Pope Francis wants a transformation of the papacy and a synodal Church

Francis Synod speech 50th annivSince the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis – or could we coin a new phrase? The “periphery of Pope Francis”? – I have been saying that his aim is to weaken the Roman Curia. HERE and HERE and HERE are examples.

Today Francis addressed members of the Synod, et al., on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops.

I think this speech (HERE) may be a turning point of some kind.  I don’t know what kind, yet.

Clearly, the Pope wants a more “Synodal Church”.  He says that this has been his intention from the beginning of his pontificate… periphery. He said (my translations):

Fin dall’inizio del mio ministero come Vescovo di Roma ho inteso valorizzare il Sinodo, che costituisce una delle eredità più preziose dell’ultima assise conciliare.

From the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome I intended to enhance the Synod, which constitutes one of the most precious legacies of the last conciliar assembly (i.e. Vatican II).

He goes on with comments about sensus fidei that I am going to have to parse with patience.   Including:

Il sensus fidei impedisce di separare rigidamente tra Ecclesia docens ed Ecclesia discens, giacché anche il Gregge possiede un proprio “fiuto” per discernere le nuove strade che il Signore dischiude alla Chiesa.

È stata questa convinzione a guidarmi quando ho auspicato che il Popolo di Dio venisse consultato nella preparazione del duplice appuntamento sinodale sulla famiglia, come si fa e si è fatto di solito con ogni“Lineamenta”. Certamente, una consultazione del genere in nessun modo potrebbe bastare per ascoltare il sensus fidei.

The sensus fidei prevents a rigid separation between the Teaching Church and the Learning Church, since even the possesses its knack (sense of smell, sniffing out ability- fiuto) to discern the new paths that the Lord is opening up to the Church.

It was this conviction that guided me when I prayed that the People of God would be consulted in the preparation of the twin synodal meeting on the family, as is and was usually done with every “Lineamenta” (guiding document). Certainly, a consultation of this kind would in no way be enough to hear the sensus fidei.

The tricky thing about sensus fidei or more precisely sensus fidei fidelium is that you have to be faithful to have it.  Anyway, he goes on for a bit about sensus fidei.

Then he moves into his own role as successor of Peter… as “Bishop of Rome”.

He moves then into his thought about how synodality is a constitutive element of the Church.  To wit:

La sinodalità, come dimensione costitutiva della Chiesa, ci offre la cornice interpretativa più adeguata per comprendere lo stesso ministero gerarchico. Se capiamo che, come dice San Giovanni Crisostomo, «Chiesa e Sinodo sono sinonimi»….

Synodality, as a constitutive dimension of the Church, offers us the more fitting interpretive framework to understand the same hierarchical ministry. [He was speaking of it earlier on.] If we understand what St. John Chrysostom said, “Church and Synod are synonymous,”….

I might add here what another great Eastern Church Father said, St. Gregory Nazianzus in ep. 131:

“If I ought to write the truth, I am of the mind that I ought to flee all meetings of bishops, because I have never seen any happy or satisfactory outcome to any council, nor one that has deterred evils more than it has occasioned their acceptance and growth.” 

But I digress.

He goes on about levels of synodality… local, regional, etc.

The real fireworks start here:

Il secondo livello è quello delle Province e delle Regioni Ecclesiastiche, dei Concili Particolari e in modo speciale delle Conferenze Episcopali. Dobbiamo riflettere per realizzare ancor più, attraverso questi organismi, le istanze intermedie della collegialità, magari integrando e aggiornando alcuni aspetti dell’antico ordinamento ecclesiastico. L’auspicio del Concilio che tali organismi possano contribuire ad accrescere lo spirito della collegialità episcopale non si è ancora pienamente realizzato. Siamo a metà cammino, a parte del cammino. In una Chiesa sinodale, come ho già affermato, «non è opportuno che il Papa sostituisca gli Episcopati locali nel discernimento di tutte le problematiche che si prospettano nei loro territori. In questo senso, avverto la necessità di procedere in una salutare “decentralizzazione”».

The second level is that of Provinces and Ecclesiastical Regions, of Particular (local?) Councils and, in a special way, Episcopal Conferences. We must reflect in order to bring about even more, through these bodies, the intermediate applications of collegiality, even by integrating and updating some aspects of ancient ecclesiastical ordering. The wish of the Council that such organisms would help contribute to the increase of the spirit of episcopal collegiality has not yet been fully realized. As I have asserted, in a Synodal Church “it is not opportune that the Pope replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that present themselves in their territories. In this sense, I feel the necessity to proceed in a healthy “decentralization.”

He intends to weaken, if not gut, the Roman Curia.  That means devolving to regional conferences and perhaps even individual bishops some of the briefs of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

He then goes on about the Petrine ministry in a Synodal Church and repeats the phrase “una conversione del papato … a conversion (in the sense of “transformation”) of the papacy”.

Finally… the peroration…

Il nostro sguardo si allarga anche all’umanità. Una Chiesa sinodale è come vessillo innalzato tra le nazioni (cfr. Is11, 12) in un mondo che -pur invocando partecipazione, solidarietà e trasparenza nell’amministrazione della cosa pubblica- consegna spesso il destino di intere popolazioni nelle mani avide di ristretti gruppi di potere. Come Chiesa che “cammina insieme” agli uomini, partecipe dei travagli della storia, coltiviamo il sogno che la riscoperta della dignità inviolabile dei popoli e della funzione di servizio dell’autorità potranno aiutare anche la società civile a edificarsi nella giustizia e nella fraternità, generando un mondo più bello e più degno dell’uomo per le generazioni che verranno dopo di noi.

Our gaze extends also to humanity. A synodal church is like a banner raised among the nations (cf Isaiah 11:12) in a world which, even though invoking participation, solidarity and transparency in the administration of the public good, often consigns the destiny of entire populations into the greedy hands of restricted groups of the powerful. As a Church that “walks together” with men, participates in the travails of history, let us cultivate the dream that the rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and the exercise of service of authority will be able to help also civil society to be built upon justice and on fraternity, generating a more beautiful world, more worthy of mankind and for the generations that will come after us.

One hardly knows what to make of all this.  One thing I do know… watch liberals start up their conga dance line again.  We have no idea what this all means yet, but they will be insufferable.

Meanwhile, let us keep on our course of building up the Church through that indispensable path of renewal of our liturgical worship of God.  A hundred grand initiatives can be launched by Popes, Synods, Conferences, Congregations, Committees, etc., but nothing lasting or important will be achieved without a deep revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship of God.

Therefore, do not relent, do not be distracted, do not veer from your course especially of building in as many places as possible the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the traditional, extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as well as celebrations of Vespers and traditional devotions.

Moreover, deeply examine your conscience, discern where you have also failed to act and makes sacrifices when, where and how you should have, and

GO TO CONFESSION.

Raise your petitions to God with a clean heart and soul.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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127 Responses to Pope Francis wants a transformation of the papacy and a synodal Church

  1. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    Ummm, no thank you. I joined the Catholic Church, not an Orthodox Church nor the Anglican Communion.

  2. Susan M says:

    If decision making (pastoral??) is left to local conferences and/or bishops and they would let same-sex “married” couples receive Holy Communion, then it would mean that they (same-sex couples) could also receive other sacraments – such as the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The gay agenda would demand it….and of course the local bishop or bishops’ conference would immediately give in. Surely Our Lord and His Blessed Mother will do something to avert this!

  3. CatholicMD says:

    What to make of this is that the St. Gallen Mafia has control of the Keys of St. Peter.

  4. DJAR says:

    Looks like it’s gearing up to let the Germans and others appear to have authority to do what they want relating to the divorced and remarried, et cetera, while at the same time appeasing the Polish bishops, et al. This is unacceptable to a Catholic.

  5. Raymond says:

    As the late Mario Palmaro once said: “Questo Papa non ci piace.”

  6. Vox clamantis in deserto says:

    Episcopal conferences are strange entities…

    First, they depend on politics, as their composition respects state borders (or, in some cases, like Scandinavia, they are composed of bishops of several states, but nevertheless state borders play their role). A change of state borders – which happens from time to time – is sooner or later followed by a change in respective episcopal conferences (just think of Poland, Ukraine and Germany after the WW2). Does the Church want to be tied to politics? Sure, in some aspects it is quite reasonable (the local bishops can together react to the state laws etc). but…doctrine? liturgy? influenced by politics? No, please no.

    Second, if an episcopal conference/council/synod makes a decision and a particular bishop is against it, what then? If he has the right to do what he wants, what are local episcopal conferences, councils, synods etc good for? If not, who will decide? A majority? Will the Church become a parliament? Or a “spiritual UNO”? A multi-level management organization? The authority and the general jurisdiction of the pope is clear, it is based in Tradition. The authority and the jurisdiction of a bishop in his diocese as well. But what authority can a local synod etc have over a bishop? And what authority can a pope delegate to such a body?

    I don’t believe in many unholy particular conferences…ehm…churches…

  7. juergensen says:

    It is obvious from this “synod” that heretics have been infesting the Church for many years, but were mute for fear of John Paul II and Benedict. Now that there is a new sheriff in town, they are crawling out of the woodwork, like worms from hell (cf. Mark 9:48).

  8. zama202 says:

    Pray for this pope and, more importantly the next pope…hunker down…and find any priest or monastery that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Charles

  9. marcpuckett says:

    Questo Papa non ci piace, indeed, but I’m not happy about it. I’m prepared to accept in principle that the Pope can make the sorts of profound changes in structure/offices that ‘devolution etc from the Curia’ may mean/imply (although I myself think it is precisely the opposite of what is needed in these days of virtual connectedness worldwide) but ‘a Synodal Church’? are we to have ‘One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Synodal Church’? and I haven’t made my way through Cardinal Schönborn’s address, yet. Still, prayer, fasting, alms-giving, the Sacraments. Thank you for your non-hysterical ‘first glance’ at the Pope’s address today!

  10. boredoftheworld says:

    I just came home from Confession… to this. I need a drink.

  11. Curley says:

    I have been anxious throughout the synod, but after reading this and Cupich’s comments yesterday, I am at the point of tears. Trying to keep in mind “the gates of hell shall not prevail”, but if the church is fractured like this, I worry about how much of it the evil one will consume.

  12. Elizabeth D says:

    The Synod on the Family was not convened to reconfigure ecclesiastical governance and is not set up to discuss this.

    I would hardly give Francis a passing grade in popery right now.

  13. FXR2 says:

    Father Z,
    Unfortunately, I think Fr. Erik Richtsteig is correct. At what point do we call a spade a spade?

    fxr2

  14. JARay says:

    I think that we get the picture and most of us don’t like it.

  15. mbutton says:

    There is a thin line between charity for the Pope’s course and sinful silence of the Pope’s course. I don’t know where I’m at any longer.

  16. chantgirl says:

    Elizabeth D- shame on you for making me almost pop my C-section stiches laughing :)

    If the Pope succeeds in this power grab, Catholicism will rise and fall in particular areas based on the fidelity of the local bishops. In some places the Church will simply die out (where there are heterodox bishops), and in places where the bishops are faithful, the Church will grow. However, the moral authority of the Church will completely lose its potency in the public eye. Like a set of parents who can’t agree on discipline, the children will run to the parent who can’t say no.

    I have had my doubts about Pope Francis but have really tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now that his views are out in the open, I want to know if he had anything to do with the Gallen group’s plotting to elect him, and if he is a valid pope.

    It’s ironic that the Synod on the Family is proving to be a divorce in the Church.

  17. Peter in Canberra says:

    Madness, absolute madness. Might we even dare to say it looks like absolute Masonry?
    This is the stuff of despair.
    In fact, it is hard to believe that a bishop could be SOOOO willful.

  18. mburn16 says:

    Much of one’s reaction to this is predicated on what you believe Francis would do if it were all left up to him alone. If his sympathies are with “the Germans”, devolution to a lower level during his pontificate may well be a protection against widespread error, since the African, American, and other units of the Church can be expected to take a far more…traditional…approach to the questions currently at hand.

    But ultimately, in the amount of time we might reasonably expect the current Pope to have at his disposal, and considering that most of those who we could reasonably expect to hold the Papacy next are more…Conservative…than he – how much of this is just the Pope talking?

  19. Sword40 says:

    So, after reading all of this; article and comments, its off to confession. Boy, do I need it today.

    All we can do is pray and to adhere to Tradition, no matter what Rome says.

  20. Genna says:

    On the face of it what Francis is proposing is clericalism in the extreme. But just wait until a weak bishop is confronted by an uppity laity demanding ever more relaxation of the rules. He will have no backstop.

  21. Mac_in_Alberta says:

    There is already a synodal church. It’s called Holy Orthodoxy. I have been hoping for a long time that we Latin Catholics could beh reunited with the Eastern Churches, but I do not think that this is the way to bring it about.

  22. Traductora says:

    Amazing. Just yesterday we were talking about devolution, and I believe I made some stupid statement this being Francis’ eventual goal. Who knew he was going to do it today, the very next day?

    I think this is the point of no return. I was very distressed when he was elected, because I know something about Latin American religious and political figures, but I got a grip and tried for some time to be positive and put the best interpretation on everything he said. However, his constant insults and bizarre, malicious actions (such as the warm welcome to the Spanish transsexual, whose trip to Rome the Pope made her bishop pay because she said one of the priests insulted her by telling her she was possessed by Satan when she said she wanted to “become” a man) long ago dried up the milk of human kindness at least where it related to the Pope.

    So I have been suspicious and cautious ever since, but have been trying very hard, during the Synod and its manipulation, not to stand up, point to him and scream “you lie!” But he is lying, he is deceitful, he is manipulative, he is power-crazed – and I think there is now absolutely no way to deny that he wants to destroy the Church. And that he’s about half way there, mostly because of naive, optimistic attitudes like mine. So the only question is not whether the Pope is a heretic, but where do we go from here? What now?

  23. jfk03 says:

    On one hand, Francis talks about synodality. On the other, he appears to be moving toward a unilateral restructuring of the Church, even in the face of extensive dissent. This smacks of Peronism. I am trying to maintain my serenity but without much success. God help us.

  24. benedetta says:

    Well hey look on the bright side: this way, walking together in each other’s presence, the powers that be may no longer pretend, within and without the Church, that tons of believers walking the way of the magisterium, which gives life, with joy as well as suffering, with persecutions, somehow do not exist. Some of the militant interrogators will have to actually engage in a conversation rather than dictate to us dictatorially. In theory, according to this synodal schema, the Pelosis of the world will no longer be able to delusionally deny that Catholicism is life giving. No?

  25. TWF says:

    For better or for worse, local synods with REAL authority has been a reality of the Catholic Church for the majority of her history. It’s only in recent centuries that they vanished.

  26. TWF says:

    Of course, the Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome are already governed by local Synods with real authority. Those of major Archepiscopal or patriarchal rank even elect their own bishops and primate. Yet they remain faithful. The problem isn’t synods- the problem is liberal bishops in Germany etc who cause problems with or without local synods.

  27. acardnal says:

    Could election of bishops be next on the agenda?

  28. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I don’t understand the great crisis here. TWF is right. Read Denzinger and see how much Catholic doctrine has been formulated through synodal process. And traditionalists are fond of critiquing “ultramontane” idolatry of papal and Roman power in the Church. Francis is advocating for a pre-Pius IX style of governance–not the dissolution of holy orders.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    “watch liberals start up their conga dance line again”

    Tho I don’t think you will see any moderates like me dancing.

  30. ccrino says:

    I’m with TWF. Synods have a long history in the church. The papacy as we know it was only configured after modern transportation and communication. (The steamship and telegraph made all the difference.) I always refer folks to Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, based on the real life Lamy in Santa Fe in the mid 19th century. Just a letter of inquiry to Rome would take a year. (Six months there and back – and that is if the Curial folks answered swiftly, which they have not always been known to do.) a bishop in that situation was basically on his own, making decisions within a broad framework set by Rome. A more local synod made a lot more sense in that context.

    This is new – to us. A fourth century bishop on the Iberian peninsula would not be flustered.

  31. rwj says:

    This is becoming a very curious point in history, but we still can ask God not to subject us to this awful test. For some reason as the news gets worse, I’m more aware than ever that my own fidelity to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church can only be destroyed by me. I’m praying for the serenity that His Eminence, Cardinal Burke spoke of and seems to embody so well.

    There are still many, many faithful Catholics in the world.

  32. JamesM says:

    I went to confession this morning.

    I’m going to avoid reading any more about the Synod so I have a chance of receiving Holy Communion tomorrow.

  33. LA says:

    On the bright side, more and more Catholics are finally seeing that there is a Crisis in the Church, and that Popes can believe and do other than what comes from the Holy Ghost. May this Synod be the end of Papolatry.

  34. Katie says:

    I think the HF is trying to send us all quietly crazy. Or maybe he has some problems. Over at Bussola Quotidiana, Massimo Introvigne has a piece with exactly the opposite interpretation of the Pope’s speech: Introvigne takes the core of the speech to be ‘non solo cum Petro ma anche sub Petro’. Introvigne therefore reads the speech as a re-statement of high Papal doctrine.
    This leads one to ask why can he (Bergoglio that is) or why does he not speak simply and clearly? To what end? Is it a strategy or a weird manipulative psychology? He often gives the impression of a friendly arm around the shoulder followed by a quick stab in the back. I read the speech in Italian and it struck me as incoherent. The last bit is sheer babble. Perhaps he is a lot weaker than he seems and is simply winging it?

  35. Traductora says:

    For those blithely saying that “synods have always existed,” well, yes, they have. But they have never been given independent doctrinal authority before, nor the right to establish any old practice that they wanted. Regional synods have worked on doctrinal issues (many Spanish synods, for example, examined the question of the Immaculate Conception) but they have all been based on the teachings of the universal Church (that is, orthodoxy as it proceeded from Rome), and many synods in fact were convened to support orthodoxy in the face of a local heresy. But Francis has stood this on its head, and essentially, looking at his words above, is envisioning synods or councils that would simply go their own way, following their particular version of Christianity and essentially adopting even that to local secular demands.

  36. gatormom says:

    Ccrino
    It’s funny you mention Death Comes for the Archbishop. Whenever I see really crazy things going on in the Church for years without these things being addressed I think back to that Archbishop in the novel traveling on foot or donkey across brutal terain to address something goofy going on…I think it was a Bishop using the Indians as his personal slaves and all sorts of philandering. Anyway, I always think, why can’t someone simply call that priest on the telephone and tell him to knock it off please. Surely, this wouldn’t solve all problems but a lot of goofy religious might just say, “Er, OK.”

  37. Derek Brown says:

    My wife and I met Pope Francis when we were married and it was a joy, which makes me even more conflicted when feelings of distrust arise in me. I feel like a traitor when my mind goes into “red alert”, when he speaks on so many issues. This statement of his is the biggest bomb to drop.

    “In a Synodal Church “it is not opportune that the Pope replace the local Episcopates in the discernment of all the problems that present themselves in their territories.”
    On this statement: The Pope does not replace the local Episcopates when he exercises his authority, because when he exercises it, it is an authority that the local Episcopates do not have. He does not detract from their authority, because his is greater. In a former job, I was a supervisor, with about 10 employees beneath me. If the owner of the business gave them orders, or even contradicted mine, he did not replace my authority. That’s because those employees as well as myself were all under his authority.

    The Germans have already discussed taking things into their own hands on a local level and now, they will be more emboldened. I always pictured the diminishing and persecution of the Church to be from the government. I knew there were heterodox movements inside the Church, but doubted their ability to get it done at the upper level. However, now I see that there is far greater power to do so from within, under the right conditions. The government won’t be the ones to lock us out of our churches. The Winnipeg Statement will be a joke, compared to what may come. The Catholic Church was squashed in England, like flipping a switch. I believe I understand, more than I had, how swift the persecution may come and how severe it may be.
    Now, I cannot see into the future, but I have never been more convinced that this scenario is more than hypothetical.

    I know Pope Benedict spoke of a smaller Church. It seems it is much smaller and far sooner than I had imagined.

  38. PA mom says:

    The key is whether only the liberal bishops will see this as an opportunity.

    What if conservative ones saw this as an invitation to advance? To interview and regularize all willing SSPX priests and parishes within their diocese, to implement the reform of the reform, to spread the Anglican Ordinariate, inviting in new branches of traditional orders or starting up their own to do that which is lacking in their diocese, to do whatever out reaches can be thought of rather than waiting for the go ahead or some mysterious unachievable national or international consensus…

    And to do these things now while the specifics seem to be lacking, then simply explain afterward that they thought it would be perfectly within the guidelines.

    Acting with the speed and confidence of liberals…at conservative goals…

  39. Auggie says:

    I think “communion” with the Eastern Orthodox is part of the end-game plan. If/when that happens, despite the protests of traditional Catholics, the world (and nontraditional catholics) will praise Francis as a miracle-worker of unity.

  40. Raymond says:

    TWF, Fr Sotelo & ccrino are correct. In fact, pre-1870, popes were often publicly despised, insulted, deposed, poisoned, kidnapped, or murdered. I hope our current Papa Bergoglio isn’t advocating a return to practices…

  41. Derek Brown says:

    Eight years ago I was at a conference where Fr. Benedict Groeschel was speaking. It was my twenty fifth birthday and my aunt bought me his book, “The Rosary, Chain of Hope”. When he signed it for me, he left me a message and under his signature, he wrote “Pope Pius XII Generation!”. I loved that. At that time, I was at the beginning of coming out of being an ignorant and lukewarm catholic, who lived years in mortal sin. His placing himself under the banner of Pope Pius XII really struck me and it emboldened me to do the same. I submitted myself to the Church and looked to the Pope for my formation. I have great joy in declaring that I am of the “Pope Benedict XVI Generation!”
    The Church may become smaller, but the “Ratzinger Schülerkreis” will be discovered to be much larger than originally thought.

  42. gatormom says:

    LA,
    I do not think it is good at all that Popes can believe and do other than what comes from the Holy Ghost. I’ve always believed that the whole reason that the Catholic Church remains the Catholic Church after more than 2,000 years was a miracle and that the Holy Ghost prevented it from changing through the person of the Pope. Now, I hear from all directions what a silly and naive idea this was. Are you a Protestant? I can’t possibly see how this is a bright side to you, otherwise.

  43. Jason Keener says:

    The Catholic Church is simply too large and diverse for it to be managed and held together in any meaningful way other than through a very strong central power residing in the Supreme Pontiff and his Roman Curia. If more power is given to Synods, Conferences of Bishops, and even individual bishops, the Catholic Church will soon look like the Anglican communities and Orthodox Churches going in every which way, many of them very dangerous.

    I also agree with the earlier commenter who mentioned that we never would have seen some of the outrageous things we are seeing today during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, such as the comments made recently by Archbishop Cupich about giving Communion to those living in homosexual relationships.

    Unfortunately, I’ve become deeply disturbed with the pontificate of Pope Francis and cannot agree with his emphasis on novelty and this idea of a “God of Surprises,” especially with regards to Church teaching and pastoral practice. In my mind, the Church has, for the most part, already clearly taught and explained just about everything that pertains to the human condition and how one is to obtain salvation. The vocation of the Supreme Pontiff and the Bishops is to now defend and preserve those teachings and actually use and enforce the pastoral practices already in place. All of this emphasis on novelty in the “Francis Revolution” is a tool of the Enemy used to distract people from the clear and simple message of the Gospel to repent, do penance, and amend their lives.

  44. jhayes says:

    John Thavis has a full English translation of the Pope’s speech

    HERE

    Starts partway through his article.

  45. juergensen says:

    Jesus built the Church on Peter; Francis is fixing Jesus’ construction defect and rebuilding the Church on the USCCB.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I don’t understand the great crisis here. TWF is right. Read Denzinger and see how much Catholic doctrine has been formulated through synodal process. And traditionalists are fond of critiquing “ultramontane” idolatry of papal and Roman power in the Church. Francis is advocating for a pre-Pius IX style of governance–not the dissolution of holy orders.”

    There is a name for this fallacy in logic. It is called, Argumentum ad Antiquam – the appeal to antiquity or the past. Pope Pius IX didn’t have penicillin – should we do away with that, as well, because, you know, if it were good enough for him…

    In music history, we have seen the result of local ecclesiastical bodies going their own way with praxis to the point that several reform movements had to be mounted just to bring the music into uniformity. At the time of Trent, several missals and breviaries existed, all because of local policies, and Trent had to act to unify them. Undoubtedly, the same will happen, all over again, with this notion of collegiality.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Church has moved on from the synodial idea because it is no longer needed. In older days, when communication was difficult, isolated bodies had to make decision (which might, eventually, be overturned by Rome), but I beg you to remember that the Arian heresy, (indeed, all heresies), started in an isolated group who were out of touch with Rome. Ordinarily, one let’s those most familiar with a situation have first crack at it, but, today, it is no burden to pick up a phone and call Rome or fax a dubium to the appropriate dicastery. Indeed, in the United States, the reason that gentried land owners were the only people who could vote when the Constitution was written was precisely because of the same difficulty in communication – only the wealthy could afford to stay informed of the issues.

    Today, we live in a communication cloud. We eat, breath, and marinate in communication. We are as close to being an informed society (if we so choose) as one could hope for, short of some cyberpunk fantasy where everyone’s brains are wired together. Vatican II was specifically set-up to address this change in world structure. That some are saying that the re-emergence of the synodial structure is fulfilling Vatican II makes absolutely no sense. The Council Fathers had recent memory of the synodial structure, but allowed something else to emerge, instead. Going back is like wishing for the pimples of youth to breakout on one’s face, again.

    Yesterday, in a stunning bit of nonsense, Bishop Kupich (did I spell that right/) said that the conservatives took control of Vatican II. I should not say this, probably, but if someone can learn so little from such very well-documented history as this, why are they in a position to make important decisions? If he were my student, I would flunk him. Seeing the synodial idea as the wave of the future tells me that they really don’t quite understand the past. The only way I could see the synod idea having any merit is if the world actually devolved back to the time of St. John Chrysostom. Is Pope Francis suggesting that there is going to soon be a world war where every country is bombed back to the stone ages? I know there was a work of fiction, The Clowns of God, by Morris West, that asked the question – “What should a Pope do if he were given a vision of the parousia?” Now, even if the world should regress, once knowledge is out there, it is stubbornly resistant to being completely wiped out. We can no more decide issues as St. John did than he could decide what to do about nuclear weapons. We learn from the past, but the synodial idea has been tried. Is it, really, a better way than some third alternative that hasn’t been thought of because we haven’t thought hard enough or been pure enough to find it? This just shows a failure of imagination, just like there will be no solutions to the problems of the family coming out of this Synod – they have stopped daring and retreated within.

    Santayana said that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it, but, likewise, those who do not hope for a solution to a problem will fail to see it when it occurs. Many people spend a great deal of time studying societal issues and we still are not at the Asimovian psychohistory level. There is room for surprise in any stalling point in history – that was the whole point of the Resurrection. This move does not, at this time, seem like a resurrection, but more of a zombification. The synod idea is like one of the walking dead and we can assume that it is on the march up the road of history. I do not have the heart to shoot the zombie. I only wish for the invention of the airplane so that I can soar above him.

    The Chicken

  47. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I’ll take a stab at a positive spin on what His Holiness has written. He has read the text, released in 2000, of the 3rd secret of Fatima, and concluded that it does have to do with his pontificate. A city half in ruins is becoming more and more evident. In fairness, “half” in ruins seems a conservative estimate.

  48. Pingback: Pope Francis wants a transformation of the papacy and a synodal Church | Fr. Z’s Blog | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  49. Athelstan says:

    Francis is advocating for a pre-Pius IX style of governance–not the dissolution of holy orders.

    But bishops’ conferences did not exist pre-Pius IX. Lucky chaps.

  50. The Cobbler says:

    When Pope Francis compares the Church and the synod, does he mean that the national bishops conferences won’t be able to review what the others discussed before it goes to the Pope in secret for a predetermined decision? Or that the bishops in their conferences will vote on issues and then the things that were voted out will be published among the teachings and rules anyway? Or that someone should start stealing the mail of bishops all over the world?

    We’ve already got the part where the media immediately gets an official statement that differs from what Church officials actually said, did and dealt with, so nothing to change there…

  51. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    The bishops’ conference in my country (the USA) I consider the sworn enemy of my country and of my Church. The USCCB supported socialized medicine for 90 years. They spent tens of million$ lobbying for it, and “officially” backed out only during the last fifteen minutes or so before the final vote. Result: the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which countless lay people warned them about. But they were the WRONG KIND of lay people–they had never been staffers for pro-abortion Senators and Representatives, like countless employees of the bishops’ conference.

    The USCCB supports NO BORDERS. They don’t deign to acknowledge that 25 Americans are killed by illegal aliens, EVERY DAY. (And many more are, of course, mugged, maimed, raped, etc.) They never acknowledge that immigrants–of all kinds–vote 80% pro-abortion. When the pro-life movement in the U.S. is finally strangled, the red marks on its throat will be from the fingers of the Catholic bishops.

    The USCCB has voted more than once to approve “Catholics in Political Life,” a document in which the bishops grant themselves the right to commit mortal sin. Namely, the “right” for each bishop “legitimately” to choose to give Communion to pro-abortion politicians. From this, of course, it follows logically that adulterers, gay couples, and ALL other manifest grave sinners should be given Communion.

    And the Pope wants THIS ongoing “synod” (and others like it in every country) to have MORE power?

  52. Stephanus83 says:

    “I think “communion” with the Eastern Orthodox is part of the end-game plan.”

    I agree with Auggie on this. However, unless something drastically changes within the Russian Orthodox Church, papal infallibility is going to remain a stumbling block that prevents full union. There is a massive amount of historical baggage between Rome and the Russian Orthodox Church that has to be overcome as well. The rest of the Orthodox Churches may be open to union, but if you pay attention to the Russian Orthodox statements, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  53. Gratias says:

    “the People of God” and “civil society to be built upon justice and on fraternity, generating a more beautiful world, more worthy of mankind” have a meaning to me: Liberation Theology.

  54. arga says:

    Allowing national churches to redefine doctrine by applying it as they see fit is to surrender to state and culture, as have the Orthodox. If this pope actually succeeds in organizing this retreat, his name will be forever associated with one of the blackist episodes of Church history.

  55. Auggie says:

    Stephanus83,
    I have to wonder if Francis believes in papal infallibility. I wonder if he would give it up, or redefine it, to achieve “communion” with the Eastern Orthodox. It seems like other things are being given up, or redefined… if they can get away with it.

  56. gatormom says:

    God love you Father Fitzpatrick! You are absolutely correct.

  57. iPadre says:

    I’m starting to think the Lord will return any day now.

  58. gracie says:

    Alright, let me try again . . .

    I thought that the purpose of the Catholic Church is to save as many souls as possible. Perhaps I am misreading Pope Francis, but his focus seems to be on building a utopian civil society, based on justice and fraternity, that’s worthy of mankind. Yet how can a civil society be worthy of mankind when civil society is made up of mankind and mankind is unworthy of itself? It would seem that a society based on living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ would naturally bring about the justice and fraternity that the Holy Father is seeking. Now Pope Francis may understand that, but in this age of secularism it may be necessary to point out to those never catechized (or improperly catechized) that God is the source and summit of all that is good.

  59. tufty says:

    Father, I believe your suggestions in the last three paragraphs are exactly correct. I appreciate your saying this and I see you now as a good shepherd. Thank you.

  60. Mike says:

    This is disturbing news. It explains, perhaps, why Cardinal Marx gleefully said last week that we all need to rally around the Pope in unity after the synod.

    I am sorry to say that I think Pope Francis is using the powers of the papacy to destroy the papacy. He won’t destroy it, of course. He just might weaken it badly.

    As Fr. Z and Cardinal Burke have said, we need to get our selves together, go to Confession, and stay faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church.

    But this is a sad day indeed.

  61. Kathleen10 says:

    I’ll keep this short and agrammatical, because my computer and my church died on the
    Same day.
    The signs were all there, but we were too busy being positive Pollies.
    Only clergy have to keep that bs up. I don’t.
    This is disaster, grand scale. I don’t want to upset anyone but my heart is broken too.
    They’ve done it, after all. What they wanted. The usccb is dead to me.

  62. Robbie says:

    Reading Francis through Cardinal Martini? It feels fairly reasonable at this point.

    I’ve been concerned about this papacy from the start and my unease has only grown. Francis, by word and deed, has signaled that he wants real and momentous change. And make no mistake, devolving the powers of the papacy to regional episcopal conferences is just that. In effect, it would convert the Catholic Church into the Anglican Church and we know how well that’s worked for them.

    Honestly, I see this concept, weakening the Vatican and the Curia along with permitting communion for the divorced and remarried, as the “nuclear option”. If it comes to be, my guess/fear is it would result in some sort of defacto schism where Cardinals and Bishops simply ignore Rome. It’s a scary thought and one I don’t want to think too much about right now.

  63. Benedict Joseph says:

    If he had a notion about my “sensus fidei fidelium” he would be back in South America, but obviously not all “sensus fidei fidelium” are equal.
    From Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution “Pastor aeternus” —
    “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    You might also consider this from a homily by Pope Benedict in June 2005 at St. John Lateran:
    “…the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.
    The Pope knows that in his important decisions, he is bound to the great community of faith of all times, to the binding interpretations that have developed throughout the Church’s pilgrimage. Thus, his power is not being above, but at the service of, the Word of God. It is incumbent upon him to ensure that this Word continues to be present in its greatness and to resound in its purity, so that it is not torn to pieces by continuous changes in usage.”
    Read very well. Our obedience to the Holy Father is not servile and unreflective. He has a job to do. He has the responsibility to illuminate and make accessible the doctrine of the Church. Instead of coddling those with a bruised conscience he is supposed to shake us up out of our sin, not confirm us in our sin. Liberate us from sin by catechizes, not enslave us in ignorance. Nor does he have the duty of making up new sins (carbon footprints come to mind). If he isn’t doing his job, get another one or retire.
    This pontificate is devolving into an occasion of sin, and I mean that quite seriously, with the deepest gravity.

  64. I have to agree with Fr Fitzpatrick on this. With Bishops like these who needs enemies? De centralization wouldn’t be a problem, if all the Bishops did their jobs and uphold the Faith…giving these bishops more power doesn’t seem like a good idea…God help us

  65. Alsatian says:

    I’ll flat out say that this royally stinks. The Pope is using his monarchical power to distort the Church according to his whim. Not that I want synodality, but this abuse of power is synodal how? I would say that I hope I am proven wrong, but that would be a lie. This simply will not end well. The moment he stepped out on the balcony in March 2013 I saw the same thing in his eyes that I saw in the eyes of the priest who ordered me to persist in mortal sin and not seek confession: no good. This is just not good. Holy Mary, pray for us.

  66. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like the world is stealing the one solid objective thing around which I base myself and I’m left alone sinking in the sand. I feel so alone.

  67. Charlie says:

    I must say that this isn’t all that surprising; all one can do at this point is peacefully resist.

  68. Siculum says:

    Question for clergy reading this: Are you ready to pledge obedience to not only the Holy Father and your local ordinary or religious superior but also your national episcopal conference? To quote our esteemed host, ROFL!

  69. Bea says:

    The Pope said:
    ” If we understand what St. John Chrysostom said, “Church and Synod are synonymous,”….”
    My husband reminded me that St. John Chrysostom also said:
    “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops” [Sorry, no. I don’t know who it was, but it wasn’t St. John Chrysostom.]

    It seems to me that this “de-centralization” will result in thousands of Churches around the world.
    Everyone with their own set of beliefs and/or practices.

    Will the Nicene Creed become obsolete?

    One? No unity seems to be promoted with de-centralization.
    Holy? God will judge which ones (de-centralized) will be Holy.
    Catholic? Universal (meaning of the word catholic} does not fit in with de-centralization.
    Apostolic? The teachings passed on to us through the apostles cannot be changed.
    “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” Galatians 1:8

  70. MikeM says:

    Does anyone else see a bit of absurdity in presenting changes as a devolution of power when the power is being devolved to people appointed by the central authority? Such changes wouldn’t really weaken the importance of the papacy… They would just weaken the protections that ensure good order in the Church.

  71. mr205 says:

    “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

    Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.” – Our Lady of Akita.

  72. Sonshine135 says:

    Against this host of grave errors, and its secret and open advance, Our Predecessor Leo XIII., of happy memory, worked strenuously especially as regards the Bible, both in his words and his acts. But, as we have seen, the Modernists are not easily deterred by such weapons – with an affectation of submission and respect, they proceeded to twist the words of the Pontiff to their own sense, and his acts they described as directed against others than themselves. And the evil has gone on increasing from day to day. We therefore, Venerable Brethren, have determined to adopt at once the most efficacious measures in Our power, and We beg and conjure you to see to it that in this most grave matter nobody will ever be able to say that you have been in the slightest degree wanting in vigilance, zeal or firmness. -Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis

    Time to ride the bike and press on. I’m only listening to the Pope.

  73. Maineman1 says:

    With all due respect to prior posters, I take issue with folks lumping Holy Orthodoxy into the same category with the Anglicans or other Protestant denominations.

    There is neither an “Orthodox Pope” nor a “Constantinopolitan Curia”, and yet the Orthodox retain doctrinal unity, unlike the Anglicans and other denominations. The Church of Greece doesn’t support active homosexuality or same-sex unions; the Church of Russia doesn’t sanitize/sanctify abortion by endorsing it; the Church of Serbia doesn’t adhere to a unitarian theology whilst the Church of Romania worships several separate deities.

    Orthodoxy is not akin to the Anglicans. You want severe spiritual disorder and chaos? Look to Lambeth and her wayward children. There you have global disagreement about all manner of fundamental Christian doctrines.

  74. Maineman1 says:

    My point about the Orthodox upholding Christian Truth and Faith despite their devolved ecclesiastical structure?

    That’s the Holy Spirit in action.

  75. JARay says:

    As I read on the blog “Rorate Caeli”, the letter by the 13 Cardinals is the most powerful accusation so far seen, of the attempted abandonment of basic Catholic teaching and the most powerful accusation yet made against any pontificate in several decades.

  76. Gratias says:

    I have given this papal speech much thought. It will be affecting the Church many years from now. So what to do, what to do?

    Since I am a simple man, I just clicked on the Vatican banner on the sidebar and sent our Father Zuhsdorf a donation of $50 so he can represent us at the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage later this month.

    Thank you Father Z for you apostolate. We need you representing us.

  77. Gratias says:

    I have been to the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in 2012, when Cardinal Cañizares offered the Solemn Mass at St. Peter’s. Afterwards Mrs Gratias and I attended an Una Voce function in honor of Michael Davies at via Borgo Pio. After, sitting at a restaurant table we saw a popular American priest walk by and I rose to invite him to our table thinking he had to be Father Z as he was so popular. Fortunately something stopped me. This priest was not our host, his hair was white as snow. Being a simple man I did not know how our host looked like. Last year we were again in Rome for the pilgrimage. Mrs Gratias did attend the Cardinal Burke Mass. Unfortunately I had business at that time, but at least could attend the opening ceremony at the FSSP Trinitá dei Pellegrini the night before.

    The Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage is something else and am very pleased Father Z can represent those of us that cannot attend. Buon viaggio!

  78. Geoffrey says:

    What a mess. I miss Benedict XVI.

  79. taffymycat says:

    fr. fitzpatrick, amen. i come from california and the illegal situation is horrendous , thus to have the church pandering to lawbreaking to me has always been a paradox! francis will not be pope for long; in the meantime we should pray the rosary try to lead good catholic lives, abide by aquinas….

  80. profling says:

    Sensus fidei is too abstract and impersonal. Why not sensus Christi?

  81. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Derek Brown, thank you for that – that made my morning! (well, so did Notre Dame beating Southern Cal – and the way Michigan lost to MSU- hehe)

    MSM

  82. tskrobola says:

    I think a key thing being missed by everybody here is that Frances proposal to decentralize authority to the Synods and conferences is actually a way to centralize power, at least for a popular/liberal Pope.

    More importantly, this strategy is a way to set up a key block through the rise of synods/conferences against future counter-reform by conservative popes.

    It’s a master stroke of hegelian/marxist/alinsky incrementalist radicalism and devolution of traditional morality without sacrificing one iota of Francis’ personal power to anybody.

    If any national conferences should get conservative/uppity, Francis will have a full toolbox of means to snap them back fast, including key demotions/beheading (a la Burke) or moral discredit (virtually any bishop can be attacked for the sins of his priests, even if he tried to stop it…especially if the Vatican does the attacking thru swift removal or semi-removal and confidential investigations and proceedings).

    Finally the pope has made liberal papal populism a key part of his governing strategy…which can also be used to politically discredit any national conferences that try to get out of line from a conservative standpoint.

    Very, very distressing. My hope is that the willingness to speak out for truth will be sharpened/honed so that it is effective and honest in what will be a very challenging era for orthodoxy..
    .one where the pope is a prime mover for heterodoxy, completely unafraid to use any means against his opponents, something we’ve never seen in modern church history.

  83. Mr. Graves says:

    The quote referenced above, which Fr. said wasn’t by St. Chrysostom, I’ve always heard as, “The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and lined with the skulls of bishops.” IDK to whom it might be attributed, but it seems a propos today.

  84. Tither says:

    Thank you for the great analysis Fr. Z. And don’t worry, conga lines are very hard to pull off with walkers and wheelchairs and that’s pretty much the only group left in the Church who actually cares about what the Holy Father says or does and is reacting positively. I’m still waiting to hear that first confession that goes something like “I had left the church, but then Pope Francis said…and I realized I am not living the life God desires for me…” or heck, forget confession, I haven’t even had that conversation with anyone anywhere:-/

  85. Ferde Rombola says:

    “I want to know if he had anything to do with the Gallen group’s plotting to elect him, and if he is a valid pope.”

    Whether he did or not, if it’s true, his election is invalid and he is not the Pope. I wish the conservative bishops would investigate this matter. It’s been out there for almost two weeks now and the story has died.

    Traductora, you hit the nail on the head. I subscribe to every word of your accusations against the Pope.

    Fr. Fitzpatrick, God bless you. Let’s pray for each other.

    Fr. Sotelo, what the Pope is proposing is the dissolution of the Catholic Church. Are you okay with that?

  86. Gerard Plourde says:

    I think that the main thrust here is to reevalute the non-dogmatic and non-doctrinal administative structure of the Church. The key thing to remember is that governing authority is reserved to the Pope, not the Bishops and not the Curia. The Curia developed to assist the Vicar of Christ in the day-to-day administration of the Universal Church.

    In earlier times, a large bureaucracy was needed to fulfill this task and, like all organizations the Curia over time grew in size without respect to the actual needs of the Church. The unintneded but natural consequence of this was to create a level, or actually, levels of bureaucrats between the Pope and the Bishops. This added level of complexity also contributed (as it always does) distortion to communication.

    Added to this was the tendency to emulate the structure of a royal court, itself an accretion of the earlier feudal governmental structure. Our Lord Himself warned against the dangers of attachment to the trappings and temptations of temporal power. It was for this reason that St. John Paul continued and codified the abolition of the Papal Coronation. A sincere examination of conscience on the part of the Church regarding its structure should be welcome.

  87. Joseph-Mary says:

    I have asked myself how an anti-pope would act….
    The corruption seems to be so very deep and so very high but at least much is in the open. The ‘changers’ (to use a charitable word) seem so confident and brash as to state their claims very publicly. There are lies and betrayals and machinations and to the very top, very top. Community organizers also had meetings with predetermined outcomes.
    So what do we do? The so called ‘sense of the faithful’ is ludicrous because many people want to sin!!! And want their sin to not be called such. But Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is The Truth. And it is the Truth we must follow. We must stay very close to the sacraments and stay on what we know is the right course. Console the Heart of Jesus with increased confessions, communions, and time at the Blessed Sacrament. Pray the Rosary–maybe a complete one–every day as a Our Lady has asked us to do especially in these past almost 100 years. Jubilee of mercy? After it comes the 100 year anniversary of Fatima. We had better have our spiritual ‘house’ in order! I pray for the illumination of souls because I fear far too many, including heretical clergy, are not destined for heaven. Pray! And do PENANCE! Someone must do penance in reparation for the terrible sacrileges and blasphemies and offenses against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And that is a job for the laity as so many of the formerly holy Orders and Institutes have been infiltrated or destroyed.

  88. Ferde Rombola says:

    It was St. Athanasius and it was the skulls of priests with bishops as their signposts. Actually there are many versions of the quote. Lots of bandwagon jumping on there. [Could you please find us the exact citation for Athanasius?]

  89. gsk says:

    @MikeM: yes, you’ve nailed the absurdity.

    @Maineman1: I understand your point, but perhaps you can clarify a nagging concern: don’t the Orthodox recognise second marriages? If so, could you explain the parameters? Methinks that Francis believes such a manoeuvre would indeed facilitate a rapprochement between East and West by neutralising the traditional Western “hang-up” about divorce-and-remarriage.

    @IPadre: as ever, I’ll follow your lead.

  90. Curley says:

    trying to look at this more positively after some reflection. Francis would have to provide some strong guarantee of doctrinal certainty to prevent a huge pushback. Exactly what sorts of things would be left to these regional/national conferences to decide? married priests? Liturgical reforms? Correction of theologians?

  91. paxchristi says:

    I am simultaneously reading “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod” by journalist Edward Pentin written several months ago; and Malachi Martin’s “Windswept House,” published in 1996. Grim reading both. I first read Martin’s book in 1996 [He was weird but not always wrong.] and was somewhat dismissive at the time, allowing for a novelist’s penchant for embellishment. Reading it in 2015 in the middle of a troubling synod is a bit horrifying – for I see much of it as being eerily prophetic. Yes. Confession. Rosaries. Masses. Storm heaven. We are in the midst of a Catholic crisis and most Catholics are unaware. In my parish we have not yet once publicly prayed for the synod.

  92. Benedict Joseph says:

    The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Pick one.
    Can you see what is going to happen when Marx gets back home and lets the wave of heterodox perversion loose? How can it be allowed in Germany, Holland and Belgium but not here? These individuals appear unable to govern themselves (loved the dinner Reinhard), but are unable to evangelize the people of their diocese?
    You thought the interim between Pius XII and John Paul II was excruciating, we have seen nothing yet. Good Lord, please, spare us this holocaust of souls who are struggling to reonounce vice and advance in virtue.
    Faithful bishops, speak loudly, boldly. We are as sheep without a shepherd.

  93. Great write up. Thank you Father Z!

    -Taylor

  94. Maineman1 says:

    Gsk stated:

    “Methinks that Francis believes such a manoeuvre would indeed facilitate a rapprochement between East and West by neutralising the traditional Western “hang-up” about divorce-and-remarriage.”

    In brief, I sure hope so. Western Christianity is theologically chaotic and aimless. It desperately needs the spiritual stability of the Orthodox. Unity with the Orthodox will come with ecclesiastical reforms on behalf of Rome. For example, I believe this is why Pope Francis is calling for papal decentralization and devolution to national conferences.

    Here is the Orthodox position, concisely:

    “In accordance with Church Canon Law, an Ecclesiastical Divorce is granted only under certain circumstances In accordance with the 21 November 1973 encyclical of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, a divorce is given and considered valid, when a marriage is entered into by force, blackmail or false reasons.

    one or both parties is guilty of adultery.
    one party is proven to be mad, insane or suffers from a social disease which was not disclosed to the spouse prior to the marriage.
    one party has conspired against the life of the spouse.
    one party is imprisoned for more than seven years.
    one party abandons the other for more than three years without approval.
    one partner should be absent from home without the other’s approval, except in in stances when the latter is assured that such absence is due to psycho-neurotic illness.
    one partner forces the other to engage in illicit affairs with others.
    one partner does not fulfill the responsibilities of marriage, or when it is medically proven that one party is physically impotent or as the result of a social venereal disease.
    one partner is an addict, thereby creating undue economic hardship.”

    http://saintdemetrios.com/our-faith/divorce

    The second marriage, however, is a starkly mournful occasion. The Orthodox do not “CELEBRATE!!!” second marriages. The Antiochian Diocese provides a simple breakdown of the procedures: http://www.antiochian.org/sites/default/files/Second_Marriage.pdf

    [Doesn’t look like any sort of solution to me.]

  95. scotus says:

    Sorry if this point has been made before but I don’t have time to read through all the comments. If the purpose of devolution to Bishops’ Conferences is to allow them to determine doctrine does that mean that doctrinal development (in the true sense) will, in future, work through Bishops’ Conferences or does it mean that Bishops’ Conferences will have carte blanche to change any Catholic doctrine they wish? If the former then what happens if two Conferences develop in contradictory ways? Is that the end of all doctrinal truth? (Doctrine no longer being a matter of truth but merely of local episcopal opinion.) If the latter, then if a Bishops’ Conference can ‘undo’ an established doctrine does the same Conference have the right to restore the original doctrine at some later date? If so, then we are heading to a situation where there will be continual doctrinal wrangling and the continual jockeying for power between different doctrinal factions. What a brilliant idea. NOT!

  96. Joseph-Mary says:

    “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”
    – or –
    “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”
    St. John Chrysostom attributed.1
    “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.2
    “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.3

    “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    Saint John Eudes, attributed.4

    “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 45
    “Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra.
    ———
    1.Chrysostom Quote: Ole “Golden-mouth” is the primary recipient of the attributed quote. The origin of the actual quote is obscure, but several theories abound. The most interesting are that the flourishing rhetoric of St. Chrysostom and Dantean imagery came together in the Middle Ages or that the quote was actually a misrepresentation of Chrysostom’s words from the protestant leader John Wesley. SOURCE [?]
    2.Chrysostom 2nd Quote: Homily III on Acts 1:12 [?]
    3.Athanasius Quote: Attributing the quote to Athanasius is a natural connection given the fact the man fought against the heresy of Arianism – a heresy that is estimated to have swallowed almost 80% of the Catholic bishops. [?]
    4.Eudes Quote: It is believed that St. Eudes is referencing the quote in the belief it was said by St. Athanasius [?]
    5.Aquinas Quote: The quote is also often cited as,”When there is an imminent danger for the Faith, Prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects.” The entire fourth article of the cited question addresses the issue of “Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?” [?]

    http://www.stpeterslist.com/7334/the-path-to-hell-is-paved-with-the-skulls-of-bishops-8-quotes-and-sources/

    [I don’t see a citation anywhere.]

  97. gracie says:

    The blog called “St. Peter’s List” did their own investigation of who said the famous quote re priests and bishops and came up with the following:

    http://www.stpeterslist.com/7334/the-path-to-hell-is-paved-with-the-skulls-of-bishops-8-quotes-and-sources/

    It seems that there are different candidates, St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom being the leading ones. St. John Eudes (1601-1680) attributes it to Athanasius, if that means anything, as he was closer time wise to the bishop than we are. You can see St. Athanasius saying something like that as he’s being dragged away into one of his exiles.

    Btw – Please take a moment to read Footnote #3. It says that the heresy of Arianism “is estimated to have swallowed almost 80% of the Catholic bishops”. I wonder how that compares to the number of Modernist bishops we have today.

  98. Hart says:

    The lack of unity of doctrine already present is a grave concern. The efforts of many to desolve the Church into the spirit of the world is a test of faith for all the faithful.

    It seems the final trial of the Church (CCC 675-678) may come sooner rather than later.

  99. robtbrown says:

    Funny, I was just thinking the other day: What the Church really needs is more big meetings of bishops talking with each other.

  100. Supertradmum says:

    What would happen if, in a complete collapse of the financial and political world as we know it, we no longer have any contact with Rome or the Pope? Think of the prophetic book, Lord of the World, which many of us have read, myself, more than four times.

    Would not local, strong, yes, orthodox and traditional parishes keep the Faith going in a time of tumult? Would not it be necessary for Catholics, lay and clerical, to keep the Faith if Rome is either taken over or destroyed, or the Pope in exile, again? Not that long ago, a Pope was a prisoner in the Vatican.

    We cannot imagine what the Pope means at all, but I can foresee a need for pockets of real Catholicism, strengthened by Rome, even if Rome is under siege, to “carry on”. If Rome is destroyed, what do Catholics do but rally around their local Church, and pray for the Pope, wherever he is hiding or working underground.

    Did not the Pope Emeritus state in 1963, that the Church would be isolated small communties in a sea of unbelief? Could not this Pope be getting us all ready for a world without communications, without contact, without anything but the underground Church across the world?

    Just a few thoughts…

  101. tm30 says:

    Why do we need any more de-centralization than we already have with the national conferences? Seems like the Germans are doing whatever they please, anyhow.

    He’s opened up a Pandora’s Box, and if national conferences are going to start sewing around with doctrine, then we have de facto schism. The Holy Father wants to talk about “heavy burdens”? Wait until the flock is faced with the painful moral dilemma of deciding which is the real Church. Heavy burdens, indeed!

  102. Augustine says:

    The actions of Francis seem to reveal to me someone who’s, in hist core, the opposite of his public persona. Benedict XVI was referred to with pejorative epithets accusing him of authoritarianism. However, he’s always been most kind to even his avowed enemies. Francis smiles and hugs and kisses, but reserves merciful words to the unfaithful as often as he chides the faithful. Now he talks about a synodal Church, but stacks up the synod, inviting those bishops rejected by their colleagues and handpicking those in charge of controlling the procedures, and overrode the decisions of the synod fathers if they went against his wishes. Is Francis acting in a… Jesuitical way?

  103. WYMiriam says:

    The 17th of October — the day the Pope delivered this address — was a Saturday. Before I comment on the speech itself, I’ll wait until tomorrow to see whether ZENIT and/or VIS has an English translation from the Vatican for us. The little snippet I saw at http://www.news.va (dateline: Vatican Radio) puts the contents of this speech in a very positive light. I need to see the entire context.

  104. Augustine says:

    In the last 50 years or so, a pattern culminated in the life of the Latin Church: particular parishes or particular dioceses or particular Catholic institutions have perpetrated silent heresies.

    I say that it culminated then, because I do not believe that behavior changes in a vacuum at the drop of a hat. But I wasn’t alive 50 years or so ago to say exactly what could have happened, nor do I find anyone interested in investigating parishes and dioceses and institutions before VII, some wryly assuming that it was a mummified church, others naively assuming that, because the rite of the Mass was after Trent’s, it was wholly made up of orthodox members. Digressing, I suspect that the Church was stuck somewhere in the middle of such positions and in the middle of other unrelated positions that I am ignorant about.

    Perhaps the most famous silent heresy was the secret support for artificial birth control in confessionals. Then there was the not so secret support for pederasty among priests and the hushed cover up by their bishops, concerned more about their own reputations than of the Church or their victims. There was the cooption of the Preferential Option for the Poor to promote Marxism under the guise of a theology of liberation. I could mention other silent or not so silent heresies, but these are enough examples to indicate that all this has been happening for many years without any or only late intervention by the pope. Parishes, dioceses, institutions have been acting as if they were their own church, their own pope, as their consciences compelled them to, I’d wager they’d argue. In a way, the Body of Christ has been displaying numerous fractures, from hairline to exposed ones, with umpteen parts of it vying to become its head.

    I’m afraid that this pattern of behavior is the context in which future changes in the life of the Church will happen. Regardless of the direction that the Church goes, and I think that she can go to directions that are opposite to the Gospel, since she is run by fallen and broken men, the starting point does not bode well for her health, as even the medicine can kill the patient.

    I am anxious about the Church that I raised my children to love, that she may betray them. I wish I were as prayerful as I am anxious, though. I think that the current situation is one of those in which Our Lord recommended fasting in addition to praying, for the enemy and his skullcapped minions seem to be winning this battle.

    Pax Christi

  105. Father P says:

    To answer as a Latin Catholic on my interpretation of the Orthodox practice. The rites for 2nd and 3rd Marriages are more penitential than nuptial. Dark vestments are worn and there is no crowning or blessing. It is more akin to a rite of readmission to the Chalice than a marriage.

  106. mburn16 says:

    “It was for this reason that St. John Paul continued and codified the abolition of the Papal Coronation”

    You would be well advised to consult facts before making claims such as this. Pope John Paul II, in fact, characterized the association of the Papal Coronation with temporal power as a false one. And did nothing to prohibit further coronations – it would be pointless to do so, as a man becomes Pope from the moment he accepts his election, and has full power to restore – or create – any ritual he wishes.

    God willing, we will see these lost rites restored. It would be vastly superior to the treatment of the Papacy as a bureaucrat-in-chief.

  107. Norah says:

    What then Cardinal Ratzinger had to say about Bishops’ conferences in The Ratzinger Report

    . “ We must not forget that the Episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical, concrete function.,, The collective, therefore, does not substitute for the persons of the bishops, who…are” the authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the faithful entrusted to their care.”(cf CIC Can. 753) Ratzinger confirms: “No Episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”…it is a matter of safeguarding the very nature of the Catholic Church, which is based on an Episcopal structure and not on a kind of federation of national churches….It must once again become clear that in each diocese there is only one shepherd and teacher of the faith in communion with the other pastors and teachers and with the Vicar of Christ”…”.It happens,” he says, “that with some bishops there is a certain lack of a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal lapse into anonymity. …It happens then that the search for agreement between the different tendencies and the effort at mediation often yield flattened documents in which decisive positions (where they might be necessary) are weakened.

    He recalls an Episcopal conference that had been held in his country in the thirties:” Well, the really powerful documents against National Socialism were those that came from individual courageous bishops. The documents of the conference, on the contrary, were often rather wan and too weak with respect to what the tragedy called for.”

  108. Widukind says:

    Thirty Pieces of Silver?
    I am trying to wrap my mind around all this, and to consider
    what are its origins, in other words, what would make someone
    think and act this way. For Kasper, etal, is it personal wealth?
    Considering that the German church is funded by a church tax,
    and that in recent years many have opted out of the system, is
    this divorce and communion bit being proposed because it
    will staunch the loss of income – appeasing the dissatisfied to
    to ensure getting their money? Apparently a wealthy bishop
    in the German mind is a powerful bishop. It must be that these
    Judas-brüder dislike the “smell of sheep” and prefer the stench
    of goats. Others seem to jump on the wagon for the same self-
    aggrandizing reason – they want to be the heroes, the champions,
    of all the suppressed, to be acclaimed far and wide as the smartest,
    and “bestest ever”. (And they will cooperate with one another so
    long as it self-serving.) The danger in this, as others have pointed out,
    is that they love themselves more than they love the truth, so there
    is no guarantee of orthodox teaching and leadership. What we will
    end up with is a big bus load of anti-popes going nowhere at all.
    They will scrambling to be on top and to get there by whatever
    works to get people to support them, and destroying whoever is in the
    way whether friend or foe. But the ironic thing is that this same
    horde of Judas-brüder will eradicate any orthodox seeking
    bishop for stepping out of line, of destroying the “unity” of (“their”)
    church. There can be no room from any opposite anti-popes.
    I pray for those cardinals who have shown their God-given courage so far.
    May their fire-red robes indicate their zealousness for the church. so much so
    that they may with the greatest grace show the holy father the error he may be
    leading us into. A thought comes to mind. Paul rebuked Peter. In iconography
    Paul’s mantel is red and Peter’s is golden yellow. If the golden yellow is weakened
    it becomes a pale sick yellow, the color of Judas and betrayers. We are need of
    red, to infuse the yellow with burning charity and courage. As Jesus prayed,
    He desired for the conflagration to become kindled.

  109. jherforth says:

    It seems clear to me that this is a move to break down further barriers to the Orthodox churches. What is manic and unclear is that the appeal seem to be aimed toward the Protestants. The Protestant factions are so completely unstable in doctrine due to the pressures of the secular world (and the lack of a head or Shepard), it seems to me that you would have to allow those ecclesial communities to devolve to the point that their own faithful are left looking for actual orthodoxy (in the Roman Catholic Church). I believe this is already begun to happen in places. Old world Protestantism is dead. Old world Presbytarians, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Episcopalians are virtually extinct as to what they were even 50 years ago. They devolve doctrine and adherence to the Gospels every time their conferences meet, it’s only a matter of time.

    While this is all going on the secular world is ripping away more of the “Catholic by Label”, “Catholic in name only” or “Cafeteria Catholic” types. So where are things going? I think the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI are most prophetic upon reflection. The numbers of the actual faithful are a fraction of the 1.6 billion. The Roman Church is in the beginning phase of a major contraction in size, while the there is a move towards reunification with the Orthodox (a real unification), and the ultimate downfall of Protestantism. We’re talking 200-500 years worth of progress (God’s time), and we’re just on the cusp of these historical events.

    This is just my own wacky theory. This synod is chaos but God has a plan for his Church and the Church has been through some turbulent times and has survived and thrived, no doubt about it. Every time I venture onto twitter or read the more “dramatic” traditional blogs I have to just pray: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end.” Amen.

  110. Traductora says:

    Curley, I think the problem is that there won’t/can’t be a “huge pushback” at this point. The Pope traded on the fact that most orthodox (“conservative,” in political speak) people play by the rules and can’t believe that their opponent is not only not playing by them but doesn’t accept the rules in the first place. So the opposition has been basically neutralized through confusion.

    Those that the Pope hasn’t managed to neutralize, he will crush. He removed Burke because Burke stood up to him (which is actually the job of the head of the CDF) but I think he’s now gone beyond removing individuals and will start taking out offices and positions that might interfere with him.

    BTW, I am very happy that Fr. Z has somehow managed to maintain this blog. There were several Spanish bloggers on larger sites who were forced into silence by Rome about a year ago. That is, they were “invited” to meet the Pope and their publishers were obviously told it would be in their best interests to do a little censorship. The only thing you have to give Francis and his henchpersons is that they have magnificent control of the media (in great part because it agrees with them, or vice versa).

  111. Fr_Sotelo says:

    @Ferde Rombola:

    Please, the Academy Award Drama of these posts simply has no basis in Catholic theology or the history and practice of synods in the Catholic Church. By proposing decentralization of Curial power and more “synodal” teaching, the Pope is NOT PROPOSING the “dissolution” of the Catholic Church. What he proposes, by the way, has been in discussion among bishops for 50 years, since various Cardinals (e.g. Konig, Suenens) and bishops coming out of Vatican II proposed these ideas to Paul VI.

    Also, Maineman1 has correctly pointed out that the Eastern Orthodox govern and teach by way of synods, and they have not “dissolved” into a Protestant sect. On the contrary, many Orthodox bishops and priests defend traditional morality and doctrine with more courage than their Roman counterparts. Re-read the Vatican II document “Christus Dominus” and you will see that Francis’ ideas are more or less proposed by this General Council of the Church (see the quote below). Whether Vatican II teaching on synodality of in the Church was ever heeded or practically looked at by succeeding Pontiffs is highly debatable–but these are certainly not new ideas which portend the destruction of the Catholic Church:

    36. From the very first centuries of the Church bishops, as rulers of individual churches, were deeply moved by the communion of fraternal charity and zeal for the universal mission entrusted to the Apostles. And so they pooled their abilities and their wills for the common good and for the welfare of the individual churches. Thus came into being synods, provincial councils and plenary councils in which bishops established for various churches the way to be followed in teaching the truths of faith and ordering ecclesiastical discipline.

    This sacred ecumenical synod earnestly desires that the venerable institution of synods and councils flourish with fresh vigor. In such a way faith will be deepened and discipline preserved more fittingly and efficaciously in the various churches, as the needs of the times require.

    37. In these days especially bishops frequently are unable to fulfill their office effectively and fruitfully unless they develop a common effort involving constant growth in harmony and closeness of ties with other bishops. Episcopal conferences already established in many nations-have furnished outstanding proofs of a more fruitful apostolate. Therefore, this sacred synod considers it to be supremely fitting that everywhere bishops belonging to the same nation or region form an association which would meet at fixed times. Thus, when the insights of prudence and experience have been shared and views exchanged, there will emerge a holy union of energies in the service of the common good of the churches.

  112. Don’t you recognize the coming heresy of a Cathlo-Proto “church” with regional doctrine and its consequential schism? As the approved prophecy of Akita says, “cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop.”

    That is followed by – thank God – “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests.”

  113. JohnRoss says:

    Seems that Pope Francis just crossed the line into explicit open endorsement of an opinion condemned as heretical by St. Pius X.

    It seems to me that Pope Francis’ teaching here was explicitly condemned by Pope St. Pius X as heretical in his decree Lamentabile Sane:

    “The “Church learning” and the “Church teaching” collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the “Church teaching” to sanction the opinions of the “Church learning.”

    Pope Francis said Sunday: “The sensus fidei prevents a rigid separation between the Teaching Church and the Learning Church, since even the possesses its knack (sense of smell, sniffing out ability- fiuto) to discern the new paths that the Lord is opening up to the Church.”

    Perhaps Fr. Z could correct me if I am wrong.

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  116. gardener says:

    So this Pope is pushing for a centralization of world government but a decentralization of the governance of the Church. Ironic!

  117. Ferde Rombola says:

    Padre Z, I could find no acceptable citation from St. Athanasius about the skulls of priests and bishops. I read through over 50 of his letters, searched the canons of the Council of Nicea and other writings…nothing, so herein I fall on my sword and confess I misspoke. The most reliable quote I found was attributed to St. John Chrysostom in a review of a book in First Things by Fr. Neuhaus, as follows:

    “That’s a grim metaphor, maybe too grim. It’s from an endorsement of Philip F. Lawler’s book, to be published next week, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture (Encounter). The endorsement is by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, who says: “Lawler’s masterful analysis is sobering and provides an urgent incentive for authentic renewal. If St. John Chrysostom is correct when he says that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops, it would be a mistake for any bishop or priest to miss this book.” Bishop Bruskewitz and Philip Lawler obviously think that Chrysostom was correct.”

    Here are some other related quotes with a admonishment from Pope Leo XIII and other teachings relative to our times:

    The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.”
    St. John Chrysostom attributed.

    “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.

    “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    St. Athanasius, Council of Nicaea, AD 325 attributed.

    “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    Saint John Eudes, attributed.

    “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4

    “Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra.

    “It is better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed.”
    Pope St. Gregory the Great

    “But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’”
    Pope Leo XIII

  118. Augustin57 says:

    I think that one of three things is at play here: 1) God is punishing us for not doing His will in many areas (laxity in liturgy, not speaking up against evil, not effectively teaching the faith, etc.) or 2) God is going to take this Pope out and replace him with one more effective. or 3) a combination of 1 & 2 above. I’m leaning toward 3 at the moment.

  119. Ferde Rombola says:

    @Fr. Sotelo:

    I am not alone in my fear the Pope is promoting a dissolution of the Church and Her central authority. In fact, I am in the majority, which includes many who are much better educated and more knowledgeable than I am. What does ‘the one, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church’ mean if not a central, doctrinal authority? And please don’t suggest to me the central authority will remain intact with a pope in every diocese. The Germans and their allies have pretty much retired that notion permanently.

    The Eastern Orthodox are national eccleastical bodies more aligned with their particular countries and traditions than with each other. The poaching of Ukraine by the Russian Orthodox Church comes to mind. Yes I am aware of the alleged history. It is irrelevant.

    36. From the very first centuries of the Church bishops, as rulers of individual churches, were deeply moved by the communion of fraternal charity and zeal for the universal mission entrusted to the Apostles.

    Yes, in those days Church bishops had the Church and the Faith as their first priority. I think it’s somewhat different today. In these days communications are instantaneous. The early churches were forced to govern themselves with the hope the Holy Spirit would preserve doctrinal unity. I hope you’re not suggesting, with, for example, Archbishop Cordeleone in San Francisco and the heretic Cupich in Chicago there is doctrinal unity in the United States. If the Pope’s ill advised notion becomes reality, can there be the slightest doubt the Catholic Church will become just another Protestant sect?

    You referenced Vatican II to the wrong guy, I’m afraid. VII was a disaster for the Church. Some of its documents are orthodox but, like much of Pope Borgoglio’s rhetoric, others are deliberately vague and confusing allowing for multiple interpretations. It is the results that compel my opinion. Holy Mother Church is in tatters today precisely because of Vatican II and its modernist conspirators beginning with Anabale Bugnini.

    Thank you for your remarks, but I don’t agree with them.

  120. DJAR says:

    Elizabeth D says: The Synod on the Family was not convened to reconfigure ecclesiastical governance and is not set up to discuss this. I would hardly give Francis a passing grade in popery right now.

    Seems to do pretty good at “potpourri” though.

  121. ppb says:

    Hmmm….so am I the only commenter here who thinks that people are vastly overreacting to this speech? I have now read the speech in full, in an unofficial English translation, and it seems to me that 1) it contains all the necessary doctrinal balances and b) rather than pointing directly to the issues of the current Synod, it actually seems to me to be quite “above the fray.” It is by no means apparent to me that Pope Francis is putting forth some sort of huge watershed moment here of any kind, or that he even intends to do so.

    It’s sad for me to see so many orthodox Catholics succumbing to a kind of sophistry that misrepresents current events. The progressives aren’t the only ones who can get caught up in the web of sophistry! Keep your heads screwed on straight and seek truth, not false exaggerations.

  122. AnnTherese says:

    Fear not… I’ve heard it says that (or a version) 365 times in the Bible. Pray, fast, give alms, serve others, read and witness to the Gospels, and be not afraid. The Holy Spirit has my utter trust.

  123. Toan says:

    Could Pope Francis be preparing for the destruction of Rome? If an ISIS guy were to, for example, drop a big bomb there, I’d frankly prefer to have a less centralized Church, geographically speaking.

    It does seem that allowing local synods to decide the Communion-for-people-not-in-a-state-of-grace issue at their own discretion would to neglect a part of any Pope’s responsibility. We don’t know for sure that’s what he will do; we will see.

  124. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Orthodoxy is not akin to the Anglicans. ”

    I make the point again. You are Serbian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox. We are not German Catholics or American Catholics.

    I will also ask, “why” are you Serbian Orthodox and not simply Orthodox? That is the answer to your question.

    Finally, what about contraception. You say, “we’ve maintained unity in the face of doctrine”. I would argue you have not.

  125. WYMiriam says:

    Has anyone seen an “official” translation of this speech by Pope Francis? If so, would you be so kind as to post the link to it? I would surely be grateful to you!

  126. Kathleen10 says:

    There is an article written by Sandro Magister from one year ago that is illuminating on Pope Francis. The article is called “The Revolution of Pope Francis” or something very close to that. It is from October 2014.
    When will the truth be openly acknowledged and the gloves come off? We have still not seen candid statements about Pope Francis and his evil minions.
    Our entire church is in peril. If not soon, when!