Is There Growing Confusion over Church Teaching?

L'Osservatore Romano

I begin with a piece, spotted by Fr Tim Finigan and reported in his indispensable blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity, which had been published in Sandro Magister’s blog—not his English one, Chiesa, but his Italian language blog for L’Espresso, Settimo Cielo.

A few days ago, Magister told the story of a parish priest in the Italian diocese of Novara, Fr Tarcisio Vicario, who recently discussed the question of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried. This is how he explained the Church’s teaching on the matter: “For the Church, which acts in the name of the Son of God, marriage between the baptised is alone and always a sacrament. Civil marriage and cohabitation are not a sacrament. Therefore those who place themselves outside of the Sacrament by contracting civil marriage are living a continuing infidelity. One is not treating of sin committed on one occasion (for example a murder), nor an infidelity through carelessness or habit, where conscience in any case calls us back to the duty of reforming ourselves by means of sincere repentance and a true and firm purpose of distancing ourselves from sin and from the occasions which lead to it.”

Pretty unexceptionable, one would have thought.

His bishop, the Bishop of Novara, however, slapped down Fr Tarcisio’s “unacceptable equation, even though introduced as an example, between irregular cohabitation and murder. The use of the example, even if written in brackets, proves to be inappropriate and misleading, and therefore wrong.”

Fr Tim comments that “Fr Vicario did not ‘equate’ irregular cohabitation and murder. His whole point was that they are different—one is a permanent state where the person does not intend to change their situation, the other is a sin committed on a particular occasion where a properly formed conscience would call the person to repent and not commit the sin again.”

It was bad enough that Fr Tarcisio should be publicly attacked by his own bishop simply for propagating the teachings of the Church. Much more seriously, Fr Tarcisio was then slapped down from Rome itself, by no less a person than the curial Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who said that the words of Fr Tarcisio were “crazy [‘una pazzia’], a strictly personal opinion of a parish priest who does not represent anyone, not even himself.” Cardinal Baldisseri, it may be remembered, is the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and therefore of the forthcoming global extravaganza on the family. This does not exactly calm one’s fears about the forthcoming Synod: for, of course, it is absurd and theologically illiterate to say that Fr Tarcisio’s words were “a strictly personal opinion of a parish priest who does not represent anyone, not even himself” (whatever that means): for, on the contrary, they quite simply accurately represent the teaching of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sandro Magister tellingly at this point quotes the words of Thomas, Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, who was appointed in January this year as one of the five members of the Commission of Cardinals Overseeing the Institute for the Works of Religion, and who at about the same time as Fr Tarcisio was being slapped down from the beating heart of curial Rome, was saying almost exactly the same thing as he had:

Many people who are divorced, and who are not free to marry, do enter into a second marriage. … The point is not that they have committed a sin; the mercy of God is abundantly granted to all sinners. Murder, adultery, and any other sins, no matter how serious, are forgiven by Jesus, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the forgiven sinner receives communion. The issue in the matter of divorce and remarriage is one’s conscious decision (for whatever reason) to persist in a continuing situation of disconnection from the command of Jesus … it would not be right for them to receive the sacraments….

What exactly is going on, when Bishops and parish priests can so radically differ about the most elementary issues of faith and morals—about teachings which are quite clearly explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church—and when simultaneously one Cardinal describes such teachings as “crazy” and another simply expounds them as the immemorial teachings of the Church? Does nobody know what the Church believes any more?

The question brought me back powerfully, once more, to one of the most haunting blogs I have read for some time, one to which I have been returning repeatedly since I read it last Friday. It is very short, so here it is in full; I am tempted to call it Fr Blake’s last post (one can almost hear his bugle sounding over sad shires):

It is four months since Protect the Pope went into “a period of prayer and reflection” at the direction of Bishop Campbell, someone recently asked me why I tend not to post so often as I did, and I must say I have been asking the same question about other bloggers.

The reign of Benedict produced a real flourish of ‘citizen journalists’, the net was alive with discussion on what the Pope was saying or doing and how it affected the life of our own local Church. Looking at some of my old posts they invariably began with quote or picture followed by a comment, Benedict stimulated thought, reflection and dialogue, an open and free intellectual environment. There was a solidity and certainty in Benedict’s teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood. Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.

Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church, today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.

I look at my own blogging, and see that I perfectly exemplify this. More and more, my heart just isn’t in it; and I blog less than I did. Now, increasingly, I feel that silence is all. Under Benedict, there was vigorously under way a glorious battle, an ongoing struggle, focused on and motivated by the pope himself, to get back to the Church the Council intended, a battle for the hermeneutic of continuity. It was a battle we felt we were winning. Then came the thunderbolt of Benedict’s resignation.

After an agonizing interregnum, a new pope was elected, a good and holy man with a pastoral heart. All seemed to be well, though he was not dogmatically inclined as Benedict had been: all that was left to the CDF. I found myself explaining that Francis was hermeneutically absolutely Benedictine, entirely orthodox, everything a pope should be, just with a different way of operating. I still believe all that. But here is increasingly a sense of uncertainty in the air, which cannot be ignored. “One knew where the Church and the Pope stood” says Fr Blake. Now, we have a Pope who can be adored by such enemies of the Catholic Church as the arch abortion supporter Jane Fonda, who tweeted last year “Gotta love new Pope. He cares about poor, hates dogma.”

In other words, for Fonda and her like, the Church is no longer a dogmatic entity, no longer a threat. That’s what the world now supposes: everything is in a state of flux. The remarried will soon, they think, be told they can receive Holy Communion as unthinkingly as everyone else: that’s what Cardinal Kasper implied at the consistory in February. Did the pope agree with him? There appears to be some uncertainty, despite the fact that the Holy Father had already backed Cardinal Mueller’s insistence that nothing has changed.

We shall see what we shall see at the Synod, which I increasingly dread. Once that is out of the way, we will be able to assess where we all stand. But whatever happens now, it seems, the glad confident morning of Benedict’s pontificate has gone, never again to return; and I (and it seems many others) have less we feel we can say.

Editor’s note: This column first appeared July 11, 2014 in the Catholic Herald of London and is reprinted with permission. (Photo credit: CNS / L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Dr. William Oddie

By

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

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “The issue in the matter of divorce and remarriage is one’s conscious decision (for whatever reason) to persist in a continuing situation of disconnection from the command of Jesus.”

    The distinction goes much deeper than this. Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics distinguishes between the Incontinent (άκρατης, akratēs) man and the Intemperate or Licentious (ακόλαστης, akolastēs) person. (In Aristotle’s usage, someone who is carried away by sudden passions is incontinent, whereas someone with ingrained, unresisted, bad habits is intemperate or licentious.)

    Since passion soon passes, whereas a habit is “a disposition difficult to remove,” the incontinent man repents at once, as soon as the passion has passed; but not so the intemperate man. In fact, he rejoices in having sinned, because the sinful act has become second nature to him; for custom and habit are a second nature. Thus, Scripture speaks of those, “Who are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in most wicked things” (Prov 2:14)

    External actions are merely a manifestation of these internal dispositions. That is why the Prophet says, “Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” (Ez 18:31), but also, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ez 36:26) and why St Paul not only bids us, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” but reassures us, “for it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him (Phil 2:12-13)” and of this promise the sacraments are the efficacious and sealing ordinances.

    • ColdStanding

      Ah, yes, words well given and true. Or so it would seem upon first reading, but I am forced to ask myself…

      Is this what those that occupy the seats of teaching authority in the Church teach us today? Are these ancient words in accord with modern pastoral praxis? Are they still valid, given that, you know, doctrine develops?

      How can this confusion be sorted out? If only we had some sure test! The original post shows that there is discord between the clear teaching of the Church as is in the historical record and the current utterances of the Churchmen. They claim to be with the Pope… must mean what they say is kosher, no? These modern utterances of the Churchmen, I mean.

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        The bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes can, indeed, claim to be with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, on account of that Pope having never publicly abjured and repented of publishing the very same sorts of opinions about divorce and remarriage in 1972.

        Benedict claimed to be in good standing then, and he claims to be in good standing now. Yet, he is an unrepentant heretic, just like the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes.

        See http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/ratzingr-communion-divorced.htm

        • ColdStanding

          Authority, clarity, and dogmatic theology have been taking it on the chin for a very long time now. Hard hearted and stiff-necked people abound. Surely I am one of those. The mark of His disciples is that we love one another. He did not love us because we are inherently lovable, but precisely because we are unlovable. We love, we begin to love, first by prayer. Our love grows through persisting in prayer when all our senses scream not to. This is to be possessed of Charity. Charity is union with God.

          I have a had a great deal of difficulty in accepting the Holy Father, but our family has always mentioned him during our nightly Rosary. Last night it became clear for me. Praise be to God!

          We are to love in spite of, not because of.

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            I do not understand exactly what your point is. But if you are trying to accuse me of being uncharitable towards Pope Emeritus Benedict, then I certainly don’t see why the same accusation does not apply with equal force to Dr. Oddie’s treatment of the bishops currently teaching the same thing that Benedict is on record as teaching in 1972.

            • ColdStanding

              Accuse? No, no, nothing like that.

              • Assyrian Church of the East

                What, then, did you mean to say?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Mere theological opinions of the most eminent churchmen and even of the pope himself (as a private doctor) are in no sense binding. According to Billuart, ” “Neither in conversation, nor in discussion, nor in interpreting Scripture or the Fathers, nor in consulting, nor in giving his reasons for the point which he has defined, nor in answering letters, nor in private deliberations, supposing he is setting forth his own opinion, is the Pope infallible,”

        Similarly, Peronne, speaking of general councils says, ” “Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in matters which relate to persons, nor to physical matters which have no necessary connexion with dogma.” Bl John Henry Newman points out that “in the Third Council, a passage of an heretical author was quoted in defence of the doctrine defined, under the belief he was Pope Julius, and narratives, not trustworthy, are introduced into the Seventh.”

        It is only their definitions that are binding and not the grounds on which the base them and these will be found to cover a rather narrow field

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          Neither is what the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes say binding. Yet, Dr. Oddie criticizes them for bearing false witness to the faith, as allegedly legitimate and reliable teachers thereof.

          By exactly the same token ought he also criticize Pope Benedict, for bearing false witness to the faith in a similar way, and never publicly abjuring his false witness.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            That would only be a problem, if they started inflicting censures on those who disagreed with them. There have always been different theological opinions and even parties within the Church. Unity is threatened only when one party tries to unchurch the other

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          And Perrone’s reasoning is nothing but a subterfuge intended to circumvent an intractable difficulty. To separate the dogma from its putative explanation and grounds in an effort to artificially exempt false premises and bad logic from the infallibility requirements attending the dogma itself makes no sense whatsoever. If this were a reasonable position to take, then why should popes even bother providing arguments for their infallible doctrines at all? The doctrines should simply be enunciated, proclaimed infallible, and left to stand entirely on their own.
          .
          As far as the Third Council is concerned, this is the one whereby all the Christianities of the Roman Imperium lapsed into irretrievable error, and effectively separated themselves from the communion of the True Church located in the Parthian Empire east of the Roman Empire – i.e., the Nestorian Church. So it is entirely to be expected that it would be attended by such flaws as you describe.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            “The doctrines should simply be enunciated, proclaimed infallible, and left to stand entirely on their own.”

            And, often enough, they are. One of the most famous in history must be Cum Occassione (1653) condemning Jansenism. Pope Innocent X utters not a word of explanation, but simply sets out five propositions contained in Jansen’s Augustinus and condemns them – here are the first two:-

            1.” Some of God’s precepts are impossible to the just, who wish and strive to keep them, according to the present powers which they have; the grace, by which they are made possible, is also wanting” – Declared and condemned as rash, impious, blasphemous, condemned by anathema [anathemate damnatam], and heretical.

            2. “In the state of fallen nature one never resists interior grace” – Declared and condemned as heretical.

            Bl John Henry Newman explains, “Theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success; but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter, as the case may be, such, that the censure is a peremptory command to theologians, preachers, students, and all other whom it concerns, to keep clear of it. But so light is this obligation, that instances frequently occur, when it is successfully maintained by some new writer, that the Pope’s act does not imply what it has seemed to imply, and questions which seemed to be closed, are after a course of years re-opened.”

  • James

    No, Pope Francis is not dogmatically inclined. As a result, some of the more liberal bishops have been more outspoken since Benedict resigned. But a closer look shows that many of these bishops are nearing retirement age. Jane Fonda may be thrilled with the Pope, but Jane Fonda is 76 years old. Likewise, Cardinal Kaspar is 81. The younger generation is not particularly interested in changing the Church. They tend to either accept it or leave.

    Benedict’s problem wasn’t that he was unclear, but that he had a tendency to talk over the heads of his audience. While a well-educated Catholic could appreciate what he was saying, the general public frequently got the wrong message. His comments on Mohammed were especially disastrous. Francis’s back-to-basics approach is getting people’s attention and that’s a good thing.

    As for the synod, the questions about divorce and remarriage seem focused on (1) whether the Eastern practice of oikonomia is acceptable and (2) how to go about streamlining the annulment process, which is a real mess in some dioceses.

    • Guest

      The current Pope very much disagreed with Pope Benedict when he spoke about Islam in Germany. Was that over his head too?

      No Benedict did not talk over anyone’s head. He was crystal clear and that is exactly the problem. He was clear and now we have the opposite. To deny this is to deny the obvious.

      The old line about the liberals getting old is a no sell. That has been said for at least 20 years.

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        Benedict XVI Crystal clear? Really??

        On divorce and remarriage, the specific object of Dr. Oddie’s concern, Pope Benedict contradicts himself. He held essentially the same views of those whom Dr. Oddie criticizes in 1972, and has never abjured the error. Yet, without having publicly abjured the error that he formerly publicly propagated, he now (and formerly as acting Pope) represents himself as holding the opposite.

        How can we even be sure that Benedict is a man of firm conviction, and not simply an opportunist who holds his finger to the wind, and tailors his publicly stated views to conform to the tides of the times?

        • DE-173

          We can be sure you are diabolical, pornographer.

        • Guest

          What a load. There is no intellectually honest person who can read that history and come to the erroneous conclusion you do. Benedict was and is clear. He is a genius. Even the low wattage types can read his writings and understand. They may rebel, as you do, but yea they get it.

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            Have you read any of Benedict’s writings from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s? If you were to do so, you would probably be shocked and scandalized, as I was myself 15 years ago when I read writings from Avery Cardinal Dulles from the same general time period.

            Based on the esteem accorded to Cardinal Dulles by Popes John Paul and Benedict in elevating him to the Cardinalate, I read his 1970 work “The Survival of Dogma,” thinking that I would find in it a serious discussion of how Catholic dogma “develops,” yet retains its objective meaning content from one historical epoch to the next.

            Instead, what Cardinal Dulles published in that work was blatant, unadulterated relativism. The fact that two recent popes gave an implicit imprimatur to his works by giving him the Cardinal’s hat is nothing short of scandalous. I know this to be true because I WAS scandalized by this work – profoundly so.

            I invite you to visit the novosordowatch website and poke around a bit in Pope Emeritus Benedict’s past writings. If you dare set out on the venture, I think it is likely you will wind up similarly scandalized. Here is the link: http://www.novusordowatch.org/benedict.htm

      • DE-173

        “The current Pope very much disagreed with Pope Benedict when he spoke about Islam in Germany.”

        Funny thing about dissent-what goes around, comes around.

        • Guest

          And Benedict was very kind to him after that incident.

          • DE-173

            Then perhaps that’s why I’m not Pope. I’d have “asked” for his resignation and buried in him what the corporate world refers to as “the land of special projects”.

            Cardinal Bergolglio should have voiced his concerns privately.

    • DE-173

      This Poe is given to a certain shall we say “exuberance” in extemporaneous speech, and I pray that he will consider his remarks more carefully. That having been said no Pope is impeccable, and if the Church survived the Borgia Popes, it’ll survive this one.

  • Assyrian Church of the East

    I find this pining for Pope Emeritus Benedict very ironic, given that this very person is on published record as having advocated administration of the sacraments to the divorced and remarried in 1972:
    .
    http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/ratzingr-communion-divorced.htm
    .
    More generally, one can fairly label this very same Pope Benedict as a “flaming theological liberal” in his early career, who e.g. denied the literal historicity of Christ’s Resurrection. (See the collection of Pope Benedict’s early apostate writings at the following website:)
    .
    http://www.novusordowatch.org/benedict.htm
    .
    As such, I really do not understand what all the fuss is about here. Based on his lifelong record of published statements, Pope Benedict is himself just as much a sower of confusion as the individuals discussed in Dr. Oddie’s article.
    .
    It is precisely on account of this sort of profound sort of confusion that, in truth, afflicts every aspect of Roman Catholic belief that I was led ultimately to conclude that the Assyrian Church of the East (i.e., the Nestorian Church) is in fact the True Church founded by Christ, “against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.”

    • ForChristAlone

      “I was led ultimately to conclude that the Assyrian Church of the East (i.e., the Nestorian Church) is in fact the True Church founded by Christ”

      Then why in hell are you lurking here? You’re either here to confuse or your life is empty.

      • jpct50

        Ouch!

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        I am evangelizing, as the Gospel calls on all members of the Church to do.

        For Catholics of any ideological persuasion who are weary and confused, I bear witness that they may find the refuge of clarity and doctrinal soundness – and the spiritual security and salvific efficacy this affords – in the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East. This Church – THE Church – has borne unblemished witness to Christ’s victory of death since the times of the apostles. The Church’s dogmas are few, only embracing those propagated in the local Roman Councils of Nicea in 325 and Constantinople in 381. But these, along with the Sacred Scriptures, Holy Tradition, and the Sacramental Life of the Church, constitute a firm and sufficient witness to Christ’s victory over death for all ages.

        • JP

          Yes, the true Church. That is why you guys have hundreds of millions of members. Or do you consider yourselves a remnant church?

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            Yes, that is exactly correct. The Church today is a sacred remnant. This situation is fully in keeping both with the signs of the times, and with the traditional operations of Divine Providence, as recorded in the sacred Scriptures.

            But that was not always so. At one time, our members were spread across the Asian continent, east of traditional Roman imperial domains (including all across central Asia and China), in their millions.

            It has been estimated that, around the year 900 a.d., there were approximately 12 million living members of our Church. For comparison, the total world population at that time has been estimated as 250 million; and that of Christians in the traditional dominions of the Roman Imperium at around 50 million.

            Unlike the various Christianities of the Roman Imperium, our Church has never in its history enjoyed the sanction of state sponsorship. It is my personal belief that this perpetual deprivation of state patronage has been the necessary condition of our Church’s never having lapsed into irrevocable dogmatic error. We are alone among those who call themselves Christians in both regards.

            (The Christianities of the Roman Imperium then encompassed today’s Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox; today, the forms of Christianity tracing their roots to the culture of the Roman Imperium also includes all forms of Protestantism.)

            For a good recent history of our Church, see “A History of Christianity in Asia” by Samuel Hugh Moffett. From about 410 a.d. onwards, the life of our Communion has unfolded in amost complete independence of ecclesiastical developments within Roman dominions. Until then, there was a loose dependence of our Church on the Church of Antioch. The breaking of this status of dependency was, however, a natural organic development of Church life, and an uncontroversial matter.

            • JP

              There are many Protestant Churches that have the same claim (being a remnant church, that alone carries with it the Truth).

              • Assyrian Church of the East

                The Assyrian Church of the East is NOT Protestant. It has the Sacraments, it has Sacred Tradition, it traces its origins to Apostolic times, and it is the oldest extant Christian communion in the sense that its dogmatic claims have not changed in over 1600 years.

              • DE-173

                And the LDS.

        • DE-173

          Evangelizing.. hah hah hah..

          I love a good laugh in the morning with my coffee.

        • publiusnj

          “THE Church”? Come on, nobody but you and a handful of Asssyrians can take that seriously. I bet there are many times more Maronites in this World than “Assyrian Church of the East”-ers. And Maronites represent less than 1% of Catholics. As even Lenny Bruce realized: “the Church” means the Catholic Church.

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            It has been a common practice throughout history for God to execute His Providential Ordination for salvation history by means of a sacred remnant as a key instrument. The Nestorian Church constitutes that sacred remnant today.

            • publiusnj

              So, after 2000 years, you Nestorians are finally getting around to evangelizing the New World? That is hardly in line with Matthew 28:18-20. The REAL Catholic Church adds three times as many new Catholics throughout the World every month as there are total adherents of the ACoE throughout the World. And Christ somehow wants to work through the “remnant” shard that the ACoE represents? Bosh.

              • Assyrian Church of the East

                As your own Cardinal Newman, among others, have pointed out, numbers mean nothing when it comes to matters of truth. In fact, the fact of being a component of the “conventional wisdom” is often rightly taken as evidence of the falsehood of a point of view. I would hazard to guess that there have been occasions when you yourself have invoked this sort of argument in support of your own conservative Catholic views.

                As to evangelization, we do what we can. But you should know that Nestorian missionaries in Asia of past epochs have a reputation both for great courage, and for astounding success in the face of a generally unfavorable cultural climate. And the Nestorian record of physical martyrdom through the ages rivals, if it doesn’t even exceed, the corresponding record of martyrdom within the domains of the Roman Imperium.

                For more information, I suggest reading “A History of Christianity in Asia,” by Samuel Hugh Moffett.

        • ForChristAlone

          Now that you’ve proven yourself to be an idiot, I would have to be another idiot to continue any conversation with you. Besides, this is a line that does not give itself over to dialogue since what’s needed on your part is metanoia which this forum cannot impart. Adios amigo.

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            You prove yourself a worthy companion of DE-173, formerly “TheAbaum,” in your penchant for hurling insults at those with whom you disagree, but whose arguments you evidently cannot answer on their own terms.

    • DE-173

      Hey “Nestorian”, you are still a troll. You think your prose isn’t recognizable?

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        I am not in any way trying to conceal my “Nestorian” identity. I merely chose new “handles” on account of having been banned.

        Other alternative “handles” I have used include “Theodore of Mopsuestia” and “Babai the Great.” I chose these because they represent important representatives of the Assyrian Church’s particular contribution to the patristic legacy of the Church.

        • DE-173

          Other alternative “handles” I have used include “Theodore of Mopsuestia” and “Babai the Great.”

          Why not just answer to the name you provided 2000 years ago-
          Legion.

    • fredx2

      It is no secret that Pope Benedict sought to allow married and divorced to take communion – in a very limited set of circumstances. He brought the issue up in 1993 and said that we should think about it – in certain circumstances.

      His position in 1972, which of course was 42 years ago, was, according to the web site you cited ” for an admittance of [divorced and remarried] to Holy Communion and other sacraments under certain limited and restrictive conditions.

      So, no, he did not ever advocate what you said he advocated: the wholesale administration of Communion to the divorced and remarried.

      I hope you did not move to a new church based on flawed information.

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        Joseph Ratzinger’s actions 42 years ago helped create the confusion that conduces the Bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes to teach and act as they do. They can point to Cardinal Ratzinger’s teachings – presented by him as one in good standing as an intellectual authority within the Catholic Church – as a sound basis for confuting Dr. Oddie’s denunciations of them.

        Joseph Ratzinger bears the same measure of blame as they do – if not even the greater share, since they are operating within a distorted intellectual atmosphere that Ratzinger helped create over many decades of his life.

        If they are acting in bad faith, as heretics, etc., then so too is Joseph Ratzinger for maintaining – up to this very day – that he is and has all along been a member of the Catholic Church in good standing.

  • ForChristAlone

    The other day I came across a statistic that startled me. It stated that last year in the US alone, 17,000 annulments were granted and about 5% of all petitions were denied. I wasn’t startled so much by these comparative numbers but the fact that Church tribunals found that 17,000 marriages were performed where later it was determined that CONDITIONS PRIOR TO the marriage were insufficient to effect a valid marriage. It is frightening to think that we are so poorly preparing people for marriage that so many marriages could be declared invalid. Priests don’t even know who it is they are marrying.

    I propose that every clergy who performs a marriage has to sign an affidavit that he has examined the couple with respect to all the conditions which would otherwise qualify for a later invalidation of the marriage and that he has found there to be no impediments on the basis of his full examination of the couple.

    Is it any wonder that if 17,000 marriages could be declared to be invalid, Catholics would hold views about abortion and same sex marriage similar to those of the secular world. We obviously need much much more and better preparation for those being married in the Church. The only indication that this is happening is if the number of annulments is on steady decline.

    As far as Francis and his pontificate, who am I to judge?

    • fredx2

      It does not sound like 17,000 on a base of 27 million Catholic households (total number of households in US = 118 million, 23% are Catholic) is that large a number, especially given the rate of divorce that we have. It comes out to 0.06 percent per year.

      • Howard

        If we had 17,000 executions last year, would that count as “very rare, if not practically nonexistent”?

        • Micha Elyi

          These days, “17.000 executions last year” in the US would count as a good start on eliminating the backlog of delayed death penalties.

          I’m in favor of protecting innocent life.

          Still, if you wish to subject couples intending to marry to the same scrutiny “beyond a reasonable doubt” given to those accused of capital crimes, with their nearly endless appeals, virtually no one would be permitted to marry. Good luck with that.

          • Howard

            Or rather, virtually no marriages would be annulled.

            Part of my point was that John Paul II’s statement that executions should be “very rare” is essentially useless, because (as we see in this case) “very rare” can mean just about anything. Also, it puts the attention on the total number of executions, not on the justice or injustice of each particular execution, and not on mercy, which is shockingly absent in most Catholic discussions of the death penalty, as though it only matters that the guilty keep breathing, and not whether this is due to mercy or negligence.

    • publiusnj

      17000 may be too large a number but it is dwarfed by the percentage of divorces in the US as a whole. Moreover, at one point in the 1990s or early 2000s (I am relying on recollection), the annual total for US Catholic annulments was around 60,000. JP2 and/or Benedict forced the church courts to become more rigorous, so the number of annulments has definitely declined substantially.

    • ProdiGaldaughter

      I do not accept that 17,000 marriages were indeed invalid. I accept that the Church annulled them as I know many people just waiting on their annulment to marry the next Mr/Ms “Right”. The devastation on the children and the betrayal, lies, and hurt are the same as in any divorce. We had a deacon married for many years and with 5 children who got an ‘annulment’. Don’t tell me he did not live the sacrament. That is just one of the many scandals going on within the Church. And where is the Church? Are 1960 years of teachings no longer valid? It seems clergy to preach or teach them come under persecution. Also those who appreciate the TLM are again second class citizens subject to name calling even from the pope. And just where does the pope stand on things? He says one thing one day and suggests the opposite another. It is a trying and confusing time as if the growing evils in the world are not enough, the Church once again seems to be on shifting sand. I know I must trust in the Lord but His Church is compromising with the world and that is intolerable.

    • Fr. Savio

      As a priest in the States, one of the things I think our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic don’t often deal with when it comes to annulments is the number of Lack of Form cases we deal with. Many, many baptized Catholics who have either been lackluster in their practice of the faith or abandoned it altogether get married outside the rites of the Church. Upon conversion, however, or divorce, and “remarriage” to a more faithful Catholic, they wish to be married in the Church. As a pastor, I can say that the great majority of annulment cases that come my way are Lack of Form cases. And so perhaps people should not fret so greatly at that number. Those marriages really are invalid.

      • James

        Also, many annulments are granted to people who want to enter the Church. They were often married multiple times in their youth and now desire to be Catholic. It is not unusual for me to help an adult convert with 3 or 4 annulments before he or she enters the Church.

        • ForChristAlone

          And far too often (i have done RCIA) these conversions are not unrelated to the intent to marry a Catholic in the Catholic Church. I have seen instances where these “converts” have their annulment(s) denied and then the couple marches off to the local Anglican church to get married. So much for the conversion.

      • ForChristAlone

        Agreed. Have you any idea of the percent of lack of form cases compared to the usual nonsense of “invalid due to gross immaturity” or some personality disorder?

        I wonder how many Catholics know that you cannot marry outside the Church w/o the permission or dispensation of the bishop? Not to say they wouldn’t do it anyway. But here I am addressing the question of poor catechesis.

  • Vinnie

    Vatican II was used wrongly by many in the Church to push their own agenda. It seems Pope Francis’ pontificate is being used in the same way. Does he realize that or does his faith allow him to be confident that God’s will prevails?

    • Pamela

      I ask myself that same question daily.

    • Howard

      What you describe does not seem to be faith, but sloth. It is hard work to teach difficult concepts so that they are understood.

  • Dick Prudlo

    Is this not the struggle of the Neo-Catholic? Somehow, finding that all the frolics he has supported in the name of “Springtime” has somehow led the Church where it has led the Church. The real rift in the Church is due to Modernist (Faithless Catholics) who have been supported by the Neo-Catholic bunch by seeing no evil. They have been the useful idiot that thought, well, doctrine is still in place, is it not? Well, I don’t think so.

    Further, the canard of not understanding what the Council wished is another Neo-Catholic distortion of the most ambiguous collection of minutia ever to be published. The Rhine did flow into the Tiber and now the malodorous effect felt by the Church is becoming rank.

  • elarga

    If there is one single evaluative statement I would have to make about Pope Francis, it is that he talks too much.

  • Assyrian Church of the East

    Seriously, though, how would Dr. Oddie and those of like mind explain the fact that the very person identified as Pope Benedict XVI, writing in 1972, HIMSELF advocated administering the sacraments to divorced and remarried Catholics? Why does this fact (i.e., the truth) not disturb them? Or is it the case that, since it DOES disturb them, they must remain in denial about it?

    The relevant link substantiating the fact that Pope Benedict DID propagate this view in print is the following:

    http://www.novusordowatch.org/wire/ratzingr-communion-divorced.htm

    • elarga

      If he changed his mind about something he said 42 years ago, what difference does it make now?

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        It matters a great deal in terms of cause and effect. Joseph Ratzinger, by exerting considerable influence within the Catholic Church as a “liberal” theologian for many decades, helped create the current environment of confusion that Dr. Oddie bemoans.

        Also, a former pope’s having demonstrably once been a heretic – and even an apostate, insofar as he denied the literal resurrection at one time – is a matter of public scandal. This taint of scandal ought to have barred him from election to the papacy in the first place.

        Why is Ratzinger’s publication a source of scandal? Because the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes can give their teachings and actions a veneer of legitimacy by pointing to publications by a pope whom Dr. Oddie highly reveres.

        • JP

          I take it that you hold Saint Augustine’s actions as a Roman Pagan to seriously detract from his writings and actions as a Catholic?

          • Assyrian Church of the East

            As a matter of fact, yes, I do. Augustine has been the single greatest source of doctrinal and moral error in the history of Christendom. There is undoubtedly a connection between that fact and his misspent youth.

            His intolerant actions towards Pelagius, and his retreat into a mindset that can with full accuracy be labelled “Calvinistic” in so acting, is probably the single greatest source of the lasting damage he caused.

            But Augustine wrote a great deal, so that an exhaustive list of the errors he originated and helped propagate would be a long one.

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              Upon further reflection, Origen might be a greater source of error than even Augustine.

              Origen heavily promoted a patently relativistic approach to scriptural interpretation with his famous allegorism. It would not be too much to say that the “Culture of Relativism” that Pope Benedict famously denounced upon his election owes its origin in significant measure to the immense influence of Origen’s allegoristic relativism in the early 3rd century. That allegorism was a time-bomb that went off with the onset of the Enlightenment in the 17th century. This time-bomb did much to pave the way for the Higher Criticism of the Bible that has so decimated faith in the supernatural over the past 250 years.

              It is to the lasting credit of the Antiochene Fathers of antiquity to whom the Assyrian Church of the East lays a particular claim (such as Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia) that they opposed the relativistic excesses of Origen and other Alexandrian exegetes with a clear insistance on interpreting Scripture in its objective, historico-grammatical sense. Their witness failed to arrest the progress of Origenistic relativism within the Roman Imperium, however.

              • DE-173

                Looks like it’s time for the moderator to issue another decree of anathema.

                • Assyrian Church of the East

                  It will probably happen eventually. But it is to the moderators’ credit that they are generally slow to do so, as they probably recognize that my remarks generally represent a valid and substantive contribution to the discussion raised by the main post.

                  • DE-173

                    Be gone with you, Satan.

            • Hegesippus

              For you, is it “anything goes” except Catholicism?

    • JP

      Then Fr Ratzinger, being a Catholic intellectual, promoted quite a few things to discuss. Your link and post in no ways surprises me. For the young Fr Ratzinger was more inclined to at least investigate many unorthodox ideas as compared to a more mature Bishop Ratzinger. And as a Bishop, and later a Cardinal, the pastoral responsibilities changed radically. It is one thing to discuss within the ivory towers ideas that may be controversial. It is quite another thing as a Bishop to push such ideas.

      You really need to do a better job if your looking to stir the muck.

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        I don’t see the difference. Ultimately, Joseph Ratzinger’s actions are just as guilty of
        contributing to the sowing of confusion among the faithful on divorce
        and remarriage as those whom Dr. Oddie criticizes.

        Where do you think the atmosphere of current confusion, within which the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes operate, originally came from? It came from 20th century Catholic intellectuals like Joseph Ratzinger. By contributing personally to this intellectual atmosphere (through his 1972 publication, as well as many others of similar bent), Joseph Ratzinger shares in the guilt and the blame of those whom Dr. Oddie criticizes.

        What’s more, Joseph Ratzinger was also a signficant force in shaping Vatican II, both in its contents, and in terms of the intellectual atmosphere that surrounded it. Insofar as both these elements contributed to shape the views of the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes, Joseph Ratzinger has a full share of their blame arising from the way he comported himself during the Second Vatican Council.

        But ultimately, these consequentialist types of arguments are of secondary importance: If maintaining doctrinal falsehood is intrinsically wrong, then the Joseph Ratzinger of 1972 is just as blameworthy as the bishops whom Dr. Oddie is blaming today.

        Conversely, those whom Dr. Oddie takes to task can be defended on the grounds that their teaching is essentially the same as that of a man whom Dr. Oddie highly reveres. It is fundamentally inconsistent of Dr. Oddie to accord reverence to Pope Benedict while chastising the bishops whom he chastises.

    • fredx2

      As I point out above, you are misreading your own cited web site. Try reading more carefully.

      • Assyrian Church of the East

        If you deny that Pope Emeritus Benedict is guilty of unrepented apostasy by having at one time publicly denied the Resurrection of Our Lord, then you are probably also in a state of psychological denial.

        The people who run the novusordowatch website have proven themselves to be both reliable and intellectually honest.

        Since Pope Emeritus Benedict’s heresies and apostasies while allegedly in good standing with the Catholic Church are a matter of public record, nothing less than a public universal repentance from, and abjuring of, his published heresies and apostasies would have been necessary to render him fit to hold the papal office. The fact that the conclave that elected him did not require this of him makes THEM all guilty of contributing to the prevailing confusion in the Catholic Church.

  • Pamela

    This article spoke directly to me, defining feelings I have had for some time but couldn’t pinpoint why. I was a frequent blogger and contributor to editorial pages (although from the political and conservative viewpoint, not always as a Catholic per se) … but I’ve cut back dramatically over the past two years. Outside of Catholic media, anything I have to say is pounced upon, turned upside down and ripped to shreds by the brainwashed masses. That alone didn’t stop me, but reflecting on it now I can see that I’ve developed a sense of “what’s the use?” because the tide has already turned.

    I think we need to break the silence in a very big way on the issues of divorced Catholics, homosexual “marriage”, abortion and all the rest. We have Church doctrine to stand on, regardless of what our misguided brethren may think.

    • DE-173

      “regardless of what our misguided brethren may think.”
      They don’t think, they “feel”.

      • Pamela

        Good point.

  • publiusnj

    I am a Catholic for the same reason Irenaeus of Lyons was Catholic: for the assurance that I am receiving the Faith passed on from the Apostles and that means staying in communion with the Holy See of Rome (Adversus Haereses 3:3:2). Nothing is a more glorious proof of the truth of Catholicism than our refusal to bend to the way of Age by allowing for Divorce-Remarriage. I say that not only because Jesus was so much more loving on that issue than Moses with his acquiescence to the demands of hard-hearted would-be adulterers, but because Marriage without Divorce and Remarriage is the best school in which those of us not called to the consecrated state can learn how to get outside our radical selfishness and to share our lives with others. First with our heart’s desire with whom we bond as one flesh and then with our own flesh and blood children. We never get there if we are constntly looking to swap out heart’s desires for newer models.

    Like Dr. Oddie, I dread the Synod. My greatest hope is that the Pope keeps in mind that his primary job is to pass along the Faith once given to the Apostles whatever the Jane Fondas of the World might think. As a Catholic, I need the assurance of continuity with that Faith.

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      If Dr. Oddie and you are distressed by the seeming absence of the Holy Spirit’s guarantee of infallibility to the Roman Catholic communion, then I cordially invite you both to investigate the possibility that the guarantee you seek is in actual fact present in the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.

      I bear witness to having investigated this possibility, and of having found an impregnable refuge from the unfathomable depths of confusion that prevail within Roman Catholicism in the Nestorian Church. Truly, our Church is the bosom of the Holy Spirit; and though we are but a small remnant today, “the gates
      of hell shall not prevail” against the indefectible witness of the Holy Spirit, mysteriously and miraculously acting through the sinful and broken humanity of our members (including myself personally), right up to the moment of the Glorious Return of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      May He come soon and gloriously transfigure our broken world, as the Holy Apostles and Prophets infallibly promise!

      • publiusnj

        Nestorianism? Hardly. Some of Francis’s ad libs have been scaring me, but 2000 years of Catholicism assure me that in the end all will be well. I just don’t want to hear anti-Catholics like Fonda (or you) exploiting any of those verbal infelicities.

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          If your assurance should falter, in the wake of an outcome of the Synod on Marriage that you regard as disastrous, for example, I hope you will look into the history and doctrines of the Nestorian Church.

          Or, if you don’t want to dig that deeply into christian history, even converting to the Eastern Orthodox Church would represent a considerable extent in the right direction, and away from the boundless confusions of the Roman Catholic Church.

          • DE-173

            Or, if you don’t want to dig that deeply into christian history, even converting to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

            Leave them alone. They don’t come here to troll.

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              I come here to evangelize, not to troll.

              I might point out also that the concept of a “troll” is an entirely relative one. To label someone a “troll” proves nothing whatsoever as to the intrinsic merits of her point of view, nor as to their motivations in actively propagating it.

              • DE-173

                The fact that you’ve been repeatedly banned by a moderator who is extraordinarily tolerant is the best evidence that you are a troll.
                The “intrinsic merits” of your “point of view” were disposed of centuries ago.

          • Bill Russell

            How many members does the Nestorian Church have ?

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              About 400,000. But numbers are irrelevant when it comes to questions of truth.
              .
              Additional, if anything, one would rather expect the True Church to have few members than masses of them, as this comports better with God’s tendency to work out his purposes in history on the basis of a small remnant (e.g.: the 8 persons on Noah’s ark, the 7000 who refused to bow their knees to Baal in the prophet Elijah’s time, etc., the martyrs of Ante-Nicene Rome, etc.).

    • Howard

      Our hope has nothing to do with the free will of this or any other pope, which he is of course able to abuse. I think it is even entirely possible for a Pope to intend to formally proclaim heresy, only one way or another he would find himself unable to do so. Circumstances might intervene; he might have a stroke; he might suddenly die; he might even repent.

      “Behold, now you that say: To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and there we will spend a year, and will traffic, and make our gain. Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away. For that you should say: If the Lord will, and if we shall live, we will do this or that.” James 4:13-15

  • Fr. William Behringer, S.M.

    While I am not happy about some of Dr. Oddie’s examples, I am more distressed by his seeming forgetfulness of the promise of Christ that the Holy Spirit will be with the Church until the end of time. Over the centuries we have seen bad popes, really poor decisions made at various levels of Church life etc. But the Spirit has never abandoned the Church and has continued to guide her and keep her from fundamental error. And even in the worst periods of Church history, we see multiple examples of sanctity. When Benedict was elected, we heard all sorts of dire predictions about the future of the Church from one side.
    Now we are hearing similar fears from the other side. I would submit that the Spirit is still withthe Church and that the promise of Christ has not stopped being true.

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      If Dr. Oddie and you are distressed by the seeming absence of the Holy Spirit’s guarantee of infallibility to the Roman Catholic communion, then I cordially invite you both to investigate the possibility that the guarantee you seek is in actual fact present in the Assyrian Church of the East.

      I bear witness to having investigated this possibility, and of having found a solid refuge from the unfathomable depths of confusion that prevail within Roman Catholicism in the Nestorian Church. Truly, our Church is the bosom of the Holy Spirit; and though we are but a small remnant today, “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against the indefectible witness of our beloved Church.

      • ColdStanding

        Greetings, nestorius.

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          If you think I am trying to conceal my identity, you are mistaken. I have changed my handle merely because “Nestorius” has been banned.

          • ColdStanding

            Doesn’t the fact that you have been banned under Nestorius or any other name give you pause to stop and consider your actions?

            It appears not.

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              Why should it? I have nothing to be ashamed of. And I am carrying out part of what I believe to be my calling as a Christian.

              • ColdStanding

                It is specifically, to use your phrase, “nothing to be ashamed of” when added to “banned” that aught give you pause. That’s some pretty important feed back; a cause for examination of conscience. The Crisis Editor, IMHO and not to speak on his behalf, holds a loose reign. To have crossed his line says something.

                Christianity specifically is about not judging by a personal standard. Guard, I did not say it was about not judging at all.

                • Assyrian Church of the East

                  My conscience is clear, I assure you.

                  • ColdStanding

                    Alarm bells! The only one’s who should dare to utter such folly are the saints in Heaven who possess the Beatific Vision of God! Even to think it is to tempt God!

                  • DE-173

                    Philippians 2:12

              • DE-173

                You are not a Christian.

                • Assyrian Church of the East

                  I see that your penchant for hurling groundless vitriol and gratuitous verbal abuse at those with whom you disagree, but whose arguments you evidently cannot answer, has not abated.

                  • DE-173

                    I assume that having been banned multiple times, you know something about groundless vitriol and gratuitous verbal abuse.
                    Your heresies were disposed of centuries ago. You are entitled to adhere to those doctrines, but not entitled to have them treated as valid counter arguments.

              • Arriero

                Authentic Catholics know that the word «Christian», since the Reformation, has no useful and no proper sense.

                Only Catholic. Period. We don’t share anything with those who despise the Catholic Church, including here the protestant and the proto-protestants, what you seem to be.

          • DE-173

            It was “Nestorian”. You can’t even keep track of all your names, legion.

      • Arriero

        Assyrian Church of the East… another protestant sect?

        What strange things you find outside the ONLY TRUE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

    • Bill Russell

      Check out North Africa and the MIddle East for an evaporated Church. And now Europe (notoriously now Ireland too) and Quebec and, increasingly, the USA. The promise that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church until the end of time, did not guarantee that He would specifically be in Holland or Turkey or any other locale. In the same sense, it is true that our bishops are successors of the apostles, but one of the twelve was a very bad egg indeed.

      • Howard

        Or Japan, where surviving Christians became utterly confused after their leadership was martyred and they were isolated by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

    • Sygurd Jonfski

      What about this, Father: ““But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)?

    • justanotherlittlesoul

      Thank you, Father, for reminding us that we are Catholics. The Holy Spirit will certainly see us through. And I might add, why don’t we help to hasten the day by getting out there and OURSELVES doing the catechizing. No one has destroyed the Sacred Deposit of Faith. One need only pick up a catechism to begin. When we meet the Lord on Judgement day, He isn’t going to ask us what this bishop or that pope did to bring His Kingdom on earth; He will ask what WE did. Instead of complaining about how bad a job the “supervisors” are doing to feed the hungry, why not get busy and feed them ourselves? I don’t mean by blogging about the Faith to others who know it, but by clarifying the Faith for those who don’t. The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few. What are WE doing to teach the faith to others?

  • Mike

    There is Only confusion of those who choose not to follow GOD. It happens in every generation. That is why the Lord said ” there will be wailing and grinding of teeth, Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom.”

  • http://amazon.com/author/jamesglaeg James Glaeg

    I still feel that the main downside of Pope Francis’ PR tactic is that — when he finally speaks out definitively after much careful listening — the Jane Fondas of this world are only going to cry out against his perceived betrayal of the “side” all the more vehemently.

    • RuariJM

      What else did you expect? It was inevitable.

      But don’t worry – for all her achievements in film (Barbarella and…um…) she was never on our side.

      • http://amazon.com/author/jamesglaeg James Glaeg

        Sorry this reply is so late, but I just found yours. Want to make myself clear, I meant that Jane Fonda (along with all the left) perceives Pope Francis to be on HER side — e.g. on the side repudiating traditional values. And that when Francis speaks for traditional value instead (as I expect), she will feel only betrayed by him and scream bloody murder. (I.e., of course she was never on our side.)

        • RuariJM

          I think we are essentially in agreement.

  • Benedictus

    I take issue with Dr. Oddie’s concluding statements about the springtime of Pope Benedict’s reforms being “gone, never to return”. That is a bit of an overstatement. What Pipe Benedict unleashed cannot be put back in the bottle. I brim with hope when I see the young men being ordained today, very much formed by Pope Benedict’s teachings on the true nature of the liturgy. There is much there to, be hopeful about.

    • Howard

      I think Dr. Oddie means within his lifetime, and possibly yours and mine as well. Of course he knows there will be ups as well as downs.

  • Jay

    Isn’t the entire purpose of the Oct synod to make certain Church teaching is clear? Also, the Eucharist and remarried is only about one out of eight topics being discussed.

  • English Catholic

    Stop fretting. The obsession with giving communion to those in adultery is limited to a view old men. Kasper is, what, 80? Young Catholics want nothing to do with this idiocy. And nobody peddling these ideas is having many kids.

    Look at the recent article in Aleteia on Juventutum for an example of what’s happening in reality. Orthodoxy is growing, especially in connection with the Old Rite. It didn’t die when Benedict resigned. People are re-discovering Thomism, the only philosophy that can coherently and consistently overcome modernism, which is why Gramsci was so frightened of it. Start with Edward Feser’s Last Superstition to get an overview.

    Stop worrying about what a few old men say. Pray for them, and pray for yourself and your family. Seek to grow in holiness. Make sure you’re ready for the dread day when Christ returns. It could be tonight.

    • Guest

      For 20 years we have heard that line.

      • English Catholic

        And now there are about ten times as many TLMs in America than there were in the early 1990s. In England, there are four times as many as there were in 2007. Things are happening.

        • Howard

          There are probably also about ten times as many mosques.

          • Micha Elyi

            Alas, if only Catholics ran England and America, eh Howard?

            • Howard

              I suspect that this is intended to be a sarcastic comment, and I (or anyone reading this) is supposed to react with, “Oh no! Not that!”

              But yes, would that Catholics ran England and America, and Japan and India and China as well. By that I don’t mean people who just call themselves Catholics without bothering to imitate Christ; we have enough of those already.

              Nor will I stop there. Would that those who rule, wherever they rule, ordered their decisions according to the truths not only of theology, but also of science, mathematics, economics, etc. Does anyone really disagree that it would be better if decision makers based their decisions on truth, rather than, for example, polling data and popular movies?

              Now if you are convinced that Catholicism is false, and therefore it is a bad basis for important decisions, that’s well and good — just like, if you thought that AIDS was not actually caused by the HIV virus, you should not favor people making decisions based on that theory to be in places of power. Even so, you might understand that those who are completely convinced that HIV causes AIDS would not be embarrassed to tell you that only such people can be expected to make the right decisions, because they at least start from a true foundation.

        • Guest

          Close your eyes but it is still not good.

    • tamsin

      Thanks, I needed that.

    • Don Campbell

      Yes, but Kasper is the one who seems to have Pope Francis’ support. At least, he claims to have it. Much damage can be done before the young orthodox can have their way.

      • English Catholic

        Sure, a great deal of damage has been done since the sixties and no doubt will be done until the boomers die off, but why fret about it? What can you do, beyond pray?

        We should be concerned with our own souls, and our families’.

        • Micha Elyi

          News Flash: The “boomers” you wish to see die didn’t convene Vatican II. They didn’t discard the statues, the Latin worship in the Western Church, nor did they smash the altars and replace them with dining tables.

          You don’t really know what “boomers” means, do you?

          Stop the hate.

          • Guest GBOP LHUA

            Quite so! The oldest of the Post-War ‘Baby Boomers’ were just in their twenties at the end of the Council; it was a previous generation, the hyper-enthused peers of my brothers and cousins and I, who did the ground work of institutionalising Modernism as the New (all singing, all dancing) Catholicism (even if reluctantly and with well-founded doubts). But, in fact, the real brain work had all been settled and put in place long before any of us emerged from the shadows of the Second World War; that the world we lived in really had changed (after the Great War) was a truism, one that had to be dealt with, and it was the consequences of this truism which were carried out to there dire conclusion – by immaculate French logic, thorough German determination, and free-wheeling Dutch independence (even in the face of Benedict XVI, Pius XI, Ven Pius XII and St John XXIII).

            I never cease to thank God for the Latin Mass Society and the saintly John Carmel Cardinal Heenan; at least in England.

            http://www.lms.org.uk/about-us

            GBOP LHUA

          • English Catholic

            Sincere apologies for my idiotic and unpleasant remark.

    • Guest GBOP LHUA

      Sadly, oldies, like me, can still do a great deal of damage – or, less likely, a more than fair deal of good – even in our diminishing years. The Prince of this world is, after all, not finished in his uses of those wedded to him 50 odd years ago (and more), aka the world and his wife, invited in as they were to make themselves at home in the Church, and in fact to take over running its life, aims, and end. Lord God, O God, do Thou preserve us from the worldly-minded pastors that Thou hast so long set upon us!

      ‘This work being done by the Church for the testing and bringing together of the salvific fruits of the Spirit bestowed in the Council is something indispensable. For this purpose one must learn how to “discern” them carefully from everything that may instead come originally from the “prince of this world.” (Jhn 12:3) This discernment in implementing the Council’s work is especially necessary in view of the fact that the Council opened itself widely to the contemporary world, as is clearly seen from the important Conciliar Constitutions Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium.’ St John Paul II, Dominum et vivificantem.

      Few indeed are they who understand how this discernment works, or even that it is truly necessary – and ever more urgently so.

      GBOP LHUA

  • clintoncps

    Dear William,

    A great article. My heart began to break when Pope Francis made his “if a person is gay” comment last July; I and many other Catholics have been in turmoil ever since. Nevertheless, trusting in the Holy Spirit, I pray and offer my primary Mass intention every day for Pope Francis. He is under attack, like all of us, not so much by political entities as by diabolical ones. All of us need to support him in prayer, along with the confused Cardinals who seem to be rejecting some of the most basic teachings of their own faith.

    Let’s pray and believe that the Holy Spirit can guide us through the malaise of this spiritual battle ahead of the Synod on the Family.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Clinton

    • RuariJM

      Clinton – the Pope did not say “if a person is gay…”. He said “If someone is seeking God with a sincere heart…”.

      There is a major qualitive, contextual and content difference, you must agree.

      That is not to say that I am undisturbed by the comments recently attributed to His Holiness, nor that I am comfortable with his persistence in meeting Scalfari, nor that I am completely calm about the upcoming Synod (although I am less excited about what Card Kasper said, having read it in context) but let us not get upset at things that have not been said. Despair is the Devil’s tool.

      • clintoncps

        “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

        Dear RuariJM,

        The above quote is attributed to Pope Francis, and it is upon that quote that I based my comment. Perhaps the Pope was misquoted — that would be music to my ears! But if the quote is accurate, then something truly devastating has happened, and it’s something that I’ve seen affecting many people I know, including Catholics and clergy.

        Please join me in continuing to pray for Pope Francis and for all those who will be involved in the upcoming Synod on the Family.

        Your brother in Christ,

        Clinton

        • RuariJM

          Best to check what was actually said, I find. It usually clears up misunderstandings.

        • RuariJM

          Just a quick query; would your heart begin to break if the Pope said:

          “If a person is a sinner and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

          • clintoncps

            Thank you for the question, RuariJM.

            Using the term “sinner” would be accurate, because it emphasizes that no matter what temptations we experience and succumb to (sexual or otherwise), we must not identify with any one of them as being reflective of an authentic and immutable characteristic of our God-given nature — of the person God created us to be. Rather, we should recognize our common frailty under the effects of original sin and not cling to invented categorical labels like “gay”.

            So the word “sinner” would be correct as it is applicable to all people; we were all born THAT way.

            Your brother in Christ,

            Clinton

            • RuariJM

              I think the crucial words are “if”, “seeks God” and “has good will”. Or sincerity, if you prefer.

              If they do then they will strive to sin no more. That would be the evidence of sincerity, I think; striving to improve. Whatever the sin might be. Sex, pride, whatever.

  • Don Campbell

    This papacy is an unmitigated disaster. Pope Francis has succeeded only in alienating the faithful while giving the dissenters and haters reason to hope that he’s “one of them.” In following the readers’ comments on sites that try to stay true to the Faith (e.g., Crisis, NC Register, etc. it is quite clear that devout Catholics are confused, offended, and hurt by the antics of their Holy Father while the secular press, the dissenters, and the generally uninformed / disingaged seem to think he’s wonderful. In the end, everyone will wind up alienated, confused and disillusioned. I really need to take to heart Fr. Longenecker’s “Ten Things to Remember if Pope Francis Upsets You.”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2014/07/ten-things-to-remember-if-pope-francis-upsets-you.html

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      You also, if you seek a refuge from the confusion, consider joining the Assyrian Church of the East, or at least the Eastern Orthodox Church. I assure you, having studied both bodies closely over a period of many years, that there are much fewer grounds for confusion in both, as both are far truer to apostolic tradition than the Catholic Church has been for many centuries.
      There are important differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church, to be sure, but either one offers a far surer refuge from the confusions of our age than the Catholic Church.

      • Don Campbell

        We are not interested in leaving the One True Church for an impostor. You are looking in the wrong place if you are seeking converts.

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          I bear witness to the truth regardless of how it is received – in season and out of season.
          Many principled Catholics are obviously seeking an intellectual and spiritual safe haven from the increasingly obvious confusion of the Catholic point of view, and the lifeline of truth, pointing to the East, that I am holding out may prove a welcome refuge for some – as it has for me.

          • Hegesippus

            Disagreeing with the Pope is no reason to leave the Church founded by Christ upon Peter.

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              Actually, strictly speaking, it is. The Catholic dogma on this point is that the teachings of the sitting popes require unconditional assent – whether fallible or infallible.
              .
              If you think I am mistaken about this, I strongly encourage you to read the Fourth Session of Vatican I, along with various papal encyclicals of Popes Pius IX through XII that discuss the Church and its Magisterium.
              .
              There are also many, many papal bulls from earlier eras that basically teach the same thing. Unam Sanctam by Boniface the VIII from 1308 is a good example.

              • Hegesippus

                Having studied these texts at length in the past, I must point out that they are very clear in explaining the exact circumstances for papal infallibility and the requirement to follow them.

                You make it sound like we have to agree with the Pope on everything down to his favourite colour and which football team to follow.

                Either you need to actually read the Vatican I documents or stop hoping that no one else has!

              • English Catholic

                ” The Catholic dogma on this point is that the teachings of the sitting
                popes require unconditional assent – whether fallible or infallible.”

                Not only is this false, it’s also nonsensical. By definition, a fallible teaching can’t require unconditional assent.

                And you obviously haven’t read Vatican I, let alone any of the other texts you mention.

                • Assyrian Church of the East

                  “By definition, a fallible teaching can’t require unconditional assent.”

                  I assure you, this was not the common understanding prior to Vatican II. Statements both official and unofficial (e.g.: in manuals of dogma) asserting the exact opposite could be multiplied ad nauseam.

                  If your only personal experience is of the atmosphere that has prevailed in the Catholic Church since Vatican II, and you have no historical knowledge of prior eras, then, yes, it is easy to embrace the falsehood that the Church has taught what you maintain about the withholding of assent from non-infallible teaching being permissible. But it is not so. The Catholic Church is in its essence a totalitarian institution, and it has never abrogated such claims.

  • Bill Russell

    Why did the Pope grant a THIRD interview to La Repubblica – without a recording or transcript – following the
    previous disastrous ones? This is the most surreal and disorganized papal reign in modern history, if ever. I have said
    before, that the “Francis Effect” on the Church is similar to the “Enola
    Gay Effect” on Hiroshima. Things were not better in
    Buenos Aires. One indicator of a healthy church is its priestly
    vocations and when Jorge Bergoglio was archbishop there, his seminary had the lowest number of seminarians in its history.
    Spaniards often disparage Latin Americans as coarse, rather the
    way some Britons caricature the United States, but Pope Francis seems
    to confirm that prejudice by the vulgarity of so many of his expressions
    and the many insults he hurls so ironically after he has said that he
    does not want to be judgmental. But I could be wrong and may in fact be, to use his infelicitous expressions, a self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian creed-reciting parrot who foments coprophragia.

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      If you seek a refuge from the confusion, consider joining the Assyrian Church of the East, or at least the Eastern Orthodox Church. I assure you, having studied both bodies closely over a period of many years, that there are much fewer grounds for confusion in both, as both are far truer to apostolic tradition than the Catholic Church has been for many centuries.

      • Don Campbell

        We are not interested in leaving the One True Church for an impostor.

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          Speak for yourself, that is fine. There may be others, including Bill Russell, to whom I was specifically responding, that the One True Church may in fact reside in the East, and not in the West (i.e. either Catholicism or Protestantism).

          • Don Campbell

            I am pretty sure I know who Bill is. You are barking up the wrong tree.

          • Hegesippus

            The keys were given to Peter, not his brother.

      • cestusdei

        Thanks for the invite, but I will stick with the Church that St. Ireneaus said that all other churches must agree with. I wish Assyrians the best and look forward to eventual reunion with you.

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          That quote is one of many that have been taken out of context, and even deliberately misquoted, if not outright fabricated, by Catholic apologists for centuries now.
          .
          The record of deliberate frauds in the interest of sustaining papal claims is a long one, and is clearly documented to go back as far as the 5th century. For more information, you can read
          Dollinger’s “The Pope and the Council.” Since it dates from 1869, you can download the whole thing for a nominal fee – virtually for free – at http://www.forgottenbooks.org.
          The historical reality in play here is a critical one: If the very office of the papacy has been sustained over the centuries in substantial measure by deliberate fraud (of which probably the most famous are the Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals from the 9th century – which fooled Thomas Aquinas, among others), then what else can Catholics reasonably expect than the current state of confusion lamented by so many?

          • Hegesippus

            Irenaeus pointed to the Roman Church as the “Mother” Church and the one that held the authority of not only Peter and Paul but also as that which others, such as the Corinthians with Clement, had considered to be of greater authority since the first century.

            As for your further claims, not only have they been dealt with apologetically in the past (get yourself a good search engine), they have nothing to do with the subject at hand.

            If you are here merely to try to badmouth Catholics, I suggest you really think hard about your motives.

          • cestusdei

            Assyrian, I have read the quote in context. It says what it says. You just don’t like what it says. It is no fabrication. We don’t base the papacy on the decretals, but on the words of Christ. For the facts you may visit catholic.com.

      • Hegesippus

        Curious that you should “evngelise” for two different churches. As they do not agree, why would you do that. Or is it just to draw Catholics away from the Catholic Church? Is this what happened to you? Were you Catholic?

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          Yes, I was born Catholic. I nearly joined the Eastern Orthodox Church in the mid-90s, for fundamentally the same reasons that Dr. Oddie and so many other Catholics currently bemoan: the unfathomable confusion that prevails in the Catholic communion.
          Ultimately, though, I recognized the need not to ignore the so-called “Monophysite” and Nestorian Churches in my quest for the True Church. After all, they too, like the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, claim an existence back to apostolic times.
          Due mainly to the manifest error embodied in the Third Ecumenical Council of 431 (Ephesus) and the Fifth of 553, The Nestorian Church – the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East – stands alone as the One True Church of Christ.

          • Hegesippus

            AS you are attempting to draw Catholics away from the Catholic Church, and you have a real and obvious need for attacking Catholics on this Catholic forum, I would suggest that this is due to the nagging doubt that your move from Catholicism was spiritually wrong. Not that you’d consciously admit it with any ease but it will be your soul crying out from its depths.

            I also note that while you persist in proclaiming how wrong Catholics are and how right the heretical position of Nestorianism is, you fail to explain why this is so.

            While you offer your explanation, please consider how Christ’s words – ensuring that the Catholic Church would not fail – have indeed borne themselves out to be false, in your opinion, and why we should trust you over Peter and the Catholic Church.

            BTW, how could that Christ has two persons in him work if Nestorius was right? Did he argue with himself? Does he still have two persons? How does that fit in with the Trinity? Four persons or, like a second class degree, an upper and lower second? Just wonderin’ what you can come up with…

            • Assyrian Church of the East

              Thank you for your suggestions regarding my interior state.
              .
              The Assyrian Church of the East never taught the so-called “Nestorian heresy.” Pope John Paul II recognized as much in his Common Christological Declaration of 1994, jointly proclaimed with His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church.

    • elarga

      I too was floored by his decision to repeat the previous La Repubblica disasters. What purpose could this be serving in his mind? He must be driving his press office crazy.

  • Hegesippus

    God willing, the synod will be Francis’ Humanae Vitae moment, when Jane Fonda and the like realise that the Pope is actually… the Pope.

    • Howard

      No, they will just say that the reactionaries got to him and forced his hand, but that his “true intentions” were to support whatever they want.

  • donna

    i believe much of difficulty lay in fact that francis is not a native english speaker. I think there is a very real element of subversion occurring here in willful distortions of his words through translation. Pope Benedict is a gem i feel he has been co-Pope since Paul IV guiding Church through the powerful faithful use of his special gift of intellect. I also believe there was a deliberation in his resignation allowing him the opportunity to continue to assist life of Church. He spoke of being moved to decision which I think was guided by the hands of heaven.

  • John Smith

    Hm, when catechesis isn’t given in the Catholic schools anymore, and the Second Vatican Council and popes preach things that are false, evil, and contradict tradition and the sensus fidei, yes, yes, I would say there is growing “confusion” over Church teaching, but the culpability falls on the teaching authority and hierarchy of the Church, and I would say that ‘obfuscation’ and ‘misdirection’ are more precise descriptions for what is going on rather than ‘confusion’. Confusion implies lack of ability, too great a degree of complexity of the subject matter and the consequent need to learn more thoroughly, and innocence on both parts. None of those are the case except the consequent, inculpable need to learn more thoroughly; Catholics, as always, have the ability to know, love, and serve God through the Catholic Faith; the problem is that they aren’t being taught the Faith, and what they are being taught is demonstrably contradictory to the Faith, logic, and morality. The only solution to confusion is better communication, better education, more precision and clarity. We continue to get worse than the opposite. Chaos Frank deserves to be burnt at the stake for the arch-heretic that he is. And I’m sick and tired of seeing the Freemasonic handshakes by these marranos in the Vatican!

    • Hegesippus

      You were doing fine until you slipped up at the end.
      Yes, catechesis and clear teaching is needed.
      No, that does not make the Pope a heretic.

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      I find it rather frightening to see Catholics advocating the revival of such a heinously evil practice as burning people at the stake for their beliefs. It is a disturbing sign of the times.

  • Marcelus

    Yet another Ohh I miss Benedict article as usual
    .I mean, why just be afraid of saying” I wish Francis would just vanish” to clarify. It would be clearer much simpler that way. If you read carefully, all the quotes come from Jane Fonda now. Since the Pope in this case had not said a thing, we now look for Fonda to interpret or just spit a comment and start from there. .

    • Guest

      Why do you think Jane feels comfortable saying what she does? I know your comment is just another intellectually dishonest person who ignores problems.

  • Aliquantillus

    Dr. Oddie said: “We shall see what we shall see at the Synod, which I increasingly dread. Once that is out of the way, we will be able to assess where we all stand.”

    My comment on this is: It doesn’t really matter where you stand, since — whatever should be the outcome of the Synod — in the end you will all cave in. Perhaps the Synod will accept Card. Kasper’s catastrophic proposal which undermines the traditional doctrine of marriage, or perhaps it will inaugurate small pastoral changes which eventually will lead to the same practical consequences.

    In any case the result will be that in the end all those of conservative convictions who have fears now, will cave in and declare that really nothing has changed, even if everything will have changed. Official doctrine will be “saved” one way or the other, and the undermining and practical destruction of it will go on, one way or the other. But to those who really have eyes in their heads and are not prepared to let themselves fooled only one thing will emerge with overwhelming clarity, and that is that the traditionalists were right all the time in warning us that the post-Vatican II church is nothing else but a modernist sect, heading for a total collapse of doctrinal and pastoral consistency.

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      I totally agree with you that Catholic traditionalists are far more intellectually consistent than Catholics who attempt to combine orthodoxy with a commitment to Vatican II. The example provided by Dr. Oddie, of criticizing bishops even though the Pope whose resignation he laments taught the same thing, is a fine illustration of the absence of intellectual consistency common to those who accept Vatican II. By contrast, the intellectual consistency to be found on a traditionalist website such as novusordowatch is admirable.

      • johnalbertson

        FYI – wiki –

        Patrirach Mar Dinkha IV has promoted closer relations with the Catholic Church, both with the Vatican and the Chaldean Catholic Church; he first met Pope John Paul II immediately after the Pope’s election in 1978[13] and made his first visit to the Vatican in 1984.[14] The two continued to meet informally over the next decade.[15] After a decision by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East to have better relations with the Roman Catholic Church in 1994,[16] Dinkha agreed to a Joint Christological Declaration with the Holy See.[17] The “Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East”declares that it is “[a] basic step on the way towards the full communion to be restored between their Churches;” emphasized common doctrinal positions between the two bodies, such as the Nicene Creed; and clarifies that the centuries the two have spent out of communion were due to geographic and cultural issues rather than doctrinal differences.[18]

        Assyrians and Roman Catholics also produced “A Common
        Statement on Sacramental Life” that assessed the importance of sacraments in both churches.[20] Assyrians have also been allowed to study at Baghdad’s Chaldean Catholic College and unmarried deacons and priests can study at Catholic universities in Rome.[10]

        • Assyrian Church of the East

          I know about all that too. What of it?

    • michael susce

      Once you read people like Christopher Dawson, one receives a more precise perspective of two thousand years of Catholic history. One is exposed to the ebbs and flows of the Catholic Church and it’s war against Satan which at times is waged within the Church. This is nothing new. When one realizes the war against the Church from so many different fronts (that have penetrated the walls of the Church) for thousands of years, it is hard to believe that it is still such an impressive……..Rock.

    • Guest

      Seems accurate.

  • Edward Mulholland

    In the time that you have been blogging less, have you spent more time bringing the Church to the marginalized? I think there have been too many watchdogs of orthodoxy in the Church. Let the bishops do their job, and if they don’t do it well, they have Almighty God and a millstone to answer to. We cannot all assist them in that task. But we can all assist them in the task to serve a world that is dying of despair, and needs a hand and a conversation, not a lecture. I think this is where things need to focus. Surely for saying this I will be called a bleeding heart liberal, and yet I stand by the Magisterium in all. I just don’t appoint myself the overseer of the Magisterium, for to do that would mean that I do not accept the Church on faith, but because I happen to agree with the Church. Aquinas would say, then, that I have no faith at all.

    • michael susce

      The blogging on this site is of immeasurable and invaluable insight, exploding with valuable resources, inspiration etc. etc. for the vast number of those, like myself, and spiritually and intellectually feed those of us who just read or comment infrequently. Those who contribute to this site (and I would argue that the majority of commentators are mostly as erudite and full of intellectual and spiritual richness as the essayists which is extremely rare on the internet) help reduce the marginalization that WE experience on a daily basis and will into the future. Sometimes bringing the Church to the marginalized (definition?) results in hatred and emotional persecution. Those who blog on this site furnish an intellectual foundation for accepting the suffering that is or that will be. When we become the marginalized, sites like these are spiritual and intellectual food.
      I work with those who I think you define as marginalized but many of them don’t think themselves as such and would be offended if described as such. In this country most aren’t dying of despair but of boredom of spiritual ignorance.
      God bless, Michael

    • Guest

      The pope is against clericalism and you seem to support it.

      • billlang

        Huh?

        • Guest

          He paints those he disagrees with as “overseers of the magisterium” as if prelates are impeccable and infallible. Clericalism holds that only the few in positions have the authority and the rest must submit regardless of truth or error.

          In fact, no one is bound to submit to error.

    • Fargo106

      You’re right and make a good point, but I think there is room for both spreading the gospel and watch-dogging orthodoxy. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • Edward Mulholland

        Exactly. Just a reminder that we need that balance.

        • JP

          Who said there isn’t balance? This blog is pretty much devoted to keeping an eye on orthodoxy. Ergo, do not be surprised if you find most if not all of the posts referring to that subject.

  • Arriero

    One thing has to be said very clearly: Pope Francis is a direct and healthy product of the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In some way, he is their bloom.

    There is no improvisation in the Church. Pope Benedict XVI paved the way to this Pope, who is the perfect conclusion for this important period of history.

    Do you really think Pope Benedict XVI did not thought clamly which was the best way to protect, praise and conserve the greatness of the Catholic Church?

    Pope Francis was the best choice. And the Holy Spirit, of course, knew it, too. But don’t expect to always understand why he was the best choice.

    • Guest

      Huh?

    • Morrie Chamberlain

      The Holy Spirit protects the Church from teaching error. It does not prevent the possible election of a bad pope. Pope Francis does make one to look anew at whether they are truly responding to God’s call as they should. He needs to tighten up his communication with the media without a doubt.

    • Fargo106

      I don’t understand what you mean. How did Benedict pave the way fro Francis? How is Francis his bloom?

    • JP

      Benedict has nothing to do with the elevation of Pope Francis.

      • Arriero

        Pope Benedict is not irresponsible and he had very, very clear what he wanted for the Catholic Church and, most important, he very well knew what the Church needed.

        There is a clear line that unites the last three pontificates. And in my opinion Pope Benedict will be remembered as one of the greatest Popes in the history of the Church, for what he did, and especially for returning the Catholic Church to the center of the table.

        POPE FRANCIS IS THE CATHOLIC CRAFTSMAN PAR EXCELLENCE.

        It’s already pretty clear that those who whine more about Pope Francis come from countries were protestantism is either the majority religion or it has – or had – a very huge influence over society. Yet, in millenarian Catholic nations it’s well known that Pope Francis is the best choice for the Church. Another great Pope in the wide tradition of the Latin Church, probably the most admirable tradition within the Church.

        POPE BENEDICT WAS THE ARCHITECT.
        POPE FRANCIS IS THE BUILDER.

        The builder cannot built anything worth without the the architect’s plans. And the architect cannot see his opus finished without the hands of a skillful builder.

        Finally, remember one thing: ROME DOES NOT PAY TRAITORS. The traitors will never be well received in Rome. In these difficult times defections shall be punished.

        • Guest

          I find, mostly, those that claim to “understand” the vagueness are mostly libs that graft their liberal ideology onto the pope’s vague words and claim their ideology is the Catholic faith.

          • Arriero

            - «those that claim to “understand” the vagueness are mostly libs that graft their liberal ideology [...]»

            Don’t use terminology that no one understands, know and cares out from the US.

            The problem in the US is that everything is assessed from a political point of view. A point of view nonexistent in the rest of the Catholic world.

            I talk about Catholicism, which is the same in every place of the Universe. Liberalism… what is that? Liberalism in Europe means libertarianism, mon ami.

            • Guest

              Vagueness is vagueness regardless of the culture. Even if we agree with your point that is no excuse.

  • Matthew Livermore

    I also think there is more reason to be hopeful. I have written about it here: http://golgonooza.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/tradition-and-future.html

  • beej

    That blog perfectly illustrates what Francis wants us to do. Quit talking about it and go do it. Get away from our keyboards and get our shoes muddy. It’s good stuff.
    There were plenty of times that Jesus teachings left the apostles silent, and with good reason

    • Guest

      And that addresses the issue in the essay how?

      • beej

        My point is that a small amount of confusion causes us to step back and reevaluate what it is we think we know. It’s happened to me several times (easily confused). But when I study on those things and pray about them God leads me to more complete truth and stronger faith than I had before. Which in turn allows me to better defend orthodox beliefs.
        My question for you, was Peter and Paul orthodox jews?

        • Guest

          Small amount of confusion? That is funny. To deny the obvious seems disingenuous.

          As to your question…huh? What are you getting at?

          • beej

            Here’s what I’m getting at. If you were a jew converted to Christianity, Jesus is gone, Peter is the new leader and you find out he’s eating and staying with uncircumcised men. (Ancient no-no)What do you do complain about him? Complain about people who trust him? Does that make our first pope unorthodox? What was confusing then is now sound doctrine.

            • G@G.com

              Peter accepted correction. I see no analogy at all.

              • beej

                Read acts 11. Peter accepted no correction on this particular topic. The Jewish Christians accepted his actions as guided by the Holy spirit.

                Please understand, I’m not saying this is easy for me. All I’m saying is that I believe and trust the Holy spirit in his guidance as I’m sure you do as well. But what we see in part, God sees in whole. It very well could be( and mostly likely is) that the very things people are condemning as atrocious are the workings of the Holy spirit.

                So when I see and hear things that a pope does or says and it’s a struggle to accept, that’s the time to pause, be silent and ponder on what this means. At least think about this, were there any cardinals who voted for Francis that were not appointed to do so by Benedict and saint john paul. If you trusted the leadership of those popes then, trust them now.

                • Guest

                  He did eventually accept correction as the Church reveals this through Her teaching. Your analogy fails, sorry.

                  Not sure of your point? The people commenting here, for the most part, do trust that the HS guides the Church but they are not simple minded. The same God that guides the Church also gives people an intellect to discern error from truth. Truth cannot contradict truth.

                  The problem I see is not that people are criticizing Pope in a rash and unjust manner. No, I think the real issue is that too many “professional” Catholics are being intellectually dishonest. This essay is a breath of fresh air. Instead of doing mental gymnastics to make a square peg fit in a round hole he points out the truth of the matter. In fact, I would bet our Pope would be happy people are questioning his words. He seems like he would welcome that.

                  • beej

                    We see things differently, but I enjoy your perspective. That said, I’m sticking by my analogy. Lol

    • JP

      Your assumption is that people that post here do not get their shoes muddy. I’m assuming that you believe in the conceit that people who possess orthodox beliefs offer the Church nothing in return; and all of the heterodox within the Church do all of the “work”.

      • ForChristAlone

        you’re right….they actually DO think that…but that’s what narcissism gets you

        • beej

          I hope I’m not narcissistic. But I guess it bears looking into

      • beej

        Not at all, I’m quite orthodox myself. But I have taken the example of Francis as a rebuke of my own complacency. I see these last 3 popes fitting together like a well written trilogy or a 3 legged tripod all leaning on one another for completeness

      • Marcelus

        The other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…”

        This one is from Benedict XVI.

        I think, and please mean no offense by it, you may need to get over V2, it’s there good of bad, the ‘ohh.. who let this Francis guy in? ??? And even the former Pope who is no longer in office. You’ll have to come to terms with that and stop comparing. Much of the Catholic, most of say, world saw Benedict’ s papacy far distant and away from the common simple Catholic, the more than 80% who do not understand Latin and have normal solemn NO only available as we do in Latin America where 50% of our church resides.only one Peter and his name is Francis as chosen by the Holy spirit. Pope bashing, no matter how subtle or learned or swift as in this article, Oddie’s usual line, s not Catholic.

  • profling

    Too much angelism in the Church. I thought the Church was here to minister to sinners?

    • Guest

      Huh?

    • ForChristAlone

      If you disregard angelism, then you’ve written off the matter of original sin. After all, it was Satan, a fallen angel, who provided the drama. And if you don’t believe in demons, there’s much of scripture you’ll have to eliminate from your bible.

  • Art Deco

    Gee, 38 posts by ‘Nestorian’ and not one mention of Newt Gingrich. (But quotations from the just-this-side-of-sedevacantists over at Novus Ordo Watch).

    • Assyrian Church of the East

      There is a very good reason for this: Newt Gingrich was not pertinent to the thrust of Dr. Oddie’s post. Novus Ordo Watch’s documentation of Josef Ratzinger’s writings were, however, very pertinent. The fact that I got these from a sedevacantist website is neither here nor there.

      So what do you think of my line of argument against Dr. Oddie, which puts Pope Emeritus Benedict in the same category of unrepentant teacher of falsehood as the bishops whom Dr. Oddie criticizes? If you disagree, why so?

  • Art Deco

    Mr. Skojec’s assessment of this pontificate:

    http://blog.steveskojec.com/2014/05/03/take-the-red-pill/

  • Curious Catholic

    Isn’t Fr. Vicario wrong that a civil marriage cannot be sacramental? Two Lutherans – who are baptized validly – could contract a marriage civilly and have a valid and therefore sacramental marriage. Am I wrong here?

  • Katalina

    While I agree with the above article, I do not seem to see how this is somehow Benedict’s fault for deciding to retire. He knew he was not up to the job health wise. No the blame doe this goes to the Cardinals themselves who had enough of Benedict’s reforms and wanted a more horizontal approach to the Church. Even most of the Cardinals appointed by Benedict picked the man who came in second in 2005 and to say this is Benedict’s fault when it is the Cardinals fault is absurd. Francis admitted himself he was UNDISCLIPLENED. So that’s clear from the day he stepped out on the Balcony and had no Mozetta on and talked endlessly. I wish Ranjith or Marc Oulett or even Raymond Burke was picked instead.

  • Macmooski

    I wouldn’t worry what the likes of Jane Fonda thinks…that type is always seeking the tiniest hint that others will change and accept their views. Don’t forget these are narcissistic people that lie and promote lies to cover their flawed beliefs. The Church remains firmly grounded in the truth of Christ.

    • Guest

      Fonda was used as one example. Hardly an anomaly.

  • Concerned Catholic

    Interesting, but remember the whole point of our faith is to learn to love as God does. Jesus did not come to make us experts in doctrine. He came to teach us to love selflessly. How many Catholics know the teaching of the church but don’t live them – isn’t that in fact the very problem the church has experienced over the last few decades. Soooooo, I don’t think the Pope is failing us. I think he is precisely right. It is not that doctrine is unimportant, its critical. However it can only be rightly defined and understood in the context of love. The recipe for which has been lost. The Pope’s field hospital example explains this. Help people, care about them, fight for life and above all strive for personal holiness and everyone will start to wonder what your all about and the church will heal.

  • beej

    There was all kinds of confusion when the prodigal son returned. You had a rough-shod young man who smelled like pigs. Servants who were kilingerie a fatted calf simply because they wereally told to do so. Some of them knew this kid and hated him. Some had probably only heard stories. You have an older brother who had remained faithful up to this point but was growing increasingly annoyed by the leadership of his father. Wondering if he just lost more inheretence. Then of course, you have the father. Running around saying ridiculous things and acting like a fool.

    Jesus designed this parable so that everyone of us are in the story, the question to ask yourself is, Who am I in this story?

  • Fr. Charles McGuire

    Dear Mr. Oddie,
    One must remember that the first mark of the Church pertains not only to unity in government, but unity of doctrine and of worship – both of which have been destroyed by the coming of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae.
    There can be no contradiction in Church teaching – we know this by faith. However, there is a very discernable contradiction between the teachings of the Church before Vatican II and the teachings of Vatican II. In your article, you bring up one perfect example. There are many others: for example, Pope Pius IX said that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church; John Paul II said that the Holy Ghost uses non-Catholic sects as a means of salvation. When pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings contradict, one must necessarily be right and one must necessarily be wrong. Either all of the popes from St. Peter to Pius XII were wrong (all 262 of them) and Vatican II has finally arrived at the truth, or else all the popes from St. Peter to Pope Pius XII were right and Vatican II has defected from the true Faith. Doctrine cannot change.
    Francis does not teach the same Faith as St. Peter, St. Linus, St. Pius X, etc. (one has only to do his research to discover this). There is no continuity of doctrine between pre-Vatican II and Vatican II. There is a definite contradiction in teaching. The only way to remain loyal to the papacy is not through silence, but by rejecting Vatican II because of its false teachings. We are either with Peter or with Francis, but we cannot be with both.
    Fr. Charles McGuire

    • Marcelus

      You are a Roman Catholic priest ? Or SSPX? Peter or Francis? ? Please. . Only one Peter. Where he is you ll find the Holy Roman Catholic church. All the rest just doesn’t exist.

  • kcthomas

    There is no confusion for the Church. However some words uttered by authorities are twisted or misinterpreted and confusion is created. Before accusing anyone,we should know fully well what we are dealing with. We are dealing with the holy Body and precious Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.The Church rightly teaches us that we shall not receive the Eucharist if we are in sin–that is without repentance and confession–.Divorce and remarriage cannot be compared with sins like theft or adultery .Divorce and remarriage are conscious decision of a married couple and they continue in the state of disregarding the Church law,the law made known by Jesus .How can such persons continuing in the state of sin receive the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ ?This is the real issue and not ” giving Communion”.

  • S.H.A.Prodi

    I’m not a Catholic, but remembering recent events in Brazil, I’d say Benedict – Francis: 16-1.

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