Does Phil Robertson sound like Pope Francis? Vice versa?

At HuffPo there is an amusing piece about the recent Duck controversy.

Phil Robertson vs. Pope Francis On Gays

As some Christians step up to defend Phil Robertson’s stance on homosexuality, one person went even farther, comparing the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch’s comments to those of Pope Francis.

Newt Gingrich said on Crossfire, “Ironically, if you read the whole interview, not just take one section, he talks very specifically about loving everybody. He talks very specifically about not being judgmental toward anybody, that’s God’s decision, not his. I mean, it is remarkable. There’s sections there where he sounds like Pope Francis.”

[… then a silly person intervenes…]

For comparison, here are some of Pope Francis’ remarks about gay people and Robertson’s quotes.

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  1. StJude says:

    They both hold the same view… except the Phil Robertson doesnt look or act like a liberal.. the Pope, liberals are trying very hard to make him into one.
    Once the left has exhausted all hope in Pope Francis they will turn on him.

  2. Eliane says:

    What Catholic on the face of this Earth EVER said that we must insist ONLY on issues related to abortion, homosexual marriage and the use of contraceptive methods? His straw men all to often insult a broad swath of innocent people, while flattering those who overtly reject Catholic teaching. It’s getting mighty tiresome and more than a little annoying.

  3. rcg says:

    OK, so let’s get them both on the range and see how they match up. Might be pleasantly surprised….

  4. PA mom says:

    The Title of a chapter of Happy, Happy, Happy – Put down the bottle (and pick up a Bible)

    Pope Francis at the drug rehab-legalization (drugs) is not the answer. We all need to look upon each other with the loving eyes of Christ.

    Look- being a fan of the show, and having read the book, I see that he is speaking quite directly to a specific audience with tough love. He is trying to do for others what was accomplished for him within his own life. A calling out of a life immersed in obvious sin, and a renewed birth. Is he using an edgy line to do so in the interview? Yes, but isn’t one of the hallmarks at this blog that the Gospel is not all fluffy, comfy “I’m ok, you’re ok”?

  5. Denis says:

    One of these men has been elected “person of the year” by The Advocate, America’s oldest gay magazine. Guess which one.

    What a disorienting moment we live in. For the first time in my life, I am seriously looking at Orthodoxy.

  6. tcreek says:

    It seems that Phil Robertson’s “theology” of homosexual activity is close to that of our Catholic Faith and to that of Cardinal Burke. That might be one reason Pope Francis doesn’t want the cardinal choosing bishops. Why, God forbid, pretty soon we might have an epidemic of bishops denying the Eucharist to promoters of homosexual activity and abortion. There might be even accusations of Mortal Sin. Good Heavens!
    As out esteemed president might say – “We don’t intend to listen to those bitter clingers who hold to outdated biblical rhetoric.”

  7. CatholicMD says:

    Denis – Sadly me too.

  8. Uxixu says:

    Tempted to join schismatics because of the willful and deliberate misinterpretations of the Holy Father by biased drive by media? Crazy talk.

  9. prayerisouronlyhope says:

    Uxixu – To whom, exactly, are you referring as “schismatics”?

  10. SKAY says:

    Suddenly Cracker Barrel has changed it’s mind and put the Duck Dynasty products back on the shelves. Their customers let them know exactly how they felt about their original decision.

  11. Jim says:


    I think Uxixu was referring to the “orthodox”, mentioned by Denis in his comment ” I am seriously looking at Orthodoxy.”

    The “orthodox” are schismatic, their opinion and their beautiful liturgy not withstanding and there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church and if someone were to leave the immaculate Bride of Christ for a pretender – Kyrie eleison.

    – An Eastern Catholic

  12. Elizabeth D says:

    Catholicism itself hasn’t changed. Confusing leadership is not an excuse to wander away from the unity of the Church or the obedience faith demands. I think it would be entirely mistaken to assume the Orthodox are more firm and clear on morals. They are well known to have a different and confused approach to the question of divorce and remarriage which seems to be basically that they allow it if you don’t do it repeatedly. My sense is that beliefs on many modern contentious matters may be relatively less stable within the Orthodox Churches than in the Catholic Church because there is no ultimate ecclesiastical means of defining or clarifying dogma, leading to authority problems even though they do have bishops.

  13. Wiktor says:

    I’m confused! And confusing talk can’t be good, can it?

  14. The Astronomer says:

    From Rorate:

    “CDF Prefect Müller: “Lefebvrians are de facto schismatic”, Liberation Theology founder “has always been orthodox”

    While certain interpretations of Liberation Theology can be interpreted in an orthodox Catholic sense, the ‘preferential option for the poor’ continuously rammed down our throats has a decided class warfare bent. Or as the Fishwrap small ‘c’ catholic crowd would have you believe, we must be ‘with’ the poor / Obama and against those Wascally Republicans and their corporate / Wall St. allies. The Gospel becomes reduced to ‘immanent-ism, where ‘This World’ takes priority over the transcendent realities of Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell.

    Christ came to redeem sinners’ souls from Hell and reconcile mankind to the Eternal Father, not overthrow unjust socio-economic systems.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Pray for us.

  15. iteadthomam says:

    Going to the Orthodox because of sins in the Church? Please, consider this first, “they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it” CCC 846.

    I too am disappointed with many things in the Church, and sometimes I see in the Church the very things I was trying to escape when I converted to Catholicism from Protestantism, but, as one person once said “do not leave Peter because of Judas.” There are Judases in the Church, but do not leave Peter because of them. Instead of leaving the Church because of her wounds, help to heal her by remaining within her and purifying her from within. Luther tried to purify the Church from without, and this clearly didn’t work. The purification that came about in the sixteenth century came from those who remained faithful and stayed in the Church. I urge anyone to do the same if they are seriously considering leaving the Church to join the Orthodox.

  16. “What a disorienting moment we live in. For the first time in my life, I am seriously looking at Orthodoxy.” Elizabeth is exactly right. I’ve read 2 comments here altogether about people considering a bolt out of the Catholic Church to Orthodoxy. PLS listen to what Elizabeth correctly pointed out.Now my .02 worth.Phil is a fundamentalist.Of course his language is different than Pope Francis and so are their roles. Catholic doctrine is clear. Pope Francis is NOT going to change Church teaching.We are definitely not going to stop the liberal swoon over him-particularly in the liberal media.Eventually they will turn on him themselves.He can’t help how the liberal media paints him anymore than we could stop how they painted Benedict.In due time all of this will pass.As for Phil-i think people,especially evangelicals-are fed up and realize if if no one speaks up now these same sex militants will stifle all opposition to their agenda.Believe me,they have one. We can stand up for Phil-he has the right to spell out his pov especially since it was an interview where they asked him about his faith specifically.He’s also known for being up front about his faith anyway. Some of it was crude but he’s not an educated man and compared to a lot of what is on tv these days it was tame.
    For now this is all front page news. It will get sorted out and someone will pick up Dynasty on another network.I’m sure of it. If i were his family i would stand on principle and walk.They don’t have to stay with A&E. I would certainly not be bolting out the door because the media is taking our Holy Father the wrong way and giving us the image of him they want us to have. When this matter with Phil is settled we have some big fish to fry.Phil is a good man with a tv show who now has a line in the sand drawn because of our culture.
    If you’re confused (or even angry)PRAY for our Holy Father.We can do that.

  17. Elizabeth D says:

    The Astronomer wrote: “the ‘preferential option for the poor’ continuously rammed down our throats has a decided class warfare bent”

    I cannot agree. It may be misused by marxists, and sincere people who have been exposed to what is essentially marxism and are confused about the real doctrine, but the preferential option for the poor has to do with the values of the Gospel and the demands of justice, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit going beyond justice to charity and mercy. Justice cannot be reduced to just being for the poor, and actually the “poor” doing what they can for themselves is also an essential part of justice. Justice and mercy are not class warfare. Pope Francis has pointed out the need to preferentially direct evangelization to the poor. No one can call that marxist. Why preferentially help the poor with their natural needs? Well, we are to love everyone alike whether poor and the rich, but the poor are in greater need to be helped out of their situation. One should have in mind the development and growth of the whole person, including in virtue, not enabling dependency. The biggest problem is when Christian help to the poor is like “a pathetic N.G.O.” in Pope Francis’ words, not really evangelizing or committed to the integral good of persons.

  18. Robbie says:

    Regrettably, I believe those who think the left will turn on Francis are going to have to wait a long, long time. If there’s one thing the left is good at, it’s identifying those who are with them. From the moment Cardinal Tauran read aloud Jorge Bergoglio, the left has been excited. To me, that’s vey telling and very worrisome.

    I don’t think anyone ever expected Francis would explicitly change doctrine so that’s why his comments jive with doctrine and this conservative character from Duck Dynasty. However, I do think he intends to change the perception of doctrine through deeds and words. In effect, the doctrine get’s sidelined or bypassed. I think the left sees this and that’s why Francis has not only received an award from Time, but also from the Advocate. I think it’s also what the dismissals of Burke, Bagnasco, and Piacenza from the Bishops’ Conference have been met with such glee from the likes of the New York Times.

    I hope am very wrong though and am forced to eat lots and lots of crow!

  19. Elizabeth is 100% correct again(well said to0).I wanted to add a post script re the differences in the language of Pope Francis and Phil.
    Again,Phil is fundamentalist. IMHO and this is opinion only so it could be wrong-i believe that the evangelicals/fundamentalists view same sex attraction itself as a sin and makes one condemned.Where the Catholic Church teaches (in as far as we know at this time)that same sex attraction is a disorder-same sex ACTS are a sin.We see them as called to the same holiness as we are and that they may be saved.I think the fundamentalists believe the person with same sex attraction is destined to hell until and unless they give up being homosexual.
    Again,much prayer needed for Our Holy Father.

  20. Lizzy says:

    Denis, sadly I am as well. iteadthomam, I also see many of the things that made me leave Protestantism, and it causes me to seriously doubt. I don’t want to leave the Church but I see the same things happening that I saw in the Episcopal church I grew up in. I don’t think anyone would go to the orthodox because of the Church’s sins but because they no longer believed it was the Church founded ‘as necessary by God through Christ.’ I’m not there yet but (and I say this with great sadness and fear) I am beginning to wonder. What if when I left Protestantism I chose wrong? This thought has crossed my mind, and I go to Mass and pray to be delivered from these doubts but they still remain.

  21. ChrisRawlings says:


    Did you read the full interview with Absp. Mueller? It is very good, actually. In it he decries the rumor that the Pope wants to admit divorced and remarried couples to Communion and forcefully argues that the Church doesn’t work by polls and isn’t a political party that accommodates the views of the majority to get support.

    I notice that some traditionalists are as eager to distort this papacy as the agitators on the left. The left sees the current pope and his words as easily manipulable, easy to spin in a whole new direction. As it turns out, the schismatic impulse within the traditionalist movement seems to see the same crease by which it can more vigorously assert its agenda–“see, we told you they’re all modernists!” That is basically just what the head of SSPX said a few months ago. And we read it not infrequently from commenters on this blog, too.

    The truth is that the center still holds, as Fr. Neuhaus put it beautifully. Buffeted right and left, the Barque of Peter navigates these troubled waters with faith in Christ who saves us. Yes, you may leave the Church. Yes, you may try to use this or any other pope to overturn this Ship (you will fail). But, no, you will not find salvation by doing so. We wete never promised an absence of storms, in fact we were given the cross. By manfully taking it up in prayer and trust, you will find the God who ever breathes life into His Churcj.

    And, yeah, I would suggest reading things for yourself rather than their agenda-driven analyses from schismatics or gay rights magazines.

  22. ChrisRawlings says:

    Either the gates of hell will prevail or they will not. If you believe Christ then you won’t be entertaining separation from the Church. Maybe this is all about you learning to really trust Jesus much more than it is about anything the Pope has written or spoken. That has certainly been the challenge for me. But that is how you grow in faith, so it isn’t so bad.

  23. Kathleen10 says:

    The fence sitters cannot sit too much longer. The situation with Phil Robertson has awakened the evangelical and Protestant communities who now know for sure silence is going to win the day for the homosexual movement, which has a definite agenda likely far beyond that which most people understand or can imagine. They will be successful in eliminating Judeo-Christian culture, speech, inasmuch as we, all Christians, are silent. This A&E issue is a perfect example of when to speak out and defend your faith, and not just your faith but if you are an American, your Constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion. They are being taken away from you and me, a little bit more every day. If you want to pass these precious freedoms along to your children and grandchildren you need to defend them vigorously! I urge all to contact A&E in some way and be heard, and also let your support for Phil Robertson be known. How he expressed himself was decidedly not lovely, but his message was sound. We need to support it. A&E has many email possibilities or ways to call, and of course a facebook presence. Cracker Barrel has just come to it’s senses and apologized profusely and directly for offending it’s customers! They have now said taking Duck Dynasty products out of their stores was a mistake and they are putting them back! This is good news! Cracker Barrel has a Facebook presence and they should be congratulated and thanked. They have also said that they heard from their customers and it was loud and clear! THAT is what has to happen in every culture when the cultural fascists make their moves. It must be counteracted in a decisive manner and with numbers. This is a system of actual voting, cultural voting, that is being conducted by companies and corporations, and you can bet they are all paying close attention to what way the wind is blowing right now. If A&E capitulates this will be a huge victory for Christianity in America. From the fervor of the evangelicals I don’t think this is going away unless they do. It’s going to be interesting and alot depends on it.
    If we enjoy our Judeo-Christian values we had better defend them and speak up for them in these situations or WE are the problem and we have no one to blame but ourselves if we end up in a post-Christian world that we do not recognize. It is up to you and to me to speak up as often and as forcefully as we can.

  24. CatholicMD says:

    At some point the “media did it” excuse will not fly. Did he not get rid of Cardinals Burke, Piacenza, and Bagnasco from the Congregation for Bishops? Did he not also remove Cardinal Piacenza from the Congregation for Clergy? Did he not remove Fathers Uwe Michael Lang and Nicola Bux from the office of papal liturgies and replace them with Piero Marini disciples? Or did the media make those stories up?

  25. Priam1184 says:

    @Denis and @CatholicMD So you’re going to leave the Church because you don’t like the current chief occupant of the Domus Sanctae Marthae? Really? Get a grip people. The Church is the Church and it was founded by Jesus Christ and continues in existence because of the grace extended by Him. The Church belongs to Jesus Christ and not to Pope Francis or to Cardinal Burke. The Truth is the Truth and that has not changed; you cannot run from it, you can deny it, you can run all the way to the Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople if that pleases you. But Constantinople is not Rome, and its Patriarch is not the successor of St. Peter, whatever you think of the style of the current occupant of the Apostolic See. Francis has not and will not change one jot of Church Teaching. If you don’t like his style then pray for him and keep your doubts between you and your confessor.

  26. tcreek says:

    It is never a question of a pope being able to change doctrine. The question is … Will he faithfully and forcefully teach it? All of it? Without qualifications?
    We need clarity, not ambiguity.

  27. lana says:

    @iteadthomam, that was well written. Thank you.

  28. Jim says:

    “No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church.”
    – St Augustine, Saint, Catholic Bishop and Doctor of the Church (4th Century Anno Domini, 600 years before there were any “orthodox” not in union with the Holy Father.)

    Schism is a grave and serious sin. It is a sin against the first (and therefore the most important) commandment. If “orthodoxy”, which did not exist prior to 1054 AD is any way “the Church” – thats simply saying that Jesus is a liar since it is He who said that the gates of hell would not prevail against “the Church”. If that is so, Christianity is false and therefore there is no point in joining the “orthodox” anyways. If the Catholic church is false – there is absolutely no hope, since nothing we do can make up for the smallest venial sin we did.

    What sort of faith do we claim to have in our Blessed Lord, if we leave His bride due to the sins of our brothers? Would we abandon our mother when she is in trouble ? Would we euthanize her and adopt a step mother ? If we do – shame on us.

    PS: The Catholic Church has no sins, no errors, no falsehood. The Church is the Bride of Christ (who btw, is not a polygamist – He has one bride), she is the Kingdom of God. Her children sin, make mistakes, lie – which is why she exists as the remedy.

  29. Uxixu says:

    Jim has me exact. I respect some of the honest patristic and concillar arguments the Orthodox put forth, even if I disagree with their conclusions but one won’t find nearly the clarity of message there as Elizabeth rightly points out.

    The beauty of their liturgy & traditions are also available with our eastern brothers in near (if not full) entirety while remaining in Communion with Rome.

    Better instead to pray for the Holy Father, that he might help mitigate, if not settle these controversies instead of allowing the secularist enemies of the Church to twist his words out of the language and cultural context.

  30. Nan says:

    @Boxerpaws, Phil Robertson is uneducated? Really? The man has a master’s degree. What, in your opinion, makes a man educated?

    RE: Orthodoxy. Well you could switch to Orthodoxy but it’s a different world; in common with Protestants, the priest is an employee, subject to the whims of the Church Council. That changes the dynamic and may be good or bad. Depending on the Church council.

    RE: Pope Francis. Love him or feel indifferent or remain disgruntled simply because he isn’t Benedict. He’s still the Pope. I love Cardinal Burke, too, but we don’t know what’s going on at the Vatican. I don’t mean that in a pejorative “I don’t know what’s going on at the Vatican but….” way, but rather that we’re simply uninformed. We see what’s made public but have no idea of the rationale behind it. What we need to do here is pray, whether we pray for all priests to be holy, for more vocations or the lost to notice Christ, standing there, waiting for them to come home.

    RE: Prayers, please continue praying for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis which continues to be under fire; I anticipate another two and a half years of this. Recently, Abp himself was accused in a vague statement, of impropriety during a confirmation photoshoot and has stepped aside from his public duties. Prior to that, there had been calls for him to step down. Please pray for us.

  31. Suburbanbanshee says:

    There’s a big difference between, “Oh, man, Holy Father, you know that X and Y will be on that like white on rice! I wish you’d said it differently!” and “Oh, man, Holy Father, you’re saying things so bad that I need to leave the Church and go find someplace else, and the heck with every other Catholic pope and saint who ever lived!”

    St. Augustine’s beautiful take on love, properly formed, was that your will became so totally conformed to God’s will that you couldn’t will anything wrong, and therefore “Love and do what you will” became the law of mature Christians. Aleister Crowley turned this deep, true theological thought into an occultist’s excuse to do any damned thing he wanted to anyone he wanted.

    Does this make St. Augustine a heretic and an occultist? Is it his fault that Crowley turned a thought from Heaven into Hell?

    Every single word of Jesus Christ that we have on record — every single one — has been misread on purpose, or delusionally, and turned into a reason (or an excuse) for every kind of sin, degradation, and atrocity. Every single word. And He knew that as He spoke them, and it must have broken His heart to know such wickedness and foolishness. But He still spoke the Gospel that it was His Father’s will to reveal to us. He did not hold back on giving us the words of life, just because some would make them words of death, any more than He held back instituting Holy Communion, even though its unworthy reception will mean death to many.

    And so, whether or not I think Pope Francis is the most eloquent, prudent pope ever — and which Pope was? Gregory the Great? Leo the Great? — I’m sure as heck not going to ding him because some gay magazine picks him for an “honor,” any more than I took it as Msgr. Ganswein being a womanizer every time some women’s magazine pronounced him dreamy. When it comes to popularity and unpopularity, a lot of people don’t actually care what their target thinks or feels or does. It’s just blind reaction to a viral imagery that interests them.

  32. McCall1981 says:

    Do you have a link to Archbp Muller’s interview?

    Its true he removed Burke and others from the Cong of Bishops, and I don’t like it any more than you do, but keep in mind: Burke is still prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (a more important post), and Card Ouellet was retained as Prefect of the Cong of Bishops. Also, the men appointed to the congregation are admittedly not my favorites, but its not like they are Hans Kung either.

  33. mamajen says:

    One of these men has been elected “person of the year” by The Advocate, America’s oldest gay magazine.


  34. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I should also point everybody to the fact that (barring Benedict XVI, who was already the hated Panzerkardinal, etc.) every pope in the last 150 years has been hailed by liberals as their pope, at the start of their papacy. Maybe it’s been going on longer than that, but sure, the liberals are always certain that this one is their pope for sure. Check Fr. Greeley’s old books, for example, or news reports from the past.

  35. StJude says:

    All Christians need to be standing up now for Phil Robertson. This isnt about being a fan of a tv show… If we dont take this opportunity to stand up against the godless.. we will be pushed further and further to Sodom-ville.

  36. mamajen says:

    When I first heard of the Phil Robertson controversy, I figured he had spouted off the kind of judgmental fundamentalist garbage that does so much damage to the right . When I actually read what he had said, I was surprised to find that he espoused real Christian teaching, focusing on the behavior as sinful. I did not care for the coarse comments he made, however, which I found gross and unhelpful.

    Yes, he and Pope Francis are very much on the same page, and rightly so. We are all sinners. We all have temptations and crosses to bear. We will all be judged, by God, according to our behavior.

  37. OrthodoxChick says:

    Good for Newt Gingrich for drawing the analogy. Now maybe some evangelicals will be more open to hearing from Catholics, rather than concluding that we’re all in the sin of idolatry for praying to the Blessed Mother and the saints. I’ve been reading comments to that effect about Catholics on some blogs where evangelicals are discussing Phil Robertson. I hope this whole Phil Robertson episode blows up even bigger and becomes an occasion for evangelicals and Catholics to unite to defend our religious liberty. And while we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our evangelical brethren, that would be a great opportunity to minister to them about intercessory prayer.

  38. iteadthomam says:

    @ Lizzy
    I definitely understand where you are coming from and can sincerely sympathize because I ask the same question sometimes, that is “What if when I left Protestantism I chose wrong”. I think that if we chose wrong that doesn’t prove Orthodoxy right, it just proves that Christianity doesn’t have an infallible magisterium, which then makes Christianity not worth pursuing. What I mean by that is, with the Orthodox, there isn’t an infallible magisterium that can determine what is the Gospel and what is God’s Word. Sure, they believe that ecumenical councils are infallible but this begs the question, what constitutes an ecumenical council? Apart from the Bishop of Rome confirming the council as an ecumenical council, we can’t know which councils are right since some councils contradict others. This would reduce Christianity to a state of the majority rules and decides what is the Gospel, yet we know that the majority isn’t always right. So, without an infallible magisterium centered on the Bishop of Rome, we can’t know which Bishops are excercising the charism of infallibility. This is why Orthodoxy, though attractive because they haven’t had to deal with the infection of modernism extant in the West, is fundamentally the same as Protestantism, with the exception that they have valid sacraments.

    I know it is discouraging to see alot of the sacandals in the Church and it makes you wonder if this is really the Church founded by Jesus. I’m sure the gentiles in the days of Israel saw the idolatry of the Israelites and wondered how they could claim to be the people of the one true God.

    I highly encourage you to listen to this sermon by an F.S.S.P. priest on the Papacy in light of Pope Francis. Also, feel free to e-mail me at if you want to talk further and need some encouragement on persevering in the Church. We need people like you who know the faith and wish to be faithful to Christ to remain in the Church and help purify her.

  39. Johnno says:

    mamajen – “So?”

    The liberals strategy is to keep up the impression that the Pope is siding with them, because it is demonstrably true you can fool some of the people all the time, and the people you can fool some of the time but not all the time need only be fooled long enough to achieve your ends. And those they are looking to fool will be the liberal ‘c’atholic block which is the majority of Catholics who will in turn become useful idiots for their cause.

    Pope Francis can help abate this by speaking more clearly and more condemnatory about homosexual acts and every civic law passed to encourage this evil. Unfortunately his words from then have provided them with ammo, ammo which he could’ve easily taken away by speaking more clearly about homosexuality as sinful on any number of occasions in any number of sermons; but apparently he doesn’t feel the need to be ‘obsessed’ with that, which is like saying the Captain of the HSS Titanic doesn’t need to be obsessed with the large hole in the boat that is currently flooding through and drowning many that the pelagian crew is yelling about because the people in the cheap cabins haven’t had a chance to eat the caviar yet.

    The gates of hell are not broken by pastors doing pastoral things, they brought down by soldiers on the offensive. Unfortunately the soldiers have been ordered to stand down and been told they are no longer required and in fact that their kind of services are no longer liked nor needed, and if they dare to do their job the old fashioned, they will be severely reprimanded; meanwhile, those freely going back and forth between the gates of Hell and sneaking brimfire through the gates of the Church are treated with the utmost gentleness and afforded every freedom.

  40. I prefer Phil’s explanations. Makes better sense.

  41. Supertradmum says:

    Hmm, Fr. Z., I know you have written about the old Roman Catholic tradition of priests being clean-shaven–but what about the Pope with a beard?

    The vocations director here and the other two TLM priests have beards. I know at least one seminarian who has a red beard…..

    Love the comparisons-thanks.

  42. Robertson has a masters degree? I’m a little surprised.Sorry. Didn’t know.A masters degree in what,from where? He didn’t strike me as someone who has a masters. I assumed and you know what they say.
    As for the folks questioning whether to leave the Church or not…we had a few totally immoral Popes in past history.Is Pope Francis immoral.Do i like all his decisions? Not in the least.Will evil triumph over His Church? Nope.In the end,all we need to know. Is he going to be the last Pope? Unless Jesus returns soon,probably not.

  43. An aside; we can recall the gospel story of Peter going out on the water to answer Jesus call.He was just fine UNTIL he started to worry about what was going on around him. I think there’s a message there.Agree totally ith kathleen10.The line in the sand has been drawn.People have had enough with seeing filth paraded all over the media-and Phil’s crude but TRUTHFUL comments as being offensive.
    Finally,Nan has a very good point.We don’t know all the reasons for Pope Francis decisions and he might have good reason. I would rather just say don’t like them,but don’t know either.

  44. O. Possum says:


    I feel your confusion and pain, but take heart! Read about the Western Schism. If the Church isn’t the one established by Christ to be indefectible, then I really believe it should have collapsed in the Western Schism and the Protestant Reformation that it enabled, if not before. Instead, we got the Council of Trent and the Counter-Reformation and all its fruits! Read the lives of the Saints and keep an eye out for the pattern of them being persecuted by the Church hierarchy of their time. Remember the saying attributed to many of the Church Fathers, that the road to Hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops. We are under spirtual attack. The devil wants us to be confused and demoralized and be scattered in to various sects and states of belief. Don’t give the devil what he wants!

  45. CatholicMD says:

    Lizzy – I’m having the same thoughts as I too was raised in the episcopal church. I keep thinking this can’t be happening again?

  46. Susan the Short says:

    When I was received into the Catholic Church in 1985, I was bruised and buffeted by the modernist claptrap in the RCIA, sneered at by priests, scorned by DRE’s and ‘pastoral ministers.’

    I nearly fled, thinking it would be better to find another haven where my newborn faith would be truly nurtured.

    But I recalled Peter’s words when Our Lord asked if any of the disciples were going to leave because of the teaching on the Eucharist.

    Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

    Yes, the boat seems to be rocking right now. But it’s only a storm. Our Lord is firmly in charge, and He will calm the rough waters. Trust Him.

    To paraphrase Padre Pio: “Pray, hope….and don’t leave.”

  47. The Astronomer says:

    Regarding the origins of the ‘preferential option for the poor’ and Liberation Theology’, the facts have been published elsewhere, Time magazine, the Jesuits’ magazine America, the “liberation theology” texts tomes of Fr. Gustavo Guiterrez and Ernesto Cardenal where it was considered “daring, challenging, courageous,” especially among progressive Catholics in the U.S. You don’t have to do any “deep research” — just go into your public library’s microfilm department and scan old Life and Look magazines from the late 1960s & early 1970s.

    In 1967, Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian priest and theologian coined the term, the “preferential option for the poor.” The Liberation Theology movement’s foundational reference text, A Theology of Liberation, was written in 1971, three years after the concept appeared at the Latin American Bishops’ Conference at Medellin in 1968.

    The origins of Liberation Theology basically began with the second Latin American Bishops’ Conference, which was held in Colombia in 1968. At that conference, the attending bishops proposed to combine the teachings of Jesus Christ with those of Karl Marx as a way of justifying violent revolution to overthrow the economics of capitalism. The bishops interpreted every biblical criticism of the rich as a mandate to redistribute wealth from the haves to the have-nots, and every expression of compassion for the poor as a call for a social uprising by peasants and workers. At the end of the conference, the bishops issued a document affirming the rights of the poor and accusing industrialized nations of enriching themselves at the expense of Third World countries.

    According the the analysis of Rev. Dr. Malachi Martin in his book The Keys of This Blood,, this view of Liberation Theology and which Fr. Gutiérrez has never disavowed, “the fundamental struggle in with the Church and all Catholics was no longer the personal war between Jesus Christ as Savior and Lucifer as the Cosmic Adversary of the Most High in the quest for mens’ souls. The struggle was no longer on the supernatural plane…it was in the materiel circumstances of the tangible, socio-political here-and-now.”

    Latin America’s theologians, such as Fr. Gutiérrez, were leading the charge, using the methods espoused by the Sardianian Communist Antonio Gramsci to co-opt traditional Roman Catholic terminology and engage in the class struggle which Marx and Lenin had championed as the only worthwhile fight for humans to engage in.

    Martin went on to state “Liberation was therefore, no longer release from sin and its dire effects. It was the struggle against oppression by Big Capital and the authoritarian colonial powers of the West, particularly the United States as the archvillian of human history.”

    While it is true that elements of Liberation Theology have been purged of their Marxist/Leninist elements by Blessed Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to become foundational elements of authentic Catholic social teaching, please remember, in his original and continuing understanding of LT and the Preferential Option, Fr. Gutiérrez has never renounced it in the terms under which he originally conceived them as a form of class struggle.


  48. Jim says:

    Also remember – Noah’s ark was a type of the Catholic Church, the Ark of Salvation. What happened to those who were outside the ark? We read in Genesis 7:

    “And all flesh was destroyed that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of all creeping things that creep upon the earth: and all men. And all things wherein there is the breath of life on the earth, died. And he destroyed all the substance that was upon the earth, from man even to beast, and the creeping things and fowls of the air: and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noe only remained, and they that were with him in the ark.”

    As the good priests at AudioSancto keep repeating in their sermons – do your duty, stay in the state of grace, say your rosary and you will make it through. Remember this is God’s Church and He is in charge. He knows what is happening. He is Wisdom and He is allowing things to happen for good reason.

  49. LadyMarchmain says:

    Lizzy, Denis, Catholic MD, I have the same thoughts as well. I’m also a convert from Protestantism (Presbyterian and Episcopal), and I think those of us who chose to become Catholic probably did so over considerable protest and despite a signal lack of support from friends and family (at least, it was not a popular move on my part in my immediate circles). I know in my case, and I’m guessing we all share this, a strong force in my conversion was being very aware that the protestant churches were abandoning the teachings of Christ. First I was among the “split P’s” (as they called the Presbyterians, who were branching into different groupings over doctrinal dispute), so after my faith conversion, I sought out the Episcopal Church, only to watch as it embraced apostasy. It is very disorienting to see so many similar tendencies in the Catholic Church, but take heart. The Magisterium has never yet taught error.

    Our Lord warned us repeatedly that there would be tares in among the wheat, that the enemy would run amuck in the church and cause all kinds of problems, that churchmen would bury their talents (and their heads) in the ground, and that only at the end of time will the angels sort it all out.

    There have been bad Popes before, and the Church has been rotten through and through with corruption and other problems, but the Mystical Body of Christ and the Deposit of Faith remain.

    Something I have found so helpful is Father Malachi Martin’s discourse on this. He describes how the disciples and Mary had not seen Jesus since his arrest, and as they were waiting for Him on the road to Calvary, and saw a figure, battered, bleeding, disfigured, carrying a cross like a common criminal, they could hardly recognize Him. The Church has also become almost unrecognizable. And in many parishes, to echo the words of Pope Pius XII, many of us do lament with Mary Magdalene, “Where have you taken him?” (because the tabernacles are removed, the Blessed Sacrament is no longer there, the mass is desacralized).

    Let us converts all pray together for fortitude! I think we may have a harder time of this than cradle Catholics, because we had our eyes opened in the Protestant churches and chose the Catholic Church in part because of her orthodoxy. It might be, therefore, that we are more scandalized, but let’s consider it our cross and carry it. Let us stand with Mary at the foot of the cross and hear the words of our Lord, “Behold your mother!”

  50. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    As I was told the young people I had in a CCD class, (focus on CHURCH history) the pendulum swings both ways but it the the Holy Spirit, (along with the prayers of the faithful) that will keep the Church “true”.

    Men, humans, are subject to fads, whims, fashion, accolades and pressure to “turn-away,” and to go astray. We have had some fantastic popes, and more that a few ‘so-so’ and a couple that really were more concerned about themselves than about being the Vicar of Christ, (to put it nicely).

    It is still early in the papacy of Francis.

  51. Deacon Augustine says:

    Coming from the other side of the pond, I have no idea what this Robinson duck controversy is all about, but it seems to me that those captions on the photographs have been pasted the wrong way round.

    Surely, the quotes on the left belong to the Vicar of Christ and the quotes on the right belong to the hairy, hippy bloke?

  52. Nan says:

    @Boxerpaws, Louisiana Tech, undergrad in physical education (played football so typical major), masters in education. Taught school for awhile then realized he wanted to be outdoors.

    @converts, don’t worry about the brouhaha surrounding Pope Francis or whoever; it’s about the Holy Spirit. I was raised against Church teaching and still turned out Catholic. Why? Not because of anyone on Earth, because of the Holy Spirit, the saints who looked after me and the strong impression of the women mourning at the foot of the cross, at a time I was unfamiliar with the imagery of the women at the foot of the Cross. It is the Holy Spirit who ultimately guides the Church.

  53. OrthodoxChick says:


    Phil Robertson attended Louisiana Tech on a football scholarship and Terry Bradshaw played 2nd string to Robertson. Phil’s bachelor’s degree is in physical education and his master’s is in education.

    The Robertson family belongs to the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ. Phil and his oldest son, Allan (the unbearded “black sheep” of the family for his lack of beard, except the small one he grows during duck hunting season) serve as elders of the church. Can you tell I’m a DD fan??!

  54. Legisperitus says:

    “I know quite well that, to you as to me, the Church which once felt like a refuge, now often feels like a trap. There is nowhere else to go! (I wonder if this desperate feeling, the last state of loyalty hanging on, was not, even more often than is actually recorded in the Gospels, felt by Our Lord’s followers in His earthly life-time?) I think there is nothing to do but pray, for the Church, the Vicar of Christ, and for ourselves; and meanwhile to exercise the virtue of loyalty, which indeed only becomes a virtue when one is under pressure to desert it.”

    — Tolkien, Letters

  55. lana says:

    Here is an interesting comparison from Andrew Sullivan, who also thinks AE should not have cancelled Phil:

    “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong … Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men … “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right … “

    This is a fascinating glimpse into the fundamentalist mind. You’ll notice that, for the fundamentalist, all sin – when it comes down to it –  starts with sex. This sexual obsession, as the Pope has rightly diagnosed it, is a mark of neurotic fundamentalism in Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity. And if all sin is rooted in sex, then the homosexual becomes the most depraved and evil individual in the cosmos. So you get this classic statement about sin: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.”

    This emphasis is absolutely not orthodox Christianity. There is nothing primary about sexual sin as such in Christian doctrine. It sure can be powerfully sinful – but it’s not where sin starts.

  56. lana says:

    Maybe sexual sin is not where it starts, but it seems to be where it ends, as Our Lady said at Fatima, that more people go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.

    Still, he has some interesting points.

  57. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Lizzy wrote, “I don’t think anyone would go to the orthodox because of the Church’s sins but because they no longer believed it was the Church founded ‘as necessary by God through Christ.’ ” Would such a going mean having come to believe that the autocephalous Churches in communion with each other are ” the Church founded ‘as necessary by God through Christ’ “? – exclusively? Would confessing that be required of any such person by each and every one of those autocephalous Churches?

    As to sins, what if Liutprand of Cremona was simply telling something close to the whole truth accurately? What would surviving another ‘saeculm obscurum’ be likely to look like? Or even another pontificate of John XII or Alexander VI?

    I understand that Alphonsus de Castro, in Adversus omnes haereses (1539), wrote, “Non dubitamus an haereticum esse, et Papam esse, coire in unum possint.” And that, a couple decades later, Thomas Harding in defending Papal infallibility in controversy with John Jewel wrote, “The Pope may err by personal error, in his own private judgment, as a man; and as a particular Doctor in his own opinion”.

    What might, or ought, faithful bishops, priests, religious, and/or laity do, if they ever were to find themselves confronted with such an erring (or grossly sinning) Pope?

  58. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I would recommend reading step 15 of St. John Climacus’s Ladder of Divine Ascent (e.g., pp. 56-66 of the 1959 translation linked at the English Wikipedia article about it), for someone’s idea of an ’emphasis that is absolutely orthodox Christianity’!

    Is Mr. Sullivan really so shallow and sloppy a reader as to think Mr. Robertson believes, or has implied, that “all sin – when it comes down to it – starts with sex”? – or that Mr. Robertson would not think “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there” was largely interchangeable with, “Start with sleeping around with this woman and that woman…” or “Start with bestiality…” or “Start with idolatry…” or “Start with greed…”?

  59. donato2 says:

    I too have had the thought of going over to the Orthodox. I would never do it in a million years but the thought has crossed my mind. I too am of the view that the liberals will not turn on him. Although Pope Francis is not exactly a liberal of the sort one finds in the Western media, he in many ways shares their sensibilities and views. He effectively has raised the flag of surrender in the culture wars. This is obviously why he is a media darling. He is a real morale killer for Catholics of my ilk.

  60. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Tempted to join schismatics because of the willful and deliberate misinterpretations of the Holy Father by biased drive by media? Crazy talk.”

    Let them go. If they would seek shelter in another harbor, it means there is more room for us. Some of us have sailed a long and difficult path.

  61. Ben Kenobi says:

    “What might, or ought, faithful bishops, priests, religious, and/or laity do, if they ever were to find themselves confronted with such an erring (or grossly sinning) Pope?”

    “Will you not also leave?”
    “Lord, to whom will we go?”

  62. Ben Kenobi says:


    “those freely going back and forth between the gates of Hell and sneaking brimfire through the gates of the Church are treated with the utmost gentleness and afforded every freedom.”

    And what did our Lord promise us?

    “Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

  63. Lurker 59 says:

    It really needs to be said that those who step into Orthodoxy do not suddenly find themselves outside of the Church. cf. Dominus Iesus 17.

    We know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, but this doesn’t mean that the gates of hell will not prevail against one’s own parish, one’s own diocese, one’s own rite, or even one’s own particular Church. Those here who are troubled are not troubled because they are weak in faith or anything of the like. They are troubled because of their faith — that which they believe in is not manifest to them in their local congregations, diocese, and so on. So the questions arise, “Can the gates of hell prevail against the Roman rite? Can the gates of hell prevail against the particular Roman Church? If yes, where should I go? If no, still where should I go?”

    People are looking for salvation, for this hospital for sinners, for a place where they might worship God in truth and justice, for a place that believe orthodoxly, and for a place that lives orthopraxly. When their particular experiences are manifestly different than what they have been told that the Faith is, they will question.

    Why is this topic, of all other recent topics, bringing out people who are saying that they are thinking of Orthodoxy? It is because of the dissimilarity between what Mr. Robertson and Pope Francis are saying. It is very clear that Mr. Robertson is talking about the healing of sinners by Jesus Christ. That is why the media is mad…because Mr. Robertson has said that Jesus is the one who determines what is and what is not sin, and offers healing for those who would be healed, and judgment for those who do not. Justly or unjustly, the media is phrasing things so that the “fluffy non-judgmental” orthodoxy of the Pope is contrasted with the “bible quoting” orthodoxy of Mr. Robertson.

    Where can one be safe and find the hospital of healing? With Jesus and in the Church. However, it is not true that one is guaranteed to find Christ preached or a hospital bed in one’s local parish. Those who are looking towards Orthodoxy are doing so because they are not hearing Jesus preached and not finding hospital beds. If they had these things, it wouldn’t matter how fluffy the Pope was made (or was). These things are serious matters because they are not a problem with the faith of those that raise such considerations, but rather that those who raise such considerations do not experience orthodoxy and/or orthopraxy of the Church of Christ in their daily lives outside of what they read in books written by those that have died long long ago.

    People don’t become Orthodox because they lack faith or they want an easier orthopraxy.

  64. lana says:

    The Church’s teaching on homosexuality is clear and everyone knows it. Does Pope Francis have to re read to us the catechism every day on every issue to reassure us? You can always google to read about his outspoken public stand when same sex marriage was being discussed in Argentina.

  65. lana says:

    Perhaps some of those quotes can also be added to the pictures at the top so as to more fully represent Pope Francis’ stand.

  66. mamajen says:

    Lurker 59,

    Why is this topic, of all other recent topics, bringing out people who are saying that they are thinking of Orthodoxy?

    Oh, this happens on just about every post in which Pope Francis is mentioned. But it is rather curious that Orthodoxy is the refuge du jour instead of the usual alternative. I wonder why that is?

  67. mamajen says:

    The Orthodox Church 1. Allows divorce and remarriage, 2. Permits abortion in certain cases, and 3. Allows contraceptive use by married couples. But, hey, they condemn homosexual behavior, so it’s all good, right?

  68. Traductora says:

    Iana, I don’t remember who said it, but I believe it was a fairly early Christian writer who said “all heresies begin below the belt.” This is very true, because a lot of ideas that are heretical or even schismatic (look at Henry VIII) begin with somebody’s attempt to justify some sexual sin they want to commit. And because there is an affective element to sex, it is much harder for preachers to preach against the sin or the heretical movement that embodies it. That is particularly true now, when subjectivity and emotion rule and philosophy and theology are suffering from “pensamiento débil,” which one can translate as “weak thought” and which is exactly what it sounds like.

    I think the Pope has been very careless in his words (although I think he’s learning and perhaps is a little less trusting now) but I don’t think he was proposing heresy or any change to Church teaching. Robertson is an Evangelical Protestant and they don’t have any clearly defined doctrine, so he of course has to state the negatives as well. The Pope is relying on Catholic doctrine and moral teaching to do that for him, and thus focuses on the matter of mercy, the second part of Robertson’s statement. However, to go from that to thinking the pope supports “gay marriage” is silly.

    Also, forget the Orthodox as far as moral teachings and practice go. I had a fair amount of contact with them in the US and, first of all, they never discuss moral teachings and, secondly, they were riddled with open homosexuals at all levels and “celibate” basically meant “gay.” I believe two of the most recent metropolitans left under a cloud because of their boyfriends and financial dealings related to their sweeties, and then a third, good one who promised to reform the OCA was basically driven out. So even leaving aside the fact that the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth and the Orthodox, through their schism, have made themselves very vulnerable to both the State and to evil forces, even in practice, you’re not going to find a refuge among the Orthodox.

  69. OrthodoxChick says:

    Phil Robertson led a bible study at his church this weekend and one reporter was allowed to attend it. He’s not going to allow the mainstream media to drive him into retreat from his comments. Good for him.

  70. Jim says:

    Lurker 59,

    It really needs to be said that those who step into Orthodoxy do not suddenly find themselves outside of the Church. cf. Dominus Iesus 17.

    Dominus Iesus, 17, says no such thing!

    Dominus Iesus, 17
    “Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.”

    The above doesn’t say that baptized Catholics guilty of schism can have salvation (and Catholics who leave the Church for “orthodoxy” are guilty of schism – lets stop kidding ourselves). To say that is saying schism is a good thing. The above reference probably applies to someone who was born to “orthodox” parents, have never heard of Catholic Church or of St Peter and therefore never had a chance to become Catholic and is therefore not guilty of schism (even though his particular Church is schismatic) – not to someone who somehow deludes himself that “orthodoxy” is God’s Church.

    Baptized Catholics who leave the Church (and being untied to Peter is not an option – you have accept the Primacy of the Holy Father which to quote the above ref, “objectively has and exercises over the entire Church” – including over schismatics, who simply choose to live in lala land, in order to be obedient to God and not to live in sin ) personally commit the grave sin of schism and the only way out is to repent and therefore come back to the Church.

    A little common sense would show that if a schismatic were to receive our Blessed Lord, in an “orthodox” Mass (and He is truly present because they do have valid Apostolic succession) being guilty of schism commit sacrilege. How exactly does such a Catholic die in the state of grace?

    Some more common sense would show that if the only claim to legitimacy that the “orthodox” have is being somewhat untied to the Catholic Church (by Apostolic Succession and the Blessed Sacrament) – then what does it mean for the orthodox if the Catholic Church is false?

    I don’t know its two days before the feast of the Nativity – and it just looks like all Hell is busy sowing doubt in our minds.

  71. the question was asked, “It is never a question of a pope being able to change doctrine. The question is … Will he faithfully and forcefully teach it? All of it? Without qualifications?” He isn’t?
    The person on the left in the image is not our Holy Father.The person on the right is.
    Will we ever find our Holy Father speaking like Phil Robertson? Probably not.
    I don’t even watch Duck Dynasty but i do support Mr Robertson in this battle 100%.(We only watch 2 networks here,Fox News and EWTN.Three if you include the weather channel from time to time).I have been somewhat aware of the show though and it’s impact on people.Knew a little bit about the family.Definitely know about the GQ interview and firestorm that followed.Also sick and tired of the horribly offensive and crude things the liberal media gets away with and how wrong it was to go after Phil because the other side wants to destroy freedom of speech when they disagree with it-and freedom of religion altogether.
    Finally reading through some of the comments am just heart broke to see people seriously considering leaving the Catholic faith.i honestly don’t know what Pope Francis has done to cause such a reaction.I spent YEARS away from the Church and thankful to have been given the grace to come back.Is Pope Francis forceful enough on the issues that matter to me and so many of us? No. Probably not. Please,rather than leave,pray for him.I posted this letter from another blog weeks ago when our Pope was named Time Person of the Year.Like to share it:

    “Dear friends,

    An extraordinary (not so extraordinary when you consider other winners like Hitler and Stalin) accolade for Pope Francis, for Time Magazine to name him the Person of the Year.

    He is the third pope in church history to receive the honour, the other two being Pope John XXIII in 1962, and Pope John Paul II in 1994, interestingly both these popes being canonized by Pope Francis next April in the same ceremony.

    But what is so remarkable here is that this has happened to Pope Francis, in less than twelve months on the job, a remarkable index on how a Vicar of Christ has had such an impact not just on Catholics, but on people of all ideological persuasions, in such a short time. As they said today, this man has brought the papacy \”out of the palace, and on to the streets\”.

    Of course, part of the adulation for Jorge Bergoglio is that he is perceived as someone who has thrown off the shackles of the past, and wants to make the Catholic Church more like other institutions in the wider society.

    I believe a case can be made against this thesis, but I am not overly worried about this perception either.

    For starters, Pope Francis is a boon to evangelization. It has not been for some time that Catholics have been able to hold on to something, seen as so inspiring, particular after the abuse crisis which has lost the Church major credibility.

    Even if the likes of Jane Fonda and Elton John approve of this pope, perhaps in the long run that will be to our advantage. It gives a Vicar of Christ, a captive audience.

    And when it is time to say really tough things, he will be listened to.

    When Our Lord started his public ministry, many of his new followers had a false conception of Jesus. They believed him to be an earthly Messiah who would liberate them from Roman occupation. Even his apostles believed that, until He told them that \”the kingdom of God is within you\”. And what about in St John\’s Gospel Chapter 6, when He gave His discourse on the Bread of Life. Many people who heard this found this teaching about eating His Body and drinking His Blood very challenging, and \”they no longer walked with Him\”.

    Jesus then said to Simon Peter, \”Will you also depart from me?\” He answered, \”Master, where shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life\”.

    The same will happen with Pope Francis. Many of his new admirers will no longer walk with him, (when confronted with the reality of Catholic teaching and practice) but some may have received the grace of conversion, when considering a man who in so many of his actions, is so Christ like.

    God bless


  72. robtbrown says:

    Andrew Sullivan is an adept obfuscator.

    If memory serves, Luther thought that the First Sin was sexual, rather than a direct rebellion against God–wanting to be gods. So in that sense, Sullivan has a point.

    On the other hand, he’s wrong about the role of sexuality in the development of the personality and thus the spiritual organism. The sensible appetites (passions) are lower than the rational appetite (will)–but they are the foundation. Thus, for St Thomas humility is a virtue not of the intellect or intellectual appetite (will) but rather of the appetite for pleasure (the concupiscible appetite).

    The beauty of the sexual act is that it is a union that is in itself fruitful. Obviously, this is not possible in homosexual acts, which turn back onto themselves because they are contrary to the natural manner of sexuality.

  73. iteadthomam says:

    @ Lurker 59

    It is true that the Orthodox Churches are true local churches, but that doesn’t meant they are part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic universal Church. They are in fact not in full communion with the universal church but in an imperfect communion with her. So, when a person leaves the Catholic Church to Orthodoxy, they are in essence leaving the fullness of the Church and joining a Church that is not in communion with the Universal church. For this reason, it is a very serious matter to go to Orthodoxy and they cannot be saved if they know that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ.

    As far as the Roman Church being able to fall, this would in fact mean the gates of hell did prevail agains the Church since that very promise was made to Peter, and his successors the Pope. So, though local Churches may fall away from the faith, the Roman Church cannot fall away.

  74. lana says:



    “that in difficult moments we may not despair…”

    Many people criticize Pope Francis for not being able to communicate Catholic doctrine in a single sentence and therefore opens himself to misinterpretation. The same can be said of Jesus, whom Luther misunderstood when He said “He who believes in Me shall have eternal life.”. Scripture itself says how many twist Scripture to their own destruction. It will be no different for His Vicars, who take His place and speak His words. If you have any faith in the Holy Spirit.

  75. Nan says:

    @Jim, you’re talking about the OCA, which is only one Orthodox Church; I doubt that celibate means gay overall, just that a couple of metropolitans weren’t actually celibate. That’s a problem. I don’t know why you would refer to the divine liturgy as Mass, yes, it’s the same thing but please use the proper terminology; it’s the same liturgy and terminology used by Eastern Catholics. Note also that the Orthodox are familiar with St. Peter; you forget that there was only one church until 1054 and that they’re the other half of it. If for some reason you were in a place with an Orthodox church but not a Catholic one, assuming the church would allow you to receive communion, you could do so. However, because the Orthodox have different rules about receiving communion and need to have permission to do so in another territory, even an Orthodox person may not be able to do so and indeed may be barred from receiving at their own parish if they haven’t made recent confession.

  76. Sonshine135 says:

    Some folks need some Xanax for Christmas, or at least some good eggnog! ;) I can’t help but be amazed that Traditional Catholics are some of the first that would speak of leaving the church. You are being fished in- hook, line, and sinker- into the “more Catholic than the Pope” bucket. It is surprising. I would take most of you as being the type that would defend the faith- even unto death. Will I be standing alone or with only a few of you in the Colosseum?

    You have to remember that the liberals have become very clever with their divide and conquer strategy. That is what they are doing with Pope Francis. They will not turn on him, because they are using him as a primary tool for that division. The Devil will use any advantage he can. You have to remember that liberals throw people away when they no longer need them- the unborn, the elderly, and every broken human is used as a tool to push an agenda. This is their weakness. Christians do not throw away anyone. We defend the unborn, the elderly, and the broken human condition when seeking repentance.

    So what is the strategy. Pray and have Faith first and foremost. This is great advice. Remember though, we are Catholic, and have to be doers of the word. This means setting pride aside and leading others to Christ by example. How easy is it for us to condemn homosexuality, and the homosexual to take that as Christian condemnation of them in perpetuity? This is where “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” comes in handy. Is there a homosexual couple in your neighborhood? Have you ever met them and spoken a kind word to them, or do you play into the liberal’s hands and ignore or scoffing at them? They probably see you go to church every Saturday night or Sunday. Did you bring them some homemade Christmas cookies? Imagine the shock of a Traddy Catholic bringing a message of hope and peace to a sinner. Didn’t Jesus himself dine with the Pharisees? Liberal words would be meaningless if Christians showed the kindness and mercy they so desperately seek for themselves.

    Don’t feed the liberals. They can’t fire the gun if you don’t provide the ammo. [Wanna bet?]

  77. Robbie says:

    I simply can’t believe someone used Andrew Sullivan’s piece as a defense of Francis. Many of us may be very wrong about Francis, but there’s no debating who Andrew Sullivan is. He is a gay man and an ardent supporter of Obama’s agenda.

  78. Gretchen says:

    I agree with Mamajen that it is ironic that some are considering the Orthodox as a refuge. That said, in many Catholic parishes one can find divorced/remarried people receiving communion, high contraceptive use among parishioners, and support for abortion and homosexual marriage. So, de facto, Catholics are in active dissent and acting as Orthodox/Protestants/secularists, though retaining a “form of godliness,” namely identifying themselves Catholic.

    Is not this akin to what we see in our federal government? A president who pays lipservice to the Constitution, but forsakes it at every turn. I pray that Pope Francis is able to clearly and firmly articulate the Catholic faith to the world. Enough of the ‘lio’ for the time being.

  79. Jim says:

    I wasn’t referring to any one particular Church – but to the entire Eastern Orthodox communion and the Oriental Orthodox, all of which are not in communion with the Holy Father (but most of who are in communion with Anglican heresy).

    I did say anything about celibacy and metropolitans – maybe someone else did.

    Yes I do know that “orthodoxy” is familiar with St Peter. I was referring in my example, to a person who was born into orthodoxy, never knew about the schism of 1054 or of the Catholic church and hence could not have become Catholic – such a person would not be guilty of schism. I do not know if actual persons who fit that category exist – however it is a possibility. However no Catholic (Eastern or Western rite) can leave the Church without committing schism – unless they have absolutely no idea why they were Catholic to start with – which begs the question – why do they think they should be Orthodox? What do they fool themselves into thinking happened in the 1000 years between 33 AD and 1054 AD? I simply don’t see a way out.

    The Divine Liturgy (or in my particular Eastern rite – the Qurbana Qadisha (Holy Sacrifice in English)) is the same thing as the Holy Sacrifice of Mass. We have different rites for the same thing – the bloodless re presentation of Our Blessed Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary. In the rite I belong to, we never refer to the Mass as the Divine Liturgy – but as the Qurbana. But you know what I mean :-)

  80. Nan says:

    @Jim, sorry for the confusion I can’t find the reference to celibate = gay in OCA and for some reason thought it was yours, thus the specific reference to Divine Liturgy as that person had referred to it as “orthodox” mass. I realize it’s the same thing as Mass but the terminology is different; I’m bi-ritual. Before anyone questions that, canon law puts me in a Byzantine Rite Church, but my parish is Latin Rite. And I’m looking forward to Russian Christmas.

  81. lana says:

    robbie, that would be me. I was pointing to other similar postings comparing Phil and Pope Francis., since that is the theme of this thread.

    What I thought was interesting that Andrew Sullivan pointed out is that when asked what sin is, Phil seems to zero in on sexual sin, whereas Pope Francis wants evangelization to be more than just talking about sexual sin. Of course, I am sure that Phil recognizes other sins are real and important, and that Pope Francis knows sexual sins are important. Not every sentence can capture a person’s entire belief system and these kinds of quick comparisons and snap judgments do everyone a disservice.
    Jesus dined with tax collectors and prostitutes, and had many harsh words for pharisees. So
    perhaps He agrees that sins of pride are much more difficult to correct us from than sexual sins.

    For the record, that I am 100% with the Catechism on every issue, including homosexuality.

  82. aquinas138 says:

    Though I do not doubt their good intentions, I think some here are not being exactly fair to those tempted to Orthodoxy. In the first place, were a Catholic to leave the Roman Church, they certainly would not be doing so because they intend to leave the Catholic Church, but rather precisely because they intend to join it. We forget that the Orthodox Church believes itself to be the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”; historical accident has caused Easterners to refer to themselves commonly as “Orthodox” and Westerners as “Catholics,” but they certainly believe the articles of the Creed to apply only to them in the fullest sense.

    From an Orthodox perspective, whereas the Orthodox Churches have maintained the Apostolic Faith in its integrity, the Roman Church has adulterated it by adding doctrines unknown to the Fathers, just as Protestants have corrupted it by removing doctrines. Such a view has some understandable appeal , especially when confronted with the difficulties posed by the Popes.

    Though one would be deluding himself if he thought Orthodoxy free from problems, they might, in a certain way, be easier to take. Catholics take the faults of bishops somewhat in stride since, after all, they are just men, not endowed with a charism of infallibility. However, the Pope poses a few problems. What is one to do when Popes appear to contradict each other? Or a Council contradicts a Pope, or vice versa? We are often faced with the necessity of resorting to all manner of mental gymnastics to tease out when the Pope is speaking magisterially or not; or when his statements are binding or merely “authentic.” We have to believe both Quanta Cura and Dignitatis Humanae are true, and the world continues to be deforested to produce the books explaining how this is so.

    What of those who truly believe the introduction of the Novus Ordo, while valid in itself, to be an utter disaster for the Church? How does one reconcile the very purpose of the papacy (the guarantor of unity and guardian of Tradition) with an act of, in the mind of some, spiritual abuse on the magnitude of the suppression of the traditional Roman Rite? Ah, we say, the traditional rites were never abrogated, as Benedict XVI tells us; this despite Paul VI’s clear belief that he certainly did just that, apart from a paltry indult. Such legalistic sophistries, coupled with the mental gymnastics required to maintain the belief that the Magisterium never contradicts itself, become burdensome. And we have not even begun the massive task of reconciling the definitions of Vatican I with the evidence of antiquity!

    In no way am I saying one should leave the Catholic Church – far from it – but it is not helpful to immediately assume someone is insane or looking for an “easy out” in investigating Orthodoxy. The radical reorientation of the Church at Vatican II and the continued disinterest on the part of the vast majority of the hierarchy in recovering our Tradition are responsible for a lot of the doubts well-intentioned Catholics have. The behavior of Popes in the post-conciliar period, including the rush to beatify and canonize all of the post-conciliar Popes, in what seems like a blatant attempt to stifle conversation about Vatican II, does little to inspire confidence.

  83. StJude says:

    How cool is our Lord?!!
    For the last couple days millions of people are talking about sin and its consequences…at Christmastime.
    Amazing how God can use anyone.

  84. Indulgentiam says:

    What an invaluable gift this blog is. GOD bless you Fr. Z! I come here to fill up on ammo :) It’s like sitting in Catechism 101 with a microcosm of today’s world. I am so grateful for the more enlightened minds here who preach the hard truths without changing a syllable. That there is NO salvation outside the Catholic Church is indisputable. I listen and llearn to argue with charity and eloquence. Because as a very good FSSP Priest is wont to say, “you can win an argument and loose a soul”
    I wouldn’t want to be pope if you handed me the entire world on a silver platter. Poor guy gets it from both sides. On a much, much smaller scale I can kinda relate. Living, as I do, in the south surrounded by protest-tants And EF haters. I’m constantly gettin shot at by the “whore of babylon” side and then turn and get it from the…your-so-like-all-law-NO-like-charity-lockstep-like REALLY-cult like-veil wearing-scary-now!…”tolerance for all except tradition Catholics.”
    I heard an excellent sermon by an FSSP Priest. He makes this great analogy.
    “If you suddenly found yourself aboard a ship during a typhoon with the wind howling and 70 foot swells crashing. And find out that up in the wheelhouse their having a fist fight your not going to jump overboard. Your going to keep hanging on. You’d hang on for dear life. No one in their right mind would jump over board into 70 foot seas. By the grace of GOD we’re in the Catholic Church. That means we’re already on board the Ark of Salvation. The Ship won’t sink, It can’t sink. So even if we have a bunch of characters doing who knows what in the wheel house we just have to keep some perspective. We need to keep calm and keep holding on.”
    You can listen to the rest here:

    The Lord bless you and keep you,…
    Our Lady guard you and guide you.

  85. w0343009 says:

    I think Pope Francis should publicly reject ALL of the Person of the year awards! (Especially the most sinful organizations) The world acts like they like him because he is “shaking things up” but they really only like him when they think he is siding with them.

  86. could Pope Francis have refused the time magazine person of year? Or do they simply pick their cover and go with it? Wondered. Let’s suppose he could and did.Their next choice would probably be on the order of Miley Cyrus. I’d rather see Pope Francis…maybe it helps get the message out.
    Someone posted this, ” I keep thinking this can’t be happening again?’
    Now I’m confused. What exactly is it that is happening again? I haven’t seen anything happen.
    I have seen the traditionalists attack Pope Francis. It’s ammo for the enemy no matter how you look at it.Doesn’t matter if it’s liberals going after the Church or the traditionalists. It’s an attack from both sides of the same coin.Another post made a great point;Does our Holy Father have to catechize on these issues every single day in every single homily,exhortation or interview? We don’t know what the Church teaches after all this time? No matter how the Church gives out this message the liberals will do what they will with it. They will manage with or without the ammo.Maybe that’s where we come in.Maybe that’s why it’s called the NEWEvangelization. Yes,i have been frustrated from time to time by Pope Francis but realize that he cannot always be out there beating the drum every time i would like him to. Maybe we -the laity-need to beat the drum when the situation presents itself?

  87. LadyMarchmain says:

    aquinas138: Thank you so much for your compassionate, insightful explanation, and brilliantly turned phrase (about seeking the true church rather than leaving it).

    StJude: Yes! What a great observation. Puts a wonderful perspective on the debate.

    As many are talking about St. Peter, we might do well to remember that he denied Our Lord three times. The Pope is human. We follow Jesus, who is the Son of God. (And as for being “more Catholic than the Pope”–no one is saying that. But some people are saying things that sound more Catholic than what the Pope is saying.)

  88. St. Epaphras says:

    Re. possibility of leaving the Church — I listen to these Audio Sancto sermons again when it’s necessary. (Go to audiosancto dot org and you’ll see a list of sermon titles.)

    10/20/13 “Christ is the Point”
    10/27/13 “…True Devotion to the Pope” which someone above linked to.
    10/27/13 “Spiritual Contraception”

    The priests bring in history as well as current events in the Church and they do NOT sugar-coat anything. They are trying to show us our duty as Catholics, I think, and how to remain good, obedient Catholics and still reject anything which may not be in accordance with Tradition. They urge us to not “jump overboard”. Very encouraging.

    In case my other post with the 3 links makes it out of moderation, sorry for the repetition.

  89. SKAY says:

    Thank you boxer paws for the link to the Thomas More Law Center.

    “With all of the filth that can be seen on television and in movies these days, the mainstream media has made it increasingly clear that there is only one thing for which there is no place: Christianity and the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality.”
    This is being made clear by those in the White House — perhaps many more people are now paying attention –thanks to Phil.
    There will be a float in the Rose Parade depicting a ssm. Do they care who they offend?

  90. Uxixu says:

    Excellent thoughts Aquinas138. I agree wholeheartedly.

  91. lana says:

    Fr. Faber has given me the perfect quote for those who are doubting…. from “Bethlehem” (by far his best book, IMO). (p. 88 Tan Books)

    This is regarding the ‘expectation’ of Mary:

    “She saw before her in true perspective the future of the Church, its trials, and its triumphs… and the outward fortunes of the Holy See… She saw the great world rocking almost off its equilibrium… She saw it plunging on through space so unsteady that it seemed ever about to fling the Church off from itself… She saw how the world’s life of ponderous revolutions was one of lightning-like progress, and there was a recklessness about its moral speed, and a daring in the manner with which it entangled itself in all manner of social complications, which might have depressed a seer less grand than she was. But no panic passed on her. The Babe within her was stronger than the world.”

  92. robtbrown says:

    Suburbanbanshee says:

    I should also point everybody to the fact that (barring Benedict XVI, who was already the hated Panzerkardinal, etc.) every pope in the last 150 years has been hailed by liberals as their pope, at the start of their papacy. Maybe it’s been going on longer than that, but sure, the liberals are always certain that this one is their pope for sure. Check Fr. Greeley’s old books, for example, or news reports from the past.

    You’re onto something. New popes seem to somehow think they’ll convert the world, so they promote a liberal image and court liberals. Even Pius IX was considered a liberal. The intrinsic discipline of the structure, however, usually mitigated any damage done by initial liberal pontifical fervor.

  93. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Ben Kenobi,

    When I specifically said

    ” What might, or ought, faithful bishops, priests, religious, and/or laity do, if they ever were to find themselves confronted with such an erring (or grossly sinning) Pope?”

    after mentioning the specific examples of John XII and Alexander VI and the broader example of the ‘saeculum obscurum’ and the possibility that Liutprand of Cremona was simply telling something close to the whole truth accurately,

    and quoting the general statements of Alphonsus de Castro and Thomas Harding,

    I was not addressing the matters of ‘leaving’ or ‘going to’. I think anyone ‘ going’ anywhere “ecclesiastical” (to borrow a term from Lumen gentium 15) – whether having ‘left’ somewhere else first or not – is going to be confronted with analogous problems.

    I was, instead, asking about what those ‘staying’ or ‘finding themselves’ in such a situation, practically might, or ought to, do. I probably should have put it more broadly as well, and will try to, now:

    What might, or ought, faithful bishops, priests, religious, and/or laity do, if they ever were to find themselves confronted with a grievously erring (or grossly sinning) Hierarch (whether bishop, archbishop, patriarch, or Pope)?

    The point has been clearly made more than once on this blog that a parishioner is not geographically restricted such that they may not regularly attend other celebrations than those of ‘their’ parish and its priest (even when it is nothing like a matter of grievous error or gross sin being involved). But what of laity, religious, and those in lower orders with respect to diocesan bishops? And between various Hierarchs?

    Aquinas138 said, “we have not even begun the massive task of reconciling the definitions of Vatican I with the evidence of antiquity!” Is what I am trying to ask a matter where later practice differs (in fact, but not of any necessity) from earlier?

    I think, for example, of Eusebius’s account in Book 5, chapters 23-24 of his Church History, of the Quartodeciman controversy. To quote the McGiffert translation at New Advent (24.9-10): “Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate.

    “But this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor.” He says that St. Irenaeus of Lyon was among these and that (24.11) he “fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom”. He goes on to quote him at some length (12-17), with St. Irenaeus writing in a tone that does not sound like one of sharp rebuke, and concludes (18), “Thus Irenæus, who truly was well named, became a peacemaker in this matter, exhorting and negotiating in this way in behalf of the peace of the churches.”

    Could a bishop quite properly do something of the same sort, today (if he deemed the situation to call for it)?

    Among those “true particular Churches” which have been the subject of considerable discussion here, one Hierarch in the apostolic succession may act toward another as Pope St. Victor did toward the Bishops of the Churches of Asia. Is something like that possible between (for example) one diocesan bishop and another – or must any such instance be referred to the Pope?

    How might, or ought, anyone ‘equal or lower in the Hierarchy’ (etc.) act lovingly as St. Irenaeus did, for his own spiritual well-being and that of others, not least a grievously erring or grossly sinning Hierarch?

  94. Ben Kenobi says:

    @ Venerator.

    I hope I can express my thoughts on this matter sufficiently.

    “Among those “true particular Churches” which have been the subject of considerable discussion here, one Hierarch in the apostolic succession may act toward another as Pope St. Victor did toward the Bishops of the Churches of Asia. Is something like that possible between (for example) one diocesan bishop and another – or must any such instance be referred to the Pope?”

    This is a good question, and cuts to the root of the problem. What are we called to believe at our confirmation? Are we called to defend the Church? Absolutely. Are we called to defend Christ? Absolutely. Are we called to defend the weak, and the poor, and the helpless? Absolutely. But that is not all. We are also called to defend the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. Insofar as I can see, as soon as we make that step – that decision to come into the fullness of the Church – we have promises to keep to Christ, and his church and the Pope. This includes obedience to the office. Even in the face of sin. In a sense, look at it this way. All Popes sin to a certain degree. If the efficacy of the sacraments were dependent upon the character of the Pope – would it differ if the pope were Alexander IV, or for that matter, our beloved Benedict? No. For a little bit of yeast leavens the whole dough. We cannot divide our human nature from sin. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that all popes are thus tainted and unworthy of obedience, because they cannot keep themselves from sinning even a little bit, and ultimately the degree does not matter.

    What does matter is the office. In the same way as ordination works, so does the Papacy. The office is protected by Christ himself just as the doctrine of the church, and just as the rest of the magisterium is preserved. There is a distinction between the office of the papacy and the man itself. For – would Alexander in the person sit on the papal throne, he could no more tarnish the thrones in his multitude of sins than our beloved Benedict.

    “How might, or ought, anyone ‘equal or lower in the Hierarchy’ (etc.) act lovingly as St. Irenaeus did, for his own spiritual well-being and that of others, not least a grievously erring or grossly sinning Hierarch?”

    Through obedience. Recall that when Israel sinned, and Elijah fled to Sinai, that he pled with God that he was the only priest of God. God’s first question to Elijah, “why are you here, Elijah?” In essence – God had not summoned him, so Elijah, in devotion to God – had no need to be there at that point in time. After Elijah explained his predictament, what does God say to him? “I have preserved 500 who’s lips have not kissed the feet of Baal”. That is how we must respond, should such an eventuality arise. Keep the faith, and remain in obedience to her and the office.

  95. Ben Kenobi.nothing to add but a thanks.needed that.

  96. Jim says:

    Well said Ben Kenobi.

    Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.

    Hail the Infant King!

  97. Mr. Green says:

    Robbie: If there’s one thing the left is good at, it’s identifying those who are with them. From the moment Cardinal Tauran read aloud Jorge Bergoglio, the left has been excited. To me, that’s vey telling and very worrisome. […] I do think he intends to change the perception of doctrine through deeds and words. […] I hope am very wrong though and am forced to eat lots and lots of crow!

    Donato2: Although Pope Francis is not exactly a liberal of the sort one finds in the Western media, he in many ways shares their sensibilities and views. He effectively has raised the flag of surrender in the culture wars. This is obviously why he is a media darling.

    You guys will be very happy to hear the good news: that is all a load of rubbish. If the left-wing media told me 2+2=4, I wouldn’t believe it (not without checking my slide-rule first). If the Pope is a “media darling”, if they identify him as “with them”, then you can be sure he’s an orthodox Catholic, because if there were ever to be a “modern” media-agreeing pontiff, they would have no interest him. They wouldn’t need to, because at that point their job would be done! If they are getting all excited about Pope Francis, then it’s because they are hoping that we will fall for it, or else they are sponging off his popularity, because, hey, they have to sell their claptrap somehow.

    Remember, if your eye causes you to despair, pluck it out. Or just quit reading the popular media, which is easier, less painful, and much better for your intellectual and moral health.

    Robert Brown: New popes seem to somehow think they’ll convert the world, so they promote a liberal image and court liberals.

    Or more likely, the media is shallow and ignorant with a five-minute attention-span. “Everything just the same as yesterday” isn’t a big-selling headline, so they pounce on anything that moves — any new Pope is good for some excitement, and they’ll try to milk it as much as they can. The media has no hesitation spinning the news one way or the other; in some respects they don’t care which way, but since they have no clue that the Church is a divine institution, they keep anticipating that it’s going to go the same way as all the man-made organisations around them, and they honestly believe that any moment now a modern Pope is going to appear. Maybe some popes take advantage of this (they aren’t as dumb as we sometimes like to make them out to be). But eventually the press will get bored — they always do. When Francis fails to “update” the Church, they won’t find him interesting any more, and (as Fr. Z has been pointing out all along), they’ll turn on him… when they aren’t too busy ignoring him because putting him on their covers no longer suits their agenda.

  98. LadyMarchmain says:

    Venerator, yes, that is all well said.

    I think, though, it can be really helpful to remember that we are not to be obedient to heresy or apostasy, and if our church leaders, immediate or distant, err in that way, we do have an obligation to speak up for the truth with as much charity as we can. This is why we need blogs like this, with Father Z, who makes secure and clear the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

    The faithful in the pews can feel run down, trampled on, confused, especially when they’re accused of running away (when all they’re saying is that their Catholic sensibilities been shocked and scandalized), or of being nostalgic for the good old days (when they’re a convert and never knew those–if only!), or when it’s implied they’re stiff necked or holier than thou, when they only seek to uphold the gospel and the teachings and traditions of the Church for 2000 years, or that they “have a problem” or are “hungup” because they believe these teachings and try to live by them.

    What is a faithful and loyal son or daughter of the church to do in such times? The advice is always the same: Get into a state of grace and stay there, find a good priest you can trust to advise you, read solid Church teachings, keep an active devotional life, and I would say, recognize that it’s above our pay grade to sort out this mess. The angels will take care of that at the judgement. Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, but be prepared, as we are exhorted by the apostle, to explain actual and dogmatic Church teaching if ever someone asks. Refer them here!

    A Blessed Christmas to all!

  99. Mr. Green says:

    Suburbanbanshee: Every single word of Jesus Christ that we have on record — every single one — has been misread on purpose, or delusionally, and turned into a reason (or an excuse) for every kind of sin, degradation, and atrocity. Every single word.

    This quotation ought to appear above every comment box on every Catholic website. Maybe with a mandatory checkbox for “I have read and understood this statement.”

  100. CrimsonCatholic says:

    “The Orthodox Church 1. Allows divorce and remarriage, 2. Permits abortion in certain cases, and 3. Allows contraceptive use by married couples. But, hey, they condemn homosexual behavior, so it’s all good, right?”

    mamajen is right. How is it so many Catholics in here hate what the Pope said on homosexuality and want to convert the Orthodox church, but on the other hand are fine with contraception, abortion, and divorce and remarriage? It doesn’t make any sense.

  101. LadyMarchmain says:

    CrimsonCatholic: erm, that’s quite a leap. I don’t think *any* Catholics in here are fine with contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage.

    Mamajen: Clarifications–the Orthodox Church allows none of those things. They don’t have a central authoritative Magisterium as the Catholic Church has. These issues are discerned pastorally on a case by case basis, but that Christian teaching upholds the sanctity of marriage, life, and only considers alternatives in hard cases.

    Please, it’s Christmas Eve! Could we please not attack people who are already feeling upset and scandalized?

  102. LadyMarchmain says:

    What does the Orthodox Church really say?

    This is not intended as a recommendation to convert to the Orthodox Church; however, Mamajen made three unsubstantiated claims and I want to establish the facts. Keeping in mind that there is no central Magisterium for Orthodox Christianity, according to the three main branches–Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and the Orthodox Church in America–Orthodox Christianity IS PROLIFE, DOES NOT CONDONE DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE, DOES NOT CONDONE OR PERMIT ABORTION, CONTRACEPTION IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Read for yourself.

    1. Orthodox view of abortion, from the website of the Orthodox Church in America

    The Orthodox Church is opposed to the practice of abortion, a practice which is increasingly common in our society. How are we to respond–individually and as a Church–to a practice many of our fellow Americans regard as nothing more than a matter of choice? What are the Orthodox roots of opposition to abortion? How should Orthodox respond to the pressing moral issue of abortion?

    As Christians, we believe that our lives are not accidents. We have been called into being from nothingness by God, and are meant for eternal life. God’s calling us into being is the sign of a love we can only being to imagine, a love revealed most perfectly in Christ.
    There is no doubt, scientifically, that a unique human life starts at conception. Because we believe that each of us is willed to be, by God, we cannot accept the belief that the humanity which starts at conception is accidental, or has no value because it is not yet capable of the decisions and emotions and independent actions we usually associate with being a person. This life will become what we are–unless we end it. Even when an abortion is performed to save the life of a mother (and such abortions are extremely rare), something profoundly tragic has occurred.
    Every life is valued infinitely by God. This includes the life of the unborn child, as well as the criminal, the enemy, the political oppressor, and the most annoying person we know. Although we fail in the task every day, we are called on, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ, to reflect God’s love for everyone who lives.
    We cannot allow this obligation to be marginalized. It is not always easy–in fact it will often involve us in the most profound inner struggle–to love as we are called to love. As Dostoevsky wrote, “Love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing.” Our model of love is not a sentimental pastel-colored greeting card, but Christ crucified. There are situations in which birth-giving is at least profoundly inconvenient, and others in which it may be absolutely terrifying. We should see something infinitely more terrifying, however, in a heart that is willing to kill life at its start, at its most vulnerable moment of being.

    The rest of the article is here:

    2. 2. Orthodox teaching on divorce:

    “The Eastern Orthodox Church does recognize that there are rare occasions when it is better that couples do separate, but there is no official recognition of civil divorces. For the Eastern Orthodox, the marriage is indissoluble as in it should not be broken, the violation of such a union, perceived as holy, being an offense resulted from either adultery or the prolonged absence of one of the partners. Thus, permitting remarriage is an act of compassion of the Church towards sinful man. Although difficult to accurately measure, the divorce rate in the Orthodox Church seems to be much lower than that of the societal averages where its members reside, e.g. in the U.S. comprising at least 14% of marriages performed but probably somewhat higher due to civil divorces obtained without an accompanying ecclesiastical divorce.”

    From the Greek Orthodox Church website, we learn that the Orthodox Church will grant “ecclesiastical divorces” which sound similar to the Roman Catholic annulment:

    “The Church grants “ecclesiastical divorces” on the basis of the exception given by Christ to his general prohibition of the practice. The Church has frequently deplored the rise of divorce and generally sees divorce as a tragic failure. Yet, the Orthodox Church also recognizes that sometimes the spiritual well-being of Christians caught in a broken and essentially nonexistent marriage justifies a divorce, with the right of one or both of the partners to remarry. Each parish priest is required to do all he can to help couples resolve their differences. If they cannot, and they obtain a civil divorce, they may apply for an ecclesiastical divorce in some jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church. In others, the judgment is left to the parish priest when and if a civilly divorced person seeks to remarry.”

    So I would say it is wrong to assert that the Orthodox Church “approves” of divorce. It does not, but it has ecclesiastical channels similar to the Catholic annulment.

    You can read more here:

    3. Orthodox Church says no contraception is the ideal

    3. Orthodox Church on contraception: (from the Russian Orthodox Church website

    Although the ideal of the Orthodox Church is not to use contraception, we also know that in reality, through dispensation or ‘economy’, the use of strictly non-abortive contraceptives is permitted within the Orthodox Churches. Given the recent declaration of Pope Benedict XVI, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church has issued the following statement:
    Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society, in commentary on the statement of Pope Benedict XVI on the admissibility of the use of condoms, said that the Russian Orthodox Church permits the use of non-abortive contraception. The Basic Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church differentiates between abortion and non-abortive contraception. In the case of the latter, a priest can use economy in shepherding his flock’, Fr Vsevolod told Interfax-Religion on Monday 22 November. However, this does not mean that the Church endorses ‘in any way the selfish refusal of a couple to have children’. Speaking about the permissibility of the use of condoms for the HIV-infected, which was referred to by the Pope of Rome, Fr Vsevolod urged those who are HIV-Positive to ‘think seriously about whether they should be sexually active, because the infection may spread through other channels, not only through direct sexual intercourse’.
    22 November, 2010

  103. CrimsonCatholic says:

    These issues are discerned pastorally on a case by case basis, but that Christian teaching upholds the sanctity of marriage, life, and only considers alternatives in hard cases.

    That is the epitome of moral relativity. It’s sin, except in some cases it is not sin, right?

    3) The possible exception to the above affirmation of continuity of teaching is the view of the Orthodox Church on the issue of contraception. Because of the lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction, earlier writers tended to identify abortion with contraception. However, of late a new view has taken hold among Orthodox writers and thinkers on this topic, which permits the use of certain contraceptive practices within marriage for the purpose of spacing children, enhancing the expression of marital love, and protecting health.

    From the source you quoted, right here is the allowed use of contraception.

    The church will permit up to, but not more than, three marriages for any Orthodox Christian. If both partners are entering a second or third marriage, another form of the marriage ceremony is conducted, much more subdued and penitential in character. Marriages end either through the death of one of the partners or through ecclesiastical recognition of divorce.

    Straight from the source you quoted LM. Divorce is allowed in the Orthodox church.

    Also, divorce =/= annulment. Straight from the CCC,
    1629 For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed.132 In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged.133

    It is also a bold face lie to quote a source that Pope Benedict allowed the use of condoms. Father Z answered that already.

    The problem with the rest of the claims that you make is as you said, Keeping in mind that there is no central Magisterium, there is no authority to say what is sinful and what is not. There is room for several different views and opinions on the issue .

    Many need to keep in mind that schism is serious sin, and a sin against faith. Even suggesting it and leading souls to it is gravely sinful as well.

  104. LadyMarchmain says:

    Crimson Catholic, I agree with everything you are saying, especially your last point.

    The main problem (in my view) with the Orthodox Church is that there is no central Magisterium. Period. This means, as you point out, whatever is taught is free to interpretation at the local, pastoral level.

    For the rest, I’m not making any claims, myself, nor am I trying to promote the position of the Orthodox Church. I just feel that what the Orthodox Church states should be understood as accurately as possible and therefore I have reproduced the relevant information from authoritative websites.

    I still think it would be wrong to say that the Orthodox Church doctrinally approves of divorce and remarriage: if you read further in the explanation, you will see that in order for any Orthodox Christian to receive an ecclesiastical divorce, there must have been adultery committed against them. In that case only, the Orthodox church has decided to allow an ecclesiastical divorce. This is different than our civil laws which allow “no fault” divorce and in no way uphold the sanctity of marriage.

    And thank you for emphasizing that an ecclesiastical divorce is not the same as an annulment. An annulment, of course, means that no sacramental marriage ever took place. In the same way, issuing an ecclesiastical divorce in the case of adultery only = / = approving of divorce.

    Schism is a sin, and it is never the answer. I honestly don’t believe anyone here is suggesting it. No one is leading anyone there. I only think some people are saying they are scandalized and shocked to such an extent that they find such a thought entering their mind. I say this because I assume if people were really planning to leave the Church they wouldn’t talk about it here. So they’re coming here for help.

  105. CrimsonCatholic says:

    LadyMarchmain, thank you for your charitable response. Forgive me for my uncharitable posts, and Merry Christmas!

  106. LadyMarchmain says:

    CrimsonCatholic, Of course, though I saw nothing uncharitable at all and appreciate having the chance through our discussion to clarify. I hope your Christmas has been Merry and bright and filled with blessings!

  107. LadyMarchmain says:

    And thank you for your charitable response and Christmas wishes, CrimsonCatholic! (Great name, by the way, very seasonal!)

  108. Jim says:

    At least to me its as clear as daylight from the above comments, the “orthodox” church :

    a) Allows contraception (and therefore abortion) – and therefore murder.
    b) Allows divorce and remarriage – and therefore adultery.

    There is no such thing as “the ideal is not to contracept”. Either contraception is objectively immoral or it isn’t. Either adultery is objectively immoral or it isn’t. It is objectively immoral to separate the procreative and the unitive aspects of the marital act. No exceptions. And marriage is still the union of one man and one woman until death.

    Since all this is on record on the internet – future generations will read this and at least one faithful catholic would wonder “Really? They were even “discussing” abandoning the Holy Mother Church because of the sins and mistakes of Catholics?”

  109. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Do you happen to know what Canon 1071 means by “bound by natural obligations toward another party or children arising from a previous union” (footnote 131 of CCC 1629, quoted by CrimsonCatholic, refers to CIC can. 1071) – and have the time to explain (!) ? Or can you (or can anyone) recommend an online resource (in addition to CCC and CIC) about marriage, betrothal, affinity, ‘unions’, etc.?

  110. Unwilling says:

    The word “refuge” caught my eye.

    According to EWTN “Pope Francis reminded the faithful that the Church is not a refuge for sad people”.

    I read “sad people” as “people who are hurt by what I say”.

    So. Enjoy!

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