The press takes sides before the Synod starts

As Rome wakes up from the summer break, the war for the Synod has begun.  Those who wish changes to Catholic doctrine have allies in the Catholic media and the mainstream media.

You should be aware of what is going on, to motivate you in holy anger and concern.  In the letter to the Galatians heard on Sunday in the Extraordinary Form we hear Paul exhort Christians to use meekness in correction of others.  Meekness is the mean between the extremes of unreasonable anger and not getting angry when you should.

I want you to be a little angry with a holy anger so that you will be motivated to pray and to fast, to bear the self-denial and to be focused.  You also need to overcome the case of Synod Fatigue that is sure to set in pretty soon, if you don’t suffer from it already.

Read the following, closely… don’t just scan.  Read.

First, WaPo is weighing in, identifying the “bad guys” who stand against “reform”.   HERE  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Here is how they start out.

Conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican [Conservatives are the dissenters now, even though they uphold Catholic doctrine.]

Francis Burke WaPo

VATICAN CITY — On a sunny morning earlier this year, a camera crew entered a well-appointed apartment [not “humble” like some apartments!] just outside the 9th-century gates of Vatican City. Pristinely dressed [what the hell does that mean?] in the black robes and scarlet sash of the princes of the Roman Catholic Church, the Wisconsin-born Cardinal Raymond Burke sat in his elaborately upholstered armchair [not “humble” like some armchairs] and appeared to issue a warning to Pope Francis.

A staunch conservative and Vatican bureaucrat, [bureaucrats are mean] Burke had been demoted by the pope a few months earlier, but it did not take the fight out of him. Francis had been backing a more inclusive era, giving space to progressive voices on divorced Catholics as well as gays and lesbians. [He is also the first Pope who has ever smiled or kissed a baby!] In front of the camera, Burke said he would “resist” liberal changes — and seemed to caution Francis about the limits of his authority. “One must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope,” Burke told the French news crew.

Papal power, Burke warned, “is not absolute.” He added, “The pope does not have the power to change teaching [or] doctrine.”

Burke’s words belied a growing sense of alarm among strict conservatives, [not just conservatives… but strict conservatives… they are really mean meanies] exposing what is fast emerging as a culture war [culture warriors are super mean meanies who hate the poor… and gays… and hate kittens and music and flowers and sunlight… like orcs] over Francis’s papacy and the powerful hierarchy that governs the Roman Catholic Church.


It goes on to show photos of “Pope Francis: Acts of humility”.  No…. their not taking sides.

Check out Breitbart on the WaPo piece.    It concludes:

The next time the Washington Post is looking for a writer to report on the Catholic Church, maybe they should ask Dan Brown if he’s free. At least he admits that he writes fiction.

Next, read this piece by Sandro Magister about what is going on with the Jesuit run Civiltà Cattolica, which has a quasi-official status due to its oversight by the Secretariat of State.   These days it is also said that a Jesuit close to Pope Francis is deeply involved with it. HERE

You may weep as you read it.

“La Civiltà Cattolica” Has a New Headquarters. At Santa Marta

ROME, September 8, 2015 – “La Civiltà Cattolica” is not just any magazine. Written exclusively by Jesuits, its proofs always undergo inspection by the Vatican authorities before publication. With Pius XII, it was the pope himself who exercised this supervision and inspired some of the articles. John XXIII left the job to the secretariat of state, and so did his successors.

But with Francis the connection between the pope and the magazine is once again a direct one. The current director of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” Fr. Antonio Spadaro, has a very close and confidential relationship with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, to the point of having become the prince of his interviewers and interpreters. [Don’t freak out.  It is a common practice in Italian journalism to use the baptismal names of Popes.]

Everything that this magazine writes about the synod on the family, therefore, tends to be traced back to him, to Francis.

And in effect, all of the articles published so far on this matter lean in a more or less pronounced form toward supporting that “process” of updating the pastoral care of marriage under the banner of “mercy” which turns out to be the real intention of the pope and which for many – including some writers of “La Civiltà Cattolica” – should be concretized in the admission of the divorced and remarried to communion and in the blessing of homosexual unions.

The latest issue of the magazine and a book it is about to publish are the umpteenth proof of this orientation.


In “La Civiltà Cattolica” of September 12, 2015 there are two articles dedicated to the subject of the synod.


It’s hard to know what Pope Francis wants, but it is pretty clear what some people around Francis wants.

Moreover, the New Yorker has weighed in to smear Andrea Gagliarducci.

And USNews & World Report has, with AP, weighed in to smear Ed Peters.

You may all need to stock up on Scotch before this is over.

Meanwhile, I suggest, instead of Scotch, some fasting and lots of prayer before the Synod starts.  Pray a lot.  Make it a constant and disciplined intention.  Use the Most Holy Rosary.  Ask others to pray and to fast.

For the love of God, invite an army to pray.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, One Man & One Woman, Sin That Cries To Heaven, Synod, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. McCall1981 says:

    Today Francis made two comments that I found (a little) encouraging:

    “the family– as God wills it, composed of a man and a woman in view of the good of the spouses and also of the generation and education of children– is deformed by means of powerful opposing projects sustained from ideological colonization.”


    “(people in failed marriages should) …take part in an appropriate manner in the life of the Church.”

    He didn’t define what “an appropriate manner” means, but at least he’s now implying that there are inappropriate ways to participate (ie, communion for divorced/remarried)

  2. cheezwiz says:

    The “conservative backlash” article is typical Washington Post clickbait, with now over 2600 comments. The comments as usual, are mostly nursery-school level mudslinging. While it’s true that the media’s behavior re: the Synod was/is predictable, WaPo has gotten a lot worse since Bezos took it over. It is not a solid paper anymore (ok, it already left much to be desired!) My question on glancing through this article a few days ago is why was the Berlin bureau chief the guy to write it? I guess he drew the short straw.

  3. majuscule says:

    I read the WaPo article before seeing this post. I have come to expect all the slanted rhetoric from the media. They didn’t disappoint.

    I wondered why they couldn’t find a picture of the Holy Father glaring at Cardinal Burke… The one with the story doesn’t go with the tone of the article. They appear to be standing side by side! They are both looking quite congenial!

    Oh, maybe there isn’t one of them looking at each other like that…and a Photoshop job would be just too much…

  4. rgrutza says:

    A few weeks ago, I started praying that the synod would be stopped completely. Could we quote John XXIII here?

  5. ChrisRawlings says:

    Cardinal Muller said this just days ago (in Germany, no less):

    “Whoever is faithful to the teachings of the Church, will be combated in the press and even more vilified as an opponent of the Pope, as it if were not the case that the Pope and all the bishops in communion with him would be witnesses of revealed truth, which was transferred to them for faithful administration so they are not lowered by human beings to human proportion.”

    Yep. Pretty much.

    That is its own cross, of course. The real pity, though, is when some orthodox Catholics actually buy into the prevailing media narrative. From personal experience I assure you that the most soothing remedy is simply stepping away from the keyboard, making an act of faith, and realizing that your average J-school, if it still exists, educates young journalists about the Church and the paradigm by which it should be understood perhaps even less than, say, your local mosque does.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Nah, that twern’t a smear. But they did eisegetically read “happily” into my concerns for married couples: “Pope Francis’ new reform of the church’s marriage annulment process raises serious legal questions and could lead to ‘crises of conscience’ for even happily-married Catholics.” Now, the list of fast-track annulment factors might impact happily married couples, but I did not specify them and, in fact, I am more concerned about the impact the list will have on sort-of-happily married couples. They are more prone to self-doubt, etc.

    [I think they are trying to paint you as one of the kooks who is against Francis and, therefore, against, mercy, compassion, kittens, birthday cakes, sunlight on flowers….]

  7. Robbie says:

    I suspect the vast majority of those who read this site are much like me. My holy anger and concern has been elevated for some time. I read the piece in the Washington Post the other night and, actually, felt heartened by it. It buoyed my spirits because now I know there are those in the Vatican and elsewhere who are willing to stand up and fight. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure whether that would be the case. I fear we may be on the losing side in many of the fights to come, but I’m glad to know we have Cardinals and Bishops willing to stand up to so much of the nonsense that seems to be coming fast and furiously.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Oh. Re kittens, at any rate, guilty. The rest I can live with.

  9. Mike says:

    Just another reason I cancelled and will not renew my subscription to WaP0. They have literally offered me emails with 80% discounts on their rates. Definitely a sign of crisis in their accounts office. They can’t give their paper away!

    I would suggest offering prayers silently at the Consecration of each Mass we attend for a proper outcome of the Synod. I have found that moment to be an awesome opportunity for beseeching our Lord for favors.

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    The longest and best video I have seen with Polish subtitles:
    Kryzys. Dok?d zaprowadzi nas synod? / Crisis. Where will the synod lead us to?k. (video: 41 min. 25 sec.).

    The observation regarding whose Church this is is priceless.

  11. iamlucky13 says:

    I like the photo captions in the Washington Post article the best, which convey so much more than the few words in each:

    “In a groundbreaking interview with Jesuit magazines, Francis, when asked to describe himself, replied: ‘I am a sinner.’

    …where as any Catholic who suggested any previous pope was not immaculately conceived was subjected to an inquisition and possible excommunication.

    “I’ll personally baptize the baby of a single mom The pope responded in September to a letter from a pregnant woman whose married boyfriend didn’t want to have a baby.”

    …thereby overturning the longstanding church law forbidding priests from baptizing children of single mothers.

    “Pope Francis’s July 29 comments on homosexuality contrasted with those of his predecessors. In a wide-ranging talk, he reached out to gay people and said he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation.”

    …The informal but presumably authoritative comments are thought to be the only statement Pope Francis has ever made on homosexuality, and most certainly did not begin with any sort of conditional “if” statement.

    “He is the first pope to take the name of the saint known for his devotion to humility and to the poor”

    …A start contrast to Saint Benedict, for example, the patron saint of proud capitalists, who’s name was adopted by 16 popes. Furthermore, by focusing on the virtue of mercy, he distinguishes himself from 14 previous popes who took the name Clement, which presumably means something effectively the opposite of “mercy.”

    “Unlike his predecessor, Pope Francis said he would spend most of his summer at work in steamy Rome rather than at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo”

    Vatican insiders confirmed the decision had nothing to do with the fact that Pope Francis grew up in hot and humid Buenos Aires and is acclimated to such weather, which is extremely similar to that in Rome, while his predecessor grew up in mild Bavaria.

    “To sum up: Simpler church needs humbler pope”

    …In fact, we’re tired of being subtle, so maybe we’ll just come right out and call predecessors like Benedict XVI and John Paul II arrogant.

  12. Pingback: On Pope Francis and Church Integrity - Big Pulpit

  13. JonPatrick says:

    Unfortunately(?) it seems the WaPo now puts up a pop-up preventing you from reading their articles until you have handed over your email account to them so they can send you daily spam. So I guess I’ll have to depend on others’ summaries of the article in question, and go to the Examiner to read any actual news.

  14. DonL says:

    Looks to me like “scribes” haven’t changed much since Biblical days.

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