pope would rarely be the subject of such total and immediate coverage by the media in our growing information/communication age. The popes themselves are still in a learning curve in ” appreciating” this new reality. I love Pope Benedict; he reminds me of some great profs that I have had (even without his incredible theological knowledge an ability to communicate it especially in his writing). I love Pope Francis; he reminds me of one priest I knew who wore his heart on his sleeve, made statements directly from the heart and when time for his funeral came, they had to shift everything from his local parish to our cathedral in order to accommodate the numbers of priests and faithful in attendance.

    Every pope has his strengths and weaknesses. Living in this age, with such coverage of our popes, I think we need to adjust our own perspectives, recognizing that they are going to be (mis) quoted in the media, that their (mis)quotes can and will be used to fit people’s agendas. I think as we move forward, it is important to adjust our expectations and desires accordingly, recognize popes have strengths and weaknesses, but not fall into the cultural/ political habits of our secular lives, whether we identify ourselves as progressives or conservatives, protecting or castigating our popes as we do our political and other leaders, according to our own ideological perspective. Faith is needed, not ideology.

  • A difference will always exist between what we believe and how we treat people. Our example is a God who forgives and loves us even though he is all-righteous. Yet for some reason this pope blurs that distinction. He seems to suggest that our love for our neighbor should override our moral position. I don’t think he has communicated clearly, or perhaps he intentionally obfiscates it to win friends and influence people. I simply don’t know.

  • Jon,

    Good post first let me say that I do not believe Pope Francis is intending to blur the distinction between truth and love-mercy. I put it this way because this is the fundamental “distinction” He is presupposing the truth proclaimed/taught ( this is why it is so important to ‘read’ what he is saying with a ” hermeneutic of continuity”) to be honest any emphasis on love-mercy founders without this foundation of ” the truth proclaimed-taught”. Pope Francis nonetheless emphasizes the love-mercy, there is no doubt about that.

    If I may, an example that might help here is the well known story of the Lord and the woman caught in adultery. Most tend to think that this story is a showdown between those who want to keep the truth (of marriage), the truth of the sixth commandment and are there with their judgments and rocks in hand against the poor “sinner” and Jesus Who is emphasizing love and mercy. But this is a false reading, a false dichotomy.

    Jesus was in agreement with the Pharisees about the truth of marriage, the truth of the commandment. Where He differed was on the “pastoral approach” by which He was/is fulfilling God’s promise in Ezekiel that He Himself would shepherd His People (seeking out the lost etc) and that He does not delight in the death of the sinner but that they turn (convert) and live. This is the deep (not liberal or trendy) pastoral response that I believe Popejk Francis is calling the Church

  • Thanks, Botolph. I hope you’re right. I agree that it would be a very appropriate pastoral approach if that’s the case. Very nice exegesis of the adultery parable!

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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Before He Became Pope

  • Donald this may not be the right place to ask this question, but – Did you see this headline?
    ” Illinois Catholic lawmakers cite Pope Francis in decision to back gay ‘marriage’

    “As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people,” Democrat Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia said. (Lifesite news)

  • Yes I saw it, and it is a predictable outcome of sloppy language by the Pope, a media eager to push the gay agenda and politicians who are only too happy to gain political cover from the popular conception of the Pope’s statements. Needless to say, “Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope” Linda Chapa LaVia is a pro-abort.

  • The interview with the then Cardinal Brogoglio is a good one, Donald. Thank you for bringing it to our attention and sharing it with us. I was struck by Francis’ comparing this Year of Faith which is drawing to a close this month (with the Solemnity of Christ the King) and the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 ( which as Francis points out, Pope Paul gave us the beautiful Credo of the People of God). Although obviously two differentt times, and two different feels, both marked the need to once again reflect on The Catholic Faith and to deepen our faith.

    Pope Francis also mentions the almost mystical yet cryptic remark of Pope Paul on June 29, 1972, about the smoke of Satan entering the Church- that despite all the good intention and hard work of the largest and most widely represented assembly of bishops of the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council, preternatural forces had entered the Church, preventing a reception of the Council in segments of the Church and stifling the joy that comes from the Gospel.

    While the interview is given when he was still a Cardinal, the second day of his papacy, Pope Francis mentioned the opposition of the Adversary (Satan) and his work against Christ and us.

    I bring all this to mind because of the similarities I see between Vatican II and Pope Francis ( remembering that I have a fundamentally positive perspective on both and believe both are great blessings to the Church). Both reveal, first of all, a very different mode or style of communicating the Catholic Faith. Instead of the quiet, teaching mode of previous Councils and popes, both VII and Francis are exuberant, almost jumping out of their skin as they communicate cor ad cor, heart to heart. The aim of both are to share a vision. The teachings of the Church are not under question for either VII or Francis (neither can ‘hardly imagine’ Catholics radically questioning or dissenting from the Faith) what both VII and Francis see is the vast panorama of “the world” and want to jump in (yes without looking-remember the impetuous Peter jumping into the water in two different Gospel stories?) and getting on with mission- with evangelizing, bringing the Good (Great) News to the world so much in need of Christ.

    Both VII and Francis desire a Church that engages the world in the dialogue of salvation, proposing, not imposing the Teaching of the Church, loving the sinner while hating the sin. This positive approach however is easily misunderstood by ‘the world’ but worse by segments of the Church that the Church is changing not “merely” Her style or approach but the substance of Her Teaching (which is not accurate)

    In VII and Francis’ irenic and non condemnatory approach, ambiguities seem to appear confusing both the world reporting them and then the Faithful who pick up their information primarily from the media. In both cases, VII and Francis, there is a sizable minority within the Church that takes VII and Francis where neither intended nor wants to go. They are the ones who know the spirit of VII, and although the term is not yet used, the spirit of Francis as well. Another much smaller yet no less vocal portion of the Church resist this perceived change in the Church and seek to counter it as best they can.

    Vatican II is an authentic and authoritative Council of the Church; Pope Francis is a valid, duly elected, Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter. Both are guaranteed by Divine Promise not to subvert the Catholic Faith thus separating us from Christ. Nonetheless both are human: one is obviously a single human being with his own spiritual battle between grace and sin, has his own strengths and weaknesses, light and shadows. The Council too for all is positive dimensions, and I believe that it truly was not only a gift of the Spirit, but the Spirit speaking to the Church of our age, is human- it has it’s strengths and weaknesses, light and shadows.

    Now my question. How can we, as Catholics, in the Bark of Peter truly assist each other at this moment in time, deepening our faith, growing in hope, increasing in charity and resisting this smoke of Satan that has indeed appeared in the Church ( I would make the claim that it always been present just changing appearance and tactics) ????

  • Botolph’s remarks are just fine, well balanced and well measured. ty.

  • I think there is a lot of issues here. This Pope has a very different style and a different approach to the Faith then the last two pope’s. At first I thought he was a revolutionary and even almost heretical. Some of his closest advisors are questionable. His action action against the FFI is to me unacceptable. Still he has not completely abrogated the Latin Mass or the Anglican Ordinariate, and just a week ago celebrated Mass facing East and than on all souls day he said the whole Mass in Latin which usually he does not do. He did mange through his prayer vigil stop an attack on Syria which seemed imminent. He is not the best of speakers and I think he needs to stop Interviews and speaking off the cuff.

  • Janet,

    I know that his decision against the FFI has been unacceptable to some. Given that there has been no other action against the usage of the Extraordinary Form tells me that it had to do with the inner life and unity of the FFI itself that was the real issue. However I freely admit I do not know all that was involved and certainly could be wrong in that opinion. As t,o the Anglican Ordinariate, it seems to be gathering more and more steam and continues to grow. It is one of the greatest fruits of Pope Benedict’s ministry, a fruit of the ecumenical vision of VII, and the first real healing of the wound inflicted on the whole Church in and by the Reformation.

    As to Pope Francis’ “interviews”, I would definitely say they are not among his strengths 🙂

  • “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” So I have faith in Christ’s prayer and His promise to be with the Church ’til the end.

  • The comment which gave me perhaps the the best insight of all, was his comments on pets.

    On the topic of consumerism and spending money in ways which are “unnecessary” he called the spending of money on pets the greatest of unnecessary spending! It’s amazing how much inordinate and unjust spending of ridiculous sums of money on pets there is by people who often refuse to have children of their own. I thought this was confined to secular America, where DINKS frequently engage in this perverse phenomena.

    This insight of the Holy Father’s is quite unexpected & endearing with it’s condemnation of the pop culture.

  • This current pope tries very hard to resonate with the zeitgeist. He really echoes current sentiments, and he sounds strikingly un-Catholic (unless Catholicism is thought to change in spurts). Perhaps he is uniquely strategic.

PopeWatch: Pope and Sufferer

Thursday, November 7, AD 2013

22 Responses to PopeWatch: Pope and Sufferer

  • A week ago I had the priviledge of attending a papal audience. It was scheduled for 10:30; the Holy Father arrived around 10:00 and did multiple weaves through the attendees. He passed our group three times. There was no need for him to do so. Everyone there came away with a deep appreciation of his character.

  • This act is not extraordinary, Don. Please. It is simply an act of kindness. Yes, it is good to see but…..

  • Karl,

    I would love to hear you complete your sentence-“but……”. What?

  • Kudos Don for bringing some balance to Pope Watch.

  • Brilliant! Don, I am so glad you have finally brought a balanced perspective to PopeWatch.

    (I haven’t been reading, since your serving from the “Rottweiler”, in which you did not allow me to respond, because you blocked me from the thread).

    Pinky, I too have a deep appreciation of his character- but maybe, not like your “appreciation”.

    Pope Francis act of kissing this man who has suffered deeply in his life through sickness and I’m sure, indifference from others, is truly an example that reiterates Christ love for us- no matter what.

    I’ve just finished my chemo treatment, and at times witnessed glimpse into what it feels like to suffer (physically through the treatment process of the cancer), but also from other people’s ignorance- which can make one feel on the outside, unable to keep up with a fast moving and functioning society. It can be a lonely road, but nothing compared to what this man would have to endure. Not even close.

    So Pinky, you should be greatful Pope Francis, did for this man, showed him an acceptance and love, that he must definitely would find difficult to get, rather than feeling resentment the Pope past you three times. Be happy for this man- and for those that the Pope greeted on the day you visited- glass half full right?!

    Bravo Don! Keep up the balance, and people “like me”, (those that appreciate our Pope), may get back on and start reading your blog again….and perhaps be allowed to defend themselves when called illiterate and un-intelligent, as your nemesis did, a few weeks back.

  • PopeWatch isn’t about balance. It is about collecting data about this Pope. If the data is good for Pope Francis it will be posted, if it is bad for Pope Francis it will also be published. This papacy is a work in progress and a fairly confusing work in progress it is. Hence the creation of PopeWatch.

  • “PopeWatch isn’t about balance”.
    Got it!

  • So by your statements this is his first positive action, is that right?

  • No, as a reading of all the PopeWatch posts would reveal.

  • PopeWatch reveals what you want it to. You are the author. You choose what data is collected and what is published. You pick and choose. You therefore set the tone.

    I could go onto another blog and see a quasi PopeWatch that shines nothing but positive light on this Papacy. No questioning.

    Or another blog that shows the positive and the negative- equally.

    Dissecting, this “work in progress”, may end up making you regret much of what you say in hindsight. Particularly when you dont have the privilege of insight into the intentions of this Pope- you dont know what the “big picture” is of this Papacy. Different eras call for different actions. Be careful you don’t jump the gun, so to speak.

    I hope you understand this about blogging. And I hope you don’t consider yourself impartial and unbiased. That’s all.

    But Bravo on this post, all the same.

  • “And I hope you don’t consider yourself impartial and unbiased”

    More so than most people. By training and by inclination I examine and weigh evidence before reaching conclusions. PopeWatch is a gathering of evidence in regard to the current pontificate. To understand PopeWatch one must understand that fact.

  • This is stunning, extraordinary, and unexpected. Oh, I don’t mean what Pope Francis did, but that you actually wrote something positive about him!

  • Actually PopeWatch has had several posts pointing out positive aspects of the Pope, but I guess you haven’t been reading them faithfully Anon. Oh, by the way we require people who comment to have real e-mail addresses.

  • The Pope adds to the already doublespeak , and confusion in the world. Why?

  • “By training”…what training is that? Aren’t you a lawyer? A good lawyer collects and presents “data” to suit their argument.

    Definitely not to show an unopinionated viewpoint. And Not necessarily to present the truth.

    Which means you are in fact more biased than most bloggers. By training.

    But I’ll give you one thing- you don’t like being told anything contrary.

    You are adamant PopeWatch is fair.
    (When multiple commenters have told you otherwise. A sign of a good lawyer Don)

    Sorry, if I pause to laugh….

    Perhaps this stems from the fact that lawyers think they are intellectually superior than most of mankind, and most Pontiffs? Or trained to think so…

    PopeWatch seems out to collect data to “prosecute”, in a sense, our current Pontiff.

    More positive “data collecting” of Pope Francis could rid you of this stigma though. But that’s up to you.

    Did you do PopeWatch for Pope Benedict? If no, Why not?

  • “A good lawyer collects and presents “data” to suit their argument.”

    Wrong. A good lawyer understands both the strengths and weaknesses of his case and he achieves this by objectively analyzing the evidence. I am disappointed when I leave a hearing if I do not think that I could have made a stronger argument for the opposing side than my opposite counsel did.

    “Which means you are in fact more biased than most bloggers. By training.”

    Clearly you are not a lawyer Ez.

    “Sorry, if I pause to laugh….”

    Only fair Ez considering the amusement your contributions to the comboxes have given me.

    “Perhaps this stems from the fact that lawyers think they are intellectually superior than most of mankind, and most Pontiffs? Or trained to think so…”

    Some lawyers do indeed think that. I am not among their number. I do think that I am usually better informed than most commenters on most subjects I choose to write about, although other commenters, and my co-bloggers, do often produce new insights for which I am grateful.

    “PopeWatch seems out to collect data to “prosecute”, in a sense, our current Pontiff.”

    Then you have not been reading the posts with care Ez if that is your opinion.

    “Did you do PopeWatch for Pope Benedict? If no, Why not?”

    Nope, because I knew where Pope Benedict was coming from and where he was going, based on his voluminous writings and history. I cannot say the same for Pope Francis. Hence PopeWatch.

  • Such a sad state of a affairs I find at this site of recent. I have enjoyed much and contributed some over the past few years and have liked the economic, political and occasionally the spiritual points …. But the method and madness I find now is way over the top. Your intent may be pure …. Your actions anything but. I’ll spend my limited time elsewhere.

  • Your choice Dave. I deeply appreciated your comments and prayers after the death of my son. We shall continue calling them like we see ’em, which is what we have done since this blog was founded five years ago.

  • Maybe if you explained to us non-lawyers why you don’t understand where Pope Francis is coming from, then you won’t get some cynicism from commenters.

    Why do you not “trust” this Pontiff, that you feel you need to “Watch” him- monitor him? What is it about his actions and words that you don’t like?

    Is it his non-intellectual background? That Benedict was able to articulate theology better? And Francis is not his intellectual equal? If it is, that’s absurd, and you need to look past your nose…it’s actually quite narrow minded, and borders on condescending, to other Catholics that prefer to express their Catholicism through actions, because they aren’t able to do it properly through words. Does it make them less Catholic? I hope not!

    This Pontiff is Latin Anwrican- warmer than his predecessor. Less full of etiquette. Is less judgemental in his approach, yet crystal clear about Church teaching.
    But yet, I can say I still was faithful to Bdnedict and didn’t feel suspicious of his leadership. I wish people like you have the humility to lower yourselves down to our level.

    He isn’t fighting communism, like PJPII, but a world that has lost it’s sanity.

    Benedict couldn’t do it. Which is why he stepped aside. And there was a clear mandate from the Cardinals that they wanted a Francis, a Jesuit, from Latin America.

    I’m really interested to know what you need to monitor about him.

    Cause you’re missing his message of love in the process.

    I don’t see it fruitful to have a “PopeWatch” as a faithful Catholic…and it annoys me. It’s not what our faith is about. Watching our leader- monitoring.

  • Then don’t read the PopeWatch posts Ez, no one is holding a gun to your head. It is not a Catholic position to simply assume that every action of a Pope is wise and every word he speaks comes from the Holy Spirit. History amply refutes such an attitude. The Church has had a very bad last half century. Under John Paul II and Benedict XVI there were clear signs that the Church was beginning a slow recovery. The question now is whether Pope Francis will continue this work or whether he wishes to take the Church in a new tangent. The Pope has not been clear in his utterances. To deny this simple fact is not intellectually honest. PopeWatch is an attempt to discern what the Pope intends to do and why he intends to do it, neither of which is clear at the moment. PopeWatch will continue on and no amount of criticism is going to stop it.

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