Of Cardinals and Canaries

A post by the distinguished scholar Fr. John Hunwicke caught my eye. Here it is, in toto, but do check the comments over there as well.  My emphases:

Cardinal Rodriguez [That’s Oscar Card. Rodiguez Maradiaga… Archbp. of Tegucigalpa, sometimes referred to only by the second (matronymic?) of his parental, family names.]
I have tried to read carefully a paper by a Cardinal Rodriguez. [Not in Tegucigalpa, but in California at Santa Clara Univ, run by, who else, Jesuits.  Coincidently, around the same time, Card. Marx, speaking in California, did an interview with American Magazine, Jesuit run.  HERE] There are entire paragraphs that I actually don’t understand. Perhaps there are problems of translation; Fr Lombardi will know. But three points do strike me: (1) Christology. The Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity is referred to in phrases like “The God of Jesus” [I believe Card. Kasper has a book called “The God of Jesus Christ”.] and “God through Jesus”. I did not identify language clearly affirming that our Redeemer is God. [Odd.] (2) “Mercy” seems to be construed as being at the heart of theology. [I wonder if “mercy” can be entirely disconnected from justice and truth.] But any attempted reconstruction of Christianity which concentrates singlemindedly on one word or slogan (“Justification by Faith Alone”, for example, or “Sola Scriptura”) has tended, throughout history, to have disastrous effects. [A key phrase in the Cardinal’s talk: “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. The wind that propels the sails of the Church towards the open sea of its deep and total renovation is Mercy.”] (3) The Roman Pontiff’s role is to protect the Tradition and to define and exclude heresy. [NB] This paper seems exclusively concerned to prepare the way for an agenda of radical but unspecified change centred upon the non-Magisterial utterances of just one pope during a ministry of less than two years. This is accompanied by a bizarrely curious suggestion that the Holy Father’s public style and personal gestures are his Magisterial Encyclicals.  [Have you noticed that on the Vatican website there is now a page dedicated to his non-Magisterial, off the cuff, fervorini at daily Mass? HERE]

Even during the pontificate of Pius XII and his canary, did papolatry go quite as far as this?

pius xii canary



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  1. ClavesCoelorum says:

    “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. ”

    Having literally just returned from an address by His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kasper at my university, entitled “Ecclesiological and Ecumenical vision of Pope Francis”, I can confirm this. The Cardinal used the exact same phrase. He spent a great deal talking about — guess what — mercy, which he says is at the heart of Pope Francis’ vision. There were also some polemics against “conservatives” who are full of “fear”.

  2. Robbie says:

    At the moment, it feels as if we’re surrounded on all sides. Just today, Cardinal Baldisseri suggested just because a view has been held for 2000 years doesn’t mean it can’t be challenged. By the way, would Cardinal Maradiaga meet the Pope’s definition of an “airport bishop”? Or is that title reserved for those who hold a different mindset?

  3. wolfeken says:

    “Even during the pontificate of Pius XII and his canary, did papolatry go quite as far as this?”

    The difference back then was supporters of Pius XII embraced traditional Church teachings, as did the pope at the time, so there was no need to worship the Holy Father, just merely follow him.

    Today, however, the current pope is not embracing Church teachings, but constantly advocating (or at best, communicating) a hermeneutic of rupture.

    The good news is the center-right has finally come to terms with the fact that we have a very liberal pope. Our consolation, though, is his foot-soldiers (such as the cardinals in the above piece) will likely be Burked if the next pope is even half as conservative as the previous pope.

  4. Rob22 says:

    Yes, the mainstream conservative press has also become more aggressive in their criticism of what they see is a leftist Pope.

    Current issue of The Federalist has a no holsd barred article which one may or may not agree with. It takes the Pope to task for associating with revolutionaries and ideologies that are in some cases anti-life. Sobering read.


  5. Bosco says:

    The ¡Vaya lío! Flash Mob strikes again.

    Seriously, there are some members of the hierarchy who strike me as serial theological arsonists.

    They devilishly start one fire then move on immediately to the next while leaving the faithful fire-fighters reeling, overstretched, and constantly disoriented.

    Whatever is going on folks it’s accelerating dramatically, day in and day out. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary pray for us.

  6. Traductora says:

    Cdl. Maradiaga (whether because of the influence of non-Spanish speaking countries or because Rodriguez is such a common last name that sometimes the second last name [mother’s family name] is used) is a disaster by whatever name. He is also one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, along with Archbishop Victor Manuel (“Tucho”) Fernandez, Rector of the Universidad Católica Argentina. Supposedly, it is the latter (who is in Rome now) who writes the Pope’s formal addresses, which is why they always sound sort of orthodox but have a twist…

    This pope has, according to Spanish sources that would know, surrounded himself with a kitchen cabinet made up of the worst of the worst. He recently forgave all and brought the very unsavory Msgr. Battista Ricca from Brazil, famous for some ugly gay behavior (look it up on the internet, it was the talk of Brazil), to be in charge of the Vatican Bank.

    It’s pretty obvious that my view of the Pope is negative, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. I just don’t know if he’s simple, ego-driven and vulnerable to manipulation by people who actually are evil, or if he agrees with them. I don’t think he does, but I think he’s very much into press-driven public adulation for his trendy positions (hence the visit from the “transsexual,” which, to make it worse, was paid for by the woman’s diocese in Extremadura), obviously has little formal knowledge of doctrine or history, but is probably well meaning and seriously thinks that he’s going to be helping people by overthrowing stodgy Catholic doctrine and crushing this nasty intellectual stuff.

    The people who are around him – and as a regular reader of Spanish sources, I probably know more than many – would make your hair stand on end.

  7. Bosco says:

    Just as an addendum, may I suggest that I have never heard of one person and his tribe more in need of a-thousand-and-one translators, interpreters, nuancers, shibboleth speakers, and head-bump readers since the Tower of Babel was destroyed by God due to mankind’s direct effrontery to the Divine.

  8. Hans says:

    I’m sorry, but if there’s a link to or a description somewhere of the paper Fr. Hunwicke is discussing, I’m missing it. Is it possible to get/give/point to that?

  9. mbutton says:

    At which point is the cardinal “open to the God of surprises” and an outright heretic. Because I can’t tell for the life of me.

  10. acardnal says:

    Jesus (and the New Testament) spoke many, many, many times about mercy being conditional. Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, did not tolerate unrepentant sin. Repentance is necessary for His mercy and salvation. I think there are priests and bishops and cardinals who need to be reminded of this:

    Luke 17:3-4 So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

    Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

    Matthew 4:17 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

    Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

    Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

    Romans 2:4-5 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

    2 Cor 7:9 Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

    Revelation 3:3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

    Revelation 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.

  11. acardnal says:

    I wish Cardinal Maradiaga would spend more time in Honduras (I’ve spent time there) preaching against the pervasive corruption in government and elsewhere. This corruption is oppressing the poor there.

  12. acardnal says:

    Regarding repentance and mercy, Pope Francis reminded the mafia that one is conditional on the other:

    “I feel that I cannot conclude without saying a word to the protagonists who are absent today — the men and women mafiosi. Please change your lives, convert yourselves, stop perpetrating evil!”

    “And we pray for you. I ask this on my knees. It is for your good … the power and money that you have now from many dirty dealings, from many mafia crimes – blood money, power gained with blood – you cannot bring them with you to the next life.”

    “Be converted, you still have time, so as not to end up in hell. That is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path.”


  13. ChrisRawlings says:

    “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. The wind that propels the sails of the Church towards the open sea of its deep and total renovation is Mercy.”

    Boy, that’s awfully bombastic, don’t you think? The fact that he puts things that way makes me think that he’s reading much more into the Pope’s ecclesial agenda than is warranted—not unlike, by the way, Cardinal Marx and his eager reading of Evangelii Gaudium that Fr. Z noted yesterday. Nobody who has read even the littlest bit of Church history could possibly use language like “renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible,” especially when we’re basically talking about the current “mood” of the episcopate which will almost certainly change with the installment of the next pope.

    But the greatest irony is that Cardinal Maradiaga seems to utterly miss what Pope Francis has been saying for the last two years. Whatever “deep and total renovation” that the Church may or may not see in the near future, it most likely will not come from the dictates of the Pope in Rome or the Curia. It will come from the prayers and fidelity of ordinary Catholics—lay and consecrated—who take really seriously our Lord’s call to take up the cross and follow. The impetus for that change—according to the “theology of the peripheries” that Francis seems fond of—will indeed come from those peripheries and not from “The Gang of Eight” or any other Roman powerbroker. Maradiaga and Marx demonstrate how far they are from the peripheries, from authentic Catholic renewal, by these halcyon speeches they’re giving at bourgeois Catholic schools like Catholic University and Fordham. Few places in the world need more renewal than secularized Munich and Protestantized Tegucigalpa, and I dream of a Church where those cardinals are too busy renewing those places rather than dishing up probably exaggerated and inaccurate theories about the current pontiff.

  14. Bosco says:

    “Thou art a king, then? Pilate asked. And Jesus answered, It is thy own lips that have called me a king. What I was born for, what I came into the world for, is to bear witness of the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth, listens to my voice.

    Pilate retorted, What is truth?” John 18: 37-38

    And Pilate, who would not judge Jesus and perhaps thought ‘who am I to judge’, left the choice up to the blood-lust of the mob to roar for or against Jesus.

    And so they crucified Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

  15. Netmilsmom says:

    We just attended Ba’utha at a local Chaldean parish. It’s a feast day connected with the Story of the Ninevites and Job.
    Mercy is the conclusion, repentance is the key.
    Maybe we should send this Cardinal to Iraq to talk to the Patriarch for a while.

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    Yet this is what the Cardinals wanted when they elected him, and they are the ones who gave him a four minute standing ovation at the end of the October Synod. There is something here they want.
    To someone who is watching this as a layperson, not especially informed, they seem to be staging a political coup, and there are all kinds of serious looking warning signs regarding Pope Francis and his coterie. What on earth is coming down the road, and what, if anything, can be done about it.

  17. robtbrown says:

    Nothing surprising.

    1. Those who were ordained from 1965 to around 1975 (or a few years later) are often members of the Spirit of Vatican II crowd. They were very influenced by Existentialist theology, which usually meant Karl Rahner. They distrust doctrine because they think it is little else than ideology. Most have little if any knowledge of the thought of St Thomas

    2. They reject the Christology that distinguishes Christ’s Human and Divine Nature, thinking that it has Nestorian tendencies. And so Christology becomes not a matter of the Logos but of the Spirit. There was the existent being 2000 years ago named Jesus who was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Thus we have Spirit (Pneumatic) Christology, which some consider–not without good reason–to be little else than Christology heavily flavored with Monophysitism.

    3. These theologians have little use for theology that makes use of causality. Instead, they sponsor a highly developed, but almost pathologically vague, Existentialist Theology in which Spirituality is set against Doctrine.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Hans (et al.),

    I searched for “Rodiguez Maradiaga Santa Clara University” and found this, which I take to be the “paper” in question, though I have not (yet – ?) tried to read it…


  19. Mojoron says:

    What’s the deal with Card Rodriguez in the picture you used. Is that for real? He looks as if he’s holding court.

  20. donato2 says:

    The arrogance is breathtaking.

    I fear that the Church is on the precipice of a catastrophe of historic proportions, one that will put the faith of many to severe test.

  21. thomas tucker says:

    Cardinal Marx, in denigrating the Church’s ability to proclaim truth, strikes me as a relativist of the first order. I wonder, does he even celebrate the Mass? Or is he like the Unitarian in the old joke, who prayed, “Oh God, if there is a God….”

  22. excalibur says:

    Lay people are asked what is their opinion. When it is to uphold tradition heads explode.


    The fix was in for the last Synod, prayer stopped it. More prayer for the upcoming Synod will also stop the fix.

  23. jhayes says:

    Traductora wrote Cdl. Maradiaga (whether because of the influence of non-Spanish speaking countries or because Rodriguez is such a common last name that sometimes the second last name [mother’s family name] is used)

    Yes, where the first last name is common (like Smith or Jones in English), the person may make it known that he prefers to be identified by his second last name. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the former Prime Minister of Spain, was Señor Zapatero on second reference.

  24. jhayes says:

    From Cardinal Maradiaga’s talk:

    It is starting from God’s mercy how we reach man. That is why every honest meeting with the existential reality of man takes place under the sign of mercy. It is either mercy or judgment. And the Church is not here to judge, condemn, reproach or reject anybody but to embrace as in a home where love reigns for everybody who needs it….

    [At the Synod] we did not talk only about giving “communion” to re-married Christians —that was a collateral argument, it was never essential. What was really said, and I repeat and emphasize, is that the realities of dissolved and rebuilt families are not an impediment to live and participate in the abundant life of the Church; that the “sacramental communion” is not the only way to vitally participate in the pastoral dynamic of the parish community and that every Christian couple that seeks God will find Him because he allows Himself to be found and that every re-married Christian can be a full-time Christian, has a right to be happy, and his house can become also a place where the love of God is born witness.

    For me, there is no “place in the basement” of the Church for Catholics that have wanted to rebuild their lives having remarried, though they cannot receive the Sacrament of Communion….

    Nobody is excluded from the Church of Christ. There is a place for everybody, for the migrants, for those who one day abandoned the Church but come back convinced that they can stay forever, for those married-divorced-remarried, for the poor, for everybody….

    Since certainly, the privileged “place” in which Christ’s Mercy becomes incarnate and becomes practice is in the love for the brothers and sisters, and in the preferential love for the poor and the suffering. The temporal reality that summarizes all the incarnations of the mystic, all the realism of the Christian spirit, and that gathers all the demands of the practice of the faith and love, is the brother, is the poor. The God hiding in the faces of our brothers is the supreme experience of incarnation and to practice mercy is it’s definitive stamp because “mercy is the true force that can save man and the world” (September 15, 2013).

  25. jhayes says:

    Thanks to Venerator Sti Lot for the link.

  26. Jerry says:

    re: Kathleen10 – “What on earth is coming down the road, and what, if anything, can be done about it.”

    Fasting, prayer, and a lot less talking/typing.

  27. jameeka says:

    Fr Z: what do you think of the processed Italian-> English translations of the ferverino/meditations of Pope Francis on the Vatican website>accurate?

  28. Clinton R. says:

    Much prayer is needed in these times we live in. Too many, like Cardinal Maradiaga, have taken a long, deep drink of the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II, and are now spouting heresy. In a previous time, he would have been dealt with. Now, heretical comments are the starting point for all this ‘change’ that supposedly is needed in the Church.

  29. Gratias says:

    It would help if Pope Francis could invest some of his talents to learn English, French or Latin. A few months before Benedict XVI’s termination he did start taking Italian lessons but still sounds like Argentinian to me. Despite Francis’ linguistics limitations I can hear Barack Hussein Obama’s message to the world. Less working, more redistribution, more sexual liberation, less freedom, more Gay perversions.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear Thomas Tucker,

    Cdl Marx is a religious man, one who, in fact, can give rather fervent sermons that make clear that this man, if if shouldn’t be all hypocrisy which is improbable, has deep religious feelings; and, yes, he does celebrate Mass.

    (I do not say it as a matter of sneer, but to make strictly clear what I do, and what I don’t, want to say with my comment: the same could, of course, be said of Dr Martin Luther OSA.

    But there’s of course no heresy either that Cdl Marx has hitherto uttered. He doesn’t say the Church doesn’t have the truth. He says that the Church should not throw it into the outstanders’ face like a washcloth [which is a favorite expression of his], and to some he might seem to repeat that as often that you ask yourselves when can the Church at all speak of it – but problematic focus isn’t heresy.)


    it was one of the more awkward moments of my religion classes when a classmate – and, of all people, an unpracticing classmate who I would guess would describe himself even as irreligious – was quizzed for a grade and mentioned in passing “Jesus, who is of course God”, etc., and the teacher interrupted him with the question “Is Jesus God?”, posed in rhethorical tone.

  31. Pingback: PopeWatch: Cardinal Maradiaga | The American Catholic

  32. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “Hans (et al.),

    I searched for “Rodiguez Maradiaga Santa Clara University” and found this, which I take to be the “paper” in question, though I have not (yet – ?) tried to read it…”


    Thanks for the link Venerator Sti Lot : I didn’t have any luck finding it after Fr. Hunwicke had originally posted on that subject.

    From the OP:

    “‘Mercy’ seems to be construed as being at the heart of theology. [I wonder if ‘mercy’ can be entirely disconnected from justice and truth.] ”

    It would be quite impossible to entirely disconnect the two. As St. Thomas Aquinas so aptly points out : Mercy does not negate or deny justice, rather, mercy presupposes justice. In other words, before I am shown mercy (or forgiven, or exonerated, or absolved) for/from anything, we have to know what I truly deserved in the first place – and only justice (and truth) can tell us that.

    There were enough valid points in the “paper”, but they too often appeared to be interspersed between passages which are grammatically incoherent . There are also some passages which just don’t appear to be very well thought out , or at least, appear unable to remain in any particular train of thought for long – kind of like a lot of stuff being said all over the place. That can make for a nice big jumble of confusion. It really is difficult to determine what the overall objective of the speech was supposed to be.

  33. AnthonyJ says:


    The little of Rahner and Kung I have read, I would think the liberals of today would tend toward Nestorianism rather than Monophysitism.

  34. Deacon Augustine says:

    If there is no justice – no judgement – then what need is there for mercy?

    Who on the “peripheries” are going to be interested in a message of “mercy alone” if the Church, like the world, tells them: “I’m OK, you’re OK. You’re loved so much just like you are that your salvation is already assured.”? From what exactly are these people offered liberation, and how is that liberation supposed to work? If it is only poverty and injustice that the Church is being sent to combat, then she will indeed be turned into the world’s largest NGO.

    No wonder the church in Latin America is collapsing in the face of sects which offer at least part of our hope in Christ. If my need for mercy has been eradicated, and my salvation is assured no matter how I live, then the church can keep her poverty and I will take wealth and comfort, thank you. Poverty is highly over-rated – it sucks.

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    jhayes & Grumpy Bear,

    Glad to be of service! (I am always pleasantly surprised when I can find anything… )

    A good question!

    I see the English has caught up with the first two of the first six from 2015 at the Italian page which Fr. Z links – and, alas, that, whatever the language, they are indeed still only “dedicated to his non-Magisterial, off the cuff, fervorini at daily Mass” in the manner to which we have sadly become accustomed, rather than being a full transcription (with translations) of the actual fervorini themselves.

    (I see, further, that French, Spanish, and Portuguese also have only the first two; German, the first; Arabic, the English for 2014; Latin, none; while I cannot read Chinese…)

  36. robtbrown says:

    AnthonyJ says:

    The little of Rahner and Kung I have read, I would think the liberals of today would tend toward Nestorianism rather than Monophysitism.

    If they do, they wouldn’t be advocates of Existentialist theology. Existentialism is based on concrete experiences.

  37. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    With respect to “mercy” (and also, for example, the boldface bit of jhayes’s first excerpt), I just encountered this quotation from St. John Chrysostom (in a essay in the latest issue of Touchstone):

    “For it is the part of humanity not to humor the sick in every thing nor to flatter their unseasonable desires. No one so loved him that committed fornication amongst the Corinthians as Paul, who commandeth to deliver him to Satan; no one so hated him as they that applaud and court him.” (Homily 14 on 2 Cor. 7)

  38. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    It almost sounds like some sort of ‘half-Nestorianism’ where the only ‘physis’ we can confidently say anything about is the human one.

    As jhayes quotes above, for the Cardinal “The God hiding in the faces of our brothers is the supreme experience of incarnation”.

  39. akp1 says:

    We must & should publicise these ‘odd’ things coming out from those who really should know better – BUT – always with the call to prayer for the Church and for the Pope. It might be obvious, but we are in constant need of the reminder. It is also a ‘wake-up’ call to get to know our faith much better if we haven’t already started.

  40. Imrahil says:

    Ceterum censeo: Fr. Rahner and Fr. Küng should not be mentioned in a way that implies their theology would be the same.

    There’s something in common, yes, but it’s superficial. Both can be said to reject* “school theology” (Rahner’s term) and set out to think Christianity, in a sense, anew.

    [*Küng certainly rejects it; Rahner pays ostensible respect to it, and says that he just does something different, but I’d say suspecting a certain disparaging tone in these utterances is in order.]

    Well, there we go. But otherwise I’d say they differ; in the limits they recognize, for one thing: Fr Rahner steps back whenever he recognizes a formal contradiction to a magisterial sentence (which makes him a Catholic theologian, however much someone might not like him). Fr Küng (about whom I know considerably less) on the other hand, seems to have taken only the formal confession to Jesus Christ as his limit in the 1970s, and afterwards probably not even that**. One attitude seems clear, though; as professor for theology, he saw it to be his job to make a theology which then the Church is to receive (hence he protests that Church authority should critizise and call to orthodoxy, quote, “me, a tenured professor of theology”). That he saw himself in a pre-Magisterial role, taking excerpts from Scripture (I do not know whether he somewhere formally dismissed parts of Scripture) to build a teaching from them, probably much more so than Martin Luther, is also clear from books should as “Being a Christian”, though it’s some time that I read or rather skimmed through it. To use the usual terms, it turns out that his Christology is what would, I guess, usually be termed “Arian”, except that a) he is much too little traditional to attach himself to the tradition of Arianism, b) Arians teach that the Logos is the supreme and first-created being below God, c) Arians do not doubt our Lady’s virginity, whereas Küng teaches that a) “Son of God” means but “Vicar of God” (in the exact same sense that the phrase was attributed to the Kings of Israel) and “begetting” refering to God begetting a Son means to institute as Vicar (as in the psalm being understood as reference to the King of Israel), b) our Lord is hence only in this sense Son of God, hence apparently in nature man and nothing else, not even any creature pre-existing the moment of his conception as the Arians at least held, c) that “virgin birth is to be understood spiritually”, which Küng clearly implies to mean that it did not actually happen.

    [** I always found highly telling the quote from Fr Küng we had in our religion schoolbooks: “The Bible is not, the way [the Muslims hold that] the Koran is, a book literally dictated from God to human secretaries.” As it stands it is quite Catholic, but the editor of the schoolbook, not Küng, inserted the insertion here given in bracket.]

    This is Fr Küng’s position as presented in “Credo”, so any Eutychian, Miaphysite, Nestorian or even Arian would seem to be nearer to orthodoxy, judged content-wise.

  41. SKAY says:

    Your comment explains a lot. Thank you.

  42. Sonshine135 says:

    Quite plainly, Cardinals like those mentioned above, are not happy with what Jesus taught. They are going to redefine who Jesus is, and do so with every breath. They are enemies of the church, and should be chastised publicly. We, the faithful laity, must demand that these shepherds either rescind these statements, or be removed from their office. This is all out war, and we cannot keep our heads in the sand any longer. I’m frankly tired of the shepherds selling the sheep to the wolves.

  43. mpmaron says:

    The God of Mercy from the Cardinal of “Reconciliation by Appointment?”

  44. SimonDodd says:

    When Francis first started making his daily scandals, ahem, fervorini, I got as outraged as everyone else, until eventually I concluded that it had become irresponsible to engage with anything in them: We were assured that these were not magisterial, and given how thin and underreported they were, we should simply discard them and refuse to play. (See http://simondodd.org/blog/?p=1239.)

    But then we started seeing citations to those fervorini and similar off-the-cuff statements in ecclesiastical documents such as the Instrumentum Laboris for the extraordinary synod just passed. This is going to keep happening.

    There is a certain contingent whose answer is always “just ignore Francis, this homily isn’t changing church teaching, this general audience isn’t magisterial,” and so on. I have always thought that answer too optimistic, because I think that scandal matters and even if it doesn’t, error seeps. But why is that answer not reckless if it is now clear that those pronouncements are bleeding into “official” matters?

  45. govmatt says:

    Will no one rid us of these meddlesome priests….

    In charity, though, I honestly believe these men think they are doing what’s right. That’s the saddest part. When they come to judgment, they will expect paradise.

  46. SimonDodd says:

    GovMatt, I fancy that the dominant emotion in the lobby of hell is surprise.

  47. robtbrown says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says:

    1. It almost sounds like some sort of ‘half-Nestorianism’ where the only ‘physis’ we can confidently say anything about is the human one.

    2. As jhayes quotes above, for the Cardinal “The God hiding in the faces of our brothers is the supreme experience of incarnation”.

    1, See above–Concrete Experiences. Nestorianism has little to say about the relationship between Christ’s Human and Divine Natures. Monophysitism is open to Oneumatic Christology. Nb:
    According to St Thomas the Nestorians opposed the Filioque.

    2. I would say the Eucharist is the Supreme Experience of the Incarnation.

  48. robtbrown says:


    You’re right about Kung and Rahner not being the same.

    1. Kung embraced the Historical Critical method to the point that he considers it to have destroyed Revelation. He explicitly denies various aspects of Church doctrine.

    2. Rahner’s interest is in undermining certitude–he is the Doctor Equivocus. If I might twist the Medieval Maxim to suit Rahner: Never affirm, never deny, always equivocate.

    I agree with JRatzinger that Rahner’s Sacramental Theology is merely that of Suarez translated into the language of German Existentialism.

  49. Sonshine135 says:


    Ding ding ding…..We have a winner! The purpose of such “off the cuff” remarks are not to change anything, rather to socialize the idea and gain support for a change later on. Gradualism in practice is an ugly thing.

  50. Choirmaster says:

    I think we’re missing the point here. That bird perched on the apostolic finger is a budgie, not a canary!

  51. samwise says:

    In my limited attendance of Spanish Masses, my experience of the homilies given by modern South American priests was that they were very long and illogical at times. The Cardinal follows suit here. He could have quoted Aquinas and been done with it in 5 mins or less: (Summa Q30#4)
    The sum total of the Christian religion consists in mercy, as regards external works: but the inward love of charity, whereby we are united to God preponderates over both love and mercy for our neighbor.

  52. thomas tucker says:

    @Imrahil: that is good to know, and comforting to know, regarding Cardinal Marx. Surely, you can understand my questioning, given some of his statements.

  53. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    My first thought on reading “The God hiding in the faces of our brothers is the supreme experience of incarnation” was to contrast the description of the Beatific Vision at the end of Dante’s Paradiso… (I cannot remember where in St. Thomas he discusses Our Lord constantly enjoying it with respect to His Humanity during His earthly life.)

  54. Rob22 says:

    Red flag for me as a convert of 7 years is Cardinal Baldeserri’s comment that just because something has been held for 2000 years doesn’t mean it can’t be challeneged.

    Is he referring to dogma here? Most of what has been held that long is dogma.

    Our priest who graduated from a conservative seminary supposedly full of young JP2 priests has become quite progressive. He is pushing female ordination and says it will happen in his lifetime (he is 34). I wonder if the prohibition on female priests is one of the things the good Cardinal thinks can be challenged.

    I struggled with the notion of Papal infallibility and the protection provided by the Holy Spirit before becoming Catholic. I am struggling now – I am not sure I believe in the protection of the Holy Spirit in protecting the Pope from formally teaching error.

    If the church changes dogma then the Reformers were right in denying the special place of the Pope as the head of the church on Earth. He would become no different than Calvin, Zwingli, Luther and others who changed long-standing dogma.

  55. Rob22 says:

    An observation. Many small orthodox apostolates arose during the previous 2 pontificates. Supported by orthodox Catholics. Catholic radio is a prime example. The Coming Home Network another. The unfortunate thing is that donations have fallen off for many. Certainly for my local radio station. I think this is directly in response to the leftward swing of the church under this Pope and the de-emphasis of orthodoxy. TCHN I have heard has seen a big drop in inquiries recently. Why not? These ministers are often moving from churches that had gone progressive and they say the Catholic church as a bark of stability. But that seems increasingly problematic hence any decline in CHN inquiries.

    Personally, I am guilty. I supported local Catholic radio and the CHN but, after long prayer with my evangelical wife, we have decided to take our kids out of a Catholic school and place them in a newish Christian school. The Christian school is struggling and so we are directing all our charitable contributions to it. Sadly that meant dropping donations to Catholic radio and CHN. WE are middle class and can give just so much and the important thing is that our kids get a solid Christian education. No common core as is used in the Catholic school they went to.

    There are ramifications and ramifications to all this that will play out I suspect in surprising ways over the next years.

  56. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Rob22 –

    The main reason donations have dropped is that a lot of Catholics don’t have jobs. I’ve been out of work since August, myself.

  57. SimonR says:

    Meanwhile, there is this news with Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri:


    I gave up on Francis months ago. What can I say? I was devoted to John Paul and Benedict. This Pontificate breaks my heart. The Synod was a disaster. The Pontificate is a disaster. Francis is loved by the media and enemies of the Church.Why? Because they believe he is changing the teachings of the Church. It’s a mess as the latest headlines from the latest interview show.

    I mean, the Vicar of Christ, saying to be a good Catholic it is not true “you have to be like rabbits”????

    Why does Francis have to talk so much????

    It is as if the Pontificates of John Paul and Benedict never existed and we are back in the 1970s!

  58. Rob22 says:

    SimonR, the mystery is that, after 30 years of supposedly orthodox bishop appointments by JP2 and Benedict, how could the conclave elect a clearly progressive bishop?

    I listen to Michael Savage and he now has a Pope’s corner on his site tracking Francis’s statements. Savage went into a discussion of how Francis was clearly a progressive based on his past actions/statements and yet he was easily elected.

    I get back to the notion that many bishops and priests are “company men”. Orthodox when the Pope is so, progressive when the Pope is such. My parish priest is a perfect example and he says many in his seminary days were progressive but hid it due to the then late JP2/early Benedict Papacies.

    I think this notion of up and coming young orthodox JP2 priests is overblown.

  59. Imrahil says:

    Dear Rob22,

    the Holy Spirit does a great job in preventing the Pope from teaching error in general (if you pardon the colloquialism), but the only occasions where it is a matter of faith that the Pope certainly speaks without error are when the so-called conditions of infallibility apply; i. e. practically, whenever you here “anathema sit”, “this sentence we condemn as heresy” (if said in this absolutely; but not “all these sentences we condemn as heretical, erroneous, rash, seditious, offending pious ears, or more of the above”), or, most importantly, “declaramus, docemus et definimus”, you have to watch out.

    In other occasions, it is according to the teaching of the Church erroneous to say that Baptism can be validly conferred “in the name of Jesus Christ”, yet there was once a Pope who – outside conditions of infallibility – taught that formula.

  60. Hans says:

    Thanks for the link, Venerator Sti Lot.

  61. SKAY says:

    “In comments at his Monday in-air interview that were totally ignored by the mainstream media, Pope Francis lamented the Western practice of imposing a homosexual agenda on other nations through foreign aid, which he called a form of “ideological colonization” and compared to the Nazi propaganda machine.”


    I believe the US is doing this under this administration.

  62. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    It is worth repeating something interesting that others have mentioned in comments on other posts, here – that in explicating “ideological colonization” the Holy Father also made reference to, and recommended reading, Robert Hugh Benson’s futuristic novel, Lord of the World (1907).

  63. SimonR says:

    Thanks Rob22 for your comment.

    Regretfully, both Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict made various choices of both Bishops and Cardinals which have not turned out well at all!!!

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