Papal Style: Caring for Souls while Leaving Doctrinal Exposition to Others

pope-plane_EPA : Luca Zennaro

On the plane, on the way back from Brazil, the journalist Gianguido Vecchi, of Corriere della Sera asked Pope Francis the following question.

“Holy Father, during this visit … you have frequently spoken of mercy. With regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline?” That elicited the following response:

This is an issue which frequently comes up. Mercy is something much larger than the one case you raised. I believe that this is the season of mercy. This new era we have entered, and the many problems in the Church—like the poor witness given by some priests, problems of corruption in the Church, the problem of clericalism for example—have left so many people hurt, left so much hurt. The Church is a mother: she has to go out to heal those who are hurting, with mercy. If the Lord never tires of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to care for those who are hurting. The Church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy. And find a form of mercy for all.

That was by no means all he said: but it was all many people listened to: including, it seems, not merely journalists, but also some liberal diocesan authorities, for whom it was an open invitation to jettison the Church’s disciplines. As the website of the German paper Der Spiegel related it, “The archdiocese of Freiburg recently signalled a willingness to allow remarried divorcées to receive communion. While far from revolutionary, the move reflects a desire to change doctrine long considered out of touch with reality.” Was that what Pope Francis was getting at? Was Catholic teaching really about to get “in touch with [secular] reality”?

Well, no. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the person of Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller immediately disassociated itself from the Freiburg proposal. In a letter dated October 21 Archbishop Müller dismissed the whole idea. Last June, Müller had written a lengthy article in the German paper Tagespost which was firmly against any potential softening of the Church’s stance on remarried divorcees. The article was picked up by L’Osservatore Romano, whence it hit the mainstream.

The Prefect’s recent letter was addressed to the German Episcopal Conference. In it, Müller recognized that the Freiburg proposal contained valid pastoral teaching, but said that it was unclear in its terminology and did not correspond with the Church’s Magisterium on two points. The most important regarded the possibility for couples who have remarried after divorce to “responsibly reach” a “decision of conscience” to receive communion. According to the Freiburg proposal the parish priests and the community should respect this decision. Müller stressed, on the contrary, that remarried divorcees must be encouraged to participate in Church life but insisted that they cannot be admitted to the Eucharist. To give them this right, he said, “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

So: is there a conflict between Pope Francis and the CDF? Well, no, actually. According to Tagespost, Müller’s article was republished “after the Holy Father was consulted.” So what, exactly, is going on?

One key to understanding Pope Francis is that he works within his own limitations. He is not a theologian: Sandro Magister, as others have, repeats the Pope’s insistence—“The view of the Church is known and I am a son of the Church”—that he accepts the teachings of the Church in their entirety: and he did after all renew the appointment of the Ratzingerian Archbishop Müller as Prefect of the CDF. Quite simply, Pope Francis keeps others to do doctrine for him: he himself believes the time has come for a different, twofold emphasis. “Just as,” suggests Sandro Magister, “in the Gospel Jesus is very demanding in the commandments but turns to individual sinners with mercy, so also Pope Francis wants to be. On disputed questions, on birth, on death, on procreation, he is of undisputed doctrinal orthodoxy: [as] he bluntly stated in the interview with La Civiltà Cattolica.

“But he leaves the exposition of doctrine to others, and reserves for himself the merciful style of the care of souls.” Archbishop Muller’s firm response to the Freiburg proposal, says Magister, was only the “most striking example of this joint action.” But striking or not, “The inauguration of this twofold communicative register—in this case, of the pope and of his guardian of doctrine—almost entirely escaped the notice of the media, still dazzled by the presumed ‘openness’ of the former. But it is likely to be repeated with other issues.”

The last time I attempted to write reassuringly about the current confusion over Pope Francis’s pontifical strategy, insisting that nothing had changed, that it wasn’t back to the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II,” one of my more intelligent regular commentators pointed to “the Christian Science Monitor suggesting that Catholic Illinois politicians on a ratio of 2:1 changed their position against Same-Sex Marriage [allowing the bill to be passed] using the equivocation of Pope Francis’s ‘Who am I to Judge’ [on homosexuality].” He pointed to a general atmosphere of resurgent Catholic liberalism, with “everyone re-creating Pope Francis in their own image as the exemplary freedom-fighter for their own particular cause … because he’s so lovely and he cares so much and he is not constricted by anachronistic, intolerant, uncharitable legalism….”

“It’s never,” he concluded, “been those outside the Church about whom we need to worry. It’s never been Pope Francis ‘being conservative in the fundamentals’ that’s been a problem. It’s the plain and simple fact that despite his claims to simple ‘all-embracing’ worldly wisdom and his portrayal of spontaneity, Pope Francis is playing a VERY dangerous game.”

Actually “dangerous”? Well, possibly; risky?—certainly. All the same, my own confident feeling is that anxieties of this kind, as the pontificate unfolds, will become progressively calmer and then fade away. I think the Holy Father will pull it off.

But we cannot actually KNOW. Not yet. Time for us to fall to our prayers.

Editor’s note: This column first appeared November 14, 2013 in the Catholic Herald of London and is reprinted with permission. (Photo credit: Luca Zennaro / EPA)

Dr. William Oddie

By

Dr. William Oddie is a leading English Catholic writer and broadcaster. He edited The Catholic Herald from 1998 to 2004 and is the author of The Roman Option and Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    He is a bishop. Bishops have as one of their munera to teach. Teach what? Doctrines of the Church. Yes, he is called to be an icon of charity an mercy but the Pope cannot pass off doctrinal matters onto a functionary within the Vatican curia.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The Holy Father understands very well the interaction of dogma and life.

      As Maurice Blondel said, “Actions are not simply the putting into practice of logically defined ideas and of geometrically shaped theories; and everything is not decided in the domain of abstractions, as if human beings were only pure intellects, as if concepts were the adequate substitute of things and the sole motivation of the will, as if we governed ourselves by them and them alone. In individual and social practice, there is always something more and different than in the speculative systems that appear to inspire it. That is why the ideas that determine actions do not prevent actions from prompting new ideas that, even setting out from inexact and mutilating theses, can become liberating and healing. The life of human beings and of peoples obeys a more complex logic than that of abstract thought; what one does is often better or worse than what one thinks.”

      This is not to say that pastoral practice should change; indeed, it may be re-affirmed by “a deeper understanding of the religious psychology and the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of those objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates.” We call Abraham “our Father in Faith” for a reason; the Akidah, the binding of Isaac, where all human thought, human feeling, and values are completely obliterated before the fear and love of God. That is something that can only come from within.

    • Marcelus

      Seriously Do you think He does that ? WHen faith becomes ideology….

      I find these posts very honest but far from the reality of the Church and Catholicism and the world is today.

      “Pope cannot pass off doctrinal matters onto a functionary”

      “Pope Francis keeps others to do doctrine for him”!!!

      Oooohh please….

      PLease, no affense but try and come out of you doctrinal shell .

      • Guest

        The ideologues are the one’s who use mercy as a cover to promote sin. Not the Pope but those who hijack his intentions.

  • lifeknight

    Like children, we “sheeple” need clear messages. The Pope is the most quoted man for 2013. To have politicians claim “Who am I to judge?” and vote in favor of abominations is simply unacceptable. Instead of softening the blow of sin on the soul, we need to hear Truth from the pulpits AND from Rome.

    • Marcelus

      My friend, I read this somewhere else about the Illinois vote? , but pleaseeee, Is the Pope to blame for what your politicians voted ? basing their vote on his comments??, talker or not (I believe the cardinals who chose him for a REASON) so to the Vatican this comes as no surprise, and believe me, to the great majority of the Catholic world, South AMerica for instance, THe POpe and his actions and opinions are quite well known. Rest of the world needs to get used to that..

      • Maggie Sullivan

        The politicians in Illinois used the pope’s words to vote for homosexaul marriage.
        In a huge ceremony on Wednesday our catholic Governor will sign the law leaglizing homosexaul marriage…….our Bishops refuse to excommunicate him so the people of illinois know Quinn is a Catholic in good standing.
        We will have gay marriage in illionis for one reason – the Catholic Church is afraid to defend marriage.

        • slainte

          You will have gay marriage in Illinois because a majority of your citizens voted for Quinn based on their own enlightened self interest. To project blame onto the pope for this debacle is a major cop-out.
          What are the Catholic and other citizens of Illinois doing to stop this? Are they sitting on the sidelines waiting for a miracle? The time has come to stand up and be heard.

          • Maggie Sullivan

            No, we are waiting for our bishops to excommunicate Catholics who murder babies and promote sodomy – and when the Bishops refuse to act the people follow their lead.

    • JERD

      Politicians are politicians, nothing more nor less. These pols know that the teachings of the church are not softening under this pontificate. They are taking the Pope’s comments out of context to provide cover for themselves. They would have voted the same way whether or not the Pope had spoken. They would have merely found some other excuse.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    Most people simply don’t understand Clericalism, nor do they grasp the pervasiveness of, or the full implications of, it. Our Holy Father does.

    There are healthy, and unhealthy, ways of viewing the priesthood, and unfortunately, too many priests and lay people verge towards the unhealthy.
    The unhealthy is called clericalism and I’d suggest it comes in four ‘flavours’, of varying levels of distortion, within the following matrix:

    • cestusdei

      Liberal clericalism is the worst.

      • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

        I think all clericalism is bad, no degrees. But do you mean a priest towards the laity, or laity towards the priest? :)

        A ‘liberal’ layperson, for example, might be infatuated with Boff, but show disdain for Pope Benedict. Or, a lay liberal/feminist clericalist might conflate their laity with priesthood, because they show disdain for priesthood (power, control rhetoric), for example. Whereas a lay ‘conservative’ clericalist, might hold them poles apart and verge towards the infatuation…

        It doesn’t really matter. All forms are distortions of the correct, healthy relationship between the two.

        • Patsy Koenig

          The Sacraments are valid irregardless of the left/right leanings of the priest. THAT is was the clerics do: they are priests.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            Deacons are among the clerical order.

    • Patsy Koenig

      Critisizing “clericalism” is a disguised way to critisize the priesthood.

  • Adam__Baum

    “Out Of touch”
    meaningless drivel defined as not compliant with the ambivalence and permissiveness of the chattering classes.

    • R. K. Ich

      Aye, Pope Benedict was the only pope in my lifetime that actually made Roman Catholicism more of a live option for me. This Pope is deflating me — I pray this is just a hiccup for the Roman communion.

      • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

        How exactly is the pope deflating you?
        You are expressing your own subjectivity as something objective.

        If you read his comments about Narcissism, you have provided yourself with a good example of what he was getting at.

        Narcissism = those who believe that the Holy Father is deflating them…

        • R. K. Ich

          Sir, if I were simply elated over the Pope’s words, would I be still mired in this slimy vortex of subjectivity of which you speak? Or does elation equate objectivity?

          Better yet, why don’t you proffer me your objective view of things since you’ve obviously escaped the narcissism the Holy Father has warned us about.

          • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

            It’s a question of the will. Unless our Holy Father has some form of control over you (you are a puppet, he has a gun to your head, or you are under some other form of restraint or duress), you are free.

            He can’t make you do, or feel, anything – unless the majority of Protestants are right in relation to bondage of the will and predestination.

            • R. K. Ich

              Oh, well, if it’s easy as all that, I suppose a good dose of apathy could cure my indolence. Thanks for the remedy.

              As for Luther’s De Servo Arbitrio, I am not sure how a discussion on theological anthropology has seeped into this dialogue, but if you are worried about a creeping Manichaeism, I assure you it’s far from my mind and heart. But I own up honestly to my Augustinianism if that will make you feel any better.

              • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

                ‘I am not sure how a discussion on theological anthropology has seeped into this dialogue…’

                …Probably because I think a deep theological anthropology is at the foundation of all our Holy Father is saying and is the key to understanding him. :)

                • R. K. Ich

                  Do you believe Pope Francis had Augustinian anthropology in his cross-hairs? (By the way, please don’t mistaken my brisk replies as anti-Romanist. I love Rome.)

                  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

                    Who knows?
                    But I guess he’d be upset if he knew you thought he was responsible for deflating you, and would come and give you a hug and say sorry.

                    • R. K. Ich

                      Well, if my words would upset him, it doesn’t sound like he’s got a good grasp of your doctrine of the will. I’d simply tell His Lordship, “Buck up! You’re being way too Narcissistic!”

                    • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

                      Sorry. I’m making a subtle difference, and maybe it wasn’t clear…

                      I am expressing a link between definite knowledge and response: ‘empathy’ as some call it. I am talking about real persons-in-relation. However, it seems to me, to describe oneself as ‘deflated’ is based on media reports and commentary, not persons-in-relation (unless you live at the Vatican, or have been friends with him for years).

                      How much do we delegate, or project, how we feel onto others, when we have no relation to them whatsoever?

                      Surely, it is not Pope Francis at all, but a set of ideas and beliefs you hold about him – or which you think he holds – and which you’ve received in a mediated way, that you have problems with? Subjectivity is too tempted to interpret reality to suit itself. That’s how propaganda is so effective, isn’t it? It tells people what they want to hear.

                      I believe the problem isn’t so much what he’s saying, but that we cannot see the strategy, his motives, or the big picture. How much is ignorant calumny dressed up as righteous indignation?

                      To assume these, is merely speculative and, as they say, ‘When you assume, you make an ass of you and me’.

                    • R. K. Ich

                      Well, I never claimed to have interpersonal knowledge of his motives, strategies, or outlooks (maybe you really do, so you have perspective I do not)– at the end of the day all we have is some kind of medium that selectively reports what it deems important. I don’t even deny some of my perceptions could be a product of a Secular Engine of destruction set out to destroy the faithful. I am willing to amend and correct my views as my knowledge matures. But let’s not pretend you’re operating on the plane of unaffected vision whilst anybody else who believes something smells rotten in Denmark is simply a slave to their untamed solipsisms.

                • Patsy Koenig

                  Does that mean Francis I is backward?

        • accelerator

          “Narcissism = those who believe that the Holy Father is deflating them…”

          “Ultramonatism=Someone Who Would Write the Above Statement”

      • Adam__Baum

        Benedict did speak with a certain Teutonic precision, you could imagine how his countryment gave us BMW.

        I do remember however, a comment about prophylactics and a speech at
        Regensburg both causing a bit of a dust-up and the barbarians at the gate were were hearing cries of surrender and error.

        Just as Peter was an impetuous, but frail man, but who had less obvious strengths, his successors have weaknesses and strengths.

        • R. K. Ich

          No doubt you are right, friend. If I cared nothing for the papacy this topic would be of little interest to me; as it is, I too look to His Grace for a certain shepherding akin to whatsoever Holy Writ demands.

  • Jamie

    This pope is perfect for our times. What he says is perfect for our times. Assume that. Then read what he says. We’ve had our doctrine. Now it’s time to save individuals. Don’t worry about who is misinterpreting his words–that’s an old story and he’ll disappoint them in the end. Listen to our Holy Father. He knows this ship is going down–not the barque of Peter, the World. He wants us to turn to our neighbor and appeal to him to repent. He knows that it’s Love that calls a man out of the darkness and into the light, not theology. Not that theology is done. But it’s time for Love, and time is running short.

    • R. K. Ich

      Love rejoices in truth, Paul says. Orthodox theology is truth. Ergo, love rejoices in theology. Also, love informs our words, thoughts, and deeds. To speak love to our neighbor is a specifically theological endeavor because Christ is the center of our love — Who is Truth itself. To speak a-theologically is to speak a-Christologically, therefore not speaking love at all. I don’t get this de-emphasis of theology as if the resulting vacuum will admit to more love. Au contraire, it will admit to a false love. Theology is the structure of Love.

      • Guest

        Exactly right. People view theology and morality as some rules in a dusty old book with no relationship to truth and reality. That is a product of our dead consciences. We cannot reason correctly when we are on the wrong road.

        • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

          It’s actually the product of the modern doctrine of ‘Epistemology Alone’, isn’t it?
          We cannot walk far along a road – wrong or not – on only one leg.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          And, alas, theology has for too long fostered that impression. The Holy Father has told us, “I studied philosophy from textbooks that came from decadent or largely bankrupt Thomism.”

          As Maurice Blondel pointed out, over a century ago, “the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.”

          • Guest

            The last two people used Catholic theology and Traditional moral theology that was deep, profound, and timeless. It was not decadent nor bankrupt.

            Too many do not like it because it requires them to stop doing what they want to do. It is that simple.

            • Guest

              people in the sentence above should be read as Popes

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Yet Cardinal Henri de Lubac famously said of Blondel, “he is the one who launched the decisive attack on the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought.” I would add that the Personalist philosophy embraced by Pope John Paul II was designed to replace the inadequacies of the reigning manualists

          • Patsy Koenig

            Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, is certainly not bankrupt. Whoever thinks a cannonized saint is bankrupt is not headed in their direction!

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              The Holy Father makes precisely this point, “The church has experienced times of brilliance, like that of Thomas Aquinas. But the church has lived also times of decline in its ability to think. For example, we must not confuse the genius of Thomas Aquinas with the age of decadent Thomist commentaries. Unfortunately, I studied philosophy from textbooks that came from decadent or largely bankrupt Thomism. In thinking of the human being, therefore, the church should strive for genius and not for decadence.” Not only that St. Thomas who so patiently classified and explained the gropings of the intellect towards God; but the far greater and more significant St. Thomas who quietly put away his pen and parchment saying: ‘I have seen too much, I can write no more.’ The St. Thomas who had passed from knowledge to wisdom, and from reason to contemplation.

          • slainte

            I recognize that you are spiritually attuned to the teachings of Vatican II and I respect your position…but have you ever attended an EF Latin Mass? If so, do you find those who attend “purely passive and receptive”?
            As a person who grew up post VII with no recollection of the traditional mass, I am in awe of its beauty and spirituality; and I am pleased to finally use the Latin I learned so many years ago.
            I ask the aforementioned question respectfully.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Slainté

              I was 24 years old in 1969, when the Novus Ordo was introduced, so I well remember the Tridentine mass and the manner in which it was, for the most part, celebrated. I recall Low Mass in Notre Dame de Paris – the choir, from the chancel arch to the high altar is 36 m and the transept adds a further 14 m, so someone in the front pew was 50 m (162 feet) from the priest, under a vault 33 m high. The nave is 60 m long, so someone at the back was about 100 m from him. There was no sound system. A Low Mass was completely inaudible and the sanctus bell served a very practical purpose. When the priest turned to us, we knew, of course, that he was saying “Dominus vobiscum,” but, had he said « Salut les copains » only the server would have been any the wiser. Sermons were preached from the pulpit in the nave. Without a homily, mass lasted some 20 minutes.

              That is, perhaps, an extreme case, but even in the typical parish church, the distance from altar to pew was often a good 20 m (65 feet).

              • slainte

                I see. The pastor in my church is young and very passionate about the EF mass. He ensures, with his con-celebrants, that the mass is intimate and beautiful..this is made possible in part by the smaller size of the church. Our mass is a little over one hour on Sundays.

                I have visited Notre Dame de Paris twice; its sheer size does convey a sense of the cavernous.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  Slanté

                  Most people do not know it, but the Sainte-Chapelle is still used for mass. It is part of the Palais de Justice, where I sometimes have business and there is a weekday mass there at 8.30 for the Groupe Catholique du Palais. Usually, about a dozen people attend – a janitor, a couple of cleaners, a couple of high court judges, advocates, clerks &c. The numbers double in Lent and, curiously enough, on First Fridays, which remain a popular devotion in France.

                  I believe it is the most beautiful building in France (which is saying a lot) – A lantern of stone tracery, filled with stained glass, which, on a fine morning cast pastel colours on the stone floor (no pews). A Novus Ordo mass, without singing, rather business-like, in the French manner, but reverent and in French or in Latin, just as it happens. I took a friend there once, on a lovely April morning. I was enraptured. “Gosh, it’s chilly in here,” he said. Nothing pleases everyone.

                  Next time, try the Madeleine (classical) or Saint-Germain-des-Prés (built by King Childebert and consecrated in 558)

      • Jamie

        Got it. Maybe I’m oversimplifying–always feel that way here. But I truly think that the pope is coming off this way on purpose AND that the Holy Spirit meant for us to have him. We have gobs of meat to chew, doctrine-wise, from the last two popes. This pope has no intention of upsetting that. But he wants us to reach those who are *farthest from God*. It’s by knowledge of theology that we recognize their distance from God, but it’s not by theology that we reach will reach them–at first.

        • Patsy Koenig

          You don’t know what the pope’s intention is; nor can you assume every pope is holy.

    • Patsy Koenig

      You cannot save anybody without truthful Doctrine. Belief is the basis of action.

  • http://www.adoroergosum.blogspot.com/ Nathan718

    The question, to my mind at least, is how long our Holy Father will continue to be lauded by the secular press. Right now “liberals” in the Church might rejoice every time Francis kisses a baby or hugs a sick man, but they will ultimately want the impossible, doctrinal change. Women priests, gay marriage, pro-abortion statements, universalism, religious indifference, moral relativism – these are what they hunger for. They might, for the time being, be happy to anticipate getting these things by ‘reading the tea leaves’ but once they realize Francis will not change Catholic doctrine – even if Francis leaves it up to the CDF to make this clear – they will turn on him and it will be ugly. Pray for Francis. Daily.

    • R. K. Ich

      I am thankful JP2 has at least re-iterated the Tradition regarding woman ordination. If Rome falls prey to this absurd fantasy that girls can play priest and bishop in the church, then all hope is lost for our civilisation,

      • http://www.adoroergosum.blogspot.com/ Nathan718

        Nolite timere (fear not) Rome won’t fall, indeed can’t fall. Her teaching, her doctrine, is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. How (or if) that teaching is presented is up to man, but Rome has never, will never, can never teach error.

        • R. K. Ich

          Well, that is my hope too. I take a slightly differing view on this, but my core confidence is that the Church Catholic is indefectible if She is at all a divine institution. I pray Rome holds the line.

          • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

            1. The Church is indefectible, or 2. you have to pray Rome holds the line.

            To pray that Rome holds the the line implies you have a nagging doubt about the indefectibility, eh? :)

            • R. K. Ich

              Balderdash! Even you pray the words, “Thy Kingdom come.”

              • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

                Do I pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’ 1. because I hope for it/await it because it is certain, or do I pray for it, 2. because it might not if I don’t?
                The problem in your comment is that little word ‘if’. In other words, you make your comment a conditional.

                • R. K. Ich

                  If Mary said no to Gabriel, could the salvation of the world be effected? Mary *might* have said no because she was free, no?

                  You and I both know contingent things are part of the divine will to execute a certain outcome. I pray for Rome because in principle she could drop the proverbial ball; but I also know that it is God who moves me to pray to preserve Her.

                  Also, the ancient prayers for God to preserve the full number of God’s elect undermined no belief in God’s certain power and promise — such prayers are the very means our Lord utilizes to ensure His work. It is in the light of God’s power we may pray with confidence.

        • Patsy Koenig

          The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ; NOT a city in Italy. Rome WILL FALL; just ask Bishop Saint Malachy. And ask the Mother of God, speaking at La Salette France, in a Church-Approved Apparition: “Rome will lose Faith; and become the seat of the antichrist.”

          • http://www.adoroergosum.blogspot.com/ Nathan718

            Rome (the city in Italy) has already fallen. It hasn’t been under Papal control from well over a century and most Romans are not practicing Catholics. The Magisterium, the teaching of the Church, including Papal teaching, will however NEVER fall – Christ promised us this. If it were to fall, either Christ knew (and was evil) or didn’t know (and lacked knoweldge). Either way, if the Church (including the Pope) officially teaches error (in morals or theology) then Christ is proven a False Prophet. If Christ is a False prophet then He isn’t God. If He isn’t God then all Christianity is a sham. Luckily, you’re wrong. Christ IS God. His promises are True. And His Church, including His Vicar, shall never teach error.

    • Marcelus

      In then now famous on board press conference back to Rome, Francis answered a question regarding women’s ordination. He spoke in italian and I remember he said clearly and literally: ” That door is shut. period.” And went on to mention how important and vital women are to the church and how they need to be involved in the structure of it, not as priests though.
      On abortion, also legal somehow in Argentina, this man waged an extraordinary battle a few years ago. Head on against the government!!

      So rest assured his views on these matters are the ones one used to to expect from him in Argentina, just months ago..

    • fredx2

      They will start to turn on him but will never fully turn. Francis is going to champion the cause of the poor, and that is very dear to their hearts. Rather than the non stop, sloppy constant praise we hear now from them, they will shift into a love-hate relationship. Francis is going to confuse the hell out of them.

      • Patsy Koenig

        Francis is already confusing the Faithful. The godless are crazy about him.

        • Marcelus

          Patsy:

          Do you seriosly believe Catholicism limits itself to your “version” of it??Please travel ,, reach out, open up and please hear what the rest of Catholicims thinks. You willbe surprised my friend.

    • Patsy Koenig

      You wait and see: Francis WILL CHANGE the Doctrines and Dogmas of the Catholic Church. Of course, those changes won’t be true, valid or binding; but he will do it. Then he will require the microchip/666 and serve Maitreya; the antichrist.

      • Marcelus

        Wow!!!really.

  • accelerator

    Especially after earlier assurances and protestations, all I can say is these last lines aren’t especially reassuring.

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