Liberals will soon turn on Pope Francis

We are still a bare few days into the pontificate of Pope Francis. I have therefore declined to gush out lots of entries here, burbling my every half-formed notion about what is going to happen. I have also avoided surfing from site to site, news agency to news agency, to sift the wonky grindings of those who want to be in-the-know.

Today, however, I went to see what the National Schismatic Reporter had to say. John Allen is a well-informed, hard-working analyst, of course, and well-worth consulting, while the rest of the writers over there are good for a laugh.

With amused anticipation I clicked open the remarks on Pope Francis by Jamie Mason, the Yale-presbyterian-educated disciple of Sr. Margaret Farley and lesbian activist darling of the LCWR. Knowing that Pope Francis upholds the Church’s teaching on marriage, I expected a slightly hysterical diatribe against him as a homophobe, and how the Church – in conformity with the world – needs more queering, etc.

I got a surprise!

Jamie doesn’t like Francis, yes, for the obvious reason, but her real dislike seems to come from something else. In her expression of this dislike, she may be ahead of the pack of liberals that are – fairly soon – going to turn on Francis.  They will turn on him savagely.

In the meantime, Manson shows what direction they are going to go:

I have been touched by Francis’ clear love of the poor and the images of his bathing the feet of sick children and AIDS patients.  [Predictable.] I am troubled by his alleged failure stand up with Argentine dictators during the “Dirty War” [She needs to get up to speed on the facts.] and his harmful words about LGBT families. [The Pope is Catholic, Jamie.  Speaking clearly about the Church’s teaching, is not “harmful”, it is charitable… but let’s go on…] I am worried by reports that he was unpopular among his brother Jesuits because of his unfavorable views of base communities and liberation theology. [Because she, of course, would support base communities and liberation theology.]

But what most piqued my interest [Now we get to it…] about Pope Francis is his strong tie to a movement called Comunione e Liberazione, or Communion and Liberation (CL).

There it is.

Now, to her credit, she does a little homework about CL.  She didn’t like what she found.  To wit…


Much of what I have learned about CL, other than from the organization’s website, comes from the essay “Comunione e Liberazione: A Fundamentalist Idea of Power,” written by theologian and political scientist Dario Zadra. …


In his article on CL, Zadra explains that the movement’s worldview stems from [NB: Whether Zadra is right or not is not the point here.  Mason is taking Zadra at his word.] two main ideas: “That Christ is the saving event in human history, and that religious authority is a fundamental element of the human condition.” [Get that? “religious authority”.] He continues: “Members place religion at the center of a new worldview and in their evangelistic efforts at transforming the relationship between modern society and religion.”  [People like this are viewed as the enemy by the Fishwrap types. Religion, and religion which leans on authority, is at the center of everything?  Imagine!]

[…] Zadra explains: “In CL the authoritative character of the event of salvation is directly translated into the authority of the Church. … The central event in life is a saving encounter with the communion embodied in the Church.”  [Not just any Church, the Catholic Church.  Not the catholic Church of the National catholic Reporter, but the actually Catholic Church, which has a Mass with rubrics and a Catechism with teachings, and a Code of laws and … all that stuff that you can look up.  This isn’t the National catholic … Schismatic Reporter’s de-centralized association of self-affirming blobs of vaguely catholic identity.  Nope.  What NSR/Mason fear is a vigorous and clear reiteration of Catholic morals and doctrine to counteract all the great strides that have been made in reducing the church to an instrument of social justice without any strong voice in the public square contrary to relativistic trends in society.]

[… ] CL’s insistence on “total fidelity and communion with the Succession of Peter[sic] (a direct quote from Benedict XVI himself) has made the movement particularly popular among members of the hierarchy. [hierarchy (male) = enemy]

[Here it is…]Obedience to the authority of the church seems as crucial to Pope Francis as it did to his predecessor and as it does to CL. [Get that?] In a 2005 profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Argentinean Catholic magazine Criterio, wrote, “He exercised his authority as provincial with an iron fist, calmly demanding strict obedience and clamping down on critical voices. Many Jesuits complained that he considered himself the sole interpreter of St Ignatius of Loyola, and to this day speak of him warily.” [Papa Bergoglio isn’t into interminable text/content distorting dialogue and consensus building?]

[…] CL boldly claims that the Church embodies authoritative truth that is binding on society at large. [Not just Catholic members of society but all members of society.] By claiming the presence of Christ, the Church also claims divine authority — a kind of inerrancy, not of the biblical text (as in Protestant fundamentalism) but of the Church.

This belief in the inerrancy of the church influences CL’s understanding of human conscience. “The conscience of the individual is shaped by and beholden to the Church,” Zadra writes, “and the Church ought to be considered the living and legitimate paradigm of society.” [In other words, you can’t say “I’m Catholic, but I don’t believe the Church’s teaching on ___” (e.g., homosexual acts, abortion, contraception, to name a few items).  No, we are bound to form our consciences according to the mind of the Church.  This is enshrined in Vatican II’s Lumen gentium, of course, but those paragraphs aren’t generally read by liberals.]

Although CL members are comfortable in the modern, technological and political world, they reject the modern insistence on “a freedom of conscience that excludes the religious attitude at its very root.” […]

Zadra concludes that “the political rhetoric and vision of the movement seem to continue a long-standing political position in the Catholic world — that of returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.

My [Jamie’s] purpose in exploring CL is not to demonize the movement or the new pope, but rather to piece together a fuller picture of Francis by exploring in a little more depth an organization with which he has an enduring relationship.  [“Not to demonize”, eh?]


Manson’s piece is a foretaste of what is to come.

Liberals are all gushy and gooey about Pope Francis right now.  Gosh, he’s the Pope of the poor!  That means he is going to dismantle everything that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did, those meanies.  They somehow manage to imagine that not putting on a mozzetta is the moral equivalent of donning sack cloth and a piece of twine as a belt.  Wearing black shoes is the equivalent of wearing tattered sandals.  Just like St. Francis of Assisi, right?  He’s going to ratchet down all the high liturgy.  How wonderful after these horrible years of gold and lace.  Hopefully he’ll soon just wear a little wooden cross around his neck and maybe say Mass on a card-table set up in the middle of the Via della Conciliazione. Then he’ll walk down the Tiber River to the card-board box he sleeps in under the Milvian Bridge.

Nope.  Pretty soon they are going to see that Pope Francis is hard core when it comes to Catholic teachings.  They will become more and more afraid of him as his warm style, yes simpler style, begins to win people over.

Right now Francis is the Pope of El Pueblo.  And since NSR is the Voz del Pueblo they are swooning for him… now.

But they will turn on him.

NSR‘s Jamie is out ahead of the pack.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. RichR says:

    Wow. That piece, alone, should be enough to convince anyone that the NSR is a danger to the faith.

  2. mamajen says:

    I was thinking about this just last night. A lot of people on the conservative side are griping about the liberal praise for Pope Francis as though that means Pope Francis is/will be an awful pope. I wish they wouldn’t give these people so much power. We have to remember the media frenzy leading up to the conclave. They had their lists of likely candidates. They were telling people that this was our chance to have a pope for the 21st century, who would change church teaching on all of the liberal pet causes. They were WRONG. Now they will spend a little while pretending he somehow fits their criteria so that they do not lose their credibility and relevance.

  3. Thurorus says:

    Even after 2000 years, the Pope being Catholic still manages to surprise some people .

  4. Fr. B says:

    Thank You Fr. Z for this. I agree with you about what is going to happen regarding the liberals turning on Pope Francis. I personally would like to have seen him wear the ermine mozzetta, the red shoes, and everything, but that doesn’t make a pope. Fidelity to the core of the Faith, the Teachings of Christ and His Church do, and the pope’s ministry to proclaim the Truth even in the face of hostility do, and there will be much hostility from the secularists who are going to experience a big let-down when they find the pope not dismantling everything, and not changing everything. Notice how the pope celebrates the Liturgy, his Ars Celebrandi; it is very reverent, and meticulous, denoting a strong Eucharistic devotion and a Marian devotion. Certainly, so far and only 3 days into his pontificate, less pomp, and more simple, but reverent, and by the book. I don’t expect that to change.

  5. feargalmac says:

    Wow!! The honeymoon is almost over. I heard some of this, on an Irish talk-radio station during their weekly lgbt propaganda programme, a few days ago.

  6. John Zwicker says:

    Well done Father. Thanks for this.

    Your readers who may be interested in pre-emptively encouraging His Holiness, may be interested in this link: … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
    AND related;
    Thank Popa Emeritus Benedict here:

  7. Elizabeth R says:

    I heard an approving analysis on the radio this morning that Pope Francis is a rock star, and his theme song is obviously “I Did It My Way.” And a deacon this morning at Mass hoping that deacons will be given faculties to “perform reconcilation and anointing”. I was able to calmly respond that we will have to wait and see what he does, as I was reminded to do in confession yesterday when I spoke of my fears and my anger. (Yes, Fr Z, I went to confession, thank you for your constant reminders.)

    It does seem to be a human tendency to jump quickly to assumptions and predictions, based on our own hopes and fears. Personally, this looks like an opportunity to practice patience, a virtue I am conspicuously missing.

    (In defense of the deacon, his said that his wish for additional faculties was because he has several times been at someone’s deathbed and not been able to find a priest.)

  8. Chrysologus says:

    I don’t know whether liberal will “turn on” the Holy Father, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they become disenchanted after a while. When Ratzinger was elected, conservatives were cheering, but some of them became disappointed when he didn’t crack all the dissenters’ skulls together. Perhaps history will repeat itself on the other side.

    Maybe not, though. I don’t think anyone, no matter how liberal, expects the new Bishop of Rome to ordain women, and his position on homosexuality is well known. What they do hope for is a reform of the Roman Curia, continued action in moving the Church into a future free of the scandals of the recent past, and a restoration of “credibility” to the Church’s exterior face. These things may really happen. And what conservative would be unhappy if they did?

  9. Tradster says:

    Thank you, Father, for this post. I had never heard of CL before this. If even half of what she wrote of it is accurate then my estimation of Pope Francis just jumped up a few notches.

  10. Blaise says:

    Sounds like Communione e Liberazione has a lot of sense to it. Can anyone point me in the direction of something that actually sets out what it is about?

  11. Sol says:

    Reading more and more about the Holy Father, I think we are in for not a few surprises, and good ones at that. I admit, Ratzingerophile to the core I am, at first I wasn’t sure I liked the toning down of ‘papal style’ – simple white cassock, first Mass at the NO altar when the old altar was available etc BUT… this is not all there is to being a pope. And when you listen to his first papal sermons, when you read bits like the one above, that, when necessary, he ruled with ‘iron fists’ and stood for no cr*p… Isn’t that just what the doctor ordered for the modern world, which seems to think that since we are all God’s children, then what the heck, do whatever you want, you’ll be saved anyway, Jesus loves you the way you are and other relativist nonsense we keep hearing day in day out by the Magisterium of Nuns and the like. And yet the firmness and sternness is beautifully balanced by mercy, as we could hear in Francis’ sermon during today’s Mass in Rome.

    Then, when in the space of 5 days the Pope for the second time stresses the importance of prayer and asks the faithful to pray for him, as he did again today in front of the church in Rome after Mass… I can’t help but wonder: prayer, straight talk, openness, hard core orthodoxy and taking no nonsense from anyone, backbone… yes, I think Pope Francis is my man for the job, after all, even though I wasn’t atfirst very enthusiastic.
    I just hope we will see some sort of continuity with regards to Tradition, and if so, then we are in safe hands.

    NB: on a side note: the media keep hyping up the Pope’s record on social justice. Is it just me or have the liberals and socialists tricked millions into accepting this term without reservations? I mean, if ‘social justice’ is something other than ‘justice’, then it is not justice at all. Just a thought.

  12. Sol says:

    @Elizabeth R:

    It does seem to be a human tendency to jump quickly to assumptions and predictions, based on our own hopes and fears.

    I couldn’t agree more!

  13. Elizabeth R says:

    Blaise, the US link is

  14. pmullane says:

    Francis is a huge danger to the ‘peace and justice’ set, because he is truly a man a peace and justice. But as he has also emphasised, the Church annoy be a ‘failed NGO’, it must provide an opportunity to meet Christ. You cannot truly bring peace and justice to the poor unless you bring Christ to the poor. That’s not a problem for me, but it’s a big problem for those who want to ‘move beyond Jesus’. Moreover, he said we cannot have Christ without proclaiming the cross. The cross is it. That’s not a problem for me, but it is a problem for those who believe in a ‘buddy Jesus’, a good guy whose teachings are good to live by, so be nice to one another and leave off the Mumbo jumbo. And the cross brings with it 2 things, the resurrection, and the reality of sin. Without the resurrection the crOss is a defeat, without sin the cross has no purpose. But with the resurrection and sin the cross brings life, and that life needs to be accessed through the Eucharist, and our sins need to be shriven in the confessional.

    And the Pope has said of those who do not preach Christ – they preach the devil! Even if your working for your version if ‘peace and justice’, unless you preach Christ, and unless you preach the cross, your preaching the devil. Strong words.

    We have nothing to fear from this pope, if we truly love Christ and embrace the cross, but you know who should fear him? The nuns who escort women ‘peacefully’ to exercise their ‘right’ to an abortion clinic. That’s the peace and justice of the devil. The Priests who advocate for Obama, they should worry about this pope. The ‘Catholics for choice’ should worry about him. They should worry because their boss, the father of lies, is worried about him.

    God bless and keep our Holy Pope Francis.

  15. Mary T says:

    It is indeed true that Pope Francis is a “friend” of CL, the movement born in Milan, but it also true that he is a friend in general of the lay ecclesial movements. He is especially close to the entire Christian Life Movement family, founded in Lima, Peru, and now all over South America as well as Rome, Australia, England, and the US. This movement is especially beloved by the faithful bishops: Cardinal Stafford first invited them to Denver, where they were then very strongly supported by Archbishop Chaput and now Archbishop Aquila. Bishop Gomez invited the consecrated women, The Marian Community of Reconciliation, to LA (where they will hopefully undo some of the damage done by the previous Cardinal!); Cardinal Pell invited them to Australia; etc. In South America they have schools, universities, an art gallery, architectural firm, clinics, and much more. They are entirely faithful and orthodox, and their founder, Luis Fernando Figari, was often invited by both JPII and B16 to address the synod of Bishops. They have people working in the Vatican and on the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

    Pope Francis personally invited the community of consecrated men (they also have priests and bishops), the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), to Argentina, where he put them up in the episcopal palace as they looked for a house. Alejandro Bermudez, SCV, (head of the Catholic News agency) was on EWTN a few nights ago, being interviewed as a friend who has known the pope for years.

    Their young laypeople, seminarians and priests are great lovers of JPII, B16, Francis, and first and foremost of Christ our Lord and his Blessed Mother. They run “Creatio” ( which runs mission trips for young people. For more information, google “Christ in the City, Denver,” “Christian Life Movement,” “Marian Community of Reconciliation” and “Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.”

  16. tcreek says:


    Pope John Paul II was openly supportive of CL. In 1984 he encouraged the movement to develop a worldwide presence, … Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is said to view CL favorably. A longtime friend of Don Giussani, .… (the founder) then-Cardinal Ratzinger personally celebrated the funeral Mass of Don Giussani …. According to Vatican reporter John Allen, during this time Ratzinger told a priest of CL that Giussani “changed my life”; Allen also reports that the papal household is now run by consecrated members of CL (Memores Domini) and that Pope Benedict joins them weekly for their School of Community.

  17. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Thanks you, Father, for this report and fisk. I had been just a bit worried. No more.

  18. oldcanon2257 says:

    Wow, Father Z, thank you so much for dissecting this so-called article from the N(c)SR. A taste of the trial and tribulation to come for the Holy Father. They might be in for a rude awakening if Papa Francesco turned out to be like Blessed Pius IX or if he starts following in the footsteps of Saint Pius V. Over the years we have seen how the Holy Spirit effect a quiet transformation of the men who ascended the throne of Peter.

    It is amazing to see how early the devil already started his work against the Church and her new shepherd by instigating attacks on the Holy Father from all quarters. The devil already hated us the flock of Christ with a passion; imagine the hatred he has for the Vicar of Christ – the shepherd. It is a certainty that through the devil-inspired anti-Catholic forces in the liberal media, they will deliberately twist the words of the Holy Father, mistranslate his words, misquote his words, quoting his words out of context and misintepreting his actions to suit their agenda and their bias. Why not, if they had done so even to Pope Paul VI (and every pope in recent memory)?

    They will dig up every milligram of dirt, real or imaginary to discredit his teachings. Besides what Father Z brought to our attention above, also see Dr. Ed Peters’ post “When nothing else will work, accuse a Catholic prelate of NSO – Not Speaking Out” about liberal slanders against the Pope:

    To my fellow trads: Instead of falling into despair by fixating on what might have been or what might come and dwelling on what Cardinal Bergoglio of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires did or didn’t do, why not start a prayer crusade for the Holy Father Pope Francis who is the shepherd of the universal Church? He needs our prayers now more than ever. Don’t forget the many powerful intercessors in the Church Triumphant – the communion of saints. The Holy Father and the Church have many of his saintly predecessors, from Saint Peter to Saint Pius X, looking out for and interceding for us all. Oremus pro Pontifice.

  19. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Z: :-) Chuckle!

    Sorry, abut this European has forgotten what the acronym NGO stands for. Could you please remind me?

  20. StJude says:

    WHAT!!!??!! Are you telling me the Pope is Catholic?

  21. jessicahoff says:

    Well done for two things, Father: resisting the rush to (mis)judgement, and cheering us up with the Fishwrap disapproving of the new Pope – that is most cheering.

  22. tgarcia2 says:

    @VexillaRegis NGO=Non-Governmental Organization (Red Cross, World Bank, etc)

  23. Gaetano says:

    NGO: Non-Governmental Organization.

  24. Amerikaner says:

    The Ueber-Traddies already have their underwear all in a bunch. The other side will be next, there is no doubt about that.

    Via media!

  25. Andrew says:

    I think pmullane has an interesting insight about the father of lies being worried about this man. As Tolkien illustrates more than once in Lord of the Rings the Enemy is most pleased when people who should be working together are instead fighting each other. It is in fact his work.
    Normally I think the devil is quite content to remain secret and hidden so we don’t believe he exists or think of him if the former can’t be helped. Based on the attitude of fear (also work of the enemy and not God) I fell to (and now see that I was far from alone), perhaps he was worried enough this time to even real his existence on a large scale to many people in the idea that an antipope or at least someone to undo the beloved work of Benedict was coming because we deserve it, rather than focusing on Jesus who always gives what we do not deserve from the cross.
    Perhaps he works fast to discredit the pope so that a group of people who normally would esteem themselves the most loyal to the pope against all the tides of secular relativism etc… now suddenly constantly doubt or even openly attack the pope before he has even gotten started. Instead of an antipope or bad pope coming perhaps it is Satan that wishes to turn the Church into a collection of many “antipopes”.
    Such division is has always been his work, and is already obvious in those Catholics who support abortion. He would certainly be well pleased to spread the division to those who thought they would never ever separate themselves.

  26. Robbie says:

    First post so here goes nothing. Since Wednesday, I, too, have taken a wait and see approach to what may or may not happen with the Papacy of Francis. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. I just want to see what is actually said and done. I don’t need to take a wait and see approach to know that Francis is a good man though. Challenging us to give greater support the poor is wonderful thing.

    The one area in which I’ll have the most interest, though, is the Mass. I was so happy with Benedict because he started the process of returning some of the wonderful traditions the Church had lost in the 1970’s. The greater use of Latin, the Gregorian chants, and the beautiful vestments remind us of our past. Even better, he made the Traditional Latin Mass far more available.

    Francis seems less interested in the high Liturgy and Cardinal Hummes of Brazil, who joined Francis on the loggia, told a Brazilian newspaper one of the aims of the new Papacy would be not just the reform of the Curia, but “our way of celebrating Mass”. I’m not sure what that means, but reform of the reform of the reform could be in the offing. I would just hate to see the beauty and traditions rediscovered be cast aside.

  27. crjs1 says:

    Very interesting article Fr thanks as always!

    The rush to judge and pigeon hole the Holy Father (from the left and right, ‘progressive’ and ‘trad’) is depressing! Some of the comments on rorate caeli, a site I visit daily, are ridiculous in thier hysteria!

  28. Ambrose Jnr says:

    pmullane, you put it magnificently. I agree with you…

    Moreover, if Pope Francis keeps the benedictine arrangement, beautiful chalices etc. whilst looking himself a paragon of simplicity, maybe the most basic benedictine liturgical reforms will start to appear in the average parish around the world…the Holy Spirit may be broadening the reform of the liturgy in a more low-key mode, since Pope Francis will appeal to many priests who are more left-wing without being heterodox deep down…

    Finally, it’s funny C&L only now draws the attention of the NCR/NSR…pope Benedict is a big fan of C&L, had ‘memores domini’ looking after him, and even insisted personally on saying the homily on the occasion of Fr Giussani (C&L founder)’s passing away…the NCR (exempting John Allen) is only 8 years behind on this issue…an improvement on the 35 yrs behind they usually are…

  29. BLB Oregon says:

    “The Devil doesn’t fear austerity but holy obedience.”
    – St. Francis de Sales

    “Obedience unites us so closely to God that in a way transforms us into Him, so that we have no other will but His. If obedience is lacking, even prayer cannot be pleasing to God.”
    – St. Thomas Aquinas

    ”Obedience is a penance of reason, and, on that account, a sacrifice more acceptable than all corporal penances and mortifications.”
    –Saint John of the Cross

    ”There are three sorts of obedience; the first, obedience when a strict obligation is imposed upon us, and this is good; the second when the simple word of the superior, without any strict command, suffices for us, and this is better; the third, when a thing is done without waiting for an express command, from a knowledge that it will be pleasing to the superior, and this is the best of all.”
    –Saint Ignatius

    If the Pope has a history of being obedient to his duty even when those under him vilify him for it, that ought to be taken as a very good sign, indeed. I think Bl. Pope John Paul II give ample evidence that this virtue will get him bad press from both the left and the right. If we can be as obedient when we hear what we do not like as we know others ought to be when they hear what they don’t like, we’ll all do well.

  30. VexillaRegis says:

    tgarcia &Gaetano: thanks!

  31. Sister H. says:

    I have great hope that Pope Francis will renew and reform religious life!

  32. The Astronomer says:

    Sorry to bear unpleasant news, as I know you get income from Amazon purchases, but Amazon has recently gone over to the ‘dark side’ aggressively promoting homosexual marriage in their TV ad for the new Kindle Paperwhite:

  33. The thing I noticed right away was that the National Schismatic Reporter wasn’t gushing nearly enough over Pope Francis. As much as they purport to hate Cardinal Mahony (and maybe they really do), they are of the same mind as he on so many things; and Cardinal Mahony is gushing. But NSR seems to show greater sense–I suspect they are a bit nervous about him from the get-go.

  34. What I think the NSR will do is to use Pope Francis as a stick against anything traditional. “Even the ultra-traditionalist Pope Francis disagrees with…”–that will be their line.

  35. BLB Oregon says:

    “I have great hope that Pope Francis will renew and reform religious life!”

    If religious life is again seen as a true life of poverty and humility in service of the poor, if living the professed religious life is seen as radically in service of God in a way that cannot be achieved by keeping a flat of your own or sharing one with a succession of like-minded fellow Catholics who also want to be left alone about how to run their spiritual lives, if being a humble Catholic is no longer equated with being an incognito Catholic, I think there may well be a stampede of vocations. Our new Pope, after all, did not go about as the cardinal in his own city dressed like a layman! He went about the city obviously dressed as a parish priest. The Roman collar is not something he thinks is for show, but for a witness! If anything, it keeps him humble, because it requires him to always be judged on whether or not he’s acting like a priest!

    I do not mean that sisters and brothers today are not radical in their service to God, but I had an acquaintance in the Jesuits who thought that having to sell off a lot of real estate in order to pay for lawsuits might actually have a good effect on vocations. He said people who are attracted to religious life want to “go all the way” about it. They don’t want to be treated as some kind of a star because they wear religious garb, but they don’t want live the same as the laity, either, dressing the same, having the same financial realities (or better ones), and living without anyone in legitimate authority to answer to in a very direct way…what would be the point?

  36. Geoffrey says:

    I agree with Blaise. This Comunione e Liberazione (Communion and Liberation) sounds like it deserves a bit of research on my part. I’ve heard the term more and more in recent days, and was put off by the PC ring it seems to have. Serves me right!

  37. frjim4321 says:

    This papacy is in its infancy such that it is best measured in hours rather than days yet. We all have a lot to learn about Francis. I am certainly encouraged by his simplicity and by eschewing some of the medieval trappings of his predecessor but it would be a mistake to read too much into that yet. We still haven’t been through the installation mass yet.

    What’s been on my mind is all the enthusiasm about Francis’ concern about the poor. But that’s going to dig deeply; he might have quite a bit to say about clerical lifestyles, and that will be hard for many to take. Traddies are not the only people who like lots of nice things. What goes around comes around.

    I’m curious to see how much of the gingerbread is missing on Tuesday, but I’m not going to read too much into it.

  38. Jack Regan says:

    A preddictable, yet fascinating set of thing happen whenever somebdy comes into a key position.

    The left and the right each seem to have three factions: those who, no matter what, will try to spin the new guy as ‘our man’, those who really think that the new guy is their man, and those who think he’s not their man and start to vent. The second group are usually happy; the first and the last group are usually not: the difference between them being that the former have some political nouse!

    It was very interesting, for instance, in England when we got a new Archbishop of Westminster a few years back. One prominent traddie commentator took up many a column inch tryin to spin a protege of Archbishop Warlock (the archetypal liberal Bishop) as a Trad crusader!

    Anyhow… the reaction to Francis has been fascinating… Francis, on faith and morals, is clearly a win for he right, but on other areas (inc. Liturgy) is probably not so much. That would seem to be objectively true, but it’s been fun watching the spining that’s gone on. On Rorate on Wednesday night they were spitting their teeth out, until presumably somebody from the ‘lets spin it’ camp came along and had a word!!

    We live in interesting times…

    Let me repeat what I always say about the NCR though… It’s utterly ridiculous and needs to go!

  39. Fr Jim:

    I am not going to comment on the pope’s choices when he offers Mass, but I would like to comment on something you said.

    Supposing the pope chooses to put away the “gingerbread,” how, exactly, does that help the poor?

    Saint John Chrysostom make the excellent point that it if we want to honor Christ with fine things at Mass, good–but he said be sure to honor Christ in the poor just as much. I’ll go with that.

    So I’ll accept the argument that it honors the poor to avoid going overboard in what we buy for the sacristy.

    But tell me–if the items are already bought, how does it honor the poor to keep them locked away?

    When I got to my parish, that’s exactly where I found lots of very nice things. I didn’t go buy a bunch of new things; but I got out the nice things we already had, so that people could be edified by them.

    Finally, I will say this. When I visited a poor part of Mexico a few years ago, I noticed that even in very poor areas, the people had made sure their churches had some nice things. It seems condescending, to me, to say that poor people don’t want to have Mass celebrated with dignity and beauty, using the best you have.

  40. helgothjb says:

    I didn’t know squat about Pope Francis when he was elected. What I have laerned in the days since is that he is a deep man of prayer that knows that Catholic life consists in a deep and abiding relationship with Our Divine Lord. He is preaching deep self sacrificing prayer and obedience to the movements of the Holy Spirit. This involves the cross, it involves death, it requires great trust in Divine Providence. For this reason, those Catholics that are taken by Catholicsm in only an intellectual way, only in a devotional way, who are only struck by the exterior beauty of the liturgy, who are only moved by the beauty of concern for the poor, those Catholics that have fallen in love with the trappings of Catholicism but who have never actually given themselves over to serious self sacrificing mental prayer, who have never entered into a deep relationship with Christ Himself, will not understand the Pope and will be opposed to him, wether liberal, conservative, traditional or whatever.

  41. Amerikaner says:

    [i]Some of the comments on rorate caeli, a site I visit daily, are ridiculous in thier hysteria![/i]

    I also find it odd that Fr. Z’s link on Rorate’s blog roll has disappeared this week.

  42. Fr. Martin,
    I might add that the tracterian movement and Blessed John Henry found that it was the poor parishes that had the most elegant of liturgical accessories. Why? Because it was the element of the beautiful that was so desperately needed by poor people. Beauty does not necessarily mean expensive! St. Patrick Cathedral was built upon the pennies of the poor Irish of New York.

  43. mamajen says:


    Read through some of the hateful comments that their moderators are choosing to keep on the blog over there, and you will find it less odd. This vendetta is puzzling.

  44. acardnal says:

    We cannot help the poor by worshiping God Almighty poorly.

  45. Charles E Flynn says:

    The poor are quite likely to see enough mediocre design, materials, and workmanship at home, and if they are employed, at work. They have no need to visit mediocrity on Sunday mornings. I once read that medieval people were content to have modest homes, as long as they had splendid churches in which to give glory to God.

    On another topic:
    When nothing else will work, accuse a Catholic prelate of NSO, by Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.

  46. pmullane says:

    Perhaps we in the rich West could, as part of our charity to the poor, find some way of equipping the Church in the ‘poor’ parts of the world with liturgical items of such quality to enhance their worship? Does any such organisation exist?

  47. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr. Martin Fox,
    I have noticed the same thing about the response of both extremes, but there’s a very simple reason for it. Neither dramatic extreme really wants to talk about the real mission of the Church, the deposit of faith and the scriptures. Rather, they want to talk about their pet projects and their own flavor of edification. It’s all about force and coercion when you’re on the extreme margins. That’s why we’re seeing so much bad-mouthing so early-on.

  48. Absit invidia says:

    I heard at mass today that Pope Francis has asked the cardinals to tone down their ceremonial attire for his installation mass. While I can appreciate his message of simplicity, there is such a thing as being too practical; overplaying the message; and appearing “iron fisted” about pushing a point across too hard.

    We have all undergone a roller coaster of emotions with Pope Benedict’s resignation and the anticipation of a new pope. During this anticipation period many Catholics and non-Catholics alike have had the opportunity to study and appreciate our sacred tradition of the election process, the Church’s ceremonials, and the importance we give to divine liturgy – giving our all to the Almighty in a communal act of worship and adoration with the best we can offer God. And these things matter – God accepted the sacrifice from Abel but not the sacrifice of Cain. The rich and poor alike appreciate the effort and splendor of what humans can accomplish when they give their very best to God during worship. It’s inspiring. It inspires ESPECIALLY the poor. I grew up in a third world environment and we all appreciated the splendors of divine liturgy because it brought us HOPE. Otherwise the poor are just bouncing from one austerity to the next without seeing glimpses of God’s promise and message of hope that the Church brings to those who come to drink from the spring of life.

    Traddies aren’t rich, many of them are actually quite poor. I come from a poor part of the country and grew up amongst the poor, being wanting ourselves. A spirit of poverty is virtuous. We get that. But we also get the message of HOPE and the Church brings us hope with all its splendor and ceremony. It is awe inspiring to all humankind. This is also why the media gets wrapped up in papal elections and things of this sort – because of its rituals, ceremony, and splendor. It also functions as a tool of evangelization. Stripping it down to austerities does not edify the faithful – it especially does not edify the poor or inspire hope.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    Fr Z,

    I think you’re completely correct on what’s to come from the “progressive” extreme, but it hasn’t settled in yet. It will. They’re really confused right now. I mean, even more than usual.

    On the other end of the spectrum, they’re still having stunning fits over at Rorate. It’s amazing to watch, if you want to know the truth. Scary. Spittle and tassels flying all over the place.

  50. The quoted passages of the NC Distorter here demonstrate the common utter misinterpretation of the Church’s role. What do these types really think the authority and disciplines of the Church are for? Like, these are arbitrary rules some nerdy religion expert came up with? No, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, with a succession of Popes and bishops. The Church is our help and our guide, and Her disciplines and authority make the fabric, and Jesus Christ died on the cross for us in founding this Church. We all are supposed to follow Her grace-filled commands, that through the Vicar of Christ, exist with true authority to help us get to Heaven.

    I guess that just isn’t enough for these people? They really don’t believe in the Resurrection or Pentecost – they prefer their own interpretation, a god and church of their own making.

    What a diabolical publication.

  51. Traductora says:

    BXVI was also very involved with CL. It’s a movement that certainly has good ideas, although in my opinion it is VERY Italian, and perhaps you really have to be Italian or at any rate heavily Italian-acculturalized to be completely comfortable in it. Be that as it may, I was greatly encouraged by a YouTube video of an interview with then Cardinal Bergoglio by the EWTN in Spanish. (For Spanish speakers, it’s here:

    He says that people need to pray the Creed “with their whole hearts,” talks about Christ reigning from the Cross, says that the attitude of many people is basically pantheistic, that the outlook of many is tainted by a certain Pelagianism One thing that he said, commenting on why faith has remained alive in the Spanish culture of Latin America, despite everything, is that they always have before them the images (in the form of statues, paintings, church art and popular art) of Our Lady (Our Mother, Our Mother the Church, he said) and our Crucified Savior.. And they have the practice of processions, devotions to the saints, popular piety in its deepest sense, and even though it is being eroded in modern times, it can preserve the Faith and save our society from the “dictatorship of relativism.”

    So I don’t get the feeling that he’ll be doing away with public expressions of traditional faith, but will probably encourage them. I think what will probably be necessary is for people who follow traditional practices to show in what way they project, in what way they speak of the Faith and call to mind Christ Crucified. So that means getting out of the ghetto and into the public plaza.

  52. In my travels, I have found that those in the poorest neignborhoods dress the best for Sunday Mass. In that sense, the poor understand better than the wealthy.

  53. Gregg the Obscure says:

    That’s a glowing report about CL, even if that wasn’t its intent.

    I’m a good bit into reading Nuzzi’s recent book about the turmoil in the Curia. Seems to me that supporters of the traditional Mass should do so as it contains some things that I expect the opponents of tradition will try to exploit – that is if they’re clever enough to think of them.

    It’s my ardent hope that our new Holy Father is not only innocent as a dove (as he seems to be and as have been his recent predecessors), but also cunning as a serpent in detecting where some would lead astray the Church in his care.

  54. Jack Hughes says:

    Can someone please assure me that ‘obedience’ doesn’t mean we have stop using all those wonderful vestments, Chalice’s etc? I went to the Novus Ordo for the first time in AGES today (overslept and missed EF) and it was awful, crummy vestments, crummy music and a tomcat choir with a keyboard belting out catholic versions of evangelical wishy washy stuff.

    In my first year as a Catholic (and during RCIA) I thought that was as good as it gets, but then I started going to the EF most of the time and my eyes were open, PLEASE don’t tell me I have to go back to that all the time, I found it really hard to Pray the Mass today and I don’t want that to be my average Sunday Mass experience ever again.

    I find our new Holy Father’s liturgical garb really worrying, If he didn’t want to use the papal regalia he shouldn’t have accepted the job. Fere in England the principal male members of the Royal family are all Commissioned Officers in the various branches of the Armed Forces and at the Trooping the Colour (the primary day in which the Queen inspects the armed forces) they all wear their Dress Uniforms, imagine what message they would give if they turned up wearing levi jeans and L.L Bean polo shirts?

  55. Joan A. says:

    Hello? Guess who is a great devotee of C&L? Pope Emeritus Benedict! And not in a theoretical way either, he follows the spiritual guidelines seriously.

    Contrary to non-stop inaccuracies over the last 8 years, Pope Benedict’s four women housekeepers were not “nuns.” They are C&L. Benedict, Msgr Ganswein and these 4 ladies met on a daily basis for prayer and a sort of sharing or dialogue that C&L encourages. This is the “community” part.

    If this NCR “journalist” is only now learning of C&L, she sure has had her head in the sand for Benedict’s entire pontificate.

    Cardinal Scola is another active C&L practitioner.

  56. McCall1981 says:

    Does anyone know more specifically what Pope Francis’ “connection” to CL is? Was he a member?

  57. The descent of the folks at Rorate Caeli into madness is sad to see. They are posting any and all trash they can find about Pope Francis, no discretion, no prudence. One danger is that if we commit ourselves to a particular opinion–really commit ourselves–then pride and stubbornness can prevent us from disowning that opinion, later, when we cool down or encounter facts to the contrary.

    I’d like to post something over there to caution them, but I suspect they won’t print it.

  58. OrthodoxChick says:

    I had never visited the Rorate blog before Pope Francis was elected. I have been doing so for the past few days, but I’m only reading their main postings, not the comments. Their main thoughts have been freaking me out enough without the added anxiety of what some of you here are reporting about their combox.

    When their articles rattle my own fears, I stop and pray for Holy Mother Church, I pray they (at Rorate) are wrong, and I pray that if they are correct about our new Holy Father, that his heart, mind, and soul will be open to the traditional (if it isn’t already) now that he is the Vicar of Christ.

    If these prayers still don’t settle my nerves, I remind myself that the absolute worst thing that can possibly happen is an anti-pope, and Holy Mother Church has survived even that before. She’ll survive it again, though I don’t think that we’re in that sort of territtory with Pope Francis, by any means.

    Imagining a worst-case scenario, and knowing that Christ has delivered His Bride through such trials before, reassures me that He can and will do so again at any point in the future, if need be. “The gates of Hell shall not prevail”. What better reassurance do we need than that of Our Lord and Savior?

    The more I read Rorate, the more I see the insight of Fr. Z. pointing out his thoughts regarding Pope Emeritus Benedict possibly being the “Bishop in White” that the visionaries at Fatima saw in the third secret.

    I take comfort in knowing that no matter how hard we humans try to hi-jack God’s role in the Church and in the world (or in the universe, for that matter) we haven’t succeeded yet. And of course, Our Blessed Mother has assured us, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”.

    So, if any of you are like me, trying to fend off anxiety and fear of the unknown with prayer and happy thoughts, let’s remind ourselves that when it seems as though The Enemy has his evil influence over everyone and everything in this world, the words of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother remind us that we have nothing to fear. We should always remember to draw our strength and comfort from Jesus and Mary, fill our hearts and souls with an abundance of Faith, Hope, Love, and Joy – and leave no room for fear or despair!

  59. PA mom says:

    Gregg, I thought I had heard that the Pope had NOT just automatically reinstated the Curia. That seemed like a bold, possibly brilliant, step. Have you heard anything on that?
    It surprises me that there are all of these “theories” about the Church’s mssion. I suppose with the sheer size of the Catholic Church and all of its arms, there must be an understanding of its role to be performed within the world, and that understanding must be central to all efforts. It sounds as if he would be supportive of Benedict’s removal of the Caritas director a year or two ago, then?

  60. Jack Hughes says:

    Fr Fox

    I think that the folks at Rorate are VERY scared (as am I) that all we have worked for over the past 6 years is going to be undone through Papal diktat and that we’re in for another 40 or so years of liturgical madness. In that case can you please understand why they are (metaphorically speaking) baring their fangs? They are worried that irreverence is going to be forced on us ‘in the name of obedience’ and the Holy Father is doing nothing to assuage their worries.

  61. Supertradmum says:

    Andrew Saucci, agree. At Mass this week in one of the richest and most elegant of areas in England, the people were dressed very badly. In contrast, in the poor parishes I went to in Mississippi, even after Katrina. people were dressed to the nines.

    The poor want, desire and love beauty like an human beings do; so, this dichotomy is fake.

    CL is a good, conservative political movement in Italy as well, and has supported conservative politicians. It is highly respected in Europe except by the Eurocrats and EuroMarxists in the Hague who want big government.

    That our new Pope supports CL is an good sign.

  62. Fr Martin Fox says: What I think the NSR will do is to use Pope Francis as a stick against anything traditional.

    This is what I fear: not Pope Francis himself so much as the use liberals will make of him. It especially hurts and angers me to see the liberals, and especially princes of the Church, using him to take swipes at our former Holy Father, Benedict. I hope Pope Francis puts a swift end to such public displays of vulgar moral preening.

    But one thing I have never feared is that Pope Francis or any other Pope will change the doctrine of the Church. It simply can’t be done. If a Pope were determined to change a doctrine, God would prevent him: He might miraculously convert him; or He might strike him dead; or He might send in a horde of invading barbarians. Even Paul VI, a weak man under acute and overwhelming pressure from within and without the Church, would not change the Church’s teaching on contraceptives. So we need not fear — and the liberals need not hope — that such a thing can happen under this or any other Pope.

  63. benedetta says:

    The dissenting and schismatic “Catholic” press is likely quaking in their boots about this papacy. Why else would they trot out a non-Catholic to say what they are all yearning to proclaim? It’s amazing how quick the schismatic press is to rush to a snap judgement.

  64. catholicmidwest says:

    PA mom,
    The mission of the Church isn’t just a theory. We have a very well-defined mission:

    The Commissioning of the Disciples
    16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    NRSV- Catholic Edition, Matthew 28:16-20.

  65. Joan A. says:

    @pmullane: About a year ago this type of organization contacted our parish. It is only a few years old, and founded by a lady who inherited some money and wanted to serve the Church in a new way. What she does is get religious articles from churches that don’t want them (for whatever reasons), and then find poor parishes, or in some cases convents, that need this item. Can be anything from a chalice or crucifix to altar linens to a baptismal font to artwork or statues. “Anything Catholic” is what they say.

    They do it all at no charge to the recipient or giver, and you can imagine some objects are quite expensive to ship, or sometimes also repair. They are not specifically focused on giving to other countries, just getting quality items into any Catholic church that needs them.

    Sorry to say I don’t recall the name, and they don’t have a website because it’s all email, phone and word of mouth. She says the movement of articles is so quick, with such demand, there is no time to photograph and post on a website. They have a long “wish list” and when an item is found, it goes right out. If I can find the group’s name, I will post again. But nice to know this is being done, and in a completely charitable way.

  66. benedetta says:

    I think the style of this Pope’s closeness to the poor is much more in the vein of say the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and very far from the American liberal/schismatic Church establishment and press’ idea of foisting the dictatorship of relativism, a gutted Faith.

  67. NBW says:

    A few days into his pontificate and Pope Francis is drawing lots of negative comments; he must be doing something right. His simplicity and faith have caused me to look at my own life and I’ve felt some uncomfortable tugs at my heart. I feel for our Traditional brothers and sisters and I understand their concern, but it’s all in God’s hands now not ours. The liberals and the Schismatic Reporter continue to do the same; bash real Catholic issues and Catholicism. We are so busy fighting amongst ourselves we do not see the devil sectioning us off with the intent to devour us.

  68. Kathleen10 says:

    I have hope. I think things are going to work out well. I agree with you, Fr. Z., they will turn on him and fast. This is the honeymoon. It’s going to get ugly. As someone who follows somewhat the trends of gay activism, I see that more and more young people are completely supportive now of same-sex marriage, and what is coming as far as militant activism, makes me nervous. They will be incensed at this Pope speaking out as a moral authority, and this is only going to escalate. If the US Supreme Court finds in favor of same-sex marriage in a few weeks, this is the pinnacle. It will get much worse, and the clamor against the Pope will increase exponentially.
    I want to warn everyone, on a related note. Reading Yahoo headlines today, a commenter used their Facebook icon image to post a close-up and horribly graphic image of a homosexual act. After one full half hour of so of trying to contact Yahoo, they took the image off, AND my written response that noted that this is one of the reasons same-sex marriage is not a good idea. Please use caution for yourselves and especially your children or grandchildren, as the gates of Hell are open and things are going to get pretty ugly online. Any child could have seen that very disturbing image and I hate that it’s in my head. I’m sorry to be the voice of pessimism, but, one can see it on the horizon.

  69. catholicmidwest says:

    36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

    NRSV-Catholic Edition, Matthew 22: 36-40.

  70. Denis says:

    Maybe the liberals will turn against him one day, but for the moment they are ecstatic. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Chris Matthews, Hans Kung, Cardinal Kasper: all of the secular lefties who claim to be “devout”Catholics and the lefties within the Church who love everything but tradition…all of them are overjoyed, even though they are familiar with Pope Francis’s statements about gay marriage, abortion, etc.

    I made the mistake of attending yesterday’s vigil Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary’s in Minneapolis, and the priest, in his homily, mocked the old ways of ‘ermine’ and ignoring the poor, as if the decision to wear a mozzetta fed a single poor person. It was a most repugnant display of contempt for Pope Benedict. THe Catholic progressives are all welcoming Pope Francis as one of them. We’re living in interesting times. We have a second Carter presidency; are we back to those days in the Church, as well? I hope that I am proven wrong and have to come back here and apologize for my sinful despair.

  71. Sandy says:

    Though I’ve heard of CL, I’ve never read any description of the beliefs or philosophy of the movement. If the author she quotes is accurate, I’m impressed with what CL stands for. Sounds like total allegiance to the Church, that the world should conform to the Church and not vice versa. We’ve had the opposite in some quarters in recent decades. May the Lord and His precious Mother keep Holy Father Francis strong.

  72. Genesispete says:

    Back to the Armies of Light vs. the Armies of Darkness! “I do feel the flames of Hell licking the soles of my feet not for me, but for Lucifer’s damned!” (Yes, I do have a favorite Spanish Inquisitor, don’t we all?) Jamie Mason, will you finally renounce Satan and all his evil works!

  73. bookworm says:

    Here’s something I spotted on another blog that could be significant:

    This story concerns a poor widow who had seven children and had never had any of them baptized because she could not get all of the godparents together at one time, nor could she afford the christening party that (she assumed) was expected of her. (Then) Cardinal Bergoglio solved the problem by allowing two godparents to stand in for the others, and had a small luncheon for her and the family afterwards (“coca cola and sandwiches”).

    Those of us who live comfortable, middle-class lives may forget how difficult it is for the truly poor to do things we take for granted, and how they percieve Catholic weddings, funerals, baptisms, First Communion celebrations, etc. as being prohibitively expensive. Somewhere I read that one of the most often cited reasons cohabiting couples postpone or avoid marriage is because they “cannot afford a ‘real’ wedding.” And one big reason cremation has become common among even Catholics is due to the expense involved in traditional burial. Of course, much of this expense is due to cultural trappings that really have nothing to do with the sacraments involved, but many people do not know this. If Pope Francis wishes to promote genuine simplicity in the Church (and I think he does), this is a good place to start — learning to distinguish the true essentials that enrich and draw the poor and dispossessed, from the associated cultural trappings (e.g. big receptions, fancy caskets) that keep them away.

  74. cyejbv says:

    I bought – for first time maybe ever?- a USA Today the other day, knowing if I saw liberal Catholic angst I’d be over the moon – or close- about Pope Francis. Other than that, I knew little about him.
    In part, you wrote, ‘What NSR/Mason fear is a vigorous and clear reiteration of Catholic morals and doctrine…’ which was what I loved abt Cardinal Arrinze. Thanks for this piece Father: it seems I will now love the same about our Holy Father.

  75. Sancrucensis says:

    An excellent resource for understanding CL and Pope Francis’s relation to it is Paul Zalonski’s blog: Zalonski is a member of CL, and has been posting speeches of that then Cardinal Bergoglio gave on CL’s founder, Luigi Giussani.

    When Giussani died in 2005 then Cardinal Ratzinger preached a wonderful sermon at his funeral.

    A short book that captures the spirit of CL perfectly is Fr Vincent Nagle’s Life Promises Life:

  76. Traductora says:

    Orthodox Chick, don’t worry. I think Pope Francis is very sound, I think he’s a somewhat unusual person (which would probably have been necessary to have survived as a Jesuit for so long!), and I think he will broaden his understanding of the role that has suddenly and probably unexpectedly fallen to him. If you speak or understand Spanish, go to the link I posted above (

    But I think traditionalists have to do something, too. Why not have some big public mass of thanksgiving somewhere, celebrated in the traditional form? Why not lead a procession through some miserable part of town and preach to the people. I can tell you, if anybody in the Church in my town cared about the wretched (morally and materially) black population and went out and showed it, those people would be at mass tomorrow, despite the traditional Protestant-instilled hostility of African Americans to Catholicism. Traditional rite people have been in a ghetto, talking only to each other, for way too many years and perhaps now it’s time to go out and show how beauty and splendor, coupled with moral and theological orthodoxy, really can attract and convert people.

  77. Will turn soon? I thought they already have, judging by the news reports in the MSM.

  78. Justin Martyr says:

    Some extremely positive things I’ve already heard from Pope Francis (that I think even the most stubborn, ardent ultra-trad would agree with):

    1. Real focus on the cross;

    2. Direct references to Satan/Devil/Father of Lies (will Francis promote exorcism even more in coming months and years?);

    3. Clearly feels we are engaged in spiritual warfare;

    4. Several direct, pointed comments about the need to go to Confession. I think he could really focus on this sacrament and lead millions of Catholics back into the confessional. Who could be upset about that?

    I really think we need to wait and see about his ultimate liturgical direction. There are signs he does love beauty, traditional devotions (very big in Latin America), processions, he has a deeply formed devotion to the Eucharist; and let’s not forget his vocation was formed per-Vatican II so I find it hard to believe he has intense aversion to the old mass.

    For all I know, he could be so humble and full of personal forgiveness that he makes every effort to mend fences with and bring Bishop Fellay and the SSPX back into the fold. Stranger things have happened in the history of our Church.

  79. Pingback: Crucify Pope Francis!! — A Heart for GOD

  80. jmgarciajr says:

    While I understand some people are worried (maybe even VERY worried) about the Holy Father rolling back the “reform of the reform,” the tenor of the posts and comments at Rorate Cæli of late are scandalously, wildly, totally inexcusable.

    For however someone may be worried about what this pontificate may do in terms of the liturgy, etc. is no license to hurl specious charges and vile abuse and (in some lamentable cases) calumniate the Vicar of Christ.

    The Jesuits (!) who regularly say our EF Mass are not worried so much about the Holy Father…but the perception about Traditionalists? THAT’s a big worry.

    If people really worried, then I strongly advise them to focus their energies on praying with all their hearts and and not on venting their spleens.

  81. Gail F says:

    I really don’t understand. What is so bad about the idea of obedience to the authority of the Church? I mean, I understand why people don’t like the idea, but what’s it to them? If they don’t like it, they sure don’t have to do it. It’s not like the pope can MAKE anyone be obedient to the authority of the Church, and for quite long stretches of Church history, perhaps most of it, people weren’t particularly obedient, were they?

    Look, if someone tells me that it’s essential to being a part of their religion that I be obedient to its authority, then, then if I think it’s true I’ll be obedient and if I don’t think it’s true I won’t care what it says about anything at all. I’m not, for instance, a Scientologist, and while I think its demands on its members are excessive, I also think it is wrong about everything else, so that particular thing does not bother me any more than the rest of it does.

    As to Rorate Caeli — I haven’t looked over there in a while and now I don’t plan to. The man has been pope for A WEEK. How about if we all just settle down and see what he actually does??

  82. hilltop says:

    The Missing Link over at Rorate to this wonderful blog, I read (over at Rorate) last week, is likely due to Fr. Z’s strong language in calling for the Priests of the SSPX to crawl on their knees and kiss Pope Francis’ (black-not red) shoes while begging forgiveness and pledging return to full communion in the Church, thus rectifying their state of schism from the Church. And this not for the first time. [Here’s the strange thing about that. I never said they should beg forgiveness. I have never said that they should beg forgiveness. People say that i said that, but… I. DID. NOT. Here is what I wrote concerning Pope Francis: “The entire SSPX should gather in St. Peter’s Square, crawl on hands and knees to the Apostolic Palace and beg the new Pope to allow them to kiss his foot, knee and hand and promise obedience.” So… the can freak out all they want about what they claim I wrote. But… I didn’t write that they should beg forgiveness.]
    Given that Rorate’s regular readership includes traditionalists from both sides of a state of perfect communion with the Catholic Church (Imperfect Communion, not Schism, being the current state of the SSPX); and given that the balance of SSPX and non SSPX readers of Rorate are prayerfully desirous of a return to a state of Full Communion without full capitulation – a position consistent with the prayerful desires of our emeritous Pope; and given the understandable (though manifested in disappointing vitriol at times) sense of deflation of Rorate’s readership in a new Pope’s comparative lack of deep devotion to all things liturgical when the Mass and it’s proper celebration
    is central to that blog’s readership;
    Fr Z’s untimely and very hasty posting of his call to abject, servile SSPX repentance coming so hard on the heels of the new Election of Pope Francis was likely deemed by those at Rorate as beyond the pale.
    I think that is the missing link.

    [And I think that you are now perpetuating a falsehood about what I wrote. In the least, a false report. I hope that you will, in justice, stop doing that.]

  83. Melody Faith says:

    Pope Francis seems to be all about preaching Jesus. He is reverent at mass, and warm with people. He seems to incorporate both the vertical and the horizontal aspects of the faith, as his predecessors did, but in a different way.
    His simplicity is his style. It doesn’t mean he is humble, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t either. He is bold, but it may be about apostolic courage, and being who he is, rather than arrogance.
    He seems to have rocked the expectations of the world, just by being who he is.
    He is orthodox, and that will always infuriate those who want to change the Church. I think all of us need to reset our thinking a little. It is easy to get caught up in signals and interpreting small acts as we might examine tea leaves, or bird entrails. He won’t take away our birthdays or Christmas though, or the Eucharist for that matter. We are challenged to remember what is really most important, and not protect the fortress we have built. We are meant to share and to sacrifice, and to give it all to God.
    This is Pope Francis in 2007 “BERGOGLIO: Our certainties can become a wall, a jail that imprisons the Holy Spirit. Those who isolate their conscience from the path of the people of God don’t know the joy of the Holy Spirit that sustains hope. That is the risk run by the isolated conscience. Of those who from the closed world of their Tarsis complain about everything or, feeling their identity threatened, launch themselves into battles only in the end to be still more self-concerned and self-referential. “. This is the article it was taken from
    I think he will challenge the entire spectrum of the Church. In that challenge will be an opportunity to have our faith strengthened and our horizons broadened. It is still the Year of Faith.

  84. Jenelle says:

    After now having a few days of researching and observing the more I am at ease. Our dear Pope Francis will simply have his plate too full to try and ‘roll back’ or make any serious changes to the hard and fruitless task that Benedict worked through with our liturgy.

    He will have his own style and preferences but I can’t see us all doing liturgical dance at Easter Mass next year. His focus is going to be a different focus – Benedict cleaned up and got things happening. We’ll just be stalled for a while – but Benedict lit the kindling and people love the changes. Brick by brick is happening and will continue The liturgy will be fine and I have a feeling Pope Francis will need our prayers more than ever for all the other issues he will be dealing with.

    As an aside – what can be done about Cardinal Mahony? He is a disgrace.

  85. JimGB says:

    I agree that some of the comments on other blogs, especially those that quote interviews with various people published in Latin American media outlets, paint a picture of the Pope that could cause alarm. This is not helped by the classless Twitter postings of Cardinal Mahony, which feed into the fear that Francis will start with destroying the beauty and solemnity of papal liturgies as a first step toward a Church focused on the poor. I am also somewhat put off the the Pope’ s ostentatious humility (I am humble and will therefore eschew the Mozzetta, the red shoes, the gold pectoral cross and will ride in the back of a police car instead of the papal sedan). Tiresome and can become schtick.
    Personally, I do not know what to believe. But even if the Pope determines to revert to Piero Marini style papal liturgies, complete with lime green chasubles and the “Amazing Technicolor Dream Cope” in which P. Marini vested Pope John Paul II, does anyone think this would impede Cardinal Burke from celebrating in the EF? Or the FSSPs? Or the Friars of the Immaculate? Plus, are not changes to the liturgy somewhat laborious to effect? He can’t do it by fiat, right? He is 76+ years old after all and if reform of the Curia is Job 1 why would he expend his energies in this realm? The same bureaucracy he was ostensibly elected to reform could find lots of ways to put sand in the gears.

  86. oldcanon2257 says:

    Wait until the N(c)SR dig up this rare image of Cardinal Bergoglio in Roman fiddleback chasuble (albeit sans amice/maniple):

    I pray that we see more of Roman chasuble and less of those vestments which resemble polyester poncho.

    One sign of encouragement is that the Holy Father is now vested with the amice, which apparently Abp./Cdl. Bergoglio didn’t seem to care much for.

  87. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Z, will you be able to stay in Rome for some time, or do you have to go back to the US soon? I really appreciate your balanced and sober reporting and hope that you can be our eyes and ears (and brain! :-)) in The Eternal City for yet another couple of weeks.

  88. majuscule says:

    Did anyone see the Sunday Mass at St. Ann’s?

    It’s nearly an hour and a half long. I had to get to Mass myself but I skimmed through it. Although it appeared to be the NO, communion was given on the tongue to people kneeling. I thought I heard the Holy Father speaking Latin, but not positive.

    At the sign of peace (around 40 minutes in) he embraced his concelebrants and the deacons and then Msgr. Marini, who seems to still be there.

    Okay, Pope Francis did not distribute communion himself but there were other wonderful signs. Outside he took time greeting parishioners while security men kept trying to rush the people away.

    I was not able to watch the whole thing. Maybe I missed something disturbing. But I hope and pray not. I pray anyway, no matter what!

  89. Pingback: A Key to Understanding the Thought of Pope Francis? - Ragin Cajun Catholics

  90. BLB Oregon says:

    “Can someone please assure me that ‘obedience’ doesn’t mean we have stop using all those wonderful vestments, Chalice’s etc?”

    Of course not. If wonderful vestments and sacred vessels are what a parish owns, how on earth would it help the poor to go out and buy something different? Obedience also does not mean that no one ever asks for anything or tries to change the mind of someone with authority over them, either. Think of St. Therese, and all she went through to convince those in authority to allow her to enter the convent before the usual age! It is totally OK to campaign for that which is most edifying, even if you have to overcome some skepticism in those with the last word.

    This may make you feel better: Take a look at this chalice that then-Cardinal Bergoglio elected to use in 2005…this could hardly have been the least ornate chalice he could have chosen.
    Look at the beauty of the silver-fronted altar at the Cathedral in Buenos Aires, and the magnificent candlesticks, where he offered Mass….that is not a stripped-down sanctuary. He didn’t have the altar front melted down for the silver.

    Our Holy Father decided not to wear a mozzetta made of red velvet and ermine. There is a more simple version, but I did not see that one in the pictures of the Room of Tears. Perhaps the one available did not suit what he wanted for his first appearance to the world. Perhaps he was overwhelmed by it all. He has not put the Sistine Chapel up for sale. The collections of the Vatican museums have not appeared on Craigslist. Breathe!

    As I wrote earlier, I am most pleased to see that although he did not dress as a cardinal when he took public transportation back home, he did dress as a priest. Taking the more simple route does not mean abolishing the distinction between the priesthood and the laity. He is not going to go there.

  91. GAK says:

    Recently someone here on Fr. Z’s blog ( I don’t remember which topic) said some of us are hypocritical in that we seem to be far harder on SSPXers in our criticisms than we are on the average pro-choice, Obama-loving, liberal, faux-Catholic slob in the pew next to us.

    My answer to that is yes, I sure am harder on the SSPXers as a general rule than I am on, for lack of a better term, “liberal” Catholics.

    I hold people who actually believe in the efficacy of confession & the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist to a higher standard.

  92. Jack Regan says:

    I’ve just been over at Rorate reading some of the comments. They are DEFINITELY turning on the Pope, which is really, really sad to see.

    At the end of the day, we either trust in the Holy Spirit and believe in the see of Peter or we don’t. There’s no middle ground.

  93. Katylamb says:

    I think they’ve lost their minds over there at Rorate. I’m a regular reader. Was, I mean. I am so done with them. They are an occasion of sin for me now. The last comment I read said that Rodrigo Borgia would have been a better choice than Pope Francis because at least he didn’t mess with the liturgy. Some have also said Father Z is “throwing meat to his stoolies” or something like that. I lost my temper over the Borgia post and commented but they probably won’t post my comment. I don’t care. They are the worst joy stealers- but no more. God bless the Pope!

  94. mamajen says:


    The timing of the removal of the link doesn’t match up with Father’s SSPX post. Not to mention he has written similar posts a number of times and it wasn’t until recently that they removed it. I don’t know why the link is gone (I think they hate that he doesn’t hate the pope), but there is no excuse for the vitriol that they are allowing their commenters to spew both toward Father Z and his readers (or anyone else for that matter). Father Z would never allow that kind of thing to take place on his site, and he has much more of a moderation load to deal with. Please don’t make excuses for them. They may be scared of the new pope, but their diabolical reaction to him scares me much more.

  95. Jack Regan says:

    @Katylamb Good points.

    I think that there is a danger for Rorate of essentially becoming liberal over this issue which is to say ‘I’m going to throw my toys out of the pram if the Pope says something I don’t like’ rather than being Orthodox and saying ‘The successor of Peter has said this, so let’s at least explore it faithfully.’

  96. Anabela says:

    Link to the Leaflet for the Installation Holy Mass on Tuesday on the Feast of St. Joseph.

  97. frjim4321 says:

    [Here’s the strange thing about that. I never said they should beg forgiveness. I have never said that they should beg forgiveness. People say that i said that, but… I. DID. NOT. Here is what I wrote concerning Pope Francis: “The entire SSPX should gather in St. Peter’s Square, crawl on hands and knees to the Apostolic Palace and beg the new Pope to allow them to kiss his foot, knee and hand and promise obedience.” So… the can freak out all they want about what they claim I wrote. But… I didn’t write that they should beg forgiveness.] – – – Rev. Blogmaster

    I can attest to that, I remember clearly what you wrote and there was nothing about forgiveness there, not only in the current version (not that I would accuse you of editing) but in the original version because I read it very carefully. There was nothing about forgiveness there.

    Fr. Fox, my comment about “gingerbread” was not related to the cost of such items . . . I am sure the archives are full of items that have been bought and paid for centuries ago. Accuse me of being a 70’s dinosaur if you wish but I am of the Mies “Less is More” van der Roe school and my comment was more on the aesthetics than of the financial aspect. My personal aesthetic is that decorations, extra candles, crucifixes, etc., very much detract from rather than contribute to an awareness of that which is essential.

    The church will always have to deal with the preferential option for the poor in relationship to creating appropriate worship spaces, office buildings, living accommodations, etc. But that’s not what I was trying to break open here.

    I guess I was contributing to this string because it’s around something I’ve been thinking of ever since I heard that our new pope took the name Francis. I don’t think it’s a matter of “liberals turning on the pope” as it might rather be the new pope making us all rather uncomfortable with our extremely comfortable existences.

  98. MisterH says:

    To read the text of Pope Francis’ first Angelus address which took place earlier today, click on the link.

    The link includes a bonus: A video clip of Pope Francis’ first meeting with individual members of the public!

  99. anniemw says:

    I went to Rorate’s site once since Francis was elected and found their tone shocking.

    I am so sad about the vocal criticism of Pope Francis by a small number of traditionalists. That one could very clearly read Fr Zuhlsdorf’s call to the SSPX, posted very plainly and accessibly here on [more than once!!] and still misinterpret his words, and spread that misinterpretation around, should be enough to drive home the point that we must be so careful about what we read, even from “solid” sources. I hope Rorate posts a correction and an apology.

  100. Jenelle says:

    I should have added before – after reading Cardinal Pell’s comments in this article, I am even more at ease –

    Proponents of the traditional Latin Mass had little to fear, he said.

    That makes me think that maybe this was a topic of discussion pre-conclave? For him to bring it up, it must have been a concern when they were having their discussions.

    I fully trust Cardinal Pell in his judgement and he would not have said that unless true.

  101. Gregg the Obscure says:

    His Holiness did re-instate the Curia for the time being with an indication that changes will be coming. Not on the first day as is customary; but still done

    IY’ll repeat something posted elsewhere: Failure to give Pope Francis the honor due him makes one functionally Protestant.

  102. thepapalbull says:

    If you don’t like Rotate, don’t read it. The constant harping and complaining about it is becoming a killjoy over here.

  103. oldcanon2257 says:

    Those who are against the so-called “trappings of the papacy” or the trappings of the priesthood for that matter (perhaps His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony, if he reads Father Z’s blog) might want to read and reflect on the contents of a January 2013 blog post by Mark Shea called “In Defense of Beauty”, specifically about “beauty in service of God” and “rich toward God”:

    Mark’s is one of the few blogs Fr. Z keeps track of. Note that his post about beauty in the service of God (to honor and glorify God) was way before the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI.

    The article truly dispels the myth propagated by “Shoes of the Fisherman” and those who advocate polyester poncho chasuble, and (as Mark Shea put it) “paper plates and Styrofoam cups” for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    One quote from the above article that amazed me was that from Dorothy Day. She said, “For Christ himself, housed in the tabernacles in the Church, no magnificence is too great…”

    At the very end, Mark quoted passages from G.K. Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” about St. Thomas Becket and the “modern man” who complained about Becket’s elaborate liturgical vestments:

    “It was certainly odd that the modern world charged Christianity at once with bodily austerity and with artistic pomp. But then it was also odd, very odd, that the modern world itself combined extreme bodily luxury with an extreme absence of artistic pomp. The modern man thought Becket’s robes too rich and his meals too poor. But then the modern man was really exceptional in history; no man before ever ate such elaborate dinners in such ugly clothes. The modern man found the Church too simple exactly where modern life is too complex; he found the Church too gorgeous exactly where modern life is too dingy. The man who disliked the plain fasts and feasts was mad on entrées. The man who disliked vestments wore a pair of preposterous trousers. And surely if there was any insanity involved in the matter at all it was in the trousers, not in the simply falling robe. If there was any insanity at all, it was in the extravagant entrées, not in the bread and wine.”

    “Becket wore a hair shirt under his gold and crimson, and there is much to be said for the combination; for Becket got the benefit of the hair shirt while the people in the street got the benefit of the crimson and gold. It is at least better than the manner of the modern millionaire, who has the black and the drab outwardly for others, and the gold next his heart.”

    I can hardly wait for the day that our Holy Father Pope Francis says Mass vested in sacred vestments like those worn by Saint Ignatius of Loyola:

    What will “they” do then? At that time, will they start unleashing their vile verbal attacks against… St. Ignatius? Or will they launch verbal attacks against Pope Francis? Or both?

  104. HobokenZephyr says:

    Fr. Jim, perhaps something about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable?

  105. mamajen says:


    I agree–we don’t need to make Father’s blog about them. I’ve been guilty of joining in the discussion a few times, so I am not one to talk, but I will try not to give it any more of my energy. Father has avoided negativity in his posts, and I think it’s only fair that we don’t drag somebody else’s negativity over here. I know a lot of us who really liked and respected Rorate are just plain shocked, so I understand the need to talk it out a bit, but hopefully we can all move on now.

  106. Parasum says:

    “Liberals will soon turn on Pope Francis”

    ## Why not “Some Traditionalists have already turned on Pope Francis”, as well as the chosen headline ? Or better still : “Some Catholics of opposing sympathies are already criticising Pope Francis” ? Not all Liberals do, not all Traditionalists do – and “turn[ing] on X” suggests a subjective degree of hostility that may well be wholly absent. “A soft answer turneth away wrath”, so maybe the Church needs direct and truthful speaking, but mildness as well. Equally, such a headline would avoid the appearance of partisan spirit, and would be true to what has already happened.

    It would be a great pity if a priest – even more than other Catholics, given that priestly ordination confers a character & graces the rest of us do not receive – seemed to be as partisan as one of the “children of this world”. How do Catholics do more than them, if they are led by the same “spirit of the world”, (as St. Paul calls it) ? Catholics need to be free of partisan spirit – not further imbued with it; but a priest who is free of it and exemplifies the contrary virtues helps to build up the laity, and thus the Church.

  107. Mitchell NY says:

    The bad comments from some folks of the Traditionalist mindset are equal to the same sentiments expressed when Pope Benedict was elected out of the mouths of the Progressive or Liberal faction and unending through the 8 years of his Pontificate. The vicious attacks against Benedict were real and they still do not cease. So let’s keep some perspective because when emotions are running high people can say lots of things. What surprises me is that Pope Francis is probably well aware of this human flaw and I really don’t understand why he somewhat provokes either camp in the opening days of his Pontificate. Not sure it falls under the banner of humility but I will wait it out and see.

  108. pmullane says:

    A young priest, faithful to the church and sympathetic to tradition, is asked by some in his parish if he would learn the Extraordinary Form. Fr is busy but open to the idea, so does a google search to do some research on the traditional blogosphere that he has heard about and….reads the comments on some forums since Wednesday. Do we think we are gaining souls to our cause with our behaviour? Or do we not care because we’re right and did the rest. We’ve been hard done to so we can be bitter and say/do what we like.

    Some people jumped to extreme conclusions based on little evidence and malicious rumour and, having staked out that position, are too proud or stubborn to walk it back. This is important, if tradition is to have its day then we can’t afford to behave like spoilt hysterical children.

  109. On Ave Maria Singles, one of the questions in the profile is “What are your views on papal authority?” I wrote the following about eleven years ago, but it is just as sensible today as it was then:

    Authority needs to be understood in the sense of “credibility,” “believability” or “trustworthiness” as much as anything else. Seen from that perspective, it is not nearly as troublesome as the secular world likes to portray it. We all need someone we can trust, especially on matters of faith and morals, and Jesus has given us the Pope, so we’d better take advantage of him.

    If those on the far left and the far right would only see “authority” in this sense– in the sense of not having to figure it all out for oneself, but having reliable guides to help us through a deep, dark, dangerous forest or foreign land (we are all foreigners here on Earth; our citizenship is in Heaven), maybe they wouldn’t see authority as just a bunch of meanies who like to kill all the fun.

  110. racjax says:

    Why would Pope Francis choose to not distribute communion at his first public Mass? What did he intend to accomplish by that decision?

  111. kneeling catholic says:

    majuscule has noted some very good news! It makes me ashamed of myself for holding my breath until today. The Holy Father even makes deacons kneel for Communion….

    I have a real hope for Pope Francis:
    1. He has kept MSGR Marini and his first Mass to ‘make a statement’ is very reverent and everyone, must kneel for Communion.
    2. He is serious about cleaning out the Church’s Judas’.
    3. His statements about poverty are going to greatly sadden some of the professional Catholics on diocese payrolls. Some of whom will have trouble because of point #2.
    4. See point #1

  112. Denis says:

    We can call this the “mozzetta effect”–it’s the Catholic version of the butterfly effect. Monsignor Guido Marini points to the mozzetta >> Pope Francis shakes his head >> some traditionalists freak out >> other traditionalists freak out about the traditionalists who are freaking out >> “100% obedient” catholics freak out because the traditionalists are, once again, not being 100% obedient >> Cardinal Mahony begins writing a proposal to spend a billion dollars replacing St. Peter’s Basilica with a replica of Taj Mahony, and to do so “for the sake of the poor” >> Hans Kung feels more youthful than he has felt in 50 years >> Cardinal Kasper asks whether there might still be time to return those darn Ordinariate guys to the fullness of the true (i.e. Anglican) faith >> many hips are broken during ill-advised celebratory liturgical dances >> for the first time in 20 years, a salad-bowl thurible is sold; unfortunately, the long-haired Jesuit craftsman who makes them has just broken his hip in a celebratory liturgical dance and the shipment will be delayed for a few months…and so on

  113. Shamrock says:

    Like you Father, I went over to the Non-Catholic Rag to see for myself what all this sudden *love-fest* between the dissenters and the new Pope Francis was about. I mean you know there is a skunk in the room somewhere when we even hear this gush from Leonard Boff! Once the honeymoon is over….duck! The salvos will fill the airwaves and they won’t be gushing. There
    will be arrows filled with the usual toxicity we have come to know and expect. Perhaps they
    think he will be unable to resist their mass overtures of *love* and sudden *respect* for the Papacy. Ha! Pope Francis has been around the block afew times with the likes of Boff’s bunch!

  114. HobokenZephyr says:

    Let’s all take a time out and say a prayer tonight for Pope Francis’ security detail. If the first few days of this pontificate are any indication, these guys are going to have ulcers before too long! Security officers worry about EVERYTHING and I’m sure they’re all much more uncomfortable than either the progressives or the traditionalists right now!

  115. Cavaliere says:

    If you don’t like Rotate, don’t read it.

    That is certainly true. However it should be a concern to tradionally minded Catholics because the hate they promote affects all of us. Those who might eventually be supportive of the TLM are put off by that behavior and the lump all “Traditionalists” together.

    As the TLM has been in existence for centuries it has obviously been said in poor areas and not always with an ostentatious display. To suggest that it needs to be done away with to help the poor is silly. Just as dressing up a NO Mass with “bells and smells” does not substitute for the things inherently lacking in that Mass, neither does removing those things from the TLM reduce the inate dignity of that Mass.

    Liberalism/progressives are not on the rebound. The biological solution is still in place. We aren’t going to have another 40 years of nonsense because there won’t be any “progressive” priests left. The up and coming generation of young people particularly priests and religious are still more conservative, orthodox and traditional minded. Many young(er) priests praise Pope John Paul for their vocation despite the outrageous papal Masses. If it’s any consolation to the person who had to endure the nonsense of the Basilica in Minneapolis they aren’t producing any vocations there. And a little plug for Serra Clubs. If you want good orthodox priests who like the TLM then get active in Serra and work to promote vocations.

  116. Imrahil says:

    Interesting, dear @Andrew Saucci.

    I’d go so far in fact as to say that noone, if stripped of all subconscious and conscious confusion has a problem with authority.

    Almost anybody has, and if we are not writing exhortations for non-obligatory perfection of virtues rightly has, a problem if the authority orders something they in a substantiated way disagree with.

    It boils down to the much less confused, and often much simpler question: is this or that policy right?

    If someone e.g. thinks homosexuality is just fine, he is – mentally abstracted – in itself right to have a problem with Papal authority, who says the contrary.
    Of course, he never was right in the first place about his principal assumption.

  117. onosurf says:

    I love you optimism, Fr. Z. But you are in for a cold cold shower. Read on…

  118. MarcAnthony says:

    onosurf, oh please.

    “But Vatican II, including its ecumenical movement, remains the biggest disaster that the Church has experienced in modern times…”

    Yeah, sure.

    But forget that. Maybe you agree with him, that’s your right. Here’s my REAL favorite part:

    “It has been reported by traditional Catholics…”

    Uh oh! Not traditionalist catholics! With an ironclad source like that, how could we possibly argue?

    Sorry, but what a ridiculous article.

  119. Cavaliere says:

    Here’s another snippet by the same author cited in the Renew America link above,

    As a practicing Roman Catholic – I must say – that if Cardinal Raymond Burke is considered about the best that we have in the leadership of the Catholic Church – then God help us all.

  120. rodin says:

    Regarding Francis’ unpopularity with fellow Jesuits it is my recollection that on a trip to Latin America JPII was filmed giving a dressing down to a Liberation Theologian (a Jesuit I believe) that brought the Jebbie to his knees. Does anyone else remember that? No doubt some Jesuits were displeased. And there are still plenty of Jesuits (obviously not all) who have little respect for the teachings of the Church so some of the uncomplimentary remarks very likely come from that direction.

  121. Cavaliere says:

    So if Marielena Montesino de Stuart feels that way about Cardinal Burke I daresay her opinion of Pope Francis is going to be very grim.

  122. Traductora says:

    FR Z, I also think the SSPX (which could have reconciled very easily until about a month ago) should crawl up to Pope Francis – who is very pious and orthodox, no matter what his liturgical tastes – and offer their service and then take the initiative by offering to conduct some public act of reconciliation.

    The problem with most traditionalists is that they see themselves as a small but select group and really don’t see themselves as part of the project of preaching the Gospel to the whole world. What they need to show now is that it’s not all about them and their liturgical preferences, but about preaching the Gospel – and they need to show that the beautiful traditions of the past are not only relevant but very attractive in our times.

    Pope Francis spoke about the wonderful devotions of the Spanish peoples – devotion to the Virgin, to the Crucified, to the saints – and said that public expression of this in processions and public acts of piety has kept the Faith alive in Latin America. This is absolutely true, and the only places where the Faith has faded have been those places that turned the Church into a social service organization, suppressed all the moral teachings, and also crushed popular piety as being “superstitious.” Remember how the “Spirit of Vatican II” purged the saints and eliminated the traditional popular holidays (Rogation Days, for example) from the calendar .

    The only reason Catholicism survives in Spain – where it is now doing very well – is because the popular devotions were kept up by the people. This would mean the cofradias (the sodalities that sponsored the Holy Week processions), the belenistas (builders of Nativity scenes, a very important Spanish custom) and the peregrinos, people who went on pilgrimages, either big ones such as the Camino, or local romerias to a nearby shrine.

    The clergy hated these practices and tried to suppress them, but the people kept on going and now , with better bishops, they have suddenly emerged as the jewel in the Spanish crown. And these people, most of them shopkeepers, bus drivers, hospital workers and even minor bureaucrats, kept the Faith alive in Spain even when the “official” Church seemed to be trying to destroy it.

    On the other hand, as much as the Spanish love their traditional practices, the old rite (permitted in many places and actually installed in some truly beautiful old churches) is really not growing. But that’s because it never gets out of the door of the the church.

    Have the SSPX lead some processions. I have been on the Camino when some of their French groups have passed by, and they start off with 20 people and reach Santiago with 300 because so many people they meet on the way are impressed by them. And that’s what they need to do everywhere, particularly in Latin America (where there are many SSPX groups) and the United States.

    Just my opinion.

  123. Springkeeper says:

    Two things:
    #1. I have been poor (and not that long ago) and I would not have felt any better attending Mass in some dreary protestant-knock off parish. I thoroughly enjoyed attending Mass in a beautiful place far beyond anything I will ever be afford on this earth. I focused on the Lord while I was there and didn’t even think about the fact I had to choose between food and gas with the little money I had left for the week.

    #2. What I have read of Pope Francis reminds me of another hard-core religious radical who loved the poor and wouldn’t water down The Truth for anyone; He ended up being crucified.

  124. netokor says:

    Yes, the wrath of the homosexual agenda will be unleashed against the Church as never before. And they have many deluded on their side. Pray to Our Lady unceasingly. We must persuade these homosexual militants with genuine concern for their soul that no unnatural relationship can bring them the true love and peace they seek. Many will abhor us, but many will listen if they sense Christ in us. The devil wants many precious souls in hell. Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio.

  125. hilltop says:

    Just back from Holy Mass!
    I note that I do owe Father Z a retraction. I retract my earlier characterization of Father’s call for the SSPX to “beg forgiveness” of Pope Francis. He did not do so. I did remember that incorrectly. Retraction entered here for the record.
    The actions of SSPX Priests crawling on hand and knee, kissing foot, knee and hand of Pope Francis, and promising obedience might quite naturally associate themselves with the attendant entreaty for forgiveness in my mind, but not in Father’s.
    I do respectfully observe that the remainder of my characterization of Father’s prescription for SSPX
    Priests remains unrefuted and indeed has been re-demonstrated by it’s author. It is his prescription, not my recent characterization of it, that has rankled readers of Rorate and likely – my theory only- led to the aforementioned missing link.
    I remain a faithful and respectful reader of both this excellent blog and of Rorate.

  126. Karen Russell says:


    Re “the “mozzetta effect””–That had me literally laughing out loud!

    Thank you. I needed that laugh.

  127. Andy Lucy says:

    “A young priest, faithful to the church and sympathetic to tradition, is asked by some in his parish if he would learn the Extraordinary Form. Fr is busy but open to the idea, so does a google search to do some research on the traditional blogosphere that he has heard about and….reads the comments on some forums since Wednesday. Do we think we are gaining souls to our cause with our behaviour? Or do we not care because we’re right and did the rest. We’ve been hard done to so we can be bitter and say/do what we like.”

    Amen, amen.

    When, oh when, are traditionalists ever going to learn that there are times to pour return fire on the TRUE enemies of tradition and the Faith, and there are times they need to keep their metaphorical booger-hooks off the bang switch?

    As a traditionalist myself, I understand the kicked dog syndrome. You get kicked often enough by those who either don’t care or despise the traditional liturgy, well, whenever you see a leg get pulled back, you expect to get kicked. I have personally been told… by priests and BISHOPS… that I am stupid, that I should just leave the Church, that I am a dinosaur, that no one cares what I think or desire when it comes to liturgy. I truly get it, guys. I’ve been in the trenches for over 20 years, I have the battle scars to prove it. And, I STILL have to drive over 2 hours to the nearest EF Mass. And I still pray for those folks every day.

    That said, I just can not comprehend why those who claim to love Tradition, as I do, see His Holiness for 5 seconds on the loggia, and immediately start flaying him alive. From the sedevacantists, I expect crap like that… like walking next to a duck pond; don’t be surprised when you have to have to wipe duck excrement from your shoes. So it is with sedes, like the SSPV. But people who claim to love Tradition, and the Church, and the Papacy, and also claim to be servants of the Holy Father… why are they ripping on this man? Life as he knew it, ended the moment he said, “Accepto.” And not a half hour later, his supposedly devoted children are calling him an anti-pope? Showing someone who may not care about Tradition and liturgy as we do that we are a bunch of unsettled, crazed, deranged lunatics hurling insults at him as chimps fling faeces in a zoo is NOT the best way to show our new Pontiff that we can be trusted to have his six in his battle against Satan, about which he has often spoken, even before his election.

    So, man up, saddle up, lock and load. The rosary, the breviary, assisting at Holy Mass, almsgiving and prayer are our weapons. Are we going to use them to help our Holy Father Francis accomplish his mission? Or are we gonna sit around, in the rear with the gear, like a bunch of spiritual fobbits? So get steppin’… let’s get outside the wire and engage the enemy- you know, Satan and all of his minions who roam the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Hooah?

    Eventually, the NSR and their ilk will fall out of love with our Holy Father, and we will still be here, saying our prayers and performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy, carrying out whatever mission the Holy Father decides to task us.

  128. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m the lucky one I guess. I’ve never heard of either Rorate or Rotate. I’ve seen it called both here. I suppose you mean Rorate, because Rotate doesn’t sound right.

  129. Charles E Flynn says:

    I cannot recall the last time it was actually worth reading one-eighth of a kilocomment.

  130. Joe in Canada says:

    I think you’re wrong on one point, Father Z. It’s NEVER good for a laugh.

  131. Katylamb says:

    I have a serious question. I keep seeing comments here and have seen them elsewhere where people are saying how they are poor but wouldn’t be helped by having the churches stripped of their beauty, or made simpler, and even comments saying that getting rid of the traditional Mass wouldn’t help the poor. I agree with all that, of course. But what I want to know is where the Pope said or implied that he wanted to strip the churchs to help the poor? Is it because he said he’d like a poor church for the poor? Because where I was raised, in northern Michigan, we were all very poor. I mean seriously poor. We did not have indoor plumbing or electricity until I was 12 years old, nor did many others in our small community. Our church was poor too. So poor the priest used to have to ask for extra donations to buy fuel. My mother and other women were always taking food to the priest and cleaning the church and the rectory and so on. We truly felt we belonged to that church and it belonged to us. We were poor people and we had a poor church. Yet our small church was (and still is) very beautiful with statues and a fine, grand altar. (although sadly they now use a table in front of it) Maybe the pope meant something else when he said “a poor church.” Maybe he meant something to do with that sense of ownership and belonging that the poor can have for their churches. It doesn’t have to mean a stripped down church, does it? Nobody ever suggested stripping down our church for any reason. It wouldn’t have been permitted by the people- or the priests or bishop either.
    So here is another question: did the pope say something else that I missed? Did he specifically say we should get rid of the beautiful things in our church in order to serve the poor? If he did not say that, then I can’t understand what all these comments mean.

  132. MikeM says:

    I went to Archbishop Chaput’s Mass at the Cathedral in Philadelphia today. He had very positive things to say about Pope Francis… and beyond what would have been necessary out of respect. I saw a lot that I really liked in Francis before (along, admittedly, with a few things that I didn’t like so much)… The fact that Chaput holds him in high regard gives me an extra measure of comfort, though.

  133. KAS says:

    I think that as I have read from ultra traditionalists and from liberal/modernists criticism and even hatred spewing– I’d say I am very pleased with Pope Francis and pray lots for his safety because with all the right enemies he must be very orthodox and have a gift for leading people to Christ and into Catholic beliefs. I expect to be impressed and challenged (not in a comfortable sense) as we go along and it will be wonderful.

  134. Giuseppe says:

    Pope Francis is a Jesuit who took a vow of poverty (as all Jesuits do). He is struggling to figure out how this fits in with his new calling. Give him some time. I predict that
    1) he will not sell gold or other precious objects from the Vatican
    2) he will, though, maintain a level of simplicity in his dress, both daily and liturgically
    3) berate clerics who strive for titles, money, first class plane tickets, etc.
    4) remove from active ministry those who facilitated the ability of pedophile priests to continue working in any setting where they might be exposed to children

    As God said to St. Francis: “Rebuild my church”, so too has God said to Pope Francis.

  135. Catholictothecore says:

    Believe it or not, I have never visited the Rorate Caeli website. Ever. And I’m going to keep it that way. An irrational mob scene is playing out over the blogosphere and the media, as expected, and it’s not going to abate. It will just get worse.

    If a Pew Research poll were to come out in a year or two or five years down the road, and it showed an increase in the number of people returning to the Catholic Church, I would not hesitate to credit Pope Francis with that. As Fr. Z, noted in one of his posts, “Pope Francis has a backbone.”

    He is going to clean-up the curia. He is going to reach out to the “poor in spirit.” If that somehow helps in healing the wounds of those abused by some in the clergy and brings them back to the Catholic Church in addition to those who left because of the scandal then, “Repair my Church, Francis,” would be mission accomplished for Pope Francis. Prayers for our Holy Father.

  136. Denis says:


    I can’t speak for others but my fear that he believes that one cannot both serve the poor and strive for beauty in the liturgy is a result of his choices thus far; the Vatican is bursting with beautiful vestments of historic importance, some of which have been used by Benedict XVI; the liturgical riches of the Vatican have been rediscovered, gradually and painstakingly, by Pope Benedict and Monsignor Guido Marini. So far, at every step, Pope Francis has made deliberate choices to reject all of that, and to return is to the time of the older Marini. Not one poor person was benefitted by the decision not to wear the papal mozzetta, by the decision to wear a simplistic vestment today…etc. I won’t belabor the point. You can see for yourself in the two Masses that we have witnessed what choices have been made. I interpret these gestures–and I admit that I may be acting out of simple panic in doing so–as expressions of the idea that humility and care for the poor cannot go together with beauty in the liturgy. To me, that is to sever Beauty from Truth and Goodness. I sincerely hope that I have misread the gestures of our new Pope.

  137. The Sicilian Woman says:

    “Liberals will soon turn on Pope Francis” Some conservatives already have done so.

    I am so, so sad by the attempts at both sides to paint Pope Francis as being in their respective corners. Some things I have read bode well for those of us who want a doctrinally strong pope, while some things I have read bode poorly. Perhaps he is truly the one chosen by the Holy Spirit, or, as Pope Emeritus Benedict said in regards to the Holy Spirit’s part in choosing a pope, perhaps the cardinals chose him of their own free will and against the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We truly will not know until some time has played out.

    Regardless of wherever Pope Francis falls – and I will base my opinion regarding where he falls re: doctrine on what he does as Pope – all we can do is pray for him and pray for our Church. The Church is the family that matters most to me, and it’s sickening to see so much dissension this early in the new papacy.

    St. Mary the Blessed Virgin, pray for us.
    St. Joseph, Patron of the universal Church, pray for us.
    St. Peter, Apostle, first Pope and first Bishop of Rome, pray for us.

  138. Katylamb says:

    Thank you for your reply Denis. I do hope your fears don’t come true but we can only wait and see. Because he chooses simple vestments doesn’t mean though, that he will strip the churches, does it?

  139. Emilio III says:

    EWTN should really publish an English translation of that interview linked to in several comments above. I wish I could do it justice… The first section is his response to a question about Pope Benedict’s call for a Year of Faith.

    He doesn’t know exactly what led the Pope to call for it, but he’s sure that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Then he goes into what at first appears to be a digression. Pope Paul VI was the last to call for a Year of Faith, at a very troublesome time for the Church. He mentions the “Smoke of Satan” quote and that in that year Paul VI wrote the “bellisimo” Credo of the People of God. And he doesn’t think that today is a less troublesome time for the Church than in the last Year of Faith.
    Pope Benedict has often preached about the various modern idolatries that afflict us and that the only solution is faith in Our Lord, who reigns from the Cross.

    The last section is about prayer. How most of our prayer is petition and thanksgiving, forgetting the need to praise and worship. As if it focused on ourselves rather than God.

    Anyhow, I found it very encouraging.

  140. Pingback: Pope Francis and Change | Quicksilver to Gold

  141. Athelstan says:

    So much commentary about the doings at Rorate Caeli – which is perhaps fair, since they do seem to represent the more alarmed, vocal end of the traditionalist spectrum (which is not the same as the most extreme).

    I also found their tone, and timing, regrettable – not because it all was all inaccurate (they seem to have been right about the failed 2007 TLM Mass authorized by the archdiocese, and the absence of any licit TLM’s in the archdiocese), but because it was unbalanced and uncharitable. Charity *is* one of the classic virtues. They’ve leaped on some evidence, some of it equivocal and incomplete, and imputed all culpability to Cdl. Bergoglio, despite the possibility of more complex explanations. They did so immediately, within minutes, which undermines their credibility. When you start out the song with the speaker turned to 11, there’s nowhere else to go when you need to raise your voice.

    And yet I can see how it happened. The Rorate editors are relying on their traditionalist contacts in Argentine, and they seem to be intensely hostile to Pope Francis. However it happened – and it surely happened over a long period of time, with many actors – traditionalism in Argentina is large but almost wholly in the province of the SSPX, since the ordinaries, chanceries, or clergy down there have managed to restrict any possibility for *licit* traditional worship almost anywhere. Which is regrettable, since it ended up driving traditionalists (save for the few adherents of Miles Christi and the like) into the arms of the SSPX, embittered and hostile to diocesan authorities in the country, an extremely unfortunate pastoral situation – and one which removed a needed counterweight to diocesan liberals. One would think that efforts would have been made to offer licit, sincere communities and Masses to prevent such poaching (or defections, if you like), but that seems not to have happened, for whatever reason.

    All of which is relevant in regards to Pope Francis because it remains unresolved just exactly what his direct role has been in these tragic developments. Ultimately he has ultimate responsibility as the ordinary of the metropolitan archdiocese. But that does not mean he personally approved every action taken. It’s one thing to say that he’s not much of a friend, or sympathetic, to traditionalists, or their liturgy (I think this is becoming fairly evident), but another to say he’s made it a personal crusade to smash them at every turn, without clear evidence to that end. I’ll continue reading Rorate to see if they ever develop such evidence; but I wish they could find a more temperate and balanced way to present it.

    As for Jamie Manson and NSR: they lack not only charity, but a number of other virtues besides, including, I fear, even one cardinal virtue.

  142. Alan Aversa says:

    After 3 years of being in CL, I’m now an ex-ciellino. CL’s founder‘s writings are steeped in Modernism. You can even tell by the title of his top-selling book: The Religious Sense. Click here for how it harbors Modernism.

  143. kallman says:

    When a new Pope comes, people don’t know exactly what is going to happen. They have to await his actions, not just his words. This new Pope was elected behind closed doors for reasons which we were not told. His initial acts in regards to breaking tradition in regards to regalia and hallowed customs and the way he has said his first Masses of course concern those with a great love of the TLM. We are fearful because we do not know his plans in regards to the liturgy, tradition, or most other things. We can only be certain that things will change, we do not yet know how. Let us pray that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei continues as is, that Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae remain unchanged, and that we will continue to have the Mass of Pope Pius V.
    It is a small worry that Francis of Assisi, a blessed saint, was a friar rather than a priest, yet the Pope took his name thus.

  144. Allan S. says:

    Agreed. I was wondering how long it would take agenda-driven “progressive” types to notice that St. Francis, while ultimately agreeing to become a Deacon (and thus a cleric) was generally pretty persistent in wanting to remain a male religious only (a state that today, remember, seems to be officially classified as “laity”).

    This can be very easily spun into more ammunition for the whole “laity have no dignity unless they run around the sanctuary doing priestly things” theology.

  145. robtbrown says:

    Alan Aversa says:

    After 3 years of being in CL, I’m now an ex-ciellino. CL’s founder‘s writings are steeped in Modernism. You can even tell by the title of his top-selling book: The Religious Sense. Click here for how it harbors Modernism.

    CL is not my cup of tea, but I did know a few of its members when I was in Rome.

    What little I know of Giussani’s theological method, it certainly isn’t that of St Thomas, nor is it neo-scholastic. Definitely, it seems modern, but I would not say that it is Modernism (which in theology says that Revelation is just a manifestation of a man’s religious sense).

  146. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I suppose you mean Rorate, because Rotate doesn’t sound right.”

    Rorate is the blog; Rotate is what they are doing :)

    The Chicken

  147. The Masked Chicken says:

    Alan Aversa,

    Just took a quick look at your blog. Interesting stuff. Will visit.

    [This has nothing to do with the topic, but the ceasing of the fighting for a few minutes is refreshing, isn’t it?]

    I’m afraid to stick my toe into the dicsussion, because this combox topic is like a superhighway with a crosswalk in the middle of it and no traffic light.

    The Chicken

    The Chicken

  148. LarryW2LJ says:

    I love the following, which is from George Wiegel, and I think this is why the NSR and its ilk are very afraid:

    In his view, “‘Catholic Lite’ is finished. It’s going to take another 20 years for some people to figure that out, but it’s over.

    “And it’s over for a very simple reason. It doesn’t work,” he stated.

    “It’s incapable of engaging this toxic culture and it’s incapable of inspiring people to embrace the full symphony of Catholic truth and then share that.”

    When it comes to Pope Francis, Weigel believes that he understands this reality well.

    The full article can be read at:

  149. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin Fox says:

    As much as they purport to hate Cardinal Mahony (and maybe they really do), they are of the same mind as he on so many things; and Cardinal Mahony is gushing.

    Cardinal Mahony might be a) trying to get the pope to lift the restrictions placed on him by Abp Gomez, or b) worried that the pope might actually increase them (cf. the story about Cardinal Law).

  150. Fleeb says:



  151. robtbrown says:

    LarryW2LJ says:

    I love the following, which is from George Wiegel, and I think this is why the NSR and its ilk are very afraid:

    In his view, “‘Catholic Lite’ is finished. It’s going to take another 20 years for some people to figure that out, but it’s over.

    “And it’s over for a very simple reason. It doesn’t work,” he stated.

    “It’s incapable of engaging this toxic culture and it’s incapable of inspiring people to embrace the full symphony of Catholic truth and then share that.”

    When it comes to Pope Francis, Weigel believes that he understands this reality well.

    There might be another reason. The new pope, being a Jesuit, has done the 30 Day Spiritual Exercise at least twice and an 8 day version annually.

    Anyone who has done the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius knows that the retreatant is given a choice between God and Satan. There is no middle ground, no Catholic Lite.

  152. majuscule says:

    Fleeb: Google is your friend. Plenty of discussion going on.

  153. catholicmidwest says:

    Allan S,

    Except that there are THREE basic vocational states in the Catholic church, NOT TWO. There are clergy, laity and religious which may or may not overlap in any given individual.

    For instance, your parish priest is most likely a secular priest, meaning that he is a diocesan priest and has not taken vows, but rather made promises to his ordinary upon ordination. There are religious order priests, but in many orders and congregations, they are outnumbered by religious brothers. And that trend is increasing. Religious consecration is not the same thing as diocesan ordination, although many Catholics don’t know that.

  154. catholicmidwest says:

    Speaking of the three basic vocational states in the Church: clerical, lay and religious, brings up another important thing about this new pope. He’s a member of a religious order, meaning he’s a consecrated person, as well as being an ordained person. The Jesuits happen to be a clerical order, so most Jesuits are ordained at the end of their formation, just as the new pope was, but it doesn’t change the fact that his fundamental character is consecration. This may be why he is very comfortable with using the name of Francis, even though St. Francis was never ordained a priest. The Franciscan order is not a clerical order. The great majority of male Franciscans are not ordained; rather, Franciscans traditionally ordain only enough to serve the needs of the order itself. This does not make the brothers inferior, far from it. People sometimes have trouble with the concept of non-clerical orders in the Church.

  155. albizzi says:

    Our Holy Father Francis the 1st dared to quote leon Bloy:
    “Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil.”
    Imagine that: THE DEVIL !!!
    So when the buddhists, the muslims or the hinduists prayed in Assisi together with Benedict XVI in 2011, they… worshipped Satan?
    If pope Francis is consistent will he stop forever these horrid meetings?

  156. Alan Aversa says:

    @robtbrown: “Revelation is just a manifestation of a man’s religious sense”
    This is precisely what Msgr. Giussani is saying. E.g.:

    Mgr. Giussani – Il senso religioso pag. 15

    And so, let us ask ourselves: Where do we find the criterion that permits us to judge what we see happening in ourselves?

    There are two possibilities: either the criterion on which we base our judgement of ourselves is borrowed from the outside, or it is to be found within ourselves.

    If we pursue the first possibility, we shall slip into the alienating situation described earlier. Even if we had undertaken an existential enquiry, and therefore, refused to turn to investigations carried out by others, the result would still be alienating if we drew from others the criteria for judging ourselves. Our meaning would still depend on something outside of ourselves.

    At this point, you could object intelligently that since man did not exist before he came into this would, it is not possible that he can, by himself, provide a criterion for a judgement. In any case, this criterion is “given.” Now, to state that this criterion is inherent within us is not to argue that we alone provide it. Rather, it is to assert that it is drawn from our nature, it is given to us part of our very nature (where the word nature evidently implies the word God, a clue to the ultimate origins of our “I”).

    Only this then can be considered a reasonable, non-alienating alternative method. In conclusion, the criterion for judging this reflection on our own humanity must emerge from within the inherent structure of the human being, the structure at the origin of the person.

    [John E. Zucchi’s translation]

    Compare this to:


    39. […] Now the doctrine of immanence in the Modernist acceptation holds and professes that every phenomenon of conscience proceeds from man as man. The rigorous conclusion from this is the identity of man with God, which means Pantheism.


    14. […] In the religious sentiment one must recognise a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the very reality of God, and infuses such a persuasion of God’s existence and His action both within and without man as to excel greatly any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience. If this experience is denied by some, like the rationalists, it arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state which is necessary to produce it. It is this experience which, when a person acquires it, makes him properly and truly a believer.

    How far off we are here from Catholic teaching we have already seen in the decree of the Vatican Council. We shall see later how, with such theories, added to the other errors already mentioned, the way is opened wide for atheism.

  157. steph says:

    Thank you for your post, Father. I am just adding a few simple words to all that has been said. This morning I read in the local paper that Catholics here are overjoyed and “filled with new hope.” One local priest (unnamed) really laid it on, gushing that Pope Francis is not “arrogant” and that he is “just a man” (reminds me of Jesus Christ Superstar). Liberals are one thing, but when it comes from Catholics it really hurts. It feels like they’re stabbing Benedict in the back, and in a very opportunistic way.

  158. I was pretty tied up from yesterday afternoon till now, so these comments may be too late:

    > RE: griping about Rorate Caeli: my reason for voicing my concerns here is that I suspect they wouldn’t be allowed at Rorate Caeli. I could do a post on my blog about it, but I’m not trying to be too aggressive. I’m trying to communicate to our friends there–and I want us all to be friends (although I don’t know any of those folks)–to stop and think about what they’re doing.

    > RE: Father Z’s advice to the SSPX. If anyone thinks it’s unkind or demeaning to the SSPX, s/he is totally missing the point. Our genial host is giving very good advice. It is, in a way, a compliment to the SSPX. It calls on their best impulses. Those who are so devoted to the timeless tradition of our Church would love to show their devotion and obedience to the successor of Peter. And in the end, what else does Mother Church really need to ask of SSPX but obedience to the holy father? I.e., there need not be any great complications of theological refinement, because our friends in the SSPX embrace the Faith–albeit as expressed in older forms. Oh well–it’s still the Faith. Ergo, there is no question, no hint, of “heresy” (something the “progressives” try to insinuate). I don’t know Bishop Fellay, but if someone said to him, would you kneel down and kiss the shoe of the Pope as an act of filial obedience to him, I like to think Bishop Fellay would respond, “of course I’d be delighted to do that!” And I believe I am thinking well of him when I suppose that. (I remember going to Baltimore, when Pope John Paul II came to visit. It was not long after my reversion to the Catholic Faith. I made a sign. It simply said, “Tu es Petrus.” I held it up as he drove by, and I like to think he saw it. Whatever meaning it had for him, it meant a lot to me and I cried.)

    Now, I may be missing Father Z’s purpose, and if so, I apologize. But I think he’s on to something and I hope our friends in the SSPX reflect on what he’s saying.

    > RE: worries about Pope Francis. Why don’t we stop speculating about what might happen and actually let each day unfold as it will and deal with things if and when they happen? There is a temptation that our instant-communication culture encourages in us; yet it’s an extremely old temptation, the very oldest: wanting to be as God. If and when the pope does something he shouldn’t, we don’t have to be responsible for that. God can handle it. Trust me on this: there is nothing Pope Anyone can do that will take God by surprise.

  159. Traductora says:

    robtbrown, People seem to have forgotten that Mahony gushed over BXVI, too. I remember that, with a smiling face right after the election, he said he “knew him well” and Benedict was “the kind of guy you’d go out for coffee with.” Mahony was still the darling of the press at that time.

    I think Mahony feels that claiming friendship with or knowledge of the person is a sort of preemptive strike that just might get him in their good graces, so I wouldn’t attach too much significance to what he says.

  160. robtbrown says:

    Alan Aversa,

    Disagree. It seems to me that what Msgr Giussani was talking about is the subjective experience of faith. That’s not the same as saying there’s nothing supernatural about Revelation. He’s not confusing fides qua with fides quae.

    As I said before, I am not a fan of this approach or any of the other psychologically driven approaches.

  161. Alan Aversa says:

    Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.‘s The Principles of Catholic Apologetics: A Study of Modernism Based Chiefly on the Lectures of Père Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.’s «De Revelatione per Ecclesiam Catholicam proposita» Adapted and Re-Arranged contains a very good criticism of the “New Apologetic” (p. 28, 42-43):

    The method of Immanence…in human nature presupposes an exigency for the Supernatural

    Before proceeding to note how the advocates of this new Apologetic regard criteria external and internal, the reader will distinguish [cf. Pascendi §19] between (i), the doctrine of “immanence,” i.e. God’s intimate presence in His creation of which the complementary truth is God’s transcendence—acknowledged teaching of Catholic philosophy, and (ii), the doctrine of “immanence” in apologetics which accepts the internal religious sense as the only valid criterion of religious truth [cf. what I quoted above]—one of the fundamental tenets of Modernism.

    Criticism of the New Apologetic
    1.— It is founded on Semi-Agnosticism, vis, untrustworthiness of speculative reason. [Giussani: “The summit of the conquest of reason is the perception of an existing, unreachable unknown.”]
    2.— It is founded also on an aspect of the doctrine of immanence. If Catholic Faith is demanded by our nature, that Faith is not in truth the supernatural. In truth the Supernatural is above not only the powers but the exigencies of human nature. These Apologists fail to see that it is natural happiness arising from the natural knowledge and love of God that our nature strives to attain. [cf. Feingold’s «The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas and His Interpreters» and this «The Thomist» review of it]
    3. — The formal motive of Faith consists in the authority of God who reveals, and not in religious experience.

    Also, he considers Card. Newman one of the apologists who “appeal to internal criteria” (p. 41), as does Giussani; however, he doesn’t appear to consider Newman a New Apologist like Blondel, as he likely would consider Giussani.

  162. LOL! I’ll tell you what, Father–I’ll bet you a lunch!

  163. robtbrown says:


    Cardinal Mahony’s recent comments go beyond what he said about BXVI.

  164. Nicandro says:

    Think liberals draw the line at sticking the knife into the memory of Benedict XVI? We had a guest priest give a homily and he went on and on about how great the changes were going to be and how he loves everything new. He concluded that he looked forwards to Pope Francis giving the church more relevant, meaningful and caring positions than the last two popes. Some of are bitter about JPII evidently! I pray Papa Francesco ends their deluded and offensive gloating soon.

  165. Laura says:

    hey Fr. Z… can you also do a blog post about how American Catholics are already throwing Pope Francis under the bus because of his assertion of wanting the Church to be for the poor, and also highlighting the reality of environmentalism ?
    I have read several blogs such as posts on the Catholic World Report (Ignatius Press) where people say that they don’t “like where the Pope is going” with his comments about the Church being a poor church for the poor, and that he doesn’t really mean that environmental destruction is sinful….

  166. Laura says:

    Also, here is a link to the EWTN translated interview:

  167. robtbrown says:

    Nicandro says:

    Think liberals draw the line at sticking the knife into the memory of Benedict XVI? We had a guest priest give a homily and he went on and on about how great the changes were going to be and how he loves everything new. He concluded that he looked forwards to Pope Francis giving the church more relevant, meaningful and caring positions than the last two popes. Some of are bitter about JPII evidently! I pray Papa Francesco ends their deluded and offensive gloating soon.

    It is liberal delusion that a personable pope is a liberal pope.

  168. Pingback: The Orthopraxic Pope | Contra Mundum

  169. catholicmidwest says:

    Can. 705 A religious who is raised to the episcopate remains a member of his institute, but is subject only to the Roman Pontiff by his vow of obedience. He is not bound by obligations which he prudently judges are not compatible with his condition.

    RE Pope Francis: All this means is that he is no longer bound to his former superior by obedience, because that would make his superior the pope instead of him. He’s still a Jesuit. And Cardinal O’Malley is still a Franciscan, same reason.

  170. catholicmidwest says:

    And I should qualify….Pope Francis is no longer bound to the Jesuit Minister General by obedience in the case that it’s not compatible with the office of the papacy. Rather the Minister General of the Jesuits is bound in obedience to him because he’s the pope and even the Minister General has vowed strict obedience to the pope. Expect a cordial working relationship which is what should happen.

    A similar situation exists with respect to Cardinal O’Malley. The Capuchin Minister General in Rome isn’t going to try to tell Cardinal O’Malley what to do with Boston, although there will be a relationship between them, still, and Cardinal O’Malley remains a Capuchin Franciscan.

  171. catholiccomelately says:

    Father Z, can we hope for a bumper sticker supporting Pope Francis soon to go alongside the one thanking Pope Benedict? Thank you in advance!
    Habemus Papam! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

  172. MarWes says:

    It’s happening already, see the notorious Matthew Fox’s article at

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