After Querida Amazonia, Francis isn’t flavor of the month with seriously disappointed libs

Here’s an interesting tidbit.

CNS reports that, during an ad limina meeting with US bishops, Francis expressed displeasure with the libs who accused him of not being brave enough to obey the Holy Spirit and approve of married priests and deaconettes.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops that, like them, he is accused of not being courageous or not listening to the Holy Spirit when he says or does something someone disagrees with — like not mentioning married priests in his document on the Amazon.

“You could see his consternation when he said that for some people it was all about celibacy and not about the Amazon,” said Bishop William A. Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

“He said some people say he is not courageous because he didn’t listen to the Spirit,” the bishop told Catholic News Service Feb. 13. “He said, ‘So they’re not mad at the Spirit. They’re mad at me down here,'” as if they assume the Holy Spirit agreed with them.


For a decades the lefty libs have pitted the “spirit” filled church against the “institutional” Church.  They, like the Manichean Elect, have special insight into what the Holy Spirit wants.  Remarkably it turns out to be rather like the Democrat Party platform and the musings of Edward Schillebeeckx, with dollops of Boff, Zagano, and Martin.

In any event, the libs are not happy with Francis.

One attempt to spin away from the disappointment comes from Fishwrap‘s in house tricoteuse.   Michael Sean Winters has opted for the view that, in deciding not to decide (except against deaconettes), Francis is doing something so amazing, so deep that we can’t barely imagine his profound deepiness.  We read his gobsmacked awe:

I would like to look at what I found the most striking aspect of the text, its ecclesiological significance.


I think the pope is looking for a deeper change. His emphasis on synodality has become one of the most dominant themes of his pontificate and holds the potential to help the church step away from the Ultramontane excesses of the 19th and 20th centuries. Synods are consultative bodies, and they usually leave the difficult decisions to the pope. But Francis wants us to move away from that monarchical model and engage the whole church in the process of discernment on issues like bringing back the female diaconate.

You can’t achieve synodality if you continually look to the pope to make the tough calls.


This is quite remarkable. Instead of the synod being a consultative body that helps the pope form his own judgment, here he is giving the outcome of the synod’s deliberations its own standing and status.


There are other aspects of this document that warrant examination, most especially the Holy Father’s intense spirituality of the environment and appreciation for the spirituality of the indigenous peoples and his use of poetry to not just echo but to instantiate the doctrinal points he is making. His insight into the problem of Christ and culture is further revealed in all its complexity. His attentiveness to the promptings of the Spirit is remarkable.

In trying to return the Petrine ministry to something that continues to serve as a source of unity while undoing the suffocating uniformity produced by the Ultramontanism of the past 200 years, through the mechanism of synodality, Francis is attempting something almost impossible to conceive. Unless you truly believe that with God all things are possible. Do we?

So very deep.

Then there is disappointed Jesuit Thomas Reese.  He’s at Fishwrap via RNS.

Reese is disappointed that Francis won’t allow married priests: “It was disappointing but not a surprise that Pope Francis decided not to respond to the Amazon synod’s recommendation that the Catholic Church ordain mature, married men….” He is disappointed that Francis calls for prayers for vocations:  “I find it disappointing that he recycles the old recommendations of praying for vocations and enlarging the role of the laity.”  He found Francis’ decision against deaconettes to be disappointing: “His arguments against women deacons were disappointing and patriarchal.”   We are, it seems, all disappointed: “Our disappointment with Francis’ decisions on married priests and women deacons…”.

But wait!  There’s more.  Beyond our collective disappointment, there’s so much to appreciate!    There’s global warming and inculturation and the the prospect that Card. Sarah has to resign!  That last part isn’t actually in Francis document, but Sarah is clearly living in Reese’s head space.  There’s the elevation of the role of synods.   It’s disappointing, but it is still a Jesuit’s candy-store.

I am disappointed too.

It seems to me that, if the Amazon region is so important, a synod should have been held in the Amazon region for the Amazonians, perhaps without the involvement of so many Germans.

Who else was disappointed?   Fishwrap‘s (I’m sensing a theme) Heidi Schlumpf.

Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the Amazon disappointed those hoping for an opening of clerical roles to married men and women, with many noting that the pope failed to extend his prophetic voice about environmental injustice to injustices in his own house, the church. Many women were especially outraged over the document’s language of complementarity.

Outrage comes easily to some people.

Reading the document was “demoralizing” and “painful,” especially given the pope’s lyrical language about his dreams for the region, said Casey Stanton, who works in parish ministry and said she is called to the diaconate.

“But then you get to the paragraphs about women … and it just feels like the dream stops short of including them and including me,” said Stanton, a minister of adult faith formation at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina.

She admitted that she did not expect a change in church teaching from the papal document, but “just wanted him to keep the conversation open in this slow-moving church.”

“Instead, I think what the pope has done in this document is to close the door,” she said.

Translated: Forget what the Church says; keep bashing away at it until we get our way.

Disappointment abounds, it seems.

Those who work for church reform also reacted negatively to the Feb. 12 release of the document.

“We are profoundly shocked and disappointed,” said Linda Pinto, co-chair of CORPUS, a church reform group that advocates for an inclusive priesthood.

I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED, to find that disappointment is going on at the Fishwrap!

And so Francis is not exactly flavor of the month right now, unless you are able to appreciate him in his amazing ecclesiological profundity about synodality.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Every time I think these people have achieved total maxed out narcissism, they level up.

    For goodness’ sake, who looks at a synod about the Amazonian tribes and thinks, “How can this help me gain more power in my rich suburban US parish?”

    There are plenty of entitled Karens who would be ashamed of this much overreach, but this woman aims for the top! Human suffering, savage natural hazards, and a shortage of basic needs isn’t what the Gospel is all about, right? It is all about me, me, me crushing the Parish Council and taking over the rectory!

    Yeah, I’m sure that is totally what Jesus had in mind for you. Great discernment, ma’am.

  2. Gaetano says:

    I’m confused as to how the opinion of a lay minister of adult faith formation at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina has any bearing whatsoever on the evangelization of the Amazon.

    Unless, of course, their intent was to use the Amazon Synod as a vehicle to get papal approval for policies endorsed by well-off liberal Catholics in western nations.

  3. Spinmamma says:

    Heh. I knew the aftermath was going to be good.

  4. scoot says:

    I hope it is not wrong of me to choose to believe that this outcome is a miracle. We will always have good or bad Popes, but the Holy Church herself is indefectible, as you say. Not immune to infestation with people who will try to push her this way or that. But totally immune to permanent change contrary to God’s law. There will be Schism before there will be a “change” in the unchangeable Truths of the Church.

    A part of me is also very satisfied that Pope Francis’ emphasis is on the Amazon more than on the celibacy of priests. I agree: The Amazon is ripe mission territory. We can have a long and fruitful discussion about the best way to evangelize that territory. That makes preistly celibacy a secondary issue to the effective offering of sacraments to the Amazon. As a secondary issue, it doesn’t have to be included in the solution whatever it is.

    There’s lots of other parts of the world that could use some evangelism too. So maybe instead of talking about oxymorons like “married priest”, we can talk about recommitting the modern world to Christ.

  5. Padrepcj93 says:

    Unfortunately, the Pope regularly give “hope” of change where none CAN exist.

  6. jaykay says:

    “Many women were especially outraged over the document’s language of complementarity.”

    Tens of them, even. Calling Susan. Hello…

    These people are dead to irony. Dead to much else, unfortunately.

  7. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I don’t know why the libs are so upset and why Cdl. Müller and others are so happy. Here is what the Pope actually said, with the underbrush and fog cleared away, at the beginning of QA, after saying he would not replace the Final Document with his own Exhortation: “I would like to officially present the Final Document, ….I would encourage everyone to read it in full. …May the pastors, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of the Amazon region strive to apply it, and may it inspire in some way every person of good will.”

    The Pope made no exceptions in the Final Document. Therefore, by his own words, the Pope left on the table the entire Final Document with all its suggestions, recommendations, and implications. How is it, then, that the door has been closed to anything? To get a flavor of the confusion surrounding these questions and the authority to be given to the respective documents, I recommend that everyone read the reports from Diane Montagna,…final-document-is-not, and Ed Pentin, which includes video of the press conference presenting the Exhortation,

    And consider this interpretation from a long-time BFF: “(Pope) Francis took the Synod (of the Amazon) seriously, avoiding replacing it with a Papal Exhortation, and simply asked that its (Final) Document be applied.” – Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina. (La Nacion, February 13, 2020).

  8. Hidden One says:

    Ms. Stanton should perhaps be informed (or reminded) that Catholic men who are convinced they are called to the permanent diaconate are not automatically granted entrance to diaconal formation, nor are they all eventually ordained, even if they never lose that conviction or desire.

  9. Benedict Joseph says:

    Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Archbishop “Tucho” Fernandez provide credence at Lifesite to a perspective on this apparent preservation of the practice of priestly celibacy which I have seen elsewhere. We had best postpone taking too much consolation in what could prove to be merely a ruse.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Archbishop “Tucho” Fernandez provide credence at Lifesite to a perspective on this apparent preservation of the practice of priestly celibacy which I have seen elsewhere. We had best postpone taking too much consolation in what could prove to be merely a ruse.

  11. CasaSanBruno says:

    The horror. The horror.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Yes, of course they are going to.try again. They have been trying this stuff all my life.

    But as long as the younger generations don’t get into it, the danger period.should end in the next 20 years or so.

    Our Eastern Catholic and Anglican Use churches have more reach now, so the silly playbaby fantasy of “married priests have the lure of the unknown, and never have logistical problems” is going away.

    The “women should be priests” crowd is aging out, although peer pressure from Episcopal and United Methodist “female clergy” does not help.

  13. Jann says:

    I’m grateful to “Greatful to be Catholic” for her comment. I agree completely and can’t understand how no one seems to have picked up on #4:

    “May God grant that the entire Church be enriched and challenged by the work of the synodal assembly. May the pastors, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of the Amazon region strive to apply it, and may it inspire in some way every person of good will.”

    — Nor how there’s never a distinction between natural gifts and supernatural charisms and that these should be tested, and on and on…

  14. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Thank you for your thank you, Jann. It was my lawyer’s eye that picked up on the import of the first few paragraphs. In U.S. legal practice, this is call “incorporation by reference.” It means that the incorporated document, in this case the Final Document of the Amazon Synod, is approved, included, and promulgated in its entirety, unless exceptions are noted. No exception is noted. Everyone is either outraged or delirious because they jumped to the body of the text or searched certain terms and found that the Exhortation doesn’t mention those hot button items from the Final Document. It doesn’t have to. They are all incorporated by reference.
    Donna Bethell

  15. Jann says:

    If the women of the Amazon have natural leadership roles there, let them foster a cult of veneration of the Blessed Virgin, seek to destroy all Pachamama idols, stop practicing infanticide, and seek to care tenderly for the weak and vulnerable. And God will bless them.

  16. PaulusFranciscus says:

    I’m glad that Jann and Grateful to be Catholic have pointed out the incorporation of the Final Document by reference.

    We should also remember Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Constitution “Epicopalis Communio” from 2018. Article 18 provides as follows:

    Article 18 – The Consignment of the Final Document to the Roman Pontiff

    § 1. When it has been approved by the Members, the Final Document of the Assembly is presented to the Roman Pontiff, who decides on its publication.

    If it is expressly approved by the Roman Pontiff, the final Document participates in the Ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter.

    § 2. If the Roman Pontiff has granted deliberative power to the Synodal Assembly, according to the norm of canon 343 of the Code of Canon Law, the final Document participates in the Ordinary Magisterium of the Successor of Peter once it is ratified and promulgated by him.

    In this case, the final Document shall be published with the signature of the Roman Pontiff together with the signatures of the Members of the Synod.

    Does the language of the Exhortation rise to the level of “express approval”? Not sure. What does it mean to say that the Final Document “participates” in the Magisterium of the Successor of Peter? Interesting questions, both.

    It seems to be an exercise in studied ambiguity, but we can guess at the answers, given that the ultimate judge is the Supreme Pontiff himself.

    It’s far too early to be running any victory laps.

  17. JamesA says:

    They have some good bishops in NC. I hope someone is paying attention. That woman should not be teaching the Faith to anyone.

  18. JamesA says:

    Oops, I stand corrected. The new bishop hails from Columbia, via Atlanta.
    He would promote her.

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  20. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Thank you, PaulusFranciscus, for bringing up “Episcopalis Communio.’ It can’t be an accident that it was issued in time for the Amazon Synod. I don’t know whether the Amazon Synod had deliberative power, but we should not be surprised if its Final Document along with QA ends up in the AAS as “authentic magisterium.”
    Donna Bethell

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