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.

PopeWatch: Not a Political Animal

Tuesday, January 14, AD 2014


The left, especially in the media, continues to misinterpret Pope Francis.  A prime example occurred yesterday.  Ed Morrissey of Hot Air gives us the details:

Pretty much every word in this Reuters piece is nonsense, including the words “the” and “and”:

Pope Francis, whom conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church have accused of not speaking out forcefully enough against abortion, on Monday called the practice “horrific”.

The pope made his toughest remarks to date on abortion in his yearly address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, a speech known as his “State of the World” address.

“It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day,” he said in a section of the speech about the rights of children around the world.

Since his election in March, the pope, while showing no signs of changing the Church’s position against abortion, has not spoken out against it as sternly or as repeatedly as his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.

Both of those popes often delivered sermons against abortion, which the Church considers murder.

Pope Francis has been speaking out forcefully against abortion during the entirety of his pontificate. It’s just that the media isn’t terribly interested in covering it. It doesn’t fit their narrative of the “progressive Pope,” so it usually gets ignored until it comes to suggesting that a Pope teaches Catholic doctrine as some sort of bone-tossing exercise.


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27 Responses to PopeWatch: Not a Political Animal

  • Michelle Malkin awarded “Most Ridiculous Headline of the Week” to Reuters’, ”Pope, in nod to conservatives, calls abortion ‘horrific.’”

    Among the major problems the Pope faces is the fact that millions of low-information, public school brainwashed savants believe the lies.

  • “Among the major problems the Pope faces is the fact that millions of low-imformation, public school brainwashed
    savants believe the lies.”

    Then it’s up to the well educated well informed Catholic parents and students to lead the way. If we preach and stay comfortable behind the screen than we’re helping the lies to spread.
    If we’re actively involved in pro-life than we are walking the walk so to speak.

    Please support your local chapters of Right to Life & Respect Life to only mention two. Many exist.

    See you in front of PP with Holy Rosary in hand and heart.

  • Amen Philip. Amen.

  • Donald, your best PopeWatch Post to date!

  • “Both of those popes often delivered sermons against abortion, which the Church considers murder.”
    With atheism denying the human soul, immortal, created and endowed at fertilization, I would rather use the word “conception”, but the obliterators are fashioning a literal change to the concept of conception, the murder, or homicide, the human sacrifice of the innocent, unborn sovereign person is lost. The human sacrifice of the innocent, unborn sovereign person who is put to death for the crimes and immorality of his parents, is Justice lost.

  • The War against abortion, can only be fought in the trenches.

    Through counselling, talking, praying, consoling, discussing, debating, proclaiming- the dignity of both the unborn child AND its mother.

    It is no coincidence, the devil hates Our Lady so much because of Her acceptance of the Saviour Jesus Christ in her womb for the salvation of mankind, that he ferociously attacks all women by trying to deceive them into slaughtering their innocent and helpless unborn.

    It is the single biggest, THE BIGGEST tragedy of our time. This is why the pleading of the two last Popes did not reduce the number of abortions. Nor will the efforts of the current Pope. The only way, is through the continual efforts of individuals, all of us, willing to do “battle” to counteract this culture of death, in our daily life, with those around us.

  • “..the BIGGEST tragedy of our time.”

    I believe this is true.

    A nation that partakes in the killing of it’s future inhabitants is a nation without a future. It is a Nation in Moral retreat.
    As blessed Mother Teresa would say; “…the poorest nation!” America the poorest nation on Earth. She is right as yet another child marks our landscape with a school shooting. Life Is Cheap!
    That’s what children learn from the { Rights to Kill crowd } Yes it’s a rant, but by God this IS THE ISSUE! You get this wrong and nothing we accomplish as a people matter. Guess what?
    We’ve had it wrong to the tune of 55million dead.
    Jesus forgives us and asks us not to sin agian, but many women do not ask for forgiveness. Many kill multiple times.

    America. The land of Barabbas!

  • Philip: “..the BIGGEST tragedy of our time.”
    The biggest tragedy of our time is the removal of God from our culture, for then all hell can break lose. Mary predicted at Fatima that the devil was to be given free reign in the last half of the century.
    No mention of God in God’s public square. No mention of God in the ears of God’s children. No mention of the only sane way of life, Justice, in the Ten Commandments. The dismissal of the Person of God from our civil life. Surely only homicide, suicide, and every depravity must follow for the laws of man have been removed and the wind that ensues cannot be withstood by any creature, not man, nor beast.
    In the human soul is the will to live, as St. Thomas Aquinas said: “The soul is the form of the body”. The will to live in the human soul is the Right to Life for our constitutional posterity. Any abortionist or atheist rejecting the will to live of the human soul and the right to life of the sovereign person, forfeits his own civil rights, the civil right to free speech, free press and most of all peaceable assembly for peaceable assembly is what the child in utero is doing. “We, the people,” own the public square, Abortionists and atheists have forfeit their civil rights in the public square.

  • The sign reads: This is my will to live. The persons’ will to live is the constitutional Right to Life.

  • Mary De Voe.

    True Mary! Removal of God. 1963 or around that year was one of the pursuits to remove God wasn’t it. Supreme Court case stopping public schools from conducting prayer time?

    Then the mad train just kept picking up momentum….increase in divorce, increase in promiscuity, increase in STD’s, increase in moral decay.
    Soon, ten years later, the right to kill.

    Your right! Removal of God.

  • True, Philip:To legalize crime, Justice had to be removed from our culture.

  • The fall.

    Now pastor charged with “homophobic language,” and what great advances await? We will be charged with crimes agonists humanity as we silently pray on the sidewalks.
    Bill Shakespeare; “whats foul fair and what’s fair now foul.” William was a visionary. Sorry to get away from subject.
    We just keep on praying, praying and praying. 🙂

  • Philip,

    In a certain jurisdiction, you will be fined $500 if you pray or try to speak to a “patient” within 35 feet of the entrance to an abortion “clinic.” Second offense: $5,000 fine and jail time.

    I’m changing my name to Hygelac.

  • T. Shaw.

    Grendal seems impossible to defeat in todays battles, but giving up is not our option.

    Money and Jail time?? Sign me up. I can’t help but think of the courageous priest who was handcuffed and taken off of Notre Dame property when Grendal showed his ugly head.

  • Fr. Weslin.
    God Bless him and keep him, and may perpetual light shine upon him.
    Notre Dame criminal but Jesus Christs finest.

  • That Hygelac didn’t have a laptop.

  • Hygelic Shaw.

    It’s what you have in common that matters most oh great sons of the king.

  • St Mary MacKillop- Australia’s first and only Saint to date said:

    “Do your best, and God will Bless your efforts”.

    Justice will not prevail here on earth (does it prevail on your own life? It doesn’t in my life.)

    But God sees all, and will not be fooled- and Justice will prevail when we stand before Him. We will all stand before Him whether we beleive in Him, denounce Him, insult Him, or love Him. All are equally judged.

    So don’t throw your hands up in the air, despondent. Keep going. God sees all! This always gives me hope.

  • Ez.
    Good advice and thanks.

  • Did anybody think it’s important to pay attention to the Pope’s lament about the “throw-away” mentality that’s driving so many women and girls into giving their children over to abortion clinics . . . and it was a lament that didn’t rest largely on other much stronger pleas for legislative action that often get aborted in one series of countless committee hearings after another, not to mention follow up legal challenges, etc, etc.
    Believe it or not folks, with lots of prayer, non-hostile (i.e., no inflammatory, judgmental name calling and shouting sessions) persuasion, we can change a lot more hearts and get the kind of results we want a lot faster. I put prayer first, because if we don’t seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength first, what does that say about our faith. He alone can bring us closer to the frame of mind and heart to eliminate the scourge of abortion. But I don’t think it’s just abortion we have to concern ourselves with here. What are we saying when we have organizations urging the public to vote for X because he/she is “prolife” even though there’s reams of evidence that candidate has voted to slash prenatal nutrition programs, pre-school education programs and so forth. We’ve seen what’s happened to SNAP recently, and even nutrition programs for our elderly at the hands of some self-proclaimed “prolife” pols in Congress.
    What kind of message is that? And worse yet, why do we allow people to get away with it time after time. Just because Mr. or Ms. Politician casts that one single vote dealing with abortion, in contrast to others dealing with quality of life matters where they can show their consistent mettle. (Same goes for liberals who vote for pro-abortion laws, whilst boasting a consistent liberal record on nutrition, etc. bills.)
    We have to remind our legislative representatives that when it comes to the quintessential issue of our times, they can’t have it both ways and call themselves prolife. It’s just a shame that those who boast the loudest about their prolife bonafides, often have the lousiest overall records to defend. Hate to say it, but many years ago before he was elected to the House, former MA Rep Barney Frank observed that a lot of prolifers stop showing their concern once the babies are born.
    I’ll bet Pope Francis wouldn’t find much to disagree with Frank’s quip.
    Nobody in this fight is “expendable.” And everybody, and I mean everybody, “sinners n’ saints alike,” deserves to be seen as truly equal, precious, and valuable, just as God sees them.

  • “…former MA Rep Barney Frank observed that a lot of prolifers stop showing their concern once the babies are born. I’ll bet Pope Francis wouldn’t find much to disagree with Frank’s quip.”
    “I am not one to judge, but how does Frank know anything about prolifers, babies or Pope Francis?
    Maybe Frank has photos of me not going to the Pregnancy Center, the Outreach, the Men’s Shelter, the Community Kitchen, the Rotating Shelter or Mary Randall House. Even my mother does not know, so, how does Frank?

  • “Mr. or Ms. Politician casts that one single vote dealing with abortion, in contrast to others dealing with quality of life matters where they can show their consistent mettle.”
    Obama voted four times to let babies who had been born alive (and became citizens at birth) to be denied medical care and to be shut up in a cold broom closet and be neglected to death. quality of life?

  • Idi Amin.

    This beautiful leader was also very “two faced” when it came to quality of life.
    I dare say he and Obama are equals.
    Actually Amin had more moxie.
    He didn’t try to hide behind
    his atrocities.
    Obama uses women’s right and health to hide behind his bloodthirsty hatred to the unborn.

    Yes. Obama & Amin. Bloodbrothers.

  • insert apology here —-

    Obviously I haven’t prayed enough for “our” president. My apology to all.

    There are tens of thousands of good honest right to life folks like Mary De Voe. Walking the walk. Spending time and treasures to assist the young girls that DO listen to the efforts of sidewalk counselors and do allow their babies to be born. Good Counsel Homes are supported by pro life people. Visit one and hear the girls story. Your life will change.

    I apologize for my contempt agonist a political class that FORCES HHS mandates on good Christian folk doing their best to assist the poor in spirit as well as the poor in general.

    I have a long way to go in controlling my hatred toward so-called leaders of Free people that find it okay to allow babies to die once born. Can you imagine?

    I realize there are many cruel injustices going on outside of this one issue, but God help us if we can’t help the helpless. God help us protect the life of these innocents.

  • Mary, you brought up a good point, and I fully applaud your volunteer activities. Frank never disguised himself as a member of any organized “pro-life” movement; whether he was serving in the MA House, or the US House. He was commenting at the time about the MA House reps, many of them Democrats, who could be very stingy with funding programs necessary for helping poor moms obtain any food and nutrient assistance programs for their future unborn as well as whatever they’d need when the babies were born, because he knew what a rough road both moms n’ babies were in for without that assistance. Let’s give the guy some credit for calling out the cheapskates in the national House and state houses across the nation who run on and boast of their “pro-life” bona fides … some of whose are spun n’ packaged to the nth degree possible. How on earth can any serious Christian and pro-life voter (of any religious denomination) cast any vote for the likes of TN’s two Republican Congressmen, Fincher and Desjarlais; much less take any national prolife organization seriously for its endorsement of these two men? Mary, you mentioned working for your local “Community Kitchen.” I’m (of course) not at liberty to presume where and how your organization receives its funding. But for the sake of argument, don’t you feel at least a bit burned upon learning that Fincher’s been flagrantly, shamelessly and worse yet, santimoniously defending his taking advantage of his seat on the House AgCmte … legally pocketing taxpayer funds for his purposes as he smugly defends kicking our poor in the teeth. ( Forbes, 5/22/13). Thankfully I haven’t noticed any support for the likes of the other TN GOP congressman who literally has the blood of abortion on his hands, far more so than both Obama and Frank combined.
    Talk about a guy with a “throw away mentality.” When professedly prolife political organizations ask for your money folks, make sure you know in advance if they’re truly prolife, or just partisan pandhandlers so you won’t throw your money away to these wolves working against our, the Pope’s and God’s fondest desires to make abortion a nightmare from (nowadays at least) a far too non-distant past.

  • “Frank never disguised himself as a member of any organized “pro-life” movement; whether he was serving in the MA House, or the US House. He was commenting at the time about the MA House reps, many of them Democrats, who could be very stingy with funding programs necessary for helping poor moms obtain any food and nutrient assistance programs for their future unborn as well as whatever they’d need when the babies were born, because he knew what a rough road both moms n’ babies were in for without that assistance. Let’s give the guy some credit for calling out the cheapskates in the national House and state houses across the nation who run on and boast of their “pro-life” bona fides”

    How much money and support did Franks give, or was Franks like Judas who helped himself to the purse without any care for the poor?

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PopeWatch: Smarmy Priests

Monday, January 13, AD 2014


After Mass last Saturday, January 11, 2013, Pope Francis had some remarks about the priesthood:


“We are anointed by the Spirit, and when a priest is far from Jesus Christ he can lose this unction. In his life, no: essentially he has it… but he loses it. And instead of being anointed he ends up being smarmy. And how damaging to the Church are smarmy priests! Those who put their strength in artificial things, in vanity, in an attitude… in a cutesy language… But how often do we hear it said with sorrow: ‘This is a butterfly-priest,’ because they are always vain… [This kind of priest] does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ! He has lost the unction: he is smarmy.”

“We priests have so many limits. We are sinners, all. But if we go to Jesus Christ, if we seek the Lord in prayer – prayer of intercession, prayer of adoration – we are good priests, even though we are sinners. But if we are far from Jesus Christ, we necessarily compensate for this with other, worldly attitudes. And so [we see] all these figures… priest-wheeler dealers, priest-tycoons… But the priest who adores Jesus Christ, the priest who talks with Jesus Christ, the priest who seeks Jesus Christ and who is allowed to seek Jesus Christ: this is the centre of our life. If that is not there, we lose everything. And what will we give to the people?”

“Our relationship with Jesus Christ, a relationship of anointing for the people,grows in us priests more and more each day.

“But it is good to find priests who have given their lives as priests, truly, of whom the people say: “Yes, he’s difficult, he’s this or that… But he is a priest! And people know! On the other hand, when people see priest idolaters, so to speak, priests who instead of having Jesus have little idols… worshippers of the god Narcissus… When people see [priests like this] they say ‘poor guy!’ The relationship with Jesus Christ saves us from worldliness and idolatry that makes us smarmy, preserves us in the anointing [we have received]. And today, this is my hope for you who have been kind enough to come here to concelebrate with me: Even if you lose everything in life, don’t lose this relationship with Jesus Christ! This is your victory. Go forward with this!”

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11 Responses to PopeWatch: Smarmy Priests

  • “…in a cutesy language.”


    Reminds me of someone close to Pope Francis.

  • Donald, I am glad you explained what he meant there because I was not having much success on my own. (This post is not another parody, for those wondering.) Related to priestly vocations, B16 made much the same point as Francis in a more elegant manner:
    “The experience of Peter, certainly unique, is nonetheless representative of the call of every apostle of the Gospel, who must never be discouraged in proclaiming Christ to all men, even to the ends of the world. However, today’s text [Lk 5:1-11] is a reflection on the vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life. It is the work of God. The human person is not the author of his own vocation but responds to the divine call. Human weakness should not be afraid if God calls. It is necessary to have confidence in his strength, which acts in our poverty; we must rely more and more on the power of his mercy, which transforms and renews.”
    I happened to be reading JPII’s encyclical “Reconciliation and Penance” and he makes an eloquant point related to holiness in the priesthood:
    “But I also add that even in order to be a good and effective minister of penance the priest needs to have recourse to the source of grace and holiness present in this sacrament. We priests, on the basis of our personal experience, can certainly say that the more careful we are to receive the sacrament of penance and to approach it frequently and with good dispositions, the better we fulfill our own ministry as confessors and ensure that our penitents benefit from it. And on the other hand, this ministry would lose much of its effectiveness if in some way we were to stop being good penitents. Such is the internal logic of this great sacrament. It invites all of us priests of Christ to pay renewed attention to our personal confession.”
    I guess I miss B16 and JPII and the confidence I had in them what they had to say.

  • I think Pope Francis had some good things to say here. It is much needed. I have seen priests who are “smarmy” in exactly the way Pope Francis described, and they make me extremely suspicious. Our pope is pointing out repeatedly, here, and in other areas that the priest is there to serve, not to be admired. Priests who seek to be admired are not being good priests. In my own parish one of the priests who was a “butterfly priest” as Pope Francis described was caught up in the pedophilia scandal. I would check on my boys (altar servers) in the back of the church because he had my spidey-senses tingling. I made sure he knew I was checking up on them. And then he was named in a lawsuit and ultimately admitted when witnesses were called forward to engaging in anonymous gay sex in public restrooms. It was his manner of being a priest that raised my suspicions, and it was as Pope Francis described. The best priests I’ve seen have been humble servants who connect you to Christ. They were strong men, all of them, but using their strength for your spiritual protection. The worst ones connect you to your “feelings” about things, and draw attention to themselves by changing the words of the Mass, turning sermons into bad drama, and speaking more about “community” than Jesus. Pope Francis is not perfect, but he’s right on the money here.

  • What, who and where translated this into English?

  • I was wondering what Dave W asked also: is this a translation into English?

  • “Smarmy” is as “Smarmy” does. From what I can tell there are some priests you’d think are “smarmy” and they are more “Catholic” than the Catholic church. Then again, there are those who you’d never think were “smarmy” and holy smokes they are!

  • …. “Smarmy” sure strikes as translation undermining.

  • What on God’s earth does “smarmy” mean??

    Did the Pope really say the word “smarmy” in Italian or Spanish, or whatever language he gave this statement in?

  • Sorry, I did some further research on the word “smarmy”, and its basically a word used to describe a used-car salesman of sorts. Slick and polite, but insincere. I learnt a new word today.

    But seriously, what word did the Pope use for “smarmy”. I’m dead curious.

  • most delightful discussion on the word: “smarmy.”

  • Ez,

    As per the link, the pope used the Italian word “unctuoso.” FatherTF looks at issues related to the translation:

PopeWatch: Bishop Enrico dal Covolo

Friday, January 10, AD 2014





PopeWatch agrees with Pope Francis regarding careerism which is not infrequently a blight among clergy as they increase in rank within the Church.  A good example of such careerism is Bishop Enrico dal Covolo.  Father Z gives us the details:

I was sent a link to a video with some of an interview by Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, who is presently rector of my old school, the Pontifical Lateran University.  dal Covolo, an SDB (aka Socio di Bertone aka Salesian) has done some work on the Fathers of the Church.

In any event, before last Christmas dal Covolo went to Guam to visit one of the many global spin offs of the aforementioned Lateran.  Inter alia, in the interview (btw the newsie calls him “dal Covólo.  Fail.  It’s “dal Cóvolo”) he made some comments about the differences between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.

The video includes and English translation voice-over, so I can’t hear the actual Italian original, but:

“I believe that the… Pope Francis is a figure of discontinuity with the previous …ahhh pontificate, but a very very good discontinuity because he’s pushing the Church, he’s exorcising the Church from all its fears that he had in the past. … I agree totally with these changes that Pope Francis is doing because they correspond precisely to the challenges that we face today.”

Et tu, Brute?

You don’t use a word like “discontinuity” in this way unless you intend to dump on Benedict.

The irony in this is that were you to check the word “clericalism” in an illustrated dictionary, dal Covolo’s picture would grace the entry.

Benedict XVI raised dal Covolo up with his own hand to the episcopate and rectorate of the Lateran.  Also, I suspect that dal Covolo – a patrologist more than a patristicist – was one of the ghost writers behind Benedict’s Wednesday General Audience address in his series on the Fathers of the Church.   Benedict treated dal Covolo very well indeed.

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10 Responses to PopeWatch: Bishop Enrico dal Covolo

  • Maybe I’m not smart enough or perhaps I haven’t stared down careerism to fully understand what the Holy Father is driving at. What exactly is careerism?

    On the other hand, I have faced clericalism and still do from time to time. Sometimes I wonder if in our efforts to support our priests that we’re not pumping up their egos too much. It’s a delicate balance isn’t it?

  • I imagine that careerism when applied to the priesthood means a cleric who places more importance on his advancement through the hierarchy (priest to pastor to bishop to cardinal) than on performing his priestly duties.

  • Or, in a similar vein, once he gets to a position he likes (rector, teaching post or whatnot) he focuses more on maintaining that post rather than doing what may be in the best interests of the people/organization he serves.

  • Pope Leo X hated making appointments.

    “I never make one,” said he, “without creating nine malcontents and one ingrate.”

  • Careerism has more to deal with the clergy being part of this world and what it has to offer instead of doing what they should be doing, like tending to the flock as good shepherds.

    I think it was in the early 80’s when Pope John Paul II went to South America and upon arrival there was a priest who was part of the government, came out to greet him at the airport. I don’t know if you guys remember seeing this, but he scolded that priest for careerism right there in front of all those people and on television for joining the government instead of tending to his flock.

    Careerism deals more with clergy hob nobbing with elitist and becoming more of a poster child for their political agendas than actually fulfilling their vocation as being shepherds of the flock, being more of a hireling than a shepherd. He shouldn’t be trying to stop the bottom from fighting the good fight but revitalize that fight in the bishops and cardinals than anything else. Be a good father to his sons and scold them when they are out of line just a JPII did at the airport.

  • “I never make one,” said he, “without creating nine malcontents and one ingrate.”

    Having been in a position of authority over staff people I know what he means.
    A mother or father could feel the same way recognizing the various strengths of children within their families. Somehow my own dad, now gone from us 43 years, made each of the six of us feel favored! Each of us didn’t really know that each other one felt specially favored til after his death.

  • The Bishop’s comment that Pope Francis’ ministry is in discontinuity with/from Pope Benedict is a swipe at Pope Benedict, however, if the twit thought things through he would recognize heis not making things any easier etc for Pope Francis. Of course Pope Francis is different from Pope Benedict; Benedict was from JPII and certainly JPII was different from Paul VI, but discontinuity? No I don’t buy it.

    If I may offer one way of seeing our most recent popes: there are three transcendentals: ways in which God reveals Himself and which also can become the way to God [always through Christ and the Church]. The transcendentals are: the true, the beautiful and the good. I would offer this ‘analogy’:

    Pope Blessed John Paul II’s charism/emphasis was on “the True”

    Pope Benedict’s charism/emphasis was on “The Beautiful”

    Pope Francis’ charism/emphasis (seems to be [it is still early]): “The Good”

    Certainly Blessed John Paul cared about etc., the good and the beautiful but his emphasis was on “the True’. The same can be said of Pope Benedict and Francis.

    I offer these as only a means of ‘seeing’ the richness of each of the popes as well as all three of them.

  • David Wood,

    Pope John Paul II went to Nicaragua in 1984, after the Sandinistas had seized power. There was a Catholic priest who was working for the Sandinista government. JPII met him in a receiving line and publicly admonished the priest for serving as a bureaucrat for the Ortega dictatorship.

    Today, Pope Francis named a number of new cardinals, of which most are from Third World countries. The AP story I read is that he did so in order for the church to pay more attention to the poor.

    We will continue to hear most about the poor of the world from this pontificate. There will continue to be backhanded slaps at capitalism and traditional Catholicism.

    Pope Francis is likely unaware of the trillions of dollars spent by the US Government in various anti poverty programs since the Great Society in this country alone and just as likely unaware that they have not solved the problem of poverty. If he was aware, I doubt he would care.

    During this pontificate, we will hear almost exclusively from Pope Francis about the poor of the world. I do not make light of the terrible poverty that so many face every day. My wife taught English lessons in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Cali, Colombia. The mother of one of her students made a chicken dinner and invited my wife. She did not know that they kept that chicken for eggs and had no money to buy another chicken. What annoys me is that most poor people are the victims of corrupt governments who squander foreign aid and treat their own citizens like garbage while favoring themselves in power and their cronies.

    On the aspects of proper liturgical worship and the deep spiritual poverty of the Western World, we will hear almost nothing and this inaction will be taken by the likes of the National Schismatic Fishwrap (kudos to the great Fr. Z) and their fellow travelers as an endorsement of their worldview.

  • Penguins Fan,

    You may not be aware that Blessed Pope John Paul publicly admonished the priest because he was remaining in public (political) office despite the fact he was told by his superiors to step down in accordance with (at that time the new) Code of Canon Law. Any priest at the time in public office needed to step down, and no priest from that time forward could enter into public office.

  • It is shocking the way in which, with carelessness, you have treated a person that you do not even know. However, what has the Bishop dal Covolo really said on the island of Guam?
    First video, minute 6.53

    “Pope Francis wants to bring people back on the right scale of values, as Pope Benedict had done in His great teaching”.
    Second video, minute 1.32
    Firstly, it is important to clarify some things:
    1) The translator says: “Previous Pontificates” and not “Previous Pontificate”, thus the Bishop is talking about the earlier Popes. I do not know whether or not it is grammatically correct, but it is clear that the interpreter, who is certainly not a native English speaker, is aiming on purpose for this incorrect translation.
    2) Moreover, it is very difficult to understand what the Bishop has really said since at the moment of the interview the translator does not interpret correctly what dal Covolo is actually saying.
    3) If we suppose that the Bishop dal Covolo has actually used the word “Discontinuità”, it is clear that he is speaking of a diversity of personality, style and speech.
    Finally, it is appalling the way in which you have judged a person by only using a very short and not entirely clear interview.

PopeWatch: Lamb of Pope

Thursday, January 9, AD 2014



The Pope Emeritus, what an odd formulation that is, must be gritting his teeth, or laughing out loud, at the type of puff press coverage that his successor is getting.  I think the shark, or rather the lamb, was jumped yesterday:


The title of the story that the picture is taken from is:

“Photos Of Pope Francis And Lamb At The Nativity Scene On Epiphany Make Us So Happy”.

Italy Pope Epiphany

An odd title for a piece on the left wing Huffington Post regarding a Catholic pope to be sure, but fairly typical for the type of glowing press coverage that Pope Francis has been getting.  What a change from the coverage that Pope Benedict got!  If he had snuggled up to a lamb it would have been suggested that he was going to eat it, abuse it or enlist it in the Hitler Youth.

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102 Responses to PopeWatch: Lamb of Pope

  • It appears that Pope Francis is in the process of implementing the other half of the teachings of Vatican II and making such changes within the traditional faith which he perceives to impede the Council’s “reforms”.

    I must concede that I have no idea what these reforms consist of but many Catholics who self identify as progressive are betting that the pastoral initiatives of the Council and its elevation of human dignity will translate into a substantial reform of traditional Catholic morality.

    Returning to the sources, communio, nixing scholasticism all seem to play a role in what is coming. Recall that popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were periti at the Council and were also active in advancing its initiatives. Pope Francis is merely completing what the Council called for…..does anyone really know what that entails?

  • Slainte,

    The liberal press and ultra progressive segment of the Church are going to be bitterly disappointed with the reforms coming. There will be no change in moral teaching or such doctrinal issues as an all male priesthood. There will be because there cannot be. What will be implemented besides the reforms of the Vatican Bank and the Curia will be in the area of the mission of the Church. In ‘the return to the sources’ of Vatican II we return to the source of our identity as Church: The Most Blessed Trinity. The Church is the fruit or the result of the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Church does not (really) have a mission; the Church IS the mission of the Son and the Spirit visible in the world today. Fundamentally that mission is to be “a kind of sacrament” as Lumen Gentium puts it [lest someone misunderstand and think we have declared that there is an 8th sacrament]. The Church “as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world”

    The Church is One> This Unity comes from the unity of the Most Blessed Trinity. It is gift. It is a given. However it is also a task in which each generation ‘must’ participate. In this ‘unitive task’ the Church ‘must’ be ecumenical: seeking such a level of conversion of faith which will bear fruit in unity of all Christians [not however at the expense of losing our identity as “the Church of Jesus Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church”]. This unitive task or mission also necessarily engages us in recognizing the relatedness or “order’ of other religions, most especially Judaism with which we have such a close and unique relationship, since we have been grafted through Christ into the Olive Tree of Israel. Also related to us but in a far more distant way is Islam which worships the Creator [we don’t have to go into this again lol] Other world religions such as Buddhism and Hindhuism reveal the religious nature of ‘man’ and the hunger and longing of the human heart for the Holy and the Transcendent [mentioning the relation with these religions says nothing about ‘universal salvation’. In fact, the fundamental point is that the Church herself is the Sacrament of Salvation for the world. This unity, or fullness of communion comes when one is fully initiated [Baptized, Confirmed and Eucharist (each Sunday)]. It comes with full unity of faith [believing all that the Church teaches] and community [unity with those who are united with their bishop and pope] it finally is unity in the sacraments [believing in and participating in the seven sacraments (those one can participate in; for example marriage is for man and woman; orders are for men)

    The Church is holy. This too is both gift and task. As Paul teaches in both Ephesians 5 and Titus 3, Christ died to make His Bride Holy. She is fundamentally holy thanks to Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Proof of the holiness is the saints at the core of the Church-most especially the Immaculata, “Full of Grace”, the new name for Mary, the Virgin Mother of God.
    Holiness is also a task. Each and every baptized Christian is called to sanctity, holiness of life. Perhaps the most forgotten aspect of Lumen Gentium is its chapter on the universal call to holiness. We are not called to ‘merely’ obey the commandments, as important as this is. We are called to an ongoing conversion of life throughout life to that point in which we can say with Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ living in me” [Galatians 2] Keeping this in mind, there can be no moment in which ‘the reform of the Church’ is completed, since that would mean each and every member had literally become saints. In many ways we have not even begun to discover this fundamental teaching of VII [Lumen Gentium] The world does not understand any of this.

    The Church is Catholic. Catholic has two distinct meanings. First, which most know is that it means “universal”. As salvation is meant for all people [although not accepted by all], so the Church is sent and meant to be the sacrament of salvation for all [although not all are members]. Catholic is not the same as being ‘inclusive’ as the world often portrays it. Catholic means it is indeed intended for all and meant to be in every nation, language etc, but conversion and faith are the way into this Catholicity-so it is not merely a matter of “all come, all are welcome just as you are and expect to remain exactly as you were when you came’. The second aspect of Catholicity: Catholic comes from the Greek: kata hole: pertaining to the whole. First and foremost it means the ‘whole teaching’ and not cafeteria style “Catholicism’ from the left or the right; it also means the whole Church-which can never be identified with one grouping within the Church, whether a nationality, gender etc or even all alive today. The whole Church includes the communion of saints [angelic and human]
    While Catholicity is a gift it is also a task and fundamental to the mission of the Church

    The Church is Apostolic. She is Apostolic in faith, faithfuly believing and teaching all that has been handed down from the Apostles [Apostolic Tradition] which has been passed on to us in Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition [The difference between Tradition and traditions is a key issue and so frequently they are confused by “the left and the right’]. The Church is Apostolic in governance, As Christ formed His college of Apostles with Peter as its head, so apostolic succession is fully passed on only to those bishops in full communion with the college of bishops in union with the pope, the successor of Peter. The Church is apostolic in her mission as well: “Go make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them everything I have commanded you and know I am with you until the end of the world” Matthew 28

    Slainte, These are fundamental to the reform and implementation of VII. With the fantastic work of JPII and Benedict straightening out confusion in areas of doctrine and morals [we have enough resources : Catechism, Compendium of Social Teaching, Code of Canon Law of 1983, encyclicals etc to no longer say ‘we are confused’. Neither left not right can say this with any real substance behind it] Now we can really get into the mission of the Church-as sacrament, being missioned, being light salt and leaven in the world.

  • Botolph, Thank you for your very complete and thorough response. I agree with most of what you have written but am concerned with primarily two things.

    i. Salvation Outside the Church. If one reverts to the period prior to Vatican II , the Church was adamant that there was No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church.

    Post Vatican II, we are informed that Truth subsists in the Catholic Church but can be found (albeit less fully) in other Christian (and possibly non-Christian?) faiths, thus suggesting the possibility that Salvation may be found outside the Church. Is this a compromise position to advance a worthy and greater good of healing the rupture in Christian unity that was caused by the Reformation? But when we evangelize as lay people aren’t we obligated to remind those to whom we speak that salvation is only available through the Catholic Church in which the fullness of Truth exists?

    ii. Universal Salvation. Pope Benedict clarified the English language version of Pope Paul VI’s Novus Ordo Mass to state that God came to save MANY, not ALL. While I recognize that Free Will permits us to reject Grace and therefore salvation, I also understand that Catholicism accepts some attenuated version of Predestination (some will be saved but not all) while rejecting Calvin’s Double Predestination. Further, in the period before Vatican II, the Church unequivocally recognized that Sin existed, as did Hell, and that evil was an affirmative force (not merely a passive absence of the presence of God.) The Church no longer preaches the concept of SIN or that some will go to Hell as a consequence of sinful behaviour when Judged by God. These are perplexing issues.

    Over at Crisis Magazine, I have tried to defend Pope Francis’ actions which, at times, seem at odds with the traditional understanding of the faith. I defer to the Pope’s positions because I know that he is informed and guided by the Holy Spirit, but I am troubled by his response to the Franciscan Friars and his statements which appear to minimize the extraordinary importance of the Pro-Life (anti-abortion) movement and the wide ranging issues surrounding homosexuality and marriage. Any insight on these issues is appreciated.

    Thanks for being kind and responding so generously to my queries.

  • All salvation that happens happens somehow through the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ.

  • “…Make Us So Happy” I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an inclusive sweep in any headline ever before. Even when there is a headline with a big statement that assumes how most people feel it is not given in the first person or even theroyal we or us, but third person view …like “America Mourns” or something that shows the newspaper is an observer, not a participant in the news.

  • Thanks Slainte,

    Ok first, Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus [Outside the Church there is no salvation] was first put forward by Saint Cyprian in his wonderful treatise on Church Unity. In context, Cyprian was stating that any member of the Church who leaves the communion of the Church, or any person who knows that the Church is the one true Church but refuses to admit and confess this as true and thus enter the Church-cannot be saved. We still hold this given certain understanding-for example after generations Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church cannot be held responsible for <> the Catholic Church etc. They obviously are not in full communion but not guilty of leaving the Church in schism [lack of charity] or heresy [rejection of truth of faith]

    We fundamentally believe that Christ is the Sacrament of Salvation-there is no other Name given by which a person can be saved. What of people who are not baptized? Can they be saved/how are they saved? The core teaching is this: a person is saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. <> anyone is saved who is not baptized and is outside the Church it is by the grace of Christ [no other way] and this saving grace configures them to be among those ‘whose faith is known to God alone”. Before saying another word, this is a far cry from ‘universalism: all are saved”. All we are saying is confessing the fundamentals of our faith: no one is saved except by the grace of Jesus Christ and that saving grace unites them (even if mysteriously) with the Church. Long before Vatican II there were three baptisms recognized: by Water (the Sacrament) By Blood (martyrdom) and by Desire (now how strict is this to be interpreted? There never has been a de fide answer)

    Slainte you mentioned that before VII no salvation outside the Church was held strictly by the Church (with the implication that it then changed fundamentally in VII) This is not true. I will stick with the period just before the Council with the papacy of Pius XII. A Jesuit priest in Boston did some great work with students at Harvard University. His name was Fr Feeney. However in the process of pastoral zeal he preached an extremely strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesia Nullus Salus declaring all the Protestants etc are going to hell. It became explosive in Boston-to the degree that the Vatican had to step in. Now some will point out that Fr Feeney was excommunicated for disobedience (and strictly speaking this is true) However, he was under obedience to renounce his strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesia. Further, the Vatican Instruction which became the most official interpretation of Extra Ecclesia up until VII, stated that no one may hold an opinion or position or interpretation of Extra Ecclesia nulllus salus that is not in accord and communion with the Church’s interpretation of this doctrine. This is a key point and must be kept in mind when talking about salvation outside the Church or salvation for those not in full communion with the Church. Christ is, remains and will always be the Mediator of Salvation and the Church is and will always be the sacrament of His salvation for the world. What the Church consistently has been saying is that God’s salvific will cannot be confounded by our own preconceived notions of what this or that then means. While emphasizing salvation in and through Christ’s grace in the Church are we also called to be so miserly with the grace of salvation? Sadly, not all people will be saved. But it should be in the heart of every Catholic that we wish, desire and yes work toward the salvation of all people. Otherwise the Church ceases to be the sacrament of salvation.-and of course that is impossible based on Extra Ecclesia nullus salus

  • Slainte,

    Now your second comment “that the truth subsists in the Catholic Church’ actually does not exist [I am <<not denying the truth of the Catholic faith ;-)] The phrase used by the Council Fathers is: "The Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church". That means this: all the truths [teaching], means of salvation [sacraments] and structure [full hierarchical structure of the Church of Christ subsists, and truly is in the Catholic Church [all in union with pope]. What this statement also gives us is that some [in some cases most, in other cases much less so] elements of the Church of Christ exist in other churches and ecclesial communion. For example, Sacred Scripture, most especially the four Gospels, Creed(s), baptism, prayer, service etc. All have these. Some such as the Orthodox have everything but the pope. We differentiate churches (seven sacraments with bishops, priests and deacons) [Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox churches, Assyrian Church] Communities that came out of the Reformation are called "Ecclesial Communities" because they do not have seven sacraments or full hierarchy of the Church. All of these are indeed elements that facilitate salvation

    You ask about a lay person evangelizing/catechizing. A lay person can be a wonderful vehicle of salvation, most especially by witness of life. However to be more specific, in evangelizing I would emphasize that Christ has come to espouse to Himself His Bride the Church [cannot/must not separate Church from Christ]. That Church is the Church of Jesus Christ which subsists -is manifest in all its fullness in the Catholic Church-how is that? Is that helpful enough?

  • Botolph, when we define the ‘church’ we must be careful to attach the correct understanding to the term. In the New Tesament, the church is the body of Christ: all those who are “in Christ,” to quote Paul. They may or may not belong to a specific organized church structure, but they are part of the spiritual/mystical body. Then the word church is also used to refer to local assemblies, e.g. the church at corinth, the church that meets in so and so’s house, etc. It is impossible for me to believe that the term ‘church’ can be aligned with a specific denomination or church strucutre, however.

  • Slainte,

    On your next issue, I am a bit stunned. What are your sources of these statements/teachings of the Church—or are you hearing them from someone claiming that the Church teaches these things?

    The Church has not changed its teachings on evil, hell and sin-it has not and cannot. Not the teaching-how it is expressed etc is a different manner however.

    Let me make this perfectly clear. Pope Benedict made an intervention on the translation of the Institution of the Eucharist of the Ordinary Form of the Mass changing the word from “all” to “many”. The original context for pushing ‘all’ had to do with inclusive language making sure women felt included-a bit silly-but the original context was pastoral and <> “Many” is the actual word in the original language and needed to be said. However, what does “Many” mean? It means that while Christ died for all men, only ‘the many’ will come to accept it. This is important Slainte. While we readily canonize saints, declaring them in heaven do you realize the Church has never stated any person is in hell, except Satan and his minions? Not even Judas, Hitler etc. We cannot and will not, because we leave judgment up to God. We know sadly, from what Christ taught us, that not all will actually accept salvation. Even sadder, the path to salvation is narrow and tough-through Christ and the Cross, while ‘the road to perdition’ is wide and easy. Nonetheless, what we do know and confess is that through their/our (yikes!) own free will, not everyone will be saved. This is not the same as saying (as some heretical groups in the past have said) that only a few are saved. Keep that in mind.

    Secondly you state that ‘evil is a passive absence of the Presence of God”. This is not Church teaching and never has been. I believe you are combining what we traditionally declare evil to be and how hell is sometimes described. Evil is a negation of the good (like a black hole). Everything that exists, created by God is created good. Evil is the result of one who themselves has been created good (angel or man) negates the good by rebelling against the True, the Good and the Beautiful, twisiting and deforming them into half truths and lies, the bad and the ugly. When evil is done willingly it is sin. Sin ultimately is conversio ab Deo ad creaturem [conversion away from God and toward the creature]. It is expressed as a fundamental distrust and disobedience toward God and a moving away from Him

    The “Church no longer preaches sin”-nor should we. We are called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His salvation-which is saving us from sin. Sin isn’t the focus, Christ is. Obviously, sin will be and needs to be incorporated into the proclamation of the Gospel but the proclamation of the Gospel is not a rehashing of the promulgation of the Law. Moral teaching, the Law of God has been subsumed into the Gospel of Christ; it is an element of the Gospel and Gospel teaching but not its core. The Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel: the Kingdom, Jesus Christ has broken into our world as pure Gift-grace-only in His light, the light of His truth and that of the Spirit within our hearts, that we can truly come to see the true dimensions of sin [not vice versa] and thus our radical need of Christ’s salvation and our ongoing conversion. Hell is eternal loss of God, Christ, His kingdom willed by the ‘damned’. God will not overwhelm our free will. Some, who have very little experience of life and less wisdom, will say, but who in their right mind would reject God etc and will to be damned. Perhaps in my younger years I might have leaned that way myself, but oh not now. I have seen intended evil in action by people. If you actually catch a view of it, the hair on the back of your neck will stand up. Nonetheless my prayer, that I have learned after many ‘battles’ is “Father forgive them they know not what they do”/”Do not lay this sin against them” (Stephen at his martyrdom).

    As for Pope Francis-Slainte I have commented on him a great deal in here. I refer you to some of those comments. However let me say this. In all my hearing/reading I firmly believe that Pope Francis is as orthodox as JPII and Benedict. He simply expresses himself differently (for a number of reasons; some of which is still in process of a learning curve)

  • Anzlyne

    “All salvation that happens happens somehow through the Church, the Body of Christ-a fantastic Catholic statement in faith and expression!

  • Jon,

    I will attempt to be as delicate, diplomatic and ecumenical as possible. When I am speaking of the Church I am speaking of the Catholic Church as she exists-as you see her. The Church of Jesus Christ in all its fullness resides in her. I am expressing myself as a Catholic on a Catholic blog site. I understand that you are a Protestant, but I/we are Catholics etc

    For you to lecture us about our ‘understanding of the sacraments’ which is sacramentalism or my statement about the Church so that it includes the broadest least common denominator or some Protestant denomination is like an Atheist lecturing Christians to be inclusive during the holiday season and not mention Christ’s birth. You are are welcome here Jon but we are Catholics. Period

  • Well, Botolph, I think the analogy is rather poor. Atheism and full inclusivity during holiday seasons is a terrible paradox with which all Christians must grapple in today’s society. I lament that the problem exists, but we must find ways to deal with it. As many people have said time and again, there are no real atheists. At some deep level we all must know that God exists and that he is righteous.
    Yes, I realize you speak from a Roman Catholic perspective, and that you equate the ‘church’ with the Roman Catholic church hierarchy based in Rome, along with its sacraments. I just think it’s theologically incorrect. I would never equate the church with one denomination or one Christian strucutre. I recognize the terms usage in the New Testament, as I explained before. We must learn, first, how things were udnerstood/expressed in that early first century context before we can apply it today. Otherwise we risk making all kinds of mistakes.

  • Thank you Botolph, I understand and accept your response to Issue 1.

    Regarding a….”Jesuit priest in Boston did some great work with students at Harvard University. His name was Fr Feeney. However in the process of pastoral zeal he preached an extremely strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesia Nullus Salus…”

    I almost fell off my chair on three accounts, (i) a Conservative Jesuit….I didn’t know such a creature existed except for the late (and great) Fr. Francis Canavan of Fordham Univ, (ii) a Catholic priest teaching at Harvard within the four walls of the foundation of Puritanism, and (iii) a Conservative in Boston who had not already been summarily evicted by the Kennedys….quite a feat. : )

    Michael Voris has opined that the Papacy holds the deposit of faith “in trust” with no ability to alter or otherwise expand upon it. I believe he applied this logic to the issue of No Salvation Outside the Church. I believe he would take exception to the ex-communication of a priest if that priest was preaching the faith in accord with Tradition.

    I accept, however, that the Pope, guided by the Holy Spirit, may exercise discretion to clarify the faith relative to specific issues and has the right to expect compliance by the clergy.

  • Slainte,

    I would be especially careful of taking everything Michael Voris states as either Gospel or Church teaching-or me for that matter lol Check out Michael and check what I (or anyone here etc) says with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I know your background; you can easily do that and come to an informed Catholic (and not some variation on the theme lol) position 🙂

  • Jon,

    I do not simply speak from a Roman Catholic perspective. I readily admit I am not either a pope or a bishop but much of what is expressed in here is either actually defined Catholic teaching [not mere theology or opinion] or questions concerning these positions. This is not as such an ecumenical blog so the conversation is based on very different foundations. If it were an ecumenical blog I would have to come to terms that it was ecumenical and not Catholic. You are going to have to come to terms with the fact that this is a Catholic blog and not an ecumenical one. Ask questions. You can even say you disagree-after all that is the definition of a Protestant: a person who does not agree with all that the Catholic Church teaches, if it were otherwise you would be Catholic. However, don’t lecture us as here as if “Catholic” is only one version or opinion etc and very clearly wring in your <> opinion.

    If you want me to begin totally ignoring you that’s fine-just let me know.

  • Jon, you have all the rights in the USA to your opinions, deductions, and cliches.

    But, I quote from Plato, The Republic, “Opinion is not truth.”

    Opinions are like noses, everybody’s got one.

    Hey! (Channeling Uncle Si here) How many thousands of protestant cults are there? Are there thousands of the Truth?

  • Thanks, Botolph. I do think we all have to come to terms with what’s out there, whether it is correct or incorrect. We all have to do something with it–to decide whether it is accurate or not. I guess you are completely convinced of your definitions.

  • Jon,

    Slight but important correction. I am convinced and believe what the Catholic Church teaches in her definitions—certainly not mine

  • Botolph, On the issue of Universal Salvation, I understand your points and thank you.

    On the third and final issue, I was not clear in my communication. I have never heard a homily preached in Church which specifically spoke about Sin or Hell or what constitutes either. I have been privileged to hear many excellent homilies preaching the truth and beauty of the Gospel message and the kingdom of God. But I would suggest that focusing on the Gospel alone is not sufficient to protect God’s flock from the spirit of this world in a society awash in moral relativism.

    You write, “…Sin isn’t the focus, Christ is…”

    If we would not send a soldier into battle without the proper equipment to defend himself from the spears and arrows of enemy combatants, the Church should not send its children into the world without teaching them what evil is, how it manifests as sin. and its consequences.

    Botolph, most Catholic parents today are uncatechized; they do not know the
    Faith. They are raising children who need the wisdom of the Church to discern good from bad and right from wrong. The Church should not assume that children, whose source of learning is often limited to television and internet, know morality and the results of sin.

    Priests MUST teach what constitutes Sin from the pulpit at Sunday mass. Too many children (and parents) get in trouble because they just don’t know any better. I say all of this respectfully.

    With respect to Evil being the absence of God….this statement was made by a priest in my parish during a Sunday Mass homily. I thought about the statement and concluded that evil is not just a passive reality (God’s absence), but also an affirmative presence. We seem to agree on this point. The interaction of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden and its ensuing consequences remain relevent today.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful and caring responses.

  • Jon, To which protestant denomination do you belong?

  • Botolph writes, “…I would be especially careful of taking everything Michael Voris states as either Gospel or Church teaching-or me for that matter lol – …”

    Botolph, I read, watch. and listen to anything and everything (including Voris and some of the Protestant preachers) and at the end of the day my head spins…I still find this all very interesting and I have no idea why. : )

    Slán anois

  • Slainte,

    You make some interesting and necessary ‘practical’ points. Let me see if I can do them justice.

    A person can be talking about sin or something sinful without using the word. For example in confessing that every human life needs to be respected from the moment of conception until natural death-that actually covers a great deal of moral issues of our day: abortion, euthanasia, suicide (as a result of a choice-I am not speaking about tormented souls ‘driven’ to suicide in anxiety episodes etc) It even causes us to at least pause on such issues as capital punishment and just war. See what I mean?

    However to your point, I believe many homilists really fail to engage both the word of God, the word in their own lives and in the lives of their people. Some simply retell in their own words, the Gospel etc. Even Pope Francis is getting after priests about this. I believe this is what many are describing as pablum and not meat. The People of God deserve meat on the table of the word. While Advent lends a certain element of possibility to homilies/catechesis on sin, certainly Lent does. A Lent that does not mention sin is well…………….worse than pablum. If you or anyone is in a parish where that goes on you have the right to go and charitably say to the priest could you get more—-one way of doing this is to ask for an appt during the week and tell him you want to ask him some questions about what he preached. That will get his attention lol.

    The Church Father, Origin spoke of Baptism (properly) as the passage through the Red Sea etc then the spiritual warfare of conquering the seven capital sins as Israel’s coming into the Promised Land and displacing/conquering the seven nations (some lists give six but there are seven) that possessed the land up until that time-with the last one representing the Jebusites (Jerusalem) being Pride. How is that for catechesis?????

    You are correct, that priests need to give their people spiritual food, clothe them in the virtues of Christ, arm them with the spiritual weapons of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6). Lent is “Basic Training” or “Basic Re-training”.

    As to Evil. First, there is no absolute evil (because we do not have two gods, one good and one evil. This is very important to remember and a distinction that needs to be made. Evil is both the absence of and the twisting/perversion of the good. Its source is the free will of angelic beings now fallen. Using analogies from science fiction. They brought their rebellion against God’s rule to earth and manipulated us into siding with them. However it is a cosmic battle in which we find ourselves. if someone says otherwise they are either nuts or ‘asleep at the job’. Wew do not battle flesh and blood but Powers and Principalities. Joseph Ratzinger wrote a very interesting book with this title back in the 60’s I wish they would reprint it. However, this battle in which we are in while cosmic, world wide, takes place mostly right within our own beings. It is not them versus us. It is us versus us. It is from this pitiful condition that Christ has come to save, heal and redeem us.

    Just some more thoughts on what you wrote

  • SLainte, I am a Baptist to be specific. I believe in orthodox Christianity, to which all Christians everywhere and at all times give assent. For me, Christianity is a broad term, whicih covers people who happen to be in the Roman, Anglican and Lutehran churches, as well as Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyteiran ones. I agree wtih C. S. Lewis’ thesis in Mere Chrisitainty that Christians are actually in agreement on essentials and that we should not anathematize people for not subscribing to a certain confession. I believe that salvation is by grace, through faith and that we become a Christian by way of a free-will response.
    Concerning evil, I think it is the absence of good or a falling short of it, as classic thought attests. (Evil departs form God’s intention and so cannot be innovative or creative.) But you’re right: it’s also an affirmative presence as you put it. It’s cosmic and personal and is therefore well personified by the serpent who assumes a guise to deceive humanity.

  • Jon,

    I do not know a great deal about the Baptist tradition except that it is quite prevalent in the southern states, and a group of Baptists from Danbury Connecticut, fearing for their well being from the Congregationalists, wrote to Thomas Jefferson seeking assurances that a state religion would not be re-established in post Revolutionary Connecticut. I credit you for interacting with us Catholics on this website as I am sure it is something of a daunting experience to stand alone.

    Three years ago a friend invited me to join a book reading class at a local Presbyterian Church to read “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” by Diarmaid MacCulloch. I accepted the invitation and joined the group. The book which was written by an English Anglican was, in my opinion, abrasive in its assessment of Catholicism and its rituals. We were all responsible for covering several chapter of this tome-like book and of course my chapters turned out to be the Reformation. How uncool is that?…a cradle Catholic with a lot of faith in Catholicism but not a lot of theological knowledge of the Faith or its Tradition gets to lead a discussion with some very bright Princeton educated Presbyterians about the Reformation.

    As the discussion unfolded, I assumed a position in defense of Catholicism and the injustice that I perceived was visited upon Catholics for seeking to maintain their faith during and after the Reformation. The Presbyterians responded by pointing out Catholicism’s history of corrupt popes, the Inquisition, the sale of Indulgences, idol worship, and flagellation parades….and suggested that there was ample evidence produced to justify a condemnation of Catholicism. I declined to do so arguing that the Church was the mystical body of Christ and only God could make such a determination. In addition, no competing reading material was made available whereby the Catholic Church could refute the questionable allegations raised by Mr. MacCulloch. My response was not well received as my fellow Presbyterian readers oncluded that the case was airtight against Catholicism.

    I left the book club pretty shaken but determined to learn everything I could about my faith so that I could more ably defend it. So along the way, I started to study the faith as an intellectual exercise and in time really began to love it.

    If you are curious about Catholicism, you must know that the epicenter of our faith is the sacrament of Holy Communion. While it is not possible for a non-Catholic to physically partake of the Eucharist, I would respectfully suggest that you consider finding a local Catholic Church that offers “Eucharistic Adoration” and attending for a short period. At a Eucharistic Adoration, the Holy Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance (a sunburst) on the altar making Christ’s physical presence available for all to gaze upon in prayer. As a Catholic when I attend this beautiful ceremony, I am filled with a profound inner peace. I think you might gain a better, more personal understanding of Catholicism, if you merely sat in the presence of Our Lord in that way. It might answer questions that you may have about our very ancient faith.

    You are very welcome among us and I hope you stay and continue to chat. Pax.

  • Botolph,

    Thanks for your valuable recommendations. You deserve a vacation after having responded to my many inquiries. Your responses were generous, clear, and faith filled.

    I feel it incumbent though to inform you that notwithstanding your being named after the patron saint of Boston, I fully intend to offer frequent and unremitting prayers to Our Lord to ensure that the New York Yankees continue to handily defeat the Boston Red Sox a la the Curse of the Bambino.

    As a native New Yorker, I can take no other action. : )

  • Slainte, I’m not familiar iwht the author you mention. I’m sorry to hear the book club took that direction, and it sounds like some people were far more interested in being right than in being Christian. To invite you to a book club and then give you the chapter on the Reformation is condescending. I know that Princeton Theological Seminary is one of the most liberal evangelical seminaries. It was once very conservative, but a stronghold of calvinism, since that’s the Presbyterian theological tradition. I don’t knwo if they’re still calvinistic, but I hear they have a rather low view of the Bible.
    When I try to think through Scripture I have to learn what the writers meant. When St. Paul speaks of the ‘church’, for example, he’s applying it to local meetings or the mystical body of Christ. He’s never referring to some type of overall church structure. Indeed the Roman Catholic church had not yet formed, though churches were meeting at Rome. The sacrament of communion or the Lord’s Supper is also something I try to understand Scripturally. What were they doing and why? Well, they ate a meal together and some aspect of that meal was presumably ritualized in the tradition of Passover. But like so much else in th New Testament, it took on new meaning. What the Old Testament was pointing to became clear and people ate and drank knowing they were a part of that. It was a spiritual meal, in other words. People came to know Christ, their Head, and one another as family–the body of Christ–so that the rite had profound significance for them.
    I think we miss the point if we jump to the conclusion that the bread and wine are physically Christ’s body and blood. The logical outcome to that conclusion would be that you have to be very careful with the elements as the Roman Catholic church probably is. I think the priest still locks it all up when finished. And the wafer is placed in a case of some sort as you desribe. Then you have Eucharistic Adoration. I’m familiar with this because I used to watch the Mass on EWTN where they would remove the cover at the end, or perhaps that was when they covered it up, I can’t remember. Anyway, if one were to judge by aesthetics alone, unless one were an absolute purist or minimalist, they would say the high churches are lovelier overall than most if not all Protestant worship, excepting Anlicanism. As a teenager I would occasionally attend a Mass for that sole reason, and I think that’s what drew Franky Schaeffer to Eastern Orthodoxy; he loves the Divine Liturgy. But I came to the conclusion, a long time ago, that tradition grew increasingly elaborate to the point that many new ideas emerged with time. For me the question becomes: what do you do with all of that innovation? You can hold onto what doesn’t conflict with Scirpture. But if some aspects of tradition cannot be squared with Scirpture, you’re left having to decide which side you will take. I don’t know of anyone who ever concioiusly said: I’m going to side with Tradition where it conflicts with Scirpture. What happens is that people argue that the conflict cited doesn’t really exist. They support that by interpeting Scirpture in ways that are strained and that depart from a straightforward reading. And then there is anachronism, or reading back into the pages of Scirpture ideas that grew up later.
    Your thoughts?

  • Moral teachings of the Catholic Church cannot be altered, because they have been derived from the teachings of the Bible No question of any compromise on the matters of divorce, sodomy ,lesbianism etc.,

  • Jon,

    My experience with the Presbyterians was actually a good one; they were convicted of the perceived wrongs and deficiencies of Catholicism and were able to credibly point to periods where some members of the Church exhibited less than exemplary conduct. On my end, I was woefully unprepared to address their concerns. So I have made efforts to better understand my own faith from both an intellectual and faith perspective. Many have assisted me along the way. I identified with your position of being a stranger among a cohesive group of people bound together by a common tradition, in this instance Catholicism, and wanted to confirm that you are welcome here.

    I agree with your conclusion that, as Christians, we share much in common. But I will unequivocally attest to you that when I eat Christ’s body and drink His blood in Holy Communion within the Catholic tradition, it works within my soul and my entire being a mystical and life affirming miracle that far exceeds any rational explanation of the act itself. I believe that you may be able to experience something of this experience by sitting quietly in the presence of Christ on the alter at Eucharistic Adoration. If you seek Him, He will find you and make Himself known to you.

    Though your eyes may identify what appears to be “a wafer” in a monstrance, your soul, in His presence, will awaken to a reality that is profoundly greater than the senses can apprehend.

    Father Robert Barron shares how the priest in Persona Christi “speaking with the full authority of Christ which is why his words have the power to change the elements” consecrates and transforms the bread and wine into Christ’s body and precious blood. Father concludes that “for Catholics, the only proper response when you are in the presence of those transformed elements is to bow down and worship.”

    See, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJjW3LXuHzo

    I would strongly encourage you to take the next step in your faith journey and go to Eucharistic Adoration. It truly is an ultimate unity with our Creator wherein he provides not only physical food for our body but spiritual food for the everlasting life of the soul. The experience is transformative and it is why so many people for hundreds of years have been willing to become martyrs for the faith.

    I wish you Christ’s peace.

  • Scripture and Tradition – Jon, you might find this useful for your understanding of what Catholicism teaches. It comes form Catholic Answers and save me a lot of time in writing it myself. I did want to point out that I think you are mistaken in your assessment of Paul and individual Churches. For example, he goes back to Jerusalem over circumcision exactly because Paul is helping to build one Church, not many denominations, not what the Judaisers would have, or second citizenship for the Gentiles. One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. I believe few if any individual has done more harm to Christianity than the divisions brought about by Martin Luther. The wrong solutions to the problems he saw. Anyway, here is the explanation:

    Protestants claim the Bible is the only rule of faith, meaning that it contains all of the material one needs for theology and that this material is sufficiently clear that one does not need apostolic tradition or the Church’s magisterium (teaching authority) to help one understand it. In the Protestant view, the whole of Christian truth is found within the Bible’s pages. Anything extraneous to the Bible is simply non-authoritative, unnecessary, or wrong—and may well hinder one in coming to God.

    Catholics, on the other hand, recognize that the Bible does not endorse this view and that, in fact, it is repudiated in Scripture. The true “rule of faith”—as expressed in the Bible itself—is Scripture plus apostolic tradition, as manifested in the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church, to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.

    In the Second Vatican Council’s document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: “The Word of God”), the relationship between Tradition and Scripture is explained: “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

    “Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence.”

    But Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants, who place their confidence in Martin Luther’s theory of sola scriptura (Latin: “Scripture alone”), will usually argue for their position by citing a couple of key verses. The first is this: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The other is this: “All Scripture is
    inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be equipped, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). According to these Protestants, these verses demonstrate the reality of sola scriptura (the “Bible only” theory).

    Not so, reply Catholics. First, the verse from John refers to the things written in that book (read it with John 20:30, the verse immediately before it to see the context of the statement in question). If this verse proved anything, it would not prove the theory of sola scriptura but that the Gospel of John is sufficient.

    Second, the verse from John’s Gospel tells us only that the Bible was composed so we can be helped to believe Jesus is the Messiah. It does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation, much less that the Bible is all we need for theology; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ. After all, the earliest Christians had no New Testament to which they could appeal; they learned from oral, rather than written, instruction. Until relatively recent times, the Bible was inaccessible to most people, either because they could not read or because the printing press had not been invented. All these people learned from oral instruction, passed down, generation to generation, by the Church.

    Much the same can be said about 2 Timothy 3:16-17. To say that all inspired writing “has its uses” is one thing; to say that only inspired writing need be followed is something else. Besides, there is a telling argument against claims of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants. John Henry Newman explained it in an 1884 essay entitled “Inspiration in its Relation to Revelation.”

    Newman’s argument

    He wrote: “It is quite evident that this passage furnishes no argument whatever that the sacred Scripture, without Tradition, is the sole rule of faith; for, although sacred Scripture is profitable for these four ends, still it is not said to be sufficient. The Apostle [Paul] requires the aid of Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15). Moreover, the Apostle here refers to the scriptures which Timothy was taught in his infancy.

    “Now, a good part of the New Testament was not written in his boyhood: Some of the Catholic epistles were not written even when Paul wrote this, and none of the books of the New Testament were then placed on the canon of the Scripture books. He refers, then, to the scriptures of the Old Testament, and, if the argument from this passage proved anything, it would prove too much, viz., that the scriptures of the New Testament were not necessary for a rule of faith.”

    Furthermore, Protestants typically read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context. When read in the context of the surrounding passages, one discovers that Paul’s reference to Scripture is only part of his exhortation that Timothy take as his guide Tradition and Scripture. The two verses immediately before it state: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14–15).

    Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned for two reasons: first, because he knows from whom he has learned it—Paul himself—and second, because he has been educated in the scriptures. The first of these is a direct appeal to apostolic tradition, the oral teaching which the apostle Paul had given Timothy. So Protestants must take 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context to arrive at the theory of sola scriptura. But when the passage is read in context, it becomes clear that it is teaching the importance of apostolic tradition!

    The Bible denies that it is sufficient as the complete rule of faith. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15).

    This oral teaching was accepted by Christians, just as they accepted the written teaching that came to them later. Jesus told his disciples: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16). The Church, in the persons of the apostles, was given the authority to teach by Christ; the Church would be his representative. He commissioned them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).

    And how was this to be done? By preaching, by oral instruction: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The Church would always be the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit “Christ’s word” to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.

    Further, it is clear that the oral teaching of Christ would last until the end of time. “’But the word of the Lord abides for ever.’ That word is the good news which was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:25). Note that the word has been “preached”—that is, communicated orally. This would endure. It would not be
    supplanted by a written record like the Bible (supplemented, yes, but not supplanted), and would continue to have its own authority.

    This is made clear when the apostle Paul tells Timothy: “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). Here we see the first few links in the chain of apostolic tradition that has been passed down intact from the apostles to our own day. Paul instructed Timothy to pass on the oral teachings (traditions) that he had received from the apostle. He was to give these to men who would be able to teach others, thus perpetuating the chain. Paul gave this instruction not long before his death (2 Tim. 4:6–8), as a reminder to Timothy of how he should conduct his ministry.

    What is Tradition?

    In this discussion it is important to keep in mind what the Catholic Church means by tradition. The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it encompass transitory customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or apostolic tradition consists of the teachings that the apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.

    They have been handed down and entrusted to the Churchs. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).

    Handing on the faith

    Paul illustrated what tradition is: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. . . . Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:3,11). The apostle praised those who followed Tradition: “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2).

    The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) long before there was a New Testament. From the very beginning, the fullness of Christian teaching was found in the Church as the living embodiment of Christ, not in a book. The teaching Church, with its oral, apostolic tradition, was authoritative. Paul himself gives a quotation from Jesus that was handed down orally to him: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

    This saying is not recorded in the Gospels and must have been passed on to Paul. Indeed, even the Gospels themselves are oral tradition which has been written down (Luke 1:1–4). What’s more, Paul does not quote Jesus only. He also quotes from early Christian hymns, as in Ephesians 5:14. These and other things have been given to Christians “through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:2).

    Fundamentalists say Jesus condemned tradition. They note that Jesus said, “And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt. 15:3). Paul warned, “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). But these verses merely condemn erroneous human traditions, not truths which were handed down orally and entrusted to the Church by the apostles. These latter truths are part of what is known as apostolic tradition, which is to be distinguished from human traditions or customs.

    “Commandments of men”

    Consider Matthew 15:6–9, which Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often use to defend their position: “So by these traditions of yours you have made God’s laws ineffectual. You hypocrites, it was a true prophecy that Isaiah made of you, when he said, ‘This people does me honor with its lips, but its heart is far from me. Their worship is in vain, for the doctrines they teach are the commandments of men.’” Look closely at what Jesus said.

    He was not condemning all traditions. He condemned only those that made God’s word void. In this case, it was a matter of the Pharisees feigning the dedication of their goods to the Temple so they could avoid using them to support their aged parents. By doing this, they dodged the commandment to “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12).

    Elsewhere, Jesus instructed his followers to abide by traditions that are not contrary to God’s commandments. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice” (Matt. 23:2–3).

    What Fundamentalists and Evangelicals often do, unfortunately, is see the word “tradition” in Matthew 15:3 or Colossians 2:8 or elsewhere and conclude that anything termed a “tradition” is to be rejected. They forget that the term is used in a different sense, as in 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, to describe what should be believed. Jesus did not condemn all traditions; he condemned only erroneous traditions, whether doctrines or practices, that undermined Christian truths. The rest, as the apostles taught, were to be obeyed. Paul commanded the Thessalonians to adhere to all the traditions he had given them, whether oral or written.

    The indefectible Church

    The task is to determine what constitutes authentic tradition. How can we know which traditions are apostolic and which are merely human? The answer is the same as how we know which scriptures are apostolic and which are merely human—by listening to the magisterium or teaching authority of Christ’s Church. Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the “canon of Tradition” by establishing which traditions have been passed down from the apostles. After all, Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18) and the New Testament itself declares the Church to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

    NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
    presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
    Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

    IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
    permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
    +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

  • Botolp, Slainte and Others: Well, if I did not already have a degree in Theology, I would almost qualify after reading all of the above. I would like to add a few tidbits to the conversation – hopefully not because I am a blowhard but perhaps I delude myself in thinking that my years of teaching science have made me pretty good at reducing big concepts to easily understood fare. Granted, not as technical or impressive, but more accessible to the average person unfamiliar with the technical language.

    Salvation only thru the Christ and His Church: Has anyone ever yelled out your name or called you on the phone and you had no idea of who it was? The call continues and you follow the voice and then you see them, or in the conversation suddenly putting a face to the voice and you almost exclaim, “Oh, I now know who you are!” That to me explains how good people go to Heaven thru Christ and the Church. God calls all of us, everyone who ever existed. People of sincere and good will listen and follow according to their own understanding. Doing their best to understand and follow God’s will does not ensure they will end up “Catholic” for many situations, but if their life was open to sharing God’s love and truth, somewhere between life and death and judgment they will recognize Christ and His Church and exclaim, “Oh, now I know who you are!” Baptism of Desire.

    Evil, the absence of God. A distraught pregnant woman does not want to carry the child within her, so she decides to have an abortion. She does not let the love of God into her decision – it is absent from her will, nonexistent in her actions. Were it present it would be full of life, full of existence, “I came that you would have life (existence, God) more abundant. Healing for any evil takes place when we bring the existence of God’s love back into the void.
    To me, forgiveness is a creative act. It brings God’s life into the world. Not to forgive is to negate or prevent existence of God.
    Satan would not let the existence of God’s love for humanity, the Incarnation, into his soul. Satan actually limited himself by doing so and not letting God’s existence grow within.
    So while the actions we take, the things we do are positive actions, evil itself is nonexistence of God’s love informing our actions.

    Truth does not come from the Bible, it does not come from the Church, but only from God who is unchanging. The Bible and the Church are gifts to help us discover and understand Truth.
    Yesterday they reported a poll that stated that the people against homosexuality said it was because of the Bible. No, if one is opposed to homosexuality it is because homosexuality is wrong, a denial (nonexistence) of God’s design and plan, and the Bible and Tradition help us to see that if we should ignore the obvious natural law. God says so through the Bible and Tradition, aka Church Teaching.

  • Kevin,

    Your teaching and your science come through. Well done.

  • Kevin,

    Thank you for your contribution. Your commentary regarding scripture and apostolic tradition made for an interesting read.

  • “The Bible and the Church are gifts to help us discover and understand Truth.”
    Pope Benedict XVI said that the Church owes the TRUTH to its people. The state owes the TRUTH to its people, too, and inscribed in the Preamble, the purpose of the Constitution are the words: “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our posterity.” The TRUTH will set you free. Congress owes the TRUTH to our constitutional posterity. The TRUTH is WHO we bring forth to our posterity. God has a human face. The TRUTH lives and breathes in Jesus Christ WHO said: “I am the TRUTH, the Life and the Way.” The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Congress must take into account our constitutional posterity, over the gay agenda, simply because the votes from our posterity are our future as these persons are still in the mind of God. The Justice Department must take our Constitutional posterity into account because our Constitutional posterity are innocent and speak for all persons, living and dead and all persons to come, whereas the gay agenda is steeped in selfishness and speaks only for the individual, excluding our Constitutional posterity at the cost of our Constitutional posterity’s citizenship and civil rights. Any one denying civil rights to another person or persons, as is our Constitutional posterity, forfeits his own civil rights, by the very act of conspiring to and giving consent to deprive another person of our Constitutional civil rights.

  • “…simply because the votes from our posterity, and our posterity, are our future as these persons are still in the mind of God.” refinement of thought

  • Well put: “…[The media] assume that Pope Francis, if he does not alter these teachings, will at least soft pedal them.” The secular “news” sources, being masters of spin and programmed silence on various matters, will know how to controvert the message of Catholic teaching.

    However, reading the La Civilta Cattolica summary on PF’s address Nov. 29th, 2013 at the meeting with leaders of men’s religious orders, I am impressed with his effort to try to develop a true conversion of heart for members of religious groups in formation. He was very trenchant about what he called “the novice trade”—where religious orders open foundations in certain nations, then transfer them to supply their works in other countries (he cited the Phillipines as an example of where this is happening): it is wrong for the “host country” and it doesnt address fundamental issues in the “receiving country.” He was specific about something being wrong where a process of formation that seems to “end” when the members finally get ordained, and “formation is ended” (he said), and (my words) people spiritually seem to immediately begin to die. Of course again, he repeated that young men becoming priests should not be planned for positions of “administrators or managers”, but to serve the Gospel and the “People of God”. There is a lot more in 15 or so pages of redacted notes (the original address was given in Italian). I am not a great Pope-Francis fan, but this sounded like a fairly focused address (for
    PF at least), and he is on the march about living the evangelical counsels. Now (I was thinking reading this) what really needs to be done is to get the diocesan clergy everywhere to basically “step-it-up” and begin living poverty (yes, even for diocesan clergy), chastity, and obedience. So, at least in this address, my feelings are: “Go, Francis!”

  • Kevin and Slainte:
    You both present excI’ellent arguemnts and some really good points. Protestants often go overboard to present their side (sola scriptura), thereby undercutting some truths that all Christians should be relying on to defend the Faith. I’ve recognized this for some time now.
    When I think of Sola Scriptura, it’s more in the original sense of the sole final authority. It should be evident that we draw upon the other elements. I simply argue that Scirpture is the final arbiter. Therefore, I have no problem with traditions that are Scripturally inspired and/or derived. So there is a Tradition if you want to call it that. It is not a matter of either/or, which we both recognize. It is a matter of both/and with Scirpture being the ultimate authority. That’s the difference. Once the canon became closed, anything coming after must fully accord with it. And there can be no new revelation. To say Mary never sinned or was bodily assumed into heaven would fall intothat category.
    Cardinal Newman was a very talented and rare figure. It is difficult to judge common debates about Christianity in terms of people like him. There are certain figures that, for reasons of personality and temperament and a kind of sensiblity, move in a more extreme direction than everyone else.
    Arguments about Scirpture, tradition, and the continuation of the church are far less straightforward than the typical ones mentioned. It comes down to definitions, really. The Roman Catholic narrative is pretty consistent if you define the terms a certain way. Once you define them differently it changes the whole scenario. That’s why I’ve always thought it so fundamental that we get the definition of ‘church’ right, particularly since you trace the role of Scripture, Tradition, and their relationship back to the Magisterium.

  • Jon, Slainte, Mary, Shaw, Anzlyne, Botolph and anyone I forgot to mention: It is uplifting to have a discussion on something other than celebrities or sports. Even with believers it can be difficult to change the focus from the inane. So, I thank you.

  • The rupture of the Reformation caused the bishops and the Pope to define the principles of the Catholic faith at Trent and, in essence, clarify the Faith and unify the faithful around core beliefs. I suppose the bishops and the popes realized that in order to counter the competing theological and philosophical ideas put forward by the various protestant thinkers (some of whom were former Catholic priests and monks), unity of thought was necessary for cohesiveness. Once pertinent points of the Catholic faith were clarified and enunciated at Trent, it became necessary to educate the faithful in the Faith to protect them from being misled by competing theologies. The Jesuit priests and the Ursuline nuns joined together to accomplish this worthy task with the Jesuits educating the boys and the Ursulines, the girls.

    So many years after the Reformation, we still find ourselves separated by many of the same theological differences. I surmise that the bishops and popes of Vatican II want to heal this rupture once and for all, and believe they can do so by returning to the sources…..or as Botolph expresses:

    “….What will be implemented besides the reforms of the Vatican Bank and the Curia will be in the area of the mission of the Church. In ‘the return to the sources’ of Vatican II we return to the source of our identity as Church: The Most Blessed Trinity. The Church is the fruit or the result of the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Church does not (really) have a mission; the Church IS the mission of the Son and the Spirit visible in the world today. Fundamentally that mission is to be “a kind of sacrament” as Lumen Gentium puts it [lest someone misunderstand and think we have declared that there is an 8th sacrament]. The Church “as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world….” Source, Botolph posting, Popewatch: Lamb of Pope, January 9, 2014

    The Church’s objective may be more easily accomplished today than ever before because so many Catholics and Protestants alike have fallen away from their respective belief systems and don’t recall or care about faith in God or belonging to what they view as “institutionalized” churches.

    But this new reality is both a blessing and a curse because a de-Christianized population which finds more in common with secular humanism can be very resistant to a Christian message that calls for obedience to a higher power and a dying to self. Are those who belong to the Church of Secular Humanism capable of, or even inclined to, renouncing their core beliefs which include (i) doing good deeds so that one may “feel good”, (ii) embracing tolerance because its easier than preaching Truth, (iii) avoiding the cardinal secular sin of “judging others” because it may offend the other, (iv) embracing “niceness” to avoid being socially ostracized?

    It would seem that the battle of our present age is no longer between Catholics and Protestants; it is now between Christian believers and the culture of death, of the enlightened individual, of pleasure over holiness. But the Catholic/Protestant divide continues and keeps us from uniting to fight a much more significant and holy war against Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. And of course, division is always the entrail of evil perpetrated by the Enemy….so will we continue to cooperate with the Enemy by sustaining the division?

    So Catholics and Protestants…what do we do about this? I don’t think we can spend another 500 years beating each other up because the culture of death is intent on eliminating both of us.

    How do we reach agreement on the issues which go to our Identity in our respective Christian beliefs and thus divide us from the battle which we must fight together? We must mend the wounds of the Reformation.

    Any ideas?

  • Slainte wrote….”But the Catholic/Protestant divide continues and keeps us from uniting to fight a much more significant and holy war against Truth, Goodness, and Beauty…..

    This should read…..

    “But the Catholic/Protestant divide continues and keeps us from uniting to fight a much more significant and holy war “which is being waged” against Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

  • Slainte, you said that all very well. The key points I think the debate centers on are justification and the role of tradition. I could be wrong, but as I udnerstand it these are the two things upon which any other disagreeemnets hinge. If Catholics and Protestants came to an agreement on these matters, I thinkit is very likely there would be no philosophic/theological division. Institutionally, church history brings out the fact htat Christians are always to some degree or another divided–but this is not profound. One thinks of ethnic/linguistic barriers, national churches, local assemblies, and so on. In Roman Cathollicism orders have serv ed to highlight some differences. FOr Protestants, para=church organizations have served that role, in additon to the more obvious example of denominations/movemens, which bear some unique peculiarities. I do not consider these ‘divisions’ necessarily negative by themselves. When people assume a competetive and hostile stance toward one another, and seeds of hate grow, then it becomes so. Otherwise, these are more ofteh than not the way the body of Christ plays out. As you mentioned, it is the Son and SPirit’s mission, and God directs it to meet all kinds of ends.
    As to the matter of justificaiton: Speaking for myself, I believe we are justified by faiht–a one time immediate occurance. Here we are declared righteous, regardless of the precise theory about why. I believe sanctification is separate from that, also. I think sanctification occurs on an ongoing basis throughout life, where we cooperate with God’s grace to become mroe and mroe like Christ. I believe it’s crucial we do not collapse one into the other; justification and sanctificaiton are separate: we are declared righteous because of Christ, and we inevitably “bring forth fruit” if that’s the case, since the one who’s been jsutified is also sanctified. Why? Since we truly believed. Real faith = justification = sanctification. It’s all of a piece.
    The role of tradition: Tradition is Scripture in the sense that the authors past on oral nad written instruction. The church recognized and revealed the canon, which already existed for quite some time—and that’s crucial—they did not decide or create it. There is a period of time where the chruch follows the ‘tradition’ of the apostles. But nothing novel should enter the equation. So anything that’s arising after the apostles died off is only icing on the cake at best, but at worst soemthing that can conflict with what’s already been taught.
    Your thoughts?

  • I would submit as a general proposition that Truth cannot be compromised even for a a perceived desirable end. The foundation of all unity is Truth in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

    On the first issue of Justification:

    I think Catholics and Protestants agree that we are saved by Faith in Jesus Christ and His unmerited gift of Grace.

    The grace necessary for salvation continues to come from Christ, through his Church.

    “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (CCC 846)

    Togeter with Grace, Catholics understand that Jesus calls us to do and perform Works because Faith without works is empty.

    It appears that we are divided on the issue of whether “Works” constitute a condition precedent for salvation.

    Your thoughts?….and of course anyone else that wants to discuss, please feel free.

  • Jon and Slainte, the topic of Christian unity is so important and was something JPII very much wanted to advance. I’ve got to run but I hope to offer my thoughts on Monday. I would like to preface it by saying that I believe “The Battle” has always been between the Culture of Life, sustained by the Trinity and the culture of Death, led by Satan. Christ has won the spiritual battle but our participation is here on earth. Nothing new there. I do not have the luxury of time in my life right now to offer the impressive and informative documentation that Botolph graciously provides, but I will do my limited best.

  • Kevin,

    We do indeed your imput and Botolph’s and others….these are a very substantial issues that require a lot of thought, intellect, and faith.

    Have a great weekend…will be awaiting your feedback next week.


  • Slainte, I believe that true faith will evince itself in works. If a person truly believes, their life will bear that out. St. James, writing in the wisdom tradition, presents very practical theology. St. Paul said Abraham believed God and this was credited to him as righteousness. St. James says that faith without works is dead. How do we put these two notions together? True faith is active. As others have said, we are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that IS alone, a fine distinction that is nevertheless momentous.
    It is my beleif that the church is the body of Christ. It is not necessary for justification, to be really technical. Indeed many times a person will not be a part of it until they ARE justified (though some will be, such as those who are born into it). But normally the church becomes the placee to which people are always being added on, as we read in Acts. The church is the place we end up belonging to because we are together the body of Christ, our head, to whom we are inseparably united. The church is integral for sanctification. It’s where we meet for mutual instruction, fellowship, etc., and to carry out Christ’s mission in the world.
    The church is entrusted with the Word–the Gospel or Good News–and equipped to preach and evangelize and nurture already existing Christians, and in that sense we can say that there is no salvaiton apart form it–but the Holy Spirit works directly to regenerate each person who believes. So I would always want to qualify it this way.

  • Jon writes, “…The church is integral for sanctification. It’s where we meet for mutual instruction, fellowship, etc., and to carry out Christ’s mission in the world. The church is entrusted with the Word–the Gospel or Good News…”
    I would like to respond to your post in parts as I want to think more on your comment.
    First I want to speak about the Catholic Church and what it means to me…
    The Catholic Church is all the things you mention and more. Through the Church we are gifted with the Holy Mass. At Mass, we receive the “Liturgy of the Word” which is compromised of two readings from the Divine Law, and a reading from the Gospel, a homily by our priest, a recitation by the entire Church body of either the Nicene or Apostle’s Creed, and, then Intercessions.


    All of these parts of the Liturgy of the Word nourish us spiritually. The Liturgy of the Word, though, begins a process which builds toward a profound and great truth….a foretaste of the culmination and fulfillment of the entirety of all Scriptures…a crescendo where all God’s promises to us are made real in His sacrifice which is the “Liturgy of the Eucharist”.

    At the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Priest, as Alter Christi, consecrates mere bread and wine into the Body and Precious Blood of Our Lord, He who is most Divine. Through the consecration and transubstantiation, Our Lord feeds His children His own body….the everlasting bread which sustains the very life which He breathed into each one of us. We knaw on His body, the sacrificed lamb who is God, just as He instructed us to do, and by partaking of the sacrifice of the Word made Flesh, we are made part of Him.


    My words cannot do justice to the beauty and the solemnity of the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist…words are pale approximations of a transcendent holy gift which touches one’s soul intimately and directly. It is for this reason I suggested that you attend Eucharistic Adoration…so powerful is His presence in the Eucharist, you cannot help but be touched in an unexpected and profound way.
    I thought this video might be helpful in understanding what this part of “Church” means to a Catholic…..The Holy Mass. http://youtu.be/jlJlKq422jg

  • Slainte, the liturgy of the Word followed by the liturgy of the Eucharist is a good order of worship. It makes sense given, as you suggest, that the Eucharist embodies what we learn from Scripture. The Eucharist is the climax whereas in traditioanl Protestant worhsip, the Word or Pulpit is at the center. I guess I don’t really care much either way, because that’s style. The part I don’t get, and the video only partially explained it, is: why offer up the eucharist? If Christ died and that’s an unrepeatable act, and we offer ourselves in grateful return (because we are the offering now as we learn in the New Testament–the people of God presented in Christ to God the Father) why not simply state that as it’s expressed, for example, in the Anglican litury, where Christ’s atonement is recounted followed by the offering of ourselves, soul and body? The Catholic Mass seems to say we offer up Christ to God, or do I misunderstand that? As for the traditional practice of facing East, I am all for ordering time and space liturgically. I still don’t grasp why the Eucharist is understood to be the physical body and physical blood of Christ. Is this not an attempt to frame a mystery in scholastic terms, thereby forcing it into a system that cannot but distort the reality whcih lies beyond us?

  • Jon,

    At the traditional latin Mass and Eucharist, the parishioners and the priest who is leading Christ’s flock, all face east toward Gologotha (the place of the Skull) where Our Lord was crucified. When the priest begins the consecration, he is re-presenting the crucified Christ as a sacrifice to the father….time is suspended as we participate in our present age (2014) in the same sacrifice that occurred 2000 years ago. We offer to the Father together with His crucified son all our gifts and sacrifices as well.

    Catholics have an altar; Protestants a table. Sacrifices are offered on altars, meals are presented on a table. There is an important distinction.


    Catholics present a bloody crucifix near or over the altar as a constant reminder of Christ’s passion, sacrifice, and resurrection; Protestants present a clean and empty cross near or over the table or near the pulpit with all signs of Christ’s suffering removed because of their focus on the resurrection.


    I recommend the video “A Meditiation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” which is quite graphic but may be helpful in illustrating what I am saying. The graphics are an important part of the message.


    A Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


  • Slainte, Jon, Kevin and others,

    You invited me into this further conversation and I think it is worthwhile. However, let me put out on the table just two points for consideration:

    1) In your enthusiasm and zeal you have jumped from one major topic to another. Each of these topics is major and needs its own ‘time and space’. Whole more than likely major ecumenical breakthroughs are not going to take place in a blog, given any blog’s limited scope, I believe that such issues as Justification, the Church, Scripture and Tradition, the Most Holy Eucharist in its threefold aspect of Sacrifice, Sacrament and Presence, all deserve their own time and space. Once we begin to see this then the fire will be back in the fireplace, but perhaps we can discipline ourselves not to jump from one subject to another.

    2)IN all of my studies I have come to realize that the fundamental issue underlying the Reformation, and the Schism between Catholic and Orthodox Churches before it, is “the Church”. This naturally arose after the Church had dealt sufficiently with the Mystery of the Incarnation in the Christological Ecumenical Councils [the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Councils] and had then taken a the step into the sacramentality of icons in the Seventh Council, Nicaea 2 in 787 AD. Once the Church took that step, the question ultimately became the identity of the Church [as it had been the identity of Christ] as “Sacrament”.

    On January 18th we will be entering into the Prayer for Church Unity Octave, something almost forgotten today. It might be worthwhile just to raise our consciousness concerning the fundamental need (not simply practical) for the Church to be One. As Catholics we believe that the Church fundamentally is (already) One. Nonetheless with one billion Christians who by baptism are members but not in fully communion with the Catholic Church, the identity, sacramentality and unity of the Church is a substantial place to start.

    Those are my thoughts. Any responses?

  • Botolph,

    Welcome to what is indeed a broad discussion. I agree with your two points.


    But I also think we need to understand some of the core beliefs of the Catholic faith to dispell misunderstandings about the faith that have arisen since the Reformation. For some, Catholicism is very scary and cloaked in mystery. I am really impressed with Jon’s knowledge and indeed the knowledge of many good and faithful protestants regarding the tenets of the Catholic faith.


    Jon raised the worthwhile inquiry regarding Justification…the short answer is that Catholicism accepts Grace with works for salvation. Grace is dispensed by the Catholic Church through the seven Sacraments. Thereafter the issue of works as condition precedent must be satisfactoriy explained.


    I recall you and Jon may have had an earlier discussion where the term “sacramentals” arose and this seemed to stir up some emotion….this is why started the discussion with the sacraments as the means by which the Church bestows Grace …their mystical and saving qualities rooted in love and unity.


    Notwithstanding I defer to you for the purpose of proposing an orderly and respectful discussion as I think many, many Catholics and Protestants want unity guided by Truth…to bring us back together again so that we may worship as one body


    Thanks for weighing in.

  • Slainte,

    Thanks for inviting me and then welcoming me into this conversation. I do not hold a doctorate in Sacred Theology etc. however, years of praying, growing and struggling with my own faith as a Catholic, study, reflecting and even wrestling with some issues has brought me to this point in my life in which I hopefully can give some ‘perspective’. As you probably have come to realize in my comments in here, for me, ‘being Catholic’ is a far deeper and even mystical experience than most people can even imagine. Although it might shock some who might read this, there are only two real options for me: a deep Catholic faith which resists all ideological and shallow interpretations or atheism. See I believe that the Catholic Church and thus this Mystery we call Catholic faith is a gift from God, a response to the most profound revelation of God Himself in and through Jesus Christ and the gift/grace of the Holy Spirit. I have come to realize and believe with a firm, even an intense conviction that the Catholic Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is indeed the Church of Jesus Christ, founded upon Peter and the college of Apostles now continued in the college of bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter. Her heart is the Most Holy Eucharist [Sacrifice, Sacrament and Presence]. All the other sacraments lead toward and from the Eucharist. I am convinced that the Church is the ‘sacrament of salvation for the world’-that by her proclamation of the Gospel [kerygma]; Liturgy [Leitourgia] and Service to the world [diakonia] She is light, salt and leaven in the world, slowly but steadily transforming the world from within. I believe that the Church is the ultimate expression of the New Covenant sealed in Christ’s Most Precious Blood, long prepared for by God in the first covenants: Adam, Noah, Moses, David. As Jesus Christ fulfills God’s ancient promises, so too does the Church. You cannot separate the Bride from the Bridegroom, the Body from its Head.

  • Botolph,

    I echo your sentiments and reaffirm all that you have said.

    I found it so challenging to verbalize to Jon the mystical component of the Eucharist..the sheer depth of this gift that at once invades and wraps itself around one’s soul and sustains life. That is why I used the videos to express that the Eucharist is not just a utilitarian enterprise that gets the job done, but involves a gift of such magnitude by Christ that one must physically see what He went through as a man out of love for us to fully appreciate the fullness of that Gift. All of the Sacraments tie us to Him and Him to us…they are the foundation of Love and Unity.


    I hope we can collectively as a group start the effort of reuniting what has been divided for so long.


    Pax Christi tecum

  • Slainte,

    See if this makes sense to you. In the Christological controversies of the third through sixth Councils, the question was, as I said, earlier, about the identity of Christ, the Mystery of the Incarnation. The Church found that while all involved believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man, homoousion, consubstantial with the Father, they found that the next question was “how does the Divinity of Christ ‘connect’ with the humanity of Christ? In the course of several Councils the Church found that it had to avoid two extremes: to emphasize His Divinity and humanity in such a way that there was a radical division in Christ between His Divine and Human nature-so much so that there were really two ‘identities’: two “I’s” in Christ [Nestorian tendency]. The other ‘extreme’ was to emphasize the unity of Christ to such a degree that His humanity was absorbed (disappeared) into His Divinity [monophysite tendency]. The Church came to confess her faith in Christ as One Person in two natures [Divine and human] without division (vs. Nestorianism) and without confusion (vs. Monophysitism). In this way Christ can be seen to be the fundamental Sacrament of Salvation truly sign and instrument of the grace of salvation.

    Now as the Church journeyed on through history we find her attempting to avoid both extremes: radical division/fusion, again and again.

    Is the Church radically divided from Christ [a common tendency today-manifested in Luther and the Reformation—an ecclesial nestorianism] OR is the Church fused with Jesus Christ [or should be in peoples’ minds-leading to shock, scandal etc when dealing with the humanity and even sin in the members of the Church-an ecclesial monophysitism?

    How are we saved? Again the two extremes enter in. Justification when seen as a declaration of ‘not guilty’ in which God and Jesus Christ remain ‘transcendent’ and outside ‘the sinner’s life can be seen as a nestorian theology of grace: in which there is a radical division between the sinner and the grace of justification-so much so that Luther called the redeemed sinner, new fallen snow on a dung hill-we look saved but fundamentally are not
    The other extreme is to believe the grace of the sacraments will do everything and that evangelization, catechesis, ongoing conversion and lives lived out in love and service [‘works’] are not really necessary [this is a monophysite theology of grace]

    We can see the two extremes in the Most Holy Eucharist as well. The radical division which is symptomatic of the nestorian tendecy comes out in the interpretation of the Eucharist in which the Eucharist is ‘merely a symbol’. It reminds us of Christ, etc but is not Christ’s real Presence, etc. The opposite extreme (not seen that often) is to forget that the Eucharist is indeed the Sacrament of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. If one were to bear down with one’s teeth on the Host we are not crunching the Body of Baby Jesus, etc. [If you question this read Aquinas on the Eucharist who was fighting off both extremes in the Middle Ages]

    I offer this as a resource in order to give a little direction in a great conversation. I hope you (collectively) find it helpful

  • Really impressive summary of Church theological teachings. Wow, I am awed.

    I accept that the Church is fused with Christ and that Christ redeemed us through His most perfect Sacrifice on the cross; that we still are impacted by the temporal effects of Original Sin and thus experience a tendency toward concupiscience which we are aided in overcoming and thus purifying ourselves of its corrosive effects through the sacrament of Confession and frequent partaking of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. For these reasons, I agree with your statement that:

    “….the Church [is] fused with Jesus Christ [or should be in peoples’ minds-leading to shock, scandal etc when dealing with the humanity and even sin in the members of the Church-an ecclesial monophysitism…”

    I believe that with God’s unmerited Grace, he calls us to do works to be saved and base this conclusion on the following biblical injunction:

    Matthew 25: 31-46

    “…31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

    32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

    33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

    36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

    37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

    39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

    40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal…”

    I accept that the Catholic Eucharist is the actual body and precious blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ made real to us through the priestly consecration of a Catholic priest acting Alter Christi; the Eucharist is not merely a symbol of a far away event in time.

  • Botolph,

    Wee (mostly you) are actually reciting (with further elaboration) the Catholic Nicene Creed:

    The Nicene Creed

    I believe in one God,
    the Father almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all things visible and invisible.

    I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
    the Only Begotten Son of God,
    born of the Father before all ages.
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
    through him all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven,
    and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
    and became man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
    he suffered death and was buried,
    and rose again on the third day
    in accordance with the Scriptures.
    He ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory
    to judge the living and the dead
    and his kingdom will have no end.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
    who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
    who has spoken through the prophets.

    I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
    I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
    and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
    and the life of the world to come. Amen.

  • Slainte,

    Thanks for your response. Just a slight course correction. People thinking the Church is fused with Christ can be as problematic as those who make a sharp division between Christ and the Church. Those who believe the Church is fused ‘believe’ that the Church is so totally united with Christ that the humanity of the Church disappears, and with it any ability to realize that the human frailties that are part of all our lives are thus also part of the Church. They fail to allow that even human failure is part of the Church. And then they get scandalized when individuals both ordained and unordained actually sin [I am not excusing sin in any way, but faith here has to go deeper].

    Instead of being deeply divided from Christ or fused to Christ, the Church is deeply united with Christ in a covenant bond like that of a bride with her Bridegroom. In holy matrimony, which is itself a sign and means of making present this union of Christ and His Bride the Church, the couple are not radically separated nor is one fused into the other.Both are deeply united in spirit, soul and body-and the same with the Church and Christ. This is precisely why the Eucharist is so central to the Mystery of the Church. In His sacrificial death Christ has literally said to His Bride: “This is My Body which is given for you”. He shares with His Bride, HIs very Life: Blood signifies life: “this is the Chalice of My Blood,, the Blood of the New and Eternal Covenant, shed for you” What has separated God from mankind is sin. His Life, is given His Blood is shed for the forgiveness of sins of the many (those ultimately accepting in faith HIs Gift of Self and salvation) Indeed, as we have in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, “Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb” This Supper is the Wedding Feast! Christ has united Himself with His Bride the Church in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

  • Botolph,

    Thanks for the clarification. I conflated the term united (as in united with Christ in the Eucharist) with the term “fused” which, as you state, admits no role for humanity in the Church. I understand your point.

  • Heresy often represents an overemphasis on something. I was thinking about this the other day when I read about gnostic trends in American Christianity. People often stress something overmuch to where an imbalance results. It’s important we have the right understanding of the triune God, of Christ in his dual nature, of the church and its relationship to Christ its head, adn so on. All of htis is crucial. We have to know God correctly, ourselves–our problem and solution–and how that happens by way of Christ. To have a relationship with God we must know him. All kinds of people claim various heartfelt experiences, some of which may be very valid but much of which may be imaginative.

  • Jon,

    You are 100% on target

  • The problem is not jsut overemphases but underemphases, as I forgot to mention. That’s why it’s so crucial that we stick to the rothdodoxy that develped in the first few centuries. The tri-unity of GOd has been eroded in many denominations that purport to be Christian. All of God’s attributes, too, must be held in view. For Christianity to be robust nad healthy, we have to uphold the Word made Flesh and what this means for humanity and creation in Christ. That’s the key. It seems you rely on the visible Roman network of churches but I never considered that workable. Indeed many splinter groups through the ages diverted form orthodoxy, and that’s very unhealthy. But I don’t think the answer lies in throwing your weight behind one institution serving as a bulwark. No church strucutre has ever been without some error.
    God is faithful to his covenant–he sent the Messiah to redeem Israel. He was Israel embodied. And he faithfully kept the promises of God. By faith in him we find life and restoration. Creation waits for us to find itself. The book of Ephesians underscores that the church is the body of Christ and the culminatino of God’s plan. One cannot underestimate that,whcih is why I’ve so often argued against dispensationalism, which I regard as heresy: it undermines the mission of Christ and his body, the church. But once again, for St. Paul, the church is the spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians), not a visible strucutre that emerged later on, though he uses the term church to refer to local assemblies/gatherings.

  • Botolph, Jon and Kevin,


    For the purpose of structuring this discussion, does it make sense to outline the issues, then address each point for an agreed upon period of time?

    Should we use this article comment section and continue on until we conclude all topics? or


    Should we select a topic and request that Mr. McClarey or whomever he designates (if he is in agreement) write a series of articles targeting the theme of Unity in the Church with discussions open to all commenters?


    Sorry if any of the above sounds high handed or presumptuous…I think this theme of unity between Protestants and Catholics is so exciting and so timely. Done right, we can all learn a lot and have fun doing it.

  • If you can here a loud shrieking howling in the winds, it’s me. I just spent a good chunk of my limited time to comment on a few things and lost it when I hit submit. Oh well, perhaps it was Providence as I now must put my kids to bed.

  • Kevin, when I have to rewrite, I find my expression much better. I work in Word or copy what I have written before any computer action.This way it is saved for my great grandchildren of whom I have seven.

  • “God came to save MANY, not ALL” The devil, Saint Lucifer is lost. Lucifer’s loss grieves the heart of God.

  • I, too, thought our discussion had wandering ways but Jon brought up many good questions and Slainte graciously obliged and it provoked good reflection on many big topics. At least enthusiasm sure beats being a lukewarm Christian. Slainte’s idea of assigning a topic within some kind of framework has real merit. I’m in if it can be done. So with that said I will refrain from my responses to the True Presence, the role of Mary, and etc.
    Like Botolph I will make the same confession that after my own struggles and questions I decided it was the Catholic Faith or no faith for me also. Even when I didn’t or don’t fully understand, or when I did not want to accept it, at a very deep level it is strikes me authentic though and through. So I decided to accept all the doctrine – even when I disagreed or did not understand (or frankly did not want to) and lived by it. This led me to an subtle peace, even joy, that has upheld me and is upholding me in some very difficult times. And much understanding has followed. There are some things you can never quite explain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be entirely sure of them. That is how I feel about the Catholic Church. So we have a lot of warts here on earth, but the Church Triumphant in Heaven is our aim.

  • This discussion has been very good. In so many ways I don’t want it to stop. However, being realistic my first response to Slainte’s suggestion that Donald set aside a segment etc of this blog site for conversation on Christian unity-causes me to pause. It is a great idea, understand me on that. I am just wondering how I would feel if a couple of bloggers got into their own conversation on my blog and then sought to change it even slightly. This gives me pause. Now perhaps I am being overly respectful to the nature of this blog and Donald would not mind, but I believe unless Donald says otherwise, our ‘occasional’ conversations on the subject remain just that-occasional. Thoughts?

  • Botolph,

    You have expressed my concerns precisely….I do not wish to be presumptuous. I am concerned. though, that if we discuss several key issues simultaneously, we may cause confusion instead of Christian enlightenment. We have already exceeded 50 comments in response to this article alone.

    Perhaps we can request Mr. McClarey’s thoughts on the matter. It might be ideal if all commenters participated to derive maximum value from this important discussion.

  • Agreed, McClarey’s call.
    I have mulled over this blog for some time wondering what purpose it can serve and its reach. Certainly educative, provocative, supportive and challenging for those who participate. In some ways I view it as a training ground for what we hear “out there” in the “real” world. It is a little piece of what Chesterton had in his time except we are not engaging the wider popular culture. Oh that we could find a way to do so and replace the silliness that occupies so much of society’s discourse.

  • Slainte,

    Agreed. I also firmly believe with you that if and when we continue that we focus on one subject and not jump around. For example, focus on “the Church” or “Justification” or “The Most Holy Eucharist”

    If an when we continue I also believe it is important to raise the consciousness of all participating that while all subjects are open to discussion, there are certain givens. Now Jon and others would claim that those ‘givens’ are relatively few in number and that everything else is nothing more than Roman train of thought etc. However, if it is to be a real dialogue, we need to put on the table that there are more ‘givens’ for Catholics and that it is not helpful for dialogue to hear these as ‘merely Roman train of thought”. True and honest dialogue can indeed happen, but it has to be totally honest. For someone to join with us in dialogue and diminish certain givens for Catholics to ‘mere opinion’ is similar to a Catholic joining a dialogue and declaring anyone not Catholic as a heretic.It is more than simply grating on the nerves.

  • Kevin,

    I agree. On a different note I believe this blog is important for Catholics. Catholics come in all shapes and sizes, from many different backgrounds etc. Sadly what begin as emphases, for example ‘social gospel Catholic’ or “pro-life, pro-family Catholic’ can become isolated from one another [since a Catholic is called to be all of these positions]. With the isolation then comes separation and lack of ability to discuss or even want to discuss. In this day and age it is extremely important for Catholics who participate in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to be able to dialogue with those who participate in the Ordinary Form, and vice versa. Without that ability to dialogue and desire to which ultimately comes from Christian charity, the Church would fragment into countless little tribes-precisely against its Oneness and Catholicity.

    I believe this blog is proving to be more than other blogs, a place where we actually can dialogue and stop the nonsensical and unchristian diatribes found in other so called “Catholic blogs” Eventually, I hope we can come to know how to deal with a real ‘troll’ that shows up as a ‘spoiler’ as well, but I think that is long term.

  • Botolph,

    Charity must govern all discourse. We have been separated brethren for so long that there will inevitably be moments when we will clash as we voice competing ideas about the Faith. If ideas are raised and presented in good faith and not merely to provoke, I think we must address and, where appropriate, counter them based upon reason and Truth. Catholic tradition requires us to do so.

    Botolph, there are many posters on this blog who are intellectual rock stars (including you)…that is why it make sense to request Mr. McClarey’s thoughts on opening the discussion to everyone to allow competing ideas to be heard and the best and brightest to address them.

    Good Faith and Charity, in my opinion, should be the parameters for discussion. Thoughts?

  • Slainte,

    Agreed. I use Paul’s words, “Truth in charity”

  • Okey doke, Monsieur Botolph. : )

    Would you be amenable to approaching Mr. McClarey to plead our case and request his thoughts regarding the feasibility of such an undertaking, and if he is amenable, the best format to accomplish agreed upon goals?

  • Slainte,

    LOL first I am not in charge lol but secondly, I believe Donald watches over the blog very carefully. I have seen him both respond and correct when necessary. We already have presented ‘our case’ to him in a very real sense. He has neither interrupted us [which I take to mean he has no problem with our dicussion] nor responded to our idea [which means I think that he is still thinking it ove or time is not right etc] Other than in here I have no means of speaking with him directly

  • Ok…..I wonder whether ok is derived from okey doke? 🙂

    It probably makes sense then just to wait a bit.

  • Slainte,

    Agreed. Here is when the fire definitely goes into the fireplace.

  • Slainte,

    My gut tells me that Donald was/is waiting to see if anyone jumped on board with this Church unity” theme, or idea. They have not. I don’t think that this means they don’t care, but instead rather like consumers, people come to this blog for a certain purpose-sometimes just to let their frustrations out about ‘things’ and ‘things in the Church’. They might occasionally get involved in a more involved discussion but these kinds of dialogues don’t meet their felt need. Don’t get discouraged. It simply is the way it is.

    But we gave it a good shot Slainte no one can say otherwise 🙂 In the meantime when topics come up we can still talk as we have- and really get into the meat of it. Thoughts?

  • No worries..we just move on.

    I guess we will have to wait for another day to undo the Reformation. : )

    I commend you on the theological summary you provided in our discussions relative to Christological controversies of the various councils, etc. (your January 13 at 11:22 a.m. posting).

    How did you manage to learn and synthesize all that information? Do you have a degree in theology or are you a philosopher?

  • I have a BA in philosophy and a masters in theology. My great love is historical theology: the whole tradition of the Church, and all the saints, characters, and jerks that make up the history of the Church. However historical theology focuses on the development of doctrine. That’s why you will see me push the unchangeableness of Church teaching yet also recognize that her teaching develops under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Church doesn’t change but develops. It seems to almost be a paradox. Some can’t understand why the Church can’t change, while others see development and cry out in fear and anger that the Church is changing

  • Botolph:

    Your fundamental understanding of theology and philosophy as it relates to the topics discussed is very apparent in your communications.

    Isn’t it amazing that one can live one’s whole life as a Catholic and still never fully learn the faith…but I guess that is what eternity is for.

  • Someone pointed out that there are more givens for Catholics, and I think that’s behind much of the disagreement. I previously brought it down to the role of tradition and the understanding of justification, but there are givens that are not assumed by Protestants. Givens that have to do with the nature of the church in particualar. This might be a good place to begin. How do we define the church? What is its nature?

  • Slainte,

    What you are speaking of is the “Mystery”. For many people “mystery” means that you can’t understand it completely……so don’t even try. However, “Mystery” is really like the ocean or ‘deep space’. You can plunge in, through prayer, study, reflection etc., swim around in every direction, try to find ‘bottom’ etc. but you never can.

    I am 63 years old. I was a boy (and altar boy) in the pre-Vatican II Church, and adolescent in the 60’s and have lived my adult years in the post-Vatican II Church and in the post-cultural revolution America. For all I have seen etc I sometimes feel like I am 363 years old. However, in the midst of this ever changing universe is the Church still faithful to the teachings of the Apostles, to the Breaking of the Bread and the prayers, and to the koinonia [life of communion] with the Risen Christ at the very center declaring, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life”; “I AM the Bread of Life…My Flesh is real Food and My Blood is real Drink, he who eats My Flesh and Drinks My Blood has life eternal”; “Go make disciples of all nations, Baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teach them everything that I have commanded and know that I am with you until the end of the world”-that is what keeps me going day in day out

  • Botolph and Slainte,
    I actually think there is more interest than you measure by the responses. People raising their family like me find it hard to visit the blogs and then respond. Sometimes we just read. I have more time now because most, most unfortunately the college I was working for is not refunding the program since they lost the building in Sandy and don’t want to put big money in to fix it. So, I have some time and a lot of worry on my hands.
    As to the unchanging Church doctrine, change only takes place in our understanding of it. Of course you know that, but it perplexes me that people don’t realize that we grow also in our understanding of Christ. In many ways we are more knowledgeable than his buddies, the Apostles, because like his family, sometimes the closeness leads to wrong assumptions. What purpose would a stagnate faith serve? You would just have to learn it, take the test and you are done. LOL. But we have an inexhaustible mine of treasures to discover. The Church is our sure guide.

    As to the undoing the Reformation, one big problem our Protestant brethren face that we do not IS the changing doctrine. So the Reformation that was has mutated to more heretical viewpoints over time. I give you Lambeth 31? as a big departure from reason. Sadly, more to come and it makes unity very difficult. Frankly, I see more success in conversion as the others begin to stand for less and less. With that said, we have much we could learn from their experience, especially in the role of families and lay persons.

    My theology degree is in dogma and I love philosophical and theological reading. I’ve
    got into the habit of masking the language and vocabulary of those disciplines in trying to reach my fellow pilgrim in very plain speak. It occurs to me that Pope Frances might be doing the same, but his vantage point and role is much different than mine. I can afford clumsy analogies. However, I think his use of smarmy priests is right on. We, my family, have used it for years especially with liturgists and music.

    I end with my favorite moment from the Lord of the Rings cinema trilogy, Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

  • Botolph, Jon, and Kevin,

    Is it appropriate and respectful to discontinue these discussions?

    Your thoughts.

  • Kevin,

    I will pray for you and your family.

    I am sorry that you are experiencing difficulties; it is not easy being the head of a family with obligations. Please know that God is there for you.

  • Jon, I would have worded it differently but I think you hit the nail on the head. We Catholics do have more “givens.”

    Our approach is built on the shoulders of those who came before us, our starting point. In Protestantism, especially in modern times, it seems to require and certainly allow rethinking all the previous progress made by the saints before us. You have an uncommon grasp of much theology, including some Catholic theology, but can you explain to me how is it that so much of it is up for grabs? E.G. some believe in the real presence and some don’t, (Catholics, of course, don’t believe the real presence is in Protestant services), predestination was a starting point now it is rarely mentioned, the devil or Satan is optional, being gay in now celebrated, contraception a given and so on. You have stated unchanging faith, but where do we find it outside of Catholicism? I am quite sincere in my asking because you sound so sincere yourself.

    Roman Catholic Church .
    a visible society of baptized Christians professing the same faith under the authority of the invisible head (Christ) and the authority of the visible head (the pope and the bishops in communion with him). However this ignores the invisible members of the Church in heaven that far outnumber us on earth. The broader Catholic or Universal Church includes those baptized and following Christ, but separated in communion with the Pope and bishops.
    I will let Botolph or Slainte give you a better description of ecclesia, the Greek that in the NT meant the society or assembly founded by Jesus Christ. Or at least as I remember it in my dusty noodle. I am supposed to be working on a resume. Ugh.

  • Jon,

    I think it is not only a good place to start but THE fundamental question underlying the Reformation. However here goes:

    The English word “Church” derives from the Greek “Kyriake” which means “what belongs to the Lord”. The actual word which we translate as “Church” is “ecclesia” in Latin or “ekkalein” in Greek. This means in generic terms a convocation or assembly. The Greek word was used of the assembly of Israel where the Lord God gave the Torah to Moses. In referring to themselves as the “Ekklesia”, the early Church saw themselves as the successors of the assembly of ancient Israel, now gathered into the New Covenant community by Jesus Christ.
    The Church is fundamentally those whom the Lord has called from all the nations (from the end of the world).

    Catholics recognize the Church has three distinct but interrelated meanings:

    1) the Church as the People God gathers throughout the whole world [universal level or meaning][Paul speaks of this level in 1 Cor. 15.9; Gal. 1.13; Phil.3.6];

    2)the Church is the local community gathered together with her bishop, priests, deacons, religious and laity [the local church-“diocese” -Paul speaks of this level in 1 Cor. 1.2; and 16.1;

    3) the Church is also the particular liturgical assembly gathered by the Lord for the Eucharist [Mass] [Paul speaks of this level of the Church in 1 Cor.11.18; 14.19, 28, 34-35]

    [I wanted to give a succinct and orthodox answer to the question so I relied greatly on the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s statement in CCC 750-752 There is a great deal more to say but I will start with this to begin the conversation and dialogue.

  • Thanks for the intercessory prayers. We need them.
    As to the discussion, going back to the focus I ignored might be a good idea.
    Jon, feel free to answer or not answer me as I know you mean well either way and perhaps this is not the right venue. Now I really am signing off. LOL.

  • Kevin,

    First you gave a great answer. But know you and your family will be in my prayers as well. Saint Joseph patron of workers, pray for us.

  • Kevin, to begin with your comment: Protestants see the past as dispensable. Yes and no. Scriptrue must be beleived and insofar as it’s been practiced and explained through time, we have something to look back to and emulate and perpetuate. The orthodox expressions of the first few centuries are worth upholding. The chruch discerned certain things from Scirpture–but did not create or decide it–and we should uphold those things that were discovered.
    Protestants disagree on many issues. Lutherans have a view of the Eucharist that is somewhat akin to the Roman Catholic view. Some Episcopalianas and Anglicans take a similar view, though others do not. Predestination is believed in by all Christians, but we disagree as to its place in theology–who or what is predestined and what does that really mean? Even Luther and Calvin disagreed on that, though it’s suppressed somewhat in the Reformed narrative. Other differences have arisen due to liberalism’s inroads. The Episcopal Chruch in America is now saying homosexuality is a good thing and that abortions are legitamite choices.
    It is not that truth is up for grabs. In the case of liberalism, this is simply a different worldview creeping into churches. Evangelical or biblical Protestants do not believe this stuff and do not stand alongside these people in supporting it. They may at times exist side by side in the pew, but a real tension remains, and that surfaces in meetings and decision-making processes, and some people eventually leave when it becomes too much of a burden. As for matters like predestination, well that just represents differences of theological opinion, and the PRotestant temperamnet is individual as much as it is collective. Total uniformity would be undesirable, as it would represent a failure to come to terms iwth how the Holy Spirit might work through diversity of people, gifts, and organizations. This is different from the ROman model which I think is based on uniformity. If a bishop says something, everyone has to get on th same page and there isn’t as much room for creative expression or divergence of opinion. If a local pastor decides something, the whol e parish has to jump on board. It’s a different approach. It’s a matter of whether you can feel comfortable with the arrangement. If it’s a loose arrangement as with PRotestantism, you better know what you believe. I do. So it’s not a problem. I know my relationship with God and I know his Word. And I feel the differences are virutally swallowed up in a greaterunity.
    My understanding of ecclesia is that it’s the Greek for the gathering of GOd’s people. I don’t know how you would attach this term to the visible Roman Catholic church strucutre.
    Behind the assumptions about chruch and, to some extent, liberty of doctirne, is at least in part the idea of the voluntary Christian. TO believe soemthing authentically, one must come to it on their own. We have a vertical and horizontal relationship. Vertically to God and horizontally to the chruch. We must uphold both.

  • Yes, Botoloph. It sounds like you correctly define ecclesia. But then you afford three meanings, the first two of whih sound correct, thouh I don’t know what to do wtih the third. THe thrid sounds like it could be subsumed within the other two without warranting a thrid.
    I go at it liek this: the universal chruch–the saints of all times and places, existing in time and in eternity. And then there is the local gathering–a specific church such as the churcdh that meets at so and so’s house or a specific church at colosse, or something like that. I do think of it as everyone included here. In other words, the elders/bishpos/pastors/ and deacons and all the saints that meet there.

  • Jon,

    Thanks for your response. Let me put this out on the table in order to facilitate further discussion. I purposefully began describing the Church at the three levels in order to begin to clarify what we, as Catholics, mean when we say Church. In other words, while fundamentally true it is also primarily descriptive. We haven’t even begun to get into the fundamental elements of what we mean by Church yet.

    I know you do not accept what we mean by Church-as I said in a previous post, if you did you would be Catholic, however that being said, as we move forward, while it might be tempting to rush in and attempt to prove ‘my’/ ‘your’ position as correct, true etc. at this stage it is important simply to clarify what we [Catholics] mean by the word “Church”. Moving forward, it can be assumed that you do not agree Jon, on some points. Now, if I might coach you a bit, since I put out what Catholics means when we say “the Church” why don’t you do the same? You might think you have but it is not clear [not a criticism].

    See my friend, dialogue is slow, because it must attempt to get at and to convey the Logos. If you did not share any aspect of what we mean by Church you would not be Christian. Every Christian ecclesial community does share some common points with what the Catholic Church teaches. we need to get those out and clear then continue on where we do not (yet) agree.

    Make sense?

  • So I understand the church in this twofold sense as I’ve explained. THe chruch is the body of Christ, all those whom Christ has purchased with his blood. People of all times and places, in time and in eternity, together comprise this Chruch. And then we have the local expressions of this church. A chruch that meets in a particualr building, in other words. So we can speak of churches as well as the Church or Ecclesia. Hope that helps.

  • Jon wrote to Kevin,

    “….Scriptrue [sic] must be beleived [sic] and insofar as it’s been practiced and explained through time, we have something to look back to and emulate and perpetuate. The orthodox expressions of the first few centuries are worth upholding. The chruch discerned certain things from Scirpture–but did not create or decide it–and we should uphold those things that were discovered. -…”


    Jon, it was the early Roman Catholic Church that selected and compiled the books of the Holy Bible, and it was the Church Fathers (Catholics) who began to develop Apostolic Tradition from its infancy under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These Fathers recognized a God whose essence was Absolute, Objective, and unchanging; a Being (I AM) whose essence existed independently of our ability to perceive Him. The Fathers also recognized that we creatures yearned for relationship with this God and were restless until we rested in Him (Saint Augustine).


    God exists and His Word is knowable to us through the Divine Law (Old and New Testaments), Natural Law, and Reason.

    An objective, absolute God does not change regardless how, or whether, individuals perceive Him. Truth is not subjective or relative.


    Jon states “The orthodox expressions of the first few centuries are worth upholding…” .


    The “orthodox expressions” worth upholding are the fruit of the early Roman Catholic Church.

    Why should the “orthodox expressions” remain constant and not others. This statement suggests that truth is fungible, arbitrary, and dependent upon subjective opinion, not objective reality.


    Catholicism says otherwise…if God is objective and thus independent of individual perception, then His Law (the Word) is neither fungible or arbitrary. It remains constant and true and does not change or alter based upon the whim of the individual who apprehends it.


    If truth were fungible, all would be chaos and nothing would be knowable or stable. Even the laws of science would be rejected based upon individual perception. Thus, protestantism which rejects an absolute, immutable Truth in favor of individual perception and opinion, by rejecting reality, ultimately becomes unstable and splinters. Hence the many denominations.

  • Slainte, you say the ROman Catholic Church formulated orthodocxy and forged the canon. OK. You see an organic continuation of the Church through time, so that whatever they did in say 300 AD, well, it’s the same church acting centuries and even millennia later. How do you reach this conlucsion? So a church cannot change? It cannot mature or degenerate over time, or morph into something different? I say this because you’re looking at a visible strucutre. I do believe the church made these pronouncements and that they were right. But i don’t see that as buttressing an argument favoring the Roman Catholic church. I and many other Christians recognize teh church did very good things in the first few cnetureis. I think the Roman church did some very good things well after that, too. But you seem to see this continuity where the Roman visible structure is mandated as the truest or only visible expression for all times and places. THIS IS WHAT I CAN”T FIGURE OUT. I CAN”T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU BASE THAT ON.
    Yes, of course God is true and his Word is true. It is true truth, objective, real apart from our perception. That GOd exists is even evident in general or natural revelation, as you say. We’re not debating that.
    THe debate centers on specifics. The debate centers on the defintion adn nature of the church, the role of tradition, and justificaiton. Here’s where we admittedly have a multiplicity of ideas. I don’t, however, assume the Roman or Eastern narrative which tries to equate Protestant attempts at scriptural accuracy with the breakdown of philosphy and the modern/postmodern dilemmas we grapple with. I don’t buy into that arguemnt. I understand it, I’ve studied, it, and I’ll tell you right up front its an incorrect appraisel.

  • “But i don’t see that as buttressing an argument favoring the Roman Catholic church.”
    “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic are the four marks of the Catholic or true Church. These four marks are and must be taken as whole, describing the church. They are found inscribed in the Nicene Creed posted by slainte.

  • Jon, You keep referring to the visible Church and while I first assumed you meant the Christians living on earth, later it began to sound like you mean the actual buildings. If the entire world were vaporized tomorrow the Church would still exist, albeit, Triumphant in heaven. So yes, outwardly it changes, and for every member there is a different expression, and our understanding grows or darkens and so on, however, the teachings of the Church, not made up by Her but the truth entrusted and revealed to Her understanding, are unchanging. “The church of the living God, pillar and foundation of truth.” (Tim) does not degenerate even if her members do. Now there are many quotes that refer to the church, beginning with Peter and the Keys and it is very plain that Christ did establish a particular Church that survived many challenges and divisions. I don’t want to be caught up in text proofing, but it really is clear. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” As to how we progress through the centuries, Christ promised: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth” John 16: 12-13 That was not meant for any individual but for His Church.

    Now that does not in any way mean that we jump at what the parish priest or even bishop says as you seem to think. Due respect and yes, obedience, but believe me, I’ve had many a disagreement with some. We can argue on immigration, capital punishment and many other things. However, on official Church doctrine there is no wiggle room as the Holy Spirit protects our faith and morals. So while you may see people in the Catholic Church do wrong things, say wrong things, look as hard as you can and you will not find official accepted doctrine counter to any doctrine we teach today. There is no debate or personal opinion on abortion that can change the teaching. Worldviews may creep into individuals but not into our doctrine.

    I have always been intellectually puzzled that anyone could hold the Church Christ founded that all Christians followed was pretty good for 300, ore even a 1000 years and by about 1500 it was over. Time to fix what Jesus obviously did not protect from corrupt men. And each had their own version that continually changes in what it believes or leaves it optional. And one wanted a divorce so he started a new sect to get one. And the splintering has never stopped nor the deletions and accretions to faith.
    I also don’t quite get the Tradition bugaboo except they had to get it out of the way to justify their departure from Rome. It makes no sense to me because scripture comes from Tradition. So they cut a few books from the Bible, which at first included James, changed a few key words, rightly pointed out Roman abuses and moved in a new direction. No longer could one trust that 2 plus 2 equals 4 (meaning what was learned by the saints preceding us) one had to discover what 2 plus 2 was individually with the aid of scripture but not Tradition. And to me, at least, a hallmark of Christ’s example in word and deed, obedience and not His will but his Father’s will, was an idea slowly pushed out the window. “My will, my understanding, my choice has mostly replaced it throughout every Christian denomination including many a Catholic. Personally, I have a healthy suspicion of my disordered memory, understanding and will which is another reason why I need the Church.
    I hope I made some sense in helping you understand where Romans are coming from. BTW my in-laws are Christians but change denominations when they don’t like things. they frequently distinguish me by saying we’re Christians, he’s Catholic.

  • It’s difficult to say because the New Testament didn’t prophecy what the church would look like exactly. Many set-ups could ahve been imagined and of course we have improvisations of all sorts, the ROman Catholic branch being just one. My argument is that no church is exactly right and none are exactly wrong.
    As to the books being removed, Luther disliked James but wound up leaving it htere. The reformers weren’t sure what to do wtih the Apocolypse at first, and their feeling was that it was so strange it might be useless or harmful, but they kept it. The Apocrypha was taken out (or left in for study) since it was not considered inspired. Sola fide and sola gratia characterize justification. The Joint Declaration written in the interest of Christian Unity by teh Lutheran Federation and Rome asserts this, if I am correct. Is this where the Roman Cahtolic church is at doctrinally? That we are saved by grace alone through faith, apart from works?

  • “That we are saved by grace alone through faith, apart from works?”
    The will to be saved is an act of the free will. This act of the free will to consent to salvation in Jesus Christ is necessary and is one of the “works” that must accomplished for any man to be saved. God does not force anyone into heaven. If God respects the free will of the devil, how much more does God respect the free will of every man made in the image of God? There is no grace unless accepted by man’s free will. As the Blessed Virgin, Mary said: “Be it done unto me according to your will.”

    Kevin: Yours was a very clear and helpful comment. Thank God and Thank you.

  • Jon, The New Testament did not clearly prophesize or explain many things. There are many of Jesus words not recorded but referred to as in, “they were impressed that he spoke with such wisdom and authority.” But we don’t know what Jesus actually said. I think it is because His life and words are to become alive in us, we are supposed to be His posters. But as I mentioned earlier, Christ was quite clear in establishing a Church. He left his apostles and their successors, guided by the Holy Spirit, “bound what they would bound and loose what they would loose.” In other words, you are the Church, GO BE IT. Sure it may have turned out other ways, but it did not and there were not many sects with the Roman branch being just one of them. There was only one “sect” until schisms arose. In the true sense, Roman Catholicism is not a sect at all. The others, choosing to be sectarians, are sects. That is not even to disparage their intentions, I simply believe they came up with the wrong solutions and being vulnerable to personal opinions of the founders, overtime vulnerable to the worldviews knocking down their doors. (That is not to say their are not many fine members who hold to the truth, but as you say coherently sit in the same pew in sects that allow diversity on moral issues.)

    Mary was spot on about Faith and Works. I have always been taught, and the Church has always taught that Salvation is a gift that cannot be earned. She never taught otherwise. However, as you nicely pointed out, and James is quoted on, faith is lived out in our works. A bell that clangs. Historically, if I remember correctly, the problem was the idea that predestination meant that once part of the “elect” it did no matter what you did – you were saved. Several sects preached this. Also, that no matter what you did or believed, if you were not predestined there was nothing you could do to save yourself. Well, technically correct except by accepting Christ, as Mary pointed out, you let Him save you.
    Luther specifically did not like James over the good works issue. He felt saved no matter what he did. (Deep down I am not so sure as his life unfolded.) The Protestant Bible also left out books in the OT because the Jews – I think mistakenly – were looking to purify them from these Christians – and these later books written in Greek they tossed out. Somewhat ignoring that even their Bible, even if written in Hebrew, was translated into Greek and back into Hebrew.
    When I was going through my own doubts I discovered that all the reasoning in the world made little difference, I just had to give up my will and have faith.

  • I don’t find convincing the idea that the apocrpypha was inspired or the Word of God. That it came when it did and was in Greek as you said, during a time when the prophets had ceased from among them, combined with the material itself and the mixed reception it has received through the centuries leads me to believe it’s extra-canonical literature. I believe the disciples and all Christ-followers are essentially told: go and be the church. We are the body of Christ and we fulfill His mission. How we work it out varies, but we should all remain within certain parameters. I do not consider choosing God’s gift of life to be a work–when the man asked what work he must do I don’t hink we’re to udnerstand it in the strict sense–after all it is a gift. But your’e right, we choose it in accordance with free will. And no, I don’t think our standing can be udnerstood in terms of a hidden decree. God’s self-disclosure is through Christ, and in Him we find forgiveness–anyone can if they so choose. The New Testament teaches that God predestined the church as a corporate body. That was pre-ordained in God’s plan.

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PopeWatch: Progressive Inquisition?

Wednesday, January 8, AD 2014


Rorate Caeli has commentary by Italian journalist Antonio Socci, a long time observer of the Vatican:

Libero  January 5, 2014

Does the Pope know what they are doing (in his name) to the “Franciscans of the Immaculate”? Just two days ago Francis rightly stated that “ the Gospel is not proclaimed with beatings, but with love and kindness.”
Yet, without reason or wrongdoing on their part, the Franciscans of the Immaculate have been stormed, thrashed and trashed. They are razing to the ground one of the few religious orders which is orthodox and full of vocations (and which was esteemed and supported by Benedict XVI).
The worst thing is that the destruction is being perpetrated in the name of Francis. But is it possible that the Pope of kindness approves of these methods and persecution?
Moreover, the “Franciscans of the Immaculate” in the all-over disaster of religious orders (without vocations, often in doctrinal and disciplinary crisis, with many well-known errors) should be held as an example: in fact they live radically in poverty – living by charity, they have many vocations, lead a tough ascetic life, they do many works of charity for the poor and outcast, proclaim the Good News with missionary zeal and are obedient to the Church (during these past months of repression they have suffered everything in meekness and silence).
Many of the faithful have been shocked at the great tenacity by which the FFI have been targeted. There are people who are crying because of the forced removal of these good friars from the communities where they had been working up until now.
I have never had anything to do with them [directly] but, as an impartial observer, I admire them. And I wonder: why is there such harshness against religious who represent a great example of life and are a true spiritual reference for the faithful?
And yet, never has there been such great tenacity not even in the cases of religious, priests and theologians where there were great doctrinal or disciplinary problems (and others).
For example, the post- Council era was a catastrophe. Tens of thousands threw away their religious habit: “ideas contrasting the revealed Truth which had always been taught, were scattered around [everywhere]” affirmed John Paul II, “very real heresies were spread, in the fields of dogma and morals, creating doubts, confusion, rebellion and the Liturgy was even tampered with; immersed in “intellectual and moral relativism, and therefore in permissiveness, Christians have been tempted to atheism , agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and by a sociological Christianity lacking defined dogmas and objective morality.”
Also the Society of Jesus, as Bergoglio knows well, has been in the eye of the storm too and some of its members have fostered theological confusion. Yet there were no measures taken against them like the ones adopted today against the “Franciscans of the Immaculate”
According to official statistics from 1965 (when the Council ended) to 2005, the Members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) fell by 45 per cent, the Salesians by 45 percent, the Friars Minor by 41per cent, the Capuchins by 29 per cent, the Benedictines by 35 percent and the Dominicans by 39 per cent.
By contrast the “Franciscans of the Immaculate” a religious family founded in the Seventies, by Father Stefano Maria Manelli and Father Gabriele Maria Pellettieri, immediately attracted many vocations.
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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Progressive Inquisition?

  • Thanks for the link to the rest of the article and your post. Full of information about what is apparently an ongoing tug of war on the bridge of our ship.

    John Bosco pray for us! (Remember his dream about our help from Mary and from the Eucharist?)

  • “Under Stalin, the phrase ‘If only Stalin knew’ was fairly commonplace, if only in whispers..” If you read Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “In the Court of the Red Tsar”, of course the fact was that Stalin DID know everything that was happening. I think this Pope who commented in one interview that he was “cunning”, does know what is happening to the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate, and since we know from Evan. Gaudium more about his prejudices (“self-absorbed Promethean neo-pelagianists”) against trads, everything is quite proceeding according to plan.

  • This is certainly difficult to understand. Maybe some clarification will emerge over the next month or so, but if not, perhaps the voice of the Church – the laity – needs to be raised to request – no demand – an explanation – not just on blogs, but to the Holy Father himself, who needs to provide that explanation and justification for this action.

  • I do not have details but my Catholic news services (on line) mentioned a meeting of Pope Francis with members of the Franciscans of the Immaculata in his surprise visit to Santa Maria Maggiore [Saint Mary Major] on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Of course I doubt that the whole order was there but I cannot find any details, other than the meeting itself. At least “contact has been made” by Pope Francis with the Friars, and apparently initiated by Pope Francis. I read this as positive for all involved. Oremus.

  • Well, this is good news (Botolph’s report of a meeting between the Franciscans of MI and the Holy Father @ St Mary Major in Rome). It has to at least show he is interested in them and wants to address their issue, personally. This shows a bit of courage on his part (because of course it involves risk on his part).