Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality in the Big Interview

In the Big Interview (my first thoughts HERE), Pope Francis spoke on a range of issues, including homosexuality.

The MSM and catholic left and the squishy center is running with Francis’s jump-out quotes (traddies could maybe call them “scare quotes”).  If you look at MSM headlines, you take-away will be that Pope Francis is saying that abortion isn’t a big deal or that homosexuality is okay and that the Church doesn’t have a right to tell anyone what to do.

I don’t think that that is what he thinks or what he is doing or saying.

Let’s take a look at a portion of the interview in which Francis talks about homosexuality.  Pay attention to the vocabulary, even though this is a translation.  I haven’t yet verified the translation against the original.  My emphases and comments:

“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” [That’s the public square.] the pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. [Something that needs healing is not a good thing.  Then he leaps immediately into the issue of homosexuality… ] In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. [Which has been made abundantly clear in documents issued during the time of John Paul II from the office guided by Joseph Card. Ratzinger.  The Church does NOT condemn homosexual people!  The Church sees the actions as sinful and the orientation as a wound.  I won’t use the word “disease”, because that gives absolutely the wrong sense of the wound.  I’ll go with Francis’ point that it is something that needs “healing”.] During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, [Where, Holy Father, where?  On every street corner: the public square.] but God in creation has set us free: [We have FREE WILL.  We can choose to go against God’s plan and law.] it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person. [God doesn’t use mind control.  The Church doesn’t use mind control.  The Church proposes and we either freely embrace it or freely reject it.]

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ [Which is exactly what the Church teaches.  God loves everyone.] We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing. [Well… maybe He does.  I hope and pray that is what happens.]

So, the Pope starting by talking about the healing of what is wounded.  He immediately went into the subject of homosexual persons.  He talked about the pain they feel.  He talked about our compassion and God’s love.  Now, in talking about homosexuality he says:

“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: [What happens in the Sacrament of Penance?  First and foremost you confess your own sins.] evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better. [Confession is the “tribunal” in which you are simultaneously the accused and the prosecuting attorney. The Church’s role, in the person of the mercy is to act as, simultaneously, minister of  justice and minister of mercy.  You accuse yourself of sins and the Church helps in the healing.  Remember, Francis is talking about homosexuality.  Now he pivots to other great issues where there is a disease or wound to be healed.] I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do? [If a confessor is involved at this point in her life then that is because she is confessing the sin she committed in procuring an abortion and for her parts or failures if any in the breakup of the marriage.  Those are diseases or wounds that need healing.  What does the confessor do?  He HEALS, first by absolving the sincerely confessed sin, and also by talking of God’s love and mercy. He reconciles the women with the society of the Church as well.  So, let’s go on and see if Francis is only saying that the Church shouldn’t talk about abortion or homosexuality or that the Church doesn’t have a right to tell anyone what to do….]

“We cannot insist only [only] on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. [In other words, we cannot a) limit ourselves to talking just about these burning issues and b) just talk about the sins and messes people get themselves into.] This is not possible. [We have a lot of things to talk about, in addition to those issues.  For example, the flipside of the issues, such as the joy of healing and returning to grace and life in God.] I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. [Right.  Some people want to hear more from Francis about these burning issues on which the Church’s voice is being snuffed out.] But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. [YES!  In a context.  The context is that we are all sinners.  The context was established by Jesus: He told the woman taken in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:11)  He did NOT approve of the sin.  He called the sin what it is: SIN. At the same time He did not condemn the woman.  How is this difficult?  That is exactly the Church’s position on homsexuals and homsexual acts which are sins.] The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. [That, folks, is the take-away.] 

Let me repeat:

The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

This is what I think Francis is up to.

Francis’ pontificate is going to be about evangelization and putting a motherly face on the Church.

I suspect that, while he is Pope, Francis doesn’t want to see the words “Vatican condemns” a-ny-where.

I think that Francis thinks that constant correction and condemnation does more harm than good.  BE CAREFUL NOW: Francis said “all the time”.  He did not say “we should not talk about these things”.

Also, I did not say that I think Francis thinks that it is only harmful to correct and condemn, etc.  It does some good, but it also does harm.  I think he thinks that, right now, the harm to the Church’s message and motherly character outweighs the good that the correction does.  (At least considering the way we have been doing it.)

That is also why he thinks things need to be done more at the local level than by him.  He doesn’t want to see “Vatican condemns” or “Pope Francis condemns” all the time. That’s just about the only way that the MSM chooses to pay attention to Popes.  If they are not calling for peace, Popes are only reported on when they exercise one of the most important dimensions of their office: saying “No!”

To recap: People who focus just on the comments that Francis made about compassion for homosexuals and “social wounds” or about not talking about abortion all the time or that the Church has no right to “interfere” with people (as if to say that Francis thinks homosexuality is okay or that the Church should be silent in the public square or that we mustn’t talk about abortion) without also underscoring that Francis was talking about things which need healing and that they are matters for confession (read: sins) have distorted his meaning.

Some of you are saying “But Father! But Father! Should any Pope talk this way?  Doesn’t he understand that people take him out of context?  Should he say any of this?”

I respond that, when I am Pope, I’ll have a different style.  Headlines might read something like “POPE NOT SEEN IN PUBLIC FOR 100 DAYS! STILL ALIVE?”  But that’s a different can of chowder.  Francis is the one in the chair and he gets to speak and act with the freedom of the Vicar of Christ in a world that hasn’t been welcoming the Church’s message for a long time.  We shall see what results.

I read what the Pope says. Then I try to figure out what he is really saying, apart from my own preferences about how he should say it.   But, hey!. He talks about the Devil in stark terms, more than Benedict ever did.  Francis might not talk in philosophical terms about beauty and mystery, and truth – no, wait he did in Lumen fidei…. well… as much as Benedict did…. no, wait… Benedict wrote what Francis signed… well… as often as we might prefer.  Instead, Francis talks about things like damaging gossip and the sort of ambition that hurts people.  Oh, Lord, how I have suffered from both gossip and the machinations of the ambitious clerics during my years as a priest. I welcome Francis healing words about these sins!  These are concrete sins that are going on even more than homosexual acts or abortions, which are also sins.  These sins deserve attention also.  We know what the sins are.  Even people who deny that certain things are sins know that they are sins deep down.  Therefore, we can use lots of attention on healing the wounds of sin.

Dear readers, don’t focus only on the jump-out quotes or the scare quotes.

Read the whole context.  Let it sink in.  Think about it.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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289 Responses to Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality in the Big Interview

  1. Michael says:

    I have no qualms with the substance of the Pope’s message. But there is no reason he should be talking about this at all. If he wants to focus on different aspects of the Church’s social teaching, then he should. I have no problem with that.

    But he must realize that the vast majority of people will focus on what they believe to be the bottom line: “Pope okay with homosexuality! Pope says abortion not so bad!” That is not what the Pope is saying. But it is what many people will believe he is saying.

    Perhaps the Holy Father’s point is that these groups are themselves marginalized. The Church needs to emphasize that it is a hospital for sinner and they are always welcome inside. I agree completely. But if this is not done very, very carefully, you end up with rogue priests teaching outright acceptance of homosexuality and abortion. You end up with homosexual outreach groups that are used as dating clubs.

    The Pope could show the compassionate and forgiving side of the Church without discussing these topics at all. And I think that would be a lot less dangerous. But you are right, Fr. Z. He is the Vicar of Christ. His is the Chair. The choice of tactics is rightfully his.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    Michael, an interview is not from the Chair of Peter-not a formal statement and not infallible.

    Tactics are human inventions, and liable to error.

  3. Michael says:

    I never said he was speaking infallibly. And I think I made clear that I believe his tactics are poor strategy. I think they will not work and will likely backfire.

    But nothing he is doing or saying is morally suspect. And so long as that remains true, I believe the Holy Father deserves a certain amount of leeway on these matters.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    PS The reason why we have a doctrine of infallibility is that popes are not always correct in some ways. People are very confused on this point. From the good, old CE again.

    “…for an ex cathedra decision it must be clear that the pope intends to bind the whole Church. To demand internal assent from all the faithful to his teaching under pain of incurring spiritual shipwreck (naufragium fidei) according to the expression used by Pius IX in defining the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Theoretically, this intention might be made sufficiently clear in a papal decision which is addressed only to a particular Church; but in present day conditions, when it is so easy to communicate with the most distant parts of the earth and to secure a literally universal promulgation of papal acts, the presumption is that unless the pope formally addresses the whole Church in the recognized official way, he does not intend his doctrinal teaching to be held by all the faithful as ex cathedra and infallible.”

  5. Father, I’m going to single out one, tiny portion of the text you examined because I noticed you passed over it without much comment in the interest of highlighting the idea that we must talk about and preach Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in the public square. There’s a little passage in which Pope Francis equates Holy Mother Church’s infallible voice on moral matters to an opinion, which bows to the sovereignty of the conscience; further, he draws form this the conclusion that the Catholic Church ‘cannot interfere in the spiritual lives’ of people. The quote:

    “Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

    Again, Church teaching on morality is not an opinion of any kind, even when considered in the public square and contrasted with competing truth-claims. Her teaching on morality is absolute; her truths are God’s truths. She speaks with the voice of God when she invokes her infallibility, and her teaching is superior to all States and all false religions. This is simply dogmatic Catholic orthodoxy, as you know. How can we understand Pope Francis’s teaching here as orthodox? Sigh!

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Thanks Jonathan, you have said this better than what I was trying to do…

  7. benedetta says:

    I really believe that on the whole the development of this number one in google news headline -smashing interview with the Holy Father is an excellent thing for a variety of reasons. It’s a positive provocation, which will encourage people to look into the Faith which we know to be true and good and eternal salvation if one desires it.

    We all know that the media is its own animal. At the end of the day that’s all about dollars, not souls. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things that the media almost never gets it right these days as far as the Church is concerned. Sometimes some actual good comes from the reporting, or in spite of the reporting, or one hopes, for the human reporters’ souls.

    As the media would frame it, the Church only is about, abortion, homosexuality, contraception, lots of ‘nos’. The most ardent Catholic prolifer knows that is as inaccurate as it gets. Prolife isn’t about the no, it’s about the ‘yes’! And couples who eschew contraception and are out there teaching NFP know the exact same thing. Yet, that knowledge isn’t really getting out there. We can scratch our heads all we want and blame the media which certainly has something to do with it. But I’m with Pope Francis. We want people to know about the Fiat…

  8. inexcels says:

    I wonder how much those who have such a tiffy about Francis would have flipped out under a Pope such as Alexander VI…

    My point being: Even supposing we grant the opinion that Francis is a bad pope (I don’t), the Church has survived much worse. If Francis bothers you THAT much, go do a corporal work of mercy instead of thinking about him or something.

  9. Glen M says:

    How many times have you said this in the past six months, Fr Z? “I don’t think that that is what he thinks or what he is doing or saying.” I’m tired of saying it already.

    Despite his layered orthodoxy, the ‘Catholic Left’ is running with these headlines and sound bites. They will take advantage of this perceived slant in leadership and use it to further their change agendas. We’ve already seen one religious community banned from saying the Extra Ordinary Form (contrary to the universal law of the Church) and I predict there will be more.

    We are a people of hope so I’ll keep praying for our Holy Father and trust the Holy Spirit has a plan yet to be revealed.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    inexcels there are spiritual works of mercy as well.

  11. inexcels says:

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  12. Cosmos says:

    Seems to me that the Pope is saying to the wolrd:

    “While the Church’s teachings are true and I am not disavowing them, you are just in perceiving her members to be mean-spirited and misdirected. They really do spend a lot of time creating divisions and unnecessarily focusing on things that cause you pain. If they were true to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit the World would always feel loved by them.”

    I am not saying that is what he is saying, but that is how I hear it.

    If I were a progressive I would endless repeat these quotes to shut down any challenge to my heterodox behvior, knowing full well that the Pope did not endorse my position. [And now more people will know how mendacious they are.] (“You weild the Church’s moral teaching like a weapon, we are all sinners and I am trying to reach out to people in their brokeness, rather than condemn them from the comfort of my armchair!”)

  13. TomG says:

    Masterful, Father. Thank you.

  14. You’re welcome STM, nice to see you commenting on Fr. Z’s blog by the way :)

    I’m just trying to process portions of the interview at the moment. The whole thing is so long and involved that it’s difficult to take it all in at once. That comment especially stood out to me as really close to heterodoxy because of the bit about infallible Church teaching being an opinion and then the odd conclusion he draws about not interfering in their spiritual lives. That alone ought to raise red flags, even if we can’t comprehend yet the whole.

  15. Vincent says:

    Well, all this is fair enough – but taking up the military analogy:

    The general of the Church Militant has the authority to order where we march, how we march and what tunes we play as we go into battle. I suppose then we should give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to see how his tactics go. Let’s just hope that this isn’t a spiritual re-enactment of the Battle of the Somme. After all, General Haig had the right to tell his troops to walk into battle, but that didn’t mean it was a good idea, and it resulted in the loss of a million men…

    @inexcels, that’s a very good point, the church survived Alexander VI. That’ll at least give me some hope…

  16. ejcmartin says:

    WDTPRS
    What did the Pope really say?
    Fr. Z’s new tag line.

  17. OrthodoxChick says:

    JonathanCatholic,

    “Church teaching on morality is not an opinion of any kind, even when considered in the public square and contrasted with competing truth-claims. Her teaching on morality is absolute; her truths are God’s truths. She speaks with the voice of God when she invokes her infallibility, and her teaching is superior to all States and all false religions. This is simply dogmatic Catholic orthodoxy, as you know. How can we understand Pope Francis’s teaching here as orthodox?”

    Because as Pope Francis stated (and you quoted), ” God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

    That’s just how it is. The Church can excommunicate someone for medicinal purposes, but if that person chooses to remain outside of the Church, they are exercising their God-Given free will. And if said person chooses to live out the remainder of their time on earth outside of the Church, Her God-Given Sacraments and Grace, then it literally “is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person”. God doesn’t demand that we seek to know Him, love Him, and serve Him and neither does the Church. It’s a request.

    It is the same for governments. Our founding fathers did not found the U.S. as an established Catholic nation. So even though we know that Catholic teaching is superior to all false states and religions, those false states (and the people who rule them) and false religions (and the people who practice them) are free to reject the Bride of Christ and Her children. And thankfully, since “God in creation has set us free”, we are indeed free to accept the “dogmatic Catholic orthodoxy”.

    Great analysis of the Pope’s interview, Fr. Z!

  18. pmullane says:

    Thank you, fr Z.

    What shines out from Pope Francis is his burning desire for souls, the way he wants to reach out to those who feel christs mercy is not for them, but for others. He shames me with his love and zeal, a true shepherd, leaving the 99 for the sake of the lost sheep.

  19. Jean Marie says:

    Thank you Father Z for the clarification. On one hand, we have the major media deliberately distorting what Pope Francis has said, and then there are “Traditional Catholic” sites that already want to label him as an anti-pope. What dark, confusing times we live in.

  20. Louis Tully says:

    JonathanCatholic– I think you’re reading into “opinion” way too much. For starters, Francis didn’t say “opinion”; I’ll leave it to Fr Z to examine the interview in the original language. Beyond that, even the dictionary definition of “opinion” doesn’t exclude it also being a Truth. My opinion is that 27 watermelons is more watermelons than 5 watermelons. This is a true statement which also happens to be my opinion. The point being: speculating that the Holy Father is heterodox is a (to put it lightly) heavy accusation, one that’s far too serious to quibble about the precise meaning of an individual word translated from another language made during an interview by a man with a long and serious background in Catholic theology. Oh yeah, he’s also the Pope.

  21. mamajen says:

    I think his statement is absolutely wonderful. And your analysis, Father Z, is great too.

    There are too many otherwise good Catholics who are repelling people from the Church because they cannot overcome their repulsion and treat others with patience and mercy. There’s a great quote I’ve seen floating around the internet: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” We all do things that offend God greatly. I don’t think we should shut up about homosexuality, abortion, contraception, etc., but too many Catholics do not know how to approach such matters (never mind much smaller issues) without alienating people. I think the Catholic Church has the most loving, most amazing teachings, and the message is simply not getting out as it should. Like I said on the other thread, I think Pope Francis knows what he is doing.

  22. kpoterack says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Fr. Z for all of the hard work you do for us! Explaining this interview took a big weight off of my mind. (I had only seen scare quotes from various new sources.) I suspect, given the MSM, we will continue to need your services well into the future.

  23. Louis Tully, first of all, I didn’t speculate that Pope Francis is heterodox, I asked how we can understand him as orthodox. I have good will concerning the Holy Father’s teaching, I want to understand him and I certainly want him to teach correct doctrine at all times. My point was simply that, assuming that the Italian word he used was translated accurately which I have no way of determining since I don’t know the Italian language, the *suggestion* that comes to mind by the phrase ‘a right to express its opinion’ is of the Church as one party among equals claimants to having their voices heard. If that’s inaccurate to the Holy Father’s meaning, Deo Volente, then wonderful. If that is what he meant, then that would be something I would find nearly impossible to comprehend as orthodox.

  24. Robbie says:

    Like many, I’m disappointed in the way things have gone recently. I’m glad Francis has been able to reach many disaffected liberals through his presentation, but I fear he’s doing it at the cost of the conservatives.

    At this point, I think the Pope speaks far too much and his off the cuff style promotes confusion. Does anyone think Pope Ranjith or Pope Burke would need to have their comments clarified each time they spoke?

    I look forward to Father Z’s thoughts on Francis’ comments on VCII, SP, the TLM becoming an ideology, and Francis’ concern about “restorationists”.

  25. I just want to thank Fr. Z for staying calm through these statements. When I saw the first headline this afternoon, I had my doubts. But it’s all part of the hermeneutic of continuity (a concept foreign to the mainstream media). Remember what I said before as well: The Pope has to take risks. He clearly does not want to be the lazy, dishonest steward who buries his talents on the Day of Judgment– he wants to be the one with the 5,000 talents– or maybe 5,000 new tribes of converts to take to heaven with him. Risk-takers sometimes lose, but hopefully this risk-taker will win in the end.

  26. mamajen says:

    @Robbie

    “…but I fear he’s doing it at the cost of the conservatives.”

    “Conservatives”, of all people, should know better.

  27. Archer.2013 says:

    (I posted this a while ago in response to another article on this blog, but I think its just as relevant here so I posted it again).

    I’ve just (thankfully) said goodnight to a few friends after a several bottles of vino and an exhausting conversation about…you guessed it…Pope Francis’ interview. St0ries have been appearing all day about it on the net and I knew it would come up tonight. Pope Francis may feel that he is laying the foundations for dialogue and understanding between the Church and the world, but not a single one of my friends gets it. None of them are Catholic but they know I am and find my Catholicism very strange especially since they also know I’m gay. Catholicism, since I became one, has become interesting to them and is often discussed. These have been great opportunities for evangelisation. Who’d have thought it then that when Pope Benedict resigned his successor would provide the material that would undermine any progress I’d made with some of my non-Christian and non-Catholic friends. Apparently, according to them, today’s articles affirm that Church teaching on contraception, abortion and homosexuality are changing. Wow !?! Whatever the pope intended, I spent the evening dealing with the reality of his interview. How many people out there reading his interview will not even bother discussing it with a Catholic afterwards. Fr Z, you speak of the real Francis and the virtual Francis, but the net result of either one of them speaking is the same – a room full of people who are confident that their kooky take on Catholicsim is correct because they heard it from the pope. My friends seemed confused as to why I should remain celibate when Church teaching is, and I quote, “changing on the issue”. I, it seems, am at odds with the pope and out of step with the direction in which he is taking the Church, at least according to my friends. If we think Francis is laying the foundations for fruitful dialogue, we are kidding ourselves I’m afraid. His words might make sense to alot of thinking Catholics, but to all else he merely sows confusion and makes those who defend orthodoxy appear backwards and (oddly) un-orthodox (since we are out of step with the pope). We might like to blame the MSM for misrepresenting his message, but Francis background doesn’t easily lend itself to his being overly naive about the nature and machinations of the MSM. We can twist and contort ouselves as much as we like in order to fit Francis’ message into an orthodox agenda, but one has to wonder if we’re just kidding ourselves.

  28. Chrissin says:

    Oh my!! Hard to keep focused, Fr Z! The news media is absolutely SATURATED with soundbites and other tidbits lifted, pasted, combined, all cherry picked. It’s on the crawl at the bottom of the screen, it’s on sidebars, It’s on the radio on the hour news headlines…….Fox added: ” contrasts sharply with his predecessors, most recently BXVI & JPII.” It’s on Drudge, HuffPo, Pewsitter, NYT,Fox, ABC, CBS and on and on. Somebody’s making a mess! I will hold steady on the ground that the Church needs to be more welcoming to sinners…..although I never found it UNwelcoming. I have a personal story of conversion after years of swirling at the bottom of the culture of death cesspool. It was the Church that led me to healing and a possibility of holiness. Sooo….don’t know what to say. This guy is a piece of work! I so often wish he would take these opportunities- ie the homosexual issue- to EXPLAIN why acting out on it is sinful and leads to a sinful, unhappy life that closes the door to the grace of God. He may take the teachings for granted, but most people- even Catholics, are unformed. I see these as teachable moments! What I hear is very confusing. I read the interview with the “Who I am I to judge?” quote. It made sense in context. He just seems to ramble and beat around the bush almost not wanting to ‘be negative’ with the ‘shalt nots’.
    Being Catholic is not easy.

  29. charo says:

    Thank you for your comment, Archer.2013. Your words encapsulated my thinking, especially this:
    “His words might make sense to alot of thinking Catholics,…” It’s all fine and good that Pope Francis calls himself a son of the Church and therefore a believer in all of the teachings, but that is not what is being heard. Innocents are going to be mislead without strong clarification. Pope Francis needs to clarify himself, not everyone else because who will believe me when I try to explain what he really meant?

  30. Gretchen says:

    I appreciate your comment Archer.2013. God bless you and keep you, and all of us.

  31. Louis Tully says:

    Jonathan– You’re right, and I hope I didn’t seem uncharitable. It was typed with one hand while rocking a screaming and heavy (!) baby in the other. Francis does play fast and loose with the way he phrases things sometimes, and I think he always has one eye on the non-Christian. Perhaps he *wanted* to give the impression you describe, if only to draw in a person who would otherwise simply spit in our face.

    In any case, I’m new to commenting here and don’t want to make any enemies!

  32. LarryW2LJ says:

    Of all the news reports on this that I have seen tonight, at least CBS inserted the words, (more or less, this is not an exact quote) “The Pope has NOT changed Catholic teaching”. That caveat, I fear, is being totally ignored by the cherry pickers and the cafeteria style choosers.

    People will choose to hear what they want to hear, and will interpret the Pope’s words however suits them best. But maybe the best advice is “Keep calm, pray on, because no matter what, Jesus is King” …… and go to confession!

  33. jhayes says:

    I think you’re reading into “opinion” way too much. For starters, Francis didn’t say “opinion”

    True enough. He said “opinione” – but it has the same meaning.

    “La religione ha il diritto di esprimere la propria opinione a servizio della gente, ma Dio nella creazione ci ha resi liberi: l’ingerenza spirituale nella vita personale non è possibile.

    http://www.avvenire.it/Chiesa/Pagine/intervista-papa-civilta-cattolica.aspx#

    “Ingerenza” has the same meaning as the “interfere” used in the English version.

    Perfectly orthodox teaching.

  34. Polycarpio says:

    @Robbie

    Does anyone think Pope Ranjith or Pope Burke would need to have their comments clarified each time they spoke?

    Pope Francis only needs to have his statements clarified to what Archbishop Chaput has called “the right wing of the Church.” Other sectors of the Church are quite happy with Pope Francis, and they’re not all LCWR, cosmic-bath taking she-priestesses. The Pew Poll had Francis with an approval rating similar to what Pope Benedict had among U.S. Catholics, and polls in Italy have him closer to John Paul II among Catholics there.

    To put it in context: I consider myself a mainstream Catholic and I have friends in both the “right” and “left” wings of the Church. Under Benedict, I saw the same despair and dejection among perfectly orthodox but progressive-leaning chapters of the Church that I now see in conservative quarters. I saw the same cringing, the same talk of theological confusion, etc. Earlier, I found myself constantly having to explain Benedict to progressives and now I find myself defending Francis. It is utterly astonishing that a 5 or 10 degree shift in focus can leave people feeling so completely abandoned. To my mind, we have had a succession for which the political equivalent would be like when we went from Reagan to Bush I in 1988, but to some in the party, after Bush broke his tax pledge and got us involved in a humanitarian mission in Somalia, some conservatives acted like we had gone from Reagan to Hubert Humphrey!

    All this is my long winded way of saying: Have Faith! What Pope Francis is doing may just work exactly as he intended for a large segment of the population. Possibly excluding this one–but it need not be so.

  35. Louis Tully – No offense taken! Good luck with that lovely child of yours ;)

  36. jbpolhamus says:

    When he Holy Father says “Who am I to judge,” he seems very out of touch with the fact that around the world secular judges are doing if for him, to the tune of millions and millions of dollars of church property. By not calling a sin a sin, however sympathetic and welcoming we may be to our neighbour, we rob the church of the very resources that go to feed, aid, and succor the poor and destitute – both spiriual and financial – that this pope professes to so long to identify with. All in the name of placating a militant body which is bent on destroying him. These aren’t lost sheep, they’re stiff-necked and stubborn sheep who won’t budge, and he’s going to find that carrying them all back home one at a time is an impossibility. This is severely flawed papal reasoning, we’ve seen it before, and I don’t buy it. I never did growing up, and I don’t now.

  37. Ella says:

    Thank you SO much, Father for the breakdown of the words of His Holiness! I cannot read Latin and the “scare quotes” in the paper and such are always so inaccurate.

  38. Lin says:

    Most people throughout the world are getting the progressive sound bites put forward by the MSM. And the comments they are posting on the secular web sites would lead one to believe that we are finally modernizing the Catholic Church. In other words, we are becoming just like the Protestants. This is NOT going to win over converts. Father Z can explain his comments. You and I can explain his comments. But to the vast majority of people listening or reading the sound bites, the Pope’s words serve to tickle their ears and salve their consciences. His choice of words permit a wide range of interpretation and it appears to be making them comfortable in their sins. It saddens me but GOD has his plan and I will not lose my hope or my faith. I pray HE continues to send HOLY priests into my life while earth bound. Thank you Father Z! You have helped ground me in a very difficult year. [Friend, the year isn’t over. I get up every day, and think “What has he done today?”. I say make my Mystic Monk Coffee and say my office and wonder “What has he done today?” I go to the computer and wonder “What has he done today?” Then I find out what he did this time. Yes, it has been a hard year in some ways. There have been good days and bad days. How is this different from other pontificates? It is coming at us more quickly now. The news cycle and ability to be “out there” has increased exponentially. So: The year isn’t over. But each day is also an opportunity to think, deepen and clarify.]

  39. Austin Catholics says:

    Hoo boy….what a brouhaha…

    People need to calm down. The Pope is one of over a billion Catholics and one of over a thousand bishops. He’s one guy, and he didn’t say anything that others haven’t said. People need to get over the idea that ONE guy is in charge. Collegiality we are all in charge – people of God. Hanging on every word that ONE guy says is no way to run a Church.

  40. Anchorite says:

    Great job, Father! I am not sure why you haven’t been named the papal spokesperson and the official translator. Now, do you think Francis would agree with your spin? [I don’t think what I wrote was “spin”.]

  41. Ryan says:

    Something of interest to me besides all the talk on the moral issues was that his breviary is in latin:

    “At this point he gets up and goes to get the breviary from his desk. It is in Latin, now worn from use.”…

  42. Bruce Wayne says:

    I think this is the statement that yields the most insight into what Pope Francis is doing:

    “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

    Do you see how clever his maneuver is? It is positively . . . Jesuitical. He SEES that the person is being provocative, he sees that they want him to say “Homosexuality is a vile sin and condemned for all time” so that they can turn around and tell homosexuals that the Church hates them.

    So what does he do instead? He undermines their attempt to make him into a caricature (of the old Calvinistic fire and brimstone type) with which they can do serious damage to others by telling themselves to be comforted in their egoism. He does not restate for the umpteenth time what everyone knows is the moral truth of the matter. He wants to speak to the sinner and be heard by them.

    I am not going to refresh my memory through research so this may be inexact but Benedict was a great moral theologian and philosopher. And somewhere he addresses the objective fact that if a homosexual who has AIDS realizes they could infect others and so begins to use condoms that this person has in fact made moral progress. Can you harsh critics of Francis see Benedict’s point? Is sodomy still a sin? Yes. Is the inclination still disordered? Yes. Is contraception still a sin? Yes. But has this particular sinning agent made actual ethical progress? Yes. Have they fully become “good”? No of course not. That was written by Benedict (or maybe as Ratzinger) but the point is if the media saw that they could easily treat it as they do what Francis says. “Pope says condoms are good!” Etc., etc.

    Any authentic and good Catholic moral theology lends itself to such misrepresentation. It is the condition of the Good and True in a fallen human world. The Good has to acknowledge things like “moral progress” from bad to less bad; it acknowledges that which is true even in the mouths of a heretic. This was even true of the great inquisitors of the past. They were meant to wield their inquisitorial sword as a surgical knife.

    The long and the short of it is that Francis demonstrates time after time that he is not interested in being content with repeating the rules, the doctrines, and dogmas. He wants to help save souls and wants to provoke the sinner into a sense of their own sinfulness. His concerns are overwhelmingly pastoral.

    Now, as such they are overwhelmingly matters of prudence and NOT doctrine. Hence he can be disagreed with just as any other bishop or pope can on such matters. I am down with that. But the despair and histrionics are too much in my opinion.

  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Time for a new Bananarama cover – ‘Papa Francesco’s waiting, talking Italian…’? Bring it on, that Italian. Parse it, please. What is translated “set us free”? “Veritas liberabit vos” is translated “the truth shall make you free” at drbo.org. Has someone slipped a false nuance in, in the interview, here?

    What lies behind “it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person”? Something clear, in Italian? What behind “spiritually”, “interfere”, and “it is not possible”, meaning what, exactly? Should I stop praying for the conversion of sinners as a futile activity, since an answered prayer would represent successful ‘spiritual interference’ in some sense?

    Presumably something is being ill-served by the current translation!

    OrthodoxChick writes, ” God doesn’t demand that we seek to know Him, love Him, and serve Him and neither does the Church. It’s a request.” “Quod est mandatum magnum in Lege?”, “primum omnium mandatum”?… “Hoc est maximum, and primum mandatum.” ‘The first and greatest… request’ – ?

    If it is an accurate analysis that “he thinks that, right now, the harm to the Church’s message and motherly character outweighs the good that the correction does”, does this run the risk of conducing to the mistaken image (to vary Lewis’s) of ‘a grandmotherly character’, “a senile benevolence”, or of seeming to, to the discouragement of those who see how “motherly” and “correction” go together?

  44. Chrissin says:

    Oh my!! Hard to keep focused, Fr Z! The news media is absolutely SATURATED with soundbites and other tidbits lifted, pasted, combined, all cherry picked. It’s on the crawl at the bottom of the screen, it’s on sidebars, it’s on the radio, the news on the hour headlines…….Fox added: ” contrasts sharply with his predecessors, most recently BXVI & JPII.” It’s on Drudge, HuffPo, Pewsitter, NYT, Fox, ABC, CBS and on and on. Somebody’s making a mess! I will hold steady on ‘the Church needs to be more welcoming to sinners’ interpretation…..although I never found it UNwelcoming. I have a personal story of conversion after years of swirling at the bottom of the culture of death cesspool. It was the Church that led me to healing and a possibility of holiness. (Thank you, Jesus!) Sooo….don’t know what to say. This guy is a piece of work! I so often wish he would take these opportunities- i.e. the homosexual issue- to EXPLAIN why acting out on it is sinful and leads to a sinful, unhappy life that closes the door to the grace of God. He may take the teachings for granted, but most people- even Catholics, are unformed. I see these as teachable moments! Especially at this time when it feels we are living in Sodom or Gomorrah itself. What I hear is very confusing. I read the interview with the “Who am I to judge?” quote. It made sense in context. He just seems to ramble and beat around the bush almost not wanting to ‘be negative’ with the ‘shalt nots’. His long and winding response to “Do you approve of homosexuality?” sounded like that of a politician.
    Being Catholic is not easy!

  45. Athelstan says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father’s point is that these groups are themselves marginalized. The Church needs to emphasize that it is a hospital for sinner and they are always welcome inside. I agree completely. But if this is not done very, very carefully, you end up with rogue priests teaching outright acceptance of homosexuality and abortion. You end up with homosexual outreach groups that are used as dating clubs.

    Well said Michael.

    And yes, this already happens all the time. The Pope surely doesn’t mean to encourage it.

    Perhaps this flap provides a “teaching moment” for us all to the wider world. But it’s one where we’ll be on the back foot, left to sound “harsher even than the Pope.”

  46. Bruce Wayne says:

    Lin you write:

    “the Pope’s words serve to tickle their ears and salve their consciences. His choice of words permit a wide range of interpretation and it appears to be making them comfortable in their sins.”

    Let’s try and think through what people are like:

    First, most people (in my pessimistic view) are already comfortable in their sins. Nothing the pope says or doesn’t say will make them any less comfortable in their sins. Would saying “if homosexuals continue in their sodomy and die unrepentant they are at risk of Hell” make those people as a group any less comfortable? No.

    Second, other people are in denial about their sins and do not see the spiritual and sinful source of their deep unhappiness. They live lives of quiet despair. Could some such people become further resigned to their own depravity by what the pope said? Hmmm, maybe some. But in this group I suspect that also some could feel welcomed in or intrigued to hear more from the Church based on how the pope is saying things as well as how he is being misrepresented.

    Third, their are the practicing faithful Catholics who regularly confess and communicate and try hard to maintain a life open to grace. Do such Catholics need reminders from the pope about Church teaching About the moral truths and first principles? Is their faith so fragile that a headline in the NYT can shake it? I hope not.

    So my question to you Lin is just who these people are that you think are being made comfortable in their sinfulness? And how exactly is the pope supposed to reach them?

    Ultimately, reaching souls and stirring consciences happens one person at a time, through personal outreach, through there seeking and finding something in a great book (like Lord of the Rings maybe), by their being scared by tragedy, etc. It hardly ever happens through the MSM and their salacious or misrepresenting headlines.

    Maybe we spend too much time in the virtual world of the internet?

  47. Lin says:

    Pope’s New Direction on Piers Morgan.

  48. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    The Church has basically been acting the way Francis is now talking for the past 50 years, and to me it is all so confusing. You read history and you find that when heresy and bad catechesis spreads unchallenged, the Church suffers the most. When it speak the truth boldly and confidently against sin and error, it draws people to itself and grows strong.

    The emphasis the Pope has chosen to put on God’s Mercy seems to me to come at the cost of God’s Justice. It calls to mind passage this beautiful from Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange:

    “In order that the reconciliation of justice and mercy be not scandal for us, of his own accord God has willed to show how these two perfections, far from destroying each other in being united, find only in this union the realization of their supreme demands. By the death on the cross of the Word made flesh, ‘mercy and truth have met each other; justice and peace have kissed’ (Ps 84[85]:11).

    God the Father, in demanding of Jesus Christ, by reason of His justice, an infinite satisfaction, as the offence was infinite, required of Him the most heroic act of love. And in consigning Him thus for our salvation to the glorious ignominy of death on a cross, He showed His own infinite love for the sovereign Good, for Christ, and for us. What is the sublimity of the cross, if not the harmony of perfections seemingly in opposition, the union of the supreme demands of justice and love?

    Liberal Protestants who refuse to see anything more in the Passion of our Lord than a manifestation of God’s love for us and not a demand of His justice, outrage this love which they claim to want to safeguard. They do not understand that, in proportion as love is purified of all imperfection, it becomes identical with mercy and justice. It is as absolute, imperative and strong as it is sweet and compassionate. This sweetness and mercy would be false and would no longer have anything divine about them, if they were not identical in God with the holy demands expressed by justice. We are far from believing in that good-natured God whom the world delights in creating for itself, and whom Bossuet, somewhere in his works, calls an idol.

    ‘Love is as strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell. The lamps thereof are fire and flames. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it’ (Cant 8:6). Love is as strong as death; its holy hatred of evil is as inflexible as hell… in this eminent degree… mercy and justice are simply one.”

  49. Pingback: What did Pope Francis Really Say? | A Singular Catholic

  50. Mercyknight says:

    I am a traditional priest (although I am only on my way to celebrating the EF), and I am confused. I admit it. But, I am also a bit anxious. I am anxious because I, like many other traditional priests, are out here in the trenches and I am already seeing the, shall we say, non-traditional types, emboldened by all of the pope’s off-the-cuff statements to attack. My experience has been that many of these types have very little, if any, boundaries. In other words, they feel free to play by rules you and I would not dream of using – calumny, slander, etc.. Why? Because a moral relativist finds any good reason whatsoever to achieve a perceived good end. I’m curious if other traditional priests are feeling a bit vulnerable right now.

  51. OrthodoxChick says:

    Venerator Sti Lot,

    In retrospect, I think that ‘invitation’ would have been a better word to use than ‘request’. And I don’t understand whatever you said in Latin. But even the 10 Commandments, though they are most definitely “Commandments” or “mandates” through and through, can actually be ignored by anyone who chooses to exercise their God-Given free will in order to ignore them. There will be consequences for that choice, but the fact remains that God does indeed allow us the free will to choose to offend Him, disobey what He commands, and the free will also to choose to beg Him for His Forgiveness if we ever come to realize our sin and error. We’re so free that we can choose to be apart from God both in this life and the next if we so foolishly desire.

    Now, if that’s the case, then the Church can minister, preach, teach, command – do anything She likes, but She can’t force any soul to do anything that soul does not choose to do. How could She when God Himself does not force us to go against the free will that He created us with? Hence the Pope’s statement that “… it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

    I stand by my prior comment, even if ‘request’ was not the best word choice.

  52. jdskyles says:

    WDTPRS should now mean “What Did the Pope Really Say?”

  53. Robbie says:

    I know I’m going to regret this, but here goes nothing. I think many people are simply fooling themselves about who Francis is and isn’t. Yes, he adheres to Church doctrine, but did anyone suspect anything different? Did anyone really suspect we’d end up with a Pope who didn’t believe in the doctrines of the faith? I didn’t.

    The question about Francis, at least in my mind, has never been about doctrine. It’s always been about tone, style, and emphasis. On these matters, Francis is a Church liberal. He mocked a group of religious who offered a large number of rosaries in his name. He appointed someone as Secretary of State who just spoke about possibly changing priestly celibacy. He even said love of the TLM could become ideology while warning to be on guard for restorationists. And let’s not forget the FFI or the discarding of many Papal symbols.

    There’s a reason Hans Kung was so excited when Bergoglio was elected. The same applies to Cardinal Mahoney. They see him as the man who can finish what Paul VI started. And just to be clear, Paul VI didn’t change doctrine either because VCII was a pastoral council. Despite that, he was a liberal, a modernist, or whatever adjective you want to use. Reading Francis through Benedict on doctrine is one thing, but not on emphasis and style. On those points, it about as useful as attempting to read Paul VI though Pius X or Pius XII.

    If Francis’ demeanor and tone helps reinvigorate the faith, then I will be ecstatic. Having said that, I hope he comes to realize his off the cuff style could lead to many of the problems the Church suffered through in the 1970’s.

  54. govmatt says:

    No long response on this one… couldn’t have said it better than Fr. Z!

  55. lsclerkin says:

    Mercyknight,
    Hi Father! Such times we live in, huh?
    I pray with the Church Militant rosary all the time.
    Thank you for learning the a EF.
    Ora et labora. :)

  56. Stumbler but trying says:

    “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

    “Do you see how clever his maneuver is? It is positively . . . Jesuitical. He SEES that the person is being provocative, he sees that they want him to say “Homosexuality is a vile sin and condemned for all time” so that they can turn around and tell homosexuals that the Church hates them.
    So what does he do instead? He undermines their attempt to make him into a caricature (of the old Calvinistic fire and brimstone type) with which they can do serious damage to others by telling themselves to be comforted in their egoism. He does not restate for the umpteenth time what everyone knows is the moral truth of the matter. He wants to speak to the sinner and be heard by them.”

    @ Bruce Wayne:
    Thank you! As I was reading that part of the interview the Lord Jesus came to mind. It is exactly something our Lord would do and thus he was able to stifle the vile and the trickery of the Pharisees in their feeble attempts to make him stumble.

    “Any authentic and good Catholic moral theology lends itself to such misrepresentation. It is the condition of the Good and True in a fallen human world. The Good has to acknowledge things like “moral progress” from bad to less bad; it acknowledges that which is true even in the mouths of a heretic. This was even true of the great inquisitors of the past. They were meant to wield their inquisitorial sword as a surgical knife.”

    Thanks again.

    “The long and the short of it is that Francis demonstrates time after time that he is not interested in being content with repeating the rules, the doctrines, and dogmas. He wants to help save souls and wants to provoke the sinner into a sense of their own sinfulness. His concerns are overwhelmingly pastoral.”

    My thoughts as I read the interview piece and one which I will re-read again so as to let the words speak and I come to a better understanding of what our Holy Father is saying and not what the MSM is saying he said.

    “Now, as such they are overwhelmingly matters of prudence and NOT doctrine. Hence he can be disagreed with just as any other bishop or pope can on such matters. I am down with that.”

    Agree.

    “But the despair and histrionics are too much in my opinion.”

    A sad reality and one that is not at all new to any of his predecessors. I for one, will remain hopeful and grateful since I learned so much today and want to put on that face of mercy and love…the face of Jesus.

    Fr. Z, thank you for such solid clarification and for your tremendous patience in having done so.
    I do not always agree with you but today, you were the best! God bless you forever!

  57. lsclerkin says:

    Mercyknight,
    Btw, Father, I pray for priests constantly, offer up my sufferings for you. I don’t care what costs me.
    And lift you all up at the consecration of the wine to the Precious Blood. Always.
    You are not alone. Please know that.
    Pax.
    And Ora et Labora.

  58. PA mom says:

    Someone said,” he has one eye on the Protestants..”. Maybe he has one eye on the separated Catholics, it seems like to me. That second largest ‘religious’ group in the US. I can only imagine the percentages in Europe.
    What if they think the Church is changing, becoming more compassionate, less judgmental, might they come to Mass this Advent; might they have another chance to decide to keep coming? That Catholics Come Home is supposed to draw in roughly 10% of the separated Catholic population wherever it runs just for inviting them back, might the Pope have the same effect? Or, if Bishops were emulating his outreach consistently in their own places, reinforcing each others efforts, might the results be tangible?
    And, what if priests added on the sacrament of Penance as the Pope (and Fr Z) has encouraged, at the beginning of all of those Advent Masses, allowing those wandered in people to try to unload their heavy souls, what a nearly miraculous effect they might feel even after a single Mass. The real mercy of God.
    There have to be some risks taken. More than half my class rarely attends Church, yet they will be Confirmed this year, as the year before and the year before that… I am reaching out in the ways I have thought up, but help, serious help, serious change of some kind, is needed.

  59. RafqasRoad says:

    I wish to make Several observations. Firstly, Pope Francis is already fighting with one hand tied behind his back due to the fact that we who speak English receive a translation. now, translations can be subtly or not so subtly nuanced depending upon the intentions or agenda of said translator. Add to this the usual chaos that insues when the usual suspects within the media grab hold of this and run…to one who has even a passing familiarity with the CCC on hot button topics and Gospel accounts of jesus interacting with ‘the marjinalised’ – wherein he Always stressed, ‘you are healed/forgiven – now Go and sin no more’, PF’s comments make sense. However, to those without this knowledge or who are wedded to one ideology or the other (especially in the leftist crowd) the ‘go and sin no more’ part is often ignored.

    Even folk within the church who should know better seem to misunderstand that the whole point of speaking truthfully upon sin behaviours/actions/activities is to illustrate what they do to relationship; relationship with god, others and self and how wounds, if untreated, can and will fester, eventually killing the injured individual. Do pastors and catechists seek to bring about conditions in which a cleaned, dressed and properly treated wound can heal, or go along with the line that it does the person best to leave them with the wound and all its toxins? Clean out the toxins, heal the wound, restore the individual to their full dignity as a son or daughter of the King. As with commenter #27, I have a past that was mired somewhere at the bottom of the pond despite my profession of evangelical or SDA Christianity depending at what point I was in my pre-Catholic timeline. If my very gifted and loving yet straight-truth telling catechists and fine confessors who I have worked with along the way over these last two years had been less emboldened, I would not have had the opportunity over these past years to with tenderest compassion yet no mucking about, have these wounds cleansed and broken soul forgiven through the grace of Christ jesus manifest in the sacraments of confession and penance that have brought me back, step by step, into reconciliation with my heavenly Father. As one level is healed, we can work on the next, when eruptions break out from time to time, and they will, we can clean these and allow them to heal also. I was swirling about on the bottom in both the world of Ellen white and the Sola Gratia worlds..I thank god for Holy Mother Church and truth-speaking priests who have been true healers – allowing the grace and sanctification of the Great Physician to be imparted. This cannot happen if we’re told the ceptic wound is OK left ceptic or that we’re OK left mired up to the waist in the mud…

    For those of us who are treading the path, it may be easier to discern what Pope Francis is saying, but to those who have a vested interest in keeping the people ‘infected’, perhaps opportunities may have been missed…Love the sinner, hate the sin, and come alongside as many have done for me and continue to do.

    Blessings,

    Soon to be South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite)
    PS: Supertrad mum, I would be very keen on corresponding with you via email but have no way of contacting you as your blog platform is not access friendly (I’ve mentioned this here before) and if Fr. Zuhlsdorf would be so kind as to let me address you heer, wish to write to you through a private correspondence on matters of faith and life and in thanks for your own work.

  60. Bruce Wayne says:

    Stumbler, you are welcome.

    Aesop has a fable about the north wind and the sun testing themselves on who is stronger by trying to get a cloak off a man walking. The north wind blows hard and fierce and cold and the traveller hunches over and wraps the cloak tighter and tighter around himself. Then the sun tries, and he gently warms him and the traveller relaxes and enjoys the warmth so lets the cloak swing freely, then as it gets warmer he unbuttons it and as the sun shines even warmer he gets hot and so takes it off and goes over to sit in the shade of a tree.

    The point is about catching flies with sugar, or honey or what not. The trick is to recognize that Francis is being every bit the Jesuit, he is focused almost solely on being pastoral. He wants the flies (sinners) to come in. He is treating the traveler as wrapped not in a cloak but in sins and thinks that warmth will get them to choose to throw those sins away and come to sit in the comfort of the Church, to stop being a traveler and arrive.

    How do the critics here think that peoples consciences get pricked? I mean in the real world? I think it can happen in a series of ways, it depends on the person and their character and personality involved. As our role model Christ showed us He could be stern to this one first or patient and gentle with that one there or even alternate being stern or merciful and patient with the same person at different times (like Peter!). . . that is, He discerned the appropriate approach for each instance and case.

    In my lifetime I am now getting to experience three quite distinct popes with three rather distinct approaches to being the Vicar of Christ. I can also read the writings and learn about earlier popes, about great saints and martyrs. There will never be any single approach that will satisfy every personality/character in the abstract level at which a pope can express the approach (i.e. in a quote or printed word). So I council taking deep breaths, stepping back away from both the ledge and the MIRROR, getting over ourselves just a tad and getting to work in our own particular patch of field.

  61. McCall1981 says:

    @Mercyknight
    As a traditional Catholic I feel the same way you do. May God bless you.

  62. donato2 says:

    This is so demoralizing. My take away is that Pope Francis would like the Church to put the Gospel of Life under a bushel. It has never been easy to preach the Gospel of Life in the climate in which we live, and I have found that over the years it has become increasingly more difficult. This interview makes things even more difficult yet.

  63. Dennis Martin says:

    I have tried up to now to put the most charitable interpretation on the Holy Father’s utterances and continue to do so.

    However, for decades, the mantra of the Church-hating world has been, you guys are focused narrowly on what abortion and homosexuality, on sexual sins. I believe that his comment about legalistically obsessing over these things was actually aimed at the relatively small subset within the Church who do that. In charity, I refuse to believe that he actually thinks that the Church as a whole, under John Paul and Benedict, narrowly and legalistically did that.

    He used that as a foil to try to get his message across: the church is a hospital for sinners, a place of mercy and healing. But the world hears, “the pope has admitted what we have always claimed, the Church legalistically obsesses over abortion and homosexuality etc.”

    In an effort to clarify what he meant by welcoming and offering healing and mercy, he ratified the canard that the world has thrown at us ever since the Sexual Revolution if not before.

    And, sadly, no amount of jawboning from him will ever change the world’s mind. His message, that the Church really has welcome and mercy for sinners
    will
    not
    get through. It might have, had he not felt the need to get that lick in against legalistically obsessing over pelvic sins. If he had to get that lick in, then he should at least have specified that he was not attributing that to the Church as a whole but to a minority within the Church.

    But now his words will be used as total vindication of the worst hostility toward those Catholics in the trenches who have been faithful to the universally despised teachings of the Church against all odds, against unfaithful clergy and bishops.

    If he wishes to reshape the image of the Church away from the Lie about the Church that is so deeply embedded (that she is legalistic and obsessive over pelvic sins) then he would achieve far more by action, by deciding how best to change those within the Church who do legalistically obsess.

    I believe he has the best of intentions and is a holy man who underwent a radical conversion as one charged with authority. He may believe that he was at one time legalistically obsessed and he wishes he had not been and wants to save others from that error. All well and good. But that is not a subject for the public square.

    I can imagine that this interview given to Jesuits was intended to reach the Church, to reach those segments of the Church where legalistic and narrow focus is characteristic. But could he not have realized that it would be splashed all over the New York Times and CNN and Drudge?

    I share his goal: to get the message of a welcoming and healing Church of mercy out there. But it can be done without tossing those of us who do try to teach the faith faithfully under the bus.

    And yes, that’s what he did. Unwittingly, I am sure, but he did it. What he said in this interview will not change the public perception of the Church one iota. It will in fact lead to him being pitted against the Church. Francis the good cop, the Church the bad cop. Instead of changing public perception of the Church and her teachings, he has elevated (unwittingly) his personal celebrity status as a good guy while confirming the worst lies and falsehoods about the Church’s teachings on sin. Church narrow and obsessive; Francis kind and gentle.

    Some things should be said within Church circles because the ears that need to hear them are there–those who are narrowly focused and lack mercy, however many or few they may be. But he can’t give an interview to a Jesuit editor and expect it to reach only the inner-Church audience. Knowing that, he should have stated the positive and resisted the cheap shot (which it was, in this public forum) at his foil. That’s a friendly amendment because had he left out the cheap shots against the failings of his foils, he might actually have gotten across his positive message, which I wholly agree with, think is wonderful. But as it stands, I think his positive message about mercy will actually be lost on most people. My evidence: I read the first few pages of comments in the New York Times and every single one of them took this interview as vindication of what they had always claimed: the Church is hatefully narrowly focused on sin, evil, horrible. The Pope now agrees with us. Every commenter crowed in that way.

    And then he seems to presuppose that all who love the Vetus Ordo are restorationists. Some are, some are not. He seems to operate with a hermeneutic of rupture: Vatican II changed things and you guys only want to go back. Sorry, that’s another cheap shot.

  64. RC2 says:

    Benedict XVI spoke this way ALL THE TIME. Three examples, just for a little hermeneutic of continuity action:

    To Swiss Bishops in 2006:
    “”We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details, but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity. [EVERYONE! GET THAT? SOUND FAMILIAR?]

    I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

    If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.”

    To the bishops of Fatima:
    “The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of people’s hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts is, above all, the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him.”

    In Deus Caritas Est:
    “Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends. But this does not mean that charitable activity must somehow leave God and Christ aside. For it is always concerned with the whole man. Often the deepest cause of suffering is the very absence of God. Those who practise charity in the Church’s name will never seek to impose the Church’s faith upon others. They realize that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe and by whom we are driven to love. A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak. He knows that God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8) and that God’s presence is felt at the very time when the only thing we do is to love.”

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  65. fin-tastic says:

    Does anyone else experience a minor crisis of faith when Pope Franis talks this way? Here is my thought process:

    1) Maybe the Pope believes the Church is wrong about sex.
    2) Maybe the Church is wrong about sex.
    3) Maybe the Church is wrong about lots of things.
    4) Maybe Catholicism is false.
    5) Maybe God doesn’t exist.
    6) Maybe we should just be like everyone else.

    I try not to have these thoughts, but I can’t help it. I was just wondering if anyone else’s faith is as weak as my own.

  66. Quas Primas says:

    Pope Francis’ imagery of the Church as a field hospital really struck me, and underscored the point that we have to do triage based upon the patient’s current condition — which in many cases is pretty dire.

    Sad to say, far too many are not initially capable of receiving or accepting the moral truths that we, by the grace of God, know and strive to abide by.

    These lost sheep have never known the Shepherd, have not been properly taught the beauty and life-transforming depth of the Gospel, so to them, the moral law is simply incomprehensible.

    Pope Francis is employing a “first things first” approach: first seek the lost by presenting the compelling figure of Christ, then come the further explanations, the call to holiness, so that moral life in Christ now takes on its meaning.

    He says: “It is from this proposition [of the Gospel] that the moral consequences then flow….There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation [of salvation]. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”

    These lost sheep are starving spiritually and in danger of perdition, but as Pope Francis mentions above, many believe that the Church condemns them, has nothing to give them, no place for them. They do not grasp the difference between judging actions and judging persons. They often “feel” that they are personally rejected, so have little inclination to come to the Church.

    For those of us safely in the sheepfold, we can be concerned about how some comments are taken, or what implications could lurk within some statements. But the lost sheep are going to stay lost unless we go after them, and God in His Providence could use even the ensuing confusion to spark interest, curiosity and engagement that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

  67. gatormom says:

    Are you freaking kidding me??!! Father Z, are you getting a migraine from these mental gymnastics? I don’t really think that the Pope is Catholic. For the first time I kind of agreed with Bill Maher who thinks he may actually be an atheist. Whatever, this is all a bunch of total BS. I am truly living in bizarro world. I wish I could just drag myself away from watching this train wreck. Nothing has rocked my faith like this Pope has, absolutely nothing. This Pope mocked a bunch of ladies saying rosaries for him. So, what? he loves everyone except for Catholics. He loves only the sinners who fully embrace their sinfulness and glory in their iniquity??? I don’t get this, if this is a chastisement from God, I still just don’t get it. I do not get it.

  68. gatormom says:

    Fin-tastic,
    If I had read your post first I would not have written a word. I could not possibly have expressed my own feelings better than you did. My thought process goes exactly the same way in that order!

  69. lsclerkin says:

    Gatormom,
    What you said.

  70. Woody79 says:

    I’ll believe you, Father, when Rome calls you and makes you the new PR man for Pope Francis.

  71. lsclerkin says:

    Fin-tastic,
    You, too.

  72. Jitpring says:

    If the chronicle of the final collapse of Western civilization could be written, this interview would be among its primary exhibits.

  73. Bruce Wayne says:

    Here is gatormom “I don’t really think that the Pope is Catholic.”

    Here is Donoso Cortes, one of the greatest of 19th century reactionary/counter-revolutionary political thought; a man who helped inspire the content of the Syllabus of Errors (a document which any good traditionalist-minded Catholic should approve of): “[some fancy themselves] more royalist than the king, more papal than the pope, and more zealous in the service of God than God himself. These are the enfants terribles of the Church and . . . of the State.”

    Don’t be an enfant terrible.

  74. MasterofCeremonies says:

    @fin-tastic:

    There are very few who have not experienced doubt at some point in their lives. I personally have had to confess sins of doubt and despair too many times! The day and age in which we live makes this human weakness very easy for the devil to play upon. The simplest thing to do (and, incidentally, often the hardest thing to do) is to throw oneself totally and unconditionally into the arms of Christ and trust Him completely. Perhaps God permits some confusion and doubt to seep into the world so that we might see that He is the Beginning and the End, and might come to trust Him more fully.

    I won’t comment on Papa Francis’ words because so many others have done so quite eloquently. I will simply say that I trust the gates of hell will not prevail against the church now or ever. Those of you who are frustrated and angry, before you chew the Pope out any more (publicly or privately!) take some time to meditate and listen to God. He feels your pain and wants to help. Trust Him!

  75. Indulgentiam says:

    ” I think he thinks that, right now, the harm to the Church’s message and motherly character outweighs the good that the correction does. (At least considering the way we have been doing it.)”
    I am unable to agree with you on this Father. I can not remember the last time the Church came out and publicly censured anyone other than the SSPX. No one in society is correcting the homosexual lifestyle. If the Church doesn’t do it then who will? I feel for the Holy Father it’s a kind of damned if you do damned if you don’t situation, but hey it comes with the Chair. I have heard his interviews in the original Spanish when he was still in Argentina. I will keep my opinions myself. But I will say that my hope resides not in any man. My hope is in God Almighty and Our Blessed Mother. I wholeheartedly agree with Archer 2013. Why the Pope chose not to proclaim Church teaching boldly may very well be for the reasons Fr. Z states. However, had he stated Church teaching plainly and clearly he would have put a weapon in the hands of his troops and not the enemy. I recall hearing an old chestnut from a retired milatry man “you can’t talk the enemy to death” as I recall the world is the enemy and all the talking in the world won’t change that. This interview and others like it, emmanating from the Vatican, remind me of news stories like this—-“In an incident emblematic of American policy failure in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials in Afghanistan’s Farah province were holding an inauguration ceremony last August for new recruits to a village police force. As part of the ceremony, the new policemen were given weapons that they would use for training. As soon as one of the recruits, Mohammad Ismail, received his, he turned it on the American soldiers who were present, murdering two.”
    Thankfully none of this changes the duties of my state. One of which is to pray for the Pope period. God bless the Holy Father. Queen of the Clergy pray for us!

  76. pjthom81 says:

    Well, I confess that I first had thoughts like Fintastic, followed by resentment. A great many of us have faced ostracism and denied ourselves much in the attempt to follow our faith. Now to be told by the media that the Holy Father thinks we are obsessed with a few issues was not cheering. Then I thought that my reaction was similar to the elder son in the parable, and I calmed down.

    Now reading the remarks in context helps a lot. I have other concerns upon reflection. We are not the same Church as in 1956 in our membership. Frankly most of the left flank doesn’t show up any more…and they won’t. Therefore I am concerned that the Pope might be attempting to address an audience….1970’s style liberal Catholicism…that no longer exists. Moreover, should a law be passed that equates our moral stances with unlawful bigotry, what can be said? I am concerned that it compromises our arguments.

  77. zag4christ says:

    Thank you again Fr. Z for bringing clarity to Pope Francis’s very interesting way of answering questions that are very important to all of us, posed to him by a fellow Jesuit, all questions and answers being in Italian, and interpreted by multiple different people ( the America magazine version I read had 5 interpreters listed).
    Peace and God bless.

  78. Nancy D. says:

    What the pope didn’t say is what concerns me. God desires that we overcome our disordered inclinations, so that we are not led into temptation, but rather become transformed through God’s Grace and Mercy. Although it is true that only God can judge the state of our holiness, one cannot be a follower of Christ if one does not desire to discriminate between acts that are respectful of the inherent dignity of the human person and are thus acts of Love, and acts that do not respect the inherent dignity of the human person and thus can never be acts of Love. Who am I to judge? They will know we are Christians by our Love, thus in order to Love according to The Word of God, I must judge.

  79. fib09002 says:

    Honestly, the only reason why I haven’t completely washed my hands of Pope Francis is that I suspect he is doing what he is doing with at least the tacit approval of the Pope Emeritus. Again, honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about Pope Francis at this point, but if the former Pope Benedict XVI is happy, so am I.

  80. fib09002 says:

    By the way, is it not astonishing that the Pope–THE POPE!!!–could actually allude to something so horrifyingly disgusting as abortion or sodomy in such a measured and diplomatic way? What we need the Pope to do is to flip over the table on the interviewer and to loudly and unequivocally denounce these horrible sins, whenever they are brought up, and to avoid speaking so evasively and ambiguously .

  81. Gratias says:

    It was indeed BIG. Pope Francisco has no worries about the culture of Death. The homosexual movement guided by Freemason MSM is destroying the family through Gay marriage legislation everywhere. Our Pope changes the question to those homosexuals that repent and confess. Women demand free abortion and contraception in Jesuit universities and Francisco talks about the dignity of women, which we are all for. Francis is Pope nice until he comes down to the Extraordinary mass, called Vetus Ordo by him. In his opinions the traditional Latin mass of the ages is now the terrible problem. Pope Francis who loves everyone has even been coining derogatory names for us long-suffering Catholics: Pelagians, Triumphalists, and Ideologizingists. It will be a softer, gentler, Obamunist, Peronist, Lefist, Church militant against that terrible dedicated 1% of transubstantiation believers.

  82. McCall1981 says:

    @fib09002
    What makes you think he has Benedicts approval? I would imagine Benedict is horrified.

  83. Chuck Ludd says:

    Fr. Z: Thank you for the wonderful comments parsing the Holy Father’s interview. As you noted there is a lot going on in it and it needs a few reads and commentary like yours to work through it.

    The interview is like much of the tone of the off-the-cuff remarks of Francis, at first the words hit traditional-oriented ears as fuzziness. We are tempted to throw up our hands and say that this is the same imprecise and lukewarm tone we heard in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But that is not what is going on here. The lukewarmness of many priests in the past has been because behind that attitude lurked fundamental disagreements with the Church. It is true that Francis’ style has the casualness we might first suspect to be from the more liberal elements, but this is not a man who disagrees with Church doctrine. What lukewarm priest declares himself proudly to be a “son of the Church”? Francis has cast his lot with the Catechism and he is not about to change it. But let’s look at what else is revealed here (and has been in other places): here is a man who prays a lot — clearly Mass is central to him because he celebrates it in public nearly every day; he prays all three decades of the rosary every day; he does a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament EVERY DAY! I was humbled when I read in the interview today that he does a holy hour every night. And what humility to acknowledge that sometimes he falls asleep! (who hasn’t?) This is a man with a thirst for souls and he is using a bit of a different language than we on the right might use, but the Holy Spirit chose him through the Cardinals, so let’s give him a wide path to try his way for a while.

    The second time I went through the interview I was astounded how subtle and pastorally deep his comments are. Yes, they are easy to misinterpret and easy to take out of context, but they are also the words of the Vicar of Christ and we must pay attention. The contrast of the last three popes seems clear: John Paul II was the philosopher/poet and strong man who steadied the ship adrift; Benedict was the theologian and restorer of beauty; Francis is the pastor with a lot yet to be lived. Philosopher, theologian, pastor.

  84. Anchorite says:

    We now know that the last pope from whom it was worth seeking spiritual guidance was Benedict XVI. Period. The door is closed as he removed himself or was tricked into removing himself.
    If Francis was an Orthodox patriarch, that country’s bishops would be gathering for his removal. By the Orthodox standards he is long overdue just for that.
    Patriarch Sviatoslav (recently of Buenos Aires) ( http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/09/another-interview-abortion-same-sex.html ) just gave an interview that sounded worthy of a pope.
    Could you imagine Patriarch Kirill, or Bartholomew, or Pavle of Serbia (what a Saint that was) to speak like Francis? Sad days.

  85. Southern Catholic says:

    @gatormom, why are you listening to Bill Maher in the first? This Pope mocked a bunch of ladies saying rosaries for him. What are you going on about? What proof do you have of that?

    Where did all the trolls come from?

  86. anna 6 says:

    RC2 says:
    Benedict XVI spoke this way ALL THE TIME. Three examples, just for a little hermeneutic of continuity action…”

    You are correct RC2, Benedict did speak about a Church of “Yes!” all of the time. Thank you for the wonderful examples. However, it would be very helpful if Francis would occasionally quote his predecessors, as Benedict so often did, in order to show continuity. Since he chooses not to, we get headlines like this:
    “Pope Francis’ views about abortion, contraception and homosexuality sharply contrast with the views of his predecessors, most especially Benedict XVI and John Paul II.”

    I am left to wonder why he hardly ever quotes them, especially when he is discussing thorny issues and he could benefit from their clarity. I will look forward to the headlines during Fr. Z’s papacy “POPE NOT SEEN IN PUBLIC FOR 100 DAYS! STILL ALIVE?”

    Pope Francis wisely says “but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time”.
    With due respect to the Holy Father, I would add that “it is not necessary to be talking ALL of the time”, period.

  87. CharlesG says:

    Mercy is all well and good, but simply loving the sinner and never expressing why the activity is a sin is a problematic approach in my view. The Pope says that everybody knows the teaching of the Church. Well, I don’t know if that’s really true, and moreover, if we just ignore Catholic teaching on sexuality, as we have as a Church practically for fifty years, then is it really the functional teaching of the Church. If a Catholic can go through catechism class, RCIA, Catholic schooling, attend Sunday mass regularly, and never once be challenged to know and practice Catholic teaching on sexuality, then Catholic teaching is a dead letter. I recently saw in the Washington Post an article by a Jesuit that said that Catholics should not be ashamed of the Church’s teaching on sexuality, but promote it as a treasure. This is true even for those outside of marriage who are called to chastity, e.g., singles and those with strong homosexual inclination. I’m not calling the Pope unorthodox, although the unorthodox will milk his statements for all their worth to further their agenda. I’m just skeptical about this approach of remaining silent on the Church’s moral teachings is the best approach. It’s what we’ve been doing at a local level already for 50 years, and now even the Holy See is embracing this approach of silence and equivocation on moral teaching.

  88. Priam1184 says:

    More of the ‘spirit of Francis’, the blockbuster sequel to that smash hit ‘the spirit of Vatican II.’ I don’t know how much of this is Francis’ own doing (I suspect almost none) but somebody has planned all of this out right from the first moment of his papacy to create an image of a pope that will make all of those heretical dreams of bygone generations come true. Everybody knows that there is currently something rotten in the hierarchy of the Church and this is Exhibit A. Alas, it shows no signs of going anywhere at the moment.

  89. MikeM says:

    I love Pope Benedict and, to frank, his style is much more my cup of tea than Pope Francis’, but some of the piling on in the combox here is getting a bit absurd. Have so many of you really forgotten how often the media twisted Pope Benedict’s statements to sound heterodox? Remember when he supposedly said that condoms were OK? That’s what the media does to popes. There have been a couple of times where I’ve wished Pope Francis would have chosen his words more carefully, but all of the suspicion of him around here seems unwarranted.

    The interview was long and covered a lot of topics; it will take me a few days to fully digest. There are a few matters in there that I will need to consider more fully, but, even though I was less than optimistic about it when I started reading it, I found it, overall, brilliant… He struck at exactly what Christianity is about.

  90. JPManning says:

    Thank you Father for your patient work. I think you perhaps missed a crucial detail in the Pope’s question about the woman approaching confession after aborting her child: the woman has remarried. You answered the Pope’s question by saying that the priest would heal her, how is this possible when she is ‘happy’ in an adulterous union?
    The catechism states that, ‘If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. … Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence (CCC 1650).”

  91. Grabski says:

    Basically, we faithful Catholics are obsessed and leading The Church to collapse like a house of cards. Francis’ words.

  92. lsclerkin says:

    And on Sept. 19.
    Our Lady of La Salette.

  93. jflare says:

    I’ve read the whole article and…well, I kept thinking of the approach that John Paul II and Benedict XVI took before him. He DOES offer his thoughts in a different way maybe, but..well, we don’t expect every pope to speak EXACTLY the same way. I must say too, having read the whole article, I could pick out a few quotes that I’ve heard before, but as you might expect, they’ve been mis-cast rigorously by mainstream media.

    Which brings up an interesting point: Some have commented that Francis shouldn’t take this approach to speaking to the world. Well, I’m pretty sure I remember having a similar kind of conversation a few years ago when the book about interviews with Benedict came out.
    I think it good that Francis speaks in this way

    Yes, we can agree that many will misinterpret his comments and exploit them for whatever a sinner might wish to think. ..We can agree that such a sinner will almost certainly insist that Pope Francis said he could, that the Church’s teaching is changing, or similar nonsense.
    I think the pope should use this means anyway!

    Look, someone who will behave as described above almost certainly will act as he wishes, whether he has the pope’s approval or not. If the pope would be seen to say something, at the very least, the sinner will have that much cause to think about what the pope said.
    I know this’ll be tough for all of us–me too, for sure–but when we run into these kinds of attitudes, I would think the best option would be to repeat the Church’s teaching, clarify what His Holiness said, then..start praying. Repeating yourself more than one or two more times likely won’t accomplish much; some are not in a frame of mind to hear the preaching. PRAYER will be the final answer. On our knees and in public, silently to ourselves, if needed.

    Something else that REALLY stood out to me: Our Holy Father knows his classics WAAAAY better than I do!
    I’ve been learning over the past few years a bit more about the giant treasure trove of classical music that’s aimed at..liturgy. Or, if not that, it’s still aimed at prayer in some way. I’ve been horrified these past several months especially to learn that many composers that I’d heard about before, ..well, I’d never known that most of their work had been aimed at proclaiming the Word of God in public in some way.

    For that matter, I had never known that Vivaldi was a Catholic priest!

    As an aside to Fr Z:
    I do hope you’ll refer back to this article or offer some bits related to music now and then. I didn’t know Wagner had written anything spiritually inclined. ..But then, I’ve never know much about Wagner or most other composers.

    I really DO need to get on it with learning to play a guitar. I might be able to play something useful with that, but I think I’ll need to get serious with my organ within the next few years. I would love to listen to some of these composer’s works, but often enough, I simply can’t find them on CD. They literally haven’t been recorded in some time.
    I need eventually to be capable of playing an organ, if only to help the Church remember Her treasury of music at prayer.

  94. Pingback: Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality in the Big Interview | Fr. Z’s Blog | therasberrypalace

  95. Traductora says:

    I think he is trying to bring back the mystical dimension of the Church. We very often manage to make it sound like merely a juridical reality – he had some negative remarks about pastors who regard themselves solely as something akin to civil servants or bureaucrats – and we obscure the fact that the Church is the Bride of Christ, on the one hand, and the Body of Christ, on the other. And in yet another way, she is our Mother. All different dimensions and aspects of this reality to which Our Lord committed us upon his death: behold your mother.

    Sin of any kind, not simply the more sensational sexual sins, alienates us from God and leads to death, and the Church is the great earthly and spiritual enemy of death. But to get people to abandon death, she must first give them the message of life and mercy, because it is not possible to force people to give up sin and a way of life that leads to death; they must do so voluntarily. So I simply see the Pope as saying that the Church cannot attract people by leading off with a message that legally classifies and enumerates sins as a first step. That comes later, once the individual has been touched by the love of Christ and begins to seek the message of life and freedom from sin and death.

    The difficulty we are experiencing now, in my opinion, is that the Church after Vatican II abandoned its mystical view of itself and adopted the rather lame “People of God” definition, something that leads automatically to a smug, respectable “assembly” of the law-abiding, very much in the dreary, un-mystical Protestant mode. It also leads to a bureaucratic, legalistic and one-dimensional outlook among the clergy and people responsible for running the Church and its institutions. I think this is what Francis is trying to dynamite, and it’s really what every saint has fought against.

    And if nothing else, he’s sure making people, both inside and outside, think about the Church again!

  96. Unwilling says:

    Indulgentium says “If the Church doesn’t do it [correct errors] then who will?”

    Good question.

    “No one can come to me, unless it has been given him by the Father.” From then on, many disciples left and went back and no longer went with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve: “Don’t you want to leave too?” Simon Peter answered “Domine, ad quem ibimus? Verba vitae aeternae habes.” (Lord, to whom shall we go away? You have the words of eternal life.) John 6:65ff.

  97. Supertradmum says:

    Today’s headline is France’s largest international media group

    Homosexuality, abortion: “The Church is left trapped in the precepts,” the pope

    And the OSV is asking about women deacons now…

    I cannot hardly keep up with damage control online.

  98. Juergensen says:

    Remember when Pope Benedict XVI gave that interview on a plane back from South America in which he was reported to have allowed the use of condoms? He did no such thing, of course, but that’s how Benedict was portrayed in the media. Did any of you jump on Benedict then?

  99. TNCath says:

    The difference between what the Pope actually said and how it has been and will continue to be interpreted per omnia saecula saeculorum by the misinformed media and misinformed Catholics and non-Catholics alike disheartens me. I continue to be confused and disappointed by this pope’s way of doing things. I continue to pray for him and hope for the best, but I still can’t completely trust or warm up to him, a first for me.

  100. Supertradmum says:

    Juergensen, some people learn from their mistakes or lack of care–one episode is not nine in six months

  101. Supertradmum says:

    Bye the way, our Faith is not reliant on one man unless he speaks from the Chair of Peter. This is a good man who is pope, but perhaps not as media savvy as he could be. There were really bad popes and the Church survived. He is not bad.

    My Faith is not based on one man, the media or schismatics who will take advantage of such things. My Faith is in Christ, the Church and the long teaching of the Magisterium.

    We should not be upset, but helpful in sorting out further misconceptions, as we are all through our baptism to take care of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, to evangelize….but in truth and not confusion.

    A long time ago, an excellent spiritual director of mine told me that where there is confusion there is satan. Well, we know who is in charge of the media and we also know all those in the Vatican press offices are not all saints.

  102. Supertradmum says:

    oops wrong bye for by…out the door to Adoration

  103. Andrew says:

    I scanned all the comments above and I have some advice for some of you: this is becoming detrimental to your spiritual health. You need to step back and regroup. Calm down. Pray. Read the Bible. Read something from the Proverbs. Read the Gospels: “you have but one Master: the Messiah.” (Mat.) “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” (Jo.) We can distinguish death from life, darkness from light. virtue from vice – nothing is so confusing that one should not be able to sort it out, so let’s not get all bent out of shape. “I do not worry about things that are above my head: I am calm and quiet like a child in its mother’s lap.” (Psalms) Let the Pope figure out how to be a Pope: don’t you lose your peace of mind over it. We believe in the coming judgment. The Bible says in various places that God will repay each one according to our deeds: “… all the churches will come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds and that I will give each of you what your works deserve.” (Apoc. 2:23) So there is nothing new under the sun. Pope’s come and go. Let’s support this one, like any other one, for the sake of unity. Don’t despair. Calm down. Pray. Go have a good lunch. Fish. It’s Friday.

  104. Nancy D. says:

    What Vatican II did was cause chaos and confusion as those who had left His Church spiritually, were allowed to remain within His Church physically, causing chaos and confusion as they led so many astray.
    “When The Son of Man returns will He find Faith on the earth?” – Christ

    I am not surprised that America Magazine did not feel they needed pope Francis to clarify Christ’s teaching on abortion, homosexuality and contraception, as they, like our pope, see no problem with the apostasy that is occurring within Christ’s Church. Right before Pope Benedict retired he stated that to deny the truth about the inherent Dignity of the human person, is to deny God. Pope Benedict recognized the truth about the inherent Dignity of the human person; from the moment of conception we are a son or daughter, God did not order us according to sexual inclination in direct violation of His own Commandment regarding lust and the sin of adultery. Let no one deceive you, including those persons who, through chaos and confusion, seek to undermine the teaching of Christ, and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  105. tcreek says:

    The selection of the Pope is guided by the Holy Spirit?
    Benedict in 2005 and Francis 8 years later.
    The Spirit would not sow confusion.
    We are reaping what the Cardinals have sown.

  106. C. Dupre says:

    We can’t talk about these things all the time. Meanwhile, millions of little babies are being murdered all around the world. I wonder what we would be talking about if a million people a year were being murdered in Syria.

  107. HeatherPA says:

    I agree this is an additional burden on parents trying to catechize and steer the course of their children’s faith, especially the teens and college age ones.
    We have implemented the following in our home–

    When Pope Francis speaks and our kids ask about the headlines, we implore them to not even read the articles, then we come to Fr. Z and read his translation to them. Clears things up as best as we can and gives them the words needed for defense.

    This is our go to blog for translating Francis.
    It used to be our go to blog for translating Latin…

  108. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    OrthodoxChick,
    In case you see this, amidst all the new comments (which I have not yet read), and for general interest: thank you for going into more detail!

    My quotations were from St. Matthew 22:34-40 and St. Mark 12:28-31, which I probably should have said for convenience of reference.

    You refer to ” ‘Commandments’ or ‘mandates’ through and through”, as well as ‘invitation’ and “request’ and, with respect to the Church, “minister, preach, teach, command”. Part of what I had in mind was indeed the range and variety of what God does and the Church has done and can do. How God graciously interacts with the human freedom He created (and permitted to fall, which introduces the effects of sin into what must be considered), concretely in the case of every human being, is a great and deep matter.

    I was not suggesting that the Church could simply “force” human wills or that I was convinced that God does or would “force” human wills. But it is not clear to me that that is what “God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person” is saying.

    I think speaking (or translating?) in terms of “it is not possible” is odd, imprecise, inadequate, and fraught with dangers of being easily misleading, in, as well as out of, the context as given. Ditto, with respect to “interfere spiritually”.

    For an obvious example, is the Immaculate Conception an impossible “interfere[nce] spiritually in the life of a person”?

    So, I would be interested to see what the Holy Father really said, in its full context, with those more learned than myself to help me with the Italian. Meanwhile, I hope it was clearer and better than what appeared in print.

    I may have missed it, not being caught up with the comments, but, does anyone know how this form of the interview in this translation came to be published? For example, was a copy of the version intended for publication sent to the Pope himself for review, possible revision, and eventual final approval?

  109. StWinefride says:

    What does the confessor do? He HEALS…

    With all due respect, Father Z, God is the healer.

  110. The Masked Chicken says:

    I take one day off from reading this blog and everything falls apart in the Catholic world. I’m so sorry. I’ll be good.

    The Chicken

  111. Fr AJ says:

    Which Cardinal made the statement that five years of Bishop Bergoglio as Pope would completely change the Church? We’re several months in to his Pontificate and the ground is certainly being laid for change.

  112. irishromancatholic says:

    It is good to be reminded by the pope about the need for the corporal works of mercy and being patient and charitable toward sinners. However, the net affect of this interview signals to gays and pro-abortion folks that they are loved just as they are. No worries about being clearly warned by the Christ’s Church that if they do not change their completely immoral ways they will loose their soul. Is this good for the Church and the salvation of souls?
    The “catholic” left has been emboldened just as I thought they would be when the Pope was elected. The squeals of delight from Mcbrien, Mahoney and Hans Kung types are loud and clear. The Society of Saint Pius X will gain many new adherents in faithful and priests as a result of this pontificate.
    Hans Kung, Card. Mahoney, Fr. McBrien type of dissenters as well as the SSPX will dramatically benefit from the pope’s statements. Is that really good for the Catholic Church?
    Despite the grim situation, this moment is an opportunity of grace to truly exercise (under Benedict it was easy) the belief that Christ will be with his Church all days even to the end of the world.

  113. tcreek says:

    An interesting question.

    Do you believe that Pope Benedict XVI would have resigned if he could have seen 6 months into the future of this new pontificate?

  114. Woody79 says:

    After more thought and reading comments from all and then rereading your thoughts, Father Z, I think I see what Pope Francis is getting at. His perspective is different than what I was used to hearing from past popes but still he is true to the Church. I wish Rome would call you and make you Pope Francis’ PR man! Thank you for your patience with me even though you did not know about my impatience with you.

  115. ajf1984 says:

    In a meeting today (20 Sept.) with members of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and Catholic gynaecologists, “Francis asked those present to “bear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science! There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there exists no human life qualitatively more meaningful than another” (from today’s Vatican Information Service).

    I honestly don’t see why people feel he isn’t speaking about abortion/culture of life/etc. Or the accusation made in one of these comments that “it would be very helpful if Francis would occasionally quote his predecessors, as Benedict so often did, in order to show continuity.” Well, how about quoting Caritas in Veritate in the same meeting: “He referred to the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate to explain that this paradoxical situation is seen also in the fact that, “while new rights are attributed to or indeed almost presumed by the individual, life is not always protected as the primary value and the primordial right of every human being. The ultimate aim of medicine remains the defence and promotion of life”.

    Is there a hermeneutic of suspicion when we read what Pope Francis says?

  116. ajf1984 says:

    *assertion, not accusation. Sorry!

  117. Robbie says:

    I’ve got three additional comments after perusing the combox.

    1. To paraphrase Ron Burgandy, this thread escalated quickly!

    2. I appreciate Father Z’s efforts to put Francis’ comments in context. In parts, it certainly helped me. Having said that, I feel badly for Father Z. If every Papal interview requires a 5-1 ratio of explanation to actual words spoken, then his fingers might fall off.

    3. I think traditional Catholic writer, Michael B. Dougherty, also a writer for Business Insider and Slate, provided one of the best explanations of how to view Benedict and Francis. He said Benedict fit the mold of a Catholic liberal from the 1950’s while Francis fits the mold of a Catholic liberal from the 1970’s.

  118. DaveM says:

    The Pope’s message as a whole is great. The primordial Gospel is to introduce the person to Jesus Christ, and His salvific actions. Contained within that, of course, is the reality of sin, but we don’t want the Church to be seen as a list of rules.

    One thing, though. It sounds like Pope Francis has fallen victim to the false perception that the Church talks about issues related to sexuality all the time. Abortion, yes, somewhat, but that is a life issue, though obviously it is connected to attitudes about sexuality. I might hear abortion mentioned a few times a year in homilies, or in the petitions, at most. But as far as actual homilies about sexual issues, or even MENTIONING sexual issues, I’ve probably heard a handful, maybe two handfuls at most, in my 25 years as a Catholic. Even the Popes don’t talk about those issues a lot.

    Yes, we do hear *A LOT* about the Church’s position on sexual issues, but that is because THE MEDIA will not shut up about it. If anything, I think the Church needs to talk about sexual issues MORE, because right now, the issues are being framed by the media, and the Church isn’t really putting out the message in a proper, balanced way.

  119. I am as traditional and orthodox as can be, but I don’t see a thing wrong with the Holy Father’s comments in this interview at all. It’s pretty obvious that abortion, contraception, and homosexuality have become so much of the focus on the Church that the “core mission” – to spread the gospel – has been pushed aside way too much. He is absolutely right in that assertion. The feeling than some posses that all is lost is just wrong. The result of a now decades long overdevotion to those three issues at the expense of the true message and methodology of Jesus.

    It can be very productive to get people “in the door” and show them the healing and love and peace that the Church provides, which will then lead to a change of heart in that person, which in turn leads to adherence to the truths of Church teachings. I have seen that personally more than a few times. THAT is what Francis is saying, and it consistent with what he has maintained and preached as far as my (limited) reading indicates.

  120. midwestmom says:

    I honestly feel like the Church, both locally and globally, is telling me to sit down and shut up. And, of course, detractors are flat-out saying it to our faces as soon as the Pope’s words hit the mainstream media.

    Nonetheless, I will humble myself and take the Holy Father’s words to heart. I KNOW my time spent online “making my case” could be better spent praying and interacting with, and doing good for, others including my immediate family.

  121. StJude says:

    I must admit that yesterday when I saw Pope Francis trending on twitter my first thought was.. ‘oh God.. now what?’ I feel bad about that.
    thought about it most of the day yesterday and I guess all I can hope is that people who give Jesus no thought will read Pope Francis’s real words and not some media spin and maybe find God.
    The doubting Thomas in me however thinks that the media misleading headlines is all they will take from it.

  122. chantgirl says:

    It is extremely frustrating that we are watching Western Civilization in its death throes, and we don’t have a strong, clear voice sounding the warning. Did my generation (early thirties) abandon the faith because our catechists harped on sexual morality all the time? If anything, we hardly ever heard anything about sexual sin or abortion. Most of my peers left because the Church didn’t give them a reason to stay, like salvation or liberation from Hell. They were bombarded with Jesus’ love and mercy, but they weren’t taught about His justice.

    Pope Francis speaks about abortion and sexual sins at a whisper, while using the megaphone for everything else. Western Civilization is not dying because of a lack of charity to the poor, or because we are persecuting homosexuals and women who have had abortions. Western nations have bent over backward to give the less fortunate more than we can even afford to give, and the witch hunts that we see now are not waged against people wearing Scarlet A’s, but against Christians who are trying to live their faith in the public square- the bakers, the Hobby Lobbys, the Chik Fil As, the bed and breakfasts. We have gone out of our way to tolerate sexual deviancy. No, the West is not dying because we are intolerant and hyper-focused on sexual morality. We are dying because we’ve abandoned the Judeo-Christian ethic that had guided us for centuries.

    I have resigned myself to the fact that the Holy Father has left the 99 in search of the 1. I plan on being in my pen and doing what a good sheep is supposed to do when he comes back, hopefully with some new companions, even if it feels pretty lonely right now.

  123. SimonDodd says:

    midwestmom, that’s precisely what he’s telling us. We are being told that we are hidebound by small rules, we talk about the wrong things, we are ideologues who wish to exploit the Mass, and so on, just as a few months ago he told us that we “wish to turn the clock back,” that we are “stubborn” people who “want[ ] to tame the Holy Spirit.” Pope Francis holds people like me, and perhaps like you, in utter contempt. And the feeling is, quite naturally, mutual. Week by week, speech by speech, act by act, this pope positions himself as the spiritual leader of a church that I do not recognize. The authority proper to (and the respect due to) his office and his official actions aside, he is a brother in Christ, but I feel as much spiritual kinship and affinity for him as I do for, say, Rick Warren, or Mark Driscoll.

  124. SimonDodd says:

    I am a very unhappy Catholic right now, to be quite frank.

  125. Sonshine135 says:

    Too many “spittle flecked nutties” to count on this board this morning. The media has wrapped many of you around its finger, so much so that you read what our Pontiff has expressed and you still hem and haw. I thought Catholics were supposed to be joyful? Seriously, the lack of faith in God coming from this board is astounding. My expectations about a group of mainly Traditionalists is that they should be encouraging, enlightening, and filled with faith. I’m getting more of the impression of a group of defeated soldiers in solid retreat. The next headline should be: “Church-Militant in Full Retreat From the Army of Satan”.

    Pope Francis mainly hit on what I was saying a few days back: We focus too much on the individual sin of people, and we fall into the trap the secular world sets for us. It comes across as “Catholics hate gays” and “Catholics hate Women”. When Pope Francis says, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” It is easy to understand that he is saying we need to be aware that sinfulness is not limited to these three sins. We are all sinners. We all struggle with sin. No sin is worse than any other sin, because it all leads to death. Thus, to be a loving Catholic means to show the mercy of God to all sinners!!!!!

    Stop falling into the media’s trap my fellow soldiers. Be glad that the media is even covering anything the Pope said, and use it as an opportunity to teach proper Catechism and show love to all sinners.

    Prayers to St. Michael for everyone this morning. Pull it together and stop sounding the retreat. What a hard-hearted people we are.

  126. MarkG says:

    I get the idea that a lot of Traditionalists aren’t feeling the love with this recent message. It might be a really good time for the Pope to attend a TLM.

    I hope Bishops will be inspired to schedule close door town hall meetings with the gay community as a result of the Pope words.

    I found out I have 2 things in common with the Pope: His favorite painter is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and his favorite Mass is Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor.

    I think it’s interesting that he points out Et incarnatus est from Mozart’s Great Mass. The Credo from that Mass is incomplete – it’s missing everything after Et incarnates est. (Maybe it means something – or maybe not. A symbol of unfinished work? Or maybe just a coincidence that he likes that part)

    He also mentions Don Quixote, who dodged windmills which is generally taken to be someone who doesn’t understand the modern world and attacks what he doesn’t understand.

  127. robtbrown says:

    Sonshine135 says,

    Pope Francis mainly hit on what I was saying a few days back: We focus too much on the individual sin of people, and we fall into the trap the secular world sets for us. It comes across as “Catholics hate gays” and “Catholics hate Women”. When Pope Francis says, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” It is easy to understand that he is saying we need to be aware that sinfulness is not limited to these three sins. We are all sinners. We all struggle with sin. No sin is worse than any other sin, because it all leads to death. Thus, to be a loving Catholic means to show the mercy of God to all sinners!!!!!

    In addition to Abortion, Homosexual “marriage”, and now contraception (cf Obamacare) are all political issues in additi

  128. acardnal says:

    Sonshine135 wrote, “No sin is worse than any other sin, because it all leads to death. “

    Actually, that’s not true. Both the Church and scripture speak of mortal sin which is worse than venial sin. It’s deadly! Venial sin is not.

  129. St. Epaphras says:

    An Audio Sancto sermon from 2007 has helped get me back on focus. Here is the link:

    http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20071104-We-Are-Called-to-Sanctity-Part-2-of-2.html

    The priest at one point quotes Frank Sheed. “We are not baptized into the heirarchy. We do not receive the cardinals sacramentally. We will not spend eternity in the beatific vision of the pope. Christ is the point…Nothing a pope could do or say could make me wish to leave the Church, though I might well wish that he would.”

    There is much more in this sermon that is 100 percent useful for today, right now. Part 1 of “We Are Called to Sanctity” is also excellent, as is “Our Relationship to Jesus.” The links to those sermons are on the Audio Sancto page for 2007.

    This is a traditional priest speaking (probably FSSP). He’s right on the money. His thesis: “It’s about Him!!” (meaning Our Lord). He reminds us of the purpose of the Church and of what our goal is. Well worth listening to, again and again.

  130. robtbrown says:

    Let’s try this again

    Sonshine 135 said,

    Pope Francis mainly hit on what I was saying a few days back: We focus too much on the individual sin of people, and we fall into the trap the secular world sets for us. It comes across as “Catholics hate gays” and “Catholics hate Women”. When Pope Francis says, “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” It is easy to understand that he is saying we need to be aware that sinfulness is not limited to these three sins. We are all sinners. We all struggle with sin. No sin is worse than any other sin, because it all leads to death. Thus, to be a loving Catholic means to show the mercy of God to all sinners!!!!!

    In addition to relating to personal morals, Abortion, Homosexual “marriage”, and now Contraception (cf Obamacare) are political questions that must actively be opposed by every citizen, including all bishops. The Church’s message must be more than just speaking out on these matters, but they have to be included in the whole.

    And it is simply wrong to say that no one sin is greater than any other. Fornication and Adultery both are grave matter, but that latter is much more serious. And murder is more serious than both.

  131. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, for those who are blaming the media for all of the mess (li0), that is just not true. The media is, of course, bound to money and ergo, satan. We all know that. But, if one is going to work with the media, like so many of our bishops and the Pope in this article, one must be much more clever (like serpents) said the Lord, than the media. Also, please note that we have a pope who admits be trained in the far less than perfect seminaries which now dot the surface of the earth. We now have, perhaps, the first pope who not only is the first Jesuit, first new world pope (a huge difference of perspective from Europe) but also one who did not have the benefit of the classical education of the old seminaries. Bl John Paul II and the Pope Emeritus are the generation of my parents. Pope Francis, being born in 1936, would have been in the seminary in 1956 at least and further on, when the seminary training rot set in. We have, imo, the first pope of our time. Also, he is not a scholar in the same tradition of the last two popes, which also makes a difference in his presentation. These are just facts.

    May I also add that one may criticize ideas and not be criticizing a person. One who is critical of writings or speeches in not necessarily hostile. This is the idea of the generation who is so subjective in reasoning, that they cannot deal with objectivity. One can totally love a person and yet have areas of disagreement. To say that criticism of ideas is hostility to a person is simply not true.

    And, to criticize ideas is not to call a person a sinner, unless that person is a heretic.

  132. midwestmom says:

    Considering the Church has been unable to convince even a good portion of its own members that Same Sex Attraction/Marriage is disordered, any mercy shown by a misinformed lay Catholic towards a person with SSA falls short.

    How many dioceses sponsor Courage chapters? They are few and far between and the very idea isn’t even on the radar in many places.

  133. Sonshine135 says:

    @acardnal
    Sonshine135 wrote, “No sin is worse than any other sin, because it all leads to death. “

    Actually, that’s not true. Both the Church and scripture speak of mortal sin which is worse than venial sin. It’s deadly! Venial sin is not.

    Fair enough. I will amend what I wrote to say, “No mortal sin is worse than any other mortal sin, because it all leads to death.”

    My bigger point was that Pope Francis is telling us to stop being myopic in our view of sinfulness.

  134. Nancy D. says:

    No sin is worse then any other sin? So now we are to declare that not only is truth relative, so is sin?

    Christ did not come to confuse us, He came to show us the way to Love. We are not called to embrace our disordered inclination to sin, we are called to be transformed through God’s Grace and Mercy.

    “Now go, and sin no more.” – Christ

  135. Darrin says:

    My initial reaction to the interview, based upon msm reports, was shock and dismay. I asked myself, are we becoming Episcopalians? My first action upon returning home from work was to read Father’s blog in order to get his insight regarding this interview with His Holiness Pope Francis. I read, and thought, and then read the actual article and thought some more. It is now 12 hours since I’ve read the article and this is what I feel, through prayer and thought, is the objective of Francis. We, The Church, have been defined, slandered, ridiculed and despised by many in the various cultures of today. The tone of The Church’s portrayal has been determined by others, media, modernists, atheists, protestants, etc. We have been framed as being an “organization” that focuses solely on specific issues and taking a confrontational approach to modern culture on these issues, i.e. abortion, homosexuality, divorce, and women clergy. Those four, VERY IMPORTANT, issues are used by the greater culture at large to define our Holy Church and even more deviously to “box in” The Church on these four issues, muting and muffling Her real message and purpose, to Glorify God, and to continue to save humanity as shown by Our Lord and Savior.
    I believe that Francis is astute, he is disarming the enemies of The Church, not by changing any teaching or dogma we hold sacred, but by forcing the larger culture to hear what the message of The Church has been all along, The Holy Church is God’s kingdom on Earth and was instituted by The Son of Man not to condemn, isolate or demean us sinners, but to call us and embrace us and bring us to the Kingdom of God. He has cleverly disarmed them, he has not laid out a single issue that is contrary to the fundamental beliefs of our Church, yet he has, in a very few public discourses forced those who despise Holy Mother Church, to suddenly look at it for what it is, the way to Christ and Salvation on earth. He has not changed our beliefs, but the dialogue of the enemy!

  136. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown The Bible and the Roman Catechism outline the four sins which cry out to God for vengeance, make a hierarchy of sin. Christ Himself said there was an unforgivable sin. From the Roman Catechism:

    Just a reminder…CHAPTER XX – The sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance
    Q. 925. HOW many such sins are there?
    A. Four.
    Q. 926. What is the first of them?
    A. Wilful murder, which is a voluntary and unjust taking away another’s life.
    Q. 927. How show you the depravity of this sin?
    A. Out of Gen. iv. 10. Where it is said to Cain “What hast thou done? the voice of the blood of thy brother crieth to me from the earth: now, therefore shalt thou be cursed upon the earth.” And Matt. xxvi 52, “All that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.”
    Q. 928. What is the second?
    A. The sin of Sodom, or carnal sin against nature, which is a voluntary shedding of the seed of nature, out of the due use of marriage, or lust with a different sex.
    Q. 929. What is the scripture proof of this?
    A. Out of Gen. xix. 13. where we read of the Sodomites, and their sin. “We will destroy this place because the cry of them hath increased before our Lord, who hath sent us to destroy them,” (and they were burnt with fire from heaven.)
    Q. 930. What is the third?
    A. Oppressing of the poor, which is a cruel, tyrannical, and unjust dealing with inferiors.
    Q. 931. What other proof have you of that?
    A. Out of Exod. xxii. 21. “Ye shall not hurt the widow and the fatherless: If you do hurt them, they will cry unto me, and I will hear them cry, and my fury shall take indignation, and I will strike thee with the sword.” And out of Isa. x. 1, 2. “Wo to them that make unjust laws, that they might oppress the poor in judgment, and do violence to the cause of the humble of my people.”
    Q. 932. What is the fourth?
    A. To defraud working men of their wages, which is to lessen, or detain it from them.
    Q. 933. What proof have you of it?
    A. Out of Eccl. xxxiv. 37. “He that sheddeth blood and he that defraudeth the hired man, are brethren,” and out of James v. 4. “Behold the hire of the workmen that have reaped your fields, which is defrauded by you, crieth, and their cry hath entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabbath.”

  137. Nancy D. says:

    The dialogue of the enemy is to cause chaos through confusion.

  138. Sonshine135 says:

    @Nancy D/ robtbrown

    Is it true that all mortal sin leads to death? I have always been taught this to be true. I believe you are bogged down in the minutia.

  139. Jet41815 says:

    “I read what the Pope says. Then I try to figure out what he is really saying…”

    Herein lies the problem- despite his supposed “simple and straight-forward style,” Catholics are constantly looking for someone to explain his statements and tell them what he “really” means. This is twisting his words to0, the only difference is their object is to conform his words to orthodox Catholic belief, which in all intellectual honesty is not possible. We just have to face the music- he is a progressive that will probably cause great harm to the Church. I thank God a F.S.S.P. chapel just opened in my city.

  140. Nerinab says:

    A couple of comments caught my attention above:

    First this one:

    It’s pretty obvious that abortion, contraception, and homosexuality have become so much of the focus on the Church that the “core mission” – to spread the gospel – has been pushed aside way too much.

    I’d say that the media has decided the Church’s focus is the above-mentioned issues, but in my own church I’ve not heard a single homily on any of those issues. Not one. Of course the media, particularly in our country, loves to beat the Church with these particular clubs.

    Second, Chantgirl really captures my feelings at the moment:

    I have resigned myself to the fact that the Holy Father has left the 99 in search of the 1. I plan on being in my pen and doing what a good sheep is supposed to do when he comes back, hopefully with some new companions, even if it feels pretty lonely right now.

    And finally, SimonDodd, scratches me where I itch when he writes:

    We are being told that we are hidebound by small rules, we talk about the wrong things, we are ideologues who wish to exploit the Mass, and so on, just as a few months ago he told us that we “wish to turn the clock back,” that we are “stubborn” people who “want[ ] to tame the Holy Spirit.”

    It is hard not to feel admonished, but I will try to put aside my human reactions and trust in the supernatural guidance of the Church. Frankly, I feel like the non-prodigal son right now and maybe that is as it should be.

  141. Nancy D. says:

    To deny God’s transforming Grace and Mercy is the sin against The Holy Spirit. Do not let your heart be hardened like a pillar of salt.

  142. Unwilling says:

    How would I have liked the interview to have gone? Supposing the same questions, but answering them more judiciously and consciously than the Pope did. What should he have said?

    I will think about it. Don’t want to make any off-the-cuff remarks about off-the-cuff remarks…

  143. anna 6 says:

    Darrin is exactly right! He said “The tone of The Church’s portrayal has been determined by OTHERS, media, modernists, atheists, protestants, etc. WE HAVE BEEN FRAMED as being an “organization” that focuses solely on specific issues and taking a confrontational approach to modern culture on these issues, i.e. abortion, homosexuality, divorce, and women clergy.

    I am convinced that the solution to this distortion is for the Holy Father to be more aggressive in showing how what he is saying is NOT THAT DIFFERENT than what his predecessors said. Instead of everyone else having to make these clarifications after the fact, it would be helpful if he said something like:
    “and as my predecessor Benedict XVI said to the Swiss bishops”…or “in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est”…or JP2 once said “blah, blah, blah.”, followed by Francis own reflections on the topic.

    It would go a long way towards giving clarity, creating unity and showing how the Church has been consistently proclaiming the gospel for 2000 years, and we are not about to stop now.

  144. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Simon Dodd wrote, “Pope Francis holds people like me, and perhaps like you, in utter contempt. And the feeling is, quite naturally, mutual. . . . and “I am a very unhappy Catholic right now, to be quite frank.

    Screwtape might have written as a commentary to the above words: “Wormwood, it is a great victory for our side to see Catholics who favor the traditional side of things in their religion begin to feel themselves marginalized and shut out by everything that the new Pope says. And we didn’t have to lift a finger. Really, they make things too easy; soon mere apprentice tempters may hope to aspire to capture entire parishes with minimal supervision. But that lies in the future. Meanwhile, the traditionalists’ feelings against the Pope will make them feel even more irate and embittered than they already are; they will lose their peace, and forget the joy of Christ within their own hearts. Marvellous stuff! We use their own leaders against them to our own ends.

    “Meanwhile, Bergoglio, oaf that he is, is perfectly sympathetic to the human worms’ taste for ‘bells and smells’, it’s just that he has reasons of his own for enticing them out of their ridiculous chapels and out into the streets, plazas, offices, shops, and homes to deliver the Enemy’s foul and loathsome message.”

    “It doesn’t get any more delicious. And we barely had to do a thing!”

    + + + +

    Think about it, my friends. This is your precious, immortal soul that you are playing with.

  145. SimonDodd says:

    Marion, that is the second time that Screwtape has been invoked on this thread—the first time was by me, noting Screwtape’s delight at this pontificate. But in a very different way. I think that Screwtape is delighted by the scandal and confusion sewn by Francis. I’m not quite sure how your theory works, if we strip if of the ridiculous strawman at its heart (“the traditionalists’ feelings against the Pope will make them feel even more … embittered…; they will lose their peace, and forget the joy of Christ within their own hearts.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but the joy of Christ is alive and well in my heart—it would just be nice to, for example, be able to see it externalized in the liturgy. You mistake disagreement over ends for means; the traditionalist would criticize Francis for taking the Church in precisely the wrong direction as measured against the goals that we all share, for taking measures that are calculated to move us even further from, not closer to, our goals. It was nice when one could feel that the pope was “on our side,” at least in his heart. And as to our precious, immortal souls, that is precisely the problem: How many precious immortal souls might be lost because of the confusion and retreat of this pontificate? The enemy is playing for keeps. We must do likewise.

  146. Cavaliere says:

    There have been few Bishops as outspoken about the threat of homosexual marriage and related issues as Archbishop Nienstedt has been. Nevertheless the new president of the Univ. of St. Thomas in his Archdiocese stated this in her recent convocation speech, “Our Catholic identity and mission call us to recognize and respect the dignity of every human person as a child of God and as created in God’s image,” she said. “Thus, we have a Catholic mission-based calling to embrace and treat every person in our community with love and support. It pains me to think that a gay student, staff or faculty member would ever feel unwelcome or a need to hide at St. Thomas. As Pope Francis reminds us, we are not called to judge. We are called to love and support everyone in our community regardless of their sexual orientation. And, I might add, regardless of the gender of their spouse.”So Pope Francis may be clear in his understanding of this question but its obvious that Dr. Julie Sullivan isn’t. And do we suppose that she is more likely or less likely to change her opinion based on the statements of Pope Francis? How about her audience who gave her a round of applause after she said that? It’s one thing to say read the source and ignore the spin of the MSM but the enemies of the Faith are going to repeat the lie until it becomes the “truth”. The document on the liturgy calls for Latin and Chant to remain predominant in the Mass. It’s there for anyone to read but the practical reality remains sorely different.

  147. Late for heaven says:

    Well perhaps this pope is not the intellectual giant that he predecessors were. Maybe he is liturgically progressive, maybe even progressive as a whole. And maybe we are overthinking this.

    Chuck Ludd’s comments at 12:56 am rang true to me.

    “What lukewarm priest declares himself proudly to be a “son of the Church”? Francis has cast his lot with the Catechism and he is not about to change it. But let’s look at what else is revealed here (and has been in other places): here is a man who prays a lot — clearly Mass is central to him because he celebrates it in public nearly every day; he prays all three decades of the rosary every day; he does a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament EVERY DAY! ”

    Perhaps the real message of this Pope is more in what he does than in what he says. Priests who ride the bus to work bring the person of Christ visibly to the public square. Making personal calls to those in despair manifests the love of God. Joining the March for Life demonstrates commitment to the sanctity of life. Is this a Pope of deeds more than words? Is he challenging us to go and do likewise?

    I will go and pray about it.

  148. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Simon, I’m glad to know that the joy of the Lord is in your heart.

    I am eager to see that state of affairs remain in effect. To imply that one holds the Sovereign Pontiff “in utter contempt” is a radioactively hateful expression. I’m just saying. We can’t do that. We can’t let ourselves go there. We can’t become miserable and hateful. Because that will sooner that will extinguish that joy and that peace.

    And then where will we all be? Because, Simon, my brother, we need you. We need you with us.

  149. q7swallows says:

    Some more great, calmly reasoned perspective here from papal biographer George Weigel:
    “The Christ-Centered Pope”
    http://www.eppc.org/publications/the-christ-centered-pope/

    With all the media attention and blog posts and comments, it can be argued that the pope has certainly succeeded in center-staging the Lord and His Holy Catholic Church in the public square!

  150. buckeyepastor says:

    Father Z, now and then I agree with you, and sometimes I disagree vehemently. (After all, I was ordained in 1973!) But in this column you have hit a home run. After getting my stomach in a knot over the way the story was reported in my morning paper, I found your article to be just what the doctor ordered. I hope you don’t mind if I use it as source material for next Sunday’s bulletin column.

  151. robtbrown says:

    Sonshine135 says:
    @Nancy D/ robtbrown

    Is it true that all mortal sin leads to death? I have always been taught this to be true. I believe you are bogged down in the minutia.

    Thinking it is good to not distinguish among the gravity of mortal sins is to confuse one’s own intellectual laziness with spirituality.

    Acc to St Thomas, grave sin is called mortal because it takes away sanctifying grace, killing a person’s ability to have sins forgiven by doing penance–thus the need for Absolution.

    NB:
    Heterosexual sex is good in its genus–and good in its species if the participants are married. It is not good in its species if they are not married at all. And it is worse, if one or both is married to someone else because it is an offense against the marriage bond.

    Homosexual sex is never good in its genus (intrinsically evil), thus it can never be good in its species. The same is true for bestiality.

    Murder and abortion are obviously worse because they unjustly end a human life.

  152. Cantor says:

    Supertradmom –

    You said: I cannot hardly keep up with damage control online.

    Perhaps it might be wise to get offline for a while, go out into the world, and see if you can help some poor sinner find her way into the Church.

    You’ll have to meet her on her side of the line, be she gay, atheistic, pro-abortion, anti-Catholic, whatever. No, you’ll have to love her as she is. With your guidance, love and energy, and the will of God, she might come to know Christ.

    Much easier to keep up with that, than with the internet wars.

  153. The Masked Chicken says:

    “No, you’ll have to love her as she is.”

    I think I know what you intend to mean, and that idea is to be complimented, but I have no idea what that statement, taken as it is written, really means.

    Let me categorically say that you do not love someone simply, “as they are.” You love them for who God is and for what they could be. “As they are,” includes sin and God does not love sin. One does not love the sin within a person. One loves the possibility of the person without sin. One loves them beyond the sin, but one does not love them because of the sin.

    This sort of thinking is exactly the wrong conclusion reached by secular psychology in the 1960’s. So many self-help books from that period have this same advice on page after page. It is a subtle distortion of the ontology of God. It associates love with a merely temporal benevolence and makes God into a Divine group hug.

    Jesus, certainly, did not love the Pharisees as they were. He told them, in love, to change. Love means to will the good. To will the good for the person’s sake is natural love. To will the good of the person for God’s sake is supernatural love. When Jesus said, “The poor have the gospel preached to them,” what did he mean? It is something on which to meditate. Behind any authentic love shines the Cross. To love someone, merely, “as they are,” is to love the Cross as a mere piece of wood.

    The development of a language with equivocal definitions of love derived from a multitude of pseudo-deep thinkers – Buddhists, Psychologists, New-Agers, etc., was one of the great horrors to come out of liberalism in the last fifty years.

    The whole purpose of love is to get the person to Heaven. Aim for that and let that goal guide how you love.

    The Chicken

  154. Grabski says:

    You’d think the Order of Ignatius, Xavier, Campion, Ciszek, Jogues would be made of sterner materials.

  155. Late for heaven says:

    @ St. Epaphras: I listened to the homily you suggested and thank you for bringing that to my attention. You know, I reverted to the Church because I finally saw the futility of trying to make a heaven on earth. But I think I may have just transferred my energies. I have been trying to make a heaven of the Church itself.

    This is much food for reflection. Thank you St. E and Papa Francis.

  156. Cantor says:

    Masked Chicken –

    Then we disagree.

    Considering the words of a well known man — to wit, “Who am I to judge?” — I am brought to love the person in spite of his actions/thoughts/whatever.

    The Samaritan did not care for the wounded man because he could get better. He loved the man and cared for him that he might get better.

    As for the Pharisees, Jesus loved them enough as they were to care about what they might be.

  157. MikeM says:

    I’m at about my wits end with this. What’s so liberal about saying that Christ and His Mercy come first? What do you have to say about St. Paul who went to preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified? Should he have talked about head coverings more and grace less?

    I haven’t seen a single comment here that makes a compelling case for a heterodox position in this interview. If you’re actually feeling personally attacked by the Pope saying that we need to make sure that we’re presenting people with Christ’s mercy, well… I don’t even know what to say that.

    What’s the point of teaching about sin if we’re not also teaching about forgiveness? I don’t think that we’ve been doing that, but since that seems to be the way the message has gotten to a lot of people, Pope Francis is right that we need to do better.

    I think we might do well to step back and consider what Pope Francis’ focus tells us about his view of the Church/world today. A lot of people here, undoubtedly correctly, lament the lack of proper catechesis in the Church today. I don’t think that Pope Francis disagrees, or thinks catechesis is unimportant… I think he thinks that we’re in a state where people not only don’t properly understand the natural law and Christian morality, but have regressed further to not understanding even the most basic concept of Grace. If people don’t understand that, we can talk about gay marriage until we’re blue in the face and it won’t do a whole lot of good.

    Think about effective ministries at abortion clinics. The best ones don’t stand there with a sign saying that abortion is a mortal sin… they lead by offering help… then they talk about sin, while offering alternatives and paths to spiritual healing.

    Conversion starts with an encounter with Christ’s love, not an encounter with a dissertation on moral law (as legitimately useful as that dissertation might be in its proper context).

  158. Cavaliere says:

    I keep hearing that this was a shrewd move on the part of the Pope to get this out in the public square to be discussed. But to what end? Are those who hate the Church and/or its teachings going to come around to the Pope’s way of thinking? Are the NCR crowd going to believe as the Pope does that homosexual relations are wrong but we must still love the sinner? No they are going to continue believing that the sin is okay and that God in His mercy will be okay with that. It doesn’t matter a whit that the NY Times and every other MSM outlet has twisted the words of the Pope around. Most Catholics and everyone else are going to take their cue from them and will never bother with trying to get at the truth of what the Pope was saying. It’s well and good that the Pope is trying to be more pastoral and encourage his brother priests to be likewise. This however causes a huge burden upon the laity who must spend 8-10 hours a day surround by a secular society that loves nothing more than to mock their beliefs. Imagine the Catholic student sitting in class when the teacher attacks him for believing the traditional teachings of the Church. The student defends his beliefs but the teacher says, “well that’s not what the/your Pope believes”, I read what he said in the NY Times. The student replies, ‘well that’s not what the Pope really said, here would you like to read what he really said in context?” “Why should I read that, I get my information from the Times, says the teacher.” Same conversations play out all over the office, soccer field, hockey arena, and so on. It’s been suggested that we let Pope Francis try this new tack of bringing people back to the Faith. Since we can assume that Pope Francis is the same man he was as the Archbishop in Argentina my questions is, what is the situation in the Diocese he left?

  159. Seerauber says:

    @Chicken,

    With respect, that strikes me as a lot of parsing of the concept of “Love” without revealing much content.

    The commandment is simple: Love the Lord with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves. It’s all well and good to delve into philosophical investigations about what “Love” is and means, but I think Cantor’s statement captured the pith of the greatest commandment fairly well.

  160. Seerauber says:

    Let me add that it seems to me that part of Pope Francis’ message is that we must not spend too much time ‘self-referentially’ parsing and defining and debating our theology, but that we must just go out into the world and share the love of Christ with all we encounter. I think that is a profoundly timely message for many Catholics, myself especially.

  161. Seerauber says:

    @Cavaliere:

    “Are those who hate the Church and/or its teachings going to come around to the Pope’s way of thinking?”

    St. Paul did. St. Augustine did. The list of converts abounds, and for good reason: We are a MISSIONARY church! Our great commission is to go out into the world and bring the sinners to Christ. It is a joyful cross we bear, and one which Papa Francis bears with us.

  162. Cavaliere says:

    As for the Pharisees, Jesus loved them enough as they were to care about what they might be.
    As I recall Jesus had some very strong and harsh words for the Pharisees. It’s one thing to meet the person where they are, nothing wrong with that. The problem is when you allow the person to remain where they are. The missionaries who went and preached the Gospel to pagans had to meet them where they were. Yet they were there to convert, not make them feel good about the state they were in. Yes Jesus is merciful, and true that His mercy is greater than his justice. However even His mercy cannot save the person who remains in mortal sin. The reason for the mercy is to draw the person away from their sin, not deny that it is one.

  163. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Mike and others,

    Some of us have been fighting from down in the trenches a very long time. A l-o-n-g time. So long that the grit and mire of battle have been ground into the very pores of our skin. And we kind of stink, too.

    Up until the 60s, most of society at least gave lip-service to the primacy of family, marriage, life, and that sex was, if not sacred, something special for adults only. The parents had the final word; kids must mind them. So-called “Adult” entertainment was available, but was not for those under 21. Abortion was unthinkable to most, except in cases of what might be considered medical urgency.

    Society pretty much agreed. Then the 60s happened, and that societal solidarity and agreement were washed away like a sand-castle during high-tide. The key social values that we grew up with eroded away to virtually nothing. And they not just disappeared, but the few lumpy, misshapen remnants were ruthlessly attacked over . . . and over . . . and over. . . and over, again. Those attacks are why some of us have been in the trenches. In the trenches, trying to defend the remaining lumps of some semblance of Western civilization. But we’ve been under constant barrage, day and night, night and day. For years. And years.

    And often the attacks aren’t open; they’re stealthy. Sneak attacks, and they come from people you believe to be on your side. Happens quite a great deal. Georgetown and Notre Dame Universities, for example. They have gone over to the Dark Side; while still calling themselves Catholic, they cover up crucifixes for public events and invite abortion-endorsing politicians to give commencement addresses and confer honorary degrees upon them. Anyone from before the 60s would have identified these actions as complete, public, abject betrayals of the Catholic faith, and of the remnants of Western Civilization. But now, many people, even faithful Catholics say, “meh!” “It’s all good.” “It’s relative” “So what?” “Who cares?” “What are you going to do?”

    Those of us who have been attached to the Magesterium and to Western Civ. have always always looked to the Holy Father the Pope as a leader and a symbol in our fight. Up until now, the speech, demeanor, and actions of the Pope have, for the most part, given us reason to feel that he was in the fight with us, and was on our side.

    Some of the things Pope Francis is reported to have said bear a troubling resemblance to some of the slick double-talk that has come out of unsound and unreliable Catholic quarters – from Dark Side quarters. When we get a whiff of Catholic Dark-Side-Speak; we can usually identify it when we smell it, having been in the trenches for many a year. Now, I’m not saying Pope Francis has actually said anything that would give us grounds to believe that he was unsound or unreliable, but some of the news reports, in their brevity have failed to present all of the nuances of what the Holy Father has had to say on any give subject. And in addition to that, in encouraging Catholics to come out of themselves and go out into the public square where they are needed, some of us battle-weary culture warriors have heard a criticism of ourselves from the Holy Father. As if we’re not doing enough. As if we’re not doing the right things. As if the things we thought we were supposed to be doing were wrong.

    See, Mike, this hurts. This hurts a lot. It adds to our suffering. It’s like the Commander-in-Chief telling his grunt-level soldiers, “you guys have a lot to learn, and you don’t even take care of your weapons the way you’re supposed to.” Ouch! See, can you imagine how awful that would be?

    Anyway, we have to understand that the Pope has not been attacking or undermining us traditional Catholics. We have to keep calm and stay on target. We have to pray for the Holy Father, for our fellow Catholics, for our enemies, and for all of humanity.

    Thanks for listening.

  164. Nancy D. says:

    Why give an interview and have it published in America Magazine, when America Magazine has published articles that dissent from the teaching of the Magisterium?

  165. Cavaliere says:

    St. Paul did. St. Augustine did. The list of converts abounds, and for good reason: We are a MISSIONARY church! Our great commission is to go out into the world and bring the sinners to Christ. It is a joyful cross we bear, and one which Papa Francis bears with us.

    St. Paul received an extraordinary grace, not because someone “met him where he was.” St. Augustine had a saint praying for his conversion. Back to the point I raised in my last post. What has been the effect of Pope Francis’s missionary activity when he was in Argentina. Does his Diocese stand as an example to the rest of the Church as a model of conversion and belief? Is the state of the Church in Chicago better now under Cardinal George or was it better under Cardinal Bernardin?

  166. Nancy D. says:

    Pope Francis’s view of homosexuality, according to page 117 of his book On Heaven and Earth, is that we need not be concerned with same – sex sexual relationships that are “private, do not include children, and are not called marriage”.

  167. Seerauber says:

    St. Paul received an extraordinary grace, not because someone “met him where he was.” St. Augustine had a saint praying for his conversion.

    I assume you don’t mean to deny that we are a missionary church, or that our core mission is to convert folks to “come around to the thinking” of Christ and his Church. My point was that Paul and Augustine were hostile to the church, and then were converted. And they were converted by the same process of every single convert of all time: The action of grace upon their soul. The question is how we can help our fallen brethren to get in a position to accept the gift of grace that is being offered them.

    What has been the effect of Pope Francis’s missionary activity when he was in Argentina. Does his Diocese stand as an example to the rest of the Church as a model of conversion and belief?

    It’s an interesting question. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that merely consequentialist thinking is reductive and fallacious. My father is from Buenas Aires (and loves the EF) and has heard glowing things from his family, for whatever that anecdote is worth.

  168. Cavaliere says:

    I’m not sure about “consequentialist thinking” but I know if I’m looking at a strategy I look at my chances of succeeding. People want to defend the tactics of Pope Francis and suggest that we should try his approach. I’m simply asking if that approach was successful where it was tried before. If not then why should we expect it is going to be different now.

    Of course the Church is a missionary Church, never suggested it wasn’t. However there is a big difference between the missionary example of Pope Francis meeting with Muslim leaders and talking about our common belief in one God and St. Francis going to Sultan al Malik with the sole goal of converting him to the true Faith, not discussing what was common to both faiths.

    I do not question the orthodoxy of Pope Francis but am concerned that while off the cuff remarks might be refreshing to some they can also backfire in a huge way with unintended consequences.

  169. Seerauber says:

    I’m not sure about “consequentialist thinking” but I know if I’m looking at a strategy I look at my chances of succeeding.

    That’s fair, and I agree. My point is only that what worked (or failed) in one situation does not necessarily communicate what will work (or fail) in a different situation. It very well may prove instructive, however.

    Out of curiosity, is St. Francis’ conversation with Sultan al Malik recorded? Do we know whether they discussed similarities between the two faiths or not?

    I do not question the orthodoxy of Pope Francis but am concerned that while off the cuff remarks might be refreshing to some they can also backfire in a huge way with unintended consequences.

    That could be true. It’s not a ridiculous concern, but one which I feel don’t feel should place too highly in our evaluation of Pope Francis’ papacy and words.

  170. Nancy D. says:

    Catholics do not worship the god that Muslims worship; Catholics worship The Communion of Perfect Love that Is The Blessed Trinity.

  171. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Nancy, Muslims have a partial understanding of the Most High, professing their belief in an all-powerful Creator God who is all just and all good, and whom men are to serve with all their hearts and might.

    It’s true our Muslim neighbors have not come to an understanding that the Most High is a Communion of Persons, nor yet that His essence is existence itself, nor yet that He personifies every perfection, nor yet that He is a Father. These are key elements to our Christian understanding of God, but which the Muslims not only do not share, but reject.

    Nevertheless, the statements of recent Popes have made clear that a fundamental relationship with the true God is present among those of good faith in the Muslim religion.

  172. Nancy D. says:

    Marion, regarding worshipping The True God, please remember God’s Commandment One and Commandment Two.

  173. Indulgentiam says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae says:”Nevertheless, the statements of recent Popes have made clear that a fundamental relationship with the true God is present among those of good faith in the Muslim religion.”
    What statements? Please link to one.

  174. Tom says:

    He is asked a question about homosexuality, but answers with a question about a homosexual person. Subject changed, question evaded.

  175. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Indulgentiam wrote: “What statements? Please link to one.”

    http://tinyurl.com/knmn67j

  176. Indulgentiam says:

    @Marion Ancilla Mariae
    Sorry it tooke so long. I had to do a little digging to go to the original documents as you linked to EWTN. I assume you are referring to Lumen Gentium 16
    “(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge.”
    The operative phrase, as I see it is, “along with us”
    The muslims that do not worship along with us the “Triune God” are worshiping, as the psalmist clearly tells us, devils.

  177. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    But Lumen Gentium says the precise opposite!”But the plan of creation also includes those who worship the Creator. In the first place among these there are the Muslims, who professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.” Nothing about “unless you worship the ‘Triune God’, you are worshipping a devil.”

    This is false. This is fabrication. This is, pardon my French, horse-hooey!

  178. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    P.S. What I should’ve added to the above is that Pope Paul was stating in L.G. that faithful Muslims who worship God in the way they understand Him, do worship the same Triune God that we do; it’s just that they don’t understand, and can’t accept the fullness of the true nature of the One we both worship, to wit, that God is Three Persons in One Godhead. That’s what I meant (above) when I wrote that the Muslims have a partial understanding of the One True God. We Christians have the fullness of revelation. But neither of us is worshipping devils.

  179. Lin says:

    @Bruce Wayne………The well Catechized Catholic will not be mislead by the MSM’s sound bites, saddened perhaps, but not mislead. The problem is, effective catechesis has been lacking since the 60’s. And yes, the sinful look to others to confirm them in their sinfulness. Sinful people are not happy people. It would be much more beneficial to their souls to preach on sin and salvation. It is better that sinners are made uncomfortable in this life then suffer eternal torment in the next.

  180. Indulgentiam says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae says: “This is, pardon my French, horse-hooey!”
    “Horse-hooey?” Ok, I’m stealing that :)
    I think, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, that your under the impression that I am saying that this statement “The operative phrase, as I see it is, “along with us”The muslims that do not worship along with us the “Triune God” are worshiping, as the psalmist clearly tells us, devils.” Is a part of Lumen Gentium?
    I assure you I am not. That is why I separated it from the quote from Lumen Gentium. The last statement is mine Let me try to clarify my point. In Lumen Gentium the Holy Father is saying quite clearly “along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge.”
    Clearly the “one and merciful God” to which the Holy Father refers is the “Triune God” Therefore those muslims who do not worship the “one and merciful God” the Triune God, indeed the Only God are,in the words of The psalmist, worshiping devils. Psalms 95:5For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.”

    You say:”P.S. What I should’ve added to the above is that Pope Paul was stating in L.G. that faithful Muslims who worship God in the way they understand Him, do worship the same Triune God that we do;”
    Lumen Gentium doesn’t say that. You can opine that. But the document simply does not support your opinion . The document clearly states “along with us adore [the one and merciful God,] who on the last day will judge.”

    There is only one God, the Triune God. And anyone who is not praying to him is praying to demons. This is fact according to the inerrant Word of God.

  181. Pingback: Why I'm Not Reading the Pope's Interview | Catholic Bandita

  182. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Nowhere in the observations about Muslims does the Holy Father specify “Triune God.” You introduced that requirement. But no Muslim would reply, if queried, that Allah whom he worships is a “Triune God.” Trinity is not the Muslim understanding of God. But the concept of all-just, all-good Creator God is present among this community. That is what I meant by a “partial” understanding of God on the part of Muslims.

    If you are proposing that any Muslim whose understanding of Allah does not include the Blessed Trinity (which is a Christian, not a Muslim understanding), is not worshipping the one and merciful God, then I would say that proposal must contradict L.G., for it is like the U.S. State Department issuing a requirement that no foreign national requiring a U.S. visa may apply for a tourist visa unless he is a U.S. citizen.

    What? But foreign nationals requiring visas and U.S. citizens are completely separate categories. They don’t overlap at all. “Foreign nationals requiring visas” excludes all “U.S. citizens” and “U.S. citizens” excludes all “foreign nationals requiring visas.”

    Similarly, one hundred percent of Muslims are in the category of “non-Trinitarian believers” and do not overlap at all with Muslims “who believe in the Blessed Trinity.” Such Muslims do not exist. They have no possibility of existing. For the Muslim, Allah is one.

    Are you suggesting that the Pope Paul when speaking of Muslims worshipping the one God with us, had in mind a category of Muslims restricted to those who are Trinitarians, which is, as I have explained, a category with zero members? A null set?

    Why would the Holy Father do that? Answer: He wouldn’t!

    Therefore I believe it is safe to say your introduction of a demand that the Allah whom the Muslims worship be worshipped by Muslims as “Trinity” is a demand impossible of achievement; it excludes 100% of Muslims and therefore does not comport at all with the message of L.G., and is entirely a fabrication.

  183. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Out of curiosity, is St. Francis’ conversation with Sultan al Malik recorded? Do we know whether they discussed similarities between the two faiths or not?”

    I think, Fr. Thompson, O. P., can answer this question, better, but my understanding is that, mostly, the Sultan just listened and impressed enough by St. Francis as a person to allow him safe passage back to Italy. I don’t think he converted and I don’t think there was substantive discussion.

    Cavaliere,

    “The Samaritan did not care for the wounded man because he could get better. He loved the man and cared for him that he might get better.”

    I am a great fan of loving people as people, which is what the Good Samaritan did (the priest and levite did not see him as a person, but an object to be avoided due to ritual impurity). Everyone has the Imago Dei within and are worthy of respect and good treatment, but the catch-phrase, “love them where they are at,” is too ambiguous. Modern clinical psychology training uses that phrase to demand (demand!) that therapists-in-training support the homosexual tendencies and lifestyles of their patients. There was a famous case in Michigan just last year where a clinical psychology student was censured for holding a Christian world-view and not communicating her absolute support of the homosexual lifestyle of one of her training patients. This is how that phrase can be misused and will be misused by society-at-large against Christians.

    Where people are at is often multi-layered and contains some good and some bad. One can always reach out to that which is good within the person and support it, but love, likewise, does not, “rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the truth.” That everyone has the Imago Dei means that there is always some truth to rejoice in and love in every person we meet, but nowhere in Scripture are we told to take the person where they are at. That notion comes straight out of Carl Rogers:

    ” The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

    It has contaminated a lot of modern society, including Christian thinking. That was my earlier point – not that we shouldn’t love everyone we meet – but that how we love depends upon what is truly best for the person and their eternal salvation. One does not, necessarily, accept where a person is at, but one must, necessarily, recognize where a person is at and start from there in the discernment of what love demands in the situation. One needs to recognize that the five years old is reaching towards an open flame, but one does not, nor should not, accept it.

    I suspect your definition of accept in love is my definition of recognize in love. My problem was not with you, but in how that phrase has been twisted in modern society into a club to beat some people into submitting and countenancing to an evil.

    The Chicken

  184. Indulgentiam says:

    +JMJ+
    Good morning Marion :)

    You say: “Nowhere in the observations about Muslims does the Holy Father specify “Triune God.” You introduced that requirement.”

    That is simply not so. Looking strictly at the wording in L.G —
    “along with us [Catholics, he’s the Pope, he’s Catholic, the Universal Us= Catholics] adore the **one [there is ONLY ONE God. The Triune God. The Pope would know this] and merciful God, who on the last day will judge.”

    You say: “But no Muslim would reply”
    How can you know this? You do not know the mind and heart of every muslim. You do not know at what point, in the struggle against that heresy, they’re at. . Perhaps there are those who secretly believe in the Triune God.

    My point is that you seem to be inserting your own subjective interpretation to the written text in
    L.G. The Pope, however much you may think you know his mind, clearly stated—” one and merciful God,…” The use of the word ONE is deliberate as there is only one God. The Pope, the head of the Catholic world, when speaking of the One God, the one without Whom there would be no Chair of Peter, would of course be referring to the Triune God.
    For you to say that he is speaking of any other God flies in the face of reason and logic. When Catholics hear the Pope refer to the “one and merciful God” it needs no further clarification.
    We do not pray to any other god then the One Triune Catholic God because to do so puts a soul in grave danger of loosing the one true faith. Perhaps this article may help you understand better–
    The Holy Office addresses schismatic and heretical worship—
    http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_2006_AC_Allan.html

    Finally one need go no further than psalm 95:5 to understand that anyone who is not praying to the one true Triune God is praying to devils. It makes sense. If there is only one God and we all agree there is and muslims are not praying to Him, then who else is left? They can believe that there god is the right one but their belief does not change the reality. That’s the thing about truth it forces you to pick a side.
    The Lord bless you and keep you,…
    Our Lady guard you and guide you.

  185. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “But no Muslim would reply . . . (that God is Three Persons in One)
    How can you know this? You do not know the mind and heart of every muslim. You do not know at what point, in the struggle against that heresy, they’re at. . Perhaps there are those who secretly believe in the Triune God.

    You’re joking, right. I finally get it. This was all a pull their leg moment. Very funny.

    Dude! Hey! Saturday morning -chores, laundry, errands to do. Gotta go slog.

    Good luck with all that, and have a nice life. mkbye.

  186. Indulgentiam says:

    @Marion Ancilla Mariae–
    I’m not pulling your leg or anything like it. It seems to me that you are absolutely conviced that you,
    A) know the mind and heart of Pope Paul VI so well that you can interpret his words unequivocally
    And. B) you also know beyond a shadow of all doubt what every muslim in the world believes privately in their hearts.
    I will quote a recent acquaintance. “horse-hooey!”
    God bless you

  187. robtbrown says:

    Tom says:
    He is asked a question about homosexuality, but answers with a question about a homosexual person. Subject changed, question evaded.

    Agree, and I wonder whether it’s a good thing. From what little I know of him, he seems to have done the same thing in B.A. Instead of denying Communion to pro abort politicians, he evaded the problem, simply letting others give them Communion.

    With Catholic morality it’s necessary to state the moral doctrine along with forgiveness via the Divine Mercy. Just stating the former makes someone sound harsh. Just stating the latter can give the impression of antinomianism and promote a Catholic version of I’m OK, You’re OK.

    This pope is a good and talented man, but he will have to learn that the B.A. schtick doesn’t work when people all over the world are listening.

  188. jhayes says:

    Indulgentium, Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the God of Abraham.

    “God also spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty [El Shaddai] but by my name ‘The Lord’ [YHWH] I did not make myself known to them. (Exodus 6:2-3)

    Peter preached in the Temple: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant, Jesus” (Acts 3:13)

    Lumen Gentium says: “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.

    At each Mass, we Catholics affirm that “I believe in one God…”

    Jews, Christians and Muslims have different understandings of the nature of that one God, but that does not change the fact that we all worship the same God who revealed Himself to Abraham as El Shaddai.

  189. romanrevert says:

    Quoting anything from The Second Vatican Council (e.g. Lumen Gentium) as a standalone document without interpreting it through the lens of Tradition and previous Church teachings is pointless. The documents are so ambiguous – apparently deliberately so according to Cardinal Kasper – that you can read whatever you want to out of them. Since they cannot contradict earlier teachings, refer to earlier teachings to clarify. The same can be said of the Holy Father’s statements which seem, sometimes, to be equally vague. There seems to be a cottage industry developing among Catholic bloggers to tell people what he really meant.

  190. Thank you Father Z this was very helpful.

  191. Palladio says:

    Thanks for the new banner, Father, which I believe (with at least a few of your readers) is very much in the spirit of the Pope emeritus, too. I suspect many wish to look away from the statement and, perhaps, the image. Most of all, I want to take exception to those laity who so casually criticize and even malign the Pope. More Catholic than the Pope, they seem to think, they do go on, and causing what scandal to the doubtful and ignorant I have no idea. They have little to nothing to learn from the Pope, but he has something to learn from them: the protestant stance of that posture is revolting to me. If that is no criticism to your ears, to adapt the great Von Balthasar, “to protest” is neither a final nor an initial position.

  192. Pingback: The Big Interview of Pope Francis (Saturday) | Big Pulpit

  193. Indulgentiam says:

    romanrevert says:”Quoting anything from The Second Vatican Council (e.g. Lumen Gentium) as a standalone document without interpreting it through the lens of Tradition and previous Church teachings is pointless.”
    I would agree to a point. However the particular sentences that -Marion Ancilla Mariae- and I were debating were not ambiguous. Sadly there are those who believe that their opinions, imaginings, feelings, etc… are facts. That they can submit them as facts to prove their point. Of course there is no logic in this mentality. These are the folks whose reason is held hostage by an immature intellect.
    This blog is such a blessing. Fr. Z challenges me to think beyond my comfort zone, to research, to develop an intellect that can be, as Peter says:”…ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.” Not an easy task for me as I am no intellectual. I greatly appreciate Fr. Z’s take on all things but most especially the Holy Father. Thank you Fr. Z. God bless you :)

  194. Traductora says:

    Dear Fr. Z- I just sent a donation, many thanks for all you are doing. I think the new banner is incredible. “A field hospital after battle.” It puts everything in perspective, including this thread. Many thanks!

  195. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Z. Thank you.
    And thanks to all who share your thoughts, opinions, and concerns. I learn, and am also very consoled. God bless all here.

  196. Salvelinus says:

    I purposely waited a few days to read the Catholic blogs. As soon as I received a CNN alert regardingthe holy fathers, I knew it was word twisting, yet again. I truly believe satan is entrenched in the MSM. Anybody wonder why they never reported Francis at the walk for life in Italy? Or how about the fact that his two predecessors never went? Nope, they will never tell this. Remember the problem prayer to saint Michael. The demons in the world, and what better way thanMSM are seeking the ruin of souls. Please stay calm folks. I dont think its a coincidence the sedevicantist heresy is waiting for wayward Catholics. Our Lord promised us this wouldn’t be easy. Francis is being Catholic, I promise. TheMSM is using the old “divide and conquer”—and again, who is entrenched in theMSM?

  197. charo says:

    The Pope wants to draw the sheep into the flock. Wounded people see the Church as “mean.” He wants the triage principle to apple. All of that sounds logical, and he is the Holy Father. How many people who feel slighted or wounded by the Church feel that way because they will not have their life styles validated? The Church welcomes the sinner to effect transformation. Bringing your gay lover to Mass who you hope to someday marry in the Church will not validly happen, no matter how welcoming the church become. When I thought of the field hospital scenario, the slaves ships came to mind. I didn’t grow up Catholic so I apologize for not knowing the names of great Saints at the top of my head. I think it was St. Martin who ministered to dying slaves. He gave the simplest of explanations so that they could accept baptism prior to their imminent deaths. Triage was necessary. Who is it now that simply needs to brought into the Church (or brought back to the fold) that doesn’t understand what they have to do? If they are divorced and remarried without an annulment, they can’t receive Holy Communion. It is embarrassing when just about everyone gets up for Communion, and they have to hold back. It is no one’s business who and who does not go to Communion. But they feel the stigma.

    Maybe I am going off in the wrong track, but I would like a further explanation of to whom the field hospital applies, and what steps should be taken.

    I attend an EF Mass, and the current priest will occasionally reference abortion, gay marriage, contraception, but in general, he speaks of the interior conversion. He doesn’t need to expound on the issues because the make-up of the people there already hold the correct beliefs. It seems as if the Pope wanted to assure everyone “I am a son of the Church.” I would not have expected otherwise.

    I need to reflect more, but I am learning from hearing others’ comments.

  198. Gail F says:

    I think that’s exactly what he’s saying. “We don’t have to talk about these things all the time” does NOT mean “we don’t mean them” or “we shouldn’t talk about them at all.” If you think most people in the West don’t believe that the Church is mean, rule-bound, obsessed with sex, and oppressive, you’re fooling yourself. The fact that these things are false does not meant that most people don’t think them. Would you go to people you thought were mean and oppressive for hope and help? Pope Francis is telling us that now, in the whole world (and he is concerned about the whole world, not my parish or your parish) we need to communicate people that the Church is about Christ, and Christ is about love and hope and freedom. I figure he has a better idea of the condition of the world than I do, and a lot better idea about what Christ wants than I do. I’m about halfway through the interview and I think it’s wonderful. But it DOESN’T say what the big papers and tv stations say it does.

    We have a big fight on our hands as far as the “LGBT” advocates go. We’re not going to win it by seeming to say that gay people are bad and we want them to be unhappy — and that is exactly the way the advocates have set up the scenario. Most people, not knowing much about the Church and very fond of their own sins, and not understanding the ramificaitons, have decided that saying “no” to gay people about anything is mean. We cant’ convince them that we are loving and good and that Christ offers freedom when they think we’re mean. We have to figure out how to show love even while we say “no.” But I don’t think we’ve figured that out yet. And if people don’t see the love, they only see the “no.”

  199. Traductora says:

    Charo, I think you have hit on some good points. Your priest in an EF parish can be pretty confident that people know the basics and why they are there. But after the miserable catechesis since Vatican II, they’re an exception.

    The more I have thought about it, the more I am wondering if perhaps the Pope was not directing this only to people outside the Church but to those inside who really have no idea what they’re doing there. That is, they accept none of the positions of the Church but they think they’re good Catholics. In part, this is because most of their very deficient priests and bishops (and the fish rots from the head – it begins with the bishop, the teaching authority of his diocese) simply haven’t taught them or possibly don’t even know themselves. But whatever it is, they object to Church doctrine. At least half or perhaps 75% of the mostly female EEMs of my parish probably don’t believe a word of it because they feel they’re perfect with the perfection of the self-satisfied “People of God,” formerly known as the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, or our Holy Mother the Church.

    So I wonder if some of this was directed at shaking up the “perfect” – including the heedless, self-obsessed aparatchiks that have kidnapped the ministry of the priests, unfortunately, often with their collusion.

    Today at Mass, I had the strange experience of hearing a priest whom I have always thought to be a complete Vatican II idiot (sorry, I’ll have to go to confession for that, but that’s what I always thought) come out and say that parishioners shouldn’t listen to the press about the Pope and they should just recall one thing, which was that he was saying exactly what was said to St Matthew (whose feast day it was) , come, follow me, without asking anything in advance. And after people start to follow, having fallen in love with this message, they will learn the demands it makes on them.

    I had no idea this priest had it in him. So this whole episode is turning up things one never expected or even imagined. Do not fear.

  200. GAK says:

    Sometimes we need to take a big step back and take a deep breath.

    Those in the mainstream media who habitually distort the Church’s teaching do not have a complicated agenda.

    Think of the pretty clique of girls in 8th grade who hate the new girl. They hate her for a REASON. She is a threat, in whatever way they have perceived her to be a threat. Maybe she’s really pretty. Maybe she’s really talented. Maybe she’s brilliant at basketball. There is always a reason behind the hate.

    Similarly, whenever the mainstream media is gleeful or gloating regarding the Church and her teaching, it is for a REASON. If JP II, or B16, or Pope Francis really were malleable and putty in their hands, they would not be wasting their time trumpeting this or that amazing new teaching (against past teaching) Pope So-and-So just came out with.

    It is politics, and it is for a reason. They are not in control of the situation, and they want to be. So they stir up all sorts of drama and tell their own versions of the story because when you don’t have control over people you sorely wish to dominate, drama and a fake narrative are all you’ve got.

    The main stream media has not direct influence over the Holy Father just like the catty 8th grade girls have no direct influence over the new girl who isn’t part of their clique.

    It’s not complicated. It’s also a barometer of just how much the powers that be know they are not, in fact, all that powerful.

  201. Norah says:

    In a field hospital/Church the first priority must be the saving of temporal/spiritual lives; telling the patient exactly what is wrong with him/her and with consent go about doing what is necessary. When the emergency has been attended to then comes consolation and nurturing and rehabilitation.

  202. Basher says:

    That’s a lot of red ink.

  203. Katylamb says:

    I guess everyone who knows more than poor, stupid, pathetic, Pope Francis should just sign a big letter to him letting him know all the things he’s doing wrong. Of course don’t forget to tag on that you’ll “pray hard” for him, always the ending of nasty posts about his leadership. (And he IS your leader.) Or else maybe you could just nail your 95 theses to a door somewhere…

  204. Katylamb says:

    Sorry. I’ll take a break. I’m just to disgusted and disheartened right now. I used to call myself a traditionalist. Be careful- the trad movement is losing people…

  205. Norah says:

    Yes the MSM got it wrong either accidentally or deliberately by taking a few words from here and combining them with a few words from there and voila we have a headline which will include sales!

    What we must bear in mind though is that the MSM take on what the pope said is what most people including most Catholics will read and take for gospel.

  206. Norah says:

    That should be increase not include sales – my typo.

  207. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    More quotes taken from interviews of other leaders in the past week:

    “We’re too obsessed with soft drinks. People know our stance on soda, we do not need to advertise it all the time” – CEO, Coca-Cola

    “We’re too obsessed with video-taping people having sex. People know where we stand on this, it is not necessary to keep producing new pornography all the time” – Chairman, Smut Films, Inc.

    “We need to be more open and conciliatory to conservatives. We don’t need to talk about how they hate the poor and minorities all the time, we’ve become obsessed with that.” – Nancy Pelosi, D-CA

    “All this talk about immigration reform has really gotten out of kilter. We’ve become obsessed with people who are, after all, entering the US illegally” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President, USCCB

    “Gay people are too focused on their sexuality. We’re too obsessed with labeling, I mean, how many more letters can we add to LGBTQ?” – President, GLAAD

    “Women have higher employment, own more businesses, are more educated, receive better health care and more government benefits than men. We’re too obsessed with advancing a women-oriented agenda and need to discuss more important issues” – President, NOW

    “We talk too much about racism in this country… it’s become an obsession for some in the African-American community, and we need a more balanced approach, or the whole structure of the NAACP will come crashing down” – joint interview with Al Sharpton and the Chairman of the NAACP

  208. jc464 says:

    This is beginning to sound look and sound like the contortions into which Obama supporters must twist themselves in trying to explain away what is apparent to most reasonable people: that Obama is anti-American and wants to “fundamentally change” the country and its ethos. I say to those who continue this effort on behalf of Francis, good luck and have fun selling your integrity and credibility trying to convince the rest of us that Francis isn’t exactly what he appears to be.

  209. Palladio says:

    jc464, I would disagree with your analogy. Popes and Presidents are incomparable, surely. Catholics owe the Pope true obedience, which begins in part with actually trying to understand him in the first place. Whence Fr. Z’s post. The media will NEVER be enough for Catholics to do so. Thus, Catholics must turn to their priests and bishops, and do so at all events, no matter who the Pope happens to be. At the same time, understanding is relative gift. I don’t expect to follow, at least entirely, the Pope emeritus in all of his writings, for example, for he has a truly great mind. He’s, after all, the one chosen by the Holy Spirit, not I, so even as I remain inclined to understand and to follow him, I know, too, by my own shortcomings I WILL FALL SHORT. No matter: Christ ministers to me day and night, and in the Sacraments. Only He can make me whole in body mind and soul.

    As for the President, he–that is, any President–is a mere elected official, supposedly a representative of the people. He trucks in no mystery, represents what he will or must, and has a huge number of problems to deal with directly or no. It seems at times he is a law unto himself, beholden to the people for votes and gullibility–any President, that is: I am not casting aspersions–and to rich people for big sums of money to get elected, but if he is ‘progressive’ the media will cast everything he does in a positive light–the very opposite of what they do for our Popes.

    I do not know how I or anybody is supposed “to support” the Pope, except by prayer, but prayer is not support in the sense of what one might or could do by way of support for the President. The Pope gives any number of addresses and talks, holds meetings, presides over regular prayers and Masses in public and private… The list is longer than I happen to know. With two thousand years and more to work with, the Pope remains the servant of the servants of God, it seems to me, and plenty do listen to and understand him tolerably well, I expect.

    Thanks to Fr. Z for letting all of us have our little say.

  210. Bosco says:

    Sandro Magister published his opinion on Pope Francis’ lengthy interview with Spadaro in a recent column published in Republica:
    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350605?eng=y

    I think Magister’s opinion is worthy of thoughtful consideration:

    “From these arguments one gathers that Pope Francis is far from seeing in the modern-day cultural revolution the tremendous transition of civilization forcefully denounced by the popes who preceded him.

    What prevails in Bergoglio is the idea that the new man who is moving forward, rather than harshly putting the Church to the test, is instead helping it to grow in understanding of the truth and to get rid of “ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now have lost value or meaning.”

  211. Priam1184 says:

    @Bosco Regarding your citation from Sandro Magister I have to say that if this is what the Holy Father is thinking then he is sorely mistaken. The ‘new man’ is the same as the old man, subject to the same weaknesses and temptations and in need of the same graces as his predecessors were one thousand years ago. Our sins today that everyone claims to be so ‘revolutionary’ are actually as old as the hills, far older in some cases. Jesus Christ was and is the only ‘new man’ there ever was, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and so is the Church. That ‘moving forward’ garbage comes straight out of Marx, Engels, and Lenin and has no place in the Church.

  212. Unwilling says:

    Fr Z has cleared up almost every point that concerned us initially. Have you ever seen a bunch of turkeys react to a sudden noise – and they reliably do it every time, no matter how often repeated. MSM must laugh themselves silly watching us gobble over nothings. I have been reading the document over carefully for four days now and find it full of deep thoughts and kerygmatic zeal. One phrase, however, remains difficult: “…the moral edifice of the church …fall”.

    First to clear up translation problems. America magazine’s English translation from Italian chooses expressions that maximize the troublesome tone. The original passage was:
    Gli insegnamenti, tanto dogmatici quanto morali, non sono tutti equivalenti. Una pastorale missionaria non è ossessionata dalla trasmissione disarticolata di una moltitudine di dottrine da imporre con insistenza. L’annuncio di tipo missionario si concentra sull’essenziale, sul necessario, che è anche ciò che appassiona e attira di più, ciò che fa ardere il cuore, come ai discepoli di Emmaus. Dobbiamo quindi trovare un nuovo equilibrio, altrimenti anche l’edificio morale della Chiesa rischia di cadere come un castello di carte, di perdere la freschezza e il profumo del Vangelo. …».

    Here is an alternative perspective on the text that I think is less provocative.
    The teachings, dogmatic as well as moral, are not of the same importance. A pastoral mission is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a bunch of doctrines to be forced [on people]. Missionary preaching is focussed on the essential, the necessary…. So we have to find a new balance, otherwise the moral edifice of the Church risks falling like a house of cards, [risks] losing the freshness and fragrance of the Good News.

    In this translation, it is clear that the topic of his remarks is how to present the Faith to those who do not (truly) know it. There are basics and developments — start with the basics! Furthermore, America says that the threatened fall “is likely”, whereas the original says there is a “risk”.

    Now to return to the troublesome phrase with “the Church” and “fall”. It instantly calls to mind these passages in Matthew. 7:24-25: “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them [i.e. moral precepts] will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall….” 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build [aedificabo > “edifice”] my church, and the powers of death [portae inferi {Lt=Gk}] shall not prevail against it.”

    What can be meant by the Pope’s phrase, I do not know. Just a slip? In ordinary conversation, people, profoundly believing Catholics, do say carelessly “the Church will be destroyed by”, you name it: communism, capitalism, impiety, sex, money laundering…. They usually mean that the Church, the people of God, will be hurt, maybe that official membership will fall, whatever. Maybe it is just such a slip. Or is there a “moral edifice of the Church” that does not enjoy the promised protection?

    Fr Z? [I’ll have a look.]

  213. Bosco says:

    @Priam184,
    I am reminded of an observation (caution) of G.K. Chesterton:

    “We must not hate humanity, or despise humanity, or refuse to help humanity; but we must not trust humanity; in the sense of trusting a trend in human nature which cannot turn back to bad things.
    – The Wells and the Shallows (1935) -

  214. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Palladio, interesting.

    It is true that there is an essential difference both between the secular world and the Church, and even in the Church between the sacramental Office and all other things.

    Nevertheless… when it comes to leadership (and if we put aside infallibility for a moment), the practical attitudes towards a Pope and one’s own head of state seem strangely alike.

    They both derive their respective authorities totally and entirely from “the grace of God”, as the old formula goes (yes that is so, and whether we speak of a monarchy or a republic is entirely irrelevant here). They must both be respected for the same authority. They must both be obeyed in principle, but must be disobeyed against one’s own conscience and can be disobeyed when they either do not claim obedience or [and it is here where there perhaps arises also practically a difference, but that is a difficult subject to say the least] act beyond their competency. And they are both responsible to God for their actions.

  215. Joseph-Mary says:

    It just does not get any easier and having to explain what the Holy Father seems to really mean does not help either! The MSM takes what it wants, and the ‘progressives’ take what they want and so many souls only know what they see in the headlines….well, it helps to make confusion reign and God knows this is what we have had to deal with for decades. Yes, I do want security in doctrine! You bet! I want to know that the Church is a rock I can depend on. I like things clear and unambiguous. So many souls are left comfortable in their sins and this is a travesty. Yes, we must bring souls to a love and then to the conversion, I get that. And I hope this is what is happening now. But I see again the same ‘hope’ as what was buzzing around in the church in the 60s—-that contraception would be okay for example. That buzzed for a couple of years and when Humanae Vitae came out, it was denounced publicly by so many in the hierarchy that the people were left confused and embraced it to the ends which Pope Paul predicted. My pastor, for example, said it was all a matter of conscience (didn’t the Holy Father just say something like that too?) and my conscience–looking back–was dead. My conscience did not bother me when I was in mortal sin. And no one was saying I needed to change, just that God loved me just as I was. But the thing is that I was offending Him terribly but no one would speak that truth to me.

  216. Joseph-Mary says:

    @mercyknight: a good priest who had had the big job of turning a heretical parish into a Roman Catholic one came to me yesterday asking, “What is the Holy Father doing?” The off the cuff stuff makes him job more difficult as he may not feel the pope “has his back”.

    @gracias:who loves everyone has even been coining derogatory names for us long-suffering Catholics: Pelagians, Triumphalists, and Ideologizingists. It will be a softer, gentler, Obamunist, Peronist, Lefist, Church militant against that terrible dedicated 1% of transubstantiation believers.

    Yes, this is quite disconcerting.

  217. Joseph-Mary says:

    @mercyknight: a good priest who had had the big job of turning a heretical parish into a Roman Catholic one came to me yesterday asking, “What is the Holy Father doing?” The off the cuff stuff makes him job more difficult as he may not feel the pope “has his back”.

    @gracias:who loves everyone has even been coining derogatory names for us long-suffering Catholics: Pelagians, Triumphalists, and Ideologizingists. It will be a softer, gentler, Obamunist, Peronist, Lefist, Church militant against that terrible dedicated 1% of transubstantiation believers.

    Yes, this is quite disconcerting. On the surface, does the Holy Father not love those faithful ones in the trenches all these years?

  218. Palladio says:

    Dear @Imrahil,
    I am not sure we are speaking of the same country. I owe the President no obedience, who, in a purely secular country, is never above the law or the Constitution. In some sense, I must be a patriot, loving the nation, my fellow Americans, following the law etc. I fail utterly to see how Presidents preside “by the Grace of God.” There is no such thing of right of divine presidency, to my knowledge, any more than that of monarchy: at least, nothing of the sort in which I, or any American, have the least obligation to believe. I suppose we can be believers in the rule of law, simply put. But in the President? I cannot see it, my friend.

    God bless.

  219. vandalia says:

    An analogy: I know several priests who have done beautiful renovations of their respective Church buildings. Unfortunately, they failed to fix the roof or the foundation before they did this. As a result, all this work was quickly ruined by cracks or water damage.

    The same thing holds with preaching about homosexual “marriage” or abortion. I can preach a wonderful homily on these issues, but if I have not first prepared the proper foundation, that homily is absolutely, completely, entirely, worthless. If I do not believe in God, why in the world should I believe that there is anything wrong with abortion or homosexual acts?

    We need to take the Creed as an example. We start with “I believe in God.” There is a “hierarchy of values.” This does not mean that some are “more true” than others, but rather that some are more “foundational” than others. If I do not believe in God, then nothing else in the Creed has any meaning.

    We need to refocus our efforts at the most basic level:
    God Good. Devil Bad. (A bonus to anyone who gets that reference.)

    If I do my job properly, I will never need to preach a word about abortion or homosexual acts or any other great sin. Those placed under my care will instantly realize that such things are “nefas” or utterly unthinkable. If, instead, I ignore this foundation and focus on the symptoms of a lack of faith – abortion, homosexual lifestyle – then I may make myself feel good, and my parishioners may agree with me as they walk out the door, but this will all quickly fade away once they step foot into the “world.”

    At my diaconate ordination, I receive a Book of Gospels with the words “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose Herald you now are.” My job is to preach the GOSPEL! If I am faithful to that, all will be well. If I decide that I am wiser than God, and attempt to short circuit the Divine plan, then I am dammed, along with many others with me.

  220. NoraLee9 says:

    Strangely enough, my grandmother has been quoted as saying : “Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”

  221. jbpolhamus says:

    So today, in the very reformed parish where I work, a little boy – one of a rather straight-laced and traditional family and one of three brothers who altar-serve together (the only children at any of the masses to do so), read a speech about raising money for a walk-a-thon to benefit a home for pregnant mothers as a means to prevent abortion. As he started to read everyone found him so cute.

    When he mentioned helping mothers without money or families to keep their babies, the smiles went off half their faces, and one woman in the front of the congregation – who tells me she actively supports EUTHENASIA – looked away from him the whole time with an expression of disgust. He left the podium to a smattering of applause.

    This little boy had more spine to tell it like it is than the current pope, and got openly dissed for his effort. One wonders what effect it will have on his resolve in times to come. He’s obviously “obsessed” by abortion and contraception. THANKS, FRANCIS, FOR THE MIXED MESSAGE.

  222. HighMass says:

    One does wonder why all these statements that favor the left in the church…..no one should judge or condemn….but for those of us that lived through the liberals Vatican II this all sounds like the 60’s, 70’s etc ALL OVER AGAIN…..

    Have we not learned anything over the past 50 yrs…..Pope Benedict XVI tried to get us back on track….but we know how that all ended…..The LOVE That we have for Pope Benedict is hard to define other than HE is such a wonderful teacher….and was a wonderful Pope…..

    I Cringe at the thought of a retro from the Chair of Peter….Paul VI all over again???

  223. jbpolhamus says:

    Father, for the purposes of argument, lets say that I accept Francis’ orthodoxy and what you say that Francis is trying to do. My point is, it isn’t working. You can’t please everybody, and you can’t equivocate on some things. Abortion and contraception and homosexuality, at the doctrinal level, can’t be equivocated away. This is an old Jesuit tactic to say what you need to say without contradicting yourself. Ultimately, it fails. And it is dishonourable to boot, in my view. Better that he stand up and take what they’re going to dish anyway, rather than pulling the rug out from under those who are trying to openly proclaim what the Church has already expressed as its mind. I”m not impressed, nor is anyone else I know.

  224. Palladio says:

    @Unwilling, I don’t see a problem in the phrase (parlo italiano). The first time I saw my first (First Communion) parish–which lasted exactly two generations in a city neighborhood which became a drug infested ghetto–shuttered and abandoned some twenty years ago, I found it unbelievable. Now count all the shuttered ruins, accelerated in number and frequency by scandals, since then, and add the vestigial remains attacked by a militant secularism–fons et origo of the culture of death–red in tooth and nail worldwide (Catholic adoption agencies closed as a result), and I have no problem at all picturing the image the Pope has offered to our moral imaginations and consciences. No, he is not denying the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Christ, he is denying empty formalism, pietism, sloth, sentimentalism, and a host of other errors, heresies, and vices easy to see infecting and dividing Catholics–Catholics who failed to stem the rise of abortion and in the most populous Catholic State ssm. The collapse from within is only hastened by the forces from without, which already think of and openly deride us as narrow, backward, hateful, against progress, and bigoted. Oops, I left out superstitious.

  225. vandalia says:

    And is the current approach on abortion or homosexuality working? Are we better off now than we were in 1973? Addressing the symptoms of the problem will not work! It is like giving someon who is suffering a heart attack a bit of morphine. Our only hope is to address the disease, not the symptoms.

  226. jbpolhamus says:

    Let me expand on the tactic of equivocation, briefly: the aim of Jesuit equivocation is to say what you need to say, and to say it in soft, well couched terms, relying on the fact that your audience’s powers of analytical thought are insufficient for them to adequately determine what it was that you intended to say, and whether you agreed with their point of view or disagreed with it while making your point in a terms that they will find so inoffensive, indistinct, or indecipherable as to allow you to do so without contradicting your fundamental point of doctrine. That’s what he’s doing.

  227. Priam1184 says:

    @Bosco Thank you for that from Chesterton. Perhaps I was being too hard on the Holy Father since I really don’t think these are his opinions just Magister’s musings. I do start to freak out when I hear men of the Church talking about the ‘new man’ in this day and age because the world has seen that movie before and it did not end well. Pope Francis is correct of course when he says that one cannot focus solely on abortion and contraception. Those things are the end result of a long process that starts with very small things. And, in truth and as to today’s Gospel in the Ordinary Form explains, if we don’t take care of the little things then we haven’t got a chance of dealing with the big things.

  228. Palladio says:

    vandalia, I take your points.

    jbpolhamus, I don’t follow. I see nothing equivocal about Pope Francis. If I saw something even a lot unclear, I, for one, would not be questioning his orthodoxy, a questioning which is patently illogical, a leap of unreason. I’ve seen him celebrate Mass and say prayers quite solemnly, never for an instant contradict or deny any Church teaching, and constantly attempt to project a humility quite disarming (perhaps) for a Pope but unsurprising for someone whose new name in religion is Francis.

  229. KingofCharity says:

    Boy, thank you Father Z! The more I read and reread your analysis, the more and more clear Pope Francis’s message is. It seems SO obvious, indisputable, and transparent as to what he is actually saying in light of your analysis! Pope Francis is a shock pope, indeed. But, without a doubt, it is the MSM’s liberal agenda-driven and poorly written headlines that exacerbate the shock. His phrasings and re-articulation of our immutable doctrines and the Catechism are very challenging and provocative and at first reading, sometimes “confusing.” But I think that is precisely his point. I’ve said this many times on here: Pope Francis is shaking things up and waking us up! Under his watch, there will be no room for presumption, arrogance, and spiritual complacency. At core he is a Jesuit and teacher. Teachers challenge, motivate, and inspire. This is what he is trying to do to every single one of his sheep. Like Peter, Francis knows that he, as vicar of the King Jesus, has been delegated the fundamental roles of Jesus: 1) bearer of the Keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose 2) Confirmer of the faith and brethren 3) Chief Shepherd- Feeder of sheep and tender of Lambs 4) Rock. So he plans to use each role of the King to its fullest extent.
    His teachings are written in new, refreshing ways, but unashamedly orthodox Catholic, nonetheless. Thank you for your consistent clarity of thought, calm confidence, coherence, and absolute trust in the indefectibility of the Church that keep so many Catholics grounded. Perhaps, there is a little bit of apostasy, gloom and doom, and end of days paranoia in much of the Church that has eaten away at many of our sub-consciouses. The fact that we could even entertain the mere thought of apostasy coming so blatantly from the successor of St. Peter, or that we are unwilling to trust Pope Francis completely, is rooted in the conspiratorial paranoia of our current culture. Satan does not want us to trust in Christ’s promise to be with His Bride always and that the Barque of Peter is invincible from heresy and all the diabolical rubbish that accompany the fires of hell.
    Thank you Fr. Z!
    May the Triune God and our Blessed Mother accompany our Holy Father as he steers the Barque of Peter through some of the most terrifying and ominous storms she has ever faced!

  230. KingofCharity says:

    Vandalia,
    To answer your question: No, our recent and current tactics of opposing abortion and homosexual behavior have not worked to end these sins and bring people to the Church. Our Holy Father seems to be telling us that full pews do matter. For a long time, orthodox Catholics had the mindset: it is the pope and bishops job to teach the faith tersely, clearly, and unabashedly. Credibility with the world is not important. Relationships are not important. Preaching doctrinal orthodoxy and Truth is all that matter. If people listen, great. If they don’t, so be it. It’s not the Church’s job to increase church enrollment or make friends.
    Before Pope Francis, I might have been inclined to agree with the above mindset.

    Yet, Francis seems to be challenging and countering this approach. In Francis’s view, it does indeed matter that people listen. If people are not remaining Catholic or being drawn to the Church, then we must re-examine, not the message, but how we deliver it. There is nothing evil, cowardly, or dangerous about re-evaluating the way we package the Gospel. In our Holy Father’s mind, there is something bigger going on inside the Church that is leading to her institutional disintegration. It is more than just illicit masses, Vatican II abuses, ignorant, lazy, or heterodox catechesis, mis-interpreting Vatican II documents, abusing canonical rubrics, etc. It is her tone and focus. We haven’t been radiating the joy, mercy, and healing power that is supposed to come from an encounter with Jesus. Orthodox Catholics have been doing a lot of preaching doctrine, what is and isn’t sin, etc. But have we welcomed the broken? Do we go out into the world and invite lapsed Catholics or even non-Catholics to Mass? Are we judging sinners instead of mercifully admonishing sinners? Do we tell others what they are doing is wrong without telling them why it is wrong and what is right?

    Pope Francis wants a full heaven. But to get a full heaven, we need full pews. To get full pews, we have to radiate the joy and unconditional love that come from receiving Christ’s healing, justice, mercy, and grace. To get full pews our personal holiness must be attractive and contagious, not self-righteous and hypocritical. I believe this is what Pope Francis is asking of us.

  231. Priam1184 says:

    Bosco referenced a column by Sandro Magister up the comment thread a little bit. I think that everyone who thinks that the Holy Father is some raging liberal bent on liturgical destruction should read that column, especially the part where Magister references the Breviary on the Pope’s desk: notice what language that Breviary is printed in!!

  232. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Unwilling at 22 Sept. at 9am:

    I take the phrase about the “moral edifice” of the Church “falling” to mean that our credibility is at stake as Catholics when we do not start with basics and simply talk doctrine with no sense of whether people even understand what we are talking about.

    Fr. Z has done a great job of bridging the linguistic and cultural gap between Pope Francis’ blunt talk and pastoral expressions and our own way of talking to each other within the Catholic Church in the U.S. This Pope is certainly rattling cages with shocking questions:

    “While we argue about petty things in the Catholic Church, is the rest of the world listening?” “Do most people these days even give the Catholic Church the time of day?” “Are we Catholics just pathetic and stupid to them, on many levels?”

    “Why can’t we even seem to get people within our own Church to practice their Faith?” “Yes, yes, let’s cry about Vatican II all day long, and then whine and whine about the New Mass. Yes, that’s great, knock yourself out. It saves so so many souls!”

    “Is it possible that disobedient nuns and liberal bishops are not the only cause of our spiritual sickness–perhaps people just think some of us are jerks, and self-righteous baboons?”

    Finally, in so many words, Pope Francis wants to know, “Have the Church’s faithful sons and daughters become insular and parochial in their mindset, happy to dismiss the great unwashed to hellfire because they are outside the Church without bothering to really try to go out and bring them like the fallen wounded into the field hospital that our Church is supposed to be????”

  233. donato2 says:

    Subterranean Vatican Blues

    The pope’s in the Domus
    Mixing up the faithful
    I’m feelin’ no bliss
    Thinking about the Curia
    The man in the media
    Makin’ big hay
    pro-life is just strife
    Gotta be like Dorothy Day
    Look out kid
    It’s what the pope said
    God knows why
    But he’s saying it again
    Gotta get with the Holy See
    Keep your obsessions in check
    Stay away from the SSPX
    And pray it’s not worse
    The time Francis speaks next

  234. Palladio says:

    Fr_Sotelo, thanks. I was blessed, once, to enter the confessional–and it smelt (to high heaven?) bad. The huge fellow before me had not bathed. I’d seen him often in the front pew, so ill at times the priest had to administer communion to him right there. I was blessed another time in the same parish to hear, from the famous priest who was giving us a lenten retreat, that members of Courage were in the pews–in fact, they were right in front of me. I was blessed many times to watch a man bring his aged wife, who was in some sort of dementia, every Sunday to Mass. What all this told me that the parish, which also had a beautiful choir, great and orthodox homilies, and, eventually, TLM, was what I thought the Church was supposed to be, ministering to everybody.

  235. Bosco says:

    @donato2,
    Very good! I had a good laugh.

    “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

  236. Bosco says:

    Bosco’s October 2013 cryptic prediction:

    HH +Cardinals 8 +’loosing’ (Matt. 16:19) + ‘oikonomia’ = end of annulment backlogs

  237. Granny says:

    fin-tastic, gatormom and others, thank you for expressing my feelings and the feelings of so many of my friends.

    Let me add this, Pope Francis may have the purest INTENTIONS when he speaks…BUT like Vatican 2 the results are what count. Few people would say that the fruits of V2 were what they hoped for. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I fear the fruits of this pontificate. Back to balloons and felt banners.

    When the majority of catholics under 60 have little to no catechesis, no clear education on the BASIC truths and teaching of the faith, any ambiguity from Pope Francis is dangerous for the sheep he leads.

  238. Bosco says:

    @jbpolhamus,
    With apologies to the late Malachi Martin, a sort of effusive ‘Romanita’? – “The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church”

  239. jm says:

    Fr_Sotelo, Where to start…

    “Our credibility is at stake as Catholics when we do not start with basics and simply talk doctrine with no sense of whether people even understand what we are talking about.”

    Yes

    “While we argue about petty things in the Catholic Church, is the rest of the world listening?”

    What things are “petty,” pray tell?

    “Why can’t we even seem to get people within our own Church to practice their Faith?” “Yes, yes, let’s cry about Vatican II all day long, and then whine and whine about the New Mass. Yes, that’s great, knock yourself out. It saves so so many souls!”

    The point is the New Mass promotes an I’m OK, Your’e OK mantra, and so works AGAINST saving souls in its rhetoirc, regardless of its actual efficacy. Trads are not all simply rubric notes: many ARE concerned with saving souls, and for the Pope to insinuate otherwise while kissing up to America magazine is rather off-putting, to say the least.

    “Is it possible that disobedient nuns and liberal bishops are not the only cause of our spiritual sickness–perhaps people just think some of us are jerks, and self-righteous baboons?”

    We are all sinners, but disbelief is a far different disease than inconsistent human nature. Right doctrine matters. And if you can’t count on the teaching Church to get it right, you are in trouble. As we have been for 50 bloomin’ years. “Whining” about Vatican II. Yes, I guess so, if you consider pointing out Modernistic tendencies to be “whining.” MAritain whined. Von Hilderbrand whined. Ratzinger pointed out problems. But suddenly the Council in question is immaculately conceived?

    “Pope Francis wants to know, ‘Have the Church’s faithful sons and daughters become insular and parochial in their mindset, happy to dismiss the great unwashed to hellfire because they are outside the Church…'”

    Does he want to know, OR is he accusing. Two very different things. A rhetorical question would bring self-examination. An accusation brings defensiveness. These are things a Great Pastor ought to know. By all means reach out to everyone… Including Traditionalists. Or are they they one group it is universally OK to diss? Everything Francis is saying could be said in a way that does not make anyone question his orientation. The way he is choosing, however, is not it. He is pastor of all the people. I wish he would act a little more like it. PErhaps all the web buzz will offer him a window into how his words are received in different parts of the world. I am all for giving him deference, but also for letting him know how hiswords sound to our ears. After all, the Church is all “the people of God,” and not just the Pope, right?

  240. vandalia says:

    Granny, one point to keep in mind: Those priests who gave us the “clown Mass” and the “touchy-feely” catechesis were the ones who themselves were taught from the Baltimore Catechism, attended the “Latin” Mass, weekly confession, and the traditional devotions.

    Yet (and I am referring to the work of others, not claiming credit myself) those who sat through those types of “experimental” liturgies and “lovey-dovey” catechesis as children are the ones who today are celebrating the TLM and renewing the Church. Interesting, is it not?

    As Americans (and I assume – probably falsely – that most readers are) we have had the Protestant ethic that we need to DO something infused deep into our minds. God is in control, and works most often in spite of us, rather than because of us. A quick glance at Church history proves that.

  241. Granny says:

    The problem is older and deeper than that. Go read the testemony of Bella dodds.

  242. Pingback: Facepalming Francis | Blog of a Country Priest

  243. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I wonder. To a desperately wounded patient, would we preach doctrine? Or would we preach a relationship . . . a relationship with the Divine Physician, who heals and refreshes, and is Himself Life-giving Bread? Undoubtedly part of getting to know Him is to learn all that the Church believes and teaches in the areas of faith, morals, etc.

    But to start with the relationship, with Himself, who is the Answer to everything.

  244. KingofCharity says:

    I believe 100% in Pope Francis’s orthodoxy, compassionate vision, charitable message, and unifying strategy. I think he is a brilliant, holy, humble pope who is challenging the church and calling us all to unity and saintliness.
    BUT . . .
    I have just a few concerns about the Pope’s tactics and some unintended ramifications from his choice of words and style of delivery:
    1. His view presupposes that there is an intrinsic tension between a pure, simple love of Jesus and the Church’s treasury of small t traditions, e.g. disciplines, private revelations, spiritual piety, novenas, He seems to imply, perhaps unintentionally, that much of the Church’s small t traditions, piety, disciplines, liturgical rubrics, canon laws, etc. are empty religiosity. This is a very Protestant mindset which could erroneously lead one to think that any religious practice or spiritual traditions outside of the two Great Commandments are gratuitous, unnecessary.
    2. WIthout trying, he has embarrassed many orthodox Catholics who have been fighting in the trenches for years fighting and opposing gay marriage, abortion, etc. He needed to be clearer that opposing gay marriage, abortion etc. is good and holy and right. We just can’t forget about other issues and other sins. Our hyper-focus on these issues can’t blind us to other sins, or cause us to stagnant in our relationship with Jesus. Now liberals have “papal ammunition” to throw back at us and to discredit our anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-HHS mandate fervor and zeal (ironically, they never cared about what the pope said before, but now they will).
    3. He seemed to ignore the fact that the reason we orthodox Catholics have been so hyper-focused or “obsessed” with contraception, homosexuality, and abortion is because our government is pushing these issues down our throats, e.g. Supreme Court prop 8 ruling, HHS mandate, labeling Catholics as “extremists,” the bigot labeling, the pop culture mockery, etc. Pope Francis seems unaware of American Catholics persecution and plight right now. We have had no choice but to go on the defensive. So, I wish Pope Francis would have mentioned the current state of American Catholics and how we have been forced into our “obsessive” state by necessity and not choice.
    4. His “come see the softer side of Catholicism” mantra presupposes (or at least could cause outside observers to presuppose) that something was radically wrong with the pre-Francis Church. This could cause others to doubt our spiritual wisdom since he calling on the whole church and not just factions within the Church. It makes it seem like the ENTIRE RCC is too legalistic, doctrinally rigid, and uncharitable as opposed to just certain members in the Church. Now, it seems as if the entire RCC has been “humanized” even more, and many will question our wisdom. If we can be so dead wrong about our tone, approach, and delivery of the Gospel, is it possible that we are wrong about our doctrine, too?

  245. Lin says:

    @Granny………..I totally agree with your comments. Everyone should read the history of Bella Dodds!

    @Mercyknight…….I too am anxious because our progressive pastor has been emboldened! What if I were to be in danger of death? I’m not sure he would rush to give me last rites. I thank GOD everyday for priests like you! You are in my prayers. Please pray for me! Thank you!

    @KingofCharity……We have been subjected to more and more Protestant practices recently! Your BUT’s are why we are anxious.

  246. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Marion Ancilla Mariae,

    I wonder.

    (What follows is perhaps an entirely male perspective.)

    If the desperately wounded patient suffers from error, the principal thing to do is to preach doctrine – but not simply stating it, but argumenting for it. (If he professes to be a Catholic without reservations, then “it’s a dogma” is an argument. If not, it is also, but perhaps ought not to be uttered except as answer to a direct question.)

    If the desperately wounded patient suffers from attachment to sin, what is to be done is either cure the error behind (viz., that sin is the better way off, that God is being un-benevolent in giving this specific commandment, that it is pride to not commit what puts one on the same ground as all mankind; or also that it is a sin at all which the patient is attached to), or else giving him a kick in the backside (if you excuse the expression). The latter seems to be over-emphasized by good Catholics, but that does not say they are not sometimes right.

    If the desperately wounded patient suffers from sorrow (as far as treatment is concerned, it is irrelevant whether the sorrow is a sin or a penance), he must be told convingingly that God loves him and that indeed and really in the literal sense (there is somewhat of a danger here to settle upon “I agree to say ‘God loves me’ because I know the contrary is untrue and because I do not wish to sin and be ungrateful; but still”). It does not hurt to show him by example that members of Our Lord’s mystical body love him as well, and give him a hand with practical problems he happens to have.

    Even in that case, if the person is a) a male or b) not already a believer on the emotional and enthousiastical side of religiosity, I would at all costs avoid the word “relationshop”.

  247. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Palladio,

    that is what I meant with the fact that the President is under limits and you are not bound to obey him when he acts beyond his competency. Though even here, there is some similarity with the Pope. True, there are no limits that say that the Pope must not do something; here is the difference. There are, however, limits that say that the Pope should not do something (though if he does we are to obey him nonetheless); and here is the similarity.

    I fail to see how obeying law, i. e., a Constitution made some hundred years ago and agreed upon by some process, acts of Congress enacted by following the said Constitution, or common law traded down the centuries by proceedings in court, and indeed a President in so far as he is given competency – all somewhat based on the two principles that a) the United States form some philosophical thing called a “nation” and b) that majority can dominate over minority – is so different from what was once, over here in Europe, in case of monarchies called the divine right of kings. If the United States is legitimately a republic, and it is, it is “by the Grace of God a Republic”.

    All authority is either illegitimate and hence not authority, or else it is authority because derived from God, cf. the much-cited (and perhaps somewhat over-emphasized, but I digress) line of the Letter to the Romans (which does not mean the authority must actually claim so).

  248. Imrahil says:

    An addition to my answer to @Marion Ancilla Mariae.

    One other possibility in case of “attachment to sin” is, of course, to cure the sorrow behind.

  249. Indulgentiam says:

    @jhayes–21 September 2013 at 1:29 pm

    No we do NOT worship the same God. Because as stated by minds better than mine…
    From a purely subjective thinking the Muslims might think and believe with a firm confidence that they are worshiping the true God, “Allah” yet the reality is quite the contrary as objectively speaking we can only affirm the contrary. This point is clear from Scripture “Whosoever does not continue in the doctrine of Christ does not have God”. – II St. Jn 1:9

    It would be blasphemous to declare that these false religions are the working of God. On the Contrary ”all faithful disciples of Jesus Christ well know that the false religions are only instruments of the devil to deceive souls and place them beyond Salvation”–St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians, VIII:2
    Pope Pius X long ago put forward that the modernist if they take logically there doctrine, would have no grounds for denying the Muslims there “experience” of ” god” as being just as valid as that of another “believer” and hence he states:

    “Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with that of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being found in any religion? In fact, that they are so is maintained by not a few. On what grounds can Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam?

    What a prophetic insight, Pope Pius X was so accurate that not even the Modernist came to deny what he stated, but only affirm the above with great audacity.

    The Baltimore Catechism (No. 3) states as follows:

    Q. 1148. How do we offer God false worship?

    A. We offer God false worship by rejecting the religion He has instituted and following one pleasing to ourselves, with a form of worship He has never authorized, approved or sanctioned.

    @ romanrevert–thank you for your advice. It has finally dawned on me that you were right. Thanks :)

  250. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Indulgentiam,

    please distinguish between “having God” and “worshipping God”, “worship of a false god” and “false worship of God” (exists!), Mohammedanism being true (an absurd statement) and Mohammedanism being worship of God (a true statement, the worship being a false one to wit) and so on.

    From a purely subjective thinking the Muslims might think and believe with a firm confidence that they are worshiping the true God. And so do Protestants. Muslims err about God, and so do Protestants. Muslims err about the Trinity, and so do Arians, and I figure at least subconsciously and with a “this is all dogmatism and not interesting me” on their lips not a few mainline Protestants. I have never seen anyone deny that Protestants, or even Arians, worship the same God as we do. [Which does not make them right.]

  251. jhayes says:

    Indulgentium, Benedict and the SSPX couldn’t come to agreement on how to reconcile Vatican II statements with earlier statements, so I won’t open that argument here. However, I will point out that this is not an issue on which the VII language in Lumen Gentium is unclear or ambiguous, as some people argue about other VII statements. It says clearly that Muslims “nobiscum Deum adorant unicum….”

    ” Sed propositum salutis et eos amplectitur, qui Creatorem agnoscunt, inter quos imprimis Musulmanos, qui fidem Abrahae se tenere profitentes, nobiscum Deum adorant unicum, misericordem, homines die novissimo iudicaturum. ”

    ” But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

  252. gretta says:

    Pope Francis uses the example of parents quite often, admonishing our priests and bishops to be like loving, engaged, and fruitful parents in their care of their people. Given that this is apparently so often in his mind, my first thought when I read this is that the Pope is calling us to “evangelize” like parents do with their children. When our children come to us after suffering a hurt, we gather them up in our arms, tell them we love them, we wipe away their tears, and we tend to their hurts.

    It is only after the love is administered and the hurts are tended to that we have the discussion about why they hurt themselves, and how changing what they were doing will prevent these hurts in the future. The discussion always comes, (and in our house it is delivered with a clear ‘this is why you were hurt, and don’t do that again’) but it comes only after the little person has been made to feel loved, bandaged, and put on the road to recovery.

    I didn’t find the Pope’s message to be confusing at all. How often does a woman contemplating an abortion change her mind when she discovers that there are people out there that not only care abut her and her unborn child, but who are willing to actually do something to help her in her situation? Extend the love and care, and you prepare the field for the sowing of the message. It doesn’t weaken the message at all or prevent it from being delivered. It just makes the hearer more willing to listen. I think that is what the Holy Father is saying, and as a parent of young children, it makes sense to me.

  253. robtbrown says:

    KingofCharity says:

    Vandalia,
    To answer your question: No, our recent and current tactics of opposing abortion and homosexual behavior have not worked to end these sins and bring people to the Church.

    But the conciliatory approach of, say, Cardinal Wuerl has also not worked. Have any pro abortion (or pro homosexual “marriage”) politicians who continue to be given Holy Communion changed their minds? I don’t know of any.

    Our Holy Father seems to be telling us that full pews do matter.

    In Argentina about 21% attend mass at least once a week–not exactly full pews. The pope is basically employing a missionary approach. This might seem attractive to non Catholics or dissenting Catholics, but it is hardly encouraging to parents trying to teach their children Catholic morality.

  254. Indulgentiam says:

    @Imrahil-I’m sorry but I’m afraid I do not understand what it is your asking.
    You are saying quite a bit there but the only thing I really understood is—
    You say: “Muslims err about God, and so do Protestants. Muslims err about the Trinity…”
    That is what I have been saying. Therefore, it would appear to me that we are in agreement, if not please clarify your argument for me. Thanks :)

  255. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Indulgentiam,

    in a way you confirmed what I thought by writing just that. (Forgive me if I sound too condescending. I have no right to do so; only this comes up again and again and again…)

    You said some variations of what I will put into this sentence: “Allah is not God”, but a devil, etc.

    Unfortunately this has become of a shibboleth of traditional, Islam-critic, anti-feelgood-nooffense-blabla Christians.

    I say unfortunately, because I am a traditional (at least in this respect), Islam-critic, anti-feelgood-nooffense-blabla Christian.

    And it is just a wrong formulation of the intended thing, and in itself most probably incorrect. What is worse, forgive me to say so, you do not even seem to understand why it could be incorrect.

    I do not wish this good cause to be damaged by being subsummed under a shibboleth which, sorry folks, happens to be incorrect.

    I’ll give a few statements which I consider to be true.
    1. There is such thing as a false worship of the true God. (Leastways, St. Thomas thinks there is such thing; cf. S. th. II/II 93.)
    2. There is such thing as worship of the true God, mixed with erroneous teachings about Him. (Proof are the Protestants, the Arians, and so on. Noone says they worship another God than we do.)
    3. There is no difference between the One God and the Triune God. (This is the very dogma of the Trinity.)

    To allay some fears that “the Muslims worship the same God we worship” is in danger of being a mere expression of “detente” towards them or any such thing, I’ll give some other statements I also consider to be true.
    4. It is possible that two things widely considered separate religions worship the same God. (Proof: Christianity and Judaism.)
    5. It is, if anything, an American myth and not true that “we all worship the same God” means we are allies. The Thirty Years War was led by factions who all considered themselves to believe in the same God.

    And now what about that one?
    6. Muslims worship the same God we do (of course in a quite erroneous way).

    This is what the last Council says, if we do not twist its words depending on a wrong understanding of words, as you do. I obey to this as to the teaching of the Church. Also, even obedience set aside, I would still call it the most probable state of affairs. I do not consider arguments against the thesis totally unconceivable. But the important thing is that none of such ones is usually appealed to by those who attack Islam with the shibboleth “Allah is not God”; all their arguments, like all your arguments, are really arguments for the quite different thesis which would more probably be stated “Islam is a false religion”.

    Which nobody doubted in the first place.

  256. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Imrahil says, of “the Arians and so on”, “Noone says they worship another God than we do.” Is that so (a real, not a rhetorical, question)?

    What do you make of St. Maximus’s discussion of the Typos at his first trial as recorded by Athansius? For example, “if the saving faith should be removed along with heresy for the sake of an arrangement [oikonomia], then the arrangement is a thorough separation from God and not a unity with God.” And, “learn how the faith of those in Nicea is repudiated. For God would not be a creator were he deprived of a natural will and activity, if it is true he made heaven ane earth willingly and not driven by any necessity”. The second example seems to suggest the monothelites cannot be worshipping God as creator, if they are misunderstanding ‘creator’. The first, that anyone acceding to an arrangement to refrain from speaking the truth would be separated fom God (rather than worshipping Him). Could these be rephrased as ‘worshipping No-one/Nothing’ rather than ‘another “god” ‘, but in any case ‘not worshipping (the same) God’?

    Then again, there is St. Paul to the Romans 10:2, “illis quod aemulationem Dei habent, sed non secundum scientiam.” This seems to suggest (as your point 4 does) really God, but ‘mis-worshipped’, ‘mis-apprehended’, and so on.

    What seem to be interesting sources where the Moslems are concerned are the earliest extant written account (before 661) of Mohammed’s activities, in the Armenian History attributed to Bishop Sebeos, and the Letter of St. Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon and its later expansion by ‘the people of Cyprus’. But I have only read about the latter two, and not yet seen the former in context.

  257. Indulgentiam says:

    +JMJ+
    @Imrahil
    Good evening :)

    You say: “in a way you confirmed what I thought by writing just that. (Forgive me if I sound too condescending. I have no right to do so; only this comes up again and again and again…)

    Ok, though I don’t know which “that” (i wrote) confirmed your suspicion lets not get bogged down in the minutia.
    And as for being condescending. You didn’t at all sound that way to me. But then I have lots of brothers and sisters who excel at condescension. I suppose I’ve grown impervious to it. ;)

    “shibboleth”? allah is not God. And frankly I find your “2. There is such thing as worship of the true God, mixed with erroneous teachings about Him” to be nothing short of surgical hair splitting.
    From a Catholic perspective the Islamic worship is another form of false worship given to a “strange god” for as we read in scripture “All the gods of the Nations are Idols” – I Para 16:26

    To me the rest of your argument smacks of subjectivism. Which the Church has always condemned under the names, indifferentism or latitudinarianism.
    I really should have listened to romanrevert. It has finally dawned on me that indeed the language of Lumen Gentium lends itself to a wide swath of interpretations. Be that as it may, I believe what the Church has always taught, namely;
    The teaching and the beliefs of Catholicism and Mohammedanism are different and contrary. Their concept of, and their approach to God, diverge and conflict. Catholics indeed accept as dogmatic truth the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation and the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Moslems vehemently and vociferously deny the Blessed Trinity [Sura iv. 171]
    the Incarnation [ Sura xxiii. 91], the Crucifixion of our Divine Lord and the Divinity of Christ [Sura iv, 157 and Sura v. 78] The Mohammedans have such a carnal notion of heaven that St. Alphonsus did not hesitate to declare “The Mohammedan Paradise, is only fit for beasts; for filthy sensual pleasure is all the believer has to expect there.” St. Alphonsus de Liguori, History of Heresies, Vol. 1., ch. vii., art. 1.
    It would be blasphemous to declare that these false religions are the working of God. On the Contrary ”all faithful disciples of Jesus Christ well know that the false religions are only instruments of the devil to deceive souls and place them beyond Salvation” -St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians, VIII:2
    Pope Pius IX condemned in his syllabus of errors the following false notions:
    “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.” (Proposition XV).
    “Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation and arrive at eternal salvation.” (Proposition XVI).
    St. Peter Canisius puts it this way: “Who is to be called a Christian? He who confesses the doctrine of Christ and His Church. Hence, he is truly a Christian thoroughly condemns and detests, the Jewish, Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects.” [20. St. Canisius Catholic Cate-chism, Dillingen, 1560, Question no. 1]
    St. Peter Mavimenus puts it the Mohammedans this way, “We “Whoever does not embrace the Catholic Christian religion will be damned, as was your false prophet Mohammed.” [ St. Peter Mavimenus, The Roman Martyrology for February 21]
    The same we read in the testimony of the five disciples of St. Francis of Assisi, who when reproached by the followers of Koran for preaching against Mohammed, simply responded by saying “We have come to preach faith in Jesus Christ to you, that you will renounce Mohammad, that wicked slave of the devil, and obtain everlasting life like us” [St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Victories of the Martyrs, ch. LIII.]
    The list of Popes, Saints and Church Fathers who say that the muslims, likewise all infidels(as described by Popes, Saints and Church Fathers) as well all heretics Do Not worship the same God of the One True Catholic Church is miles long.
    For this I relied heavily on Denzingers, The sources of Catholic Dogma, and articles with verifiable footnotes linked to approved Church documents. I copied and pasted much of it for expediency sake AND b/c they just plain said it better than I could have.
    AMDG!

  258. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Indulgentiam, I’ll be brief because I have no time.

    I call the “Allah us not God” slogan a shibboleth because if one does not repeat it, with best reasons one finds oneself accused of indiffererentism towards Miohammedanism, which one never dreamt of asserting.

    I do not deny that I was surgically splitting hairs. I happen to delight in this innocent pleasure; it is to some degree what dogmatic theology is about; and then, this is just how to prove that our shibboleth is being wrongly used.

    I do not, objectively, smack of subjectivism. You explicitly do not care about such trifles as factual correctness of a specific accusation against Islam, if you only are right to accuse it (which you are), an it is me that is accused of subjectivism?

    And none of the statements you quoted have any connection to the point at all.

  259. robtbrown says:

    Question: Is the God of Israel, the One Creator God, the same God who has revealed Himself as the Redeemer in the Incarnation?

  260. Indulgentiam says:

    @imrahil- I’m going to refrain from commenting on anything but the last couple of lines in your statement. Only b/c I can’t tell if your agreeing or disagreeing.

    Imrahil says:”And none of the statements you quoted have any connection to the point at all.”
    Really? No seriously, really?
    Go on prove it. Which of my statements is contradictory to the proof I listed. And don’t pull a Lumen Gentium on me by “interpreting what you THINK” I said. . Look at what I actually said. I ‘m being pretty darn clear.
    My point from the beginning has been and remains that muslims and all other false religions, as the Church clearly teaches, DO NOT worship the same God we (Catholics) DO. That is my point. I can and do interpret L.G through the lens of what the Church has previously taught. Now either you didn’t read my original posts or you have grossly misunderstood my position. Either way you have yet to show me one shred of proof for your side. Now my point is clear as crystal. If you disagree then let’s here some Church approved, other than Lumen Gentium, documentation for your side of the debate.
    Make it clear for me please. Pretend your talking to a 5th grader as my IQ is probably about that anyway :) I like to learn so if I’ve gone of the doctrinal rails lets here it. Like I already mentioned I have lots of brothers and sisters who have been masceraiting my ego for years, Lord love’em, I’m really hard to offend.

  261. Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says:
    23 September 2013 at 8:37 pm
    Question: Is the God of Israel, the One Creator God, the same God who has revealed Himself as the Redeemer in the Incarnation?

    Ok I’ll bite. Not according to Jewish belief it’s not. If you ask them they are worshiping a whole other god. A man does not worship what he doesn’t believe. I read that today, researching Church documents, can’t remember where just now.

  262. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Indulgentiam quotes St. Peter Canisius, “Hence, he is truly a Christian [who] thoroughly condemns and detests, the Jewish, Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects.” [20. St. Canisius Catholic Catechism, Dillingen, 1560, Question no. 1]

    robtbrown asks, “Is the God of Israel, the One Creator God, the same God who has revealed Himself as the Redeemer in the Incarnation?”

    Do the various “Jewish […] cults and sects” who do not recognize that the God of Israel, the One Creator God is One Triune God in Three Persons, of Whom the Person of God the Son revealed Himself as the Redeemer in the Incarnation, yet worship “the God of Israel, the One Creator God”?

    Where does St. Paul to the Romans 10:2 ‘come in’, here?

  263. robtbrown says:

    Indulgentiam says,

    Ok I’ll bite. Not according to Jewish belief it’s not. If you ask them they are worshiping a whole other god. A man does not worship what he doesn’t believe. I read that today, researching Church documents, can’t remember where just now.

    But the concept that there is One God, the source of all being (cf Ex 3:14), Who created all things freely, comes from the Jews.

    Another question: Do you think that “God is Love” 1 Jn 4:8 refers only to the Trinity?

  264. robtbrown says:

    Venerator Sti lot says,

    Do the various “Jewish […] cults and sects” who do not recognize that the God of Israel, the One Creator God is One Triune God in Three Persons, of Whom the Person of God the Son revealed Himself as the Redeemer in the Incarnation, yet worship “the God of Israel, the One Creator God”?

    Why did you move from “recognize” to “worship”? The question at hand here is not whether there is salvation through the Old Law but rather whether the One God of the OT is also the One God of the NT.

    Where does St. Paul to the Romans 10:2 ‘come in’, here?

    The Old Law concerns temporal life, the New Law eternal life. The famous chapters 9-11 of Romans deal with the future of Israel.

  265. Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says:
    “But the concept that there is One God, the source of all being (cf Ex 3:14), Who created all things freely, comes from the Jews.”

    The Church has always regarded the worship of Non Catholics as mere acts of superstitions since “there are four kinds of superstition, namely, illegitimate worship of the true God, idolatry, divination, and superstitious practices. The first consists in a false worship, though applied to the living God; for instance, if you worship Him (God) according to the Mosaic law, which is contrary to all the precepts of the Gospel; or if you adopt a new religion in opposition to the doctrine if the universal Church.” [ Fr. E. O’Donnell, A Compendium of St. Thomas’s Theology, Dublin 1859, Volume II, Pg. 113, Cf. Summa Theologica, II-II, QQ. 92-96.]
    Hence it is clear that “any public worship of the true God, outside the Catholic Church constitutes a superstitious worship of God as no other Church is authorized to give public worship to God. [16c. Fr. John R. Bancroft, C.SS. R, Communication in Religious worship with non Catholics, Washington, 1943, pg. 48.]
    St. John Vianney stated openly to a Protestant who believed that his worship rendered to God should do him just as well in his Protestant Sect as it would have in the Catholic faith, The Saint responded to him with the contrary advice saying “My friend, there are not two ways of serving Our Lord; there is only one good way, and it is to serve Him as He wishes to be served” [St. John Mary Vianney . John Mary: SPIRIT OF THE CURE D’ARS, Bowden, 1864]

    Then you say: “Another question: Do you think that “God is Love” 1 Jn 4:8 refers only to the Trinity?”
    Ok, let’s not complicate this with emotions. Lets stick to the point I was making. I think your going somewhere with this if you could just cut to the chase I’d be much obliged. Not that I want to rush you or anything. :)

    By the way are you a Priest?

  266. robtbrown says:

    Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says:
    “But the concept that there is One God, the source of all being (cf Ex 3:14), Who created all things freely, comes from the Jews.”

    The Church has always regarded the worship of Non Catholics as mere acts of superstitions since “there are four kinds of superstition, namely, illegitimate worship of the true God, idolatry, divination, and superstitious practices.

    Once again: The question at hand is whether the One God of the OT is the same as the One God of the NT. Questions of worship concern the relationship between the Sacraments of the Old Law and those of the New.

    Then you say: “Another question: Do you think that “God is Love” 1 Jn 4:8 refers only to the Trinity?”

    Ok, let’s not complicate this with emotions.

    Emotions? There are no emotions in God.

    Lets stick to the point I was making. I think your going somewhere with this if you could just cut to the chase I’d be much obliged. Not that I want to rush you or anything. :)

    I am cutting to the chase.

    By the way are you a Priest?

    Why do you ask that?

  267. Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says”Once again: The question at hand is whether the One God of the OT is the same as the One God of the NT. Questions of worship concern the relationship between the Sacraments of the Old Law and those of the New.”
    Yes. OT or NT same God
    Love, as I understand it, is an emotion. God loves therefore how can you say he has no emotion? And there are 3 persons but only one God What is present in One is present in All. The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will.

    (Are you a Priest) Why do you ask that? The tenor of your speech, you sound like one.

  268. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Venerator Sti Lot,

    forgive me for not answering at first. Thanks for your answer, which is – now that’s a short thing, isn’t it? – entirely right. (May I mention again that the fact that Mohammedan worship is mis-worship was clear from the onset?)

    Dear @Indulgentiam,

    thank you for your kind answer. You are so friendly to give a quite precise definition of what your point is:
    My point from the beginning has been and remains that muslims and all other false religions, as the Church clearly teaches, do not worship the same God we (Catholics) do.

    As tradition-wise proof, you note the list of Popes, Saints and Church Fathers who say that the muslims, likewise all infidels as well all heretics do not worship the same God is miles long. If so, it is upon you to give one example of this list. You have not done so.

    Only I think that you think that you actually have done so. No, I have not overlooked five citations from some Saints and Popes you gave in the same comment. I do not represent them here because yourself just like any interested reader can scroll up and look at them.

    The do not even touch what you were so friendly to be your point.

    I will not talk down to you to explain that, for a triplet of reasons. First, my respect for you. Second, I have not the time. Third, forgive me, I do not see much sense in it. There is a point when explanation fails, and only an effort of will to understand, combined with re-looking through explanations already given, will bring understanding. This is in my view reached here. There is a sense in explaining the fact that there are infinitely many primes; i. e. by giving Euclid’s proof for it (otherwise let n be the product of all these primes; n+1 has a remainder of 1 by division through any of these; hence it is not dividable by them; hence it is prime). But after the explanation is done, after the proof is given, there is no sense in further explaining.

    Your quotes have as little connection to your point as, say, the fact that Mirkwood is a scary place to the happenings of The Lord of the Rings. They prove what never needed proving, i. e. that Islam is a false religion; they do not, I repeat, even touch your point.

    And anyway as “my part of the debate” already quoted the Magisterium, among Catholics the very least we can say is that the burden of proof is on yours. Do give us one quote from the Church tradition somewhere that calls Mohammedanism – or as you assert (good grief!), Judaism! – an idolatry.

    Not a false religion. Not a heresy. Not a devilry. Not a dangerous thing if you want to be Saved in the End. Rather actually what you assert: a worship of a god different from ours.

  269. Imrahil says:

    The do not even touch what you were so friendly to

    say that it is your point.

    Excuse the grammatical mistake.

  270. robtbrown says:

    Indulgentiam,

    There are emotions involved in human love because we have bodies. The Divine Nature does not include a body–neither does angelic nature.

  271. Indulgentiam says:

    @imrahil-you are auguring in circles and I suspect deliberately so. I have quoted scripture, Popes syllabus of Errors, Doctors of the Church, Saints. I think I’ve covered all the bases from God Almighty on down. So far on your side we have opinion and conjecture and one quote (S. th. II/II 93.) about the Eternal Law which really, if you read further, proves my point. Opinion and conjecture are just warm fuzzies till you back them up with true verifiable fact. Not –I think it, I believe it and…well yeah! there you have it!…presto proof!
    So I will now get off your purely emotional roller coaster as I do not enjoy vertigo. The preponderance of evidence is all on my side. You have not proven your very fuzzy assertions. Imrahil, Tolkien’s prince interesting. I wonder…. Never mind. Vaya con DIOS hombre :)

  272. Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says: “There are emotions involved in human love because we have bodies. The Divine Nature does not include a body–neither does angelic nature.”

    But God feels, yes?

  273. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Indulgentiam,

    if I have got emotional, as indeed I have, it is because I despaired of your understanding me.

    I did not argue in circles. Frankly, (and you probably meant that by “arguing in circles”), in my last comment I did not argue at all.

    I said that I had said everything there is to be said until you get out another argument. I said, which is the plainly logical case, that your quotes, which I well read, did not touch, to be silent of prove your point. They were merely directed against Islam. Your problem is that you seem to take this as support “your side”. By which your reasoning of course becomes circular. Likewise, I linked to St. Thomas’s Summa where he treats wrong worship of the true God. This was merely meant as an aside for something clear from the onset, but… alright. Anyway, here you go: you find that this mis-worship is false worship (surprise surprise!) and promply take the link as”proving your point”.

    I need not disprove what you never proved.

    Frankly, you yourself observed and accepted that your position leads logically to even stating that the Jews worship another God than we do. Any scholastic would be quite willing to write “but this is absurd, and hence the contrary is true” once that point is reached. I need not prove my position; you yourself proved it by reductio ad absurdum.

    I have become emotional in my tone; but not, though, in my contents. Who is emotional is you; apparently you only judge statements by the question whether they are anti-Islam or not, and put a “=” sign between all anti-Islam statements. There is no other way I can explain to me your apparent inability to grasp the difference between two totally different statements (now for the last time):

    1. “Islam is a false religion”.
    2. “Islam is idolatrous”.

    (1) is true, (2) (probably, and anyway according to the Magisterium) is not.

    [Why, btw., do I say that you cannot grasp the difference? Isn’t your position that “all false religions are idolatrous”?

    Because if so, you would simply have stated that position, and attempted to prove it. But then you’d have seen that all your quotes of Popes, Saints and Church Fathers have a different content, and you would have left them out.]

  274. Indulgentiam says:

    Imrahil— darlin, I know your trying to tell me something but…why don’t you try using fewer words. Remember that 5th grade IQ I told you about?
    You say:
    1. “Islam is a false religion”.
    2. “Islam is idolatrous”.
    (1) is true, (2) (probably, and anyway according to the Magisterium) is not.

    I say: PROVE IT. Put up something from the magisterium that makes that fine distinction.
    False religion worship false god hence idol. Even if they started out worshiping the right God when they refused to believe Who He says He Is, the seased to worship the right God and began to worship the god of their imagination (idol)
    You say: Any scholastic would be quite willing to write “but this is absurd, and hence the contrary is true” once that point is reached. I need not prove my position; you yourself proved it by reductio ad
    absurdum.”
    Ok, maybe your right. Could be I’m so ignorant that I’missing something that’s is obvious to every one else. So enlighten me. Quote me a Church Scholar that agrees with your surgical hair splitting.
    If you tell me that what I saying is “absurd” PROVE IT. B/c if you think that I’m just going to take your word for it b/c you know some fancy debating term, think again pal.

    Apparently I do enjoy vertigo, go figure.

  275. Indulgentiam says:

    robtbrown says: “There are emotions involved in human love because we have bodies. The Divine Nature does not include a body–neither does angelic nature.”

    Was I wrong?
    God is love. We love b/c He first loved us. I know that love is more than a feeling it is an action. But it is felt. Are you saying God does not feel love?

  276. Indulgentiam says:

    @Imrahil–I finally understand you.
    1. “Islam is a false religion”.
    2. “Islam is idolatrous”.
    (1) is true, (2) (probably, and anyway according to the Magisterium) is not.

    Your (2) probably, and anyway…
    Took me a while, as I’m not the brightest bulb in the box, to realize that comment is purely fatuous.

  277. Imrahil says:

    The very fact that we are debating this thing without your being able to disprove me, notwithstanding my inability to convince you, proves one thing:

    “Allah is not God” is thoroughly unfit as a slogan for all those who oppose Islam as Christians to unite under.

    Hence it should not be used in such a function; which was my intention.

    That Islam itself is, whatever else it is, not idolatrous, I accept from the Magisterium of Vatican II. I take you as accepting that these lines, quoted somewhere above, do mean this. Though you reject them; and indeed they are no dogmas. But you asked for some Pope to say so? Well, here is one that says so.

    I did not give a more exact proof of that because, where the specific religion of Islam is concerned, on my own information I can only conclude probability – and that all the usually presented arguments for the contrary (such as presented by you) are nothing of the kind.

    However, your position was “any false worship is idolatrous worship”. This is disproven by the Jews, because it is absurd that Judaism is idolatrous.

    What is absurd and what is not is something that people with common-sense are united in upholding. You may be the one exception, and ask for a proof not resorting to such means. However, I ask you: don’t you feel somewhat odd in stating that the Jews are idolaters?

    But what you feel and do not feel is subjective. That it is generally regarded as absurd is, however, objectively so. In which case at least the burden of proof would be on you.

    Anyway…
    do you agree that a heresy is in a way a false religion?

    In which case… and I’ll quote from the 1917 Code so that you don’t resort to a simple claim of untraditionality…
    can 1325 § 2. Whoever after baptism, while retaining the name of a Christian, pertinaciously denies any of the truths to believe with divine and Catholic faith or doubts it, is called a heretic; whoever totally renounces the Christian faith, is called an apostate; …

    These are described as different things. Hence you can have a heresy while even being Christian and, hence, not idolatrous. While also disproves your general statement.

  278. cl00bie says:

    Father Z, I have to thank you for this particular post. It has helped me understand where Pope Francis is coming from.

    I was severly spiritually wounded by the implementation of “reforms” during Vatican II. I am careful to not say that I was “injured by Vatican II”. A huge problem with Vatican II is that the reforms were filtered through the “poop colored glasses” of the media. Catholics did not get the reasons for the reforms from their priest, they got them from the nightly news. Many people to this day believe that Vatican II forbade Latin.

    We are seeing the same thing here. Pope Francis’ words are being filtered through the poop colored glasses of the press and subtly twisted to appear to mean the opposite of what he said. How do we as a Catholic comunity stop this? Do we neet to tailor every homily to the latest misreporting of the press?

  279. Indulgentiam says:

    Imrahil, the only thing I’ve learned from this exchange is that I need to learn to walk away from vacuous exchanges sooner. You’ve deliberately miscategorized my argument to facilitate the most fatuous misdirection I’ve ever seen. Yeah I agree with that description of heresy, so what. The original point was that infidels, heretics etc… Do NOT worship the same God Catholics do. You can slice and dice the terminology to your hearts content pal but at the end of the day you have presented no evidence for your quite specious and often nebulous… argument? meanderings?
    A Priest I was aquatinted with , in order to test his students catechetical knowledge, would say the most ridiculous, inane things to see who would raise their hand first to disprove him . Are you one
    of those?
    This exchange has become redundant and boring. Go ahead have the last word. :)

  280. Pingback: Second Look: The Pope Francis Interview | CRADIO

  281. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Indulgentiam,

    Your recent citations include, ” “any public worship of the true God, outside the Catholic Church constitutes a superstitious worship of God”, and, distinguishing “four kinds of superstition”: “llegitimate worship of the true God, idolatry, divination, and superstitious practices. The first consists in a false worship, though applied to the living God; for instance, if you worship Him (God) according to the Mosaic law, which is contrary to all the precepts of the Gospel”.

    Both put things in terms of “worship of the true God”, which the second I quote here distinguishes from “idolatry” and gives as an instance worshipping “Him (God: “the living God”) according to the Mosaic law”.

    In a later comment, you suggest (if I understand correctly, both generally in reference to “false religion” and specifically in reference to Islam) a movement from leaving off worshipping “the right God and beg[inning] to worship the god of their imagination (idol)”.

    Is this a different way of saying what your sources say with “illegitimate worship”, “false worship”,
    and ” superstitious worship”? Or is it meant as an improvement on them? Or even a correction of them?

    When the Cure d’Ars says, “there are not two ways of serving Our Lord; there is only one good way”, this would seem to say it is Our Lord Who is not being well served, or Who is not in fact being served, rather than that there was ‘another’ than He being served.

    With respect to ‘God is love’, almost all true speaking of God is analogical, analogia entis.Would it be good to say, what we do in feeling love at our best, what man did before the Fall, what Our Lord did according to His Humanity throughout His earthly life, is a creaturely reflection of something God does according to His Divinity?

    robtbrown,

    Shall we, rather than move from “recognize” to “worship”, say, “aemulationem Dei habent”? “Whether the One God of the OT is also the One God of the NT” is not, so far as I can see, the only or the full “question at hand here”. One of the questions, or part of the question, in the larger context here is, whether “the Jewish [and] Mohammedan […] cults and sects” are worshipping “the God of Israel, the One Creator God” or some other ‘god’.

    An interesting word in this context, is that of St. Justin Martyr in the beginning of the eleventh chapter (as translated at New Advent) of his Dialogue with Trypho (“a Hebrew of the circumcision,” “with others in his company”): “There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other existing, but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other), but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. But we do not trust through Moses or through the law”.

    The Moslems believe they are trusting in the God of Ibrahim, Ishaq, Yacub – and Musa, and Isa, miraculously created and born son of the virgin Miryam [cf. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary]. Among the questions at hand are both, are they, and, if so, how?

  282. Indulgentiam says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says:”Both put things in terms of “worship of the true God”, which the second I quote here distinguishes from “idolatry” and gives as an instance worshipping “Him (God: “the living God”) according to the Mosaic law”.Both put things in terms of “worship of the true God”, which the second I quote here distinguishes from “idolatry” and gives as an instance worshipping “Him (God: “the living God”) according to the Mosaic law”.

    Idolatry etymologically denotes Divine worship given to an image, but its signification has been extended to all Divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God. St. Thomas (Summa Theol., II-II, q. xciv) treats of it as a species of the genus superstition, which is a vice opposed to the virtue of religion and consists in giving Divine honour (cultus) to things that are not God, or to God Himself in a wrong way. (Catholic encyclopedia)

    You say:”Is this a different way of saying what your sources say”
    A kind of summing up. Is my writing style that unclear? I am honestly asking.

    You say:” the Cure d’Ars says, “there are not two ways of serving Our Lord; there is only one good way”, this would seem to say it is Our Lord Who is not being well served, or Who is not in fact being served, rather than that there was ‘another’ than He being served.”
    I see what you mean. I was taught, by a Priest, that to deny any of what God has revealed about Himself is to, in essence, construct a god according to your own desires thus fashioning an idol. Then it follows that your worship and service is Not offered to the True God but to the one you’ve costructed. Is this incorrect?

    You say:”Would it be good to say, what we do in feeling love at our best, what man did before the Fall, what Our Lord did according to His Humanity throughout His earthly life, is a creaturely reflection of something God does according to His Divinity?”

    No I wouldn’t say that is good to say. So what is the proper understanding of how God loves. If you don’t have the time to write it out just point me the direction of where to read it. I’d be much oblidged, thank you :)

  283. Indulgentiam says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says:”The Moslems believe they are trusting in the God of Ibrahim, Ishaq, Yacub – and Musa, and Isa, miraculously created and born son of the virgin Miryam [cf. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary]…”

    Please pardon me as I know this question wasn’t directed to me. I’m not answering your question merely correcting your assumption of what muslims believe. Muslims deny the Incarnation—“Sura xxiii. 91 [23:91] GOD has never begotten a son. Nor was there ever any other god besides Him. Otherwise, each god would have declared independence with his creations, and they would have competed with each other for dominance. GOD be glorified; far above their claims.”

  284. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Indulgentiam, why do you say, “I wouldn’t say that is good to say”? You ask, “just point me the direction of where to read it”. George Sauvage’s 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Analogy”, and its references (which I have not now checked myself), might be helpful, generally, and St. Thomas, Summa Theologica I q. 20, specifically as to “the proper understanding of how God loves.”

    You ask, “Is my writing style that unclear?” I do not know that it is, but you seem to be making other distinctions in your “kind of summing up” than the sources do. What is Fr. O”Donnell’s distinction between “illegitimate worship of the true God” and “idolatry”?

    You say, “I was taught, by a Priest, that to deny any of what God has revealed about Himself is to, in essence, construct a god according to your own desires thus fashioning an idol. Then it follows that your worship and service is Not offered to the True God but to the one you’ve costructed. Is this incorrect?” Again, this seems to be something different than what your sources are saying.

    Whether it is correct, or incorrect, or a different way of saying the same thing the sources quoted say, is an important question (or, are important questions), but I am not sure of the answer(s).

    Joseph Wilhelm’s 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Idolatry”, says, as you quote, ” St. Thomas (Summa Theol., II-II, q. xciv) treats of it as a species of the genus superstition, which is a vice opposed to the virtue of religion and consists in giving Divine honour (cultus) to things that are not God, or to God Himself in a wrong way.” I cannot find that “or to God Himself in a wrong way” in II-II q. 94 (perhaps I have not read carefully enough: can you quote it, or cite it more exactly from q. 94 ?). Wilhelm also says, “It is reasonable, Christian, and charitable to suppose that the ‘false gods’ of the heathen were, in their conscience, the only true God they knew, and that their worship being right in its intention, went up to the one true God with that of Jews and Christians to whom He had revealed Himself.” Could this ever be the case with respect to what the preist taught you? That the ‘worship and service is […] offered to the True God but [through] the one you’ve costructed’? If not, why not? (I do not suggest I certainly know the answer.)

    With respect to the question of what Moslems believe – which I am glad you address – they do indeed deny the Incarnation, but also, on the basis of the Koran, in some sense very clearly affirm the virginal maternity of Miryam where Isa is concerned. (If any Moslems think differently about this, I have seen no explanation as to why.) I have also read that the same verb is used for the coming to be of Isa in the virginal womb as is used for the creation of the world. I have read Moslem refusals to entertain the possibility that ‘begotten’ can be understood in any other than a carnal sense. And of course the Son is not “any other god besides” or ‘beside’ the Father. The Arian misconception of the Son could be described in this way, however – and properly rejected as such. I have read that in early disputes Moslems refused to understand there could be the Trinity when Christians made the comparison of real distinction without affecting Unity where Divine Attributes are concerned.

  285. Indulgentiam says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says: ” why do you say, “I wouldn’t say that is good to say”?
    B/c you said:”Would it be good to say, what we do in feeling …” I’m agreeing with you that it would not be right to say that. Sorry, I should have said that better.

    You say: “” I cannot find that “or to God Himself” I started here and followed the citation links.
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07636a.htm

    As to the disconnect between what I’m saying and the sources I’ll have to admit I don’t see it. According to my understanding of what I have read “illegitimate worship and idolatry” are much the same. As a man does not worship what he does not believe. But I’ll go back and read through what I wrote, again, and see if I can figure out where I derailed. Thank you for the article and summa info. And for you time.
    God bless you

  286. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Indulgentiam,

    Thanks! Thanks also for all the sources quoted and the discussion to help think about these matters.

    When I said, “Would it be good…” I was not implying I thought it would not be good, but proposing it as something to think about and evaluate: would it, or would it not, and why, in either case? (Not that we have to try to hash it out, together, here, though…)

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