THURSDAY: MSM reports Francis said Church is obsessed about abortion! FRIDAY: Pope Francis talks about abortion!

You saw it all over the MSM yesterday, Thursday 19 September.


And endless variations on the theme.

The MSM’s message: Pope Francis is saying that abortion really isn’t all that bad.

Today, however, I read in the Bolletino that Pope Francis addressed the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

NB in my rapid translation and emphases:

A mentality of the useful, the “throw-away culture”, which today enslaves the hearts and minds of so many, has a very high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a decisive “Yes” – and without any wavering – for life. “The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others.” (1974 CDF, Declaration on Procured Abortion, 11)  Things have a price and they are saleable, but persons have a dignity, they are worth more than thanks and they are priceless. So often, we find ourselves in situations wherein we see that which costs the less is life. For this reason, attention to human life in its totality has become in recent times a true and fitting priority for the Magisterium of the Church, especially for the most defenseless, namely, the disabled, the sick, those about to born (al nascituro), the baby, the elderly, which is the most vulnerable life.

In the fragile human being each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in His human flesh experienced indifference, and the solitude to which we often condemn the poorest, both in developing countries and in the countries that are well-off.  Every unborn child, but condemned unjustly to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, which even before birth, and then as soon as born, experiences the refusal of the world.  And every old person and – I spoke about the child: let us go to the elderly, another point!  And every older person, even if infirm or at the end of her days, bears herself the face of Christ.  They can’t be thrown away, as the “throw-away culture” proposes to us!  They can’t be thrown away!

Will this be reported today by the MSM in the wake of their coverage of the Big Interview?

I’m just asking.


This is par for the course.

In an AP article under the name of Nicole Winfield (though there are other contributors) we find this:

Pope blasts abortion after decrying focus on rules

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church on Friday as he denounced abortions as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture” and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.  [That’s right.  He said that as an “olive branch”, a “peace offering.  Riiiight.  However, you can see something of the mindset here: it is the conservative wing that is concerned about abortion, not the liberal wing.  I hope the newsies can get this through their heads: FRANCIS IS A CONSERVATIVE.]


Francis’ comments to Civilta Cattolica contained no change in church teaching, but they represented a radical shift in tone and stood in stark contrast to the priorities of his two immediate predecessors. [Oh really?]

John Paul II and Benedict XVI were both intellectuals for whom doctrine was paramount, [Gosh! I guess only Francis has been pastoral!]



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Emanations from Penumbras, Francis, I'm just askin'... and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. supercooper says:

    I’m pretty sure that’s an example of “damage control.” And no, MSM probably won’t cover it.

    I still don’t understand what he meant, when after affirming the Church’s teaching on moral issues he said, “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” Is abortion not the moral equivalent of, say, judging others? Are moral issues like abortion and contraception “disjointed doctrines”

    I made a point of not watching the news yesterday. I didn’t click on any of the internet headlines. I just read the speech. Over and over again. I think it was atrocious. I just can’t see it in a good light, and like previous gaffes of this papacy, its not even the things the media latches onto that bother me most.

  2. supercooper says:

    Sorry, I know it wasn’t a speech. It was an interview. My apologies for not proofreading.

  3. John654 says:

    Please tell me the Pope knows that he’s being “played” by the media. He’s serving up quotes that are dying to be taken out of context. He’s demoralizing his base with constant body blows. Holy Spirit help to understand what the heck is going on.

  4. kpoterack says:

    Again, thank you for doing this investigative work for us, Fr. Z. I think we all want to like our Holy Father and things like this certainly help. No, of course, the MSM will not report this. But again, thank you for reporting this.

    I do wonder if some greater effort should be made by the good Catholic press to inform lukewarm Catholics about things like this. A series of big media blitzes? At one time I would have suggested buying a page in the New York Times, but that is expensive and not as effective in the internet age. I don’t know. Some brainstorming? Ideas anyone?

  5. Joseph-Mary says:

    Will this be reported today by the MSM in the wake of their coverage of the Big Interview?

    I doubt it. Right now the media is busy taking things out of context so as to leave people comfortable in their sins. When the “progressive” side of the Church starts praising the Holy Father’s “Openness” it is not a good sign!

  6. CatholicMD says:

    CBS News: “Pope Francis denounces abortion after decrying church’s focus on rules”
    Huffington Post: “Pope Francis Blasts Abortion After Decrying Catholic Church Obsession With Abortion”
    Daily Mail (UK): “A day after telling Catholics not to obsess with abortion, the Pope encourages doctors NOT to perform abortions”

  7. M.D. says:

    CBS news seems to have jumped on damage control first? The can’t lose the caricature so quick!

    Spin: Must feed right-wingers…feed my peeps……feed my peeps….(not tell the Truth?)
    Pope Francis offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church on Friday as he denounced abortions as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture” and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.

  8. LuisaP says:

    The Papacy shouldn’t be for someone who needs on the job training ! Of course, maybe, this confusing atmosphere is just what some wanted. I can hear it in the wind now….. the ‘spirit’ of Pope Francis allows etc., etc., etc. (fill in whatever you wish)

  9. McCall1981 says:

    I’m with John654 here. I’m so confused I have no idea what to think here. I’m glad he said this, but I’m totally lost.

  10. Vincent says:

    That’s more like it! Although sadly now it looks as if he was back-tracking on yesterday…

  11. ReginaMarie says:

    While we are on the topic of abortion…I encourage everyone to see if there is a local Life Chain in your area so that you can participate in the 26th annual Life Chain on Sunday, October 6: The Life Chain is a wonderful, peaceful, prayerful & life-affirming event for the whole family to participate in. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Preborn, pray for us!

  12. RidersOnTheStorm says:

    Pope Francis breathes fresh, new life into the Church and opens its doors wide to all: in fact goes out to invite and welcome the excluded.

    He said, the Catholic Church must be like a “field hospital after battle,” healing the wounds of its faithful and going out to find those who have been hurt, excluded or have fallen away.

    “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

    So, less obsessing on what the media says he said (paper never refused ink!) and I urge everybody to refrain from sniping, nay condemning him. Remember the Good Lord nailed to the cross asked his Father to forgive those whom were putting Him to death.

    More action by following and doing what he says.

  13. Grabski says:

    Due respect, but the Pope said that the faithful (and not the secularists he’s trying to appeal to) are ‘obsessed’, and that we the faithful are leading the church to implode.

    The secular press is trumpeting his taking abortion, et al, down as key issues.

    To what end? So we have a big tent of luke warm catholics? How is that a benefit? We tried it in the 1960s and 1970s. There’s nothing of value in Western culture that will profit the Church. Why accept the assumptions and approach?

  14. wmeyer says:

    He’s serving up quotes that are dying to be taken out of context. He’s demoralizing his base with constant body blows. Holy Spirit help to understand what the heck is going on.

    Amen, John, amen. We all know the MSM will print what they wish, but that’s no reason to offer up these gifts to them, ready-made for distortion.

  15. LuisaP says:

    RE: CBS report
    1. “…wings…” the Church Militant is one (as in one, holy catholic and apostolic)
    2. Political parties have “..wings..” as do birds, of course, (as in buzzards)

  16. Unwilling says:

    The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp) here, no friend of the Church, has the story on the front page with a friendly looking picture. But the opening signals the character of the rest:

    Pope Francis offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church on Friday as he denounced abortion as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture”

    “doctrine-minded” Now that’s a head-scratcher!

  17. WesleyD says:

    I think this is brilliant. When Benedict said something against abortion, the MSM ignored it because it wasn’t a story. Now when Francis says it, it’s a story!

    And the MSM is totally confused, with contradictory headlines. HuffPost (ugh!) has the headline “Pope Francis Offers Olive Branch To Conservatives By Blasting Abortion”, but when you click through it changes to “Pope Francis Blasts Abortion After Decrying Catholic Church Obsession With Abortion”. Neither of them make any sense.

    I wish some of the commenters here would stop being so fearful of what the MSM says. There are two kinds of Catholics in the West: those who get all their religious news through the MSM, and those who don’t. There is nothing the pope can say or do that will reach the former, because the MSM will always replace his words with lies. The latter group goes to the source (or to their friends or teachers or pastors whom they trust).

    And in the Global South, the faithful pro-life anti-gay-marriage Church continues to grow and expand, invisible to the Western MSM and to almost all Western bloggers.

  18. Bosco says:

    “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” G.K. Chesterton (1909)

  19. amrc says:

    I want to thank Fr. Z and all bloggers who have taken the time and thought to offer their reflections and reactions. I find great solace in my ecclesial isolation (bec. of pro life, Cath. sexual morality views & actions, I might add) from reading what other faithful Catholics have to say, especially in these confusing times!

    I am very happy for Pope Francesco’s powerful pro-life comments quoted above. I am so grateful for his past calls for prayer and fasting, which miraculously did defuse (at least for now!) the crisis in Syria.

    But I am still disheartened by his recent interview comments. And more confused! How can he criticize Catholics one day for “obsessing” about abortion, yet exhort the promotion of the dignity of life himself the next? I have been praying for him mightily since yesterday; I’m sure we all have! Perhaps our prayers have been answered by these current comments to the Cath. Med. Assoc.??

    Perhaps the Holy Spirit can continue to breathe goodness and truth from the lips of our esteemed Holy Father, as we pray for him, as Miriam & Aaron held up the hands of Moses?

    Let us continue to pray and fast for conversions, and for the best words to encourage both!

    P.S. Can anyone recommend good solid reading on conscience and culpability in Catholic moral teaching??

    pps: God seemed pretty concerned with sexual teachings as expressed to the Israelite people in Leviticus. Also in 10 commandments. Christ had a few things to say about this, too: to the woman caught in adultery: “Go, and sin no more,” (or, “Go and do not commit this sin again.”) and not, “Follow your own conscience,” or, the “the Church cannot interfere in the spirituality of a person.” (my paraphrase.)

  20. Ignatius says:

    Oh, please!
    The “It’s all so confusing!” trope, the constant whining, the “OMG, OMG!, Rome is about to fall! The Holy Spirit has deserted us because the MSM says the Pope did say X and did not say Y” by some is really tiresome.
    The fact is that the interview is confusing in the least, unless you want to be confused by the media. And all the readers know and should know better.
    People, the interview is clear. Even if it were not, Fr. Z has made “baby food” out of it, saving you the trouble of chewing it. To no avail. “It’s all so confusing!”
    It is really disheartening.
    Best regards,

  21. fib09002 says:

    It is Pope Francis’ style that bothers me, not what he is actually saying. In my view, the Pope should act as something like an authoritarian figure, like a spiritual dictator, if that makes any sense, and to demand unwavering obedience from Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to in no uncertain terms denounce the prevailing evils of our day and, when necessary, to even take on politicians or even entire governments when what they do is opposition to the Catholic Faith. It seems to me that Pope Francis, while he is not, as some people seem to be implying, a heretic, is too concerned about getting people to like him, and not concerned enough about converting the non-believers. Perhaps what we need is a younger, more energetic Pope, who, even if though he might not be as erudite, for example, as a Pope Benedict XVI, would possess the needed wherewithal to really take on the enemies of the Church.

  22. Bosco says:

    There are (as Father Z. admirably reminded us in his blog of 06 July 2012) four types of sin ‘that cry to heaven for vengeance, i.e. justice. The four include sodomy and murder (abortion).
    One would think that there would be some special emphasis on these sins in our day-to-day catechises if only because they are a grave affront to Almighty God and an offence almost assuredly leading to damnation.
    Just sayin’.

  23. McCall1981 says:

    I’m really glad to see this story on the Pope “blasting” abortion is being picked up by the media. There are articles on HuffPo, CBS, Washington Times, and a number of others. Glad to see this message getting out, as I thought the media would blackout this story in order to further their distortion of Francis.

  24. amrc says:

    Ignatius — thanks for your comments. You reminded me why I don’t usually post. I won’t “dishearten” again.

  25. Katylamb says:

    I’m with you, Ignatius. My first thought on reading this post by Father wasn’t what the press would say but what the more extreme Trads would say. Pope says the Church should pay attention to other issues besides abortion? Why- he should just shut up. Pope says doctors should refuse to perform abortions? Why, he should just shut up. He’s confusing me!
    Really? I don’t find it difficult at all to understand that abortion is a very grave evil but not the only evil. Why is it so hard for some people to get that? Pope Francis obviously say nothing right as far as some are concerned. Good grief!

  26. Bosco says:

    “The “It’s all so confusing!” trope, the constant whining, the “OMG, OMG!, Rome is about to fall! The Holy Spirit has deserted us because the MSM says the Pope did say X and did not say Y” by some is really tiresome.”

    Give it a rest, fella. You’re manufacturing straw men like Peter Jackson created computer generated baddies in the Lord of the Rings films.

    I’ve read many comments too. Some pained, some frightened, some confused, and some untactful and indiscreet, but rarely venomous or despairing. I respect them all whether I agree with them or not and I understand they all arise from the same modern amoral pagan (at best) world we have all experienced over the past 70 years.

    Everyone communicates their angst in a different language. ease up on them…at least as an act of mercy.

  27. Ignatius says:

    amrc, my comment was not directed against you. Against anybody, actually. I am sorry if I phrased it poorly and it offended you.
    My point is that carping achieves nothing. Actually reading the interview helps. To put it shortly, the Pope said: “no to abortion” is not THE message of the Church, “Jesus saves” is. You cannot teach the former without teaching first and foremst the latter. Is it really that difficult to see? It is an actual question.
    Best regards and sorry again.

  28. Ignatius says:

    Bosco, thanks for the message. But as a matter of fact, I see you fanning the flames all over with your comments. Do not complain then if the fire burns down your house…
    Best regards,

  29. Indulgentiam says:

    While I’ll admit that yesterday I was somewhat… unsettled, by His Holiness interview. Today after witnessing the mass evangelization going on, in blogs, phone conversations, breakfast,lunch, dinner tables, cafes and deli’s, I have to say”[Romans 8:28]And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” Yesterday I was guilty of forgetting that the good God is the original and Undisputed Champion of quality lemonade out of nasty lemons, Maker. I have never, in all my 52 years, seen or heard so many people talking about what the Church and Church Fathers “actually teach” the orthodox are whipping out their Council of Trent tomes, CCC, Summa’s etc… With the lightening speed of gunslingers. So if Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity then perhaps it can be said that Pope Francis is the Pope of Christian competency. :)

  30. Bosco says:

    Perhaps you need to have your prescription for your eye-glasses checked, Friend Ignatius.

    Peace, and lest you’ve unintentionally wished me and my house ill, I ask you pray for me as I will for you.

  31. Late for heaven says:

    Perhaps I am being too simplistic but the takeaway theme I get from the past two days is reverence for the individual human person, male or female, young or old, gay or straight, one who is doomed to be aborted or one who aborts. God’s love is available to all of us.

  32. Ignatius says:

    Bosco, I have 20/20 vision in both eyes…
    No ill will at all from my part, be assured.
    Oremus pro invicem.
    Best regards,

  33. Sonshine135 says:

    @ Late for heaven
    Simple and well put. Also, reverence for your Pope and for your fellow bloggers. It’s called being charitable. I believe everyone here has good intentions, but I may have to take a break from the comments section for awhile.

  34. Kathleen10 says:

    I’m glad for what Pope Francis has now said about abortion.
    I’m grateful for this forum where we can check in and see what the latest is. I would find all of this much more alarming without Fr. Z. and all of you here to…what…commiserate…compare….I’m not sure the verb…but whatever it is…. I like to keep in mind Fr. Z’s own description of this blog, below, where he compares it to, at times, a “Wild West saloon where everybody has a gun and something to say.”. That’s the place I want to be, and so I check in pretty frequently. I like everybody’s opinions, expressed freely. If we disagree with something, we can say so. That’s fun too. But I am edified and instructed, interested and consoled, in this place, often, by everyone here. Fr. Z. takes it on himself to keep the diabolical entries out. Thank you Fr. Z. An inordinate amount of hatred and venom appears unleashed in our world, ever increasing, in fact, I would say exponentially, as of late. As a priest, Fr. Z will receive the largest brunt of it. But Fr. Z. has for some amazing reason known only to himself, made a virtual home for those of us who need one and at home, one should be very considerate of others but speak one’s concerns freely. What is discouraging to one is consoling to another who feels the same way.
    Not in this world will you get your deserved reward and consolation for your kindness, Fr. Z. Mostly just the next.

  35. Bosco says:

    @Late for heaven,

    Not simplistic at all. God’s mercy is available to all even to our last breath:

    “‘And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’.” Luke 23: 41 – 43

    The Mercy of God is available even to our last breath.

  36. johnnyDmunoz says:

    FATHER Z you have been a life saver! I read his articles for myself I don’t come away with the impressions the Media is giving us. I see some points that may be a little muddy but those are interviews and on the spot statements and he is on the move a lot and being asked a lot. I have never got then impression out side of the drive-by narrative that this man has any plans to soften church teaching. In his prepared remarks! He is firm…

    PLEASE FATHER Z let me know what you think… Does any of this attempt of making Francis look radical and now erratic and not ‘all there’ have to do with his stand against The President’s war and the subsequent stopping of it? This Regime has no tolerance for being upstaged. And this is a familiar tactic the drive-bys use with many other America politicians. If you follow their tactics like I know you do. He and the media are dividers always and especially toward the Church.

    My fellow Catholics don’t let them scatter us! Hat tip to Paul…

  37. tcreek says:

    Archbishop Bergoglio’s Catholic Argentina is not exactly a hotbed of orthodoxy. Were the traditional minded Catholics down there given part of the blame?

    CIA Factbook for Argentina
    Nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%
    2.27 children born/woman

  38. Ganganelli says:

    I find the Pope’s teachings to be entirely consistent. We live in a hyper capitalist society where the largest employer is Walmart. Where, in the name of freedom and liberty, we allow unfettered access to pornography and easy no-fault divorce.

    The Pope is saying how can we be truly pro-life and vote to cut food stamps for the people most likely to have abortions?

    I really believe his upcoming encyclical on the poor/economics is going to tie all these issues together and will profoundly disappoint both the “anything goes regarding sexuality” left and the “anything goes regarding money/markets” right.


  39. KingofCharity says:

    Pope Francis =
    1. Highlight current divisions within the church to help bring reconciliation in the Church. Force all factions and cafeteria camps within the church to talk. Force liberals and progressives to face and admit their heterodoxy. Force Trads to see their legalism and over dependency on discipline, piety, and small t traditions as opposed to the fundamentals of following Jesus Christ. Instigate dialogue
    2. Strategically use controversial, orthodox statements that at somewhat vague and ambiguous to instigate dialogue and debate among all Catholics and the world. Bring Catholicism to the center stage of world news and create a Catholic-centered, Christ-centered MSM blitz. RCC is headline news. The world is talking Catholicism. Catholicism is anything but irrelevant or dead. Force faithful Catholics to defend, expound, clarify, and contextualize.
    3. Using the doctrine of papal infallibility to highlight the dangers of a fundamentalist approach to the doctrine. Yes, a return to collegiality of all bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome, presiding in love is a better model for the future; therefore, opening up the doors to reunion with the East. We can no longer afford to have a Vatican Prince.
    4. Clarify the genuine role of the See of Peter (the visible vicar of Christ, first among equals, primacy of honor AND jurisdiction, yet is the servant of the servants of Christ)
    5. Strategically use the MSM has his puppet to bring Catholicism to the center stage of global discussion. Restore Catholicism moral credibility in the secular world by becoming a “Catechism Fundamentalist.” Living the Catechism down to a t.
    6. Pope Francis is a holy, humble, intelligent Christ-centered pope who values minimalism and the Great Commandment over the aesthetics of the Church, disciplines, piety, traditions, and canon laws. Prefers poverty and simplicity over pomp and spectacle.


    Pope Francis =
    1. Exacerbate current divisions and tensions within the Church to speed up its institutional collapse, since a house divided can’t stand
    2. Use a whirlwind of off the cuff comments that spark controversy, frustration, embarrassment, and sow confusion, ultimately, planting the seeds of atheism, indifference, or doubt.
    3. Purposefully and deliberately making a public mockery and parody of the doctrine of papal infallibility through his all too human speech; therefore, opening up the theological debate between collegiality/conciliar vs. centralized Vatican power. Not “disprove” the doctrine, but to parody it in order to reveal its weaknesses and a fundamentalist approach to the doctrine.
    4. Renew the debate between Bishop of Rome presiding in love and “first among equals” and primacy of honor vs. Vicar of Christ, universal Shepherd and primacy of jurisdiction, with the hope that a new vision for the papacy, one rooted in a more Orthodox understanding, emerges.
    5. clandestine plan to use ambiguity, open-ended, vague remarks to spin confusion
    Confusion breeds doubt, anxiety, worry, fear, and, ultimately, division. Thrust the Church into chaos and, thereby dismantling it.
    6. Pope Francis is an antipope who is using subterfuge, infiltration, and subversive techniques to infiltrate and dismantle Holy Mother Church. Perhaps a corrupt Jesuit or Mason whose encounter with Liberation Theology has subverted his belief in Tradition and has embraced Marxist ideals.

  40. McCall1981 says:

    Ok, so which one is he?

  41. Bosco says:

    OK. I’ll play along…ahem…

    AND NOW, this day of September, 2013, IT is hereby ORDERED and DECREED that the Moving Party in this appeal has submitted a case as yet unripe for disposition by this Court and the Moving Party’s request for an ADVISORY OPINION in the matter is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

  42. KingofCharity says:

    If my above dichotomy is too extreme, then Pope Francis is pretty much one of the following:

    1.A holy, humble and intelligent pope who envisions a papacy closer to the Orthodox understanding, without forfeiting primacy of jurisdiction, keys of binding and loosing, and, of course, the source of visible unity and infallible, orthodox doctrine. Wants more collegiality, and a Church that is simpler and poorer, less legalistic and canon law focused. Desires an equal balance of mercy and judgment.
    2. A closet, radical liberal who wants to do everything in his power to mock and parody papal infallibility and recreate the RCC in a new, liberal, progressive vision that is more pastoral, Protestant in nature. He desires a Church “in touch with the times of the world,” and is non-judgmental, unconditionally welcoming and sees Jesus as ONLY a warm, fuzzy, merciful and loving God. This would mean that he has the gall and temerity to try and “change doctrine.”
    3. An antipope who wants to dismantle the historical RCC
    4. a diabolical puppet, perhaps a Marxist, Mason, of Luciferian machination who desires to dismantle Christendom
    5. A good-intentioned, but rash, imprudent pope, who is a terrible communicator and ignorant of media; therefore, sows confusion from his hastiness and desire to be “all things to all people” in the hopes of bringing more people back to the RCC and restoring its moral credibility.

  43. McCall1981 says:

    @Kingof charity,
    Ok, I’ll go with a combination of 1, 2 and 5. I think there is a lot of #5 in him, and I’m still waiting on #1 vs #2.

  44. Indulgentiam says:

    @kingofcharity–wow I haven’t seen that much oversimplifying since…nope I’ve never seen that much in one place.
    You say:”Force Trads to see their legalism and over dependency on discipline, piety, and small t traditions as opposed to the fundamentals of following Jesus Christ”

    I disagree with you that these things are opposed to each other. And so do the Saints and Church Fathers. They teach that those first things, you mentioned, are necessary steps to arriving at the “fundamentals of following Jesus Christ” it is an indisputable fact that discipline hones the mind and body.
    “What shall a Catholic do if some portion of the Church detaches itself from communion of the universal Faith? What other choice can he make if some new contagion attempts to poison, no longer a small part of the Church, but the whole Church at once, then his great concern will be to attach himself to antiquity [Tradition] which can no longer be led astray by any lying novelty.” -Saint Vincent of Lerins (c. 445 A.D.)

    Whatever the Holy Father’s intentions are only the Almighty knows. But it seems to me he has indeed put us on our catechetical toes :) I’m kinda enjoying it myself. Now that I’ve played all the worse case scenarios out in my head and been reminded by my Guardian Angel that I already know how it all ends. So I’m gonna keep working out my salvation. And if I tremble in fear now and again, no biggy, St. Paul told me to expect that.

  45. KingofCharity says:

    Since I believe in the RCC doctrine of the indefectibility of Holy Mother Church, Francis is the first option in my original dichotomy.

  46. KingofCharity says:

    I agree 100% with you, but that was not my point. My point was that it sometimes seems as if Pope Francis is the one who believes in some intrinsic incompatibility between the two. He seems to be painting a picture that there is a contentious relationship between all the outward, liturgical splendor of the RCC and a pure, personal relationship with Jesus. Which of course, is a very, very Protestant understanding of the Church.
    Without a doubt, I believe that all the Church’s treasures enrich the spiritual life and communion with Christ. My personal relationship with the sandal wearing, revolutionary prophet of Nazareth is much, much more intimate through my use of the TLM, disciplines, saint devotions, pieties, spiritual practices, relics, sacramentals, canon law, novenas, liturgical feast days, etc. In NO WAY do they distract me from my pure, simple love of Jesus. This seems to be something Pope Francis doesn’t fully understand. With his love of the Blessed Mother and the Rosary, I don’t quiet understand why he seems to be against the lavish, grandiose vision of liturgical Catholicism.

  47. Indulgentiam says:

    @kingof charity- my apologies for misunderstanding you. I’m obviously going to have to work ony reading comprehension. :)

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    I cannot comment in the other thread about what I said about love because the server speed is set too high for dial-up and cannot retrieve all of the comments before shutting down, so not only can’t read them, I can’t even get to the comment box. This always happens with posting over 100.

    I have spent all day thinking about what I woke up today to read about and I have finally come to a consistent understanding of what I, myself, understand about the situation, but it would take a lengthy comment to explain it and I am sure that everyone is tired of comments. All I can say with regards to the dogma/love drama is that the Catholic Church on this issue is both/and, not either/or. Those without knowledge cannot love properly and those without love cannot use their knowledge for the betterment of others. All the pope had to say was that he wanted a balanced spirituality and then the Jesuits and the Dominicans could party. Obviously, there is much more, but I will spare you eye strain.

    “People, the interview is clear.”

    I do document analysis as a vocation in multiple languages and I read at least part of the interview and, no it is not clear, in my opinion, at least parts of it. Some of it is reasonably clear. I’ll say he is batting .700, but that other .300 is a doozy.

    There are many ways to love, but one Spirit. The abortion protester loves according to his calling just as much as the one who serves hot food to the hungry. The one who instructs the ignorant loves as much as the one who clothes the naked. One can be physically all dressed up, but intellectually naked, after all. Pope Francis wants us to serve the poor. So be it, but there are many different types of poverty. There is poverty in the heart of a woman who has had an abortion that no physical meal can satisfy. Who will feed her love if we are all out dishing soup?

    Pope Francis wants the church to be compassionate, be he isn’t very forthcoming on exactly what that means. There is a Common of Holy Men as well as of Doctors of the Church. I can see no separation between doctrine and charity. Well-balanced spirituality demands that both be cultivated. One can be as single-minded in serving the poor as one can about dogma, after all.

    Einstein once wrote:

    “Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.”

    We might, just as well, substitute charity for religion and dogma for science:

    “Dogma without charity is lame and charity without dogma is blind.”

    When I was in graduate school, Protestant theologians would stand on the, “quad,” and preach fire and brimstone – dogma, if you will, and I would think to myself, “Some of the people passing by are really hurting – they’ve been abused, they think God doesn’t love them – they need to hear a message of forgiveness.” As I’ve gotten older and looked more closely at the cause of the modern moral decay, my attitude has changed, a bit. Love is not always enough, by itself. More and more, because of the changes in society, people are becoming ignorant of even the basics of theology and philosophy and running to any new or old quackery that promises that they won’t have to feel badly about their actions, some of which are horrible. These people need truth. More and more, I see the need for dogma as the first line of love. We used to see the humble poor. They are a joy to deal with. Now, I see the sneaky poor, who don’t have the moral clarity to even understand their poverty. What should compassion look like to them?

    My point is that Pope Francis is right that the Church need to be more loving, but it also need to know why it loves, how it should love, and what it truly means to love in the name of Christ. These are not small, closed-minded points. Einstein took one dogma – that light is a constant in any inertial reference frame, and lighted up an entire universe. Dogmas are important. One should always meditate on dogma and doctrine before one goes out to practice love. I do not see an obsessive focus on dogma and doctrine, especially not in the West, today. Does the Holy Father know how much ignorance there is about the Church? Indeed, it is ironic, is it not, that the very confusion of the media, even on simple points, is proof of this?

    One might say, tongue-in-cheek that the Holy Father’s comments make great apologetics openers, but, really, confusion is no better than clarity. The first wave of modern apologists during the late Renaissance went out armed with the documents of Trent – those clear,dry, old, dusty dogmas and, first, converted the Church and, then, large parts of Europe – all with dogmas delivered in love. If anything, clarity is important where the issues are subtle.

    By all means, love, but if you’re going to shoot hoops, you should at least know where the basket is. Love is the tennis shoes; dogmas are the rule books. Without both. you might as well be throwing a ball against a wall.

    The Chicken

  49. Pingback: Pope Francis makes strong pro-life comments following misinterpreted interview | Live Action News

  50. KingofCharity says:

    Thank you for the apology. :)
    I do admit that when I’m in a hurry, my writing can be verbose, garrulous, and diffuse, making the basic message marred in rambling, redundant language (point proven).

    As for the “over simplification” point you made, I agree. But that was also my goal. Often, if we step back and “simplify” a situation into general categories, it allows us to see the ridiculous aspect of some ideas and to also see with much more clarity the nuances and intricacies of a given situation . . . e.g. Pope Francis. Simplifying, although it is counter-intuitive, can actually add transparency to complex issues. He is a hard nut to crack. He definitely can’t be placed “in a box.”

    I am fully aware that Pope Francis is much, much more complex than my simple categories. There are many factors, e.g. Jesuit education, Souther American Catholicism, poverty immersion, Latin American social, political, and economic culture, Latin American spiritualism (Mary and the Devil), Vatican II bi-product, Liberation Theology, etc.
    thanks for commenting

  51. Cavaliere says:

    Funny, no mention of this story over at America magazine or NCR.

  52. Pope Francis needs to run to the media immediately and CLARIFY his statements because HE HAS to see that the MSM is miscontruing the Church’s teachings on abortion, gay marriage, and the rest. He has to see it, then as the responsible leader of the Universal Church and Vicar of Christ, he needs to guide the public towards the TRUE TEACHINGS of the Divine Law. If he doesn’t, then it begins to APPEAR that he is merely enjoying the spectacle and the relishing in the attention he is drawing not to Christ, but to himself; or without making headline clarifying statements to every press outlet in the world to fix the damage, then it APPEARS that he is solely agitating for the sake of agitating.

  53. McCall1981 says:

    Absit invidia,
    Maybe that is why he made the strong statements about abortion today.

    True, but the story is getting a lot of press elsewhere in the secular media, it’s on all the major outlets, much more than I would have thought, which is great.

  54. Stumbler but trying says:

    “He’s demoralizing his base with constant body blows.”

    I myself do not feel demoralized. On the contrary, I see the Church waking up after a long sleep. Papa Benedict did his best but he knows many were not listening to him anymore. Along comes Papa Francis in his very different way of proclaiming Christ and being from South America and not an Anglo, well, I am not at all surprised many are confounded. And yet…he is solid and faithful and misunderstood. That does not surprise me as well. I merely think of Jesus, God made man who was always misunderstood…and to this very day!

    Take your confusion and your confoundedness as a grace. Let it sink in so as to make you want to seek the truth with an open heart and mind. Allow the Holy Spirit to accompany you on that journey as well as the Saints and Fathers of the Church. Many solid Catholic commentators are asking their readers to do just that. Father Z is asking the same thing.

    As far as Papa Francis goes and where he asks us to go with him, I will trust in God and in his Church as I have nowhere else to go. I am not afraid. I remain hopeful, joyful and yes, despite my stumbling, I will keep my eyes on Christ.

    Thank you once again, Fr. Z for your fine commentary. The interview will be delved into and dissected for many months to come…maybe even years. I remain grateful for such. ^^

  55. KingofCharity says:

    Stumbler but trying,
    I agree: “I see the Church waking up after a long sleep . . . . And he is solid and faithful and misunderstood.” Exactly. Well said.
    Francis has everyone talking about Catholic doctrine. Catholicism is center stage. Its power can’t be ignored. Its relevancy can’t be stifled. Its luring attractiveness can’t be ignored. In so doing, people are forced to confront difficult moral issues that they would rather avoid. People are being put in a position to actually hear the truth. The time to resort to stereotypes and myths is over. Francis is dusting off every corner of the Catechism and challenging us all. He is waking up everyone. No one is safe. No one is allowed to be complacent in his or her faith. No one is allowed to retreat to their “safe corner” of the Church. He is calling us ALL to re-examine our own faith– what we know, what we think we know, what we believe, what we should believe, etc. Wake up! Francis is saying. Do not be afraid to re-evaluate your faith and your understanding of Jesus and His Catholic Church.
    Charity is good! But charity without the Church? How can you know Jesus without the Church?
    Liturgical grandiosity is good, and beautiful, and True. But liturgical grandiosity without a deep, intimate encounter with the Risen Christ? Then all is empty religiosity.
    Canon law is sound and orderly! Yes, indeed! Canon Law without a profound out pouring of grace, healing, mercy, and forgiveness? Just small-minded rules.

  56. donato2 says:

    Pope Francis has exhorted Catholics to find a new way of speaking about the hot button issues of abortion and gay marriage. In his most recent remarks about abortion he said: ” Every unborn child, but condemned unjustly to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord, which even before birth, and then as soon as born, experiences the refusal of the world.” I can live with that tone. I think he hit just the right tone also about gay marriage while an Archbishop in Argentina:

    “Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that’s just it’s form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God. . . . Let’s look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment. . . .May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.”

    So let us go forward and continue the discussion of these issues with tone that Francis has set for us.

  57. RafqasRoad says:

    In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) took this self same stance. Such a stance, in my thinking is diabolically clever. It automatically signals to the average reader that ‘this is not for us; just those conservatives’, so they do not go any further with it, whereas the comments against abortion given by Pope Francis are for all, I repeat ALL!! Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the MSM only give serious air and print time to the more sensational pet causes they have. e.g. the gay agenda, abortion etc., whilst all but avoiding the far deeper question of how society views those of us with a disability, or those of us fraler than the rest from before birth to the end of our lives. We are only of use to them for a cheap grab story that will up their ratings. With almost no exceptions, the MSM do not advocate the one marginalised group that spans boundaries of sex, socio-economic standing, age, IQ or religion; that of disability. We are largely viewd as economic liabilities and unacceptable in the ‘brave new world’ of the ‘beautiful, able and trendy’. Pope francis’ speech on the inherent dignity of human life for human life’s sake is a slap in the face to the able bodied’s who set the bar and standards by which we shall all be judged; case in point – 90% of children with Downe’s Syndrome never live to draw their first breath because they are killed off before they are able; this stat not from a Catholic institution but an ‘Early childhood with special needs/disability’ unit taken at a secular university. the world advocates Aldous Huxley’s prophetic nightmare penned over eighty years ago now (Brave new world) whilst Pope Francis advocates Exod 4: 10-12!! yes, his words are for everyone, EVERYONE!! I am the sister of an adopted brother, the daughter of an adopted mother, the survivor of micro premi birth (born at only 26 weeks back in 1970) having acquired significant disability thus, with extended family who have conditions that nowadays would likely lead to their termination, so I am passionate about this from a disability perspective long before religious questions come into play.

    Protect the women, protect those who believe they have no other choice than to abort, give them tangible assistance to enable their own lives e.g. pre-natal and post-natal support, training, education, employment readiness assistance etc., a safe place to be in prior to having their child, and if, God forbid, they are at this juncture due to violence inflicted upon them, a safe, therapeutic community in which they can heal and a sensitive, supportive, compassionate environment where there is also legal assistance to prosecute the living daylights out of the perps and ensure they never leave their prison cell for the rest of their lives! the Red Cross in Sydney run a tiny programme that serves only a dozen or so women at a time very successfully and with great care and love. Pope Frances needs to take that extra step and found orders of men and women religious to assist and facilitate genuine opportunities and new starts for persons with a disability and women who find themselves in the truly onerous position I’ve mentioned above (women religious for these instances). Along with proclaimation of church teaching MUST be corresponding, tangible Corporal works of mercy!! We need to be matt 23: 23 people, we simply must be!! If I were single, I’d be bashing down the bishop’s door to set about starting such a community of women religious to aactively do all the things above. Come on Bishops who read this, get such communities started. We need to be streets ahead of the secular or even calvinist world in respect to thee things. We need to be doing the same thing the Red Cross is doing in Australia, for people with disabilities, we need to be doing the same work as Jonie Ericson Tarda (Ed Peters, look her up and get in touch with her organisation re Thom – when he’s well enough, could Thom do mighty work for those with disability on par or even in partnership with Jonie’s amazing ministry)?? Again, we need to be streets ahead, people.


    Soon to be South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite)

  58. lana says:

    Taking Pope Francis’ comments as a whole – I think by ‘small-minded’, he meant that we are not getting that ‘the world as we knew it is over’. We have been trying to speak to a post-Christian culture with the language of the past, based on world-views we are assuming are shared, and they are not understanding us. We need to take stock of the larger problem and evangelize based on ‘where they are’.

  59. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Taking Pope Francis’ comments as a whole – I think by ‘small-minded’, he meant that we are not getting that ‘the world as we knew it is over’. ”

    When has the world as we knew it ever been over? Heck, we are still dealing with issues from the Renaissance. Time change, fashions come and go, but the Truth is eternal. Preaching the truth can never be out of season. We may have to re-tool the barrel from time to time, but the gun is still a gun and must fire live ammunition.

    The Chicken

  60. McCall1981: 1 news outlets in El Belletino isn’t exactly what I was thinking for the Supreme Pontiff, the High Priest of the Universal Church, the Vicar of Christ to correct the wrong that the news have done him. He needs to be going around the globe reaching every news outlet on the planet. It gives the appearance of a lukewarm effort.

  61. The Masked Chicken (love that image by the way),

    I think you summed it up with the words “I think he meant”. The entire planet is still trying to figure out what Pope Francis means whenever he speaks. We have a South American catholic church interior vandalized with a huge mess for the poor catholics there to clean right on the heels of Pope Francis Brazil trip where he closed with “go to your churches and make a mess”. The radical mobs and news outlets are always going to spin a pope’s words to fit their agenda, so a pope needs to be ever diligent and meticulous about his choice of words so as not to shroud their meaning or confuse the masses, since after all, he is the representative of Christ.

  62. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I think you summed it up with the words “I think he meant”.”

    lana said that. I commented on it.

    The Chicken

  63. JuliB says:

    Friday’s front page, top of the fold headline and picture in the Chicago Tribune was the Pope’s condemnation of small minded focus against gays, abortion and contraceptives.

    I have several Catholic, former Catholic, and some always non-Catholic Christian friends. At a dinner several years ago (about 2 years after I reverted from 25 years of atheism) ALL said ‘it was a choice’ as opposed to a child. I was stricken with shock and cowardice. There has been dialog since, with some, but I can guarantee that nothing I can say will change their opinions now that the Pope SEEMS to have agreed with them.

    I am heartbroken. I realize that we must be ‘both and’ versus ‘either or’, but many poorly catechized people do not. I am in my mid 40s, and my generation suffered from watered down religious ed.

    No, people will hear what they agree with, because they’re not used to a religion that challenges and upbraids them.

    Yes, many people need healing, and not everyone reacts to the same message. In this vein, I agree with the Pope. We need to stress mercy as well. But if we aren’t aware of our sins, we have no need for mercy.

  64. wmeyer says:

    JuliB: See Acerbo Nimis from 1905. Pope St. Pius said all that need be said about the pressing need for catechesis, and I have little doubt things are far worse on that front today.

    If all were well educated and well-formed in their faith, then all could work to correct the misunderstandings engendered by these public statements.

  65. MikeM says:

    You asked, “Are moral issues like abortion and contraception ‘disjointed doctrines'”?

    Joints are connections. Abortion and contraception are individual teachings (the bones, if you will). Pope Francis was not criticizing any of these doctrines, but the way they are presented when they are separated from the core of the Gospel. He didn’t say that moral teachings are unimportant, in their place, but that we talk about them out of order… That, since most people don’t understand the Gospel, we have to start there so that the rest of our teachings are in their proper context, with the proper connections among them.

  66. KingofCharity says:

    If we look at the entirety of Pope Francis’s message in its complete context, he is saying:
    1. No faction of the Church is immune to the necessity of change, renewal, ongoing conversion, self-reflection, and new encounters with Christ. We are never done growing in our relationship with Christ, and we can always learn more about the infinite mystery of the Triune God and His Catholic Church.
    2. The entire gamut of Catholic expression is being challenged by the Holy Father. No one group or position of Catholics has “it perfectly right, so no need to change.”
    3. All Catholics must learn and know the difference between immutable doctrine and dogma (Apostolic Deposit of Faith as preserved by Tradition, Scripture, and the Magisterium) AND small t traditions, disciplines, private revelations, piety, canon law, etc. Small t traditions/disciplines can and do change throughout time to meet the spiritual needs of the Church. Through prayerful reflection and discernment, all Catholics must be open to the idea of changing disciplines IF they no longer serve their intended or original purpose. In fact, part of the immutable Deposit of Faith includes the authority of the See of Peter to bind and loose small t traditions. The Apostolic Deposit of Faith allows for the Church to assimilate traditions and customs of that do not contradict and nullify the Gospel. Just as pagans themselves are baptized and sanctified, the Church in essence sanctifies pagan culture and grafts them into the life of the Church IF it conducive to the salvation of souls.
    4. In order to reform the abuses within the Vatican and the Church as a whole, a newer, clearer understanding of the papacy must emerge. The See of Peter is not a cult of personality or a Prince. A more conciliar/collegial papacy, one much friendlier to the Orthodox understanding, is going to re-emerge without forfeiting infallibility, binding and loosing, and universal jurisdiction.
    5. All Catholics are called to think in unison with the heart, mind, and spirit of Holy Mother Church, the See of Peter is firmly and irrevocably committed to the authentic pastoral and evangelical mission of Vatican II.
    6. The Church must not close its doors, become isolationists and self-preservationists. We are forever called to go out into the world to continue the saving work and healing ministry of Jesus.
    7. The solid, orthodox middle (EWTN, CatholicAnswers, CUF, etc.) must not become complacent in their faith. They too, are being challenged by the pope to grow in the Lord.
    8. The liberal progressives (Call to Action, etc.) must confront their heterodoxy, but they are still part of the Church, although in an imperfect union)
    9. All humans and human culture our children of God, God desires the salvation of all people. Anything good, true, and beautiful MUST come from God, since God is the ONLY good and source of good. All human expression toward religious truth and moral conscience is an imperfect, yet honest attempt at seeking Truth. Yet, its imperfection remains since they are in the absence of Divine Revelation. God gives ordinary means of salvation to His RCC, but God, Himself, is not held bound by His own ordinary means of salvation. It is ultimately the Grace of God that saves All.
    10. The Catechism is deep and wide, and none of us are ever done living it out and conforming our lives to its every word.
    11. The secular modern world needs to be evangelized, not eschewed.
    12. The Barque of Peter is indefectible and its captain is infallible, so stop worrying about apostasy and heresy. Holy Mother Church will forever preserve and protect the Apostolic Deposit of Faith. Since this is true, trust in the Holy Spirit and open our hearts and minds to change and renewal within the appropriate realms of small t traditions.

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  68. joan ellen says:

    WOW! What an awesome Church Militant!!! I share the confusion, questions, fears, angers, etc.
    Yet, I look at the possibilities for the Church Militant by the Church Militant as we read on this post. For example, donato2 says: if I may:
    “Pope Francis has exhorted Catholics to find a new way of speaking about the hot button issues…”
    “…Let’s look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they…” “…support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.”
    “So let us go forward and continue the discussion of these issues with tone that Francis has set for us.”
    1. Today I thought of the words “Shoes of the Fisherman” and realized what the Holy Father’s shoes, cooking, residence, car choices, etc. may be all about. His Holiness is from Argentina. Argentina has already had an economic collapse. Pope Francis was there at the time and saw the results.
    Timothy Cullen, writing for the Remnant in an article sometime ago, encourages USA residents to keep their passports updated and have a country, 3rd world, picked out if they choose not to have to go through the devastating experience such an advanced country as the USA would in the aftermath of such a reality. Reason: The 3rd world countries and people have already experienced that aftermath and are used to it. 3rd world countries and people may appreciate the Holy Father’s gestures as being in solidarity with them. Is the Holy Father setting an example for us while following the Gospel’s admonition to experience poverty of spirit and humility?
    2. The Holy Father’s public words may not be as dogmatic and definitive as we would hope and would like, but they are Gospel oriented. Again, is he saying to us “Do as I do.”? In other words, is he asking us to, for one, quit bashing. Have we bashed so much that we have worn the bashing message out. Have we practiced the Spiritual Work of Mercy “Admonish the sinner” to the point that we have overdone it, and now it is time to cool our jets?
    3. In my research today I found: “The world is an evil case not because Christianity has failed but because Christians have failed to practice Christianity.” Fr. Edward Leen, Redemptorist…from The Church Before Pilate, 1936. Could the Holy Father be taking us to a new level or forgotten level of understanding, to correct the Barkque of Peter…and everyone else on the planet, in a gentle, compassionate way that appears to contradict the Church and Her fine teaching, but in essence and reality certainly does not?
    I also found: “And he is learned indeed, who does the will of God, and renounces his own will.” Imitation of Christ, p. 11 and other sources.
    Then: “It is certain that growth in holiness is your vocation.” Fr. Louis De Montfort, Preparation for Total Consecration To Jesus Thru Mary according to St. Louis De Montfort, p. 49
    And: Begin with self-knowledge…week 1. ibid; Retreat with the Lord, What Are the Spiritual Exercises?, p.9 ….St. Ignatius…”
    And: God’s will: “Pray, pray a great deal.” The Angel of Peace, 1916- Lucia Speaks on The Message of Fatima, p. 12; “Pray the Rosary everyday in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of war.” May 13, 1917,
    And: The Eucharist, “the Source and Summit of the Christian Life”134, LG 11, Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1324, p. 334, is miraculously confected (prepared, produced) at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. “My children,” replied Padre Pio, “how can I explain it to you? … Because the Holy Mass is, one could say, the synthesis, because the Holy Mass can be said to sum … “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass,”,; The Mass remains the greatest prayer…and Catechesis… Fr. Z says, “Save The Liturgy. Save The World.”
    If we are firm in our foundation: God’s will, our vocation of holiness, praying the Rosary, participating and setting an example at Mass, we should be able to follow the words of donato2 : “So let us go forward and continue the discussion of these issues with tone that Francis has set for us.” And I add without confusions, questions, fears, angers, etc. Is this not one way to proceed?

  69. WesleyD says:

    JuliB wrote:

    Friday’s front page, top of the fold headline and picture in the Chicago Tribune was the Pope’s condemnation of small minded focus against gays, abortion and contraceptives.

    And of course, the Tribune was lying. Many news outlets, including the AP, took the term “small-minded rules” [Italian: piccoli precetti] from one part of the pope’s interview and then joined it to the reference to “abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods” which appeared in his response to a different question entirely! But Francis, even if he may not speak with perfect precision on every matter, would never be so absurd as to refer to the immorality of abortion as a “rule”. And despite what some commenters think, he isn’t referring to canon law either: there is no reference to gay marriage in the entire code of canon law!

    His key point about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception is this: “When we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context” [in un contesto]. This is exactly what he did on Friday, when he stated that “every unborn child” condemned to be aborted “has the face of Jesus Christ” and “experiences the refusal of the world”. This is the context! Abortion is not wrong because it violates the Bill of Rights or because it violates some utilitarian precept. It is wrong because each human being is created in the image of God, and the baby facing abortion has the face of Jesus facing the ultimate refusal of his mission by being nailed to the cross.

    I know that many people here would rather Francis talk about abortion in the context of natural law. I believe in natural law. But in my life, I have never known anyone who became pro-life because of natural law arguments. However, I have known people who became pro-life because they accepted the Gospel, and once they knew Christ, they soon realized that every person created in his image was truly precius. This is the “context” that can change hearts!

  70. EXCHIEF says:

    I have not read all the comments so if I am echoing someone else I apologize. Several things concern me about this Pontiff so far. One is his comments almost always seem to need “explanation” by other clerics and the explanation is almost always to insure Catholics that the Pope is not deviating from Church teaching. The Pope, if he needs to speak on these issues, needs to speak more clearly. His comments to date have lent themselves to misinterpretation and confusion and it is the Catholic (including Traditional Catholics) who seem most confused and even dismayed.
    Two, my “read” of the Pope is that he is basking in the limelight of media interest which, of course, runs contrary to the perception that he is a humble man. My read is that he likes media attention and what better way to get it than to make statements that lend themselves to controversy.

    If his purpose was to say that there are other issues besides abortion and homosexuality that need to be addressed I would agree but in order of importance those two should still be at the top of the list. Frankly I think the Jesuit liberal in him is leaking out. His seeming focus on “social justice” is precisely what, IMO, has led to the derailment of the Church over the past 50 years. The libs in and outside the Church are seizing on his social justice focus as an excuse to justify their immoral positions on abortion etc.

    If Pelosi or Biden commend the Pope my opinions will be reinforced.

  71. joan ellen says:

    EXCHIEF says:
    “If his purpose was to say that there are other issues besides abortion and homosexuality that need to be addressed I would agree but in order of importance those two should still be at the top of the list.”

    EXCHIEF, your “top of the list” words suggest order and may be closest to the reality where Pope Francis is trying to take us. The USCCB has us praying for life, marriage, and religious freedom – because of contraception, sterilization, abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage and a crackdown on how we express our religious beliefs, values, and practices, which is fine. What about interior religious practice (do an examination of conscience, go to Confession and pray, especially the Mass, for example) and economics (can we adapt easily to an economic crisis, what can we do to survive that?) Will havoc with/in our souls allow us to be martyrs? Will havoc with our bodies, so to speak, with the physical, the temporal in our lives allow us to physically survive patiently, calmly? Can we remain Catholic with less than in either of these realms or are we in jeopardy…spiritually and materially…by not paying attention and preparing for such things or eventualities?

    I agree Pope Francis may be saying “there are other issues”, that he may be saying those other issues are important also.

  72. Palladio says:

    KingofCharity: amen and thanks.

  73. St. Corbinian's Bear says:

    A good trial lawyer knows you aren’t going to change single mind with closing argument. In fact, your closing argument doesn’t even count. The purpose is just to give whoever is leaning toward your side points they can use in the only argument that does count: the one in the jury room. Which is to say, we can’t shrug off the predictable distortions of the media. The pope makes statements that are foreseeably going to be used by worldlings in support of their Godless agenda, and foreseeably confuse and demoralize the most dedicated of the faithful. He needs to develop some message and articulate it consistently. Right now he just seems, at best, insouciant. And paradoxically mildly disapproving of everything. “He didn’t actually say anything wrong, as you’ll clearly see on the third reading of the original Italian text,” vs the “POPE TO GAY MARRIAGE FOES: DROP DEAD” headline isn’t much of a contest. It seems irresponsible to be careless with message in a media age. Right or wrong, I’m feeling this is someone who just really doesn’t like me very much, and is determined not to be vilified like his predecessor. But, hey, there’s no rule I ever heard of that says you have to like the pope, so I’ll stay calm and Catholic on.

  74. maryh says:

    Let’s see. On Thursday, Pope Francis says when we speak about abortion, we should always place our talking about abortion in context.

    On Friday, Pope Francis demonstrates the context in which we should speak about abortion.
    Theological context: As @WesleyD said above. “every unborn child” condemned to be aborted “has the face of Jesus Christ” and “experiences the refusal of the world”.
    Practical context: He’s addressing doctors. Who are the ones who are called by society to perform abortions. That’s a pretty practical context.

    Damage control? Really? So did Pope Francis quick schedule a talk with doctors for the next day after he saw the misleading headlines on Thursday? Or maybe he wasn’t actually planning to address abortion with the doctors, until he saw the reaction from Thursday?

    Or here’s a thought.

    Maybe he actually meant what he said on Thursday about always providing context instead of just saying “thou shalt not.”

    So instead of shutting up when people quote Pope Francis at you about “obsessing about abortion”, you can answer something like:

    “I’m so glad we both agree with Pope Francis. That’s why I’m not obsessing about abortion. I’m addressing the issues in context, just like he told us to. That’s why we support the ‘Women’s Care Center’ right across from the Planned Parenthood Clinic. By the way, did you know he’s the first Pope to participate in a Pro-Life March?”

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