Is there an agenda at work behind Pope Francis’ back?

Monday Vatican is out.

First paragraph…

Pope Francis: An Agenda Behind his Back?

Is there an agenda at work behind Pope Francis’ back? As he carries out his plan of renewal for the Church, one that is based on the purification of hearts, on pastoral efforts and on evangelization through attraction, many individuals are trying to exploit his spontaneity, and also his naivete, in order to advance their personal, political agenda for the Church. How much the Pope has understood the cross-interests at work behind his back is yet to be determined. Certainly, the way his words have so often been taken out of context and misinterpreted may have alerted him to some degree that this is going on.


Read the rest there!


It’s as if the Church of 1968 has broken out again.

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  1. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for drawing our attention to this! Is the antepenultimate paragraph, in light of the eighth paragraph (about “his wish to go to peripheries and to foster pastoral care for the marginalized”), Mr. Gagliarducci’s filling-in of what he means by “his naivete” in this opening paragraph? And does that “naivete” include a sophomorically injudicious Jesuit sharpness of intelligence?

    What a fine characterization is in “Benedict XVI elevated doctrine to a higher level, with the energy of one who loves the truth and thinks that the greatest mercy possible is to equip people with the truth.” How could one better try “to foster pastoral care for the marginalized” than that, or at least, with that as a basis? And what a general Lenten call: that that love and thought should be characterized by practical ” energy”!

  2. Norah says:

    his naivete” Oh come now!
    He wasJesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires. A prominent figure throughout the continent. He has a degree in Psychology. He has taught Literature and Psychology. He has been a Jesuit novice master, a professor at the Faculty of Theology, consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesuits and rector of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology of the Colegio Masimo.
    He was president of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference.
    Until the beginning of the recent sede vacante, he was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

    Naïve, I don’t think so.

    What I have noticed about Pope Francis is that when he speaks to a mainly Catholic audience he is usually very Catholic in his words but when he speaks to the media or an audience of non-Catholics or non practising Catholics his words very often need explaining by the Vatican Press Office to make them more in line with Catholic teaching.

  3. Hank Igitur says:

    There are always multiple agendas behind, in front of, above, below and beside every Pope’s back. This Pope’s case of foot in mouth makes it very easy for all these interlopers to run interference on him while his minders try to spin things as it suits them.

  4. shoofoolatte says:

    Pope Francis got a master’s degree in philosophy and theology from the University of Buenos Aires. He also holds a master’s degree in chemistry from that university. (not psychology or literature)

  5. mr205 says:

    Went to Mass yesterday evening. There was a guest priest. Sometimes I have thought people must be exaggerating regarding liturgical abuses. But, literally, I saw every single one that people talk about. The priest made the Mass up as he went along. He paused for each paragraph for about a second and sort of said his take on what the text should say. He completely rewrote the Eucharistic prayer with language similar to the older translation. He left the alter and went into the congregation for a couple of minutes during the sign of the peace while the congregation watched in silence. Yes, as if the Church of 1968 broke out again. St. Peter, pray for us.

  6. govmatt says:

    The “Church of 1968” is far more destructive today than it ever could have been in 1968. At least in 1968 there were the Fr. Ratzinger-s and Bishop Wojtyla-s in the world, along with the majority of the faithful, who remembered the way things were. Now, the majority of the faithful (and, most likely the majority of the clergy) have never known what was lost.

    While there is certainly hope for the Church (as one can see in so many good, holy seminarians), we may have to suffer to the brink of “institutional” collapse (note, not spiritual, I mean finances and internal structures) because of whole generations having now fallen away.

  7. Bosco says:

    Dear Father Z.,

    Mr. Gagliarducci poses an apparently naive question: “Is there an agenda at work behind Pope Francis’ back?”

    I’ll pose another question for Mr. Gagliarcuddi with what was once a given truism:

    “Is the Pope Catholic?”

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    “While there is certainly hope for the Church (as one can see in so many good, holy seminarians), we may have to suffer to the brink of “institutional” collapse (note, not spiritual, I mean finances and internal structures) because of whole generations having now fallen away.”

    Have they really fallen away or have the handrails been greased? How to get them back? How to get back the Aging Hippy crowd? How to get back the Just Fine with That Gen-Xers? How to get back the Immorality is the New Morality Millennials? What I have found is that there are, broadly speaking, two types of approaches to recovering them: the good witness of love approach and the good witness of doctrine approach. Some people respond more to friendship, some respond more to argumentation. The problem with either approach (and this is a subtle, but a strong condition) is that love and truth have become so relativized that it is very difficult to separate out for people the essential differences between worldly love and Christian love, between worldly truth and Christian truth, and even harder to separate out Catholic love from Protestant love (there is a subtle difference) and Catholic truth from Protestant truth. In other words, Catholics are no longer distinctive. When the Truth gets drown in a sea of truths, then every lie told with vigor becomes indistinguishable from truth. When Love gets swamped by the quick sand of loves, then even abuse can become mistaken for love.

    For better or worse, this is not the Church of 1968. They could, at least, understand that a change had occurred from the older ways. In the Church of 2015, if people can’t even tell you what the old ways were, how can they even know that things have changed?

    What the Vatican has not done (and are probably afraid to do) is actually find out what, “Catholics,” really think they understand about their faith. If they passed around a comprehensive questionnaire about basic Catholic knowledge, they would probably despair at reading the answers. I don’t mean to sound elitist or condescending, but most Catholics, today, I would guess, are stupid about the Faith. No amount of love is going to change that, unless that love is grounded by truth.

    This is what St. Pope John-Paull II said in his canonization homily for the Carmelite and philosopher St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein):

    “This woman had to face the challenges of such a radically changing century as our own. Her experience is an example to us. The modern world boasts of the enticing door which says: everything is permitted. It ignores the narrow gate of discernment and renunciation. I am speaking especially to you, young Christians, particularly to the many altar servers who have come to Rome these days on pilgrimage: Pay attention! Your life is not an endless series of open doors! Listen to your heart! Do not stay on the surface, but go to the heart of things! And when the time is right, have the courage to decide! The Lord is waiting for you to put your freedom in his good hands.

    6. St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was able to understand that the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship. The quest for truth and its expression in love did not seem at odds to her; on the contrary she realized that they call for one another.

    In our time, truth is often mistaken for the opinion of the majority. In addition, there is a widespread belief that one should use the truth even against love or vice versa. But truth and love need each other. St Teresa Benedicta is a witness to this. The “martyr for love”, who gave her life for her friends, let no one surpass her in love. At the same time, with her whole being she sought the truth, of which she wrote: “No spiritual work comes into the world without great suffering. It always challenges the whole person”.

    St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all: Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”

    The Chicken

  9. mburn16 says:

    Its…..the Vatican. Of course there are agendas behind the Pope’s back. Probably several dozen different ones, most equipped with their own red hat or two.

    The Holy Father’s greatest flaw had never been some kind of Marxist (hmm…maybe we need a better way to say that) theological agenda, but the degree to which he tries to be the “nice Pope” without full consideration of his words or deeds.

  10. benedetta says:

    Interesting analysis in this article.

    I very much appreciate The Chicken’s take above particularly. Am curious to hear others’ takes on this as well.

    For me I consider this to be a key insight:

    “The space for a behind-the-scenes manipulation opened when the new Pope expressed his wish to go to peripheries and to foster pastoral care for the marginalized, on which – he recently explained to the new Cardinals – the credibility of the Church depends.”

    One can marvel at what is occurring given this. A group backed by all kinds of money and power declares itself “on the peripheries” and bullies and shoves its way to the fore, to the front of the line, so to speak, excluding many more peripheried, deserving, and vulnerable others, and then proceeds to use deceptive tactics and means quite far from any grassroots or authentic needs to seize hold of things it only desires from a point of view of tyranny and totalitarianism over others, and again, the main aspect that does violence to the truth and to the law of love of Christ is that it necessarily condemns the much more vulnerable and in need of Christ’s concrete hands of mercy to, in some cases, death, and in many others, to voicelessness and extended suffering. Kyrie eleison for Holy Mother Church. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

  11. benedetta says:

    Of course even with the big secular media bullying and with the elite in the Church pushing for assorted things, the fact remains that the faithful who have been long dismissed in North America and Europe from open and alive practice as Catholics, though they may poll how much they like Pope Francis and say to the media they approve of these portrayals, have yet to come back to Mass…and to that the media doesn’t get the main issue: that it’s about the liturgy, stupid. These bullies will either get or not get their precious goodies which they harangue everyone with backed by unimaginable 1% money that certainly no one in the Church and the vast vast majority of the faithful do not remotely have access to. All well and good. In the meantime, young people are demanding the EF of Mass. And I for one cannot blame them.

  12. Mike says:

    The more time I spend with the traditions of our Faith, the more deeply I feel how much the suppression of doctrinal truth and the evisceration of liturgy have cost the Church. Only a combination of well-orchestrated clerical banditry and massive lay denial (“they really wouldn’t do that to us, now, would they?”) could let things get as far as they have.

    We of the post-V2 generations may not have the cradle immersion in the rites and truths that were once every Catholic’s by birthright, but we are waking up to what we’ve been robbed of. Present-day modernists are not underestimating the resultant backlash, which is why they’re stepping up their various bullying campaigns in the leftist mainstream and “Catholic” media.

    Were 21st-century Vatican operators scheming against the Pope alone, we might be right to worry. If, however we believe in the Apostolic Church as we say we do every Sunday, we recognize that today, as in every age, the Church is infused by the Holy Spirit Who will not abandon the faithful no matter how desperately relativists and revisionists may thrash.

    Campaigns of browbeating and belittlement by ahistorical “liturgists” and their ilk may be expected to persist. But our immersion in the Faith and its timeless truths will be a sturdy defense if we are willing to persevere in fortitude and charity.

  13. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I don’t think much of anything goes on behind Francis’ back. Perhaps I overestimate his degree of focus and/or I underestimate dicasterial cunningness, but I think that what comes out of Rome is pretty much what Francis wants to come out of Rome. Good, bad, indifferent. Just saying.

  14. Bosco says:

    @Dr. Ed Peters,

    For what it’s worth, I heartily agree.

    The Bishop of Rome gives new meaning to Stalin’s famous quote:

    “The pope? How many divisions has he got?”

    Many many it seems.

  15. Deacon Augustine says:

    Interesting narrative, but a load of cobblers nonetheless. If we accept the narrative of a naive Pope who is being manipulated by people with an agenda, then it is we who are being naive. For the participants at the Extraordinary Synod it was quite apparent that Francis was the architect of it all and the manipulator in chief.

  16. Gratias says:

    The fish reacts from the head down. Our local priest used to genuflect after the elevation of host and wine. Since Pope Francis’ inaugural mass he changed to a slight bow of acknowledgement. Many non-Catholics tell me spontaneously that they really like this Pope, so Francis’ program is very effective.

  17. Latin Mass Type says:

    Remember this translation of an interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein in the German magazine Christ und Welt?

    Q: Does Francis have a better grip of the media than his predecessor Benedict?

    Abp. Gänswein: Francis deals with the media offensively. He used them intensively and directly.

    Q: Also more skilful?

    Abp. Gänswein: Yes, he uses them very skilfully.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    That the vast majority of Catholics sitting in the pews are 1968 Catholics, many contracepting and 63% thinking ssm is ok, why do we expect a different “agenda” among the priests, bishops, and cardinals who chose the liberal ways over the years, being taught such in their families, schools and universities?

    Those who are truly orthodox Catholics in the pews are a small minority. We are getting the leaders we raised since the 1950s seminaries, where one of my priest friends told me years ago that he and others became priests in order to protestantize the Church. He is now 83.

    Of course, the Pope is not naive. He may be naive about European Church politics, but he is not naive about the way the Church works in other countries, and with regard to the problems of liberalism.

    He will not, of course, think like a European, which I pointed out a long time ago. If one wants some background on his, read my exclusive interview with his former press secretary, taken verbatim and written so.

    Also, this one on a Jesuit pope….

  19. restoration says:

    I can’t believe that this fantasy that the Holy Father is simply naive or misquoted or mistranslated, etc., continues to have supporters. How much more evidence do we need? They remind me of those poor people in the 1960s/70s who were so hurt by Paul VI’s decisions that they thought he must have been an imposter. “The real Paul VI has been imprisoned in a castle…” Sadly, Paul VI was the real Paul VI and he was a disaster. Creating false narratives to dull the pain is not helpful.

  20. Barto of the Cross says:

    1. Never before in history has a bishop of Rome spoken publicly so freely and frequently and on so many topics.

    The blog post on says “the way his words have so often been taken out of context and misinterpreted….”

    Actually, in my opinion, I don’t think there has been one authentic case of Francis’s words being taken out of context, misinterpreted, or mistranslated.

    Just go and read all the statements by Francis that have caused the most controversy or have gotten the most attention. Read them in context. Read them all together and think about what Francis is trying to communicate. Think about what all Francis’ novel gestures and actions signify. There really is no mystery here.

    Francis’ aim is to communicate certain ideas indirectly and somewhat obscurely that he knows he dare not communicate bluntly and directly.

    But if you look at his entire papacy, and also at what he wrote, said and did prior to his papacy, there really is no mystery at what he is really doing, saying and aiming at.

    To be fair, Jesus Christ sometimes purposely spoke obscurely as well. Jesus says that He did this with His parables. Experts say that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address implies a lot more than it overly says, and that it was written that way on purpose so as to attempt to reshape the nation’s view of the Civil War at a crucial turning point. So, communicating with hints and winks and nods is not always something done with bad intent.

    2. Francis approved the notorious mid-term report at the 2014 synod, we now know.

    3. Francis has clearly been the organizer of the 2014 and 2015 dual synods, both of which are clearly aimed by Francis at achieving an “integration” (Francis’ own term) of homosexual couples, and divorced and “remarried” and not annulled couples, into the normal and full activity of parish life.

    4. Francis sometimes contradicts himself. This confuses people. But there is a certain mindset which sees contradictions as something bold, heroic, and liberating. Consider this famous quote from Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” Consider this famous quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: ““A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” Fear of contradictions is something that conservatives and traditionalists worry about–and Francis has made very clear that he has no respect for them, and doesn’t want anyone to respect them either. Emerson and Whitman (and Thoreau) were Transcendentalists. I think they can be viewed as intellectual predecessors to Francis, since they are intellectual founders of what might be called the Progressive movement, and Francis is oh-so clearly in that camp (as were also Cardinal Bernadin, Cardinal Martini, Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, Fr. Richard McBrien, and also are Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Cardinal Marx, and so many others).

    5. It was widely reported in the press, with no contradiction from the Vatican, that Francis has a private meeting with a transgendered man (man to “woman”) and his “wife,” and Francis invited this man to meet him after the man complained of being insulted for his sexual activities by his home parish pastor. Did a cabal cause this meeting to happen behind Francis’ back?

    6. It was widely reported in the press, with no contradiction from the Vatican, that Francis telephoned a woman and told her it was okay for her to take Holy Communion, even though she is divorced and remarried with no pronouncement of annulment. Did a cabal cause this meeting to happen behind Francis’ back?

    7. The list of actions and statements by Francis, that show that he is in full control and show what his real agenda is, is huge and growing daily. It’s all there, for anyone who wants to know. As Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

    8. If there was a pope who probably did have a cabal fiercely and furiously working against him behind his back, that would have been Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga said: “it is difficult to believe that Pope Benedict XVI freely renounced his ministry as successor of Peter.”

  21. pannw says:

    I tend to agree with Dr. Peters and Deacon Augustine. The big question for me is ‘to what end?’ I hope for Pope Francis’ sake and all the Church that it is to get all to listen to and then be saved by conversion to the Gospel.

    I think it was last week that the second reading at Mass was about St. Paul ‘pleasing all men’ and not giving offense. It reminded me so much of the Holy Father, the idea of being ‘all things to all people’. I don’t really understand exactly what St. Paul is trying to say there, but I have often felt that the Holy Father takes that to heart, ‘pleasing all…’ so as not to give offense and draw them in, with the hope of them being saved by the Gospel. I like to think that the Pope says these often shocking things to get the attention so that they can then be clarified and brought to people’s attention. Someone said something in another recent thread about his off the cuff remarks as opposed to his ‘ex cathedra’ ones. I know that he hasn’t spoken ‘ex cathedra’ but I think what was meant is his ‘official’ remarks vs his off the cuff, and officially, he seems sound to me, though I admit to being a poorly catechized post VII Catholic, but one trying to learn, hence my regular visits to the doctrinally sound Fr. Z.

    Anyway, I can’t decide if I’m the one who is naive. That very well could be the case, but I have had a feeling about Pope Francis since he walked out on the balcony. The look on his face…things that he says…books that he highlights…it just seems like he is a man on a mission feeling a time crunch, and so he goes about his mission rather like a bull in a china shop. What is the phrase, hagan lio? I tend to think he is aware of everything and that he is getting the sides all lined up so he knows who is where. A ‘know your enemies’ sort of thing for the coming battle that I really think he is expecting, and I don’t mean just within the Church. I think he sees the need for a truly unified and purified Church. I pray he is on the side I think he is on.

    Anyway, that is my take on the situation. Of course, I might need to just put the Tolkien down and step away from the Drudge Report!

  22. Aquinas Gal says:

    I don’t buy this analysis. It ends by saying the pope doesn’t have an agenda for the Church. I think that’s manifestly untrue. Francis knows what he’s doing. That’s what scares me.

  23. mburn16 says:

    The Pope’s *sympathies* are most certainly left-of-center. He finds it tiring to moralize, and dislikes being seen as any kind of stern figuRe. He has stewed for decades in the slums of Argentina, where daily survival can be the primary challenge…and where the idea of whether or not someone down the road is in a sinful relationship probably doesn’t occupy much space in the lives of those trying to scrape together enough to buy bread.

    But I will say this in his defense: I think he has an awareness of the practical limitations of his power. He may well *want* the divorced and remarried to be able to receive communion, but probably recognizes there simply isn’t a big enough loophole in the principle of indissolubility to allow for it.

  24. ChrisRawlings says:

    Oh come on. Perhaps my view of things is a little skewed by my relatively halcycon experience of Catholic life in Denver, as opposed to an American diocese with one (or less) ordination each year and significant percentages of parishes being shuttered because they can’t find vocations or baptisms or even ordinary regular Mass-attending Catholics to fill the sacristies and pews. Fine. But the feverish hand-wringing I’m seeing here is unbecoming and, I’ll say it, even a little obtuse.

    Folks, the Church is in far better shape today than you think. In America alone older heterodox religious orders are shrinking and younger orthodox ones are growing—and the same is probably true of diocesan seminaries, too. The American church has even grown into a wellspring of sorts for authentically orthodox thought and activism in the Church, and that influence is working its way around the globe. Our bishops are more vocally orthodox than in the past. And, thinking globally, catholically, now, the orthodox African church has gained a prominence that has even in the last year has made a vigorous difference in the Church. That prominence will only grow along with the African church.

    Besides, the heterodox influence in the Church has been there for decades and isn’t the result of some treacherous coup by Pope Francis. Perhaps the current pope deals with that influence differently than his predecessor, as Benedict perhaps dealt differently with it than his predecessor, and so on. The reality we face is that the vast, vast majority of self-professing Catholics do not believe some or even a lot of what the Church teaching to be true and binding. It has been that way for a while, for decades. That isn’t a Pope Francis thing. It isn’t even a German thing, or a Jesuit thing.

    Does Pope Francis have an agenda? Yeah, it is probably the same one as the last pope, and the pope before that, and the pope before that, and on and on. Whether he succeeds in implementing it is another question, but at least you can stop grinding your hands to a raw, bloodied pulp and instead work through prayer and action to ensure that more priests, religious, and laity are more actively engaged with the truths of the Catholic faith. Because your enemy certainly isn’t Pope Francis or even the modernist woman in a groovy pantsuit giving Communion by hand at your local Novus Ordo parish. It is satan, and that is the enemy that demands no less than your most fervent prayers and efforts.

  25. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    “Out of context.”
    “Bad translation.”

    They forgot: “Bush’s fault.”

  26. yatzer says:

    I have been to 1968 and have absolutely no desire to go back. I know several non-practicing Catholics who are delighted with “this Pope”, but have no desire to get back to the Church. They just figure the Church is finally agreeing with them. It does look that way sometimes. I don’t get it.

  27. Someone please be the Garrigue says:

    There seems to be a bit of The Spirit of Pope Francis around: “the Holy Father wants this or that, I know because I’ve spoken to him – three times!” As if someone had just said “Pope Francis does not exist.”

  28. Frank_Bearer says:

    This “Francis is a secret conservative” glurge is getting really tiresome.

  29. benedictgal says:

    What is just as scary is that Kasper continues to have free reign. Now he is releasing ANOTHER book. Add to that the fact that Maradraiga continues on his tirades. It makes me wonder how things are going in Tegucigalpa. First fix what is wrong in your own house and then worry about the bigger picture.

  30. Barto of the Cross says:


    Francis is, I think, a whole-hearted PROGRESSIVE.

    This Progressive “party” has been alive and well in the Church since John XXIII liberated them via the Vatican II Council.

    Among the Progressives who operate or did operate more-or-less freely:

    -Cardinal Bernardin
    -Cardinal Martini
    -Archbishop Rembert Weakland
    -Fr. Richard McBrien
    -Cardinal Kasper
    -Cardinal Wuerl
    -Cardinal Roger Mahoney
    -Cardinal Marx

    Prior to John XXIII, the Progressives in the episcopacy and the lower clergy had been repeatedly condemned and suppressed by Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XII, Leo XIII, Gregory XVI, and so on. (This is REALLY the entire basis of the ministry of the SSPX—not the Tridentine Mass per se, as is commonly thought.)

    In the post-John XXIII world, it has been NO SIN TO BE A PROGRESSIVE. The UNDENIABLE PROOF of this follows.

    Thought John Paul II and Benedict XVI were not of this Progressive party, neither of these popes ever removed any of these Progressives from office, or significantly restrained or rebuffed them in any way. These and other Progressives were welcomed and honored as legitimate contributors to the work of the Church. Francis, on the contrary, is of one mind with all those Progressive Catholic churchmen.

    Francis is the FIRST whole-hearted pope of the Progressive party since John XXIII.

    CONSERVATIVE Catholics always thought that GOD WOULD NEVER ALLOW someone like Cardinal Bernadin or Cardinal Mahoney to land again in the see of Peter.

    But we have all lived to see this happen.

    I see no benefit in living in denial.

    In 2011, GEORGE WEIGEL published an article titled:


    In 2011, Mr. Weigel didn’t see Francis coming.

    But Mr. Weigel well documents that the liberal “THE BERNARDIN MACHINE” (Mr. Weigel’s phrase) dominated the Church in the U.S. all during the papal rule of John Paul II.

    Mr. Weigel thus helps PROVE that in the post-John XXIII era it is NO SIN TO BE A CATHOLIC PROGRESSIVE

    EWTN and CATHOLIC ANSWERS didn’t consider Progressive Catholic bishops to be legitimate teachers or leaders.

    MOTHER ANGELICA even once condemned Cardinal Mahoney live on the air. But the Vatican or the Pope never sacked or publicly reprimanded Cardinal Mahoney, and never, will he was in office, restrained him in any way that is known.

    And in 2013, a blood brother, a fellow traveler, of Cardinal Mahoney became pope.

    Progressive Catholics have been bishops-in-good-standing of Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Munich, and Milan. So why couldn’t one be the bishop of Rome too? Well, it’s happened, folks.

  31. Joseph-Mary says:

    I think the men this pope chooses and supports is extremely telling. He drives the agenda.

  32. HeatherPA says:

    Pope Francis may well drive the agenda and may be well aware of all that happens, but God Almighty is in charge.

    It does us all well to keep that foremost in mind when these things threaten our peace.

    He knows what He is allowing to happen and what we deserve to have happen to us.

    Pray, fast, give alms and trust in the Lord.

  33. Traductora says:

    Barto, I think you’re absolutely right, and that was a very interesting connection between Transcendentalism and Progressivism and this pope. In the Catholic Church, Transcendentalism/Progressivism took the form of Modernism. There was a subset referred to as “Americanism,” which was Modernist in its thinking but with a local touch.

    Modernism was never stamped out, since the famous oath meant nothing to a genuine Modernist, who could easily take it with a few mental gymnastics. And sometimes it caught genuinely evangelical, non-Americanist people, such as Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulists (an order which degenerated to something unrecognizable after 1968, but was wonderful before then). He wanted to use certain “American” techniques, such as street preaching, but was not Americanist in doctrine.

    So I see VII in the context of Modernism (capitalized to indicate that I’m talking about the heresy), and unfortunately, I think Pope Francis is its full flowering.

    He’s not a Liberation Theology person, but not totally hostile to them either. In fact, I think this even has something to do with the married clergy thing. Leonardo Boff, the main LT proponent, left the priesthood and married some years ago, and I have read – I don’t know how reliable it is – that many people like him, possibly including Boff himself, are petitioning to come back. So this gives a whole different dimension to it. Cdl Tagle of Manila, widely thought to be Pope Francis’ hand-picked successor, shares this opinion.

    That said, it’s silly to think that the Pope is being “mistranslated” or “misunderstood.” He was a very autocratic ruler of his archdiocese in Argentina, known for his hatred of traditionalists and his love of himself (his humble self, that would be) and the feeling that he was above mere laws, his penchant for the media and his closeness to the state. I understand the many varieties spoken Spanish and read it as well as I do my native language, and I read and understand formal Italian (that is, an educated speaker speaking on a topic, not somebody selling me something on the streets of Naples!) almost as well. And the translations have all been accurate, although naturally each translator will attempt to pick the phrase that to his or her mind most encapsulates the speaker’s idea in the translator’s language. Sometimes they will vary, but they never vary much in terms of their overall meaning.

    The Pope is not being manipulated. For one thing, he has brought in most of his closest associates from Argentina and Brazil, and if the Germans wanted to “manipulate” him in some way that he didn’t want or that Cdl. Maradiaga or Abp. Fernandez didn’t want…well, it wouldn’t happen.

    He has his own agenda. I think he sincerely believes it is for the best, but his definition of “best” may not be that of the rest of us.

  34. Robbie says:

    I think there’s a, somewhat, consistent theme that comes from Monday Vatican and it’s that the Pope is being played like a fiddle by those who are closest to him. In other words, the Pope may lean slightly to the left, but the hard charging progressives and liberals, with whom he’s surrounded himself, are playing on his kindness and steering him a hard left direction that he otherwise wouldn’t take.

    Well, I agree with Dr. Peters. I don’t buy it. I think the Pope is fully in command and what we see from Rome is exactly what he wants us to see. I think the argument that the Pope is being “handled” doesn’t hold water just as the idea that he was a closet conservative never did either. The Pope is a jumble, but he’s firmly in command.

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    He has made enough statements that tell us where he stands on matters and his actions support his words. He does not like “traditionalists” and recently stated they should not be admitted to seminaries. This is not a fluke with him. He means it. Personally I don’t feel cherished by Pope Francis because I am not yet quite as materially poor as people are in ghettos of Buenos Aires, and with my traditionalist bent I am sure he wouldn’t like me, he has basically said so. I feel invisible to this Pope because I don’t fall into one of his preferred categories. I’ll have to wait and hope for better things.
    My impression is he knows how to get accomplished what he wants, and he is working on it. He has lots of help and loads of encouragement from progressives, the folks he likes and with whom he agrees. They are going to want to seize this opportunity, this is their moment, their chance. They won’t miss it.
    The College of Cardinals put him in the Vatican. They gave him a four minute standing ovation at the end of the Synod. They saw something in him they wanted, and they’ve got it. We traditionalists seem a bit of a remnant, maybe that “smaller church” Pope Benedict mentioned. How small, is the question I often ask myself. Do we have impressive numbers, or are we a tiny minority? This is going to impact decisions just as much as it does in political circles, because the takeaway from this past two years is, everything is political, and there is a hair’s difference between politics in straight political circles and politics as it is practiced in the church right up to and including the Vatican. Let’s face it, we’re just a bunch of PEOPLE.

  36. Priam1184 says:

    I agree with Norah: the Holy Father can in no ways be classified as naive, although anyone being thrust into the massive media maelstrom that is life in the Vatican nowadays is going to stumble one or two or twenty or thirty times.

    And yeah there are people in the shadows with their nefarious plots and designs who will try to use the Holy Father’s way of speaking against both him and the Church. After watching the revolutionaries who are active within the hierarchy go into overdrive the last couple of years I begin to suspect that they think, for whatever reason, that their time is running out and if they don’t get everything they have set out to achieve now then it will never happen for them. Take that for what it’s worth but that is they way it seems to me.

    It occurred to me the other day that the year after next will mark half a millennium since Martin Luther nailed that stupid piece of paper to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Maybe the flood of garbage in the world we have had to deal with since that day will soon have run its course.

  37. BobP says:

    1968 was the year before the internet was born. Things are now being disseminated much faster than back then. Unfortunately so do errors.

  38. Long-Skirts says:

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Church…Pope Francis!!!!!!

  39. Norah says:

    At least in 1968 there were the Fr. Ratzinger-s and Bishop Wojtyla-s in the world, along with the majority of the faithful, who remembered the way things were. Now, the majority of the faithful (and, most likely the majority of the clergy) have never known what was lost.

    This is exactly what has happened. Congregations no longer think there is anything wrong with chattering before and after Mass and as they go down to Communion – it has always been so. The people in the pews no longer think there is anything wrong with putting the Host in a Pyx and going shopping before giving Jesus to the homebound. – it has always been so.
    Parents think that it is ok to hold the children’s end of year party in the church and for the photographer to stand on the altar to take pictures – it has always been so. Children receiving First Holy Communion are invited to stand around the altar when the Host is being consecrated – it has always been so.

    I am old enough to remember how it used to be and I weep.

  40. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thanks to Latin Mass Type for linking Mark de Vries’s translation of the Archbishop Gänswein interview! I had only seen something quoted from it, before, and it is very good to read side by side with the article under consideration, here. Mark de Vries also handily links the original, the rather sensational headline of which he has not translated!

    Archbishop Gänswein seems very circumspect and candid at once! (as in that exchange quoted above, about the ‘use of the media’: “Q: ‘Also more skilfully?’ Abp. Gänswein: ‘Yes, he uses them very skilfully’ – adeptly not affirming the condescending comparative (“more” than pope Benedict), frankly affirming the skill).

    Are we to say he is spinningly indulging in a ‘ “Francis is a secret conservative” glurge’ as someone calls it above, or is there simply good eye-witness testimony, there (including when he answers thw question “Who are actually his closest advisors?” with “This question always and consistently goes around. I don’t know”)?

    Priam1184 says, “the Holy Father can in no ways be classified as naive”, but I ask again, is Mr. Gagliarducci not speaking of “his naivete” in a naive way himself, but in a distinct sense, which I tried to describe as including a sophomorically injudicious Jesuit sharpness of intelligence?

  41. Traductora says:

    Sigh. Looking back over the comments, I see how hopeful many of us were for awhile. But it seems that the generation of ’68 has come back into power and will be with us always, having apparently discovered the secret of their type of immortality. I read that the Pope is now bringing some of the true Vatican II nightmares out of retirement and appointing them to positions even though they are over retirement age (Cardinal Re, for example). I guess we’re just lucky that Bernardin is no longer with us.

    There is some speculation that he might change the rules so that his favorites can maintain the right to vote and participate and maintain their control no matter what. I think we’ll never be rid of that influence. And it is intentionally being reinstated by the Pope, not being slipped in behind his back in any way.

  42. jbpolhamus says:

    It is as simple as this: Bergoglio, like the 1968 church of which he is a part and I am not, does NOT believe that the Law of Prayer IS, in fact, the Law of Belief. He is wrong, and his pontificate will reap the same bitter fruits as those of Paul VI and John Paul II: perversity, pederasty, scandal, disillusionment, and decline. He is like a committed Communist, who refuses to recognize that each successive five-year plan fails worse than the one that preceded it, or a self-abuser who never tires of the pointlessness of his non-begetting. As Gerard Manly Hopkins so adroitly wrote, “Birds build – but not I build; no, but strain, time’s eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.” I don’t work to that paradigm anymore. Thanks be to Almighty God for priests that hold fast to tradition and beget the church of the future from it.

  43. Bosco says:

    Catholic News Service reports February 18, 2015 that on Ash Wednesday Francis addressed a ‘crowd’ of 9,000 assembled in St. Peter’s Square to hear him.

    In my estimation, 9,000 is not a big number to hear the Bishop of Rome speak in St. Peter’s Square.

  44. Supertradmum says:

    Bosco, you do not understand or have not followed European news on the ISIS threats for Rome. Tourists are avoiding Rome, and for good reason. The low numbers have nothing to do with the Pope.

    Pray for him. He may very well, imho, be the Pope martyred in St. John Bosco’s vision, as I have said elsewhere.

  45. Bosco says:


    You said: “Bosco, you do not understand or have not followed European news on the ISIS threats for Rome. The low numbers have nothing to do with the Pope.”

    I live in Ireland, Supertradmum, where I watch SKY, Al-Jazeera, RT, France 24, FOX, etc.

    I read the Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, USA Today, and numerous on-line publications every day (I’m retired).

    Thanks for enlightening me about the situation in Europe. I imagine all those folks in November 2014 had an intuition about the ISIS danger when they were in the invisible entourage along the papal parade route during Francis’s visit to the EU parliament in Brussels.

    I don’t know about the humble opinion of anyone who professes to read minds as you seem to suggest you van with mine.


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