Reader Feedback: “I can’t read just anything about the Church anymore…”

I have been getting notes by email along these lines:

I just wanted to send a quick thank you for the helpful posts lately. I have been nervous since Pope Benedict left and I worry about what this all means for the future of my diocese … when it is time for a new Bishop. I had thought things would improve around here (more reverent liturgy and less liberal style social justice) but now I’m not so sure it will really change any time soon. There are some bright spots, though, and ways I can help if I look for them.

I can’t read just anything about the Church anymore but I still read your blog because you are hopeful and realistic. Thank you for the encouragement you give so many people.

You are welcome!

I suspect that a lot of people out there are feeling and thinking along the same lines.  Many people are nervous.  That is to be expected.

Be involved and help work for good changes.   It will be like pushing a huge rock up a hill. It will also, in the long run, result in benefits for many.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MacBride says:

    Ditto with your email.

    Just yesterday I was speaking to a business aquantance and his partner about a recent pilgrimage I took to Italy. The subject of the Pope came up. He said “Isn’t this new Pope wonderful? Finally they have a Pope that is a REAL Christian.” …What does that mean? I was dumbfounded. All I could say is that I did not know too much about this Pope yet to make a judgement either way.

    At best I am very confused about Pope Francis. I try not to get too worked up and just keep plugging along.

  2. MikeD says:

    I had the exact same concern regarding bishop appointments until John Allen reported that, except for the archdiocese of St. Andrews-Edinburgh in Scotland, Pope Francis has not yet taken an active, personal interest in the appointment of Bishops in the Anglosphere. This heightens the importance of the American Cardinals working at the Congregation for Bishops (Burke, Levada, and Rigali, a solid group). The next American prelate to turn 75 is Bishop Hubbard of Albany, who has to be one of the very last actively serving bishops appointed by Paul VI. I suspect that, more than anyone, Cardinal Dolan will hold considerable sway over Hubbard’s replacement, and while Dolan has been a bit too conciliatory when it comes to the powers that be in Albany, his input should yield a decent appointment. Please pray for a holy and courageous successor!

  3. Magpie says:

    reading this post help me put my finger on exactly how I feel I don’t feel fathered by Pope Francis. it seems to me that pope francis has done very little to reassure catholics like me that everything will be okay it’s like he’s gone out of his way to cause as much upset as possible to catholics like ourselves from the holy thursday for wash incident to everything that’s come since. this is how I feel.

  4. J_Cathelineau says:

    Same here. A permanent discomfort and vertigo. And the worst: I just don´t know how to speak to my children.

  5. donato2 says:

    I now can’t bear to read liberal outlets, like the New York Times. They gloat about how they are winning the Church over to their side and to support their gloating they can cite many things that Pope Francis has said. The Church had been my rock. I now feel abandoned by the Church.

  6. mamajen says:

    This is typically the only blog/news source I read about the Church. Not so much because I can’t bear to read others, but why bother?

    I was very worried about Pope Francis when he was first announced, but I’m past that now. I like that he gives me a lot to think about, and I need to more deeply research and explore my faith to understand what he’s trying to say or do. Reading and commenting here helps me a great deal.

    I simply cannot believe that someone as devoted to Mary and the saints as Pope Francis is will cause harm to the Church.

  7. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” Matt 27:46

    Even the Master suffered that feeling of abandonment by God in His Sacred Humanity. What a privilege it is to have an opportunity to taste in some small way what Jesus Crucified must have felt! To share in His sufferings – to share with steadfastness, and without giving up hope – is to deserve to share in the glory of His Resurrection.

    Many of the great saints experienced conversion from lives of ho-hum Christianity to real fervor during periods when they were laid up with a serious illness or injury. They were suffering grievously. Suffering, it is said, may make a man* see himself as he really is, and may make a man turn more to God than he ever had done before.

    Many of us are suffering, too, feeling perhaps that the present Holy Father the Pope is a man whose personal experience during some of the most difficult moments in the recent history of the Church is quite different to our own. Instead of feeling reassured in all that our Holy Father says and does, we sometimes can’t help wondering if he is on the same page with us. And to be left wondering in this way can constitute real suffering for any faithful Catholic.

    That said, now is the time to develop more and more our individual, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, especially Christ Crucified. Now is the time to spend time visiting Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Now is the time to go quietly into our room, close the door, and go over the daily readings from Mass or from the Liturgy of the Hours. Perhaps, as we read, we ask God, “Lord, what would you have me to understand or to do, from what I am reading?” And to wait and listen in silence. Even if we hear nothing in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will pour Himself into us, without our realizing it. As an infant sleeps blissfully unaware of her watching parents’ earnest, whispered conversation about her health, development, and future education, so we, in prayer, may be most lovingly tended to by God without our even having the slightest idea that He is doing so. . . Until we reach Heaven, when we shall say, “Oh! so it was You all along!”

    Now is the time to deepen our love for the angels and saints. Now is the time to study the writings of the Fathers of the Church. Now is the time to immerse oneself in Sacred Scripture. The patrimony (art, writings, music, customs, traditions) of the Church is as wide and deep as all the oceans of the Earth. It remains to us! The angels and the saints are as luminous and glorious as the multitude of stars in the night sky. They remain to us! They are our heritage, our inheritance. What! Will the eldest son, immensely rich in every good thing that the father wants to give him, make himself unhappy because he doesn’t care for the manner in which the new steward, who has been appointed to his father’s estate, conducts his father’s affairs. At worst, wait it out! At best, turn to pray, study, and good works.

    Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matt. 8:25)
    * “man” used here in the classical way, in the universal case: man, woman, or child; often human person is used.

  8. anilwang says:

    Sometimes it helps to face the worst case, since if you can deal with that you can deal with anything.

    * Suppose due to the confusion, potential concessions, and curia restructuring most of the bishops apostatize, as was the case in the time of Henry the Eighth and the Arian controversy.
    * Suppose extreme secularism forces the Church underground and if Catholics are found, they are drawn and quartered, as in the time of the English recusants and early martyrs.
    * Suppose because of a lack of priests and necessity of hiding, our only liturgies are makeshift and rare and you have to risk your life to get to one as in the time of the English recusants and early martyrs.
    * Suppose our Popes are weak and liable to either concede to the world in matters of doctrine, as with the Pope Vigilius and Pope Honorius I, and become corrupt and worldly as with the Pornocracy.
    * Suppose the Church is plunged into hundreds of years of darkness with no visible hope of recovery.

    Could you deal with this? If not, then your problem isn’t the news, it’s a lack of knowledge of Catholic history. Better brush up on Catholics and Catholic saints at the above times since our times are not unique and most of the above have happened several times in history.

    If you can handle this, then none of the news out of Rome or the global Church will discourage you. Whatever happens, it’s business as usual. We each have a vocation on this world and a mission. The Church will survive no matter what happens, but unless we keep focus, we and our families and those near us won’t. This is a time that we need to become saints, even if we positively know we’re not cut out for it. We have no choice and no-one to turn to but God and his sacraments to give us the grace to do his will.

  9. SimonDodd says:

    MacBride says: “Isn’t this new Pope wonderful? Finally they have a Pope that is a REAL Christian.” It’s even more distressing when similarly-comparative (although not ordinarily so strong) language comes from the pulpit. “Don’t we have a great pope now? He’s just such a breath of fresh air.” It’s wrenching.

    mamajen says: “I simply cannot believe that someone as devoted to Mary and the saints as Pope Francis is will cause harm to the Church.” I could perhaps agree this far: That he will deliberately cause harm to the Church. A great many men have, throughout history, and motivated by nothing but love and good intentions, caused incalculable harm to things that they loved dearly.

  10. PostCatholic says:

    Just out of curiosity, perhaps morbid… Why not both/and? More reverent liturgy if that’s your thing, and more “liberal style social justice?” Perhaps my answer is in the word “style.”

  11. mamajen says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae,

    Well said! I think Pope Francis is reaching for the people who have little or no relationship with Christ, who don’t even know where to begin. For those of us who had a better start, we can do exactly as you said. It doesn’t matter who the pope is, or who our bishop is, or who our priest is. We as individuals know how to be good Catholics anyway. But nobody said it was always going to be easy for us. In fact, we don’t deserve it to be.

  12. Devo35 says:

    At the last, Pope Francis will be judged for his stewardship of the Church- what he has done and what he has failed to do. We will also be judged on our fidelity to the Church and to the Holy Father, Our Lord’s visible head of His Church. All we are asked to do is be faithful, so let’s just concentrate on that.

    The Church has had Popes who have governed much worse than Francis on his worst day. We need to keep praying, recieving the Sacraments and offering penances and mortifications even more strongly than ever. This is not due to Pope Francis, but because of the age in which we live. We cannot let our selves be shaken by what may or may not happen in regards to Church governance- just PRAY HARDER. It is the Lord who fights for us.

    I always think of our forebears- like the Catholics in Japan- who were isolated from the outside Church for hundreds of years, but remained faithful to the Church with no priests or churches. They had nothing, just as we maybe someday have nothing, but our Faith. We must learn to breathe it always.

    We are Catholics, we choose to remian Catholics and God willing, we will all die Catholic. I do not mean for this to be a ” We are Church so let’s all hug it out” post. I guess it is just my reaction to all the fear that seems to be poisoning the atmosphere within the Church as of late. The Lord asked us to take courgae as He will be with us always. Maybe it’s time we live that advice.

    Pax et Bonum!

  13. kpoterack says:

    I have read enough about Pope Francis to conclude that he is a doctrinally orthodox, and very pious, Catholic. My concerns have to do with his governance, his particular prudential decisions, potential appointments, etc. It is actually a liberal illusion that history makes things progressively better and better. There can be ups and downs. There can be setbacks. After the initial rejoicing when Pope Benedict was elected, my thought was, “he’s 78 years old, how long will this last?” This was a thought which I had throughout his pontificate. However, the good which he did will be like seeds planted – seeds which will flower in time, but we have to do the hard work of watering, fertilizing, etc. It still doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials and struggles. My main hope, other than God, is that the generation of Catholic liberals who hate the beauty of the Faith and liturgy (the 60’s crowd) are rather unique and passing from the scene. Younger generations, once fully involved in the life of the Church, don’t have that same desire for self-destruction.

  14. departing contestant says:

    repeat each day , with an our Father, Hail Mary , and a Glory Be
    “We should also have great confidence in the assistance which God offers us in temptations, and we should pray to Him for help. When pain torments us, when humiliations are hard to bear, when all is dark and we feel abandoned, let us trust Him, Who is the way, the truth, and the life. He says to us, as He said to Peter floundering in the waves, O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt? He is always ready to console and comfort us.”

  15. robtbrown says:

    mamajen says:

    Well said! I think Pope Francis is reaching for the people who have little or no relationship with Christ, who don’t even know where to begin. For those of us who had a better start, we can do exactly as you said. It doesn’t matter who the pope is, or who our bishop is, or who our priest is. We as individuals know how to be good Catholics anyway. But nobody said it was always going to be easy for us. In fact, we don’t deserve it to be.

    The pope is the Visible Head of the Church, not merely the head of Propaganda Fide. Going after the lost sheep is fine, but the flock must not be ignored

    And it’s not a matter of being easy. The Code of Canon law grants rights to all the Christifideles. It is not wild speculation to say those rights include clarity of doctrine and reverence of worship. That so many have been deprived of both for so long does not mean that we don’t deserve them.

  16. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    We most definitely do 100% have every right to clear doctrine and reverent worship.

    And what do we do when we don’t get it?

    We have precisely two choices and have to choose one or the other:

    1. B.M.&C. or

    2. Improvise, Adapt and Overcome*

    *- From The Marine Corps Dictionary
    An unofficial motto of the Marine Corps based on the fact that the Corps generally received Army hand-me-downs and the troops were poorly equipped. Despite this, the Marine Corps has been successful mostly because of the creativity of its people and their success-based attitude.

  17. tcreek says:

    The damage has been done and is irreversible. The Pope’s comments, no matter the context, will be used by progressives, catholic and otherwise, beyond our lifetimes. Such people now have a Pope to quote. They didn’t before.
    My sister was raised Catholic with 12 years of Catholic education. She is a strong supporter of Obama and the liberal agenda. She attends Mass only for weddings and funerals. She “really likes THIS pope”.

  18. APX says:

    May I make a suggestion?

    When you pray for your bishop and the Pope (I’m beig charitable an assuming everyone prays for these people daily), don’t just pray for him, but also pray for his successor.

  19. robtbrown says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae,

    Re #2

    A. In 1972 3 friends and I went looking for a monastery that had retained Latin liturgy. We found Fontgombault in France, which in 1999 made a Foundation in Oklahoma. I am right now on the way to visit Clear Creek.

    B. In the mid 80’s I left my job in IT and went to Rome to study, finished in 1997–STB, STL, STD (Thomistic Studies). As far as I know, I am one of two to do all three degrees with an emphasis on Thomistic Studies in the past 30 years.

    C. Also spent 4 years teaching theology in the FSSP seminary, resigned because of the health of my Mother (the big A had progressed).

    D. Now and then I like to make Novus Ordo people (incl priests) feel uncomfortable. I was just at Our Lady of the Snows for a few days. As I came out of a show biz mass, a lady said “That’s what I call participation.” I told her: ‘I like Latin; I just put up with that garbage.” (BTW, the Shrine has the best Stations of the Cross I have ever seen.)

  20. SimonDodd says:

    tcreek says: ‘She “really likes THIS pope.”’ President Obama, the National Dissenting Reporter, the media, secular liberals, your sister… They all love THIS pope. And we pat ourselves on the back and laugh at how stupid they are because they don’t get this pope; they are deluding themselves because they want to believe certain things about him; they don’t know to read between the lines like us, and so they are misunderstanding Francis. They are in for a big surprise because they naively read what he says rather than what he (surely, surely) means.

    Yup. They. Definitely they.

  21. Bea says:

    Ditto on all the above.
    I, too, feel so disconcerted.

    as Marion Ancilla Mariae says:
    9 October 2013 at 8:52 am
    “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” Matt 27:46

    but my key word is FEEL disconcerted.
    What I feel and what I know are two different things, because I know that God will never abandon us.
    We may be put through the test but HE is there.

    And yes, Fr. Z , as your reader says, this is a haven for us.
    Thank you.

    We get so much feedback here at home.
    Our priests don’t know what to make of him (the pope).
    Some parishioners think he’s the greatest thing since Moses (these are the least well-read that don’t keep up with the news).
    Others are so fearful.
    The ones that worry me the most are the “I couldn’t care less” folks.
    But then they may be the best off. Just saying their prayers and ignoring what else goes on around them.

  22. mamajen says:


  23. The Masked Chicken says:

    Just a few notes about the Scriptures quotes, above.

    Every Holy Week, we are told that, “My God, my, a God, why hast thou forsaken me,” is a cry of desolation from the Cross, but Psalm 22 is, ultimately, a cry of trust, not desolation, for it ends with:

    “19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

    20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

    21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

    22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

    23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

    24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

    25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

    26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

    27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

    28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

    29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

    30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

    31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

    In fact, the psalm says, explicitly, that God does not abandon the afflicted and that He hears their cry. This is a psalm that Jesus starts in his humanity, with near despair, as sometimes a man might be tempted to by a grave situation, but in this psalm, Jesus rejects the temptation and ends the psalm with the trust that no matter how bad the situation, God will prevail to be praised by generations yet to be born.

    Secondly, the pericope about the boat:

    “Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”

    is interesting. Why did Jesus chastise them for their lack of faith? This is often misunderstood. It was not because they simply didn’t have the courage of faith that things would be alright. Rather, this is a specific rebuke for a specific fault, because, just before they got into the boat, Jesus said (Matt 8:18):

    “18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.”

    The disciples showed a lack of faith because Jesus commanded that they cross the lake and if Jesus commands something, who can doubt that it will come to pass? This pericope is not a template for dealing with adversity. Sometimes, you have to abandon ship! It is when Jesus says, by way of charity or command, that one must stay that one must stay. One might want to throw the baby out of the womb in abortion, but one keeps the baby as an act of faith, if not by charity, then by command. On the other hand, one must sometimes cut off a diseased limb rather than keep it with you. This Biblical incident was not meant to be done in support of Christian Science. The faith mentioned, here, refers to a very specific spoken word of Jesus.

    The Chicken

  24. wmeyer says:

    It is easy to become disheartened when reading the all too frequent messages from Pope Francis. However, it is essential to remember that these public speeches do not alter Church teaching. It is well for us to turn to the CCC for proof of this. And better still to turn to the writings of our Pope Emeritus for deeper study and reflection.

  25. donato2 says:

    In my parish the (liberal) pastor’s homily the Sunday after the big interview was about how wonderful the interview was. In the 14 plus years that I have been attending Mass there not once did I hear mention of anything that Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict said. Not once. I did however hear many liberal shibboleths. So now that we have a Pope who repeats some of them of course we are going hear the Pope quoted and praised.

  26. robtbrown says:

    Also Re #2: When I was student at KU, shortly after converting in 1970, a few of us went to the pastor and asked for a Latin Mass. He was a very good man and agreed, with the stipulation that it would be a high mass. One of the profs had taken a course in Greg Chant, so we started a small chant choir (we were not really very good). The pastor set the time at the least attended mass.

    The day came, and, I am not exaggerating, it was packed. People were standing in the aisles. The priest told us later that he had phone calls thanking him. The mass was said once a month for about 3 months, still very well attended. Afterwards, Abp Strecker (rhymes with wrecker) decided no more Latin masses.

    I am, however, thankful to Abp Strecker. Because of his negligence in administering Confirmation (before it was turned over to priests), I was confirmed in France. Felix culpa!

  27. McCall1981 says:

    What you’ve said is a concern to me too, however we should remember that in most cases, “we” actually do know more than “them”. For most of the people you’re talking about, all “they” know about the Pope is the few interview comments that the NY Times has fed them. “We” are the ones that do follow more closely, as far as his curial appointments, his daily homilies, the totality of what he says and does, etc. This doesn’t mean that “we” are right for sure, but I think it’s safe to say that we are generally more informed and are more likely to be right. At least I hope so…

  28. SimonDodd says:

    wmeyer says: “It is easy to become disheartened when reading the all too frequent messages from Pope Francis. However, it is essential to remember that these public speeches do not alter Church teaching.” The existence of deliberately-scandalous groups such as “Catholics for Choice” or NCR “do not alter Church teacing,” but they, too, divide our witness, demoralize and scandalize the faithful, and make it much, much harder to do evagelization ad intra and ad extra. For as long as the Church operates in the world, and is here to convert the world, what happens in the world and what the world thinks is relevant; you can’t convert a man who believes that he’s already a Catholic. “Oh, but you aren’t, because you don’t believe X, Y, and Z, and you don’t do A or B, and you do do C.” “You know, I’m much more of a pope francis Catholic, and I hear what you’re saying, but as Francis says, who are you to judge?” (If your temptation is to launch into an extended discourse on what that throwaway line from Francis really meant, feel free, but understand that that bolsters rather than contradicts my point.)

  29. avecrux says:

    Anything we “build” can be destroyed overnight. For me, one of the hardest things in my life has been developing a sense of detachment… our parish was just starting to recover and our Pastor gets moved… our school is just turning a corner and our principal leaves…. etc, etc. The stuff of life. The pain. They don’t call it a vale of tears for nothing. We have no lasting home here and we have to struggle through being faithful rather than looking for success. It is the Cross. It is like living Holy Saturday. But we have faith in the Resurrection. Cling to Christ. He will make us saints.

  30. A lot of people are anxious about Pope Francis. I certainly am. Back when I was a teenager, I would have appreciated him more. My views have been solidified by apologetics and being a fan of Cardinal Ratzinger for a decade before he became pope. He was MY pope, and the first new pope I can remember, and it hasn’t been easy having a new one again. I will have to live in the world of apologetics until I get another pope I can consider mine … hopefully Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Until then I need to get my mind off all the stuff I don’t understand.

  31. inexcels says:

    Fr. Z, I can only say that in this matter you exhibit the patience of a saint.

  32. Cantor says:

    Mamajen said :

    I think Pope Francis is reaching for the people who have little or no relationship with Christ, who don’t even know where to begin.

    Bingo. Somewhere along the line I remember a story that sounded much like that, about a shepherd with 99 pretty well-off sheep and one who had fallen from the flock.

    Maybe there are more than a few of us who should count our blessings, be thankful to be in the flock, stop grousing about the one(s) who’ve lost their way, and get off the back of the shepherd who’s out looking for them.

  33. ocalatrad says:

    I agree with the sentiments of some here. So many Catholics now feel that the rug has been pulled out from under them and the Rock of the Church is nowhere to be found. I think the outreach to atheists and enemies of the Church is wasted time and energy. It makes a laughing stock of the papacy. The wolves are ready to make mincemeat of Peter. If we live truly, profoundly Catholic lives in keeping with the (true) Gospel–not the Modernist Gospel interpretation–the fallen away will come. We need to reclaim the Truth and Beauty which is our birthright.

  34. mamajen says:


    “and get off the back of the shepherd who’s out looking for them.”

    Now there’s a funny visual! And thanks.

  35. kpoterack says:

    If you read Wikipedia on the Papal Conclave 2013, there is some interesting speculation and rumor. I fully admit that this is NOT certain – anymore than any other gossip or rumor (as the conclave was supposed to be secret) – but it seems somewhat plausible. According to these rumors, the top three vote-getters were: Scola, Ouellete, and Bergoglio. Bergoglio was never the front runner for the first three ballets, he was always in second or third place. It was before the fourth ballot that Ouellete pulled out and threw his support behind his friend, Card. Bergoglio. Then he pulled into the lead. The fifth ballot was to give him an overwhelming majority and show a united front.

    What does any of this mean – IF true? I am not sure, other than I hope Card. Ouellete knows his friend well enough. Perhaps our Holy Father needs some time to settle into the job and then he will settle down. Or perhaps the fact that a majority of Cardinals had no interest in voting for him until recommended by someone they did trust (Card. Ouellete) will make them much more cautious at the next conclave?

    Incidentally, I do not dispute the validity of the election, but I find this train of thought comforting for some reason.

  36. kpoterack says:

    . . . to reformulate what I said above, if the Wikipedia rumors are true: 1) either things will calm down, because we can trust Card. Ouellete on his recommendation, or 2) they won’t calm down (because Card. Ouellete didn’t know his friend as well as he thought) and the cardinals will be much more careful at the next conclave.

    I guess what I am saying is that I highly doubt the majority of the cardinals had these media interviews (rightly or wrongly understood) and the lionization of the MSM in mind when they voted for Card. Bergoglio.

  37. donato2 says:

    If the Wikipedia rumors are true, the good news is that there may be reason to believe that Ouellette will remain in charge of recommending appointments. I also doubt that Ouellette or many other Cardinals knew Bergoglio very well.

    This is somewhat off topic, but I realized another thing that is a bit strange about the comment that “youth unemployment” is one of the gravest evils threatening the world today. It is a comment that doesn’t make sense even by leftist, worldly standards that discount the evil of abortion. I realize that youth unemployment rates are higher than adult unemployment rates. Still it seems to me that adult unemployment is far worse than “youth unemployment.” Youth typically still have the support of their parents, don’t have a family to feed and have the resiliency of youth. Far worse off is the 40 year old father of four who suddenly finds himself unemployed.

    Also, in what sense is unemployment, youth or adult, “evil”? It is a severe misfortune, to be sure. But is it “evil”? Is it in any sense even a sin?

  38. gretta says:

    If we can put aside what we may feel as denigrating beloved previous popes, shouldn’t we be looking on people’s comments and enthusiasm as a time to evangelize? How about when we hear these comments, we answer something like, “I am so glad you like this Pope, it is a real blessing to see your enthusiasm! We sure would love for you to join us for 1) Daily Mass/Mass on Sunday, 2) 0ur parish retreat, 3) a holy hour, 4) some quiet time in front of the blessed sacrament, 5) our parish’s outreach ministry to our local soup kitchen!” Isn’t this an opportunity to throw open a door that may have cracked open a tiny bit? Maybe Papa Francis isn’t so much going after looking for the lost sheep himself, but he is helping to point them out to US! From the comments here they certainly are making themselves known in ways that they didn’t before.

  39. McCall1981 says:

    Yes, I would be very happy if Ouellet stayed in charge of making appointments, particularly if Francis stays out of it. If that happens I would hope it would mean that the “spirit of Francis” stuff wouldn’t negatively effect the quality of the rest of the hierarchy.

  40. kpoterack says:

    “If the Wikipedia rumors are true, the good news is that there may be reason to believe that Ouellette will remain in charge of recommending appointments. I also doubt that Ouellette or many other Cardinals knew Bergoglio very well.”

    KP: This isn’t just Wikipedia. I have seen independent confirmation that they were/are on very friendly terms. EXACTLY how well Ouellette knew Bergoglio is still a question. They definitely were not strangers before the conclave.

    “This is somewhat off topic, but I realized another thing that is a bit strange about the comment that “youth unemployment” is one of the gravest evils threatening the world today.”

    KP: This was from the second interview, the contents of which are highly doubtful. The interviewer was an 89 year-old atheist newspaper editor who didn’t record the interview or even take notes. He ‘reconstructed’ the conversation after the fact. We know for sure that he got at least one significant thing wrong. He claimed that Card. Bergoglio went into a room by himself before he accepted. Cardinal Dolan has publicly said that was false. So I am very suspicious about that interview. “Youth unemployment is a bad thing” could have easily been turned into “youth unemployment is the worst evil” in the addled mind of an old atheist.

  41. Robbie says:

    I’m beyond disheartened by what has transpired with Pope Francis. I’ve done my best to hope my initial reactions to him were wrong, but there is simply no doubt in my mind he is a revolutionary VCII modernist who believes the reason the council didn’t work is because it didn’t go far enough. I believe he has major changes in store for the Church and I believe 15 years from now we’ll long for the days of the “conservative” Catholic Church of Ratzinger.

    I appreciate Father Zuhlsdorf’s efforts to talk many of us off the ledge, but each new, wild interview Francis gives shouldn’t require more red ink from Father Z than black print from Francis. I’ve been gone these last two weeks, but it certainly seems frustrations with Francis reached critical mass with many conservative Catholic writers and commentators during this time. And according to Edward Pentin, even some priests who work closely with traditional and conservative minded Cardinals are beginning to voice their displeasure at what’s taking place.

    My biggest fear, beyond the unorthodox sounding comments, is the aim to devolve power from the Vatican and give it to the local Bishops. To my ear, this sounds like the Anglican Church. In other words, the US Bishops would run the American Catholic Church, while other country’s Bishops ran their own Churches. In effect, you could have the American Church doing things one way while the Spanish or French Church did the something another way. If true this would spell the end of the universal Church.

  42. robtbrown says:

    From a PI standpoint it is not really relevant whether or not the pope actually made the comments reported in paper. They were made public, and the toothpaste won’t go back in the tube.

    It’s hard to believe that a man who had spent almost 15 years as the Abp in BA would consent to an interview with no one else in the room–with anyone. That’s like saying “Write whatever you want and attribute to me whatever you want.”

  43. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Now and then I like to make Novus Ordo people (incl priests) feel uncomfortable.

    > Gasp! <

    To like to offend others, who may or may not have the slightest idea what in the world set you off . . . ?

    All I can say is:

    Wow. Just. . .


  44. Robbie says:

    Now that I’ve read through the comment section, I want to address a few things that have been written.

    1. It’s great Pope Francis wants to reach out to those who have no faith, but he shouldn’t do it at the cost of actual Catholics. Yet, that is what he’s doing. He can wear a burlap sack, drip water from a rain puddle, and live under a bridge, but it’s not going win over people who have no faith. They have no faith for a reason. And even if some do return to the Church over the “humble” style, they likely won’t overcome those who left for the SSPX.

    2. I have also read the stories that Cardinal Ouellette played king maker in the conclave. The first place the story appeared was in a Canadian newspaper not long after the conclave ended. In that story, it was said Ouellette threw his support behind Bergoglio because he wanted to see a Pope elected from the Americas. Given that Ouellette was a protégé of Ratzinger, I find it very hard to believe he would have done this had he known just how liberal Bergoglio was.

    3. I think Francis has already made certain two things will not happen at the conclave for a long, long time. First, there will not be another Jesuit Pope. And second, the electors will never vote again for a little known Cardinal from the other side of the world.

  45. ChrisRawlings says:

    May I humbly suggest that if you need the validation of the pope or bishop or pastor to be secure in your faith, something is broken there? So what if you’re nervous about Francis? Either Jesus Christ is Lord the entire universe, including the Church and the Pope and you and me, or He isn’t. But He is, so, as I believe that it says in Scripture, be anxious about nothing! What does it say to you family, to pagans, to the whole world, that you can’t bear a merely informal interview by the Pope? Does that witness a passionate faith in Jesus and a love for His Church.

    So much of this pontificate has been about lay Catholics taking responsibility for their relationship with Christ rather than sitting back and soaking in the bountiful wisdom of the pope. Don’t you realize that Christ will use YOU amidst The Coming Storm? The New York Times is making stuff up? Write a letter, a blog, anything. The Church is not the pope and all of us underlings. That is stultifying commercialism. Christ counts on your witnesO what if the s just as He counts on the Pope’s. Your liberal pastor celebrates the new pope? Great! Challenge him to read everything by the Pope, not just hashed up New York Times analyses of what he said. Challenge your pastor to preach evangelization as breathlessly as Francis. Urge him to really follow Francis and live his poverty vow as zealously as the Pope. Challenge him to encourage Eucharistic adoration as passionately as Francis. Challenge him to treasure Our Lady as gently as Francis.

    You must realize that times like these don’t need moaning in comment sections online. They require unceasing sanctity and love ans faith from ordinary Catholics like you and me.

    And, Ocalatrad, who wrote that “…the outreach to atheists and enemies of the Church is wasted time and energy,” let me gently say that Our Lord gave His life reaching out to His enemies. That is something to be emulated, not cynically scoffed at when done by others, and especially the Vicar if Christ.

  46. ChrisRawlings says:

    I meant commercialism, and not commercialism.

  47. McCall1981 says:

    Something I found a little comforting is what Card. Dolan recently said about the Francis interviews:
    “… I think most committed Catholics, they’re nuanced enough to know what the Holy Father meant. And they know that there’s perhaps some misinterpretations. But I don’t think they…you know, when you’ve got a long interview that is so exhilarating and inspirational, and some people take a dozen words out of context – that’s not the right thing to do, is it?”,_u.s._reaction_to_new_pope/en1-735643
    He defends the interviews (as he has to do), but he also lets it be known that:
    a) Francis intends to communicate orthodoxy, but is being misinterpreted (I’d rather deal with poor communication from an orthodox Pope , than deal with outright heterodoxy)
    b) Cardinals are becoming aware of the problems the interviews are causing, which makes me hope Francis is too.
    c) He is reassuring “committed” Catholics (by implying that we are nuanced enough to correctly understand Francis’ orthodox message).

  48. ChrisRawlings says:

    Once more, before I turn off the predictive text on my phone–clericalism, not commercialism.

  49. mamajen says:


    It’s great Pope Francis wants to reach out to those who have no faith, but he shouldn’t do it at the cost of actual Catholics.

    If they were “actual Catholics”, that wouldn’t be an issue.

  50. anilwang says:

    ocalatrad says: “I think the outreach to atheists and enemies of the Church is wasted time and energy. It makes a laughing stock of the papacy. The wolves are ready to make mincemeat of Peter.”

    Keep in mind that St Peter and St Paul would disagree with you since both tried to convert the Sanhedrin that recently put Jesus to death and plotted to put them to death, and corrupt Roman officials which had little interest in religion. The problem isn’t leaving the 99 sheep to go after the one lost. It isn’t even trying to tame the wolves so they can become sheep dogs that protect the 99. Both are worthy goals, especially in this day and age.

    The problem is that a good shepherd should make sure the 99 are in a safe place and be able to convince the wolves that they are taken care of before he goes after the 1. What’s happened in the interviews is that the shepherd has gone after the one while simultaneously leaving the 99 unprotected and announcing to the wolves that the 99 are exposed. This is key issue that makes people nervous about Church news or any other surprises from Pope Francis.

    Because of this exposure, my main fear is that the curia restructuring will leave the sheep further exposed (e.g. delegate liturgy and bishop appointments and the duties of the CDF to each national bishop’s conference) and the upcoming Marriage Synod will “pastorally” allow all people cohabiting or living in invalid marriages to receive communion and allowing bishops (the Freiburg bishop) to openly defy canon law without consequence.

    If both the Marriage Synod and the curial restructuring appear safe and the Freiburg case is dealt with firmly, I personally will relax and assume the the Pope will eventually grow into the papacy…after some long growing pains (since he seems to be set in his ways). If both appear inspired, I’ll become a fan of the Papacy again and look forward to Church news.

    But even if my fears are confirmed, I won’t be distracted (see my post above). If the English recusants could continue the faith despite bitter persecutions, virtually no masses, a mass apostasy of priests and bishops and laity, and the appearance that “the whole world was turning Protestant” with no end in sight, how could I wimp out over our trivial problems.

  51. capchoirgirl says:

    If they were “actual Catholics”, that wouldn’t be an issue.

    What does that mean?

  52. Charles E Flynn says:

    Editorial by Carl E. Olson for the Catholic World Report:

    Pope Francis: The Good, the Baffling, and the Unclear

  53. mr_anthony says:

    Several weeks ago I was having a working lunch, and my colleague mentioned that he loved the new Pope (or “new guy” as he called him). He then decided to follow that up with a derogatory remark about Pope Benedict, the “old guy.” It’s not worth repeating.

    I made some slight attempt at pointing out to him that much of what they both said is the same, just said differently. He wasn’t all that interested.

    I like Pope Francis. I like that people like Pope Francis. I like that the Church is getting a breather from the unnecessary beating she took from the moment Benedict was elected. But lets be honest, it’s all kind of fake. It’s all part of the media game, and people fall for it because their knowledge of the Church doesn’t go beyond what they are told by secular sources. Nor is the average person really capable of thinking critically on their own. It has to be done for them, and the Anderson Coopers of the world are happy to oblige.

    Pope Benedict was “my guy” because he was unapologetically authentic. He said what he believed needed to be said, and said it well. If anything, he was himself to a fault, never really giving the media what they wanted to see: either a reformer who would gut Catholicism and affirm liberal beliefs, or the cranky, mean old man they portrayed him to be.

    Pope Francis is more JPII than BXVI. I hope he succeeds in areas BXVI was unable. Whether the cardinals avoid another Francis-type in the future is difficult to see. I can’t imagine them wanting a Benedict-style media bludgeoning again, either. At any rate, I don’t think Francis’ pontificate will be exceptionally long. Longer than Benedict I think, but not by too much.

    As a final note: seeing the contrast in reactions to Francis and Benedict has been very informative. I feel as though I’ve learned something fairly significant about human nature, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s a compelling play to be written, I suspect, about the average person’s reaction to the “Benedicts” and “Francis-es” of the world.

  54. Robbie says:


    Francis takes pot shots at conservative and traditional minded Catholics all of the time. He mocked a group who offered a bouquet of Rosaries, he’s called us pelagians, restorationists, and triumphalists, and he’s also banned the FFI from the TLM. Forgive me, but I certainly take offense at those things. You may not see it as a big deal, but I do. And I also thing it’s a big deal that NARAL is so excited by Francis that they’ve sent him a thank you card.

  55. jacobi says:


    I particularly liked your “post above”. Yes, history has not necessarily come to an end!

  56. Kathleen10 says:

    It is so consoling to read all these comments. Thank you all for sharing them. I read them all with great interest and commiseration.
    I agree with the comments from those who are concerned, very concerned even, and also those who see this as a time for opportunity for holiness and increased faith. Also becoming closer to Jesus. All of it. It definitely is a time for trust, trust that all things will work to the good. (even if for a while things seem lousy) It’s hard to see Catholic truth be manipulated by atheists and the media, or even silly friend and relatives. Very hard. I have to remind myself I am not personally in charge of correcting all wrongs and lies in the world. God will have to take care of those.
    Just a comment. I happened to have just started a trial subscription to the National Catholic Register. I never read the paper before, but saw the free trial and thought it was an opportunity to see what it’s about. I believe it is owned by EWTN now, and unless they’ve gone rogue and I didn’t hear about it, that is a faithful organization. Anyway, naturally there is an article about Pope Francis, and in reading his words, you definitely get a fuller impression of his comments, and thus far, I have found them reassuring. I have previously been alarmed by what has been reported he has said, these little sound bites, and I’m absolutely certain of how they are being misused, but, I encourage you to read from a reliable source what his words are in context. They sound very different from what has been presented in mainstream media outlets. Regardless, the manipulators are going to manipulate, the liars are going to lie. It was painful to watch our former Popes be eviscerated by the media nonstop as well, only reducing the relentless onslaught of criticism as JPII suffered so with Parkinsons. They hate our Popes and are going to abuse them in one way or another. The days of genteel behavior by the media are officially over, and I do not believe we will ever see them again. So if we once again find ourselves with a Pope with whom we are aligned, we can expect the howls, innuendos, and accusations to begin again. A renewed batch of reminders about the sexual abuse scandals, which seem to have fallen off the media radar now. All is forgiven! We have here no comfortable home. No matter what is going on, some part of it will be tough to take at times. We will have our consolations.
    This may be minimizing, but, it’s at least better, if we must be alarmed, to be alarmed based on context, and not cherry-picking comments and reacting to those. (I’m pretty sure Fr. Z. has been saying this!) Having said that, I can think of a few statements thus apparently made that seem bad in any context. Anyway, I feel conflicted as well, but at least, we can share our concerns. May God bless and help Pope Francis, and us.

  57. mamajen says:


    I disagree with your assessment of what Pope Francis has done, but that’s beside the point. Feeling offended and actually leaving the One True Church are very different things. The latter simply cannot be justified.

  58. mamajen says:


    Catholics, particularly traditional or conservative Catholics that Robbie is referring to, should know that leaving the Church is never justified. There should be nothing a pope can do that would “cost” Catholics. That said, we are only human, and we can make mistakes. We cannot blame anyone else if we do.

  59. Joe in Canada says:

    I have learned through all this to severely restrict what I read about the Pope, and to read instead exactly what he has written (said in an interview, etc). In my limited experience an awful lot of people are reacting to what the media said about the Pope, rather than going to the source. The media continues to learn well how to manipulate what the Holy Father says to achieve their own end.

  60. Robbie says:

    Has Francis not mocked a group who offered a bouquet of Rosaries? Has Francis not called traditional and conservative minded Catholics restorationists, pelagians, and triumphalists? Has Francis not banned the FFI from saying the TLM? In all three cases, yes he has. And on the issue of the FFI, Sandro Magister reports those who’ve spoken with Benedict say he believes the FFI decision is a “vulnus” or wound on SP.

  61. Robbie says:

    It’s not about leaving the One, True Church. I won’t and I suspect those about whom I’m discussing won’t either. But for many, it may become more about finding it in the SSPX. Francis has and will likely continue to make the SSPX far more attractive to conservative and traditional minded Catholics who fear the Church is being redefined into something it was never meant to be. It’s hard to see how antagonizing the base who’ve stuck with the Church through the mess of the 1970’s and the abuse scandals is a good idea. And yes, he’s antagonizing the base of the Church.

  62. McCall1981 says:

    @Joe in Canada,
    You’re absolutely right, though I think Francis has, so far, made their distortion pretty easy to do. He’s given them some quotes that were just begging to be misused.

  63. monmir says:

    When I hear about Pope Francis 3 words come to my mind: confusion, headaches, hibernation.

  64. mr_anthony says:

    Oh, one other thing to mention.

    I do seriously suspect that Pope Francis is either unaware or unclear as to what precisely the Church is up against in the USA. His comments seem tailored much more to Latin American discourse versus the subtle wink-wink-nod-nod of “dialogue” in the northern hemisphere.

  65. Lori Pieper says:


    Hear, hear! Bravo!!

    The message of Pope Francis is not muddied, or wish-washy or compromised. It’s crystal clear. People just don’t want to hear it, because it will be demanding on them. Almost all of the comments here are of the “I feel,” “I wish” “I think” “I don’t accept” variety. Everything is about how Pope Francis affects them, makes them uncomfortable. This is exactly the “folded-in on itself” Church he wants us to get out of.

    Francis wants the Church to be about those “out there.” We must get out there on the highways and byways to evangelize – he is leading by his example. Do we honestly care about souls, or do we want to cling forever to what’s comfortable for us, and we already know? (I’m amazed btw, at the number of people here who know only the infamous interviews as quoted in the secular press, not the originals, and at how few people have read his actual magisterium, like the talk to the doctors on abortion, which is beautiful. Being informed takes work).

    As Fr. Z says “get out there and get involved in the corporal works of mercy!” If you are a griper, that will be the cure for what ails you.

  66. Nan says:

    My energy is better used in praying for my local Church which is under attack from the secular world due to mishandling allegations of sexual abuse and a priest with pornography on his computer. There are a ton of newspaper articles all focused on the bad, bad church and the big, mean bishop. Now they’re branching out to another diocese and we’ll no doubt see more of it. Please pray that the gates of hell do not prevail against your local church. Or mine.

  67. tcreek says:

    Archbishop Bergoglio became Argentina’s top church official in 2001. The Roman Catholics Church comprises 92% of the population in Argentina. It is the only officially recognized religion but only 20% percent of Catholics regularly practice the faith. Why Pope Francis believes that he has a “better idea” than his predecessors for promoting the Faith is beyond me. His “better ideas” didn’t seem to make much difference down there.

  68. robtbrown says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Now and then I like to make Novus Ordo people (incl priests) feel uncomfortable.

    > Gasp! <

    I’m just following the prescription of the pope, who said to go out and make a mess.

    To like to offend others, who may or may not have the slightest idea what in the world set you off . . . ?

    All I can say is:

    Wow. Just. . .


    All I can say is:

    You assume too much. Who said I offend them? Or that they don’t know what I’m saying?

  69. The Cobbler says:

    @donato2: “Still it seems to me that adult unemployment is far worse than “youth unemployment.” Youth typically still have the support of their parents, don’t have a family to feed and have the resiliency of youth.”
    I wonder if he’s speaking of “youth unemployment” as in business and economics, or idle youth who never become adults at all? I wonder if it’s related to his comments to the youth about a “lio”… Could be no such theme, but I can’t help but wonder.

  70. SimonDodd says:

    Robbie, MonMir, yes; it’s too bad, had there been more time, had enough time passed for the ordinariates and Anglican use to mature and develop into an Anglican Rite proper, I would already have fled the Roman Rite for it. You’re still under the Pope but at least there’s some insulation. There’s some cushion.

  71. Heather F says:

    “What’s happened in the interviews is that the shepherd has gone after the one while simultaneously leaving the 99 unprotected and announcing to the wolves that the 99 are exposed.”

    Wait, when did the Pope take Jesus out of all the tabernacles? When did he deny us access to all the teachings of the Church? When did he make prayer ineffective? When did he take away our access to the Sacraments? When did he cause the Holy Spirit to abandon us?

    We are anything but unprotected.

    Also, regarding youth unemployment: there seem to be people here with the idea that youth unemployment is about 16 year olds who are sad because they can’t make extra pocket money. It’s actually more about 18-29 year olds who can’t make ends meet, can’t pay off their education, can’t support themselves and therefore can’t even BEGIN to think about supporting a family (so openness to life is very low, during their most fertile years), who are frustrated and take it out in ways that are destructive to themselves and others. I wouldn’t call it the worst thing in the world if I was actually trying to do a serious ranking of Bad Things that are out there, but I might call it the worst thing in the world as a conversational hyperbole. Like saying there’s “nothing worse” than tripping and falling into the mud when you’re on the way to a job interview. Or calling the mustard seed the smallest seed in the world.

  72. The Cobbler says:

    And these days, at least in the US of A, they’re telling us we have to get an education to get a worthwhile job, but then it turns out even a worthwhile job takes as long to pay off the education as our grandparents took to pay off their house, and then the world wonders why young people “just have to” rebel. I mean education is a good thing in itself (real education anyway), and if more people had some real scholarly experience they’d be better off, but the whole using it as some kind of base requirement for non-factory-gruntwork employment isn’t working well at present. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the way it happens or just a coicidence of where our socioeconomic structure is at. (I am inclined to believe that using education as a baseline for employment is, unless the employment is itself academic, rather missing the point of both education and fitness for employment; this does not, however, prove that it causes the silly poor if you don’t debt-poor if you do scenario.) I also don’t know if it’s like this elsewhere in the world or if it’s some kind of peculiarity to the US or to what was Western Civilization or anything.

  73. Katylamb says:

    If we feel afflicted by Pope Francis maybe there’s a reason for that. Might be a good idea to examine ourselves and see if we really don’t know it all after all.
    What the heck is an “actual” Catholic? Sounds like some kind of private club. That is not what Jesus or the apostles thought of when they established a Church. People are sounding like the older brother of the Prodigal son here. Jesus said the good Shepherd leaves the 99 and goes after the lost one. That is just the way it is.
    If someone told me Pope Francis is a “real Christian” I would say, “Yes! So was Pope Benedict.” So what?

  74. Southern Catholic says:

    After reading most of the comments on this site, I have come to the conclusion that many have put way too much stock into what the media andthe average joe liberal have to say about the church. Why does it bother so many of you that the media twists the Pope’s words for their own agenda? They are going to do that no matter how clear cut the Pope’s remarks. Many of you know what the church teaches, so do not despair! Have hope and trust in Jesus, and when you here a colleague misinterpret a teaching of the Church, use the opportunity to correct and teach them about the faith.

    Also recall Recall that Pope Benedict’s interview in 2010 that had some statements in it that led to the headlines of “The Pope drops Catholic ban on condoms in historic shift.” Yet nobody criticized Benedict or JPII for the misinterpretation of their statements. The media has an agenda to push in order to sell their product, lets worry less about what they publish and focus more on prayer and doing the work Fr. Z suggests.

    Has Francis not mocked a group who offered a bouquet of Rosaries?
    Robbie, do have proof of this? Other than internet rumors and hear say of CLAR? Please cite the source, because slander is a deadly sin and it shouldn’t be spread.

  75. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Cobbler notes that “these days, at least in the US of A, they’re telling us we have to get an education to get a worthwhile job, but . . . even a worthwhile job takes as long to pay off the education as our grandparents took to pay off their house, and then the world wonders why young people ‘just have to’ rebel.”

    It’s sad, but true. However, here in the U.S., there have been high school students who worked summers and year-around part-time jobs (mowing lawns or at Mickey D’s or tossing boxes around at Home Depot) and saved most of that money for college. These students then attended their local two-year community college, which is fairly inexpensive, while living still with their parents (also fairly inexpensive) and while working summers and week-ends and evenings year round to earn more money. Having gone to all their classes, studied hard, and kept their grades up, these students applied to and got accepted to their own in-state public university (fairly inexpensive) to complete their junior and senior years, while still living with their parents, and while still working summers, and year round week-ends and evenings (waiter, waitress, back office, driver, anything they can get). Finally they graduated, with a good education.

    If you can afford it, it’s better on your resume to attend four years at Harvard or at Princeton, . . . it’s actually really better, too. Those high-priced, prestige schools really do offer a top-notch education, compared with what you get at your state university. However, even at state, if you take your classes seriously, study hard, do some extracurricular reading, get to know your instructors and chat with them, you can learn a lot there, too.

    Some prospective employers do look for resumes that list a prestige school; some don’t care so much about prestige – they just want the degree. Prospective employers believe that a degree tells them two things about you: (1) that you are able to complete assignments and see a project through; (2) that you will “fit in” in the professional workplace – you are verbal enough and articulate enough to give and understand instructions, that you can put two sentences together, and that you are able to comport yourself so as not to offend or frighten customers and co-workers. (You would be surprised at how many green young people inadvertently do the latter!)

  76. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Katylamb wrote, “If we feel afflicted by Pope Francis maybe there’s a reason for that. Might be a good idea to examine ourselves and see if we really don’t know it all after all.”

    Insofar as the NATIONAL ABORTION RIGHTS ACTION LEAGUE has recently posted on its FaceBook page: “Thank you, Pope Francis!” and that President Obama (the man who told us that he would support the abortion of his own grandchildren if they should arrive at an inopportune time), has expressed his gratitude that Pope Francis seems to be leading the Church to “get over its obsession with abortion,” many full-faith Catholics have found the Pontiff’s remarks troubling.

    Most of us such Catholics, I think, do a regular examination of conscience. But an examination of conscience that leads any Christian to conclude that we should take delight in remarks from a Pontiff which would appear to undermine establish Church teaching, would be of very different spirit and character from the sort of examination that I believe he should be performing.

  77. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, it’s an oversimplification to say that one university is better than other. The comparison has to be between departments, incl requirements to satisfy the major and the academic background of faculty. If profs have a PhD from an Ivy League School or from a Big Ten (10, not more) School, it’s likely they are well qualified.

    There are specific departments at state universities that are every bit as good as what can be found in an Ivy League school or Stanford, and I’m not just referring to the Univ of Texas or California. I’m not up on current situations, but I do know that some years ago the Univ of Indiana had the best Philosophy of Science program in the US. And if someone wants to practice Environmental Law, Vermont is the place to go.

    I favor a state univ undergrad education (IF the dept is good), then possibly looking at an Ivy League (or the like) program for grad or professional school.

  78. MikeM says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae,
    That “low cost” education option didn’t exist for many of us. My local community college would have cost more than I could have made working full time for a summer (and, when you throw in textbooks and other associated costs, there’s no way that students can go there without borrowing money, be it as student loans or from the First Bank of Dad… if their parents can afford it). And, in-state tuition at our state university is $20,000… and it’s a 3+ hour drive from the more populous parts of the state, so going there and living at home isn’t an option.

    When I applied to college, I applied to both public and private universities. My total costs would have been higher at either of the acceptable public options than it wound up being at the private university that I attended (which, while not Harvard, itself, is one of the handful of expensive Ivy League comparables).

    I don’t mean to suggest that you were specifically doing this, but I’ve gotten more than a little tired of people telling me how much smarter I would have been to have gone to the state university… Public universities are not always a more affordable option.

  79. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Dear MikeM,

    I’m think I didn’t explain what I wanted to say as well as I should have done: not to say a student can earn his or her way through community college in one summer: no, you’re right, that’s not a realistic option. But to use a combination of money the student has been earning, in addition to parental help (if any), in addition to money the student is currently earning, in addition to scholarship money, the payments on any remaining commercial student loans necessary for both community college and university level should in most instances be more manageable than they would otherwise have been.

    As for the parental home being three hours away from State U.: in some families, something along the following conversation would take place, when the oldest child was about to enter middle school: “Papa!” “What, Mama?” “Have you thought where will our eldest son attend college?” “At State U., I suppose.” “State U is three hours away. Tuition is $20,000 a year. Where will he live? Can’t afford tuition and room and board.” “Mama, get in the car. We are going to take a ride to look at apartments nearer to State U.” “Who’s moving?” “We are, Mama!” “All of us? But, your job, Papa!” “I’ll get another job. The childrens’ education is more important!”

    And among other families, that sort of mindset would not be the mindset at all. Or, it simply wouldn’t be possible to relocate at all, for other reasons. For these students, who were willing to apply for some loans, but did not want to incur massive debt, they might do what a relative of mine did, which was to complete his first two years at a community college, then rent a room in a house with several other students off-campus, but close to State U., live there cheaply, but get a full-time entry-level job there, and attend the remaining years by taking his classes at State U. at night. It took him about ten years to complete his degree, and he wasn’t able to get the job he wanted, marry and start a family until he was about 32 or 33 years of age. And he still had loans, but they were fairly manageable.

    A fellow I knew at a school where I worked was working as a teacher, but he wanted to become a physician. He discovered the existence of a program with a name like the National Medical Field Service program, whereby the feds will pay to put you through medical school (their medical school) in exchange for five years of service anywhere as a doctor, anywhere in the country they want to send you. We live on the East Coast; my co-worker signed up for the program, and told me, “I may spend my first five years as a doctor serving on a Native American reservation in New Mexico. But after that, I’m free to work as a doctor anywhere I want.”

    There are usually multiple, multiple options and opportunities for people.

  80. Katylamb says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae:
    Not sure what you’re talking about. I think we should all examine our attitudes about the important things Pope Francis has said and taught. Period. I did not say we should examine our consciences and be delighted with the comments which caused a sinful abortion group to thank him. Furthermore, it is not his fault who likes him or doesn’t like him. Pope Francis has had many wonderful things to say, which should cause us all to think, but some can do nothing but obsess over the media and complain.
    And the people who have said it’s a waste of time to reach out to atheists and enemies ought to sit right down and read some of the things Jesus had to say. He came for sinners, not the self-righteous!
    Why do you call yourself and those like you, “full-faith” Catholics? Jesus said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could move a mountain. Therefore, since I presume you can’t, you are not “full-faith.” I guess you’re just part-faith like the rest of us.

  81. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Why do you call yourself and those like you, “full-faith” Catholics?

    It’s as good a name as any, I suppose (as long as we want to be called something family-friendly) for those Catholics who do their best to put their full faith in Jesus Christ as revealed through the beliefs, teachings, liturgy, and sacraments of Catholic Church, and who are not conscious of willfully dissenting from any of the truths of the faith as revealed by the Church.

    Not hard. Maybe you’re a “full faith Catholic”, too, katylamb. I don’t know, though, unless you yourself say, up or down. If you are, that’s great.

    Since I presume you can’t (move a mountain), you are not ‘full-faith.’”

    I’m not sure I quite follow you there. If I ever came upon an actual mountain that needed moving, I think I would check first with my local government for all applicable laws, regulations, and requirements, then once that was cleared, with a surveyor, a geologist, a hydrologist, an environmentalist, and an earth moving and construction firm to hire the necessary equipment and talent. Oh, and with my bank. Mustn’t forget my bank.

    Beyond that, as to trying to pray to God to perform a miraculous repositioning of a mountain just for the sake of trying to prove something, I don’t think I would be able to get past Jesus’ example of refusing to perform miraculous deeds just to try to prove a point about Himself (Matt 4:7), and so I wouldn’t try it. Your mileage may vary.


  82. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    P.S. Oh, and to the main point about Pope Francis: It seems to me that Pope Francis has made some distressingly unguarded remarks, certain of which, when taken out of their proper context, have been misused to give aid and comfort to the Church’s enemies.

    Giving aid and comfort to the enemy is never something a true leader wants to do. Not if he’s a true leader. If he’s a true leader, and is informed that he has made such a mistake, he would sooner or later wise up, hire a P.R. firm, or somebody within the Church who is demmed P.R. savvy, and get a handle on what to say, when, and to whom from the bulliest pulpit there ever was among bully pulpits.

    Or then again, maybe Pope Francis won’t do any such thing. I suppose it all depends on whether he wants his Pontificate to be a successful one, or not.

    Ball is completely in his court. I sure hope he does the right thing. But it’s up to him.

    Yeah, and if he doesn’t fix these problems, I’m going to continue to be, not “afflicted” as you said in an earlier comment, but disappointed, distressed, and not particularly thrilled. Yeah, pretty much.

    My problem, though, not anybody else’s.

    Peace again.

  83. acardnal says:

    robtbrown wrote, “If profs have a PhD from an Ivy League School or from a Big Ten (10, not more) School, it’s likely they are well qualified.”

    I assume you are referring to new additions to the Big Ten like Penn State (’93), Nebraska (’11), Maryland and Rutgers (’14)?? LOL. Love it!

  84. robtbrown says:

    1. I didn’t mean to disparage Maryland, Penn State, Nebraska, or Rutgers. One indication of quality is membership in the AAU. Only NU is not. But the original Big Ten schools were all known for being good schools.

    2. Note from the Grammar Nazi: I wrote “between depts”. If that means “between one dept and another”, then it is OK. Otherwise, it should be “among depts”.

  85. Gratias says:

    Pope Francis keeps me sleepless in Los Angeles. Now that the Left rules everything in the USA they gained the Vicar of Christ as well. I am frightened for the future of our Latin Mass. I firmly believe the second Vatican council was an expression of the Spirit of the Sixties and brings forth only bad fruit. But then that’s just me.

  86. robtbrown says:

    Re full-faith:

    I think it’s helpful to distinguish between faith and belief. It is possible to believe because of faith or because of opinion. The heretic is someone who picks and chooses according to his own opinion. And so it is impossible to say that someone has the faith who formally dissents from doctrine.

    Consequently, “full-faith” is simply faith.

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