“feeeelings… wo wo wo feeeeeeeelings….”

It took them a few hours to get organized, but Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter), in its capacity of LCWR spin surrogate, has started to twist Pope Francis’s address to the UISG (HERE) into something that it is not.

Here is an example.

In my own quick translation of the meat of the Pope’s remarks, I commented that translation of the phrase (in Italian, but also in Latin) “sentire con la Chiesa… sentire cum ecclesia“, can be tricky to render into English.  In Italian, “sentire” has a stronger line of meaning in the senses and feeling, hearing, smelling, so forth.  But the phrase is not originally Italian.  It is Latin, sentire cum Ecclesia.  In Latin sentio means, yes, to discern by the senses, be sensible of”, like percipio, but it also has the “sense” sense of intellego: “to observe, notice” and “to judge, deem”.  For example, there is construction – exactly the construction we are interested in here – sentire cum aliquo, which means “to agree with one in opinion”. If you want to say, “I agree with you!” you can say “Tecum sentio!”, and you would be speaking exactly, like Plautus, Cicero, Quintillian, and writers of Latin through the ages.

If you have to cast your lot with one English word for sentire in the phrase sentire cum ecclesia, you would have to pick “think” or “agree”, and decidedly not feel.  That is not to say that emotions are excluded and this is all über-rationalist.   No.  But the governing concept is the mind, not emotions.  Emotions come along under the tutelage of the mind and will.

And so to the NSR piece where I read this HOWLER of a mistake, which conveniently fits the NSR’s and LCWR’s goal of twisting what the Pope said into something he did not say.  Read and be amazed:

The pope focused on three themes, telling the sister leaders to keep their lives centered on Christ, to think of authority in terms of service, and that they must hold a “feeling with the church [‘sentire’ con la Chiesa] that finds its filial expression in fidelity to the magisterium.”

Citing Pope Paul VI, Francis said, “It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the church, of following Jesus outside of the church, of loving Jesus without loving the church.”

Feel the responsibility that you have of caring for the formation of your institutes in sound church doctrine, in love of the church and in an ecclesial spirit,” the pope said.

Dominican Sr. Margaret Ormond told NCR after the pope’s talk that she thought he recognized the sisters “play a part in the church too, and there’s something to be learned from us.”

“I thought he inserted delicately the whole thing about feeling with the teachings of the church,” [Not. A. Clue.] said Ormond, the prioress of the Ohio-based Dominican Sisters of Peace and an elected regional representative to the sisters’ group from North America.

Ormond said she thought Francis’ use of the word “feel” regarding obedience to the church meant the pope “got his point in, but he wasn’t admonishing.”

Wasn’t admonishing?  That is exactly what he was doing!

The liberal nuns and their supporters are going to try to use this “feel” mistranslation thing to their advantage.

Keep this in mind.

The phrase “sentire cum Ecclesia” has its origins in Ignatian spirituality, with which we can assume Francis is familiar.  Many of the sisters whose institutes have Ignatian roots will get this, too.

Sentire cum Ecclesia is straight out of the Spiritual Exercises.

If you want a crash course in St. Ignatius’ own 18 Rules for “thinking” with the Church, check this out HERE or HERE.

Read the following.  In some translations it might be “Rules to have the true sentiment of the Church”.  My emphases:

  1. Always to be ready to obey with mind and heart, setting aside all judgement of one’s own, the true spouse of Jesus Christ, our holy mother, our infallible and orthodox mistress, the Catholic Church, whose authority is exercised over us by the hierarchy.
  2. To commend the confession of sins to a priest as it is practised in the Church; the reception of the Holy Eucharist once a year, or better still every week, or at least every month, with the necessary preparation.
  3. To commend to the faithful frequent and devout assistance at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the ecclesiastical hymns, the divine office, and in general the prayers and devotions practised at stated times, whether in public in the churches or in private.
  4. To have a great esteem for the religious orders, and to give the preference to celibacy or virginity over the married state.
  5. To approve of the religious vows of chastity, poverty, perpetual obedience, as well as to the other works of perfection and supererogation. Let us remark in passing, that we must never engage by vow to take a state (such e.g. as marriage) that would be an impediment to one more perfect…
  6. To praise relics, the veneration and invocation of Saints: also the stations, and pious pilgrimages, indulgences, jubilees, the custom of lighting candles in the churches, and other such aids to piety and devotion.
  7. To praise the use of abstinence and fasts as those of Lent, of Ember Days, of Vigils, of Friday, Saturday, and of others undertaken out of pure devotion: also voluntary mortifications, which we call penances, not merely interior, but exterior also.
  8. To commend moreover the construction of churches, and ornaments; also images, to be venerated with the fullest right, for the sake of what they represent.
  9. To uphold especially all the precepts of the Church, and not censure them in any manner; but, on the contrary, to defend them promptly, with reasons drawn from all sources, against those who criticize them.
  10. To be eager to commend the decrees, mandates, traditions, rites and customs of the Fathers in the Faith or our superiors. As to their conduct; although there may not always be the uprightness of conduct that there ought to be, yet to attack or revile them in private or in public tends to scandal and disorder. Such attacks set the people against their princes and pastors; we must avoid such reproaches and never attack superiors before inferiors. The best course is to make private approach to those who have power to remedy the evil.
  11. To value most highly the sacred teaching, both the Positive and the Scholastic, as they are commonly called…
  12. It is a thing to be blamed and avoided to compare men who are living on the earth (however worthy of praise) with the Saints and Blessed, saying: This man is more learned than St. Augustine, etc…
  13. [This, everyone, is what the Pope was referring to…] That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same;…
  14. It must also be borne in mind, that although it be most true, that no one is saved but he that is predestinated, yet we must speak with circumspection concerning this matter, lest perchance, stressing too much the grace or predestination of God, we should seem to wish to shut out the force of free will and the merits of good works; or on the other hand, attributing to these latter more than belongs to them, we derogate meanwhile from the power of grace.
  15. For the like reason we should not speak on the subject of predestination frequently; if by chance we do so speak, we ought so to temper what we say as to give the people who hear no occasion of erring and saying, ‘If my salvation or damnation is already decreed, my good or evil actions are predetermined’; whence many are wont to neglect good works, and the means of salvation.
  16. It also happens not unfrequently, that from immoderate, preaching and praise of faith, without distinction or explanation added, the people seize a pretext for being lazy with regard to any good works, which precede faith, or follow it when it has been formed by the bond of charity.
  17. Not any more must we push to such a point when the preaching and inculcating of the grace of God, as that there may creep thence into the minds of the hearers the deadly error of denying our faculty of free will. We must speak of it as the glory of God requires… that we may not raise doubts as to liberty and the efficacy of good works.
  18. Although it is very praiseworthy and useful to serve God through the motive of pure charity, yet we must also recommend the fear of God; and not only filial fear, but servile fear, which is very useful and often even necessary to raise man from sin… Once risen from the state, and free from the affection of mortal sin, we may then speak of that filial fear which is truly worthy of God, and which gives and preserves the union of pure love.

Some will say that these are a little dates.  Okay, let’s stipulate.   But we cannot twist “sentire cum Ecclesia“, when spoken by a Pope who is a Jesuit into something that it is not!

Now you know what Francis really said.

Of course this is what the NSR heard:


Or if you prefer:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Francis, Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, Women Religious and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. McCall1981 says:

    Father, you say “this is what the LCWR heard…”. Do they truely believe this is what the Pope said, or are they pretending that they believe this for PR purposes, so the address doesn’t look so bad for them?

  2. Patrick-K says:

    ” but he wasn’t admonishing”

    Prioress, admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy. Are you saying you aren’t a sinner?

  3. dans0622 says:

    The “feeling” translation is present in the VIS report. http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2013/05/careerists-and-climbers-doing-great.html?m=1

    I suppose this could be seen as a bit sexist but should we be surprised that women would look for “feeling” instead of “thinking”?

    I’d also echo “Patrick-K” and say that it would be more profitable for the hearers of any papal (or episcopal or even presbyteral) address to look for ways in which we are not living up to the exhortation instead of seeing where we might be “affirmed” by the address. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t tend to hear such addresses and think “I’m great”–I think “that’s how I can be great.”

  4. techno_aesthete says:

    The Vatican’s news site also translates sentire as “feel(ing)”. Although they do have it in scare quotes.

  5. mamajen says:

    Using “feeling” as the translation makes absolutely no sense to me. It sounds very awkward, whereas “thinking” or “agreeing” flows well. “Feeling” also sounds very mismatched with the rest of the bold, no-nonsense language he used.

    But, even if Pope Francis did mean “feeling” (I highly doubt it), the libs are really grasping here. It didn’t exactly sound like he wanted to hug it out. In fact, this is the boldest (harshest?) statement I have heard from him yet.

  6. acardnal says:

    “feeeelings… wo wo wo feeeeeeeelings….”

    LOL. Fr. Z, with this post about feelings and the videos, I think you are definitely feelin’ better!

  7. AdMajoremDeiGloriam says:

    Father, you were right when you predicted the Holy Father’s response to the LCWR would be toughened by his religious priesthood and his experience with religious who weren’t responding faithfully to the Magisterium. People can argue about translation, but a Jesuit just can’t use that phrase in any language without calling to mind those rules of St. Ignatius. Pope Francis draws upon the Exercises frequently, and I’m confident he was pointing to all the rules for “thinking with the Church” when he used that phrase. He was addressing these superiors as religious novices undergoing the Exercises, and he expected them to pronounce the white they see as black if the Church so defines it.

    St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

  8. MarcAnthony says:

    That Kermit skit is just awesome.

  9. Johnno says:

    Who didn’t see this coming a mile away? Twisting reality is something the devil likes to do. So too do his witting or unwitting followers. This sort of thing is going to happen every single time Francis opens his mouth. This is why it’s best to be absolutely explicit in what you are saying and avoiding all that ‘pastoral’ language. Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ The LCWR is out of line and promoting heretical nonsense and immorality. Just say that. Point fingers. Be clear. They’ve had more than enough time to get in line. At this point we’re only adding to the confusion. Best to bring everyone up to speed. If you’re going to admonish, admonish clearly. If you speak clearly then there are less hoops for the liberal minded to jump through and thereby full off any feats to entertain an audience. People will just see how daftly out of line they are.

  10. OrthodoxChick says:

    That kermit skit only demonstrates that the muppets are smarter than the sisters who head the LCWR. At least Cookie Monster knew enough to express remorse and sadness so that Kermit could forgive him.

  11. Dr. K says:

    Related story re: the NSR and the LCWR:


    Dismissing this cardinal would be a good place to begin the reform of the Curia.

  12. wmeyer says:

    “…inserted delicately…”

    Yes! Like a knife between ribs. Don’t look now, sister, but you’re on the side of the wrong magisterium. Pope Francis has pointed that out, requiring obedience to the Magisterium. Case matters. ;)

  13. Panterina says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for listing the 18 Ignatian points, and for emphasizing the relevant points.

    Come to think of it, this list is very relevant to not only for the LCWR, but to all people/groups who are in dissent with “the Vatican” (SSPX comes to mind).

  14. Cantuale says:

    Fr., to my italian ear, “sentire cum” is unmistakable: “acconsentire” (con-sentire), that is “agree with”, “to have the same sentiment” if you wish. Than, of course, you can quote Ignatius and the rules “to have the true sentiment which we ought to have in the church militant”. But also the final remark of Pope Francis to the nuns, to be an image “of Our Lady and of our Mother the Hierarchical Church” is so Ignatian and Jesuit, and not very cherished by the sisters at LCWR…

  15. scholastica says:

    Point 13 reminds me of how the shrew was finally tamed:

    Then God be blessed, it is the blessed sun,
    But sun it is not when you say it is not,
    And the moon changes even as your mind.
    What you will have it named, even that it is,
    And so it shall be still for Katherine.

  16. Eraser says:

    Often in conversation with my relatives in Italy, they will start a comment by saying “Senti, et c.” My Italian isn’t perfect but it’s obvious that in context, they mean, “So, do you know…” or “Hey, listen to this…” To listen or to know – doesn’t that shed an interesting light on the translation of the Holy Father’s words?

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