Thursday, March 14, 2013

Francis of Rome

I was a bit surprised by our new Pope, in fact I was quite sad last night, the reason I think was beause I hadn't had a period to mourn his predecessor. Pope Francis' appearance on the balcony was a shock, the other shock was he is not Benedict XVI.

I was quite upset by one blog's vicious criticism of him, written by those wolves that tear and rend Christ's flock. It showed a weakness of faith. It is not for loyal Catholics to judge Christ's Vicar on Earth but to thank God for him and to accept the food he gives us, the lambs and sheep of the Lord's flock.

I would have loved Benedict's papacy to go on and on, this was neither his own will or the will of God, God and Benedict are wiser than the vicious wolves who would undermine the trust of the little ones. This is a grave and serious sin against the unity of the Church. True Catholics are docile to the Holy Spirit and see the election of a Pope as being the action of the Holy Spirit.

I was pleased to hear that he turned up at S. Maria Maggiore to pray before the principle Roman image of the Mother God, I was pleased he gave his first blessing to a pregnant woman who happened to be there early in the morning. I like the idea of Bishops turning up just to pray and I like the idea of the Bishop of Rome doing it even more.

I would not have chosen Francis, God has. God rarely gives us what we want but he always gives what we need, we need Pope Francis. And the more we think about it and pray about it the more it will become apparent why God has given his Church this man as a gift.

From my reading over the last few hours one of the chief reasons we have been given his is to connect theology and faith with our actions which is at least as important as connecting faith and theology with liturgy.
Part of the "rupture" that has taken place in the recent history of the Church is the seperation of faith and works, faith and justice, faith and morals, faith and service.

I hope Papa Francis will from time to time be found in the confessionals of Roman churches, appearing without notice in the cities seminaries and monasteries and encourage members of the Curia to be out working with homeless immigrants or trafficked women or teaching children the faith. I have said before that I would love to see the best minds in the Church evangelising and catechising or even just praying in the Churches of Rome. With all those priest, seminarians and religious Rome should be the most Christian, the most Holy city on earth, a model for the Church. I really do believe it could become so with Francis of Rome.

Let us pray for him, that he may not flee from the wolves.


Pablo the Mexican said...

Thank God we are no longer Fatherless sinners.

Pray for the Holy Father.

Good or bad, he is still our Holy Father.


Annie said...

Here's hoping Pope Francis can get the shepherds to watch the sheep.

George said...

If he starts teaching forcefully on the proper role of Christian morality in economics, which I hope he does, I think it will be interesting to see from which quarters the resistance or apathy will come. I think the vast majority of "Trads" will be with him. Will the Catholic Left overcome their obsession with sex in order to join him? Will the Catholic Conservatives overcome their blind faith in free markets and Capitalism?

ServusMariaeN said...

I'm offering an extra rosary every day for our Papa Francesco. I'm not certain how I feel about it yet. Initially, I was very afraid. Then I immediately saw my fear for what it was: a tactic of the evil one to disrupt my peace of heart. I would be dishonest if I said I have no concerns about the continuation of the "reform of the reform". It was for this reason that I had hoped for other candidates. Nevertheless, Papa Francesco is our holy father. As Our Lady said at Fatima: "pray much for the holy father"

nickbris said...

They are thrilled to bits at St Mary,s Port Stanley

Anonymous said...

"This is a grave and serious sin against the unity of the Church. True Catholics are docile to the Holy Spirit and see the election of a Pope as being the action of the Holy Spirit."

This is NOT Catholic teaching!

The Holy Ghost offers His guidance to the cardinal electors -- but nowhere does the church say they always accept that guidance. We're not papists believing every pope is fantastic just because he's pope. It's clear the electors in the past have ignored God's Will. Only time will tell on this go around.

Cosmos said...

Thank you, Father. I agree with every word your wrote.

There really has been a disconnect between faith and action, as between faith and liturgy. Here is to hoping we can hold all three at the same time, rather than endlessly pushing one at the expense of the others!

Let us be "holy" men and women of "service" and "prayer." That would certainly please God!

Thanks again,

Fr Ray Blake said...

We do believe that each and every Pope is the Successor of Peter and Christ's Vicar on Earth.
We do not despise our Shepherd, indeed he might be a great sinner, a less than perfect, even theologically, though we criticise his action and teaching we must be docile to his teaching and search for God's will in it.

Anonymous said...

Father, I'm not sure you're reading what I'm saying.

Of course we shouldn't despise our pope! Nor would I or did I say any Catholic should. But your claim that any pope elected was the Will of God is simply not true. Men, even cardinal electors, are infallible and can make the wrong decisions, rejecting the grace and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Clearly this has happened before in the Church, with a number of examples.

The first thing I did yesterday was pray for the pope. Then I mourned, knowing the darkness may stay with our Church if he follows what he did as Archbishop.

Then I led my children in a Rosary for him.

Love ALL popes, yes. Act as papists and think every pope is God's choice, no. That's pure theological error.

johnh said...

You are all so lucky . I worked a 14 hour night shift last night , driving around with only BBC radio for company . To suggest their coverage was bland would be an understatement , even asking non-catholics to ring with their opinions at one point - that is up there with asking Spurs fans to express their love of Arsenal fans !!
Speaking as one who has just returned to the church , inspired by Pope Benedict , I will say my rosary at Manchester Oratory Friday evening for OUR Pope Francis . For whatever or whoever I or we want is irrelevant , whatever God wants is what we need .

Greg Collins said...

Another Catholic blog left me very sad, so lacking in Charity were the comments there about the new Holy Father.

Fr Ray does well to speak of wolves; there are wolves outside the Church and wolves within it.

As loyal Catholics - and accepting that we all struggle, from time-to-time, to be loving and wholly obedient members of Holy Mother Church - we must all surely accept that the Church is not ours to recast in the image that we may prefer. That suits our tastes. Or our interpretation of tradition (note small t).

Church is a Mystery. It does not belong to any of us, nor to any one group, or clique, or caste within it. In Christ there is no Gentile or Jew, no Slave or Free, no Trad or Liberal, no Leftist or Conservative, et cetera, et cetera. And thus so it is also with the Holy Father. It is not for us to judge the hand that feeds us.

Part of the "rupture" that has taken place in the recent history of the Church is the seperation of an individual's internal faith and their external works, their external acts of justice, external compliance with morals, external service of the poor. Has this happened because the Church, beset by scandal and having lost some degree of moral authority, now preaches literally to the converted and does not evangelise the world outside its doors? Certainly the faithful need shepherds but how greater is the need of the un-churched, the unbaptised, the unevangelised? Those with no knowledge or understanding of their need of Christ? And I do not mean preaching to the 'New Atheists', the darlings of the media and their followers, their minds are made up, wrongly as it happens but such is human intelligence without a lamp to guide it. I mean those, in our own communities, who have not heard the Good News, whose experience of Christians is often of people as uncharitable, judgemental, and as fearful, as the next fellow and who are riven with division.

If we are so judgemental and unloving about the very Vicar of Christ what chance of our not being judgemental and unloving when we encounter Christ in the poor or disadvantaged.

Pétrus said...

I understand he chanted the Salve Regina in front of the tomb of Pope Saint Pius V

Colonel Mustard said...

I believe that we should always stand by and defend the papacy, and its occupant, and 'be docile to his teaching'. Also, amongst the Faithful, from Pope to Layman, there should be a healthy and charitable spirit of fraternal correction. We can all be a little heavy handed in our criticisms of our popes, from dubiously liberal magazines, to dubiously conservative blogs, but there is always room for constructive criticism, and those who do criticise constructively according to their conscience do not deserve to be silenced by a crowd of commentators who demand charity often in a very uncharitable way. While we should always be free to discuss the strengths and limitations of important public figures in charity, as those strengths and limitations affect our lives, Fr Ray gives a good example here of fraternal correction of other internet users, etc.

I was also moved that he went out and about, and that his first visit was to Our Lady. We are all a mixed bag of people: we are good at some things; not so good at other things. Popes included. I shall not hide my initial disappointment however, though I shall give him the benefit of the doubt, and pray for him, in the knowledge that the Lord knows what He's doing in that plan of His.

Gatepost productions said...

Well I seem to be alone in the world inasmuch as I find the whole thing joyful. I'm glad I'm not mourning a pope, I see a Pope Emeritus praying for us as a bonus.

It's not often I feel myself warming to strangers - and he was a stranger when he emerged on that balcony. By the time he left the balcony he'd reached out to me, not sure how.

Fortunately/unfortunately God made me with a sense of humour, and when they said he came from Argentina, I was minded of the infamous, 'Hand-of-God' goal Maradona scored against England. 'The-Hand-of-God' has certainly been at work in Argentina, albeit the 'Madonna' had more to do with the 'Maradona'

epsilon said...

Thank you Father!
Our new pope came out and bent down in prayer to God - calmed a crowd of hundreds of thousands into simple, solemn prayer; is known to speak strongly against abortion, any form of 'marriage' which goes against the natural family, supps with the poor, kisses the feet of AIDS patients, travels by bus - and rorate €#^<|! spew venom against the pope of the Catholic Church! For all their facade of being Catholic they now show themselves to be as shallow as any chiffon-clad Californian liturgical incense bearer! Rotate = absolute nasty filth! Even Pablo the Mexican is being a genuine Catholic on this - good on ya Pablo:) It's interesting how we get to see what people are made of!

And there was me in my nievity thinking all the pompous private Catholics on both sides of the liturgical divide would stand in public solidarity with our new pope and actually join the many public peaceful prolife vigils that are going on up and down the country at the moment - what a nieve fool I am! Half the children in this 'first world' country are already living below the poverty line - why should anyone care about the ones who don't get to see the light of day!! I love the Latin Mass - getting less keen by the minute with the latinmassjunta:(

NBW said...

Very well said Father! I will be praying for Pope Francis.

GOR said...

Well said, Father and I agree wholeheartedly!

The venom that has been spouted by so-called faithful Catholics is a disgrace and does no service to the cause of traditionalists. “Your enemies shall be of your own house” comes to mind.

When Pope Benedict was elected I had reservations, remembering the criticism of the ‘liberal Ratzinger’ by my professors during Vatican II. Once I started to read his writings and came to know him better, I was amazed and came to love him.

I expect it to be the same with Pope Francis. I knew little about him, but my first impressions are very positive. This is a man, I feel, who lives what he believes, is humble and self-effacing. He will not be bound by convention, but will lead by example. I expect there will be surprises and some moulds will be broken.

God bless and strengthen him!

Thinker said...

Fr Ray - An excellent post. Thank you. Social justice, something that has been missing, will now be central. Clericalism, the antics of people like Cardinal Burke for example, will become irrelevant. The Pope is for the world, not the Church. He has brought out the best in you. Let us hope he will do the same for all of us.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think you have thought enough!
The Pope is for the Church, the Church is for the world (unless you are a rather odd Ultramontane).

He is the rock on which it is built, the feeder of the sheep, the strenghthener of the brethren. the servum servorum. Stripped of historical accretions the Papal role is at the service of the bishops, it is add intra not ad extra.

Newry Liam said...

Well said Father God sends us who we need as Pope. Without the Borgias we would not have St Peters. God bless him

RJ said...

The new Pope: a different character reflecting possibly a different aspect of the faith, but "wisdom is vindicated in all her children".

Anonymous said...

Social justice, something that has been missing, will now be central.

Well, true social justice will be central as opposed to the Nuns on a Bus hoo-haw we have in the states.

Unknown said...

Father Blake thank you for your first class blog! I have enjoyed reading your comments and they have given me many opportunities for reflection. On the subject of our Holy Father, Francis, I must comment that all Roman Catholics from the SSPX , who in all their statements and comments I have read, have shown the proper respect due to his Holiness, to all those many bloggers and their contributors I am certain wish only their best intentions for our new Pope.
The many issues raised both by yourself and the other contributors are far from new and are well known, modernism, the Novus Ordo, social justice, liturgy, and liturgical abuse not to mention the unjust and merciless suppression of the Mass of All the Ages and the attacks on those brave faithful and clergy who stood up against those in high places who orchestrated those horrendous attacks, and continue to do so!
When epsilon,GOR and Thinker (or not) etc unjustly berate blogs such as Rorate Caeli they only weaken the unity of Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church is the bride of Christ and not a political grouping with narrow party agendas. Their is no liberal, conservative or traditional church! Modernism has artificially created these groupings and will use them to destroy the church, that is their stated goal. If any proof is needed just listen to the medias, BBC et Al, coaching Catholics obviously clueless of their churches teaching into agreeing with the so called progressive modern agenda.
The implementation of contraception, abortion, married and women priests, no priests, the laity can do it all need I go on.
I pray earnestly for our Holy Father Pope Francis that theHoly Ghost will guide and keep him on the right path and that he will strengthen and where necessary rebuild the church.
Maria Ora Pro Nobis

Supertradmum said...

There is God's perfect will and God's permissive will. I remember a story of at least one great saint, perhaps the greatest ever seen in England who was also a bishop, who changed into a great champion of defending the Church and upholding truth at all costs-even his life; Thomas a Becket.

I am peaceful, but I also always in all things want the Truth. I pray for our new Pope.

Anonymous said...

Newry: Well said Father God sends us who we need as Pope.

Where is that tought in Catholocism?

The electors, all fallible men, pray for guidance from the Holy Ghost. He doesn't inspire them, and He surely doesn't cast their votes for them.

Your belief that the man elected to be Peter is God's will is erroneous and not in any way Catholic teaching.

Athelstane said...


Clericalism, the antics of people like Cardinal Burke for example, will become irrelevant.

If you knew Cardinal Burke at all, you would know that he's anything but a "clericalist." He's one of the most humble men serving in Rome.

Aaron S-C said...

As always I find myself agreeing with you Fr and I think you've summed it up when you write: "Part of the "rupture" that has taken place in the recent history of the Church is the seperation of faith and works". Yes, I think we've lost a sense of the dignity of personal holiness and its connection to evangelism of the Gospel and I believe Pope Francis' pontificate will mark an age of a "Missionary Church", how I imagine Saint Francis Xavier as he travelled Asia. AMDG.

araceli lorayes said...

Father Ray, my sentiments exactly. I still mourn Pope Benedict, but we owe Pope Francis our loyalty and our charity. I was shocked by the venom I read on another blog against our new Pope.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

"Christian morality in economics...[remedy] seperation of an individual's internal faith [and] their external acts of justice...Social justice, something that has been missing (?!?), will now be central..." and the focus shifts away from the Sacramental again to a charity which the world defines. I cannot understand why people think that true internal faith should not organically create a person who loves justice and is just, who loves kindness and is kind. This was agiven if one followed Christ - now we believe that if one is kind/just/concerned one might somehow remedy those things within them that are separated from Christ - as if the 'works' (I thought Mary had the better portion) remedy the Faith - people were kind and just and concerned before the Advent. Why was the Church established? Not to save the world from poverty and injustice, and the myriad unkindnesses that are a gift of birth into the world, 1st, 2nd or 3rd, but to save individuals from eternal poverty, eternal unkindness, eternal separation from the font of such goods. If the perceived horizontality of Pope Francis's theological personality is going to be the herald, according to the world, of his pontificate I better quit with social media all together.

Robert said...

Pope Francis and the Ordinariates.


Nicolas Bellord said...

Adfero: So the Holy Ghost does not inspire the Cardinals? Whilst it is perfectly possible for the College of Cardinals to reject the inspiration of the Holy Ghost can one not assume, as more than probable, that on the whole these are good men and good Catholics who pray to the Holy Ghost, are inspired by him and vote accordingly?

Pétrus said...

Father - it may just be coincidence but a well read blog has dropped you from its blogroll.

If it is in response to your criticism that is simply immature on their behalf.

John Fisher said...

But is this a pope of rupture or a product of the times? History is full of unworthy and even unreliable men who were pope. The potency of the papacy rests on continuity and repairing rupture. I am not hopeful. This pope has the spirit of the year he was ordained.
Sorry we need a traditional pope who is firm but warm and intelligent. Also who realises the rupture is the issue. This one does not seem to. If he is informal and even deconstructed with charm. It is even more dangerous than if he were orthodox but shy.

Anonymous said...

Adfero: So the Holy Ghost does not inspire the Cardinals?

Correct, He does not. He offers "guidance," He does not inspire.

Words mean things in theology. Inspire does not mean what you think it means from watching TV or modern language.

Pablo the Mexican said...

Canon Law of Holy Mother Church:

Suprema Lex Soli Solimarum: The Supreme Law is the Salvation of Souls.

Not social justice, not economic well being, not submission to the Jews.

The so called 'Holocaust' is not Calvary.

"What the Jews once had was given to the Gentiles. What the Gentiles have, will be given back to the Jews; they will be converted to Catholicism."

Read it in scripture, or ask Adfero.

He is 100% correct in his Catholicism.

Viterbo: Good on you.

Modernists Catholics need to contemplate:

The ride to Hell is full of pleasures.

The destination is horrible.

Those that speak up and defend Holy Mother Church and speak Truth are stoned in the public square.

Their ride results in Heaven.

Our Lord placed a grave judgment upon Priests.

Their consideration should be to go with Christ, and not stand with those that crucify Him, thinking they are doing God's work.

"We are all going to death, so why not go boldly, and why not go with Christ, why not go without fear, and why not go as our Master went?"

–Reverend Father Joseph Pfeiffer, Priest of the Mexican Cristeros.


TLMWx said...

What God permits and what He wills are not the same. It is not true that every pope is elected by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Like all Catholics we need to pray the Holy Spirit will preserve our Pope from causing scandal. We pray he will not spit in The Lord's face with disgusting liturgical abuse. We pray that under the guise of false humility he will not impoverish the poor of their real food, Our Lord in the Eucharist, to be received in a manner reflecting that reality, in a liturgy reflecting that reality. We pray that he repents of his lack of support to Pope Benedict's laws concerning TLM. We pray that he repents of permitting the deforming of the TLM against the laws of the Church. As Pope he gets a clean sheet. We pray he does God's work. I'm hopeful that Fatima will mark him deeply. As regards corporal works of mercy- if you show no respect for the liturgy I really think you need to forget about it. You are just a gong booming and a cymbal clashing. Surely if you love God you will love to adore him as beautifully as possible. If you don't love God you can't love your neighbour. Of course there's the feel good factor of natural charity but it is all straw in the end.

Gigi said...

Hi Father. Hoe honest of you to say Cardinal Bergoglio would not have been your first choice! I actually echo John Simlett's comments: I felt quite joyful about the whole thing; particularly when Pope Francis took to the balcony for the first time. I felt real reassurance from him; he seems comfortable with his own humility as well as his experience.
"Part of the "rupture" that has taken place in the recent history of the Church is the separation of faith and works, faith and justice, faith and morals, faith and service." Yes - I so agree with this!I really feel that non-Catholic friends of mine and even some who are of the faith view the Church with suspicion, derision and (what's sometimes harder to reconcile) a degree of pity. There needs to be a paring back to strong values and actions as well as strong sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Here is Pope Francis' homily that I think demonstrates that he knows that Social Justice is but a means, and witness to Christ is the end:

“We can walk all we want, we can build many things, but if we don’t proclaim Jesus Christ, something is wrong. We would become a compassionate NGO and not a Church which is the bride of Christ,”

“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross and when we proclaim Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly”

George said...

To say that the salvation of souls is not linked to Christian morality within the economic sphere is absolutely uncatholic. (2 of the big 4 sins crying to heaven have to do with economic behavior. One would think we'd want to be absolutely sure we're getting those right if they're so important to God.) Our current economic system, which is totally anti-christian, came out of the Enlightenment and is one the greatest wordly impediments to sanctity. One of the greatest achievements of the Devil is to convince Catholics that there is some difference between personal salvation and economic behavior. The socialists and freemasons of the the last 200 years were not fighting on the side of social justice. They usurped the rhetoric of morality, in their warped economic messages, to undermine the Church and Christian political-economic law. If Pope Francis truly goes down the road of trying to lead the world away from the errors of Newton, and Locke, and Smith, then we'll truly see who the loyal Catholics are, because such a program would cause more upheaval then anything we've seen in recent memory, making the debates over contraception or liturgy look like kerfuffles..

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

Ma Tucker said: " What God permits and what He wills are not the same". Gnostics thought what God permits and wills was one and the same, which is why, lacking trust, they had to create a god of their own fabulously fictive imagining. confusion promulgated from unusual actions of those successors of the apostles should not elicit our silence; it should at least elicit a query. Clergy and other consecrated have now been univited from Rome so that all resources may be given to that old idol without place 'the poor'. does not pilgrimage, St Francis did to Rome, bring a good? if St Francis had decided the 'there will always be poor', was all that's worth a bother, would he ever have heard the voice of the Lord telling him to restore His 'ruined Church'?

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Beautiful post, Fr. Blake. I need to borrow some of your quotes later today or tomorrow.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Adfero: I wonder if you could be so kind as to explain what is meant by the word "inspire" in theology so that unenlightened people like myself who apparently only get their language from the TV can be educated. I would have thought that etymologically at least there is some connection between the words 'spirit' and 'inspire' and therefore it does have something to do with what the Holy Ghost/Spirit actually does. And what about Matthew 10 v.20?

My SOED gives the theological definition as "To influence or actuate by special divine or supernatural agency". Cannot the Holy Ghost do that?

Nicolas Bellord said...

There seems to be a rush to judgement about our new Holiness the Pope which I think rather unseemly.

I visited Buenos Aires in 1988 and then again in 2002 for about a month each time. It is a country with a terrible history and is terribly divided. I got the impression that the Church there is equally divided and somewhat moribund. Priests in that country are faced with terrible things that we never see in Europe. There are enormous riches and terrible poverty. I remember sleeping across the road from one of the slums - Villa 31 - wondering whether the gunfire was in anger or just a celebration. Vast areas of the city were simply no-go areas. Unless you have a profound understanding of the culture and the politics you simply cannot judge what his Holiness did as Archbishop/Cardinal in the first decade of the 21st century. The situation is just totally unlike anything we experience in Europe.

Unknown said...

I'm not sure Father, with respect, you have considered the implications of posting about feeling 'sad' about the election of Pope Francis ...while the rest of the world and Church is filled with joy. I'm journeying with a new Catholic, received into the Church during the Pope emeritus' pontificate who like me enjoys reading your blog. He is somewhat scandalised by your less than welcoming, and rush to judgement on our new Holy Father. i am struggling to identify your recent writings as anything other than elevation of personal preference and partisan tastes over fidelity to the church- for which you so eloquantly critique 'the tablet' . How will your parishioners respond to knowing their parish 'shephard' feels so much at a loss. Father i implore you , the building of the Kingdom of God is not a winner and loser 'game' and it is a dangerous game to at least imply it with your comments.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Richard I would hope they see my "feelings" change, which they are doing rapidly

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