Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

Pope Francis

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all with compassion, forgiveness and mercy. We are to be good and kind pastors who administer the sacraments with care and concern. We are to seek out the poor, castigate the rich, side with the unfortunate, heal the sick, support the immigrants and reach out to the lowly. We are to welcome the divorced and remarried, not judge those with same sex attraction and open the doors of the church to all with a warm hearted and affirming form of evangelization by attraction.

This is a message I endorse and embrace. I want to be that kind of priest. I want to be Jesus to the world. I long to care for the poor and hungry, minister to their needs, welcome all to the church as the father welcomes the prodigal. I wish to have the open heart Pope Francis has. I want to show the attractiveness of Christ, the radiant truth of the gospel and the joy of the abundant life that Jesus brings to the world. I long to celebrate the sacraments with love, care, hope, joy and compassion. I want to be the persona Christi, the image of God and the face of the Father not only to my flock, but to all who I meet.

I have heard the words of my Holy Father and taken them to heart. I sincerely want to be that kind of priest.

However, I can only do this if the timeless truths of the Catholic faith are firmly defined and defended. The dogmas, doctrines and disciplines of the Catholic faith are the tools of my trade. They provide the rules for engagement, the playbook for the game, the map for the journey and the content for the mercy and compassion I wish to display. The historic teachings of the Catholic faith, founded on the teachings of Christ the Lord, revealed by divine inspiration and developed through the magisterium of the Catholic Church provide the method for my mercy, the content for my compassion and the only saving truths I have to share.

This is teamwork Holy Father. I can only do the job you want me to do if you do the job you have been called to do. With the greatest respect and love, please don’t feel that it is your job to tinker with the timeless truths. If my job is to be the compassionate pastor for those in the pew and beyond, then your job is to be the primary definer and defender of the faith. I can’t do my job if you don’t do yours.

Yes, I know you want to inspire us to be that kind of compassionate pastor, but to be honest, I find that inspiration elsewhere. I remember meeting Mother Teresa of Calcutta and being inspired by her compassion. I am inspired by St Damien of Molokai, St Maximillian Kolbe, St Isaac Jogues and a host of other valiant and radiant souls. While your example of compassion, humility and simplicity is stunning and attractive, your most important work is to define and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church so that together we can all proclaim it and live it with the compassion, mercy and forgiveness we all agree is necessary.

I know the Synod on the Family is an attempt to make the church more compassionate and caring, but with respect, this is not best done at the Vatican or diocesan level but on the parish level. I was taught that subsidiarity is a Catholic principle: that solutions to problems and ideas for initiatives are best taken within the local community. Compassion, mercy and the struggle with family issues happens every day at the parish level. You know that from your own work at the front line as a priest and bishop. At the Vatican level the discussion is theoretical and theological as it should be. If you try to tinker with these matters at the global level it doesn’t help. It makes life more confusing and frustrating for us at the local level.

Here is an example: twice in the last week I have had to deal with Catholics in irregular marriages. One woman married outside the church and told me that she thought it was now okay for her to come to communion because, “The pope has changed all those old rules.” Another man has divorced his wife and is living with another woman. He also assured me very confidently that it was now fine for him to come to communion because, “Pope Francis has changed the rules.” I know you mean well Holy Father, and I admire and like you, but this process on which you have led us is not helping.

Here is another example from my experience as a parish priest: a young couple came for marriage preparation. They do not practice their faith and are living together already as husband and wife. I welcomed them and listened to their story. I told them it was good that they wanted to be married. I said we would help prepare them not only for a Catholic wedding, but for a Catholic marriage. However, when I gently began a conversation about their irregular lifestyle the girl began to pout and accuse me of being “unwelcoming.” Then she said, “I thought with this new pope we would be welcomed.” What she meant by this was, “I expected Pope Francis’ Catholic Church to condone cohabitation.”

You have been very good at giving us fatherly instruction, and I have listened and learned. You have also asked for a frank debate on these matters. So that I can do my job I respectfully ask you to do yours. I’ll do my best to evangelize by being compassionate, welcoming and merciful if you do your best to sharpen the tools I need for the job.

Compassion without content is mere sentimentality. Mercy without truth is an empty gesture. Kindness without correction is cowardly.

I’ll do my best to preach and live the merciful faith once delivered to the saints but I need you to do your best as the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the Servant of the Servants of God to define, defend and uphold that unchanging faith in which mercy is grounded.

Rev. Dwight Longenecker

By

Rev. Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is The Romance of Religion published by Thomas Nelson. Check out his website and blog at www.dwightlongenecker.com.

  • revpaul

    Two people arrive and ask to marry. I can’t think of anything which more clearly states that they recognise that their current lifestyle isn’t enough. They have asked for that which Christ wishes for them: the sacramental grave which will support their decisions. They have demonstrated the change of heart necessary in that they have decided to abandon a previous lifestyle choice. ‘Mercy’ means compassion and forgiveness, not condemnation. Why, why, why would you think that the best way to help them move forward towards grace is to go back to the past? Surely, we can celebrate the fact that, singers though they are, they are here now, asking for grace? Taking our Lord as our model, when he faced Peter after his deniel, Jesus asked him ‘Do you love me?’ Not why did you do it, or what were you thinking, or let’s talk about your previous poor choices. That’s mercy. That’s what we are called to as pastors.

    • mary jo anderson

      Revpaul, of course this couple should be welcomed, but they too must welcome the Church’s guidance, which echoes that of Jesus, “Neither do I condemn you; Go and sin no more.”

      • Guest

        Perhaps one would remind them of their previous lifestyle in the interests of moving them toward confession so that they can receive the appropriate graces to live well as a married couple?

        • ForChristAlone

          and also to provide instruction to them about the moral education they will owe to their children.

        • FernieV

          Before they can go to confession they will need to stop living together… Otherwise there is no repentance. In any case, from the article one may think that the couple did not see anything wrong in their sinful lifestyle and therefore cannot receive the sacraments until they acknowledge their sin and repent.

      • jacobhalo

        Yes, I agree, but will the church tell them to go and sin no more. This pope tends to teach half truths. The pope tells us that everyone can be saved. Yes they can, but he never says that you must take Jesus as you savior.

    • Objectivetruth

      “Why, why, why would you think that the best way to help them move forward towards grace is to go back to the past?”

      Looking at the past, at our past sins and having a great sorrow for them and firm resolve to not commit them again has a name: the sacrament of Reconcilliation, or confession. The young couple cannot “move forward towards grace” until they realize first what they have done is a sin. And ask our Lord for forgiveness.

    • ForChristAlone

      Please tell us how often, if you are a Catholic priest, you frequent the sacrament of reconciliation.

      • Objectivetruth

        Does a shepherd use his staff if necessary to keep his sheep in line safe on the narrow road, or does he let them run amok in the bramble, towards the cliffs, or to become lunch for the waiting wolf pack?

        • ForChristAlone

          certainly is a rhetorical question in this case

    • Rev Mr Flapatap

      “Two people arrive and ask to marry. I can’t think of anything which more clearly states that they recognise that their current lifestyle isn’t enough.”

      Are they looking for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and to rectify their current situation or are they looking for a pretty venue as a prelude to the big party?

      • Fred

        Or in the case of same sex the opportunity for malice and spite.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        They are looking for affirmation and acceptance… on THEIR terms. otherwise, they would not find the traditional solution – separation until marriage – to be such an ordeal. This priest is just another naive, emotional character who does a great deal to undermine Catholic families and Catholic morality.

        • Fred

          Truer words were never spoken.

        • JP

          True. I have always bee taught to approach Christ on My terms. I suppose that is the heart of the Gospel, right?

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            “Me too!” – Judas Iscariot

            • Objectivetruth

              Good one…….

      • Fred

        God bless you too Father.

      • Antonja Cermak

        Most of the weddings I’ve been invited to lately seem to be eschewing the church for the cathedral of the outdoors. I’ve had 2 in local parks and one on a beach in Mexico. A bonus of these is that usually a friend or relative can be tapped to do the ceremony. And all these couples included at least one that had been baptized Catholic (none are currently practicing though).

        So if a couple actually wants a church wedding, they either have a relative who feels strongly about it or they actually have an attachment of sorts to the Church. It’s probably not just aesthetic.

      • DE-173

        Have you noticed that the bigger and more carefully planned the WEDDING, the less thought is put into the MARRIAGE?

    • Fred

      God bless you Father.

    • Really Revpaul? Did they commit to not fornicating in the meantime or is that okay now too?

    • GG

      Where did you get any of that? Let us come back to reality. Two people show up because they think getting married is a more formal thing and that is about it. They see nothing immoral about fornication and call it “luv”.

      A good priest explains the truth to them which includes confession. There is no other way.

      The couple are suddenly “offended” that their love of sex is now termed sin. Any explanation is mean and unloving.

      Play that out thousands of times. Then we have complaints that people do not grasp the meaning of marriage and we need a Synod to explain, at a kindergarten level, what reasonable people ought to know who claim to be Catholic.

    • littleeif

      The sin is not “past”. It lives within us as part of us, our character and our fibre, until repented and forgiven.Even then, the temporal consequences must be borne. This because sin is serious, not an anecdote about us. Conversion is a process.

    • Antonja Cermak

      That is the policy in most of our dioceses in the US. A couple comes for marriage, they get sent to marriage prep and no one is encouraged to lie about another address (which is all such policies actually do if posted, which is the honest thing after all to do).

      As for sins before the wedding, well, living together is not really required for that. I was offered confession the day of my wedding (about an hour before actually) and thought that was a normal policy of priests. It does tend to reduce the opportunity for sins down to just temper about the wedding people and details and doubts about the goodness of the Almighty (due to details about the wedding).

    • DE-173

      Does your last name begin with a “M”?

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    How much are we simply tilting at windmills rather than concrete, known facts and reality? How much can we glean about the full picture from a text? Can we really know the mind of our Holy Father? What if God is talking to him on the phone…? 🙂

    Are we really people of faith? Do we really believe in the Church? Do we really believe in infallibility? Are we fostering Realism or ‘Anthropocentric Immanentism’ (Evangelii Gaudium #94) in the Church?

    Should we just be minding our own business, stopping to say the Angelus at noon in the office, otherwise getting on with the task at hand, and leave the Magisterium to get on with what it’s got to get on with, but remembering it daily in prayer?

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet_(II)_001.jpg

    • GG

      Huh?

    • schmenz

      My friend, the charism of infallibility is not in play at a Synod. The Synod fathers can say any kind of rubbish they want. It is not protected by the dogma of infallibility.

      The ability of a Pope to speak infallibly is narrowly defined and specifically outlined in the decrees of Vatican I.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “I want to show the attractiveness of Christ…”

    St Augustine says, “In acting we necessarily follow what gives us most pleasure” (On Epistle to Galatians 49). Hence the need of grace: “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.” (On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26)

    He sums this up in a beautiful passage, “If it be allowable to the poet to say “his own pleasure draws each man,” [Vergil, Eclogues 2.65] not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight, how much more ought we to say that a man is drawn to Christ, who delights in the truth, who delights in happiness who delights in justice, who delights in eternal life and all this is Christ?” (On John’s Gospel 26.4)

    This is also the teaching of St Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus who lives in me” (Gal 2:20); “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ” (Ph 2:5); “May Christ dwell by faith in your hearts” (Eph 3:17)

    I believe this is what the Holy Father is saying, too.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Michael no offense, but I don’t how this connects to the issues under discussion. Could you please clarify?

      • GG

        Good luck with that.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        It relates, I suggest, to the sentence quoted and the need to work through attraction, “not need, but pleasure, not obligation but delight.”

        This is what Bl John Henry Newman meant, when he said, “The true preaching of the Gospel is to preach Christ. But the fashion of the day has been, {326} instead of this, to preach conversion; to attempt to convert by insisting on conversion; to exhort men to undergo a change; to tell them to be sure they look at Christ, instead of simply holding up Christ to them; to tell them to have faith, rather than to supply its Object; to lead them to stir up and work up their minds, instead of impressing on them the thought of Him who can savingly work in them.” We still have too much of this type of preaching today.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          It’s a nice quote, Michael, but I’d be interested to know the context in which Newman said it. As for preaching to “convert,” I hear almost none of it, so I’d actually welcome a lot more along that line. And, unfortunately, I still don’t see how you intend to relate this and your previous comment to the issues under scrutiny here.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          The issue is how to show the attractiveness of Christ to the world.

  • ForChristAlone

    Possible titles for upcoming books on this papacy”
    “Bergoglio Gone Mad”
    “The Last Nail in the Coffin of the Family”
    “The Synod from Hell”
    “Bergoglio: The Conclave That Went Wrong”
    “Bergoglio: “I Don’t Give A Damn About Faithful Catholics”

    • FernieV

      Bergoglio happens to be Peter, and deserves the love Christ enjoined us to have for his Vicar on Earth. Our duty as Catholics is to pray for him and his intentions and to be united to him, encouraging other Catholics to do the same. “Judge and you shall not be judged”, Christ said. And when the one judged is his Vicar on Earth, I’d rather take Christ’s teachings on the subject more seriously.
      The problem is that the media distorts his message and makes him say things he did not say.

      • Bergoglio manages enough confusion that the media cannot help but be confused. They are going to distort every message from every pope which is why a pope must speak with clarity. He has brought this on himself.

        Get your head out of the papalotry infected sand.

        • FernieV

          Bergoglio disappeared when Pope Francis, Peter’s successor, was elected. He is the visible Head of the Church and union with him is union with Christ. Even when you don’t like him.

          • ForChristAlone

            It’s Bergoglio to those of us who see his election as a mistake.

            • Rusty

              So, as a Roman Catholic, you would reserve the right to dissent from the decision of the conclave that chose Francis? Where exactly does that leave you?

              • ForChristAlone

                At the same place where many of the faithful have been since Bergoglio started sowing seeds of confusion in the Church.

              • Karen Hall

                Leaves me thinking that God still considers Benedict XVI the pope.

              • jacobhalo

                We have to dissent if the pope is not teaching infallible doctrine.

              • jacobhalo

                “If anyone preaches to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be an anathema.” (Gal.1:9)

            • DE-173

              There are times I really resent Benedict for resigning.

              • David

                I might as well go back to the Episcopal Church

                • Martha

                  Hope you’re not serious, David!

                • I would like a new church where LGBTs don’t rule and infest and bother others with their perverted minds, and nobody does anything – that’s mostly what happens in all the churches I have been to – one thing is the discourse and another thing is what happens inside the church

                • jacobhalo

                  David, I know how you feel. But I will never leave the true Church. We have to fight for what is right.

                • DE-173

                  Two words: Eugene Robinson.

                  Christ said the gates of hell would not PREVAIL. He did not say they wouldn’t try.

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                Right. Can you imagine the similar apoplexy if it had been Cardinal Burke?

                • DE-173

                  It would be hard to imagine.

            • jacobhalo

              A huge mistake!!

          • GG

            That first sentence is not Catholic theology.

          • Bob

            Define “union with him” (i.e., Bergoglio/Francis). Must I agree with his every statement? And I actually “like” him just fine. I’m sure he’d be great fun to have dinner with. It’s the leadership he has shown, or not shown, since his election that I dislike.

        • John Harrison

          Regardless of your opinion of the Holy Father, your lack of respect toward him by referring to him as “Bergoglio” says more about you, and weakens your criticism.

      • Churchill4President

        If Pope Francis spoke used clear and unambiguous language then the media would not be able to “distort” his message.

        Pope Francis is very clear and that is what troubles me.

        • FernieV

          His addresses are all clear and consistent with the perennial Magisterium of the Church. I advise you to read slowly his exhortation Evangelium Gaudii.

          • ForChristAlone

            not when he gives interviews in the back of an airline following a grueling multi day event such as World Youth Day. The man is intemperate.

          • Steve Frank

            The message coming out of the synod is NOT clear. The bishops crossed a line when they said (in reference to homosexuals), they we need to value their ORIENTATION. Note they did not say “value them as HUMAN BEINGS” (because the church already does that), but value their ORIENTATION (ie. their sexual attraction toward the same gender). So what the bishops are basically saying is that the “act” of gay sex is sinful but the impulse toward that act should be VALUED. That is nothing but illogical double speak. I don’t know how anyone can claim that this will NOT bring further confusion to those sitting in the pews.

            • FernieV

              I think the approach should be to wait until the final document is made public rather than judging what this or that bishop is saying (as reported by a often misinformed media). In any case, whatever they say will have to be approved by the pope and made public in an exhortation or encyclical letter. Until then all is speculation, which in these confused times we are living, is probably better to avoid.

              • Steve Frank

                The media has NOT been misinformed. The statement I referred to about valuing same sex orientation came directly from the released text from the synod committee. It was not the media’s spinned interpretation of the synod;s text, it was the very words from the synod.

                • GG

                  Exactly!

                • jacobhalo

                  Someone should asked the pope the “Value” of same sex orientation. Liberals both in the church and politics speak in ambiguities. Listen to Cdl. Burke or the late Bishop Sheen and see if you need interpretations.

                • FernieV

                  You are right. This time it was not media misinformation but the deliberate action of the “liberal” lobby among the bishops to make a minority report appear as the voice of the Synod. The Church welcomes sinners in general and sexually active gays and lesbians (a subclass of the former group) to the life of the Church inviting them to repent from their sinful lifestyle. The Church cannot say that such a sinful act is virtuous.

              • ForChristAlone

                Do you not realize that it was BISHOPS who penned these words. They are supposed to be shepherds and to safeguard. What the BISHOPS have written is leading the sheep to perdition. We’re not talking about some half-baked Vatican II theologian engaging in speculative theology. These are BISHOPS!

                • Marcelus

                  It will not be long until PF speaks about the mid doc or relatio issued by the Synod. Let’s wait and hear what he has to say

                  • GG

                    Will he remove the liberal prelates who skewed the document?

                    • Marcelus

                      that is what I do not understand. We’ll have to wait and see as MV of Churchmilitant.tv says is the appropiate way to read PF.

                      I mean 6 cardinals and priests, already in the Synod, could not have made it all up. At least nobody came out and said: Hey we never talked about this and you report it as a Synor topic or so in the relatio

                    • Dhananjay Chatterjee

                      he loves their cocks

                    • Elizabeth

                      Why would he do that? He’s the one who appointed them.

                    • jacobhalo

                      This pope is the Vatican model of Obama. This pope can’t get any liberal.

                  • Karen Hall

                    You really think so? Because it seems clear to me that he has empowered the people he wants to deliver the message, so that he can continue to smile and be loved by all.

                    • Marcelus

                      We’ll have to see.
                      I don’t think so

                  • steve5656546346

                    If the past is any indication, he will speak on both sides of the issue: and very strongly too! But his strongest words to his biggest audiences will favor a revolution.

                • FernieV

                  I believe the document was infiltrated into the Synod and does not reflect what the bishops are discussing. A most unfortunate incidence that will create a lot of confusion in the already confused Catholic world. We need to pray that the waters return to normal.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    I suspect you are right about that.

                    My experience in the Church has been that when you speak the unvarnished truth to people they are naturally attracted to it. It’s like sheep hearing the voice of the shepherd. They gravitate to him.

                • flora follett

                  pope Francis is listening carefully to the imput of the cardinals ,but the Holy Spirit will guide him through. I am with the late cardinal Newman writings, and I quote some of his thoughts. Cardinal Newman dedicated himself to learning the truth of Jesus Christ and living according to these truths. Newman knew and understood, that the surest and strongest foundation of our lives is the “truth” the truth of who God is, the truth of who we are and the truth of how God has called us to live. We are here to do the things that Jesus did- not to follow a set of rules. We sure miss out on the very things we were created for.

              • Karen Hall

                As Father clearly points out in his article, the damage has already been done.

                • Dhananjay Chatterjee

                  u want gay sex?

              • steve5656546346

                The confusion itself is both bad and totally unnecessary.

              • Buzz Beez

                The current document is the proverbial rough draft that is also in play for a year to be considered, discussed, experimented with, etc. It needs serious, ongoing criticism and editing before the final document comes out in order to prevent the final document from containing any of the errors and sloppiness that exist in the current document. All faithful lay Catholics can also contribute to this process. Call it a Synod of the Faithful Laity.

              • MHB

                Very nicely said, Fernie!

              • jacobhalo

                Fernie, I agree. I am most critical of the Vatican II clerics, but I will wait until the final report.

            • What did you expect when many cardinals are homosexual themselves?

              • GG

                A point no one will talk about.

                • chanel3

                  Plenty are talking about it now especially the secretary of the Synod appears to be being outed …

              • jacobhalo

                Name one.

                • Naming anyone is beside the point. Francis himself stated: “The ‘gay lobby’ is spoken of, and it’s true, that’s there.”

                  • tom

                    They’re in the senate, the army, the Swiss Guard and the K of C, too. What’s your point?

                  • jacobhalo

                    Yes, I forgot about the gay lobby. I apologize.

                  • Vinny

                    I guess the gay lobby are the one’s in the synod?

                • PSdan

                  Read Fr Dariusz Oko’s (a Polish philosophy prof) paper on the topic. It will turn your stomach.

                  • musicacre

                    My husband and I just read it; thank you for letting us know about this…it puts alot of puzzle pieces together and explains a lot of why nothing was done in so many cases where sexual abuse was found or suspected. This is a watershed article and one every Catholic needs to be familiar with. Obviously this culture of active homosexualtiy in the church has grown in the shadows for decades under our very noses!!

                  • bonaventure

                    Would love to read it. Do you have any links?

                    Edit: Actually, I believe I found something on Rorate Caeli (“With the Pope Against the Homoheresy” by Dariusz Oko, written in 2012)…

                  • Charlie Petrizzo

                    REad it and it did as you said turn my stomach. IT makes one want to run from the church.

                    • elderflower

                      I already feel like fleeing church even without reading Fr Dariusz Oko, and Goodbye Good Men, I fear reading these will end up destroying my faith altogether. What is one to do in such a crisis?

                    • Charlie Petrizzo

                      elder, Pray and pray hard. I went to confession this morning and the priest told me the deposit of faith will always be protected. Remember Peter’s words when you find yourself like I have in such a state of wanting to find another church: to whom shall we go? Of course there are always the eastern rites which, for some reason never seem to me to be caught up in these issues.

                      Even in light of the events of the beginning of last week where some bishops had tried to insert wording into the Relation that was anything but catholic, it appears for now at least in the end the Pope came out and the deposit of faith was protected. The priest told me follow the pope as he will always protect the deposit of faith as the Vicar of Christ’s church. Rememebr what our Lord said in reference to his bride on earth “the gates of hell will never prevail against her.

                      My assumption is that the priest as my confessor was trying to tell me if we don’t believe that the church will overcome these evils then we don’t believe the words of our Lord found in that particular passage and if we don’t believe our Lord’s words in scripture we really don’t have the fullness of faith. I am praying for the pope and the church. However, I am a person that needs to be proactive and sometimes prayer is not enough for me and this is where I can get myself in trouble . The priest ( our parish pastor) was generous in saying I was a good catholic because of my concern and that I should never be afraid of upholding the truth. Let us pray and let us not fear the enemy but be as courageous as ever in speaking the truth especially with respect to the very grave evils that some are trying to “normalize”. Satan is alway at work and this is just a test. If the laity collectively would display the courage needed to support this important doctrine it would send a message to pastors and bishops. Perhaps then it would gain even a small mention in a homily….that in my opinion would be a good start. Lets see what happens given the what has played out in this synod. Pax CHristi.

                    • james hughes

                      I feel that I am in the same boat. however a Priest told me we are not exactly sure what Christ meant by that saying ‘thou art Peter etc…… mind you this guy is a Jesuit .

                    • sybarite123

                      Persevere! It’s tough but definitely worth it.

                    • james hughes

                      the more I read about the more depressed I become. it’s ok for me but I am terrified for my children who apparently couldn’t care less about the homo -sexual problem. I am also depressed about the abject failure of clerics to properly teach catholic doctrine as per the CCC . look what happened to the poor curate in Austria who had his licence to teach withdrawn for being orthodox and allegedly frightening children by mentioning hell and purgatory etc. the bishop should sack the fool in charge of RE in the arch diocese.

                    • PSdan

                      Yes, it’s distressing to read. I’ve not been able to find any commentary that credits or discredits his claims. Fr. Oko’s writing style is credible, clear and dispassionate; this is no rant or diatribe. He includes many citations (including many Polish sources), although the only comprehensive research cited seems to be the 2004 “John Jay” Report which addressed the U.S. sex abuse scandal. I looked through that quickly; it does not seem to mention homosexuality as a critical factor. I believe the Report was commissioned by the USCCB, however, and sometimes the organization funding a study can influence the findings, if only in a subtle way.

                      I am considering leaving my own parish of many decades because I just grew tired of the focus on gender ideology (Benedict’s term, I believe), along with staffing that reflects that ideology. I just thought it was inappropriate, unnecessary and in part (but only in part) contrary to Catholic teaching. This was before I read Fr. Oko’s paper, and before the strange Synod. But it all rolls up together for me. I’ve found an orthodox parish instead. How long they can continue in their orthodox ways, I do not know. Strange times.

                • schmenz

                  Among the dead, Bernardin. Among the living, O’Brien. Then there are the Weaklands and Hunthausens. To deny that some of these men are homosexuals is to deny objective reality.

                  • tom

                    Out of 200?

                  • jacobhalo

                    I stand corrected.

                  • Spiritfed

                    You are making judgements about some that are not based in fact. Shame on you for your judgmental attitude toward others.

                    • bonaventure

                      Liberals do that all the time. Their last craze is “Paul VI was gay.”

                    • Spiritfed

                      How do you know it was liberals – and by inference – does this means schmenz is a conservative and how do you know that? And how does schmenz know Bernardine’s preference? Yes – there was definitely a smear campaign against Bernardine – researched to originate from ultra conservative publications. Wish he had lived to become a Pope – a shame his life was cut short by cancer. I think I have had enough of this site.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      the feeling is mutual…good riddance

                    • MHB

                      “meanspirited” is a better name for you than for Christ alone.

                • ForChristAlone

                  I can name one bishop (but won’t name) who some years back came to consult with me for a depression he was going through. It was not surprising since he told me about his sexual encounters with one of the priests in his diocese.

              • Dhananjay Chatterjee

                ur ass

              • Marcelus

                I think you may be right about this. Such a strong endorsement….. it is odd. I mean a line on the issue was expected let us not be naive, “but value their inclination”I thik it said?

                • Martha

                  He is right. Read ‘Goodbye Good Men’ sometime, if you have the stomach for it.

                  • Jack

                    Many of the statements in GGM have been demonstrated to be untrue.

                    • Älter und weiser

                      Such as?

                  • chanel3

                    I read a couple of pages and I was utterly disgusted. In the seminaries they were given out and out pornography to read under the guise of they might have to deal with such things. Bishops and superiors making advances on seminarians. It was so disgusting and utterly saddening to learn that the seminaries sank down to such base levels … and it is not a pedophilia problem in the Church at all because the majority abused are boys over the age of puberty – apparently just the right age and delight of these homosexuals who gained control of the seminary and have gained control of the Vatican to a large extent and Pope Francis continues to appoint them to places of influence … so much for cleaning out the Curia – only non-homosexuals are being cleaned out.

                    • Martha

                      Agreed. It was disgusting, and I felt that ‘custody of the eyes’ was something I was not practicing in reading that book. It was scandalizing, but reality is not always pretty, and I think that reading the book made the confusing pieces of the ‘what the heck happened’ puzzle really come together.

                      So, painful to read, yes, but necessary all the same.

                    • Fr Eric

                      Good Bye Good Men, though poorly written, is only the tip of the iceberg and had to be written by a lay person. Most of you have no idea how bad things became and the many years were needed to change it. Obviously, the bishops circled the wagons and ridiculed its author and the poor editing, all the while never really admitting that there was a problem.

                    • BeingSavedByGrace

                      I was in a seminary for 4 years, and NEVER witnessed any of these things. There was the case of one student sexual-predator over another, and he was kicked out. The second was allowed to stay, but left. Some people will sensationalize everything and make it sound worse to sell.
                      Did we have a problem?
                      Yes, and will always be here because we are humans broken and sinful. Let the first one without sin cast the stone. My guess is that there are a lot of saints in the Church that don’t need her to be holy.

                  • Älter und weiser

                    I have and it was hard to finish.

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                Bingo!

              • tom

                How many? How do you know?

              • FernieV

                This is an unfortunate and false accusation.

              • MHB

                A cardinal may be attracted to the same sex but not actively homosexual. He cannot change his attractions, but he can decide how to behave in a chaste manner. There is a difference.

                • Then he suffers from a grave neurosis that disqualifies him to be a cardinal or a bishop or a priest.

                  • Charlie Petrizzo

                    Bingo again

                  • jacobum

                    Or any vocation for that matter

                    • Bible Belted Betty

                      Just like them pedophiles who stuff children’s mouths. SEE ALSO Marcial Maciel.

                • Charlie Petrizzo

                  Of course he can but his inclination will always engender sympathy for the issue and therefore he does not belong among the ranks.

                  • MHB

                    There needs to be a balance of clarity of doctrine as well as mercy for the sinner. A cardinal who is same sex attracted may well have sympathy for the sinner, but that doesn’t mean he has to cave in to the secular pressure. There are chaste gay men and they are good role models for those who do not follow Christ. Do you, Charlie, have any compassion for a man who cannot father a child? For someone who has lived a chaste life without the benefit of marriage and family? All of you talk as though “they” are all the same! “They” are not. There are many “Know it alls” on this site.

                    • Charlie Petrizzo

                      Ok, since you singled me out let me address your arguments: First, is one a “know it all” when they disagree with you and agree with the Pope? Or are they a “know it all” simply if they disagree with you? A yes or no will be fine.

                      Your suggestion that there needs to be a balance of doctrine and mercy may sounds real nice and diplomatic and it’s what the church has practiced in relation to this gravest of evils and I think we all know where such a practice has ended us up. I’m not about diplomacy here. I am about maintaining a militant position against a grave sin that governments, institutions, political lobbies etc, have been militant in their efforts to “normalize” in the eyes of all. Remember we souls on earth are called the church militant and soldiers for Christ for a reason.

                      Many of the bishops fluttering around in robes today are anything but soldiers for christ. In fact, based on what is written in Good bye Good men I would have to say the enemy has infiltrated the ranks. Is that book fiction?

                      You however, in calling me a “know it all” are suggesting it a good idea to allow those with this grave disorder( the definition and doctrine of the body they represent) to be allowed to sit among the leadership?

                      Church doctrine should be applied fully and without reservation in all situations. Practicing sodomy is a grave sin, inclination toward it is a serious disorder…that’s doctrine. How about we apply it in all situations all times, like whenever the issue comes up a bishop parrots those lines instead lf saying Bravo for the one wh has come out of the closet or trying to create a politically nuanced response to some reporter because the bishop is working harder at being a politician then a vicar of Christ.

                      As for my mercy, its not like yours MHB, its obvious that your mercy means being nice”. While people don’t need my mercy, they need CHrist’s mercy. In mercy I’ll try to lead them to Christ and his truth by speaking the truth boldly and without reservation; HEres what that means; engaging in sodomy is a grave sin that will cause you to go to hell unless you stop practicing it and then go to a priest to confess the sin. If they accept that and want hep I am glad to give it to them or direct them to it. If they don’t want that then I have no reason other than to pray for their soul. But as for my compassion toward those inclined to the sin, I pray for them as I do any other person.

                      However, I will not condone or accept any argument that tries to present that grave disorder as normal or as something that we should evaluate for the gifts it may bring. Nor will I listen to any argument that seeks to change my mind.

                      Enough with this church of nice bull crap. We are the church militant, soldiers for Christ and if we had acted that way for the past 40 years we would be arguing this issue. Sodomy is the only sin where the church and its leaders allow themselves to look ignorant in the hopes of looking compassionate. Enough already.

                      There certainly is no room for one inclined to homosexuality in the ranks of the priesthood as Pope Benedict XVI has said ( and I might imagine others may have though but given the times of their individual pontificate felt no ned to communicate) . That inclination in itself creates too much of a struggle in what is out of necessity an all male “profession”. Are you suggesting that when you bring a group of men, a number of whom may harbor that same inclination together, the chances that they succumb to the inclination do not increase?

                      Yes, there may be chaste gay men who are good role models , they don’t belong in the priest hood and there certainly aren’t enough of them.

                      You ask do I have any compassion for a man who cannot father a child? Not only compassion but sympathy and empathy as I could not father children. What on earth does that have to do with sodomy or the inclination to sodomy? Here comes the classic straw man argument.

                      Do I have compassion for someone who has lived a chaste life without the benefit of marriage and family? My having compassion for someone who choses such has nothing to do with whether or not a person with a homosexual inclination belongs in a leadership role of a group made up exclusively of men where that to which they are inclined can cloud judgement and is among the gravest of sins ” a sin that cries out to heaven with a vengeance”.

                      You say “all of you talk as if all of “them”are the same”? I assume by them you mean either those inclined to the pleasure of sodomy or sodomites.

                      Really, who are all of us, and what do you know about “us” other than (with respect to myself) what I have written in posts on this site?

                      You call me and the others on this site who, when it comes to this grave disorder that society has tried to force down our throats as normal for so many years as “know it alls.

                    • MHB

                      It seems I’ve hit a nerve. As a matter of fact, I have not singled you out. I’ve responded to others besides you. Actually, some of what you say, I agree with, in regard to sodomy in particular. And I do recognize SSA as a disorder and sodomy as a grave sin. It is not “Normal” or acceptable behavior.

                      However, when I say “know it alls”, it is this: there is a tendency on this site to criticize the Holy Father as if everyone knows what is going on in his mind in regard to the synod discussions, and really, no one does. We haven’t waited long enough to hear his response, and there is a lot of criticism of the Pope here which I can’t see the reason for. He did ask people to speak frankly and he is simply listening. What is wrong with that? I think people should be more respectful and patient.

                      AS for what he did say, “who am I to judge?” well, I happen to agree with that. You can’t judge if someone is actively engaging in sodomy just because they are SSA. if they are out there promoting gay sex, then yes, you can oppose them, but you can’t say that all SSA are sodomists or that guys who are effeminate should be treated as sinners. Even people who ARE attracted to the same sex have their dignity as children of God. That’s what’s missing in these conversations (not just you).

                      What are you saying about women and men who are using birth control? Living together? This too is grave sin.

                      Can’t just lay it all on the gays and lesbians to be chaste, if that is what you are doing and I’m not sure that is the case. Are you telling them they are going to hell? Fair is fair.

                      I do have sympathy for someone who is attracted to the same sex. I think its a hard cross to bear. However, even though I am sympathetic, I have spoken out very clearly about the danger of same sex relationships (for those who hold these attractions) and the temptations that may ensue from such relationships. I think the conversation was accepted better because I’ve spoken it with love and with kindness but with gravity as well, rather than clobbering the person over the head with it, telling them they will go to hell. My thinking is that we have to be clear but also gentle in approaching matters that pertain to sexuality. It is an intimate, private matter and cannot be dealt with in such an angry manner. Because,

                      there is among many, an element of shame, even if unspoken, and so it is necessary to be compassionate because this is a wounded soul. (Do you know about the histories of many who have these attractions?)

                      As for government, I agree with the militant approach and have been a militant. I’m balking at the word when speaking person to person with someone who is afflicted with this inclination. It IS AN AFFLICTION for those who do recognize it as wrong. You must realize that everyone who is same sex attracted is not wishing themselves to be so.

                      As for cardinals who have this inclination, if they are found to be actively practicing homosexuals, I agree with you that they have absolutely no place in leadership in the church. But what are you saying? Defrock all men in the priesthood who are SSA? Benedict made it so that no one with SSA and have been ACTIVE would be admitted if they are seeking to be ordained, but they are not going to defrock every already ordained SSA priest!

                      No one is perfect. I wish we did have perfection in the priesthood but that is not recognizing them as human, like ourselves, striving to live as followers of Christ, with their own tendencies toward sin. And I don’t know if that is fair to say that a chaste man should not be admitted to the priesthood if he is SSA. There are SSA men who , for example, ARE better ministers to women than men who are attracted to women. For goodness sake, some priests can hardly deal with being with women at all!

                      I have not read Good bye Good men and I don’t want to from what you have written here. But I’m aware of the problem and I see the need for people to be “militant” in this regard.

                      If you come across someone who is engaging in sodomy, you would do them a kindness by referring the person to a Courage chaplain who will lead them to chastity.
                      You can believe what you want to. I don’t call you a “know it all” because you don’t agree with me. I say that because the tone of the conversations here often lack the respect that I would expect from Christian people and because of the judgmental attitudes here as if everyone is a saint and never sins. And it borders on hatred, which no matter what you say, is not following the example that Jesus set for us.

              • petersjohn

                Augustine….thats a big call…..i suppose you actually know this to be a fact???????

              • Charlie Petrizzo

                Spot on Augustine and therein lies the problem.

            • Marcelus

              Until we hear that from Francis himself, endorsing this mid doc. issued by the SYNOD, not the Pope, we are to hold our horses. He is the Pope, the Vicar and period. ALl Catholics. critical or not, if you belong or think you belong in the Holy Catholic CHurch, must stand by him.The Synod is CONSULTIVE and ADVISORY,Come 2015, the second phase will issue a definitve doc and then ..the Pope will decide what to do with it.

              • GG

                In theory true, but in practice much damage has been done. BTW, the Pope appointed an ad hoc committee of all libs when the Synod was going the “wrong” way.

                • Marcelus

                  Yes yes I know he did that, and I agree. We can only speculate why.Unless he comes out in the next few days and somehow speaks out there is damage. But so far it’s the Cardinals.Not PF

                  It is rather strange since appointing 6 cardinals who are supponsed to summarize in a way, what the rest of the Synod or Isuppose, the mayority thought and said.They can not , nobody has said that so far, make things up and write them as they please.

                  I believe we’ll not have to wait long until PF speaks, he does that a lot, and is questioned about the mid relatio. Then we’ll know.

                  It all rests in hiss hands in thee end

                  • steve5656546346

                    Very good points, but it all rests in God’s hands–not the Pope’s. We’ve had bad Popes before, and even worse Popes have often been prophesied.

                    • Marcelus

                      In the end yes it does remain in God’s hands. But the Pope will implement, refuse, change or ignore the Synod’s advice.

                    • tom

                      This will cause Schism unless Francis back peddles.

              • Karen Hall

                Perhaps God thinks that Benedict XVI is still pope.

                • Marcelus

                  I don’t think so. Benedict left

                  • Karen Hall

                    Yes, I remember. The same day lightning struck St. Peter’s. Perhaps popes are not allowed to quit. At any rate, I am looking at the fruits of this pope, and they are confusion and dismay for faithful Catholics.

                    • Marty Dancy

                      I think the lavender Mafia forced him to quit. I think most of the bishops are gay and of the worst kind. Moderate gays I know stay out of this stuff and live quietly. They don’t force anything and they don’t go to gay parades.

                • FernieV

                  This is an unfortunate statement coming from a Catholic. Francis is Christ’s Vicar, and your duty is to listen, obey and pray for him, rather than joining the chorus of enemies of the Church.

                  • jacobhalo

                    We don’t have to obey him if he teaches heresy.

                  • Marty Dancy

                    The liberals are the enemies of the church from within. I do not have to obey liberals whether they are the pope or not. Where the pope teaches according to the church the way it has always taught, I will obey, when he deviates, I will stand with the old church. My conscience says that there is something evil about this synod. Something sneaky is going on and I do not respect it at all. There has to be a revolution for the faith and all conservatives must stand up and then two churches will emerge, the true one faithful to the teachings as they have stood and the new stuff which is heretical. We need to get these bishops to take a stand that makes sense or force them by yelling out in public do you or do you not believe in the church’s teachings on morals and don’t say that we have to be pastoral, that is a cowardly answer.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Marty, I don’t think many of these Post Vatican babies know what was taught before Vatican II. These clerics are hiding it. Pope Pius X knew this would happen.

                  • Marty Dancy

                    The chorus of enemies are those liberals on the inside! Face reality! There have been anti-popes before and there can be one again!

                • Marty Dancy

                  I wish Benedict had stayed in. Pope John Paul II stayed in regardless of his ill health and he stuck it out till the end. There is something fishy about why Benedict really left. Resigning bothers me somehow, and then I felt very uncomfortable with this present pope the moment he stood there staring at everyone upon his election. Something just did not feel right about the whole thing.

              • Steve Frank

                Marcelus I am not Catholic so I am not conscience bound to accept what this or any Pope says. But I do realize the number of Christians who are Catholic is enormous and so anything Rome has to say on these matters is going to have a significant affect on our culture. That is the source of my concern. This is not a crisis of personal faith for me, but I do see this as one more victory for the sexual revolutionaries in the West and that I do find disturbing,

                • Jean Robertson

                  … and the truth is that every possible aspect of the sexual revolution has been legitimized and made LEGAL…

              • steve5656546346

                No, Catholic loyalty and obedience is not ideological. We are not Nazis–but with a good end. We are not Obama supporters, but with a good end.

                Catholic loyalty is something more honest, balanced, deeper, loving, and nuanced than ideology. A Pope acting recklessly should be called on it–as Popes have at times in the past to good effect.

                • Marcelus

                  Has the Pope acted reckesssly? And if so, What will you do?

                  • schmenz

                    His appointing flaming sodomites like Ricca would qualify in my mind for acting “recklessly”. His caling this very Synod is/was an act of recklessness, given his troubling past vis-a-vis doctrine.

                  • tom

                    Form a New Catholic Church, of course.

                    • jacobhalo

                      For those of us who are disgusted with the current pope and clerics, a great way to protest is join a church which has the Latin mass. The pope hates it.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Vatican II already form a New Catholic Church.

                    • Marty Dancy

                      True! I remember how wonderful the church was in the fifties. Everyone had more respect for it and there were no bad movies like The Last Temptation of Christ and Jesus Christ Super Star and all that mess. I really miss the old days when Catholics just went to Mass and there was no problem about which was better and it was just a happier time for me all the way around. Nowadays, I hate what is going on, how we are forced to accept gay sex by judges overruling voters and priests breaking vows and some ministers, too. Churches are losing respect more and more because they have lost their true identity as real christians. The day is coming where only gays, pimps, unrepentant sinners and pedophiles will be going to the establishment churches and the people who want to follow the real teachings will have to go underground to avoid the evil in the establishment.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Marty, the post Vatican Catholics were not taught the true faith. These clerics today teach half truths or truths they don’t want heard , because of ecumenism and inter religious dialogue.

                    • Marty Dancy

                      False ecumenism is really a bad thing because it makes people think that they don’t have to convert but just stay what they are. If the Catholic faith is the true faith, then we must work to get people into that faith, not just dialogue and then water down our faith to please others who don’t believe in it anyway.

                    • tom

                      Well then, we need a new, old Church separate from Rome.

                    • Marty Dancy

                      We do have an answer for now. Go to an fssp parish or a parish that has the old rite. I would even go to the sspx if I did not have a better choice. I am lucky to have an excellent fssp parish in Littleton, CO.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Marty, yes I have a Latin mass church too. Totally, the Latin mass. We have sermons on issues that you would never hear at a Novus Ordo Missae, such as, homosexuality, same sex marriage, abortion ,etc. Our pastor tells us before communion, make sure there is no mortal sin on your souls before you come up to communion. The Novus Ordo clerics would never say that. They are afraid that they will lose members. Well, they have lost many members since Vatican II. According to figures that I saw, about 24% of Catholics attend mass. We, the Latin mass, have over 95% attendance rate and we have at least 10 altars servers at mass, and 20 on Holy Days. We have a bout 400 families, with many, many young people. The Novus Ordo church that I used to attend has about 5000 families and they find it difficult to get altar servers and they use both boys and girls. You see very few young people at that mass.

                    • John Harrison

                      Oh brother. Let’s get this straight. Sine the Motu Proprio, it’s the “Ordinary Form” and the “Extraordinary Form”. Let’s drop the divisive “my Mass is better than your Mass” crap.

                    • FernieV

                      The would not be Christ’s Church, but one more church.

                    • jacobhalo

                      no we don’t. We just need the Vatican to teach what was taught for 2000 years, before the disastrous Vatican II. Many of you are post Vatican babies, and apparently you were never taught the real teachings. These Modernists are hiding some of the infallible doctrines.

                    • FernieV

                      The Vat II was used as a tool by “progressive clergy” to form a new Church in the line of the the principles of Modernism, a heresy condemned by Pius X. I have read all the documents of Vat II and they are perfectly consistent with the perennial Magisterium. The Catholic Church remains. No attack of the devil and their disingenuous collaborators acting from deep inside can ever prevail although they can cause real harm to souls. We have Christ words for it!

                    • jacobhalo

                      I read them too. Before Vatican II, there was ecumenism, but the popes were trying to convert other religions. What I was taught that they only way to salvation was to take Jesus as your savior. The pope today says that anyone can be saved. No, they cannot. Jesus said they only way to the Father is through me. The pope said that Muslims and Jews pray to the same God. No they don’t. They do not go through Jesus to get to the Father. Jesus said it is the only way. These things were not taught pre-Vatican II. So don’t tell me that the present day church is in line with the magisterium.

                    • FernieV

                      The answer you need goes beyond what be discussed in a post. I advise a chat with a faithful Catholic priest, knowledgeable and with time to devote to you on these central issues.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Fernie, I don’t need a Catholic priest to tell me the doctrines of the church. I was taught the true faith in the 1950’s and early 60’s when I attended Catholic grade and high school. We were not taught what is being taught today. We were given the unvarnished truths. Secondly, I would never go to a Novus Ordo priest. I probably would get the same garbage that Pope Francis is teaching, along with the heretic, Cardinal Kasper.

                  • Marty Dancy

                    I know what I will do. I will see how the fssp goes and if they cave in to the liberals or flake out, I will go back to the sspx. I will go where my conscience fits in. I will not support liberals in any church, even if I have to quit church altogether and have a domestic one at home. I think this synod sucks from the get go and I do not see any reason to go along with it unless it changes its context to a more faithful Catholic stance.

                    • Joseph

                      Marty, please do yourself one great favor, stay with the “remnant” of the One, True, Holy Catholic Church which Jesus promised would never be trashed by the gates of hell. The Holy Spirit will guide the Catholic Church through this storm as He has for 2000 years. You will be safe only in the Church of Jesus Christ.

                    • gaeliclass

                      Marty the answer is not to leave… look at the Saints and what they did! They saw corruption – they stayed in and they fought for all they were worth for Christ… this is what we as true Catholics are called to! Never despair! Christ has overcome the world..
                      Satan is trying hard to knock everyone down – dont listen… pray the Rosary!

              • Julie Hill

                Thank you Marcelus! I was beginning to think I was alone in this sentiment! Viva il Papa!

              • Charlie Petrizzo

                I think therefore I do belong to the church. Tell me what is there to stand by? This papacy if measured relative to the clarity it has delivered to church members or non members wanting to understand church teaching on important social issues- matters of inherent evil, the most polarizing issues of the day and the issues destroying the family shouldn’t require a synod to produce clear, unambiguous truth that can be applied to them.

                How about a fearless vicar not concerned with political fallout or concerned with people leaving the church because they disagree with the hard truths she preached for 2000 plus years?

                Enough already. God Bless Pope Francis. There is no doubt he is a person of humility who loves God. He probably was and remains a great missionary priest. He is not a good Pope. Is saying that a sin? He has exhibited an inability to take wordy and nuanced doctrine and put it in clear and simple five word sentences, that the media which he should know will twist his words, cannot twist. THis is what good leaders do, irrespective of the body they are charged with leading and giving direction to.

                Is this so hard?

                We all should be praying that Pope Francis chooses the route of Benedict in the hopes that the likes of one of these “AFRICANS” that cardinal Casper despises who aren’t afraid of speaking the truth become Christ’s vicar on earth, or God forbid a man as fearless and capable as Cardinal Raymond Burke.

              • bonaventure

                St. Paul was critical of St. Peter, and yet he was no less of an Apostle. In fact, Peter eventually gave reason to Paul, and changed his ways.

                As it stands now, it appears that 70% of the bishops oppose this Relatio, in full or in parts. That’s a lot of Pauls confronting Peter…

                Yet Francis single handedly endorsed the Relatio, against the sensus fidei, just as Peter single handedly endorsed the lies of the “circumcision party” back in Antioch 2000 years ago. In his closing speech to the synod (the now famous speech where he speaks about temptations), he also said that the bishops have one year “to work on the ‘Synodal Relatio’ which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups.”

                http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2014/10/i-am-pope-and-im-here-in-aula-francis.html

                • Marcelus

                  Francis endorsed what relatio? When he finally stepped in was when things took a turn.

                  On St Paul and St Peter… noticed the St. Before the names?

                  I assume you are taking about crdk Burke declaring against The Pope? He can not do that unfortunately. It’s no democracy.

                • Marcelus

                  And still he got a standing ovation from these bishops

                  • bonaventure

                    Diplomacy.

            • jacobhalo

              The church can’t change its teachings on gays, same-sex marriage, etc. but I can understand that they want to counsel those groups. Jesus said, it is the sick that need a physician, not the healthy.

              • steve5656546346

                That counseling cannot be done at the level of the Vatican: it must be local.

                • jacobhalo

                  That is what I’m afraid of. The local clerics took Vatican II documents and interpreted them the way they want to.

              • Steve Frank

                I agree, but Jesus can only help those who RECOGNIZE that they are sick. That’s why Jesus clashed with the Pharisees. Not because they followed laws, but because they didn’t think they were sick. But the prosititutes did know they were sick which is why Jesus dealt so mercifully with them. But he was hard on those who didn’t think they were sinners. What Monday’s report is proposing is to obscure the teaching of the church on homosexuality so gays won’t feel like there is anything wrong with them. So the church will only make it MORE difficult to evangelize gays if they proceed in this direction since it will only reinforce gays in their belief that there is nothing wrong with the way they are living (assuming they are sexually active of course).

                • jacobhalo

                  Steve Frank. You said you weren’t a Catholic, but we would love to have you on our side. I agree with you 100%.

            • Dhananjay Chatterjee

              fatherfucker

            • MotherGinger

              I agree with you that “value their orientation” makes no theological sense for Catholic bishops to say. Some are saying that this is a mistranslation in English, and that the original, the Spanish, & the French all say something more like “Can we accept and understand the fact of their orientation?” The problem seems to be in translating something that should be more like “evaluate” as “value.”
              I doubt this mistranslation was accidental.

              • Steve Frank

                Well I hope you are correct about the mistranslation but unfortunately there is more in the document that reinforces my worst concerns about the intent. In the same document, an explicit parallel was made between the Church’s view of other faiths expressed at Vatican 2 and the Church’s new view of “irregular” families being proposed at the synod. At Vatican 2, the Church sanded the rough edges off it’s “no salvation outside the Church” doctrine by saying that while only the Catholic faith has the fullness of truth, other faiths have pieces of truth too, and often enough of it to bring non Catholics to salvation. In other words, Vatican 2 said that while Catholicism is still the best option for any person, other religions have their good points and are therefore acceptable even if only “second best”. By making an explicit parallel between that Vatican 2 teaching and the new position being discussed about the family, the bishops are basically saying that while the traditional type of family is still the ideal, other arrangements while perhaps only second best, are still acceptable in some way. So what that means is that mortal sin isn’t actually mortal sin anymore, it’s just a bit inferior way of living that the Church can hope people will eventually recognize, but if they don’t no big deal they are not going to judge. Just like it’s no longer a big deal if a person dies without converting to Catholicism (unlike pre-Vatican 2 when the Church would have considered such a person hopelessly damned). Now some of these cardinals seem to be proposing the same logic in regard to the family.

              • jacobhalo

                I don’t remember the last two popes being mis translated.

                • MotherGinger

                  How about Vatican II, and the entire liturgy of the Mass? We’ve had agenda-driven mistranslations flowing into English for 50 years.

                  • jacobhalo

                    Mother, I agree. Vatican II was a disaster.

                • ranger01

                  That’s because the last two pope’s put the Lord’s agenda before their own. They spoke clearly and precisely because they knew the were Vicars of Christ and that position tolerated no ambiguity.

                  • jacobhalo

                    The popes since Vatican II are not teaching some of the doctrines that preceded the council. Pope John Paul II committed heretical acts by kissing the Koran, a false religion, inviting other religions to pray to their gods at St. Francis church in Assisi. There hasn’t been a true pope since Pope Pius XII. Ecumenism and inter religious dialogue has taken away the identity of the Catholic church. The mass is nothing more than a protestant service. The changed the mass to placate the Protestants. Don’t forget there were 6 Protestant ministers who attended Vatican II as “observers”. This ministers had a great influence in changing the mass. Read some of the Traditional Catholic publications, such as “The Remnant” and Catholic Family News. This present regime in the Vatican hide some of the truths of the pre-vatican Ii days.

            • MHB

              I was puzzled by that comment too, and I think we all need further clarification. I don’t think your suggestion that they meant ‘the impulse toward the act should be valued ‘ is accurate. I prefer not to put words in people’s mouths or jump to conclusions . If we could just trust the process, it will come, in time. They will get to specifics but I believe this is a process, not the defining moment. Its a developing conversation, which we ought to be grateful for.

            • FernieV

              I think the document is not the reflection of what the Synod fathers are discussing but, fortunately, the high-handed imposition of a very small lobby of “liberal” (I hate to use this political term applied to Church members: I’d rather say “unfaithful”) bishops which are trying to advance their unacceptable agenda. While waiting for the actual report we need to pray for the Holy Spirit and also to Mary Mother of the Church to enlighten the Synod fathers .

              • jacobhalo

                Yes, from what I’ve read, this preliminary report will not pass. There are many cardinals that are against it, according to Cardinal Burke.

            • Vinny

              Masturbation relieves stress. That’s a good thing, so there’s nothing wrong with selfish sexual pleasure; but it’s still a sin.

            • Tom Harris

              EXCELLENT Steve Frank

            • gaeliclass

              Steve .. thanks.. but be aware that not all Cardinals or Bishops said this.. in fact the ‘working document’; as that is all the /Relatio means .. was somehow? given to the Press before the Synod Fathers saw it. So who is leaking to the press from the Holy See Press Office.. as that is the real question. Find it hard to believe re language.. there are excellent translators in Rome from Italian to English. No I believe this is a methodology being used by some insiders obv. in line with Cardinal Kasper’s unbelievable thinking patterns (look at what he just said to the outstanding African Cardinals and Bishops….. shocking statements) .. being used to infiltrate and change Church Teaching. So who is it? This Relatio as the head of the Polish Bishops Conference said, was not recognizable.. meaning ‘things’ had been added!!!!

              • Steve Frank

                I understand that there are certain cardinals behind these maneuvers but the buck stops with the Pope. He is the one who gave these cardinals such as Kasper their influential role at the synod. It’s hard to believe the Pope was caught by surprise with the document. Which leads me to believe he is at least sympathetic to what the document says. If the Pope is truly NOT sympathetic to the ideas expressed in Relatio, then I would expect that the next thing we hear is a public renunciation of this attempt to change church teaching. But do you really think that is going to happen? I don’t. It’s possible we’ll get a slightly re-worded document that gives a small nod to doctrinal orthodoxy, but the thrust of the message will be the same…the Church needs to stop making gays and divorcees feel bad about their lifestyle choices. The Church needs to be nice to them, make them feel like fully practicing Catholics, and maybe someday they’ll decide that traditional marriage is better. But if they don’t, oh well no big deal. At least they didn’t leave the Church, right?

                • gaeliclass

                  Thanks Steve for that.. Certainly many answers needed.

                  Please read the Language group documents out today on the Vatican site at:

                  http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/16/0763/03042.html

                  This will help everyone to know what the Synod Fathers really think of the very confusing Relatio – given to the Press, even before the Synod Fathers had time to read it, discuss it, or correct it…
                  So I dont agree .. the ‘thrust of the message will not be the same” for the very simple fact that 90% of Cardinals and Bishops do not agree with it..
                  Neither do the integral families who have already made their voice heard from all over the world! Voce Popolo is rising to defend our Church..– To love someone truly is not to suger-coat sin …to love someone really is to give them the truth so they can be free, truly happy and work towards Eternal Life. None of us stay here…. – Truth makes us free. Lies (satan) enslave us.

                  This is why there are so many holes in Relatio—
                  Let us remember that it is a ‘working doc’.. not an approved document. Little piece the press forgot to mention.

            • Guest RuariJM

              Did you read the original Italian or perhaps get a betr translatio, Steve? The original English was very poor and somewhat misleading – a bit like the first English Novus Ordo!

              The Italian “evaluare” does not mean the same as ‘value’.

          • GG

            Let us not be coy.

          • DE-173

            He’s not “all clear and consistent”, sorry.

            As we recall, he was forced to deliver a clarification after EG that in fact socialism is wrong.

            “Who am I to judge” is a perfect example of something that needed to have been chewed up twice before being spat out.

          • Dhananjay Chatterjee

            sisterfucker

          • steve5656546346

            I suggest that you re-read Evangelium Gaudii, and this time around notice all of the absurd, insulting straw men he erects.

          • Martha

            That’s news to me. Some things, yes, but many, MANY things he has said fly directly in the face of the Magisterium. How about his message to atheists? You do your good, I’ll do mine, we’ll meet in Heaven. ‘Follow your conscience.’ If I felt like cluttering up the comment section, I could write up a bullet list of no less than 25 statements that are heretical, coming straight from his mouth, with NO spin, and no renunciations or retractions from him.

            I agree 100% with Fr. Longenecker. I pray for our Pope, as he is clearly a product of the turbulent times he was instructed in.

            • FernieV

              The message to the atheists, as you call it, was an (unfortunate, in my opinion) interview with the atheist editor of La Republica, which does not qualify as Magisterium. I am happy to see that you pray for the Holy Father because he NEEDS our prayers.

          • chanel3

            Others disagree and say that some of what he says on Evangelium Gaudii borders on heresy if not outright heresy.

          • RuariJM

            Fernie, their minds are made up and they don’t wish to be confused with the facts.

          • jacobum

            You are clearly in denial. Read EG and it is equal modernist mish mash, of banality, moral exhibitionism, and ostentatious humility.

        • tom

          Churchill was the last Brit prime minister who asked the new queen only one question, “Are you a Papist?”

        • emiliani

          Ha!! You haven’t learned a thing from the great deceptions constantly perpetrated by the media for their own purposes. It is impossible to not have your message warped by those of bad faith.

        • elderflower

          Absolutely!!

      • jacobhalo

        Fernie, I agree that the secular press distorts his message, but they pope helps it along the way with his double talk. Let wait until the final document is released and let us see what is in it.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          He also says nothing that would correct media distortions,so they’re going to stand unchallenged. I shudder to think what the many already “progressive” diocesan chanceries and educational bureaucrats will do with all of this.

          • Karen Hall

            Yep. I keep waiting for the press conference where he corrects the headlines.

            • jacobhalo

              I am a traditional Catholic. I am very shocked an happy that so many posters on this website are critical of the today’s Vatican. I thought this was a neo-Catholic site.

              • Glenn M. Ricketts

                I’ve always regarded it as simply Catholic, which is why many of us are very upset today.

                • jacobhalo

                  Glenn, there are about 23 different Catholic churches with different names. I am going to look them up.

                  • Glenn M. Ricketts

                    Well let me know what you find. But I guess I was responding to the political label “neocatholic” and wanted to emphasize our unity with Tradition and adherence to unchanging truth and tradition. I think that thread runs through all of the others as well.

                    • jacobhalo

                      Just to name a few. Albanian Byzantine Catholic church, Marionite, Alexandrian, Syriac Catholic, Armenian, Byzantine. type in “Catholic denominations” and you will find all of them listed.

              • Karen Hall

                I would be losing my mind right now if all of my traditional Catholic friends weren’t shocked and appalled. Knowing that I’m not alone is the only thing getting me through this.

                • jacobhalo

                  Karen, yes, I too, am a traditional Catholic. We have been disgusted with this church for the past 50 years. But this pope brings it to a head.

                  • Karen Hall

                    Thank you.

                    • mezza

                      I am totally with you Karen. I am alarmed by the heresy.

              • Erika Allen

                Me too

        • FernieV

          Let’s wait and pray in the meantime that the bishops will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit who leads the Church in these difficult period as always.

          • ForChristAlone

            We’ve been waiting long enough for orthodoxy to come from the chair of Peter. It’s likely that for the first time in the history of the Church we will have TWO retired Popes. Then the Cardinals can give us a leader faithful to the Magisterium

            • Objectivetruth

              In John 6, Christ gave the crowds straight forward orthodoxy concerning the Eucharist. Thousands that day found what Jesus was saying was “too hard” and walked away, no longer following the Christ. Jesus did not back down, try to water it down, call to them to come back, he was sorry He hurt their feelings. I wish we would see the same from the pope today. Straight forward, Truthful doctrinal teaching. And if one billion of the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world walked away, so be it. Free will to say “yes”, or “no.” We need desperately to hear the clear Truth more from Rome.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Why would they do that? It would be the same lot who voted in the most recent conclave.

            • DE-173

              “TWO retired Popes”.

              I’ll make a bet to the contrary.

          • GG

            The bishops have heard the HS. Many are against this false theology. They have been silenced and out maneuvered by the heterodox.

          • GG

            You should go to the NCReg and read the current interview with Cardinal Burke. His understanding is much different than yours.

          • As from the 4th through the 8th centuries when most bishops were Arians? Yes, the holy Spirit always leads the Church, but human freedom to be wicked can and does resist Him for long periods of time, even while leading millions of souls to damnation fromt he heart of the Church.

          • jacobhalo

            I agree, but the Vatican and our bishops should hear the voice of the people, also.

          • jacobhalo

            We all talk about the Holy Spirit, but no where in the bible, except St. John’s book of revelation does he say that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

      • GG

        Please stop blaming the media. It is disingenuous.

        • FernieV

          The media are not not interested in the Christian message. They are only interested in SEX. So, they scan the Pope’s writings to find sex-related matter which then they interpret in their own distorted vision to construct interesting “controversial” news.

          • GG

            Scan the mid term report and you see the reporting is not skewed. It is wrong to blame the media while ignoring serious errors within the Church.

      • JP

        And when the Vicar teaches some new “pastoral approach” that go against the teachings of Christ?

      • Salvelinus

        With all due respect, if you are still blaming the media for “distortions” of Bergolios words, you have lost it.

        Pope Francis is truly an antipope, with the true pope (Benedict) being forced into hiding

      • Karen Hall

        Did the media distort the demotion of Cardinal Burke? Or the loud voice of Cardinal Kasper? And the document says what it says. It wasn’t written by the media. And “judge not” does not mean “thou shalt not discern.” I will not follow this pope blindly to hell.

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        fuck is good

      • Dick Prudlo

        What nonsense is this. Take you head out and breath. The stink you smell is coming from Rome and not where you think.

      • Elizabeth

        Hogwash. Time to get your head out of the sand.

      • JefZeph

        I had carried the water for that “media distortion” message for more than a year.

        I’ve since come to realize that the media have not been distorting, they’ve been embellishing. They are not twisting good messages, they are trumpeting a poor ones.

        This was not easy for me to admit to myself. God help us all.

      • bonaventure

        Did you even read the “Relatio”?
        The media did.
        And I did too.
        What they are telling us is actually true, because for once they agree with the pope… not a good sign for things to come.

        • FernieV

          I did read it. So did the majority of the Synod fathers who said that it misrepresented their contributions. In any case, the damage is done, as the media reported the “change in attitude of the Church with respect to gays and lesbians, etc”. Really pathetic. Let us pray that the enemies of the Church don’t prevail!

      • pdxcatholic

        I think you meant, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.” It never hurts to proofread before you post. But don’t worry–I didn’t judge you!

      • chanel3

        The media didn’t distort the fact that he appointed the six liberal bishops who gave us the mid-term report. As others have said, Pope Francis can make his position clear if he refutes what Cardinal Kasper has had to say about marriage. I’m afraid we’ll be waiting for a long time. We need to have respect for the office but if the encumbent lacks the capacity to uphold the truth then he shouldn’t be in that office.

      • Älter und weiser

        No, the problem is that Pope Francis is sloppy managing the media.
        The spiritual leader of over a billion Catholics has a responsibility to precisely craft and deliver the Church’s teaching. He is failing in that regard.

      • jacobum

        Enough of the simplistic “Judge and you shall not be judged”. We are not judging his eternal soul but we are making prudential judgments as informed and faithful Catholics. We are called to pray for him but we are also called to resist him when He is allowing, promoting, expounding and being complicit at spreading pure evil. I guess Cdl Burke was wrong in stating the obvious…”the Pope is harming the Church”

    • Marcelus

      My apologies but I know posters here have never been too fond of PF.

      Nontheless, Are you refering or implying that PF has said he supports homosexuals or he brought them into the Church or something of that sort?. It is me, Im afraid, but I do not follow

      “I would want to remind Bergoglio of is this: many of us faithful Catholics were made to suffer because of your homosexual priest scandal wherein so many thousands of our sons were abused by your homosexual clergy. And now you want to tell us that homosexual acts are not sinful.”

      Bergoglio has not said Gay acts are not sinful,the Synod came close to that or it did in their doc, but not the Pope.

      • ForChristAlone

        Who appointed these bishops to be among the Synod Fathers? BERGOLIO! Do you think for a minute that he did NOT know these guys views on matters such as homosexuality and marriage?

        • Marcelus

          So what happened in the end?

    • SuzyQ

      In the interest of clarity, the Catholic church did not have a “homosexual priest scandal.” Pedophilia was the problem. Adult homosexuals are not ordinarily attracted to children, and more than adult heterosexuals generally are. The scandal that rocked the church was about adult men who were attracted to and abused children, and abused the trust of their position. The terms homosexual and pedophile are not interchangeable.

      • DE-173

        “The scandal that rocked the church was about adult men who were attracted to and abused children”.

        Wrong. The scandal generally involved not what we would call “children”, but post-pubescent (technically pedophilia is sexual attraction to the pre-pubescent children and there’s another term for the disordered attraction to the post-pubescent I can’t think of and won’t search for now) minors and males. Let’s just say the abusers were mostly not readers of “Lolita”.

        • ForChristAlone

          ephebophilia

          • DE-173

            Thanks. I’m not sure I could even imagine how to structure that query to avoid the annoying stuff.

      • jacobhalo

        Most are homosexuals according to report, of which I forget the name of it.

      • Fred

        If you study the long history of the disordered lot who do not have to go back far to see that the two were inseparable. Maybe it was for comfort, misery loves company after all. Several decades ago the gay mafia kicked the pedophilia group to the curve when they realized that they were never going to gain broad acceptance with them and felt they had a chance to advance acceptance for homosexuality. I read the other day that now they feel they’ve accomplished that goal the pedophilia group once again began to raise their voice to which they were shouted down – “shut up, you’re going to ruin this for us”.

      • GG

        Wrong. It was a homosexual abuse problem. The victims were mostly post pubescent males. That is not pedophilia.

      • BXVI

        Suzy Q you are completely wrong, and it is shocking that you could be so ignorant of what happened. Almost ZERO percent of the abuse by Catholic priests involved pedophelia, by its clinical definition. Almost ALL of the abuse involved homosexual priests preying upon pubescent and post-pubescent adolescent males. This is not pedophelia but homosexuality. It is a FACT that a significant percentage of Catholic priests are homosexual. It is also a FACT that a significant percentage of homosexual men are attracted to under-age adolescent males. Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) put a ban on new priests with homosexual tendencies, and the problem has all but disappeared throughout the Church. The problem is one of homosexual priests, not of pedophiles.

      • ForChristAlone

        You don’t know what you’re talking about. I have firsthand experience with treating these guys as a mental health professional.
        These were prepubescent males and NOT children.

    • Dhananjay Chatterjee

      fuck u

    • Dhananjay Chatterjee

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    • david

      “By, the way, this piece by Father Longenecker is the best one he’s written that I have read. It should be sent to every priest and bishop all over the world. It epitomizes the quandary that many tens of thousands of orthodox Catholics are waking up today thinking.”
      Completely and whole heartedly agree. Bravo FCA and Bravo Father Longenecker.

      • Regina Barzyk

        david I agree with you one hundred percent. I intend to copy the piece, especially the caption about the treasure of the Catholic Faith, its fine definition… it is a gem. Thank you dear priest, it makes it so easy to pray for you although we must pray for all for conversion. Now that’s Catholic!

    • AJ Jackson

      Pope Francis needs to clarify and make statements. No one is disputing this. However, to imply that Francis has stated “homosexual acts are not sinful” is simply wrong. It’s one thing to point out he has been too silent on the issue – which he has – it’s another thing to put words in the Holy Father’s mouth.

      • ForChristAlone

        Did you find any quotes used in my comments. I am referring to the EFFECTS of his appointments to the panel summarizing the week’s Synod’s discussion. He made the appointments; his is the responsibility.

    • Cyrus

      Don’t you think the Pope knows about the pedophile clergy?. He does. So much so, that he specifically invited Cardinal Danneels to the Synod. Yes, Danneels, the one who tried to protect the Bishop of Bruges -Roger Vangheluwe- who abused his own nephew from age 5 to 18.

    • Thank you for the most wonderful reply – nailed it. Bergoglio is not fit to lead the Church, only to destroy it.

    • crossdotcurve

      What a bitter, angry and bile-filled screed…

      • ForChristAlone

        that’s a compliment…thanks

    • jaydotpdot

      Your right. You know better than the Pope. Your such a good person.

    • MHB

      Very disrespectful titles, by the way.

  • Fred

    Everything I’ve read seems to suggest no change in doctrine but a change in approach in how we dialog with one another, toning down rhetoric. I hope that’s the case anyway. Jesus was loving but love also required stern warnings for those that heard but did not follow God’s commandments. I’m afraid that in his desire for a soft, squishy, no judgement style people will be more confused than ever. Time will tell. I don’t believe the church will ever stand for same sex marriage because it’s clearly at odds, but I fully expect the statists to try and force it on us someday. And when that comes God help us all, and pray for strength not a warm, fuzzy response.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      If you “dialogue” by saying inane and evil things – such as there are “positive elements” to a homosexual relationship – you ARE changing doctrine.

      • Fred

        I know, I struggle in understanding approach, it goes against my belief as well.

        • GG

          It goes against the Gospel too. Let our yes mean yes and our no mean no.

          • Dhananjay Chatterjee

            Is the process for the Petrine privilege quicker than the annulment process? Is it easier to get? Thanks.

      • beriggs

        Indeed, are there “positive elements” to robbing banks, to lying to your parents, to failing to keep the Sabbath holy, to worshiping idols? What wonderful “positive elements” we have been missing all these centuries!

      • GG

        Exactly. It is playing with words.

    • ForChristAlone

      “I’m afraid that in his desire for a soft, squishy, no judgement style people will be more confused than ever.”

      And this is exactly why the pope has failed us as a father. The faithful could not have been any more confused (and uncatechized) BEFORE he assumed office. How can he possibly think more confusion is going to help matters?

      • Objectivetruth

        Looking back, the times when I messed up my paternal father firmly told me “what you are doing is wrong! Now stop doing it and focus on doing good things.” are the times when he really showed great love for me. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. Years later, I thanked him for not being afraid to be a father to me.

      • Fred

        I can’t quite bring myself to condemn him yet, even though it flies in the face of my sensibilities, too. I have to have faith that he is divinely inspired and I somehow must be patient in understanding. That takes a lot of bending on my part. There is a huge risk in this approach. If the desire is to simply to fill churches with those who do not believe in her doctrine, more will be lost and there will be a huge chasm not seen since the reformation I believe.

    • JP

      From what I can see, those who want a more pastoral or merciful approach have only offered up one straw man after another. Who is to tone down the rhetoric? Find me one Bishop that still preaches fire and brimstone?

      No the Church will not officially sanction adultery or gay marriages; but, it doesn’t have to. Despite the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, the majority of Catholic couples use some form of artificial birth control. And despite the teachings of Saint Paul concerning the Eucharist, these same Catholic couples still present themselves for Communion. There is more than one way to skin a cat. I suppose the heterodox have found a way. One can still “accept” Doctrine; but, one just needed follow said Doctrine.

  • Surprise. Sin still exisst if you are only merciful and faIL to be just as well.

  • Daniel P

    Which is better: a Church with a multitude of rules that none of the pastors enforce (for whatever reason), or a Church with fewer rules, but a consistency in enforcing them? I can understand someone opting for the latter, if those were the only two choices. I’m not convinced those are the only choices, but perhaps the Pope is.

    I don’t understand what is meant by “valuing” an “orientation”, though. I hope those words will be adjusted, or dropped.

    • JP

      Daniel,

      They are not rules. They are Dogmatic Truths. They are Christ’s Revelation to us. We can either accept them or reject them.

      • Daniel P

        It depends on which aspect of the document you’re talking about. I don’t see many changes in doctrine, if any. I see some helpful pastoring language, and some unhelpful pastoring language. If the teaching on the indissolubility is cast to the curb, that would be a change in doctrine. Oh, and I do think — as I said — that saying “orientations” should be “valued” is clearly a “development” in doctrine. And I hope they DON’T continue in that development. We would then need a theology of orientations. God spare us such a sight.

        (Why can’t we just say the people WITH the orientations should be valued, and have unique things to offer the Church, if they strive for holiness???)

        • Because now where does this rotten synod and the purveyors of sodomy suggest that chaste living and offering it up is acceptable. This wretched evil document and the malefactors behind it want to confirm them in their sodomy. There is no call to holiness. It is a call for us to affirm them. Forget it!

          • Daniel P

            It also doesn’t even come close to saying that chastity is unacceptable. And I’m quite sure the final document will not say that homosexual conduct is morally acceptable.

          • GG

            It was hijacked and stacked from the start. When that was not working as planned an ad hoc lib group was formed and those in charge of writing the midterm used their own words to shape the narrative.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Yes, it unfortunately was very easy to see this one coming.

              • GG

                That is such a good point. I know most of society does not follow these things as closely as we here do, but you really can not be surprised at this.

        • GG

          Because inclinations not ordered toward God are wrong. Period.

        • ForChristAlone

          “I don’t see many changes in doctrine,”

          That’s exactly the problem. Doctrine does NOT change. So if you’re not seeing “many” changes, we’re in trouble already

          • Daniel P

            Yes, you’re right that my choice of words was bad. I see ONE potential change in doctrine: this business of valuing orientations. I don’t understand what is meant by that, in the slightest.

        • JP

          Of course there will be no changes in Doctrine. BTW, artificial birth control is still considered a Grave Sin. Yet, almost all married couples ignore it and still present themselves for Holy Communion. If trends continue, we will be a Church of doctrines and teachings that everyone, including the clergy ignore.

          And when the Synod speaks of orientation they speak of sexual orientation, that is, sexual desire focused on the same gender. We are called to accept that and value that? I don’t think so.

          • Daniel P

            Accept, sure. I accept that another person is prone to alcoholism. That’s not a problem. But I don’t see what it would even mean to “value” that.

    • ForChristAlone

      It’s not about rules. It’s about truth.

  • Fred

    Take your seat in the pew, put your tray table up, and kneel forward to pray. Looks like turbulence ahead. Pray for our captain, and our synod crew.

  • kentgeordie

    For too long Catholic morality has been seen as prohibition. We need to get better at showing it is liberation.

    • Objectivetruth

      By following the Ten Commandments for example, one finds great peace and freedom.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Yes, the commandments are a liberation from my evil tendencies. That has been understood by every generation of Christians… until today!

        • Objectivetruth

          Now they’re being packaged and sold as “the Ten Suggestions or Recommendations.” Don’t want to upset anyone…….

          • Tamsin

            Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life:

            1. I am the Lord your God “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, Francis said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”

            • Objectivetruth

              Top I tip for bringer greater JOY to ones life:

              1. Jesus
              2. Others
              3. You

          • especially no one can upset the perverts

    • GG

      We have not heard about prohibitions in 50 years. The felt banner crowd have seen to that and now they are given pride of place.

      • kentgeordie

        That’s not quite true. The world still associates the Church with its stance on divorce, abortion and contraception. But even if we have to some extent desisted from prohibiting, we have not made a success of showing the joy of living in accordance with God’s law.
        In how many Catholic schools have teenagers been invited to reflect on the real consequences of liberal sexuality?

        • GG

          The perception is due to poor catechesis. The solution to improving a false perception is not to embrace error.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Unfortunately, this document does not simply eliminate prohibitions; it actually seems to extend permission.

    • or maybe how destructive and violent society is without morality – liberals only lie about this point

  • Ciarán Ó Coigligh

    Rev. Dwight Longenecker
    Thank you Fr Longenecker for stating that which many have wished to say but not had the words to express and what others need to hear: ‘Compassion without content is mere sentimentality. Mercy without truth is an empty gesture. Kindness without correction is cowardly.’ We are greatly in your debt.

    • Joseph

      What a great statement that is! I sent it to Cardinal Dolan, who, by his words and actions, is united with the so-called “progressives” of the Synod. My email:

      Crisis Magazine, Father Dwight Longenecker’s
      statement below in, “Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod.” Did I not
      correctly say that your comments on the Church were nothing more than The Sentimental Gospel of
      Inclusivity.

      Joseph

      “Compassion without content is mere sentimentality. Mercy without truth is an empty gesture.
      Kindness without correction is cowardly.”

      http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/advice-for-the-pope#.VD20lJKNONM.email

  • Daniel P

    I think some people went to bed last night worrying about Vatican II. They woke up worrying about Vatican I. Indeed, Vatican I may become a very puzzling council, if current trends continue.

    • Nestorian

      At last, at last, some people here seem to be realizing that the real problem with contemporary Catholicism is Vatican I, not Vatican II. Vatican I, and the tradition of its interpretation published in the encyclicals of Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, and Pius XII, makes the popes’ teaching authority unquestionable, and unconditionally requiring assent, not only in infallible, but also in fallible contexts.
      .
      Thus, the real source of “creeping infallibility” is Vatican I itself, along with all the popes who reigned between the two Vatican councils. “Creeping infallibility” is nothing other than the Vatican I teaching that all papal declarations on faith and morals are to be regarded by the faithful as though they were infallible, even if they are not.
      .
      Such teaching on papal authority was completely ahistorical and heretical in the first place. Now, however, it is recoiling back upon the “conservatives” and “traditionalists” in the Church with a vengeance. For at the root of all the current problems are Pope Francis’ exercise of his allegedly infallible teaching authority (whether couched in infallible or fallible circumstances) on behalf of revolutionary changes in moral teaching.
      .
      Come to the East, my friends in Christ! It is Eastern Tradition, as embodied in the Eastern Churches (but only with perfection in the Nestorian), and not papal authority, that is the true seat of unchanging moral and spiritual truth.

      • Crisiseditor

        Didn’t I tell you not to proselytize? I guess you can’t help yourself.

        Catholics recognize the apostolic origins of the Eastern churches. We don’t proselytize. We seek corporate reunion as St. Paul would have demanded. The Eastern churches are hyper-sensitive to proselytizing. They even get paranoid about it. So it’s not done because it interferes with ecumenical efforts. I apply the same Eastern standard here. If you want to discuss theological questions as an academic exercise, as if we were part of the same tradition, then that’s fine. However, if your sole purpose is recruiting converts, then it’s time for you to go (again).

        • Nestorian

          You cannot, as a Catholic, seek reunion without proselytizing the Eastern Churches yourselves. For it is very clear that you seek reunion on Catholic terms only. Thus, the very act of even making an overture toward the Eastern churches with the goal of attaining reunion is tantamount to proselytism for the Catholic cause.
          .
          Seeking reunion in non-proselytizing fashion would require Catholics to subject to fundamental question all the claims that divide them from their interlocutors, and open themselves to the possibility that their interlocutors might be right.
          .
          In the absence of such an attitude, all ecumenical overtures by Catholics are tantamount to proselytism.

  • Glenn M. Ricketts

    Unfortunately, “compassion” is going to mean that we probably won’t even mention the unchangeable truths of the faith, since doing so will upset people and hurt their feelings. On the other the other hand, anyone who does attempt to stick by them will receive a stern lecture about being too “judgmental” and “mean-spirited.” The pope, of course, is getting rave reviews in the secular media which is where most Catholics get their catechesis these days. To use a hackneyed but always compelling example, Christ did indeed forgive the woman caught in adultery, but admonished her to “go and sin no more.” By the Pope’s new standard, that wasn’t very nice.

    • Objectivetruth

      When Christ called Peter “satan”, I’m sure the big Galilean fisherman’s feelings were bruised. But Christ firmly called him it anyway, and Peter took the chastisement humbly and realized what he said was wrong.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        He was pretty direct with the money-changers in the Temple too, as I recall.

    • Daniel P

      I don’t think we need to question the Pope’s motives here. I believe he does want sinners to stop sinning, and does plan on getting around to telling them that. He thinks that something else must happen first, in order for the Church to appear a viable option to them.

      I myself am doubtful of the Pope’s strategy. But I don’t think he wants people to continue sinning. He honestly thinks gradualism is a good idea.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        I don’t think I’m questioning his motives at all. But, like you, I’m more than doubtful about the strategy, which I think has already done great harm, and promises to do much, much more.

        • Objectivetruth

          CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS are all falsely reporting this morning that the Catholic Church has finally come to its senses in their acceptance of “gays.” For the poorly catechized Catholic watching this and who might hit the kneelers only at Easter and Christmas, this to them will be their only catechetical teaching for the day. Satan is laughing with delight, his plan of muddled confusion is working.

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            Unfortunately, many “poorly catechized Catholics” who attend Mass more frequently than the Christmas/Easter two-timers receive their theology from the same sources. I taught second grade CCD for 15 years, and frequently found that I was teaching my students’ parents as well.

            The situation has been bad enough to this point, and now promises to worsen still more. The Pope unfortunately seems clueless.

          • GG

            Given the report the press seems correct in their reporting.

            There is now evidence from some prelates that certain words were inserted by one of the cardinals in charge that is contrary to what was agreed on. It is his own private agenda.

            The Pope ought to remove him immediately. What he did was unjust.

          • Fred

            It’s easy for me to ignore the chattering talking heads, but those who find joy in the destruction of the church will find comfort in cherry picking the words and approach – no doubt. Our mission has never supposed to have been easy, but must we make it harder?

          • Michael Wallis

            Bergoglio applauds CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBs and may appoint them to draft a final Synoldal report in 2015.

      • ForChristAlone

        and we honestly think that gradualism is a bad idea

        • GG

          I think gradualism, properly understood, is consistent with moral theology. Misapplying it is not consistent.

          • DE-173

            How easy it is to say Lord grant me Chastity, just not yet.

            • GG

              Yes, and that is misapplying it. St. Augustine pray for us.

  • Fred

    Remember too that the prince of this world revels in delight in creating division as his mission is to destroy the church. Pray for our strength to recognize his cnning deceit and to not succumb.

    • CR89

      Indeed. I imagine the enemy is laughing heartily at the chaos he is sowing at the Synod. He must be thinking, “Their Lord rejected my temptations in the desert but with enough of my prodding and pressure, they will not.”

  • Objectivetruth

    We are told in scripture that the road back to the Father is narrow. It looks like some bishops are trying to change that and repave it in to an eight lane superhighway. With plenty of exits on the way to get your dose of adultery, sodomy, lust, before getting back on the easy cruise to the heavenly banquet. No speed limits either.

  • HenryBowers

    Dear Fellow Laypersons: it is clearly time for some good-cop/bad-cop. The upper clergy have chosen their role. Nobody says we have to *be like* them. We have only to heed them, and they are not asking us to do anything evil. They didn’t behave under Benedict, and they won’t behave now. The new, faithful seminarians and young priests weren’t inspired by good popes; they’re too young for that; they were inspired by people inspired by good popes, and those people still exist. Administering sacraments is not our job, and will not be accounted from us. The clergy are relying on bad cops to nip at the herd. Sheepdogs of the shepherd. Woof woof!

    • Tamsin

      Lovely image, thanks. “God’s dogs”

  • AcceptingReality

    Great article, Father. I like the way you think! The problem with this over-emphasis on being caring, compassionate and welcoming is that it appears we can have “mercy without contrition”. The reality of objective truth is completely obscured. The “faithful” think that Catholicism and relativism have become synonymous.

  • Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz

    Amen, Father! Amen

  • Frank

    Bravo Father Longenecker…Bravo..from your blog–to Our Holy Father’s ears…!…God Bless and Protect you Father…

  • Donna Ruth

    Well said, Father! Thank you!

  • hombre111

    Ahh, the ecstasy and the agony. Pope Francis creates a crisis at Crisis. I read the Synod’s mid-term statement just after I returned from a wonderful dinner with a Canon lawyer who turned my view of his discipline upside down. He studied in Canada and told me of the puzzled dismay of those students imbued in the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. Their teachers told them that advancement toward the perfection of the Canon was a gradual process toward holiness. Along the way, it was the job of the Canon lawyer to listen to the story of each individual and to show love and compassion. Every Canon has a dispensation. He compared the law to a rubber band, to be stretched as far as possible without breaking.

    And so, all this time, a “new” approach exists within the Church. Instead of stuffing each individual into the deductive sausage grinder of some unchangeable law, we begin with the individual, with the wounded family, and build a stairway from there. What? Mercy? Compassion? The Church side by side with people on their steep climb? Praise be to God!

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Stretching a rubber band… or a condom? Following your thought processes, and trying to find anything Christian in them, is a real stretch indeed.

    • ForChristAlone

      I thought you’d sworn off this site. You’ve not been missed.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        He has to gloat, just like the liberal, atheist journalists. That tells you exactly whose side he is on, and how this Synod has to be viewed.

    • GG

      Where in the Gospel does our Lord command us to value deviant desires? Just curious.

    • Objectivetruth

      Hombre, have you ever tried the website ancestry.com? If you have, and after putting in your family information, perchance do the names “Luther”, “Calvin”, or “Zwingli” pop up on the family tree from 500 years ago?

      • Luke

        Do you think Luther or Calvin would approve of the relatio? The evangelicals I know believe in the truth of Scripture unlike the majority of our prelates.

      • hombre111

        Actually, today was a happy day for things coming together. Today is the feast of St. Callistus. He found himself in conflict with St. Hypolitus and Tertullian over his perceived lax approach to absolving apostates. The “soft” approach of St. Callistus won. And then, the reading was from Galatians, in which Paul takes the “soft” approach to circumcising Gentile converts, in contrast to the harder approach of St. James. And then the letter talks about resolving the issue with faith and love. That is what the Synod is doing today. Finding a soft, as opposed to the hardnosed traditional approach, which is hurting too many people. Don’t know how it is going to work out, because the discussion is not over yet. But, oh, joy, that this approach would even appear as an option.

        • GG

          Nonsense. It is not about soft or hard. It is about traitors. Those who deny Christ by manipulating His words to suit their desires. All while claiming fidelity. The worst type of pharisee.
          A liar from the beginning.

    • schmenz

      I wont ask you what on earth you are talking about because from the way you write I wouldn’t want to read your response in any case.

      • hombre111

        Simple: In the story of the Prodigal Son, the oldest son was outraged because his father showed love and mercy toward his sinful little brother. I have been listening all day to EWTN, which sounds like the oldest son. Speaker after speaker is outraged because many of the fathers of the current synod want to show mercy and understanding to gays, people divorced and remarried outside the Church, and people practicing birth control. What a shock to discover that, beginning with Canon Law, compassion is a just remembered element within the Catholic Church. Even some of the cardinals get it. But conservatives? Naah.

        • schmenz

          Oh Lord, I’m sorry I provoked more of this sentimentality.

          But is is nice to be instructed that the Catholic Church is at last, after twenty centuries, finally becoming merciful. That’s good to know.

    • Steve Frank

      Too bad you weren’t around in the first century to counsel John the Baptist.

      “For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife”. (Mark 6:17-18)

      Poor John, if only he had the wisdom of 21st century churchmen like you, he could have saved his head. If he only realized how merciless he was being to Herod for stuffing him into a deductive sausage grinder over some unchangeable law about marriage, What a troublesome fool you must think John the Baptist was.

  • Fred

    Will this be the VII of our day? Being old(er) but new to my faith I have to confess I don’t always understand the divisive feelings that still exist today from that, but this seems to be another stressing era.

  • Jamie

    I find this piece incredibly discouraging. I’m not sure how this helps anyone to think about the Synod or adopt an attitude of prayerfulness and docility with respect to the Holy Father. But it has given rise to lots of cynical “Bergolio” talk. Is that what this magazine is becoming?

    • GG

      You should be discouraged by the midterm report which is a scandal and unjust in many ways.

    • JP

      You do have a point, a narrow point. But, everything concerning the Synod, the media appearances, certain homilies, public exhortations, the elevation of Cdl Kasper to a kind of Synod spokesmen, as well as all the expectations surrounding the Synod were of Pope Francis’ making. He got the Bishops he wanted, and the agenda that needed to be highlighted. And yesterday was an absolute disaster. Whether he intended or not, he is splitting the Church at a time when it has enough on its plate. Believe it or not, much more is at stake than the Holy Father’s reputation. Whether it was his intention or not, he has put a bulls eye not only on the Family, but on a number of dogmatic teachings that can be traced backed to Christ.

      Yesterday’s publication of the Interim Report caught everyone off guard – not just the reporters, but even Cdl Erdo himself. It immediately caused a firestorm amongst not only the Synod members (who are forbidden from voicing their interventions or critiques), but even Cdl Dolan. You know you lost the Middle if you can’t get Cdl Dolan on-board. By evening, to the complete the fiasco, the entire Polish Bishops Conference opined that the Interim Report was unacceptable.

      If you consider this all “Bergolio Talk”, that is your right. But, if the Vatican doesn’t get this thing under control it’s going to make the publication of Humanae Vitae look like a mild, civil debate.

  • Susan

    Our Holy Father is the Vicar of Christ. When confusion and arguments lead to ‘taking sides’ against The Pope, we as Catholics ought to recognize Satan’s handiwork. Our Holy Father speaks quite clearly on the way we ought to live out our faith; the irony of it all is that his message is so clear and yet professed Catholics somehow find something to criticize, even by a priest, by writing this article. OBEDIENCE is key in being faithful to Christ and His teachings. LOVE is at the heart of Our Pope’s message. It is the duty of all the Bishops, Priests, Clergy and yes, us the laity, to stand by the Truth of the Church not only in our actions but in our words if need be: fraternal correction. If a couple approached a priest with erroneous ideas of what the Pope said or meant, it is the duty of the priest to correct the couple, it is a crucial moment of evangelization, again, fraternal correction. Satan is the grand magician of confusion and lies. Know your faith and pray for courage!

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Susan, I think many of us posting here fear that the priest in the circumstances you describe will NOT correct the mis-impressions the hypothetical couple might have. Instead, he will affirm them by being “merciful” and non-judgmental, as is already typical of widespread pastoral practice. On the other hand, it’s easy to imagine that such a priest will be quite short and brusque with anyone who suggests that he is remiss in his failure to do his pastoral duty. In fact, he will likely impose OBEDIENCE on anyone who calls him on his dereliction. Go away, and bother me no more.

      • HenryBowers

        This likely already happened under Benedict, so it’s a moot point.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          Oh right, but I think it will likely get much worse. At least under Benedict, you could argue that the priest was out of line. Now, it’s the other way round.

    • GG

      You ought to direct your reply to the Cardinals who highjacked the midterm report. Obedience to error and sin is gravely sinful.

    • publiusnj

      Obedience? To what? To rules that can change at the whim of a pontiff? Or even worse to the arbitrary wishes of a pope?

      I don’t doubt that Satan may–not must; it could just be imprudence–be abroad in the Church, but these protests are not his handiwork. The Faithful have a right to demand clear Catholic teaching. So long as this Pope does not try to make his personal preferences in the form of an ex cathedra statement on Faith and Morals, we may be able to survive him, but the Relatio Synodi borders on the scandalous.

    • That’s an idolatrous view of the papacy. He is the visible sign of union of the Church and the keeper of the Faith handed down form the Apostles. Francis’ role and charism are not how we ought to live our faith and the faithful owe him no obedience except in matters of faith and morals. Any other teaching of his is subject to prudential discernment by the faithful.

      It’s quite unfortunate that that the papacy has come to be viewed as some sort of oracle and personalization of the Church since St. JPII. This was a strategy that backfired.

    • Michael Wallis
  • Fred

    I came to my faith with deeply conservative views, which is why I probably enjoy Crises so much because the articles and comments resonate with me. I despise labels though and try not to categorize because i know God created us all with a purpose for our differences. I love reading the gospels too and one thing that draws me to them is Jesus’s unwavering approach to all, but particularly the Pharisees of the church and those who were consumed with the rules and regulations vs. compassion and faith. For the life of me I can’t see Pope Francis’s approach being at all like Jesus’s in extending a loving hand while strongly rebuking the sin and admonishing to go and sin no more. Nothing is technically wrong in what he is saying, but how he says it and emphasis makes a difference to us mortal humans. I know from what I read and hear that many are turned away from Christ but what they see as hateful rhetoric rather than a loving embrace. In fact I had to chuckle when I read a passage from that unfortunate fellow who organized the black mass in OK weeks ago when he said something to the tune of “that’ll show those self righteous bastards”. Struck me as someone deeply confused and who felt unwelcome to share in Christ love more than an attraction to the dark lord, maybe not. My love is for Jesus Christ first and foremost and I will trust in the Chair of Peter even though I struggle to understand it. I still struggle with JPII kissing of the Quran as well.

  • Peter Arnone

    Thank you Father Longenecker. In your position as faithful priest you couldn’t put your concerns, shared by millions of Catholics, any better. As a lay person I must be more blunt. The handwriting is on the wall. If the Pope does not fulfill his responsibility as defender of the faith in no uncertain terms, the Church is lost.

  • littleeif

    Your article effectively points out the difficulties posed to the parish priest by the opinions, or at least the personality, of the Pope, but the person forgotten in this Synod about marriage is, ironically, the faithful, married Catholic. He is utterly taken for granted and the dilatory effect opinions from the celibate Vatican hierarchy are having on him are never considered. The virtues of fidelity, chastity, charity within the family, humility and obedience to Church and spouse are all forgotten, as if to say “easy”. If they were in fact easy, however, why is divorce and sexual deviancy so rampant as to require this especial attention?

    Dilatory effect? Yes, for sticking to one’s vows, for example, is surprisingly difficult, unsupported and misunderstood in today’s world. Why should we? And if the Church, for example, is to communicate it’s not so crucial after all what do I say to myself when the temptations are strong and the going gets rough? Yes, for we all now have children cohabiting, homosexual relatives seeking marriage, broken families in our lineage and when we are faced with the myriad moral dilemmas these situations pose us can we any longer explain our morality by simply saying, “I’m a faithful Catholic”?

    It is pleasant to hear the truth from you, Father, and thank you, but make no mistake as much as you might feel abandoned by the Pope or the Synod in this matter, there are families in your pew even more removed from this logic and threatened by it.

    • Erika Allen

      Like they say, it all rolls downhill.
      I feel your frustration.

  • publiusnj

    I have always been an ultramontane Catholic who has taken great solace in knowing that Christ’s Church was standing against the tide of relativism that has converted our Chrisian Civilization into the Serial Monogamy, Unlimited Abortion, Gay Marriage laboratory which is destroying families and culture as we watch. Pope Francis has worried me a bit since his early days. I mean: what picayune gestures he offered up as important changes for the good of the Church (the Domus Sanctae Marthae living choice or his carrying his own bags; about as important as Jimmy Carter’s similar efforts). I dismissed my initial concerns with the good will of a faithful Catholic who has had to get used to idiosyncratic changes among the 6 other popes I had been blessed to see reign during my 68 years (Pius XII; John XXIII; Paul VI; JPI; John Paul II and Benedict XVI). I had always trusted those popes even though I might have liked one or another of them to have done some things differently. Yet Pope Francis continued to concern me with his very loose statements in interviews and on-board press conferences with the Press. Yet, the Vatican Information Service at first would walk back the Pope’s comments, so that reassured me.

    Until this Synod. From reports I have seen on Whispers in the Loggia, it appears that Papa Francesco first said good things about Kasper’s proposal but walked them back a bit when dissent was uttered, but then decided to “decapitate” the opposition by removing the Church’s “Chief Justice” (Card. Burke) from his position. Since then he has repeated his favorable view of Kasper; taken control over the daily press feed on the proceedings of the Syod in contrast to prior practice that would have better disclosed dissent; and started having the Vatican News Service play up favorable views of the kasper Proposal (e.g., the VIS Release on the views of three Italian prelates, including Tettamanzi, last week). Then he appointed a 6 person committee to write the Synod’s documents tha was definitely tilted to “reform.” Then came yesterday’s Relatio Synodi. I read a snippet of it (paras 50-52) that was quoted in a news article comment and will continue looking for the rest. Francis seems to be engaged in a political campaign to go as far as he can to abandon the Church’s Tradition and even the direct words of Christ in Mark 10 and Paul in Romans 1, without causing a break with the bulk of the bishops. I hope he will not try to proclaim any of these views in a formal ex cathedra statement because these certainly are matters of Faith and Morals.

    I am going to look for ways to let my pastors know that these efforts may bring in a few gays and remarried communicants, but that the Pope’s efforts are at the same time scandalizing the Church. If those clear biblical rules that he appears prepared to chuck out are so ignorable, then why shouldn’t we who have been faithful to the Church’s Tradition feel free to pick and choose what other rules we can choose to ignore? The first two I will ignore after I surrender my volunteer activities, will be the going to Church thing and contributing a weekly offering. If enough of us do that, I should hope the Pope will write something like this:

    “People who don’t attend Mass because they disagree with my changing Christ’s law on Divorce-Remarriage and the clear prohibitons on Homosexual Conduct have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities and a right to talk up at Parish activities, even though they refuse to go to Church any more? “

    • GG

      Do not lose hope. Christ always wins in the end. We should pray the good bishops band together and speak publicly about these serious errors. That may finally wake people up.

      • publiusnj

        I hope so. I have not lost hope. So long as this Pope does not try to shove heterodox nonsense in a statement ex cathedra, Christ’s Holy Church can survive him as it survived other popes. I pray for the Church whenever I pray.

        • Joseph

          Publiusnj,

          A well-known othodox theologian has stated, if the pope should proclaim an unorthodox statement contra faith and morals, his papacy becomes null and void and, therefore subject to removal and another take his place…?

          • publiusnj

            Someone (Augustine??) said there was a canon law on the question. I asked for it from the commenter, but haven’t found a response. The problem is that the Pope for a lot of good reasons is an absolute monarch in many respects. IOW, unless he says it’s over, I am not sure there is any way to say his Papacy would be over on the assertion of an heterodox position.

            • Joseph

              Publiusnj,

              Perhaps, if you would go to http://www.TwoHeartsPress.com Dr. Kelly Bowring’s Open Letter to Pope Francis will give you the theological reasons for a pope invalidating his papacy when he proclaims a doctrine contra the infallible teaching of Church Magisterium. God bless.

    • Fred

      Jimmy Carter did that only for a photo op. I read that the bags he carried were empty and he promptly through them down for others to pick up with disdain for his staff once the cameras were put away. I don’t believe our Pope has quite that hardness of heart. Still, what he did to Cardinal Burke whom I deeply admire greatly distressed me. I agree that there appears to be more potential for harm than goodness to come out of this soft approach. Yes, all are called to attend the wedding banquet, but not all come prepared to worship the Lord and are called out for their irreverence. Time will tell if our Pope has the strength to do both the later as well as the former.

      • GG

        The NCReg has an interview, right now, with Cardinal Burke. It is excellent and a must read.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          But it probably won’t be read by the NYT, CNN, etc – or by most bishops, either.

          • GG

            True, but is shows that the good bishops are not fools. They know exactly what is against them. Burke said: ”

            Did you get the sense in the synod that the overriding push is being made to bring this radical change about?

            On the part of some, yes, and you read it in some interviews, which
            state that there are certain prelates pushing it. I do not understand
            it, and I am very clear about it.

            I can say very honestly to you: I do not know how I could accept such a thing in the Catholic Church. I just could not.”

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              Many bishops unfortunately regard Cardinal Burke as at best an embarrassment or, more likely, as an enemy. And it doesn’t help at all that he has been removed from his influential Vatican post and relegated to a remote sinecure.

              • GG

                He was elected, by his group of bishops, as their moderator. That means there are bishops who look to him for leadership on this issue.

                Also, note recently has been more public in his condemnations of the process. I am certain he has backers.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  I hope you’re right, but at this point we can only pray, wait and see. He would make a great pope, wouldn’t he?

                  • GG

                    In a strange way is demotion may have freed him up to speak more forcefully, who knows?

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I hope so, since we need all the plain speaking we can find at present.

          • Fred

            They probably have a firewall that prevents them from accessing anything on Catholic teaching. Are you kidding, read anything at the NCReg? Ha.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              It’s actually one of the few remaining grave sins in some places.

            • GG

              It is owned by EWTN.

        • Fred

          Thanks for sharing that. I just read and it wasn’t revealing as it reflects what I have come to expect and respect about the good Cardinal, but it was refreshing.

          • GG

            To me it seems, using the nicest language possible, that he is saying those controlling the Synod info are lying.

      • publiusnj

        I am not going to try to read the mind of the Pope. Suffice it to say: even if he meant it sincerely, it is not the kind of gesture that amounts to very much in the life of the Church. John XXIII was a humble soul, yet he was carried into and around the Basilica of San Pietro in the sedia gestoria. Paul VI ended that practice. I respected Pius, John and Paul whatever way they chose to get around the Vatican. All six prior popes in my lifetime lived in the Vatican, just as each of the Presidents of the US has lived in the White House, whether they claimed to be a president of the people or something else. I would not regard a President who closed up the White House for a home in the nearest projects as any the more a leader than one who chose the White house instead. De minimis, non curat ecclesia.

        As someone else wrote, the main thing a Pope needs to be is Catholic. Pope Francis seems to be giving new life to the old phrase: is the Pope Catholic? That is frightening.

        And I must say, I am very concerned about it because whatever has gone on in this wacky world, I could always rely on my strong belief in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I still have that belief but it is being sorely tested and I fear what this pope would be willing to put in a purportedly ex cathedra statement just to get a rise out of what he considers a “too complacent” church. He needs to have at least as much compassion for the hundreds of millions of evangelized Catholics he is practically scandalizing as he does for the relative handful of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transgendered, queer, questioning and/or divorced and re-married seekers after a “welcoming” church. What he seems to be saying to the already in the pew faithful Catholic is “here is your hat, what is your hurry.”

        • Fred

          Our dialog seemed to be diverging when in fact I think we are quite in agreement. I chuckled when reading “giving life to the old phrase”. I know Carter claimed to be religious but I found his practice unhinged. I want to give our Pope the benefit of the doubt, for now at least, and not interject my feelings into his wisdom. He is making it hard and I wonder why.

          • publiusnj

            I think we are very much on the same page. I hope our Pope stays on the right side of Catholicism too. He clearly shoots from the hip, though,and that is a dangerous thing for the rock, on which Christ’s Church is built, to do. I have to say I am scared. The Pope has been pulled back from imprecise statements several times too often. One, two, three mistakes? Okay. Unfortunately, he has probably made three inopportune statements just about the Kasper proposal.

            The key test is if he has enough humility to recognize that strong opposition within the Church is part of the guidance process. Should he just override that opposition and come out with an ex cathedra statement that contradicts the long-standing Teaching of the Church, a real crisis will occur. I hope it doesn’t get to that.

  • FrankW

    Thanks Father Longenecker, for saying what many faithful Catholics have been thinking for the last year or more. We are called to preach the truth in love. Teaching love absent of truth is not compassionate, and is not love at all.

    I have seen so many other Christian Churches walk down the path of political (and social) correctness, and am frightened by the prospect of that happening to the Catholic Church.

    Anyone familiar with how the teachings of the Church are bonded with the Natural Law knows that it is not possible for the Church to teach differently on the issues of marriage and homosexual behavior without permanently breaking that bond. The laws of nature are God’s laws. The Bible, what all Christians supposedly claim is the inspired and infallible word of God, categorically condemns divorce and remarriage as adultery, and homosexual behavior as a grave offense against God.

    Do we dare turn our backs on that message and still claim to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ? The Catholic Church is not anti-sinner, but it must remain anti-sin, or it becomes worthless, dismissing the death of Christ as pointless.

  • Fred

    I just went to check on Austin Ruse’s article from a few days ago – now at 773 comments plus replies. Is it possible that may be overcome today.

    • GG

      Crisis is #1 to me and we ought to thank them all and often.

      • TommyD6of11

        Ditto. To all the staff at CRISIS, you do a great job! Your work is vital to victory in the cultural war we are now engaged (and losing).

        • Fred

          Agreed, I am thankful for the comfort I find here at Crisis too. I prefer to think of it as a battle for which there may be a breach in the line, but the war for Christ’s heart will never be lost. This may be a calling to remind us not to be complicit or overly private in our own lives of faith.

  • ohiomom85

    Thank you for this post. As a lay person, it is difficult to explain to non Catholic friends why everything is suddenly changing (which is how it appears to them).

    Let us all stand strong in prayer!

  • Amen, Father!

  • How would you feel is Card. Mahony had been elected pope? How would you expect his papacy to be? As a Latin American I know Card. Bergoglio as the typical Latin American bishop. His closest friend, Card. Hummes, was my bishop and confirmed me. Card. Bergoglio was not a bishop in the line of Bp. Gomez, but of Card. Mahony. So, I am not surprised at his empty talk and his authoritarian and heretical walk; they are par for the course in the Latin American episcopacy.

    • Fred

      That seems to be the conventional wisdom being reported about him. I try to have an open mind and I know his experiences are vastly different than my own, including his care for the poor and marginalized in society. No doubt he has some hardness to those who profess their faith but don’t do acts of charity soiling their hands doing the dirty work with the same humility and humbleness as he.

      • Caring for the poor and the marginalized is neither enough nor sufficient to make a Christian. Even the pagans can and do care for them, even with humility and humbleness, as you said.

        • Fred

          Absolutely I agree. I was only pointing out that those experiences no doubt have helped shape his persona. Maybe also reflecting on my own guilt as one who has passion and desire to learn, but one who does not yet soil my hands as much as I should and am able.

      • Michael Wallis

        “doing good without God is diabolical”- Doestoevesky

  • Fred

    This is not an argument against healthy dissent, but reading some comments I can’t help but reflect again on the mission of the prince of this world. He mocks us when we pit ourselves against one another. At times like these I also take comfort thinking back to divisions even in the early church like at the first Council of Jerusalem with Peter, Paul and James, timely in today’s readings. As much of a distaste as I have for the approach, I try to pull myself back from the precipice of division and remind myself that it is not my will, but God’s will that will be done, and I must put my faith in him and his legacy of Petrine Primacy.

    • publiusnj

      Division would be dumb. However, we must be loud and unstinting in our efforts to let this Pope know how bad he is screwing up.

      If he says: “but I am the Roman pontiff,” the first response should be “then why do you sound like an American politician, instead.” If he continues, we should say: “then act like a Roman pontiff.” If he then says: “yeah, but the keys of the kingdom have been given to me and I am telling you, you need to fall in line.” The answer to that is: “but there is nothing in the Bible half as clear on how to observe a “synodical relatio” as Christ’s overruling of Moses on the issue of Divorce and Remarriage, so why do you think you can hold us to obedience on that when you are not being obedient to Christ’s word.”

      Under no circumstances should we break with the Catholic Church and set up a new one. We are Catholic; we’re remaining Catholic and if the pope wants to go off on this detour, we should be very Catholic in our dissent from where he would like to take the Barque of Peter.

      And don’t try to dismiss me as a malcontent. If you read my prior posts, I have always been very Roman in my beliefs. Ever since the St. Louis Cards were in the 1946 World Series which was on the radio as I was getting baptized.

      • Fred

        I don’t dismiss. We probably share more in common than not. It is not in my nature to put my faith in another man, but I want to have faith that Christ is guiding our Pope and that though I don’t understand him there is divinity at work. I agree that it is good that we not be overly complicit and questioning can lead to perhaps better formed opinions and approach. By the way, love the Cards, I was there in the 80’s and saw all their pennants under Herzog.

  • Objectivetruth

    Reading yesterday’s “RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM” from the synod for the third time, I think I’m getting more depressed! When discussing cohabitation and civil unions, I see no mention of the nature of sin, sorrow, repentance. No possible loss of eternity. It almost comes across as “if you’re fornicating and living together, we’re not going to judge that, none of our business. But if you want to hear about how great sacramental marriage is, we’d be happy to talk to you.” It’s almost like they’re saying that marriage is best, but if you want to continue shacking up, that’s OK too.

    Someone help me…..am I reading this wrong?? All of this will play out, but right now I think I want to move to Poland and be shepherded by their bishops.

  • LongIslandMichael

    Well said Father. Thank you for your witness and example!

  • Nestorian

    Once more, I recommend the Eastern churches (Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Nestorian) as morally, intellectually, historically, and spiritually viable alternatives to Catholicism.
    .
    The confusion and anxiety that now prevails among Catholics provides a “teachable moment.” All three Eastern Churches claim to be the True Church, all have saints and valid sacraments and so forth, all are non-modernist, all have existed back to apostolic times – i.e. NONE of them are Protestant in any of these crucial respects.
    .
    Most importantly, all are far truer to the apostolic deposit of unchanging faith than the Roman Catholic Church has been for well over 1000 years. That is, Catholicism is manifestly NOT the True Church.
    .
    For all Catholics who are confused and tossed asunder: I invite you prayerfully to research church history with an open mind, and you will find the Rock of Truth you seek in the East.
    .
    The Nestorian Church is the only True Church, but even Eastern or Oriental Orthodoxy offer Catholics gigantic steps in the right direction.

    • The Eastern Catholic Churches, yes. The schismatic Orthodox and heretic Churches, no.

      If Francis breaks the union of the Latin Catholic Church with the other 22 Catholic Churches, the latter will be the keepers of the Christian Faith.

      The Orthodox have already sold out pretty much like Francis is trying to do: appeasing the world when the hirelings under whose care Our Lord entrusted His flock find the work too hard.

      • Nestorian

        I need to emphasize that I am NOT recommending Eastern Catholic Churches. I am specifically recommending the Eastern Churches that Catholics have – falsely – been raised to believe are schismatic and heretical.
        .
        Question that, rather than take it for granted, and you will pave the way for a remedy to your current confusion and sense of betrayal.

        • Objectivetruth

          No one cares what you think. There’s not a Catholic on this site that will ever leave the Catholic Church. Especially for a heretic.

          • Nestorian

            Just because you do not care does not mean no one else does. You speak only for yourself.

      • Jack St. Hilaire

        Read your history! The office of the Bishop of Rome held the title, “First Among Equals,” not “Vicar of Christ.” Don’t forget, the Apostle, St. Peter was also the first Bishop of Antioch for several years before relocating to Rome as the first Bishop there. The Apostle, St. Paul replaced St. Peter as the 2nd Bishop of Antioch upon St. Peter’s departure to Rome.

    • DE-173

      Weren’t you warned Sibyl?

    • Objectivetruth

      But Nestorius was a heretic, who the heck would want to join that church?

      • Nestorian

        That is the view you have been taught and internalized. That does not make it true.
        .
        For what it’s worth, Pope John Paul II disagreed with you, as he signed the Common Christological Declaration in 1994 with His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, acknowledging that accusations of christological heresy against the Nestorian Church were unfounded. This is nothing more than what the Nestorian Church has maintained against its critics for 1600 years, especially since the unfortunate condemnation of the “Three Chapters” in 553 ad.

        • Objectivetruth

          Jay……Nestorian……

          Son, you need a doctor.

          • Nestorian

            Another slanderer. Your gratuitous insult falls under Our Lord’s condemnation of those who cry “raca” without cause as murderers. You owe me an apology.
            .
            I have as little idea who this Dhananjay Chatterjee character is as anyone else.

            • Objectivetruth

              Great faux indignation. You’ve been spouting the heretic Nestorius for as long as I can remember.

          • jay

            What? Why would you say that?

  • Karen Hall

    How about some advice for orthodox Catholics who have been completely abandoned by this pope, and frequently the victims of his scorn?

    • Marcelus

      Well PF will be around for a few more years, So in a way you must come to terms with that, I Do not mean that offesively

    • Nestorian

      Look into church history, and open yourself to the possibility that the True Church of Christ might be one of the Eastern Churches (who all claim this), and not the Catholic Church.
      .
      The options are the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Nestorian. Only the Nestorian has never made erroneous teaching a part of its essence, but you would be far closer to the truth in either of the other two options than you are as a Catholic.

      • DE-173

        Well, now – you’re using two pseudonuyms in the SAME THREAD?.
        Have you thought about using Sibyl?

        What is wrong with you?

        • Nestorian

          I don’t know what you are talking about. If you are imputing an identity between “Nestorian” and “Dhananjay Chaterjee,” that is a slander.

          • DE-173

            No, that’s not who your name appeared under-but congratulations on your presumption and calumny by implication.

  • Esther

    My old landlord from Argentina is a hardcore lover of Christ- very clear on the Truths of the Faith. She and her family left The Church under Cardinal Burgoglia. The Truths were not defended and she needed help with her problems. She is missing The Eucharist and The Rosary. How does one respond to her when she reads that Pope Francis entrusted the incoming agenda of the Synod to Cardinal Kasper and the outgoing first document to the General Secretatiat- both open purveyors of Relativism. No society has ever survived the spread of homosexual practice. The Church has never spoken positively about sin. St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred for their zeal for souls their communicating of the Truth in the face of Nero’s grave mortal sinful lifestyle of homo/bi/bestial sexuality. This is the stuff of martyrs we are dealing with. One has to seriously take a look at paragraph 675 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and wonder- is this was is happening here. This is not made up drama. We need to pray as Father says here really pray for Pope Francis and try to reach him any way we can. I am in the media and I can tell you this if you think we are distorting him: Look at who he appoints to key positions in The Church, look who he is silencing, read what is written over and over again, do you think he has time for prayer? Is he beautiful in Albania one moment crying and so on point with his Apostolic Exhortation, but then saying many luke warm things to the press and appointing to key positions those who wish to lessen our resolve against sin the next? Is he pastoral and open one minute- but does not say for example to a good son of the church like Cardinal Burke: you are being removed from service for this reason? These are facts and knowable. Who is he surrounding himself with. By the way- the who am I to judge was in reference to this person- the person who oversees the Domus where he lives. Did we all forget the “who am I to judge” comment was centered around his dear friend MSGR. Ricci who has been openly seen in homosexual relationships? Recall that MSGR. Ricci also: Moreover, beginning in 2006, Monsigner Ricca was entrusted with the direction first of one, then of two, and finally of three residences for cardinals, bishops, and priests visiting Rome, including that of Saint Martha. And this allowed him to weave an intricate network of relationships with the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy all over the world.
    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350561?eng=y

    If we surround ourselves with people who are advancing relativism, and not people who are advancing Truth, then what will happen?
    I am personally from a family who reacted to Humane Vitae with an a la carte attitude based on confusion in the press leading up to the posting of this great encyclical. Please please do read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and do not let the devil convince you that mortal sin is not mortal sin!
    It’s Peace of Christ not peace of buddies…
    +PAX

    • Fred

      Insightful, thanks for sharing. We don’t often discuss martyrdom here except in the context of Islam, but it is on my mind frequently. Not that I’m eager to mind you, but it does seem that the forces of relativism are growing stronger daily. I feel the day may come in my life where I will be tested, maybe only in the loss of a job or property. My priest in Atlanta used to half joke that he expected to go to jail sometime in his life for civil disobedience in reference to his strong anti abortion sentiment (no I don’t mean clinic bombing) but more so for what he expected was coming in being forced to preside over a same sex marriage.

      • DE-173

        “We don’t often discuss martyrdom here except in the context of Islam, but it is on my mind frequently.”
        We will. If you haven’t read the warning of the displaced Bishop of Musul, you should.
        One thing I’ve never heard from those that think it is our actions that grieve and motivate the religion of perpetual indignation-is whether the promotion of the objectively disordered attraction is part of what grieves them.

        • Fred

          I have, and I frequently pray for him and his followers.

  • Please don’t forget the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

    • DE-173

      This troll needs to go.

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        U want to suck it?

      • Fred

        I realize there is a juvenile dimension to wanting to come here and say bizarre things, but I take some hope in the fact that there is no other reason for them to come here other than that they know that there is something intrinsically wrong and through guilt are guided here. Anybody who has strong beliefs in their moral convictions wouldn’t act that way. Though they won’t admit it of course, maybe they will arise from their slumber. Hopefully for them it will be before the day of their judgement. It is annoying, but pray for them too.

        • Dhananjay Chatterjee

          shut the fuck up u cunt

          • Fred

            Thanks for making my point. Satan too speaks like you. Maybe you should seek an exorcist.

            • Dhananjay Chatterjee

              U r nothing but a bigot who wants to deny people their basic human rights. U are against the pope too. U have the blood of he homosexuals on your hands

              • Objectivetruth

                Écce Crúcem Dómini, fúgite pártes advérsae.

                • Dhananjay Chatterjee

                  OPen Sesame

              • Fred

                I will oblige one last reply. You were given the gift of free will and you have made your life choices, to date. If you were truly at peace you would not feel compelled to come here and disrupt. The fact that you do is clear evidence that you are a troubled soul. It is not me you need fear for I do not judge you, your maker will do that when you are called to him. It need not be a lifelong burden, find what true love is and follow Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. We love our Pope even if we do not understand him at all times. I pray that you find peace.

                • Dhananjay Chatterjee

                  I am an atheist

              • JP

                And which homosexuals are you talking about?

        • GG

          Notice which topic always brings out the evil?

          • Fred

            I try to find something positive in it. People who are self confident in themselves don’t behave this way, so the fact that they are here to me reveals that they are aware of their sins and maybe don’t know how to go about making themselves whole with Christ. That’s the optimist in me. Sometimes I wonder if Satan isn’t typing on the other end as well.

    • GG

      Yes, and sodomy is always evil. Always and everywhere.

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        beyond good and evil

        • GG

          Off the Haldol are you?

          • Dhananjay Chatterjee

            yes sir

            • Dhananjay Chatterjee

              Love

      • So is female homosexuality and bisexuality in all its forms. Time for men to speak out on that.

        • GG

          the sin of sodomy covers all that.

    • Catholicon

      You make reference to it without understanding it’s useful function truthfully…….

    • JP

      In want context? If any Pope decided to say that murder was no longer a Grave Sin, is the Pope’s decree infallible?

      Most Catholics today believe that the 2000 year Teaching on birth control no longer applies. Was Pope Paul VI infallible when issuing Humanae Vitae?

    • The pope is not infallible to teach heresy. As a matter of fact, canon law allows a pope to be excommunicated if he teaches heresy, when he effectively ceases to be a pope.

    • Please don’t forget that the CAtholic Church is infested with a Gay Mafia and the Pope is at their behest

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Hi

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Gay sex is awesoome

    • DE-173

      Apparently doesn’t do much for spelling.

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        i want ur dick

    • Objectivetruth

      Crisis moderator…..grab your can of Lysol……

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        u r a fuccker

        • Objectivetruth

          You’re obviously your mother’s pride and joy.

          • Dhananjay Chatterjee

            u shud hav been aborted

          • Fred

            Maybe he had 2 Mom’s, or 2 Dad’s, or 2 Dad’s and 1 Mom, or 2 Mom’s and 1 Dad, or … maybe he was hatched.

            • Objectivetruth

              Lol!

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    bergolio is an motherfuckinbg nazi asshole

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Benedick is a prostitute

  • Maria Perez

    Thank you Fr. Longenecker. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We are not to follow anyone who preaches a gospel different from the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve been observing, reading, listening, watching the spin on Pope Francis, and what he says and has been saying for months, and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I can’t trust him. It is one thing to “smell” like the sheep, because you are leading them. It is quite another to “stink” like the sheep, because they are leading you. Our God is not a God of confusion. Truth is merciful. Since when are lies considered mercy? Where is the word “repentance”? The first word out of the mouth of Our Lord when he started his public ministry
    And if now “sin” is a dirty word, will we now teach, “Our Lord is like us in every way but (? what exactly?). What will happen to the Sacrament of Confession? Who will want to confess their (?)? Non-sins? Will the sixth commandment be changed because it mentions the word “adultery”?
    Where would we be if we just welcomed all murders until they “gradually” understood killing is wrong? Lord, have mercy on us. As my best friend said to me, this should be called the “Sin-nod”. This is just sad! God bless you, Father. Keep standing up for the truth.

    • Dhananjay Chatterjee

      go fuck yourself

      • Objectivetruth

        For those that doubt that satan can’t infiltrate comment boxes, well……

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    longenecker has a long dick

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    sex.com

  • RodTreat

    Kudos Fr. Longenecker! You’ve absolutely nailed the problem while being exceedingly charitable.

  • Catholicon

    Happy, Happy Feast of Pope Saint Callistus .
    There is nothing new under the sun, Selah!
    #TeamMarieJulieJahenny
    King Saint Louis IX, Vicar of GOD, Pray for US!

  • jay

    So IF this muddled work of Bishops is the course the Church will take, and it is a mistake, who here believes God will send someone, some day to send it back to the correct road? I’m an immature Catholic and I’m not confident in my faith (yet) to believe He will.

    • Fred

      Be confident. Read and study the history of the church and you will realize that there has never been a period without turmoil. It is we humans after all who are to carry the mission and we are quite fallible, which can restore humbleness. Have faith in Jesus Christ.

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        Heloo daddy

    • Catholicon

      Is this an incredulous reference to Isaiah 59, Daniel 12, or say, Apocalypse 2:26-29, which has long been misunderstood by readers of the Douay-Rheims Bible’s Challoner Notes?

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Meowwwwwww

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    rghfdsuigsafgduygfuyeyuw1d56sf1ads56f1df51d5saf1f asf fd
    sf
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    ads
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  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

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  • Antonja Cermak

    So, you try to convince the couple to move apart before the wedding. You fail and they choose to get married in other circumstances (say a nice wedding in the park). Time rolls on and they have a child. Perhaps this spurs them to take a more spiritual approach to the world (it happens). Will they come to you to baptize their child? Unlikely. In the best case for the Catholic Church, they approach another priest who listens to their story, agrees to bless their marriage and signs them up for the baby’s baptism class, perhaps whilst making tut-tut sounds against the priest who treated them so shabbily. Or maybe they decide to make a clean break of it and go to the nice megachurch or Lutheran church down the street. Or maybe they decide to become pagans or embrace an animistic spirituality.

    • Dhananjay Chatterjee

      The Nine Satanic Statements originally appeared in The Satanic Bible, © 1969
      Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
      Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
      Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
      Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
      Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
      Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
      Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
      Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
      Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years!

    • FrankW

      I understand your point. Parish priests are put in a a difficult position because they never know how a couple will react to the suggestion of moving apart before the wedding.

      That said, it should also be emphasized that this couple is approaching the Catholic Church to request a sacrament, and just how important that is. If a couple is just looking for a nice place to get married, but is not really interested in the Church’s teaching on marriage, our priests need to have enough courage to tell them ‘No’.

      This really goes back to proper marriage preparation by the Church. Marriage prep classes, if taught according to Church teaching, are going to offend couples who are already living together. Should the truth be sacrificed just so that couple is not offended? That’s why we have so many divorced and remarried Catholics, and so many annulment requests in the Church.

      • GG

        That is right. This couple has no right to be offended at the truth.

      • Antonja Cermak

        I’ve never heard marriage prep offend people. Most of the complaints I’ve heard are about the lame content. Also, when something is presented informationally, here’s what the Catholic church believes about sex… it’s hard to offend because people know that’s what they’re there to hear. And no one is going to police them in their acceptance or non-acceptance of it. Asking them to move apart is to ask them to DO something. Asking them to attend marriage prep (even challenging marriage prep) is only asking them to LISTEN to something. They can laugh about it after the session.

        • FrankW

          My parents have been married for 58 years, and have been doing Engaged Encounter weekend retreats for the last two decades. More than half of the couples that attend these weekends are already living together, and my parents do not mince words with them.

          This often results in the couples getting offended, but in some instances, the couples take heed of the advice. Is it asking too much to expect the couples that seek the sacramental blessing from the Church for their marriage to actually abide by the Church’s teaching on marriage?

    • GG

      Who treated them shabbily? I missed that.

      • Antonja Cermak

        Telling them you’ll marry them but only in the side chapel (because they’re not good enough for the good china) if they don’t separate or demanding that they spend money to pay for another address or give up their privacy and pride and live with strangers is to treat them pretty darned shabby. Especially when they’ve sought out the Church to help them resolve their situation. If they just wanted a pretty wedding, they’d go with a park or destination wedding (that’s what my family is doing now), not a church.

        • JP

          The Bride and Groom are the administrators of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The priest is just the witness. For couples in “natural marriages” (either civil or non-Christian marriages), all that is needed is the administering of the sacrament.

        • GG

          What? What you are saying is that they do not care about their salvation. They call it “shabby” to repent. What Gospel have you read?

    • ForChristAlone

      “so shabbily” In your view.
      And if they can so easily walk away, join the Lutherans or a megachurch, what in God’s name did they so desperately want the sacraments of the Catholic Church for? You’re delusional.

      • Antonja Cermak

        In this fictitious case, the baby has come along a few years after the wedding. And the baby has spurred the couple to wanting more spirituality (as I said, it happens). Since, in their minds, they were denied a wedding by the Church, why would they have much attachment to Her? Mightn’t they in fact, maybe have a little bit of a grudge against Her?

        • JP

          Is it spirituality they want, or redemption? Do they recognize themselves as Sinners in need of Christ, and do they have a desire to repent of their sins and arrange their lives according to Christ and His Church?

    • Because this approach has worked wonders in the last century and now parishes are up to the brim with new converts and reverts storming their doors! Wait, on the contrary. Since there’s no demand has been made of the lukewarm, they have been choosing to go cold, not even to the Lutheran church down the street which didn’t make demands from them either.

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Empty posturing can be most irritating and isn’t applying the cardinal rules of Lesser Magic. On equal footing with stupidity for what keeps the money in circulation these days. Everyone’s made to feel like a big shot, whether they can come up with the goods or not.

  • Dhananjay Chatterjee

    Within a year and a half of its creation, the Church of Satan had been the center of three separate media sensations that splashed front page headlines around the world. The first of these was the marriage of two of LaVey’s prominent members on February 1st, 1967. John Raymond, a politically radical journalist and Judith Case, New York socialite daughter of a well-known attorney, asked LaVey, their High Priest, to officiate at their wedding ceremony, blessing their union in Satan’s name.

    Word got out and on the day of the ceremony, newspapers from California to Europe had more reporters and photographers than any event since the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge crowding the Black House to witness this supreme blasphemy. There was such a mob that police had to cordon off the area. Joe Rosenthal, who took the immortal shot of Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II, was assigned to photograph the evil doings for the San Francisco Chronicle. The L.A. Times, among other prominent newspapers, devoted four columns at the top of their front page to one of Rosenthal’s pictures of the wedding. Most of the accompanying stories lingered on the naked female altar, the array of personalities present, and Togare, the Nubian lion, roaring from somewhere further inside the house. The press was delighted. They dubbed LaVey “The Black Pope” and clamored for interviews. While many of the early articles were published in men’s magazines because of the nude altars, mainstream magazines jumped into the fray as well. Eventually all the major magazines were doing in-depth cover stories on the rising tide of Satanism.

    [The Press] dubbed LaVey
    “The Black Pope” and clamored
    for interviews.”

    The rituals for the first year were largely intended as cathartic blasphemies against Christianity. Many of the elements were consistent with the reports of Satanic worship from the famous writings of diabolists, such as the description in Joris-Karl Huysman’s La Bas (translated into English as Down There). A nude female altar was always used, the accompanying music was a series of corruptions of church hymns, the cross was turned upside down, the Lord’s Prayer was recited backwards, mock holy wafers were consecrated by insertion in a naked woman’s vagina, whiskey was used instead of wine for Christ’s blood, holy water was substituted with seminal fluid in milk, and the names of the infernal deities were invoked instead of the Christian God. It was too much for some lapsed Christians to stand. Some would attend out of curiosity, only to find eustress quickly turn to distress, rush home and dig out their crosses to protect them from the devils they’d confronted.

    After awhile LaVey got tired of simply mocking Christianity and decided to work up rituals which would be blasphemously positive and exciting. “I realized there was a whole grey area between psychiatry and religion that had been largely untapped,” said LaVey. He saw the potential for group ritual used as a powerful combination of psychodrama and psychic direction. Instead of just throwing off the bio-electrical energy and releasing it to be dissipated in the surrounding ethers, that energy could be structured, shaped, and directed to accomplish a specific goal. He didn’t want to do parlor tricks but real, applied magic.

    LaVey decided the world was ready now for the first public Satanic baptism. People would be forced to see that Satanism is not drinking the blood of babies and sacrificing small animals. He declared, “Rather than cleanse the child of original sin, as in the Christian baptism imposing unwarranted guilt, we will glorify her natural instincts and intensify her lust for life.” Who better to be baptized in such a public ceremony than LaVey’s own three-year-old daughter, Zeena? With her soft blonde hair and engaging smile, she captivated reporters—such an angelic child to be dedicated to the Devil. While many Christian organizations and other “concerned citizens” were outraged at the spectacle, there was little they could do. Today, LaVey probably would have been charged with Satanic child abuse—there were no such legal avenues for religious hysterics in 1967.

    A date for Zeena’s baptism was set for May. Photographers started showing up at 6 a.m., even though the ceremony wouldn’t begin for another 15 hours. One of the Church members, survivalist Kurt Saxon, designed and made a special amulet for Zeena just for the occasion. It was a colorful Baphomet with an ice cream cone, lollypop, and other things a little girl would like included in the circle. Her mother dressed her in a bright-red hooded robe and sat her on the edge of the altar while photographers from New York to Rome snapped away.

    LaVey recited an impressive invocation, later adapted for inclusion in The Satanic Rituals:

    “In the name of Satan, Lucifer…Welcome a new mistress, Zeena, creature of ecstatic magic light…Welcome to our company; the path of darkness welcomes thee. Be not afraid. Above you Satan heaves his bulk into the startled sky and makes a canopy of great black wings…Small sorceress, most natural and true magician, your tiny hands have power to pull Heaven down and from it build monuments to your own sweet indulgence. Your power makes you master of the world of frightened, cowering and guilt-ridden men. And so, in the name of Satan, we set your feet upon the left-hand path…Zeena we baptize you with earth and air, with brine and burning flame. And so we dedicate your life to love, to passion, to indulgence, and to Satan, and the way of darkness. Hail Zeena! Hail Satan!”

    The entire ceremony was designed to delight the child, welcoming her with sights and smells that were pleasurable to her. Unlike the Christian method of dunking already frightened children in water to baptize them, Zeena sat cheerfully chewing gum throughout the ritual, basking in the attention she was receiving from admirers and the press.

    In December of the same year, Anton was approached by Mrs. Edward Olsen who wanted the High Priest to perform a funeral for her recently deceased husband, a Navy man killed in a traffic accident near San Francisco’s Treasure Island station. Both she and Edward Olsen had become members of the Church of Satan, despite his Baptist-oriented upbringing and his earlier membership in Youth for Christ. When he’d entered the Navy, seen more of the world and married a sexy brunette, he realized Satanism was a more realistic way of life. “He believed in this church,” said Mrs, Olsen, “and it is in this church that he would have wanted his funeral.”

    Though the Navy officials were a bit nonplussed, they agreed to Pat Olsen’s instructions without much discussion, considering it their duty to comply with Mr. Olsen’s last request with dignity. There was a chrome-helmeted honor guard in attendance at the ceremony, standing rigidly at attention alongside the black-robed witches and warlocks wearing their Baphomet medallions. The sailors held an American flag over the coffin while LaVey recited a eulogy emphasizing Edward’s commitment to life in choosing to walk the Devil’s path. To end the funeral, the Navy guard fired three volleys with their rifles, and a Navy musician played taps after the mourners shouted, “Hail Satan!” and “Hail Edward!”

    The sailors held an American flag over the coffin while LaVey recited
    a eulogy emphasizing Edward’s commitment to life in choosing
    to walk the Devil’s path.”

    Even though the Archbishop of San Francisco was upset by the whole affair, immediately sending an outraged letter to President Johnson, most San Franciscans, including Naval officials, felt Olsen should receive the same consideration as any other Navy man. The response from the White House was actually quite fortuitous for the widow and her young son. Olsen, a machinist-repairman third-class was erroneously referred to by White House aides as “chief petty officer.” Mrs. Olsen was able to use those letters to file a claim for a posthumous promotion for her husband and receive higher survivors’ benefits. LaVey credits “demonic intervention” for Mrs. Olsen’s good fortune. Because of the sharp increase of declared Satanists in the military, Satanism was soon outlined as a recognized religion in the Chaplain’s Handbook for the Armed Services where it remains today, the description updated every few years by the Church of Satan.

    Besides the weekly ceremonies, Anton conducted Witches’ Workshops and various seminars which attracted notable personalities from up and down the California coast. Jayne Mansfield, the sexy-sweet blonde bombshell famous for her stunning measurements and orgasmic squeal, insisted on meeting the Black Pope. LaVey and Mansfield hit it off immediately, each fulfilling a diabolical need in the other. Jayne became passionately obsessed with Anton, calling him several times a day from wherever she traveled, eventually applying for a driver’s license just to be able to drive to San Francisco unescorted by her persistently ubiquitous lawyer/boyfriend, Sam Brody. Jayne’s commitment to LaVey, and her dedication to the Satanic philosophy, continued until her death in June of 1967. The auto crash she died in also killed Sam Brody, who LaVey had formally cursed in response to Brody’s jealous threats and attempts to discredit LaVey.

    The night of Mansfield’s death, LaVey had been clipping a Church of Satan news item from the German magazine, Bild-Zeitung. When he turned the item over to paste it in the press book, LaVey was shocked to see he had inadvertently cut a photo of Jayne on the opposite side of the page, right across the neck. Fifteen minutes later, a reporter from the New Orleans Associated Press bureau called Anton to get his reaction to the tragic accident. Jayne had been practically decapitated when she was thrown through the windshield of the car.

    Madness rituals, fertility rites, destruction rituals, shibboleth rituals, and psychodramas in the form of Black Masses were devised for the public to participate in and be entertained by every Friday night. The early period of rituals was not a time of games or chicanery, but of necessary development, growth, and experimentation—as well as generating a pool of concentrated energy to draw from in later experiments.

    • Objectivetruth

      Crisis moderator…..wherrrre arrrre you??!!

      • Dhananjay Chatterjee

        in ur bum

      • Crisiseditor

        He’s gone.

        • FrankW

          Thank you!

        • Fred

          Danke.

        • Objectivetruth

          Merci.

  • Julie Culshaw

    Thank you for the clarity you provide in these confusing times. Julie

    • fides249

      You’re welcome, my sister in Christ!

      I feel that it is my responsibility as a Christian faithful to share my faith and to make clear what is blurred (sometimes by the Evil One?).

    • fides249

      Julie,

      was your TY for the clarity directed to Fr. Dwight?

      If it is, then please excuse me.

  • steve5656546346

    Exactly right. It is not possible to be pastoral at the level of the Vatican: there are too many human, situational, and cultural variables.

    The Pope needs to have the humility to do the less rewarding work of defending doctrine.

  • fides249

    The author of this article/open letter is an Anglican convert who, IMO, is very orthodox and whom I greatly admire and respect.

    This is an excellent article about the Synod and quite respectful of rhe Holy Father. I see his point about some things said in this Synod which I also think are contrary to the teachings in our faith. There is no final document yet about this but by the way things are coming out, Fr. Dwight is like a prophet i.e. warning about the consequences of the final document in case that it blurs the teachings of the Church.

    It reminds me about 40 years ago before Humanae Vitae was issued by Pope Paul VI when some priests started advising some of the faithful that it is okay to use contraceptives because the Vatican (most if not all of those discussuing it were in favor of its use) will allow it.

    Looks like history will repeat with this Synod.

    It would nice to ‘nip at the bud’ early enough!

    Please note that we can disagree respectfully with our pastors, preeminent is the Chief Pastor, the Roman Pontiff (Successor of St. Peter). This is our responsibilty as coded in the current Canon Law which I will quote below:

    “Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

    §2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

    §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”

  • jacobum

    Looks like FrL still has the rose colored glasses on but they are slowing coming off. Really like him but he has been in denial about PF for months now. Even shut down his combox. Just think about this…Here is a priest in the trenches having to ask the Pope to talk and in effect act like a Pope. That’s stunning! It’s like asking Christ to be holy. To the contrary, if anyone has seriously watched, read and/or listened to what PF has said over the last 18 months the only conclusion that explains his actions is one word..”MODERNIST”. He is not some humble prelate from the ghettos of Argentina. He knows exactly what he is doing and has professional PR men around him. A real shepherd would not let this situation get out of control to the point where the FrL’s of the world have to write such “nice” request for the Pope to be a Pope, defend the OTF, and clearly reaffirm Truth and the doctrines and dogmas of the Church. He has not done so and anyone who says he has is simply in denial or incapacitated. This Synod was totally predictable and it will get much worse. Watch the bloodletting in Rome by PF between now and Oct 2015 Synod Part II. He will attempt to remove any opposition to “Little Vatican II”. The Church is in free fall and the Laity is really going to have to step up and save it. Bishop Sheen was really prescient when he said:

    “Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priests. Do not look to the
    Bishops.It’s up to you, the laity, to remind our priests to be priests and our Bishops to be Bishops.”

    At this point it looks like he should have included the Pope as well

    • I lost interest in what Fr. D had to say after his incessant spinning Francis as if everything seemingly heretical he said actually had an absolutely orthodox hidden meaning. Through rose glasses, Fr. D was unable to take Francis at his words and needed to make other words up. This brought Fr. D heavy criticism in the comments and he, unable to cope with the volume and, I wager, the intensity, closed them boxes. I’m glad to see that he wiped the rose glasses a little. God bless him to live his vow of obedience to his bishop in such a lousy papacy.

      • frdlongenecker

        Just to clarify, I closed the combox simply because my blog traffic and my writing commitments are increasing and I did not have the time to moderate comments. Best wishes…

        • Nestorian

          Yes, but your clarification is not at all incompatible with the suspicions raised by Augustine and others about your tacit motives.

    • Elizabeth

      Bingo.

  • BXVI

    Where is the call to repentance for the forgiveness of sins from this Pope, and from this Synod? Unfortunately, there is none, and we won’t hear such a bold call from the Church of Pope Francis. Whny? Because he detests “exclusion” above all else and calling for repentance means those who won’t repent are excluded. Never mind that they are excluding themselves by their own choices.
    Yet, this was the consistent call of St. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and St. Peter.

    St. John the Baptist:
    MT 3:3: In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    The first words of Jesus’ public ministry:
    MT 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    St. Peter on the morning of Pentecost:
    Acts 3:38: And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

  • BXVI

    It comes from straight from the top. Below is a report of Pope Francis’ Sunday, October 13 homily. It is important to note that the Scripture readings for Sunday had nothing to do with Pharisees or the law. In the midst of this Synod, one can only ask, “To whom were these remarks directed?” Pope Francis detests the Church of St. John Paul II and Benedict, and he’s going to change it. He has labeled it Pharisaical. I pray for God’s people.

    October 13, 2014

    “If the law does not lead to Jesus Christ, if it does not bring us closer to Jesus
    Christ, it is dead,” Pope Francis told a congregation at daily Mass in the
    Domus Sanctae Marthae on October 13.

    The Pope spoke at length about the Pharisees and the leaders of the community in
    Jerusalem at the time of Christ. “They were closed within their system,” he
    said. “They had perfectly systematized the law.” From their perspective, this
    system of law was perfect and safe, the Pope said.

    To these leaders, it seemed that Jesus did “strange things,” the Pontiff continued. They
    were unable to accept Jesus because they could not fit Him into their system of
    law.

    Pope Francis reminded his listeners that “a path is not absolute in itself” and the purpose
    of moral law is to draw closer to Christ.

    • In a way, it’s Francis and his crowd who think that they framed Jesus’ law and have foisted it on the faithful for half a century without bringing about any good fruit.

  • Theoden

    As a former Anglican priest now home in the Catholic Church, I say, everyone chill out. Yes, time will reveal the Holy Father’s disposition and legacy. Meanwhile Fr. Dwight’s thesis has gone largely unnoticed. It is pastorally impossible to be the gracious, engaging and humble servants of Jesus Christ if the clear teachings of Jesus Christ are themselves muddled, parsed, or ignored. As Blessed John Henry Newman taught us all, for our hearts and minds to “relax” into the peace and truth that passes understanding, there must be what he called “definite object” for our hearts and minds to orient around. That objective reality is the Deposit of Faith, and Fr. Dwight rightly calls out the Holy Father to uphold his central duty which is to safeguard, define and pronounce it so we may better live it. Rock on, Fr. Dwight.

    • Nestorian

      Yes, but Cardinal Newman did not take seriously the possibility that the Church which safeguards this deposit might be in the East, rather than Catholic. This is unfortunate, as, with his historical learning, he was in a singularly good position to take the East seriously – at the very least the Eastern Orthodox.
      .
      Newman’s “Development of Doctrine” ideas are elaborate means of concealing changes over time in Catholic teaching. The Eastern Churches have no need of such relativistic devices as Newman’s “Development of Doctrine” ideas to justify what they profess in light of the apostolic deposit of the faith.
      .
      I think it is telling that Newman refused publicly to justify his conversion to Catholicism. Notwithstanding the grounds he alleges for this, his refusal to answer his critics constitutes an evasion. It is an evasion specifically of the witness to unchanging truth inherent in the Eastern Churches, and also of the relativism inherent in his own “development of doctrine” rationale.
      .
      It needs to be pointed out that Newman’s thinking on doctrinal development was itself an innovation in Catholic thought. Owen Chadwick’s book “Development of Doctrine: From Bossuet to Newman” shows how the Catholic understanding of doctrinal development itself underwent development – from the unambiguously objectivist but historically untenable criteria of late scholasticism, to the unambiguously relativistic criteria articulated by Newman himself.
      .
      None of this is necessary for the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the Nestorians – with the exception of some comparatively minor issues associated with the Third and Fifth Ecumenical Councils in the case of the former two.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        If there are any two words in the English language that do not belong in the same sentence they are “Newman” and “evasive.” You are really hitting homerun after homerun here. Too bad you are playing wiffle ball.

        • Nestorian

          Newman had many critics. At least ten books criticizing his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine appeared, written by Anglicans, with a decade or so of his first edition of that work. A number are now available for free online; I have downloaded several. J.B. Mozley’s is probably the most important.
          .
          These authors raised many objections to Newman’s ideas and treatment of history. To my knowledge, Newman never seriously attempted to address their objections.
          .
          When he finally converted, he refused to answer his critics or justify his decision using arguments, deeming it unworthy of the nature of the interior experiences that led him to that point to do so.
          .
          That’s an evasive posture, as far as I am concerned.

  • Elaine Steffek

    I have known for over a year that sometimes (not every time) the Pope lacks clarity and this causes confusion for everyone. Ever notice how many times Fr Lombardi has to come out and “clarify” what the Pope said in an interview or article? Fr Longenecker, this is a marvelous piece. I passed it on to my bishop. Thank you

  • Theoden

    As a former Anglican priest now happily home in the Catholic Church, I say, everyone chill out. Yes, time will tell the Holy Father’s disposition and legacy. Meanwhile Fr. Dwight’s spot-0n thesis has gone largely unnoticed. It is pastorally impossible to be the gracious, engaging and humble servants of Jesus Christ if the clear teachings of Jesus Christ are themselves muddled, parsed, or ignored. Trust us who have emerged as walking wounded from the charred remains of Canterbury, Rome should not go down that road. As Blessed John Henry Newman taught us all, for our hearts and minds to “relax” into the peace and truth that passes understanding, there must be what he called “definite object” for our hearts and minds to orient around. That objective reality is the Deposit of Faith, and Fr. Dwight rightly calls out the Holy Father to uphold his central duty which is to safeguard, define and pronounce it so we may better live it. Rock on, Fr. Dwight.

    • Tamsin

      Yes, black-hat/white-hat can work, but only when somebody is willing to wear the black-hat, and so far the Pope has not.

  • Jake

    Francis the Bishop of Rome is no more humble than were Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Thomas Cranmer. He is no more humble than Anglican Vicky Gene Robinson. Francis the Bishop of Rome is driven by the hubris of Modern Liberalism. His hubris means I now will attend my first SSPX Mass.

    • Don’t do that! Go instead to an Eastern Catholic Church, from whom Francis sometimes seems hellbent to break away the Latin Catholic Church.

      • Nestorian

        Better yet, join an Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Assyrian Church of the East parish.
        .
        The phenomenon of Eastern Catholicism, like that of Catholic annulments, is fundamentally dishonest anyhow. Both Rome and the Eastern Catholic Churches tend to dissimulate about the fact that post-East-West schism teachings are optional.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Hilarious. I am an Eastern Rite Catholic, and I have no idea what the heck you are talking about. Nor do you.

          • nestorian

            Ask your priest whether he accepts all the scholasticized dogmas of the Council of Trent, the 4th Lateran Council, the so-called “union” Councils of Lyons and of Florence, etc.
            .
            Heck, ask him if he accepts the “filioque.” Is the phrase “and the son” recited in your parish rendition of the Nicene creed? If not – which is common in Eastern Catholic parishes – it’s an indication that there is probably much else about the specifically Latin scholastic dogmas of 2nd millenium Catholicism that your parish priest, and the larger diocese, exarchate, etc., of which he is part – rejects.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              Just to begin with your last eructation, yes, we pray the filioque, and that is the rule in Eastern Catholic parishes.

              • Nestorian

                Whether the filioque is recited or not is quite hit or miss, and varies from parish to parish. It would be interesting to hear from other blog readers who attend Eastern Catholic parishes what the practice is where they are.
                .
                Holy Transfiguration Parish in suburban Virginia is an example of an Eastern Catholic parish where this is not done. This parish is formally in heresy, not to put too fine a point on it. But Catholic doctrinal authorities do not make a big deal out of it. Yet they should, if doctrine really matters.
                .
                It would be interesting to take a survey of Eastern Catholic parishes in the US on this point. My guess – though it’s just a guess based on a Iimited number of data points – is that somewhere around half do, and half do not. I cannot remember attending an Eastern Catholic parish that does, and I have probably been to services at half a dozen different ones over the years.
                .
                It also varies by ethnicity and jurisdiction – some are more apt to toe the Catholic line that they ought to be toeing than others.

        • Lukas

          With respect to the Orthodox Churches, I have closely studied their theologies and they do not generally believe in original sin (as we Catholic do), but rather hold onto a heretical form of redemption called semi-pelagianism. For instance, they do not necessarily believe they need Jesus to redeem their souls since they think that, when they were born, their souls were perfect (like the Blessed Virgin), while their flesh was only corrupted by the fall of the Adam and Eve. Therefore, their sacraments initially address the need to only redeem their corrupt flesh, but not their souls; unless they later become criminals and break God’s law, then they would only need Jesus to save their corrupt souls through their sacraments and church.

          In sum, Catholics believe both the soul and the body are initially corrupted by the Fall of Adam, while the Orthodox only believe the flesh is only initially corrupted by the fall. For this reason, you will find that the Orthodox do not generally address or define “original sin” in their Christian religious sects. I would also think this is the reason the Orthodox do not celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (they call it, instead, the Nativity of Ann), because they think their souls were born perfect like Mary’s so Mary’s Immaculate Conception was nothing special.

          It was actually Saint Augustine that fine tuned the doctrine of original sin and the Orthodox Church never really accepted original sin as being part of their theological beliefs.

          There are many other difference, too, like the primacy of Peter; a loose theological belief in universalism; the method they claim that the Holy Spirit uses to guide their church — a very dangerous meditative practice called “hesychasm” which has been compared to the meditative techniques of the pagan oriental religions (and where I opine they got this gnostic practice from); the filioque (I do not seriously think God cares that we pharasitically split hairs over how the Holy Spirit proceeds from Heaven); etc.

          For the foregoing reasons, I appeal and pray that all Orthodox Christians leave their religious sects and enter into the fullness of the Faith that is truly represented by the Catholic Church and which is the best chance of your attaining heaven.

          God bless and I am keeping you all in my prayers!

          • Lukas

            However, if you want to split hairs, two passages from scripture indicate that, externally, the Holy Spirit only proceeds from the Father at the request of the Son. In this respect, while John 14:26 indicates the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, in John 15:26, Jesus states that He will send the Holy Spirit from the Father. The same order of procession is reflected in Acts 2:33, where Peter states that Jesus has received the Holy Spirit from the Father and sends Him. Based on the foregoing, the external procession of the Holy Spirit from heaven requires the spiritual cooperation of both the Father and the Son.

            With respect to the internal, eternal procession from the Godhead, scripture also clearly indicates the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father (Mt 10:20, Rom 8:10-11, 2 Cor 1:21-22, Eph 3:14-16) and the Spirit of the Son (Rom 8:9, Gal 4:6, Phil 1:19, 1 Pt 1:11). These scriptural references indicating the Holy Spirit is “of” the other two Persons of the Holy Trinity reveals that “His Person is tightly bound up with” and internally proceeds, eternally, from both the Father and the Son. Put another way, it is the eternal (never ending) love of the Son for His Father that causes the Holy Spirit to internally proceed, eternally, from the Father and the Son in the Godhead. Therefore, without the eternal love of the Son for His Father, the Holy Spirit could not exist and would never proceed from the persons of the Father and the Son in the Godhead; however, because God is love, this outcome is not possible.

            For the foregoing reasons, I appeal and pray that all Orthodox Christians leave their religious sects and enter into the fullness of the Faith that is truly represented by the Catholic Church and which is the best chance of your attaining heaven.

            God bless and I am keeping you all in my prayers!

          • Nestorian

            As it happens, the Augustinean teaching on original sin is what first motivated me to give the claims of Eastern Orthodoxy to be the True Church a serious hearing. As for semi-Pelagianism, without it, you abrogate human freedom – which the metaphysical and theological treatises of the vaunted Thomas Aquinas do left and right, in the most blatant fashion.
            .
            But the decisive point is the Catholic papacy. Not only do the Catholic dogmas on the papacy fly in the face of history, but they are also grounded in substantial measure on layer upon layer of systematic deceit, propagated and deployed from the late 5th century until well after the Reformation.

            • Lukas

              You have been misled in your theological belief system regarding redemption (semi-pelagianism) and as taught by the Orthodox churches. The reality of human nature (which is inherently evil from conception and birth), and the fallen world we live in, clearly demonstrates that there are presently no perfect humans (in the past, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin (and Adam and Eve before the fall) are the only known exceptions).

              This reality should have led the Orthodox churches to adopt the teachings of Augustine as valid; as the natural world demonstrates that all humans are inherently wicked. Baptism limits the power of original sin, but the wound is still left in the souls of Catholic and protestant christians and this has caused many modern day christians including popes, cardinals, bishops and priests to fall back into grave sin.

              Scripturally, the most implicitly clear evidence for the dogma of original sin comes from scripture in which Jesus states — “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8.

              Based on the very Word of God, therefore, the foregoing words of Christ explicitly verify that the Orthodox churches are in grave error because no one can say they are without sin. Hence, as Jesus states in 1 John 1:8, the truth is not in the Orthodox churches.

              Worse yet (and this is only my personal opinion), the Orthodox christians who deny original sin appear to not be validly baptised as true Christians since there is no intent by the Orthodox priesthood to negate the original sin in the souls of the persons they baptize. Rather, the purpose is only to remove the spiritual consequences of the fall from the mortal flesh that would presumedly allow the baptized flesh to one day rise from the dead. Consequently, the intent to deny original sin results in only half measure semi-pelagianist baptisms that fail to remove the more concerning original sin in the souls of the Orthodox and very likely leaves Orthodox christians in an unbaptized, unsaved state.

              Please pray that God the Holy Spirit inspire you to accept the reality of the foregoing while considering 1 John 1:8.

              • Lukas

                With respect to the Primacy
                of Peter or generically one supreme shepherd chosen to lead the flock (based on
                scripture), rather than Orthodox tradition of “first-amongst-equals”
                (not based on scripture), no explanation is really needed – scripture speaks for
                itself. However, please review the the following scripture passage that clearly
                indicates Jesus intended that there be only one supreme shepherd over the whole
                Christian Church:

                BIBLE DOCTRINE REFERENCING THAT JESUS DESIRED ONE SUPREME SHEPHERD

                Matthew 16:18-19 —

                “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
                and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of
                the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in
                heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

                As Matthew 16:18-19 clearly reveals only Peter, none of the other apostles,
                were given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” (representing that
                supreme authority rested in only one apostle, not many). Hence, Jesus intended
                Peter to be the chief leader of the apostles as none of the other apostles were
                given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. To focus on the supposed true meaning
                of “Peter” in the original greek to deny that Peter was the rock that
                the Church would be built on is only a smoke screen, since the overall context,
                based on Matthew 16:19 (“give the keys of heaven”), clearly
                demonstrates that, in fact, Jesus intended that Peter would become the leader
                of the apostles after the death of Christ.

                ORTHODOX TRADITION SUPPORTING ONE SUPREME COMMANDER:

                Also, the Orthodox, by analogy, should accept one chief shepherd (Vicar of
                Christ) over the Church on earth because it already accepts, through tradition,
                that Saint Michael the Archangel is the Supreme Commander over God’s army in
                heaven. Taken from an Orthodox church web site — “St Michael is often
                considered to be the field commander of God’s Army and he is sometimes referred
                to as “Archistrategos” which translates to “Supreme Commander of
                the Heavenly Hosts”. See also Wikipedia article on Orthodox views on Saint
                Michael.

                • Lukas

                  Continuation of Primacy of Peter Discussion:

                  Since Jesus, through the Lord’s Prayer, taught the apostles to pray — ” . . . Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10)”, the Orthodox should logically understand that, like in heaven (where God chose Saint Michael to be the Supreme Commander over His army, on earth, God (through Jesus) would have choosen one Supreme Commander (a field commander) over Christians/humans on earth.

                  While the Orthodox may try to rely on ancient tradition to deny the scriptural reality of the Primacy of Peter, traditions can never trump theological doctrines derived directly from the Bible.

                  Also, as a side note, in my opinion, the Apostle Peter would have been the Archbishop (this term would not have been used at that time) over all the churches of Christendom (i.e., Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome) and not the local Bishop of Rome. He would have been martyred, there, on his well known pastoral
                  visit to Rome. In this respect, it is my opinion, that Peter’s reference (in 1 Peter 5:13), to “my son, Mark”, is in fact a reference to the local bishop who was appointed by Peter as the first local Bishop of Rome. This”Mark” is probably not the same as the evangelist, Saint Mark, since he founded the local Church of Alexandria and would have been shepherding the flock in Alexandria, rather than evangelizing Rome with Peter. See 1 Peter
                  5:13.

                  If I am correct, therefore, the first Bishop of Rome was Mark, not Peter — Peter would in fact have been the first Archbishop of Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria and never the first local Bishop of Rome.

                  • Lukas

                    With Respect to Semi-Pelagianism Discussion:

                    You are confusing Christian free will with semi-pelagianism — they are not one in the same. Obviously, we, as sinners, have to participate with God’s grace on the straight and narrow path to heaven and many Christians choose to rebel and not accept this sanctifying grace from the Holy Spirit. This is Christian free-will.

                    However, the Orthodox heresy of semi-pelagianism is not the same thing. In this respect, Orthodox semi-pelagianism denies that all persons are sinners when they are conceived and born and, by doing so, the Orthodox church reject God’s will and salvific grace to have original sin removed from their souls (because they erringly think their souls are perfect when they were conceived and born).

                    The Orthodox, therefore, in their blinding pride have lost before they have even begun — they may not even be Christian since original sin is probably still present in their souls. In sum, they do not necessarily believe they need Jesus to redeem their souls because they believe they are born perfect from the perspective of the soul (not the body). Christian free will only takes effect when the church/sinner believes all persons are born sinners, then by faith believe upon Jesus and then receive baptism with the intent to remove original sin from the soul.

              • Nestorian

                The Bible itself indicates that the primary purpose of baptism is to experience a mystical death and rebirth in Christ. It also asserts that baptism washes away the guilt of any personal sins that may have been committed up to that point.
                .
                No biblical passage, however, points to the washing away of original sin as being included in the purpose of baptism. This was an invention of Augustine’s (actually, he may have originally got it from Ambrosiaster, a 4th century forger of Ambrose of Milan).
                .
                The Biblical and Eastern Christian understanding of Baptism as not being associated with the alleged presence of an inherited original sin also comports very well with the fact that adult baptism was the norm until the 4th century.

                • Lukas

                  You are absolutely correct that baptism washes away all personal sin (along with eternal penalties — no purgatory for sin committed prior to baptism) up until the time of baptism. Catholic and Protestant christians also believe, at baptism, original sin is removed and leaves behind a wound called concupiscence. However, that is not the issue we have been discussing.

                  As I have already stated, I have studied Eastern Orthodoxy with respect to its theological teachings regarding the consequences of the fall of Adam and Eve. The Orthodox do not believe a loving God would judge the innocent descendents (i.e., us) of Adam and Eve with their personal sin (original sin); however, the Orthodox then incongruously believe that a loving God would condemn our mortal flesh with death for the the personal sin of Adam and Eve — this mortal wound not only causes disease, suffering and death to our bodies before we die, but also prevents us from receiving our glorified bodies until after the second coming.

                  Independent of the issue of original sin, this is quite a judgement from God against saved Christians for a sin they were not responsible for (i.e., the rebellion of Adam and Eve). However, the Orthodox then illogically believe a loving God would not also condemn their souls with sin and death because of the first parents’ rebellious sin against God. This judgement against the souls of all humans is what Catholic and protestant Christians call Original Sin.

                  • Lukas

                    The basis for this theological concept comes directly from scripture and cannot be denied. I have already referenced to you 1 John 1:8 (above); however, Romans 5:12 absolutely refutes any theological argument (including that of the Orthodox) that mankind’s souls are not also judged with sin and death, just as their mortal bodies.

                    In this respect, Romans 5:12 states, categorically, that sin entered into the world through Adam — “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned–“(Romans 5:12). This sin, references in Romans 5:12 is obviously Original Sin and logically must be removed through baptism before one can enter into the kingdom of heaven as a saved christian.

                    Romans 5:12 indicates that there are two consequences of the fall of Adam — (1) sin enters into the world (Catholic and Protestant agree; Orthodox do not agree); and (2) death to the body is caused by this sin (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant agree).

                    You are attempting to argue that no scripture passage states baptism covers the Original Sin that infects all humans as per Romans 5:12. However, the rebirth in Christ that comes through baptism logically necessitates that this Original Sin (which causes all to sin and then brings death to all humans — per Romans 5:12) also must be removed through baptism before one can be reborn in Christ. Please pray the the Holy Spirit open your heart and mind to this truth while considering Romans 5:12.

    • Lukas

      Do not succomb to furthering an ongoing schism that Lefebvre started by breaking from the Catholic Church back in 1976. Prior to this schism, there have been others, such as the National Polish Catholic Church and the Old Catholic Church (and going further back — Lutheranism of the reformation infamy).

      Whenever a reformer breaks from the Church, the new Christian sect inevitably divides further and further into new sects where the Truth of the Faith is watered down and can ultimately be extinguished. SSPX, from my dealings with them, appears to be a cult that worships a particular form of the liturgy (i.e., Traditional Latin Mass) rather than Jesus, himself. While only God can judge the Lefebrites, they remind me of the Apostles who fled from the scandal of the Cross; however, they, in our day, have fled from the scandal of the ongoing immolation of the Catholic Church/the Mystical Body of Christ.

      Jesus, warned through many scripture passages to be on guard for false teachings, false prophets, false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and antichrists; however he never said leave the Church. Instead, He said — Take up your cross and follow me!

      The Eastern Rite Catholic Churches are a much better option — some of them include the Ukrainian, Ruthenian, and Melkite Rites. Most Catholic dioceses also offer the Latin Mass, too. Just do not obey modernist heretical false teachings, as longstanding Catholic doctrine, as verified by scripture, ancient Church Councils and Church Fathers, will always still be in effect.

  • Fred

    Final thought for the day. I was reading Mark during lunch and again was struck by Jesus’s reply on the greatest of commandments from 12:31 “First you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The Second is that you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” How exactly do we go about doing that – is it just me or does that seem like an impossible commandment? Half kidding, I understand and I try to to be patient, but there are some who I don’t think I could ever love. Am I off the hook here if I don’t love myself (ha). I’d like to think I wasn’t alone. Actually, I’d like to learn the secret for how to achieve that state of mind.

    • Fred: read that again in the same manner you read Genesis: “Let there be light” etc. The commandment of Jesus is directed to our will but also to our nature. It is as much an act of creation as “let us make man to our image and likeness” except that in this second creation we are to participate by allowing God to work on our soul. All creation is grace but in our case we cannot be created anew without giving our consent. That is how much God respects our freedom. The work is done by Him. He does not expect us to do the impossible but if we want we can count on Him to help us achieve it. (Luke 1:37)

      • Fred

        Thanks Christian.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    Just look through this thread at the kind of people who endorse the words of Francis. Truly horrifying! Has any other Pope in history been praised so lavishly by the purveyors of such evil causes?

    • Fred

      I guess he can’t count on you to come visit him next year where he no doubt will be lavishly adored.

  • “St Damien of Molokai, St Maximillian Kolbe, St Isaac Jogues” Hey that’s my troika of Tough-Guy saints!

    • Fred

      I never heard of Kolbe until I moved to OH, and he’s venerated in our neighboring parish. I read about him and was moved as well.

  • Ron Radmore

    Unfortunately, This Man is an avid Socialist/Communist. He needs to stick to the Catholic Religion and stay out of World Politics.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Nooooo! Please do not encourage him to focus his full attention on us Catholics! I think he should take up the I Ching …

    • Fred

      Maybe we could have 2 retired Pope’s at one time and pick another. Then Benedict and Francis could discuss theology to their hearts content in their papal retreat.

    • Tomacz Tesla

      Worse than that. He is (or at least was) a Peronist.

      • nestorian

        Why exactly is that a bad thing? What did Peron stand for?

        • Fred

          He left a legacy of bad beer – Peroni (sorry).

          • Oh no! You are not sorry enough. You’ll have to confess that groaner! ha ha!

        • That’s a good question. Peron stood for social justice in the following manner. His doctrine is more or less the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church with Peron playing the part of God. It is easy to see why it did not work.

    • Fred

      I thought I stayed abreast on most of his comments, but I searched right now on Francis’s statements on Communism and was shocked at how many I missed. Did Francis ever experience looking down the barrel of a rifle or imprisonment for being against his benevolent statist rulers? I know he experienced crony capitalism which clearly left a mark, but to say that communism stole the flag of Christianity is a bit hard to take. Maybe he’s economically illiterate and doesn’t understand, or his understanding is from the posters of the joyful workers all singing the praise of the state, but never the gulags for some reason.

  • Ken

    The story about these couples coming to a priest before not knowing the teachings of the church are shocking! When Pope Benedict and JPII we’re Pope this never happened. Is Father aware that the entire point of the Synod is to address these cases? The entire point is to be able to have some guidelines and ideas on how to best minister to these people. What do we want that these people don’t bother to even inquire about the church? Shouldn’t we look at these as opportunities to teach the truth of the church? I don’t get the downside of having people interested in being involved in the church. People seem to be mad at Francis for having all these imperfect people showing interest in the church. I have really bad news there are only imperfect people in the church.

    • GG

      You have it exactly backward. The issue is not imperfect people seeking Truth. No, the issue is people thinking the Church accomodates sin because they perceive a watering down of “small minded” rules which are simply God’s will.

      • Ken

        People are going to come to the church in all sorts of different states. Some well formed, some confused, some clueless, some homosexual, some living outside of marriage. The Synod is trying to figure out how we bring all these people to the fullness of the church. We should be happy that these people, whatever state they are in, coming to the church.

        People aren’t going to show up on our doorstep perfect. I don’t get why Father doesn’t seem to realize this and is complaining about it on the internet. It’s really not a good example. He’s saying that Francis is causing confusion but how about a Priest that isn’t interested in ministering to people who are seeking the church. Isn’t that a confusing message? It is to me.

        • GG

          Again, you have it backward. We already are aware of human nature. Nothing is new. What is new is a watering down of Truth. Some Cardinals are betraying the faith. Welcoming people is not new. There was, in fact, no need for the Synod. If we had better formation we would not need redundant Synods to point out the obvious.

          What is happening is that Church devices, like the Synod, are being used to push a false gospel.

  • Tomacz Tesla

    According to Scripture the original Peter needed a corrective from time to time. One instance is found in Matthew 16. We learn about the other from St. Paul. The first time it was Christ who told him “stand behind me etc.” and the second time St. Paul basically called Peter on his “dissimulation.” Notice that the first correction came from God on a matter of doctrine. The error had not left Peter’s lips that he was set straight sternly in front of the whole Church. On Galatians 2 Paul simply calls Peter’s attention to a matter of conduct and character. This, our contemporary Petrus Romanus needs a Paulus Tarsinus before he gets even deeper in trouble and tries to utter a doctrinal error. I don’t know what the divine procedure is for Popes that try the later but I recall Hebrews 10:31 “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” If it was my decision I rather get chewed by the Progressives than by the Dreadful Judge.

    By the way: the correct translation of “hagan lío” is not “make a mess” but rather “raise a ruckus” or “be noisy.” That is an Argentine idiom that even Spanish speakers north of Argentina may not understand correctly. Perhaps Fr. Longenecker could edit that little bit.

  • Long-Skirts

    “I can only do this if the timeless truths of the Catholic faith are firmly defined and defended.”

    BURNT

    OFFERINGS

    My church she is a Catholic

    Can see King Henry’s view

    It really doesn’t matter that

    Hank killed some Saints, a few.

    He also had oh, several wives

    And took some of their heads

    But Church of England called him first

    That stallion of all beds.

    Carthusians, smarthusians

    In habits hung around

    Quiet not like Campion

    Beth brought that braggart down.

    And merry, Margaret Clitherow

    Oh, what a cheeky dame

    Hiding priests behind her skirts

    Liz crushed her little game.

    Then Thomas More, oh what a bore

    They pleaded some did cry,

    “Let horny Hank play his bed prank

    Just nod and wink an eye!”

    Some Bishops say, “That’s long ago.

    Those times are of past scene.”

    Now, “Who are we to judge?” They ask

    “Just make
    sure you go green!”

    And on some
    Altars relics

    From martyred by Hank’s lust –

    Bishops bent with sin’s intent

    Will burn us
    ash to dust.

    • Fred

      Clever. Can we attribute that to you, or cite a reference.

  • laurettas

    Perfect Father! Thank you so much for eloquently explaining what has been in my mind and heart.

  • Badger Catholic †

    Father, this is perhaps one of the best columns.

  • gerald may

    Pontefix Maximus fiddles while Rome is burning.

    • He seems delighted in decorating the Vatican’s new gay sauna

  • gerald may

    Mea culpa, I meant Pontifex Maximus albeit my comment is purely sardonic.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    All sins are allowed and approved now by the new church………..

  • Julia

    Excellent essay, Fr. Longenecker! Thank you for being courageous enough to post it. I especially appreciated your examples of how your pastorate has been affected by the current pontificate. The Holy Father needs to be absolutely clear in defending what Jesus Christ has taught us through the Catholic Church. The faithful have enough difficulties defending Church teaching to those outside the Faith. Now we have to worry about defending Church teaching to those inside.

  • BXVI

    The call for “open debate” is a farce. It is only designed to smoke out those who oppose the Pope’s new theology so that they can beremoved from positions of influence and marginalized, particularly prior to the 2015 Synod. Pope Francis has unmasked himself. When he excluded all conservatives and hand-picked 6 liberals to draft the relatio, we could see what was really going on. And prohibiting the interventions from being published is a convenient way to prevent the laity from getting a real sense of what was said and how many voices spoke up for each position. Collegiality? I have to laugh.

    • Of course, Francis might just be Jesuitic enough to give them closet heretics some rope, even by giving them the impression that he favors them and by making sure that they get to write the relatio, so that they hang themselves with it. A Catholic can only hope…

    • Exactly – I totally agree – the process is corrupt to core – Bergoglio and company want to institute their nasty homosexuality agenda and hide behind a curtain while doing it. Disgusting.

  • Jack

    \“The pope has changed all those old rules.”\

    Such people are the real papists. They think that Catholic teaching is whatever the Pope of the moment says it is–or at least, what they understand the secular media saying the Pope said.

  • BRush

    what orientation is the Pope? serious question…..

    • ForChristAlone

      One begins to wonder.

  • Bill N Jessica Fahy

    Thank you, Father, for charitably speaking up, and with clarity.

  • Catholicmom3

    Fr. Longenecker is always on the side of the blowing winds.

  • MHB

    I enjoyed Fr. Longenecker’s commentary. I have no idea where ForChristAlone gets the idea that the Holy Father told us that homosexual acts are not sinful. This is just gossip. I think the Pope is taking it all in, reflecting and praying over the synod bishops remarks and eventually, we will get a statement. But that takes patience, fellow Catholics, and not jumping to all kinds of conclusions.

    • ForChristAlone

      A prophet in our midst.

      You read the summary report of the initial proceedings of the Synod and its language written by BISHOPS APPOINTED BY BERGOGLIO? Do you not think then that this is a reflection of what Bergoglio wants to come out of this Synod?

      • MHB

        Yes, I did read the midway report and no I don’t think that it’s a reflection of what the Pope wants. I think what I recall he recommended was that people should speak freely and people should listen with humility.
        It is not humble to presume to know what the Pope wants or thinks. He hasn’t had time yet to make a public statements. He’s listening. Among Bishops in attendance at the synod were Bishops who were in these roles long before Pope Francis became the Pope. How do you back up the statement that they “were appointed by Bergoglio”?

        • Joseph

          Cardinal Burke has said Pope Francis should speak out clearly ….”it is long overdue.” And that is why Cardinal Burke is being demoted, humiliated and exiled from the Vatican because he dares to speak out publicly the ambuguity and confusion which this pope has sown in the Church. The pope has appointed Card. Kasper, O’Mally, Wuerl, three of the most so-called “progressive” bishops at the Synod.

          • MHB

            I hope he will speak out clearly too, but its not his time to speak yet. I think he wants to set a tone of respectful listening to what people have to say. Just because he isn’t speaking doesn’t mean he is going to throw out the doctrine. I believe he is taking it all in with a fatherly eye and he will need a lot of prayers to respond to this mess. But he will. Wait and see. Anyone who tries to lead without assessing the situation FIRST , is going to fail. He is being smart about it and waiting to speak.

            • Joseph

              I wish I could share in your “wait and see” patience but its been nine long months the Holy Father has made off-the-cuff comments which have rocked the Church. . As Father Longenecker has said, Holy Father has caused serious pastoral problems by his comments with regard to unmarried couples who now want to receive Holy Communion while living together. And, when the Times magazine and homo-lesbians laud the pope and elect him to be man of the year, you know we are heading toward a crisis of apocalyptic proportions….the agony, the anxiety, the confusion, the hell that will be unleashed…..Our only hope is the Holy Spirit guiding the Church and the promise of Christ that His Church will not be destroyed by the devil and his minions,,,,

              • MHB

                But look, Joseph, he now has the attention of the exact people he needs to convert! He is showing respect by listening! If you block people at the gate, you never have a chance ! You must love them first, not condoning, but loving. There’s a difference. Listening to someone is an act of love. And then, YES, it is the Holy Spirit who will inspire our Holy Father and we must pray for him, because without God, he can do nothing. He has the difficult job of speaking to our hearts, all of us, and those who don’t understand the doctrine must be moved by his fatherly concern for them. It has to be genuine for them to listen to him. I think he has to be very, very careful and loving.

                And as for receiving Communion, I have mixed feelings about this, to be honest, because I do believe in the healing power of the Holy Eucharist. We need the Eucharist to be healed! Is denying going to help the sinner? I don’t know about that.

  • tom

    Francis is creating a schism that will make the Tudor heresies look venial.

    Does he aim to split the Roman Catholic Church?

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    Ever since we have two popes everything just feels ‘funny’.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Wow. This article by Fr. Longenecker was such a pleasure and joy to read. And I’m a Separated Brethren!

  • Eddie De la Houssaye

    You hit the nail on the head Father, the Pope is trying to change the church into this 60’s still hippy Church were everything is okay with a little Love, no its not we need to have a Church that is run bye Dogma an the rules of the early Father’s an the Pope’s who died for there Faith an the Church, please wake up Holy Father, an thank you Father Dwight.

  • fredx2

    “However, when I gently began a conversation about their irregular lifestyle the girl began to pout and accuse me of being “unwelcoming.” Then she said, “I thought with this new pope we would be welcomed.” What she meant by this was, “I expected Pope Francis’ Catholic Church to condone cohabitation.”

    Well, the Pope got the girl to come in; your job now is to encourage and keep her. Time to step up your compassion game. You can do this. You can bring more souls to Christ. It is just a learning curve. It is a wicked time with millions in this girl’s situation. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to lead her back into the fold. Your job is to help her realize that Catholicism offers a better way. In fact, Father, that is the title of your next book ” A Better Way”. Better than cohabiting, better than homosexuality, better than contraception An integrated view of the human being.

    • ForChristAlone

      How do you come by divining what was in the heart of this girl?

    • Susan

      Well said. The example of this girls comment is based on the erroneous media. As a priest, it is his duty to explain, to help her see the Beauty of the Church. May God have mercy on us, criticizing our Holy Father at the level of thousands of readers is an offense against God, it is a sin.

      • GG

        Please stop blaming the media. It is disingenuous.

    • GG

      But, did the girl come in because of love of Christ, seeking the truth, or because she thought she could be part of some organization that would support her love of sex? See, this bait and switch game is immoral. It is like a utilitarian philosophy which is unCatholic.

  • Clay
    • Clay

      Father Barron brings some much needed perspective on what has happened and will continue to happen in light of history and the way the Holy Spirit works. I suggest everyone take a deep breath and read his article on the link posted above.

      • GG

        It is spin. It lacks depth and context.

      • Fr. Barron wasn’t there; Card. Burke was and he begs to disagree with him about the gravity of such a scandalous synod: http://bit.ly/1w8eWeV

    • GG

      The soft right spins and spins.

  • chesterlab

    Father, I am a new latin rite catholic. I have studied all things roman catholic during my RCIA class and have always been a student of church history and doctrine having come out of the Anglican communion. My question is this: doesn’t the Pope have to take an oath to uphold the doctrine and sacred traditions of the church until death? I may have paraphrased incorrectly, but something to that effect. So how can he now attempt to make all these changes which are, from my lay person’s mind, heretical?

    • Time for the faithful to take back their Church

  • Marie

    FANTASTIC ARTICLE!! WOW! SAY IT AGAIN! I only hope and pray the Holy Father reads it; but I fear he is clinically mad and the bishops are following him of the cliff.

  • I_M_Forman

    Even St. Peter, when he was leaving Rome. made a 180 degree turn and headed back. It has been done before. I can tell you spoke from the heart Father. Thank you for the message.

  • Nick Mannion

    Well Father, be prepared to be transferred.

    • Sad, sad how vile things can be for laity or clergy who stand up for what is right

  • Cyrus

    Poor Fr. Logenecker. The Pope does not like this sort of criticism at all. And he will crush mercilessly anyone who dares oppose him. And he has a very, very long memory too. I’m from Argentina, and I know what I’m talking about. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Bishop Livieres.

    • ForChristAlone

      Tell us more, please….

      • Cyrus

        Mons. Livieres was the Bishop of Ciudad del Este, in Paraguay. He tried to teach catholicism. And was crushed by the Pope.

        • Nestorian

          He was crushed because he was harboring a notorious pedophile among his clergy.

          • Cyrus

            That is not what the Vatican said, and no legal action was taken against the alleged pedophile. Plus, the Pope himself invites Danneels, who protected a pedophile bishop, to the Synod.

            • ForChristAlone

              You mean a homosexual bishop

              • Cyrus

                I mean a pedophile Bishop: Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges, who abused his own nephew, from age 5 to age 18. Cardinal Danneels tried to talk the nephew into staying quite about the whole thing. But the nephew taped the interview, and it was made public. Cardinal Danneels is currently in the Synod on the Family.

                • Nestorian

                  None of what you say excuses Bishop Liviere’s decision to shelter Fr. Urrutigoity. The latter committed some of his sexual crimes here in the US, and they are quite well attested.
                  .
                  Thus, Pope Francis did the right thing in disciplining him, whether or not he is consistently applying the same standard of justice to other cases.

                  • Cyrus

                    That is simply not true. First of all, Fr. Urrotigoity has not been tried or convicted of any crimes in no judiciary system. There were allegations, yes, but there was never a trial, and he is no fugitive of the US or of any other judicial system. For the US judiciary system he is a free man. And for the argentinian and paraguayan justice too.
                    Secondly, the Pope could have asked Livieres formally to remove Urrutigoity. He didn’t. He sent an investigative comission to the diocese. The final inform of the comission remains secret. Mons. Livieres asked to see it, and was denied permission. Does it make any sense?.
                    And finally, the official statement by the Vatican never mentions Urrutigoity. One has to conclude then that the Vatican does not think Urrutigoity is an issue.
                    Everybody knows the problem is not Urrutigoity. If it were, it could have been dealt with separately. But it is no. If the Vatican thought Urrutigoity had commited sexual crimes, they should send the evidence to the judiciary. They have not.
                    Everybody here knows what the problem was. His seminary taught catholicism, and had more seminarians that all the other paraguayans seminaries together. That was something the Paraguay Bishops Conference could not digest.

                  • Cyrus

                    No court has ruled that Urrutigoity committed any crimes. He was an alleged sex offender. No less, and no more. And for the US judiciary he is a free man. As for the judiciaries of Argentina and Paraguay.
                    If Urrutigoity was the problem, the Pope could have asked Mons. Livieres to dismiss him. But he didn’t. Instead, he sent an investigative comission to Ciudad del Este. Its final report remains secret. Livieres asked to see it and was denied permission. Livieres asked to see the Pope to defend himself, and the Pope of Mercy would not see him.
                    The Vatican official report on the dismissal of Livieres and its causes never mention Urrutigoity. I take it you believe the Vatican.
                    Everybody knows what the problem was. Livieres was teaching catholic religion and morals in his diocese. His seminary had more seminarias that all the other seminaries in Paraguay put together. The Paraguay Conference of Bishops could not accept it. That was it.
                    But let’s supposse you are right and the problem is Urrutigoity. Let’s assume the Vatican thinks he is a criminal sex offender. Then tell me: what actions has the Vatican taken against this criminal priest?.

                  • Cyrus

                    I’ve tried to reply a couple of times, but my answers keep being deleted. I’m sorry. Censorship wins.

          • Cyrus

            The alleged crimes of Fr. Urrutigoity, were not with kids, but with seminarians. Which would make him a homosexual predator, not a pedophile.

  • Mary

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Father Longnecker!

  • Jack St. Hilaire

    Has anyone ever wondered why Rome is in a constant state of confusion and turmoil within itself and the secular world. Meanwhile… the ancient faith of the Apostles… Also known as “the holy Orthodox Church” seems to have maintained a balance of harmony and truth in Christ and his teachings. Perhaps the four Patriarchs of the East (Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch) were on the right path in the Great Schism of 1054.

    • ForChristAlone

      Not

    • You mean the Churches of the East who approve of divorce and contraception?

      • Nestorian

        Part of the point is this: Perhaps they are not wrong to do so.

        • GG

          Only to heretics.

  • Ian Black

    Amen, Father. On a much smaller scale than what you have to deal with, I all too often have to endure (and correct, when possible) my religious studies professors and peers confidently claiming that Vatican II and, more recently, any number of the Holy Father’s remarks changed Catholic dogma. Thanks to the confusion caused by some involved in this Synod, there are more wild claims about Church teaching I have to deal with. This annoyance brought on by “enlightened,” non-Catholic academics, though, is nothing compared to the real damage to the faithful caused by the ambiguity and/or scandal in recent statements (or lack thereof). Hopefully His Holiness takes your advice.

  • Paul E. S.

    Good article. But instead of publicly criticizing the Pope, have translated to spanish and mail it to the Pope as a letter. It would do way more good this way.

    • ForChristAlone

      excellent idea about sending it to Bergoglio!

  • kag1982

    Actually, no. I really don’t think that you wish to be a compassionate pastor. I think that the only reason that conservative pastors like you are mouthing pastoral language is because the Pope has set certain expectations. The reason why this needs to happen is because there are priests out there who will refuse to marry co-habitating couples or welcome gay couples to the family or baptize babies of those couples in “irregular situations.” They can sometimes just be nasty and condescending in general and refuse to provide any help. I’ve unfortunately seen this happening and know people who this has happened to especially among JPII and Benedict inspired clergy. I think that Francis is concerned that many younger priests were inspired to come priests not to help the people but because they want to be treated like lords and princes, to wear lacy vestments and say EF Masses, and to obsess over documents from a council that took place before they were born.

    And the whole idea of the Council, especially after the second year, is to provide regulations and pastoral guidelines. There cannot be a dioceses that refuse to baptize the babies of gay couples and those that do baptize them. There cannot be parishes that evaluate the cases of remarried divorcees individually and allow some to receive Communion while others publicly refuse these divorcees. There cannot be wide divergences across diocese in annulment tribunals and the hoops that people have to jump through to regularize their marriages.

    • Augustus

      It clearly has not occurred to you that your comment confirms Fr. Longenecker’s assessment of the public perception of Pope Francis among those who reject Church teaching. If Pope Francis was an effective pastor, that is, if his pastoral strategy was working, people like you would not be so confused about what the Church can or can’t do. The doctrine determines the discipline, or the application of the teaching. If there is confusion over the doctrine, as there clearly is in your case, then it is not surprising that you would have false expectations about how the Church can best minister to sinners. Christ calls upon sinners to repent of their sin before they are forgiven and become full members of the Church. That is something you have forgotten.

      • kag1982

        Actually, no we don’t. If we demanded that sinners repent before they became full members of the Church, the parishes would be completely empty. And nothing that I stated in my initial post isn’t happening already in many parishes and there isn’t a wide range of pastoral practices. Sheesh.

        • If Francis’ ways were so effective, Mass attendance in his diocese of Buenos Aires wouldn’t have fallen by 10% to barely 20% during his tenure there (v. http://bit.ly/1b5n9Kn ) and abortion wouldn’t have been approved in Argentina. On the contrary, this mealy approach was a catalyst in the downfall of the Catholic culture in the diocese, since the Church was perceived as making no moral demands of anyone, inside or outside.

          • kag1982

            Yeah JPII and Benedict were pope back then, not Bergoglio. Perhaps the scolding from Rome and the obsession with culture wars and with Vatican II had something to do with the erosion of Catholicism in Latin America. Also, there is the belief that the Catholic hierarchy supported the military juntas in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s.

            • As a Brazilian I can tell you that the Church was against the dictatorships. As a matter of fact, during BXVI papacy the erosion stopped because he bypassed mealy bishops like Bergoglio and talked directly to the faithful via the new media.

              • kag1982

                In Argentina and elsewhere, the Church was supportive of the dictators. Videla considered himself a good Catholic. Other than Romero, not many Catholic bishops were sticking up for the people in Central America.

                And if I remember correctly, B16 got slammed in Brazil for a speech that seemed to tacitly approve colonialism.

                • Are you Latin American? Do you speak from experience it from 2nd it 3rd hand? I speak from experience and can say that you are first out wrong. Bergoglio was the run of the mill Latin American bishop, yet his generation failed the Church locally and will do the same globally. There’s a reason why Francis is popular mostly in the developed world and yawned at in the under developed world.

                  • kag1982

                    No I am not but I do interact with many Mexicans and have friends who have worked in Latin America with various NGOs. I attend Spanish Mass at a parish in Chicago. Fifty percent of Chicago Catholics are Latino and from my interactions, they are very devoted to traditional personal devotions, especially Our Lady of Guadelupe, and the Day of the Dead. Certain devotions like Santa Muerte are practiced but outside the Church. Also, the Latino tend to be more involved in the Charismatic Catholic movement and appreciate an exuberant form of worship. They are more strict when it comes to Eucharist practice, but I cannot see how they would be enamored with Benedict’s European centric high Church Catholicism or with his obsession over Vatican II. They strike me as very low church and very rooted in traditional personal devotions and saints.

                    I think that the exodus of many Latinos to the Evangelical churches has to do with the priest shortage. If the Evangelicals are there and in your community and the Catholic priest comes once a month, then the Evangelicals are going to be an attractive option. I also think that the Catholic Church’s advocacy has to be more practical. Condemning trickle down capitalism is great in theory, but it doesn’t really help people looking to put food on the table now. I think that the Protestants are more practical about this.

                    I also am not sure where you are getting that Latinos don’t like Bergoglio. He certainly is popular among the Latino Catholics in Chicago. Of course most Catholics in Chicago like him.

                    • That’s an interesting, long musing from outside, ie, stereotyped.

            • GG

              The only obsession with cultures wars in among the dissenting Left. The Bishops in the USA have hardly been on the front lines of that. If they were the society would not be pro “gay” pro abortion and pro decadence. No sale.

              • kag1982

                Could have fooled me? Obama used the Catholic bishops to scare women into voting for him. Low information female voters thought that the bishops wanted to take away their birth control.

                • GG

                  That is the Bishop’s fault? Obama won because “Catholics” voted for him. The same ones who think “gay” sex is acceptable.

                  • kag1982

                    No.. The bishops were certainly acting like culture warriors on the healthcare mandate and other issues like gay marriage, so you cannot whine that they aren’t.

                    • SMA

                      Paying mandatory lip service to “culture war” (read: basic moral) issues is entirely different than actually embracing them and teaching them consistently. Had the bishops done the latter – that is, their primary job – for the past fifty years and actually backed it up with ACTION (e.g. no-nonsense preaching, excommunication where necessary, etc.), no politician would have dared even suggest mandating the public to pay for contraception or abortion (which likely would not still be legal in this country).

                    • kag1982

                      Actually, the social justice aspects of the Church are just as important as the culture war aspects.

                    • GG

                      Social Justice is not government welfare.

                    • GG

                      Oh, standing against illicit cooperation with evil is a cultural warrior? Only to those with a malformed conscience.

        • GG

          Kinda hard to claim fidelity to Christ while rejecting His teachings. The Gospel is all about repentance.

          • kag1982

            Why is the Acton Institute allowed to claim that it is Catholic?

            • GG

              Present your evidence it is not Catholic?

              • kag1982

                Certainly is against Church teachings on economics.

                • GG

                  Evidence?

                  • kag1982

                    Tea Party Catholics?

                    • GG

                      Huh?

            • Nestorian

              You won’t get much of a response to that one. They don’t care about sins of greed on this website. They only care about sins of lust.

              • ForChristAlone

                Peddle your wares elsewhere. You’re like a bad penny.

              • GG

                Still waiting for evidence ??????

    • GG

      We have had “divergence” for years. We have dioceses faithful to the Church and we have liberal dioceses who are in juridical communion only while they reject and ignore Church teaching.

      The false charge the priests are big ol meanies is a joke. In fact, it is the exact opposite in too many cases. They ignore the moral law and lead others astray.

      It seem you are not familiar with the USA at all.

      • kag1982

        I live in the U.S. and I have met mean pastors.

        • GG

          So? I live in the US and I have met many, many liberal pastors.

  • The Truth

    I have absolutely no idea what the Church stands for or believes in. When I first returned to the Church after 30 yrs. astray , I felt as though something was amiss. A Protestant “friend” pointed out to me in one of our discussions over the teachings of the Church, ie. homosexuality, marriage, birth control etc. that most Catholics do what Protestant’s do. And it finally dawned on me, I never knew the Truth and neither did any Catholic I had ever been around, family included. After reading thew Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Theology of the Body Explained I realized that after 50’s yrs. of so-called Catholic education I knew NOTHING of the Church. Now we have a Pope that’s seems to be more Protestant than Catholic. I’m tired of the mixed messages and the “progressive” nonsense. You either follow the Word of God or try to, or you protest it and rebel against.

    • Susan

      Keep praying that your trust in God will grow. Every temptation (here, to criticize Our Holy Father), is a test. When a person is tempted, it is his virtue that is tried. These are good moments for us to grow in self-knowledge and humility. We will see how weak we are, how much help we need from The Lord.
      Pray for The Vicar of Christ and all the Bishops. Pray for the laity.

    • ForChristAlone

      I think you have nailed it.

  • Fred

    I’m going to stick my neck out here a little, let me know what you think. This morning (day after this article) I was listening to the daily readings and reflections and it leaped off the pages that Francis was speaking as Jesus to the Pharisees, lawyers and the Scribes in Luke. His admonishment “Woe to you scholars of the law, who impose heavy burdens for people to carry but do not lift a finger to touch them with gentle mercy”. Even in St Paul’s letter to the Galatians contrasting the obvious sins of the flesh with the fruit of the spirit. Maybe Jesus is working through Francis in a way that we don’t fully focus.

    Last night I listened to a speech given by an Arch-Bishop to a group of seminarians where he talked about what he saw were the gifts from God in our 3 most recent Popes. In JPII he said God gave us him to help restore the soul of the Church, Benedict he said was a gift on the mind, and Francis the gift of Mercy. It was a long speech and I won’t try to summarize it all here, but he made outstanding points I thought, and explained how each was needed.

    • This is of course a non sequitur. Mercy is available to the repentant at least once a week in the confessional. That hearts are too hard to repent is not the Church’s problem, just hell’s bounty.

      • Fred

        You and I both know it’s available and we relish it, but do we extend a hand to help those who don’t know how to take the first step or are intimidated. I can see myself in the faces of the scribes quick to quote the law but not so quick to draw people to Christ. Partially because I struggle with figuring how best to, other than to live my life of faith overtly. Francis’s statements can grate on me like finger-nails on a chalk-board, but I’m trying to be open minded.

        • ForChristAlone

          Fred, you are fair-minded and temperate in your thoughts. But I find the comment you made (“the scribes quick to quote the law but not so quick to draw people to Christ. “) problematic. It assumes (if this is to apply to current practice in the Church with regard to sinners) that such is the practice in the Church. Our Church has always been open to the repentant sinner. I find some in the Church (such as Beroglio) to be making the charge that we are intolerant of the repentant sinner. His judgment in this regard is unwarranted.

          • Fred

            I know some of the pieces of the puzzle I laid out are missing, and their absence distorts the picture. I’m counting on that Francis is holding back and will eventually complete the pastoral scene. Probably naive on my part given his history.

      • Paolo

        This might be the most terrible thing I’ve ever read.

        • ForChristAlone

          Christ said “these are difficult words”
          My guess is that you’re used to easy and cheap grace (and sentimentality which blinds you to the truth).

          • paolo

            Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.

            Those with hard hearts are the concern of Christ. To say that those are not the concern of the Church is to say that the Church itself is not the concern of Christ.

    • GG

      You should google Abp. Bruno Forte who the Pope appointed to write that document that affirms “gay” desires as good. You should listen to the good Cardinals who are condemning the document and the ways of this Synod some stating they will not participate in future Synods if the rules are not changed. Remember who made Kaspar the main figure and said his theology is serene.

      I cannot list all the other “irregularities” associated with the Pope so far because there are too many to list!

      Now, the Pope says some things that are totally in line with Church teaching, but he also says some things that are impenetrable and troubling. How do you reconcile all this? Well, like the soft right you simply focus on the things that are obviously consistent with the faith and you nuance, spin, and explain away all the troubling parts.

      Now, I ask you is that fair and just?

      • Fred

        Trust me, I am troubled too. I do not know his mind, and Augustine has provided much good personal insight into his history. I guess I want to believe he is just trying a different approach which is foreign to me. I’m not sure I have the stomach to read about Forte, perhaps later when I feel ready. I think it is dangerous to confuse by not stating what is evil is evil. That was clearly in the first part of Paul’s letter in today’s readings admonishing for the obvious sins of the flesh.

        • GG

          Honestly, I want to defend the Pope. I do not want to be guilty of detraction but when the stakes are so high we must be strong and faithful which can mean calling out scandal that leads others astray.

          When he was first elected I read the traditionalists critique and thought it was too harsh. When it was reported he said the carnival is over minutes after he became Pope I refused to believe any sane man with such an awesome responsibility could utter such arrogance so quickly.

          Now, with all that has happened I think we are obligated to look very carefully at what is going one, yes have faith and be charitable, but not to be swayed into error under cover of obedience.

          I think of the great Mother Angelica who spoke of Divine Providence and obeying God in everything. She said it is like taking a step off a cliff. You have a terrible feeling in your stomach but you take it anyway having total trust in our Lord.

          • Fred

            Love Mother Angelica, even if her monotone can be hard to listen to for a long period. I think most of us that come here (i.e. not the trolls) are somewhat like minded and the articles resonate with us. We can see plenty of disasters of blind obedience when it comes to following men. I want to believe in our Pope as I know we all do. I also know we’ve had some disastrous Pope’s too, so blind obedience is always something to be wary of.

  • John M. Stegeman

    Amen

  • Martha Wrightis

    please send this directly to the pope

  • drogah

    I am a priest of nearly five years, and this column definitely resonates with my experience. I have had to field misconceptions based upon this synod myself. A priest friend in college ministry has had to deal with this confusion in the midst of a population in the Church that is generally confused to begin with. And just last night, an employee of a local parish I know had to stop his formal RCIA session and divert into an explanation of the synod.

    It’s hard not to feel bitter, or like those of us who work “on the ground” have been betrayed to a certain degree. Fr. Dwight has done a great job of calling Pope Francis to his mission, just as Pope Francis has done a great job of calling us to ours.

    • Fred

      God bless you Father.

    • GG

      Thank you Father for your faithfulness. May the Blessed Mother cover you with her mantle. You will be rewarded. Know that there are a multitude who thank you and pray for you.

    • ForChristAlone

      Well said, Father. You have contributed well with your personal PASTORAL experience. Let’s pray to St John Paul II

  • paolo

    Our Lord was an example of incomparable patience. He bore with a “devil” among his disciples even to his Passion (Jn 6,70). He said: “Let them grow together until the harvest lest you uproot the wheat when you pull out the weeds” (cf. Mt 13,29f.). As a symbol of the Church he preached that the net would bring back to shore, namely the end of the world, every kind of fish, both good and bad. And he made it known in various other ways, whether openly or in parables, that there would always be a mixture of good and bad. But nevertheless he stresses that we have to protect the Church’s discipline when he says: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother” (Mt 18,15)…

    Yet today we see people who think of nothing but stern commandments, who order that troublemakers be reproved, « not giving what is holy to the dogs », « treating like the publicans » anyone who despises the Church, cutting off the scandalous member from the body (Mt 7,6 ; 18,17 ; 5,30). Their stormy zeal so troubles the Church that they pull out the weeds before their time and their blindness makes of them enemies of the unity of Jesus Christ…

    Take care not to let these presumptuous thoughts enter our hearts, trying to separate ourselves from sinners so as not to be soiled by contact with them, wanting to form a band of pure and holy disciples. We will achieve nothing but breaking up our unity under the pretext of not associating with the wicked. To the contrary, let us remember the parables of Scripture, their inspired words, their striking examples, where we are shown that, until the end of the world and the day of judgement, the bad will always be mingled amongst the good in the church without their participation in the sacraments being harmful to the good so long as these latter have not played a part in their sins.

    -St. Augustine(On Faith and works, ch. 3-5)

    • GG

      Not sure that is the issue at all. The issue is teaching a false Gospel. It is not about hunting heresy, but it is about preaching the truth in season and out of season.

      Teaching others “gay” unions are valued is so contrary to the Gospel it pains me to point it out. That is not being zealous. In fact, if you deny that you should apologize to all the martyrs as they apparently were duped.

    • Objectivetruth

      But entering the Church requires an individual to realize they must first decide to leave their sinful life behind. Any sinner must want to turn away from sin, a willingness to change. Does the “gay” person want to leave their sinful lifestyle behind, to change? If they don’t want to leave the “gay” lifestyle behind, then they’re just not ready to come home to the Church. The original movement for all of us into the Church is Christ is a better way than our sins.

    • In order to enter the Church one must repent of his sins and believe in the Gospel. If one doesn’t even consider his gay lifestyle sinful, he does not believe in the Gospel and cannot repent. So why enter the Church at all, other than to boost its statistics?

  • neoconned

    Excellent article Father. My wife and I are currently involved with our parish pre-Cana group. I am dreading the blow-back from this synod report when our next group of couples comes in.

  • Fred

    I hate to keep coming back here but it’s obviously an important subject that we must continue discussing. All of goals are frightening being realized, but in the context of this subject two in particular stand out. These were revealed in 1958 as the goals of the communist party to destroy the west from within:
    27) Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with social religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a religious crutch.
    26) Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as normal, natural and healthy.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    “However, when I gently began a conversation about their irregular lifestyle the girl began to pout and accuse me of being “unwelcoming.” Then she said, “I thought with this new pope we would be welcomed.”

    From Lifesitenews:

    “The release of the interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein came on the heels of the surprise publication of an interview with Pope Francis, which was unknown to the Vatican press office prior to its release, by the Argentine newspaper La Nacion on the opening day of the Synod.

    In the interview, published October 5, Pope Francis was asked about the cardinals who have criticized Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to allow Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. In response, he indicated that he is not in agreement with the “very conservative” bishops, but said he still enjoys “debating” them as long as they are “intellectually well-formed.”

    The pope also said that the Church must not “stigmatize” and “impugn” those who are living together in what the Church calls “irregular” situations outside of marriage.

    “We have to approach social conflicts, new and old, and try to give a hand of comfort, not to stigmatize and not to just impugn,” Pope Francis said.

    “So many young people prefer to live together without marrying,” he added. “What should the Church do? Expel them from its breast? Or, instead, approach them, embrace them and try to bring them the word of God? I’m with the latter position.”

    Fr. Dwight, perhaps both you and the girl you made cry are able to find comfort in what Pope Francis has said in this interview.

    • GG

      I find the usual false dichotomy. Who in the Church calls to impugn or stigmatize anyone? That is such a lot of nonsense. The truth is that the good priests who are trying to live out the Gospel are scolded because they have not acquiesced to the relativism that too many call Gospel.

      • Truth Unites… and Divides

        Perhaps Pope Francis would concede that he made a false dichotomy. Perhaps not.

        Suppose the following scenario played out amongst Pope Francis, Fr. Dwight, and the cohabitating girl.

        Girl: “Pope Francis, Fr. Dwight made me cry when I went to see him with my boyfriend.”

        Pope Francis (thinking silently to himself): “This is exactly what I meant when I gave the interview about not stigmatizing, and not impugning those who are in irregular situations outside of marriage.”

        The Pope now turns to Fr. Dwight: “Is it true that you made this young woman cry?”

        Fr. Dwight: “Well, yes. In fact, I wrote a blog article titled ‘On Making Girls Cry.’ And let me explain a bit further …..”

        Pope Francis interrupts, turns to girl: “Sweet child of God, if Fr. Dwight had welcomed you and embraced you, do you think you would still have cried?”

        Girl: “Holy Father, of course not. He stigmatized my boyfriend and me. I felt so impugned by his explicit judgment.”

        And so it goes…..

        • GG

          Well, what you describe is not the Gospel. It seems like a silly soap opera.

          • Truth Unites… and Divides

            Pope Francis is simply laying the steps of “gradualism” to the Gospel. Patience. Being Welcoming. Embracing. And Patience. Not rushing to judgment.

            • ForChristAlone

              oh, and you forgot one: BS

              • Truth Unites… and Divides

                Beloved Sinner.

                • ForChristAlone

                  Not quite

                  • Truth Unites… and Divides

                    Bergoglio Saint?

                    • ForChristAlone

                      you’re delusional

                    • Truth Unites… and Divides

                      If you’re Catholic, Bergoglio is your Pope and you should honor and respect him.

                    • GG

                      We do. It is the spin and traitors we want exposed. Save your propaganda.

                    • Truth Unites… and Divides

                      No, GG. you have not honored and respected Pope Francis.

                      Recall:

                      “We have to approach social conflicts, new and old, and try to give a hand of comfort, not to stigmatize and not to just impugn,” Pope Francis said.

                      In response you wrote:

                      “Who in the Church calls to impugn or stigmatize anyone? That is such a lot of nonsense.”

                      Your comment was not respectful, nor honoring to Pope Francis. Please don’t spin it otherwise.

                    • GG

                      How is that not respectful? Save your calumny and propaganda for the credulous.

                    • Truth Unites… and Divides

                      Calling what Pope Francis said a lot of nonsense is not respectful.

                    • GG

                      You are taking a snippet of his words, using it as a cudgel, and misapplying it. It is utter nonsense and not applicable here. Save your propaganda.

                    • Truth Unites… and Divides

                      Stop deceiving yourself. It was applied appropriately. You were disrespectful to the pope. Own it.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      For the time being. He is bordering on teaching false dogma – not directly but through his foot soldiers, the Kasperites.

            • GG

              Another false narrative. There is no Rush to judgement. That is a false characterization. Perhaps it fits Kasper and the one who wrote the paper ? How about that?

  • emiliani

    Unlike some other readers/posters here, I am gravely concerned by priests, bishops, and cardinals speaking out against each other, and against the Pope, for crying out loud!! This is sowing the seed for disunion and suspicion. Like husbands and wives, arguments of this kind should be kept away from the viewership of the children.

    I’m not saying our bishops and pope can’t communicate better, or more artfully, but I think we need to be a bit more circumspect about what the Pope is saying and not saying, teaching and not teaching. The media are contorting his message substantially to suit their own ends, and lapsed Catholics — and those with an agenda against the Church — are turning this papacy’s public pronouncements into their own ink blotter projective test: they’re seeing whatever they want in the words and teachings coming from the Pope, like they did with Humanae Vitae (many of whom didn’t even bother to read the document).
    Before we get triangulated for the purposes of our cunning Social Betters, we need to make sure we know what we’re actually saying to each other.

    But an organization that has flexible rules and standards for the most critical things can’t possibly remain united for very much longer. After all, if a huge percentage of Catholics don’t believe in the Eucharist, the necessity of Baptism, or the efficacy of Confession, then does their position on marriage really matter, or surprise us?!

  • White Veils

    I understand and sympathize with the good Father’s points here and his concern regarding changes in Church Teaching. His anecdotes are telling and settled teaching does need to be conveyed. The people who come to him do need to be educated.

    On the other hand, there are other anecdotes of people harmed and driven away from the Church due to the current state of Church teaching. The faithful woman whose previous husband abandoned her or beat her who must choose between a new father for her children and her church because she cannot afford the annulment process or the annulment process is arbitrary and mismanaged where she lives. The young man who has known he felt only attraction towards men since his birth, who has fallen in full and sacrificial love with another man, but must now choose between retaining his faith and living a life of chastity and barren solitude, or being with the person he loves in a permanent, committed relationship. The woman whose husband does not respect NFP and forces her towards having more children than she can bear. Victims of rape and incest. These are all placed into an unbearable position by current Church Teaching, but the church rejects them when they need her the most.

    I hate to say it, but these people need ministering more than you need clarity. Jesus provides all the clarity we need as a place to start…”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself”. Beyond that essential, the laws themselves are open to be changed. Jesus set the keys to this change in the hands of Peter, and so they have passed down to Francis. “That which you bind on Earth will be bound in heaven. That which you loose on Earth will be loosed on heaven.” When did those ‘keys’ stop working? As we come to new insights about human beings and our shared destiny, those rules should change.

    Once slavery was permitted, with biblical backing. Through prayer and the spirit, we now know that this is sinful and the rules that permitted it were changed. Back in the early church, to not be circumcised was a denial of being part of the followers of God, but after prayer and argument and debate, the requirement was changed and this was no longer considered so.

    The Church goes through these changes as we learn more about our selves. What must be done is to look at the laws and determine ‘Is this law just? Does this law serve to draw people closer to Christ and each other, or does it drive them away from Christ and each other? Does the sin this law addresses cause harm, or is it, like circumcision, not harmful in and of itself to the self or our relationship with each other or with God?’ If the law is doing greater harm than the sin, then for the sake of our fellow human beings and the strength of the Church, we need too reexamine it. And our Lord has provided us a way to do so.

    • publiusnj

      No, we need clarity on Christ’s teaching. That is what the Great Commission is all about: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Nothing about changing what Christ taught to make sinners more comfortable in their sin.

      In all events, the woman who “needs another father for her children” isn’t going to get one. They have a father; divorce doesn’t change that. The reason there is no father in the house is because of the Divorce, not the Church’s upholding Christ’s very clear teaching on Remarriage after Divorce. Many women have raised children without fathers, and many fathers have come home. No father who is told by the Church that he can continue living with his “second wife” and receive communion is likely to start living up to his parental obligations by going back to his wife and family. Certainly not after receiving Francis’s “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

      Likewise, the man “who has fallen in full and sacrificial love with another man, but must now choose between retaining his faith and living a life of chastity and barren solitude, or being with the person he loves in a permanent, committed relationship” can do whatever he wants, I suppose. He even has another choice: he can change his sexual partners to opposite sex ones, as Bill DeBlasio’s wife did. If he refuses to do that, Romans 1 teaches that he is doing what he wants rather than what God teaches: “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts….In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

      Why should the Church abandon that clear direction so that we too can ignore Paul’s teaching to accommodate the wishes of one who refuses to listen?

    • GG

      So much error here that we need a new thread to address it all.

  • FAM22

    Father- you have your finger directly on the pulse of the problem. Pope Francis is our Pope and has my prayers, respect, and love, but the message right now is hopelessly muddled and needs to be fixed. It is doing more harm than good in my estimation.

  • zedhead

    the only way to remain faithful catholic at this point is to ignore pope and the cardinals.

    • publiusnj

      I think we should instead pray for the Church. There really is no other option but Christ’s holy Church. It is a shame that this is one of those times when the People of God need someone like St. Athanasius to come forward, be brave and push back on the idea of the day.

      • zedhead

        you can pty for the Church and ignore the pope and cardinals. Beter to ignore them then let them tempt you to leave or acept there falty logic.

        • publiusnj

          Read Adversus Haereses 3:3:2. Although your point is not entirely clear, it seems you are trying to tell me to ignore the pope and bishops. Naah: the Pope and bishops are central to the Church. What is happening in the Synod is therefore critical to the future of the Church. I am very concerned and therefore will continue praying.

      • Nestorian

        The Eastern Churches are options too. It is simply false to assert (in effect) that, until the Reformation, there was only the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Nestorian Churches are all of apostolic origin, and all claim to be the True Church, just like the Catholic Church.
        .
        Of these four options, why should the Catholic Church be the true one just because you happen to have been raised in it?

        • Objectivetruth

          CRISIS MODERATOR:

          Does the graffiti of a heretic belief trying to proselytize need to be posted on an orthodox Catholic website?

        • publiusnj

          The Eastern Churches? Which one: Constantinople that surrendered to the Ottoman Sultan 550 years ago, after just having agreed to reunify with the holy Roman Church? Or the Russian patriarchate, who declared himself independent of Constantinople so he would have the maneuvering room to surrender to every Czar, Communist Dictator and KGB Chekist that has come along? Or maybe the non-Chalcedonian “Oriental Orthodox” churches which went South even before Mohammed and then were just cat’s paws of the Caliphates until the advent of some sort of democracy in their homelands? Naah.

          In truth, all the flak the Eastern Orthodox raise (azymes, Filioque, etc.) when they want to justify their renewed schism did NOT matter much in 1441 when they agreed to reunification with Rome. They then started playing games again so they could cut a deal with the same pagan (the Sultan Caliph Mehmet) who converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Mehmet was happy to hire on the Patriarch as one of his lieutenants, just as long as the Eastern Church declared itself once again out of communion with Rome. And the Patriarchs slavishly collaborated with the Sultan at all times thereafter until the Fall of the Caliphate in the Early Nineteen twenties.

        • GG

          Uhm, logic, history, study, unbroken chain going back to Peter. That is plenty of proof. What do you have? Nothing. Really nothing.

          Wait, you have a primitive and undeveloped theology. You have error such has divorce and remarriage and allow contraception. That is what you have. Enough.

      • Joseph

        Answer: Cardinal Burke!!

  • Beautiful. This article’s tone and content is what I wish conservative, orthodox Catholics as a whole would adopt, instead of what I inevitably see permeating comment threads like this one. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.”

  • zedhead

    it seems cardinal Kaper thinks you simply can`t talk with those africans about homosexuals and all their “gifts” hahaha

    Africans aparently aren`t ready to accept the fabulous sinners.So that task is up to the more open minded europeans.

    God truly has a great sense of humor.

  • Baptismal Vows

    In the past where I couldn’t agree with everything you said Father, I can here. You hit the nail on the head.

  • zedhead

    It is priest like father Longnecker that will have to deal with the confusion of all of this. What he describe in the article will be nothing compare to what is coming.There will be no tears from brides to be but anger and slogans when he still stays son of the Church no matter what the media and Pope told them.

  • Pat

    Please Father can you mail what you wrote and send it overnight express to the Pope!!!
    He has really caused a lot of confusion and made it harder to evangelize for those of us in the trenches!!!!!!!!! Although, he may not listen to you because I don’t know if you are intellectual enough for him to bother!

  • jacobhalo

    Undignified, shameful, and completely wrong. Cardinal Mueller on the synod.

    • GG

      No spin from him. No silliness about sausage making, or a working paper, or any other nonsense. God bless him!!

  • ForChristAlone

    Am currently reading a book entitled “Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan On the Liturgical Changes: A Bitter Trial.” It is a complilation of correspondance between the two men on the wreckage wrought by Vat II to our liturgy by the modernists.

    Waugh would be apoplectic if he were around today to witness the wrecking of the Church by one Jorge Bergoglio.

  • standtall909

    Wow! For the first time in a VERY long time, I wholeheartedly agree with Fr. Longenecker.
    A beautifully done critic of the Holy Father in a charitable but no nonsense way. Beautifully done Fr!! I am proud of you!!

  • Spiritfed

    What abut the priest who advised me I would be committing sin to leave my abusive marriage – that I had grounds for separation – but there would be sin by my leaving my abusive husband (physical, mental and emotional abuse) – even walking through the house cocking his gun. If you are going to point out extremes – let me show the other end of the dilemma.

    • According to Canon Law, with the permission of the bishop one can separate from an abusive spouse.

      If by leaving your abusive marriage you meant divorce, it would indeed be sinful for you to precipitate it, unless there weren’t legal separation in your state.

    • GG

      Do not buy that for s minute.

      • Spiritfed

        Unfortunately, this was back in the 60’s when I was into obeying all laws of the church and its clerics. This had a disastrous effect, not just on me but on my three sons – all of whom required counseling after I finally left. The three sons had issues as abusers which they had to work on as adults as well. The sins of the fathers, etc., as in husbands and clerics!!!!!

        • Nestorian

          Your personal witness is an important one. Hopefully, those who post here who ought to be doing so are paying attention.
          .
          However, I am very sorry that your personal story has unfolded the way it has.

    • ForChristAlone

      you’re making this up…didn’t happen

      • Nestorian

        If you really believe that extreme cases like Spiritfed’s never happen, then you are quite naïve. To the contrary, situations of intolerable and very dangerous ongoing spousal abuse are, sadly, not uncommon at all.
        .
        Your disbelief of Spiritfed indicates that your insistence on upholding an unbending ideal of marriage strongly predisposes you to close your eyes to many of life’s ugly realities. That is one of a number of serious problems associated with the camp of those who insist that Our Lord taught the absolute indissolubility of marriage.

  • Amy

    Well written, Fr. Longenecker! Thanks to our Holy Father, far too many people recall Jesus’s words to the woman caught in adultry “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” but they conveniently forget his final admonition to her (and to us) Go, and sin no more!”

  • bonaventure

    I guess that Fr. Longenecker will not be getting any phone calls from Francis…

    • ForChristAlone

      He probably doesn’t have a phone directory for South Carolina

    • No, he won’t. As Bp. Livieres of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, didn’t before or after he was summarily deposed by Francis for the fault of his orthodoxy and vibrant diocese creating division with his colleague bishops who husband their flocks as hirelings.

  • jp

    How about the timeless truth of infallibility? Longenecker, you sound like pharisee in the time of Jesus! Current Pope is not changing views, but shifting focus to a more loving tone! Stop focusing so much attention on “sin” and a little more attention on virtue in the world.

    • GG

      You are a theologian? Joking. This is what I expect from secularists with no knowledge of faith.

    • jaydotpdot

      I am a secularist and man of no faith, because I support Pope and defend him? Far from truth. I am a sinner and understand compassion is how to reach people

      • GG

        Your posts show a facile grasp of the situation. You sound like a secularist who is informed by CNN and not the Church.

        • jaydotpdot

          Maybe I sound like that. My intent is to defend the pope. I believe he is doing a good job. As the two people before him did a good job. A different focus

          • ForChristAlone

            You’re insincere.

            • jaydotpdot

              No I am very sincere. I believing in engaging in a quality discussion about faith and the church not attacking someone because they think differently.

          • How good a job did he do in diocese under his care? Mass attendance declined, abortion and gay marriage were approved. Francis approach was a disaster throughout Latin America and is now being inflicted on all the world. Expecting different results is madness.

      • ForChristAlone

        If you really had compassion, you’d be concerned with others’ immortal souls rather than posing as a social worker

    • What’s loving in foisting a gay couple at mass sitting beside your children? How about the cohabitating lector couple talking to your family? Why is it loving when sin is appeased and those who struggle to pass on the True Faith are expected to suck it?

      • jaydotpdot

        I think God is just happy they are still at mass. You do not know where their heart is or their struggles with sin. I imagine you are not without sin. I do not know what your struggles are.. maybe they are not as “big” or “controversial”, but they are still sins. You go to mass to work on those sins. It is not your job to sit back and say that those peoples sins are so great they should not be allowed to be a lector OR even SIT at mass. To say a gay couple cannot sit at mass is offensive. It is not what Christ, Benedict, JPII, Franics, or the church teaches. What is wrong with them sitting near your children? Homosexuality is not contagious despite what you may think man.

        • BotGregory

          This is beyond the pale. Have you never heard of the sin of scandal? We cannot accommodate evil. It appears that is what is now being demanded by many so-called Catholics.

          • jaydotpdot

            so you are calling others evil? How do you know what “evil” is? Maybe your sins are “evil”? Maybe you have been so cruel to another person as to hurt them and make them feel less. Maybe you have had impure thoughts about someone… Not right of me to say your evil and don’t sit next to me in mass.

            • BotGregory

              Now, now, there’s no need to be dishonest. To explicitly, or implicitly, approve of sodomitical unions is a sin. That is what is being described as evil.

              • jaydotpdot

                Let God judge them. You can tell them that God does not approve of their lifestyle and choices and they are sinful and hurtful. But love them. If they stop going to church then how are you supposed to help them?

                • BotGregory

                  Such choices lead one into hell. So-called catholics don’t seem to care very much for the salvation of souls.

        • Actually, homosexuality, as any sinful inclination, is contagious. While only 2 to 3% of the children of heterosexual couples are homosexual, 30% of the children, including adopted ones, of homosexual couples become homosexual.

          • jaydotpdot

            That does not mean it is contagious. That may very well be a true statistic, but does not mean your child is going to catch “homosexuality”. Your ignorance has proven my point though. I will pray for you that your heart will open up and you can experience Christ love in a way so powerful that you can feel safe in loving lepers, homosexuals, divorcees, etc..

          • jaydotpdot

            This being the case… YOU BETTER HOPE one of your children is not born GAY then because they could INFECT your WHOLE family!

            • No one was ever born gay.

              • jaydotpdot

                Well better hope they don’t turn out gay then buddy

  • Jessi

    Everyone should read this. And send it to the Holy Father. I am a Theology Teacher of impressionable freshmen girls, and it doesn’t help me either.

    • jaydotpdot

      Doesn’t help you to do what focus on laying on the Catholic guilt? Focus your classes on teaching and developing virtue and less on all the “rules”. Why don’t you also focus on infallibility of the pope!

      • GG

        Huh? What does this even mean? You should learn the faith before offering advice.

      • ForChristAlone

        You just don’t get it, do you? You’re obviously from the protestant wing of the Church (presuming you are Catholic)

  • Tom Harris

    What our Church needs is a new pope. This joker is a traitor to the absolute words of Jesus Christ Himself in divorce and the ‘goods’ of homosexuality. One does NOT accommodate sin nor sinners by NOT admonishing them on what they are doing is a threat to their immortal souls. Dolan is Francis and Kasper come from the same cloth of Judas’ who would accommodate the very few while losing the vast masses. I never liked Francis from the get go and now I know why. He’s a heretic.

    • ForChristAlone

      You’re on to something. Since he behaves more like a politician on the campaign trail, perhaps the sensus fidelium should demand a recall.

      • Canon Law states that a pope is immediately excommunicated if he teaches heresy, effectively terminating his office as pope. Francis has been dancing around the line between orthodoxy and heresy for months, or rather, for years, as the typical Latin American bishop.

        • ForChristAlone

          You are able here to enlighten the rest of us with your first-hand experiences as a Latin American Catholic with knowledge of Bergoglio’s past history -that’s been helpful

        • publiusnj

          Can you provide a cite for the Canon Law provision? And any provision on how that excommunication can be given effect?

        • Nestorian

          Yes, but the pope has fullness of sovereign power – including in the legislative domain. Thus, Pope Francis is fully within his rights (allegedly of divine institution) to abrogate all of canon law at a single stroke, and substitute his own.
          .
          If he is doing this now, de facto rather than de jure, it is still a sin on the part of any other member of the body of Christ to judge him. As the papacy has maintained ever since the forgeries produced on behalf of Pope Symmachus in the late 5th century, “The Pope may be judged by no one,” that is, by no other earthly agency.

          • If a pope is excommunicated latae sententiae, he ceased to be pope at that very moment, therefore he does not have the power anymore to exercise his supreme power.

            • Nestorian

              But that comes from canon law, right? It does not come from an infallible pronouncement on doctrine by a pope. As such, it is entirely fallible, and also changeable at will by the Pope himself. Moreover, whether this canon expresses Catholic truth or not is not immediately obvious.
              .
              The pope may not stand above the moral law, but he does stand above canon law.

    • publiusnj

      The problem is that the Church has a structure and it does not provide for recalls. As Vatican II made clear though, the Pope has some duty of collegiality with his fellow bishops. The problem is his “brother bishops” are also his subordinates and Francis seems quite willing to pigeon hole them with labels that they are insufficiently pastoral, etc. Francis keeps pushing the Kasper and Gay Rights agendas despite clearly stated opposition from significant segments of the episcopate and the theologians (shortly before the Synod, there were books by several cardinals and by five or so Dominican theologians that upheld the traditional interpretation of Christ’s Teaching on the Indissolubility of Marriage). He has also stacked the committee preparing Synod “relationes” with Kasperite supporters and spoken out in favor of the Kasper proposal on at least two occasions. So, it will take courage for bishops like Cardinals Mueller and Burke to persevere and it will take even greater courage for lower-ranked bishops to speak up and join those two. that is why I am praying for a second Athanasius.

      Not that it matters very much, but I am not willing to condemn the Pope quite yet. He clearly has little discipline of voice and tongue, but his musings don’t purport to be ex cathedra statements, and Church dogma holds that he is as fallible as the next muser when it comes to non-ex cathedra opinions.

  • Charlie500

    Thank you Father. You have articulated the cry of my heart.

  • Darryl Dziedzic

    For all you Catholics who think Francis isn’t adhering to our dogma. All he is asking you to do is to stop your “swoop and poop catechism” methods and FIRST engage the person. After you EARN the right to speak to the PERSON, then you earn the right to share Catechism and draw that person into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. All Francis is doing is asking you to hold back on being a Catholic pharisee and meet the person first.

    • publiusnj

      Even Francis is not being as obnoxious as you are. Talk about non-pastoral! You managed to put in three offensive characterizations in a five line “comment:” 1) “swoop and poop catechism;” 2) “EARN the right to speak to the PERSON” (as though they have less right to express their opinions than you do) and 3) “Catholic pharisee.”

      What we really need is more analysis and less insult.

    • ForChristAlone

      “All he is asking you to do is to stop your “swoop and poop catechism” methods and FIRST engage the person. ”

      This is pure unadulterated BS. You wrongly assume that because one doesn’t dispense with moral judgment, the person is and cannot be met person to person. It’s the TRUTH that draws people in and not pandering to their sin. THAT’S what it means to be PASTORAL not the cheap sentimentality of progressivism.

    • GG

      Who are you to judge?

      • Darryl Dziedzic

        What’s being judged? Sorry not clear on what you are asking?

    • jaydotpdot

      You are right on some good points. The responses of GG and a few others show clearly what is wrong in the approach people take to these sensitive issues. It is why people are only going to fight harder for these topics of homosexuality and divorce, because people’s approach is aggressive and sometimes offensive. I hope the “devoted” Catholics continue to hold on to their beliefs, but hopefully can change their approach to be more Christlike so that they can represent the church well. They are obviously very committed. I am committed to this pope and the leadership he is taken our Church. Wish everyone could respect this Pope even though he has a different approach to spreading the faith.

  • Josh Falborn

    I must say that I cannot find one valid point that Fr. Longenecker makes in his post. It seems quite clear to me that he simply is showing his true colors if you will; in other words his lack of fidelity and obedience to the Holy Father who sits in the Seat of Peter. Fr. Longenecker, with charity, I pray that you will beg Our Lord’s mercy and ask for Our Blessed Mother to aid you in your vow of obedience to the Holy Father.

    Whose business is it of any priest to tell the Holy Roman Pontiff how he should or should not do his so-called job? Or, how the Pontiff should, or should not conduct a synod. Besides that, which is perhaps the most egregious part of what Fr. Longenecker is doing, is the fact that he, like so many others, builds a straw-man argument; and in turn scandalizes many of the Faithful. What do I mean by this?

    Well, first of all, the relatio post disceptationem published by the Synod is purely a “working document” as it were, and this of course is nothing new from synods; this document simply depicts and describes what was talked about at the meetings of the synod, and like other synods held in the history of the Church, there are, and always have been Cardinals and Bishops who propose things that are outside of the teachings of
    the Church. No one should be surprised by this fact; as we should all well know,
    there have always been bishops who have taught, subscribed to, and even tried
    to propagate ideas contrary to the already defined and decalred truths of the
    Faith. My point here is simply that someone like Fr. Longenecker certainly knows this is the case; he knows darn well that no new dogma or doctrine has been declared by the Magisterium. And if he truly understands Catholic teaching, which I assume he does, then he knows that no moral law can be changed by any Pontiff; for this of course this impossible.

    • publiusnj

      The problem with this analysis is that the Magisterium is a construct, not an actual entity. When the Pope talks, what he says sounds like the authoritative teaching of the Church, even if it is not. Also, there are a number of “new” and disturbing things about the documents coming from this Synod. In the past, Synod reports (“relationes”) had been the product of the Synod’s deliberative process. This time, though, the working document released on Monday was prepared by a committee nominated by the Pope and unreflective of the Synod’s membership.

      • ForChristAlone

        Yes, from what has been reported by reliable sources Bergoglio has stacked the deck so that the results come out in his preordained favor. He talks collegiality and inclusion but he decisions have indicated an intent to marginalize those who have opinions different from his own. He’s like all progressives in that regard.

        • publiusnj

          We have been blessed with wonderful popes in the post-WWII era up until Pope Francis. Francis is a work-in-progress and I must say I too am concerned. I pray that God guide him to accomplish his goal of evangelizing everyone, including those who say they have been uncomfortable with the Church’s message on Divorce-Remarriage and on homosexual conduct, but in a way that does not compromise our Holy Catholic Faith. The opposition of faithful bishops to the Kasper Proposal (and the weird, mistranslated passage on “valuing” rather than “evaluating” gay conduct) is part of the Magisterial process, so I therefore pray for the courage of those bishops.

  • Josh Falborn

    I must say that I cannot find one valid point that Fr.Longenecker makes in his post. It seems quite clear to me that he simply is showing his true colors if you will; in other words his lack of fidelity and obedience to the Holy Father who sits in the Seat of Peter. Fr. Longenecker, with charity, I pray that you will beg Our Lord’s mercy and ask for Our Blessed Mother to aid you in your vow of obedience to the Holy Father.

    Whose business is it of any priest to tell the Holy Roman Pontiff how he should or should not do his so-called job? Or, how the Pontiff should, or should not conduct a synod. Besides that, which is perhaps the most egregious part of what Fr. Longenecker is doing, is the fact that he, like so many others, builds a straw-man argument; and in turn scandalizes many of the Faithful. What do I mean by this?

    Well, first of all, the relatio post disceptationem published by the Synod is purely a “working document” as it were, and this of course is nothing new from synods; this document simply depicts an describes what was talked about at the meetings of the synod, and like other synods held in the history of the Church, there are, and always have been Cardinals and Bishops who propose things that are outside of the teachings of
    the Church. No one should be surprised by this fact; as we should all well know,
    there have always been bishops who have taught, subscribed to, and even tried
    to propagate ideas contrary to the already defined and decalred truths of the
    Faith. My point here is simply that someone like Fr. Longenecker certainly knows this is the case; he knows darn well that no new dogma or doctrine has been declared by the Magisterium. And if he truly understands Catholic teaching, which I assume he does, then he knows that no moral law can be changed by any Pontiff; for this of course this impossible.

    • ForChristAlone

      There has been so much evidence in the short life of Bergoglio’s papacy that supports the conclusion that he has opened the door widely – not to charity – but to libertinism. He has made it impossible for the Church now to speak to an immoral secular society with one clear moral voice. It is now the dominant immoral culture that informs the Church rather than the other way around. Jorge Bergoglio has been a failure. It would be better that he resign before he does more damage.

      • Tomacz Tesla

        It also describe many well-known “professional Catlicks” that sing the praises of F everywhere.

    • GG

      How disingenuous and facile.

  • Josh Falborn

    Oops, sorry for the double post.

  • clintoncps

    Thank you, Fr. Dwight, for this excellent letter to the Pope Francis!

    Even as a layman, I’ve felt a great deal of difficulty in sharing the truth about Catholic sexual morality ever since the Pope’s dreadful “Who am I to judge?” comment after the 2013 World Youth Days. Many people, including some of my students, now think its perfectly acceptable to act out their homosexual impulses with the Church’s blessing. If it’s difficult for me, as a layman, to speak the truth about sexual morality with some semblance of authenticity in this confused environment, how difficult must it be for priests? Your description of your own experiences certainly sheds light on that.

    I’ll be continuing to pray for Pope Francis at the daily Eucharistic Table — and for all those participating at the Synod — in the coming days. The number of souls at stake in all of this is incalculable. Come, Holy Spirit!

  • chanel3

    I totally agree with this statement by Fr Longenecker and it is the best post I have seen from him. Like Cardinal Burke I am waiting for a statement – long overdue – from Pope Francis upholding Catholic teaching on marriage and homosexuality.

  • Darryl Dziedzic

    Calling out a method is not offensive. Yes, “Swoop and Poop” is a very common technique that turns off many people. And “earning the right to speak” is a very common relational notion. I’m not really seeing how you can call this offensive.

  • jimmy mac

    What an excellent article….we all know the source of confusion and division.Give the frontline warriors the weapons they need to fight the daily battles.This synod is an exercise in futility…plumb the depths of what has already been revealed and taught.Bravo Fr Dwight

  • Joseph

    A great big THANK YOU FATHER! The Sentimental Gospel of Inclusivity is in, The Gospel of Jesus Christ is out!

  • Pat Holscher

    Great article father.

  • John_QPublic

    God Bless you Father.

  • Spiritfed

    The conversation at the Synod has not been about changing doctrine – but about changing how we treat one another – ALL OF US ARE SINFUL None of us have the right to judge another’s actions. Bishops in this country have publicly recommended using the Eucharist as a whip – to attempt to force obedience for certain sinners, some going so far as to say those who vote for Obama should not receive communion. The Pope has never advised throwing out teachings on faith and morals – but rather emphasizing mercy, compassion and love toward all – SINNERS ALL. Our attitude is to be one of gratitude for the graces we receive, including forgiveness of our sins – not condemnation of others thought to be committing sins that may differ from our own.

    • GG

      If you do not judge actions you are a sociopath.

  • Thank you for this, padre, it needed to be said.

  • PSdan

    A fascinating comment by Fr. Z today:

    “Had the social media existed at the time of the Second Vatican Council, it would never have been possible to ram through the radical liturgical “reforms” of the 60′s and 70′s.”

  • John Chan

    Thank you Father. I appreciate your work and the difficulties it entails.

  • Thomas

    My sentiments from observation, exactly.

  • Älter und weiser

    Fr. Well said.
    I’ve commented before that Pope Francis is more suited to being a parish priest than a leader of the Universal Church. Goodness and compassion are necessary to be a good pope, but they are not sufficient. A razor sharp intellect and personal discipline are also needed and the evidence in this regard is not good.

    • Tomacz Tesla

      We’ve been having great popes at least since Leo XIII. Time to drink the dregs.

  • Nora Muscarelli Germain

    Yes, Father, excellent piece. Truth and courage is what is desperately needed.

    Excellent post for sure, Father!
    Yes, speak the truth in love. My marriage is a classic example of what is being spoken of at this Synod. I had separated from my husband for 5 years. I was a baptized, confirmed Catholic and so was my husband. We had been married by a Priest in the Church. After 2 kids and 12 years of marriage, we separated with a legal separation agreement. We each bought a new house and also had our own new relationships. But we knew in our hearts this wasn’t right! The Truth is imprinted on all of our hearts! No matter what will happen at the Synod, we STILL all have the Truth.
    By the grace of God, someone sent me a spiritual book and I started praying a decade of the Rosary (to start, as the whole thing seemed too overwhelming at first! 🙂 then I finally went to Confession after 15 years……The Priest was firm that God wants your marriage to survive. No fluff, just the Truth…which I had confirmed, cause he was a Priest who had courage. If he had said instead, “well God will understand if you can’t keep your marriage together” I probably would have agreed with him!
    Fluff is not the answer, truth is! My husband and I got back together about 1 year later and were even blessed with another child. We now have 3 children and have been married 31 years.
    No fluff, just Truth!!!

  • Mary

    Longenecker is saying, just instruct Cardinal Donald ‘pedophile’s pal’ Wuerl http://donaldwuerl.com to keep appointing homosexual bishops, just like him, who will fill parishes with homosexual priests so they can do to the Catholic church what they did to the episcopalian church, force the faithful to flee, corrupt and molest the young, loot the parishes that will ultimately close as a`result, sell the properties and live the highlife.. which is what Wuerl did in Philadelphia, now in Washington, and O’Malley does in Boston, and so on.

    BTW, anyone else notice Francis hasn’t decried his handpicked tool, racist homosexualist Cardinal Kasper after being caught lying about what he said to that reporter, violating the 8th Commandment (Thou shall not bear false witness) if the reporter hadn’t recorded the interview it would have destroyed the man’s career.. yet that doesn’t trouble Kasper, or Francis.. and that reveals them to be despicable, unworthy to be in the hierarchy of the church.

    • Tomacz Tesla

      Hey! Don’t beat around the bushes: tell us what you really think! :o)

  • publiusnj

    As I write this, the Synod is over… for the next year anyway. A break with the Dogma of Christ and His Holy Church for the past 2000 years did NOT occur, thanks to faithful bishops like Burke and Mueller (and many others).

    BUT: what will the composition of the Full Synod next year be? We know the Pope will be making appointments throughout the next year fully aware of the resistance of the incumbent bishops. Will he ignore the issue in his appointments, trusting to the will of the Spiirit? I certainly hope so, but I also know that we the “sense of the faithful” should not ignore what a “close run thing” this was.

    I am going to let every priest I know how frightening it is to contemplate a World in which Christ’s Church goes along with the spirit of the Age by ignoring Christ’s Clear Teaching. We all need to do that and thereby build a clear awreness that compromise with Christ’s Message will bring a total revolt by the faithful. AS I NOTED BELOW, WE NEED ATHANASIUSES AND CATHERINES OF SIENA WHO WILL LET THE CHURCH KNOW THAT NOT EVERY MODERN IDEA IS A GOOD ONE.

    • ForChristAlone

      I hope he’s learned his lesson and appoints a fair number of African and Asian bishops. Fewer Italians and Germans would suit me fine – especially since few Catholics in those countries even practice the Catholic faith.

      • BronxLady

        Fewer Germans? Like, Muller, Ratzinger?

  • RuariJM

    Have you read the Holy Father’s closing address to the Exteaordinary Synod, Fr Dwight?

    Is there anything you would amend, retract or add, in the light of it?

    Anything about impatience or anything like that? Or encouraging one lunatic fringe or another?

    • ForChristAlone

      Only disappointment is that he did not offer to resign.

      • Guest RuariJM

        This Catholicism thing is all a bit complicated for you, isn’t it, FCA?

        RuariJM

        • ForChristAlone

          If you joined the Church, you’d understand.

    • bonaventure

      Read it.

      (1) Francis first heaps praise on his henchmen Lorenzo Baldisseri and Bruno Forte, and then (2) he goes on a rant whereby every liberal temptation is to “do good” (it’s just not well phrased enough, hence “destructive”), while every conservative temptation is a pharisaical inflexibility to open up to the goodness that the same liberals are proposing (hence “hostile” to the spirit which supposedly speaks through those liberals).

      Anyway, his closing remark needs to be understood in context of all other things he said publicly during this synod, including his mid-synod remarks against the “Holy Law” before the publication of his catastrophic “relatio,” where he said that Christians need to be surprised by God.

      Unless of course Francis changes his mind like a pendent in the wind changes direction, just to please anyone who’s got the upper hand at a given moment. Haven’t seen that one coming (70% of bishops rebelling against his henchmen), hasn’t he, “eh”?

      • Guest RuariJM

        I fear you read something else entirely.

        Either that or it simply does not matter to you – your mind is made up and you simply won’t allow facts to get in the way.

        What are you? SSPX, SSPV or some other kind of Sedevacantist?

        • bonaventure

          I stand with 70% of the bishops who rejected, totally or in parts, the relatio, many of whom were offended by it as well:

          The African and Polish bishops (apparently the most united groups of all);
          Cardinal Burke;
          Cardinal Muller;
          Cardinal Sarah;
          Archbishop Shevchuk;
          Cardinal Pell;
          The African bishop who shook his head and cried, “oh God, oh God, what have they done” when reading the relatio;

          Yet, in spite of the Sensus Fidei clearly speaking through the voices of so many successors of the Apostles — of so many Pauls with the courage to confront Peter over his anti evangelical mistakes — Francis persist that the relatio is a faithful summary of what was discussed at the synod: “One year to work on the ‘Synodal Relatio’ which is the faithful and clear summary of everything that has been said and discussed in this hall and in the small groups.”
          (From Francis’ closing speech, October 18th, 2014. Source: http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2014/10/i-am-pope-and-im-here-in-aula-francis.html )

        • ForChristAlone

          My guess is that he’s Catholic. And you?

  • Elderflower

    Excellent Letter, Fr. Longenecker. I hope HH will read it. You have highlighted how weak and confusing this pope is, and how difficult it is for priest to carry out their pastoral work.

  • RomanCatholic

    I have found several traditionalist Catholic parishes where I may go for Latin Liturgy. I will never leave church, but I need graces to survive and fight the evil cancer growth in my church. Too many homosexual Bishops and Cardinals have hijacked parishes and now the Pope is giving his stamp of approval .

  • BronxLady

    Rev Longenecker, a convert to our Catholic faith, tells us the Pope isn’t Catholic enough. A little gauche, I think.

    • ForChristAlone

      but he’s accurate, nonetheless.

  • Commentator

    Surprise, Fr. Longenecker: Mercy and compassion are the timeless truths of Jesus faith. The other things are not timeless at all. Instead of pining in the guise of “timeless truths” for those rules which predetermine pastoral situations,pigeonhole persons, and allow the rule makers cosy pharisaic self-congratulation once the rules are enforced and “defended”, I think this God-given Pope is returning us to Jesus’ idea that rules are made and remade anew for humans. Sit down with your parishioners and explain what you think is right without the Linus blanket of the rulebook. Instead of talking about “your job” and “the Pope’s job”, as if Christianity was one big corporation, starting doing some compassionate rule making yourself, and dip into the Holy Father’s mission.

    • ForChristAlone

      you’re a fool

  • Bible Belted Betty

    Lordy…I got enough tongue fer ten rows of teeth and I don’t care two wits about them homo-sexuals…I just wanna know when they are going to tear down the pedophile farm known as the Legionarios de Cristo in my country. I would rather see a priest masturbate on the Eucharist than touch a single hair on the head of a child. Jesus can take a wad of semen to the face. A child CANNOT.

    • ForChristAlone

      what you write is uses language that is crass and disgusting…get your mind out of the gutter

  • elarga

    Very well said, Father. But they’re going to crucify you for “desobedience” when it is the pope himself who is not obeying the requisites of his office, as you wrote.

  • joelfago

    Relatio Synodi, #55, omits the part of the
    “Considerations” document between the first two parts which are included. The
    missing part is, “Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as serious
    depravity…” Our Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms this, Section 2357,
    “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of
    grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are
    intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural
    law.”

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