Pope Francis interview in La Repubblica, or, “Is This Now My Fate?”

My email is filled with notes from people who need to be talked off the ledge.

The reason – this time – is Pope Francis’ interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist editor of the vile Italian daily La Repubblica.

BTW… in Rome some wags are now referring to La Repubblica as L’Osservatore Romano.

I have not read the new interview in Italian yet (La Repubblica‘s site loads at tectonic plate speed), but I have read it over twice in English.

A sense of the tone of many of the Holy Father’s comments in this interview – I repeat – interview, can be gleaned from one of his observations about Augustine:

“Someone who is not touched by grace may be a person without blemish and without fear, as they say, but he will never be like a person who has touched grace. This is Augustine’s insight.”

Let that sink in for a while, keeping in mind that everything the Pope said to Scalfari is off the cuff and… well… off the cuff.

In the meantime, some of you may be having a little melt-down regarding his comments on proselytism, the Curia, conscience, etc.

The Curia…

“You know what I think about this? Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”

The leprosy of the papacy, those were his exact words. But what is the court? Perhaps he is alluding to the curia?

“No, there are sometimes courtiers in the curia, but the curia as a whole is another thing. It is what in an army is called the quartermaster’s office, it manages the services that serve the Holy See. But it has one defect: it is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it.

Of COURSE the “Vatican” is the problem! This is news?

I am reminded of candidates who make Washington the enemy.  They become President in Washington and they make Washington the enemy.  John Paul II had problems with the “Vatican”, but he became the “Vatican” eventually.  Benedict was betrayed again and again within the “Vatican”. Francis is going to have his own Sisyphus moments with the “Vatican”.  Good luck.

That said, I think the Francis has a pretty good BS detector.  He’ll need it.

Conscience…

Your Holiness you wrote that in your letter to me. The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.

“And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

Is there more to say about “conscience”? You bet. Can it be said in an interview… this interview in this moment?  Nope.

But let’s see if what Francis said has foundation in what the Church teaches:

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1800: A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.

Or:

1790: A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

Or:

1782: Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.” (Dignitatis humanae 3 § 2.)

How about:

2106 “Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits.” (DH 2 § 1) This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it “continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.” (DH 2 § 2)

I will add believers and Catholics are obliged to follow their FORMED consciences, and those consciences are enlightened by Divine Revelation, by apostolic tradition and by the Magisterium.  Once again, His Holiness is right, but within the context that he had in mind, which context is only implicitly evident in the interview because of the nature of that genre.

Could Francis be faulted for not talking about defective conscience or lack of formation of conscience? I suppose.  But the Church teaches that people cannot be coerced in matters of conscience.  This is a natural right as well.   But the context here is non-believers.   When the LCWR nuns try to cite Dignitatis humanae as an excuse to not obey, they err and err gravely.  But the Pope was talking with a non-believing journalist, not LCWR nuns.

Context, friends, context.

Sigh… are we going to have to do this everyday?  Is this now my fate?

It’s an interview, friends.

Popes don’t govern or shape doctrine in interviews.

Proselytizing…

The Pope smiles and says: “Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me.”

It’s a joke I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.

He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”

When you read this, you have the sense that the Pope is really in the moment.  This is how you talk when you are involved with the emotion of the moment, with the adrenaline of the occasion.  Alas, your Earth’s yellow sun doesn’t give me the power of reading minds, but this is how it feels to me, having read that bit – aloud, though in English – and thought about it.

In any event, some quick thoughts after having read the interview:

  • abortion is still murder,
  • gay marriage is still no marriage,
  • we’re going to jaw-jaw with nonbelievers,
  • we’re still going to be a minority,
  • Former-Fr. – Mister Reynolds is still excommunicated!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFvkhzkS4bw&feature=player_embedded

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Pope Francis, The Drill and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

123 Responses to Pope Francis interview in La Repubblica, or, “Is This Now My Fate?”

  1. dans0622 says:

    I, for one, am starting to view these interviews as unimportant and not in need of your analysis, Father. I don’t think I am part of the intended audience. But, if there are lots of people who need your…consoling (?) commentary, I suppose you’ll have to continue working in those salt mines.

  2. Cosmos says:

    This one is the one that really bothered me:

    -Your Holiness, you said that you have no intention of trying to convert me and I do not think you would succeed.
    – “We cannot know that, but I don’t have any such intention.”

    If I were worried about the Pope being a heretic, I would find your contextualization more comforting. What I am worried about, however, is where he is leadng the Church.

    Hope and pray!

  3. Fr AJ says:

    I love the line where he told the atheist editor that he had a soul whether he believed it or not. “You do not believe in the soul but you have one.”

  4. Incaelo says:

    Awareness of the intended audience is key in such interviews. Let’s face it, an interview conducted by a self-professed atheist or agnostic is hardly going to give the Holy Father reason to act as if he is talking to the general audience of this blog. The interviewer (and most of his readership) will generally lack the sense of context that we should not. As Father rightly points out: “Context, friends, context”.

    Reading the interview has value, sure. Personally, it offers me a glimpse at who the Holy Father is, how he thinks and speaks and what he considers important. As Father Z has said time and again, these interviews carry no canonical or doctrinal weight whatsoever.

    If the Pope wants to change things, he has every right to do so, but let’s wait and see until he actually does.

  5. Andrew says:

    I love this exchange:

    E pensa che i mistici sono stati importanti per la Chiesa?

    «Sono stati fondamentali. Una religione senza mistici è una filosofia»

    (Do you think mystics are important for the Church? – They were fundamentally important. A religion without mysticism is a philosophy)

    (five laughing faces)

  6. Patrick-K says:

    Pope Francis mentions St. Paul, and may have had in mind these sorts of ideas from 1 Corinthians: “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some,” and “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”

  7. John6 says:

    I know His Holiness is not a doddering old fool, and I know he is not naive about what he says in his extemporaneous comments during his interviews and homilies, so he has to know what kind of impact they have. It is more about perception at this point. What was BXVI’s comment about the media hijacking VII? Our Pope is letting it happen again.

    I shall pray and do penance.

  8. Joseph says:

    Loose lips sink ships.

  9. Papabile says:

    I have always been one to presume the good faith of the Holy Father, but these interviews are reckless.

    On ecumenism….”The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.” ….

    On the Church’s Missio…. “Yes, that is the purpose of our mission: to identify the material and immaterial needs of the people and try to meet them as we can.”

    On the gravest evils of our time….. “The gravest of the evils that afflict the world in our time are the unemployment of the young and the loneliness in which the elderly are left.”

    This leaves the impression that we are back in the 1970’s…. but perhaps on some Catholic meth derivative….

  10. inexcels says:

    In the past I’ve gone out of my way to give Francis the benefit of the doubt, but I’m afraid with this interview he’s pushed me away quite definitively. The question in my mind has morphed from “Will this be a good or bad pope?” to “How bad will this pope be?” It is disheartening to have a pope who believes fervently in the accomodationist garbage that has wrecked the Church over the past 50 years.

    But, I am not in need of “consolation.” This world is referred to as a Vale of Tears for a reason. These kinds of disappointments are par for the course. To those who have similar thoughts as myself, I say: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Nothing makes a bad situation worse like drama queening.

    In fact, I think I’ll take my own advice from a previous comment and look for an opportunity to do a work of mercy rather than continuing to think about Francis. Constructive use of time and energy!

  11. Woody says:

    “Vatican II, inspired by Pope John and Paul VI, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open [the church] to modern culture. The Council fathers knew that opening to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non believers. After then very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do it.”

    So let me get this straight: you want the modern culture [which, need one say, is liberal, secularist and atheist] to penetrate the Church and thus inevitably influence it? And you want to undo what soon to be Saint John Paul II, and Pope Benedict, did–presumably the parts where they tries to reconcile the conciliar teaching and outlook with Tradition? OK but…non possumus.

  12. teomatteo says:

    ““The gravest of the evils that afflict the world in our time are the unemployment of the young and the loneliness in which the elderly are left.”

    I’m all puzzled up (as my granny would say) with his statement. Of all the grave evils out there, ones I combat everyday while I run my business and raise my young family I just can not see that statement as insightful. The old people I see are enjoying their retirenment like WOW. They retire at 55 and travel like their parents never did. (my 80- year old parents are out in Vegas do’en who knows what!) I just don’t see it… I sorry…. ibad.

  13. Amy Giglio says:

    I think it’s important to take interviews like this one and TBI with a grain of salt. His Holiness isn’t speaking ex cathedra in any of them. But I think that it’s important to remember that what drew the first generation of Christians to the Church is the love that Christians had for one another and how they took care of one another. They were impressed by the devotion of the martyrs. They stayed because of Christ and their conviction that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    I don’t mean love like the squishy, “I’m OK, you’re OK” version we’ve been presented with from movies and self-help books and clerics and sisters of a certain age, but the real, every day, “You are more important to me than I am to myself because you are my brother in Christ and He is in you.” This is what Francis is calling us all to. I dare say we all could stand to be reminded of it.

  14. APX says:

    My email is filled with notes from people who need to be talked off the ledge.
    The reason – this time – is Pope Francis’ interview with […]

    This is just getting ridiculous. I think it’s time for people to exercise prudence and make the realization that if reading something is causing damage to their faith, leading them to despair, etc. then they need to make the prudent decision to not read it, or to at least hold off on it until they are at a place where they can safely read it, regardless of what it is or who it is by. I think at some point a level culpability arises to those who seek something out knowing, or having a pretty good indication of knowing, of what the outcome will be for them spiritually. All this despair and over-reaction can’t be healthy for one’s spiritual life.

    Joseph:
    Loose lips sink ships.

    Ey, but this Ship, She’s unsinkable. She’s manned by Jesus, who promised us the Gates of Hell would not prevail.

    I saw Christ in wind and thunder,
    Joy is tried by storm.
    Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind, yet still afloat.
    Joy is tried by storm

    […]
    Joy is like the rain.

  15. Luka says:

    I still don’t understand why the Pope doesn’t wish to convert the non-believer. Doesn’t he want all people to become Catholics? Isn’t that Our Lord’s command, to go out and convert non-believers in order for them to be saved?

    Fr Z, how do you explain this? Thank you.

  16. mamajen says:

    I just finished reading the entire interview, and I found it interesting…and good. His warmth and manner with people is fascinating to me, an introvert. I wish I was naturally like that, and I wish I could know Pope Francis personally. It wasn’t easy to read at first, knowing in the back of my mind that the knee-jerk reaction for many will be to overreact and misinterpret (whether in a favorable light, or a negative one).

    Is it your fate? I don’t know. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it. It seems like too many people stubbornly refuse to ponder what Pope Francis is saying and consider whether there is any truth/good in it at all. I don’t think Pope Francis is the problem. You can’t help people who refuse to be curious and learn, or who let their emotions rule them. Even so, it’s never a bad thing to try.

  17. anna 6 says:

    The only advantage of this constant stream of chatter coming from the Vatican, as far as I can see, is that with such a great volume of confusing language, it will become easier to ignore.

    Who among the G-8 cardinals do you think will be courageous enough to address this with the Holy Father?
    Cardinal O’Malley, Pell?

  18. Shane says:

    I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “rad-trad”. Yet when I read what he said in this interview…I felt sick to my stomach. I do not mean to sound dramatic, but when I read of his criticism of Rosary bouquets, or a condemnation of “triumphalists” and the need to get beyond focusing on small-minded rules, and now what can only be described as a warming up to the dictatorship of relativism, I can only interpret this as the stabbing of faithful Catholics in the back as an olive branch offering to the wider culture. Are we the down-payment in the Holy Father’s strategy of appeasement?

    Or phrased another way: If any other bishop in the Church spoke this way, he would be critiqued, charitably or not, by faithful Catholics.

    And to those who speak of the need for Francis to speak differently to atheists and agnostics: No doubt you are correct a different approach is needed. But both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both before and during their pontificates, were able to speak in a concrete Catholic way to nonbelievers. What was so flawed with such an approach?

  19. Ed the Roman says:

    The old people I see are enjoying their retirenment like WOW.

    The old people you see are Americans. Mileage varies greatly.

  20. vandalia says:

    I respectfully suggest that those who read Pope Francis’ words focus far less on the possible reaction of hypothetical populations, and far more on how those words are applicable to their own life.

  21. Woody79 says:

    “I believe in God. Not in a Catholic God. There is no Catholic God.” Is this really a wise statement to have published to the world? Pope Francis knows that the interview will be published and read throughout the world. He knows who he represents. The reality is that if I knew a pastor that made the statements that Pope Francis has made, I would not attend the parish where he was located. I wouldn’t leave the Church but I would find another parish that was more orthodox. What is happening to me?

  22. wolfeken says:

    Someone should buy the domain name: WDTPRM.com.

    What Did The Pope Really Mean?

    Apparently we need a center-right spin machine every time the current pope speaks from and to the far left, which is just about constantly. Darn all those direct quotes from him that don’t mean what they say.

  23. Pingback: First reaction to Pope Francis interview: “Context, friends, context”

  24. APX says:

    Darn all those direct quotes from him that don’t mean what they say.

    Unless the Pope is speaking in English, these aren’t “direct quotes”. They are translations of direct quotes, which may use vague and ambiguous language.

  25. vandalia says:

    Luka,

    Sorry, not Fr Z, but my first pastor had a very wise saying he applied to many crazy pastoral situations: “First things first.”

    My own critique of many methods of Evangelization, is that they often amount to “first things last”, or “last things first.” Neither of which is very effective.

    One of the favorite saying of Lou Holtz (the American football coach) was WIN: What’s Important Now. When faced with complex pastoral realities many priests panic by trying to address every conceivable problem at that moment. Instead, they need to stop, take a deep breath, and decide what needs to be done At That Moment! Focusing on the present moment is also one of the best ways to actually discern the Will of God.

    I think a template for the actions of Pope Francis can be found in Acts 17 when Saint Paul addressed the philosophers of Athens. He started with the concepts that they already acknowledged, and then used that as a stepping stone for the Gospel. Even most atheists believe in concepts like “good” and “beauty.” They almost all also realize deep down that it is impossible to account for these types of concepts arising from simply material, mechanistic means. This is the “hook” that you use to engage atheists (or more likely, agnostics.)

    First things first.

  26. Gretchen says:

    As I was pondering the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery this morning, I wondered about the crucifixion experience the Church is supposed to experience at some point. These questions came to mind:

    Is it part of the magisterium that the Church will die, or appear to die before the End comes?
    Will Peter again deny Christ thrice?

    Regarding Pope Francis, if anything, his stream-of-consciousness interviews will cure many of Papolatry.

  27. mamajen says:

    @Luka

    We need to live our faith joyfully and devotedly, so that people will want to follow. We need to share what we know because we believe it and love it. Conversion is not simply an action we can take when we encounter a non-Catholic. It needs to be a natural result of us living our Catholic faith at all times. Conversion is a personal journey that cannot be forced upon someone. We need to treat people the same way whether or not we think we can get anything from them (ie. conversion). I think that’s what he’s getting at. He’s big on leading by example.

  28. Magpie says:

    I picked up on the bit about blemish. It was odd, to be sure.

    I also noted this:

    “All right. I did not want you to give me a summary of your philosophy and what you have told me is enough for me. From my point of view, God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us. In the letter I wrote to you, you will remember I said that our species will end but the light of God will not end and at that point it will invade all souls and it will all be in everyone.”

    — I can’t say anything other than this doesn’t tally with my understanding of the Catholic Faith.

    I give up. I’ll simply have to avoid Pope Francis and his writings. I’ll try to stick to my Catechism and other good Catholic books.

  29. Magpie says:

    This is also problematic:

    “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

    Erm… this is already happening. The fight over abortion is between those who think it is good and those who think it is evil… and the world is a better place because each follows his own idea of what is good? Sounds like the time of the Book of Judges.

  30. Ryan says:

    The benefit of the doubt is becoming harder and harder to grant. This kind of exchange should be reserved to private correspondence, not published interviews.

  31. Pingback: A Few Takeaways on Today’s New Pope Francis Interview | Truth & Charity The Intersection of Faith & Life

  32. mamajen says:

    @Magpie

    I don’t believe that anyone really, truly, believes that abortion is good. They are ignoring their consciences and deluding themselves, which explains why they are often miserable people.

  33. Magpie says:

    mamajen, who are you to judge the pro-aborts? =p

  34. Archer.2013 says:

    Shane, I couldn’t have put my own thoughts on this better than you have written above. It seems that just as the Church was beginning to shake off the funk of the accommodation that had been made with the secularism of the age thanks to John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Francis I has decided to pull us back into it. Sorry to come across as a depressive, but this is all really sad. Does this mean the Reform of the Reform is now a dead duck? If so, what now?

  35. Ryan says:

    Supernatural faith and militant holiness are so necessary right now. Hang on tight, ingrafted branches, because the Spirit of the Age is blowing with gale force.

  36. ASPM Sem says:

    Of course the Holy Father didn’t want to convert her. The Pope was there for an interview. HE wasn’t there to evangelize or preach at her.

    @Gretchen:

    Is it part of the magisterium that the Church will die, or appear to die before the End comes?
    Will Peter again deny Christ thrice?

    The answer is no. Matthew 16:18 not only established the papacy promised that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.

    Nothing Pope Francis has said has been against the Church’s teachings. God has a plan. Francis is part of it. Sit back, correct people misinterpreting the Pope, and watch God work.

  37. wmeyer says:

    As excuses or explanations go, “off the cuff” grows tedious. Especially as in the preamble to TBI, Pope Francis was quoted as saying that he prefers not to make off the cuff remarks.

  38. Quas Primas says:

    This interview (TBI II?) has disturbed me more than the original TBI, which could be understood more readily in a framework of apostolic outreach.

    Although the different context can explain some of the tone here, I think a few of these answers go well beyond it and give rise to even more problematic interpretations. The references to Cardinal Martini didn’t exactly help either.

    From a human perspective, I’m concerned and trying not to be too shaken.

    From a supernatural perspective, we must hope and trust that the Lord is using this in ways that we can’t fathom, perhaps to touch individual souls that we’ll never hear about.

    Funny how this Year of Faith has turned out: I planned to observe it by sticking to my carefully-devised reading list, and grow in my intellectual understanding.

    But the Lord has done something else. Through Pope Francis’ “mess,” I have realized that my trust has mostly been placed in the only Popes I have known — JP II and B XVI. Now my faith is being stretched, so that I can learn to trust God, and cast these anxieties upon Him.

    Perhaps all of us like-minded faithful are being subjected to this, in part for our own growth in holiness. Had Cardinal Burke been elected, we wouldn’t have such an opportunity for radical trust!

  39. TimG says:

    These interviews are coming from a very centrist/soft/squishy position, to me it is the Pope’s intent to teach in a mild way and not offend those he is talking to…it is unfortunate that these are so readily malleable by the MSM. And some of the words he uses (or at least their translation)…..very very LCWR-ish.

    The popular culture has moved further left from even 5 or 10 years ago….I wonder where the “Virtual JPII” would fall in the spectrum. Right of Francis but left of BXVI would be my guess. Sigh.

  40. gsk says:

    “I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

    I find that comment really, um, odd. Isn’t humility a thing that you let others figure out? There is something in 12-step circles called “addicted to chaos” (I should know!) and I sense this. From shaking up protocols to unannounced interviews, from cold calls to breaking with precedents, there is a lot of chaos attached to Francis.

    Although he bemoans the fact that the Church is too Vatican-centric, he is doing his share to add to that problem with these grenades tossed about in the oddest places, unfortunately undermining a lot of quiet (and effective) work in the trenches.

    It may be that we, the “Churched” are not his target audience, but he throws in a lot of verbiage that will ultimately be used to attack us. I know we should beware the “elder brother” syndrome, but the father in the parable also took time to coax him into the celebration party. Honestly, I could use a “bone” right now…

  41. JoAnna says:

    Luka,

    Pope Francis can’t convert anyone. Neither can you. Neither can I. Only the Holy Spirit can convert hearts.

  42. Bruce says:

    “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.”

    I can’t imagine Benedict XVI saying this.

    Pope Francis’ interviews do not bother me. I have a pretty good understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches. However he seem to me to be a bit naive when it comes to the media and the effect of what he says has on the world.

    Matthew 10:16 Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

  43. It would be silly to lose one’s faith because of what a Pope did/does. We have had Popes who gave bad examples before (Alexander VI is one who is always cited as an example of a bad Pope). Fair enough. However, that was mostly in his own personal life. When it came to the teachings of the Church, I do not think that he went around saying things that would shock people. The Holy Father seems to forget that he also teaches by word and example … it would be silly to pretend that what he says in an interview (simply because it is not ex cathedra) should be brushed off as something insignificant. We should all know better than that.

    Someone was talking about prudence: the Holy Father has not presented himself as the most prudent of Popes when giving interviews, which should be a sign that he should stop giving them. He did not want to attend a concert because he had work to do, yet he has time for this type of interviews and writing letters to non-Catholics, etc. All of this would be fine, had he time for other things that could also uplift a different part of the Church of God, a part towards which he has been completely indifferent and for which he has expressed negative views.

    It does not help, in the long run, to make “excuses” for the way in which the Holy Father says things, as he says them himself very directly and openly. He has already expressed his ideas for the Church, the Curia, the everyday life of a Christian. To some extent, they do ring some truth to the ideal way of living for a Catholic. However, if we should not be “triumphalists,” we should not be encouraged to be “idealists” either. The way the Holy Father sees the world is a way that does not and will not work simply because he wants us to live in a way where relativity of truth and faith is the main course of the day.

    His idea of proselytizing seems to imply the use of force. Since when is force/violence a required element to convert somebody?

    I thought it was funny when he mentioned what the Jesuits do (“leavening”) and how they are the most effective at that in the Church. That clearly shows how distorted the views when it comes to the vitality of the Church and what could/will make it vital. If anyone can think of the Jesuits as “leavening” well … there clearly is a huge hole in that thinking!

  44. gsk says:

    One more point: Pope Francis says, “All right. I did not want you to give me a summary of your philosophy and what you have told me is enough for me. From my point of view…”

    I’m sorry, but that sounds quite odd coming from a man who says that he is driven by a desire for dialogue. A curious form of “listening,” no?

  45. Supertradmum says:

    My comments are on my blog….I am really getting tired of this. He is really just like every other parish priest I have had in the NO since 1972.

  46. cajuncath says:

    Let’s quickly recap some excerpts of what we’ve already heard from a very young pontificate:

    “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”

    “Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We live in fraternity! ”

    “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.”

    “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

    “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”

    Simply put, there can be no adequate explanation, interpretation or context that justifies these statements. I am appalled. That’s not a problem – I should be appalled. My primary concern is that the day may come when I am not appalled.

  47. Bosco says:

    I am going to take my cue now from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and withdraw from all the hurly burly. Bosco delenda est.

    I have the Knox Bible, the writings of the Fathers, the Papal Encyclicals, Ott’s ‘Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma’, the essays of Georges Bernanos, a dizzying assortment of catechisms and many other good solid reads to keep me busy. And then there’s prayer. If anything is to be effective at this juncture it will be prayer…the Rosary.

    “For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23:31

  48. John of Chicago says:

    All this reminds me of something from my ancient, ancient past. Instead of paying full price for a new copy of “Moby Dick”, I found a cheap, used copy that was chock full of notes. As I recall page after page had scribblings along the top, on both margins, at the bottom–even between the lines.
    Someone had done all the spade work and hard thinking for me. I had struck gold… or so I thought.

    Of course, the problem was that Melville’s story and original thinking were hopelessly lost beneath layers of gloss.

    I think Pope Francis wants us to get ourselves a clean, fesh copy of the Gospels and join him (as suggested by the Council fathers) in doing our own spade work and hard thinking. To risk everything and rediscover Christ’s story and original thinking.

    Maybe?

  49. HeatherPA says:

    I think I will continue I read Benedict and JPII, as well as the beautiful encyclicals of past Popes, Leo XIII in particular, and just do my daily prayers for the Holy Father while not reading any more of his press, interviews, or “off the cuff” stuff.
    I know the gates of Hell will not prevail. I know The Lord is in charge and never lied.
    However, this world is hard enough to navigate in truth and charity, trying to radiate the light of Christ and follow the Saints. For me, reading Francis’ words and the reactions make me depressed and sad, so I am done.
    Little Flower, ora pro nobis!!

  50. ASPM Sem says:

    @cajuncath “Simply put, there can be no adequate explanation, interpretation or context that justifies these statements.”

    Simply put, there are.

    “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”

    Forcing facts, doctrines, and arguments down people’s throats doesn’t win people over. Meet people. Talk to them. Evangelize through your actions. Fr. Z wasn’t converted by someone confronting him with logic. It started with music.

    “Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We live in fraternity! ”

    As much as I dislike the bumper sticker, we do need to co-exist. When we get to know other faiths better, we can more knowledgeably approach them with the Catholic faith.

    “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.”

    You shouldn’t barge in on someone else’s spiritual life. Period. You can offer suggestions, direction, etc, if they ask for it. You’re not them. Don’t force them to do anything. They have free will.

    “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

    See previous answers. We can’t convert by forcing logic, knowledge, theology, philosophy, etc. down people’s throats. Catholics don’t go door-to-door like Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses for a reason. We win them over by our living the Gospel. They will come.

    “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”

    And indeed they are serious evils. It’s easy to tell he didn’t literally mean those were the #1 serious evils, however.

    That was all with no context to the statements. I’m not defending him but showing he is no anti-pope by any means

    Matthew 16:18. The Holy Spirit guided the election of this Pope and knows what He is doing.

  51. anilwang says:

    WRT conscious, I think he’s spot on. By not following our consciouses we deform them, so in theory if we never disobeyed our consciouses since birth our consciouses might be well formed but even if they weren’t, they’d be much better formed than they are now.

    WRT proselytizing, there’s a bit of truth to this, especially with protestants, that are used to conversion tactics and generally switch their minds off while they proselytizer is speaking so they can think up their response. But it’s not true in another sense. Catholics *are* being converted away from the faith proselytizing, and if you listen to conversion stories to Catholicism, many state that they might have converted years earlier if some Catholic invited them to mass or even shared their faith. We don’t need a hard sell, but if you leave people with the impression that your faith is just your (passionate) hobby and it might not be for everyone then no-one will convert.

  52. dominic1955 says:

    Maybe people can use these sorts of things in this tail end of the Year of Faith to learn that the cheap orthodoxy of ultramontanism isn’t good enough. What to be solid and orthodox and faithful? Loosen up on the ultramontanism and papolatry. Respect the Holy Father for what he his, do not hang on his every word as if he were the Oracle of the Vatican.

  53. Maynardus says:

    “Popes don’t govern or shape doctrine in interviews.”

    Yeah, but they shape perceptions, and unfortunately there are too many “low-information Catholics”, “low-information Christians”, “low-information atheists”, “low-information-<fill-in-the-blank>s” whose meager and deficient understanding of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith come from sources like this. The subtleties and the context are lost… lost!

    As a poster noted above, “reckless”…

    Last night I was watching the Rays-Rangers ballgame. I was surprised to see Texas try a bunt in the 8th with a man on 2nd but down by two runs. I thought I knew what they were up to, but in any event it didn’t work. I feel the same way about the Pope’s interviews: I think I know what he’s up to but I don’t think it’s going to work out for the best.

    I’d feel a whole heck of a lot better about this if the media had even the veneer of objectivity, or if the Church were blessed with a majority of courageous and media-savvy bishops who could help people to understand the points that Francis is trying to make here, but he’s out there pretty much on his own and in my opinion he’s just handing the MSM and the enemies of the Church gift-wrapped bundles of raw material and even ammo to use in deforming the Catholic message and attacking the Church. But that’s just one man’s opinion …

  54. MikeM says:

    I’m partially in agreement with Dans0622. These interviews aren’t for me and they’re not about me. I remember saying to someone when Francis became Pope that I doubted that I would get as much direct benefit from him as I did from Benedict… but that the Church doesn’t exist solely for me, and that Francis could turn out to be exactly what’s needed for a lot of other people. Christ rules, with the Pope as his vicar, over the orthodox, the heretics, Protestants, Muslims and atheists, the Forbes 400 and the homeless, conservatives and liberals, Americans, Peruvians, Vietnamese and Sudanese. Sometimes, the Pope is going to have to talk to one of those groups about something that doesn’t apply to me.

    Pope Francis seems to be an advocate of putting messages in order. To the avowed atheists, I think he’s saying “[Let’s start with:] follow your conscience.” To the wandering sinner: “Jesus Christ died for your sins and invites you to a deeper relationship with him,” to the lapsed Catholic: “[First,] come home.” If he knew me, I’d imagine he’d skip to something like “Spend less time on the couch and more time helping those in need.” I’d imagine that the spiritual director for particularly saintly nuns urges them to work out imperfections that no one would bother to mention when talking to me about my more grievous list of sins. The Church needs to give milk before it gives the meat… and sometimes it needs to drag people to a spiritual detox program before they can even handle the milk.

    I do, however, think that it can be worthwhile to read these things from Pope Francis, and to work through them… while understanding that we’re working through a message that wasn’t necessarily directed as us. It could be helpful to understand what the Holy Father is doing, so that we can support him, and so that we understand what he really said if someone tries to turn them around against the Church’s teachings. We also don’t necessarily have to agree that his approach is always the right one and, if we don’t, it can be worth figuring out why and talking about it (within the appropriate circles)… but, we still have to accept that he’s the Pope, the job was entrusted to him and he has to do it the way he thinks is best.

  55. Philip Jude says:

    I’ve done my best to read this pope’s increasingly strange statements with charity and good will. However, I must confess, I am at my breaking point. I am hut and tired. This interview is full of thoughts that are confusing, misleading, and even plain wrong. It appears that we have a pope who struggles to articulate the fundamentals of Catholic theology. I am having real trouble seeing how Francis is in continuity with Benedict and John Paul II. I appreciate Father Z’s patient and measured attempts at soothing hotter heads (such as mine), but I wonder if he’s not kidding himself (apologies, Father). We all need to pray for the pope, and for the Church.

  56. chantgirl says:

    No rest for the wicked, Fr. Z.

    With all of the media noise, why not just come out with the straight-forward, honest truth? Of course Catholics want everyone to convert. Not only do we care about their eternal souls, but when mercy and the natural law are lived out, the rights of people are protected and people have a reason to strive and hope. A world without God, and especially the Catholic understanding of redemption, has no adequate response for suffering and death. To leave people grasping and despairing in the dark, with no way to make sense of their suffering, may well be the worst evil of our day.

  57. JP Borberg says:

    Ironically, the public perception of Francis is that he is a pope of ‘no’. ‘No’ to speaking out on civic moral issues, ‘no’ to trying to convert people, ‘no’ to importance of doctrine, ‘no’ to rules.

    Whether or not he actually means all that, the best of luck for those of you who want to try push those things in public. You’ll need it.

  58. donato2 says:

    I’ve never truly believed the excuses that have been made for this Pope even though I’ve wanted to. Ever since the foot washing I’ve known he is a Cardinal Mahoney style liberal. He gives lip service to the Gospel of Life but he has not received the grace to see its profound beauty and truth. Anyone who thinks youth unemployment is a graver evil than abortion is not fully pro-life. A young person may not have a job but he is alive. The unborn child slaughtered in the womb is not even given the chance to be unemployed.

    This pontificate is going to be — has been already — a cross to bear. Why did the College of Cardinals pick this man?

  59. Philip Jude says:

    ““[Let’s start with:] follow your conscience.”

    Apart from Christ, the heart is dark and the mind futile. The image of God, and the attendant sense of morality, is not destroyed by original sin, but it is gravely disordered. The pope says that he holds St. Augustine in high esteem. But he does not seem to appreciate the fallen nature of man. Why does he not account for the malformed conscience, which is so prevalent, especially among the unregenerate?

  60. Suburbanbanshee says:

    There have been plenty of times in my life when somebody said something that sounded harmless, so I trusted that they meant something harmless. Later, I would find out that their definition for what they said was something very harmful, because they were using normal words in place of liberal codewords; and I would get very upset. But at the time, it flew right under my radar. (And maybe this is why I’m so nitpicky now.)

    This seems to be what Pope Francis is doing to liberals, except that it’s orthodoxy they’re not realizing they hear.

    What I see with Pope Francis and conservatives is the opposite: he says something that sets off people’s alarms (because it’s full of known liberal codewords). But when you analyze what he says, it’s true and useful, or at the very worst, there’s no harm in it.

    I don’t know if this is useful as a tactic or strategy, but it’s certainly interesting to watch it happen. Maybe it’ll be a car wreck, and maybe it’ll win souls. Who knows? [Indeed.]

  61. ClavesCoelorum says:

    I am confused. And disturbed. :(

  62. robtbrown says:

    1. The pope is a Jesuit. That means he’s not going to say what’s on his mind. Or he’ll say only part of it.

    2. JoAnna has it right. It is God who converts someone. The pope shrewdly “forgot” to mention that men are His instrument. SJ’s like to keep people off balance

    3. The mention above from St Paul of being all things to all men was a bullseye

    4. God has a sense of humor. The two groups who have been the biggest ecclesial pains are the Germans and the Jesuits. A German pope followed by an SJ

  63. Sonshine135 says:

    Being charitable to the Pope is difficult when you have low-information Catholics around you who look at him with the starry-eyed vision that he will soon be relaxing the church’s stand on (fill in the blank).

    Off the cuff or not, interpretation or not, the folksy charm wears thin. Pope Francis appears to me to be a person who would be much happier being a Bishop in a barrio, not the Bishop of Rome. Perhaps he would even be more effective there. Maybe this is the path that God wants the church to go towards. It is hard to say. Jesus, I Trust in You.

  64. jonvilas says:

    Maybe it sounds drastically, but it appears that with several phrases (especially, about consciousness, proselytism, etc) the present Roman bishop is denouncing the One True Faith. If his sentence like “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them ” is not modernism, then I do not know what it is. But it is certainly not what Our Lord and His Church have taught through the ages. Sorry.

  65. netokor says:

    Bosco, HeatherPA, I join you in the disconnect. There are good men like Cardinal Burke to encourage us. I will continue to offer the Holy Rosary for the intentions of Francis–he may think the number of Rosaries said for him useless, but this is not so–but I find no inspiration in this man. I’m just a peasant, but it seems to me that our world is now plummeting into hell and that we could have a much better leader. There are so many heretics and evildoers, but only one ex-communication. I was just reading about the radical “nun” Teresa Forcades and became very saddened, because she will be allowed to scandalize and destroy for a long time to come, just like the other active destroyers of the faith.

  66. Sonshine135 says:

    @jonvilas
    Good point. I was thinking of how this reeks of ecumenism. Not the let’s celebrate-our-commonalities ecumenism, but the we-should-learn-to-become-more-Protestant ecumenism. It looks and quacks very much like a duck.

  67. “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days”

    is the dictatorship of moral relativism. nothing further to add. Discouraged.

  68. Johnno says:

    ASPM Sem –
    “God has a plan. Francis is part of it. Sit back, correct people misinterpreting the Pope, and watch God work.”

    Do you know whether God’s plan is to chastize the Church in order to save it? The Apostles and Mother of God, and Biblical typology warns us for a reason.

    “Forcing facts, doctrines, and arguments down people’s throats doesn’t win people over. Meet people. Talk to them. Evangelize through your actions. Fr. Z wasn’t converted by someone confronting him with logic. It started with music.”

    Had it been left at music, Fr.Z wouldn’t convert. The facts, doctrines etc. have to come sometime. And they particularly should when you are being asked about them directly in an interview where you must explain the context of the Faith.

    “As much as I dislike the bumper sticker, we do need to co-exist. When we get to know other faiths better, we can more knowledgeably approach them with the Catholic faith.”

    Unfortunately the Pope should’ve explained that next step. But he leaves them off with the idea that mere ‘co-existence’ is the end result and is good in itself.

    “You shouldn’t barge in on someone else’s spiritual life. Period. You can offer suggestions, direction, etc, if they ask for it. You’re not them. Don’t force them to do anything. They have free will … We can’t convert by forcing logic, knowledge, theology, philosophy, etc. down people’s throats. ”

    Unfortunately the Pope doesn’t provide this context when speaking of ‘spiritual interference’ or ‘proselytism.’ Which is what everyone here is up in arms about his manner of speaking. Many people would see your beliefs and public statements about proper marriage and defending life as ‘interfering’ with their ‘spiritual beliefs.’ Why then are you camping out in front of abortion clinics, praying in public, lobbying to protect the definition of marriage? Are you not interfering? Is not having the Ten Commandments or a nativity scene in a public space, or on your property or wearing a crucifix around your neck a form of ‘proselytism’? I guess the government with the help of the FFF should get rid of all public displays of religion and tell you you can no longer wear a crucifix to work.

    “Catholics don’t go door-to-door like Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses for a reason. We win them over by our living the Gospel. They will come.”

    – You also live the Gospel when like Christ you call out sin and hypocrisy and explain the faith to people authoritatively. Why only feed the hungry and give alms? Don’t the heathen and unbelievers also do that just as well? What makes you any different from them? The Mormons and Jehovas are in fact doing more than your average Catholic, and probably wouldn’t even be around if your average Catholic had more of their zeal.

    “And indeed they are serious evils. It’s easy to tell he didn’t literally mean those were the #1 serious evils, however.”

    They I’m sure you’ll agree with everyone else that he should watch what he says and say what he really literally means.

  69. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    The irony is that the only people united in agreement on the meaning of the Pope’s shock and awe campaign is the secular media and their disciples. Catholics are the ones divided. Whatever the Pope is really saying, he has in six months surpassed the papacy of Pope Benedict in terms of impact. The shepherd has sat down to gnaw a bone with the wolves, and the frightened sheep are left to wonder: where did he get that bone from?

  70. St. Corbinian's Bear says:

    The Church is becoming a field hospital for friendly fire casualties.

    This age needs the medicine of mercy like an alcoholic needs rum in detox. Why are we giving the impression that we agree with relativism and indifferentism? Explain it all how you wish, but the impression left is the message. There is not a person reading this blog who does not know in his heart what the Pope is (constantly) communicating.

    Perhaps, if nothing else, the Pope will remember “familiarity breeds contempt.” Or maybe he will find a tension between his famous humility and apparent need for constant media exposure. Maybe we just have our first Pope who is boldly walking the walk of Vatican II and whistling the tune of its spirit, and we don’t like it. But those who blithely distinguish the official acts of the Pope from the tone set in his unofficial comments, might ponder whether by seeing the trees, they are missing the forest fire.

  71. asperges says:

    At first I was impressed by a Pope seemingly able to cope with the modern world of communication, but now I cringe every time I read about another ill-conceived off the cuff remark. Effective communication has to be measured to be effective yet we have this stream of ambiguity or ill-understood information. I believe Francis thinks he is being open and frank: in practice he is leaving himself open to attacks at worst and alienation even from his own.

    Politicians, kings, queens, leaders of all sorts have to learn to communicate only when it is likely to have some impact and not be afraid to learn from those most skilled at it. I really do not believe he fully sees or understands the harm he does. I suspect he is someone incapable of delegating and feels he must do everything himself. As to the remark above that if it upsets you, do not read it, this should never be the case for the Pope! How utterly absurd.

    Something is wrong somewhere. It can’t go on like this, if only because in time, no one will listen any more to what he has to say, off the cuff or otherwise.

  72. Pingback: Should the Pope Just Shut Up? | Jennifer Fitz

  73. The Astronomer says:

    I’m beginning to think that was real glee on Cardinal Mahoney’s face when he came back from the conclave earlier this year…..because he knew something the rest of us didn’t and now we’re finding out.

    The center-right spinmeisters can ply their craft all they want, but I’m not buying it. It’s starting to feel like orthodox Catholics are being put in the position of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

    pray

  74. bernadette says:

    I have avoided discussions about what did the pope really say and in my own mind have tried to put a positive spin on his many ambiguous statements. But now alarm bells are ringing loudly in my head. His statements on relativism are anything but ambiguous and they are not Catholic.

  75. Pingback: Another Interview, Another Controversy

  76. Priam1184 says:

    If anyone makes it down to the 75th comment on the board here I have one suggestion to all those of good will: ignore these interviews and off the cuff statements by the Holy Father. That these are all coming out one after another is not an accident, nor is the fact that he rarely in fact has said what is reported that he said. This is not an accident, somebody (I have no idea who but it seems obvious that some person or group is behind this) is putting all of this out there in such a way that whatever Pope Francis says is stripped completely of its context and given whatever anti-Church flavor they want to give it. THIS IS DESIGNED TO PUT YOU OUT ON THE LEDGE; that is the reaction they want you to have so DON’T GIVE IN TO IT.

  77. HeatherPA says:

    Those that argue that the Pope is Jesuit and this is partially why x-y-z…
    I love, and I truly mean it, the writings and orthodoxy (especially in regards to the Eucharist) of Father John Hardon, S.J. His meditations on the Angels, too, is an inspiration of a little book. The Jesuits also wrote the gems of little books I have to comfort me and meditate on from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood- My Imitation of Christ, My Daily Bread, etc…

    Those Jesuits have greatly deepened my faith and prayer life. Therefore, I cannot pin my confusion and chagrin on the Jesuits in regards to the Holy Father and what he says.
    Just my 0.02 cents on that argument.

  78. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Just to try to clear up one textual misunderstanding – the Pope did not say ‘without blemish’. He used the phrase ‘una persona senza macchia e senza paura, come si dice’ – ‘as the saying goes’ – ‘senza macchia e senza paura’ is an Italian version of the French saying ‘sans peur et sans reproche’ proverbially used as a description of the archetypal medieval French knight, Chevalier de la Bayard. The phrase means ‘fearless and blameless’. It has no spiritual association at all, it is merely a description of the idealised moral knightly character of medieval legend, ie a gallant knight who is kindly, generous, modest, courageous in battle, noble in victory and in defeat. It has no particular spiritual association, except of course the general Christian milieu of the Middle Ages.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Terrail,_seigneur_de_Bayard
    So in this context, Pope Francis’s reference is tactful but spiritually pointed. He is saying that you can be all these very creditable things, but still untouched by grace because of a lack of belief.

  79. Palladio says:

    “Love and be silent.”

    Listen. If this is not expressive of His Holiness, I will eat my Borsalino.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj5BH-UmDV0

  80. MikeM says:

    “Whatever the Pope is really saying, he has in six months surpassed the papacy of Pope Benedict in terms of impact.”

    I’m not buying that. So far, apart from provoking a lot of media furor, I’m not sure that Pope Francis has had much of an impact at all (which isn’t to say that he won’t… he just hasn’t had time to do that much, yet). During Benedict’s papacy, millions of Catholic discovered the true beauty of the Mass, and learned to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Orthodox lay movements flourished, Catholic student groups grew, and grew more faithful. The extraordinary form proliferated. Countless excellent bishops were consecrated and/or moved to more prominent sees. I can’t possibly assess Benedict’s full impact, but it was quite extensive.

    Newspaper headlines aren’t everything. In fact, they’re almost nothing. It’s what’s happening in our families, our parishes, our dioceses, our cities and towns, our schools and universities… If you’re waiting for a revival of Catholic thought and a revolution against our dying culture, don’t look for it to start in the NYTimes, on HuffPo or on MSNBC. The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised…

    Ignore the headlines and the talking heads. The revolution will be live.

  81. americangirl says:

    In politics there is a saying which is often utilized during a campaign BUT in its content lies truth for many : PERCEPTION IS REALITY. I best say no more!

  82. Captain Peabody says:

    This interview resembles how a lot of my conversations with nonbelievers go. I ask them questions, I try to figure out where they’re coming from and what’s driving their view of these questions, I try to speak carefully in language that they will understand–language that doesn’t offend them or set off their alarm bells–, I mention points of convergence between what they’re saying and what the Church teaches, I use their own language to explain Church doctrines, etc, etc; and in the end, the points of disagreement are fairly clear. Sometimes, I say things in these conversations that might be a little misleading–things I wouldn’t say here, for instance–but as long as the person I’m talking to is understanding what I’m trying to say, I don’t worry about it too much.

    So, yes, there are some things in this interview that could be misleading if taken in isolation; but the Pope, of all people is not in isolation–and the context here is very important. Heck, if all my statements in all my conversations with non-believers were subjected to the level of scrutiny Catholics are giving Francis’, I really think they’d fare a lot worse. This Pope is a Jesuit with a lot of experience in such things; and he’s someone who understands his doctrine. Trust him.

    Essentially, the Pope is not talking to us. I have to agree with Father Z that if these interviews bother people, they really shouldn’t read them. When the Pope makes “ad intra” statements (like his homilies and Angelus remarks, which are excellent and very orthodox), then by all means listen; but for badly-translated private conversations with atheists, there’s no reason to bother except for your own spiritual edification. I got a decent amount out of this interview that was helpful to me, and some that wasn’t– but your mileage will definitely vary.

    Also, what my or your judgement of the Holy Father doesn’t matter much to anyone except ourselves. What we do, in our own lives and those of our neighbors, does. I suggest spending more time on the latter, and less on the former. Pray, and God will take care of things as he always does.

  83. Magpie says:

    cajuncath, Bosco, HeatherPA, dominic1955, Philip Jude, donato2 – you’re all expressing the same thoughts I’ve been having. Seems like a lot of faithful Catholics are upset.

    Suburbanbanshee: Christ said let your yes be yes, and your no be no. There is no place for codewords or duplicity of speech. We say what we mean.

    This is not directed at Fr Z – I think his contributions are intelligent and useful, but I am fed up with the professional apologists for the Pope telling us ‘what he really means”. Surely the man can speak for himself, as indeed he has been.

    SpittleFleckedNutty says:
    1 October 2013 at 2:46 pm
    The irony is that the only people united in agreement on the meaning of the Pope’s shock and awe campaign is the secular media and their disciples. Catholics are the ones divided. Whatever the Pope is really saying, he has in six months surpassed the papacy of Pope Benedict in terms of impact. The shepherd has sat down to gnaw a bone with the wolves, and the frightened sheep are left to wonder: where did he get that bone from?

    Indeed!

    Anyway, my advice to myself, as has been repeated by others: concentrate on your own spiritual life – prayer, spiritual reading, learning about the Catholic Faith, good works etc… There is no need to be crestfallen – Our Lady of Fatima warned about diabolical disorientation at the top of the Church, so we should not be surprised to witness anything unusual. As Padre Pio said, pray, hope, and don’t worry.

    St. Therese the Little Flower, pray for us.

    ASPM Sem
    Matthew 16:18. The Holy Spirit guided the election of this Pope and knows what He is doing.

    The Holy SPirit was there, to be sure, hovering over the proceedings and whispering in the heart and soul of the participants, but He wasn’t necessarily heeded. The Cardinals chose their man, which is not necessarily God’s man.

  84. Pressed the Jimmy Akin article re same interview.His analysis:
    Did Pope Francis Just Say That Evangelization is Nonsense

  85. As much as I sympathize with trying to read positively into what is being said, eventually the point will have to come where Francis is able to be understood through Francis…if not already…This is our Holy Father and he most certainly needs our prayers….If the words of Pope Francis need to constantly interpreted in terms of orthodoxy and can’t stand on their own, perhaps, perhaps, there really is a problem with what is said….

    “Whatever the Pope is really saying, he has in six months surpassed the papacy of Pope Benedict in terms of impact.”

    I happen to agree on this statement….people are hearing what they wish to hear from the Pope, unfortunately, perhaps what one can say are unintended consequences are people are taking these words and running with them. It has definitely filtered to the Roman Parishes that are in town here, laxity in the Liturgy, laxity on doctrine…even though the Pope may very well not intend that these things be heard, this is what I have seen on the local parish level…the ambiguities need to be cleared up…???????, ???????

  86. amenamen says:

    The young Joan Baez video brings back memories of some (happily) forgotten liturgical music.

    In Catholic schools circa 1970, all questions about music in the Sacred Liturgy were easily decided by a nun and an ensemble of pre-teen girls, armed with three months of guitar lessons and the latest album of John Denver, BobDylan or Joan Baez. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was the paradigm, and it could serve equally well as the “hymn” for the Entrance, Offertory, Communion or Recessional.

    John Belushi’s commentary was erudite and moving:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqpNQ9AJYgU

  87. thomas tucker says:

    Honestly, my only concern from this interview was the positive things he said about Cardinal Martini.

  88. mr205 says:

    MikeM,

    Great analysis. If your faith is governed by the MSM and hopes of what the Pope might have said, well you might be smiling. But, when I used to live a very sinful life and attended a happy go lucky, very liberal Episcopal Church, deep down my conscience would bother me. I would sometimes go to church on Sunday, but I never tried to study my faith, get involved in the church, or really learn anything about Christ. My faith was an inch deep because I knew the deeper I went, the more I felt my conscience.

    Fortunately, we live in an age where everyone can find out what the Church teaches on everything with the click of a mouse. Honestly, every Catholic who is interested in living his life by the Church’s teachings can easily find out how to do so. There are tons of orthodox Priests, if you look.

    The sexual revolution is over. 98% of people bought it. But, the people on this forum didn’t for some reason, and they are helping others out of it. That will continue, because the modernist hyper-sexual lifestyle only leads to unhappiness. I know, I lived it.

    I don’t believe the Pope’s comments today were on Drudge Report. It seems to me the only people debating the latests interview are probably those who already have an opinion one way or the other about Orthodoxy. Unless the Pope says something that can be seen as ultra-liberal, the MSM will probably eventually just lose interests in his interviews. Then, the easily confused people all over the world will never hear it.

    Furthermore, the truth is that many that are so happy by the Pope’s comments might be Catholic, but not practicing. Many are on the side line, throwing bombs, talking about why they don’t feel guilty about their choices, etc. I’m not going to let them make me question my faith.

    Ultimately, orthodoxy draws people. It did for me. It does because it is the truth. I think the Church will continue to become more orthodox because those who are modernist, well, they might like a good headline reassuring them but they aren’t rushing to get involved in the Church, not millennials at least.

    Like others have suggested, I’m just going to ignore the Holy Father’s future interviews and pray for him. Like I said, I think the MSM will ignore them too because they just aren’t newsworthy any more.

  89. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Magpie — Seems to me that Jesus didn’t have a problem with St. Paul doing the same thing:

    “For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more.

    “And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law.

    “To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law.

    “To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak.

    “I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’ s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof.”

    Of course, St. Peter did say that St. Paul was a tad bit confusing sometimes, and some people took advantage of that:

    “…. as our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction.”

  90. Mike says:

    I went to six years of parish school, ending in 1973. Learned lots of Joan Baez, but not the Ave…wow, just thinking about it makes me feel ill. I didn’t hear, say, the “Asperges” chanted until my late 40s.

    For so many, I can say, we’ve been robbed.

    Thank you, Benedict XVI!

  91. Potato2 says:

    Yes, Father. This is now your fate. Pope Francis has created this situation. There are several options here.

    Either, he means to create, and further these discussions and engage the media in this way.
    Or, He is being taken for a fool by the media. Either way he is engaging in a way that will alter your focus and mission. Personally, I think he knows exactly what he is doing and saying. And in this interview, he has said many things that point to the fact he knows exactly what he is doing and saying From his advisors to his choice of words, to his theology of capitalism and communism. He is no longer the Francis that you can read through Benedict.

    Good or bad, I think you are making the Pope into something he is running away from.
    This may be dark times to be a Faithful Catholic indeed.

  92. John 6:54 says:

    I’m pretty much done listening to the Bishop of Rome’s interviews as they weaken my faith in him and in the Holy Spirit who choose him. Fr. Z why don’t you ask for an interview. He seems to be handing them out.

  93. dcs says:

    I think it’s time for people to exercise prudence and make the realization that if reading something is causing damage to their faith, leading them to despair, etc. then they need to make the prudent decision to not read it, or to at least hold off on it until they are at a place where they can safely read it, regardless of what it is or who it is by.

    There is something odd about the notion that one ought to refrain from reading the words of the reigning Pope.

  94. ASPM Sem says:

    @Magpie, over half of the voting cardinals were appointed by Pope Benedict. I’m sure Papa Benny knew what he was doing when he appointed them and they knew what they were doing (perhaps not to the full extent but nonetheless) when they elected Francis.

    The Holy Father’s approach to his papacy is a very different one than ones past. Perhaps its what we need though. Maybe we need a PR pope who can attract people to the Church, so then they are interested and not hateful. I don’t know God’s plan. But He does and Francis is a part of it.

  95. John 6:54 says:

    Honestly I’m mad, angry, and pissed. Jesus is going to get an ear full at adoration tomorrow night.

  96. Jason Keener says:

    I pray for Pope Francis every day, but I am finding it difficult to be enthusiastic about his papacy. I don’t see anyone genuinely edified by these interviews. All I see is confusion, angered Catholics, and encouraged secular liberals who believe the Pope is now preaching a Catholicism without moral norms, doctrines, or dogmas. I believe, as Benedict XVI did, that the Church needs to be leaner and more orthodox, not broader and more confusingly lukewarm. We need a Pope who will speak with the clarity of a Pope Leo XIII or Pope Pius XI. Perhaps Pope Francis should delegate the task of giving interviews to Cardinal Burke.

  97. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    Minimizing the impact of the secular media is dangerous.

    They will relentlessly hammer home a message using all their voices: popular music, sitcoms, reality shows, movies, standup comedy, art, talk shows, blogs, etc. If you think the authentic, traditional understanding of the Catholic faith is marginalized and held up to ridicule now, you aint’t seen nothing yet.

    You wait. There is going to be major push to squelch tradition within the ranks of the Church. We will be attacked as “muting” or “confusing” the new (old) message to “meet people where they are”, and we are going to be hammered daily, especially, I fear, our faithful priests. People who lived through Vatican II and the post-councilor era were steamrolled just like this; the playbook is there and it’s being dusted off right now.

    The media in that time was the air force that bombarded daily, softening up targets, taking out strategic defensive positions. All that was left was for the shock troops to come in and implement the changes they wanted, and stunned, obedient Catholics in the pews didn’t know whether to sneeze or wind their wristwatches. I hope I’m wrong, but recent history says otherwise.

    Pray hard.

  98. Vocatus says:

    “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense” = potential vocation crusher (maybe it’s just me). I remember the day–before I reverted to Catholicism–I adopted the Great Commission my central mission in life (what an adventure I felt I’d begun!). I was still an evangelic at that point. Then I came home to the Catholic Church–the fulfillment of a long journey of faith, and a new beginning to the journey I’d already embarked upon! Now several years after making this rediscovery of the True Church of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Catholic Church, which was founded for the very purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission), the successor of St. Peter (who was crucified at Rome because he did not think Proselytism was solemn nonsense–solemn nonsense is not something to sacrifice one’s life for), my supreme pastor on earth, is telling me to abandon the Great Commission, or to embrace a version of it so elusive I cannot possibly grasp what it is. Trying to “figure it out for myself” again feels an awful lot like my evangelical days all over again.

    I find myself having to fall back on my “personal faith in Jesus Christ” more than ever since my return to the Church three years ago. I have no plans of going back to the Evangelical world–I know that the Catholic Church is THE Church–but I must admit that while one year ago I was fairly certain I had a vocation to the priesthood, today the desired is almost extinguished in me.

  99. zag4christ says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for your insight and humor. May God continue to bless you and guide you in your vocation.

  100. Pingback: Lost In Translation …

  101. Consolation.It is Jesus’ Church,not Pope Francis’

  102. Adam Michael says:

    Vocatus,

    The Lord looks with love on your dedication to His Church. Please know that I will remember you in my prayers (especially at Mass). Please pray for me too. And be encouraged, my friend. This is the Church of Jesus Christ and this too shall pass. Just remain faithful and fill your soul with the truths and traditions of the Church. The enemy would have us confused and angry, all with the purpose of driving charity and grace from our souls. We must resist this by clinging to what we know is true and holy, avoiding what we know is wrong and harmful, always praying for those who disturb us.

    Remember – As they tear down and destroy, we will build up and establish. And as they plant on barren ground and reap no harvest, we will sow the Word of Truth in patient endurance and reap the plentiful harvest for the glory of God.

    God bless you!

  103. John 6:54 says:

    Maybe we should all write the Bishop of Rome Francis a letter and leave Fr. Z alone for a while from having to parse his words daily.

    My Rosary tomorrow is for you Fr. Z. And I’ll still include the prayers at the end for the Pope.

    Jesus is still getting an earful tomorrow night.

  104. this blogger wasn’t any too happy with what he got out of the interview and it definitely raised some questions for me,but one of the comments mentioned Fr Z’s blog too with a recommendation to read Fr Z’s.Hoping Fr Z would comment on this blog.
    PATHEOS.COM POPE DECLARES HIMSELF HUMBLE

  105. Post Script to John 6:54 He does have a twitter account @Pontifex

  106. Gratias says:

    Gracias Padre Zeta por este foro.

    Your work allows us to gage the pulse of Catholic thought.

    I am the guy on the ledge. A Pope following political policies of the Left is the last thing we needed.

    I pray the Apostle’s Creed every day. Believing what it says is difficult in the modern world. This is why we need a vibrant Catholic Church. Pope Francis makes believing this creed much, much more difficult. His opening to the Modern world may be nice for Socialists, or Communists like the teacher he is so proud of, but it is the maligned faithful Catholics that must carry our 2000-year old religion forward.

    Liberation Theology, Peronismo, and more leftist redistributionist political ideologies is not what we need. The Second Vatican Council was a disaster and Pope Francis is determined to finish it off in the spirit of Cardinals Martini and Mahony. God help us.

  107. JonPatrick says:

    Often I find the reaction of some traditional Catholics more discouraging than anything the Pope has said.

    It is not 1970, it is 2013. History does not repeat itself. The situation now is in fact almost the opposite of what it was back then. In the ’70s you had a grass roots movement to liberalize the Church that was fighting a mostly traditional establishment. Today the grass roots is primarily traditional, wanting to bring back traditional devotions and the Mass of the Ages, fighting a hierarchy that is dominated by those same liberals from the 1970s who have now taken power.

    Where the Pope fits into this I don’t know. He seems to me to be challenging both sides. If he is bringing us back to fundamentals I think that has to be a good thing. But remember he is not our leader, Christ is. He is just the chief minister of the palace to whom the King has given the keys so he can manage things until the King’s return.

  108. papaalex says:

    I think we must stop hearing the Pope’s words with American hears. Look at the whole Church as he must. The situation in Africa, S. American, the Middle East etc. We think everything he says is directed at us (U.S.). I think that is the main problem that’s causing people problems. In those places gay marriage, abortion etc. are not the main problems. Most often they are economic problems and they force people into desparte measures, usually radical solutions like violence or jihad etc. We are not always the main reciptiants of his thoughts which maybe is a shock to many.

  109. papaalex says:

    P. S. Proselytism does not equal Evangelism. It is beating people over the head with the bible so to speak instead of loving the person where they are at and showing them the love and salvation offered by Jesus.

  110. Here’s a two-step formula that makes sense to me:

    1) Let your conscience be your guide.
    2) Let the Church guide your conscience.

    How’s that?

  111. Fr AJ says:

    Papaalex, you are right on! I’m very surprised how people don’t get this when they listen to the Pope. The main problems here in the US or in western Europe are not the main problems in many parts of the world which the Holy Father is commenting on. We really must take into account where he is from to give context to what he talks about.

  112. Pingback: La Repubblica Pope Francis Interview - BigPulpit.com

  113. “over half of the voting cardinals were appointed by Pope Benedict. I’m sure Papa Benny knew what he was doing when he appointed them and they knew what they were doing (perhaps not to the full extent but nonetheless) when they elected Francis.”

    Actually, Pope Benedict suffered acutely–throughout his papacy and especially at its end–from the classic administrative difficulty of a good man whose excellent judgement in policy matters is not matched by good judgement in his personnel appointments.

  114. Pope Honorius wrote a series of letters (not ex cathedra) promoting monothelitism–a heresy. He was later condemned as a heretic at the Council of Constantinople. This condemnation was affirmed by Pope Leo I. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “It is clear that no Catholic has the right to defend Pope Honorius.”

    It does us well to remember that not every remark of the Pontiff–whoever he may be–is to be considered infallible or even correct–especially where those remarks are not in keeping with Church teaching or Tradition. The Church is much larger than this or that pontificate; it stretches far beyond the pastoral style of this or that pope. Defend the Papacy–yes. Defend every single off-the-cuff remark of the Holy Father, no matter how unsound? No.

  115. amjd says:

    These comments have left me in tears. I find it so sad that our Pope is being bashed left and right, when I believe he is simply reaching out to all. Just because he lives out his faith in a different way than our previous Pope doesn’t make him the anti-Pope, or evil, or a heretic. Just as the Church in her wisdom allows for Dominicans, and Benedictines, and Franciscans, and Opus Dei, all aiming for heaven in a variety of manners, so too She allows Her popes to come from different backgrounds, with different knowledge and worldviews. Let’s love our Pope, and give him the respect he deserves as our supreme Pontiff. And of course he still needs our prayers!

  116. Johnno says:

    For all those saying “don’t pay attention to Pope Francis’ interviews” are missing the point. Many non-believers and non-catholics will, and they’re going to walk off with the wrong impression.

    For those saying “Francis is just speaking one on one with this person and this is normally how you’d approach discussing things with a non-believer, a few morsels at a time.” That is quite true. However, this sort of thing should be left in private, and not a published article for the world to read. If the audience is global, and the interview is a one-off piece with NO GUARANTEE of continuing to the next step, then it is the Pope’d DUTY to clarify everything. Do not publish any of this.

    For those insisting that “today people can learn about the Catholic Church at the click of a button online.” Technically true, but that path is riddled with minefields. There’s no guarantee they won’t get their information from an incorrect and biased liberal source. There’s no guarantee they’ll look it up at all, and therefore this interview should’ve done all it could possibly do to make things clear and certain. ANd besides which, you underestimate how disoriented our age is where people internalize and interpret reality according to themselves and therefore have the ability to dismiss sources as merely ‘opinion.’ After all science and common experience shows the Church and Bible are wrong, right? Therefore what else could they be wrong about and how to we begin the process of changing and evolving the Church?

    What planet are we living on?

  117. mamajen says:

    Did anyone see this: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/10/01/pope_concelebrates_mass_with_council_of_cardinals/en1-733309

    in which Pope Francis furthers his thoughts on proselytism and, once again, cites Pope Benedict? It seems every time he has said or done something confusing, he follows through with something very good.

  118. patrick wells says:

    Yes Father, it is your fate now until the Holy Father scales back his interviews….

  119. BLB Oregon says:

    “Sigh… are we going to have to do this everyday? Is this now my fate?”

    Ah, Father, look at the bright side. You weren’t elected Pope, that is one thing for which to be thankful, as the little martyrdoms that even your blog dishes regularly tell you. We weren’t born when the Popes did the kind of things that would turn any sane person into a spittle-flecked nutty, like some of those infamous renaissance Popes, which is another thing. In the decades since CNN went on the air, we’ve been blessed. The cardinals did their work well, once again. (Do we imagine some “Pope Perfectus” went home on the plane with them, some perfect prophet whom they missed? They surely don’t!)

    You have been given a good fight to fight, and this virtual Excalibur with which to fight it. Hang in there!! You will not go without your reward.

    As for what those bent on dissent might make of this or that, people bent on rationalizing a lie into the truth have always imagined that they are uniquely endowed to spin gold from straw, when in reality what they do is sadly the other way around. Fraternal love requires you to correct them, but your fidelity won’t be proved or disproved by whether or not you convince them. The Lord pointed out that the false prophets could be picked out because everybody liked them. So as long as you proof well with the Magisterium when you are examined, rejoice that you were judged worthy to be singled out for the scorn of those who would sow lies undisturbed, if you were not there! When they come to the day when their consciences are set right, they will surely rejoice that you were here, too.

  120. Vocatus says:

    Adam Michael,

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement prayers. I will certainly keep you in my prayers also!

  121. Pingback: Feeling more Catholic than the pope? I find your lack of faith disturbing | Pro Unione

  122. Pingback: The Seven Days of Shutdown (and Counting) | CatholicVote.org