Pope Francis’ sermon for the canonization

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First, you might scan what I wrote back on 5 July 2013 about these canonizations.

Wherein Fr. Z explains what is really going on with the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II

I can add another element, below.  But let’s look at Pope Francis’ sermon for the canonization.  Analysis to follow.  My emphases and comments.

At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).

The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. [May I add also that there are hard teachings which we must accept if we are to remain Christians?  I have in mind, among others, the Lord’s teaching about marriage, to which the Church has] That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet2:24, cf. Is 53:5). [It is a great mystery that, even through Christ conquered death definitively, once for all time, we still have to die.]

John XXIII and John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. [As Christ said and John Paul famously repeated, “Do not be afraid.”] They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. [Let us not forget the indignities and sufferings they experienced as children, lay men!] They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47). It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.

This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Spirit. [Since last July I have been saying that this canonization of the two Popes is also the canonization of the Second Vatican Council.]

In his own service to the People of God, John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains. [All of you should note that reference to the Synod.  I know that the Cardinals and Bishops present heard that.]

May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, [NB!] which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.

Some analysis is in order.

First, the sermon was the right length.  One could have been tempted to touch too many bases.  You cannot do justice to the lives of those two men in a sermon.  Less is more.

So, if the sermon really wasn’t about these Popes, what was it about?  Rather, what was it also about?

Next, it seems to me that there was carefully woven into this sermon a subtle message about changes that will be proposed at the upcoming Synod which could be a “scandal” to many.   On the one hand, many would be tested when the Synod recommends to uphold what we have taught and done for so many centuries.  The reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching in clear terms would be hard and a stumbling block for those who have caved into what the world presses us to do in our weakness.   On the other hand, were the Synod Fathers to make a recommendation clearly against what the Lord and Church has taught… well… scandal doesn’t begin to paint the picture of what would result.

Francis’ talk about forgiveness underscores my view.

That said, Francis stressed the Synod.  He connected these two high voltage figures, as well as the overarching concept of “The Council” to the work of the Synod.  Seen in this light, the short sermon didn’t need to focus on the two Popes, because it was really about something else.

 

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54 Responses to Pope Francis’ sermon for the canonization

  1. Sonshine135 says:

    Yikes Father! even hinting at using mercy to promote scandal is something more along the line of what I would expect from the Liberals. Is there something more that you know that you aren’t telling us? I should hope that Pope Francis would never let the Church fall to scandal. More so, I would hope Our Lord would not let that take place.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sunshine35: “The scandal of mercy” is a very old, very Catholic way to talk about the Crucifixion, absolution of sins, etc. It comes from Paul telling us that Christ crucified is a scandal to the Greeks and Jews both, but that we who follow Christ find the Crucifixion essential.

    Of course many English translations translate skandolos as stumbling block rather than as scandal.

  3. JonPatrick says:

    I think we just have to have faith that God will not allow the gates of Hell to prevail against His Church.

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Jesus or the Cross as a scandal: 1 Peter 2:6-8, Romans 9:31-33, Isaiah 8:14.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Also 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 (the one I paraphrased above), and Galatians 5:11.

    I really don’t know enough to speculate, and I’d rather see everybody else speculate, so now I am shutting up!

  6. Tradster says:

    Father: Your analysis, as always, was clear, succinct, and in my humble opinion, 100% accurate. Seeing the canonization threads of the two popes and VCII tied together, mixed with Pope Francis’ repeated references to his Synod, makes me wonder if, perhaps, this was also intended as the first step in its canonization, too. If so, that does not bode well for the amount of controversy it may cause.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    From The Pope’s Phone Call, by Ross Douthat:

    There is also a third perilous scenario, even if my own assumptions about the nature of the church tend to rule it out. Francis could actually be considering a truly major shift on remarriage and communion, in which the annulment requirement is dispensed with and (perhaps) a temporary penance is substituted.

    Such a shift wouldn’t just provoke conservative grumbling; it would threaten outright schism. The church has famous martyrs to the indissolubility of Christian marriage, and its teaching on divorce and adultery is grounded not just in tradition or natural law, but in the explicit words of Jesus of Nazareth.

    This means that admitting to communion people the church considers to be in permanently adulterous relationships wouldn’t just look like a modest development in doctrine. It would look like a major about-face, a doctrinal self-contradiction.

    Which is why Pope Francis probably is not actually considering it.
    But from small phone calls, large theological crises sometimes grow.

  8. Lori Pieper says:

    The commentators at EWTN quickly caught that what the Pope actually said (in Italian) was docility (docilità) to the Spirit, or willingness to be taught by the Spirit, in line with the “allowed himself to be led” further on. A little bit different, and more bite to it than “openness” to the spirit, which was in the English translation they were given.

    Both Popes already have the S. for Sanctus before their names on the Vatican web site. So all is well. (Did they actually wait until the ceremony was over)?

    I can’t believe I’ve been up more or less all night. But it was worth it. Sweet to see Pope Benedict there.

  9. lana says:

    JonPatrick, Amen!!

    St. John Paul’s encyclicals on the family deserve to be dusted off and applied. They all do.

  10. lana says:

    ” The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying,…”

    This does not sound like a call to hedonism.

    And if Christians truly lived it… now -that- would be change!

    I think when this is all over, every person who is now receiving unworthily under some self-deceiving pretext, will know for sure they are sinning gravely, and they will have it from the kindliest Pope ever, who gave it much thought and consideration. And this will be a great mercy to them, because where they see no sin they see no need for repentance. So yes, a great change is needed, in respect both for marriage and the Eucharist.

  11. lana says:

    The crisis in marriage has its roots in the rejection of Humanae Vitae, which happened before Vatican 2. Its widespread acceptance, and the joy that comes from embracing the truth, is yet another change this world desperately needs.

    May God have mercy on us and give us these gifts that we do not deserve.

  12. Edelwald says:

    We shouldn’t lose sight of St. John Paul II’s aposolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio. This will have to be the basis of the upcoming Synod and it is clear, very clear, on the magisterial positions on all matters relating to the family and marriage. I wonder what could be added to it?

  13. Traductora says:

    Humanae Vitae was issued in 1968, three years after the ending of the Council, when its evil effects were already starting to be felt (although I always believed that there was weakness and heterodoxy that had quietly been undermining the Church before that, and Vatican II just let it come to the surface). The worst and most notable evil effect of Vatican II was its overnight destruction of the Church’s liturgy, and that was a thing so scandalous to people that I think it caused the to question or even reject many other things that the Church had taught.

    Also, the famous saying about heresy beginning below the belt (people rejecting orthodoxy in order to excuse their favorite sexual sin) certainly came true here, as the 1960s “Sexual Revolution,” sparked by the widespread use of the pill and hence the separation of sex from childbearing, was eagerly accepted by many in a Church that now seemed powerless or not even sure enough of itself to advance its own doctrine in this area. Having seen it with my own eyes, I can tell you that the teachings of Humanae Vitae were OPENLY rejected and even ridiculed by the clergy – often basing themselves on Vatican II.

    So yes, I agree, the family crisis actually does go back to the rejection of Humanae Vitae. But at the same time, the climate created by Vatican II and all the heterodox teaching and practice that surged in and took over Catholic life when the “windows were opened” was what made such a shocking rejection even possible in the first place.

    That said, I don’t think Vatican II was meant to do that, and most of what the Council and certainly Paul VI said on any matter was perfectly orthodox. But it was the perception that it had thrown aside all restraints and connections with tradition, particularly by disconnecting the liturgy from its past, that gave people that sort of giddy “anything goes” feeling that I actually heard a priest praising in his homily this morning. It’s hard to stuff that genie back in the bottle.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    “This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Spirit.”

    “renewing and updating”
    (“renewal” I get, “updating” could mean anything, and really might. “updating” is a loaded word if ever there was one.)

    “Let us not forget it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church”.
    (Here are the saints we have designated to give us direction. Let’s see what recommendations we will follow for “updating” since it is now established these saints are going to inform us.)

    “John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led…”
    (This could be taken as “God is still talking”. I realize that is a fine line and of course we want our leaders and ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit. But let’s face it, the “leaders” are the one who matter here.)
    If there are two years before a Synod that may make big changes, no doubt there will be lots of prepping and telegraphing going on.

  15. Heather F says:

    The family crisis doesn’t come from a rejection of Humanae Vitae.

    The rejection of Humanae Vitae came from the family crisis that was already brewing.

    And given the public statements that Pope Francis made just the other day regarding the sanctity of marriage and the family, I really think that the predictions of doom are extremely shortsighted.

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    @Charles E Flynn. That seems a most likely scenario, if there is to be any change at all.
    I know I say this alot, but, I need to point out, I know 1% of what most of you know. I’m truly a know-nothing on these matters. But, given trends in general, there is a force behind things, people in this case who want change, and the object receiving that force, in this case, the Vatican, the Holy Father. Can anyone doubt the tremendous effort being expended to make some “headway” on certain issues? I am basing this on NO inside information so I may be totally wrong, but, this does seem very likely.
    There is going to be an expectation of big change on some level.
    Women priests? Nope. Already been told by Pope Francis, it can’t be done.
    Abortion? Nope. Already been told by Pope Francis, it is a terrible sin.
    Contraception? Maybe, but so many go against this there are not as many who actually care about it. Any change would scandalize followers but not make much difference to the dissenters, who may have to be appeased.
    Teaching on homosexuality? The third rail.
    Remarriage and Holy Communion? That’s the one. This would of course all fall under the title of “merciful acts”.
    I hope I am wrong. I hope with all my heart.
    I also believe the gates of Hell shall not prevail, but it doesn’t say anything about the gates of Hell not moving exceedingly close.

  17. Long-Skirts says:

    LO
    SUNDAY

    “It is written, man cannot live by bread only,” (Matthew 4:4)

    If I give bread alone
    Then man is no more than a dog
    Might as well be the first to come
    To My banquet out of the fog.

    If I give bread alone
    Man’s want, only to relieve,
    Then I am only a baker
    Filling bellies, not souls to believe.

    If I give bread alone
    Being social reforming reform
    Then I am not the Redeemer
    Come to save souls through Me and conform.

    If I give bread alone
    Bring outer abundance instead
    Only a cheap leader of people
    Leaving their inner holiness dead.

    You would have Me begin with security
    Yes, bread, there always must be,
    Lo, bread gets its power to nourish
    “Not by bread alone.” but from Me.

  18. JJZ says:

    In his homily, Pope Francis could have paid tribute to St. John Paul II in any number of ways — as the pope of suffering, the pope of the dignity of the human person, the pope of the new evangelization, the pope whose papacy saw a worldwide boom in priestly vocations. (The number of seminarians increased 79% during his reign, a time when Catholic population grew by 47% and world population grew by 49%.) http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=1511

    Instead, Pope Francis chose to pay tribute to St. John Paul II specifically as “the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.”

    Perhaps I’m misreading these words, but I read them this way: Pope Francis wanted to remind those present that St. John Paul left behind a rich body of teaching on the family, and that his teaching, to which edelwald alluded, should guide the synod. And part of the teaching of Familiaris Consortio is certainly its teaching on divorce and remarriage.

    These words come two days after Pope Francis told the bishops of southern Africa that divorce is among the realities that undermine the sanctity of marriage. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/april/documents/papa-francesco_20140425_ad-limina-africa.html

    So I see a hermeneutic of continuity, rather than discontinuity, in Pope Francis’s words.

  19. bourgja says:

    I questioned the wisdom of the resignation of Pope Benedict at the time, but do so more and more as it increasingly appears that it made way for the first heretical pope in the history of the Church. Mind you, that hasn’t happened yet but that seems to be the direction towards which we are headed.

  20. StWinefride says:

    [Since last July I have been saying that this canonization of the two Popes is also the canonization of the Second Vatican Council.]

    “By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-20

    What a sad, sad day.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  21. kpoterack says:

    I agree with JJZ. Just read these two quotations, both by Pope Francis. The first from the canonization homily, the second from Friday’s address to African bishops. He refers to St. John Paul II in both as a “guide” and someone whose teachings on marriage are “indispensable.” He also refers to the “clear doctrine” of the “holiness and indissolubilty of Christian marriage.” Read them for yourself, they are quite strong and encouraging.

    “In his own service to the People of God, John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.”

    “The holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples. Christian matrimony is a lifelong covenant of love between one man and one woman; it entails real sacrifices in order to turn away from illusory notions of sexual freedom and in order to foster conjugal fidelity.” He pointed to the teaching of Blessed John Paul II on marriage and family as a “promising and indeed indispensable means of communicating the liberating truth about Christian marriage.”

  22. Vecchio di Londra says:

    “Christian matrimony is a lifelong covenant of love between one man and one woman.”

    Yes. I’m happy with that. It reflects Our Lord’s explicit teaching in the Gospels. And it seems not to need further discussion.

    Perhaps this would be an opportunity to spare the Church of both the cost of the synod and the danger of schism, and instead give the money saved to Catholic Christians suffering in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia?

  23. Gratias says:

    St. John Paul also taught us about the Culture of Death, the nature of Marxism, and the dangers of Liberation Theology.

    Hopefully Pope Francis’ Synod will not be followed by a “Spirit of the Synod of Bishops” reform movement.

  24. McCall1981 says:

    @kpoterack,
    I had thought Francis’ quote to the African Bishops was a big deal too, and that maybe it even signaled his saying “no” to Kasper’s proposals. But the quote didn’t get much attention from Catholic media, so perhaps I am reading too much into it, I don’t know.

    Given that JPII was clear on no communion for the divirced and remarried, I think citing him as a guide for the Synod is a positive.

  25. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    To remind us all of the hopes the “Left” has for the upcoming synod, there are a series of photos and statements here: http://mycatholicfamily.org/
    If we do not reach a turning point in public perception of Francis’s papacy before, we certainly will when the synod opens and the forces of light and darkness battle over control of the narrative.

  26. steve jones says:

    I suspect the Pope is going to annul all marriages after the synod. The validity of a marriage will be determined by the laity and not by a committee of diocesan clerics. If a contracted couple agree to no longer be married then the Church will annul the contract regardless of their situation. The whole annulment process in the USA, in particular, has become corrupt so in one sense the synod will recognise the reality of this corruption if nothing else. I am not passing judgement on this initiative but simply stating what might happen.

    Where does this now leave us?

    This is the first time that the Church will wield the annulment axe on such a scale in order to deal with a pastoral issue. Effectively turning the sacrament of marriage upside down. The burden of proof of a marriage’s validity will now rest now rest with those (happily) contracted and not the other way around.

    Further ahead, if the Church can declare ALL marriages annulled, what else could it now annul? How about a Vatican council for example? Is EVERYTHING now available for annulment? Just when we thought the Ho!y Spirit had fallen asleep! He’s alive people! He’s alive!

  27. OrthodoxChick says:

    I think that Pope Francis’ words are comforting. He sent a pretty clear message that there will be no changes in doctrine. I think he truly does want to find some way to minister to people who find themselves unable to receive the Eucharist due to their circumstances though. Who knows what the Synod will come up with. Maybe they’ll create some sort of new grounds for a declaration of nullity. Maybe they’ll create a “clueless Catholic” clause whereby Catholics who should have known the consequences of divorce & remarriage, but didn’t – for some provable, justifiable reason, will be given grounds for a nullity in certain circumstances. I don’t know. They’re going to have to get pretty creative somehow, but as long as they leave the doctrine in tact, I’ll be grateful and relieved.

  28. donato2 says:

    I too agree with JJZ. You do not have to be a Vaticanologist to understand that by linking the synod to JPII Pope Francis is signalling that traditional teaching is going to provide the framework for the synod.

    I nonetheless am fearful about what Pope Francis might allow to come out of the synod. He seems to have an attitude of disdain for “rules” and it is hard to trust someone with that attitude as the guardian of orthodoxy.

  29. “But it was the perception that it had thrown aside all restraints and connections with tradition, particularly by disconnecting the liturgy from its past, that gave people that sort of giddy “anything goes” feeling that I actually heard a priest praising in his homily this morning.” IMHO i doubt it was perception. Maybe more along the lines of interpreting what it meant as they wished.Even if they had seen it clearly(which they never intended to do)they would have done what they wished anyway. Vatican II was just an excuse. If not that,they’d have found another scapegoat. So people are concerned that Pope Francis will introduce heresy? I don’t think Pope Emeritus Benedict would have resigned if he were concerned that such a thing would happen. I also doubt that he would let Pope Francis (or any Pope)get very far if he saw that coming. It seems to me he’d be the first to speak up. Suspicions have fallen on Pope Francis from the first 5 seconds of his pontificate.

  30. Do I prefer John Paul II and Benedict to Pope Francis? Yes. Do i respect Pope Francis? Of course. We are not going to have another JPII or Benedict unless someone close to one of these men is ever elected. Are there some things about him i admire ? Yes. Does he have shortcomings? Certainly,but i think he may surprise all of us.

  31. The Cobbler says:

    bourgja, even if it were to happen (as others have pointed out, it’s unlikely in matters of marriage at least, given his orthodox statements on the subject and his highlighting of Pope St. John Paul II, who staunchly defended orthodoxy there as well), he wouldn’t be the first — Honorius already managed to pull it off back in the first millenium.

  32. lana says:

    From Familiaris Consortio:
    the growing number of divorces; the scourge of abortion; the ever more frequent recourse to sterilization; the appearance of a truly contraceptive mentality.

    At the -root- of these negative phenomena there frequently lies a corruption of the idea and the experience of freedom, conceived not as a capacity for realizing the truth of God’s plan for marriage and the family, but as an autonomous power of self-affirmation, often against others, for one’s own selfish well-being.

  33. The holy father is not going to do anything crazy. Calm down, folks.

  34. On a not-very-important note, I’m curious how much time and energy was spent figuring out the protocol of where the former pope would sit — either this time around, or the last.

  35. Now recruiting: Bat Christian Torpedo Squadron 8. This October: the Battle of Midway for the Church. After the Synod, all of our doubts and hopes will be behind us, no? Pope Francis will reveal himself as a stalwart defender of revealed truth, or, er, something else. Of course, it can only be the former, right? Even so, I fail to see how bringing up the Synod on Vatican II’s Big Day is anything but ominous.

  36. MaryW says:

    Father Fox, thank you reminding us that we need to keep cool heads and trust in the Holy Spirit. Instead of fretting and worrying, we should be storming heaven with our prayers.

  37. kpoterack says:

    McCall1981: “I had thought Francis’ quote to the African Bishops was a big deal too, and that maybe it even signaled his saying “no” to Kasper’s proposals. But the quote didn’t get much attention from Catholic media, so perhaps I am reading too much into it, I don’t know.”

    KP: It is only beginning to be cited. (The conservative Catholic media hasn’t caught up with it because, unfortunately, we often simply react to what the MSM reports.) Give it time. You are NOT reading too much into it. We need to get the word out – and, frankly, Pope Francis needs to say more things like this.

  38. Gail F says:

    Heather F and Fr. Fox have kept level heads!

    And whatever you think of Pope Francis he is not “the first heretical pope in history.” My goodness. If you think so, you don’t know any history. NUMEROUS popes have held heretical views — the promise of Christ is not that that will never happen, but that they will never be able to teach heretical views as the teaching of of the Church. Pope Francis is NOTHING compared to some of the doozies in the past.

    I don’t think Pope Francis is going to annul all marriages. What an unusual idea. But he is taking seriously the FACT that in the West, a large number of people — perhaps most — don’t know what marriage is anymore. They think it’s just a contract between any two people and, nice as the idea of being married for life is, when it comes right down to it either party can “end the marriage” for any reason at all and no one can say boo (Europeans: That’s an American expression meaning “no one can criticize it in any way at all”). What is to be done about this? I don’t know. But something needs to be done. Trent did not laicize all priests! But it did solve the immense problem of the terrible state of the priesthood (and other clerics) at hte time. You can’t solve a problem unless you acknowledge it.

  39. kiwiinamerica says:

    I came here for the papal insults.

    Did he toss out any good new ones?

  40. “What a sad, sad day.” not at all.A joyous occasion

    “Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.” She does. She saved John Paul II :)

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  43. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Further ahead, if the Church can declare ALL marriages annulled, what else could it now annul?”

    It is a contradiction to say that the Church can annul any marriages. By definition, if something is a true marriage, then it is not annulable. The Church does NOT annul marriages! It simply states that no marriage took place. It declares the nullity of a marriage, but cannot annul a marriage. Sloppy language has caused a great deal of misunderstanding.

    The Chicken

  44. The Masked Chicken says:

    It’s not like we don’t already know the causes of the breakdown in family life. I don’t see the need, personally, for a synod, but, rather, a clear application of the already existing teachings. Perhaps, this is why I am not Pope (that, plus there is a canonical block about ordaining chickens).

    The Chicken

  45. Paliakas1 says:

    The church has enshrined its destruction. They sainted the man who started the “Spring time of Vatican II” along with the man who saw through to the end the church become the “Devastated Vineyard” it is today. They have put institutional failure and corruption on a pedestal and said let us honor it.

  46. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Paliakas1: Yep, and we worship the God Who picked a traitor for His cabinet minister, and a guy who’d run away for His prime minister (whom He named “Rock”!). Institutional failure all the way up, I guess!

  47. Supertradmum says:

    I really liked the sermon, as it was short and to the point of the Divine Mercy and the post-Resurrection act of faith by Thomas. As to the references to the two canonized saints, I also approved of the use of the words regarding the fact that they spoke boldly for the family and in the Holy Spirit, bringing attention to the Holy Spirit in the world.

    One of Francis’ best sermons to date, imho.

  48. StWinefride says:

    Supertradmum, you missed the point of my post, I purposefully didn’t comment on the Canonisation of Pope John XXIII and Pope John-Paul II. That is another issue.

    I picked up on Fr Z’s comment and his no doubt correct belief that the Canonisations also point towards a Canonisation of the Second Vatican Council. Considering some of the disastrous fruits of the Council, whether from ambiguous terminology or misinterpretations or whatever, this seems a bit of a shame and rather hasty, and in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal especially, shows a lack of Prudence. This is my informed opinion, and I’m standing by it.

  49. Heather F says:

    Papal insults, kiwiinamerica? Sure! I can see a few:

    “… it increasingly appears that it made way for the first [sic] heretical pope in the history of the Church”
    “I suspect the Pope is going to annul all marriages after the synod.”
    “The church has enshrined its destruction.”

    Or did you mean something else?

    Regarding the supposed non-necessity for a Synod on the Family, I don’t see that. Perhaps people think that the only reason to have a synod would be to change or define teachings? Of course there is no need to change the teachings on marriage and family. But given the nature of the OFFICIAL questionnaire that was being circulated a while back, it seems to have more to do with trying to figure out how better to address the various problems that are incredibly widespread. And that, I can see.

  50. bourgja says:

    Thanks all for your comments. By “first heretical pope” I meant the first pope to put forward a heretical position as the teaching of the Church. Again, this has not happened and may not happen. I certainly hope not!

  51. robtbrown says:

    SuperTradmum,

    In so far as you referred us to your blog, I note the following:

    Perhaps you are confusing holiness, which is perfection on earth, with political astuteness or infallibility in writings. Even the writings of the great saints are not perfect, or infallible, even though the persons became saints.

    I agree with you on infallibility in writings. The question of being politically astute is, however, a bit more complex. Usually, in English “astute” is used interchangeably with “prudent”, and refer to being careful. In Latin, especially the Latin of St Thomas, they are not.

    Prudence is right judgment related to acts. Political Prudence is right judgment related to acts of governance, pastoral prudence to governance in the Church.

    A bishop must be politically (pastorally) prudent. Personal fidelity to prayer and to the Sacraments are obviously very important, but that’s not enough for a bishop–he must also be prudent: He must have the foresight to see future goods and choose the proper goods that bring them about (prudens–pro videns). IMHO, this can be found in Christ’s words to the Apostles: Watch and pray. Thus, a bishop who is faithful to prayer and the Sacraments must also be pastorally prudent.

    A distinction must be made between the virtue prudentia and the vices that closely resemble it, e.g., astutia, dolus, fraus . For example, the bishops who just moved perverted priests to another parish might have been considered politically astute (or shrewd), but they were not prudent.

  52. The Masked Chicken says:

    “But given the nature of the OFFICIAL questionnaire that was being circulated a while back, it seems to have more to do with trying to figure out how better to address the various problems that are incredibly widespread. And that, I can see.”

    It is, generally, better to treat a problem early with a bandaid before it requires major surgery. If the solutions proposed at the Synod do not address the underlying causes (which, for the most part, we have known for some time), but are merely palliative, then they will not have accomplished much. Hopefully, what we know to be the causes will be addressed.

    The Chicken