The Pope wants to hear from you. No. Really. He wants the “sensus fidelium”.

I haven’t followed the Pope’s South American trip, other than his statements about the “dumb” people and about a certain unpopular bishop.

However, Ed Pentin – who is reliable – says that the Holy Father apparently wants to hear from the faithful.

Pentin includes a link about how to write to the Pope.

I haven’t seen the text of the speech in which the Pope said this, but Pentin is reliable.

Soooo…. writing to the Pope (or bishops or priests for that matter).

He wants to hear the sensus fidelium?  The sensus fidei fidelium?  The “sense of the faithful”? Here’s what I say.

First, in order to have the sensus fidelium something is absolutely necessary as a precondition: The Faith.  You have be faithful in order to participate and express the sensus fidelium.

Second, there may be a lot of people who write to the Pope who really don’t have the sensus fidelium because they are not, in fact, faithful.

Address the envelope to

His Holiness
Pope Francis


  • Do NOT put Italy on the envelope.  If you do, Italian post will handle it and.. well… enough said.
  • While handwritten letters seem more personal, typed or printed are easier to read.
  • Keep it BRIEF.  ONE side of ONE page.
  • Do NOT be disrespectful.
  • Do NOT tell the Pope what his job is.
  • Go ahead and tell him what you feel.  Don’t be crazy.
  • Go ahead and ask him for what you want.  Don’t be stupid or unrealistic.
  • End the letter with a promise of prayers.
  • Make sure your own address is on the letter, not just the envelope.
  • Sign your real name.
  • Include your email and your phone number.

If you write, adhere to these tips.  Seriously.  You’ll multiply your chances of being read and taken seriously.

Finally, were I Pope, or when I will be Pope, I would consider this to be an Extremely Bad Idea™.

First, it gives the impression that, after receiving letters and messages, etc., something might be changed.

Second, it gives the impression that dogmas are changeable based on the prevalent view or desire of some well-organized lobby.

One of the problems with the Kasperites is, as Thomas Stark explained (HERE) is that Kasper, and people around Francis, have substituted philosophy with politics.  They don’t have objective underpinnings, premises and procedures.  They have polls.


Why might one write?

1 – To write such a letter requires you to understand well what you think, or feel, or desire to ask.   It is, in itself, a good exercise.  In a way, it is a type of examination of conscience.

2 – The recipient is unpredictable.  He has been known to call people by phone out of the blue.

3 – You never know what impact many letters consistently saying the similar things will have.

4 – He won’t be able to plead ignorance of what many Catholics think and feel when he goes before the Lord for his judgment.  And if his minions shield him from the truth, then they will be held accountable before God.

5 – Maybe it will make a difference.  You don’t know.  If you don’t write, it won’t be your letter that is the final straw.  It’s like the lottery.  Your odds are not good.  But you will not win if you don’t by a ticket.

Lest weakness or defeatism get the better of some of you… Paul wrote to the Romans (we read this today at the Sunday TLM):

Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as far as in you lies, be at peace with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is Mine: I will repay, says the Lord. But, If your enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío! and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    He does not want to hear from anyone who recognizes the truth and has little patience extending ecclesiastical deference to fraudulence.
    We’ve done that far, far too long.
    Dialogue only extends the agony at this point.

    [MAN UP! Don’t be so defeatist. Goodness gracious.]

  2. Justalurkingfool says:

    I’d rather spend the time sleeping. It is far more productive.

    [As per your username? I wonder if this is the same approach as those who stay at home instead of going out to vote. The other side will be busy.]

  3. Veritatis Splendor says:

    Father, how would one go about affixing postage to such a letter?

    [I suppose that depends upon how you post it.]

  4. jaykay says:

    I think the Sensus Fidelium was pretty well expressed by rather a lot of people in Washington in recent days. But that’s actually going out and doing something, as opposed to writing. Yes, it’s important to put things in writing (as opposed to ephemeral media) but really… what an absurdity. How much opinion contra the zeitgeist is going to reach him anyway, given the current set-up?

    Nah, maybe just too cynical here, but I don’t go with it.

    About 10,000 people will express the Sensus Fidelium on the long, hard, gruelling Chartres pilgrimage next May. That’s my kind of expression of the S.F.

  5. thomas tucker says:

    Tell him what we feel, or what we think?

    [Write one or the other. Write both. I suspect he cares more about the one than about the other. Write what is the most effective.
    In other words, be smart.]

  6. Fr_Andrew says:

    When I was last in Rome a few years ago, I had heard that the Italian post is the analogical equivalent of a vitandus.

    As a test, I sent a card from the Vatican Post Office and an identical one from the Italian post, just outside the Vatican back to the U.S.

    It was about 8 days for the Vatican Post.

    Three weeks later the card via Italy had not yet arrived … and never did.

  7. majuscule says:

    ¡Hagan lio!

    Or not…

  8. iPadre says:

    The Vatican post office might want to hire a few extra workers, and maybe rent a very large hall for the influx of mail. An those who have to read it all, well, more jobs there also.

  9. ServusChristi says:

    My archdiocese sent a survey to all the youth in all the parishes last year. Though I tried not to sound like a doom and gloom prophet, I wrote down my experiences in parishes around the diocese and saw that the youth seemed to have lost a sense of the sacred, mass seemed like a weekly chore, and the youth in general are not being catechized or given religious instruction which I believe is the cause of many young adults not coming to mass after high school. I sincerely hope my concerns are heard and that enough youth around the world share my concerns though what I’ve said may not qualify as ‘hip’ or ‘charitable’.

    [This polling of the youth will surely be rigged. However, the letter thing could provide “hot coals” which we read about today during Holy Mass.]

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    Some older etiquette books claim that there is a final line to the address:


    This US government page does not have this possible detail, but agrees that Vatican City is not in Italy:

    [Yes one can add EUROPE, but these days it doesn’t make any difference. However, it would not hurt to post it at the post office.]

  11. billy15 says:

    I actually think this is pretty cool. Might as well take advantage of it.

    I think I might honestly answer a question he had in that collection of essays and interviews that came out at the end of 2016. He was interviewed by Fr. Spadaro about the EF, and the Holy Father answered:

    ” I always try to understand what is behind those individuals who are too young to have lived the pre-Conciliar liturgy, and who want it nonetheless.”

    I’d like to tell him why I want and enjoy the EF despite not living in pre-Conciliar times, and why I believe my generation needs to experience their Latin traditions.

  12. grateful says:

    Here is some mailing info: Dear Pope Francis, Please could you get the East and West on the same calendar
    to celebrate Easter on the same date. Thank You

  13. Benedict Joseph says:

    It is well documented almost on a daily basis that Pope Francis speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He doesn’t want to hear that or any other honest and accurate critique of his pontificate. What he doesn’t want to hear he consigns to the ridged Pharisee bucket. This is merely another distract and deceive operation.
    “Throw the dogs a bone.”
    If he is serious, the expeditious means of determining the concerns of laity is to have staff review from the past five years comments in a range of Catholic websites, and hard copy papers and journals as well as receiving with genuine openness the reports of the episcopate.
    Do it. Be still. Stop the performance art. You do the work. Asking people to sit down and write a letter to this character is beyond the pale. Spending time attempting to rouse a self satisfied “progressive” episcopate and its trophy pontificate is stomach churning. After decades it is amply manifest these people are riding their own boards and hold the faithful laity in utter contempt.
    My tool bar indicates I’ve contributed 822 pages of comments to Catholic websites in the past five years. Rest assured, this author is consigned to the pious knuckle dragger pit by the Bergoglians.
    Most of us are way beyond capacity for “Dear” Holy Father. Way, way beyond. That is not discouragement, but simple recognition of the reality that is ours.
    All he need do is abandon his leftwing ideological bubble and get real. Get faithful to Holy Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the perennial Magisterium of the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ.
    Honestly, this man must be the most tragic figure in human history.

  14. LarryW2LJ says:

    Thanks for the tips, Fr. Z. I guess I’ll give it a shot. I’ve got nothing to lose and I guess the worst that can happen is that my letter could possibly end up in a circular file. But the bright side is that some day, I can look at Jesus and unhesitatingly say, “I tried.”

  15. Ad Orientem says:

    For those inclined to the more traditional form of address…

    * The ink must always be black; coloured inks are forbidden; first, because they are contrary to traditional usage, and next because they are liable to changes, having, for the most part, a basis of aniline or of animal oil; moreover, these inks on being exposed to the light lose colour rapidly and soon make the letter impossible to read.

    The letter must be written as our fathers wrote, and not, as business letters are now sometimes written, first on the right hand sheet and then on the left, in inverse order to that of the leaves of a book. This is expressly laid down in an instruction issued by Propaganda when Monsignor Ciasca was secretary, and rests on the necessity of providing for the due order of the archives and for facility of classification.

    Lastly, it is better not to write on the back of the sheet, as the ink may soak through the paper and make the document less easy to read; in any case, it is a rule of politeness to facilitate the reading of a letter in every possible way.

    Ten years ago the use of a typewriter was not permissible; at the present day it is. Many decrees of the Congregation of Rites are written in this way; the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars allow it in the case of documents addressed to them, and other ecclesiastical courts have followed their example, but letters addressed to the Sovereign Pontiff personally must still be written by hand. If the letter be sealed, red wax must be used, any other colour, or even black, being forbidden; but the use of wafers, made to look like seals of red wax, which are gummed on to the envelope, is now tolerated. Moreover, according to the practice of the ecclesiastical chanceries, the seal used should be smaller in proportion to the dignity of the person addressed. In practice, however, it is not easy to follow this rule, since it is not everyone who possesses seals of different sizes.
    * The Sovereign Pontiff is addressed at the commencement of a letter as “Most Holy Father” (Beatissimo Padre); in the body of the letter as “His Holiness” (Sua or Vostra Santità). It is customary to speak to him always in the third person, and the letter ends with: “Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, I have the honour to profess myself, with the most profound respect, Your Holiness’s most humble servant.”

    If, instead of a letter, a petition is sent to the Sovereign Pontiff, to be examined by him or by one of the Roman Congregations, it should begin: “Most Holy Father, Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, the undersigned N., of the diocese of N., has the honour to set forth as follows:” — and the statement of the request ends with the words: “And may God . . .” (meaning, “May God enrich Your Holiness with His gifts”). If written in Italian the petition ends with the formula, Che della grazia . . ., the beginning of a phrase implying that the favour asked is looked for from the great kindness of the Sovereign Pontiff. After folding the petition lengthways to the paper, the petitioner should write at the top, “To His Holiness, Pope N. . . . .”; in the middle, “for the petitioner” (per l’infrascritto oratore), and at the bottom, to the right, the name of the agent, or the person charged with the transaction of that particular business at the Roman court.


    [That was interesting from the point of view of history. However, friends, if you write to the Pope, DON’T write like that. Think about who this Pope is. The point of writing would be to have an effect, to attain a goal. Shape the message thusly.]

  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear Fr Andrew,


    I was told, a couple of years ago, that there is indeed the old theory of the Vatican Post being much quicker, but this was no longer the case; you would still use it on account of the stamps, but as for actual quickness, the Italian one was better. And that squared, then, with my own experiences.

    But, as I say, a couple of years ago.

  17. Sixupman says:

    Nothing for me to say – except a good laugh for the truth.

  18. Andrew says:

    If I was to write, it would go something like this:

    Your Holiness: I know you get a lot of letters so I will make this brief and to the point. Here is what I suggest: a grille in a confessional, a tabernacle in a central location, a communion rail, ad orientem worship, Gregorian chant, organ music, Latin, a laity not interested in doing clerical tasks and a clergy not interested in matters pertaining to the laity. As for the rest: I don’t expect the Church to do away with all hardship and to make my earthly life utterly enjoyable: my overall interest is focused on eternal salvation, in comparison to which everything else seems to be of negligible importance. That includes affordable medical care, job opportunities, academic or professional recognition, a good retirement, political entitlements, citizenships, and the like, none of which can make me either just or unjust. Chastity, on the other hand, can make all the difference as to my eternal destiny, hence I find it to be much more important.

    But I think it is too simple. Something is missing.

  19. Ave Maria says:

    I am sorry but I do not accept that the pope wants to hear from the FAITHFUL. He does hear from others though to an extent (Kasper, etc.) but he did not hear a million rosary campaign, he did not hear the Dubia, he does not hear fraternal correction, and he persecutes faithful Orders…so, no I do not believe he will hear the faithful.

  20. Justalurkingfool says:

    I’d rather spend the time sleeping. It is far more productive.

    [As per your username? I wonder if this is the same approach as those who stay at home instead of going out to vote. The other side will be busy.]

    I think that you know how involved I have been in trying to address, for a long time, what has been going on. And I think you know what I have faced and how little fruit there is to show for it. perhaps it has slipped your mind because I do know how busy you seem to be.

    BTW, I voted for TRUMP. I did not stay at home.

    If there was a gathering of the worlds bishops and I was a speaker and I was given free reign to speak frankly and honestly, and if the IQ’s of my audience was higher that 85, which is what I think most clerics IQ’s are by their choices and behaviors, especially among the bishops, the Catholic Church would never be the same again. If they followed Christ, the turnabout would be immediate and historic. If they followed Satan as they do, nothing would change and I would continue to be ignored.

    It is THAT simple.



  21. WVC says:

    I will respectfully write to the Holy Father, as requested, but does anyone know how to send something to Cardinal Burke? I wanted to send notes of encouragement to both Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Sarah, and while Cardinal Sarah’s address appears to be as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship I’m at a loss as to how to find Cardinal Burke’s address. I’m also not 100% sure on how to reach Pope Emeritus Benedict. Any advice on how to find those addresses would be greatly appreciated.

  22. chantgirl says:

    I would be tempted to send the Pope 5 questions which have been echoing all over the world and have not yet been answered.

  23. george says:

    Thank you for the post, Father. I will write a short letter to His Holiness and hope that he reads it.

  24. doubtingesteban says:

    Hi Father, I’m a little confused as to how you can advise us not to be disrespectful in our own letters, but then imply that the Pope has something to fear from God’s judgment or will need to “plead ignorance” of the needs of the faithful, and that he has “minions” to shield him from unpleasant things (presumably including the truths that you think he needs to be told). I’m also alarmed that you let stand comments that are even more egregiously disrespectful of the Pope, such as Benedict Joseph’s above. I apologize for not phrasing this comment more tactfully, I’m not a great writer and it’s hard for me to get my point across sometimes. But I think that even if we disagree with the Pope, it seems like we should be reverent and respectful of him and consign our discussion of disagreements to the issues themselves, rather than casting aspersions (implied or actual) upon the man. Thank you for allowing me to comment here.

    [A couple points. Catholics should not be sycophantic toadies, perpetually tugging their forelocks to the clergy, including the Pope. Respect doesn’t imply prostrate forfeiture of reason and will. Catholics have the right and, sometimes, the duty to make their concerns known to their pastors in a respectful way. Moreover, you should see a) the comboxes of lib sites and some trad sites and b) I don’t let a lot of comments through. Lastly, the fact that I let this comment through is an exception: I do not permit discussion of my combox policies. So, that ends this here.]

  25. tho says:

    My request of The Holy Father is that he would make a exception and advance Father Zuhlsdorf to the title of Monsignor Zuhlsdorf. A title he richly deserves. I was going to say rank but backed off and used title.
    I am only kidding, even though it would be a good move.

  26. streamer85 says:

    “Sensus Fidelium?” Sounds sort of political; floating a balloon or pointing a wet finger in the air. Our Holy Father may get a sense of his flocks feelings and views. Jim

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