ASK FATHER: “I utterly reject Bergoglio, so how can I remain a Catholic?” Fr. Z’s rant and beatdown.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Now, to the point: How can I remain a Catholic when I UTTERLY reject Jorge Bergoglio as a false prophet of the devil? I can in no way continue to acknowledge him during Mass. Going to TLM doesn’t alleviate my doubts. My conscience absolutely forbids me from ever again listening to or acknowledging that man.

This is quite a dilemma for me. I am seriously considering heading to the Orthdox Church or finding a conservative evangelical church.

Hmmm.  That seems like a “No” vote for Bergoglio.

I am not going to get into the arguments for or against Francis as pope or antipope. For what I have to say to the idea of leaving the Church because of him, one way or another, I don’t have to get into that controversy.

Why?  Holy Catholic Church is indefectible.  This is one of the three attributes of the Church, along with authority and infallibility.

Your question holds two possible implications.  First, “I don’t like Bergoglio, so I’m going somewhere else.”  That’s just whining, like a kid who doesn’t like broccoli and goes hungry.

Otherwise, your implication is that if Francis isn’t really the pope, the Vicar of Christ, then somehow the Church is now defective and you might as well go some place else.

No.  And NO!   And HELL NO!

If we believe Christ’s promises – and I sure do – then we hold that the Church will not fail even to the end of the world when He returns to take all things to Himself and submit them to the Father.

The Petrine Ministry is part of the fabric of the Church as the Lord designed.  Somehow, until the ending of the world, the Church – and hence the papacy – cannot fail, even though we don’t know how.

As necessary as the papacy is, a pope is Christ’s VICAR, not Christ himself. As the sardonic Latin acrostic puts it, a VICARIUS is Vir Inutilis Carens Auctoritate Rare Intelligentiae Umbra Superioris, that is, “A useless man, lacking authority, rarely of intelligence, the shadow of his superior.”  That’s every pope, compared to Christ.

It is dangerous to place too much emphasis on any pope.

Look, friend, popes come and popes go.  There have been long periods of time between popes.  There have been long periods of time when there was terrible confusion about who was the real pope.  Even saints got it wrong and backed the wrong guy.  For centuries people had no idea who the pope was, even his name, and they lived good Catholic lives, minding their own business and trying to be holy in their vocations.

Popes can be good.  Popes can be bad.  Popes can have short or long pontificates.  Popes can be talented or doddering.  Popes can be charming or jerks.  Popes can be holy of sinful.   Popes can be important or insignificant.

Only one this is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro… A pope dies, you make another.  We make another until Christ returns.  Somehow that’s the way our Church will always be even if we don’t like the choice.

As for your chicken-livered notion about going outside the Church, I’ll offer what Lumen gentium 14 teaches:

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

Refuse to enter or refuse to remain in the Church knowing that the Catholic Church is necessary?   Bad odds.

These are hard times.  Confusing.  Fearful.  Dangerous.  But these are the times into which God called us to live.   That means he offers us the graces we will need to live our vocations well.   It could be that you have to completely tune out of the larger churchy news and put your nose to your personal grindstone and live your vocation well.

God didn’t call us into existence at random, but rather with a plan and a purpose for every one of us.  He called YOU, friend, into this life HERE and NOW, not at some other time and place.  These are the circumstances of our lives.  We are the soldiers of the Church Militant God wants NOW.  Are you suffering? Embrace it.  Offer it in reparation.  Are you afraid?  Throw yourself at the feet of the Mother of God and beg her protective mantle.   Clasp onto St. Joseph, Defender of the Church.

Fast.  Give alms.  Pray.  But don’t be a coward.

Either pick up your Cross and your sword and get your ass back to the lines or go crawling off somewhere.  We’ll do your duty along with our own.  Run for the hills.  Good luck with that.

I will not run.

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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55 Responses to ASK FATHER: “I utterly reject Bergoglio, so how can I remain a Catholic?” Fr. Z’s rant and beatdown.

  1. Ellen says:

    Bravo!! I feel the same way. I will not allow anyone to part me from the Church.

  2. teomatteo says:

    “…don’t be a coward”
    Golly, i think about what it would be like to come face to face with witness or death. Those men in the orange jumpsuits on the beach before ISIS. That haunts me. The pope does not haunt me.

  3. rcg says:

    The night before I enlisted my father (Navy) told me, “The captain is an SOB.

    BUT HE IS YOUR SOB.”

    Since I am not jumping overboard I can help keep him on board by holding on to him tightly.

  4. lizaanne says:

    I wrote this last year — I still stand by it:
    Why I’m staying

    Ever since the Boston Globe broke wide open the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in 2002, it is been difficult for Catholics to defend why we remain in the Church. Who would want to be part of an organization that supports and hides such horrific crimes against children? Millions of Catholics left the Church – millions stayed. Those who stayed were not supporters of criminals. They were being faithful to the Church that holds the fullness of Truth, as much as they possibly could. In spite of name calling and harassment by family and friends, co-workers and even strangers. They held on, things died down, and we thought the worst was over.

    Fast forward to 2018. Now we are seeing the true breadth and depth of the sexual sins that have infiltrated the Church. Now we know that it’s not just priests with altar boys, it’s Monsignors with seminarians, it’s Bishops with new young priests…..it’s Cardinals with their own family. Truly enough to make you physically sick to consider that THESE are the men who have been entrusted with the one and only Church given to us by Almighty God – the Bride of Christ. This is how they treat her, this is how we have been betrayed, and used, and lied to. For generations.

    So why am I staying? Why would I have in the deepest parts of my soul and heart to want nothing more than TO stay?

    Because this is where Truth lives. In spite of the slime, the depravity, the criminality, the sin, the demonic, the lies, the deception, the abuse — all done by sinful men who don’t believe in God or His Church (for if they did, they surely would not be doing what they have done) TRUTH prevails. Truth always prevails.

    Satan wants nothing more than to see the Bride of Christ sullied and pushed in the mud. He laughs when souls leave her behind because of the sins of men. He rejoices when headlines and comboxes fill with vile and hateful commentary about her. He lives to see as many souls flee from Truth as he can possibly influence.

    But I’m not going to let that happen — not on my watch. I REFUSE to be bullied by those who no longer believe, or who never believed in the first place. I refuse to be angered by criminals to the point of turning my back on the most incredible gift ever given to mankind – the gift of the Holy Catholic Church. I refuse to play along with Satan’s games and become so distracted by the sins of others that I lose sight of my own.

    Those who have pushed Our Bride into the dirt — THEY can leave Our Father’s House.

    As for me, I stay because Catholic is what I am. Not something I do. I stay because this is where Truth lives. And I don’t ever want to live anywhere else.

  5. Tara Tremuit says:

    If Pope Benedict’s resignation was not valid and Francis is an anti-pope, or if it was valid but Francis has ‘vacated’ his office due to not being a Catholic, it seems to me there is still no problem professing and living the Catholic faith. If we are being governed by an anti-pope, or a whatever you want to call him, God will sort that out. It changes nothing about our daily duties, the validity of the Sacraments, or the merits of our works and prayers, and it certainly doesn’t change God. Can’t we simply ignore everything from Francis and remain in communion with the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church, and pray for the Pope, whoever he may be?

  6. I have turned on the comment moderation queue.

  7. It is really unthinkable that any faithful Catholic would go off to be with protestants or the ‘orthodox’. Catholics do not live by praxis alone. I myself am forced to attend a parish where all of the easiest and laziest options in Paul VI’s thing is chosen and even that is too rigid for these people. There are Buddhist observers that come to about 50% of our Masses to make sure that nothing is done that would offend Japanese society. I as a foreigner in this country got told off by them for kneeling during the consecration. Confessions have to be done in secret or the parish priest risks a backlash from these guys who come in during Mass and block the altar to hum Buddhist montras.
    Now, they don’t do this to the Russian church in this city. Why is that? The fact of the matter is, if you are a faithful Catholic than the teachings of the protestants would make you sick to your stomach. They disgusted me even before I was a Catholic. Protestants have this knack for always teaching the EXACT opposite of what the Bible actually says even why they say they are Bible based.
    For a long time I was told that the only thing separating Catholics and the Greeks or Russians or Copts or Armenians or Assyrians was simply that they needed to accept the authority of the Pope. I was told that we believed all the same stuff otherwise. I prayed and suffered for a long time begging God to bring us all back into unity with each other. But that unity can never happen and it is not just a political reason for it. Once I learned the language for each of these eastern churches I was able to unpack and read directly what their theology was and not rely on translations that could be smoothed over of the more objectionable parts. They Assyrians teach heresy. They Copts teach heresy. The Greeks and Russians teach heresy (Palamitism). Only the Catholic Church doesn’t teach heresy.
    Now if bergoglio (no I will not capitalize his name) wants to teach heresy then we will not listen to him. Instead we have to, in charity, point out the truth to him as many times as it takes until he converts to Christ or dies.
    How can one who teaches heresy have authority to appoint other offices? It is a problem that bergoglio thinks only he has the right to name bishops and he thinks he can force out faithful clergy. Don’t let him. Support the SSPX, the Marian Corps, and dare I say it, maybe even the CMRI. At least they will give you the true Catholic faith not watered down. Learn your faith and live your faith and part of living your faith is being a Catholic. Ten years from now bergoglio will be gone and we may have an even worse Pope like Kasper but even then we still point out every single error and live as true Catholics not fake orthodox.

  8. Amerikaner says:

    Folks who want to run off to the Orthodox or some such thing because they don’t like something with this papacy need to study Catholic history. We are not entitled to live in happy times. We are, however, called to be saints in good times and in bad.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    “Look, friend, popes come and popes go…Only one thing is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro… A pope dies, you make another.”

    “We are the soldiers of the Church Militant God wants NOW. Are you suffering? Embrace it. Offer it in reparation…Fast. Give alms. Pray. But don’t be a coward…pick up your Cross and your sword and get your ass back to the lines.”

    – Fr. Z

    “If we are being governed by an anti-pope, or a whatever you want to call him, God will sort that out. It changes nothing about our daily duties, the validity of the Sacraments, or the merits of our works and prayers, and it certainly doesn’t change God.”

    – Tara Tremuit

    “…they heard the helicopters coming in from the battle…bringing in the wounded, those who had died while airborne…He could hardly breathe because they had tied him up so tight, to prevent him from spilling out.

    …He was in an operating room…They prepared, ripping and tearing his uniform, cutting the bandages, assembling instruments…They moved up the tanks and placed a mask over his face. “I may not wake up,” he said. A doctor answered, saying, “Don’t worry. We are fighters too.”

    As if in the field of another combat, his eyes opened aggressively. At first he saw only the white ceiling. But when his vision cleared he felt the pressure of advancing dawn. It served to push him up, and he lifted his head, but fell against the pillow in weakness. He was embroidered with plastic tubes…

    He grit his teeth and took a breath. The beam of sun was rising and it began to flood his eyes. He screamed from deep inside his chest…

    In near slow-motion, he pulled the tubes from his body…He lifted out a deep needle and flung it wide to the left, overturning a steel tripod and a bottle which smashed to the floor in a ringing clatter of crystal.

    The stunned nurse shook her head back and forth and gripped the edge of the table as Marshall arose and fixed his gaze on the hot rays of dawn. “By God, I’m not down yet,” he said. “By God, I’m not down yet.”

    And from the East, the sun came up with all its white thunder to light another day.”

    – Mark Helprin “Refiner’s Fire”

  10. No, please don’t come to the Orthodox Church because of your current pope.

  11. tho says:

    Jesus said, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church. He did not say that all Popes would be good guys. So, went we get a clinker like Pope Francis, we just have to hang in there, until we get another Pope Pius X.
    I felt that Pope Paul VI was a vascillating, weak kneed dope, who was taking us on a terrible journey. But now we have a wonderful resurgence of the TLM. God is in charge, He will never completely abandon us. How about Job, there are plenty of examples to strengthen us.

  12. Tara Tremuit says:

    Sorry, Fr. Z if I was out of line with that earlier comment. It is, however, a sincere question – is it OK to make like a medieval peasant and either not know or not care who is the current Pope, and to remain faithfully and cheerfully ignorant of the day-to-day pronouncements that come from the Vatican? And must a Catholic read all the latest encyclicals and exhortations, or can we just keep re-reading the Scriptures and the Catechism and the Fathers and the Doctors (and maybe the occasional Pascendi) until such time as God sorts this all out?

    [I don’t think that average Catholic lay people are obliged to follow any of this stuff. Priests do. They then teach appropriately. But, no, lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, etc. Catholic lay people have vocations to live. Their obligations are few: obey the 10 Commandments, follow the commandments of the Church, obey the laws that they are taught pertain to them, stick to the demands of their state in life, perform works of mercy, etc. This is not hard. People are not obliged to go chasing after the latest news. As a matter of fact, that might wind up being a sin called curiositas, especially if it endangers one’s faith and distracts from one’s state.]

  13. Grabski says:

    Isn’t this a time of confusion? At some level we have two Popes. And it seems miraculous that Pope BXVI is alive and about. and I pray for himself and his intentions daily

  14. Charles E Flynn says:

    @teomatteo:

    You might find this book by Martin Mosebach, author of “The Heresy of Formlessness”, of interest:

    The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs

  15. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I disagree with this questioner’s “serious consideration of heading to the Orthodox or a conservative Evangelical congregation” because both options also clearly lack the indefectability the questioner is suffering so deeply with trying to reconcile.

    I think it is genuine that the questioner’s belief in the Indefectability of the Church is challenged by a Pope who seemingly formally teaches error, promotes the sycophantic heterodox and abets pedophiles, and is generally distastefully left leaning.

    It’s the fact that the Pope is fairly clearly formally teaching error that has really challenged my own Faith here.

    There is no where else to go, as St. Peter confessed…except into the pit of our passions where the Truth is not.

    So we must suffer this trial where God has put us and push on with the history of the Papacy in mind and our Faith in Jesus Christ in the forefront.

  16. JakeMC says:

    Okay. There it is. The age-old teaching, “Outside the Church there is no salvation.” It was not the Second Vatican Council that dropped that teaching; it was others speaking in the ubiquitous and very suspicious spirit of that council. The more I look back at things that were introduced under that umbrella, the more I begin to believe that it was coined as a code phrase, a way for the Modernists to say, “We couldn’t get the Pope to cave, but this is our REAL purpose. We couldn’t get the Pope to cave, but we’re going to do it anyway. So there.”

  17. JustaSinner says:

    What recourse do we laity have if any Pope were to espouse heresy? Female priests, denial of the Divinity of Christ, denial of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist for starters, say. Do we merely fast and pray and turn the other cheek smug in the knowledge that God’s Will be done…or is it St. Michael butt-kicking pro-active time? My apologies for the bluntness, but don’t know how to sugar coat it.

    [First, lay people have more options than priests. These are, so far, hypothetical. The Church is indefectible. When those times arrive, make sure your soul is clean and you are doing penance.]

  18. NBW says:

    Stay and fight! As Fr. Z. said, popes come and go. There were once three popes at the same time; did people leave the faith because of that? Perhaps a few, but it sure produced some great saints especially St Catherine of Siena and St. Bridgette of Sweden. I am sure that the current papacy will produce some saints as well.

  19. veritas vincit says:

    Amerikaner: “Folks who want to run off to the Orthodox or some such thing because they don’t like something with this papacy need to study Catholic history. We are not entitled to live in happy times. We are, however, called to be saints in good times and in bad.”

    Absolutely right. A great antidote to panic over Pope Francis, is a good history of the Catholic Church. For a start, I can recommend “Good Pope, Bad Pope” by Mike Aquilina.

    We had had some truly rotten Popes much worse than anything Bergoglio has done or is accused of, and yet the Church is still here.

    I’m not bailing.

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    People may be losing some sight of the fact that the important Bishop is one Diocesan Ordinary, regardless of what one might think about the current Roman Pontiff.

    The Bishop is sovereign in his Diocese, and it is around him that the Catholic life is organised in each parish.

    The Caholicity is not centred around the Pope, and we’re not “Papists”, we’re Catholic Christians.

  21. Uxixu says:

    My spiritual life was much improved by ignoring all news Francis rather than being scandalized all the time. I pray for him in my Rosary to be orthodox and to repent of ambiguity, even if I sadly expect he won’t ever be more than he has been.

    Consider that for most of history, Catholics knew next to nothing about any pope except his regnal name. Bulls and encyclicals were addressed to the “Patriarchs, primates, and Ordinaries in Communion with the Apostolic See” not even to simple priests, let alone laity…

  22. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  23. Imrahil says:

    Reverend Father,

    But, no, lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, etc. Catholic lay people have vocations to live.

    That is clear. Also, in their spare time, they have need of regeneration, and some fun.

    Yet, in my humble opinion, the question was not so really much: “Am I obliged to read all this? I don’t have the time.”

    The question (whoever asked it), I believe, was: “With all my duties, religious practice, and leisure, I might still have time to digest some Vatican news. (Let’s suppose that by way of hypothesis.) Some might just pop up in any case. – Am I allowed to consciously decide not to think about the Pope and anything he does, at all, except (of course) if he should open his mouth to say ‘Declaramus, docemus et definimus’?”

  24. Gab says:

    For some reason, this comes to mind …

    “He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
    Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.”
    – Battle Hymn of the Republic (first published version).

  25. gaudiumcumpace says:

    All one is to say, is: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto! Live for God’s Will and give thanks forever for the precious gift of faith!

  26. Missouri Knight says:

    “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
    -Joshua 24:15 (Douay-Rheims)

    “And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
    -John 6:69 (DR)

    My $.02:
    By the grace of God, I left the LCMS and entered into communion with the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. I already turned by back on a tradition of reacting poorly to scandalous hierarchs, so why would a go back and repeat that error?

  27. The Astronomer says:

    Holy Mother Church is indefectible, so when you live in a time where prophecy is possibly being fulfilled, yet part of you deep down inside doesn’t really want to acknowledge it, because to KNOW implies a responsibility to DO SOMETHING, this quote from LOTR comes to mind:

    “Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

    Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

    J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

  28. Fallibilissimo says:

    Right on!!! I love this article! It deserves an applause soundtrack at the end of it.

  29. Fr_Sotelo says:

    This sorrow and grief of the doubter is not only based on the excessive importance placed on the Pope, or cardinals, or bishops. More importantly, it is based on the REPORTING around the pope, or cardinals, or bishops. And it is based on HOW the reporting is carried out in the media and blogs.

    Much of what we hear about Pope Francis, or cardinals, or bishops, is focused on doctrinal error or moral failures, as if we are all theologians or paragons of holiness ourselves.

    Look at the bigger picture of Holy Church in real life. There is one Pope, 130+ cardinals, and over 5,000 bishops. And yet, what do we choose to see? We seek out the “sky-is-falling-attitude” of even clergy, as well as Catholic bloggers. We love to repeat that this is the WORST crisis since the Reformation (oh no!!!).

    Making such a comment, by the way, is proof positive that the person saying that, has not studied the Renaissance or Reformation in much depth. What is lost? What is omitted? What is missed, to our detriment, is the REALITY of the Church’s holiness, goodness, love, and faithfulness, present in the rest of the Catholic world–the folks who never get attention because they aren’t the squeaky wheel.

    The servant of God, Pius XII, saw barbarities and betrayals against the Church during his life, and he still wrote “The Mystical Body of Christ” encyclical. Cardinal Henri de Lubac was silenced by the Holy Office, and he still wrote his classic, “The SPLENDOR of the Church.”

    At any given time, there is plenty of splendor left, in the faithful, in priests who get no press, in bishops who are still fighters. But instead of reading about these things, we prefer to seek out news which is slanted, hysterical, outraged, devoid of all the facts, petty, gossipy, busy body, and downright contemptible. Then, we say, “OH, MY POOR SUFFERING FAITH. I doubt. I’m confused.” If people don’t spend more time with Scripture, the doctors of the Church, and the lives of the Saints, they should floundering, because of what they choose to focus on.

    Everyone says pray. Yes, but pray for what?

    Pray for the virtue of being SUSPICIOUS, and skeptical, about everything you read, which detracts from your sense that the Church is not just one, Catholic, and Apostolic–but that it is HOLY in real life, no matter what your read on the internet.

  30. Hart says:

    There are many biblical examples on why we should show respect for God’s appointed rulers and arrangements, 1 Samuel 24:6 is just one example how David handled King Saul’s unjust actions. Father Z is correct, Christ as head of the Church will move to take care of matters.

    Fraternal Correction is another provision, or Spiritual Works of Mercy, like when Saint Paul rebuked our first Pope Peter at Galatians 2:9, 11-14.

    Jesus told His disciples to even obey the Pharisees, even if they were hypocrites at Matthew 23:2-3.

    It’s a test of faith today, but it was foretold the Church would undergo attacks, see the letter of Jude as one example.

  31. Charles E Flynn says:

    @imrahil,

    One of the most interesting newsletters from the monks at Norcia, titled “Blessings of Normality” had this information about how much the monks are exposed to news about the world outside their monastery:

    From Blessings of Normality (retrieved using HoudaSpot to search through Apple Mail)

    These good things in our life are blessings from God, but they do not keep us from remembering in our prayers the needs of so many suffering from other disasters and trials. The news of earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and violent rampages also reach our doorstep. They stir us on to beg God’s help for the victims and their families.

    We are sometimes asked how we hear of these tragedies, far away as the monks seem to be on the mountaintop. Only the superiors of the monastery use the internet, but an appointed lay volunteer assembles a list of 3-4 stories each from the ecclesiastical world and from the secular world. These stories get posted on Mondays on a bulletin board of important announcements. When word comes during the week of some other tragic events, that news is posted on the daily prayer board which the monks look at each time they walk into the church. A regular stream of visitors, conferences from outside speakers, and articles read in the refectory also help keep the monks informed.

  32. Charles E Flynn says:

    @imrahil,

    One of the most interesting newsletters from the monks at Norcia, titled “Blessings of Normality” had this information about how much the monks are exposed to news about the world outside their monastery:

    From Blessings of Normality (retrieved using HoudaSpot to search through Apple Mail)

    These good things in our life are blessings from God, but they do not keep us from remembering in our prayers the needs of so many suffering from other disasters and trials. The news of earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and violent rampages also reach our doorstep. They stir us on to beg God’s help for the victims and their families.

    We are sometimes asked how we hear of these tragedies, far away as the monks seem to be on the mountaintop. Only the superiors of the monastery use the internet, but an appointed lay volunteer assembles a list of 3-4 stories each from the ecclesiastical world and from the secular world. These stories get posted on Mondays on a bulletin board of important announcements. When word comes during the week of some other tragic events, that news is posted on the daily prayer board which the monks look at each time they walk into the church. A regular stream of visitors, conferences from outside speakers, and articles read in the refectory also help keep the monks informed.

  33. grateful says:

    I have to keep focusing on the good the Pope has done, on his devotion to the Blessed Mother,
    and focus on the poor.
    It is my hope that he will bring us together with the East by unifying the date of Easter;
    and that he would declare the final Marian Doctrine of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.

  34. Ranger01 says:

    Stay and fight. OK, fine.
    YesYes, pray, fast, of course, yup, do it.
    Immediately, close your wallet to the bishops.
    Sad as it is, bishops only understand $$.
    And RICO. They get RICO. Jackboots kicking down
    the diocese doors brings their convoluted minds into focus.
    Know this, dear pew sitter, bishops do not respond to emails, letters or phone calls…unless, of course, you are offering $$ or are an officer of the court.
    A few bishops in handcuffs are what we need.
    Bet on it.

  35. Hart says:

    Acts 17:11 calls those who confirms True Teaching as “noble” and my favorite:
    1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
    “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

  36. Semper Gumby says:

    Charles E Flynn: Thanks.

    Fr. Sotelo: You have a good point within your comment. Your point could be strengthened by avoiding uncontrolled speculation about the individual who contacted Fr. Z (e.g. the first two paragraphs), and speculative harangue (e.g. “And yet, what do we choose to see? We seek out the “sky-is-falling-attitude” of even clergy, as well as Catholic bloggers. We love to repeat that this is the WORST crisis since the Reformation (oh no!!!).” Note how Fr. Z used the word “implication.” Cheers.

    Deacon Nicholas: You have a good point about not leaving the Catholic Church for one of the various churches of Eastern Orthodoxy. Your point could be strengthened by mentioning factors such as the predominant ethnic nature of Eastern Orthodoxy and the various political and internal problems that beset its churches. Cheers.

  37. bookworm says:

    “Look at the bigger picture of Holy Church in real life. There is one Pope, 130+ cardinals, and over 5,000 bishops. And yet, what do we choose to see? We seek out the “sky-is-falling-attitude” of even clergy, as well as Catholic bloggers. We love to repeat that this is the WORST crisis since the Reformation (oh no!!!).”

    Having once worked in the Catholic (and secular) press, I would have to agree. The same thing occurs with regard to secular political figures — breathlessly reporting on every action of the president, prime minister, etc., while state/local officials whose actions have far greater impact on one’s daily life (governor, mayor, alderman/town council, school board, etc.) are pretty much ignored or forgotten, often to our detriment.

  38. Maineman1 says:

    I’m in the same dilemma as the poster, Father Z. I am a cradle Catholic who abandoned Catholicism for a “progressive” denomination; I later reverted.

    Contemporary Catholicism is overwhelmingly dominated by spiritual modernists. This has bnbeen the case since the disastrous, epochal Second Vatican Council. And now, Francis has virtually solidified the modernist hold on the College of Cardinals. He has ensured succession.

    Father, I have absolutely zero faith in the post-Vatican ll church. It is an entirely different entity than the one that existed before 1965. Francis would have been condemned, declared anathema, and deposed.

    Now, the Church remains largely silent, timid, or even supportive.

    In Orthodoxy, their disputes and temporary messy divisions are out front for the entire world to behold. In Roman Catholicism, we dissemble behind false visual unity; we sweep our divisions under the rug and pretend they don’t exist.

    I’m sick and tired of Modern neo-gnostic Catholicism. I’m contemplating Orthodoxy as well.

    [No. There is ONE Church, not a “post-Vatican II Church”. We might use quick labels for the present reality in the Church but there is only one Church and it is the Church the the Lord established. What we face is a Church whose leadership may be controlled now by this group and now by that group. Right now, modernists and weak-identity compromisers are in the ascendancy. That doesn’t meant THE CHURCH is corrupted. The Church is indefectible. We need all hands on the deck now, to man the sheets and batten the hatches and risk the peril of fothering the hull. There are loose cannons running and we need everyone, everyone, to do their part for the whole barque. Abandoning the ship only leaves you in the darkness of the churning water with the sharks.]

  39. Semper Gumby says:

    bookworm: Note my response to Fr. Sotelo regarding speculative harangues. Cheers.

  40. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    One of your best, Father Z. Helpful on so many levels. Not only informative but also inspiring. This is one of your answers that gets emailed out to family and friends who aren’t fans (to say the least) of Pope Francis. I think it will really help them. It’s helped me :-D

  41. The Masked Chicken says:

    Okay, so I had to look up the word, fothering. It lead to a good thought, however, I think: whenever one is tempted to leave the Catholic Church for what one incorrectly imagines is another church of fairer winds and following seas, one should remember that the Catholic Church is not the pope’s Church, it is God’s Church. Popes come and go, but God is eternal.

    So, when the Barque of Peter seems to be sinking and the hull needs to be fothered, perhaps one might recite the Navy Hymn as a prayer and remember that the one who fothers the Barque is also an Eternal Father:

    Eternal Father, strong to save,
    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
    Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
    Its own appointed limits keep;
    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
    For those in peril on the sea!

    O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
    And hushed their raging at Thy word,
    Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
    And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
    For those in peril on the sea!

    Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
    Upon the chaos dark and rude,
    And bid its angry tumult cease,
    And give, for wild confusion, peace;
    Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
    For those in peril on the sea!

    O Trinity of love and power!
    Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
    From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
    Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
    Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
    Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

    The first pope was a fisherman, so I can imagine he might think this hymn appropriate for anyone being tossed about by the waves of doubt and confusion as the Barque of the Church sails into rough waters.

    There is a bravura symphonic band setting of the hymn by Claude T. Smith with the option for the band to stop playing and sing the hymn in the middle of the piece. I have heard both high school and college bands do this. It is quite moving. Here is the United States Navy Band playing it (they don’t take the option to sing, unfortunately):

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IDa3oxusvts

    The Chicken

  42. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby,

    I concede your point, that I speculated on the state of mind of the person who posed the question, which was overreach.

    However, using a harangue (even speculative), as in aggressive, or polemical, or berating exhortation, is part of the teaching office of the priest. In fact, parents, coaches, military officers, teachers, and other authority figures responsible for others, have used speculative harangues.

    The good answer given by Fr. Z also used this method: “That’s just whining, like a kid who doesn’t like broccoli and goes hungry;” or “As for your chicken-livered notion about going outside the Church, I’ll offer what…” or “Either pick up your Cross and your sword and get your ass back to the lines or go crawling off somewhere.” There is nothing wrong with a priest speculating that a certain behavior springs from unholy or sinful thoughts & acts.

    If those who tell me that they wish to leave the Church, never perused the worst gripes on the internet about Pope Francis, cardinals, and bishops, I could see that I was being speculative in warning them against such surfing of the net.

    But as it is, and this is my pastoral experience, I never hear this kind of despair of faith except from those who have admitted, “I can’t anymore. I just can’t. Everything I read about the Pope and the Church is so awful. How can I be a believing Catholic anymore??” On the contrary, those Catholics who are most solid and joyful in their faith, without the slightest desire to apostatize or defect, are precisely those Catholics who tell me, “If I see the “sky is falling” stuff on the internet, I just keep on scrolling.”

  43. tmazanec1 says:

    Let’s say the next Pope (call him Pius XIII) ends Mass in the vernacular and makes Latin the language Mass is to be held in.
    Would I like this?
    Heck, no. I don’t want to hear “hocus pocus” at Mass.
    Would I go and attend some unapproved English Mass, or leave the Church?
    HELL NO! I would suck it up and go to the Latin Mass in obedience, and stand firm on the Rock of Peter.

  44. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr_Sotelo: Thanks for your comment. Good point that a harangue can be effective. Fr. Z’s method included: “Your question holds two possible implications” and “Otherwise, your implication is…”

    May I suggest Fr. Sotelo that there is a difference between:

    “We do Mistake A, we do Mistake B…”

    and something like this:

    “We (statement about our predicament and recognition we’re all in the same boat)

    followed by:

    “If you are doing A do B instead, if you are feeling C then consider doing D, if you are thinking E then also keep in mind F.”

    Of course, the tone and style will vary depending on the situation and speaker. And sometimes sharp words are in order.

    Thank you for your priestly service and have a blessed first Sunday of Advent.

    p.s. Well done Masked Chicken.

  45. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby,

    If I considered that style of rhetoric, I’d be Semper Gumby, and not Fr. Sotelo LOL. It might be more effective but it’s hard to say. Let’s see:

    “If we are reading blogs and reports about Pope Francis or the bishops, which are filled with litanies of their failures or alleged misdeeds, and if we then say with despair that we utterly ‘reject Bergoglio’ and wish to become E. Orthodox or Evangelical, perhaps we should choose a completely different lineup of reading material which builds up our faith, hope, and charity–instead of reading that drives us to apostasy.” Hmm. It’s kind of long winded and not to the point haha.

  46. Maineman1 says:

    “On the contrary, those Catholics who are most solid and joyful in their faith, without the slightest desire to apostatize or defect, are precisely those Catholics who tell me, “If I see the “sky is falling” stuff on the internet, I just keep on scrolling.”

    Ignoring crises does not render them fiction. A Pope potentially engaged in idolatry. Scrolling by stories perceived to be negative does not mean one has a solid faith. It means they are ensconced in a bunker.

  47. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Historically, most Catholics most of the time have ignored most of their bishops and popes.

    I don’t mean that maliciously. I just mean that people with their noses to the grindstone don’t have time for paying attention to other people’s grindstones.

    But actual city Romans were usually ignoring their bishop/pope, too, unless they were forming a mob of support or a mob of protest. A couple of things have happened that could have set off a mob, but they didn’t. So why shouldn’t Catholics not living in Rome also be in the “ignore unless ready to form mob” mode?

  48. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Maineman1,

    I never said to ignore a crisis. But what if the “crisis” we are so shaken by, is not in reality what it has been described to be? My friends tell me that my support for Trump ignores the crisis that he is abusing power and telling lies. Do I consider Trump a crisis against democracy, just because that is what has been reported?

    If, as you say, the Pope is “potentially engaged in idolatry” then that would certainly be a crisis.

    An idolater cannot occupy the Chair of Peter. The Faithful cannot trust the Catholic Church if the See of Peter has been conquered by the gates of hell. Such a crisis would mean that Jesus’ promise (John 16:13) to preserve the Church as indefectible has collapsed–or it would mean that the Catholic Church is not the true Church of Christ.

    However, Catholics believe with divine and Catholic faith that Jesus cannot lie, and is true to all His promises. Therefore, we should scroll by stories which describe the Pope as an idolater–not because they are negative, and not because we wish sheltered (Christians who are fighting out in the world to live their faith are not bunkered).

    Rather, we should scroll by them because such stories are exaggerated, lack good journalism, twist facts, distort the meaning of events, and manipulate our emotions into thinking that “the sky is falling.” Especially in the age of the internet, Jesus’ words must warn us, “Take heed you be not seduced” (Luke 21:8).

  49. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Sotelo: “If I considered that style of rhetoric, I’d be Semper Gumby, and not Fr. Sotelo LOL.”

    Good one. *chuckle* To clarify, “the tone and style will vary depending on the situation and speaker.”

    “Hmm. It’s kind of long winded and not to the point haha.”

    True, some can view a more thorough explanation as long-winded. Though, others will appreciate the closer look at the situation. Of course, how a message is delivered, and how the audience (which may be large or small) absorbs that message, will vary.

    As for “not to the point.” Sure, what you re-wrote does not address every point, but it is an essential building block. One could also say it is to the point, a good point, your point Father. Pax.

  50. Semper Gumby says:

    Maineman1: “Ignoring crises does not render them fiction.”

    Good point.

    Sometimes though, as no doubt you are aware, people- amidst the travails of life- take a break from the news.

    As you know, the phrase “sky-is-falling stuff” is a bit vague. There is a distinction between Ed Pentin writing an investigative news item that adds to our spiritual and situational awareness, and a different news item headlined: “The Armies of Darkness will March Over the Earth Today before Vespers.”

  51. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Sotelo wrote at 9:33 am to Maineman1:

    “Rather, we should scroll by them [stories that describe the Pope as an idolater] because such stories are exaggerated, lack good journalism, twist facts, distort the meaning of events, and manipulate our emotions into thinking that “the sky is falling.”

    You have a point Father, somewhat, but there is another dimension here beyond your appropriate concern regarding a “sky is falling” mindset and a “the Pope is an idolater” mindset.

    There is the dimension of spiritual and situational awareness. As you read the following excerpt from Fr. Z’s post of 13 November you may want to keep in mind a helpful term from the intelligence community: Indicators & Warnings (I&W).
    _________

    The constant veneration and display of the demon Pachamama during the Amazon Synod must not be simply waved aside.

    Two things for the record.

    Card. Cupich of Chicago has defended the veneration of this demon idol, though that is not what he thinks it is.

    Lifesite HERE Chicago Catholic HERE on 6 November. He writes with anger about how “statues” were taken from Santa Maria in Traspontina and thrown into the river.

    Moving overseas, we find a defense of Pachamama veneration by the Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel in, of all places, the Vatican’s daily L’Osservatore Romano of 12 November!

    https://wdtprs.com/2019/11/the-demonic-pachamama-idol-mess-isnt-going-to-go-away/

    UPDATE:

    Meanwhile, the woman who was the “priestess” in the Vatican Gardens idol fiasco at the beginning of October, said what it was all about. HERE

    The female indigenous leader who planted a tree alongside Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens ahead of the Amazon Synod was clear from the beginning about the syncretistic and pagan meaning of the act which, she explains, was intended to “satisfy the hunger of Mother Earth” and reconnect with “the divinity present in the Amazonian soil.”

    I dunno. That doesn’t sound good to me.
    __________

    Fr. Sotelo: Your concern for not adopting a “sky is falling” attitude is understandable. That said, due regard must be given to I&W.

  52. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Semper Gumby,

    All kidding aside, I tried to take your advice to heart in my reply to maineman1, above. Pax.

    Suburbanbanshee,

    Very good points. I was trying to communicate a similar point about ignoring every detail about popes and bishops when I wrote, “keep on scrolling.”

  53. Semper Gumby says:

    suburbanbanshee wrote: “Historically, most Catholics most of the time have ignored most of their bishops and popes…actual city Romans were usually ignoring their bishop/pope, too, unless they were forming a mob of support or a mob of protest…So why shouldn’t Catholics not living in Rome also be in the “ignore unless ready to form mob” mode?”

    Your question raises several questions, such as: How rapidly did the situation change from “ignoring” to “form mob”; what groups and individuals were active in producing that change and what motivated them; what were key events; what were the long-term consequences; and what effects would modern technology have on a similar situation re-occurring?

  54. eulogossusan says:

    Deacon Nicholas: I respect Orthodoxy and love the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I just cannot believe that Orthodoxy, by itself, is The Church. I find the Catholic understanding of,”Thou art Peter,” to be convincing, despite having read (whole books) about how the Orthodox understand it. So I am a Catholic. I assume you mean you want for Orthodoxy those who believe Orthodoxy is The Church, not those who are unhappy with a particular Pope. In their defense, I might say that the statements and actions of this Pope have made some people question what they believe about his office. Fr. Z makes good arguments that they should not, but I think it is understandable that recent events have shaken some serious Catholics.
    May God bless you. I still hope that in some future time, in the way that God wills, we may be one Church again.

  55. RLseven says:

    Keep your eyes on Jesus, people!

    This is my remedy when I find myself unable to stomach clerical or institutional matters. Yes, I might speak out or act for change, integrity, etc., but I cannot lose heart if I keep my eyes on Jesus and the Holy Gospels.