“Five Revealing Details” about Pope Francis

One of my new go-to guys for thinking about things Vatican is Andrea Gagliarducci and his Monday Vatican post.

Today he has a piece about “Five Revealing Details” about Pope Francis, what he is doing, what he aims to do.


Evangelii gaudium is first of all the criterion through which Pope Francis chooses saints to be canonized. The formula the Pope has often used is that of the “equipollent canonization,” i.e., the proclamation of a saint whose veneration is widespread, without the need of a second miracle as required by the regular procedure. Pope Francis wanted to explain in person why he continues to make saints this way, probably aware that he had been much criticized  for excessive use of the procedure. The Pope explained his ‘picks’ among new saints during his in-flight presser from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on January 15th. At the beginning of his remarks, he underscored that he had inherited from Benedict XVI the process of equipollent canonization (that of Angela of Foligno), and that he then chose other saints to canonize with the “simplified procedure” on the basis of the evangelizing criterion in Evangelii gaudium which calls for the Church to be in a state of permament mission. So in his view the saints he selects for this special procedure are noteworthy evangelizers who exemplify the central message of Evangelii gaudium. After Joseph Vaz, the most important missionary of Asia, who was canonized last week in the Philippines, the next candidate for equipollent canonization will beJunipero Serra when the Pope travels to the United States in September. [When I was in London, I attended a Mass in honor of St. Joseph Vaz.  HERE]

The announcement of Junipero Serra’s forthcoming canonization was made by Pope Francis himself. This is the second revealing detail from this trip to Asia: with Francisno media plan or strategy is possible. The Pope does whatever he wants and whenever he wants. There is no way to prepare in advance.


And there was this harrowing paragraph…

This concern for the peripheries is the reason behind the rumor of papal trip to Erbil, Iraq: to meet Christian refugees. The upcoming encyclical on ecology – which the Pope made clear he will strive to complete in March – will certainly be filled with references to a missionary Church. Meanwhile it is also rumored that a first draft for the announcement of a Third Vatican Council is circulating, but no source has confirmed the report. However, other sources acknowledge the possibility of a papal documentthat would increase the limit of Cardinals voting in a conclave (i.e., Cardinals under the age of 80) from 120 to 140, thus increasing by 20 the limit that Paul VI established.

It’s a rumor … but… God help us all.

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  1. CradleRevert says:

    Please be nothing more than a rumor. Looking at how the October synod was conducted, another Council at this time would be disastrous.

  2. ChrisRawlings says:

    That has been rumoured for a while. The Vatican actually condemned it as such about a year ago. And Gagliarducci himself explains that another council would be at odds with the Pope’s modus operandi.

  3. asperges says:

    Can we then hope that the great Pope Pius xii will quickly be “equipolled?” I doubt it.

  4. Allan S. says:

    I am glad Benedict is still with us, able to see firsthand all the many splendid fruits of his abdication. May his life be long, and may his sufferings in this world reduce those in the next.

    And – given the new canonization criteria (viz, ‘noteworthy evangelizers’):

    Sancte Marcel François Marie Joseph Lefebvre, ora pro nobis!

  5. SpesUnica says:

    Hm. Maybe I’m being naive, but it seems that empowering the voice of Church leaders in the developing world (especially in Africa), would be at cross-purposes with desiring to “rig” a Council for progressives, no?

  6. Mike says:

    If there’s a Vatican III in our lifetime, I’m going into the bombshelter.

  7. JesusFreak84 says:

    Vatican III? Really? Is this how the Lord punishes us for our failures to exorcise pro-Sodomites, pro-aborts, etc., from the ranks of His Bride? =-(

  8. Gregg the Obscure says:

    “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.”

  9. iteadthomam says:

    Vatican iii may just be the very opportunity we need as faithful Catholics to take our Church back.

  10. Siculum says:

    “Sancte Marcel François Marie Joseph Lefebvre, ora pro nobis!” Mmm… not today. Praying for his soul, though.

    Anyway, maybe we do need a V3. But I don’t think we do. Unless, in a hermeneutic-of-continuity-sort of way, we need one because V2 was misinterpreted and misapplied. Although, would a V3 help anything? Probably not.

    Would more cardinals be a good or bad thing? Is it possible that Pope Francis feels that there are not enough Cardinals in the “peripheries,” so to speak, participating in Rome? Perhaps more Cardinals from the Southern hemisphere, from Africa, from Asia, from the Pacific rim, are needed to bring a voice from those peoples to Rome (whatever that means) …. and also to bring more strongly the voice of the Church back to the peoples of those countries? Hmm. Maybe. And maybe not. Someone enlighten me.

    We need more Cardinal Ranjiths, that’s for sure. I like your tone, SpesUnica.

    P.S. How is Fr. Z’s ear doing?

  11. Nicholas says:

    Before this talk of canonising Junipero Serra, I thought he was already a saint. Next week I shall be going to the TLM at the last standing chapel where he celebrated Mass. It is beautiful inside, and I would be willing to email pictures for your, and your readership’s, edification.

  12. Traductora says:

    The Third World is not automatically conservative, and most of his picks from those areas have been on the liberal side (sometimes very liberal side) and virtually all are from minor sees in those areas. In other words, they’re a little squishy to begin with, completely inexperienced in the big world, and would probably be very easily manipulated.

    If Pope Francis increases the number of cardinals and fills the ranks as he has been, then he’s packing the court in time for a Vatican Council III that will really blow us out of the water. Still, some leader, some future Saint, might arise and save the Church by teaching the truth – or there might even be an outbreak of common sense. Or a schism. Or a meteor…well, the possibilities are pretty endless, but the Faith will survive (not without persecutions, though).

  13. Athelstan says:

    If a Council were to issue a new, revised Syllabus of Errors, that could have value – clear away the misunderstandings that followed in the wake of the last Council. Clarity. Even if a Pope could do this without a Council.

    However, I don’t think any of us expects that to happen out of a Council called now. Certainly not given how the Synod turned out.A Council now would be hagan lio! on a galactic scale.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Just because the Pope has a right to (apart from ordering others commit sins, commit downright sins himself and the like) do everything that pleases him… (and yes he has…)

    doesn’t mean he should do it. My two cents.

    (And this time, a short commentary of mine. Almost can’t believe it myself.)

  15. Bosco says:

    “The Pope does whatever he wants and whenever he wants.”

    How reassuring. Medugorje here we come. (Frankly I am surprised Francis hasn’t given this ongoing circus his thumbs-up yet.)

    As for Francis’ upcoming encyclical on ecology, perhaps all the wind and rain that pummelled Francis in the Phillipines will be taken for a sign from Mother Nature that there is no distinction between ecological and theological evangelization.

  16. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    God preserve us! Times were bad in the ’60s, and we had a council for the times. Times are worse now.

    Still, we can take comfort from Our Lord’s promise to St Peter, and in the knowledge that a future council could not undo the teaching of two millenia, no matter how many moden bishops might wish it so.

  17. SimonR says:

    I think I might actually faint if Vatican III were announced!

    The Pope gave an hourlong news conference with reporters accompanying him back to Rome from a weeklong trip to Asia and here is this gem from it:

    “Some people think — excuse me for saying this — that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits,” Pope Francis said, yet church teaching provides for “many licit ways” to limit reproduction.


  18. Gus Barbarigo says:

    Is the rumor about a Vatican III literally an omen of “the end of the world”, or a great chastisement? In Desmond Birch’s “Trial, Tribulation & Triumph,” there are references to Catholic prophecies about a great church council, either near the time of a great chastisement, or near the final Tribulation.

  19. Siculum says:

    Traductora: “…[T]hey’re…completely inexperienced in the big world, and would probably be very easily manipulated.”

    As a general label, I know you didn’t mean it unkindly, but that sounds really rather mean…. :(

    But you are *exactly* right about the Third World not automatically being conservative, and about some of those cardinal picks being less than-orthodox.

    Anyway, though, there are indeed those from the Third World who can artfully dance the “Big World” dance, and who know darn well what the greater UN and we white “catholic do-gooders like Melinda Gates have in store for their people as far as forced sterilization, artificial birth control, homosexual “marriage,” and other increased secularization and hedonism. Like the bishops of Kenya, for instance. They “get it” more than the USA bishops do, it would seem.

  20. Grabski says:

    Sigh…V II at least was called as the Church was confident and growing. Like the Great Society it was born in hubris.

    But what would be the goal of a V III? Not to promote Tradition. The Pope could simply preside over a Pontifical Mass in the EF and that would be that.

    No, it would be to promote an agenda that includes substituting “pastoral concerns” above Jesus’ own words on marriage, washing Muslim women’s feet on Holy Thursday, veer into climate alarmism and tout the economic policies that have been so harmful to his once rich home country.

    Ah, but who am I to judge…

  21. Mike says:

    I wish Pope Francis all good and holy things, but it’s not likely he’d be steering a council to its end for that is a huge and long process just to get it going.

  22. Robbie says:

    Wow! I wish I hadn’t read the last paragraph because I’ve suddenly got a sinking feeling.

  23. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    I hope it is all just rumors.

    If one sits down and actually reads the documents from Vatican 2, you’ll see they are some of the most CATHOLIC documents you’ll ever see!

    (correct me if I’m wrong) I once heard that after the Second Vatican Council, St. John Paul the Great, in his native Poland refused to change anything for 2 years. He and his fellow Polish Bishops would spend those 2 years prayer, mediating and thinking about the council that just happened, and when those two years were up, THEN they discussed changes.

    That sort of thing never really happened in America. In fact, one could argue that Vatican 2 was never fully or completely implemented in America and most of the West for that matter. We shouldn’t have a V3 until V2 is allowed to come to fruition.

  24. Priam1184 says:

    The Church is in such desperate need of another Council, to clear up all of the disastrous confusion that emerged from the aftermath of the last one. The current constitution of the episcopacy may not be ideal but, given how things are, it is unlikely to get any better. The bishops aren’t really getting any better and unless the ‘spirit of Vatican 2’ is finally put to rest they will only get worse. The ONLY way to finally kill off that beast is in fact to call another council so that the Second Vatican Council can finally be put in its place and we can end the false mythologizing of the thing by all of the aging hippies. Trust me: they don’t want another council. This could be just a rumor but God knows the Church does need to set itself right.

    Veni Sancte Spiritus! Reple tuorum corda fideleium et tui amoris in eis ignem accende!
    Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur – et renovabis faciem terrae…

  25. Tony Phillips says:

    Might I humbly suggest a ban on any future councils at the Vatican, and that the next council, whenever it occurs, be held in Trent?

  26. tonesing says:

    …et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam…

    …et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam…

    …et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam…

    …et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam…

  27. The Egyptian says:

    how about madison square gardens, it’s going to be a media circus anyway, bring on the clowns.

    please dear Lord spare us

    but then he said “Make a Mess”

  28. Pingback: Gagliarducci: There’s a rumor that Francis is considering calling Vatican III « From Rome

  29. david-oneill3 says:

    Saints are made too quickly. John XXIII & John Paul II were raised to the altars before sufficient time had elapsed just because the cry went up ‘Sancto Subito’

  30. Cantor says:

    I was amused by the choice of words in one of the author’s comments:

    Pope Francis, on the other hand, seems to be one who gives instructions, more than one who exchanges opinions, a man alone at the helm who is fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.

    Not a direct strike at a certain Cardinal, but the author didn’t avoid the puddle as he drove past!

  31. Wiktor says:

    Rumors tend to come true in this pontificate…

  32. John Nolan says:

    Since Vatican II the number of bishops has doubled, so that a Council on the lines of V1 or V2 would probably not be a practical proposition. Plus the necessity of UN-style simultaneous translation, since few bishops these days would be able to conduct business in Latin.

  33. OrthodoxChick says:

    Or, or…maybe Pope Francis will call and open Vatican III but not be the one to finish it, as happened with Vatican II. Then, when Cardinal Burke becomes the next Pope, he’ll steer the barque safely through the storm.

    I’m in a “glass-half-full” mood today, but hey, why not? It could happen!

  34. Traductora says:

    Egyptian, it doesn’t really mean ” make a mess,” but “create a commotion.” Theoretically, this could be good. If we went out and preached the Gospel in a way that opposed the world, yes, that would create a commotion.

    But Pope Francis seems to have different thoughts on this – if he has any at all. He loves to be loved, and the only way you can do that is by going with the flow, which he is obviously doing.

    I was very depressed after a response I wrote where I was actually praising the Pope for having (possibly, since it wasn’t very clear) adhered to orthodox doctrine and morality. I thought, why should this be extraordinary?

  35. donato2 says:

    No one could possibly say what might happen if there were a council in the near future (I’m not even sure what the agenda would be — reaffirmation of the pre-Vatican II Magisterium?). It seems quite possible that a council now might shatter the Church. Nevertheless I’ve been thinking for sometime that a council might be needed if Pope Francis relaxed the Church’s discipline concerning communion for the divorced and unrepentant remarried.

  36. Rob22 says:

    Just a coincidence but our priest gave a homily on the gifts of women to the church and how they have been undervalued. He ended on a message of hope – one day the church will ordain female priests and bishops as the Anglicans have but that will have to wait until the next Vatican council.

    This is a young Benedict VI priest who started off quite orthodox but has become progressive during the Francis Papacy. I think that is described as being a “company man”.

  37. mburn16 says:

    I wouldn’t put much stock in the rumors of a Vatican III. Simply put, I don’t think Pope Francis plans to be around long enough to oversee a Council. Vatican II was called in January of 1959, didn’t convene until October of 1962, and didn’t conclude until December of 1965. Seven years in total. Francis is already 78 years old, and has talked multiple times about both his own physical limitation, and the possibility of retirement/abdication. Add to that the fact that he didn’t get nearly the results he wanted out of the Synod.

    And you think he wants to call a council? No way.

  38. Xopher says:

    Whoops. We just found out we’re having our third child. On our way to a Dynasty of Saints! Take THAT!

  39. chantgirl says:


    Pope Francis has thrown all who respond generously to God’s creative power under the bus. Lord, forgive me for my feelings toward this man. Can I pray that he retires soon?

  40. SaintJude6 says:

    Received a message today from a (pregnant) friend who is rather upset by the pope’s comments about Catholics who irresponsibly “breed like rabbits.” And it occurs to me: Remember when it was only Protestants who used to toss insults like this around about Catholics? It’s a hell of a time in NewChurch to be trying to hold on to the true Church teaching about marriage and sexuality. On the one hand we get the secular/protestant crowd that thinks we are crazy for having more than the state-approved two children. On the other hand we get the NFP cheerleaders that think only the “increased communication” and “responsibly planned” approach can possibly be the right one. (Which basically means that the vast majority of all people, including saints, who ever trusted in God and let him determine their family size were being irresponsible.) And now they have the backing of the pope. Think that “breed like rabbits” comment isn’t going to be used against us?

  41. KateD says:

    Thank God Junipero Serra is finally being recognized as the saint that he is! With his help as a saint maybe we can make some progress and reclaim for Heaven the territory stolen in and California by neo-paganism. Siempre Adalante!

    There are many documented miracles that are related to this tireless and enthusiastic soldier of Christ. Read the Life of Fray Junipero Serra by Francisco Palou edited by Maynard Geiger. It is littered with miraculous events. One episode in the book recounts of how the Holy Family put Serra and his companion up for the night while they walked on foot along a desolate and dangerous road in Mexico. This is just one of many miracles. One just occurred like last week.

  42. Hank Igitur says:

    I hope I never see another Council.

  43. KateD says:

    Does anyone have video with the original Spanish for the “breed like rabbits” comment. I’d like to see that for myself. This is a pro-life Pope. I think what you have here is yet another mis-interpretation. There are things that sound one way in Spanish, but don’t translate exactly into English or even into another Spanish dialect.

    For instance, there is a saying in Costa Rica that means, you should suck up all that life has to offer and live it to the fullest. The same exact saying in Mexico is vulgar. My guess is that “breeding like rabbits”, does not refer to the normal relationship between a married couple, but rather to indiscriminate coupling.

    Think of it this way, the word “bloody” in the USA has historically not meant the same thing as it has in the UK.

  44. jhayes says:

    chantgirl and SaintJude6,

    Over sixty years ago, Pius XII, in his 1951 Address to Midwives said that there were serious motives that justified limiting the size of families:

    Serious motives, such as those which not rarely arise from medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,” may exempt husband and wife from the obligatory, positive debt for a long period or even for the entire period of matrimonial life. From this it follows that the observance of the natural sterile periods may be lawful, from the moral viewpoint: and it is lawful in the conditions mentioned.

  45. jhayes says:

    And, in Humanae Vitae, Paul VI, said:

    If therefore there are well-grounded reasons for spacing births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of husband or wife, or from external circumstances, the Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. </blockquote

  46. chantgirl says:

    jhayes- I’m not debating the use of moral methods to space children in certain situations. I am, however, highly angered that the Pope would call out a particular married woman he had met as irresponsible for making a decision with her husband to have an eighth child. It’s not his place to do so.

  47. Rob22 says:

    To use a term that is purposely used by anti-Catholics to derogate Catholics is thoughtless on the Pope’s part IMO.

    Its no longer even true Catholics have large families. They are at replacement or less level birthrates in the West. Having fewer children that evangelicals.

    In Palestine one reason for the Christian dwindling is their small families compared to the Muslim Palestinians. Even before the Iraq war Christians there were shrinking due to a much smaller birthrate than the Muslims.

    If the Pope is worried about too many children being born he should direct his comments to the Muslims or Mormons. Catholics simply no longer, in general, have large families.

  48. Athelstan says:

    …one day the church will ordain female priests and bishops as the Anglicans have but that will have to wait until the next Vatican council.

    And we can see how well that’s worked out for the Anglicans.

  49. Traductora says:

    Alas, if he spoke in Spanish and this is not a translation from Italian (which he also speaks), he said, literally: “Perdonen, pero hay algunos que creen que para ser buenos católicos debemos ser como conejos, ¿no?” Sorry, but there are some people who believe that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits, right?

  50. SimonDodd says:

    mburn16 says: “I don’t think Pope Francis plans to be around long enough to oversee a Council. Vatican II was called in January of 1959 …[and] Francis is already 78 years old, and has talked multiple times about both his own physical limitation, and the possibility of retirement/abdication. ” 78? John XXIII would have been 77 when the Enemy called Vatican II through him, no?

    “Add to that the fact that he didn’t get nearly the results he wanted out of the Synod.” Really? Did he not?

  51. sw85 says:

    I don’t want a Council to be called during this Pontificate, since the Holy Father seems intent on surrounding himself with mostly untrustworthy men, but it would not be unusual circumstances for the calling of a Council.

    Consider: the mean time between Councils is around 80 years. If you exponentiate the mean of the logarithms of the years between Councils (a common tactic for correcting for skewness), it’s around 55 years. We’re approaching 55 years.

    Councils are typically called in times of crisis to address problems facing the universal Church. We are in just such a time and there’s no shortage of problems.

    A new Council could very much be an opportunity to inaugurate a new theological/practical paradigm in the Church. It could, in other ways, take the “Vatican” out of Vatican II. (Though ideally it’d not be held in the Vatican at all precisely to avoid the implication that it’s just Vatican II II. Hmmm… Lateran VI anyone?)

    Among the things I’d like to see considered at such a Council (presuming of course it were guided by a steady hand):

    1) A full-throated and unequivocal condemnation of the evils of the age: abortion and sodomy; endless bombings for freedom; various economic manipulations; etc.

    2) A clearer articulation of the role which is played by both forms of the Mass in the Roman Rite. The rationale articulated for the Novus Ordo assumed suppression of the Latin Mass, which just doesn’t hold anymore; the resulting liturgical situation is tenuous, unprincipled, and incoherent.

    3) Addressing the ills facing the Church’s interior life, specifically, the wretched state of catechesis, the collapse in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the mechanized annulment factory that is the Church in America.

    That’s just off the top of my head.

    A Council could (I emphasize “could”) be an occasion for real renewal in the Church. It could also be an occasion for more manipulations by the usual suspects — but we are likely to get those manipulations anyway, and at any rate something has to change, no?

  52. sw85 says:

    Oh, doy, of course, such a Council should address as immediately as possible both the rise of atheism in Europe and of Islam worldwide.

  53. SaintJude6 says:

    Spin it any way you like. Breeding like rabbits is what protestants used to say about Catholics. And “spacing of births” is far too often used for reasons which do not come anywhere near being grave. Be a mother of a large family and Catholic mothers (and fathers) will come out of the woodwork telling you their reasons for “being done.” It’s very routine. They ask how many children you have, tell you they have one, two, or three and then begin the litany of why they don’t want any more. Everything from their house not being big enough, to not enough time, to “we felt we could offer so much more to just two children.” Only in one case in eighteen years have I heard a reason that would qualify as serious. My grandmother (twelve children) said people used to do the same thing to her, and she was always distressed by this. It’s not about breeding like rabbits. It’s about being open to life and trusting in God to provide the necessary graces.

  54. Indulgentiam says:

    Wasn’t Reuters the same group that reported the whole Pope Benedict XVI sanctions condom use for all… thing? Please
    I just listened to all of the Pope’s homilies in the Philippines. They are on youtube. Considering the way he praised the importance of the family and went after secular society for “increasingly attacking the family and threatening to disfigure GOD’s plan for creation by introducing their confusing representation of sexuality” I’m thinking nah. He made mention of visiting an orphanage and that would have been a great place to insert the “breed like rabbit” thought if he indeed believed it. Instead he praised the parish folk who gave of their time and treasure, and brought their own families into those places helping to make real homes for the orphaned. Did he say a few confusing things? Well, yeah but that could just be me or the guy who writes his stuff. His Holiness mentions a couple of times that his English is pretty bad. I have to agree with him. Someone should keep him from saying the word “focus”
    He segues into spanish quite a bit and when he does that I can understand him way better. His Holiness is not perfect. Like all of us he is bound to suffer from hoof in mouth disease every now and again. Unlike him we don’t have to worry that there are a hundred opportunists out there listening to our every utterance and waiting to pounce not to mention spin.

  55. Saints are made too quickly. John XXIII & John Paul II were raised to the altars before sufficient time had elapsed just because the cry went up ‘Sancto Subito’

    St Francis of Assisi was canonised two years after his death.

    St John XXIII’s cause was introduced in 1965, but he had to wait till 2000 to be beatified, and until 2014 to be canonised.

    Not everyone is St Thomas More, or St Joan of Arc, for that matter. St Gianna Molla’s husband attended her canonisation, and Alexander Serenelli memorably attended St Maria Goretti’s.

    And given that canonised saints are given to us as ‘people for their times’ – the ones who have lived in our world and borne our burdens with us, to encourage us to keep going – I don’t see anything wrong with people being canonised within living memory.

    It’s nice that, say, Ven Otholric of Dinkelsbul (d.1766), who improved the working lives of lacemakers during the agricultural depression in Dinkelsbul and relieved the poor in divers ways, would be raised to the altars in 2015. This would also be really cool for the good people of Dinkelsbul who are just dying to name their local church after him. But perhaps not so burningly relevant for the rest of us.

    Ven Otholric, pray for us. Whoever you are.

  56. The Pope said that Catholics shouldn’t act like rabbits. And they shouldn’t, because we’re not rabbits. We shouldn’t couple indiscrimately.

    The Book of Wisdom has some wonderful words on how the childless who are righteous will be more blessed than those who have mass-produced in an unfaithful and godless way.

    It’s NOT a numbers game, or a fertility contest. I have seen a few otherwise very pleasant mothers of large Catholic families become very self-righteous on this count, judging married women in our parish who have only one or two children – before they discover, of course, that Mrs X has had six miscarriages and only two living children. Or it becomes a competition – and anyone who denies that this happens is very deluded (spend some actual time with these women, and have some actual long talks, and it’s amazing what comes out!)

    Yes, that lady has chosen to have another child after multiple caesarian sections, presumably with her husband’s support and consent and participation (although this is the Philippines, and so one never knows!) She is taking more than the normal risk with having a baby – and may very well leave her other children motherless as a result.

    While her example is heroic, it COULD be seen as lacking prudence. By contrast, what St Gianna Molla did was neither imprudent nor cavalier.

    The rest of the Pope’s discourse was completely sound – he denounced contraceptive imperialism in developing countries. Amen to that. I couldn’t fault him on it. People really do need to read beyond the (very hostile and deliberately manipulative) headlines to what the Pope actually said.

  57. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    The people having to do most of the spinning are in the Vatican Press Office. Look how hard they had to work after the “expect a punch” line. I don’t envy them.

    We were spoiled for a long time and now we have a very different kind of pope. I am praying for his guidance and protection. But he sure makes me nervous and the people around him who seem to operate with his approval make me much more than nervous. The thought of another council is terrifying because of the people who would run it, unless there are some very big changes.

  58. Imrahil says:

    On the saying that Catholics “don’t have to breed like rabbits”, the Pope is right, but he must be taken literally. They don’t have to. They can if they like, and that’d be generally laudable.

    As for “using the expression”, there is outside the Anglosphere no problem at all with using whatever expressions when doing so in quotation marks, which he did. And that this Pope just doesn’t do Papal self-restriction should have been clear by now.

    However… what, dear Holy Father, you really shouldn’t have done is chide a woman for having an eighth child. Why should it have been sinfully irresponsible? And even if the pregnancy was risky, that was called fortitude once. Most of all, though – any parish priest may happen to sometimes chide men undeservedly. However, dear Holy Father, you really shouldn’t have repeated the rebuke for all the world to hear (especially given that her closer and less close acquaintances will know who is that woman of 8 caesarian sections who was once chided by the now-Pope).

    And “spacing of births” is far too often used for reasons which do not come anywhere near being grave.

    Note that Humanae vitae does not – as far as the requirement goes (not w.r.t. laudable exceeding of obligation) – say anywhere that the reasons must be grave. It says that the reasons may not be unjust. Which is something different, and less. I do think, though, that the prejudice that any child needs his own bedroom needs to disappear.

    That said, concerning the said litanies of not wanting more children, a short “shut up, I’m not your confessor and did you hear me rebuke you?” would probably be in order.

    Still, as an addendum:

    Q: How many children should families have?
    A: They should in general* have three or four children.

    [*That is – I take him – when not particular circumstances suggest otherwise. Having more means they should be praised for supererogatory merit, not chided for irresponsibility.]

    (Fr. Johannes Messner, Social Ethics, but I brought it into Q-A form)

  59. jacobi says:

    There are important issues here

    There is a real danger of de-valuing Sainthood. In particular, the idea that every Pope becomes a saint, ASAP, is just wrong.

    Concern with the peripheries is good but the “core” is rotting away without any apparent attention

    It is good to see some attention being given to the few remaining Christians in Iraq – at long, long last!

    We need another Council. Just as the 5th Lateran Council failed to defuse the Protestant Reformation and needed Trent to sort out the Mess, so Vat II actually produced the opportunity for the, I suspect, current Relativist Reformation and we will need both a Syllabus of Misinterpretations of the Documents of Vat II, and another Council to sort out the present Mess

    But not yet. The present Holy Father is not the right Pope to do this.

  60. jflare says:

    I haven’t the faintest idea of what to think about a possible Vatican III. When Pope Benedict was asked about it, he commented that he felt that Vatican II had yet to be implemented very well.

    At worst, I should think that we would want to learn what all the bishops would discuss during a new Council. You never know, if they would bother to obtain lay input with a sane mind, it might be an opportunity for laity to demand that the Church, as a body politic, finally be bothered to knock it off with all the BS related to the Novus Ordo.
    Hey, we can dream!

  61. govmatt says:

    I don’t really have a problem with the canonization methods. Heaven (literally) knows about how saints were proclaimed in the Middle Ages and earlier. Having a “science of sainthood” diminishes the mystery. Especially in dark places and in dark times, proclaiming men and women of courage and evangelical virtue to sainthood is encouraging. While it does raise the possibility of scandal, I’d gladly risk one “accidental” saint to holding off confirming the devotion of a community.

    On the Vatican III thing, jeez… Though, bear with me for a moment… would it really be the worst thing in the world? In the 1960’s prelates were unable to resist, or chose not to resist, the forces that were arrayed against them. The recent Extraordinary Synod shows that there is a vocal minority that will certainly not allow ridiculous changes to be forced through the Church. A Vatican III may be able to scale back, or at least re-center, the ship.

    That being said, Vatican III would, most likely, push forward the Protestant-ization of the Church… or worse. So, while the prospect of the good a new Council could do is a fun dream, let’s keep the bishops away from Rome.

  62. robtbrown says:

    govmatt says:

    I don’t really have a problem with the canonization methods. Heaven (literally) knows about how saints were proclaimed in the Middle Ages and earlier. Having a “science of sainthood” diminishes the mystery. Especially in dark places and in dark times, proclaiming men and women of courage and evangelical virtue to sainthood is encouraging. While it does raise the possibility of scandal, I’d gladly risk one “accidental” saint to holding off confirming the devotion of a community.

    Actually, “devotion of a community (cf, unbroken cult) is one of the factors in the canonization process.

  63. Traductora says:

    The thing that disturbed me about the canonization was that it seemed even the postulator of the cause was not informed in advance. Junipero Serra certainly deserved canonization, and work has been moving ahead on this for years. But it would have been nice if the Pope had shown a little respect to the Franciscans who have been working for this and at least informed them of his plans.

    But, as the excellent article in MondayVatican points out, the Pope prides himself on being unpredictable, not having long-range plans and acting independently, so that others do not consult with him but wait for his orders and wonder what he will say next. I don’t think it’s a good model for Church governance, frankly.

  64. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Philippa Martyr – You are absolutely right. I personally am friends with a couple that have been married for a couple of years and cannot get pregnant. They are constantly judged and mocked, by the traditionist crowd, for not having children yet. I have know another that had five children, all by c-section, in consecutive years. She has been told she needs not to have another child, or another c-section might be fatal. She wants to have another child, but she is willing to wait and abstain a while so she can have a safe pregnancy and continue to be the mother of her five children. I believe that is what the Pope was trying to address.

    We never know peoples situations, especially mothers. We need to pray for the mothers of our time and all the challenges they face. Lord have mercy on us.

  65. SimonDodd says:

    I notice that most of those who have said that a hypothetical council could be a good thing also presuppose that this hypothetical council would be attended by hypothetical bishops and presided over by a hypothetical pope, all of whom have quite different attributes to the ones we actually have.

  66. LarryW2LJ says:

    Vatican III – Rife for the outcome of the Law of Unintended Consequences. If this were under the guidance of Papa Benedict XVII or a “Pope” Burke, or someone like minded to those two examples, I wouldn’t mind so much. But if someone else is in charge, I would tend to be worried.

    And before that gets commented, on, yes …… I know that God is ultimately in charge, but that does not mean we are guaranteed and safe guarded from a whole bunch of mischief. I think the 70’s bears out that worry.

  67. LarryW2LJ says:

    Papa Benedict XVI – sorry, coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

  68. Priam1184 says:

    I suspect there will not be another Council and that this is just a rumor, probably started by somebody to stir the pot of all those wrongheaded ‘traditionalists’ who think that everything was hunky dory in the Church prior to 1958 (it wasn’t – read St. Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis written in 1907) and the election of Pope Saint John XXIII.

    Why so many people are so opposed to even the idea of a Council on this page I do not know. Far be it from me to speak for the Holy Spirit but one could make the case that the disasters of the post Vatican II era were permitted to clean out all of the garbage that had been building up in the shadows among the clergy and the laity during the long centuries between Trent and Vatican II. If one sits and has a real conversation with people who were alive and had already reached adulthood prior to the Second Vatican Council – and I realize that there aren’t many left anymore – you will realize that while everything looked good on the surface in those days most of the people didn’t really know their faith, at least not with any great depth. They just did whatever Father told them, but they really didn’t know how to think these things through for themselves. And it makes sense: if pre Vatican II Catholics had had a better native sense of the Faith and were not so imbued with the false clericalism that teaches that “as long as Father says it’s ok then everything is cool,” the disasters of the 1960s and ’70s could never have happened.

    Just let the Holy Spirit be in charge and follow where He leads.

  69. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: unpredictability, it’s one way of getting around the slowness of the Curia. OTOH, it may make people think a lot more kindly of the slowness of the Curia.

    Re: Vatican III, it wouldn’t matter if it were run by Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Joan of Arc, St. Catherine of Siena, and an entire Council full of St. Athanasius clones. What matters is how the results would be spun in the parishes, and that’s where we really don’t want a Council unless God seriously demands it. Re: 55 years, that’s nowhere near an average time between Councils. If things are going okay, a couple centuries is normal.

  70. chantgirl says:

    Philippa Martyr- I won’t deny that there are women with large families who judge those mothers with fewer children. In general, most of the mothers of large families I have met avoid criticizing other mothers’ child tallies because they have been frequently and publicly, often by strangers, criticized themselves. None of us, Pope included, should be judging another couple’s number of children. It is a decision between the couple, their confessor, and God.

    That said, I would caution us not to assume that this mother of eight children was irresponsible. Medical professionals will often try to scare women into abortion or sterilization by claiming that this or that pregnancy would be ‘too risky”. Obstetricians have sky-high insurance rates because they can be sued for just about anything that goes wrong with a pregnancy, whether they were really responsible or not. I have personally known women who have had multiple C-sections and modern medicine was able to get them through just fine. Scott Hahn talks about his wife having had six C-sections. There are medical conditions that render childbearing extremely risky (MS, certain cancers, heart defects), but this does not pertain to the vast majority of Catholic women. A child is much more likely to lose a parent from combat or a car accident than pregnancy. The Pope may have been speaking to certain excesses in the Philippines, but his words are broadcast all over the world for all Catholics to heed and the media to dissect. To western ears, it sounds a bit out-of-touch, and perhaps irresponsible, to be chiding women for breeding like rabbits when we can walk into most any Mass and count the children in the pews on two hands. Here in the US we are closing parishes and schools because the parish demographics are aging so quickly. If anything, here we need to be encouraged to be more generous and courageous in childbearing.

  71. Sonshine135 says:

    I’ll see your Third Vatican Council and raise you a Second Council of Trent.

  72. LuisaP says:

    Makes me wonder about all this alleged unrevealed Fatima Secret stuff……….

    And thanks, Badger Catholic – my sentiments exactly.

    One can intellectualize and rationalize around this landscape but honesty will require the statement: We are in a world of hurt. Isaiah 6:11

  73. paladin says:

    :) Congratulations, Xopher; that’s wonderful!! (Some unadulterated good and uplifting news, for the day, as well!)

  74. robtbrown says:

    Priam1184 says:
    I suspect there will not be another Council and that this is just a rumor, probably started by somebody to stir the pot of all those wrongheaded ‘traditionalists’ who think that everything was hunky dory in the Church prior to 1958 (it wasn’t – read St. Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis written in 1907) and the election of Pope Saint John XXIII.

    I doubt that it’s just a rumor. My guess is that there are certain people putting together a draft announcing a Council that will then be presented to the pope, accompanied by encouragement that he would promulgate it. Such an approach with would-be papal documents is not unheard of in Rome.

  75. Indulgentiam says:


    In the youtube video below Pope Francis, at the meeting with Phillipino
    families affirmed traditional Church teaching on the family. And made a very important reference to “openness to life” I will preface this by saying that his interpreter not only misinterpreted a few words but also completely omitted, what I believe, is a crucial message. You decide.
    In the video below at 1:59:45 he segues into spanish and makes reference to Pope Paul IV and his encyclical explaining that PPVI “looked beyond the moment to all the peoples of the world and foresaw the destruction of the family because of the PRIVATION [20:01:24] OF CHILDREN” Pope Francis says this with great emphasis yet the translator completely omits this. The Holy Father says many other things very traditional and very relevant.

    Every Pope is our Father. The real thing. A man of many responsibilities. Fighting conflict on every front. Knowing full well what GOD will require of him at his judgement. And it wounds me to the depths of my heart to see any Pope standing there for the whole world to take shots at. And the ones doing most of the shooting are the ones who should be standing guard. Let us not be so quick to read evil into this Pope’s every word. Let us cling to the good he says and he does say much that is good. Let us defend him as we would our own father which he is. He will make mistakes because he is human. But if we are good children we will honor him. And in honoring him we will speak no ill of him before the world. Who would be so heartless as to publicly proclaim a litany of their flesh and blood father sins? When we can not find it in our hearts to defend him, for the sake of love alone, then perhaps we should recall that we must defend him as commanded by the 4th. And because it is in our own best interest to defend him against those who would strike the shepherd so to scatter the sheep. Pope Francis is a man beset by Concupiscence as we all are. But greater love hath no man than that he should lay his life down for his brethren. And he does that, every day, as a Priest.

    Here’s the video
    GOD bless the Holy Father!

  76. Indulgentiam says:

    Correction…the “privation of children” comment is at [2:01:24] not 20. My apologies.

  77. Supertradmum says:

    As long as the couple abstain, for a time for more prayer and in agreement with each other, there can be a time of no child bearing. But, this must be strictly for serious reasons, and not merely for the convenience of the parents.

    As to a third council, I doubt this….with all the problems in Europe, terrorism will either lead to anarchy or tyranny, or both. We are entering a new age of limitations on travel for members of the Church.

  78. Johnno says:

    Don’t worry everyone!

    I’m sure it’ll be a completely non-dogmatic and totally non-binding and only a pastoral-focused council!

    How bad could that be?

  79. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Why so many people are so opposed to even the idea of a Council on this page I do not know.”

    I am 33. Every one of my 33 years has been spent in the care and raising and wake of the boomers ahead of me. What have they made of the Church that was entrusted to them? I had my eyes opened by a younger lady and have slowly, deprogrammed from what I was taught and raised.

    “A wicked and licentious generation demands a sign”. What else would the boomers want but a council? One over which they preside and finally put the last nail in. We are fighting here in TX since the boomers have decided that ‘marriage isn’t worth fighting for’, and that ‘this is their selma’. They know they have little time left and this is their cause celebre. So the change must happen now.

    I say, no to a Council. Hold the course. Bar the door and nail it shut. I do not want a council. I do not want the generation that has had the reverse midas touch on anything spiritual, that has cost me so much already that has fought me every step of the way – to have a council where they finally consign me to the corner and the box which I escaped.

    You ask why I do not want a council – that is why.

  80. SimonDodd says:

    Priam1184 says: “I suspect there will not be another Council and that this is just a rumor, probably started by somebody to stir the pot of all those wrongheaded ‘traditionalists’….” Yup. Just like that rumor that Card. Burke would be removed from the Signatura and put out to pasture in an empty, honorary post like Cardinal Patron of the Knights of Malta. Crazy rumors, man. Stirring the pot.

    “Why so many people are so opposed to even the idea of a Council on this page I do not know.” I don’t know, it could be a number of things, but if I had to guess I’d suggest that maybe it’s because they didn’t sleep through the five decades of infernal chaos set in train by the last one.

    Sonshine135 says: “I’ll see your Third Vatican Council and raise you a Second Council of Trent.” Within reason, where it is held is immaterial. The First council of Istanbul or Moscow, well, that I’ll grant you would be different. But otherwise, St. Peter’s, the Lateran, Trento, wherever.

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