PopeWatch: Dagger John

Monday, February 3, AD 2014


PopeWatch finds the near universal applause that Pope Francis is currently receiving somewhat disturbing.  If a Catholic cleric is doing his job, he is likely to receive just as many boos as cheers, if not more so.  Case in point, the first Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, known universally to friend and foe alike as “Dagger John”.  Go here, here, here and here to read prior posts about him.  Dagger John was ever a champion of the Faith and his beloved Irish, both held in low esteem by many non-Catholic and non-Irish Americans.  One story about Dagger John gives the essence of the man:  After the anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he called on the mayor of New York, an anti-Catholic bigot, and informed him that if a single Catholic church were touched in New York, New York would be a second Moscow.  (The reference was to the burning of Moscow in 1812 during Napoleon’s occupation of the city.) Not a Catholic church was touched.   Russell Shaw at Our Sunday Visitor has a story in which he recalls an incident fifteen years after the death of Hughes:

New York’s cathedral was dedicated in a splendid, hours-long ceremony on the morning of Sunday, May 25, 1879. Shortly before, the Atlantic Monthly, a mouthpiece of the Northeast’s non-Catholic establishment, ran an article trashing the building and Archbishop Hughes, whose great project it was. He’d been dead since 1864. The author, architectural critic Clarence Cook, wrote that the fourth bishop of New York was a “politician” as well as a priest — one of the few Catholic priests “able to win, by their own character and energy, a national reputation.”

“We are not saying it was an agreeable reputation,” Cook continued. “The archbishop belonged to the church militant … always in the saddle, never weary, and, what was more never desponding … so convincing that, when he called for money, if a widow had but one penny, yet should he have a farthing ere he went.”

Someone reading that now may wonder what lay behind this bilious outburst against a long-dead prelate. In his history of the Church in America, “American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church” (Vintage, $18.95), Charles R. Morris says Cook grasped the symbolism of St. Patrick’s just as Archbishop Hughes had done. The archbishop cherished it, but Cook, to say the least, did not.

“It enunciated a vision of Catholicism as a new power center, a major moral and political force,” Morris writes. “Cook was shouting, Beware! With a man of John Hughes’s forcefulness at the head of the Catholic Church in the United States, anything could happen.” As for the archbishop, he would probably have replied in kind to Cook’s attack. And much enjoyed the verbal tussle that followed.

Here is the full quotation from Cook’s attack on Hughes:


First of all, he was a politician, and one of the shrewdest and ablest of his class.  And then he was a priest and in this capacity one of the few men in the Catholic Church in this country who have been able to win, by their own character and energy, a national reputation;  so that, in his heyday, his name was as well and as widely known as that of Seward, or O’Connor, or Butler.  We are not saying it was an agreeable reputation.  The archbishop belonged to the church militant, and he was a courageous, adroit general, always in the saddle, never weary, and what was more never desponding.  He did not need, for the work he had to do, to be a finely educated man, a man of elegant tastes, and, if we may use the hateful world so much abused in these shoddy days, a man of culture.  We say he was none of these, but we say it without the least wish to disparage him.  He was a manly man, a gentleman in all his intercourse with gentlemen, and among his people so persuasive, or at least so convincing, that, when he called for money, if a widow had but one penny, yet should he have a farthing ere he went.

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2 Responses to PopeWatch: Dagger John

PopeWatch: Battling Metaphors

Saturday, February 1, AD 2014


From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

VATICAN–In a gesture at the Vatican’s annual “Caravan of Peace,” Pope Francis happily watched as two children at his side released a pair of white doves as symbols of peace and unity from the window of the Apostolic Palace.

But just moments later, two metaphors, one, of the world’s unwillingness for dialogue, and the second, its utter hostility at the thought of compromise swept down on the hapless symbols of peace as tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square looked on.

One dove managed to break free from one of the metaphors, losing a few feathers in the brawl, symbolizing that, though the chance of peace in the world is not dead, that it is severely fragile to more dominant and negative attitudes. A crow playing the metaphor of the world’s hostility toward compromise had a better grip on the other dove, pecking the symbol of peace repeatedly, reminding all those gathered that in the face of hatred, there really is not much of a chance for peace anywhere in the world, let alone the Middle East.

In the end, both symbols of peace got away, although the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear.

The boy looked upset at the bird’s misfortune, prompting the pope to embrace him and pat his head. The young girl appeared to be cynically laughing at the turn of events, perhaps realizing for the first time in her short life that achieving peace is doomed to violence and struggle against the oppression of tyrants and Muslim terrorists.

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One Response to PopeWatch: Battling Metaphors

PopeWatch: Notre Dame

Friday, January 31, AD 2014

28 Responses to PopeWatch: Notre Dame

  • Great start Pope Francis. Follow through is completely another story however this tone was long overdue.

    Catholic Identity indeed!

  • Gregory Baum and his band of Canadian rebels, who derided Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, would be pleased with their contemporary counterpart Gary Gutting’s advocacy of abortion; for this subset of “Catholics” abortion is the natural and holistic progression of Baum’s efforts to normalize contraception.
    When contraception fails, abortion is their solution. The popes must be enlightened and made to submit to progress

  • “. . . will continue to . . .”

    On what planet does Pope Francis exist?

  • “There is, then, a strong case for thinking that abortions always bring about some bad results — at a minimum the loss of potential human life — and that for most pregnancies abortion would be morally wrong.”
    Science has proved that human life of an individual person begins at fertilization. “Potential human life” is actually a human life with potential. The endowed human soul is rational, innocent and virgin, capable of willing to live. The will to live of the human person, newly begotten, is the states’ right to life. Since man is born into ignorance, it may be that the sovereign person, begotten, has forgotten more than you or I can know. Even when we retain our free will and intellect, intuition and freedom, intangibles, that cannot be aborted, we can and may have forfeited most of our endowed gifts and talents. Gutting is a prime example of my theory.
    Firstly: The innocent person, begotten, may not be put to death for the crimes of his parents, rapist, murderer or whatever.
    Secondly: The innocence, legal and moral, of the newly begotten is the standard of Justice for the nation and the people. This is the compelling interest of the state.
    Thirdly, The sovereign person endowed with sovereign personhood by our Creator at fertilization, and the conception of the immaculate soul, until undone by concupiscence, constitutes the nation, of We, the people. This is the absolute compelling interest of the state in protecting and providing for the sovereign person in the womb.
    Gutting’s fine example of atheism, undeterred by Catholicism, the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, science, tradition and common decency makes Gutting a prime candidate for expulsion.

  • he had better not.. he does have the right to express his opinions. if he does suffer any consequences, it will make me even MORE ashamed to be catholic

  • He has a right to be in support of legalized abortion and be employed at a Catholic university? What an odd conception of rights you have Ed. Does the position of the Church in defense of innocent human life also make you ashamed?

  • “…being ashamed to be catholic.”

    This is the line in the sand. Catholic identity. Supporting views contrary to our Catholic identity is what is Shameful.
    It’s time to chose. Catholic in name only weakens the institution, the Church!
    Catholic in deed truth and witness is what will usher in a New Springtime.
    A time of grace for all souls, especially ones teaching contrary to Our Holy Faith.

  • It appears to me that the professor is engaging in the sin of scandal.

    II. Respect for the Dignity of Persons

    Respect for the souls of others: scandal

    2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

    2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”85 Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.86

    2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.


  • Ed,

    If so, then Christ, when He comes again in glory, will be ashamed of you.


  • I followed you link back to your previous writing about this professor and “we don’t need no stinkin’ bishops”. Thanks so much for this blog and your consistent Catholic work. You bless us all and you help us stay in touch with right thinking people who reinforce our faith- especially when there are so many who, (in teaching positions at Catholic universities) would lead Catholics astray.

  • “he does have the right to express his opinions.” Not as fact, unless he prefaces his opinion as opinion and says that he truly does not know. Then, in fact, Gutting is wasting the precious time of his students.

  • Ed, he does have a right to express his opinion. Once it is expressed this becomes an act that can be judged. If this act is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, we have an obligation to refute it in kind – publicly or privately. If this act is by a teacher at a “catholic” university, then it is an incredible scandal and the height of hypocrisy.

    You are protecting the freedom to speak and express opinions. That is fine. Once opinions are expressed, we have to do our part to respond in a manner that reveals Truth. Being “ashamed” to be catholic and allowing scandalous statements to go unanswered is not acceptable. It is a refusal to recognize the Truth and to protect our Lord and Savior. If we do not recognize God here, He will not recognize us at our particular judgment. Lets join together and “fight the good fight.”

  • Factum, non verbum.

    I see talk from the Pope to Norte Dame, but no backup actions.

  • Paul W Primavera.

    Going way out on a limb here….

    For starters a bronze bust of Fr. R. Weslin stationed in a prominent area on campus. The inscription; As a reminder to all who tread this sacred holy ground.
    Be not afraid.

    May 15th 2009 our humble defender of the unborn was hauled off to jail in hand cuffs. Guilty of praying for the unborn on Notre Dame property, opposing Obama’s presence and baloney honorary degree.

    The bust of this true Catholic priest should be a lasting testimony of Catholic Identity on Catholic Universities around the globe. Fr. Weslin passed away near my workplace in Northern Michigan.

  • Norte….not Notre. (sorry)

  • In the interest of transparency I am not a graduate of Notre Dame University. Notre Dame University is the keystone to Catholic HIgher Education. As it goes, so does most if not all of Catholic higher education. In 1967, Father Hesburgh, head of Notre Dame led a conference of heads of major Catholic Universities and Colleges in America at what is known as “The Land of Lakes Conference”. Its purpose was to draw up a policy in which the “Catholic universities and colleges” expressed a new relationship between themselves and the Church and between the Catholic universities and the intellectual life. In masse, led by Notre Dame, the universities sided with entering into a full robust search for intellectual excellence along with “academic freedom’ and other values their secular counterparts held most dear. The cost? Catholic identity and faithfulness not only to Church teaching but to their own mission within the Church.

    While other Catholic Universities and colleges have embraced this outright-Georgetown being the crown jewel of that crowd, Notre Dame has wavered back and forth (I know some will claim it has not wavered, but it has not gone the route of Georgetown). The Obama administration knew exactly what it was doing when they targeted Notre Dame for a major address in which Obama spouted political niceties about recognizing Catholics do not agree with abortion etc.-that turned into outright lies. In the meantime Notre Dame, desiring the prestige etc burned its incense to Caesar. Nonetheless it did not hide crucifixes etc at the expressed direction of the Obama administration as did Georgetown. Notre Dame is wavering, sitting on the fence.

    It joined with so many others in suing the government over the HHS mandate, but when it lost its case (certainly not its fault) it declared it would comply with the mandate-again wavering back and forth. However, this time there are enough Catholic alumnae etc that are pushing back etc. One of their projects was the setting up of a Rome campus of the University. It was to these folks that the pope addressed his very well-aimed comments, using the fine classical (ancient) art of rhetoric [although a bad word for many, it actually is a form of communication urging a certain direction, a change of direction etc. It was the language of the Church Fathers, a venerable tradition indeed). To put it in perhaps less diplomatic terms, what Pope Francis has done has set off a ticking time bomb-calling up the Catholic troops of the alumnae and board members calling for an end of the wavering and to once and for all side with Catholic identity and mission.

    In the meantime, the ripple effect of this happening at Notre Dame will effect the other Catholic universities and colleges. It is very likely the undoing of the 1967 Land of Lakes Conference. Finally.

  • Botolph.


    Thank you for your synopsis.
    I hope your right.

  • Philip,

    Me too lol

  • Botolph.”“Finally.” Thank you for your synopsis. I hope your (sic) right.””
    I second the motion. It may take some time like a volcano or avalanche. I never realized what an ignorant man Hesburgh was. Thank you Botolph

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are very welcome. One thing however I should note is that there very well could be some prominent “Catholic universities or colleges” that will resist this call back (call to repentance) to Catholic identity and mission. They will become totally secularized and literally be “Catholic” in name only-by long association of the name with “Catholic” or even keeping a saints name etc. However they really will be secular and not Catholic.

    This is a time of grace for the Church-opportunity to respond to the call of Christ to holiness and in this way to be the ‘sacrament’ of Christ, the Light for the Nations. However, the time of pruning is literally ‘upon us’ and there will be a great deal of pruning indeed.

  • Two conferences that were bruises on history Lambeth and Land of Lakes. Maybe there will be an equal and opposite pair of conferences sometime that will help bring us back to our senses.

  • Anzlyne,

    You are correct about both conferences-Lambeth and Land of Lakes. But just a clarification for those who might not be as familiar with them: Lambeth was the conference of the Anglican Communion in 1930 [they take place every ten years] It was not a Catholic conference. In that meeting however, the ANglican Communion broke with the received Apostolic Moral Tradition, allowing birth control in certain circumstances. That was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. A whirlwind developed within all of Christianity.

    In direct response to the Lambeth Conference, Pope Pius XI wrote his encyclical December 31, 1930 Casti Connubii [literally: Chaste Wedlock] which condemned eugenics (a major issue in the West at the time specially in America with such American names as Rockefeller, Ford, and Sanger etc behind it]. It condemned abortion. However its teaching on the sanctity and meaning of marriage is what it primarily takes on: holy matrimony is a sacrament which is equal to virginal and unmarried. It condemned adultery and divorce and called for husbands to love their wives as Christ love His Bride the Church.

    Prior to Casti Connubii it was thought by Catholics that the only real purpose of marriage was to have children. this certainly remains central yet Pope Pius XI added the unitive dimension-love. Here was development of doctrine. Up until this point marriage was seen primarily for the procreation of children. Now it has a two-fold nature and mission: it is both creative and unitive, life giving and love giving. [As you can see Humanae Vitae in 1968 simply repeated this teaching. It was ‘the world and Catholics’ who wanted to reduce marriage to the unitive (opening the gates to any and all forms of unions between consenting adults)

    The Land of Lakes Conference, was a major meeting of heads of Catholic Universities and colleges. It has not been completely tackled, but the speech of Pope Francis to Notre Dame shows the direction he is going in and desires for Catholic universities and colleges.

    Frankly, what I see emerging is a new form of the Code of Canon Law. The Code of 1983 was good but has already been ‘tweeked’ and still needs to be worked on. A real reform of the Canons will bring a clear discipline back into the Church. However, we will see what develops over the next few years.

  • Botolph: “Prior to Casti Connubii it was thought by Catholics that the only real purpose of marriage was to have children.” It still is. Children bring the unitive dimension to matrimony that is the Sacrament of Matrimony. Children, the prospect of children and the intent for children bring the unitive dimension into matrimony.

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are correct, the procreative, creative, life-giving is fundamental to the meaning and practice of conjugal (marital) love. WHat Pope Pius XI brought forth from the Tradition that was not at that point fully understood was the unitive, love-giving aspect is just as fundamental. Since 1930, the Church has taught that marital love is both life-giving and love-giving. Humanae Vitae simply reaffirmed this teaching in 1968

    Today most of the world and sadly many Catholics want to separate the life-giving from the love-giving so that marriage is only about two consenting adults loving each other, changing the meaning of marriage. The Church cannot and will not change her teaching to conform to the world on this

  • Botolph: Thank You for your kind response. Follow me closely. There is no unitive love without the prospect of children. As Isaiah says: “bring forth my sons and daughters from afar” These sons and daughters from afar are our constitutional posterity, as some have called our posterity “our future”. These children to be brought forward are innocent virgins created in perfect Love, our standard of Justice, without whom, all human consent, public and private has been annihilated. Human consent being imperfect to every degree, only the perfect love and innocence of the newly begotten satisfy the demands of consent. One hears oaths, not recommended, in fact, a crime against the innocent and totally unnecessary, for God’s will be done, oaths “on the lives of my children.” using the perfect innocence of children to proclaim the truth of any matter.
    In my own words, if one truly loves you he will desire more of you, and do all that is in his power to bring more of you “from afar”.
    Unitive love is a corollary of procreative love. As any corollary, unitive love cannot be separated from procreative love without destroying the fabric of marriage. “I love you, but only so far” does not make marriage, simply because the other spouse may mean “til death do us part”. Both spouses must mean the same to grow in love. Marriage must be what it is.

  • Mary De Voe.
    No truer words spoken.
    God bless you.

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are completely on target 🙂 !

  • Philip and Botolph: Then pray for me. Thank you.

PopeWatch: The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Thursday, January 30, AD 2014


But the thrill we’ve never known
Is the thrill that’ll getcha when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone

Dr. Hook, The Cover of the Rollin’ Stone

Although it is only a pale shadow of the former influence it had in our culture, the fact that Pope Francis is on the cover of Rolling Stone does signify that he has become a hero for much of the cultural left.  The story itself by Mark Binelli in the magazine is astonishingly wrong headed, even by the standard of the raw ignorance which most of the denizens of the media reveal whenever they seek to discuss Catholicism.  A sample will suffice:

After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares, Francis’ basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic. But he had far more radical changes in mind. By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being “obsessed” with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion (“Who am I to judge?” Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism, the pope revealed his own obsessions to be more in line with the boss’ son.

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18 Responses to PopeWatch: The Cover of the Rolling Stone

  • It just gets better.

    Rolling Stone Magazine readers are typically young liberals and heavily influenced by pop culture and trends. Or are the tragic type who think they are still young, culturally aware trendsetters.

    So, I think this is great- bringing the Pope to the sector of the population that would normally turn it’s nose up at organized religion and their respective figures (unless of course if those figures happened to be the Dalai Lama or Deepak Chopra).

    And despite the fact they misrepresented the Pope in the article, how horribly “uncool” will they look when the Pope is in the news for a good old Catholic comment? After all that WILL happen. It’s only a matter of time…

    The media, sectors of it anyway, are so fickle, and just plain stupid.

  • I’m surprised they didn’t air-brush a doobie in Holy Fathers hand.

  • “I’m surprised they didn’t air-brush a doobie in Holy Fathers hand.”

    No one air-brushes anymore. It’s Photoshop now.

  • George.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Hah hah. The Pope has SOUL! Go figure.
    I don’t think the dopes in the press are going to trip him up. It sort of reminds of of Jesus with the Pharisees and Saducees.

  • Does anybody remember Laurel and Hardy?

  • “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

    It’s an honest hope that this Fisher of Men will have nets filled to overflowing for our Merciful Lord Jesus. Regardless of the opinions of Laurel and Hardy, this Holy Father may help bring some lost sheep home.

  • Which journalism school did Binelli attend? Or did Rolling Stone just grab the copy boy with the Italian surname for credibility. You know, cause the Pope lives in Italy and all. And where did he do his research? Entertainment Tonight? One commenter on another blog summed it up- be glad they spelled his name correctly, and move on.

    Binelli’s comparison of Pope Benedict to Freddy Kreuger is vile. Can you imagine doing the same thing to Obama, and using the monkey jokes…sorry, but seriously, where do these people get off?

    I might google Binelli to find a photo if him, so I can compare him to a character out of The Hobbit.

  • Ez.

    Precious…. 🙂

  • Ok, so Mark Binelli is cited as a contributor to Men’s Journal, is a published author and thinks Detroit is the Place to be…in other words he is a try-hard, writer struggling to write about anything meaningful, and missed the opportunity in his Pope Francis piece to give his writing meaning. But, I’m I know God uses our cynicism for good.

    I’m slightly disappointed he doesnt look like a character out of The Hobbit. But, If he thinks Pope Benedict looks like a menacing character with knives for hands, like soneone who could give children nightmares, then he should know photos of him show him sporting the same clothes, or I’ll fitted attire, and his facial expressions come across as though he is permanently sniffing cheese, with an inability to crack a smile. Oh, and he looks either malnourished, or lives off a diet of cigarettes and black coffee. Probably the stress of searching for meaning. If he sniffs harder, he’ll notice it under his nose 😉

  • Well he got something right. The times are always a’changing, – but he doesn’t seem to know that the Truth never does.

  • Philip: “Regardless of the opinions of Laurel and Hardy, this Holy Father may help bring some lost sheep home.”
    I love Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, especially the March of the Wooden Soldiers and their triumph over the Bogey men.
    It is my constant prayer that all may be one in Christ.

  • Mary De Voe.

    Your prayer is close to Jesus’ heart.

    No disrespect intended, but my Father Frank loved the antics of L&H.. I was born in 61′ and only caught a glimpse of their act. I liked their friendship on the screen. Always coming back to a shake of the head and the raised shoulders.

  • Not sure how many heard Kresta yesterday, but a very good segment was produced on the media, left and right’s sensation with PF. Al’s points are solid, as usual, and brings home much for all to learn I believe.


  • Philip: No disrespect taken. Stan Laurel was the brains and Oliver Hardy was the heart. Pope Francis’ face resembles that of Stan Laurel. And every time I see Pope Francis I am reminded of Laurel and Hardy… comic geniuses. And now, Pope Francis, prayer genius.

  • Wait until these liberals discover that Pope Francis is Catholic.

  • Actually, 80% of Rolling Stone subscribers are baby boomers–Age of Aquarius throwbacks from the 60s.

    The rest of us simply outgrow Rolling Stone magazine and leave “childish ways”–like liberalism–behind…

  • Pingback: PopeWatch: Bishop James D. Conley | The American Catholic

PopeWatch: Chatting with the Prez

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014


Matt Archbold at National Catholic Register, go here to read it, has a post where he imagines ten things that Obama might say to the Pope.  Here is ten things that PopeWatch thinks the Pope might say to Obama:

10.   Joe Biden, is he like that in private?

9.     No, it is true, Buenos Aires is windier than Chicago.

8.     Yes, I can perform an exorcism but I do not think it would help Nancy Pelosi.

7.      Yes, I used to smoke also.  No I did not have to hide it from my wife as I have never been married.

6.      Yes, not being married is a job requirement.

5.      Freedom of worship is not the same thing as freedom of religion.

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7 Responses to PopeWatch: Chatting with the Prez

PopeWatch: Incisive Capillaries?

Tuesday, January 28, AD 2014




Well, PopeWatch is pleased that not only PopeWatch sometimes has difficulty understanding what Pope Francis is saying.  Father Z gives us an example:

There are times when, try as I might, I have no idea what – or whom – Pope Francis is talking about.  I am not alone.

I had a few requests to explain something that Francis said to a group of women, a meeting of the Centro italiano femminile. The English translation I was sent is… puzzling.  [UPDATE: I think the translation came from Fishwrap HERE.  To be fair, John Allen said the translation was rushed.  Hey!  We have all been there!]

I looked up the Italian at L’Osservatore Romano:

“… mi sono rallegrato nel vedere molte donne condividere alcune responsabilità pastorali con i sacerdoti nell’accompagnamento di persone, famiglie e gruppi, come nella riflessione teologica; e ho auspicato che si allarghino gli spazi per una presenza femminile più capillare ed incisiva nella Chiesa”.

The translation I received:

“I’m happy to see many women sharing certain pastoral responsibilities in accompanying persons, families and groups, and in theological reflection,” Francis said, “and I’ve voiced hope that spaces for a feminine presence that’s more capillary and incisive [più capillare ed incisiva] in the Church will be enlarged.”

What the heck does “more capillary and incisive” mean?

In English, it doesn’t mean much of anything.  I think the translator fell into the trap of using “false friends” when rendering this from the strained Italian.

It seems as if Francis wants a presence of women that is more “strand-like and cutting”.  That is consistent with my experience of women religious who made our lives miserable in seminary back in the ’80s.  ”Capillary and incisive”.

That, of course, is not what Francis has in mind.

He doesn’t have any time for the LCWR types, after all, whom he has warned about being “zitelle… old maids” (in the sense that they become “sterile”, not “bearing fruit” in their vocations) and evincing female machismo.  There is also no indication that Francis is associating women and hierarchy.

However, capillare can mean “widespread” and incisiva can mean “effective, trenchant”.

That said, the Holy Father went on to speak about the “feminine genius”.  He confirmed that their irreplaceable role in the family must not be neglected, overlooked (trascurato).

So, Francis wants women in general, in whatever role they are playing, to be fruitful.  On this occasion he strongly emphasized their roles in the family.

He is not interested in women being more “strand-like and cutting”.

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16 Responses to PopeWatch: Incisive Capillaries?

  • A creative communicator close to my heart.

    “communicating in an overly formal manner”… What on Gods good earth for?

    When you get posts like this one, it pays not being a formal speech-maker- especially when you finally arrive at the heart of Pope Francis message!
    Its also good material for the always interesting PopeWatch!

    If you want run-of-the-mill BS speeches, that say it clearly but mean nothing….Obama is your go-to guy.

  • The reports on this speech are driving me nuts! Most of them say something like “Pope wants greater role for women in the church.” Really? Maybe our Papa needs to visit a few more parishes and look who keeps things running. Hint, it ain’t us guys. Holy Father, we need more men to step up!

  • “”…capillare can mean “widespread” and incisiva can mean “effective, trenchant””. This makes sense.

  • come on you guys you know about capillary action and the effect that can have on a material. – so structures could be envisioned that would allow women’s gifts to penetrate through and have a positive effect

  • “Holy Father, we need more men to step up!”
    Michael, I am so glad you noticed. Even though women act through the priest, and we do have some beautiful men, if beautiful will describe men, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more men.

  • I don’t care what anyone says: WOMEN SHOULD BE PRIEST! Get the heck out of
    the kitchen and dust room and do what the Good Lord called you to do! I hope
    I live long enough to see it. If a church did not permit altar girls I would not
    attend . Lord help us have some common sense before it’s too late.

  • I don’t care what anyone says

    Evidently including everything the Church has been saying for approximately 2,000 years. As a helpful guide, here’s the Catechism on the priesthood, especially starting at 1575. You might also want to read some Pope John Paul II while you’re at it.

    do what the Good Lord called you to do
    Funny, but during his ministry Christ never actually called a woman to be his Apostle. I guess the eternal God was just afraid of making waves.
    I hope I live long enough to see it.
    And hillbillies want to be called “Sons of the Soil,” but it ain’t gonna happen.
    If a church did not permit altar girls I would not attend.
    Nice to see someone with a good sense of priorities.

  • Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!

  • Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!
    Which would be relevant if the Church had some long-standing magisterial teaching that it upended, but it did not. But it’s charming of you to call out our Lord for failing to live up to his pc obligations. How very . . . Anglican of you.

  • “Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!”

    That is not as troubling as when Pete Seeger compared himself to Jesus before Pontius Pilate during Seeger’s House UnAmerican Activities Comm. hearing. But, it’s close.

  • The comparison of Church teachings about priesthood with efforts to deal with slavery over the years is a little disjointed. Equally un-satisfactory is an effort to equalize the roles of men and those of women in the Church. These things are not like the other.
    Slavery is a human enterprise/institution.
    Catholic priesthood is a divine enterprise/institution.

    Priests are men, not men are priests.

    🙂 God is faithful and good! He is the one who calls man to the priesthood. He works through the Church He established. As you read the Bible esp the Book of Moses and the history you see how plainly we need order and direction. Jesus has not left us alone.
    Trust the Church as you trust God. He gave His word on it. The Mass is something we received from God, not a prayer service that we design. The sacrament of Holy Orders is from God. We don’t have the authority to change the matter or the form.
    It is just not our call. It might seem you could make it better if you were running things, but -“who is like God?”
    The popes do not grab personal power to re-design the Church in the image they might like. They do try to protect and pass on what was handed to them, giving up personal life to serve God and His still stiff-necked and unruly people,

  • “I hope I live long enough to see it.” Rita, you will live forever.
    Anzlyne: “Priests are men, not men are priests.” Correctly stated.
    The Church needs Catholic women as sisters to bring Catholic education back to Catholic school.

  • “Jesus also didn’t make any waves about slavery!”
    Jesus said: Love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” That pretty specifically rules out slavery.

  • For years we had nuns teaching and working hard without pay and now they live in poor homes on next to nothing. Don’t dare ask them to do this again. That’s just not going to happen.

  • A number of years ago, I had the misfortune to witness at the
    beginning of mass a procession of middle-aged dancing nymphs
    without shoes and in sheer white garments. They danced around a large
    colorful ceramic bowl, which, I believed, contained the Eucharist
    and which an unusually tall woman held above her head, as the
    middle-aged nymphs proceeded to the altar.

    Later and in keeping with the modernization of the Church, immodest,
    sexed-up young women, who aspired to become the next Kim Kardashian,
    handed out Holy Communion.

  • Rita :”For years we had nuns teaching and working hard without pay and now they live in poor homes on next to nothing. Don’t dare ask them to do this again. That’s just not going to happen.”
    That is the problem and that is the solution. I remember, in the convent, the sisters took care of one another better than your or I would get in hospital because they did it for God.

PopeWatch: Doves and Serpents

Monday, January 27, AD 2014


Alfred W. Klieforth, US consul general at the Vatican, had a conversation with Pius XII soon after he became Pope in 1939.  He reported the conversation to his superiors, including this statement by the Pope:  ”He said that he opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism. He regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel, but as a fundamentally wicked person. He did not believe Hitler capable of moderation.”  This type of clear eyed analysis is sometimes missing today in the Church which since World War II has often seemed to adopt a de facto pacifism.  A small symbolic event yesterday reminds us of why prayers for peace alone are often not sufficient in this Vale of Tears:

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56 Responses to PopeWatch: Doves and Serpents

  • “The stones will cry out.”

  • I wonder if the Pope observed and took a lesson. A well arm dove – so to speak – would be able to fend off aggression from seagull and crow alike.

    Keep your weapon clean and your ammo dry.

  • In addition to calling on all Catholics to say the Rosary prior to Lepanto, Pius V also put together a fleet to actually fight the Turks. That second step has been missing from Vatican thinking for a long time, and this pope is certainly not the one who will bring it back.

  • That flying circus was a fine, flapping metaphor for the efficacy of pacifism.

    PS: I recent saw on-line a study that concluded that nations decide to go to war based on the perceived weaknesses of the foes.

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato(?)

  • Holy Rosary in hand as the scavengers form overhead.
    Whats for dinner? Marriage definition? Unborn Life? Holy Church?

    Pray as if your children’s life depends on it…..it does!
    Eternal life!

  • If the release of the doves was an act symbolic of peace then the attack by the crow and sea gull was an act symbolic of the forces of evil.

  • That also happened when B16 released doves. Seems like heaven and earth are witnessing about spiritual warfare

  • T Shaw wrote, “I recent saw on-line a study that concluded that nations decide to go to war based on the perceived weaknesses of the foes.”

    I should have thought that a perception of a potential enemy’s growing strength is at least as likely to precipitate war.

    In 1914, many in France believed that, with their stagnant population and Germany’s growing one, they could not wait another generation, if they were to have any chance of recovering the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. Similarly, Germany, believing war with Russia was inevitable, did not want to wait until she had completed the expansion of the railway system that would enable her to mobilise her massive reserves. Likewise, there were those in Britain who regarded the naval arms race with Germany as unsustainable and that, therefore, the sooner war came, the better.

    Then again, Austria believed that, if she allowed herself to be humiliated by Serbia, she would lose control of her own minorities; Russia, especially after her humiliation by Japan, thought the same would happen, if she allowed her ally, Serbia, to be humiliated.

    In other words, war here and now, because it is now or never.

  • Never underestimate the power of prayer!
    By prayer Jesus found the means to complete the mission.
    By prayer you have been redeemed!

    Don’t underestimate prayer Donald McCleary.
    By prayer you we’re created. No mistakes in the birth of a soul, none.
    Without prayers hell on earth.

  • As Anzlyne pointed out, the same thing happened when Pope Benedict released two doves.

    In other news sites I read that neither raven nor seagull are birds of prey, so they were not attacking to kill (and eat) the doves. Instead it might have been a turf issue seeing the two doves as interlopers, unwanted visitors etc

    On a practical and humanitarian basis I would suggest that the Vatican for go such an event, especially since it is not part of any rite etc of the Church, but a ‘symbolic’ act only.

    As to Donald’s point about the Church since WWII being de fact pacifist, I would nuance. I believe it is safe to say that the Church is nuclear pacifist. According to the received addresses, letters and other writings of various popes, but most especially Blessed John Paul II, it is safe to say that the Church has placed herself squarely against any use of nuclear arms-based precisely on the traditional Just War principles [proportionality, no collateral damage (civilian casualties) etc]

    The Just War principles still remain part of the Church’s received tradition. What has taken place however is a accompanying sense, even a demand, that there are other options, most especially dialogue etc : that in fact if war takes place, no matter how ‘just’, it is always a failure of mankind. That is indeed a development of the Church’s stance. Further, ‘peace’ which is defined as more than ‘merely the absence of conflict’ is a good which needs to be constantly sought, worked for, etc

    Another development within the Church is its growing sense of the Church’s universality-Catholicity. In times past (before Vatican I) bishops were frequently appointed by rulers, Kings etc. Thus there would be a compromised identity and allegiance etc. giving rise to bishops and clergy being cheerleaders for their national cause etc. Now, after Vatican I (this is not a typo-I mean Vatican I] bishops’ allegiances are fundamentally to the Church [I am not taking away issues of patriotism here] One example sticks out in my memory. When Argentina invaded the Faulkland Islands, Pope John Paul II called together the bishops of Great Britain and Argentina [or at least representatives of the two conferences] to a special meeting in Rome-so that they would not be seen railing against each other. This too is different, a development.

    I believe all of us realize as time goes on that ‘war’ as we traditionally know of it, really has been transformed. For example, the First and Second World Wars mark wars which imitate the societies that were fighting-mass production in business was imitated in the mass onslaughts. invasions etc in both wars. We no longer live in that world. Globalized etc for better or ill, for example, China recognizes that she would have a price to pay herself (forgetting American response for a moment) if she were to attack America. Her economy etc would be effected drastically etc

    However, warfare now has taken the form of ‘terrorism’ in all of its forms-thus the image of the two birds attacking the two doves does indeed apply. Just look at the terrorist attack in Boston. Americans in Boston were killed, maimed and terrorized by two young men who themselves were caught up in their own home country’s [Chetznya] against Russian hegemony, a Moslem country against a secularist and Christian country. However they brought the terror to Boston. We live in a very very different world. Old paradigms no longer work. Now how, besides the absolute necessity of prayer, can and should the Church respond?

  • “Now how, besides the absolute necessity of prayer, can and should the Church respond?”

    Common sense and at least a cursory study of history might help. The de facto pacifism embraced by the Church since World War II defies both.

  • Donald,

    I am a big believer in common sense, and you know, I think where I stand with the necessity of the study of history, but honestly besides criticizing what you call the de facto pacifism, you actually have not offered what the Church could/should do. I really am interested in hearing what the Church should do in the face of terrorism, ‘clash of civilizations etc

  • Botolph,

    The Church and all of us should pay for VICTORY.

  • That would be “pray.”

  • T Shaw

    OK I “buy that”. The Church should pray for victory-but of what or rather of whom? [I am not being sarcastic etc here] Peace? The end of terrorism? [all of which I fully agree with] or did you have something else in mind (a serious question)?

  • Botolph,

    Victory of good over evil; light over darkness; life over death; freedom over slavery; . . .

    But, I do not daily pray for victory. I pray that our brave soldiers may come come in one piece.

    I recall dropping off my son at his company area on a cold, snowy night. Mother and I were driving his vehicle. As we departed the company area, one of his comrades in another vehicles came along side and (thinking it was our son) called out, “VICTORY!”

  • T Shaw,

    I totally agree with your points, especially our service men and women. It was horrible how the vets were treated coming home from Vietnam-it was horrible!

  • In the 16th century the Church faced the dual threats of the Protestant Rebellion in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and England, and the Ottoman incursions up into Austria-Hungry. The Church’s response was to excommunicate the heretics, and fight against the Muslim Turks.

    Today the Church faces the dual threats of liberal progressivism (supported by not a few self-described Catholics) and Islamic extremism. What should the Church’s response be other than what it has already established as a precedence for itself?

    But today we have all too often lavender dressed effeminate clerics without an ounce of manhood in them. Thus will God prune His Tree, whether by liberal progressive dictatorship called “Democracy” or by Islamic extremism, or by both, but prune His Tree He will till the dead branches of lavender are cut away and fruit can be borne for the Kingdom of God. What God let Assyria do to Israel and Babylon do to Judah serves as a stark reminder of the painfulness that this pruning process will be.


  • Paul Primavera,

    In the 1500s-1600’s the Church was faced, as you said with the double crisis of the Protestant Reformation and the onslaught of the Moslem Turks further into Europe. To the first group the response was excommunication [actually the first real response was the Council of Trent and the clear teaching/then excommunication] The Church did raise up Christian forces to defeat the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto, but not without the power of prayer (the rosary).

    I believe we need to be clearer and yes tougher with those going against major Church teachings such as abortion, marriage etc. We do not have armies nor have the power to raise armies against Islamicist terrorism etc but we still have prayer (the rosary), clear understanding about what Islam is and wants, and constant speaking out against what is happening to Christians in all parts of the world. The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire, we still have that weapon.

    We are basically in agreement

  • Amen Paul.
    I believe you have it right.
    This time is an era of pruning.
    The shears just started to cut.
    Were in for a “crew cut.”

  • Yes there seems to be a hope for peace that may be unrealistic. I can understand the cry of the popes’ hearts “no more war, war never again” especially with their WWII experience. I can also understand the struggle with the idea of pre-emptive war. I think those popes had, as did so many of us, hopes that the UN could be a peacekeeper. As we see now the UN can be dominated by aggressive and even hostile nations who many band together on erstwhile religious lines that are actually political lines. I think the defacto pacifism has been based on hope related to the UN but in the meanwhile that hope is wearing thin.

  • Anzlyne,

    I totally agree with your point

  • As long as the conflict between good and evil continues on the spiritual level it will continue in the world.
    We hope to win the spiritual war not just by prayer but also by our personal witness, and by active conversion of the world. That is for all of us the laity and clerical.
    During the French Revolution the actual terror of spiritual warfare was made plain. That battle ultimately came to an end right after the spiritual victory of the nuns at Compiègne.
    As far as the involvement of the “institutional” Church goes, shouldn’t it be in the leadership in the clear dialogue and direction given to believers and unbelievers alike.

  • “The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire…”

    Untold prayer yes. But also untold sacrifice of military personnel from many nations in the Cold War and when that war became hot.
    Yes prayer and mortification. But action is also needed.

  • “Yes prayer and mortification. But action is also needed” -Philip

    We have always depended upon military defense against evil. That lying devil seeks to kill and destroy, and, stubborn as we are, we seek to live!
    I surely believe in military action.
    I don’t know for sure what action by the Church… outside of the leadership and pontificating that could and should include moral support for soldiers against tyranny.

  • “The rosary brought down the Soviet Empire…”

    Those prayers aided the United States Nuclear Submarine Force in deterring Soviet aggression. I was a proud member thereof – a submarine reactor operator.

    As Philip pointed out, action is needed. Our motto was, “Death from below.” The Soviets knew it, and their fear of that fact was a great motivator for peace given that they couldn’t find our subs but we could always find theirs.

    The enemy fears death. Remember that, because when he dies he knows where he is going.

  • Unfortunately, political reality is often a lot murkier than a fight between good and evil, truth and error.

    During the Thirty Years’ War, Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph du Tremblay, passionate in their devotion to the Church, believed that only the French monarchy could successfully uphold the Catholic cause in Europe and saw the « Pré carré » as the only secure bastion of the Faith.

    Accordingly, whilst crushing the political power of the Huguenots at home, they supported the Protestants against the Habsburg power. They subsidised the Dutch to fight the Spanish and engineered the Swedish intervention, formalised in the Treaty of Bärwalde.

    Two hundred years later, we find Catholic powers, France and the Dual Monarchy defending Ottoman rule over the Christian populations of the Balkans, as a barrier to Russian influence in the region. Napoléon III saw this alliance as essential to France’s ability to act as the protecting power of Catholics in Syria and the Levant.

    Good men, pious men, trying to deal with a concrete situation according to their best lights.

  • “We do not have armies nor have the power to raise armies against Islamicist terrorism etc”

    How about, after consultation with the political leaders of the countries involved, the pope calls on all Catholic men with military training to offer their services to defend Christians who are being killed by Muslim terrorists and war bands in various countries throughout the world?

    This wouldn’t work in the Middle East, where the governments are usually part of the problem, but should work in some of the African countries where you have large Christian populations and governments that try to protect those Christian populations. Why not give them help?

  • “Yes there seems to be a hope for peace that may be unrealistic. I can understand the cry of the popes’ hearts “no more war, war never again” especially with their WWII experience.”

    There will never be peace on Earth until the Second Coming. To claim that we, as human beings, can achieve it is delusional.

  • “Good men, pious men, trying to deal with a concrete situation according to their best lights.”

    No, men interested in increasing their country’s, and thereby their own, power at the expense of the Church. The French have an especially bad record on this going back to Philip Augustus.

  • this is a metaphor of the damage this so-called pope does to the Christ’s herd: thanks to him we are all exposed to the devil’s claws, or the wolves’ clutches… to become their victims.”Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.”

    A false shepherd , who is not a true shepherd, and whose sheep are not his own, and doesn’t love them and is willing to harm them, does all he can to harm them, and let the wolves catch and scatter them….. “Beware of false shepherds”!

  • bbruno

    Pope Francis is not a ‘so called pope” He is the validly elected successor of Saint Peter.

  • botolph,

    ” validly elected “? A heretic, and even worse elected by heretics, a pope validly elected??? Not at all, according to “Cum ex apostolatus Officio “, and according to reason, as confirmed by Leo XIII in his “Satis Cognitum”:” “Cum absurdum sit opinari, qui extra Ecclesiam est, eum in Ecclesia praeesse”., And those who are heretics are outside the Church, and can’t preside over it!

  • bbruno,

    So the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against the Church huh? And that makes Christ’s promise what a lie? And if it is a lie, He is not the Way the Truth and the Life? And if He is not the Way the Truth and the Life, God has not fulfilled any of His promises? And if God has not fulfilled any of His promises He is both unloving and unfaithful? Really?

    Have you really thought this through and brought it to prayer?

  • Bbruno

    Those who attempt to use past definitions as a criterion by which to judge the living voice of the Magisterium would do well to ponder the words of Bl John Henry Newman: ““It is in vain to say that the man who judges from the Apostles’ writings, does submit to those writings in the first instance, and therefore has faith in them; else why should he refer to them at all? There is, I repeat, an essential difference between the act of submitting to a living oracle, and to his written words; in the former case there is no appeal from the speaker, in the latter the final decision remains with the reader…. I can fancy a man magisterially expounding St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians or to the Ephesians, who would be better content with the writer’s absence than his sudden reappearance among us; lest the Apostle should take his own meaning out of his commentator’s hands and explain it for himself. In a word, though he says he has faith in St. Paul’s writings, he confessedly has no faith in St. Paul.”

    This obviously applies to those who appeal to past popes or councils (who can no longer speak for themselves) against the teaching of the living successors of the apostles.

  • Botolph and Michael Paterson

    the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against the Church – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/01/27/popewatch-doves-and-serpents/#sthash.SdoJyyA6.dpuf

    Exactly! “the gates of hell” do prevail against the Church when they succeed in getting us to believe that the shepherds ‘elected ‘ by them are true shepherds of the church, when they get us to accept their church – the “strange church” as it was seen by the Ven. Emmerich- as the true Church of Jesus Christ. Heretics and non-believers can’t be part of the Church (read above Leo XIII), lest of all, shepherds (“good shepherds” ) of the Church. The Church, is an “ens morale” ( ‘legal person’ in english?), not a natural person (persona physica), and an ens morale can remain for a while without anyone to preside – phisically – over it, (as it happened to the Church during the persecution of the roman emperor Decius, a vacancy of 4 years … and remenber that in the face of God one thousand years are like one day- and thus 60 years are like zero comma and comma …of one day!) It is Jesus Christ the Head of His Church, and it was He who said: “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” “I “!

    if you hold that these are true popes (these conciliar popes) , then believe in the “freedom of conscience “, “freedom of religion”, “the same God for us, christians and muslims and jews…” , “the salvation for all men for the simple fact of the shared humanity” etc. etc…These are all doctrinal errors, alredy condemned by the previous popes…No true pope can contradict another pope. If this happened, the church would be destroyed, and a pope can’t destroy the Church. If he does so, he’ s not a pope: he’s a fake pope! Beware and pray that Christ comes soon and unmask these false prophets, false shepherds , and destroys these gates of hell: because, I’m sure, at the end, they NON PRAEVALEBUNT!!!!

    Henry Newman is an example of false shepherd, beatified by a false pope ( he permanently opposed the dogma of papal infallibility, and his life was also of doubtful morality…) , in order to confirm himself – and the concilar popes – in the false doctrine teached by them, in order to deceive the faithful, and ruin all men!!”

    If you do well with the new church, good: I stay with the OLD one: that which makes me believe:

    -“In unum Deum, Patrem Omnipotentem.. 
Factorem cæli et terræ…

    -Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum,

    Filium Dei unigénitum
et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula:
Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine, 
Deum verum de Deo vero, 
génitum, non factum, 
consubstantiálem Patri…qui propter nos hómines
et propter nostram salútem,
descéndit de cælis, 
et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto 
ex Maria Víirgine et homo factus est,
passus et sepúltus est, 
et qui resurréxit tértia die …
et ascéndit in cælum, 
sedet ad déxteram Patris, 
et íterum ventúrus est cum glória, 
iudicáre vivos et mórtuos, 
cuius regni non erit finis.

    -Et in Spíritum Sanctum, 
…qui ex Patre Filióque procédit, 

Et unam sanctam cathólicam
et apostólicam Ecclésiam.

    – Et in unum Baptísma
in remissiónem peccatórum.
- Et in resurrectiónem mortuórum,
et vitam ventúri sæculi.

    This is not the God of the jews the muslims or (without their knowledge ) of every men: this is the CATHOLIC God – the only true God, in Jesus Christ revealed! no matter what Bergoglio, sorry, pope Francis, say! Freedom of religion, isn’t it true?

  • bruno,

    You apparently did not understand what I wrote. If indeed since 1958 the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church-completely against Christ’s own promise to Peter concerning the Church built upon Peter, then the whole thing-including what you are ‘fighting for’ does not exist. This is that clear. Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 1 5 when he wrote, If Christ has not been raised from the dead we are the most pitiful of men” This is one of those very clear moments, decisions need to be made indeed, but remember, if hell has prevailed against the Church since 1958 then there is no Church at all.

  • Jesus Christ is Head of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is the visible head of the Catholic Church on earth and the Vicar of Christ. Without Christ, we are all going to hell, bbruno, Mary and the pope. Hope to not see you there.
    Oh, when souls are in hell there is no remembrance of others. The souls in heaven do not know the souls in hell.

  • Botolph ( and Mary)
    It is clear that you too – Botolph – have some difficulty in understanding me.I strongly believe that the gates of the hell won’t prevail, despite all these infernal forces mobilised against Christ and His church, and now from inside the structures of the Church.How could we accept a church that gives a teaching opposed to its previous teaching, which contradicts its own magisterium? In the name of a living tradition? What’s a living tradition: that which change with the living? According to their tastes? Once an anathema against those who asserted Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion, and now woe to the opponents! Come on!

    The Church has not ceased to exist since 1958: it has entered the night of the proof, it has undergone, as it were, the darkness of an eclipse… If you don’t agree with me, tell me how I could accept the new beliefs such as those I exemplified in my previous comment… I am misunderstanding the words and statements of these – I.M.O – popes (the conciliar popes?), am I? No one here is stupid! 60 and more years of teaching misunderstood! And no misunderstanding about the teaching of the previous centuries and centuries…

    Dear Mary, I hope that God has pity on me, but certainly to believe in these new church is not the right way to have His pity on me!

    At peace!

  • bbruno,

    I see you are a very sincere believer-seeker. It is those who have twisted texts and meanings who have beguiled you. There is no contradiction of teaching on faith and morals in the Church. Change in how to handle certain issues, such as ‘freedom of religion’ yes, but no change in teaching etc. Those who have caught you in their snares are confusing you as if policies, principles and even canons are the same as teachings on faith and morals.

    The term you have been given “the night of the proof” is a ‘new teaching’ and does not exist in Scripture or the Tradition of the Church. Remember, ‘private revelations’ of ‘seers’ or even saints are not ‘the teaching of the Church’. Yes, indeed, the Church is always n the midst of toils and struggles and tribulations (from Saint Augustine). We are like disciples in the ‘bark of Peter’ out on the Sea of Galilee. A storm comes and we are ready to abandon ship. We scream “Lord save us”, yet Christ is in our midst. After He calms the storm with a simple command, He looks back at us and decries our ‘lack of faith’. There is only one bark-that of Peter. If we step outside of it, we drown.

  • Bbruno

    You say that Rome departed from the true faith in 1968. The Eastern Orthodox will say she did so in 1054. By what test are we to know that you are right and they wrong?

    The Armenians and the Copts will claim that both East and West abandoned the true faith in 451. What argument would you use to contradict them? It cannot be a question of numbers, surely, which would destroy your own case.

    And then we have the Assyrian Orthodox Church, which says that they alone are faithful to the Apostolic teaching, which all the rest of the Christian world abandoned in 431, whilst they have maintained their faithful witness for going on 1,583 years. How would you seek to persuade them that they are in error?

    There is only one answer that holds up: the faithful, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. And in fact there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other. It is a test remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  • bbruno you are apparently worried about is that the current “Rome” is not in communion with the “Rome” pre Vatican II. I don’t know enough; about your concerns to address them in detail I just know I Decided to Accept in Faith some of the things that are hard for me to understand. I have had the experience of simply getting very upset only to find out that I had a mistaken understanding … like Gilda Radner’s church lady I have had to say “never mind!” 🙂
    Seriously, bbruno, think of Peter’s response in the sixth chapter of John when the Lord’s teaching was hard to accept, when others actually walked away from Jesus. Peter said “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” That is Peter’s confession of faith!
    This is a big decision here, not to follow the Church since Vatican II. 1. Your decision could easily be based on deep misunderstanding
    or 2. You now are our of the boat. You are relying only on your own conscience and inner sense of direction, in other words you are a protestant.
    You know it was at John 6:66 that some disciples turned and walked away from the Lord, not recognizing the Truth.

  • Botolph,
    tell me ,
    -do you believe that our God, the God by Jesus Christ and IN Jesus Christ revealed, is the same God Jews and Muslims believe in?
    -do you believe that the jews have the salvation without the faith in Jesus Christ? That the Old Covenant is still in force, and not abrogated?
    -Do you believe that all men are saved for the mere fact that they are men, for their having their human nature in common with Jesus Christ? -Do you believe the New Mass is the same Mass as that of S. Pius V ( by the lutherans and anglicans this one detested, and that one exalted?)
    -Do you believe that a pope, even as a simple priest, can’t tell anything about, for instance, the gays?
    – Do you believe that a pope can change the nature of christian marriage and rules connected (as Bergoglio has just announced)?

    I do not.

    And I would be beguiled??? Or you, perhaps? In my readings, I’ve had S. Thomas Aquinas’ among my preferred, and the first thing I’ve learnt from them is ‘Principium contradictionis’, i.e. “Nothing can be both A and not-A.”

    Michael Paterson

    I said that NEW Church appeared officially since 1958, with John 23, since the very moment of his election.
    You speak about various accusation of departures from the true faith, 1054, 451, 431… Why do you not record the year 33, when Judas Iscarioth betrayed Jesus Christ because of his non-conformity with the faith of the jews about the Messiah? Aside from that, I will answer to your question: “By what test are we to know that you are right and they wrong?” i in the same way as you do, “by the test of the church of Rome”. Because only to Peter Jesus Christ promised his assistance. The various accusation made against the Catholic Church of departing from the true faith turned against those who made them, and they went off the Church of Peter, off the Rock established by Jesus Christ for His Church.
    NOW – and here I am in desagreement with you – the builders of the NEW Church pretend to be the shepherds of the Church of Christ, and even from “the See of the Blessed Peter” (Leo XIII), that they occupy abusively.

    “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.”

    And this is enough.

  • bbruno:
    tell me ,
    -do you believe that our God, the God by Jesus Christ and IN Jesus Christ revealed, is the same God Jews and Muslims believe in?
    If this were true these persons would know Jesus Christ.
    -do you believe that the jews have the salvation without the faith in Jesus Christ?
    The Jews have God WHO is leading them into the Faith of Jesus Christ and salvation.
    That the Old Covenant is still in force, and not abrogated?
    The Old Covenant is not abrogated which means destroyed. The Old Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.
    -Do you believe that all men are saved for the mere fact that they are men, for their having their human nature in common with Jesus Christ?
    There is the matter of free will. Jesus saves all men. Men must accept salvation.
    -Do you believe the New Mass is the same Mass as that of S. Pius V ( by the lutherans and anglicans this one detested, and that one exalted?)
    The Mass of St. Pius V came before Henry VIII’s protestant revolt and is loved by the Lutherans and Anglicans. The New Mass and the Mass of St. Pius V are the same Mass. The Mass brings to earth the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
    -Do you believe that a pope, even as a simple priest, can’t tell anything about, for instance, the gays?
    The gays are persons who have same sex orientation. The gay agenda, their homosexual act and their militant intent to become an icon, are not connected with the same sex orientation.
    – Do you believe that a Pope can change the nature of Christian marriage and rules connected (as Bergoglio has just announced)?
    Pope Francis promised to study the situation of those outside of the church because of their marriage. Pope Francis promised a committee and a study.

  • Mary de Voe

    –The Jews have God WHO is leading them into the Faith of Jesus Christ and salvation.

    … In fact, look how the jews have arrived at the faith in Jesus Christ! (cfr Talmud!). They are ‘obstinate’ since the times of Saint Paul!

    –The Old Covenant is not abrogated which means destroyed. The Old Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. . –

    … ‘To abrogate’ means: -to repeal or do away with (Oxford Dict.)- to end a law or agreement (Cambridge Dict. )-to end or cancel in a formal and official way (Merriam-Webster)
    Ratzinger, ‘pope’ Bened.XVI, speaks about the parallelism between the Synagogue and the Church ( at the Synagogue in Rome, January, 1st 2010 ). And he reflects exatly the whole thought of the conciliar church…before and after him…

    –There is the matter of free will. Jesus saves all men. Men must accept salvation.

    …All right. But not salvation ‘apart from acceptation’. Saint Peter is categorical:”Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ”. But Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis says: fellow your conscience and you are saved ( see his recent dialogue with Scalfari, the italian bearded Guru, as reported in the very influential newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ , founded by him.

    –The Mass of St. Pius V came before Henry VIII’s protestant revolt and is loved by the Lutherans and Anglicans. The New Mass and the Mass of St. Pius V are the same Mass.

    … But AFTER Henry VIII, those who were discovered saying the Pius V’s Mass, would be “hanged drawn and quartered…” ( have I to cite Edward Campion Robert Southwell Henry Walpole?), because of this very Mass, sentenced by Luther Martin as the “utmost abomination” just for its being a ‘sacrifice’, the ‘same sacrifice of the Cross’, and not for its bringing us the real presence of Christ, which he maintained through the way of the consubtantiation… and by the Anglicans an abominable act of idolatry…A Mass very loved indeed! Only if you see it only as a ‘presence’, as you are just doing, assuming that all catholics still understand this presence as real or symbolic….But how this presence without the sacrifice??? How a ‘table’ and ‘banquet without an ‘altar’???..

    —The gays are persons who have same sex orientation. The gay agenda, their homosexual act and their militant intent to become an icon, are not connected with the same sex orientation.

    …The gays are persons who are PRIDE of their orientation- Gay Pride Parade – , and Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis tells us the he can’t judge! Is it for this reason he has become ‘their’ man??? (cfr. ADVOCATE )
    —Pope Francis promised to study the situation of those outside of the church because of their marriage. Pope Francis promised a committee and a study.

    … To study what? How to make the christian marriage a bit less indissoluble??? And divorce a mere passage? And a man plus man- or a woman plus woman- a simple variation of marriage? And why not polygamy and… polyandry as good as these other variations???

  • anzyline

    .”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  That is Peter’s confession of faith!

    -Certrainly: Peter’s confession, not the false Peter’s, who disavows Jesus Christ’ s words of eternal life! – See examples above.

    The faith is not “assensus sine ratione” or “contra rationem” .
    Faith involves the consent of reason: it’ not a blind consent! (cfr S. Thomas Aquinas, , S.T. P.I-II, Q.15)

  • God became man if that isn’t sacrifice enough for you you are hopelessly lost. If symbols are all you see, you must look deeper. Why do you speak for Pope Francis? He and the Magisterium will speak with infallibility.

  • bbruno.

    Q; Did Jesus condemn the man who was expelling demons in His Fathers name?

    One of the twelve wanted to have the man cease, yet Jesus did not want it so.

    Could the time spent in arguments aganist The Holy See be more useful?

    The man expelling demons “didn’t belong” in the eyes of the Apostle!

  • Blessed, soon to be St. John Paul the Great……a wolf?

    World Youth Days – Eastern communist block – Divine Mercy Sunday – just a few of the “workings of the wolf.”

    bbruno. Please help me to understand Jesus’ prayer; St. John’s Gospel chpt. 17

    Good reflection material.

  • Philip,

    rightly Our Lord reproached them, because that one was right: he had driven out demons in HIS Name ( NOT “in His Father’s name, as you quoted – and I guess the reason of this change…a freudian slip?)… “In the NAME of Jesus Christ”, thanks to the faith in the unique saving force of the Name of Jesus Christ, the only ” name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” And it is for that, that Jesus adds: “Whoever is not against us is for us.”Mc 9.

    But be careful: the same Jesus says to us: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”-Mt 12,30.

    “With me” means: “only with me” : whoever tries to put all toghether, is simply against Him. And whoever thinks of gathering from everywhere, he simply scatters!

    But now for the new church, “every name” is good for ‘salvation’, even “the name” of our own conscience! – ( Bergoglio ‘pope’ Francis to Scalfari, following Ratzinger ‘pope’ Benedict XVI, who teached that the coscience is the supreme Tribunal! ).

    Or will it not be that we believe in the ‘salvific’ force of any names, since we really do not believe in any devils ( in fact, in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, the New church hasn’t removed any kind of exorcisms???)

    –As for the understanding of John 17, I think it is good to focus on these words of Him: “this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” That is, the faith in the only true God, the Father, who has sent to us his only begotten Son, to rescue and save us”. No other god, and no conscience free from its duty to recognise this Supreme and Ultimate Thruth!

    -As you see, we are in the same line of the previous discussion.

  • bbruno.

    You quote Our Lord: “..whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

    Sounds like you bbruno.
    Sounds like you have fallen away from…how did you put it…the thruth.

    We will pray your stiff neck loosens up.

  • Bbruno

    You persist in the fallacy of trying to judge the faithful by their tenets and the Church by its teaching.

    The church is a visible body that exists here and now, consisting of those in communion with the see or church of Rome. Either a person is in visible communion with the Holy See and with the bishops in communion with it, or he is not.

    Any other test is a resort to private judgment.

    You are making complications, where none exist.

  • Philip and Michael

    “Sounds like you have fallen away from…” : the modernist ‘throuth’! That is good news! After all, I’m following my conscience, not my complications, and on your popes’ word, I’m at peace, and thus in no need of your praying…

  • ” No other God and no conscience free from it’s duty to recognize this Supreme and Ultimate Thruth.”
    – bbruno

    Quiet….St. Peter said to the “modernist,” On the other side of the wall are all the pre- V. 2 traditionalist. They still think that they are the only ones saved!

    Peace bbruno and good will be yours.

  • Bbruno,
    I shared some of your concerns relative to Vatican II…and was able to find clarity with the assistance of many commenters who post here.
    You might find our discussions of interest to you. See, comments attached to the following article.


  • Philip,
    …and so with you!


    I’ ll follow your advise. Bearing always in mind that in every discussion with the modern catholics, at a certain point it’ s no use going on in it: we employ the same terms, but with reference to different – opposite – situations. No hope to understand each other. At this point has brought us – the catholics – the Vatican II: a very nice spring for the church and the world! Or the triumph of darkness??? Let us wait and see!

PopeWatch: Good Morning Father!

Saturday, January 25, AD 2014



From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:

VATICAN––Shortly after it was revealed that his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, defrocked 400 priests for sexual abuse of minors, Pope Francis decreed the immediate removal of priestly faculties for 300 priests from Europe and the Americas who were found in defiance of liturgical norms and persistently refused to greet parishioners with the traditional “Good Morning” liturgical salutation. “The rubrics are clear in this regard; the celebrant is to smile, holds his hands out widely and welcomingly, and say ‘Good Morning,’ in a jubilant voice, before continuing with the Penitential Rites,” said a spokesman for the Holy See, defending the Holy Father’s decision. He continued, “a committee has been established also to ensure that liturgical norms for homilies are followed strictly by all who preach at Mass.” These norms, he explained, are somewhat more flexible: “the priest or deacon or layperson with a degree in theology or pastoral ministry has the option, in this case, of beginning with either a story or a joke. But beyond this, there is little wiggle room. Defying this would be the liturgical equivalent of deliberately changing a note in Marty Haugen’s ‘Mass of Creation’ setting for the Eucharistic Prayer, the Canonical penalty for which is an automatic excommunication.” The spokesman concluded firmly: “We are not at liberty to tamper with the Holy Liturgy of the Church, adding and subtracting as we see fit. That would make it more about us than about God.”

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13 Responses to PopeWatch: Good Morning Father!

PopeWatch: Internet a Gift From God?

Friday, January 24, AD 2014



Well, doubtless Al Gore will be miffed by this statement from Pope Francis:

The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

In a message for the 48th World Communications Day (who knew?) Pope Francis celebrates communication on the net while pointing to problems:

In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all.  Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity.  The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another.  We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.  A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.  Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances.  The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

This is not to say that certain problems do not exist.  The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression.  The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.  The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.  The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.  We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind.

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Internet a Gift From God?

  • You bring up pretty good points – the net is basically an amoral tool, its morality depends upon what we do with it (although given the proliferation of porn on it, it could arguably be considered a near occasion of sin). On the whole, I have to say this is one of Francis’ better reflections.

  • The internet is a gift from God. Its salvation comes from the good it brings. Tienenmen Square was out of China in 8 minutes. Big Brother could not stop it. Of course Tank Man, the man who prevented the tanks from rolling over the people, would not have saved the people, if the internet was not watching. Tank Man has not been seen or heard from since. Perhaps a chip inserted under the skin could locate him or his body.
    Pornography is not the internet’s fault. Pornography is the fault of the Supreme Court redefining the perjury of pornography, the lie about the human being, human sexuality, as nothing but the truth, so help me God. The Court redefined the vice of lust which has no place in civilization with the virtue of love, love of neighbor, of another and of self, not to mention the love of God.
    The internet, like television, has been commandeered by the devil and his minions. Let the devil fall down and break his neck.

  • Only truth has freedom of speech and press. “All the news that is fit to print.” Lies, perjury and pornography are unconstitutional. Truth in packaging is also freedom of the press. Read the leaflet. Condoms do not prevent HIV/aids. Death is the side effect of so many drugs, and this is only what the drug companies have begun to learn. The Supreme Court did not ban prayer in public school. The Court told the atheist that “She can go her own way.” “Teachers teach in loco parentis” All public places and taxes belong to each and every citizen without discrimination. I am having tea.

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PopeWatch: A Suggested Topic for Conversation

Thursday, January 23, AD 2014

22 Responses to PopeWatch: A Suggested Topic for Conversation

  • Just speaking for myself, I have no doubts about Pope Francis’s commitment to a full spectrum of pro-life issues. I do have serious doubts about how the media will portray those views, and there are several scenarios in which the pope’s views will be called into question.
    In one scenario, the conversations with Obama are private, and selective leaks are publicized by someone looking to put the pope on the defensive.
    In another scenario, the pope makes numerous unambiguous remarks affirming his pro-life stances, plus one highly-publicized, ambiguous remark that requires bloggers (once again) to explain away our doubts.
    In another scenario, the pope publically condemns Obama’s record only to be portrayed as “undiplomatic”, “strident”, or even “gaffe-prone” by the international media.
    The chance that the pope will express strong pro-life views and those views will be reported accurately and fairly by the media is pretty small, in my view (but I hope to be wrong).

  • No grandchildren for Michelle or Barry!
    Wishing to glorify themselves as elites the daughters of the impeachable (p)resident followed in the Lib way of life. Harvard pot and sex. After their abortions they found out that natural pregnancy was not possible. 🙁

    Pope Francis could tell a fairytale.
    Call it “In the wake of disaster.”

  • Where is the father and the man’s responsibility in providing for the woman, his wife or the mother of his progeny, his child. Read Susan B. Anthony’s speeches on the absent and irresponsible father who gets a girl pregnant and then abandons her. Obama speech reinforces the criminality of such behavior not found anywhere else in nature. A nation of scalywags endorsed and encouraged by the devil himself. Well, what about the father, the begetter, the one with manhood?
    Roe v. Wade 41 years ago disenfranchised the father of his offspring, his constitutional posterity, his future. and enabled the woman to destroy the male seed after it had begun life. Only half of the population are represented by our president. The great black father in Washington isn’t.

  • The Pope needs to tell Obama what happened to King Manasseh for murdering babies.

  • “The great black father in Washington isn’t.”

    Perfectly said!

  • “Continue to build safe and healthy communities for our children”- really?

    “Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfil their dreams”- except of course if you happen to fall in the category of an”unintended pregnancy”.

    Half the time, I don’t think Obama realises the crap that comes out of his mouth. When you know his ideology, you realise how fickle his words are- so uninspiring, so depressing.

    Pope Francis- I pray you hold nothing back.

  • Well, based on his prior chats, I bet Francis is going to try to land a punch. It’s interesting, though; Francis must know precisely that Obama defends abortion all the way up to birth. Obama must know precisely that Francis defends life all the way back to conception. Everybody’s on record, loud and clear. I doubt Obama fears losing any segment of the fear-based single female vote. So, what’s in it for either of them? I fear that Obama expects to get the better part of the deal: a photo opportunity that helps him sell his “decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income”. All for taking one punch. How will Francis use that opportunity? What words will he choose? Hmm. Time for Jesuits to put up or shut up.

  • Half of the children aborted are daughters, daughters of half of the population, who are fathers of these daughters. Obama was elected to represent all of us, equal Justice under the law, as constituents to Obama’s presidency.
    If one listens carefully to the plaints of the left, and the liberals, one hears the cry for equal Justice under the law. The gay unnatural marriage agenda is voicing a very real zeitgeist, the unlawful and unjust denial of the human soul, the real emasculation and sexual prejudice against the manhood of fathers, the obliterating of the sovereign personhood endowed by our Creator to the newly conceived human being of our species, and the preemption of all the innocence and justice brought into the family of man by their innocence and Justice. This is truly a cry for the emasculation of manhood to be eradicated, and the oppression of the feminist movement be aleviated. Equal Justice for all under the law would reinstate the proper authentic authority of the father over his children.
    Equality must be equal Justice for all in a court of law.
    Pope Francis must ask Obama:”Where is your brother?”

  • Here is the question Pope Francis needs to ask of the elusive, transparent, non-existent great black father in Washington.
    Those two girls who live with Barack, Roe v. Wade says that they are not his. The girls belong to Michelle and he has nothing further to say about them, the fruit of his loins. Pope Francis ought to ask Barack how he feels about that. Andrew Cuomo, too, does not own the fatherhood of his children. Any and all of these children escaped being aborted by their mother. These children are not survivors. They are the joyless, brainwashed refugees from a Moloch, Sodom and Lesbos gulag.

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  • I get the sense that Obama wouldn’t flinch at the thought of Michelle having “ownership” of their two girls. Because I think his views on pro-choice womens “rights” are actually his wife’s views.

    I think this is true for most politicians.

    If they say and do whatever it takes to win public approval, they will say and do anything their wives want them to…and only God know why these wives of pro-abortion politicians are so adamant about women’s access to abortion…if you get what I mean…

    Besides, the Obamas seem so out of touch with the black community and the tragedy that plagues too many- absent fathers. From my point of view, not being an American, It appears as though he has done nothing to address the problems of the black community, absent fathers being just the tip of the iceberg.

    All he does is nod his head to those that are willing to fill his pockets and those that will guarantee him power.

    He has done more for the gay man, using the same race issues, as common cliches to advance the gay “rights” agenda.

  • Lies. Lies everywhere.

    Everybody has the right to prvacy. If you leave no witness and no detectable evidence you may kill another person and live “happily” ever after.

    However, you will answer for it to God Almighty. Your soul will be destroyed in the eternal fire of hell.

    Fear not that which can only destroy your physical life but cannot kill the soul. Fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. See Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:2-7.

    When was the last time you heard a sermon on the rewards of eternal life which Christ jesus has purchased for us with his life, death, and resurrection?

  • T Shaw, my parish hears about the rewards heaven and the pains hell all the time; but then our pastor is Father Robert Sirico.

  • Good suggestions, Mary! “So, Barack, why is the black abortion rate so high? Do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing?” Aren’t Jesuits supposed to be good at asking questions? “So, Barack, if we see the unborn child as Other…”
    But as folks point out, Obama does not behave as though he has a conscience; it has been subsumed fully by class consciousness. I fully believe that he has a conscience… it’s just buried under so many layers (thank you, Stanley Ann!) it cannot be pricked.

  • El: Alleluia!!!

  • El: Allelujia !!!
    “All he does is nod his head to those that are willing to fill his pockets and those that (WHO) will guarantee him power.”
    Obama is a fake Ken doll to go with Wendy Davis’ fake Barbie doll. Ambition, ambition, ambition.

  • tamsin, “But as folks point out, Obama does not behave as though he has a conscience; it has been subsumed fully by class consciousness.”
    tamsin, you have just defined communism with “class consciousness”

  • “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable. ”

    Why do Church leaders draw attention away from the purpose of the “March for Life in Washington” by encompassing it with “all life?” 57,000,000 American babies have been murdered because of Roe v. Wade and the Democratic Party. This could not have happened without Catholic Democrats giving their party the electoral power to keep the murder of unborn babies legal. Catholics elected Obama President, twice, the first time with 54% of their vote; the second time with 50%. And Catholic Hispanic citizens gave him 75% of their vote. Catholics, you want to end legal abort? Remove your names from endorsing the pro-abortion party, and stop voting for all Democrats until that party changes its position.

  • i looked back at images of the Obamas meeting with B16 in 2009, remembering that I had a yucky feeling watching the coverage on TV. Michelle looked beuatiful in her long mantilla.
    Jay Carney: the president hopes to talk about poverty and income inequality — (Fox News)

  • “I get the sense that Obama wouldn’t flinch at the thought of Michelle having “ownership” of their two girls. Because I think his views on pro-choice womens “rights” are actually his wife’s views.
    I think this is true for most politicians”.
    EZ: The fatherhood of the American male has been annihilated by the Supreme Court in Roe v.Wade. Roe legally castrated every American male of his manhood, his fatherhood, his offspring. “You don’t own that”, the pregnant woman and her doctor own that. Obama does not own the fatherhood of his children, Roe versus Wade does. Blackmun, Brennan, do not own the fatherhood of their children either. Sadly, our Constitution no longer owns the fatherhood of the American male either. The devil took it to progress to the abortion of the unborn soul.

  • I agree Mary something has happened to fatherhood and to men. Virtuous and virile men are needed! Strong men who will protect and provide. People talk about the feminization of the church, even of the US military. That only happens because nature abhors a vacuum and fake Ken dolls.

  • Anzlyne: Fatherhood must be restored to our culture. God bless.

PopeWatch: March for Life

Wednesday, January 22, AD 2014


If the Pope were here in the US, PopeWatch assumes he would be participating in the March for Life.  How can PopeWatch be certain of that?  Based upon this incident from last May:

Pope Francis surprised about 40,000 Italian and international participants in today’s Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Internazionale in Rome this morning, when he left the Apostolic Palace to greet them personally from his popemobile in the street where they were lined up.

Monsignore Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that for the pope to have effectively joined the March for Life was highly unusual.

Since his election, the pope has gained a reputation for making spontaneous gestures that have sometimes taxed his security staff, beginning with taking the bus back to his temporary residence with the other cardinals the night of his election, instead of the car reserved for the pope.

In this case, however, the Vatican appeared to have prepared the event ahead of time. Monsignore Barreiro noted they had prepared crowd control barriers to guide the popemobile out of St. Peter’s square and across the adjacent piazza and down the wide Via della Conciliazione that leads up the Basilica.

But if organizers knew about a planned appearance by the pope at the march, they made no mention of it before the event, leaving participants delighted by the unexpected arrival of the pontiff.   
“The March for Life brought 40 thousand people to Rome today,” organizers announced after the event. “The Pope greeted the march at the Regina Coeli and then met the parade on the Popemobile in the Via Concilazione.”

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6 Responses to PopeWatch: March for Life

PopeWatch: Cash Cow

Tuesday, January 21, AD 2014



Sandro Magister at Chiesa draws attention to the enlistment by Pope Francis of some rather expensive firms in his efforts to revamp Vatican operations:

It may be “poor and for the poor,” the Church dreamed of by Pope Francis. Meanwhile, however, the Vatican is becoming the cash cow of the most exclusive and expensive firms in the world of management and financial systems.


Another big name recruited by the Vatican is Promontory Financial Group, based in Washington. Since May, a dozen of its analysts have been set up in the offices of the IOR sifting through the accounts of the institute one by one, hunting for illicit operations. And they are doing the same with the accounts of the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

Not only that. Top-level managers of Promontory have become part of the permanent leadership of the IOR. One former Promontory officer is Rodolfo Marranci, the new director general of the Vatican “bank.” And the senior advisers of the IOR include Elizabeth McCaul and Raffaele Cosimo, who at Promontory were respectively the heads of the New York and European branches. Also coming from across the Atlantic is Antonio Montaresi, called in to manage the risk office, a role that did not exist at the IOR before.

A similar multiplication of roles and personnel at the Vatican also concerns the Financial Information Authority, created at the end of 2010 by Benedict XVI, today directed by the Swiss René Brülhart, an expensive international star in this area who will soon be doubling his staff.

The balance sheets of the IOR are certified by Ernst & Young, to which the Vatican has also entrusted the verification and modernization of the finance and management practices of the governorate of the tiny state.

And another renowned multinational, KPMG, has been called to bring up to international standards the accounting practices of all the institutes and offices based in Vatican City.

In spite of the boasts of transparency, no information is coming out about the costs of this recourse to external contractors, costs that are presumed to be enormous, particularly those charged to the IOR.

As if this were not enough, the Vatican “bank” has had to spend 3.6 million euro to cover part of the debt of 28.3 million, calculated by Ernst & Young, for the world youth day in Rio de Janeiro.

And it has had to use roughly ten million euro to cover half of the chasm left in the diocese of Terni by its former bishop Vincenzo Paglia, the current president of the pontifical council for the family.

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3 Responses to PopeWatch: Cash Cow

  • Can the Vatican really purchase an appearance of propriety vis a vis financial auditing of its institutions?
    It would seem that habitual practice of the virtues is a better and less expensive way to acquire a reputation for propriety, honesty, and fair dealing…intangibles that an audit cannot measure.

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  • I doubt any of us here can pass judgement on what needs to occur to modify internal systems to meet today’s needs … yes, consulting firms can spend and at times waste money … but with that comes some level of expertise in what they were hired to do. At other times one needs the voice and influence of outsiders to act as change agents. In the end, it will be the ability to feed and manage consultants that ensure a successful result.

PopeWatch: Disposable Objects

Monday, January 20, AD 2014



Each year the Pope gives an address to the approximately 180 ambassadors to the Vatican.  The speech for 2014 was given by Pope Francis last week.  It has many passages of interest for those seeking to determine the priorities of Pope Francis.  PopeWatch was struck by this passage:

Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed “the throwaway culture”. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as “unnecessary”. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity. Nor can we be unmoved by the tragedies which have forced so many people to flee from famine, violence and oppression, particularly in the Horn of Africa and in the Great Lakes Region. Many of these are living as fugitives or refugees in camps where they are no longer seen as persons but as nameless statistics. Others, in the hope of a better life, have undertaken perilous journeys which not infrequently end in tragedy. I think in particular of the many migrants from Latin America bound for the United States, but above all of all those from Africa and the Middle East who seek refuge in Europe.

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8 Responses to PopeWatch: Disposable Objects

  • “the Great Lakes Region”?
    oh, Detroit, I suppose.

  • The Great Lakes of eastern Africa.

  • “Stalin, during the famine he created in the Ukraine chillingly observed, “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” In regard to how people should be treated, Pope Francis should be viewed as the anti-Stalin.”
    Stalin turned 30 million souls into a statistic. Roe v, Wade turns fifty six million souls into a statistic. Fifty six million souls scraped from the nutrition and nurturing of the womb. I am obsessed with the Right to Life.

  • I wonder why I do not recall Francis referring to abandoned spouses as “disposable objects”, or our marriages, after many are, wrongly, found null, as “disposable objects”, or our faith, when we watch the Catholic Church find our marriages valid, yet still welcome with open arems and without a word of correction for their adultery our spouses and their lovers, as “disposable objects”?

    This faithful spouse is waiting for you to catch on to reality, Pope Francis. What will it take? Perhaps if I was gay and felt crushed that I could not marry my lover, then you might listen?

    Why are you deaf to our pleas? Why is the hierarchy deaf to our pleas? Why will a bishops or parish priests, for that matter, not correct my wife and her lover for their unrepentant adultery of over two decades?

    Why, because to you and them, we ARE “disposable objects”. I see no other conclusion that fits our treatment.


    A Disposable Object

  • I was sorting through old things and photos. Some were disposable. i thought of “saving”. I save the ones I think precious and want to keep with me.
    I thought about Jesus saving me. I am not an object. I am a subject. I have a say in it when he reaches out to me– to accept his saving or not. He saves me, and keeps me close to Him.
    We all want to be saved, to be thought precious and kept close. Our pope reminds us to treat others as we would like to be treated.

  • From the pope’s remarks:
    “I recall in particular the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Sudan, the signing of basic or specific accords with Cape Verde, Hungary, and Chad, and the ratification of the accord with Equatorial Guinea signed in 2012.”
    Four African nations are named in that one sentence alone. South Sudan is newest to the international community, and we are all likely familiar with its recent separation from the north and the current state of violence and unrest there.
    The Republic of Chad is predominately Muslim, so I understand the accord as strengthening of ties with an expectation of protection of religious freedoms there, but I am not really certain from the brief news excerpt.
    Chad’s constitution protects religious liberty and the open practice of Christianity seems healthy is not viewed as subversive. I was not able to find the actual text of the accord, searching in English, Italian and French, so unable to really understand the significance of the agreement.
    Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea are a bit of a mystery to me because Catholicism is already the predominant religion in those counties. The recent accords referenced by Pope Francis are similar to each other in that they provide legal protections for Catholics to marry, receive religious education and worship openly.
    What I do not understand is why the agreements are needed in 2013, but not meaning to look a gift horse etc. Just curious.
    In Evangelii Gaudium and in remarks on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, the pope has put the spotlight on the persecution and violence faced by Christians in many Africa nations, in the suffering of many displaced by war, and in the perils faced by the poor who attempt to migrate from (or within) Africa in search of a better life. In this address to the ambassadors, Pope Francis devotes a portion to the people of Nigeria, Central African Republic and Mali, calling on Christians to be leaders in building a climate of reconciliation and of peace:
    “In other parts of Africa as well, Christians are called to give witness to God’s love and mercy. We must never cease to do good, even when it is difficult and demanding, and when we endure acts of intolerance if not genuine persecution.”
    Mostly, I am hopeful the pope continues to build these diplomatic bridges in Africa that ultimately help the Church grow there.

  • While not a new term to me in my reading of Pope Francis, I am still struck by this poignant phrase “disposable objects”. It certainly applies to the millions and millions of unborn babies aborted across the map of the world, most especially in our own country’s holocaust. It also applies to the many policies, laws etc which relegate whole ‘categories’ of human beings because of some aspect of their lives-be it gender, race, nationality, religion, social and economic status into a category of those who have ‘less rights” or even ‘no rights’. They too are disposable. These are all manifestations of the culture of death, We are all infected by it, to a greater or lesser extent. It is in ‘the atmosphere’ we breathe which Josef Ratzinger (at the time not Pope Benedict) wrote tha this is how ‘the Powers and Principalities’ both work and oppress us.

    The counter to this is the Gospel of Life, Evanglium Vitae, in which it is in and only in the Incarnate Christ that the true dimensions of the dignity of the human person can be discovered. As the Second Vatican Council taught: “In a mysterious way, the Incarnate Christ identifies Himself with each and every human being”, and we would add fifty years later: from the moment of conception until natural death.

    In Christ, each person finds their true dignity (whether they are Christians or not). In Christ there can be no ‘disposable object’, only a brother or sister, a fellow human being, another self whose dignity in Christ begins at conception and is revealed by Christ that each is called to communion with our Triune God.

  • We know that a woman who wants a child is so excited when she first learns of the BABY who is alive in her. BUT if she does not want to be with child she calls it her choice to abort the unwanted child. Can anyone see that this is just a lie told by satan. Why do these people lie to themselves? The things that I really find difficult to believe is that educated doctors and nurses do the same and it’s called their medical decision but when a teenager put her baby in the trash , she is a murderer. God help our young people have more sense than their educated “adults” with all of their knowledge and education! I think it should be a law to make the mother see her child first via ultrasound and after make a decision to murder.

PopeWatch: Priestless

Saturday, January 18, AD 2014

14 Responses to PopeWatch: Priestless

  • I like this kind of true silliness– not truly silly, but silliness that’s true. reminds me of John Cleese etal and their way of making people think.

  • 😉 Would we say the more personalizing “Father”? or would we just call him by his function: “Good Morning, Sacerdos, wonderful homily today.”?

  • Yes, elevate the ushers! Except, nevermind. They are all men, and that would reproduce unjust structures of oppression. 🙁

  • I believe Pope Francis desires equality between the clergy and the laity.

    Perhaps, one day soon, a member of the laity who had received his
    moral instructions from Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, Ricky Lake and
    Ellen DeGeneres will be equal to any clergyman including his pastor.

  • This fits in nicely with the Catholic Drive Thru. Pull in to the speaker…order…and drive up to an usher who quickly and almost reverently distributes a wafer.
    Yes wafer…since we know the Vatican recently made it clear that wafer should replace the term holy communion.
    Try the McJudas if you dare.
    It’s only 30 pieces of obamacoin.

  • The heart grows cold with fear at what is happening. The great levelling has started: the Catholic Church will not be claiming unicity; there will be no priest and victim at the altar; and of course no particular Bishop or Pope either. We all, children of God or Satan, will sing a nondenominational “alleluia” together to some nonentity in the sky.

  • “PopeWatch would suggest the title Sacerdos as a substitute.”

    Pope Francis apparently equates gratuitous titles with clericalism, careerism etc. He wants to prune away clerical excess….the answer is not substitutes, but elimination.
    Curiously, the consequence of this stripping away may serve to elevate the holy status of those few who bear the title “Priest”.

  • All I can say is, “Well, let women be priests!”

  • “All I can say is, “Well, let women be priests!”” No woman has ever come forward to profess a vocation from God to become a priest. If God wanted a person (read individual) to become a priest, God would have created that person male, that he might act “in persona Christi”. Women may act as “alter Christi” for this is who the Immaculate Conception is. On all counts, women need to accept who they are created to be in the eyes of God. Penis envy is a rather ugly sin.
    Perhaps, Pope Francis may soon realize that he too, is in a career of priestliness and clericalism and Pope Francis may do well, in humility, to start with himself. What will Pope Francis do with his vocation from God?

  • Has Pope Francis suppressed the Jesuits yet?

  • All I can say is 40 years as a walking-talking hyper-usher is a GOOD seminary (classical sense) training to be called a priest. And being over 65 is good for me (I am well beyond that line in the sand): except I have not selected a single family yet to present the gifts. I have hope

  • Unbelievable!!

  • It is unclear what exactly is “Unbelievable!”. If perchance it refers to my last comment, let me be clear that it is meant to be a heavily dripping sarcasm about the unacceptable standards that are sometimes followed for the Roman Catholic priesthood, including the female gender. “Obstat sexus”, overturned in the case of female Doctors of the Church, cannot be overturned when applied to the doctrine of the male Roman Catholic priesthood. Of course there are many non-Catholic Christian churches which “ordain” priests; these latter preside presumably over bread and wine as bread and wine.

  • ? the word “priest” seems to be male. A female wouldn’t be a priest, she would be a priestess; the word itself would have to be feminized. Unlike if a female is a farmer or an engineer or a president or a judge– a woman has the capacity to be all those things, but she can not be a priest because she cannot be a man. She would be a described “priestess” as a woman trying to be a priest.
    “Sacerdos” is also a masculine nom. Of course monsignor is also masculine, meaning “my lord” so maybe it is a good thing to do away with that title before we have to start saying “madonna” or “my lady”.

PopeWatch: Bye, Bye Harley

Friday, January 17, AD 2014

4 Responses to PopeWatch: Bye, Bye Harley

  • that would have been a great sight– something about the spirit of the people riding out on their metal steeds is just kind of moving –

  • They will get a lot of money for that over in Europe. I would say that might have been the intent when they gave it to him, unless he is an avid rider.

  • Seeing a pope on a harley-wow. It gives me only impression: Pope Easy-Rider lol

  • It warms my heart! Been a Harley fan for 60+ years. My dad and all my brother’s rode and three of my brother’s still have their’s. I however, have given up Harley’s and horses. I just look at them now. (Well I feed and take care of the horse)

PopeWatch: Vatican Bank

Thursday, January 16, AD 2014


       And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.

Luke 16:8

The Church has had trouble managing money since Judas was treasurer and helped himself to the contents of the purse. The Institute for the Works of Religion, universally known as the Vatican Bank, was founded in June of 1942 by Pope Pius XII.  Since 1968 “scandal” and “Vatican Bank” have gone together like bread and butter.  Pope Francis is trying to change that:

Pope Francis shook up the scandal-plagued Vatican bank on Wednesday, removing four of five cardinals from an oversight body in a break with the clerical financial establishment he inherited from his predecessor.

It was his latest move to get to grips with an institution that has often been an embarrassment for the Holy See and which he has vowed to either reform or close. The four cardinals were removed just 11 months into their five-year terms as commissioners, which began under former Pope Benedict, who resigned last February.

The changes came as Francis approached the first anniversary of a pontificate marked by austerity and sobriety, underlined by his decision to give up the papal apartments in favour of a modest suite.

The new team includes two cardinals – Toronto’s Christopher Collins and Vienna’s Christoph Schoenborn – from relatively rich dioceses who have had extensive dealings with financial affairs. The others are Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s new secretary of state, who will be elevated to the rank of cardinal next month, and Santos Abril y Castillo, a Spaniard who is based in Rome and is a close friend of the pope’s.

The one holdover was French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. The four who were not re-confirmed included the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Commentators and some church officials blamed him for lax oversight that led to a spate of scandals during Benedict’s pontificate, including the leaking of some of the pope’s personal documents by Benedict’s butler.

Bertone has defended his record saying he was the victim of “anonymous accusations and rumour mongering”. Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, head of another Vatican financial department that Italian magistrates suspect of financial irregularities and which the Vatican has asked an outside firm to audit, was also removed.

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7 Responses to PopeWatch: Vatican Bank

  • Vienna’s Christof Schoenborn revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which then had to be revised in two years. He was responsible for the death penalty being “practically non-existent”.

  • Howze about Pope Francis hires a professional banking staff and promises them, if they rip off the Church, a closed door meeting with the Swiss Guards.

    Just kidding.

    Bank internal controls and routines are not complicated. Segregation of duties, dual control, mandatory two-week vacations, duties rotations, multiple layers for cash/transactions approvals, cash counts, reconciliations, internal audits, etc.

    Hey! The Vatican Bank, with all its scandals and bad press, bank has caused little or no damage to anyone; but it ratified the bad impressions held by certain people.

    OTOH since late 2008, Euro zone banks have cost their citizens (of almost every European country) billions of euros and led to the hated “austerity.”

    Case in point: to assure that no bondholder of an Irish bank lost a euro, the Irish people have been saddled with new debt of 85 billion euros.

    That’s what they get for surrendering their sovereignty to hordes of European Central Bank (ECB) uber-bureaucrats reigning from Brussels, or wherever.

  • What Dodd and Frank did to the US banking system makes the Vatican Bank look like a piggybank with a crack in it.

    (….waiting for Steve Barrett to defend Frank and Dodd and bad mouth the GOP….)

  • Bertone is nearly 80 now, a friend I think of B16, and the author of a book about the Third Secret of Fatima. some Italian journalists think the whole truth hasn’t been told about the 3rd secret. With that and the Bank he has been through a lot. B16 stood by him when the bank was questioned. I wonder if Pope Francis let him off to do him the favor of getting a rest.

  • Mary De Voe,

    A very slight correction. Cardinal Schoenborn was the chief editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church from start to finish. The newer version two years later was necessitated by the continued voluminous writing of Blessed John Paul II, especially in the area of life [Evangelium Vitae, etc]. It is true that the second edition contained an even more aggressive stance against the death penalty-but that was due to the magisterial level teaching of Pope John Paul and not the Cardinal.

    There are other criticisms etc that could be lodged against the Cardinal but I just wanted to set the record straight.

  • Botolph: It was the first presentation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that had the phrase “practically non-existent” referring to the death penalty. That phrase was expunged in the revised edition two years later. I realize that Pope John Paul II had his say in the first edition. As a priest of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II can forgive my murderer, but only when the murderer repents in the Sacrament of Penance. Pope John Paul II can offer forgiveness through the church. “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them. Whose sins you shall retain they are retained” I am thinking that the Pope can only forgive to the degree that the victim forgives, other wise, the free will of the victim is violated, and Justice is not done by a wholesale blanket forgiveness without individual repentance.
    While Pope John Paul II was in St. Louis having the death sentence of a death row inmate commuted to life in prison, a death row inmate in Arkansas escaped and killed a man and the man’s five year old son for a truck to escape. In any subsequent murders of prison guards or wardens or people, John Paul II becomes an enabler, an accessory before the fact, if the death sentence is not carried out because of the Pope’s action.
    “Lastly, he, (the Pope) is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.” John Henry Cardinal Newman
    ” “But when a man kills another after maliciously scheming to do so, you must take him even from my altar (compassion, mercy) and put him to death.” Exodus 21:14
    Thomas Aquinas reiterates the death penalty, but I do not know where.
    Since atheism has removed the petition to God before sentencing and capital punishment may not be practiced justly, nevertheless, capital punishment remains just and necessary. The only way to end capital punishment is to end homicide.
    While it is true that John Paul II was the writing behind this issue, Schoenborn was to have taken issue with it. He did not. Perhaps he could not.
    I am sadly familiar with the criticisms lodged against Schoenborn…

  • Mary De Voe,

    You are absolutely correct. Blessed Pope John Paul II in his emphasis on the sanctity of human life saw that modern society was able to protect its citizens with other mean than capital punishment and thus really pushed ALMOST to the point of completely prohibiting its use [I emphasize this as the issue because there are other ideological ‘reasons’ which are not morally sufficient to curtail or end capital punishment]

    This stunned many, including some Catholics. The then Cardinal Ratzinger made a necessary distinction that needs to be kept in mind. When working on the same moral principle: in this case ‘the respect for human life’, it is possible to arrive at two differing views on such issues as capital punishment [a related issue would be war/just war etc. But I am not going to get into that here].

    Bottom line, a Catholic who believes in and works toward an ethic which respects each and every human life from the moment of conception until natural death can believe and work for
    a) the end of the death penalty
    b) the preservation of the death penalty

    From your writing here I would surmise that your very obvious pro-life principles have brought you to seek the preservation of the death penalty [if I am reading you correctly]
    I, on the other hand, believing in the very same principles do not see the necessity in our day and age of any use of capital punishment. While by no means as vociferous about ‘the death penalty’ as I am about ending abortion, preventing doctor assisted suicide, euthanasia etc, am still against its use

    Now, we witness how complex not only the world is, but just how much we need the guidance of the Church because in other circumstances perhaps both of us would call the other wrong [which Ratzinger says we cannot] and get into a verbal debate etc.

    Truth in charity lived in communion-not easy. In fact, the Cross is at the center of it all.

PopeWatch: Baptize Those Babies

Wednesday, January 15, AD 2014



Questions arose when the Pope baptized the baby of a couple civilly married.  Father Z, channeling canon lawyer Ed Peters, gives us the details:

The Holy Father baptized the baby of a couple who are only civilly married.

¡Vaya lío!

From the excellent Canon Law blog of Ed Peters… who is probably smart not to have an open combox.  Or .. maybe he just enjoys watching me moderate the discussion over here.   I dunno.

My emphases and comments.

How popes, baptism, marriage, and form, all come together


First, unlike the foot-washing episode last Holy Week (here and here), the pope’s actions today occasion no reason to think that canon or liturgical law has been—what’s the right word?—disregarded, for no canon or liturgical law forbids baptizing the babies of unmarried couples, etc. Indeed, Church law generally favors the administration of sacraments and, in the case of baptism, it requires only that there be “a founded hope” that the child will be raised Catholic (1983 CIC 868 § 1, 2º). A minister could certainly discern ‘founded hope’ for a Catholic upbringing under these circumstances and outsiders should not second-guess his decision. [And I guess that still applies when the minister is THE POPE.]

But here’s the rub: a minister could also arrive at precisely the opposite conclusion on these facts and, equally in accord with the very same Church law, he could delay the baptism. I know of many pastors who have reached this conclusion and who used the occasion of a request for a baby’s baptism to assist the parents toward undertaking their duties in a more responsible manner, including helping them to regularize their marriage status in the Church, resume attendance at Sunday Mass, participate fully in the sacraments, and so on. [All of which, I think, we will stipulate are good things.]

Now, if the pope’s action today was as reported (again, we don’t know that yet), [then… (here we go!) ] pastors who delay a baby’s baptism in order to help reactivate the Faith in the baby’s parents are going to have a harder time doing that as word gets out about the pope’s (apparently) different approach to the rite. Whether that was the message Francis intended to send is irrelevant to whether that is the message that he seems to have sent.

[NB] But, I suggest, the whole question of whether to baptize the baby of these parents surfaces a yet deeper question.

The only reason we describe this civilly-married Catholic couple as “unmarried” is because they apparently did not observe “canonical form” in marrying, that is, they did not marry ‘in the Church’ as required by 1983 CIC 1108, 1117. Now think about this: had two Protestants, two Jews, two Muslims, two Hindus, two Animists, two You-Name-Its, otherwise able to marry, expressed their matrimonial consent before a civil official, we Catholics would have regarded them as presumptively married. But, when two Catholics (actually, even if only one were Catholic, per 1983 CIC 1059) attempt marriage outside of canonical form, the Church regards them as not married at all. [Get that?] That’s a dramatic conclusion to reach based only on one’s (non)observance of an ecclesiastical law that is itself only a few hundred years old.

For more than 50 years, a quiet undercurrent of (if I may put it this way) solidly Catholic canonists and theologians has been questioning whether canonical form—a remedy that nearly all would agree has outlived the disease it was designed to cure (clandestine marriage)—should be still be required for Catholics or [Quaeritur…] whether the price of demanding the observance of canonical form has become too high for the pastoral good it might serve.

Canonical form is an immensely complex topic. It has huge ramifications in the Church and it has major reverberations in the world. I am not going to discuss those here. But if the upcoming Synod on the Family and Evangelization is looking for a topic that needs, in my opinion, some very, very careful reconsideration, that topic would be the future of canonical form for marriage among Catholics. There is still time to prep the question for synodal discussion.

All of this, you might wonder, from the baptism of a baby? Yes, because everything in the Church is connected to everything else. Eventually, if we get it right, it all comes together to form a magnificent tapestry of saving truth.

And he is eloquent, too.

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14 Responses to PopeWatch: Baptize Those Babies

  • Ok, so I said this about another one of your Posts, but this one takes the cake. I promote this PopeWatch as your best one to date.

    “..through Baptism the child receives grace and becomes a member of the Church. That is a pearl beyond price for any child. Whatever else may happen to that child in this Vale of tears, the Church did her best to give the child a grand start in life.”


  • I liked commenter mamajen’s suggestion that the pope should have offered to baptize the baby in a small, relatively private ceremony.
    Publicity seekers sometimes just want celebrities to pose with their family. Not saying that is the case with this particular couple, but a baptism away from the cameras would have been sufficient.

  • I pray this civilly-married couple asked for their child to be baptized as a first step for the child’s faith life and their ultimate return to Holy Mother Church.

  • Synchronicity: Having entered into a discussion of my own about Baptism, the question arose of the ways of Baptism: the Sacrament, blood or martyrdom, desire, and water and the Spirit, tears. Correct me if I have not got it right.
    This is one of the finest posts, for most of the posts are excellent and make my day.
    Spambot: Your name very well describes your comment on this post. Rejoice, celebrate. If you have ever heard the words of the Sacrament of Baptism you might know that all heaven rejoices. If the couple are using the Pope as photo opportunity, the Pope is using the photo opportunity to bring the Faith and the truth of Jesus Christ to the world. Fair is Fair.

  • Fair enough. Thank you, Mary.

  • I completely agree. I think that priests should baptise the children if those who ask for it unless there’s a serious reason not to. Canon Law should perhaps be reformed to stop communion for adults who support abortion instead.

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  • I would invite Dr Peters to reflect on the Scottish experience of clandestine marriages.

    The Scottish Reformation took place in 1560, three years before the Council of Trent, by the decree “Tametsi” made canonical form essential to the validity of marriage. Accordingly, the Pre-Tridentine law remained the law of Scotland until 1st July 1940. Marriage required no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. Lord Stair explains “It is not every consent to the married state that makes matrimony, but consent de præsenti, not a promise de futuro matrimonio. Marriage itself consists, not in the promise, but in the present consent, whereby they accept each other as husband and wife; whether that be by words expressly, or tacitly, by marital cohabitation or acknowledgment, or by natural commixtion, where there hath been a promise or espousals preceding; for therein is presumed a conjugal consent de præsenti [Institutions of the Law of Scotland 1681 (B i tit 4 sect 6)]

    The absence of public and easily accessible records, produced any number of applications to the courts for declarators of marriage or legitimacy, frequently after the death of one or both of the parties and 40 or 50 years after the event. This involved the tedious and expensive examination of witnesses and correspondence and the construction of doubtful expressions and ambiguous language, imperfectly remembered. Too often, the result was the nullity of a second de facto marriage and the bastardizing of issue. Not a few of these actions were little better than attempts at blackmail, to extort money from the surviving spouse or children.

  • you people drive me crazy….the child was baptized….so what if it was done in the Catholic Church?…so what if the couple was civilly married?….you people make to much of a big deal of things….what is most important is that the couple had their child and did not abort….why is it that you cant think positive about things???….

  • What post or comments were you reading J.A.C.?

  • Perphaps JAC is fed up with the attention this Baptism is getting elsewhere, and took out his frustration on this Blog.

    There has been much criticism elsewhere of the Pope “sending out the wrong message”- for baptising a baby- of all things!

    It seems someone who is inclined to be a reactionary, will try and find fault in every action of of the current Pope.

    You cant help negativity JAC. But you can direct your frustration in the right places…

  • Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19….At risk of betraying the paucity of my knowledge of Canon Law, it seems a relationship of legislation and rules adopted thereby should be at work. That is to say, the scripture is the legislation and the Canon Law comprise rules promulgated to implement the purpose of the scripture. Pope Francis gave the child, and secondarily the parents, a pearl of great price. Had he refused, what might be gained?

  • I think it’s great that the Pope baptized the baby into the Catholic Church. I commend the parents for initiating it. A good thing for all.

    I commend Pope Francis for an act of kindness and generosity toward the least among us.