Pope Francis on “progressives”

This morning Pope Francis didn’t exactly sound like a reader of the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap).

Or… on second thought… mayhaps he did read it!

God save us from the “hegemonic uniformity ” of the “one line of thought”, “fruit of the spirit of the world that negotiates everything”, even the faith. This was Pope Francis’ prayer during mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on a passage from the Book of Maccabees, in which the leaders of the people do not want Israel to be isolated from other nations , and so abandon their traditions to negotiate with the king.

They go to “negotiate ” and are excited about it. It is as if they said “we are progressives; let’s follow progress like everyone else does”. As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that this is the “spirit of adolescent progressivism” according to which “any move forward and any choice is better than remaining within the routine of fidelity”. These people, therefore , negotiate “loyalty to God who is always faithful” with the king. “This is called apostasy”, “adultery.” They are, in fact, negotiating their values??, “ negotiating the very essence of being faithful to the Lord .”

“And this is a contradiction: we do not negotiate values??, but faithfulness. And this is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world , who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness. And then there are the direct consequences. They accepted the habits of the pagan, then a further step: the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful, rather, each with own customs but united, but it is the hegemonic uniformity of globalization, the single line of thought . And this single line of thought is the result of worldliness . “

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    God bless Pope Francis. God knows I’ve been hard on him, maybe now I can continue to pray for him instead.

  2. pseudomodo says:

    Wow, and this on the heals of his visit with the Ialian president. As Rorate Caeli reports:

    Italian President to Pope:
    “Thank you for having impressed us for the absence of any dogmatism, by leaving room for doubt”


  3. mamajen says:

    And there’s that pesky devil again, too!

    I need to go make some popcorn.

  4. LarryW2LJ says:

    Awesome! Just awesome. Words that will undoubtedly be ignored, but words that need to be heard, nonetheless.

  5. ChrisRawlings says:

    You didn’t provide the text, but in the same homily he notes that today “many, many” people participate in human sacrifices–and that we have laws that protect it.

    I’m no expert on interpreting the Pope, but it sounds like he just called abortion “human sacrifice.” Wow.

  6. TNCath says:

    I’ve been hard on the Pope as well, but perhaps he is learning that every word he says is being parsed by an evil world that is intent on making him out to be something he is not. I also hope he will eventually learn the “lex orandi, lex credendi” principle with regard to his liturgical practices. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro.

  7. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “They go to “negotiate ” and are excited about it. It is as if they said “we are progressives; let’s follow progress like everyone else does”. As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope noted that this is the “spirit of adolescent progressivism” according to which “any move forward and any choice is better than remaining within the routine of fidelity”.”

    Ah but, dontcha know, “progressive” (i.e. dissenting) Catholics don’t want to “negotiate”, Holy Father! They want to *dialogue*! Big difference there, see? This isn’t “adolescent progressivism” at all. No-no.

    It is, as Blessed John XXII gave by example, opening up the windows to the world so we can “dialogue” with it to bring in what is goooood into the Church! (You know? Contraceptives, abortion, same-gender “marriage, cloning, euthanasia – all of those goooood things! [some of those covered under our wonderful new (un)Affordable Care Act!])

    This is our “routine of fidelity”, Papa Francesco. ;^)

    Fidelity to *dialoguing* with the world and all of its wonderful breath of fresh air the Spirit of Vatican II breathed into the Church!


  8. J_Cathelineau says:

    I think that Pope Francis is discovering the depth of the cultural war that is happening in the world today, after living all his priesthood in the sleepy argentinian ghetto, where the so called “right” is liberal, and the left is directly marxist. I think that now as head of the universal Church he is facing some realities that are new to him. (Like Tradition side is full of young and faithfull people in normal relation with Rome, something that is non-existent here)
    Maybe some strong signs were shown this last week: the appealing to Bishop Marchetto as the best interpreter of the VCII, his personal call to Mario Palmaro, the retirement of the infamous Scalfari interview fron the Vatican site…
    Hope belongs to Our Lord, but wishful thinking is allowed.
    Lets pray!

    (Fr. Zuhlsdorf, you know my english is bad, please be so kind to correct if you judge this comment is worth to be published)

  9. wmeyer says:

    Gosh, wait till the Fishwrap gets wind of this! I guess he’s not the most fluffy Pope ever…

  10. Tradster says:

    Midwest St. Michael:
    You are exactly correct. The left never wants to discuss, only dialogue. Dialogue, of course, is pretending to talk, without actually saying anything, while waiting for the other party to finally give in. Sadly, sooner or later that strategy always seems to work.

  11. ocleirbj says:

    Every day when I pray the Pope’s intention for this month, I feel that it is all about Pope Francis: “That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.” It strikes me that Francis himself could be seen as the first-fruits of this mission, that God has sent him from Latin America as a missionary to the whole Church. This is encouraging! I have also just realized that not only this year’s papal intentions but also those for 2014 were written by Pope Emeritus Benedict. This means that when we pray them, we are praying in union with the mind and heart of Benedict, at least for another year. This is encouraging too!

  12. NBW says:

    Very well said by the Holy Father.

  13. rahalpern says:

    Father John,
    Could you provide a link to the complete text of the Holy Father’s homily/reflection?

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Wow. Sounds like Francis has been spending time with the Pope Emeritus to me…

  15. Sonshine135 says:

    Wow! Hard to misinterpret what the Pope was saying here. It looks like all of those prayers for wisdom and courage for our Pope are being answered. Fluffy- yes. Stern-yes. Sounds like a message that contains both justice and mercy to me.

  16. anilwang says:

    Midwest St. Michael says: “They want to *dialogue*! Big difference there, see? ”

    Dialogue isn’t always bad. Dialogue is only productive if the right sort of dialogue is engaged in with the right people.

    For instance, the Evangelicals and Catholics together declarations shows that whether or not Luther was a heretic WRT justification, modern Lutherans have an understanding of Justification that is compatible with the Catholic faith. This is a huge apologetic win against anti-Catholics since they can’t condemn Catholics WRT “works salvation” without also condemning Lutherans and it removes a straw man preventing a Lutheran (like Father Neuhaus) from becoming Catholic.

    Similarly, Anglican-Catholic discussions helped the Pope realize that there were several legitimate concerns hindering Anglican conversions (e.g. like breaking up an Anglican parish’s community or the instability of relying on a priest using the Anglican Use not being transferred somewhere else and having no guarantee that a new Anglican Use priest is reassigned). These concerns resulted in Anglicanorum Coetibus.

    Even “getting to know each other” dialogue isn’t always bad. The Russian Orthodox Patriarch suggested that before any reunion could happen, Orthodox and Catholic bishops needed to work together on common goals and do things together such as attending the same opera. He suggested that the doctrinal stumbling blocks won’t be overcome until trust is restored between East and West and history can be forgotten.

    In all these cases, dialogue exists to remove true non-doctrinal stumbling blocks from hindering people to return to the Church and getting rid of straw men used against the Church.

    WRT “progressives”, this is not the purpose of dialogue. For them dialogue is a stalling tactic used to delay being disciplined or used to wear down or confuse the Church into either changing doctrine or leaving them alone. Under no circumstances is dialogue ever productive if the motivations are these.

  17. kpoterack says:

    If this keeps up, asked what I think of Pope Francis, I will be tempted to say, with a touch of irony, that “he is turning out to be much better than some of his greatest supporters realize!”

  18. Priam1184 says:

    Francis has been, continues to be, and we pray will always be a very good pope. Pray for him every morning and every evening.

  19. Fr AJ says:

    Ouch! I kinda doubt the Fishwrap will be running these quotes this week…doesn’t quite fit their left wing narrative about the Holy Father.

  20. AnimatedCatholic says:

    Absolutely Beautiful. I’m very pleased with this move from his Holiness.

  21. SKAY says:

    Wow -wonderful– Thank you for posting this Father Z.

  22. joan ellen says:

    WOW. I love Pope Francis. He will not lead our souls astray. He will lead our souls to a greater encounter with Our Blessed Lord. And His Church. Thank you Fr. Z. He is also leading us in the temporal realm.

  23. joan ellen says:

    WOW. I love Pope Francis. He will not lead our souls astray. He will lead our souls to a greater encounter with Our Blessed Lord. And His Church. Thank you Fr. Z. He is also leading us in the temporal realm.

  24. joan ellen says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  25. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the ambiguous fluffy quotes

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    This is certainly encouraging.
    J-Cathelineau, good comment. Your English is fantastic.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    This isn’t schadenfreuden. It’s awesome-freuden.

  28. av8er says:

    Seems like Fr. Z was right in that we should wait until pope Francis gets used to being the pope.

  29. MikeM says:

    I believe that the Holy Father has used the phrase “adolescent progressivism” before.

  30. Tradster says:

    I wholeheartedly applaud the Holy Father’s speech. However, it is apparent that his frustratingly ambiguous “read into them whatever you wish” phrasing is not yet a thing of the past. The news reports and blogs are buzzing that his reference to human sacrifice “seemed” to be about abortion. How much more effective if he would have simply included the word so there would be no confusion nor leftist spinning that he meant something else.

  31. Suzanne Carl says:

    It is the mark of progressives to twist language to the point that it means the opposite of what was intended. Think ‘affordable’ ‘care’ a’act’. The Pope is being as clear as he can be. How others twist his words is not his fault. Pope Francis is actually being very clear and consistent in both word and deed. It is the torture that progressives inflict on language that is the problem, not the words of the Holy Father. So, yes, the Pope is still Catholic.

  32. benedetta says:

    I do not know where I would be if not for the encouraging, hopeful confidence in the Church, her teachings and institutions, her sacraments, the Gospels, and in our Holy Fathers over the years from orthodox priests and religious. I was taught by dissenting “c”atholics to constantly second guess, doubt and undermine all of that, at every turn, as the mark of an intellectual and with it believer who was somehow more elite and “evolved” or “progressive” than to blindly or thoughtlessly follow, or yearn for some old days that never were. Following, assent, trust in the good news is not naive, nor is it blind, nor without intellectual exercise, or challenge of heart and will, as countless saints and blesseds in our own times make evident. But more still, the path within the communion of the Church is truly a joyful one where like a child one may leave aside all their possessed and coveted adult darkness.

  33. markomalley says:


    Good catch. He has, in fact, used “adolescent progressivism” before.

    From 6/12:

    “We take the values of this culture a little bit from here, a little bit from there , … They want to make this law? Alright let’s go ahead and make this law. Let’s broaden the boundaries here a little. In the end, let me tell you, this is not true progress. It is adolescent progressivism: just like teenagers who in their enthusiasm want to have everything and in the end? You slip up … It’s like when the road is covered in ice and the car slips and go off track… This is the other temptation at the moment! We, at this moment in the history of the Church, we cannot go backwards or go off the track! ”


  34. dymh says:

    Does anyone have a link for the prayer (homily?) that Father Z quotes?

    Thanks, and God bless you,


  35. Michelle F says:


    Fr. Z probably got the story from Vatican Insider, here:


  36. dymh says:

    Michelle F,

    Thanks, that was it.

  37. Scout says:

    Here’s a link to an Asia News report on Pope Francis homily.

    Michael Sean Winters at NCR reports on it with only two sentences:

    “Asia News reports on Pope Francis’ homily the other day at Mass, in which he castigated worldiness and what he called “adolescent progressivism.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

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