On Advising the Pope: An Exchange

It is Not Our Place to Advise the Pope

The truths of the Catholic Church do not change, but the world does—and the world tends to stray from the truth. Efforts must be made, therefore, to bring the Church to a world that has lost its way—and that may involve, as in the parable, leaving the ninety-nine behind. Pope Francis is a missionary pope, a pope trying to introduce the timeless truths of the Church to a people who have lost their hold of truth in general. He cannot do this without making a stir—especially among the ninety-nine, it seems. Catholics are, however, called to have faith in their shepherd. They are not called to inveigh against the Vicar of Christ. They are not called to dissent. They are not called to turn the house against itself. They should, instead, receive the challenge of papal leadership, firm in the Faith, and consider the enormity of Pope Francis’ mission to bring so many wandering and hard-hearted sheep back into a forgotten fold.

sean FitzpatrickIn a recent Crisis article over the Synod, Rev. Dwight Longenecker expressed concern that our holy pope in some ways compromises his job as a holy priest, and offered some advice to Francis:

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.

With all deepest respect and fraternal love to Rev. Longenecker, I, for one common layman, believe that Pope Francis is doing his job—but perhaps not in the way the ninety-nine see fit. The job of the ninety-nine, however, are to be sheep when it comes to the shepherd. The pope is breaking new ground in order to plant old seeds; and will cause some disruption. The Church must not stagnate in the name of timeless truth. It must address people in a voice that will be heard and understood. Pope Francis is not, as Rev. Longenecker intimates, failing in the defense and definition of doctrine by reaching out to those who, through sheer ignorance, have felt marginalized by the Church, thinking that the Church hates the sinner together with the sin. By engaging the issues of the day with a loving heart, the pope is not redefining dogmatic truth—he is simply not being an isolationist. He is applying eternal truths to modern problems, which changes their aspect but not their essence, and provides an honest, down-to-earth example for his brother priests in parishes and on the streets.

To hold Pope Francis accountable for the unawareness of the world is misplaced. Confusion caused by the pope’s words is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church teaches, and it is not Francis’ fault—but it is his concern. Should he simply not speak out with fervor in an effort to keep the boat from rocking? No. Nothing worth doing is free of peril. The teachings and testimonies of Our Lord are built on this principle. Francis is taking the risk, as we are all called to do as witnesses to Christ, fearless in proclaiming his love. Francis is doing this according to the dictates of his conscience and heart. That is his job and he is doing it. It is our job, as laymen, priests, and bishops—as sheep all—to follow him and avoid the temptation to criticize Christ in our midst; and never give in to the precarious rhetoric of telling the Pope how to do his job. That is between the Holy Father and Our Father.

Since the world will not cry out to Christ, it is His vicar’s job to cry out to the world instead. Pope Francis’ voice has assembled the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of “The Pastoral Challenges for the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” If the culture is sick, the foundation of human culture must be made whole: the human family. In the preparatory document released by the Vatican, Pope Francis gave direction to this pilgrimage toward reaching out as pastors to a lost flock. “The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world,” the document reads, “is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community.” It goes on to outline the Church’s eternal positions on marriage, procreation, the sanctity of life, parenthood, catechesis, and other matters in an eight-part questionnaire for the bishops to consider and answer about families in their own dioceses.

Pope Francis is reaching out to those in homosexual unions, difficult or irregular marital situations, and those closed to life. The assembly’s objective is to record honest and accurate assessments of where families stand in modern society, and then ask the question: how can the Church touch their lives through revitalization and evangelization? The Synod is a call to consider “concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago,” and is bold enough to call attention not only to the issue of same-sex ‘marriage’ but also to “the widespread practice of cohabitation … presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary … forms of feminism hostile to the Church….” and “the influence of the media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family life.”

First and foremost, this Synod clearly emphasizes the open arms of Holy Mother Church—open to receive all in the embrace that Francis called a “big brotherhood” on the night he was elected pope. Though the reports flowing from the Synod may not be clear to the general public, neither is there a clear solution to the manifest problems in human civilization, whose “building-block” is the family. Pope Francis is inviting the leaders of the Church to strategize on how to heal the foundation of culture, and this is a duty for leaders, that they may lead those in the trenches and secure concord and clarity for all. Priests will ultimately carry out the work in parishes—as Rev. Longenecker rightly says—but this does not mean that there should not be a synthesis of ideas and attitudes, even theoretical and theological ones, by the princes of the Church whose obligation is to guide the parishes in their dioceses.

Rev. Longenecker advises Pope Francis to mind the importance of teamwork and the principle of subsidiarity. I ask, is it teamwork to caution and criticize the Supreme Pontiff, however respectfully? I ask, is it in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity to challenge the head of the Church, despite pure intentions? Rev. Longenecker writes that he can look to other and holier sources of inspiration than Francis. I am sure the pope would be the first to agree. But does this mean that he ought not to inspire people—especially the wayward? The battle is over nothing less than the future of human civilization, a struggle over the roots of Christian culture. That is why the Synod is both radical and requisite—it is a challenge to the apostles of our day to disregard precedent and posturing and be apostolic. It challenges our bishops to call a spade a spade in the marital ring, and touch families so that whole peoples may be made clean.

How can the Church be merciful, so that we as a Church may obtain God’s mercy? Humility and love, says Francis—and, there, all agree. I thank God for sincere and zealous priests like Rev. Longenecker, but notwithstanding I, for one, think that Catholics should be wary of putting the pope on the pillory.

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Good Popes Value Constructive Advice

I am grateful to Mr. Fitzpatrick for reading my article, indeed, I am even more grateful that he has taken the time to take me to task. I’m afraid however, that he sees more in my article than was either intended or communicated.

d_longeneckerMr. Fitzpatrick suggests that I do not appreciate Pope Francis’ maverick-like ways, his missionary zeal and his ability to turn over tables in the temple. Not only does my article not criticize this aspect of Pope Francis’ papacy, but in the first part of the article I especially espouse the pope’s exhortations to “make a mess,” reach out to the needy, express compassion for the poor and smell of the sheep. I affirm that I want to be that kind of priest and thank the Holy Father for his example and encouragement.

Mr. Fitzpatrick waxes eloquent about the pope’s desire to re-package Catholic truths in an acceptable way for a modern age, his attempts to reach out to the marginalized, his efforts to evangelize and his ability to inspire and encourage and then suggests that I am opposed to such efforts. Again, he reads far too much into a single short article. I am in favor of all those noble goals, and in my article I said so. Furthermore, any single contribution of a writer must be balanced by his other scribblings. If Mr. Fitzpatrick were a reader of my blog and my writings at other websites he would know that I have been a firm supporter of Pope Francis in the face of critics to the extent of being lampooned, called names, castigated and mocked by extreme conservatives who heartily dislike the Holy Father. That I am called a liberal by conservatives and conservative by liberals seems to me to be good evidence of balance.

We then have a long explanation by Mr. Fitzpatrick about the Synod on the Family. Here is where there is some confusion of the sort that often occurs between writers, editors and readers. My article was written before the controversial relatio from the Synod fathers was published and it was not intended as a direct comment on either the relatio or the Synod. As these things happen in the fast-paced world of instant online publication, the editor of Crisis accepted the article and published it with his own headline linking my article to the Synod. He did this in innocent goodwill, but it gave the incorrect impression that my article was a direct response to the synod and the publication of the relatio. It was not. Mr. Fitzpatrick’s comments, therefore about the Synod, are not directly relevant to the matter in question, and I have no dispute with what he has written. Once again, he seems to assume that I think the Synod mistaken or the Holy Father’s work misplaced. I do not.

All that is about what I did not write. Now about what I did: my article was a simple heartfelt plea from a parish priest that the Holy Father not forget that his main role is that of articulating the faith clearly and simply to his flock and to the world. My experience as a parish priest and a communicator is that this papacy has often brought confusion rather than clarity. The fact that Fr. Lombardi of the Vatican Press Office is continually picking up the pieces after the pope and issuing “clarifications” confirms my point. Pope Francis communicates beautifully through significant gesture and passionate exhortation. He takes risks and speaks his mind, and I like that about him. It reminds me of Jesus.

The problem is that the radical prophet is rarely the precise theologian. It does no harm to point out that we need both.

Which brings me to a final point. Mr. Fitzpatrick suggests that any criticism of the Holy Father is out of bounds. Surely not. It is part of the responsibility of all the faithful to speak from the heart clearly and openly with respect and submission. Pope Francis himself has asked for a frank debate, plain speaking, honest listening and fraternal conversation. One is not a dissenter or rebel simply by asking honest questions, making a clear point and expressing one’s point of view. The root of the word “obedience” is “to listen” and listening implies a conversation in which both parties listen.

I am confident that the article (and the rest of my writings) clearly expresses my genuine admiration and support for the pope. The pope himself has asked for a frank debate, an open spirit, a willingness to speak one’s mind, to “make a mess” for the sake of truth. My article was not dissent or rebellion of any kind.

It was a little shout out from one of his shepherds reminding him that in our work we need clarity in the service of charity.

By

Sean Fitzpatrick is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the Headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy. 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.

  • jacobhalo

    The pope is not teachings truths. He says that all can be saved. He leaves it at that. The pope does not add, that in order to be saved, you must take Christ as your savior. The pope says that Muslims and Jews pray to the same God. No, they don’t. Jesus said, “I am the Way, The truth, and the Life. The only way to the Father is through me.” Muslims and Jews do not go through Jesus to get to God. Jesus told the Jews, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your own sins.” Has the pope preached these words of Jesus to the Jews?

    • bbrown

      I think that, in charity, we have all given this pope every benefit of the doubt, and extended our forbearance, in the hope that the next statement, the next decree, the next off-the-cuff remark would clarify his meanings and release the tension and apprehension that many of us have, that he is not indeed (despite a massive inability to get it out for some reason) naive, not harbouring the harmful, soul-destroying conceits of Marxist socialism at some subconscious level. But that statement of clarification just never seems to come from his lips or pen.

      I really wonder how much longer a submissive posture can sustain. If traditional conservatives (? Fr. Longenecker’s “extreme conservatives”) are just completely misreading the heart of this pope, then that alone points to some serious problems with the current pontif: Part of the job description surely must involve an ability to communicate clearly. Are we to believe that we are still just misunderstanding his statements and the great majority of people are just picking up the wrong message?
      If that is so, then something is terribly askew.

      • ForChristAlone

        I agree with what you’ve written. I would especially endorse your comment that “in charity, we have all given this pope every benefit of the doubt”

        • bbrown

          I just feel that he could not do more to aid and abet our civilizational enemies, even if (again) we are all misreading him.

      • jacobhalo

        Charity would be being truthful, not deceitful. If Jesus said it, the pope should say it. Jesus said, go forth and preach to all nations. Jesus didn’t say be sure not to offend.

      • Dick Prudlo

        If it is clarity we seek we will be disappointed. Ambiguity is the controlling means and has been so for half a century. Bishop Francis comes from the long line of duChardin debutantes who seek one world religion. It will not be Catholic.

      • R. K. Ich

        As one who is seriously exploring the Roman Communion, I too am sensitive to what jacobhalo said. St. Paul reminds us (especially bishops/priests) to “retain the form of sound words” (II Tim 1:13) received from the apostles.

        The devil understands how to employ subtleties and carefully crafted words to lead the faithful astray and confirm the unconverted in their unbelief, whereas the hardest teachings of the Church might have to be given at the right time and right place to the uninitiated, yet it must not follow suit.

        I get worried whenever the world loves a minister of the Gospel — tends to mean they approve his rhetoric, no matter what he believes in private. After all, Jesus wasn’t crucified for being a good, humble guy. He made claims that offended almost everyone.

      • bbrown

        If anybody is still reading this, here’s a realistic explanation of what I think is happening……

        http://theweek.com/article/index/269891/pope-francis-machiavellian-strategy-to-liberalize-the-catholic-church

        -Bil

        • Charlie Petrizzo

          Brilliant!

    • Jdonnell

      Your view is not the position of the Catholic Church, even if it is the position of Protestant fundamentalists.

      • DE-173

        Oh please. Anybody can see from your comment history that you can not a wit about orthodoxy

        • Jdonnell

          If you can say and believe the Apostles’ Creed, you are orthodox.

          • steve5656546346

            The denial of even on defined truth of the faith is a denial of the basic premiss of the Church.

            • Jdonnell

              What you are referring to isn’t a “basic premise of the Church. They are contained in the Apostles’ Creed. What you refer to isn’t there.

              • John MacGovern

                Did you mean to omit the Nicene Creed?

                • Jdonnell

                  I meant to say just what I said.

            • jacobhalo

              Steve you can see that Jdonnell picks and chooses what he or she wants to believe. There are many Catholics like that. That is why Obama won the election. Jdonnell admires the pro-abortion lefty Kennedy.

              • John MacGovern

                As I wrote earlier, he gets his information from the news media and is consequently uninformed. But, no matter, on and on he goes. Did you know that Robert Kennedy did go to one of Fr. Leonard Feeney’s lectures, was rude and crude(unlike Jack who conversed politely, with grace and good humor)and was then expelled, physically, from the room onto Bow or Arrow Street. Second, Fr. Feeney converted and/or sent off to seminaries, convents and monasteries more than 200 Harvard students in the ten years he spoke and lectured there. One of those is Cardinal Avery Dulles(RIP). Has Jdonnell converted even one person? I wonder and would guess he wouldn’t care as it’s not necessary? Finally, there was a document of so-called excommunication sent to Fr. Feeney. It was not signed by Pope Pius XII but rather by his Secretary of State, Giovani Baptista Montini who later became…? As Pope he tried to undo what he had done. Of course, none of this is known by Jdonnell because he gets his news from the media. All fine as far as it goes. But you would think he would be humble about it.

          • DE-173

            Oh, reductionism. Now what was I saying about your comment history…

            • Jdonnell

              The reductionists are those who refuse to acknowledge the complexity of issues like marriage. The Creed is hardly a reductionist statement.

              • DE-173

                Complexity doesn’t mean ambiguity. I’m married, I know it is “complex”.

                But thanks for admitting that you don’t understand the idea.

          • Desert Sun Art

            Um, no.

          • jacobhalo

            jdonnell, you have much to learn.

          • R. K. Ich

            It is a necessary but not sufficient condition. An Arian could have recited the Apostles’ Creed without batting an eye.

      • jacobhalo

        It is not my view. These were the teachings of the church before Vatican II changed them. I know. I was 19 yrs. old when Vatican II ended. The words I quoted are from Jesus. Vatican II interpreted them differently to placate protestants and Jews. I was in Catholic schools for 12 years and we were taught the unvarnished truths, unlike today. You are getting half truths or no truths at all.

        • Jdonnell

          We were taught lots of half-truths about religion in many parochial schools. Believe me, I know from personal experience. Fr. Leonard Feeney was one of the best known Catholic writers on religion during the 1940s. His pamphlets were to be found in the vestibules of Catholic churches all over the country. Then, he got a bee in his bonnet and began taking the position you think is that of the Church–that there is no salvation outside it. He was eventually excommunicated. One of the nuns in my school was a great admirer of Feeney’s and used to refer to him in school. I angered her when I told her that Feeney had been excommunicated; she had known nothing about it. Robert Kennedy, for whom I have great admiration, challenged Feeney when he heard him making that argument and walked out of the room of people Feeney was addressing. There are lots of ways that non-Catholics and non-Christians can in effect be doing God’s will and obtaining his salvation. It may be that hell is empty.

          • jacobhalo

            Father Feeney took the position of “no salvation outside the church’? Do you realize that it is still an infallible doctrine of the church, which hasn’t been preached since pre Vatican II. Secondly, Father Feeney was not excommunicated for teaching that infallible doctrine. He was excommunicated for not obeying the pope to come to Rome for a conference. Father Feeney’s excommuication was revoked in the early 1970’s.
            Secondly, that infallible doctrine was taught to us during the 1950’s and early 60’s in Catholic school. We were not allowed in a Protestant church. We were told over and over again that only Catholics could obtain salvation. Read the books, “The Loyolas and the Cabots” and “The Gates of Heaven” and read how Father Feeney was railroaded. You will also read the teachings of the church about “no salvation outside the church.” You will read the teachings that you haven’t heard since the pre-Vatican days. Don’t forget the Kennedy family were pro-abortion.

            • Jdonnell

              Fr. Feeney wasn’t “railroaded.” He cracked up over his obsession. I know very well what was taught in some Catholic schools, lots of which was just a caricature of Christianity and Catholicism. Nuns back then were not known for much beyond the rosary. (Note: hyperbole.) The Vatican made a statement about Feeney back in 1949, apropos of “salvation.” Salvation by “desire” is a very broad concept and includes those who have a “disposition” toward living in harmony with a universe that has meaning and value, whether or not they are Catholic, Christian, or even non-believers. If they want to live a good and proper life, they are implicitly expressing a “baptism of desire.” See: http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/sspx-and-salvation-outside-church

              • ForChristAlone

                ah, america mag…

                • Jdonnell

                  That’s the way. Shoot the messenger, instead of doing something halfway intelligent like reading the article or making a comment with content.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    America can say nothing to me about Catholicism for the simple fact that it is not a Catholic publication

              • jacobhalo

                American Magazine another left wing publication, which doesn’t tell truths. I can see that you are a cafeteria catholic.

                • jacobhalo

                  Do you agree with abortion, same sex marriage?

                • Jdonnell

                  America is a slightly left of center mag., and only “left wing” to a political Neanderthal. America supports actions in keeping with the Beatitudes, which is why some see it as left.

              • jacobhalo

                Living in harmony with the universe and you can be saved? I hear people say that they are not religious but they are spiritual. I can separate the two. Yes baptism of desire is relegated to those who never had the chance to be baptized. Jdonnell, please do not call yourself a Catholic. Secondly, since Vatican II, priest told me that the church reinterpreted “no salvation outside the church, because the original was incorrectly interpreted. This is the way that Vatican II changed the teachings without changing the wording.

                • jacobhalo

                  I notice that you can’t refute my quotations from the popes concerning, No salvation…

              • jacobhalo

                The dogma of “outside the church…” never said anything about the baptism of desire or blood. That was added centuries later, and I agree with it. Father Feeney was teaching what the dogma said, not more or less. You will have to show me, not someones opinion but direct me to the magasterium of the church and show me where is say we can be saved by”living in harmony with the universe that has meaning and value.” Why would one want to be a Catholic or even a Christian if you can be saved by nature itself?

              • jacobhalo

                I believe the ex-editor of America magazine recently agreed with Cardinal Kasper concerning communion to divorced and remarried. I can see what kind of “Catholic” that you are. Pick and choose Catholic.

              • jacobhalo

                What part of the infallible doctrine don’t you believe in

              • jacobhalo

                Why don’t you read the books that I’ve suggested and get a balanced view.

              • jacobhalo

                Here are some quotes from popes and saints. There is only one universal church of the faithful, outside which there is absolutely not salvation. “IV Lateran Council; It is a sin to believe there is salvation outside the Catholic church. Pope Pius IX; If any man does not enter the church, or if any man departs from it, he if far from hope of life and salvation. Pope Pius XI; There is no entering salvation outside of the church, just as in the time of the Deluge there was none outside the Ark which denotes the church. Pope John Paul II; I profess that outside the Catholic church no one is saved. Pope Sylvester II; The House of God is but one, and no one can have salvation except in the church. St. Cyprian; The ship of the Church is guided by Christ and His Vicar. It alone carries the disciples, and receives Christ. …Salvation is solely in the church;outside it one perishes. Pope John Paul I.
                There are plenty more, so your concept of who can be saved goes down the drain. These quotes were taken from the Apostolic Digest.

          • jacobhalo

            Look up the infallible doctrines of “no salvation outside the church”
            Fourth Lateran Council Pope Innocent III 1215;Pope Boniface VIII “Bull Unam Santam”1302;Pope Eugene iv Bull Cantate Domino 1441. They are infallible doctrines that were preached many, many times to us in Catholic schools before the Vatican II disaster.

          • jacobhalo

            Read the “Athanasian Creed” The first paragraph “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith;unless each one preserves the whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.” Last paragraph. “This is the Catholic faith; unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”
            Now, the infallible doctrines were written well before Luther’s Revolt in 1517. Now, we include all Christians, but Jews and Muslims and other religions cannot be saved unless they take Jesus Christ as their savior. Of course, those who never knew or never had the chance to know the teachings are exempt.

          • jacobhalo

            It was the Jesuits at Boston College, where Father Feeney taught, who were preaching heresy. They said that anyone could be saved. Father Feeney said, no they can’t. The pope, a Jesuit, has also said that anyone can be saved. Again, no they cannot, unless they take Jesus as their savior.

          • DE-173

            “Robert Kennedy, for whom I have great admiration,”
            If you only understood how you impeach your own credibility with a statement like that.

            • ForChristAlone

              Am I correct that this is the Massachusetts born and bred politician who ran for the Senate from New York where he’d never lived? I recall too as a young man hearing a word used to describe him that I’d never heard used before and had to go ‘look it up’ – OPPORTUNIST.

          • jacobhalo

            Pope Pius IX. Neither the true faith nor eternal salvation is to be found outside the Holy Catholic church; Pius X. The church alone is the depository of truth; Lactantius. The Catholic church alone is the source of truth. If any man does not enter it, or if any man departs from it, he is far from the hope and life and salvation; “The sense of Scripture can be found incorrupt nowhere outside the Catholic church. Pope Leo XIII; Those who are seeking the true religion will never find it outside the Catholic church alone, because every other religion, if they trace it up to the author, they will find some imposter…Alphonsus Maria Liguori; Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves a single article of faith. All those who deny one article of faith, regardless of their reason, are in fact excommunicated. Hence, he who does not adhere to everything Jesus Christ has prescribed for our salvation does not have any more of the doctrine of Jesus Christ than the pagans, Jews, or Mohammedans. St. Thomas Aquinas. all quotes taken from “Apostolic digest”Michael Malone, editor

      • jacobhalo

        Don’t you believe Jesus when He said, “the only way to the father is through me” or to the Jews, ” If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your own sins.” or Those who are baptized and believe will be saved. Those are don’t believe are already condemned.” They are straight forward quotes. These are the quotes that I heard constantly in Catholic school and on the pulpit. Don’t tell me they are not Catholic teachings. Apparently, you are a post-Vatican baby and never heard the truths.

        • Jdonnell

          I am very familiar with that mistaken view. I should have mentioned in my preceding comment that Feeney was excommunicated in the early 1950s for taking the view that there was no salvation outside the Church–that is, this was long before Vatican II.

          • jacobhalo

            He was not excommunicated for teaching “no salvation outside the church, which is an infallible doctrine. He was excommunicated for not going to Rome and meet with the pope who ordered him there. The doctrine is still in force, but you won’t hear these mush mouth popes since Vatican II utter it.

            • Jdonnell

              You are simply being evasive or are confused. F. was summoned to Rome because he wouldn’t retract his position on salvation. He was being summoned there to retract but refused to go. Ergo, he was excommunicated for his erroneous view of salvation. I referenced a text from the Vatican on the issue in my earlier email. It quotes from a Vatican letter to the Bp. of Boston in 1949, re. the position F., had taken. As is the case with most Vatican diplomacy, it does not mention names.

              • jacobhalo

                Why would he retracted a infallible dogma? There has to be more to it.

                • Jdonnell

                  Try reading the statement, instead of asking inane questions. I’ve said enough to you. You don’t want to think but simply to reiterate a clearly wrong view. I’ve offered a site to show you that, but apparently you aren’t interested. Goodbye. Peace.

              • John MacGovern

                You don’t know what you are talking about regarding Fr. Leonard Feeney. In addition, this back and forth is off the topic. Go to Mass, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, say the Rosary and all will be well. But please don’t smear a good and brave priest.

                • Jdonnell

                  It’s no “smear” to state the fact that Fr. Feeney was excommunicated. He was also disobedient in refusing to obey a summons to the Vatican. He was also kicked out of the Jesuits. Want more?

                  • John MacGovern

                    You don’t know what you’re talking about. I do. Does not mean everything you write is false. However, I have no intention of clarifying things.

                    • Jdonnell

                      Your empty comment, in all its priggishness, says nothing. I offered facts; you provide bluster.

          • jacobhalo

            Mistaken View? That is an infallible doctrine. Look it up.

          • jacobhalo

            “Taking the view” You should seek another denomination or just be in harmony with nature and you will be saved. You are “out of it” kid.

          • jacobhalo

            How could Father Feeney be excommunicated for teaching an infallible doctrine. Just take a look at the quotes that I posted.

      • jacobhalo

        “The Catholic church alone is the Body of Christ… the entrance to salvation is open to no one outside the Church.” Pope Paul VI. read the rest of the quotes and you will see that Father Feeney taught truth.

  • chanel3

    I totally disagree with Sean Fitzpatrick and like Cardinal Burke I think a statement from Pope Francis upholding Catholic teaching on marriage, homosexuality, etc, is long overdue.

    • ForChristAlone

      In Mr Fitzpatrick’s world I would guess that he would object to Cardinal Burke having said what he did about the Pope needing to clarify the misimpressions of Catholic dogma promulgated by the relatio. If Burke could advise the Pope, why not Longenecker. If Longenecker, why not the sensus fidelium?

    • FernieV

      The Pope has not changed any iota on the teaching of the Magisterium on any topic. The press will tell you otherwise but his addresses and two encyclicals are Catholic doctrine 100%.

      • Dick Prudlo

        what encyclicals?

      • Except, of course, for that long distance absolution without repentance.

        • John MacGovern

          He(the Pope) ought to stop giving press conferences in the back of airplanes unless of course he is deliberately sowing muddle-headed confusion. Thank God, no encyclicals. Raymond Burke for Pope!!!

          • There is the Apostolic Exhortation. And the encyclical that Pope Benedict wrote, and he edited.

            Also, I think you’re giving short shrift to the interview on the plane- unlike what all the media has been saying about it, the question was about the Sacrament of Confession and a single priest, not about acceptance of homosexuals in general.

            • John MacGovern

              I meant exactly what I said. I hope and pray we should give “short shrift” to his words on the plane as they are causing great scandal. And, as I still believe, he did not intend to do that. Though, with certain appointments he has made to high office, and those he has removed, I am not now sure.

              • I’m saying that instead of denying his words on the plane, we should translate the original reporter’s question as well, and shout it to the highest heaven: IF a man is willing to repent of past sin and follow Christ with all of his heart, mind and soul, then who are we to judge?

                Repentance is required for us to stop judging.

        • jacobhalo

          In a way, it is good that he gives press conference “off the cuff” because we can really hear what he believes, and it sure isn’t in some of the church teachings. If he had a prepared text, he would be able to think more before he wrote.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Would it not be more in keeping with the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, if this took the form of an Apostolic Exhortation, at the conclusion of the Ordinary Synod in 2015, as an expression of the collegiality of the Apostolic College

  • Objectivetruth

    Excellent responses, Sean and Father. My thoughts are let’s give it a couple of weeks and wait and see where the Holy Spirit is leading all of this.

    And if I can take Crisis Magazine and it’s editors to task, and take a little bit of a tangent:

    Way too many articles on “gays”, and “gay” marriage. Yes, it is a concern to the Church. But I’m concerned your purpose is to attract “eyeballs” to your site with controversial articles and exploding comment boxes (of which I myself am guilty, mea culpa) for the sake of advertising revenue. I get it, people visiting a site are important for survival from a business aspect. Articles concerning “gays” bring out raw emotions, and also expanded market demographics. I hope these articles are not part of your business plan.

    Let’s put it in perspective: if I’m correct, only approximately 3% of the population is homosexual. How about more more articles on Crisis that pertain to the other 97%? For example, the Holy Father has spoken clearly on many occasions on the existence of satan, the devil. He has spoken much on sin and its impact on our lives. He has spoken much on the negative effects of materialism. How about more articles on what Pope Francis has to say on those topics? Again, “gay” marriage, the acceptance of the “gay” lifestyle in our society is a moral issue to the Church, and does need to be addressed. And the Church teachings on homosexuality can not change. But the reader of Crisis is far, far more likely of running in to a Catholic during their day justifying adultery, abortion, contraception, IVF/surrogacy, etc. than having contact with a “gay” couple. It’s like my house is on fire but I’m in my backyard yelling at the neighbor because his dog took a poop on my gardenias.

    Thanks for my tangental rant. As far as the synod, the only real impact we can have is through our rosary and sacrifices.

    • Joe Smalley

      Unfortunately, it is not the “Holy Spirit” that is at work but the “Evil Spirit”! And it’s been going on for over fifty years. But let’s give it a couple of more weeks.

      • GG

        And your point is on target. When was the last time we saw what is happening now? Cardinals opposing Cardinals? Reports made public that do not reflect Church teaching?

        And many public Catholics claiming nothing to see here. Move along. What???

        • Objectivetruth

          I’m as shocked and dismayed as anyone of what came out of the synod the other day. My point is for now, let’s give it a couple weeks/months and see what fruits it yields. The synod has not given its final review, and it looks like good and faithful bishops are pushing back. This is the way it’s worked for 2,000 years. Let’s be reassured that Christ promised that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against His Church. He guaranteed satan would not prevail, but never promised His holy Church would not be constantly attacked by the evil one. And I believe this Church is definitely under a full frontal assault by the demonic.

          But have faith fellow soldiers that every time you look at the crucifix on your rosary, the war has been won! Discourse on this topic is good and healthy, but prayer will go farther!

          • GG

            As some Cardinals have said the damage is done. Whatever is now done will be viewed as damage control. I do not think people lack faith, in fact , it is because of their strong faith they are now speaking publicly. The good Cardinals need to know the faithful are not credulous and that they have strong support.

            • Objectivetruth

              Good point….amen.

        • jacobhalo

          There wasn’t any bickering among Cardinals pre Vatican II days, because the pope was the supreme Pontiff. What he said, goes. Today, we have collegiality.

    • Mary

      I’m not sure there would be so many homosexuals except that there are so many broken heterosexual traditional marriages. Rather than wondering “Did I marry the right person?” each should think: “How can I love the one I found?”

      • ForChristAlone

        This is an excellent point. I wonder if there is an association between the dissolution of the family in Western society and the incidence of homosexuality.

        • bbrown

          “The Public Discourse” has many excellent articles that discuss the connections. It’s a branch of the Witherspoon Fellowship and a great place to keep up on family and life issues. I read every article they put out……
          http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/

          • ForChristAlone

            thanks

    • FernieV

      I think you are exaggerating: there are not that many articles on gay issues.
      Like you, I think we have to move on from talking about these unfortunate individuals all the time, for we may be playing into their hands. Your advise to broaden the topics is very good.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        I live in New Jersey, and Tuesday morning’s Newark Star-Ledger trumpeted in a bold front page headline: SEISMIC SHIFT. And that’s no exaggeration.

        • jacobhalo

          Yes, the Phila. Inquirer has the same headlines. It is more wishful thinking that fact.

    • ForChristAlone

      Yet, how many other Catholic websites would have the courage to “air” controversial topics such as that of homosexuality which is a clear menace to any morality left in society – a menace grossly disproportionate to the number of homosexuals out there? To answer my own question: few to none. How many homilies have you heard from the pulpit on the sin of homosexual acts? My guess is “none”.

      I guess it can seem like overkill at times but if Crisis does not present the Catholic claims about homosexuality, where will you go for any discussion about it?

      • Objectivetruth

        Good point, FCA……..

      • Charlie Petrizzo

        I think the topic of sodomy ( I don’t like to refer to it as homosexuality because doing so can confuse the truth of the issue) needs all the attention it can muster.

        In my humble opinion I believe the sin of sodomy and the confusion and divineness it is causing within the church needs to be front and center because it is the only sin our culture seems to be “hell bent” on trying to justify for the sake of placating a very angry segment of the population. It is a segment go the population ( despite it begin a small number) that does a great job of trying to “bully” others who won’t succumb to their way of thinking in regard to this matter.

        The evil of sodomy ( because that is the only thing that defines what some ignorantly refer to as homosexuality is- sodomy, or the disordered desire to place a penis in another man’s rectum) and those who support it, have the Bride of Christ, divided and walking on egg shells.

        It is a pathetic and disgusting sight. Worse yet, those in positions of authority in the church try to pas off the church’s handling of this sin “that cries out to heaven with a vengeance” in such a nuanced way as being charitable and accepting. Charitable? Accepting? I question whether some of the bishops even believe any more that people engaging in sodomy, whether such an inclination is hereditary in nature or by choice, are headed to hell unless they cease from engaging in the act. We as catholics didn’t create this truth, God did, and they as the shepherds of God’s flock, and we ads believers of the teachings of the one true church of Christ are supposed to evangelize or carry the truth to everyone, as hard and uncomfortable as delivering that truth may make us in giving it or as mad as it may make the recipient in receiving it. Note to Bishops: There are rules to being a member of this body. If one member is sick the illness can spread to all members.

        The nuanced talk on the issue of sodomy and attempts at charity are actually just the opposite of what they intended to be. They are uncharitable acts that may cause souls to end up in hell due to the lack of courage on the part of those charged with imparting the truth on all matters in clear and unambiguous terms irrespective of the potential fallout.

        In spite of how small a percentage of the population sodomites may be, their voice and message carry as if it were representative of a much larger group. The problem is that since the 1970’s when the disorder of “Homosexuality” was removed from the DSM II manual of psychiatric disorders that the lobby behind it has spent millions ( including the hiring of a top Madison Avenue ad agency) confusing the rest of society relative to this sin by coming up with words ( can you say “Gay” ) and symbols that present the sodomitical lifestyle as one filled with joy. (Rainbow anyone)
        Unfortunately the Bride of Christ, either because of the fact that many of the men in power in her ranks were engaged in practice of the sin and/or in an attempt to reflect a posture of “acceptance” has never been firm enough in her language and actions with respect to tis particular sin. It must be understdod that this is the only sin that has an extremely vocal group that does its very best to “normalize” the act or do their best to get others to believe and accept that it is not a sin at all. Can you imagine a call or a lobby for trying to rationalize or normalize the act of thievery or coveting one’s neighbor’s wife? Can you imagine the church in her attempt not to offend a certain group of people trying to find a way to construct a rationalization for how thieves or adulterers might bring some good to the church? This is absolutely insane. Their must be a reason for such insanity. What can it stem from? Dare I say it may potentially stem from the fact that some bishops truly no longer view it as a sin. Could it be because some bishops actively engaged in the practice of sodomy or were engaged in it at one time and now must protect past secrets from potential exposure? This is just pure speculation as to why we tread so lightly in relation to a subject that is plain and simply pure evil.

        Finally, I wish people would stop using the word homosexual to describe people who engage in sodomy. The word homosexual didn’t come into being until after the civil war. God created us human beings in one of two ways; man and woman.

        Every man and every woman is born with original sin. THe catholic church accepts in her bosom every man and woman- because of the fax that we are all sinners and the church is a hospital for sinners. WHat the catholic church does not accept are some of the actions of the individual men or women that are embers of her body. One of those acts that the church will not condone, among many acts that are disordered, is sodomy.

        A man or woman who chooses to partake in a disordered sexual act is no more a sinner then anyone else who sins. It man who lies is a liar. A man who steals is a thief. A man who has sexual relations with a woman outside of marriage is an adulterer. A man who drinks too much is a drunkard and a man who has sex with other men is a sodomite.

        The greatest sin in all of this is that some bishops and priests are afraid to talk in this simple but truthful way because it might hurt someone’s feelings or chase them away front the church.

        Too bad! Catholicism is not an easy “club” to be a member of…and it shouldn’t be given what the “club founder” suffered so that those of us who believe in Him, what he taught and what He promised could be “members”.

        • ForChristAlone

          I understand and agree completely. We should appeal to our priests to provide homilies on the sin of sodomy and then there will need be no references to “homosexuality” at all – especially since some heteros also practice the act.

      • jacobhalo

        At my parish, a traditional Latin mass parish, we hear sermons on homosexuality, abortion, same sex marriage, sin, hell, the devil.
        The Novus Ordo clerics say if they talk about them, some of the congregation would leave. Well, I would like to inform them that since Vatican II became the church of nice, many Catholic do not attend mass, about 24% do. In my Latin mass parish, we have 0ver a 95% attendance rate, with these issues being preach.

        • ForChristAlone

          what parish is it? I might move

          • jacobhalo

            Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ There is a website materecclesiae.org.

    • bbrown

      But, the gay agenda is undermining every area of concern that you mention. The family is the foundation of all of society and has been through all of Christendom. We live in a time of grave existential crisis, where the very root of the good and the true are under an overwhelming onslaught. There is no area more important than the undermining of the traditional family. It’s all tied together, but starts with the individual and the family. That 3% seems to be setting the agenda for every major culture forming institution in the western world – education, the arts, media, music, state and federal government, the courts, etc.

      • Objectivetruth

        True.

        But where we need to also focus on is the approval of abortion, contraception, IVF, no fault divorce, for example. These (along with the proliferation and approval of the gay lifestyle) have undermined the family. How many Catholics processing up to communion are on the pill? Or don’t feel that abortion is a big issue?

        Like many here, I agree the Holy Father does need to clearly call out these sins as sins. Correction first, pastoral second.

        • The Jesuit way seems to be “Pastoral first, Correction Never”

          • R. K. Ich

            Leftist catholics have robbed the word “pastoral” akin to the way same-sex attracted folk hijacked the word “gay”. However, It’s even more deceptive in the former case because it’s not a euphemism for anything — it’s a shepherding metaphor turned upside down.

        • John200

          Justice first, mercy to follow closely. It was designed that way.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      But you need to acknowledge the extent to which the “gay agenda” is such an obsession among liberal secularists, especially the secular media and educational institutions.

      Colleges and universities are joyfully observing LGBT History Month right now, as are many K-12 schools, to the relentless, almost Stalinist drumbeat of tolerance, tolerance, tolerance and against bigots, bigots, bigots. The NY Times and other secular media outlets occasionally have a day when there’s NOT something about “gays” on the front page, bu that’s rare indeed. Hollywood’s been on board for some time, of course as sitcoms and every other type of entertainment regularly feature homosexual characters who are bravely coping with the terrible hatred directed at them by us mean, mean religious nutjobs. Well now, even our Pope is telling us that we need to be more “tolerant and Inclusive,” etc., etc., etc.

      And if that’s not what he really said, he’s not giving us much help in countering that impression

      • Objectivetruth

        I agree. I wish the pope would clearly come out and firmly say “Living the gay lifestyle and committing homosexual acts are mortal sins, and if unrepented, can put you in hell.” Let the chips fall from there. Let the discussion start there.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          What did the Apostles preach? It is well documented in Acts

          They proclaimed

          (1) the age of fulfilment has dawned, the “latter days” foretold by the prophets (Acts 2:16; 3:18, 24); (2) this has taken place through the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ;

          (3) by virtue of the resurrection Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic head of the new Israel (Acts 2:33-36; 4:11; 5:31);

          (4) the Holy Spirit in the Church is the sign of Christ’s present power and glory (Acts 2:17-21, 33; 5:32);

          (5) the Messianic Age will reach its consummation in the return of Christ (Acts 3:20; 10:42);

          (6) the preaching of the good news closes with an appeal for repentance, the offer of forgiveness and of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19, 25; 4:12; 5:31; 10:43).

          In other words, their preaching was categorical, not argumentative; concrete, not abstract; concerned with facts and actions and, above all, with a Person; not with ideas or notions or reflections.

          Perhaps the Holy Father should take a leaf out of their book

        • R. K. Ich

          “Can” should be “will” – or more biblically, one is “already condemned.”
          Otherwise, perfect!

        • jacobhalo

          The pope isn’t going to say that. The pope says that the gays have gifts to bring to the church.

          • R. K. Ich

            I have a propensity to lose my cool– what gifts can I bring to the Church?

            • Objectivetruth

              How about those with a propensity to steal, commit adultery. They have gifts to bring don’t, they?

    • John MacGovern

      I agree. I love the original article by Fr. Longenecker and would love some more on the great Doctors and Fathers of the Church.

    • Crisiseditor

      You make an interesting point. It is true that homosexuals make up a small percentage of the population yet attract a disproportionately large amount of attention. The reason is that our cultural elites have decided to take up their cause and so the gay agenda is pushed relentlessly. As a publication devoted largely to addressing topical subjects, we naturally respond to these challenges. Yes, we do address more timeless subjects and publish more upbeat stories when we run across them, but we find that our readers would like us to address timely and relevant news too. In terms of our business strategy, all we are doing is trying to fill a void by addressing subjects often neglected by other Catholic sites. Our success depends on meeting a felt need among the Catholic reading public. If we are no different than everyone else, it is hard to justify our existence. Also keep in mind that the sermons of Pope Francis should not be newsworthy because the message of Christ should not surprise anyone who reads Crisis. It should be old hat, standard fare. And finally, we do address other social problems but they may not take center stage because there are fewer public advocates for these practices in the press. There is no adultery or divorce lobby for example. Nevertheless, we will continue to address all the problems you list.

      • Objectivetruth

        OK, thank you!

        And I’m a huge fan. You guys do a fantastic job!

  • GG

    Is this a parody?

    I get that spin is in among the soft right crowd, but intellectual honesty is called for. To misread the current events coming from Rome is so bizarre and how on earth can one take you seriously?

    • bbrown

      Please clarify.

  • joelfago

    Pope Francis is offering only half the truth on homosexuals and homosexuality, and that is not the Truth.

    • jacobhalo

      This pope is a disaster!!

  • prsmusic

    As a fairly recent convert, I am a bit confused about why there is a discussion at all. In 1 Corinthians 5, St. Paul makes clear what the Holy Spirit says about such matters. And since 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 states ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, then are we saying that the God is changing? In spite of the Scripture saying Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever? (Heb. 13:8). I am befuddled by what I have seen, since I came into the Church on the basis of the biblical foundation I saw in the Sacraments.

    • FernieV

      The Church is divine, founded by Christ, but it is also human, made up, on Earth, by men and women of flesh and blood, who are subjected to all the evils that the world is currently suffering from (hedonism, materialism, and several other “isms”). And these evils have also infected some among the clergy. But Christ promise to be with the Church till the end of time gives us the conviction that all the storms will pass. The means of holiness that the Church offers, sacraments and prayer, have always been there. And will always be there. Our Mother the Church leads us safely through the storms of this life till we reach the Life.

      • bbrown

        Yes, but it actually appears that the pope is interfering with the sacraments.

    • jacobhalo

      As Pope Paul said, the smoke of satan has entered the chamber.

    • frbob

      you are right in you seeking the truth. there is confusion being given but only listen to what the Church teaches. as St. John Paul said in Mexico City “there is no descent in the Catholic Church” so don’t listen to the decenters.

  • Austin

    Also, Pope Francis publically criticized Pope Benedict about the Regensburg speech. You could say he welcomes criticisms, if his example is a guide.

    • HenryBowers

      Regensburg was a philosophical lecture, not one on faith and morals. Therefore, the faithful may (however unwisely) disagree with it.

      • JP

        Ergo, it is okay to critique a Pope who teaches Orthodoxy. The Synod is considering a wholesale upheaval in Catholic morality that not only goes against 2000 years of Tradition, but the Gospels themselves. We should remain meek, mild, and yell out, “Bravo!” and ignore the evil that permeates from Paragraphs 47-51 of the Interim Report.

        See what Cdl Mueller said of the Synod’s report. His language was stronger than 90% of what the commenters say here.

        • HenryBowers

          A cardinal criticizing a pope is different than a layman criticizing a pope. Orthodoxy was not in question at Regensberg. You’re trumping up incidentals to make an ambiguous non-point.

          • DE-173

            Actually my biggest criticism is for the likes of Kasper but this reeks of clericalism.

            • Bob

              Kasper is indeed behind all of these shenanigans. It was less than a year ago that he revealed in an interview that some documents coming out of Vatican II intentionally contained unresolved contradictory statements because it was the only way that the bishops could reach agreement to publish. So confusion was chosen over silence, and we know the disasters that choice led to. And here again, with Kasper pulling the strings right out in public, we have a Relatio that is a mishmash of orthodoxy and dissent, with the excuse that it’s only a “working document.” Kasper and his friends knew exactly what message such a document would spread — and this time, they didn’t even bother to get approval from the bishops at the Synod, as Cdl. Napier testified.

              • DE-173

                I’ve had to stop reading the accounts of Kasper’s activities. I’ve developed a powerful and visceral dislike for him that’s not spiritually, emotionally or physically beneficial.

                • jonnybeeski

                  Sometimes I have that experience when I venture over to NCR. I think I was better off during Lent when I was off the interwebs.

                  • DE-173

                    Hey JB.. I might be venturing over your way for 7:00 Mass a week from Sunday..

                    • jonnybeeski

                      26th? Hmmm, not sure where we’ll be that weekend. St. Michael’s possibly. 1st and 3rd Sundays STM has a ‘mission’ in Bath where they celebrate the Anglican Use, and my son serves at that Mass. He serves daily Mass at the local NO mass, and is in the training program at St. Michael’s! It would be wonderful to meet.

                    • DE-173

                      Yes.

                    • DE-173

                      You could take a short train ride that day.

          • Bob

            We agree, then, that faith and morals are more significant than philosophy. Isn’t it then all the more important that we engage our clergy, including the Pope, on vital matters of faith and morals, like the distortions of doctrine that are deliberately being published in the name of the Synod?

            • HenryBowers

              There are no distortions of doctrine suggested; they are changes in procedure.

              • steve5656546346

                Procedures that make no sense doctrinal–such as the urging of people to commit sacrilege through reception of communion while in a state of mortal sin–impacts the UNDERSTANDING of doctrine…and that is no minor matter!

                • HenryBowers

                  It’s not a mortal sin if their first marriage really is false, but the annulment is practically impossible to establish.

              • DE-173

                What the hell does that even mean?

              • jacobhalo

                You sound like a typical liberal. What procedures?

                • HenryBowers

                  Relieving people of sinful situations when their first marriages are false. Accomplishing baptism when the parents and godparents are clueless. Whether these are the most prudent possible steps is debatable, but they do not change doctrine.

                  • jacobhalo

                    Relieving people of sinful situations when marriages are false is already being done with the annulment process.

                    • HenryBowers

                      What if someone is 30 years into their irregular marriage, and they have a St. Paul-like conversion. They can’t be absolved in the confessional. On top of that, let’s say that when they entered either of their marriages, the witnesses for which are by now dead or unable to be reached, the marriage believed that SSM and contraception were just fine. Does the Church have compelling reason to rectify this situation that is full of possible solutions hard to prove? Regardless of whether someone answers “yes” or “no” to this question, the fact is that doctrine is not being changed if the discipline were to so change.

          • steve5656546346

            It is different, but the laity have a right and duty to stand up when the Pope, or bishops, are communicating the faith in a way that is misleading and confusing.

            • HenryBowers

              And Regensberg was not a communication of the faith . . . so my point stands. Regensberg and Francis’ attitude toward it is completely unrelated to the synod.

              • DE-173

                The problem is that the public criticism didn’t just reflect on the speech, but the then Pope.

                There are people in this world, that if Pope, would have called Cardinal Bergoglio to Rome, ripped him “a new one” and given him a an assignment that would have ensured his effectual disappearance after that. The argument could be made that it was self-aggrandizing and insubordinate.

                • HenryBowers

                  And what does that have to do with ministering to irregular families?

  • Robert Leblanc

    “I ask, is it teamwork to caution and criticize the Supreme Pontiff, however respectfully?”

    Well, Catherine of Siena thought so.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      And as St. Paul rebuked Peter.

      • Fred

        And Jesus rebuked Peter …

        • Catholic pilgrim

          Yes, but He rebuked Peter who had not yet had his rowdy heart fully warmed by the Light of Christ (which is why Peter rejected & denied Jesus three times & cowardly ran away). After His Resurrection (at Pentecost), St. Peter was completely sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit (like we are too at our own Confirmations). After the Resurrection, our Lord never rebuked St. Peter; this is an important distinction.

          • ForChristAlone

            so you’re saying that after the resurrection Peter never sinned? And if he might have, Christ would certainly have rebuked him.

            • Catholic pilgrim

              Witnessing the glorious Resurrection after all the emotional/psychological ordeal & sobbing Peter must have endured on Good Friday (in which he betrayed his Lord/Friend thrice, left the scene, & then hearing about Him hanging on some Cross), I doubt St. Peter would have had any urges to sin before the presence of the Risen Christ. And then Christ ascended to Heaven about thirty days later. Could he have sinned in those thirty or so days? Maybe. If he did, would Christ have called Peter “Satan” & rebuked him the way He did in Pre-Resurrection days? I extremely doubt it. It’s not in the Holy Gospels. The Resurrection & Pentecost truly did change Peter. Was he still a flawed man? Yes. Was he sealed with the Holy Spirit in a way he had not been before the Resurrection (when Christ even called him “Satan”)? Yes. “Peter, do you Love Me?”

              • ForChristAlone

                Just because something is not in the Gospels does NOT discount it having happened. I think you have an inadequate anthropology as a Catholic, do not understand original sin nor concupiscence. Also recall that Jorge said: “Who am I to judge.”

                • Phil Steinacker

                  “I think you have an inadequate anthropology as a Catholic, do not understand original sin nor concupiscence.”

                  You got all that from Catholic pilgrim’s comments?

                  Really?

                  I bite my tongue, lest I imitate your pseudo-prophetic inclinations.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    what does this mean?

                • Catholic pilgrim

                  Thank you for undervaluing my capacities, my dear Christian brother. As to the deep effects of original sin on our nature, I can tell you that after frequently having many lustful, prideful, &/or even cold-hearted thoughts & urges throughout my daily life (even after the date of my Holy Baptism as an infant), I’m more than keenly aware of the meaning of concupiscence (unfortunately). With our awesome, undeserved Savior & His Sacraments, I remain a work in progress.
                  Our Lord rebuking post-Resurrection/Pentecost Peter would have undermined the papacy He had installed. Instead of rebukes, we find Christ (who was about to Ascend to Heaven) repeat to Peter “feed my sheep” (effectively handing over temporal Church leadership to Peter, without any criticisms from our Lord). If rebukes had happened at this point, surely, it would’ve been written.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    Look up the Borgias who, as far as I know, were post-resurrection popes as was Peter. And besides, you have no inside track on whether Peter is saved. The Church makes no such absolute statement about any one human person save Mary.

                • Catholic pilgrim

                  Also, out of respect, it’s Pope Francis, not Jorge. My Mexican uncle is Jorge & he is surely not the pope.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    Your Mexican uncle might make a better pope than Jorge.

          • GaudeteMan

            Beware of wolves.

      • Catholic pilgrim

        In this discussion, we must all remember the distinction between Criticism vs. utter Disobedience. We are allowed to criticize the Supreme Patriarch of Rome, but never utterly disobey him (as he is the Vicar of Christ on Earth). St. Catherine & St. Paul knew the importance of the pope, which is why the would go up to him & beg him & even criticize him; this is allowed (to an extent). Protestants & other heretics simply disobeyed him, left the fullness of Church, & formed their own thing; this is evil.
        We do well to remember the example of St. Francis of Assisi- a radical, who could have easily become a Protestant heretic like Jan Hus & simply abandoned Church Authority, but instead had a devotion to the pope & went to him in humility. St. Francis clearly knew that our loving Christ gave authority to Peter. If you love Christ, you do your best to listen to the pope (however flawed the pope may be or however much one disagrees with him). It’s fitting that St. Francis is finally the namesake of a pope (after centuries).

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          I think everyone here is in agreement, and has listened very closely and respectfully to the Pope. Many of the comments reflect the great sadness of the fact that it’s necessary to make them.

          • Catholic pilgrim

            I agree. Most, if not all, have shown respect, & the situation is indeed disheartening & discouraging. But to some, it sounds like they’re losing all hope, that’s not good.

        • carl12311

          Never disobey him? That is certainly false. The Pope is not a tyrant and we are not slaves. Read St. Thomas or any traditional theologian on the obedience we owe the pope. It has certain, well-defined limits. Just a few: If the pope orders something he has no authority over, if he orders you to sin, if he is destroying the Church, etc.

    • FernieV

      She criticized the Pope in private, by letters and a visit.

      • jacobhalo

        there is a new medium today, the internet. I’m sure the pope is getting many messages.

        • Daniel P

          And some of these messages are promoting disunity in the body of Christ.

          • ForChristAlone

            It’s not the messages that promote the disunity. What promotes disunity is confused teaching and uncertain leadership.

            • LongIslandMichael

              Absolutely correct.

          • GHM_52

            Disunity in the Body of Christ is inevitable. Jesus Himself clearly spoke about Himself as a sign of contradiction. He warned that He would be a divider. There is no possible unity between true disciples of Jesus and those who fully or partially reject His teaching. Either you are with Jesus or you are against Jesus as He Himself declares. Those who are with Jesus will and should be in perpetual disunity with those who are against Jesus.

          • jacobhalo

            Maybe some of the messages are, but I am staying true to the teachings of the church. I am not going to allow heresy unheard.

          • jacobhalo

            It is the Vatican which is causes disunity. Pope Francis and his heretical cardinal are preaching heresy.

          • Phil Steinacker

            There has always been disunity within the Church, especially during times of heresy. Whether open, full-blown heresy actually develops in the Church today is still undetermined, but such prospects are emerging.

          • jacobhalo

            The pope and his modernists are promoting disunity by straying from the church teachings. We are just calling them on it.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          And many of them are no doubt thanking him for his “openness” and “tolerance,” for confirming them in what they’ve already been doing.

          • jacobhalo

            Not according to the Catholic websites I’ve been on, including this one. Many, many more people are critical of the pope. I am very surprised and also very happy.

            • DE-173

              That is NOT a cause for joy.

              • jacobhalo

                Yes it is, because the pope and Cardinal Kasper are teaching heresy.

                • DE-173

                  Assume for the sake of argument you are absolutely correct. How could you possibly prefer a critical flock to orthodox prelates?
                  Sometimes people don’t think, when they write here.

                  • jacobhalo

                    We have every right. “If anyone preaches a gospel, besides which you have received, let him be an anathema.” (Gal.1:9) We don’t have to obey heresies.

                    • DE-173

                      You still don’t get it.

                    • jacobhalo

                      I get it. I just don’t agree with it.

                    • jacobhalo

                      One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to admonish the sinner.

            • the conservative Catholic blogosphere is dwarfed by the number of Jesuits who are thrilled with a Pope who continually exercises the Charitable Interpretation without requesting repentance.

              • jacobhalo

                What the hell do you expect from Jesuits. They have always been rebels.

                • I expect Orthodoxy, same as any other Catholic

                  • jacobhalo

                    I expect it too, but the Jesuits have been rebels since I can remember. The Jesuits railroaded on of its own, Father Feeney, who taught an infallible doctrine with which the Jesuits did not agree.

                    • MHB

                      How far many Jesuits have strayed from their founder, St Ignatius! But we mustn’t lump everyone together and pre judge.

                    • jacobhalo

                      I didn’t say all Jesuits, but if you look at the Jesuits institutions in the USA, many of them have strayed from the church’s teachings. Georgetown, Boston College, St. Joseph U., where my son attended. We have a Jesuit pope who is straying from church teachings.

                    • MHB

                      Where has the Pope strayed from church teachings?

                    • Anthony Zarrella

                      I’m confused, Jacob – in another post on another article, you affirmed belief in baptism of blood and of desire, both of which the Feeneyist heresy denies. How then was Feeney “railroaded” rather than justly rebuked for his refusal to recant that heresy?

                    • jacobhalo

                      Anthony, you are right. Father Feeney taught the doctrine, which did not include the baptism of blood or desire. He was teaching the true doctrine. That was never part of the doctrine. But, I do agree that those who never had the chance to know the teachings of Jesus, and those who never had the chance to be baptized, even though, they wanted to, have a chance for salvation.
                      Father Feeney was not excommunicated for teaching the infallible doctrine. He was excommunicated for not obeying the pope, who ordered him to Rome.

                    • Anthony Zarrella

                      In one breath, you’re saying that Feeney’s doctrine (that there is no baptism of blood or of desire) is “the true doctrine” and in the next, you’re affirming your belief in baptism of blood and of desire… I assume you’re not deliberately and cheerfully labeling yourself a heretic (by professing a doctrine that you know to be divergent from the true doctrine of the Church), so which is it?

                      Are baptism of blood and of desire part of the infallible doctrine of the Church (in which case Feeney was preaching heresy), or are they incompatible with it (in which case you shouldn’t profess them)?

                      Feeney’s doctrines didn’t just “not include” baptism of blood and of desire – he *denied* them.

                      Also, even if his refusal to go to Rome *was* the primary reason for his excommunication, he still would have deserved it, since every priest owes obedience to the Vicar of Christ.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              I am glad for this interest, but very sad that the Pope has sprung this on himself.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        She also lived in a time when very could read or write and when error traveled very slowly. What do you recommend at present when most people are literate enough to absorb bad information instantaneously, but will refuse to probe any further. As the ever prescient Alexander Pope put it in 1711:

        A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
        Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.

        What do we say to those who have tasted, but won’t imbibe a full draft?

      • DE-173

        As I recall a certain Argentine Cardinal took it upon himself to criticize the Roman Pontiff after a speech in Regensburg in 2006 publicly. If Benedict was subject to criticism, Francis should welcome simisimilar criticism about the clarity and judiciousness of his message.

        • TruthWFree

          Do you have a link…that would be an interesting read.

        • TruthWFree

          “Pope Benedict’s statement don’t reflect my own opinions”, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires declared. “These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years”.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/9931030/Pope-Francis-run-in-with-Benedict-XVI-over-the-Prophet-Mohammed.html

          If this is a good quote from Pope Francis, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then criticism of the Pope is acceptable. Any relationship with Islam is a relationship with Satan’s religion which states that Christ never said He is the Son of God and did not die on the cross, both Quran (the allah god’s revelations) lies. Sounds like the Archbishop Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was in favor of courting Islam rather than preaching the Gospels to Muslims to help them get out of the evil religion of Islam. I refuse to believe that soft soaping Islam will gain any Muslim converts to the Light and Truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel teachings. Christ said that they will kill you and claim to be serving God…that’s Islam, Muhammad’s religion.

      • Bill

        Because they were the only means of communication at the time.

    • ML

      You’re not St. Catherine of Siena. Nor are you Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Paul, Augustine or a host of other people men of your ilk love comparing themselves too. It could also easily be turned around, “Judas criticized the mission of the Church.”

      • JayAnderson

        This is such a cop-out response, and we see it all the time.

        Guess what? Catherine, Athanasius, Paul, and Augustine weren’t St. Catherine of Siena, St. Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Paul, or St. Augustine EITHER when they did what they did.

        What good are saints if they aren’t to be emulated in the right circumstances? Why do we even venerate them? Isn’t the purpose to be like them? And yet, whenever someone appeals to their example, they are immediately slapped down with a pejorative “Well, you’re not them.”

        Talk about presumption! How do you know the person to whom you’re speaking and casually dismissing isn’t a future saint?

      • DE-173

        Neither was Catherine St Catherine when she suggested that there was an was an odor of corruption.What is your point?

        • Matt Kososki

          There just might be a difference between rebuking someone in private, when he or she might be more inclined to reform, (Mt 18:15) and where the two of you can charitably discuss the matter; and rashly judging someone in the blogosphere (CCC 2477-2478).

          • Bob

            How about *correctly* judging someone in the blogosphere?

            • Matt Kososki

              I would say look into “detraction” in the Catechism (2477).

              • Bob

                CCC 2477: “He becomes guilty… of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them.” Catholic laymen who are weighing in on the Synod are hardly revealing hidden faults of certain Cardinals; they are drawing attention to the public words and acts of those Cardinals. Defending the truth of Catholic teaching, and the direct words of Christ as given in Holy Scripture, would seem enough of an “objectively valid reason” to point out those public words and actions.

                • Matt Kososki

                  A couple of key points: the Catechism does not distinguish between hidden and public faults in this paragraph. Second, everything that I’ve seen about this Synod has come from second- and third-hand sources, so I have doubts about the veracity of some of these outrageous claims. Our Lord told us that when a brother sins we should speak in private first so that they be more likely to amend, and St. Ignatius of Loyola writes:

                  “Every good Christian ought to be
                  more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement
                  than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other
                  understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former
                  correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try
                  all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that
                  he may be saved” (qtd. in CCC 2478)

                  Honestly, I don’t see how going online to expose how wicked Cardinal So-and-so aides the salvation of anyone’s soul (That IS the point of defending Catholic doctrine, after all).

                  • Bob

                    First, Matt, here’s my answer to your final question: giving additional publicity to the non-Catholic positions which Cardinal Kasper himself has already chosen to publicize widely (otherwise, I wouldn’t know about them) may help uninformed Catholics to be on their guard when they encounter the next statement by this man, perhaps in the secular press. Otherwise, they might assume that because he’s a Cardinal, his words can be trusted to reflect authentic Catholic teaching.

                    Second, if you can get me an appointment with Cardinal Kasper, so that I can privately correct him with love, please do so.

                    Third, there’s another sin to be avoided: complaisance. Read on a little farther in the Catechism, to article 2480: “Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct.” I saw all this unfold before, in the aftermath of Vatican II: we gave bishops and cardinals a free pass, remaining silent when we should have be shouting from the rooftops, as they twisted and even disobeyed the Council’s teachings, severely weakening the Church and leading millions of souls astray. Fool me once, shame on me…

                    • ForChristAlone

                      excellent

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Yes, at that time we were exhorted to “obey” and not ask questions, as some posters here still seem to think we should do.

                    • jacobhalo

                      SSPX has been asking questions for 50 years. Vatican II strayed from the teachings, and they excommunicated SSPX, who have since been brought back.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      Actually, so have many others, such as the founders of this web page and Pope emeritus Benedict. SSPX has made some valid points, but unfortunately has had problems with how it delivers them. More charity would help enormously, I think.

                    • Matt Kososki

                      I agree that it’s necessary to correctly inform fellow Catholics about correct Church teaching when it’s misrepresented. I also argue that the statements of various Church leader should not be misrepresented in any way. That’s why I advocate waiting for the full facts to come forth instead of jumping the gun instead of assuming the worst. I believe this is called the charitable interpretation St. Ignatius of Loyola speaks about.

                      I’m not saying you need to speak to him; write a private letter like St. Catherine of Siena.

                      I’m also not saying that we should encourage or confirm our bishops when they err. Keeping silent until all the facts are in is not complaisance. As I recall, St. Thomas More was silent about King Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn until the very end, but it did not mean he ever consented or approved of the marriage.

          • DE-173

            I don’t see any “rebuke” here, just expressions of frustration.

            • Matt Kososki

              Do you believe that the Holy Spirit preserves the Catholic Church from error (The gates of Hell will not prevail and all that jazz)? If you believe that, then you have nothing to fear or to disturb you. If you’re still feeling skittish, nervous, or confused, pray. Pray for the leadership of the Church that they may be attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, just as you should be even if no synod were being held.

              • DE-173

                I’m with Belloc on Church management.
                We are apparently in the same sort of times as five centuries ago, with Cardinals and Bishops that are bowing to the new Tudor.

              • I used to believe that. Cardinal Kasper and the rest of the Northern European Homophiliac Utopia have shaken my faith in that particular doctrine.

                • jacobhalo

                  Not to worry. That report is in its early stages. The final report has to be written, and it will have none of the none of the heresies that Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper advocate.

                  • I pray not, but I have my doubts.

                    • Matt Kososki

                      So I’m curious how you understand Christ’s promise to Peter that the Gates of Hell will not overcome the Church. It sounds to me like you’re denying a key Catholic dogma!

                    • It is more that a key Catholic dogma I have followed all my life is being directly challenged by this synod. I believe O Lord, help my unbelief! Do not let the gates of Hell prevail against your Church again! Stop this schism before it starts, restore the traditional family in Europe, do not let the homophiliacs take over the world!

                    • GaudeteMan

                      Gates are what fortify a fortress. No army ever fought with gates. The image suggests that it is the Church that is assaulting Satan’s fortress. We have too many Christians who lay down and whimper and whine instead of taking up arms against the enemy (be they within or without).

                    • Matt Kososki

                      So I’m curious how you understand Christ’s promise to Peter that the Gates of Hell will not overcome the Church. It sounds to me like you’re denying a key Catholic dogma!

              • bonaventure

                Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

                Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675

                The above is ALSO part of the deposit of the Church’s faith. Many who appeal to the Holy Spirit to pass the “smoke from hell” (ref. Paul VI) as the Church’s doctrine, forget this teaching — or deliberately ignore it.

                • Matt Kososki

                  Given how many End Times predictions have been made over the centuries and failed to come true, I think we can reasonably assume that these aren’t the End Times (No matter how out-of-context quotes about the “smoke from hell” you cite).

                  • bonaventure

                    (1) My quote is not a prediction of the End Times by a citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church;
                    (2) In biblical theology, the End Times began with the Ascension of Christ. Or even earlier, with his resurrection;
                    (3) Having said the above in number 2, the Catechism is right on target when in comes to specific signs. If the sudden promotion of homosexuality (a very grave sin, called an “abomination” in the Bible) by the highest ranks in the Church is not a sign of something very wrong, then I don’t know what is.

                    For many decades, liberals have tried to force the Church to “read the signs of the times” in order to adapt/adjust her doctrine to these times, i.e., to the spirit of the world. It would be spiritually refreshing if liberals and gullible Christians (who claim to be faithful) instead tried to read the signs of the times as required by biblical theology and the Catechism — i.e., to be ready for the End Times tomorrow, while hopeful that the Lord would let the fallen creation endure for another 10,000 years.

                  • bonaventure

                    (1) My quote is not a prediction of the End Times by a citation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church;
                    (2) In biblical theology, the End Times began with the Ascension of Christ. Or even earlier, with his resurrection;
                    (3) Having said the above in number 2, the Catechism is right on target when in comes to specific signs. If the sudden promotion of homosexuality (a very grave sin, called an “abomination” in the Bible) by the highest ranks in the Church is not a sign of something very wrong, then I don’t know what is.

                    For many decades, liberals have tried to force the Church to “read the signs of the times” in order to adapt/adjust her doctrine to these times, i.e., to the spirit of the world. It would be spiritually refreshing if liberals and gullible Christians (who claim to be faithful) instead tried to read the signs of the times as required by biblical theology and the Catechism — i.e., to be ready for the End Times tomorrow, while hopeful that the Lord would let the fallen creation endure for another 10,000 years.

            • MHB

              Ha! You have a sense of humor DE!

              • DE-173

                I wasn’t trying to be funny here.

      • CCIG

        You know how God sees those people who are defending His Church! Wow, must be wonderful! St. Leblanc sounds good to me, but wonder about a St. ML. Would that be Martin Luther? Guess only God knows (and you, of course).

      • C.Caruana

        Neither I nor you are Christ, should that stop us from trying to imitate him, as he specifically demanded of us, and become Christlike? Please try to be more logical.

      • steve5656546346

        ML, let me ask you this as an example: who did we have to be to object to hour sons (mostly) being molested by a very few priests who were allowed to go from parish to parish doing maximum damage?

        My answer is this: nobody! Any person in the entire world has the right an obligation to oppose sexual abuse of minors!

        So, when the issue is “just” immortal souls, we should keep quiet? The concept of the sense of the faithful refers to the faithful objecting to improper changes and abuses within the Church.

    • musicacre

      St. Catherine was of course first and foremost, very holy, so she had more insight and wisdom to do what she did. A lot of us have strong opinions but find it very hard to renounce ourselves, our comfort, our food, our pleasures etc. Without a lot of fasting and prayer we still feel qualified to advise religious……

      • DE-173

        We aren’t advising.. Kaspar doesn’t even accept the advice of his peers from Africa.

        You remember the old saw about God drawing straight lines with crooked pencils?

        We are the crooked pencils.

    • jacobhalo

      The pope says, “Who am I to Judge?” One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to admonish the sinner. Cardinal Dolan said, when told that Michael Sams “came out” He says, “good for him.” You wonder why many Catholics today are confused?

  • Mary370

    I agree with Fr. Longnecker. I have wanted to totally embrace Pope France but can’t. He needs to start defending the 99 sheep so that the wolves don’t devour us.

    • fredx2

      What is worrying is when a Pope appoints six liberal cardinals to write the final report on the synod because the actual synod is coming to conclusions that are totally in line with Catholic teaching. This appears to be the first evidence of actual mendacity to appear in Pope Francis. Perhaps I am misinterpreting things. But he never stands up for the traditional Catholic, he does have a bit of an acid tongue, which seems to constantly be looking down on someone, and as Longenecker says, he has created such confusion that people have no idea what Catholicism stand for. I have defended him for months, but the funny business at the synod has caused me to think I might have been giving him the benefit of the doubt too much.

      • jacobhalo

        According to Cardinal Kasper, the pope agreed with him about giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics.

  • lifeknight

    Since I read both of these authors, I am immensely interested in their perspectives. However, in order to not criticize the Holy Father, I am taking the advice of someone on this comment page. A year or so ago, someone advised us not to read anything or pay any attention to the machinations coming out of the Vatican, UNLESS AND UNTIL there is an ex-cathedra statement. This was good advice and has kept me out of the confessional—at least for that sin!

    • FernieV

      What is very clear to me is that we should not listen to CNN and their ilk to hear what the Church is teaching! This difficult period have to be lived with a lot of prayer for the shepherds, especially the Holy Father.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        That’s not a problem for most of us posting here. But many, many Catholics get their information from precisely those sources, as do liberal secularists. I’ve already been chided by gleeful colleagues: “See? Even the pope realizes that the Church’s teachings need updating. Why aren’t you following his lead?” Since they aren’t about to read any actual Church pronouncements, what do you suggest I say in response?

        • FernieV

          You may say the truth, that they are not qualified to write on theological matters which are above their pay grade. They are unable to understand issues because they are outsiders.

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            No offense, but I wouldn’t get anywhere with that approach – it would simply evoke condescending amusement. And what about the very serious damage done among many Catholics who aren’t about to listen to tedious and recondite attempts to explain what the Pope “really meant?” I’ll try, of course, but I’m not optimistic.

          • bbrown

            Fernie, That would be like saying: “you are not allowed to use your mind and think”.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “While the assent of faith is not required, a religious submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which either the Supreme Pontiff or the college of Bishops, exercising their authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act. Christ’s faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does not accord with that doctrine.” (Canon 752)

      Of course, the relatio is not a magisterial document at all, merely a discussion paper.

    • bbrown

      “….in order to not criticize the Holy Father…”

      That can be done in charity. It is not necessarily a sin requiring confession. Only you know where your heart and motives lie. It might be a needed act of prudent courage.

  • Daniel P

    It’s obvious that Catholics are allowed to question the Pope. He needs good people challenging him. The real question is whether this should be done IN PUBLIC. That’s more debatable. One needs to be very careful about one’s own motivations, when doing such a thing. Father Longnecker’s form of response was reasonably respectful and reasonably direct, at least, which is more than I can say for 99% of the criticism of Francis I see lately.

    • GG

      Well, you cannot have it both ways. We cannot call for a mess and say impenetrable things, make a liberal Cardinal center stage, stack the Synod with an ad hoc group of liberals to ensure a particular outcome and then say do not say anything in public that is critical.

      I read a lot about conscience and feelings and gradualism so I assume those apply to all or to just a select few?

      • ForChristAlone

        I have been saying ever since the “Who am I to judge comment” that this Pope needs to say a helluva lot less and reflect a helluva lot more on EVERY word that comes out of his mouth. I was never certain at the beginning but am certain now that Bergoglio did not fully understand the influence of the sacred office to which he was called. He seems to have an innate dislike for the power that comes with the office as if power in itself is bad. Let’s face it, Jesus Christ was/is the most powerful person who ever walked the face of this earth. Francis needs to learn that it is not power that is bad but how it is wielded.

        • DE-173

          My late grandmother was a woman who left high school to get a job to help supplement the family income; she always said “chew your words twice, before you spit them out”.
          Oh well, I guess that sort of wisdom and restraint just doesn’t exist anymore among all these men with advanced degrees in theology and philosophy.

    • FernieV

      Attacking the Holy Father IN PUBLIC is not the best way to live unity. We are not St Paul. St Catherine of Sienna criticized the Pope of her time in private (with letters and with a visit). In this way we safeguard the unity of the Church as Christ wants.

      • ForChristAlone

        I have asked for an private audience with the Pope to do just this. No response yet. I’ll tell you when he calls.

        • FernieV

          I pray you succeed!

        • Dick Prudlo

          Precisely.

        • bbrown

          And he has not replied to a single letter that I have written.

          • ForChristAlone

            Maybe I’ll call him and tell him I’ve divorced my wife and remarried and want to go to Holy Communion. Then I’d be on his speed dial list

      • Daniel P

        People seem to want unity on their own terms. “If the Church agrees with me not only about the interpretation of doctrine, but also about the pastoral methods of applying this doctrine, I will be unified with the Church.”

        I understand the fear that the Church’s ministers will make bad decisions, but surely a desire for unity and humility demands more than the above attitude. “Yea, though He slayest me, yet I will trust in Him.” If the gates of hell won’t destroy the Church, then a couple dozen cardinals won’t, either.

        • Brian English

          This is a cop out. We all know Christ will be triumphant in the end. The issue is how many will join Him in His triumph. When we see Church leaders doing foolish things that are likely to damage the Church, we have an obligation to say something about it.

          • Daniel P

            I don’t think I ever denied that, nor did I say that all criticism across the board was divisive or prideful. There’s a balance to be struck here. I think some people err on the side of divisiveness. I did not pick out particular people, and accuse them of that error, however.

            • Brian English

              Well, certainly Fr. Longenecker’s article, which was the catalyst for this discussion, was not divisive or prideful. And while I agree that there is a balance to be struck, I vastly prefer an overzealous response to complacency.

        • bbrown

          Job 13:15 does not refer to the pope.
          The desire for unity as an end in itself can enable much evil when the unity is not focused on what is good, true, and beautiful.

          • Daniel P

            I don’t deny that unity is not the only value. But unity is important to maintain. The Protestant heresy is centrally a heresy against Church unity, as manifested in the fragmentation of Protestant denominations. It is declaring one’s own estimation of the Truth to be superior to the Truth as taught by the heirs of the apostles.

            That is a very real danger, right now.

            • bbrown

              Good points Daniel. It’s a matter of what we are unified around – truth or error.

  • Theoden

    I am another former Anglican priest who swam off the shipwreck of the Episcopal Church onto the barque of Peter. In Canterbury we all wrongly assumed we could somehow offer pastoral “hospitalityand relevance” apart from the doctrinal coherence. Such a dualistic ecclesial and pastoral imagination was of course as Newman said, “a house of cards.” Fr. Dwight has indeed been widely misunderstood in his letter to the Holy Father. None of us sees the sky falling from Rome anytime soon. Still, it is worth saying, as Fr. Dwight bravely did say, that the Successor of Peter alone can rightly define and defend the “seamless garment” of pastoral compassion that enfleshes doctrinal clarity. Holy Father, please
    remember that your pastors must have what Newman rightly called a “definite
    object” which is then animated by Christ-like compassion.

    • DE-173

      Welcome home. Excuse the general lack of order, we are a messy sort.

      • Glenn M. Ricketts

        I think he must have noticed.

        • DE-173

          That was more anadmission of the obvious than a declaration, but I am sure you are right.

          • Glenn M. Ricketts

            Sorry, I actually saw it as a tongue-in-cheek moment that I couldn’t resist. Does’;t always work ,I know.

  • Don

    As one of the faithful flock, I am rather concerned that the Shepherd is more interested in the strays. His words lack precision and clarity, suggesting at times that the faithful have been wandering through the wrong pastures with the two prior Shepherds. To be faithful to the Church, is it not appropriate during a storm to remind the Shepherd where the path home lies?

    • HenryBowers

      Your comment is a truism. Everyone thinks they are one of the “faithful.” They just think it’s a matter of degrees. Even a Muslim told me that he considers his kids Christian because they were born on U.S. soil. I pity you if you don’t need a physician.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        “Everyone thinks they are one of the “faithful.” “

        Fortunately, we have a very simple test. In the words of Mgr Ronald Knox, the “faithful,” “be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”

        • Dick Prudlo

          The question one may ask is the See in communion with itself?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            As Wittgenstein said, “There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is one metre long, nor that it is not one metre long, and that is the standard metre in Paris.”

            • DE-173

              That meter is unreliable. It is now defined by the ,”speed” of light.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                The kilo, then.

                • DE-173

                  Also unreliable. Inexplicable loss of mass. Look outside Paris!

      • Don

        No pity is desired or necessary sir. I know I am a sinner and always in need of grace. That being said, I have acted openly to oppose abortion, do not support gay marriage, attend mass as prescribed, etc. My concern is that the Pope is trying to hard to appease those who have long opposed the Church only to alienate those who have stood firm with the its teachings. (Now if you want to pray for me . . . I would happily accept that!)

        • HenryBowers

          I don’t think Francis is trying to *do* anything for the laity; the synod is for the bishops and priests. The clergy need more flexible options for restoring sheep who are genuinely repentant and in genuinely bogus first marriages. If this were about the laity, it would not be a synod of *bishops.*

        • ForChristAlone

          well said, indeed

        • slainte

          “….My concern is that the Pope is trying to hard to appease those who have long opposed the Church only to alienate those who have stood firm with the its teachings….”
          .
          Reminds one of the parable The Prodigal Son.

  • orientstar

    The roots of the dilemma which this exchange highlights lies in the nineteenth century. In part, obviously, with the Modernist crowd (Cardinal , Bishop Forte etc) but also with the overly sheeplike Ultramontane crowd as well. Pius IX in the Declaration of Infallibility did not just make clear when the authority that adheres to specific Papal pronouncements (ex cathedra/faith and morals) is invoked but by so doing when it is NOT. There have been good Popes and very bad ones (think Alexander vi) but, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Even if the current Magisterium (wherever that is exactly to be located) appears to be deficient we still have some of it (Thank you Cardinal Burke) alongside Scripture and Tradition. The Church is the Body of Christ and always will be. The gates of hell will not prevail. If the current incumbent of the See of Peter is inadequate in your opinion (or you think the last one ran away because he couldn’t hack it) it doesn’t matter there will be another one. We have a clear body of teaching handed down to us. We have to learn, understand, and practice it as best we can in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

  • publiusnj

    Mr. Fitzpatrick asks: “To hold Pope Francis accountable for the unawareness of the world is misplaced. Confusion caused by the pope’s words is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church teaches, and it is not Francis’ fault—but it is his concern. Should he simply not speak out with fervor in an effort to keep the boat from rocking?”

    No, but he needs to listen to the voices that point out what a hash he has been making of things. As Fr. Longenecker notes: “the Holy Father [must] not forget that his main role is that of articulating the faith clearly and simply to his flock and to the world. My experience as a parish priest and a communicator is that this papacy has often brought confusion rather than clarity. The fact that Fr. Lombardi of the Vatican Press Office is continually picking up the pieces after the pope and issuing “clarifications” confirms my point. ”

    The pope’s verbal gaffes are legion and yet he shows little attempt at being more careful. Some therefore accuse him of subversive intent. I try to stay away from mind reading but am dismayed by the results of his ad libs. I am a very ultramontane Catholic who has always taken comfort in the assurance that Jesus remains with us–most especially with the Petrine Office, with which we should always want to remain in communion (Adversus Haereses 3:3:2). However, there have been times throughout the History of the Papacy when popes have needed fraternal (or in the case of Catherine of Siena: sororal) admonition. That is perfectly appropriate behavior for us “sheep.”

    I therefore agree with Fr. Longenecker’s observation above: “Mr. Fitzpatrick suggests that any criticism of the Holy Father is out of bounds. Surely not. It is part of the responsibility of all the faithful to speak from the heart clearly and openly with respect and submission. Pope Francis himself has asked for a frank debate, plain speaking, honest listening and fraternal conversation. One is not a dissenter or rebel simply by asking honest questions, making a clear point and expressing one’s point of view. The root of the word “obedience” is “to listen” and listening implies a conversation in which both parties listen.”

  • LarryCicero

    If it is the job of the shepherd to leave the ninety-nine to go after the one, it is still the duty of the shepherd to lead the one back with the truth. Jesus did not leave the eleven to go after the one, the one rejected the truth. And in John 6:66 he did not change his teaching to appease those who no longer followed Him. When he expressed anger at the money changers, his anger was justified for what was being done was offensive to God. The Pope needs to be clear on what is truth.

  • BXVI

    I don’t mind saying it. The last thing we need from a Pope right now, in the confused age, is for him to “make a mess”. He sure seems to be doing a fine job of that though.

  • stpetric

    Forgive a brief digression, but: Mr. Fitzpatrick, you’re a teacher of the young! Please get your usage right!

    Your plea that we “consider the enormity of Pope Francis’ mission” becomes deeply ironic when we consider the definition of “enormity”: “noun 1. the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent of something perceived as bad or morally wrong. 2. a grave crime or sin.” Surely, that’s not what you meant to say!

    And throughout your essay you refer to “Rev. Longenecker”. Although admittedly common, that’s bad English. (Do you refer to your mayor, the Honorable John Smith, as “Hon. Smith”?) But surely you know that Catholic priests are addressed as “Father”.

    And before anyone attacks me for raising trivial questions, I acknowledge up front that these are not matters of cosmic importance. BUT…if we’re going to teach the young, let’s teach them right!

    • APtrained

      According to the AP Stylebook, the bible for journalism, member of the clergy are referred to as “Rev.”

    • Daniel P

      “Large size” is an acceptable meaning of “enormity.” I’ve checked several dictionaries.

    • ForChristAlone

      Exactly. Back to basics. It’s a problem today that we can delve into lofty discussions on metaphysics but we have difficulty getting subject-predicate agreement correct.

    • Watosh

      Interesting observation, I am so accustomed to Protestant ministers being addressed as Rev., that I wondered in reading the article if the “Rev Longenecker was a Protestant, which struck me as odd, so I looked for the reference to the good “Rev Longenecker” and was puzzled to see that he was a Catholic priest. In all my years in reading references to the clergy, I don’t recall ever seeing a Catholic priest addressed as “Rev,” except sometimes in an formal title in an address. Oh I am sure this has happened, but most generally, this difference in titles was used to distinguish between Catholic clergy and Protestant clergy. Now this may be according to the AP stylebook, but it was not commonly used by Catholic writers. I expect the AP Stylebook lists the usage of BCE rather than BC, but I have not accepted that change myself Not that his is of critical importance, still having seen how the distinguishing of Catholics has been gradually extinguished, I look with some alarm when I see another instance of it. Like when some Catholic prelate refers to something that happened in the BCE, like when the ban on eating meat on Friday was lifted. Yes, yes, this is not a big deal, but it appears that forces are at work to bring unity about by erasing differences between Christians by ignoring meaningful differences, and this alarms me.

      • ForChristAlone

        When I was in elementary grade Catholic school, the religious sisters taught us that when you are writing a formal letter, in this case to a Catholic priest, you would use the salutation “Reverend so and so” or “Reverend Father so and so.” But in everyday usage, we commonly address, in person or by reference, a Catholic priest simply as “Father.”

        I guess since Vatican II and the protestantization of the Catholic Church we have forgotten our heritage. It came down to this: “It’s just how we Catholics do things.”

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          In Scotland, diocesan priests are formally referred to as “the Reverend Mr (or Dr) Smith and religious priests as Fr Anselm.
          The Italian distinction between Don and Padre is the same.

      • bbrown

        Excellent and important observations.
        My points may not be that relevant to this particular issue of “Rev.” vs. Father”, but……

        Evil always works in it’s earliest stages to subtly change the meanings of words. We need to guard the language, for the battle to change minds and ways of viewing reality always begins with definitions and the meanings inherent in language.

  • Objectivetruth

    Ultimately Jesus Christ is in charge of the synod, His bride, the Church. Let us have faith and trust in that simple fact.

    • Daniel P

      Amen!

    • Brian English

      As with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is also not a puppeteer. People reject His counsel for all kinds of selfish reasons. Believing that those in the Church hierarchy are immune from this failing is very dangerous.

    • No, the Lord is not in charge of the synod. Synods are not infallible, only ecumenical councils and the pope – IN UNION WITH THE BISHOPS – are.

  • JP

    “The Synod is a call to consider “concerns which were unheard of until a
    few years ago,” and is bold enough to call attention not only to the
    issue of same-sex ‘marriage’ but also to “the widespread practice of
    cohabitation … presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary …
    forms of feminism hostile to the Church….” and “the influence of the
    media on popular culture in its understanding of marriage and family
    life.” ”

    And what pray tale does “reaching out to homosexuals” have to do with the problems of Catholic families. In order to attract the 2%, the Synod it seems is more than willing to throw the other 98% overboard. In order not to offend spouses who abandoned their family, the Synod is willing to offend the abandoned spouses and children. It is no secret that the Pope is focused on the “marginalized”; but, if the relatio is any indication where he wants to take the Church, then we are all in for a rough ride. This week has been near disaster. Let us pray we all learn from it.

  • Elaine Steffek

    Pope Francis needs to be crystal clear in upholding the Truths of the Church. There is beauty in Truth, and that is what ultimately brings people back into the fold. This is what Cardinal Burke understands and is exhorting his shepherd to remember as well.

  • TERRY

    The secular press is concerned with tomorrow’s stories, the Catholic Church is concerned with the next century.

    • bbrown

      I’d extend that to eternity Terry.

  • Fred

    We’re still discussing this – I’m shocked (ha). As little as I know about all the church’s history, I find some comfort in framing this contemporary dialog in the context of all the turmoil that has existed among us humans trying to execute Christ’s mission since the days he walked with us. I am a pretty conservative minded bloke as you hopefully have come to understand, but I’ll share with you what I have come to perceive. For starters, when I read today’s liturgy I can still see Jesus speaking through Francis again, specifically about stopping those trying to enter. That will insult some, I get it, I know none of us are conscientiously and there have been good rebuts to that. But here is why I feel that way. To me, the mission that Christ gave us was to live by his word and to spread the good news to others. No matter what people say or do or act, I believe most everyone deep inside understands or will come to understand at some point that there is a spiritual dimension to life. Many unfortunately never have anyone there to guide them to God and are lost, so they misplace their trust in government to solve all their problems or never escape sin. I see that too in the those that come here to disrupt when we have topics regarding the gay lifestyle especially. Nobody secure and self-confident would behave that way so the fact that they are here means that they know something isn’t quite right in their lives, though of course they’d never admit it in this forum. So how best do we execute the mission to draw others to him? The first dimension is temporal. All of us came to our relationship with Christ differently, but I would argue that most of us, especially those that aren’t cradle Catholics like me, didn’t just wake up one day with a Eureka moment and say “oh God, I get it”. Without trying to write a novel here, my point is that I think to fulfill that mission we must be full of joy and welcome others to hear God’s word, knowing that all have baggage and are broken and that we are here to help heal. Also important to never forget our own capacity for sin, including pride. I still reflect on the troubled lad that organized the black mass in OK and his retort “that’ll show those self-righteous bastards”. I don’t know anything about him really and I’m sure there’s plenty more to learn about him, but that struck me as yet another who felt repelled by rather than drawn to the church. The reason I bring up temporal dimension is because life is a journey which could end tomorrow or it could be long. Developing people’s relationship with Christ should be viewed as the long game. We all know not everyone will, just as there was then there are stiff necked people today. I’m rambling so let me try to concisely finish. We all have different personality traits that we need to be aware of. Some find comfort in rigid doctrinal discipline while others are drawn to his mercy, I think it is imperative we find a way to live in harmony. I don’t believe for a minute that Francis is uneducated in doctrine, but his calling he has seems to lead us in mercy. I for one am satisfied to have faith and be patient that there is a method to his madness, as foreign as it is to me. If I’m wrong, and the day comes that the church embraces a same sex wedding I will be internally distraught and will likely leave the church.
    So, I do see several dangers. I know there are a great many outsiders who have no desire to come found out about Christ because they see it as cold and unloving by those who are strictly doctrinal ordered or are timid and private. How do we fulfill our mission in getting them to take that first step toward the light? A great many more are put off by what they see as bitter infighting and divisiveness. How do we counter that perspective to get those people to take the first step?

    Part of my journey was waking up way day vomiting in revolt to the scourge that is our modern secular society. Among other things it occurred to me this is not God’s plan and we are rejecting him. I believe that the prince of this world is active everywhere in the world today and loving every minute of it as he drives a wedge between God’s people. I think others will come to see it too, and more if we go out to greet them. I think there is a method in getting people interested and then patiently and lovingly teaching them Christ’s message. We have to remember, much of the world has never heard the good news and their opinions are based on partial and erroneous information including from our secular media.
    Those that know me will read this and say, that doesn’t sound like you – who is this really? I guess I’m developing in my faith and trying the best I can to figure out how best to follow Christ. For the record, Francis does confuse me … too.

    • bbrown

      “….Some find comfort in rigid doctrinal discipline while others are drawn to his mercy….”

      Fred, I appreciate the honest searching. I’d just like to say that I think that mercy is effected through doctrinal discipline. I don’t think these are two poles, but rather are subsumed by each other. It may be ‘a severe mercy’; That is not intolerant but more the opposite.

      • Fred

        I don’t disagree, but I think that’s something you come to understand when you have a profound love for Christ. My point was I guess is that until you get to that state most on the outside don’t see it that way. So, what is the best way to get them there (rhetorical, I’m not sure myself)? There might be a method to the madness to leave the doors open to draw people in which they would be curious to do if they saw joy. Maybe then the process of teaching them can begin with their minds opened a little. We know the church is always welcome – but don’t think about it from your point of view, think about it from the point of view of the lost soul wandering the street.

  • HenryBowers

    Priests were able to “do their job” under PBXVI, but no amount of orthodoxy or leniency will hem in the *willfully* straying sheep. The deeper root of this controversy is what constitutes a human action. The nagging truth is that many marriages are contracted by persons closed to life or in support of SSM, and so the fast-tracking of annulments is a moral imperative, not a liberal convenience. When the sheep do repent, it’s important that priests can absolve them; ergo, procedural change may be necessary, even if doctrinal change cannot be.

  • Maria Gabriela Salvarrey Rodri

    I don’t think it’s a case of leaving the ninety nine behind at all. It’s a case of abandoning the one that’s lost. Here it is a case of sending the message to the one lost that it’s not all that far off. Don’t fret take your time and maybe when your ready if you feel like it you can join us. This approach can only be reasonable if we no longer believe in divine justice or hell. Because if we still believe in divine justice and hell then this approach is nothing short of malicious. Because it may just give that person enough false security for him to waste the precious life time he has left in continual mortal sin that will take him to hell. If we still believe that mortal sin separates us from God and takes us to eternal separation if we die in this state this approach is negligent at best.
    I would like to remind Fitzpatrick also of all the times in history when Popes have
    needed and have received advise from layman and in some of these cases with
    excellent results. One such is Catherine of Siena. What would the church have
    done if it had not been for the courage of Catherine of Siena and others.
    Also I don’t think that the Pope being as he is expects or wants silent mindless
    obedience. Most of the people offering advise are parents good family makers that know volumes of what it takes to discipline and bring someone lovingly back into the fold. Believe me we parents know well of the pain involved in having to discipline someone you love but if you really love them then this pain must be born. This is just one of the sacrifices love must make. It’s easier not to discipline or question but it is not in any case more loving. This is part of what is wrong with the world today. A mistaken idea of what charity implies.

  • Susan

    Christ wants his flock to be UNITED and not divided. Division is the work of satan.
    Humility is the hardest virtue to attain and will not be acquired by speaking ill of Our Holy Father in any way- this is one of the lost beauties of our Catholic Faith: respect and reverence toward all and every priest and religious, specially and above all, the Holy Father.
    Be inspired by Our Holy Father’s love for Christ, by our own apostolate in our individual vocations as disciples of Christ. Pray for one another to be united. When discord is suspected, pray harder but stay united by word and deed!!

    • JP

      I for one would rather keep the focus on the Synod, which by the way, is a reflection of where Pope Francis wishes to take the Church. Pope’s come and go, but the Bride of Christ lives on.

    • The Lord’s flock was divided. Who divided it? Look no further than the heresiarchs of the synod.

  • Murray

    You may as well admit it, Father. Mr Fitzpatrick is surely another of your parody characters, perhaps one designed to humorously highlight the excesses of Mottramism. The little headshot photo is perfectly chosen, too.

    I mean, come on. “Sean Fitzpatrick”, if he really existed, would know as a matter of plain historical fact that the Church has had bad (even near-heretical) popes in the past, and that it would have been seriously harmful to the faithful to insist against all evidence that these men’s errors were perfectly in keeping with Catholic teaching. He would also know that we have no reason to believe that we have left the days of bad popes behind us.

    A real Mr Fitzpatrick would surely address his opponents’ points on their own terms, rather than merely conjuring up flimsy psychological rationales for their opinions. For instance, he would know that the pope’s critics include many men of moderate views and even great theological expertise, who sincerely struggle to reconcile the Holy Father’s many strange statements with Catholic teaching. They are not just reacting irrationally to a mere change in style, as “Fitzpatrick” insinuates.

    Finally, a real “Fitzpatrick” would certainly deal with the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that the “Francis Effect” is converting the world to the Church, in terms of conversions, reversions, Mass attendance, Confession, or a greater understanding and sympathy for Catholic teaching. In fact, the secular world–far from developing a new respect for Catholicism–seems overjoyed at the prospect of the Church converting to its view of things.

    So high marks, Father. Mr Fitzpatrick is a slightly more subtle character than your cartoon journalist, or your parody rad trad, but his arguments are just a little too silly and one-dimensional to be real.

    • DE-173

      Mr. Fitzpatrick is very real.

  • GHM_52

    Sean Fitzpatrick misses the point. The Pope is the ultimate leader of the congregation; he is primary shepherd to all Catholics. Everything he does is keenly observed and dissected by both the enemies of Christ and the lovers of Christ. Therefore, he needs to be especially careful about whom he even appears to favor. Cardinal Kasper’s ideas are simply contrary to the teachings of Christ; therefore, he should not have been given a treatment that, to many, appears preferential. It does not help that the Cardinal, when backed against the wall by those who know how to argue the Faith clearly, testily informs the audience that Pope Francis favors his position and tells him things in confidentiality. The message received by the general population is that Pope Francis shares the gospel according to Cardinal Kasper.. I agree with Cardinal Burke that it is high time for Pope Francis to speak up and correct the misconceptions that Cardinal Kasper and others like him are very publicly disseminating. And no, Mr. Fitzpatrick is dead wrong about fraternal correction of the Pope when necessary. There is a long Church tradition of such corrective action. Look only to the great St. Catherine of Siena. As for Fr. Longenecker, I welcome his articles. He is merely stating a truth: speaking loosely about “welcoming”, “receiving”, “accepting”, etc., serves the purposes of the eternal Enemy of the Church. Those words must be placed and used in the exact context that Christ used them and not remade and repackaged in secular terms as it seems to be the case with some in the Synod starting with Cardinal Kasper. The misuse of those terms further confuses those who are already confused, troubles those who are firm in the Faith and causes trouble for the faithful pastors who are in the trenches.

    • Susan

      “Be especially careful on who (The Pope) he favors”–?
      The Pharisees took this view when Jesus showed interest in sinners…

      • GG

        Facile and incorrect and not applicable.

      • GHM_52

        Susan, you are unwittingly making my point. The sinners to whom Jesus gave preferential treatment were people who recognized the error of their ways and were willing to convert. They did not expect nor demand to be confirmed in their sins by Jesus. It is very wrong of Cardinal Kasper to even suggest that someone living persistently in grave sin could have Communion. That is explicitely contrary to the teaching of Jesus and therefore, something that no Christian should do and much less a Cardinal whose office demands correct teaching. The Pharisees were not favored by Jesus precisely for their refusal to acknowledge the wrongness of their actions and for their obstinate insistence on their “rightfulness”.

  • Darren Szwajkowski

    Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick. One example from Holy Scripture that it is okay, in discussion, to advise or disagree with our Holy Father. Did not St. Paul advise St. Peter when there was disagreement? St. Peter changed his mind and then it became “infallible”. May God bless our Holy Father and priests like Fr. Longenecker who are in the trenches whom our Holy Father needs to hear from the frontline.
    Pope Paul VI got plenty of advice before his encyclical Humanae Vitae. But once he proclaimed it, then others need to follow even when the truth is hard.
    Also, does not our Holy Father have a confessor? Someone that he confides in and gets advice?

  • Susan

    Criticizing The Holy Father shows a forgetfulness of Who is truly in control. It is the Holy Spirit! Do you not ask yourself if we are “being tested” here on how we ought to be reacting to this temptation to “advise” and “correct” the Supreme representative of Christ here on earth?
    The Apostles themselves didn’t always understand all that Jesus said, to the point of Jesus’ telling Peter that he was allowing himself (Peter) to be used by Satan when trying to disagree and prevent Jesus from The Cross. Are these articles tempting us to do like Peter?

    • JP

      I think the Cardinals know perfectly well what is going on. Cardinal Marx, a German Archbishop has been on record as saying that he cannot understand why there are Bishops more aligned with Holy Tradition than the Pope.

      That says it all.

      • Susan

        Perhaps God is truly giving us the opportunity to grow in faith and trust amidst this so called ‘confusion’- the real confusion lies in our individual level of faith. If we know our Catholic faith, there should not be this animosity among fellow Catholics.

        • GG

          Apparently the Cardinals disagree with you. The good ones took to the floor and told the libs no more. They will not be manipulated. Now, my dear, that is the HS working.

    • Brian English

      The Holy Spirit is not a puppet master. People have free will, so excusing every action by Pope Francis by asserting “The Holy Spirit made him do it” is ridiculous.

      • Susan

        The Holy Spirit guides and IS in control. If God allows all this confusion, it is for our own good. He suggest to us to work harder in our spiritual life, to purify our souls, to pray harder, to grow in humility. Our free will is what needs to become docile.

        • Brian English

          No, there is confusion because Pope Francis has made it a habit of saying confusion things and a very confusing document was released from the synod the other day. Those are not good things desired by God, and I doubt very much they occurred through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit acts through reason, not compulsion.

          • Susan

            The Pope’s statements are not confusing. They are simple and clear. Allow him to do his part, pray for him and for the great mission entrusted to him and leave the rest to The Holy Spirit. Why all this anxiety?

            • GG

              Is this a joke?

              • bbrown

                Either that or she is just truly terribly confused. I’m not sure if I can discern which it is. But for sure, what a mess of jaberwocky.

            • Brian English

              Now you are just trolling me. Francis has been simple and clear? And why all this anxiety? I love the Church, and want to see people led towards the truth it imparts, not confirmed in the darkness where they are now living. I also have three young kids, and want them to always be part of a strong (I don’t equate numbers or number of magazine covers with strength) and confident Church that can be a refuge in a world that appears to be getting worse and worse every day.

              • Susan

                And yet the Church has always been persecuted from within and from the outside; that will never change. It is up to the laity as well to be constantly working on our daily and ongoing conversion. Our children will get their foundation and strength of faith through our own example as parents. As long as we have a strong and faithful knowledge of our Catholic Faith, nothing should get in the way of misleading us, not even the clergy. We all have our part to play in this journey toward God, we cannot point fingers or blame others; we must constantly strive to be a light to others, in our deeds and words. Yes, people can be led astray by what the clergy might say or do BUT, the ignorance of our Faith is the ignorance of Christ. We must each do our part whether having been brought up in a lukewarm or a very strong and fervent atmosphere. Sincerity is a difficult accomplishment when it comes to knowing oneself; in getting to know Christ more and more, we come to know ourselves for who we really are: wretched sinners who need God’s grace to go forward in anything. The Church is Christ Himself, we need not be anxious, just know The Word, frequent the Sacraments as often as able and Trust ourselves completely to Our Heavenly Father. He will do the rest to make things right. The Cross we are to carry is only as heavy as our pride allows.

                • Brian English

                  I agree with all you say, but I don’t think you go far enough. We are also called sometimes to act, to oppose evil in the world through words or deeds. Pius V asked Catholics to pray the rosary before Lepanto, but he also put together a fleet to fight the Turks.

        • No really. As St. John of Cross stated, God tries us even at the risk of our failing the test. The test may be for our own good, but its outcome may not be.

    • I have great doubts that Cardinal KKK is following the Holy Spirit.

      • Susan

        He is indeed exercising his free will, right or wrong.

  • Dick Prudlo

    We simply do not yet know what the Hell is going on. It appears that the document issued is one that does not conform to what has been said based on many responses by those who were in attendance. I said, recently that this is more of a Masonic meeting than a meeting of Catholic prelates, it continues to play in that direction.

  • justanotherlittlesoul

    It seems like Mr. Fitzpatrick is forgetting the distinction between criticizing solemnly defined doctrines of the faith (dissent), and weighing in on matters that are up for discussion (legitimate dialogue). Our Holy Father himself has set the tone of open dialogue, not only among the synod fathers, but also among the faithful. Prior to the synod, the Vatican made available an online questionnaire in which any of the lay faithful could participate. Fr. Longenecker is no dissenter; he is respectfully, and obediently, bringing to the Holy Father’s attention legitimate concerns that he faces as a pastor in response to the issues at hand.

  • Jdonnell

    The simple parish priest above is just that–simple. His presumptuous attitude exhibits a narrow mind, in desperate straits. Jesus spoke to the conditions of his day; the Pope is trying to do the same. The Church has made lots of mistakes in the past, most recently in not expediting firm control over clerical abuse. Gone, I hope, are the days when popes (of recent vintage) flaunted Gucci slippers, and welcome are the days when the Church takes a more open attitude to divorced and remarried Catholics. Jesus did not withhold the Eucharist from any of those present and did not inquire into their marital states, even though it must have been odd that married apostles seemed to be neglecting their spouses.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      How exactly can you know the policies of Jesus on the Eucharist? I thought that His one and only Mass was attended by the Apostles and no one else. Did I miss something?

      • Jdonnell

        Did Jesus deny Judas Communion? Were all the married apostles living with their wives? Are those relevant to the “policies of Jesus on the Eucharist,” as you put it. Jesus stated no policies on the Eucharist, least of all did he suggest any restrictions but rather the opposite in encouraging the apostles to follow what he had done. Note, too, that there were no women present at the Last Supper. Why not withhold Communion from them, since Jesus did not offer it to them? Of course, that would be ridiculous, since Jesus opts for inclusivity and not the opposite which so many readers are zealously committed to.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          I thought all of these questions would be addressed by the Church which He founded to continue His work. and to make decisions in response to new situations as they arose. If I had to guess – which is all either of us can do – I’d say the married apostles were in lawfully sanctified marriages. And did the Church subsequently withhold the Eucharist from women? Yes, if they were sinners, same as men. No, otherwise.

          • Jdonnell

            Your guess is just that–a guess. We don’t know what sort of marital arrangements the apostles had or if they remained married. We do know that they must not have been home much, especially after the Ascension. You miss my point about women and Communion. It’s not a question of the state of their souls but the fact that Jesus gave Communion only to men. Does that mean that he did not intend that they should be future recipients? That is the sort of thinking often used to argue that only men should be ordained.
            And, yes, the Church has made “decisions in response to new situations.” The modern industrialized world is one of those new situations, and it has altered the way in which spouses are likely to be chosen. People once got engaged based on family familiarity and knew each other in ways far less likely to be the case today, when couples are likely to work in places far from where they grew up and just as likely to have met in a bar. Some wonderful relationships may result, but the chance for bad marriages to develop also must be likely to increase. Life is not meant to be lived in needless suffering. Second marriages–often the result of older and wiser understanding–may yield much more Christian flourishing.

            • Glenn M. Ricketts

              I don’t see how any of this provides any basis for what you’re advocating – it’s very clear what you want to do in the present, i can’t see any connection to the tradition, both in its inception and as developed over the centuries. I think you make the mistake of starting with what you want now and working backwards.

              • Jdonnell

                I’m afraid that your vague and very general and unspecific statements make no argument. If you go “backward” far enough in history, you will see that the Church did not take over handling marriage in its early days.

                • Glenn M. Ricketts

                  I don’t think you read my post correctly.

                  I said that I believe there are certain changes in the Church’s teaching and pastoral policies that you want at present, based on circumstances in the US. With those desires put first, you’ve then gone back to the source and tried to find in it justification for those changes. For me that’s not the way to do it: you should start with the Church’s inception and the teachings formulated in those early circumstances and work forward to the present. In many ways, Christian morality – especially opposition to abortion and infanticide – was uniquely at odds with the surrounding Pagan world, a “contradiction, as we’ve been accustomed to saying. On that basis, I would then explore the application of those teachings to the industrialized world, the internet world or the world of space travel, etc., etc.

                  I hope that clarifies it a bit.

                  • Jdonnell

                    I think I read it quite correctly. Trying to plot my approach does not make what I say incorrect, and you don’t show that it does; you simply assume it. You said that I had my historical point about divorce backward and gave some dates in support. I pointed out that you had things backward and gave dates that were much earlier.

                    • Glenn M. Ricketts

                      I think we’re not communicating; we needn’t agree, but we should try to get each other’s position clear, so we at least know what we’re disagreeing with. Your response this time indicates that we’re not there yet. I have to run now, but I’ll check back later.

    • bbrown

      Your progressive optimism is endearing, but terribly misguided I fear. This “more open attitude” portends the demise of the hard distinctions from the world that have been at the heart of Catholic Christian identity since the beginning. Why would a Christian want to be more open to sin? This clear discernment must be understood as commingling with our deep and earnest love for all sinners. Moral clarity is necessary for any work of redemption.

      • Jdonnell

        However “endearing” you find my words, I cannot say the same for yours. Sanctimonious language proves nothing, though it hints at a formalistic rigidity that is mistaken for “discernment.” Has it ever occurred to you that some divorced and remarried people may be living much more Christian lives than they were able to live in their earlier marriages? Many things that were part of Christian identity “since the beginning” have now been discarded or modified–marriage among them.

    • As God, Jesus did not speak to the conditions of His day, but to the perennial conditions of man. This is why He attracts followers to this day.

      • Jdonnell

        Jesus did both, just as he was both God and man. He attracted followers; reactionary Christians do the opposite.

        • ForChristAlone

          You’d do best not to try to outsmart Augustine as you’re no match for him.

  • The ‘fruit’ will tell the story.

    • The fruit is already telling the story- and claiming that we should ignore Africa.

    • bbrown

      The fruit is speaking very loudly right now as masses of Christians are being misled and confused about things that should be beyond dispute or question. Namely concerns of traditional marriage, family, and morality. The damage that is being done to the souls of men and women of faith as well as to those outside the faith (as they are strengthened in their sin) is immense.

    • CCIG

      True! Always does!

  • Brian English

    “Pope Francis is not, as Rev. Longenecker intimates, failing in the defense and definition of doctrine by reaching out to those who, through sheer ignorance, have felt marginalized by the Church, thinking that the Church hates the sinner together with the sin.”
    This is what alarms me the most about Francis and his various fan boys and fan girls–they completely misconstrue the real issues plaguing the modern world. People not feeling loved by God is clearly NOT the problem. There are three mindsets in the modern world that need to be addressed: (1) God doesn’t love me, but that is okay because he does not exist. (2) God loves me and who is the Church to say what is right and wrong? and (3) God loves me and She thinks everything I do is AWESOME! Francis’ approach doesn’t address any of these, and probably makes (2) and (3) worse.

    • bbrown

      Francis just strikes me as the exact wrong pope for the times we live in. He seems incapable of addressing the specific attacks of Satan we face at this time. He ambiguates in the precise areas where everyone most needs clarity. He confuses the clear teaching of scripture and the prior two millennia of church doctrine. This is not a time for revocation or revision. When the natural outworking of the feminist, Marxist, and Darwinist revolutions are turning all that is good upside down, the timing could not be worse.

  • I do not know about Pope Francis, for he has stayed silent, but it has become clear to me that Cardinal Kasper intends to not onlyet leave the 99 sheep to the wolves, but in the search for the lost homosexual sheep, slaughter any who dare to breed.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      Before I can give assent, I need to know what the Pope is teaching. At the moment, I don’t.

      • Exactly. We have only Cardinal KKK’s word that the Pope is behind him.

        • Glenn M. Ricketts

          All of this is ominously redolent of the Bugnini machinations in the liturgical upheavals of the 1960s. Unfortunately Francis has so far seemed to be behind the radical minority. St. Michael the Archangel. come to our assistance.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Presumably, the Holy Father does not wish to appear to be influncing the deliberations of the Synod by a preemtive statement.

      • Leaving Cardinal KKK to do more than enough damage to the entire concept of a human family and preach the superior liberal values of Northern Europe in his name.

        “ZENIT: People are saying that it is causing a lot of confusion among the faithful, and are worried about it. What do you say to that?

        Cardinal Kasper: I can only speak of Germany where the great majority wants an opening about divorce and remarriage. It’s the same in Great Britain, it’s everywhere. When I speak to laypeople, also old people who are married for 50, 60 years, they never thought of divorce but they see a problem with their culture and so every family has a problem nowadays. The Pope also told me that [such problems exist] also in his family, and he has looked at the laity and seen the great majority are for a reasonable, responsible opening.”

        Africa, Asia, the rest of the world aren’t worth listening to in the opinion of Cardinal KKK, and supposedly the Pope is with him.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          The Holy Father obviously has a higher opinion of Cardianl Kaspar as a theologian than you do – ““Another thing: yesterday, before sleeping – although not in order to go to sleep! – I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper’s document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the ‘sensus Ecclesiae’, love for the Mother Church. … It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call “doing theology on one’s knees”. Thank you, thank you”.”

          • I don’t have a very high opinion of Jesuits as theologians- in my area of the country, Ignatian spirituality was at the center of the sex abuse crisis.

            If this is theology on one’s knees, then I have to wonder what one is praying to. It certainly does not seem to be Christ.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Cardinal Kasper is not a Jesuit. He was, however, Dean of the Theological Faculty of Tübingen, one of the most celebrated in the world, from 1970 to 1983. He had previously held the chair of Dogmatic Theology there.

              • I have no way to reconcile his credentials with his opinion that he’s been putting out there- his obvious hatred of heteronormative cultures in Africa and Asia and the apparent disdain for the sacrament of marriage is extreme.

              • GG

                A liberal for decades. He now feels free to finally act on his agenda. What does that say?

              • DE-173

                But Pope Francis is a Jesuit. I had hoped the next Pope would deal with the Jesuits, not be one.

              • ForChristAlone

                and, hence, the very reason for the problem we are witnessing…he’s schooled but has no faith

          • DE-173

            “The Holy Father obviously has a higher opinion of Cardianl Kaspar”

            So what? If Kasper’s writings represented decades of cast-iron orthodoxy, I’d still be troubled by his pronouncements in and leading to this matter.

            Maybe he should be reading more Ratzinger and less Kasper.

          • Mercy in their opinion is only for sinners, not for the victims of sinners, who are left out in the cold. But thankfully, Cardinal Kasper has rescinded his hateful remarks about Africa.

        • DE-173

          “I can only speak of Germany where the great majority wants an opening about divorce and remarriage.”

          I don’t care about the German plebiscite.

    • DE-173

      “Cardinal Kasper has rescinded his remarks about Africa at least. ”
      In that, we should all forgive him. Forgetting it is another matter.

  • Nestorian

    For proper background, debates such as these need to take full account of the teachings of Vatican I on papal authority and power.
    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 of assent, not only in infallible, but also in
    fallible contexts without distinction. Exceptions to this universal Catholic duty can only be granted by the pope himself, as part of the exercise of the fullness of his supreme authority.
    .
    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.
    .
    Vatican I and the tradition of its interpretation by the inter-Vatican-Council popes makes clear that those who endorse what their opponents disparagingly refer to as “creeping infallibility” are in fact following Catholic teaching in doing so. It is their opponents who do not, and their argument that no Catholic ought to question what Pope Francis is saying or doing now has very strong grounds in Vatican I and the tradition of its interpretation by subsequent popes.
    .
    Viewing the matter from an Eastern Christian perspective, 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.
    .
    PS to the Crisis Editor: Before you make the decision to cut off my posting privileges, I respectfully request that you read my reply to your admonition to me on the other Longenecker thread.

    • bbrown

      I see nothing wrong with your post and would be greatly bothered if they cut you out or blocked you. So what if we might disagree – you have a right to make an decent and informed posting.

      • Nestorian

        Thanks for the positive approbation. I do want to take this opportunity to give my own positive approbation to the general policy adopted by the editors toward a gadfly such as myself. They are generally very fair, and to take every possible step they can to make this website a forum of free discussion for any serious and sincere participant.

  • Charlie Petrizzo

    Pope Francis is obviously a man of great humility and love for Christ. That does not make him the right person for the role as Christ’s vicar on earth. Given what we see coming out of this synod the first week, the confusion it has caused, the fact that the relate was delivered to the media prior to the bishops, etc. we can make some assumptions about the men who are even involved there, some or many of whom were Involved in the decision of who the current Pope is…. Satan is in the house ( as he always has been) I am just one lay person with an opinion. Francis is not, “the right man for the job” . My opinion says nothing about his holiness, his humility or love of God. He simply is not the right man at the time for the job. Conversely, Saint John Paul was absolutely the right man for the job. To me as a lay person it is comforting and reassuring o have clear and unambiguously stated comments about the truths of holy mother church come forth with out reservation. I see have seen that in the past week from only one man; Cardinal Raymond Burke. We are a church made up of sinners but it is only one specific sin, sodomy, and those who would try to redefine that sin in such a way as to make it acceptable that lies at the root of most of the turmoil in the church these days. Its about time one of the bishops ( Yes the Pope would be a good start) would just stand up and say so without the ridiculous nuancing that goes on. I wonder how many of these bishops even believe there is a place called hell and that people go there. Heck with the media darling priests like Father Robert Barron making comments like – we have good reason to believe that no one will go there( to hell) – I wonder how many priests even believe such a place exists. If we heard one mention of the place from anyone in a position of prominence or are wee just to busy with making sure we sound “nice” rather than speaking the truth? If there is no hell, no need for a savior, no need for a savior, no need for a church. No need for a church no need for men in black robes. It would be real nice for just one to step forward and boldly speak the truth without worrying about the backlash as how it was phrased.

    • ForChristAlone

      nailed it!

    • Objectivetruth

      “Conversely, Saint John Paul was absolutely the right man for the job.”

      I remember when St. JP II first was elevated to the pontificate. One of his cardinal pals told him he would need to tone down his orthodox way of presenting the faith, people would be turned off and leave the Church. The great Pole responded “I don’t care if there is only one Catholic left in the world when my pontificate is over, I will continue to preach the Truth without apology.” At the beginning of his pontificate there were 600 million Catholics. At the end, 1.2 billion.

      People want the Truth. Holy Father Francis, look to the great Saint John Paul for prayers and guidance.

      • jacobhalo

        Charlie, thank you for that post. Terrific!! It was during the pre-Vatican days that the popes and clerics gave us the unvarnished truths, and we had full seminaries, convents, Catholic schools, full churches, long lines at confession and very few Cafeteria Catholics. Do you think that Obama could have gotten 50% of the Catholic vote during the pre-Vatican days? This pope is being politically correct.

      • LongIslandMichael

        Well said and absolutely correct.

        • Objectivetruth

          I can’t remember who said the following, but it is so true:

          “There have been actual giants that have walked the earth. Pope John Paul II was one of them.”

      • fides249

        Good point!

        Some people do want us to criticize the Pope but I disagree. As long as we do it in a respectful and charitable way, then we are fulling our right, duty and responsibilty as given to us by Canon Law 212.

        If Cardinal Bregoglio of Argentina criticized Pope Benedict XVI eight years ago because of Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address about the Islamic religion, then I see no reason any clergy or lay person do likewise to him. What is good for the goose must be also be good for the gander.

        Was Cardinal Bregoglio just being ‘politically correct’ when he criticized Pope Benedict XVI so as not offend the Muslims and be silent about the truth of that religion which St. John of Damascus (Damascene?) and St. Thomas Aquinas also exposed to our Church some 8 or 9 centuries ago?

        • fides249

          For example, St. John of Damascus (aka ‘St. John Damascene’, brother of St. Gregory Nazianzen; these two were Early Church Fathers), states that Muhammad “having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy.”

          For Abd-al-Masih al-Kindi, who calls him Sergius and writes that he later called himself Nestorius, Bahira was a Nasorean, a group usually conflated with the Nestorians. After the 9th century, Byzantine polemicists refer to him as Baeira or Pakhyras, both being derivatives of the name Bahira, and describe him as an iconoclast. Sometimes Bahira is called a Jacobite or an Arian.

          Here’s what St. Thomas Aquinas said about the religion of Islam:
          ————————————————————————–

          “The point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of
          carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also
          contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein
          to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men.
          As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be
          grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths
          that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.
          He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly
          gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals
          an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was
          sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.
          What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him
          from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers,
          utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced
          others to become his followers by the violence of his arms…… ”

        • fides249

          Correction to the typo of my first reply; it should be:

          “Some do NOT want us to criticize the Pope…..”

    • jacobhalo

      Father Robert Barron says” we have good reason to believe that no one will go there (hell) I wonder where Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin are? This present church makes me sick.

      • Charlie Petrizzo

        THat is my question to him…where is Judas at Gods right hand?

    • Forget not that the redactors of the relatio were appointed by Francis, who ignored those elected by the bishops.

      • Charlie Petrizzo

        Good point Augustine. Pax Christi to you

  • carole

    St. Catherine used to advise the Pope

  • FrankW

    I have to side with Fr. Longenecker on this one.

    I have no problem with Pope Francis’s efforts to reach out to the poor or the neglected. I have no problem with Pope Francis attempting to open a dialogue with those who are separated from the sacraments because of marital impediments or disordered sexual orientation which leads to sin. This is important and there should be no objections to the Pope doing this, with the understanding that the purpose of these efforts is to bring these people back into full communion with the Church.

    However, like it or not, the Pope is responsible for what comes out of the Vatican. If he knows that the perception of him or his actions is leading people to falsely believe that the Catholic Church is going to changes its teachings on marriage and homosexual behavior, this is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. The misinformation coming out of the synod this week is a perfect example of this type of confusion.

    Pope Francis has placed a great emphasis on reminding everyone watching that the Catholic Church is not anti-sinner. This is important and necessary. Fr. Longenecker suggestions are to add the message that the Church will and must always remain anti-sin.

    I know several Catholics who honestly believe that Pope Francis is going to change Church teaching to allow divorced and remarried Catholics (with no annulment) to receive the sacraments, and most of them also think the Pope will soon after allow same sex marriages to be blessed by the Church. These people are going to be sorely disappointed when they find out otherwise. A statement from the Pope which proclaims current Catholic teaching as true and unchanging would help clear up such misconceptions ahead of time instead of letting them fester.

    Do we really want another situation like we had with Humane Vitae, where there was so much dissent among the clergy it led to confusion and just the general idea among Catholics world-wide that it was okay to reject Church teaching on life issues?

    To suggest that the head of the Catholic Church ought to address these misconceptions is not out of line.

    • In fact, if Cardinal KKK is correct, we should all ignore the testimony from anyplace else than the utopia of Northern Europe where divorcing your heterosexual spouse and stealing her kids so you can shack up with your boyfriend in a civil gay marriage is perfect Christian behavior.

    • jacobhalo

      The Catholic church was reaching out the poor and neglected for 2000 years. The Catholic church during the Middle Ages were the first to found hospital, universities, missions. The church feeds millions upon millions of people around the world everyday of the week. The have missionaries in all the poor countries, who educated, feed, dig wells for water, etc. This has been going on well before Pope Francis was born.

  • CCIG

    Jesus came into the world when thing were as bad or worse than they are now, but He spoke and taught the unvarnished Truth. That is now the job of His vicar. Sugar coating through condoning and affirming sin, contradicting Christ Himself, will only lead to confusion in those he is trying to reach and the loss of even more of the 99. We need to mark that down to 49 since the “sugar coating” (subversion of Truth) began, meanwhile inattention and lack of encouragement, even criticism of the His obedient flock by His “vicars” have left ever more of them at risk. When he gets back with that one still misguided sheep, will there be any left? Yes, when Jesus returns, those who did not follow unlawful “vicars”, bishops and priests into heresy and apostasy will be here, under the guidance and protection of His Holy Spirit! His Church is here to move the world towards God. There is no good for God or the poor souls in moving His Church toward the world! Flat salt! The pope is playing a dangerous game and a losing hand in playing footsies with the enemies of God!

  • DE-173

    We need a new TV show modeled on “The Apprentice”. We can call it ” The Curia” with the Pope playing the role of Trump telling these wayward Cardinals “You’re fired”.

    • When I’d long to see Card. Burke, Muller and Pell fire “Trump”.

  • Vinny

    I’ll bet Mr. Fitzpatrick read all of the comments to Rev. Longenecker’s essay which skewed his take on the article. Also, I think the fear that people have with this synod is from having experienced the effects of Vatican II. The heart of that council was true but not much of it was transmitted into the life of Catholics, lay or clergy. This synod risks that to an even greater degree which, instead of strengthening the Church as Mr. Fitzpatrick properly states, will cause further dilution and dissension. God’s will be done.

    • GG

      If he read all the comments he should be encouraged at the number of faithful who care so much about their faith. People fight for what they care about especially their eternal salvation.

      • Vinny

        I agree but some of the comments were personal attacks, not correction.

  • John Albertson

    The “enormity” of Mr. Fitzpatrick’s critique of “Rev. Longenecker” is as defective as his grammar. St. Thomas Aquinas ( STh. II.II. q.33,a.4, teaches:

    Augustine says in his Rule:
    “Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the
    higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.” But
    fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.

    I answer that, A subject is not competent to administer to his prelate the correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment: but the fraternal correction which is an act of charity is within the competency of everyone in respect of any person towards whom he is bound by charity, provided there be something in that person which requires correction.

    —– Thus Mr. Fitzpatrick does not understand the economy of fraternal correction and, as far as understanding papal authority, he sounds awfully like Rex Mottram in “Brideshead Revisited.” This pope is the first, at least in the modern papal annals to be so undisciplined in speech, imprecise in rhetoric, sarcastic toward the straw men he insults, amazingly uninformed about subjects outside his competence, and reckless in his use of sound bytes. So far, this papacy has been a serious automobile accident and the present Synod is not a “field hospital” but rather the wounded army. BUT WHO AM I TO JUDGE ?

  • Austin

    Read the Regensburg speech again and you will see that the philosophy implies a clear course of action; you misread it because it is about philosophy AND morality.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Dogmatic statements alone are binding, not the grounds or reasoning on which they rely. The Third Ecumenical Council quoted in support of its teaching a letter they believed to be by Pope St Julius. In fact, it was written by the heresiarch, Apollonaris!

  • Fides

    You gentlemen need to rethink your comments. Your discussion does not help. It’s one that can be had in the hallway. The Pope does not need your advocacy. I am sure he’ll do the best he can — to praise or critique the Pope you have to look over the heads of all the leadership that does need your criticism. For starters: UCSSB and its Rotarty Club status used as a foil by our bishops: especially their unretrained staff of people; to speak with less that an honest approach about matters — you men need to examine this group and its goals in relation to the Pope—and Synod—they went to Rome to further grind the axe they had started at home. — they are decimating us out here. Your credibility wanes in this type of approach — this isn’t theater.

    • ForChristAlone

      Yes the rot permeates the USCCB and then moves on up to the inner precincts of the Vatican.

      Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t Card Donald Wuerl part of that group of bishops who constructed the relatio of earlier this week? Isn’t he the bishop who castigated Msgr Pope of his diocese who took Dolan to task over homosexuals in the St Pat’s Parade. Isn’t he the one who removed that priest who refused communion to the avowed lesbian who made known her sinful lifestyle just prior to her mother’s funeral? Isn’t he the bishop who insists on giving communion to “Catholic” politicians who are avowed abortion supporters? Just asking.

    • bbrown

      So, in your view, we cannot have a discussion and an airing of different viewpoints?

  • Martha

    “The Church must not stagnate in the name of timeless truth. It must address people in a voice that will be heard and understood.”

    What the what???!!

    So, you’re recommending a dumbing down of the Faith (as we’re obviously too dense in the 21st century to understand what peasants could in the 17th), and that the Truth stagnates? My goodness.

  • FrankW

    This is the kind of confusion I referred to in my earlier post. There is a link to a HuffPo story right now on Yahoo called “Is the Catholic Church Evolving”. Read it and weep. It is exactly this type of confusion that needs to be headed off at the path.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-speckhardt/is-the-catholic-church-ev_b_5991086.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

    • Fred

      As infuriating as it is, I’m aware that people 1) don’t convert when being shouted at, and 2) usually move in the opposite direction and harden. So, how do we go about this joyful mission exactly? Do we sit on the bank and watch the fish swimming towards the turbine intake continue their journey of momentary bliss, or do we cast a line in hope of snagging a few to release in the lake once we’ve showed them where not to swim? Maybe too a joyful flute or a shiny lure would cause them to pause and take notice, and question – why am I swimming so furiously on the path I’m on? The barb on the lure might sting at first, but there is peace again in the lake. Maybe this story doesn’t work for Salmon, so we can imagine them as the stiff necked editors off HuffPo.

      • GG

        The basic point is one need not bury the truth under a bushel in order to attract. It seems almost an end justifies the means bait and switch mentality we see these days.

        As if the faith is so hard we need to hide the parts people do not like and only mention those at some point down the road.

        What a terrible view of the faith.

        • Fred

          Yes, I confess, we think alike, actually. It would definitely not be … my approach, or one I’d advise him if he were to ask. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt that he his talking to the one above and is not listening to the tiny voice in his head that is me. Like a master plan that has yet to be revealed to the foot soldiers. You would bring up “ends justify the means” – an association with political philosophy I’m diametrically opposed to, and would never give the benefit of the doubt to.

    • bbrown

      The pope could easily put an end to all the speculation with a few concise statements. How odd that he would just allow his ambiguity and confusion to do it’s work of carrying countless souls away from Christ.

      • GG

        Applause!!!!!!!!!

  • Tamsin

    When Francis goes to get the one lost sheep, I’d appreciate his leaving the sheepfold up and intact, otherwise ten more sheep will have wandered away by the time Francis comes back with the one. We’ll be down nine.

    • Fred

      I’m not prone to wander, unless a wolf comes back in his place.

      • DE-173

        The wolf is always on the prowl.. and the kill rate has been going up.

  • Harry

    Re: It is not our place to advise the Pope

    “Undignified, Shameful, Completely Wrong.” This condemnation of the relatio after the first week of the synod didn’t come from just anybody, but came from the guardian of orthodoxy, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Is it his place to advise the Pope? And if it is, and if the matter is so serious that he allows such strongly worded advice to become public, maybe any orthodox Catholic is justified in speaking out. There was a time when orthodox Catholics had to speak out against their bishop after he had embraced the Arian heresy. They had to teach their children and their neighbors that “The Bishop is WRONG!”

    It is not possible for the Church’s official teaching to be in error, as it is protected by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean the Pope and his bishops do not have a free will. They still do, and they can pervert church discipline and practice such that it mocks the official teaching of the Church instead of reflecting it.

    If that happens, may every orthodox Catholic on the planet speak out loudly and clearly.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The relatio merely enumerates points for discussion and cannot be consisdered a teaching document in any sense.

      • ForChristAlone

        That’s an attempt at being humorous, right?

        • DE-173

          Unfortunately, he’s serious.

      • Harry

        The teaching of Christ on the indissolubility of sacramental marriage has been preserved in the Church by the Holy Spirit two thousand years and will remain till the end of time, even if in one age or another its truth is mocked by church practices implemented by unfaithful prelates.

        Actions do speak much louder than words. Church practices (not to mention synodal statements) are not without effect. And if that effect is harmful and undermines orthodoxy, the faithful are obligated to speak out.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          One might as well invite the faithful to express an opinion on the priority of Mark or the authorship of the pastorals. Theology is a science.

          • Harry

            I suppose you think the Catechism of the Catholic Church is only for theologians, too. In fact, the Catechism was great because anybody who was literate could read it and point out to educated heretics exactly why they were wrong.

            By the way, I am with Papias, Origen, Irenaeus and Jerome on the gospel of Matthew being written before that of Mark.

          • DE-173

            I knew sooner or later we’d get more odious clericalism.

  • Fred

    I hate to interject politics, but I had a flash back on this one of some lady who pounded her fist screaming it was her duty to criticize, well, you know who. Curiously when it was counter to her agenda screaming was what difference does it make. What does that have to do with here. I think it is helpful to have healthy discussion, as long as our hearts are all in the right condition and are honest. But let’s be honest, at the end of the day the Pope was elected by his peers and is no doubt aware of dissent but feels he’s taking guidance from above, not below (not to belittle us). So, we either have faith that Christ is guiding him even though the methods are a mystery to us, or we don’t. Maybe we should both pray for him for wisdom, and for ourselves that we may come to understand God’s will.

    • GG

      His critics are praying for him I am sure. Here is a test. Who is pushing things that confuse? Who is defending constant Church teaching? Who claims to be loyal to the constant teaching of the Church, yet immediately places those teachings in a box never to be seen? Who is reaffirming Church teaching even in the face of worldy anger and risks career and public scorn?

      • Fred

        Can you give me an easier test, like who does Caesar’s coin belong to, or multiple choice? Even though it may not be entirely rational to believe this based on past history, I am holding my breath that … he’ll surprise us. Oh, in a good way, not a bad way. Maybe like a boxer who draws his opponent in thinking he has him on the ropes and then lands a strong upper cut.

        • GG

          Ah, the old double top secret probation. No, not buying that at all. For one thing it would be immoral.

      • Nestorian

        Some are also calling for those on his side to be flayed – that is, to be skinned. See http://www.mundabor.wordpress.com. It’s in a fairly recent post of his.
        .
        I find it a very disturbing trend to see sentiments of this nature expressed publicly: A couple weeks ago there was a poster – on this site, I believe – who advocated burning those on Pope Francis’s side alive at the stake.
        .
        The Catholic Church inflicted this kind of cruel death on people for many centuries if they were even thought to oppose her. God help us all if the Church winds up moving in that direction once more.
        .
        Are people who want to see their opponents in the Church burnt alive or skinned alive really praying for them with fervor and love? I have to say I doubt it.

  • Ken

    The problem I had with the original article was that there seems to be a constant complaint by Father in regards to people who come to him to get his clarification when they are confused by what they hear in the news about Pope Francis. The two issues I have with this is

    1) The MSM is constantly misrepresenting what the Church is saying and has been doing that forever. A person, or Pope Francis, isn’t responsible for other people misrepresenting what they say. To impose that burden on the Pope is just unfair and unreasonable. People seem to be very critical of the MSM except for when it reports on this particular Pope. People are just freaking out without doing the slightest bit of research and are unfairly attacking him for things taken completely out of context.

    2) Father acts like it’s this horrible burden to have people come to the Church. He told the story of people coming to ask about marriage in the Church and when they we’re uninformed about the sacrament it was presented as an annoyance to have to present them the truths of the Church. I found it odd and inappropriate that a Priest would present this as some sort of example of what is wrong with the Pope. If people are coming to the Church shouldn’t we be happy about it? Isn’t it the job of a Priest to teach the faith to people? As a lay person I found it disturbing that when we go to a Priest for clarification on something they are secretly rolling their eyes at our stupidity. Also, what if those people found out he has a blog and googled him and they came across this article. He just aired a private conversation to the world. Obviously, it’s not confession but there should be more some respect for their privacy.

    • GG

      Just reading posts like this help see why the Church is in the state it is in. Good grief are you serious?

      • Ken

        What exactly is your complaint?

      • Ken

        What is your complaint about what I wrote?

  • C.Caruana

    Mr Fitzpatrick is contradicting the attitude and practice of Pope Francis himself. When an Italian laymen and writer criticized the Pope far more harshly and publicly than Fr Longenecker, the Pope responded by phoning and thanking the man personally. Unless the Pope is speaking ex cathedra on grave matters of faith and morals, he is not above loyal and respectful criticism, especially when while speaking off the cuff he makes potentially confusing gaffes – something known to have already happened. The case of St Paul correcting St Peter on a matter of Church discipline is paradigmatic. If clerics of the stature and position of Cardinals Burke and Mueller feel the need to openly express their grave concerns about a synod presided over by Pope Francis himself and publicly advise the Pope to clarify a messy situation, why not Fr Longenecker and any informed layman who loves Christ, his Church and his Vicar? As far as I know, Pope Francis is ready to accept good and true advice from anybody, including you Mr Fitzpatrick. And don’t worry, he is humble enough not to consider it presumption or an action out of place on your part.

  • Susan

    The Church has always been persecuted from within and from the outside; that will never change. It is up to the laity as well to be constantly working on our daily and ongoing conversion. Our children will get their foundation and strength of faith through our own example as parents. As long as we have a strong and faithful knowledge of our Catholic Faith, nothing should get in the way of misleading us, not even the clergy. We all have our part to play in this journey toward God, we cannot point fingers or blame others; we must constantly strive to be a light to others, in our deeds and words. Yes, people can be led astray by what the clergy might say or do BUT, the ignorance of our Faith is the ignorance of Christ. We must each do our part whether having been brought up in a lukewarm or a very strong and fervent atmosphere. Sincerity is a difficult accomplishment when it comes to knowing oneself; in getting to know Christ more and more, we come to know ourselves for who we really are: wretched sinners who need God’s grace to go forward in anything. The Church is Christ Himself, we need not be anxious, just know The Word, frequent the Sacraments as often as able and Trust ourselves completely to Our Heavenly Father. He will do the rest to make things right. The Cross we are to carry is only as heavy as our pride allows.

  • Brian English

    Germane to this discussion, this is what Robert Royal is reporting over at the Catholic Thing regarding Francis and the infamous relatio:

    “A reliable source told me Pope Francis was sent the text last Saturday morning, returned it to the Synod leaders Sunday, all before it appeared Monday. So as has long been the case, we do not know his thoughts other than he didn’t interfere in the release.”
    I find that very disturbing.

  • littleeif

    “…25But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”…”

    Do we find these words of Our Lord hard? Perhaps, but to my way of thinking He is telling us it is possible and not good to do injustice to the 99 while seeking the one. The humble response of the one to Our Lord in this case made the difference, but if the one had come to him insisting on her right to the bread does it seem likely Our Lord would have agreed? The issue is not the shepherd leaving the 99 to recover the one, but despoiling the bread of the entire flock in the effort.

  • Marty Dancy

    I think that these synods should not be open to the news or the public until the final report is to be made. There are too many mistranslations and corrections in english to be made and there is much confusion with all the people getting in on it. In the past, we did not hear anything from the vatican until the pope wrote an encyclical or made a report on the final fixed conclusion of the subject.

    • Fred

      Pluses and minuses there. Unfortunately it does degrade into political theater when open like “floating trial balloons” to see which way the wind is blowing. I don’t really believe that’s the case. Maybe they’re trying to be the most transparent synod ever (sorry). I think I would prefer also, because it seems to be just further adding to the confusion and there’s plenty of that enough already. There are enough Bishops who can and should defend doctrine, let’s wait see what sausage they make once they agree on the ingredients.

  • ITBWTW

    Holy Cow! Is Fitzpatrick blind, deaf and dumb? The Church stopped teaching the truth 40 years ago and in that time Church attendence went from 75% to 8%. Does he really argue that further compromise with the world, and being nice, will bring people to the Faith?!..wake up Fitzpatrick. The Truth of Jesus Christ as encapsuled in the Traditional Church, will always be the attractant for peoples conversion, not “luke warm compromise” with the carnal world, a failed strategy used the last 40 years. People are spitting that garbage out of their mouths, by leaving the Church and losing belief in God! This Pope is using the same OLD strategy but on steriods. Compromise , compromise, compromise!!

    There is no Truth in these tactics of the Pope. As a result the true Faith will further erode under his leadership. I pray for this Jesuit Pope, and all the Heirarchy. Especially for their conversion to the true Catholic faith.

  • LongIslandMichael

    Father Longenecker your gentle reproach of the Holy Father was not a challenge to his authority but a challenge to poor communication and the confusion and scandal it has created which I think has done much harm precisely because of his authority as the leader of the Church.

  • ITBWTW

    BTW, Does anyone remember Pope Francis acknowleging the exisitance of the homosexual Bishops in power refered to as the “Gay Lobby”. (“there is also a current of corruption” within the Roman Curia. “There is talk about a ‘gay lobby,’ and it’s true, that exists,” the Pope June..) After he announced their exitance and their power…nothing happened?! Now we learn for our Heirarchy that “homosexuality has something to offer the Church”…

    • JP

      That is exactly the problem that this Synod created.

      1)If it turns out the Pope had nothing to do with the events of this week, then he will look weak and naive.

      2)However, if it turns out that Pope Francis was involved in the events of the last 7 days (if not sooner) than it makes out to be a hypocrite at best; or a wolf in sheep’s clothing at worst.

      3)Some may say that Pope Francis only wanted to allow the Cardinals to “fight it out” in order to arrive at a reasonable compromise. Some may also say, that it is Pope Francis’ intentions in “outing” in a very public way those not faithful to the Church Tradition, the Magesterium, or the Chair of Peter. If this is true, then Pope Francis is nothing but a genius (meek as a dove and shrewd as a serpent). In that case, he will now use the power of his pontificate to arrive at both a Just and Merciful Synod document that addresses the pressing problems of the Catholic Family as well as showing a way to Christ for those in irregular relationships.

      What is that over-used saying from the Godfather: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?

      • ITBWTW

        That would be a pleasant turn of events. But I’m not holding my breath.

      • 4) Francis’ intention is “outing” in a very public way those not loyal to himself so that he can get rid of them, perhaps to the island of Malta or Timbuktu.

  • Fred

    Anybody know the tune to Ode-to-Joy? I could really be a pot stirrer (mood I’m in today) and say, or “Don’t worry be happy”.
    And so again, do we trust our Pope is being divinely guided or not? He is infallible after all on church dogma. Silence? We believe that, right? It does chaff a little knowing the fallibility of men, and the fallibility of certain early Pope’s. I think I can stay with up him until I see a same sex wedding announcement in the church. Then I’ll start reading Revelations again, and again.

  • JP

    In the mean time, the Synod this morning was in full uproar as the President of the Synod, Cdl Baldisseri attempted to keep the Circuli Minores censored. Cardinals Erdo, Pell, Burke, and many others, in full view of the Pope, refused to let any business go forward until Baldisseri recanted his censorship. According to many source, Baldisseri looked to Pope Francis who just nodded for Baldisseri to allow publishing of the “interventions”. The narrative of a united Synod now lies in tatters. The majority of the Bishops now have their critiques made public against the draft report.

    So, now we are back to square one. Unfortunately, the real focus of the Synod (the family) is buried beneath the stench of activism. The MSM, as well as the Kasper/Baldisseri block will do everything in their power to discredit the Cdls and wear their resolve down.

    But, where does the Pope stand? How much was he involved (if at all ) in these Machievellian schemes?

    • Which sadly indicate that Card. Baldisseri, as Francis’ appointed man, was pushing this heretic agenda with his acquiescence.

      • Fred

        Would it be un-Catholic like to pray for Francis’s retirement too (as someone earlier I think suggested)? We are in a historical era, why not make it uber-historical.

        • DE-173

          Be careful what you wish or pray for…

          • Objectivetruth

            I picture Benedict and Francis sitting together in retirement at breakfast. Benedict is reading the Catechism, Francis is reading the New York Times.

            • ForChristAlone

              I’d vote this one a thousand thumbs up if I could. Objective, you’ve made my day. Thanks. You wouldn’t want to try your hand at how the dialogue would go, would you?

              • Objectivetruth

                Thanks!

                And just joking. God bless both of our Holy Fathers.

              • Objectivetruth

                No thanks on dialogue, FCA! I have enough sins to confess this week!

            • jacobhalo

              Francis might reading “The communist manifesto” or Pravda

            • DE-173

              No, that would be too North American for him.

      • ForChristAlone

        Precisely. What does it say about Jorge when he lets Baldisseri fall on the sword for him?

    • GG

      And yet, so many claim this is no big deal. You know like watching sausage being made. Such disingenuous nonsense. The good Cardinals know very well what is at stake.

      • Fred

        Hey there, you’re talking to me I know. I wasn’t being disingenuous, I was trying to interject some levity. Though I do like sausage, I don’t like to watch it made. I am saddened a little at the level of “hate” dare I say, especially Aliquantillus above. If we don’t trust our Pope what does that say about us? Are we allowed to call for a no confidence vote? Of course the men in red robes are quite aware of the dissent and there is a battle going on for the soul of this synod. It’s not over till it’s over and the doctrinal minded are fighting back so lets see how things turn out before we lose to much sleep. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was universal opinion in the universal church, perhaps to much to ask. I’m trying to stay in a positive state of mind.

        • ForChristAlone

          That’s just the problem, Church teaching is NOT open to opinions.

          • jacobhalo

            Cafeteria Catholics think so. And they are never rebuked by the Pope.

        • GG

          No Sir, I was referring to essays written on another Catholic site by a well known priest. He tried to claim the things going on now happened in past centuries therefore there is no need for concern. I was stating that common spin is unhelpful.

          • Fred

            Ouch, don’t call me sir, I hate formal titles. We are friends in Christ, unless you are a troll.

            • GG

              Just bring polite. I enjoy reading your posts and when I write what I did I was thinking about CWR.

          • jacobhalo

            These things may have gone on in past centuries, but the Cardinals didn’t have a vote.

    • Daniel P

      Ummm, doesn’t it speak well of Pope Francis that he allowed the interventions to be published? I’m not following how he could be involved in what you’re calling Baldisseri’s “Machiavellian schemes” if he openly opposed Baldesseri.

      • ForChristAlone

        In the face of opposition, the wimp stood down.

        • Daniel P

          That is extremely unhelpful language, but let me just address the content.

          You seem to be convinced that Francis will always take the “liberal” position, no matter how far the center moves. I think you are completely wrong about that. At the very least, it is puzzling to unnecessarily impute negative motives to an action you approve of.

          • ForChristAlone

            Of course you mean “disapprove” of.

            That being said, this is your opinion and from most of what you write, I value little.

            • Daniel P

              You *approve* of Francis allowing the interventions to be published. Do you not?

              • ForChristAlone

                I am interested not in what then happened but Jorge’s complicity (if not complete orchestration) in the machinations of the Synod. For God’s sake, Jorge is supposed to be Peter and not some two bit wheeler-dealer with matters of faith.

                • Daniel P

                  I have heard rumors of such things, but I have not seen anything conclusive. Have you?

                  • ForChristAlone

                    Not a courtroom but a strong case has been established by circumstantial evidence (for those who choose to acknowledge the proverbial elephant).

    • ForChristAlone

      #1 I understand that Kasper was not present for what you’re describing as having happened
      #2 I understand that the auditorium where the Synod is being held broke out in loud applause when Erdo, Pell and Burke spoke up.

  • cestusdei

    Mercy and truth go together. Some are worried that the truth is taking a backseat which does not help anyone.

  • Sean has a rather misguided attitude to the Holy Father. Not every utterance or edict by Francis is as the Vicar of Christ. It’s a difficulty in the Latin Church that its Patriarch, the one in charge to govern, teach and sanctify this particular Catholic Church, is also the Vicar of Christ, the visible sign of the unity and the teaching of the Universal Church.

    A synod is by definition particular to a church. Therefore, Francis’ role in it is of the patriarch of this particular church. He speaks not as the Vicar of Christ, is fallible and thus subject to criticism by the college of bishops and the faithful.

    Besides, if Francis is “doing this according to the dictates of his conscience and heart”, how can anyone presume which dictates these are? Were it then that Francis were speaking from the Chair of Peter, we should presume that the dictates were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but not automatically when he’s acting merely as the patriarch of the Latin Church.

  • Aliquantillus

    Pope Francis is an Anti-Christian misleader. A fool who leads people to hell. If there are still faithful Catholics on earth, then they should rise up with one voice against this pseudo-Pope, this blasphemous clown, this buffoon, and say: Away with him!!

  • steve5656546346

    We are not Nazis–except with a good end. We are not Obama supporters–except with a good end. The Church is not an ideology! Therefore, loyalty and obedience is not the ideological version.

    Catholic loyalty and obedience is something more honest, balanced, loving, deeper… It is not blind, and we don’t watch our holy father drive us into a ditch without speaking out!

  • Fred

    I posted in the earlier article on Tuesday but worth re-posting. A theory has emerged on a money motive behind the German Catholic noble positions. I’m sure it’s deeper than that.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/10/08/Why-Are-the-German-Bishops-Pushing-for-Universal-Communion-Follow-the-Money

    And now an open attack today by Kasper on his African brothers (could it be considered racist?)

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/10/16/German-Cardinal-Kasper-Ignites-Firestorm-by-Dissing-African-Bishops

    I’m trying to stay above the fray but it’s getting harder.

  • ForChristAlone

    Here’s more information to bolster the fact that Cardinal Kasper who says that the Pope is authorizing the positions he’s taken is a CONSUMMATE LIAR.

    Kasper was interviewed by Edward Pentin – a seasoned journalist – who writes for National Catholic Register. The transcript was published on Zenit (but later removed no doubt because the heretics can still throw their weight around the Vatican). Kasper made disparaging remarks about African Catholics. He later publicly DENIED ever having given the interview and denied ever having said these things. Only problem for LIAR Kasper is that Pentin audiotaped the interview on his i-phone which was in full view of LIAR Kasper at the time of the interview. This is what LIAR Kasper said:

    [Kasper:] Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.

    But are African participants listened to in this regard?

    [Kasper:] No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].

    They’re not listened to?

    [Kasper:] In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.

    What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?

    [Kasper:] I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.

    • On the plus side, in backing out, Cardinal Kasper *did* claim that the experience of the Africans was worth listening to.

      Too bad he still seems to think the Northern European Homophiliac Utopia is the best culture out there.

      • DE-173

        The more I read that, the more disgusted I become at his oozing contempt.

    • DE-173

      “Kasper made disparaging remarks about African Catholics.”

      Having recently speculated in this forum about how the effete snobs of the waffle wing of the Church would have reacted if say Cardinal Arinze had emerged on to the balcony wearing white, I’ll just make this comment.

      Told you so.

      • GG

        Apparently you do not understand the law of gradualism. We meet people where they are now. His words have elements of truth. See, his words show he really cares. That care can be directed properly. We must not be so bound down in legalism and be open to surprises. Don’t be a Pharisee.

        Vatican II deepened our understanding of this doctrine, it did not reverse it.

        • Kasper really cares! Because caring surely trumps truth, goodness and beauty.

          • GG

            Exactly. We accept truth butr we must but that in a box where it cannot be seen as it is too offensive to the enlightened ones.

            • Trust me, what offends them is not the box, but the truth itself. Trying to repackage the truth has been the strategy for the last 40 years and it’s got zilch to show for it self, but for the mass de facto exodus from the Church.

        • DE-173

          I’m assuming that’s sarcasm.

          I may not understand “gradualism” (then again, should I want to?), but I recognize somebody looking down on people who don’t look or think like he does.

          Kasper is apparently trying to fill the role of Carlo Martini, but he’s too clumsy and obvious.

          • GG

            Oh, it was sarcasm. The real issue is who is the patron of Kaspar and Forte and all the rest? Why do they finally feel they have a free hand to pounce?

            Is it stupidity of nefarious?

        • jacobhalo

          Gradualism. From Michael Voris. Jesus tells the woman, your sins are forgiven, go and slowly stop sinning. You don’t have to do it all at once, but maybe,( my words), instead of screwing 10men this this week, drop it down to 8, then 6, then 4.

      • jacobhalo

        I wouldn’t care what color the pope is. As long as he is Catholic and teaches Catholic doctrine, unlike this white pope that we have.

  • jacobum

    “Repackage the Truth”??? Oh really? One way is to try the modernist way of taking the “Truth” and then conflate, inflate and then deflate it or the good old Hegel standby of “Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis”. In any event it gets you to the same “repackaging”…Namely, Truth is turned into heretical sophistry at best or in your face heresy at worst. Mr Fitzpatrick? Oh well, wishful thinking is just that. The good Fr L is still in denial but he will eventually have the scales fall from his eyes. He is sincere and a good priest. Good Bless Him.

  • C. Smith

    Ok folks. Best advice to Synod. Read the great socialogist Rodney Stark. He has shown those religious organizations that maintain the greatest tension/distance from secular culture, who maintain a strict posture are the most successful. Lax organizations loose adherents and die out.

  • fides249

    One of the rights and responsibilities of the Christian faithful is to inform their pastors of their ‘opinion’ but should be done in a respectful and charitable way. I think Fr. Longnecker did this in his open letter/article to Pope Francis.

    The above right and responsibilty to speak out is coded in the current Code of 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.”

  • Major914

    “Mr. Fitzpatrick waxes eloquent about the pope’s desire to re-package Catholic truths in an acceptable way for a modern age…”

    Always and everywhere among the gravest of errors… The Church must simply be the Church, reflecting timeless truths without direct regard for the present form of worldly culture. The changing forms of wordly culture can never be allowed to lead the Church into or out of anything–it must always be the other way around.

    The incredible idea of reversing the direction of accomodation between the world and the Church brings to mind 1Corinthians 6:15.

    • Tomacz Tesla

      “The error of Progressivism resides in rejecting the necessity of
      working for the implantation of a Christian social order. In doing so
      they are obliged to accept the lay city, Liberal, Socialist, Communist.
      The root of their error and their deviation from Christian progress lies
      in seeking the alliance of the Church with modernity.” http://tinyurl.com/kcewxvd

  • bonaventure

    Fitzpatrick and a few users below (ex., HenryBowers) presuppose that that “irregular families” may include so-called same-sex unions. Unfortunately, it seems that the relatio — as well as the original 2013 questionnaire — was designed to lead us towards making such presupposition.

    Truth is, people in a same-sex union are NOT a family. No way near it, even if children are involved. And never will be. Single parents and children are a family, although a dysfunctional one. But not people in same-sex unions.

  • Godfrey Buillon

    When the clergy in our country started finding and doing “innovative” ways to bring the faith to the faithful, we ended up with more ambiguity, confusion and dissent (sometimes coming from the clergy themselves who had been the innovators of the church’s teachings). I agree with Fr. L on this one, the principle of subsidiarity should be followed. Imagine a corporate CEO making announcements of product sales and discounts to woo customers ,only for his middle managers and sales people to have to explain away that there are criteria to be fulfilled and rules to follow for one to avail of those, that’s how you get angry customers.

  • Maria

    It is not clear where Pope Francis is taking this or hopes too. I have a liberal Archbishop who already is well ahead of the Church regarding communion for divorced and remarried and also gives communion to baptised non Catholic married to Catholics…..his local fan club see this Archbishop as going to the ExtraOrdinary Synod to, alongside Pope Francis, dish it to the pharisees.

    Pope Francis preaches in and our of season against ‘the law’. Its crazy, I don’t know what goes on in Argentina but ‘law’ doesn’t even feature where we are. I’m with the Africans, the future of the Church.

    I’

  • Maria

    Catholics aren’t to be sheep when it comes to sitting by and letting the shepherd dish the lambs. I think the Africans are due a massive apology.

    I can only give Pope Francis the pass that he is sitting quietly and discerning… but his actions aren’t heartening.

  • OneTimothyThreeFifteen

    My only concern would be the risk of ‘Mottramism’. It was the fore-runner of the Spirit of Vatican II which chucked it out, and replaced it with the self as the judge of all truth: Aut-Aut.

    So much of the Catholic blogshere is littered with articles which amount to little more than: ‘Here I stand. I can do no other’.

  • LiMin3

    I disagree with Mr. Fitzpatrick on several of his comments, particularly that the confusion is merely caused by ignorance of Church teachings. Whenever the Holy Father or the bishops talk about marriage, sexual sins, life issues, etc., it needs to be done with explicit and public clarification of what the Church teaches from the very start! Those in Europe and the US have dealt with wayward Catholic laymen and clergy for years, many of whom are never taken to task for deceiving and misleading the faithful away from the Faith; this is part of the problem. Given the dire need of proper catechism I believe the Holy Father needs to be DIRECT about Church teachings at the very start of any discussion. Talking about mercy and reaching out to sinners is what we all expect from the Church, but that also means teaching the Faith so they realize what God calls them to do if they want to practice the Faith.

  • AcceptingReality

    Mr. Fitzpatrick seems to attribute qualities to the Pope’s character, actions and/or inaction that I doubt he could possibly know without first hand experience. Nevertheless, it seems to me, that a little tightening of reins wouldn’t hurt at all. Confusion is the word of the day with regard to this Synod. And I wonder if Mr. Fitzpatrick is even aware of the “un-Catholic” tone of the relatio. Or of its apparent un-authorized release. Pope Francis “off the cuff” style gives me cause for concern.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Mr. Fitzpatrick,

    You you give (us) the same advice if it was Pope Alexander VI sitting in St. Peter’s Chair?

    What’s your point – outside of assigning us to silence.

    Since that plane ride from Rio, Pope Francis has confused me, disheartened me, stoked my wont to preserve and defend whatever Mind of Christ I have achieved in this struggling life of mine. Why ha his words and actions called all that into question.

    I am furious. Mad as perennial Hell.

    Ask this, I do, Where is Pope Francis’ Savonarola? For a blessed time, before Pope Alexander had him staked and burned on the flaming faggots, the Gay Bully Boys had no access to the boys of Florence. The brave friar carved out a place of safety with his call to holiness.

    With Pope Francis appointing and honoring members of the clerical Gay Bully Boys there is no true call to holiness, no place of safety. The Gay Bully Boys are after Florentine Children everywhere.

    Pray for our miserable Church, Friar Savonarola?

    In the secret chambers of their hearts we know the Africans do.

    [The Month of October, in the Year of Our Lord, 2014, when the “mutinous” crew which steered the battered Ship of Christ into safe harbor was African.]

    “Dead Bodies Everywhere”
    (The Diocese of BANKRUPT Stockton, Ca)

  • TruthWFree

    We all have the Bible and the Gospels within the bible and the letters of St. Paul etc. If what this Pope is stating is not in accord with those Scriptures, then by all means we have to confront him and any Church leader that does so, just as Paul confronted peter in ACTS.

    I am especially troubled by his attempting to placate Muslims. If one reads the Quran, especially the statements about Allah having no sons, that Jesus (Isa) never said He is the Son of God, and that Jesus (Isa) did not die on the cross, one would know that the teachings of Islam cannot be TRUTH, and if they would be (they are not), then the faith the Pope professes to lead cannot be the TRUTH (it is). Also the exhortations by the allah god of the Quran to fight and subdue followers of Jesus and other unbelievers is 180 degrees opposite Christ’s message of love and forgiveness in the Gospels, written 700 years before the Quran. Why would a Muslim convert to the TRUTH of Jesus Christ in the Gospels (and save his eternal soul) if that is not articulated by our leader?

    The Pope should be preaching the Gospels to all nations as Christ commanded. That includes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, died on the cross so that we who believed in Him can have eternal life with him, and that He (Jesus Christ) is the only way to the Father…not Islam, not Hinduism, or any other faith. Communications are such that the faithful of any stripe can preach these truths to the world and the world has little or no excuse for not knowing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. To give the impression that other religions may have merit is not in accordance with Gospel teachings.

    The same is true on atheist belief and homosexual conduct. Why would an atheist who does not believe in God or Heaven want to go there? On homosexuality, the Bible is clear that for a man to lay with another man is an abomination and the same for two women. Saint Paul reinforces the sinfulness of those acts. The Pope should do the same, otherwise he should lead some other faith movement.

  • jacobhalo

    I recommend to all the book ” The Apostolic Digest” publisher Catholic Treasures. If you want the quotes about the Catholic faith from popes and Saints. This is the book to get. You will see how the many of the pre-Vatican teachings are not being taught today.

  • bonaventure

    Mr. Fitzpatrick,

    You write in praise of Francis’ style, and some good can indeed be said about it. But you conveniently omit the contents of the synod’s developing teaching as seen in the Relatio, which Francis certainly approved as it’s been promulgated under his authority, however unbinding it may be.

    But the fact is, if a bishop or a priest tried to lead his diocese or parish by the contents of the Relatio’s ideas (even if only pastoral), the Church would cease to exist overnight in that diocese or parish.

  • pdxcatholic

    The problem with today’s culture is it wants to continue in its sinful ways AND be accepted, legitimized–even sanctified. And, yes, the pope, through sloppy and politically-correct language, seems to be satisfying that desire. It’s as if the parable of the lost son was rewritten so that the father went in search of the son, found him in a brothel, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Who am I to judge?” and then told the son, “When you’re finished using up your half of the inheritance, I’ll give you your brother’s share.”

    • ForChristAlone

      nailed it!

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Mr. Fitzpatrick wrote:” Pope Francis is reaching out to those in homosexual unions, difficult or irregular marital situations, and those closed to life.”

    What’s he difficulty here, the odd thing? So eschewed its shrewd.

    When it comes to homosexuality the author bracketed out “homosexual unions” as if that’s the main concern. As if all that matters is the romanticism of “gays”.

    I know I’m being repetitive, bu the discussion about homosexuality has been reduced to the subject of affective, loving “relations’. We longer speak of the condition’s (the sin’s) etiology – in short, its origins in a one’s life,or even a culture’s. How did this come about? How is this no longer a concern within the Church? That the theological and ethical doctrines do not touch it, that it has no to say.

    Do we say that about pedophilia or those in the grip of sexual fetishes and obsessions; that we care not a hoot about their origins and causes in a person’s life? That they, too, are bracketed off from from any insight and judgment Church teaching may give.

    Homosexuality is a moral and psychological condition which has very specific causes. It can be traced to something. Even traditional Catholics have somewhat bought into the romanticism of homosexuality: that homosexuality is simply a bad (disordered) form of heterosexuality. Homosexuality it more correctly seen as a sexual fetishes: an identifiable expression of compulsive/obsessive disordered. Simply take a hard look at the actual lived lives of homosexual men and women. Heterosexuals – even when in “irregular” relationships – do not lead lives as homosexuals so. When a heterosexual’s sexual life (object fixation and behaviors) are truly disordered then their sexuality begins to mirror the lives of homosexuals.

    So, again, why have we stopped talking about the *condition* of homosexuality, as if the Church’s teaching on sin, redemption, and holiness has nothing to do with it.

    (And please, don’t parrot that nonsense about . . .)

  • Michael Wallis

    St.Augustine told us that we should “boldly” resist superiors,
    including the Pope, “without fear”, when we are defending the Faith.

    http://www.romancatholicism.org/duty-resist.html

  • Flagged+banned

    Father Dwight, your original article reflected the feelings of many of us out there. It was articulate, charitable and well written. Thank you.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    Given what has transpired at the synod in the past 72 hours, Mr. Fitzpatrick’s rather curious defense of Pope Francis seems quite dated. (Actually, the inherent papalotry of his rremarks has been dated since at least the Renaissance.) If you want to know how the situation is viewed by those who work around Francis most closely, and who have seen the astounding arrogance and radical views of the man, just peruse the Rorate Coeli blog. In the coming weeks, even the most blind defender of this Pontiff will have a lot of explaining to do. We are on the verge of a historic schism, and there may well be calls for Francis’ resignation…. yes, from cardinals and bishops.

    • Nestorian

      Refusing to question what a pope says or does when acting in any official capacity is NOT papalotry. It is in fact in complete accord with Vatican I teaching on papal authority, and the correlative obedience required of the Catholic faithful.
      .

      For proper background, debates such as the one on this thread need to take full account
      of the teachings of Vatican I on papal authority and power. 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 of assent, not only in infallible, but also in
      fallible
      contexts without distinction. Exceptions to this universal Catholic
      duty can only be granted by the pope himself, as part of the exercise of
      the fullness of his supreme authority.
      .
      Thus, the real source of “creeping infallibility, and of “papalotry,” is Vatican I itself, along with all the popes who reigned between the two Vatican councils. “Creeping infallibility” and “papalotry” are 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.
      .
      Vatican
      I and the tradition of its interpretation by the inter-Vatican-Council
      popes makes clear that those who endorse what their opponents
      disparagingly refer to as “creeping infallibility” are in fact following
      Catholic teaching in doing so. It is their opponents who do not, and
      their argument that no Catholic ought to question what Pope Francis is
      saying or doing now has very strong grounds in Vatican I and the
      tradition of its interpretation by subsequent popes.
      .
      Viewing the matter from an Eastern Christian perspective, 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.

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Your name-tag (your choice of it) tells us you do quite a bit of papal questioning To be an “Nestorian” is to be outside the papal reach.

        This is not Islam. However one defines the concept of Development (Unfolding) of Doctrine Catholicism does not accept the controlling notion of abrogation. Though, in Islam, it does not quite work out that way either; it does within the Qur’an, maybe the Hadithas, but not outside the “sacred” texts for any development of Islamic doctrine is now closed – just ask ISIS. Does Pope Francis have the authority (or, as was demonstrated this week, the raw power) to abrogate the teaching of Benedict, John Paul II, Vatican 2 or 1,, let alone Tradition and Scripture. Does not the Universal Church have the duty (the (obedience) to taste and see if any papal teaching or instruction (tweak or warp of doctrine) truly is an unfolding or development of what was handed off into his hands for safekeeping?

        Is it now odd (even a bit comical) how now – with Francis now holding the papal powers – the (catholic) Left have now became papal absolutists, have hiked way over the mountains for love of Francis’ potential, revolutionary (but, not) historic role?

    • Objectivetruth

      Thanks for the link to Rorate Coeli, Tim. Below is a cut and paste from a quote on the site from Cardinal Burke, that I found spot on:

      “But, Burke said, the Church must always call a “person who’s involved in sinful acts […] to conversion in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.” There cannot be “a difference between doctrine and practice” on questions like homosexuality or anything else, Burke said.

      “The church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of goodwill even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction,” said Burke. “If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters than they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.” [source]

  • Margaret O

    Could it be that this time in history goes down as the time when the laity all over the world, stepped up to save the Church through respectful caution and rebuke of the Pope?

  • Tomacz Tesla

    I’m afraid the Pope has lost the trust of all involved. For a while I gave him the benefit of the doubt (with lots of discernment) now I can see clearly that he is incompetent. This is way over his head. Any ricocheting triumphs he may obtain from now on are to be attributed to the works of the Holy Spirit. St. Malachy was right, this is the Roman version of Simon Peter: a nincompoop holding the place so the glory goes all to God.

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