Sunday, October 20, 2013


From the outside the Catholic Church used to look like fortress: one faith, one baptism, one Lord; and in the West one liturgy in one language. Today there is perhaps a more diverse view from the outside, still perhaps there is a sense that the Church is monolithic and yet those outside perhaps have friends who were once Catholic and now distance themselves from the Church, its worship and its doctrines.

From inside the Church there actually seems to be little that holds us together, Marie Meaney has an article in the Herald asking, Is Schism Inevitable in Germany? in which she speaks of the archdiocese of Freiburg's document proposing communion for the divorced and remarried.  In the Holy See's ill fated negotiations with the SSPX the "S" word was very carefully avoided, the same could be said about those German speaking groups Marie mentions. Heresy, the Church can cope with but schism is another altogether graver matter. Ordaining bishops not only without the mandate of the Holy See, has historically sometimes been necessary, even Pope Benedict seems to have been understanding of their position but it was in direct opposition to the expressed will of the Supreme Pontiff and therefore the most significant act of disunity, nevertheless in the 'spirit of Vatican II' it was not described as 'schismatic' but 'tending towards schism'.

Article 2089 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the wilful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
For us, therefore, schism is about communion with the Pope.

JPII's encyclical Ut in Unum Sint, in which, it is suggested he collaborated heavily with the Prefect of the CDF, Joseph Ratzinger, he recognises the Papacy though of Dominical origin is both the fount of unity for Catholics but also the source of division for non-Catholics. He says:
89. It is nonetheless significant and encouraging that the question of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome has now become a subject of study which is already under way or will be in the near future. It is likewise significant and encouraging that this question appears as an essential theme not only in the theological dialogues in which the Catholic Church is engaging with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, but also more generally in the ecumenical movement as a whole. Recently the delegates to the Fifth World Assembly of the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, held in Santiago de Compostela, recommended that the Commission "begin a new study of the question of a universal ministry of Christian unity". After centuries of bitter controversies, the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities are more and more taking a fresh look at this ministry of unity.
If anyone has re-formed, or better, re-moulded the Papacy, it has been Benedict XVI, the ultimate act was his resignation, but other acts were simply writing as one author amongst many in his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy, which suggested one could happily disagree with a reigning Pope, and yes, in his discussions with Marcel Lefebrve's followers that you could still be Catholic but express difficulties with Papal teaching, in a sense too by his founding of the Ordinariates, there was a recognition that 'Catholicism' can exist outside the Catholic Church, in the words of VII in 'impaired communion'.

'Diversity' is a part of contemporary Catholicism. Pope Francis oft repeated phrase, 'Go out to the peripheries' has deep implications but there is difference between going out to gather in and going simply to be amongst. One fear about Pope Francis' Papacy is, as one of my parishioners suggested, that the Pope could end by becoming a like the chairman of the World Council of Churches, the president of an assembly of local and theologically diverse churches. The question that is half asked by many and reinforced by Francis recent sermon in which he criticised 'specialist of the Logos' would suggest that the content of belief will not be an issue in this Papacy.

Except for the most obdurate Neo-Con everyone agrees that only the Papacy needs re-forming but that the Church itself  cannot continue as it has been going, Benedict reformed the Papacy rather discreetly, breaking away from the ultramontanism of the mid-twentieth century but emphasising Catholic belief and consequently looking envisaging a smaller more committed Church. Francis seems to be doing something quite different.

What seems to be a growing worry is that Francis has raised expectations, it is not just in the diocese of Freiburg where there is an expectation of a dramatic break with the past but throughout the world; US nuns, German and Irish priests, gays, the divorced and remarried, those who want everything from married or female priests, to a Church which is no longer 'obsessed' with abortion, homosexuality or condoms. The problem is Francis has created high expectations, which he is unlikely to be able to satisfy. and if he even moves marginally to satisfy their agenda, then what about the younger generation of those priests and lay people who believe the catechism who have come to celebrate the Mass carefully according to the rites of the Church, who accept JPII's Theology of the Body, who have taken on Benedict's liturgical reforms?

We are in the same situation as we were in the early years of Paul VI, when most of Pope Francis's new Papal courtiers, as opposed to the old leprous ons, were enthusiastic for the new order and expecting great changes, only to be disappointed by Pope Paul's publication of Humanae Vitae in 1968, which led to a huge degree of disappointment of those on the left and the exeunt of huge numbers of priests and lay people from the Church. They were joined only little later by those who left gradually as the liturgical changes bit deeper. For those who stayed there was confusion and virtual schism.

Already one hears of clergy in the Curia who are demoralised and uncertain or just unconvinced of the direction, they believe the Pope intends to take the Church, intellectuals who are complaining about a lack of depth and convincing argument, and others who fear we are into a last Ultramontane fling.

The Pope, Ut in Unum Sint reminds us, is the 'servant of  unity', 'leading them towards peaceful pastures' in order to be that he needs not been seen pushing forward his own agenda but being the true servant of the Church:
94. This service of unity, rooted in the action of divine mercy, is entrusted within the College of Bishops to one among those who have received from the Spirit the task, not of exercising power over the people—as the rulers of the Gentiles and their great men do (cf. Mt 20:25; Mk 10:42)—but of leading them towards peaceful pastures. This task can require the offering of one's own life (cf. Jn 10:11-18). Saint Augustine, after showing that Christ is "the one Shepherd, in whose unity all are one", goes on to exhort: "May all shepherds thus be one in the one Shepherd; may they let the one voice of the Shepherd be heard; may the sheep hear this voice and follow their Shepherd, not this shepherd or that, but the only one; in him may they all let one voice be heard and not a babble of voices ... the voice free of all division, purified of all heresy, that the sheep hear". The mission of the Bishop of Rome within the College of all the Pastors consists precisely in "keeping watch" (episkopein), like a sentinel, so that, through the efforts of the Pastors, the true voice of Christ the Shepherd may be heard in all the particular Churches. In this way, in each of the particular Churches entrusted to those Pastors, the una, sancta, catholica et apostolica Ecclesia is made present. All the Churches are in full and visible communion, because all the Pastors are in communion with Peter and therefore united in Christ.
With the power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory, the Bishop of Rome must ensure the communion of all the Churches. For this reason, he is the first servant of unity. This primacy is exercised on various levels, including vigilance over the handing down of the Word, the celebration of the Liturgy and the Sacraments, the Church's mission, discipline and the Christian life. It is the responsibility of the Successor of Peter to recall the requirements of the common good of the Church, should anyone be tempted to overlook it in the pursuit of personal interests. He has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare at times that this or that opinion being circulated is irreconcilable with the unity of faith. When circumstances require it, he speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him. He can also—under very specific conditions clearly laid down by the First Vatican Council— declare ex cathedra that a certain doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith. By thus bearing witness to the truth, he serves unity.
Is Francis able to deliver, to be both 'reformer' and 'unifier'?
What is he going to deliver?


Francis said...

Francis was elected, I imagine, because the cardinals were agreed that the Curia had defeated Benedict and needed serious reform. There must also have been consensus among the cardinals that the Church was hopelessly caught in a reputational rut on the issue of sex abuse and "negative messaging" and a different type of pontiff was needed who could change public perceptions completely. Francis must have spoken convincingly on these matters at the conclave and, since he was (allegedly) the runner-up in 2005, his words would have carried particular weight. So the main delivery expectations at the conclave were two-fold: reform of the Church’s governance structures and emphasising the “God is love” message of the Church to transform its media image and public reputation.

Francis has done a good job so far of redirecting the media’s attention away from the abuse scandals, and giving the Church a more motherly face, although this has been at the expense of diluting the doctrinal messages on abortion and conjugal love. The reform of the Curia is now beginning, with the formation of the committee of cardinals as an advisory panel. I sincerely hope that the committee does not go down the road of delegating more powers to the national bishops’ conferences as a counterweight to the Curia – that would be a complete misdiagnosis of what needs to be fixed, and would make matters far worse. The real question is this: is Francis perceptive enough to realise that the bishops’ conferences in most countries are even bigger snake pits than the den of intrigue otherwise known as the Vatican?

I am pinning my hopes on Cardinal Pell to blow the whistle if he sees that the committee of top cardinals is heading in a dangerous direction.

Anonymous said...

What is he going to deliver?


Sadie Vacantist said...

The way out of these complex pastoral situations is to discourage frequent communion which was the case generally before Vatican II and pretty well de rigueur prior to the papacy of St. Pius X. Communion should be restricted to the sick and dying. The Catholic Church is not running a fast food franchise.

Jacobi said...


If I may “comment” on your long and deeply thoughtful reflection.

The Catholic Church, fortress or otherwise, is now in great danger – but from within.

You mention the “s” word, sin, which the Reformers - I use that term advisedly - have tried, since Vat II, to airbrush out of existence. Fine, but they must remember the logic of that. If there is no sin, there was no need for Christ to die on the Cross and therefore, He was not the Son of Man, but rather a deluded zealot. Sadly, sin, in all it ugliness and prevalence, pervades human nature.

Schism,has been the great tragedy of the Catholic Church throughout its history, the Eastern Schism being the greatest tragedy of all. It is however open to healing, and should be the Pope’s first priority. The Pope is also right to give maximum priority to avoiding a further and perhaps greater “Modernist” heretical schism, perhaps greater than the Protestant one, which now threatens Christ’s Mystical Body.

“Is The Holy Father going to deliver?” His tactic, to my mind, appears to be, being “all things to all men”, in the hope he will gather in the strays. This is exceedingly dangerous, but would explain the mystification experienced by so many Catholic , including myself.

What his strategy is, we have yet to learn. Certainly False Ecumenism is a dead end. Ecumenism can only mean, acceptance, by schismatic ecclesial bodies, of the teaching of the Catholic Magisterium. Heretical ecclesial bodies, well, effectively, we can forget about them for the foreseeable future - although we must of course, treat them in Charity

Deacon Augustine said...

"What is he going to deliver?"

Good question. Perhaps the answer can be found by looking at what he has already delivered in his previous Archdiocese of Buenos Aires?

By all accounts, its not a success story. The whole Latin American church seems to be reeling and failing under the assault of North American charismatic cults. As the episcopate in that part of the world has failed so miserably to rise to the challenge, I will never understand why the conclave believed it would be a good idea to elect one of their number to the papacy. An African or Asian Cardinal would have made more sense if we were to have a Pope who understood missionary expansion of the Church.

As for the hopes of reform, I suppose that comes down to what you look for in "reform". He certainly never cleaned out the filth in the priesthood in his own archdiocese, so don't expect anything like this from him as Pope - after all, who is he to judge? At best we are likely to get tinkering with structures which will see more powers vested in corrupt episcopal conferences. They in turn will feel more immune from the reach of Rome and the centrifugal forces of schism will grow.

Lynda said...

The Church has to deliver what Christ gave to Her as Her Mission, the universal unchanging truth through her Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. Chaos and obfuscation are of the Devil.

JARay said...

I could not believe my eyes when I read "Communion should be restricted to the sick and dying."
The words of Jesus come to mind:-"Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have life within you".

Anonymous said...


In this stage of the battle "against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places", I suggest that 'checkmate' may be a more appropriate analogy.

For the time being.

GOR said...

“What will Francis deliver?”

One might as well ask: “What did Peter deliver?” If we were living in Rome circa 64 A.D. we might have posed that question. The persecution of Nero was in full swing, Christians were in fear of their lives - and Peter had just been martyred.

The faithful must have been demoralized. Was this the end of Christianity - a noble enterprise doomed to failure? It had been 30+ years since Christ’s death in a far-off land. Was it all in vain? What was the point?

But we know it wasn’t the end - more like Churchill’s words in another context: “the end of the beginning”. The Faith didn’t die out; the faithful didn’t recede into history and the martyrs - seen by many as the ultimate losers - actually inspired a greater following.

Today, most of us don’t have to fear death because of our Faith. But in some countries, they still do – day after day. So, we think we have problems…?

Supertradmum said...

Well, for years I have been trying to teach Catholic adults to be responsible for knowing and living out their own faith, not relying on the sound bites of any Church leaders.

We need to know the solid tradition and teaching of the Church and pass these down to our children. Anything less is irresponsible.

Thank God the Holy Spirit guards the Church and there will never be false teaching from the Chair of Peter, but too bad about those Church leaders who want to carry on a love affair with the media.

As to bishops' conferences, in my humble opinion, get rid of them all. We do not need these and can carry on just as well, if not better under the old hierarchical structures.

George said...

So far, those things that I've read from Pope Francis, which have caused so much consternation among Traditional Catholics, can all be looked at in ways that are technically correct.

- That atheists can be saved. All a non-believer can do is live in accord with his conscience and try to do right and seek truth. A non-believer cannot come to faith without grace first. He must seek the truth. God does the rest, right? Neither atheist, nor the Catholic, are saving themselves. The pope is technically teaching a truth. And in doing so, he is also building a bridge to this man.. strengthening a relationship which, God-willing, will lead to a conversion.

- That the pope is preaching about sin and the Devil only to faithful Catholics, but is remaining silent about sin and Hell when talking to infidels or reprobates. Why should this surprise us? Is detailing every sin of those we are in contact with the best way to cover them? Haven't many traditional theologians refered to ignorance as the eighth sacrament, saving more souls than the other seven combined? Again, I don't see the problem with different approaches for people in different states. As if a publishing a great manifesto declaring the whole world anathema would be the real solution.

- That unemplyment and loneliness are the greatest threats in the world today. I understand the moral importance of issues like abortion, divorce, pornography, and drugs. I understand countless souls are being destroyed through these vices. If, however, these vices are products of a materialist worldview which dominates the world. If this materialist worldview shapes and molds minds and hearts into those capable of abortion, divorce, and other such vices. Then maybe the pope is right to address the heart of the matter: a world controlled by materialism.

- another poster in this thread mentioned restricting communion to the sick and dying. I hadn't heard the pope say this. However, should we dismiss it outright? If too many people in the state of mortal sin are regularly receiving. If sacriligious communions are universal. If changing minds and hearts is not an option right now. Perhaps restricting communion is the best approach. To keep our brothers and sisters who are blinded by some obstinate personal sin from commiting additional sacrileges.

So much of what the pope has said can, in fact, be looked at in an orthodox light.

Pope Francis is responsible before God for the care of the Church. We are not. Yet we have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking.

ServusMariaeN said...

I've heard ad nauseum from the pulpit over the years about the "over 1 billion Catholics" who share one faith and one liturgy the world over. My pastor says it over and over again almost as if he wants to convince himself as much about this. The Catholic Church unfortunately is not the monolithic structure it was before I was born in 1966. Now, even in any given congregation there is no unity in faith and morals. Other than the odd courageous home school family of 12 with girls in mantillas (who I must say appear freakish to most others in the congregation), most families have the 1.5 number of children of general society. I can't imagine that they all believe the same thing regarding the real presence which is noticable by how they ignore the tabernacle and receive communion. It doesn't take an Einstein to see that the Church is in shambles. Pope Francis is said to have made the statement that "things have never been so good in the church". I'm wondering if we are on the same planet let alone the same church?

Sadie Vacantist said...

JARay - we all understand the theology of the great St. Pius X. As a project however, it has run its course. The sacrality of the holy sacrifice of the Mass must be preserved at all costs as the World descends inexorably into paganism.

Jacobi said...

@Sadie Vacantist

St Pius X must be turning in his grave now. His request for more frequent reception was against a background of good Catholics rarely receiving. Belloc I believe, and I suspect Chesterton also?, attended Mass frequently, but rarely Communion.

The abuse, the sacrilegious abuse, in probably every Catholic Church in the West, as near 100% of the congregation receive Holy Communion while many, probably a majority, including casual Mass attenders, cohabiters, those who heretically do not believe in Confession, contraceptors, I could go on, are, objectively speaking , receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin.
The greater abuse however, is that so many of our bishops support this or even worse than that, know it to be wrong but are too afraid to speak out and say so.

It is left to a few courageous priests and the increasing number of outspoken lay people such as Voris, who whatever their faults, are but filling in the vacuum.

Why do pendulums have to swing from one extreme to the other?

parepidemos said...

Sadie Vacantist:

Whilst I abhor any sign of disrespect towards the Eucharist, I should like to offer three thoughts:

(1) When we reverently receive Christ in Communion, we become more conformed to Him; therefore, the more we receive the more we become like Christ. (2) The previous being true, it follows that frequent - reverential - reception of Communion is a better way to fight paganism than the abstention you propose. (3) There is absolutely no scriptural, nor doctrinal basis for restricting Communion to those who are sick or dying. Indeed, the opposite is true, for the Catechism (1389) proclaims the official teaching when it states "The Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily"

Note the adverb "strongly", and the term "even daily", both of which are used for a reason. This is the position of the Church, and I am confident that you will agree that when the Church clearly teaches something - as is the case here - we are called to not only accept, but embrace, that teaching.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I agree with you but my proposal Is good pastoral praxis. If even 'good' Catholics cease to receive on a regular basis, the Church can then allow divorced and remarried Catholics to once again develop a relationship with God on Sundays.

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

Pope Francis' reflection in June L'Osservatore Romano:

'They are today’s Pelagians who believe in the firmness of faith and are convinced that “salvation is the way I do things.” “I must do them seriously,” without any joy...they are very numerous. They are not Christians. They disguise themselves as Christians.'

If firmness of faith in the Church of Christ and His Saints is what someone who isn't a Christian does to disguise themselves as Christians does that follow that anyone displaying firmness of faith is not a Christian?

George said the things being presented could all be read as orthodox. Then why are atheists and secularists and Catholicophobes cheering and sneering all over?

It's a subtle trick to please the world AND keep the faith, and all without the unwelcome firmness of faith.

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

p.s.firmness of Faith - how can this ever be joyless? Yes, there's great sadness but also, the joy.

Deacon Augustine said...

viterbo, I'm afraid you don't understand the mindset of papolaters.

If those same words had sprung from the lips of Hans Kung, people like George would no doubt have been happy to label them as ridiculous, ignorant or even heretical - falling under precisely those censures which St Pius X set out in Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

However, because those words sprung from the lips of the Bishop of Rome, they magically acquire a property which enables, nay even demands them, to be twisted and bent into an interpretation which can be conformed to an orthodox understanding.

Thus the Catholic Faith becomes a fideistic ideology where superstition reigns supreme and reason has no place. The basic rules of logic no longer apply in a world where a Pope is elevated to the level of a divine oracle who can do or say no wrong. He acquires absolute powers which enable him to redefine reality at whim and "faithful Catholics" can do no more than genuflect before him.

This understanding of the Papacy has gained more and more traction since Vatican I, and some of its critics would call it "Ultramontanism". However, I prefer the term "Papolatry" because Ultramontanism can be understood in a perfectly Catholic sense.

Deacon Augustine said...

Thought it might be interesting to get a Lutheran take on the new Pope:

George said...

Deacon Augustine,

Wouldn't you agree that as Catholics we should indeed attempt to give words uttered by the pope more understanding, consideration, and general benefit of the doubt, than words from, say, Hans Kung? The spirit that animates you to sit in rash judgment of the pope is not the Holy Spirit, but the egalitarian spirit of 1789. Go ahead with your quick judgments of the Holy Father. It's the way of the Times apparently. Modern communications have given us the ability to know instantly every utterance from the Successor of St. Peter. And modern mentalities of rights and equalities have given us the justifications for judging those utterances. Go ahead!

It's a basic tenet within moral theology that we owe in charity to give the best interpretations of peoples' words or acts. If those words or acts are not objectively sinful, if it is indeed possible to interpret them in a favorable manner, than we are required in charity to do that. This applies to our everyday interactions with folks. And most certainly applies to our expressed opinions of our leaders. And must always apply to what we say about the Vicar of Christ.

Didn't I read on this blog (or perhaps it was somewhere else) that some old, holy priest once said that a good sermon normally had fewer than 20 heresies uttered by the priest. The wisdom of that comment seems to show that it's actually quite hard to avoid heresy when discussing the faith.

I once was in dialogue with an arch-traditionalist (a man fairly well known in the English-speaking Traditional Catholic world and one who is now a full-fledged sede vacantist), and I offered him a series of quotes from Benedict XV and Leo XIII. But I left the quotes unattributed. The quotes from Benedict XV were about the brotherhood of all men, as goal of League of Nations. The quotes from Leo XIII were about the need for theology to not infringe upon the domains of the physical sciences. They sounded like words straight from JPII. Being unattributed, the traditionalist labeled them rank, Conciliar heresy. When I informed him that they were for Benedict XV and Leo XIII, he backtracked mightily, giving them a measured interpretation, in light of orthodoxy.

parepidemos said...

Sadie Vacantist,

As you do, I believe it most important that Catholics in irregular marriages should be able to develop their relationship with God at Mass. However, I'm struggling to see how other Catholics not receiving Holy Communion would be of help; could you explain? Thanks.

George said...

"p.s.firmness of Faith - how can this ever be joyless? Yes, there's great sadness but also, the joy."

In the Gospels, Our Lord seemed to spend more time warning against Phariseeism rather than warning against laxity. To be sure, he addresses both. To be sure, both seem to be paths to Hell. But it seems clear that Phariseeism is a paramount spiritual danger.

There is no safety in excessive rigor and legalism. There seems to be an understanding among many traditional Catholics that a little bit on the Pharisee side is better than being a little bit on the laxity side. I'm not so sure this is true. I think the Gospels speak differently.

Because the world is so messed up, morally, spiritually, and in every other important way, does not mean that an excess to Phariseeism is proper.

Our Lord took human flesh and came into the world at another "dark time" in human history. Things were generally in very poor shape both within and without Israel. But Our Lord did not preach about like a nutty trad. In fact, many criticized him for laxity. Many desired a strict law-giver and were dissapointed in the meekness and emphasis on mercy and forgiveness. In an age when the world was in darkness and deep sin, Our Lord did not draft a syllabus of errors. He took a much different approach. One more akin to Pope Francis', in fact.

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

Pope Francis dislikes quite alot about 1900 years of Christ's Church - we are told now to pray and not 'say' recited prayers?! He's of my parent's generation and, likewise, they decided that what was given to them was not worth much, time for something different - and so the disintegration of an understanding of what is valuable continues in my generation.

I suppose this is why people joyfully gifting Pope Francis the treasure of the rosary was something for him to complain about - exactly who's doing most of the complaining? Most of the people with his finger pointed at them are bewildered - Catholics keeping the tradition handed to them are not Priests of the corrupted Jerusalem temple annoyed at someone challenging their 'do as I say, but not as I do?'

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

Reading Pascendi Dominici Gregis as Deacon Augustine cites might help shed some light on what Pope Francis is teaching:

Pope Pius X - 'But since the Modernists...present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together into one group, and to point out the connexion between them.'

George said...

Charity is the supreme virtue, not doctrine, nor tradition. (We hear 1COR13 how many times in our lives, but fail to put it into practice)

What binds the Church together is charity. What disintegrates the Church is lack of charity.

Schism, as defined, is clearly centered around charity. What motivates the refusal to submit to the Pope or to be in communion with those subject to him? The same lack of charity that animates any desire for separation from others.

If Pope Francis is a modernist, than so are Benedict XV, Leo XIII, Pius XII, as well as of course, John XXIII, Paul VI, JP II, and BXVI. They differ in degree certainly with regard to the level of their "modernism", but I can produce comments made by even those pre-Vatican II popes which sound a lot like modernism.

There are arguments out there which layout the case for the modernism of Benedict XV and Leo XIII. Where does it end? Or rather, where does it begin!?

Pope Francis may be the most Modernist of the group of modern popes. Can you or I honestly say that his modus operandi is not what God wants right now? Wouldn't we have to give God the benefit of the doubt and say it's more likely than not that Pope Francis is exactly the style of pope that God wants right now? I

'm not sure a whole-scale anathemizing of the modern world by a pope operating like Pius IX would be a beneficial thing for the Church in this present age. And I say this as a huge lover of Pius IX.

Deacon Augustine said...

George, you may think the judgments I make of the Pope's words are rash, but after 7 months of self-contradictory twaddle, I don't accept that the term "rash" applies at all.

I believe rash judgments are those which pertain to men whose active homosexual lifestyle embody the filth that has infected the priesthood, and yet the Pope can say "Who am I to judge?"

On the other hand he can judge those who value firmness of faith as not even being Christian!!!:

"They are today’s Pelagians who believe in the firmness of faith and are convinced that “salvation is the way I do things.” “I must do them seriously,” without any joy. The Pope commented, “they are very numerous. They are not Christians. They disguise themselves as Christians.”"

Which is a very strange judgment to make considering that in his recent Encyclical he wrote:

"With faith comes a new reliability, a new firmness, which God alone can give. If the man of faith finds support in the God of fidelity, the God who is Amen (cf. Is 65:16), and thus becomes firm himself, we can now also say that firmness of faith marks the city which God is preparing for mankind."

So George, if the Pope can contradict his own words so totally in the space of a few weeks, some of them must be wrong. How do you decide whether he is speaking bullshit or not? Is it not necessary to judge his words in order to see which ones correspond with the Faith and which do not?

I would say it is a moral necessity to judge his words, because his words do not even correspond with each other.

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

God is in charge, and we trust God according to how much grace we've been given or at least not obstructed; that trust is In God - not God's creatures. Papal Infallibility has been so misunderstood (the biography of Pius IX by Yves Chiron is a good start to getting things straight); and conflated with the mortal given the responsibility of St Peter's chair, so that all those 'securities' which the current Pope dislikes, twist into a trust not in God but in the next revelation of the Bishop of Rome, as Pope Francis prefers.

When people are at odds and confused about whether the steward is contradicting the King, who is at fault? the 'audience', the messengers/media, the court/advisors, or the steward? Certainly not the King.

St Paul didn't require that we take on innovations to keep pace with a proposed evolution of truth: 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel--7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. 10 Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.'

Do the confused have any cause to see a 'seeking of the favour of men'?

Sadie Vacantist said...

There is a lack of joy in the modern Church. A couple of years ago there was a documentary on Allen Hall and everyone looked miserable. It is an act of cruelty by any bishop to send a candidate there.

My prediction is that after the brief hiatus of B16, vocations will continue to plummet under this pontificate.

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


reformed in what image?

unified to what point of gravity?

Pope Emeritus welcomed a statue of Our Lady of Fatima into his residence on the 13th day - the day when three children; shepherds saw and heard something the Bransons of this world would spend billions moving mountains for.

When did those gifted with the utter miracle of Apostolic succession; the pearl beyond price, see something more worthwhile? Is there a more endangered spieces on God's earth than the consecrated priest in the Apostolic succession? It's simultaneously humbling and appalling that the Consecrated Padre of the Rite of Eternal Life might be as ignorant of his utterly unique 'Spirit' of miraculous transformation as the people-person-in-the-pews who can't wait to get away from God -back to the unreal world and the comfort /familiarity of the father-of-lies.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; dust off the monstrance - it has to help! Every Priest would be surprised how many parishoners were eager to give time - God given - back to God.

Paxchristi said...

Thanks for your thoughtful reflection, Father. It certainly engendered some interesting comments. I think the most salient point was offered by the commenter, Francis: "So the main delivery expectations at the conclave were two-fold: reform of the Church’s governance structures and emphasizing the 'God is love' message of the Church to transform its media image and public reputation." He goes on to write: "Francis has done a good job so far of redirecting the media’s attention away from the abuse scandals, and giving the Church a more motherly face, although this has been at the expense of diluting the doctrinal messages on abortion and conjugal love."

A large part of problems in North America and Europe is a uber-powerful reigning Fifth Column, the mainstream media (MSM). In my country, our prime minister is embroiled in a silly, tempest-in-a-teapot scandal which has the potential to bring him down. The story has been manipulated and fueled by a longtime animus by our country's MSM for our PM and his party. They truly hold the balance of power, not only here, but in many nations.

And so it is with the Catholic Church. It has has long been famously said: "Any stick is good enough to beat the Catholic Church." Because of mankind's fascination with, and dependence on, the many facets of current technological communication, the MSM are able to wield their enormous power to shape the opinions of the sheeple - and this reigning entity is a master of this art! One only has to chat with neighbors and co-workers to understand their opinions are not informed, but formed by lefty 11:00 pm TV newsmongers, as well as by accessing the news apps on their tablets and phones.

So what is a PM to do? What is a Church to do? Often waiting out the storm is a good tactic, trusting that the shelf life of a story is a few weeks. But some stories will not die. The MSM will not let go of their animus toward the Church. So, how does one do an end-run around this Fifth Column that will not yield its power?

I am extremely troubled by the language of the two interviews, and by the noises of this pontificate thus far, but I find myself hoping that the efforts of Francis could prove to be (even in the short term) an effective end-run around the MSM, so that some may start to view Holy Mother Church in a truer light. Call me Nellie, the kinda, sorta, cockeyed optimist.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...