CRISIS on The Francis Effect

At Crisis today, there is a no-holds-barred piece in the wake of the seriously disappointing Rome “summit” that concluded recently. Jonathan B. Coe is the author.

Understanding and Combating the Francis Effect

This is a brutally blunt offering.

The first part is a warm up, emphases added:

Early in his pontificate the Catholic Left gushed about the Francis Effect, which mainly reflected their hopes and dreams that the new Holy See would advance their “progressive” agenda. Progressive is usually code for departing from the teachings of Scripture and Tradition. And they predicted this would attract new converts and reverts who had been kept away, in their view, by the retrograde policies of his immediate predecessors.

Honest observers of his reign during the last five years would agree that the what of his agenda has been to pull the Church to the left in many ways, albeit with substantial ambiguity, as evidenced by Amoris Laetitia and many other public statements. Honesty would also dictate that the how of his pontificate, his modus operandi or leadership style, has been to use control, manipulation, and other dictatorial measures to accomplish his goals along with stonewalling, obfuscation, and subterfuge when needed.

A fine Machiavellian tool box has been assembled. This was all on display at the recent dog and pony show called the sex abuse summit in Rome where the root cause of the pestilence (homosexual activity and predation in the priesthood), its effects (the abuse of men who are not children) and the depraved legacy of Theodore McCarrick, and those who protected him, were all swept under the rug.

It wasn’t that the prelates failed to talk about the elephant in the room; they averted their eyes from an entire herd.

[…]

Does he get more blunt as he makes his case?

Oh yes.

Go there and read the whole thing.

Discuss.

The moderation queue is ON and thoughtful comments will be welcomed.

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39 Responses to CRISIS on The Francis Effect

  1. Amerikaner says:

    Bishop Fulton J.Sheen, pray for us.

  2. HighMass says:

    How does one say this without sounding angry or vindictive, bottom line Francis and His Gang need to step down, cupich, etc. for the better of the church. Bottom line is they won’t go without an ugly fight.

    Our Lady of the Clergy,Pray for us

  3. pjm88 says:

    Sound supernatural strategy given that God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud.

  4. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    We need to look at our turmoil in the Church as a penance, a much needed penance unfortunately. We’ve been told time and again to pray for our Church leaders, bishops, priests and popes. How many of us have prayed? How many of us have had Masses said for our priests? Make no mistake: We may not have abused children but we have abused our responsibility as members of His Church.

    From fifty or so years ago to the present the Church has incrementally watered down our faith and we sat in the pew and said nothing. Our Churches were stripped bare and we said nothing. The communion rail came down and again we said nothing. Friday’s were no longer (as most of us were told then) a day of fasting and instead of sitting in the pew silently the pew sitters cheered!

    The whole sacrificial nature of the Faith was stripped and we said nothing. We, the laity are just as responsible for our crisis as the perverted priests that have damaged our Church. In the Old Testament it was the whole nation of Israel, priests and people alike that were punished by God for going astray, not just a select few.

    Bear this penance with faith and humility. God will come through. We may not like this punishment but then again punishment is not meant to be liked.

    Pray for our Church and nation

  5. VP says:

    For OrdinaryCatholic:

    But I am “just as responsible for our crisis” as a perverted priest who sexually molests a 10-year-old boy? Really? Was I in the room too?

    We should indeed pray and sacrifice for clergy, Church, and country. We should daily ask for orthodoxy from our parish priests and bishops. But I won’t take responsibility if they (as is too often the case) refuse to live up to their vows, preach well, and permit poor catechesis. I’ll do my part. I can’t do theirs.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    He should have been confronted when he kneeled to kiss the feet of Muslims but then would not kneel to Christ in the Holy Eucharist and still does not.
    Who is going to confront Peter to the face, man, or God. That is the question.

  7. THREEHEARTS says:

    VP…..Have you actively done anything about this sinful perversion we are all hearing about have you written, phoned, or demonstrably spoken or acted against it. Then you are in error for condoning it

  8. HighMass says: How does one say this without sounding angry or vindictive, bottom line Francis and His Gang need to step down, cupich, etc. for the better of the church. Bottom line is they won’t go without an ugly fight.

    Psalm 36 (or 37):35-36.

  9. bigtex says:

    OrdinaryCatholic,
    Your argument stinks to high heaven of clericalism, knock it off. This is the same garbage the Church hierarchy is using to place the blame on the laity, instead of where it belongs: the homosexual infiltration of the priesthood, and the Communist/Modernist takeover of the Church which culminated in Vatican II. Yes prayer and penance are essential, but we have to raise our consciousness as to how we got here and why, that’s why I keep bringing up the JQ.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Jonathan Coe neglects to address the issue of Catholic’s humbly submitting to legitimate ecclesiastical authority since 1958. It is that humble submission which has allowed this grotesque to exercise a scandalous authority in the Church of Christ.
    Malarkey, bold deception, nefarious agendas, and submission to ecclesiastical authority exercised mendaciously have pinned our mouths shut and allowed this sacrilege to metastasize to a degree none of us thought we would witness in human history – let alone our lifetimes.
    Humble submission to poorly concealed heresy camouflaged in a white cassock is not the answer. A bold rebuke by the worldwide episcopate – those who remain faithful the perennial Magisterium of the Church – is what is required.
    Having lived through the agonizing council and post-conciliar period I cannot convey adequately the enormous sense of relief the election of Karol Wojtyla brought to those with any regard for Roman Catholicism. I was a raging “progressive” in 1978, as far out as you can get, and even I recognized the need for the steady hand of a genius to navigate those treacherous waters. In a way it was worse then than it is now because the chaos was still relatively new.
    If you weren’t there you have no idea of how foul life in the Church was at the time. Ten years into his pontificate I was getting my land legs again. Fifteen years into it I was griping because he was not adequately correcting abuses. I was a Roman Catholic again and enduring the retaliatory reflex reactions of the left. They never relinquished power on the local level and God help you if you weren’t under the covers with them. The vindictiveness of left-wing katholic fascism is never to be underestimated. But I remembered how it was from 1965 to 1978 and things were so much better I could not fault John Paul. He was turning around a big ship conscientiously. Unfortunately his view was grievously inadequate. His drive to salvage the council and rescue it from the distortions foisted upon it in its wake blinded him.
    And I mean blinded – black as pitch.
    Tragically, salvaging what was good in the conciliar enterprise took precedence over the elimination of heresy and its advocates.
    His episcopal appointments were far too often utterly absurd and we live with that filth to this day. It is running the show. He was a thinker, not an administrator. He was an honest man, not a reptile. The zeitgeist is a big ocean and he thought the icebergs he was avoiding were the only ones.
    His theological reflection was at times genius, and that was supported by Joseph Ratzinger’s. He was a man of authentic depth spirituality and genuine pastoral sensitivity. He was the man for the time, but he didn’t do it perfectly. Benedict XVI could have been the jewel in the John Paul “setting,” but he ran…
    John Paul’s ecumenical focus was at least “flawed.” Again, blinders. He wanted to believe in the good intentions of protestantism – but you can’t get blood out of a stone. There is nothing there, there, and his good will prevented him from acknowledging that.
    Could he have done better? Undoubtedly.
    Is Benedict to be rebuked for jumping ship? You bet. But thank God we had them for the time we did, and hopefully a real man with some of their fidelity and depth will be soon on the Chair of St. Peter again.
    Sometimes it is all relative but compared to anything this moment in Church history requires far more than humble comportment.

  11. SKAY says:

    I appreciate your comment Benedict Joseph.
    Thank you.

    Thank you also for this post Father Z.
    I am so grateful for this blog.

  12. WVC says:

    I think we all need to make an extra effort this Lent. The Church needs our penance. We need our penance. Be bold, and if you think you’re making a sacrifice too great, then you’re on the right path.

  13. Felipe says:

    Lord please send us another St Catherine of Siena

  14. TonyO says:

    How many of us have prayed? How many of us have had Masses said for our priests? Make no mistake: We may not have abused children but we have abused our responsibility as members of His Church.

    Ummmmm, OrdinaryCatholic, who is this “we” of whom you speak?

    It is not my parents, who were on the forefront of the battle in our parish during the VII era. It is not my peers who wrote letters to their pastors and the bishop when they heard about homosexual shenanigans in the seminary, and who withheld donations until changes were made. It is not the homeschoolers, who have bent themselves into pretzels to make up for the degenerate “catholic” schools who have fallen down on the job (and who stand up to abuse from pastors who declaim that these parents are “keeping out the kids that these schools ‘deserve’ to help them stay afloat”).

    From fifty or so years ago to the present the Church has incrementally watered down our faith and we sat in the pew and said nothing.

    On the contrary, we spoke up, and the pastor gave us a song-and-dance. And we wrote to the bishop, and he gave us the proverbial pat-on-the-back “now go along and let the grown-ups take care of things” attitude.

    Can you be a little more careful with your use of “we” and not try to charge the entire lay faithful?

  15. TonyO says:

    Benedict-Joseph, you have said a great deal that is entirely correct. JPII was a great man, a great pope too, but made serious mistakes.

    And I mean blinded – black as pitch.
    Tragically, salvaging what was good in the conciliar enterprise took precedence over the elimination of heresy and its advocates.

    Another of his errors, one that is (in my opinion) more personally objectionable was his response to Archbishop Lefebvre and the trad mass problem. Even if Pope Paul of unhappy ministerial memory left him a stinking pile of manure, and even if JPII was left holding the bag on a terrible situation with regard to the doubt and uncertainty many TLM-leaning Catholics had about the priests who wanted to say the TLM mass even without explicit permission, HE HAD THE POWER to fix it up. All he had to do was USE that power in a positive way – just for example, in the way Benedict did in SP. Reports are that he instigated a quiet commission of cardinals to study whether (like Michael Davies and many TLM supporters claimed) the old mass had never been abrogated, obrogated, or derogated, and (according to rumor only) they reported that the TLM supporters were right – and he never acted on this.

    Another error (which has given Francis cover for his less intelligible phrases) is using church documents like encyclicals and the Catechism to push his own personal preferences, such as on the death penalty. He should have kept his musings in other venues.

  16. JustaSinner says:

    That does it…Sorrowful Mysteries only, until Easter Sunday!

  17. stuart reiss says:

    VP has written a very good comment here publicly. So he HAS done something.

  18. MrsAnchor says:

    Benedict Joseph Thank you for “katholic” I’ve always cringed when speaking about some people having to use the “c” lower case helped.

    If 2+2=5 then I can refer to Pope Francis and anyone else as katholic, right??

  19. MrsAnchor says:

    Here here! What I’ve been saying in my sector all along.
    ••••

    I will add, if these were truely the end times as Emmett O Regan has posited …. And the Tin ? what would everyone be doing?!

  20. Jerome Charles says:

    “Another error (which has given Francis cover for his less intelligible phrases) is using church documents like encyclicals and the Catechism to push his own personal preferences, such as on the death penalty. He should have kept his musings in other venues.” It seems like you’re accusing him of this because what he preaches doesn’t satisfy YOUR personal preferences. But– a Catholic who claims to be pro-life must seriously reflect on their attitudes toward capital punishment. Jesus preached mercy: God’s mercy. Jesus asked God to forgive his murderers. Paul was forgiven for persecuting and murdering Christians and set on a new path. NO ONE is beyond hope if we believe God created and can redeem that person. Capital punishment is killing. It is in direct opposition to the Commandments, the Gospel, and Catholic Social Teaching. Francis is entirely faithful regarding his writing on the death penalty. To say it’s his “personal preference” is ridiculous.

    Every pope has chosen particular subjects to address in their writing. Rather than accusing them of personal agendas, can you possibly consider that they are guided by God–because prayer and discernment is part of their spiritual practices? If you demonize a pope because he challenges your opinions and behaviors–that might be a call to listen more carefully to a prophetic voice.

    And MrsAnchor, to delight in referring to Pope Francis as “katholic” is so disrespectful. If you think this makes you a good Catholic, you’re fooling yourself.

  21. Imrahil says:

    Dear Jerome Charles,

    Capital punishment is killing. It is in direct opposition to the Commandments, the Gospel, and Catholic Social Teaching.

    No. Just no.

    (See, just off the top of my head: Epistle to the Romans; Catechism of the Council of Trent; Catechism of the Catholic Church [pre-Francis]; common sense taking into account that morality must be valid for all times and all situations, not only the present; common consent of both mankind and Catholic theologians until virtually yesterday.)

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Jerome Charles,

    You wrote:

    “Every pope has chosen particular subjects to address in their writing. Rather than accusing them of personal agendas, can you possibly consider that they are guided by God–because prayer and discernment is part of their spiritual practices? If you demonize a pope because he challenges your opinions and behaviors–that might be a call to listen more carefully to a prophetic voice.”

    This is the fallacy of Argumentum ad Novitatem, the appeal to novelty or newness. Just because something is newly espoused does not, necessarily, make it correct. Pope Francis is in no way more highly guided by the Holy Spirit than any other Pope, all of whom, universally, have recognized the moral licitness of Capital Punishment. See Ed Feser and Joseph Bessette: By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, 2019, Ignatius Press, for a summary of the arguments from history and Tradition. I will not rehearse the arguments, here. Needless to say, Capital Punishment is in no ways opposed to God’s mercy. Indeed, the Good Thief recognized that he was being justly put to death, with the Son of God right there, beside him. If Jesus were so opposed to Capital Punishment, He could have easily prevented the Good Thief’s death. He did not. Capital Punishment serves a number of purposes, both retributive and medicinal.

    Pope Francis’s arguments on this issue are incoherent and personalist. They are incoherent because they do not correspond to known facts in criminology (Bessette is a criminology professor); they are personlist because his two immediate predecessors both recognized that the issue was settled in favor of the morality of Capital Punishment, but put forth prudential arguments for its very limited application. Without the situation in the world being very much changed from when these teachings were rendered, Pope Francis has issued a vague statement using a term, “inadmissible,” which he does not define, but as in other cases (Amoris laetitia) leaves it to the imagination of the reader to interpret, with predictable disagreements resulting.

    The Holy Spirit does not play word games. This pontificate has been nothing but a study in word games. It may not be right to demonize a pope because he challenges your opinion, but what happens if he challenges the opinion of the Church or God, Himself? Again, Pope Francis has no superior wisdom to any other Pope, many of whom are saints. Pope Francis seems to have an agenda and that agenda seems so far removed from much of Catholic continuity as to be rapidly approaching a singularity.

    I cannot speak to the behind-the-scenes politics described in this article. It will be exposed to the light at some point, if it exists. One should always have fraternal and paternal charity towards a pope, but charity delights in the truth, so it needs must be supported when it exists and resisted when it does not. Anything else would be a false charity.

    The Chicken

  23. veritas vincit says:

    When I hear someone say, “As a pro-life Catholic, you should be opposed to capital punishment,” my response is, “As a Catholic who opposes capital punishment, you should support the right to life of the unborn and oppose legalized abortion.”

    The Catechism (before Pope Francis’s alteration) echoed St John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”. That document took a nuanced and prudential stance against capital punishment, but a strong, doctrinal (and arguably, infallible) stance against abortion.

    There might be disagreement about capital punishment among Catholics, but there should be no doubt as to which issue has priority for pro-life Catholics (which hopefully includes all Catholics).

  24. Jerome Charles says:

    Imrahil: And none of those are the Commandments, the Gospel, or Catholic Social Teaching. You have your sources, I have mine. The Pope has his, yes?

    Masked Chicken: “Pope Francis is in no way more highly guided by the Holy Spirit than any other Pope, all of whom, universally, have recognized the moral licitness of Capital Punishment.” That may or may not be true. How do you know? In any case, the Holy Spirit could guide different popes differently. We have a Church HISTORY. Things have changed. Our penal system has changed. It’s not a sin for the Church to change–it certainly isn’t a sin to save a criminal’s life if she/he is kept from harming others.

    Capital Punishment is an “agenda.” Mercy is not.

    Veritas Vincit: Did I in any way indicate that I was pro-choice? I am pro-life, from womb to tomb, my friend. That means the unborn, and it means the criminal. It also means people who are poor, mentally ill, elderly, tortured/abused, etc. ALL of them.

    I’m glad I checked in again! Peace to all…

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    bigtex: Here is an interesting article “The Hebrew Bible and the West”

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/03/the_hebrew_bible_and_the_west.html

  26. Semper Gumby says:

    Jerome Charles wrote:

    “Capital Punishment is an “agenda.””

    Viewed that way, your opinion on the matter is also an “agenda.” You may be interested in previous posts here on capital punishment.

    “Mercy is not.”

    Occasionally it is, when there are ulterior motives.

  27. Imrahil says:

    You have your sources, I have mine. The Pope has his, yes?

    There is only one truth.

  28. Imrahil says:

    And when the Gospel is silent on a matter and St. Paul is explicit on it, then the truth is not what Mr. Anybody might infer from the silence, but what St. Paul explicitly says.

    (Just for clarification, I don’t have the “agenda” of capital punishment. All the time we had the old Catechism, I faithfully defended what it said – which practically makes capital punishment impossible at least in our societies – as legitimate development of an unchanged doctrine.

    I have the agenda of Catholic dogma. And it is particularly awful that our Holy Father has found it apt to become just one step short of a formal heretic – one step short, because the allowedness of capital punishment never was formally dogmatized; but it has been taught on all possible levels below that, including explicit Scripture – for the sake of something that is a huge difference in theory but has virtually no difference at all, compared with St. John Paul II’s stand, in moral application.)

  29. Imrahil says:

    Speaking of which, the Gospel is not only silent on the (principal abstract) possibility of just capital punishment, but, if anything, tends to be positive about it. The verse in question is Lc 24,31.

  30. Jerome Charles says:

    Imrahil– “Love your enemies” is pretty darn loud, actually. “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” “Put away your sword.” “God is love.” Maybe these words aren’t meaningful to you, but I’ll listen to Jesus before Paul–who, again, was spared death for his sins.

    What I find myself wondering is why some Catholics and other Christians are so hell-bent on wanting capitol punishment? We know there are people on death row who are innocent, as well as guilty. We certainly are capable of imprisoning people so they are not a threat to society. It’s political– but not really in the religious realm. So why is it so beloved by Christians? Love the sinner, hate the sin–I see these words often in these posts. Nothing about capital punishment is loving. Who are we humans to judge who gets to live and who must die?

    Well, Imrahil, I can’t imagine either of us will move the other. I thank God for Francis’ prophetic voice on this issue, and am not surprised he is criticized/insulted/persecuted for it. That’s the plight of being a prophet.

  31. Semper Gumby says:

    Jerome Charles: Pope Francis as a “persecuted prophet” does not ring true.

    A quote from this post above:

    “Honest observers of his reign during the last five years would agree that the what of his agenda has been to pull the Church to the left in many ways, albeit with substantial ambiguity, as evidenced by Amoris Laetitia and many other public statements. Honesty would also dictate that the how of his pontificate, his modus operandi or leadership style, has been to use control, manipulation, and other dictatorial measures to accomplish his goals along with stonewalling, obfuscation, and subterfuge when needed.”

    As for the death penalty, your “hell-bent” label of 5 March is a strawman. Furthermore, note that prisons are not escape-proof, and the rumbles from Francis that a life-sentence is a “hidden death sentence.”

    From Fr. Z’s 8 Feb. 2013 post featuring an article by Fr. Rutler:

    “The medicinal reason for inflicting punishment, [PAY ATTENTION…] goes beyond preventing the criminal from repeating his crime and protecting society, to encouraging the guilty to repent and die in a state of grace. The vindictive reasoning also has this interest in mind: for by expiating the disorder caused by the crime, the moral debt of the guilty is lessened. [Latin vindico does not have to do only with being “vindictive” or “vengeful”. It is also “to set free, emancipate”.] In the early years of the nineteenth century. St. Vincent Pallotti frequently assisted the condemned to the scaffold, as St. Catherine had done in Siena. He was edified by the many holy deaths he saw, while helping the Archfraternity of San Giovanni, under the patronage of his friend the English Cardinal Acton. Headquartered in the Church of San Giovanni Decollato (St. John the Beheaded), [I was once involved in a Mass there on the feast itself and have decided ever since that it, too, should be one of my name-day feasts.] their rule was to urge the condemned to a good confession, followed by an exhortation and Holy Communion followed by the grant of a plenary indulgence. The whole population of Rome was instructed to fast and pray for the intention of the criminal’s soul.”

    From 2 Aug 2018 post “Pope Francis changed the Catechism”:

    “The student of theology and Joe Bagofdonuts in the pew will want to know how this change to the Church’s teaching is an “authentic development of doctrine” when it seems to fly in the face of the pretty much universally accepted explanation of development of doctrine described by Bl. John Henry Newman: Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.

    “In essence, Newman points out that when a development changes the doctrine so that it no longer is what it was, then that is not authentic development of the doctrine. He would call that a “corruption” of doctrine.”

    From 11 Aug 2018 post “Controversy over the Holy Father’s Substitution…”:

    “Keep in mind that, while the teaching of CCC 2267 concerns the death penalty, the real problem is that the Pope seems to have contradicted what the Church has always taught about something, in this case a contingent moral choice about a tiny percentage of criminals. If that doctrine can be diametrically changed, what else can be diametrically changed? At the very least seeming to contradict the Church’s teaching is hardly less bad, since the role of the Pope and of the CCC itself is to remove doubts and bring clarity and foster unity.”

    From a 12 Aug 2018 post with an article by Jewish commentator Dennis Prager “Non-Catholics and Catholics wonder…”:

    “The Pope also writes that no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

    “Most of us think it is the murderer, by committing murder, who has attacked his dignity and inviolability, not the society that puts him to death. We also think it is the dignity of the murder victim that is attacked by rewarding the murderer with room and board, TV, books, exercise rooms and visits from family members and girlfriends.

    “Furthermore, why isn’t keeping a murderer in prison one day longer than is necessary to protect society an “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”? For that matter, isn’t every punishment an attack on the dignity of the punished? Of course it is, which is why progressives ultimately oppose all punishment, equating it with vengeance.”

    Also, Jerome Charles, there is no need for probable ad hominem against Imrahil (“Maybe these words aren’t meaningful to you…”).

    Matthew 10:34. Luke 22:36.

  32. Jerome Charles says:

    Semper Gumby, thank you for your thoughtful response. Yes, I understand a murder is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, the victim. But the murderer is also a person–a child of God. And because I’m pro-life (ALL life, as I noted before), I’m obligated to show compassion and dignity to even the person who is a criminal. A person living out a life sentence can repent and die in a state of grace every bit as much as a person about to be electrocuted. And, they might be able to do good from within the prison– teach, counsel, pray, listen, etc.

    What the Church teaches about this matter–then or now, or in the future–won’t impact my firm belief about it. I will continue to pray for an end to capital punishment, pray for the guilty and innocent prisoners who are killed by executioners, and pray for a change of heart for all Christians about how we are to love our brothers and sisters–including those who have committed the worst crimes. We cannot give up on them– Jesus would not.

  33. veritas vincit says:

    Jerome Charles: I’m glad to hear of your consistent pro-life stance. I can’t tell you how angry I am over ‘c’atholic politicians and others who oppose the death penalty but say nothing innocent babies be put to death. But a pro-life death penalty opponent will always have my respect. I hope we all appreciate that the Catholic case against the death penalty is not air tight.

    I would submit to whatever the Church teaches about the matter. But what the Holy Father has done in changing the Catechism is puzzling, and seems to change established doctrine.

  34. Semper Gumby says:

    Jerome Charles and veritas vincit: Thank you for your replies.

    “What the Church teaches about this matter–then or now, or in the future–won’t impact my firm belief about it.”

    Hmm…

    “We cannot give up on them– Jesus would not.”

    Note that there are people such as certain Satanists and Jihadis who absolutely reject Jesus. Recall, Jesus had something to say about Judas, and those who cause “little ones to stumble.” Then there is the Parable of the Sower.

    Hell is not empty, regardless of the silly clerics, theologians, and laity caught up in the modern fad of “all will be saved” or who are too timid to even discuss the topic.

    Take a closer look at the excerpts from Fr. Z’s posts. Cheers.

  35. Jerome Charles says:

    Probably too late for anyone to look at this anymore… but, I feel like replying to these last two statements. Because I’m at work and a little bored.

    Veritas Vincet: We should all–those who proclaim to be pro-life–be proponents of life of the unborn as well as life of the living, whether on death row or now. But like you, I find it difficult to respect Catholics who pick and choose what pro-life means, such as, are anti-abortion but pro-capital punishment. Because that’s not really pro-life. It’s anti-abortion.

    Semper Gumby: I’m wondering, do you believe that God created ALL human life? Or, do you think Satan created Satanists and Jihadis? If God is THE Creator, and these people turned from God, aren’t we taught that God never turns from us? That, like the father of the prodigal son, God waits for our return? Can we know with certainty that someone who has rejected God or learned about God will never know and accept God? (If so, then why have missionaries existed?) Central American soldiers routinely massacred civilians in the 80s, and faithfully attended Mass on Sundays. Are they any better than the people you have named? Do you think God loves them because they repeatedly killed and then received the Eucharist?

    I don’t doubt there is a hell and there are souls there. I don’t believe everyone will be saved. But I do believe it is possible for anyone to be saved. I do believe God created every human being, and in the same way that you love the child you created unconditionally, God loves us–each creation–unconditionally. And God is ready to extend mercy to anyone who turns to God and repents of their sin.

  36. Semper Gumby says:

    Jerome Charles: Recall free will. God will not force anyone to enter Heaven. Take a closer look at certain Satanists and Jihadis.

    You mention “Central American soldiers” but not Communist guerillas, the FMLN, the Sandanistas, etc. who massacred civilians.

    You wrote on 5 March: “What the Church teaches about this matter–then or now, or in the future–won’t impact my firm belief about it.”

    Hmm…

  37. Jerome Charles says:

    Semper Gumby, I don’t dispute free will–we possess the free will to turn away from God, and the free will to turn or return to God. All humans have free will. Including the worst criminal or and/or the worst sinner–also can be redeemed if they turn to God. This is God’s gift of grace and mercy. So, when we decide to execute someone, we might be interfering with their possible redemption, and, it is not ours to decide when any human being should die. That is God’s work, alone.

    I mentioned one group as an example. Of course there are many others, such as those you listed.

    What the Church teaches: Yes, you brought this up in your last post. Whether the Church allows or promotes capital punishment, I–personally, as a Christian, and as a Catholic–will not support it, regardless. There is nothing good that results from execution. [Including the Crucifixion? Frankly, you can’t possibly know anything about the outcome of executions, especially for the souls of those who face execution.] I do not believe God smiles up executioners. [Perhaps you have special insight into what God smiles at.] It is death. One element of our death culture that is lifted up as virtuous, somehow, but it is not. It is responding to one wrong with another wrong.

    Your judgy little “Hmm..’s” amuse me. I hardly think I’ll go to hell for being on the side of life and mercy. I’m pretty sure God’s on my side on this one.

  38. Jerome Charles says:

    Oh, I thought you knew that I’m addressing the current practice of capital punishment, as did Pope Francis–from which this discussion stemmed.

    As for having a special insight into what God smiles at, yes, I guess I do. God has offered us such insights through, for example, the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Gospels, etc. Yes–all my Catholic life I have been taught what is pleasing to God and what is not. I don’t believe God is pleased when a human being is executed. It is not a loving action, and one of the things about God Jesus taught us is that “God is Love.” Someday when I face God, I might find out I was way off to choose love, to believe in the possibility of redemption for any human being. I might get extra purgatory time for speaking out on behalf of mercy. But, I have to follow my conscience on this one, and risk it.

  39. Semper Gumby says:

    Jerome Charles wrote: “I hardly think I’ll go to hell for being on the side of life and mercy.”

    I may have missed something in this discussion, but it appears no one has suggested that.

    “I’m pretty sure God’s on my side on this one.”

    Perhaps this discussion is not about sides, but about making distinctions. Note Fr. Z’s comments in red to you and the suggested reading above.

    “As for having a special insight into what God smiles at, yes, I guess I do.”

    Hmm…