Is Francis perhaps backing away a little from the progressivist, lib, German-driven agenda?

I wonder if Sandro Magistro is right? He doesn’t often put his foot wrong.

At his place, Magister has an analysis piece worth reading.

He is of the mind that the resistance to the obvious machinations of the Germans, and the obvious machinations of the Germans, has shocked Francis into backing off on what was probably his own liberalizing agenda. Francis tried to rein in the Germans, to no avail. He is now, perhaps, a little spooked.

[I]n fact shortly afterward the post-synodal exhortation “Querida Amazonia” fell like a sudden chill, with the total silence of Francis on the subject. To keep a feeble little light aflame, the innovators can only cling to the few introductory lines in which the pope invites “to read in full” the final document of the synod as well, from which “may God grant that the entire Church be enriched and challenged,” and recommends that “the pastors” of the Amazon “strive to apply it.”

But apart from this last crumbly foothold left by Francis at the disposal of the innovators, what has driven the pope to repeatedly apply the brakes in matters on which he had previously shown himself willing to innovate?

The answer is to be found in Germany.


Magister provides in his piece a kind of status quaestionis, involving a timeline of various stages in the attempts to subvert the Church’s teachings and practices, which Francis seemed keen to embrace… for a while. Maybe still? Hard to say.

For my part, I think we haven’t seen the end of the dangerous mammon-driven Unsinn from the Germans even with tentative approval from on high.

This isn’t over.

The lines seem to have been established along with trenches and more noxious gasses are sure to roll over the disputed fields.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JustaSinner says:

    The Dark One is merely reinforcing its minions in Germany..stay tuned for Round 2, it’s gonna be a doozy!!!

  2. Creeping incrementalism?

    I’m not so sure observers of the scene aren’t aware that the German and progressive hierarchy know exactly what they’re doing. It seems like they’re (the progressives) playing long ball; push for an untenable (or unpalatable) strategic end game, and accept the tactical intermediate position while still agitating (quietly) to push ahead for the ultimate agenda as listener fatigue sets in (or the frog is slowly being boiled in the pot) and what was previously considered as ‘outrageous’ becomes ‘meh’.

    The same culture that gave us an Einstein and Ratzinger also gave us a Luther and Marx.

    My MRE thesis was how the chaos of the 60s led to empty churches and decimated clerical ranks (the SJs who proctored my defense didn’t agree, by the way…but couldn’t refute); I’m not so sure that it wasn’t the chaos in the Church post-VII that allowed society to break down or vice versa. Same thing here, I fear.

    That PF is somehow being seen as tugging on the reins is interesting; I wonder, though, whether it’s a case of insight into what he’s unleashed or a case of finally waking up to the direct assault (albeit with smooth ‘churchspeak’ and ‘serene discussion’) on the authority vested in his office.

  3. Kerry says:

    ” didn’t agree, by the way…but couldn’t refute”.

    Quoth the venerable Ralph of Norton, “How sweet (that) is!”

  4. HvonBlumenthal says:

    How do you read the premature resignation ofCard Marx, Father? Is it a sign of disappointment or do you think the libs have a Plan?

  5. teomatteo says:

    I hope that PF is realizing that when the history of his papacy is written he may not look favorable in the light of the Deposit of Faith. A hope.

  6. Mike says:

    “Agenda” this and “agenda” that… This papacy (not to mention the past several decades) has had more agendas than anyone can keep accurate track of. What does any of these agendas have to do with the deliverance of souls from the bondage of sin and its consequences, which is to say, what Our Lord came to earth to accomplish? Doctors of the law and their unquestioning submission to all things Francis notwithstanding, that is a question to which Catholics have a right to demand an answer.

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    Ultimately there is no comfort provided the Magister article from last week. Mr. Magister’s reportage is always impeccable and he leaves it to the reader to come to their own conclusion. After enduring the last seven years of carnage and malfeasance I can only attribute this seemingly different course to calculation. When there is manifest decidedly bold moves such as conscientious episcopal appointments, elevations to the cardinalate and forceful rebukes of the heterodox then we will know there to be an altered agenda. Until then this seeming change in posture can only be regarded as a shrewd determination of how best to cross the battlefield without the “new paradigm” being taken out. Can anyone forget the famous admonition provided by the Holy Father to those confecting “Amoris Laetitia”? Was it not reported as being “…not too directly or it will make a mess. We’ll clarify it later…”
    Presently what we endure is nothing more or less of the same old thing.

  8. mysticalrose says:

    I wish he were backing away, but I fear it is just the usual Hegelian dialectic at play.

  9. Imrahil says:

    Dear Bryan D. Boyle,

    thanks for the credit for Einstein, though I’m not so sure whether he himself would agree there, seeing how Germany treated him and his coreligionists.

    Well, the Germans burdened the world with Luther and Marx, not to mention Ludwig Feuerbach. But the Reformation would not have happened in the manner it happened had not a) the German Emperor been busy with wars he had not started, so as to crush it with force of arms, and had not b) someone who was not a German, John Calvin, drawn the logical conclusions of of Luther’s premises which were heretical but still, in their application, somewhat muddled by Luther’s Catholic instincts.

    So, Germany indeed also burdened the world with Marx. But those genuine German Marxists who later came to rule or to lead the opposition, like Friedrich Ebert or Kurt Schumacher, may have been somewhat tainted with the errors but turned out to be decent statesmen on the whole. The thing we know as Communism or Bolshevism was not started by Marx; it was started by a Russian named Lenin who interpreted Marx (do not misunderstand me: quite possibly rightly; but Lenin, not Marx, did the movement-starting). Without that, Marx would today be as unkown as Charles Fourier, who probably wrote even more nonsensical nonsense than Marx did (though I have not studied either of them). (Though Lenin was at least partly a product of Germany, where he was in exile.)

    In a perhaps somewhat connected area, it is somewhat unfair to lay the blame on the German Church here. Of course they are clamouring for married priests and women deaconnesses (usually staying one step short of women priests precisely because they are already out-dogmatized); the lay-establishment does; many bishops do. Those who stick together will tend to grow alike, and in the case of married priests, the arguments that they are possible (by dispensation) and that there really is a priest shortage are not easily refuted by those who like theorizing – even if, as in this case, married priests (on a non-exceptional level) really would in practice be nothing short of a catastrophe.

    But why are they making problems now? Simply because they are not reigned in by those who in their heart of hearts they expect to do so. It is said that Germans like rules; if so, that is probably because they like to be undisciplined: let there be a rule so that I may use all the space not ruled-out according to whatever pleases me, and still feel well. (That is description; not criticism.)

    And, forgive me, while they are mistaken in wanting female clergy and married priests, not only them but all of us felt that the debate really was opened by Rome.

    – The interesting question therefore is: what was the Holy Father’s aim? Did he have any? Did he want to loosen the leash a bit – if so, why? pedagogy? Or else did he himself really want a synod that legitimized married priests (not, I guess, women deacons) and then got cold feet, or was stopped by intervention of the Holy Spirit?

    One thing I cannot imagine is that he loosened the reigns seriously not expecting that the Germans would act the way they started to act. Of course they would. (But then I’m German.)

  10. Cy says:

    If you’re unsure, the Truth is sure.

  11. veritas vincit says:

    Initially, my impression was that Pope Francis wanted to further no agenda but his own, not even an agenda close to his own.

    But after reading Imrahil’s post, I’m not so sure. Maybe the Holy Spirit did intervene.

    Or maybe both those things are true at the same time.

  12. pjthom81 says:

    Did not Pius IX start out originally as a liberal (in 1846)?

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    Fool me once shame on you, fool me about 120 times, because I can’t stop giving you the benefit of the doubt. Only I finally did stop, some years ago. I agree with Benedict Joseph, it’s most likely part of his calculations. Tigers don’t suddenly change stripes.

  14. TonyO says:

    Did not Pius IX start out originally as a liberal (in 1846)?

    That sounds like one of the ridiculous accusations invented by the ultra-right wing of the sedevacantists, the ones who say every pope since, say, Clement VIII was invalid.

    I don’t think we can yet discern whether Francis is doing this out of prior long planning, lately discovered cold feet about certain changes, irritation at the Germans for muffing his subtle plans, intervention of the Holy Spirit (in which case Francis might not himself be able to tell why, or some other cause we just don’t see in the effects yet. One thing is sure: Francis’ “make a mess” method allows for the possibility of his turning on a dime and hying off in some new direction without any clearly articulated plan or even reason. He clearly has a limited grasp of how human nature works and how social dynamics work: he may be just plain fumbling around to see if something different will work. Could anyone ever tell?

  15. Sayomara says:

    If so many of these Germans want married priests why not join one of the Eastern Catholic groups. Yes you might be limited in this generation but your boys, God willing could enter the priesthood and be married.

    That said anyone wanting to make such a change it should only be done after prayer and talking to priest then I believe there is a bit of paperwork but less than there used to be.

  16. Bthompson says:

    Sayomara, I don’t think joining an Eastern Catholic Church would suit the Germans’ fancy… Minor Orders, Liturgical Rites held as nearly immutable, and ancient languages galore… I’d hazard it might not be their cup of tea.

  17. pjthom81 says:

    My point was missed. Pius IX did start out as a liberal of his time and governed as such for his first two years. Then he was…so to speak…mugged by reality. His life was put in danger and he had to flee Rome during the revolutions of 1848. The point I was trying to get across is that many start on the left but then become the strongest adherents of tradition and conservatism….Pius IX, Whittaker Chambers, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, and Benedict XVI are all names that spring to mind. I was attempting to point out….somewhat mischievously…that perhaps there is hope Francis may similarly evolve.

  18. HvonBlumenthal says:

    An extremely senior church official who knows the Pope said to me a couple of years ago:

    “He likes to walk his friends to a cliff edge to look at the view, and then leave them standing there.”

  19. iamlucky13 says:

    “With regard to married priests and women’s ministries, the German synod had focused on the synod of the Amazon as a trailblazer. If openings had come from there, however minimal, on both issues, the way would have been paved to replicate and expand them also in the heart of Europe.

    Pope Francis knew it. And he had done much last year to call the Catholic Church of Germany back to order.”

    Is anyone able to share some details or examples of how Pope Francis has worked to moderate the Catholic Church in Germany? I recall criticisms and I think some more concrete actions with respect to arguably excessive spending by some bishops. I’m having trouble thinking of past actions on his part to restrain them in terms of moral and theological matters. I would very much appreciate confirmation of Mr. Magister’s assertion here. Thanks.

  20. iamlucky13 says:

    Sorry. I posted the above too quickly after jotting it down while I was still reading so I wouldn’t forget it. Mr. Magister later re-visits in more detail the assertion about the Pope’s attempts to moderate the German bishops.

  21. Amerikaner says:

    Bloggers, journalists, etc. need to keep publishing articles on the Kirchensteuer. The German bishops know it is simony to pay for the sacraments but can’t let go of the forced wealth. The German power in the Church is tied directly to their wealth and monetary influence with Rome. The spotlight needs to shine on this again, and again, and again. Faithful Catholics are forced to pay the tax while their dioceses promote the most horrendous and scandalous things with their money. Pope Francis speaks of the poor and a poor Church. Then why doesn’t he speak up about this simony??

  22. Grumpy Beggar says:

    If I recall correctly, Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider had asked/called for a preemptive crusade of 40 days of prayer and fasting which would also coincide with the Synod and then conclude the day (Oct 26,2019) before the conclusion of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the PanAmazon .

    Prayer can bring results.

    I haven’t stopped praying for Pope Francis since I started praying for him a little more regularly somewhere around 5 years ago – and it definitely wasn’t because I agreed with what he ( or what the media claims he ) is saying.

    (Only my personal limited observation here, but) Speculation as to whether Pope Francis is partially aloof, totally aloof or fully aware of what is going on may not be the primary point to focus on for any extended interval because that, in and of itself, can’t really change anything ; but prayer can .

  23. Sayomara says:

    Bthompson wouldn’t be powerful example to people if a bishop were to step down from his seat in order to serve as a priest or Brother for Eastern Church because he believes so strongly in supporting the part of the church that has married priests. Words are easy actions speak volumes about our convictions.

    This is about the glory of God and saving souls. My hope and prayers is our bishops but those two things first in all things

  24. oledocfarmer says:

    With a true Progressive, nothing will ever be as it seems. Deception is perpetual, which is how we can be confident that the demons are Progressives.

    On the other hand…think of all the holy people praying and doing penance for “Pope” (I think the validity of his election is at least in question) Francis. That has to be having some effect on Our Lord and His Holy Mother!

  25. Hidden One says:

    At the end of the day, Pope Francis does not want a schism. I think this is worth noting, given that the contrary has often been asserted.

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